How Automating Payroll Will Change Your Life

How Automating Payroll Will Change Your Life

 

LUTZ BUSINESS INSIGHTS

 

how automating your payroll will change your life

mike perry, client accounting services director

 

You didn’t start a business to learn about compliance with federal and state employee compensation rules. Yet here you are, wearing out your calculator twice a month as you try to stay current with tax tables, government regulations, and worker benefits. One small mistake, and you’re paying penalties, making employees and a whole lot of agencies, or benefits providers unhappy.

Isn’t your time better spent managing your business and planning for its growth? Automating payroll will give you those hours back and reduce the possibility of costly errors exponentially. There are countless websites that provide these services. They can help you:

Maintain comprehensive employee profiles

How do you store and retrieve your employee information now? On time cards, in folders or Microsoft Word files? However you do so, it can be cumbersome just looking up details. Payroll websites let you create online records for each employee that contain everything you need to know, including:

  • Contact information
  • Compensation
  • Required tax form data from the W-4 and W-9
  • Benefits
  • Direct deposit authorization

Set up multiple pay schedules

Do you pay some employees weekly and others semi-monthly, for example? Payroll websites accommodate such an arrangement. They also allow off-cycle payroll runs.

Define multiple earnings types

You might pay some workers by the hour while others get an annual salary, but payroll websites go well beyond these classifications. They can support bonuses, commissions, etc., and even let you set up custom earnings types. You can also automate withholding, like garnishments.

Calculate state, federal, and local payroll taxes

This step is probably the bane of your existence if you’re processing your company’s payroll manually. The online solutions available not only calculate payroll tax withholding, but most of them actually submit those taxes and any filings necessary by the prescribed deadlines.

Add deductions for pre-tax benefits

If you offer your employees benefits like health insurance and retirement plans, calculating and incorporating those payments and any matching contributions you make can also be quite the challenge. Payroll websites automate this step.

Track sick and vacation time

Once you define your PTO policies, you will always know when an employee is eligible to take time off.

Prepare W-2s in January

Using the data they’ve collected through the year, most payroll websites take this task off of your to-do list, too.

Set up all of this

These online applications usually offer step-by-step tools to setup and get ready to run payroll. Company onboarding specialists are also always available to help.

Run payroll

Actual payroll processing generally only takes a few minutes. If your payroll is often the same, you may be able to put it on autopilot.

If you’re already doing your payroll manually, you should be able to make the transition to online fairly easily. But if you’re struggling with or new to employee compensation, we can help you get up and running, or even take over this element of your accounting completely. Contact us, and we can discuss your options.

 

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Mike Perry + Lutz Client Accounting Services in Nebraska

402.827.2087

mperry@lutz.us

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MIKE PERRY + CLIENT ACCOUNTING SERVICES DIRECTOR

Mike Perry is a Client Accounting Services Director at Lutz with over 15 years of accounting experience. He focuses on providing business consulting, software implementation and training, accounting procedure assistance and outsourced accounting replacement consulting for closely held companies.

AREAS OF FOCUS
AFFILIATIONS AND CREDENTIALS
  • American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, Member
  • Nebraska Society of Certified Public Accountants, Member
  • Intuit Certified ProAdvisor, QuickBooks Advanced
  • Certified Public Accountant
EDUCATIONAL BACKGROUND
  • BSBA in Accounting, University of Nebraska, Kearney, NE
COMMUNITY SERVICE
  • Community Bike Project Omaha, Past Treasurer
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Smart User Management Key to Data Security

Smart User Management Key to Data Security

 

LUTZ BUSINESS INSIGHTS

 

smart user management key to data security

jimmy burgess, senior accountant

 

You trust your employees or you wouldn’t have hired them. Still, when someone other than you has access to your company’s accounting records, strong safeguards are critical. You store customer profiles, credit card numbers, payroll details, and other information that could hurt you—or someone else—if in the wrong hands.

If you are still doing your accounting work on paper, the best you can do is to lock all accounting files up and restrict access. Computer-based records are another story.

Built-in Security

QuickBooks provides a way to restrict users to specific areas of the software and to the activities performed there.  To explore it, open the Company menu and click Set Up Users and Passwords, then Set Up Users. The window that opens will list you as the administrator. Click Add User and enter the name and password for the employee, then click Next.

Tip: Click F2 and look in the upper left corner to see whether you can Add this user to my QuickBooks license.

QuickBooks then displays a multi-step wizard that will help you define the employee’s role within QuickBooks. You have three options here. You can give the user access to:

  • All areas of QuickBooks. Be cautious here, as this means everything, including customer credit card numbers and check-writing privileges. If you click Yes and then Finish, your setup is complete.
  • Selected areas of QuickBooks. When you choose this option, you’ll be able to assign individual access rights to multiple areas of QuickBooks, including Sales and Accounts Receivable, Checking and Credit Cards, and Sensitive Accounting Activities. Your choices for each are No Access, Full Access, and Selective Access. If you choose the latter, you will be able to select the level of activity that the user can engage in (Create transactions only, Create transactions and create reports, etc.). The final question asks about changing or deleting transactions. QuickBooks then displays a table that shows that user’s permissions.
  • External Accountant. You can give your accountant access to all areas of QuickBooks except for sensitive customer data like credit card numbers.

Helpful Reports

If the worst happens and you suspect an employee may have somehow gained access to a restricted area (for example, by discovering your password) and altered data, there are tools in QuickBooks that can help you assess the damage and learn who is responsible. One of these is the Audit Trail report (Reports | Accountant & Taxes | Audit Trail), which tracks changes to your company’s accounting records, who made them, and on what date. You can also see how a specific transaction has been edited by opening it and clicking Reports | Transaction History.

You have to know what you are looking for to use these methods, though. If you have concerns about the security of your company’s data, please contact us. We have experts in both QuickBooks and technology who can work with you on building protections into your accounting workflow – and other areas of your network.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

402.514.0016

jburgess@lutz.us

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JIMMY BURGESS + SENIOR ACCOUNTANT

Jimmy Burgess is a Senior Accountant at Lutz with over four years of relevant experience. His primary focus is to provide outsourced accounting to clients with a focus on QuickBooks, tax and payroll compliance, small business consulting, as well as software implementation training.

AREAS OF FOCUS
  • Outsourced Accounting Services
  • QuickBooks
  • Tax & Payroll Compliance
  • Small Business Consulting
  • Software Implementation & Training
  • Construction Industry
AFFILIATIONS AND CREDENTIALS
  • Nebraska Society of Certified Public Accountants, Member
  • Certified Public Accountant
EDUCATIONAL BACKGROUND
  • BS in Business Administration and Accounting, University of Wyoming, Laramie, WY
COMMUNITY SERVICE
  • Youth Sports Coach, Volunteer
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Hastings, NE 68901

P: 402.462.4154

OMAHA

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Omaha, NE 68154

P: 402.496.8800

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Grand Island, NE 68803

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3 Things a Business Plan Can Do for You

3 Things a Business Plan Can Do for You

 

LUTZ BUSINESS INSIGHTS

 

3 things a business plan can do for you

Lauren duren, senior accountant

 

Business plans aren’t just for big companies. Your small business needs one, too – perhaps even more than large enterprises. Even if you’re an entrepreneur working in a spare room in your home, having a written framework for your strategy and long-term goals can help you make smarter, more targeted business decisions in the short run.

Your business plan can be one page, or you can do it by the book, filling it with voluminous text, financial statements and organizational charts (you will need the latter if you’re approaching banks and investors for financing).

You don’t have to be a brand-new venture to benefit from a business plan. Existing companies will find that this critical document can be useful in numerous ways. You will be able to:

Know when to grow.

Growth costs money. As your company continues to expand and prosper, you’ll need to make decisions about property and people. When is it time to: Take on a new employee? Buy an expensive piece of equipment? Move to a larger office space? Perhaps acquire another business? If you’ve built a detailed, realistic business plan, you’ll be better equipped to decide on expansion based on your short- and long-term goals and projections.

Paint a detailed picture of your company that can be shared.

Think about the individuals and companies in your orbit. Who could benefit from knowing, for example:

  • What problem(s) are your products and/or services are trying to solve?
  • How do you plan to create those?
  • Who are your target markets – and who is your competition?
  • Who is your managerial team?
  • What are your projected milestones?

Provide a written roadmap for other employees (and for yourself).

If you’re building a complex business plan with a lot of sensitive and financial data, you may want to have two versions. One would be comprehensive, available only to staff in managerial positions. Those individuals would see your entrepreneurial vision spelled out in terms they could apply to their own work, the decisions they make every day, and the way they prioritize their schedules. This also makes them feel part of the “bigger picture.”

Better Planning

Noted business plan expert Tim Berry talks about the theory of displacement: Whatever you do is something else you don’t do. An effective business plan will help you schedule your weeks and months more strategically so your time is spent on activities that support your mission and goals (as much as possible).

We could get involved here in a number of ways and help you shape your business plan based on why you need it. For example, are you planning to sell your company, or do you need a business valuation for another purpose? Are you looking for funding? Or, do you just need help creating a document for your own purposes? Whatever the reason, we are ready to help. Contact us, and we’ll set up a consultation.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

402.827.2062

 

lduren@lutz.us

 

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LAUREN DUREN + SENIOR ACCOUNTANT

Lauren Duren is a Senior Accountant at Lutz with over three years of relevant experience. She provides outsourced accounting services to clients with a focus on tax, payroll compliance, and healthcare consulting.

AREAS OF FOCUS
  • Outsourced Accounting
  • Tax
  • Payroll Compliance
  • Healthcare Accounting Consulting
  • Nonprofit Industry
AFFILIATIONS AND CREDENTIALS
  • American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, Member
  • Nebraska Society of Certified Public Accountants, Member
  • National Medical Group Management Association, Member
  • Nebraska Medical Group Management Association, Member
  • Certified Public Accountant
EDUCATIONAL BACKGROUND
  • MBA, University of Nebraska, Omaha, NE
  • BSBA in Accounting, University of Nebraska, Omaha, NE
COMMUNITY SERVICE
  • Lutz Gives Back, Volunteer

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HASTINGS

747 N Burlington Avenue, Suite 401

Hastings, NE 68901

P: 402.462.4154

OMAHA

13616 California Street, Suite 300

Omaha, NE 68154

P: 402.496.8800

Toll-Free: 866.577.0780  |  Privacy Policy

All content © Lutz & Company, PC

 

LINCOLN 

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Lincoln, NE 68508

P: 531.500.2000

GRAND ISLAND

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Grand Island, NE 68803

P: 308.382.7850

Lutz Promotes 15 to Senior Positions

Lutz Promotes 15 to Senior Positions

 

LUTZ BUSINESS INSIGHTS

 

Lutz promotes 15 to senior positions

 

 Lutz, a Nebraska-based business solutions firm, has promoted 15 professionals to Senior positions.

Juan Ayala-Roman, CPA, has been promoted to Senior Accountant in the audit department in Lutz’s Omaha office. He is responsible for providing assurance and consulting services to clients with a focus on employee benefit plans and the non-profit industry.

Jack Boulay, CPA, has been promoted to Senior Accountant in the audit department. He is responsible for providing credibility to clients through financial reporting. In addition, he will work to maintain a high level of objectivity and confidentiality in all areas for clients in a variety of industries. Boulay works in Lutz’s Omaha office.

Matt DeLong has been promoted to Senior Accountant in the tax department. He is responsible for the preparation of individual, business and fiduciary income tax returns, estate and business planning, as well as taxpayer representation on IRS matters. DeLong works in Lutz’s Omaha office.

Bryan Frew, CPA, has been promoted to Senior Accountant in Lutz’s Hastings Office. He is responsible for providing business and individual taxation services to clients in a variety of industries. In addition, he will provide credibility to clients through financial reporting.

Bryson Henkel, CPA, has been promoted to Senior Accountant. He provides individual and business income tax returns with a focus on the agriculture industry, as well as employee benefit plan audits. Henkel works in Lutz’s Hastings office.

Nate Jones, CPA, has been promoted to Senior Accountant in the audit department. He is responsible for the preparation and examination of financial records for clients across various industries. Jones works in Lutz’s Omaha office.

Kim Kaye, CPC, CEMA, has been promoted to Senior Healthcare Consultant in Lutz’s Omaha office. She provides professional coding assistance, chart audits and chargemaster reviews for clients with a focus on the healthcare industry.

Emily Moore, CPA, has been promoted to Senior Accountant in the client accounting services department. She specializes in providing outsourced accounting services to clients with a focus on QuickBooks, tax and payroll compliance, small business consulting, as well as software implementation and training. Moore works in Lutz’s Omaha office.

Brad Newton, CPA, has been promoted to Senior Accountant in the tax and operations departments. He is responsible for providing tax planning and consulting for clients with a focus on tax exempt organizations. In addition, he will assist in coordinating Lutz’s internal accounting operations. Newton works in Lutz’s Omaha office.

Emma Perry, CPA, has been promoted to Senior Accountant in the tax department. She is responsible for the preparation of individual, business and fiduciary income tax returns for clients in a variety of industries. Perry works in Lutz’s Omaha office.

Robby Renshaw has been promoted to Human Resources Specialist in Lutz’s Omaha office. She is responsible for leading Lutz’s internship program and campus recruiting efforts. In addition, she helps oversee the onboarding, employee retention and performance management processes.

Kris Rutz has been promoted to Senior Project Engineer in Lutz’s Tech division. With over five years of experience in the technology industry, Rutz is responsible for assisting outsourced IT clients with technology infrastructure enhancements. Kris works in Lutz’s Omaha office.

Steve Schaffer has been promoted to Operations Lead. He is responsible for assisting the Chief Operating Officer in leading internal operations, gathering and analyzing firm data, as well as consulting with management on internal business plans. Schaffer works in both the Lincoln and Omaha Lutz offices.

Claire Thelen has been promoted to Senior Healthcare Consultant. She provides chargemaster, billing and coding and revenue cycle consulting services to clients with a focus on hospitals and healthcare systems. Thelen works in Lutz’s Omaha office.

Zach Weis, CPA, has been promoted to Senior Accountant in the tax department. He provides tax consulting and compliance services for clients with a focus on individual and business income tax. Weis works in Lutz’s Omaha office.

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Each morning I craft a Market Update email that I share with our advisors. This email provides commentary on what is happening in the markets and the economy. It includes data related to asset class…

read more

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HASTINGS

747 N Burlington Avenue, Suite 401

Hastings, NE 68901

P: 402.462.4154

OMAHA

13616 California Street, Suite 300

Omaha, NE 68154

P: 402.496.8800

Toll-Free: 866.577.0780  |  Privacy Policy

All content © Lutz & Company, PC

 

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Lincoln, NE 68508

P: 531.500.2000

GRAND ISLAND

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Grand Island, NE 68803

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Travel Expenses Out of Control? Add an App

Travel Expenses Out of Control? Add an App

 

LUTZ BUSINESS INSIGHTS

 

travel expenses out of control? add an app

lauren harris, senior accountant

 

Do you and/or your employees submit expense reports for business travel? Are you still doing so manually? If so, you know how time- and labor-intensive this process is – and how error-prone it can be. Employees sometimes expense items and services that aren’t in line with your policies. They may even lose receipts or forget to document important expenditures.

Unfortunately, though it’s equipped to record expenses and pay bills, QuickBooks does not provide an easy solution to this problem. You will need a separate application for that, one that integrates easily with QuickBooks. Several good apps are available. Here are some of the features that many of them offer:

Tight integration with QuickBooks’ account structure.

To ensure that this partnership results in accurate data in your QuickBooks company file, the apps help you “match” things like customers and vendors, items, and employee records in QuickBooks to their own classifications.

Easy employee access.

Your staff members probably live on their smartphones or tablets when they travel. These apps allow them to record expenses as they go, even taking pictures of receipts and assigning them to line items in their expense reports. When they’re back in the office, reconstructing their trips and submitting the actual reports is a simple, automated process.

Powerful administrator tools.

Your employees’ travel expense data will flow directly into your own administrator account, which offers many tools, including the ability to:

  • Set expense policies so no unapproved expense types (or amounts) get accepted.
  • Orchestrate cash advances.
  • Create reports that provide information about past and current trips so you can make better business decisions about future travel.

Travel itinerary assistance.

One of the most popular apps serves as a travel agent, too. You will be able to search for flights, hotels, etc., and book them.

Fast, easy reimbursements.

Once you approve expense reports, you will be able to reimburse employees quickly – sometimes as soon as the next day.

Full visibility in QuickBooks.

Of course, data collected by the app will become part of your QuickBooks accounting records – in real time.

A Precise Process

Intuit maintains an online directory of apps that can be integrated with QuickBooks; you will find it here. It’s organized by category, so you might take a look sometime and see if there’s an area of QuickBooks that needs amplifying for your business. There are a number of expense-tracking solutions included here; three of the most popular are Expensify, SAP Concur, and Tallie.

If you decide to invest time and money in a travel expense solution, we can help you get it installed, integrated with QuickBooks, and running smoothly. Connecting apps to QuickBooks Online is usually fairly intuitive, but desktop QuickBooks connections can be more complicated. Contact us to schedule a consultation, and we’ll help you automate and streamline your expense reporting – minimizing costs and work time in the process.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

402.514.0012

lharris@lutz.us

LINKEDIN

LAUREN HARRIS + SENIOR ACCOUNTANT

Lauren Harris is a Senior Accountant in the Client Accounting Services department at Lutz with over two years of related experience. She provides payroll tax reporting and compliance, as well as outsourced accounting assistance to small businesses through QuickBooks support and training.

AREAS OF FOCUS
  • QuickBooks Training & Support
  • Outsourced Accounting
  • Payroll Tax Reporting and Compliance
AFFILIATIONS AND CREDENTIALS
  • Certified Public Accountant
EDUCATIONAL BACKGROUND
  • BSBA in Finance and Accounting, University of Nebraska, Omaha, NE
COMMUNITY SERVICE
  • Midwest YouCan Foundation, Treasurer

SIGN UP FOR OUR NEWSLETTERS!

We tap into the vast knowledge and experience within our organization to provide you with monthly content on topics and ideas that drive and challenge your company every day.

HASTINGS

747 N Burlington Avenue, Suite 401

Hastings, NE 68901

P: 402.462.4154

OMAHA

13616 California Street, Suite 300

Omaha, NE 68154

P: 402.496.8800

Toll-Free: 866.577.0780  |  Privacy Policy

All content © Lutz & Company, PC

 

LINCOLN 

601 P Street, Suite 103

Lincoln, NE 68508

P: 531.500.2000

GRAND ISLAND

3320 James Road, Suite 100

Grand Island, NE 68803

P: 308.382.7850

Confused by QuickBooks’ Report Customization

Confused by QuickBooks’ Report Customization

 

LUTZ BUSINESS INSIGHTS

 

Confused by quickbooks’ report customization?

amanda harpster, client accounting services manager

 

If you’re still doing your accounting on paper, you know how challenging it is to create reports. You might be able to cobble together a simple report using Excel, but even that takes time and skill.

QuickBooks makes that critical process easier. It comes with dozens of pre-formatted report templates. You simply choose one, and the software fills it with your company’s own data. You can even modify it to target the exact slice of data you need.

Here’s a simple example. Let’s say you want a list of residential customers who are 60 days or more in arrears. You would open the Reports menu and select Customers & Receivables, then A/R Aging Detail. The report will open; by default, it lists all transactions. Click Customize Report in the upper left corner, and the Modify Report: A/R Aging Detail window opens.

 

 Modify Report: A/R Aging Detail

 

Click the Filters tab. The list that displays under CHOOSE FILTER contains all of the data types you can choose for your customization. Click Account. The middle column will provide your options here. Open the drop-down list in the middle column and select All accounts receivable. That filter will appear in the third column.

Go back to the first column and select the second filter listed there, Aging. The middle column actually gives you four options. Choosing Any wouldn’t pare down the list. The next line lets you enter a number that is equal to, greater than, or less than a specific number. You want to see the customers who are 60 days or more past due, so you would click in the radial to the left of >=  and enter 60 in the box.

You are limiting your search to residential customers, so you would go back to the first column and scroll down to Customer Type. Open the drop-down list in the second column and select Residential. The next filter in the first column is Date. Click on that to highlight it, then select Today in the second column. And there’s one more: Select the Paid Status filter and select Open.

As you continue to select filters, you’ll notice that they appear in the third column. At this point, you’ve selected five, and you could choose more if you wanted to, but that’s not necessary for this customization. If you’ve made a mistake, simply highlight the incorrect filter in the third column and click on Remove Selected Filter. When you’re done, click OK. Your modified report will appear.

You can see from scanning the list of available filters that you could set up very complex searches. You could also modify the report’s column structure, its header and footer, and the way fonts and numbers appear. We are happy to help you customize your reports and explore any other QuickBooks features that can help you make better business decisions. Contact us anytime to schedule a consultation.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

402.827.2307

aharpster@lutz.us

AMANDA HARPSTER + CLIENT ACCOUNTING SERVICES MANAGER

Amanda Harpster is a Client Accounting Services Manager at Lutz with over 14 years of relevant experience. She focuses on QuickBooks support, tax and payroll compliance, and small business consulting.

AFFILIATIONS AND CREDENTIALS
  • Intuit Certified ProAdvisor, QuickBooks
EDUCATIONAL BACKGROUND
  • BSBA in Accounting, University of Nebraska, Omaha, NE
COMMUNITY SERVICE
  • St. Patrick’s Parish, Volunteer
  • Cub Scout Pack #409, Treasurer
  • Ponca Hills Fire Department Women’s Auxiliary, Member
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We tap into the vast knowledge and experience within our organization to provide you with monthly content on topics and ideas that drive and challenge your company every day.

HASTINGS

747 N Burlington Avenue, Suite 401

Hastings, NE 68901

P: 402.462.4154

OMAHA

13616 California Street, Suite 300

Omaha, NE 68154

P: 402.496.8800

Toll-Free: 866.577.0780  |  Privacy Policy

All content © Lutz & Company, PC

 

LINCOLN 

601 P Street, Suite 103

Lincoln, NE 68508

P: 531.500.2000

GRAND ISLAND

3320 James Road, Suite 100

Grand Island, NE 68803

P: 308.382.7850