Tuesday, November 9, 2010

AP Audits

Your accounts payable is very important in growing and maintaining your business. The concept is simple, but it can often become very confusing and complex. If your bottom line income seems a little off, there may be errors that are affecting your monetary flow. Investing in an AP audit can help you understand exactly where your money is going and how you can keep it from deviating from your business. With a little Accounting 101, you can understand how your accounts payable can go from your worst enemy to your greatest tool.
Simply put, your accounts payable is the record of the amount of money you owe to your suppliers. If you are running a carwash, you would probably purchase soap in large quantities. The soap supplier would come with an invoice, and you would apply that invoice to your accounts payable, and the supplier would receive his money at a later date. The money that you owe to this supplier constitutes your AP. Paying off your accounts payable effectively and in a timely manner keeps your business growing. Oftentimes, this process can experience mistakes, an a recovery audit can help recover money from this mistakes.
There are a variety of ways that your AP can experience error. Duplicate charges and unapplied discounts are very common ones, and even if they don't occur very often, they can put a dent in your company's profit. This system also can allow opportunities for fraud, in which a fictitious supplier is added to your accounts payable. So, instead of that money going towards your business, it is going into someone else's pocket. With the increasing complication in a growing business, an owner often installs an automated charging system, making charging the business more convenient and prompt. However, both a manual as well as an automated system are prone to errors, making keeping track of your money tricky. A accounts payable audit diagnoses these problems and discovers the root cause.
Often times, these errors can end up making you short on money and not able to make the payments to your suppliers. This in itself holds many potential problems. Paying on time is a vital component to your business' success. Late or sporadic payments can put stress on the relationship you have with your suppliers, and it also effects your business' credit score. Keeping a good reputation with suppliers can only benefit you, and an accounts payable audit can help you stay on top of your payments. An accounts payable audit looks through everything concerning your money, from invoices to contracts to bank statements and determines where you might be experiencing problems. They then propose a solution and how you can make your company more fiscally efficient.

Time Recording

In any business, it's essential to understand your employment costs.
Employment costs have increased such that they form a considerable proportion of any company's cost base. This is true of both direct and indirect costs. It becomes even more important where employees spend their time on some direct work, and at other times they are an overhead.
Realising that you need to analyse the time spent on direct work isn't a new idea. Everyone can see the value of understanding how long and how much it costs to make the products or services that you supply to your customers.
Making sure that you utilise resources efficiently is clearly important. And of course by examining recorded time you can see other trends on down time or sick leave as well as the more important information on direct costs of production.
It is also valid to explore the amount of time that your indirect staff spend on the activities set for them. What are your marketing staff doing with their time? Are they working on projects that you want them to move forward? Or does their time get dissipated on other less important tasks?
The same analysis can be undertaken in the finance area. Are your senior finance staff spending their time on journal entry that should be done by more junior and therefore cheaper staff? How much analysis are your senior members of staff doing as opposed to transaction processing. Should you review your procedures to improve the amount of time that staff spend on value add tasks?
How do I find out what my staff are doing?
Just asking them to fill in a timesheet is not going to give you the answers you require. In the direct area there will usually be a job number for staff to use so you know which job they are working on. This allows the analysis of which jobs take longer than others to help understand why this is happening, where improvements can be made, and of course to price your work for the customer.
A similar structure can be applied for overhead functions. Market research can be a 'job' or 'project', as can email campaign or direct mailing. This way you will understand where your human resources are spending their time.
Will my staff want to record their time?
Yes and no! If they feel that you are spying on them so that you can weed out the weak links in the organisation then they will feel alienated by the system, and not only resent it but may not accurately record their time which will lead to poor management decisions.
If they believe that the data recorded is allowing better allocation of resources, to increase the profits of the company to protect their jobs and to make their working life as useful and enjoyable as possible then they shouldn't feel that it is too onerous. However it shouldn't be in too much detail, such that the staff spend all their time recording time rather than working on those added value tasks.

Offer in Compromise

Tax relief firms with qualified tax attorneys on staff can help distressed taxpayers obtain an Offer in Compromise (OIC) which allows certain individuals with an unpaid tax debt to negotiate a settled amount that is much less than the total owed. The tax attorneys can determine if the taxpayer is eligible for the OIC program and even help taxpayers achieve eligibility. The objective of the OIC program is to accept a reduced amount when it is in the best interests of both the taxpayer and the government and enhances compliance filing requirements.
At least one of three conditions must be met to qualify a taxpayer for an OIC settlement:
• Doubt as to Liability - Debtor can show reason for doubt that the tax liability is correct. Tax relief firms such as bluetax.com can help taxpayers demonstrate the existence of doubt as well as the other conditions below.
• Doubt as to Collectibility - Tax attorneys can build a case that the debt is likely uncollectable in full by the IRS.
• Effective Tax Administration - Debtor does not contest liability or collectability but can demonstrate special circumstances that the collection of the debt would create an economic hardship. The program is available for taxpayers who can demonstrate one of these conditions.
Doubt As To Collectibility
Doubt as to collectability means that the taxpayer will not ever be likely to be able to pay the entire tax bill. The taxpayer's tax attorney completes a financial statement on a form provided to the IRS. This is available to both wage earners and self-employed individuals. These financial statements identify all assets and liabilities as well as disposable income. The services of a tax relief attorney are invaluable in preparing this documentation.
Partial Payment
The OIC program requires that an up-front twenty percent payment plus $150 be submitted along with the Offer of Compromise in the case of a cash offer. A good tax relief firm can often get these upfront payments waived by the IRS.
Under the Tax Increase Prevention and Reconciliation Act of 2005 (TIPRA 2005) if a taxpayer chooses to make payments over time, the taxpayer must include with the offer the first month's payment. The taxpayer is not required to submit the 20%, which applies only to the lump sum payment option. Then during the time that the offer is being considered by the IRS, the taxpayer must keep making the monthly payments to keep the offer current. If the taxpayer fails to make the payments, the offer will be returned to the taxpayer. A good tax relief firm can work with the IRS to bypass all these requirement pitfalls.
In the case of both the $150 application fee and either the 20% down payment or the monthly payments, a taxpayer may be exempt from both. The tax relief specialists can help build a case for exemption.
An offer in compromise will stop tax levies. The IRS will not levy upon a taxpayer's property while a valid offer in compromise is pending and, if rejected, for thirty days after the rejection. It is crucial that the IRS sees that you have a qualified tax attorney representing you during the approval process or rejection is virtually assured. If the taxpayer's tax attorney appeals the rejection, the IRS cannot levy while the appeals process is ongoing. If a levy is in place when the offer is submitted, it is not automatically released, but prior levies can also be lifted with the right legal work.

Attendance System

In layman's terms, a Time and Attendance System is a software that is used to keep track and record the employees' clocking events during working hours such as the first and the last clockings of the day and in and out clockings for certain breaks. Digging into a more technical term, it is a complex data collecting tool such as a time clock joined with time and attendance or award interpretation software.
The market has a lot of data collecting devices to offer; the most common and already a household term is the time clock or bundy clock, some requires the help of the web such as web time sheet and some are called mobile collection device such as a PDA.
The role of these devices basically is to collect the proceedings from the time clocks. But with Automated Time and Attendance process coming into the picture, these devices are given the capability to set specific rules to the clocking records and coordinate with specific pay rules for the employees, making the computations quick and accurate. This system makes manual data entry into the payroll system history by providing a wide array of export files.
The simplicity of the process relies on the complexity of the system. This includes the system's ability to converse with the hardware terminals and perform intricate routines such as recording clocking events and application of certain and sometimes very complex rules that should be accomplished mandatory.
Finding the appropriate time and attendance software can be a pain in the head and operating it can be even more frustrating. The first step of the system's implementation is to gather your staff and give them the necessary information that will provide them collective knowledge of a variety of disciplines and technology aspects such as advanced payroll and award interpretation, SQL database execution, LAN and WAN networking principles, industrial relations and project management.
Despite the advantages an automated time and attendance system can provide, it is not generally considered as an essential business system as you might think. Ironically, the web has a lot of valuable resources that can help you with all the implementation processes and enable you to make the most out of these resources and provide an ideal and cost effective implementation process and yet only few people from the corporate world know this.
The issue of accuracy certainly occurs with the accumulation of employee clocking records, application of award interpretation and exportation of payroll files. Along with some issues regarding technicalities such as multiple time clocks over a LAN or WAN and some mind-boggling time clock computations. This reflects why over 80% of end users report disappointment with the execution process and about 50% consider the project unsuccessful.
But don't worry you are surrounded with enormous information; all you need is an Internet connection and a little finger stretching. The web has a lot of resources to offer such as pages about the components of time and attendance software, you can consider this document as an overview of how important an automated time and attendance system is and what issues are waiting for you along the way.
From this you can consider your options and the steps to consider upon implementing an automated time and attendance system and eventually acquire an appropriate and effective time and attendance system.

Taxes and Paychecks

If you are the owner of a large company that has under it's employment more than 100 people then you are going to have a great amount of hassle when calculating the paychecks and the taxes that will come associated with those amounts of money. A great way to save time and improve on the efficiency that is involved in the calculation of your employees paycheck is to use some online calculators that will do the job for you as help you to same precious time that can be used for other important tasks.
As far as paychecks go a paycheck calculator will take into account some key features that are included in your working contract and then based on a wide database that contains all the latest tax laws and benefits available for the work force today the calculation of your paycheck will commence. The paycheck calculator is going to take into account some important questions that you will be provided with in order for your paycheck to be calculated in an exact amount. The information generally refers to the working time you have racked up in a certain time frame and also the frequency in which you get paid. Also together with the taxes that you are paying on a yearly and monthly basis in health insurance or for other medical services and also real estate fees and personal property taxes the paycheck calculator will estimate at a very precise rate the exact amount of money that you are to receive at the end of a certain determined time frame.
For taxes the calculator works in pretty much the same manner as it takes into consideration all the taxes you are all ready paying for the state as you are in deed a model citizen and then it will calculate the amount of taxes that will be refunded to your at the end of the fiscal year.
Both of these calculators can help you a great deal when raising the efficiency of your payroll calculations and if you want to create a better connection then the one you all ready have with your employees then you even have an option that will permit you to allow access to the paycheck calculator to all your workers. In this manner they can see exactly what is the amount of cash they are supposed to receive at a certain time period and how it will raise on a daily basis.
They are both good tools and they seem to be used by more and more corporates each year. It would seem that calculators in general have good days ahead of them.

Telephone Timekeeping

For many small businesses, scheduling and payroll management is a huge headache. This is especially true for businesses in industries that utilize offsite employees, or whose employees must move from jobsite to jobsite throughout the course of a shift. Examples of these types of industries might include commercial cleaning, security services companies, or pool management. Essentially any industry that is employee driven, but doesn't have the luxury of a central office or location where all employees come into work can potentially take advantage of Telephone Timekeeping.
So how exactly does Telephone Timekeeping work? Most Telephone Timekeeping systems provide a 1-800 number that employees can use to call in. Employees enter a unique employee code, and the system uses this information, as well as unique caller-id to specify the employees location, to "clock in" the employee and assure that he or she is in the right place. There isn't any specific hardware to buy - all that's needed is a landline telephone. From the supervisory end, employers may monitor all employee activity through a simple and informative web based interface. All that is needed to access this information is a computer with a web browser. Some companies also provide the option to access this data from a Blackberry or other web enabled mobile device.
Now that we've covered the basics of how a Telephone Timekeeping system works, what are some of the benefits? Most users experience immediate and dramatic cost savings on their payroll costs. Most of this comes from the highly accurate way hours are tracked- no more "padding" of timecards, or uncontrolled overtime expenses. Users also see dramatic improvements in their supervisor/employee communications. Communication is a major challenge for businesses with employees who work at many different locations. However, most of the leading providers of Telephone Timekeeping offer a feature which allows supervisors to leave voicemail messages to be heard by each employee every time they clock in. This can be very useful in communicating important information before the start of each shift.
From these basic essentials, different providers offer a variety of features and customization options. For example, most providers offer a "pay to use" model, which only charges customers for months in which they actively use the system. This is perfect for seasonal industries that only need Telephone Timekeeping for part of the year. Another feature is the ability to work across multiple timezones, perfect for companies who manage operations across the country. Perhaps the most popular feature is the ability to set up email and text message alerts, to let supervisors know when an employee misses or is late to a scheduled shift.
This is just a basic outline of the functionality and features provided by Telephone Timekeeping systems. For more information, a Google search for "Telephone Timekeeping" can lead you to more information, as well as the ability to explore the various providers to find one that fits your needs.

Interpretation Software

When we talk about business management, we deal with a lot of systems to properly implement such as system for the company's work flow, system that will allow coordination between each department, and of course, the payroll system.
The latter plays a very significant role as it deals with figures and reflects each of the employees' productivity. Payroll system deals with figures therefore accuracy is very crucial and a single mistake can create a crack on the company's credibility.
Many companies have a general misunderstanding about the capabilities of electronic time clocks and bundy clocks. Complicated computations and configurations lead "traditional" time clocks into generating inaccurate information that will reflect in the payroll giving you and your employees a massive headache during pay days.
Making a payroll more extensive can be achieved with the help of award interpretation software also know as time and attendance software. This software translates the clocking events or the attendance of every employee composed from electronic time clock into a comprehensive report based on the company' time and attendance rules and regulations.
These rules and regulations may refer to the employees' pay rates, allowances, bonuses, loadings and penalties that are taken into account by the time and award software that are eventually interpreted into more meaningful information, thus the name award interpretation.
There's a common misconception between time clock software and a time and attendance software. Time clock software primarily tracks the employee's work hours while time and attendance software do beyond that by performing more complex calculations that can be attributed to a specific employee under specific department and duty performed. However, it is widely accepted to refer to time and attendance software as another term for award interpretation software.
Setting aside the complexity, award interpretation software is easy to use as long as you have implemented it properly and you have made a comprehensive conversation with the software's provider or vendor. It can generate accurate information in no time and can also adapt with certain changes or configurations with ease if needed. It is designed to converse not only with the payroll system, but also with other hardware terminals and even the internet while providing a user-friendly interface.
When it comes to maintenance, as long as you maintain your computer hardware in good condition, your award interpreting software will run perfectly. In case of system technical troubles, this software is programmed to notify you if there are issues to be resolved but if a sudden shut down occurred from nowhere, all the data are safe in a back-up storage enabling time and attendance information invulnerable from system failures.