As accountants and bookkeepers, you juggle a lot of different tasks to keep your business humming – from account reconciliation and expense management to documentation and tax filing. Timing is everything with 1099 and W-2 tax reporting, which is why proper year-end planning is so critical. In fact, it can mean the difference between a good year – and a GREAT year – for you and your clients.
Here are some tools and tactics for more effective year-end planning:
1) Make Early Preparations
Plan on sending an engagement letter to your clients a few months in advance, followed by a payment authorization form. Closer to filing season, send an email blast with updates on key compliance matters and next steps.
2) Strive for Data Accuracy and Integrity
Continually monitor the data provided by your clients to avoid last-minute surprises. Verify which vendors are being paid more than $600 and confirm the accuracy of all 1099-related information, which may include TIN and address validation.
3) Close Communication Gaps
Send reports highlighting any information that is missing, so clients know what they need to gather. And If a client is missing information from a vendor to process a 1099, offer to communicate directly with the vendor.
4) Educate Clients About Compliance Requirements
Compliance should be top of mind for small businesses, but they may not realize what affects them. You can assist them (and provide more value for your firm) with insightful, instructional webinars. For example, you could create a presentation explaining the differences between employees and independent contractors – and who needs a W-2 vs. a 1099-MISC.
5) Take Advantage of Modern Electronic Tools
For added convenience and security, use programs like RightSignature, Hubdoc or Smartdoc to have your clients sign documents, send payments and more. E-signature software and cloud-based recordkeeping can help you move toward a digital, paperless office – a vital step toward saving space and working smarter.
6) Get the Most Out of QuickBooks
When using QuickBooks, make sure information in Box 7 is accurate – and that the file has been mapped correctly. QuickBooks offers detailed reports that help with information verification, too, so be sure to take advantage of them. Keep in mind that with a quality e-file provider like efile4Biz.com, QuickBooks integration allows you to upload payer and recipient data directly.
7) Outsource 1099 Processing
Consider working with a quality e-file provider to streamline the filing, printing and mailing of 1099s. It will save you time and money because you don’t need to purchase paper forms or deal with alignment issues with software. Again, efile4Biz.com is the ideal platform for outsourcing these filings, including handling corrections and double-checking payer and recipient information through the “print preview” feature. You’ll see the completed form before it’s e-filed, with a water copy of the form available to print or email to clients for confirmation.
The SmallBizRising Blog is designed to be an educational content hub pulling information, best practices and practical advice for the small business owner and features topics including accounting, marketing, technology and more. Be sure to subscribe to stay up to date with new content as it is posted. The blog was created by The Neat Company and receives contributed content from a group of contributing companies that provide technology, services and solutions to small businesses.