Using Quickbooks for Restaurants | Essex Junction VT | Sheltra Tax & Accounting, LLCWhether you’re operating a food truck or running a white tablecloth establishment looking for its first Michelin star, chances are that business accounting is not among your favorite tasks. 

To emphasize the importance of good accounting practices, a survey by found

  • 70 percent of owners who received monthly financial statements were profitable.
  • 75 percent who tracked weekly food and labor costs were profitable.
  • 72 percent who tracked inventory at least monthly were profitable.

Fortunately, there’s software for that. In fact, there’s quite a bit of accounting software available, but sooner or later, most businesspeople try QuickBooks.

One of the primary advantages of QuickBooks is its ubiquitous nature. Because so many businesses use it, there’s a lot of information available, including Sheltra’s own training package and a thriving online community

Of course, the caveat is that the attempt to appeal to all businesses means that it’s not perfectly suited to some of the specific accounting and information needs of the food service industry.

The four areas you will want to focus on are:

  • Recording sales. Not as simple as you might think. You need to set up your software so that a single sales receipt presents data to the right accounts for food, liquor, deposits and sales taxes.
  • Paying vendors. When set up properly, QuickBooks gives you reports on unpaid bills, the amount owed, and their due dates. You can also sort by each vendor to give you a record of your transactions with a specific supplier.
  • Payroll. QuickBooks is well positioned to help your unique payroll issues when it comes to recording wages and tips and the tax liability that will occur.
  • Reconciliation. After the daily sales are recorded, the credit card and cash accounts need to be moved to a deposit account so that you can reconcile those amounts with your bank account.

As with most software, time spent learning and implementing the program will be rewarded with accuracy and ease of use afterward. Sheltra Tax & Accounting, LLC specializes in Restaurant accounting as well as other specialized industries.  Sheltra can train your office manager or bookkeeper or handle all of the accounting functions for you.

Last, but not least, your year-end tax sessions with your preparer will be much less stressful when all you have to do is present a file.

For more information on business accounting or tax preparation for your restaurant, contact Sheltra Tax & Accounting, LLC at (802) 878-0990.

Holistic School of BusinessI am so excited to announce that I am now working as a QuickBooks and Accounting trainer at the Holistic School of Business! I accepted this position because it presents a truly outstanding opportunity for my clients to work with me at NO-COST!
Please allow me to explain…
You can apply for a $2,500 grant to get the training needed to set up a QuickBooks financial system for your business! Grants are available to eligible Vermont residents only and they’re based on financial need. Your grant would pay for your tuition in a “Business Accounting Mentorship” at the Holistic School of Business. There would be no application fee, and you would NEVER have to pay this money back!
FREE QuickBooks Software as a Bonus – Expires 12/31/16! Once your grant is approved, you’ll get a licensed copy of QuickBooks as a bonus!
When you become a one-on-one student of mine in the School’s Business Accounting Mentorship, you will work directly with me and receive the following benefits:
  • QuickBooks Setup: Utilizing the instructor’s in-depth background in accounting and QuickBooks company setup, you’ll learn how to set up your accounting system using QuickBooks, then you’ll learn how to use the software to keep your bookkeeping up-to-date! You’ll experience great relief and satisfaction in knowing that your Accounting System is finally set up for your business.
  • Individual, One-On-One Sessions: Your one-on-one mentorship sessions will be customized to meet the unique needs of you and your business.
  • Greater Ease: You’ll no longer feel stressed out come tax season because you’ll be prepared well in advance.
  • Financial Clarity: You’ll enjoy a much better understanding of your financial situation, and you have the knowledge you need to make more educated decisions regarding your money and spending.
  • Training in Small Business Accounting: You’ll learn all the fundamentals of accounting and budgeting. You’ll also develop skills to complete all basic level accounting tasks not only for your business, but for any business using QuickBooks software.
  • Budgeting: You’ll learn how to develop a budget for your business so that your spending and other financial decisions are always optimized for maximum effectiveness.
Sound too good to be true?  Well, it is true!

But, it’s urgent that you act NOW, and here’s why…

➔   The grant fund is limited and is almost out of money!  Once the money is gone, it will be gone until July 2017.  And…
➔   The FREE QuickBooks Software Bonus ends on 12/31!

The best way to get started is to schedule a free QuickBooks Consultation with me so we can make sure you will be a good match for this program. Your consultation can be by phone, Skype, or in-person in my Essex office.
Please email or call me at (802) 878-0990 to schedule your consultation NOW so we can get the process started.
I look forward to hearing back soon to get you on track to greater peace and ease with your business finances!

Improving Your Business Credit by Sheltra Tax & Accounting, LLC of Essex JunctionCredit may be the lifeblood of small business, but it’s particularly vulnerable to toxins. And once you’re infected, those credit scores bring a triple-whammy of higher interest rates for loans or a possible loan denial, potential increases in insurance costs, and difficulty in securing favorable terms with suppliers. Vermont accounting firm at Sheltra Tax & Accounting, LLC explain the differences between personal credit and business credit and how to improve them.

Business credit is more difficult to get a handle on than personal credit. More companies provide business credit reports, and getting those reports isn’t free. Also, correcting bad information on your credit report is more difficult because it requires contacting the reporting agency and working through the problem with them.

Another difference between business and personal credit is that anyone can take a look at your business rating. That means vendors and suppliers are using those numbers when they’re considering transactions with your company.

But there are some simple steps you can take to allow your startup or ongoing business to create a stellar rating.

First, build a good business base.

That means doing the things that will make people take your company seriously. First of all, create a workable business plan. Lenders and vendors will want to see your goals and how you intend to get there. Then, incorporate your business and set up a business address, even if you’re operating a home-based business.

Next, create a company website. This is where people are going to go first when they want to evaluate you. Finally, establish a company credit card. This will keep your business transactions separate from your personal finances and allows you establish a solid record of payments.

Second, pay your bills on time and early if you can manage it. Some credit reporting companies will give you a boost for paying invoices more than 30 days early.

Third, try to use lenders and suppliers who report to credit bureaus. Not all of them will, so make sure that’s one of the questions you ask before you enter into a business relationship. The most sparkling payment performance doesn’t do you any good if no one can find it.

Fourth, keep your information current with all the credit reporting firms. Perform an annual review of your information with at least the major firms to make sure that all the information is correct and up to date. There’s no one better than you to spot outdated or incorrect reports.

Finally, keep your debt ratio low. A company with credit that’s nearly maxed out will raise a red flag. Keep your business expenses lean and periodically request increases in your line of credit to keep those numbers looking good.

An additional challenge in establishing and improving your business credit is that the three major agencies all have different methods of calculating your score.

Equifax, for example, relies primarily on bank loan and credit card data reports. Dun and Bradstreet’s Paydex relies on reports from your vendors and suppliers. And Experian combines both. And those are just the top three in a crowded field of credit reporters.

It’s not easy, but understanding and maintaining your business credit rating is critical to keeping your business vital and healthy.

For more information:

SBA credit reporting guide


Dun and Bradstreet


Understanding your credit report

For more information on improving your credit or to schedule an appointment with an enrolled agent, contact Sheltra Tax & Accounting, LLC at (802) 878-0990 today.

Tax deductions for client giftsYou foster strong relationships with your customers through exceptional service and value. But a thank-you gift never hurts. In addition to the goodwill you earn as a gift-giver, you also earn a small tax deduction from the IRS.

A very small tax deduction, which is limited to a maximum of $25 for each client. The amount may seem miserly but it was generous when it was set more than 50 years ago. Here are a few things you should know about the tax benefits of your gifts:

  • One customer, one deduction. The IRS allows only one deduction to a customer. So if you give gifts to a customer, the customer’s spouse and each of their children, it’s still capped at $25. Also, you and your spouse are treated as one taxpayer for that client, even if you have independent business relationships with the client and work for different companies.
  • The IRS doesn’t consider incidental costs to be part of the gift, and so those costs are not capped. The service says incidental costs include packaging, gift-wrapping, shipping and personalized engraving on pens or jewelry.
  • Small-value giveaway items are not considered gifts for the purpose of the $25 limit. Anything that costs less than $4 per unit, has the name of your business on it, and is widely distributed is considered a promotional item. Those can be written off as a business expense.
  • Always document your gifts completely. Your records should include the description of the gift and the receipt to verify its cost, the purchase date, the business purpose and the relationship between the gift giver and the client.

Some items fall into a hazy area between gift and entertainment, such as concert, theater or sporting event tickets. If you give these items to a client, they are subject to the $25 limit. However, if you attend the event with the client, the tickets become an entertainment expense, and 50 percent of the face value is deductible.

For example, if you give a client two $15 theater tickets, it could be a $25 gift expense or a $15 entertainment expense. If the two tickets cost $200, you get the $25 deduction if you don’t attend, and a $100 deduction if you do.

Check out the full IRS chapter on the gift deduction.

Piercing the Corporate VeilA key reason that business owners and managers choose to form a corporation or a limited liability company (LLC) is so that they won’t be held personally liable for debts should the business be unable to pay its creditors. But sometimes courts will hold an LLC or corporation’s owners, members, and shareholders personally liable for business debts. When this happens it’s called “piercing the corporate veil.”

When my clients meet with me the first order of business is to explain the importance of keeping your personal and business transactions separate. As a corporation, you hold yourself separate from your business. In a corporation you are an employee, in an LLC you are a member. I also recommend that you consult with a business lawyer to set up your corporation and discuss your legal responsibilities.  

Circumstances that can pierce the corporate veil:

  • No financial separation between the company and its owners. 
  • The company’s actions were wrongful or fraudulent. 
  • Failure to follow corporate formalities such as holding annual meetings, keeping accurate and detailed records, adopting company bylaws and making sure that officers and agents abide by these bylaws.
  • Commingling Assets – meaning not keeping separate bank accounts for business and personal, not keeping personal assets separate from business assets.
  • Under-capitalizing the corporation or LLC. 
  • Not identifying your company on stationery, contracts, etc. as INC or LLC.

If you are sued personally for the debts of your business (a lawsuit names you and your business as defendants, or a creditor threatens to name you personally in a lawsuit), you may need the help of a business attorney to defend yourself.