I currently have an accountant, why should I switch?
Most great business owners will already have an accountant, though would it not also make good business sense to ensure you are getting the best services for your business? If you're not currently happy with your accountant, they may not be meeting your needs as a business owner and it may be time to look for an accounting firm that does meet your needs.
The office location is far from me. Are there other options to meet?
We understand that traveling can be a large inconvenience for many, especially if you have to make the trip frequently. At Chamberland Business Accounting, we prefer to remain convenient to our clients, so we can come out to your business location to meet with you and discuss your financial records. Our team is also readily available to answer any questions over the phone, through text, or email. Whichever method you prefer.
What if I am too busy to meet?
We realize that local business owners and startup companies are very busy and time is something you have very little of. Our appointments will require only an hour of your time, during this time we will be able to discuss your financial records, answer any of your questions or concerns, see which services will benefit your business, and how your business is improving with the services you currently are using. We may possibly be able to save you hundreds to thousands of dollars in taxes alone at the meetings as well.
What if my family member or significant other takes care of my accounting and taxes?
If your spouse is an accountant, then that is perfect for you and your business. Though, even with your family member being an accountant many will find it uncomfortable having a family member know all of your personal financial information. Having a family member complete your taxes and finances can also mean they are "just doing you a favor" and not getting paid for their work, so they will not put the time or effort into the work that a non-relative would. If neither your significant other or family member are accountants this could cause risk to your business. We understand it is more economical to have one of them handle your taxes and finances, however, they are more than likely unaware of the ever changing laws and procedures which can end up costing you a lot of money or your entire business, if done incorrectly.
What if I handle my own taxes and finances?
We realize that doing it yourself may be easier and more affordable, though this can become very stressful to you and take away from you focusing on the core areas of your business. In having our firm take on the tasks, you will be able to have more time where you are more needed, while receiving our expert advice to help guide your business in continual success and growth. Our firm also stays up to date on the latest tax laws and will ensure any audits and tax planning will be handled properly, so as to avoid issues with the IRS.
How much does your firm charge?
Unfortunately we are not able to quote an exact price until after having an initial consultation, however, we do offer three separate business packages with starting prices based on the size of the business and the average needs. To receive an exact price for our services, please call our office at 401-765-1235 or email at info@chamberlandco to schedule an initial consultation.
If you are looking for more information about our firm you can call our office at 401-765-1235 or email us at info@chamberlandco and we will be happy to send you pamphlets and brochures that discuss more about our services and what we can do to better benefit your business. We will also have a member of our team contact you within 2 to 3 business days to see if you have any questions or would like to book and initial consultation with a member of our team.
What if I am too small/new for an accountant?
Our firm specializes in both startup organizations and various types of small businesses, even ones the same size as yours. For small businesses, we offer three business packages that are estimated around the size of your business and on average what you will need; this is so you are not paying for what you do not need, making sure are prices match your budget. For startups, we provide a specialized process, in which we will deliver all of the advice needed along with state and federal requirements to start your business. After the process is complete, we will upgrade you to one of our business packages that will fit your business's needs and budget. As your business grows we can upgrade you to the next package to ensure your business receives the services it needs to run efficiently, while still remaining affordable.
What kinds of records should I keep?
In order for our bookkeepers to effectively record and maintain your finances accurately, we require that you provide us with the following records for each month:
• Bank Statements
• Loan and Credit Card Statements
• QuickBooks Backup
• Check Register (If Your Business Does Not Use QuickBooks)
How often will you contact me and/or meet with me to discuss my business's finances?
Our team of accounting professionals will complete and send your business's financial statements to you each month. We will also meet with you regularly to discuss your business finances along with business growth and tax planning. Our accountants and bookkeepers will keep constant communication with you throughout the year whether by email, phone, or text message regarding your finances and are available throughout the year to answer any questions you may have.
Will I need to purchase any accounting software?
No, we do not require any of our clients to have to purchase any accounting software. Our team of accountants and bookkeepers will gladly accommodate any of our clients preferences of either using software or paper documentation. However, if your business is interested in or prefers using accounting software, such as QuickBooks, we will be able to advise you on how to set it up and use it in your business.
How can your accounting services help my business?
Our accounting services can help strengthen your business, bringing more efficiency and creating long-term success for your business. In having our bookkeepers record and maintain your monthly financial records, you will continuously remain aware of your business's profits and expenses, so you will be able to budget for projects that will benefit your business, cut down on unnecessary expenses to increase revenue, and guide your business into the direction that will best meet your short and long-term goals.
If my business has any small transactions, should they still be recorded?
Yes, all transactions regardless of size must be properly recorded or communicated to your bookkeeper. Failing to record or communicate a small transaction can interfere with your cash flows and result in showing inaccurate funds, which can lead to over calculating profits and under calculating spending and result in your business accumulating debt and losing money.
Can I use my business account for personal purchases and vice versa?
No, your business should have its own bank account and be used solely for transactions for your business and any personal expenses or revenue should be kept in a separate personal account. Keeping just one account for your business and personal finances can mean that the money can become jumbled and you will not know what amount belongs to your business and what belongs to you. This means when you need to take out money for a personal expense, you could possibly eat into the funds from your business, resulting in not having enough money to cover necessities to properly run. Sharing accounts can also result in IRS audits and the daunting task of having to prove that any expenses from the account was used for business. If you are not able to prove to the IRS they were business expenses, since they were out of a personal account, your tax return will be recalculated and depending on your business entity, you will acquire high penalties and fees, expenses added back in, and you will lose your deductions.
What are "ghost assets" and why are they important to know?
Ghost assets are defined as "fixed assets that are not able to be accounted for due to either not being recorded or they were shown to be unnecessary but are still being recorded on your general ledger as an asset." Many small business owners are unaware of them or don't know how to get rid of them, which leads to
your bottom-line being completely off and:
• increased property taxes
• increased insurance premiums and risk
• lack of capital for future expenditures
• lack of capital for current business operations
• you can find yourself being investigated under the Sarbanes-Oxly Act (keeps corporations from conducting fraudulent accounting activities).
What are the requirements for employers with the Paid Sick Leave Law?
Rhode Island's Paid Sick Leave has just come into effect July 1, 2018. Employers with fewer than 18 employees are not required to offer paid sick leave, though they also cannot penalize any employee taking up to 24 hours of unpaid sick leave in 2018, 32 hours in 2019, 40 hours in 2020, and so on. Any employers with more than 18 employees must provide paid sick leave to their employees. All employees are eligible for paid sick leave, though employers can implement a 90-day waiting period in which new employees, hired after July 1, 2018, cannot use accrued sick leave and can be lengthened to 150 days for seasonal employees and 180 days for temporary employees. The accrual for paid sick leave will be that employees will earn one hour of sick leave for every 35 hours worked per week and up to 24 hours in 2018; in 2019 it will increase to up to 32 hours for 2019, 40 hours in 20120, and so forth.
Massachusetts has a similar paid sick leave law to Rhode Island, however, they differ in that Massachusetts law an employee will earn 1 hour of paid sick leave for every 30 hours worked and overtime-exempt employees will earn sick leave based on a 40 hour work week. The state law only covers a maximum 40 hours per year of paid sick leave and anymore must be carried over to the next year or employers can choose to offer extended hours of paid sick leave. Massachusetts businesses that employ fewer than 11 employees are exempt from being required to provide paid sick leave and they can also offer a probationary period of paid sick time to new employees, but only for 90 days.
Both states require that any unused hours toward sick pay leave must be carried over to the next year.
Am I required to provide any paid time off or vacation time?
In Rhode Island there is no law yet stating a business in the private sector is required to provide paid vacation or time off, other than sick leave. However, if the employee is terminated and has completed at least 1 year of service, than any accrued and unused vacation time is considered wages and must be paid to the terminated employee by the next regular payday. Massachusetts also does not require private employers to provide paid vacation time, however, if an employer does provide paid vacation and they are terminated than any accrued, unused vacation time must be paid to the employee on the day of dismissal.
What is the difference between an exempt employee and a non-exempt employee?
Employees who are exempt means that employers are not required to pay them over-time pay for any extra hours past 40 hours per week. Under the Fair Labor Standards Act, an exempt employee must be paid a salary for the week they work and they recognize these main categories as being exempt:
• Executive or professional
• STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math)
In Rhode Island an exempt employee is one who is classified as an executive, administrative, professional, outside sales, computer employees, and a list of others that earns a salary of at least $200 per week on a salary base, as well as meeting all requirements for each of the categories. Massachusetts holds almost the same requirements as Rhode Island for exempt employees, though they not only have to pass salary level and basis tests but their job responsibilities must adhere to regulations by the state to be classified as exempt.
Any employee who is paid by the hour and their position does not fall into one of the exempt categories covered under the Fair Labor Standards Act are considered non-exempt and must be paid overtime. Both Rhode Island and Massachusetts state that an non-exempt employee must be paid 1 and 1/2 times their hourly rate for each additional hour over a 40 hour work week. For the full list of exempt employees and over-time for Rhode Island visit https://www.employmentlawhandbook.com/wage-and-hour-laws/state-wage-and-hour-laws/rhode-island/exemptions/ and for
Massachusetts visit https://malegislature.gov/Laws/GeneralLaws/PartI/TitleXXI/Chapter151/Section1A.
Does holiday pay or paid time off count toward overtime?
The quick answer is no. The Fair Labor Standards Act states that any non-exempt employee will only be paid overtime if they work more than 40 hours per week. Since paid time off (PTO), vacation, personal, and sick leave are hours in which employees are not working they do not count toward a 40 hour work week and any extra hours worked will not be subject to overtime pay, unless for the remainder of the work week they accumulate over 40 work hours.
How long will it take for Direct Deposit to be deposited into my employees' accounts?
Your employees' pay will be deposited into their bank accounts within the next business day from the day you provide our payroll department with your employees' hours. Your business will be able to choose which day of the week you want your employees paid, however, we strongly recommend giving us your employees' hours at least 1 to 2 days before your employees should be paid and at least 2 to 3 days before when your payday falls on a holiday.
Do you withhold taxes or will I be responsible for that?
Our payroll department will take out the proper amount of taxes for each of your employees. All you are responsible for is completing a new hire form and having your employees fill out a w-4 form, which we will use to calculate the exact amount of taxes each of your employees will be withheld from their paychecks. Our payroll department will calculate and withhold federal and state income taxes, Social Security and Medicare taxes (we will also take calculate the amount your business pays for Social Security and Medicare, for each employee), and any insurance premiums or retirement plan savings that any of the employees sign up for.
How can I report my employees' hours to you?
We offer a number of convenient methods to report your employees' hours. You have the choice of calling our payroll department at (401)765-1235 x 112 or sending an email to email@example.com. You also have the option to fax in employee hours at (401)765-4019 with the cover sheet "Attention Payroll Department".
How will you help me prepare for tax season?
We meet with all of our clients in the fall and discuss all of their business's financial results and finalize their tax projections. We will create a tax strategy for each of our clients, using our tax planning checklist, to find all of the legally allowed deductions to help you save money. Our team of expert tax professionals will begin preparing your tax returns in January, in which it will be sent to you to review before we file it on your behalf. Our tax system ensures that you not only will save on authorized deductions, but you will avoid late fees or penalties as well.
If I have a home office space for my business, can I deduct it off my taxes?
Yes and no. If your business space is at home and is used solely for your business than it can be written off as a tax deduction. However, if your business space is also used for personal use than it will not be deductible. For instance, if you use a spare room in your residence for your business, but also use that same spare room as an exercise room or "family room" than it is not allowed as a deduction.
How does your firm stay up to date on tax laws and regulations?
Our firm regularly receives notices from the IRS and state governments on any new, updated, or modified tax laws and regulations. We also provide continuous training to all of our tax preparers throughout the year on any updated, modified, or new tax laws and regulations.
What information do you need in order to file my business taxes?
In order for our tax professionals to prepare and file your business taxes we would need paperwork or other forms of physical proof for the following records from your business:
• Gross Receipts
• Travel, Transportation, Entertainment, and Gift Expenses
• Employment Taxes
Would it be easier and cheaper to file my own taxes?
This may seem like an easier and more cost effective solution than paying an accountant, however, it can turn out to be the more costly and difficult. If you are unaware of tax laws and regulations or how to properly complete and file your taxes, this can lead to an audit from the IRS. Audits can be very expensive, as hiring an enrolled agent to represent you to the IRS will cost more than paying them to prepare and file for you; representing yourself would prove to be inefficient and the IRS would most likely place seizures, leans, and wages garnishments against you if you owe money as well as penalties and fees.
What is an EIN and why does my business need one?
An EIN or Employer Identification Number or Tax ID, is a number required for most business entities and given by the IRS in order to know the types of taxes they are responsible for and what types of deductions they are allowed based on their business entity. An EIN number is not required if your business is a sole proprietorship or an LLC if either entity has no employees, though a sole proprietorship will need to have an EIN if they are filing a pension or excise tax returns.
What happens if myself or my business needs an extension?
If your business needs more time to gather its records, than you will need to file an extension; however, to ensure that your extension is accepted it is best to have a professional file for you. Our tax professionals will assist you in completing and filing a Form:4868 if you are a sole proprietorship or an individual, which will give you an automatic six month extension; note: you will also have to pay your estimated income tax when filing for an extension. If your business is a corporation or partnership, than we will help you to complete and file a 7004 Form along with estimated taxes that are due. Since Rhode Island and Massachusetts both have income taxes, we will also be able to file state tax extensions for your business as well.
You must give our tax preparers ample notice to file an extension, as it must be sent in before the tax deadline to be accepted by the IRS.
Will you be able to represent me to the IRS?
Yes, our firm has a number of Enrolled Agents, who are federally licensed tax preparers authorized to represent tax clients before the IRS. They will be able to represent you on cases with the IRS involving collections, audits, and/or appeals.
I owe back taxes to the IRS. What should I do?
The IRS can be quite intimidating to small business owners and handling them by yourself, especially if you owe them, is not the best idea as it can unintentionally get you in deeper trouble with the IRS. If your business is in debt to the IRS, one of our Enrolled Agents will be able to represent you to the IRS, in which they can set up an affordable credit options, such as a payment plan, for you to pay back the taxes owed.
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