Tag Archives | accounting

Journal Entries (JEs)

See Also:
Double Entry Bookkeeping
Journal Entries For Factoring Receivables
Accounting Principles
Accounting Concepts
Adjusting Entries

Journal Entries Definition

A journal entry is a recording of a transaction into a journal like the general journal or another subsidiary journal. Journal entries for accounting require that there be a debit and a credit in equal amounts. Oftentimes, there is an explanation that will go along with this to explain the transaction.

Journal Entries Meaning

A journal entry means that a transaction has taken place whether it is a sale to a customer, buying goods from a supplier, or building a warehouse. These transactions affect both the balance sheet and income statement.

As said before, journal entry accounting requires that there be an equal debit and credit for every transaction. This is also known as double entry bookkeeping. Many journal accounts have a normal balance. For example, assets have a normal debit balance if the account is increased and it is a credit if it is decreased.


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Journal Entries Example

The following example will use both balance sheet and income statement accounts to show how they work.

Bill has been looking for a certain toy for his son. He walks into Toys Inc. to find it. After some searching, Bill finds a GI Joe for $14 and buys it to take home to his son. The toy cost Toys Inc. $9 to get the toy from its supplier. Thus, Toys inc. will record the following journal entries into the Sales Journal:

Cash………….$14

Sales Revenue…………..$14

COGS………….$9

Inventory…………………..$9

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Journal Entries

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Journal Entries

Originally posted by Jim Wilkinson on July 24, 2013. 

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Standard Chart of Accounts

See Also:
Chart of Accounts (COA)
Problems in Chart of Accounts Design
Complex Number for SGA Expenses

Standard Chart of Accounts

In accounting, a standard chart of accounts is a numbered list of the accounts that comprise a company’s general ledger. Furthermore, the company chart of accounts is basically a filing system for categorizing all of a company’s accounts as well as classifying all transactions according to the accounts they affect. The standard chart of accounts list of categories may include the following:

The standard chart of accounts is also called the uniform chart of accounts. Use a chart of accounts template to prepare the basic chart of accounts for any subsidiary companies or related entities. By doing so, you make consolidation easier.

Organize in Numerical System

Furthermore, a standard chart of accounts is organized according to a numerical system. Thus, each major category will begin with a certain number, and then the sub-categories within that major category will all begin with the same number. If assets are classified by numbers starting with the digit 1, then cash accounts might be labeled 101, accounts receivable might be labeled 102, inventory might be labeled 103, and so on. Whereas, if liabilities accounts are classified by numbers starting with the digit 2, then accounts payable might be labeled 201, short-term debt might be labeled 202, and so on.


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Number of Accounts Needed

Depending on the size of the company, the chart of accounts may include either few dozen accounts or a few thousand accounts. Whereas, if a company is more sophisticated, then the chart of accounts can be either paper-based or computer-based. In conclusion, the standard chart of account is useful for analyzing past transactions and using historical data to forecast future trends.

You can use the following example of chart of accounts to set up the general ledger of most companies. In addition, you may customize your COA to your industry by adding to the Inventory, Revenue and Cost of Goods Sold sections to the sample chart of accounts.

SAMPLE CHART OF ACCOUNTS

Refer to the following sample chart of accounts. Each company’s chart of accounts may look slightly different. But if you are starting from scratch, then the following is great place to start.

1000 ASSETS

1010 CASH Operating Account
1020 CASH Debitors
1030 CASH Petty Cash

1200 RECEIVABLES

1210 A/REC Trade
1220 A/REC Trade Notes Receivable
1230 A/REC Installment Receivables
1240 A/REC Retainage Withheld
1290 A/REC Allowance for Uncollectible Accounts

1300 INVENTORIES

1310 INV – Reserved
1320 INV – Work-in-Progress
1330 INV – Finished Goods
1340 INV – Reserved
1350 INV – Unbilled Cost & Fees
1390 INV – Reserve for Obsolescence

1400 PREPAID EXPENSES & OTHER CURRENT ASSETS

1410 PREPAID – Insurance
1420 PREPAID – Real Estate Taxes
1430 PREPAID – Repairs & Maintenance
1440 PREPAID – Rent
1450 PREPAID – Deposits

1500 PROPERTY PLANT & EQUIPMENT

1510 PPE – Buildings
1520 PPE – Machinery & Equipment
1530 PPE – Vehicles
1540 PPE – Computer Equipment
1550 PPE – Furniture & Fixtures
1560 PPE – Leasehold Improvements

1600 ACCUMULATED DEPRECIATION & AMORTIZATION

1610 ACCUM DEPR Buildings
1620 ACCUM DEPR Machinery & Equipment
1630 ACCUM DEPR Vehicles
1640 ACCUM DEPR Computer Equipment
1650 ACCUM DEPR Furniture & Fixtures
1660 ACCUM DEPR Leasehold Improvements

1700 NON – CURRENT RECEIVABLES

1710 NCA – Notes Receivable
1720 NCA – Installment Receivables
1730 NCA – Retainage Withheld

1800 INTERCOMPANY RECEIVABLES

 

1900 OTHER NON-CURRENT ASSETS

1910 Organization Costs
1920 Patents & Licenses
1930 Intangible Assets – Capitalized Software Costs

2000 LIABILITIES

 

2100 PAYABLES

2110 A/P Trade
2120 A/P Accrued Accounts Payable
2130 A/P Retainage Withheld
2150 Current Maturities of Long-Term Debt
2160 Bank Notes Payable
2170 Construction Loans Payable

2200 ACCRUED COMPENSATION & RELATED ITEMS

2210 Accrued – Payroll
2220 Accrued – Commissions
2230 Accrued – FICA
2240 Accrued – Unemployment Taxes
2250 Accrued – Workmen’s Comp
2260 Accrued – Medical Benefits
2270 Accrued – 401 K Company Match
2275 W/H – FICA
2280 W/H – Medical Benefits
2285 W/H – 401 K Employee Contribution

2300 OTHER ACCRUED EXPENSES

2310 Accrued – Rent
2320 Accrued – Interest
2330 Accrued – Property Taxes
2340 Accrued – Warranty Expense

2500 ACCRUED TAXES

2510 Accrued – Federal Income Taxes
2520 Accrued – State Income Taxes
2530 Accrued – Franchise Taxes
2540 Deferred – FIT Current
2550 Deferred – State Income Taxes

2600 DEFERRED TAXES

2610 D/T – FIT – NON CURRENT
2620 D/T – SIT – NON CURRENT

2700 LONG-TERM DEBT

2710 LTD – Notes Payable
2720 LTD – Mortgages Payable
2730 LTD – Installment Notes Payable

2800 INTERCOMPANY PAYABLES

2900 OTHER NON CURRENT LIABILITIES

3000 OWNERS EQUITIES

3100 Common Stock
3200 Preferred Stock
3300 Paid in Capital
3400 Partners Capital
3500 Member Contributions
3900 Retained Earnings

4000 REVENUE

4010 REVENUE – PRODUCT 1
4020 REVENUE – PRODUCT 2
4030 REVENUE – PRODUCT 3
4040 REVENUE – PRODUCT 4
4600 Interest Income
4700 Other Income
4800 Finance Charge Income
4900 Sales Returns and Allowances
4950 Sales Discounts

5000 COST OF GOODS SOLD

5010 COGS – PRODUCT 1
5020 COGS – PRODUCT 2
5030 COGS – PRODUCT 3
5040 COGS – PRODUCT 4
5700 Freight
5800 Inventory Adjustments
5900 Purchase Returns and Allowances
5950 Reserved

6000 – 7000 OPERATING EXPENSES

6010 Advertising Expense
6050 Amortization Expense
6100 Auto Expense
6150 Bad Debt Expense
6200 Bank Charges
6250 Cash Over and Short
6300 Commission Expense
6350 Depreciation Expense
6400 Employee Benefit Program
6550 Freight Expense
6600 Gifts Expense
6650 Insurance – General
6700 Interest Expense
6750 Professional Fees
6800 License Expense
6850 Maintenance Expense
6900 Meals and Entertainment
6950 Office Expense
7000 Payroll Taxes
7050 Printing
7150 Postage
7200 Rent
7250 Repairs Expense
7300 Salaries Expense
7350 Supplies Expense
7400 Taxes – FIT Expense
7500 Utilities Expense
7900 Gain/Loss on Sale of Assets

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standard chart of accounts

Originally posted by Jim Wilkinson on July 24, 2013. 

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Payroll Accounting

See also:
Commission Accounting
PEO Arrangement Compared to Outsourcing Payroll
Direct Labor
Pension Plans
Federal Unemployment Tax Act (FUTA)

Payroll Accounting

Payroll Accounting is the function of calculating and distributing wages, salaries, and withholdings to employees and certain agencies. It is generally done through different documents such as time sheets, paychecks, and a payroll ledger. Payroll Accounting also involves the process of issuing reports to upper management, so that they are able to make informed decisions about the company’s labor-cost data.

Payroll Accounts

Below are some payroll basic accounts that are used in association with accounting payroll entries as well as a description of each one and the relevance towards payroll.

Assets

Cash is the petty cash account which is used to empty the accrued payroll account when the payroll is distributed to the company’s employees.

Liabilities

Accrued Payroll represents a liability calculated by taking the gross pay and subtracting all deductions, or the amount that is due to the employees.

Federal Income Taxes Withheld

This account serves as a deduction from the gross pay or payroll account. It is an accumulation of payroll taxes as a percentage amount which is due to the U.S. Government. Payroll tax rates differ from business to business.

Federal Insurance Contributions Act (FICA) Taxes Payable

The FICA Taxes Payable represents a liability that is due to the U.S. Government. It is then used to fund institutions like Medicare and the Social Security Administration.

Insurance Withheld

Insurance withheld is another deduction from the gross pay and represents a contribution to the employee’s insurance provided by the employer.

Note: Other voluntary payroll deductions and withholdings can be present like bond or stock withholdings that a company would use for investments on the employee’s behalf. Other deductions include union dues or pension funds that the company may hold for its employees.

Expenses

The payroll account is the gross pay that is calculated by a payroll accountant (i.e. the salary payment or the hourly rate times the number of hours worked).

Payroll Accounting Journal Entries

This is a typical accounting payroll example of journal entries when a company is calculating and distributing the payroll.

Account                           Dr.               Cr.

Calculation:
Payroll                           xxxx

Federal Income Taxes Withheld                       xxxx

FICA Taxes Payable                                  xxxx

Union Dues Withheld                                 xxxx

Bond Withholdings                                   xxxx

Accrued Payroll                                     xxxx
Distribution:
Accrued Payroll                   xxxx
Cash                                                xxxx

Payroll Accountant Duties

Oftentimes, companies outsource their payroll accounting to specialized firms. These firms can perform the same function for a much lower cost than if the company generated them in-house.


Click here to download: The Guide to Outsourcing Your Bookkeeping & Accounting for SMBs


There are six major job functions that the payroll department or specialized company must perform throughout the year, including the following:

1)  Compute gross pay (hourly or salary)

2)  Compute the total amount of deductions (FICA, taxes, etc.)

3)  Calculate the total amount due to employees i.e. the gross pay minus the amount of deductions.

4)  Authorize the amount of payments due to employees.

5)  Distribute the payroll once authorized.

6)  Issue reports to upper management concerning labor-cost data.

Accounting Payroll System

In the past, accounting payroll systems consisted of two journals. The first is the payroll journal. Then, the second is the payroll disbursements journal. Companies used the payroll journal to accrue for salaries and wages towards employees as well as government obligations withheld from the employee’s paycheck. Thus, companies used disbursements journal to pay off these accumulated accruals when they became due.

But thanks to computer systems like Peachtree and Quickbooks, they have combined both of these journals into a payroll ledger. Furthermore, you can outsource these payroll functions at a lower cost and efficiency for a company.

Guide to Outsourcing Your Business's Bookkeeping and Accounting


Payroll Accounting

Originally posted by Jim Wilkinson on July 24, 2013. 

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The Future of the Accounting Workforce

See Also:
Accounting Income vs Economic Income
Accounting Fraud Prevention using Quickbooks
Accrual based Accounting
American Institute of Certified Public Accountants
Auditor

The Future of the Accounting Workforce

Firms who are hiring new accountants or accounting majors have to understand where the newer generations are “coming from,” as a Boomer (born 1946-1964) might say, to target a style that will bring out the next generation’s (the Millennial Generation’s) strengths and maximize their effectiveness. This involves discarding biases and preconceived notions and enjoying our generational differences—and similarities! The future of the accounting workforce is dramatically shifting as we learn more about the different generational preferences and work ethics. The rapid spread of information, more technology, and a culture that is changing faster than ever before will continue to shape the future of the accounting workforce.

A Shift in the Accounting Workforce

There is a shift in the accounting workforce occurring as Baby Boomers continue to retire and Millennials take over management roles in companies. Millennial workers grew up in a technology-driven world. The way we do business has changed dramatically over the last 2-3 decades. As a result, they often operate under different perspectives than older workers do. Companies across North America that recognize that the differentiator is their people will emerge as winners in the battle for talent; therefore, they’ll design specific techniques for recruiting, managing, motivating, and retaining them.

Another thing we are seeing in this accounting workforce shift is outsourcing the bookkeeping of the accounting department.


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Retirement of Baby Boomers

A notable demographic shift began in 2011 when the oldest Baby Boomers (b. 1946) hit the United States’ legal retirement age of 65. As Boomers continue to retire members, Generation X will take roles in middle and upper management, and, Millennials will take management positions in the workforce. That process has already begun since some members of Millennials in their mid 30s (if we use 1982 as the beginning of the Millennial generation).

Convergence of 3 Generations in 1 Workplace

Other scenarios that will become commonplace will include experienced Boomers reporting to Millennials, members of all 3 generations working side-by-side on teams, and, Millennials calling on Gen X clients. And, all this is going to happen while 3 generations (the Boomers, Gen Xers, and Millennials) continue the process of finding a way to get along in an uncertain workplace.

This has made all the more interesting given the gap between these two generations. For example, Gen Xers complain that the Millennials are indulged, self-absorbed, and overly optimistic, while Millennials charge that Gen Xers are cynical, aloof and don’t appreciate fresh ideas and idealism.

The Generational Gaps

A survey of 2,546 HR professionals (mostly Gen Xers with all 3 generations represented) across all industries (“Millennials at Work”) was conducted between June 1 and June 13, 2007. The results indicated that there were pronounced generational gaps in communications styles and job expectations in the workplace:

  • 49% of employers surveyed said the biggest gap in communication styles between Millennials workers and other workers is that Millennials communicate more through technology than in person
  • 25% said they have a different frame of reference
  • 87% said that Millennials feel more entitled in terms of compensation, benefits and career advancement than past generations
  • 73% of hiring managers and HR professionals ages 25 to 29 (Millennials) share this sentiment

Some of the examples of this behavior provided by the employers taking the survey included the following:

  • 74% said Millennials expected to be paid more
  • 61% said Millennials expected to have flexible work schedules
  • 56% said Millennials expected to be promoted within a year
  • 50% said Millennials expected to have more vacation or personal time
  • 37% said Millennials expected to have access to state-of-the-art technology
  • 55% said that Millennials have a more difficult time taking direction or responding to authority than older generations of workers did/do

Generational Preferences: Generation X and the Millennials

So, what is the answer to this frustration? Simply that the 3 generations, especially the Gen Xers and the Millennials, begin to understand and respect each other….

Generation X

There are 51 million members of the Generation X (also known as the “latch-key kids”). These Gen Xers:

  • Were born between 1965 and 1976
  • Accept diversity
  • Are pragmatic/practical
  • Are self-reliant/individualistic
  • Reject rules
  • Mistrust institutions
  • Are politically correct
  • Use technology
  • Are able to multitask
  • Are friend-not family oriented

Gen Xers want a casual/fun/friendly work environment that allows them to be involved, offers flexibility and freedom. They also want an environment where they can continue to learn.

It is important to remember that Generation X grew up in a very different world than previous generations. Divorce and two income families created “latch-key” kids out of many in this generation – which led to traits of independence, resilience, and adaptability.

As a result, it is commonplace to meet Gen Xers who don’t want “someone looking over their shoulder” in a work (or social) environment. They want and are comfortable giving immediate and ongoing feedback, work well in multicultural settings, and take a pragmatic approach to getting things done.

Work Ethic of Gen X

Gen Xers have redefined loyalty after seeing their parents face layoffs and experiencing the recessionary period in the early 1980s when jobs were scarce and job security was poor. As a result, they are committed to their work, to the team they work with, and to their boss, but not necessarily the company they work for. Unlike the Baby Boomer generation which would complain about their job but accept it, Gen Xers send their resume out and accept the best offer they can find.

But that does not mean that Gen Xers do not take their employability seriously. Their career choices are flexible, and they are willing to move laterally, stop and/or start over in their careers. Instead of a career ladder, they have more of a career lattice.

Since Gen Xers dislike authority and rigid work requirements, a hands-off relationship is necessary, coupled with giving ongoing feedback on their performance (it is best to keep them informed of your expectations and the measures you will be using to evaluate their progress) and encouragement to be creative and show initiative in finding new ways to get the job done (in fact, Gen Xers work best when they’re told what the desired outcome is and then told to achieve it). They prefer to work “with” you, not “for” you, and are eager to learn new skills because they want to stay employable.

This is really different from the way to treat Millennials…

The Millennial Generation

Millennials (there are 75 million of them!) are also known as the “Internet Generation.” They:

  • Were born between 1977 and 1998
  • Celebrate diversity
  • Are optimistic/realistic
  • Are self-inventive/individualistic
  • Like to rewrite the rules
  • Want a killer lifestyle
  • Have an irreverence for institutions
  • Are able to multi-task at a rate faster than any prior generation
  • Are nurtured/nurturing
  • Treat friends as family/love family

Unlike Gen Xers, Millennials want a structured, supportive work environment, personalized work, and an interactive relationship with their bosses. This group is technically literate like no one else since technology has always been part of their lives. They are typically team-oriented, work well in groups, are accomplished multi-taskers, and are willing to work hard with structure in the workplace.

They acknowledge and respect positions and titles, and want a relationship with their boss. But this is something that many Gen Xers are not comfortable with, given their desire for independence and their preference for a hands-off style.

Millennials believe that their success will be linked to their ability to acquire as wide a variety of marketable skills as they can, and are looking for mentoring, structure and stability in the firm they work in. Thus, they like to be managed and coached in a very formal process. For example, they like set meetings and a boss who acts like their boss. They also like lots of challenges. Effective management of Millennials requires that you break down their goals into steps and give them the necessary resources and information they’ll need to meet the challenge. In fact, successful managers often mentor Millennials in groups since they work so well in team situations. They use the opportunity to act as each other’s resources or peer mentors.

Understand the Trends that Molded Millennials

To understand the Millennials, it is important to understand the trends of the 1990s and 2000s that molded their behavior:

  • Focus on children and family in the early 90s
  • Scheduled, structured lives as a result of parents and teachers micromanaging their schedules and planning things out for them
  • Multiculturalism – kids growing up in the 1990s and 2000s had more daily interaction with other ethnicities and cultures than ever before
  • Terrorism, Heroism and Patriotism – The bombing Federal Building in Oklahoma City the Columbine High School killings and, the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, and the heroes who emerged from these dark days, all affected them and galvanized their sense of patriotism
  • Parent Advocacy – the Millennials were raised by involved parents who did, and often still do, intercede on their behalf

These trends coupled with the consistent messages their parents gave and the school system reinforced had a profound effect on the generation as a whole. Messages they received included:

  • Be smart—you are special
  • Be inclusive and tolerant of other races, religions, and sexual orientations
  • Connect 24/7
  • Be interdependent—on family, friends, and teachers
  • Achieve now
  • Serve your community

Work Ethic of Millennials

All of this has translated into a generation of employees with a different work ethic that is different from their Gen X colleagues/bosses.

From a work ethic standpoint, Millennials:

  • Are confident and have a “can-do” attitude
  • Are optimistic and hopeful, yet practical
  • Believe in the future and their role in it
  • Expect a workplace that is challenging, collaborative, creative, fun, and financially rewarding
  • Are goal and achievement oriented
  • Think in terms of the greater good and have a high rate of volunteerism
  • Are inclusive

Millennial Liabilities and Assets

Millennials’ liabilities include a distaste for menial work, poor people skills when dealing with difficult individuals, a tendency to be impatient, a lack of experience, and over-confidence.

Include in their assets the following facts:

  • Multi-task effectively
  • Goal orientated
  • A positive attitude
  • Work well with others

In fact, they work and learn best in teams. They also thrive in a structured environment that offers experiential learning.

What do Millennials Want from Employers?

So, what do Millennials want from their employers? Millennial want their bosses to:

  • Be the leader – specifically to behave with honesty and integrity and to be good role models
  • Challenge them and to offer them challenging, learning opportunities with growth opportunities
  • Let them work with friends and positive people in a friendly environment
  • Respect them
  • Be flexible
  • Pay them well

So, what do we do with all this information? Well, we have been giving lip service to the concept of internal customer service, specifically treating employees with the same respect and attitude we do customers. Thanks to the new generation, that is about to change – at least in successful firms.

This means leadership needs to learn to meet their high expectations, listen to their ideas despite their lack of experience, learn to respond in a positive/respectable manner than a negative one, and embrace their knowledge of technology (and not feel threatened by it). Learn from them.

Ideas for Managing Millennials

Companies such as Procter and Gamble, Siemens and General Electric have set up tutoring for middle-aged executives and or reverse mentoring programs so their executives can better understand new technologies.

Other changes companies are making include offering:

  • Flexible work schedules
  • More recognition programs
  • More access to state-of-the-art technology
  • Ongoing education programs

Guide to Outsourcing Your Business's Bookkeeping and Accounting


Sources
http://www.abanet.org/lpm/lpt/articles/mgt08044.html Generation X and The Millennials: What You Need to Know About Mentoring the New Generations by Diane Thielfoldt and Devon Scheef, August 2004
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Generation_Y Generation Y
http://www.brandchannel.com/start1.asp?id=156 Who’s filling Gen Y’s shoe’s? by Dr. Pete Markiewicz, May 5, 2003 issue
http://www.usatoday.com/life/lifestyle/2006-06-28-generation-next_x.htm The ‘millennials’ come of age, 6/29/2006
http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2007/11/08/60minutes/main3475200.shtmlThe “Millennials” Are Coming, Morley Safer On The New Generation Of American Workers, Nov. 11, 2007
http://humanresources.about.com/od/managementtips/a/millenials.htm Managing Millennials: Eleven Tips for Managing Millennials, by Susan M. Heathfield,
http://top7business.com/?id=3023 Top 7 Keys to Managing Millennials in the Workplace by Gretchen Neels.
http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2007/07/13/1978431.htm Generation Y disappoints employers by Liv Casben
Connecting Generations: The Sourcebook by Claire Raines, published 2003.
Managing Generation Y by Carolyn A. Martin, Ph.D. and Bruce Tulgan, published 2001.
Generation X by Charles Hamblett and Jane Deverson, published 1965

Originally posted by Jim Wilkinson on July 23, 2013. 


Be prepared for how the changes expected in the accounting workplace. But there are a few recruiting strategies that are tried and true – through all generations. Learn what they are in our 5 Guiding Principles For Recruiting a Star-Quality Team whitepaper.

future of the accounting workforce, Generational Preferences

0

Cash Basis vs Accrual Basis Accounting

Cash Basis vs Accrual Basis Accounting

Believe it or not, we deal with this issue of whether to use cash basis vs accrual basis accounting all the time. Many companies start from scratch with one person doing the accounting from home or a small office. Over time, their needs grow. It’s normal to see changes within the organization, especially when companies grow. As you grow, it is critical that you do not neglect the accounting process.

Cash Basis vs Accrual Basis Accounting

What is the difference between cash basis vs accrual basis accounting?

Cash basis accounting is, in its form, the most basic way of tracking your income and expenses based on the actual cash that comes in and goes out every day. Imagine the one employee/owner hot dog stand on the street corner. That business owner goes out early in the morning, pays $2 in cash to the vendor that sells him the hot dog meat and buns. Then, he goes out to the street corner and sells the hot dog for $3 in cash and puts the cash in his pocket. That vendor made $1 profit in cash from the sale of a single hot dog. He sells many hot dogs during the day. This business person is on a cash basis way of tracking his business. In this business owners company there is no difference in timing of transactions between periods.

Moving to Accrual Basis Accounting

If you are bigger than the hot dog stand, then you should probably consider moving to an accrual basis for capturing your transactions and accounting. Why? Because we live in an accrual world. Not a cruel world.

If you are reading this blog, then you probably sell a product or service. Most likely, you give your clients terms to pay your invoice. Maybe it is 10 days, 15 days, or even 30 days… But you give your clients time to pay their invoice. You just created accounts receivable (A/R). In the same respect, you purchase things from your vendors – material or services. Likewise, you most likely do not hand your vendor a check or cash that day, but they give you time to pay for the item you just purchased. So, you have accounts payable (A/P). This is probably more realistic. Guess what? You just created accruals.  In this example there are differences in the timing of the actual transaction and when the transaction process if totally complete and settled.  You have to track what is owed to you as an asset, and you have to track who you owe as a liability.

In reality, this is the world we live in and accrual basis accounting is recommended for virtually any business. We live and transact in an accrual environment.

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Accrual Basis Accounting

There are a reasons why major businesses and small successful businesses keep their accounting records on an accrual basis.  One reason is because that is how they generate financial statements that accurately reflect their operations and business, the other is because Generally Accepted Accounting Principals (GAAP) requires companies to be compliant using the accrual basis. A crucial part of the accrual basis is the matching principal – matching revenue and expenses.

You Are 60-90 Days Behind Your Company

The fact is that you are 60 or 90 days behind running your company if you are keeping your books and records on a cash basis. I have actually seen 30-year-old companies with revenues north of $100 million dollars and millions of dollars of expenses on a cash basis. And the recurring comment I get from these business owners is that they have trouble forecasting their business and they think they know what their margins are but really they are not sure. Especially in a business where there is manufacturing or assembly involved, or a service business that is beyond a half dozen people in size, you can bet your margins are wrong if they are on a cash basis.

By not having your accounting records on an accrual basis you are truly 60-90 days behind your business, you are not able to measure or forecast working capital and you will eventually run in to problems.  Some of these problems may be life threatening to your business if there is a downturn in the market or global economy.

It is More Than Margins and Operations

Knowing your margins on an accrual basis and understanding your profit and loss statement is critical. But you also need to know that your balance sheet is correct and truly represents what you have and owe. If you are on a cash basis, then you do not know what you have or owe. For example, prepaid insurance, payroll liabilities, purchase orders entered into your accounting system have not been invoiced by your vendors. As a result, these are all things that will not show up on your balance sheet if you are not keeping your books and records on an accrual basis.

At our firm, we’re are often engaged to help a client company transform their accounting records from cash basis to accrual basis. And the outcome is always positive as management is very happy to know that they can now get good accurate reports and their margins finally make sense. Now they can use their financial statements as one of many tools to run their business.

Cash Basis vs Accrual Basis AccountingA Valuation Perspective On Cash Basis vs Accrual Basis Accounting

You may have a very profitable company on a cash basis, but your financial statements are not going to be accurate. Your company will suffer when it comes down to valuation. Sophisticated financial buyers, strategic buyers and bankers understand that some private companies are still run on a cash basis, but guess what? They are going to discount the value of your company because it is on a cash basis. Eventually, the buyer will want the company they acquire on an accrual basis anyway. This is just another way that you can leave value on the table during a transaction to exit.

Switching from cash basis to accrual basis accounting is just one example of how to protect your company’s value. But there may be other destroyers of value lurking in your company. Don’t let the destroyers take money from you! Access our Top 10 Destroyers of Value whitepaper here.

Tax CPA vs Management CPA

What is ironic is that many Tax CPAs that prepare their clients tax returns or keep books and records do not care if you keep you books on an accrual basis. Actually, if you file cash basis for the IRS and your tax return, it will be easier for your tax preparer to keep your books on cash basis. But that is hurting you from a management perspective. Do not let your tax preparer tell you that you can just as well run your business on cash basis. He or she is simply wrong and too lazy. We can assume that they have never run a business. As a business owner, you need management books/records and management financial statements on an accrual basis and hopefully complaint with GAAP to run your business. They must be kept on an accrual basis so that they are more meaningful as a financial leadership tool.

Remember, CPAs are not all alike. Many of my friends still ask me if I am busy between January and April because I am a CPA. What the heck? I do not even prepare my own tax return, because I am not a Tax CPA.

CPAs are actually very different. The following are some of the different areas CPAs specialize in and many times do not cross other areas:

  • Taxes
  • Audits
  • Management and Operations
  • SEC Reporting
  • Forensic Accounting

Why Not Keep Your Accounting Records On An Accrual Basis?

There is no reason why you would not want to keep your accounting records on an accrual basis. (I am not referring to your tax books and records.) Your operational management financial statements should be kept on an accrual basis. Any decent accountant or controller can help you keep your books and records on an accrual basis. We can also assist you convert from cash basis to accrual basis as we have done this time and time again. We have our process in place to make this as efficient conversion.  In conclusion, there really is no good reason to keep your books and records on cash basis.

To discover other potential destroyers of value, click here to access our free Top 10 Destroyers of Value whitepaper.

Cash Basis vs Accrual Basis Accounting

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Cash Basis vs Accrual Basis Accounting

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You Can’t Afford Not to Spend Money on the Accounting Department

As a former CEO to some CEOs, this Blog is to my counterparts that “don’t know what you don’t know.”  I have seen time and time again closely held businesses that have experienced growth make the same mistakes over and over again. To the CEO that believes bookkeeping is a necessary fixed cost that should be minimized, here is a money making tip. You can’t afford not to spend money on the accounting department if you want to be successful.

The Big Mistake

Your company has grown over the years; you have experienced good times and maybe some bad times. Additionally, you have taken a nice paycheck and sometimes, some nice bonuses.  You got used to a certain life style. And you did all of this with a bookkeeper that does not cost you much.  But your company has grown. Still in the back of your mind, you know something tells you that you are not comfortable with your accounting records. But you elected to keep cost down for the bookkeeper and you do not spend much on accounting.

You Can't Afford Not to Spend Money on the Accounting Department

My Tax CPA Does It All

Maybe until now, some of you have your outside CPA that prepares your tax return also prepare year-end financials. This is not a knock-on tax preparers, but your CPA that prepares your tax return is an expert in one of many fields CPAs work in. For example, I am a CPA, but there is no way I would prepare my own tax return. Tax laws change way too often. I just want to maximize my deductions and pay my fair share of tax, but not more than that. That is why I have my tax CPA prepare the tax return.

But over the course of my career, I have found that most tax CPAs do not have operational expertise. They have not run a manufacturing or service business, nor have they had any P&L responsibility. The Tax CPA is considering accelerated depreciation, maximize expenses, etc. This is quite the opposite from a management set of financial statements. The role of the CPA Tax preparer is totally different from a “operational” CPA, Controller or even CFO.

Minimizing the Back Office For the Wrong Reasons

Most CEOs that I have worked with argue to minimize the cost of the back office. That includes the cost of preparing financial and accounting records. But think about this… The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) does not require public companies to prepare their financial statements according to Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP) because they pulled this out of thin air as another way to regulate.  The SEC requires public companies to prepare their accounting records and financial statements based on GAAP because it is the best way to present fairly the results of your financial operations to third parties reading your financial statements.  In other words, It’s the RIGHT way to keep your books!

In some cases where there is significant debt and exposure, some banks also require that the company present your accounting records based on GAAP – regardless of whether it is a Public or Private company.  Some debt situations even require an audit. The banks simply make it one of the covenants related to your debt. When you present your books and records per GAAP, you have accurate financial statements, everyone is assured your accounting is correct.


Click here to download: The Smart Back Office for SMBs


The Importance of Using GAAP

So, if a lot of brain power has been put into coming up with GAAP, and the general consensus is that GAAP is the right way to present your financials and accounting records.  Why would you as CEO not require that your financial statements be presented per GAAP?

I have been an “operational” type CPA for over 27 years now. In addition, I have held the office of CEO twice. I have used my expertise in public company environments and private companies both as an employee and as a consultant in the U.S. and in other countries. I have seen many very successful small, medium and large private companies and they were all keeping their financial records per GAAP. Yet, I have NEVER seen a significant company (not a micro or small business) be successful and properly run without keeping their books and records per GAAP.

So why is it that CEO’s of closely held (private) business still permit their accounting records to be kept some other way?   The answer: they do not want to spend money on a fixed cost such as accounting. But they will spend money on the sales team, hunting leases, extravagant meals or parties.

Not getting the basics down – such as GAAP – leaves money on the table when you are exiting the company. Increase value with our Top 10 Destroyers of Value whitepaper.

You Can't Afford Not to Spend Money on the Accounting Department

You Can’t Afford Not to Spend Money on the Accounting Department

These are real life examples and outcomes of minimizing the cost of your accounting department that I have lived…

The service company incorrectly books gains on U.S. dollar receivables. In conclusion, they had to reverse $8 million from earnings.

I have seen this one several times. The company does not have some large assets on the balance sheet, because their tax preparer said they used accelerated depreciation. As a result, the balance sheet assets are severely understated. Hint: your value is understated. IT’S ABOUT THE MONEY DUDE!

The manufacturing facility does not properly accrue costs. As a result, their margins are way off, and the CEO wondered why they were always short on cash.

The company did not properly reconcile accounts including cash. This led to fraud.

The company did not properly recognize revenue. In conclusion, the company was understating revenue by millions of dollars.

I can go on and on with more real-life examples.

If you do not have your financial statements presented per GAAP, how are they prepared and presented? Do you really know your margins in your P&L. Do you really have all your assets, liabilities and equity presented correctly? Is your P&L, Balance Sheet and Cash Flow statement presented correctly? Guess what? Your ratios that your controller or CFO should be analyzing are not correct.

Leadership Needs to Believe in GAAP

Why do you think Exxon, Walmart and all other public company CEO’s believe in GAAP?  I have also seen many small, medium and large closely held private companies keep their accounting records per GAAP.  These are all successful companies. They know their margins, they know where cash is, they know their ratios and guess what, they know how to forecast!

I have also seen time and time again good companies that have been around a while and have experienced growth, and NOT prepare their financials per GAAP.  And every one of these CEO’s and companies has the exact same issues.

  • They really don’t know their margins in their P&L
  • Some companies don’t even really know their actual revenue
  • There is always that doubt in the CEO’s mind as to what is really going on in the business
  • The CEO lives a stressful life
  • Every time there is even the slightest decrease in margins, there is even a bigger disproportionate stress on cash
  • If your books are not per GAAP, then most likely they are not on the accrual basis; if that is the case, then you are 60-90 days behind your business
  • Having your books on an accrual basis is just the first step. There are many other accounting rules, procedures and pronouncements to get your books per GAAP. Just because they are on accrual basis, does not mean they are per GAAP. GAAP “rules” actually change frequently

You Can't Afford Not to Spend Money on the Accounting Department

In Summary

In my consulting business, I have seen CEOs that are “smart” as in they know what they don’t know. They bring us in to get the problem fixed. Although it takes time and money, the CEO is fully supportive and we get it done. These are the companies that grow and ultimately have a successful liquidation event. Or they leave a well-run machine to their family or employees.

But it shocks me to continue to see companies as large as $120 million in revenue, with a couple hundred employees that have not professionalized their accounting department. No one knows the true margins. Everyone stresses out about the “accounting records.” There are no correct historical financials, and most certainly, there are no forecasts. Unfortunately, there is no analysis of the business at all. In some high margin “hot” industries, this works for a while. The sins are buried. But millions of dollars are lost without knowing it. But, since ultimately everything ends up in cash, when that “hot” industry has even a slight downturn, the CEO feels the cash crunch.

Whether you are trying to increase the value of your company or positioning it for sale, this issue of unknowingly leaking cash is a destroyer. Learn how to tighten your belts and increase value with our Top 10 Destroyers of Value whitepaper.

Don’t be Cheap

Don’t be cheap. Spend the money (which is usually less than the hunting lease) to get your books and records based on GAAP basis.  Get your priorities straight.  Continue to have a professional accounting department in your business. YES, you will spend more than you are currently spending. But you can’t afford not to spend money on the accounting department!

Consider this… I had one investment banker with a very large firm tell me the difference in a valuation of an acquisition target from a company that has accounting records per GAAP and solid accounting department versus one that does not have a professional accounting department and accounting records not per GAAP is a difference of 20%-30%.  I had another investment banker tell me the difference in valuation is “one turn of EBITDA”. The use of EBITDA and multipliers is often used in valuation.

So if your company generates $2 million EBITDA and the multiple used is a 5, then your value would be $10 million with a professional accounting department and books per GAAP. In comparison, your value is $8 million with an unsophisticated accounting department and accounting records not per GAAP. I don’t think your professional accounting department will ever cost you $2 million per year! But not having it will.

Not having your financial records per GAAP is one of the destroyers of value. If you want to protect the value of your company, download the free Top 10 Destroyers of Value whitepaper to learn how to maximize your value.

You Can't Afford Not to Spend Money on the Accounting Department

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What is GAAP?

What is GAAP?

GAAP stands for Generally Accepted Accounting Principles. It is the set of rules and guidelines for U.S. companies to follow. GAAP regulates financial reporting for public companies, private businesses, non-profits, and government authorities. This means that GAAP outlines the procedures to make sure that businesses are recording their financials in the same way.

GAAP Principles

The principles in GAAP ensure transparency and consistency. This includes the following topics:

The overall philosophy behind these principles is to prevent deceptive recording.

What is IRFS?

While the United States follows the GAAP, most of the developed world follows the International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS.) In 2008, the United States decided to move towards adopting the IFRS to be more consistent with the rest of the world. While the long term effects are only speculative, the short term changes will have an immediate impact on accountants, managers, and investors.

IFRS vs GAAP

What is the benefit of following the same set of guidelines as the rest of the world? One major advantage of having the same international financial reporting guidelines is the effect on investors. Investors will be able to compare and contrast investments between nations more accurately.

For example, if there is one startup in the United States and one in London, then they will likely use different methods for financial reporting. This could make the investor’s decision very difficult. If inventory and depreciation are valued differently, then the investor might not fully understand the true standing of these startups.

What is GAAP

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