QuickBooks Improvements for Virtual Working

QuickBooks Improvements for Virtual Working

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Many businesses have transitioned to working from home over the past several months. Adapting to a new normal means adopting remote work technologies. QuickBooks is a platform designed to help business owners gain essential insights into their business’s performance to help them grow. QuickBooks has recently taken steps to evolve both QuickBooks Online and QuickBooks Desktop to better meet user needs.

Here are a few features recently updated in QuickBooks:

QuickBooks Online  

  • Bank Feeds – enables users to download their transactions from various financial institutions with a statement importer option. Bank feeds assist in automating the expense tracking process, and it now has a two-factor authentication option for better security. 
  • Access from Anywhere – remote access is a secure server where you can access your PC from any system. You can also use the mobile app while on the go.
  • Payments from Customers – easily accept payments with a click of a button.
  • Payment to Vendors – now available from QuickBooks online.
  • Amazon Business Purchases App – if you are a substantial Amazon business customer, you can now directly sync expenses with QuickBooks.  You can easily match the expenses to bank transactions. The sync allows you to see transaction details, such as what was purchased, the cost, and the fee breakdown for each transaction.   
  • QuickBooks Cash – introduced in mid-September, QuickBooks cash is a no-fee business bank account that offers fast payments, high-yield savings, forecasting tools, and more. 

QuickBooks Desktop 2020:

  • Custom PO’s – add the PO number to the subject line of the email.
  • Reports – create customized reports that collapse columns in class and job reports.
  • Payroll – view direct deposit status before payday.
  • Emails – combine multiple invoices in a single email.

QuickBooks 2021 – What to Expect

  • QuickBooks desktop is changing its pricing structure to a subscription-based model that will be billed annually.
  • QuickBooks Desktop Mobile App will allow users to automatically create and categorize transactions
  • Automatically send statements
  • Customized payment receipts

Smith Schafer has certified QuickBooks ProAdvisors on our team, which means we can offer our clients more in-depth support and guidance. We offer the following QuickBooks services:

  • Choosing the right version of QuickBooks
  • Installation
  • Training
  • Set-up
  • Back-up procedures
  • Establishing best practices
  • Ongoing QuickBooks support and troubleshoot

Contact us today to learn how we can help you with your accounting needs.

Understanding the Build-Up Method

Understanding the Build-Up Method

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When valuing a business, experts use various valuation methods, such as Discounted Cash Flows (DCF) analysis, comparable company analysis, market value, and asset-based methods. When using DCF method, one way to select an appropriate discount rate for the business is to use the built-up method.  

Risk-Free Rate
+ Equity Risk Premium (ERP)
+ Size Premium
+/- Industry Risk Premium
+ Specific Company Risk
= Cost of Capital Discount Rate*

* Does not take into account for beta

Helpful Definitions

  1. Risk-Free Rate (Safe Rate)
    • The most commonly used measure is the 20-year yield on a U.S. Treasury Bond.
    • Can consult Wall Street Journal quoted market yields on a 30-year bond with approximately 20 years of maturity left.
  2. Equity Risk Premium (ERP)
    • Premium is needed for investors to participate in equity markets instead of long-term governmental securities.
    • Many valuation analysts use a long-term horizon with the S&P 500 as their benchmark.
    • This Premium is forward-looking and represents the anticipated incremental return on common stocks.
    • Uses historical excess return on stocks over the long-term government bond income returns.
    • The basic premise is that past ERP is a reasonable forecast for future ERP.
  3. Size Premium
    • Size Premium = increased risk in small companies.
    • These are presented for each of the 10th decile of the public securities market.
    • Reflect the excess returns required on small securities.
    • The increased risk maybe developed by many criteria related to the subject company to help determine the size premium.
  4. Industry Risk Premium (IRP)
    • The amount investors expect the future return of the industry to exceed the return on the market.
    • This amount is often leveraged for the industry beta.
  5. Company-Specific Risk Factors
    • Final component of the discount rate.
    • The most judgmental area of business valuation.
    • Includes risks associated with the industry operated in as it relates to the economy.
    • It also relates to the subject company’s risks, including management, market, and suppliers and customers’ concentration risks.
Buying or Selling a Business: Book Value vs. Fair Market Value

Buying or Selling a Business: Book Value vs. Fair Market Value

Reading Time: 4 minutes

The value of a business is a question on many business owner’s minds. Whether the owner is considering retirement, estate planning, succession planning, reviewing buy/sell agreements or possibly selling, it is important to know what a business may be worth. Considering these issues, business owners will generally question, what is my business worth, what provide value to a business or what can I do to increase value?

One of the first things to know about the business’s value is that no specific valuation method will be 100 percent precise, and each method can present a different result depending on the purpose of the valuation and the methodology utilized. In general, a company’s value is everchanging, and it is essential to understand that a valuation at a specific point in time may not apply to the current point in time. The fundamental concept for business owners to recognize before consulting with a valuation expert is the difference between the book and fair market value.

Book Value

  • Book value is an easy concept because it is the value recorded on the company’s books. By taking the total of the company’s assets and subtracting the outstanding liabilities, the remaining amount is book value of equity. 

    Things to Consider:
  • Book value is an accounting term and is not affected by a change in the market. Even though a company may be depreciating its assets under Generally Accepted Accounting Principles, it may not reflect how an asset’s value changes. Heavily used vehicles are an example of how book value may be different than market value. Vehicles will generally depreciate faster than the 5-year period assigned for accounting, especially if used in construction or other industries that require heavy usage.  
  • Book value may also not accurately consider the impact of debt on its assets. The book valuation may be different from the real value if the company is under economic distress or bankruptcy. 
  • The book value is not a useful tool for businesses heavily dependent on human capital. Human capital provides an intangible value that is not reflected on the books. A company may have great people in management or relationships with customers tied to specific individuals working at the business.
  • Book value does not take into consideration the goodwill or blue sky of a business.
  • One of the major issues with book value is the value is based on a specific point in time. Usually, this value would be calculated on a quarterly or annual basis to coincide with financial statements or a tax return. As discussed above, a specific point in time may not reflect the company’s current fair market value. 
    • Example: Consider the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on a company. A company’s book value at the end of February 2020, in many instances, would be substantially different than at the end of March 2020.

Fair Market Value

  • This type of value is what your business is likely to sell for on an open market. When a company has a business valuation performed, they are looking to determine the fair market value of their business. If a business is planning on selling, this is a good starting point to set potential buyers’ prices. 
  • Many view fair market value in terms of the publicly traded stock market(s). Whatever price a company’s stock is trading at on any given day or time would be considered the fair market value. Because ownership in smaller private companies is not bought and sold on a day-to-day basis, fair market value must be determined by other methods. Three generally accepted valuation methods used to determine fair market value are:
    • Asset approach 
    • Income approach
    • Market approach

Each method will most likely result in a different value of the company for a set point in time. All three ways use actual financial information from the company. From there, adjustments may be made to assets and liabilities or income and expenses on the company’s books to reflect the fair market value or represent normal operations.

While a business valuation is useful in setting a starting value in negotiating a sale, the fair market value will ultimately be reached upon its sale. 

Things to Consider:

  • Determining fair market value in a business valuation for small private companies is derived from publicly traded companies’ data
  • The risk related to return on investment is not guaranteed, and a company’s earnings potential may be greater or worse than the value the company was purchased for.  
  • Fair market value is greatly affected by the economic environment at the time an asset or company is sold. The cost of sale today may not be worth the same tomorrow.

Book vs. Fair Market Value

If fair market value is less than book value, it is an indication that the market does not view the company as valuable as the financial statements report. It may be due to economic distress, pending lawsuits, or internal business problems. As a result, a potential investor does not believe the assets will produce a return on investment that the book value indicates. In terms of risk, investors might seek out companies in this category in hopes that the market indicators are incorrect, and the subject company will generate greater returns at a discounted price. 

If fair market value is greater than book value, the market indicates the company is worth more due to the potential of earning power. This may be due to economic growth, plans for expansion, or increased profits that will increase book value in the future. A profitable company will generally have a fair market value greater than its book value. On the other hand, a market value greater than a book value may also indicate a company is overvalued and subject to change in the unforeseen future.

Questions about Book Value vs. Fair Market Value?

There are many reasons a company may want or need a business valuation, including: 

  • Negotiating a merger or business sale
  • Estate and gift tax planning
  • Considering new shareholders
  • Attempting to resolve partner or other liability disputes
  • Determining shareholder equity
  • Marital dissolution

business valuation may also be useful for strategic planning and benchmarking purposes. Whatever purpose the valuation is fulfilling, it is vital to engage experienced professionals who will take a comprehensive view of all the company’s investments. Contact Smith Schafer’s Valuation Services Group to schedule a consultation.

4 Recent Accounting Changes

4 Recent Accounting Changes

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What Business Owners Should Know About Recent Accounting Changes

Whether it is working from home, virtual school, or curbside pickup at your favorite restaurant, 2020 has had no shortages of changes and required adaptations. Accounting in 2020 is not exempt from these changes. Below are four changes business owners need to know about related to accounting changes in 2020.

1. Revenue recognition (ASC 606) was delayed. One of the Financial Accounting Standards Board’s (FASB) largest undertakings in recent history was finally set to go into effect for non-public entities with years ending December 31, 2019, only to be delayed one more time in June of 2020. 

The problem? In the first six months of 2020, many companies wrapped up 2019 accounting, which included implementing ASC 606. Companies delayed in finishing 2019 due to COVID or with fiscal year ends in 2020 may not have implemented yet; however, another delay is unlikely. Either way, companies need to understand the effect the standard has on their financial statement. Perhaps the changes to 2019 were minimal (or unrecorded because of the delay), but as business slows and COVID’s effect on the company becomes more clear, it is crucial to understand the change and begin to plan for any year-end adjustment. Bank covenants may be harder to reach in 2020, and having a late change in revenue recognition may be hard to explain to the bank.  

2. Revenue recognition rules changed. As noted above, ASC 606 is the standard everyone will use for 2020. The standard removed existing standards and many industry-specific standards from Generally Accepted Accounting Principles. This means companies need to be careful to accelerate or change their revenue recognition policies without fully understating ASC 606. A delay in completing work due to supply shortages or a delay in payment from customers could affect when revenue can be recognized. 

3. In June, FASB also delayed the new lease standard (ASC 842). FASB had already delayed the standard by one year in November of 2019. The June delay makes the ever-pending Lease standard effective for years beginning after December 15, 2021, effectively 12/31/2022 year ends. However, a welcome delay from a reporting standpoint. One of the most significant issues with the lease standard is it will be affected by leases entered into now. ASC 842 requires virtually all leases to be added to the balance sheet as a lease asset and lease liability. Large leases or numerous leases could significantly change the look and feel of a balance sheet. COVID may change business practices between purchasing and leasing equipment. Leasing may become more enticing, but a lease signed today may end up balance sheet in the future.

4. Paycheck Protecting Program Loans. The CARES Act introduced companies to Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans. These loans have been beneficial to many companies; however, they have also been an administrative nightmare for banks, the SBA, and Congress. Slow and changing information has made the loans complicated to account for. The AICPA has sited four standards as options to determine the timing of recording the forgiveness of debt. The most conservative approach is to wait for the SBA to forgive the debt before recording the revenue officially. However, this could happen in a different fiscal year of receipt of the funds and payment of related payroll expenses. 

Companies need to review their PPP related expenses and determine when is the most appropriate time to record the forgiveness. There will be advantages and disadvantages to recording the forgiveness in either year. Working through those is key to determining the right time for your company to record the forgiveness. Items to consider include taxable income levels, extra expenses incurred in one year, overall business outlook, and future operations plans. PPP guidelines are in a constant state of change, making planning complicated.

Questions about recent accounting changes?

Accounting has not been left untouched in the changes required by COVID. Keeping up to date on the changing accounting landscape is vital for business. You are invited to join us for a free live webinar discussing how COVID-19 has changed business standards such as revenue recognition, leases, and accounting for PPP loans.


Be proactive with pending changes, so you have no surprises at the end of the year related to accounting changes and shifts in the PPP loan.

Tuesday, October 6 from 11 am-noon

IRS Publishes Release Regarding Business Interest Expense Limitations

IRS Publishes Release Regarding Business Interest Expense Limitations

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The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) finalized guidance regarding business interest expense limitations. Here is an overview of the rules.

Background of business interest expense limitations

The business interest expense limitation was created by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) of 2017 and subsequently modified by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) of 2020. The TCJA established that for tax years 2018 and beyond, deductions for business interest expenses are limited to the total of three items:

  1. Business interest income
  2. 30% of adjusted taxable income (ATI)
  3. The interest expense of the taxpayer’s floor plan financing

The CARES Act made two changes: it adjusted item number two to 50% for tax years 2019 and 2020 and made it allowable for taxpayers to calculate their 2020 limit using their 2019 ATI. ,

New IRS Regulations

The IRS regulations offer instructions in four areas:

  1. Determining the interest expense limitation
  2. The definition of interest, for the purposes of the limitation
  3. Who is subject to the limitation
  4. How the limitation applies in various special cases

The guidance will go into effect 60 days from the date of its publication in the Federal Register, which has yet to be announced.

Additional Proposed Regulations

In addition to the new final guidance, the IRS published other proposed regulations regarding business interest expense deduction limitation issues, including how to allocate interest expense for passthrough entities and more. This proposed guidance’s release opens up a 60-day period for written and electronic comment submission and requests for a public hearing regarding the guidance.

Questions about Business Interest Expense Limitations?

We have over 45 years of experience helping businesses in numerous industries effectively manage taxes and their business. If you would like to learn more about how we can help, contact a Smith Schafer professional.

Payroll Tax Deferral Guidance

Payroll Tax Deferral Guidance

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Payroll Tax Deferral Questions Answered

On August 8, 2020, President Trump issued an executive order and three memoranda providing or extending COVID-19 relief to individuals and organizations. On August 28, 2020, the Department of Treasury and Internal Revenue Service issued guidance for implementing the memorandum’s payroll tax deferral portion. Notice 2020-65 makes relief available to employers for wages paid from September 1, 2020, through December 31, 2020. This brief notice covers the deferral basics, but more questions remain unanswered. Here is what this notice does tell us.

Q: Which employers qualify for the relief?

A: Any employer affected by the COVID-19 emergency previously declared under section 501(b) of the Robert T Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act and required to withhold Social Security taxes (6.2 percent).

Q: Applicable wages?

A: Any taxable wage or compensation less than $4,000 per bi-weekly pay period. Eligibility is determined by the pay period for each employee. An employee making more than $4,000 in any given bi-weekly payroll is not eligible for that payroll, but is eligible for previous or subsequent payroll periods as long as the given period’s wage is not over $4,000.

Q: Due date of deferred taxes?

A: The deferred taxes will be due ratably over the period of January 1 to April 30, 2021. During this period, an employer will withhold the deferred tax amount and remit to the appropriate agency. Remittance of taxes will be penalty and interest-free until May 1, 2021. Any unpaid taxes at that point will be subject to penalty and interest.

Q: Who is responsible for paying the deferred taxes?

A: The employer remains responsible for collecting and remitting any deferred taxes. The guidance does not address how employers should treat the deferred taxes of employees who later quit.

Q: Is the payroll tax deferral optional?

A: We believe the deferral is optional as the guidance states it is made “available,” but is silent as to if the deferral is mandatory. Currently, there is no forgiveness of the taxes; this is only a deferral. If an employer withholds the tax from employee pay, these amounts must be remitted using the employer’s regular deposit schedule.

Q: What recordkeeping is required?

A: Reconciliation of the withholding and deferrals will be required and happen on Form 941 starting in third-quarter 2020. The Form has currently been issued as a draft.

If an employer defers the employee’s social security, it is recommended that a signed statement is retained in the employment file identifying the repayment obligation. Detailed records of withholding deferrals for each employee, including which payroll periods the employee is eligible, will be required. Specific tracking, by employee, of repayment, will also be required starting in 2021.

Q: What if an employee leaves employment or reduces hours in 2021?

A: The guidance provided does not discuss what happens if an employee terminates employment. It also does not provide insight into when an employee’s earnings decrease and are not enough to cover the tax deferral owed in 2021. Guidance is unclear if the employer will be liable for the deferral amounts.

What’s next?

Many questions remain unanswered after the issuance of Notice 2020-65, but we anticipate more guidance to be forthcoming. Stay tuned for future updates from us as they are available.