Sales Tax Tips For Tax Managers

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Reposted from Avalara.com

Compliance isn’t for wimps. Just ask accountants and tax managers. After all, compliance isn’t just number crunching and spreadsheets. Following the sales tax rules of a jurisdiction involves far more than just finding the right tax rate. From product taxability to tax-exempt transactions to sales tax holidays compliance tasks can hamstring even the most efficient operations.

See also: The Future of QuickBooks Desktop: What’s Next?

Sales tax compliance includes many elements, but these tips focus on those tasks associated with registration, collection, and reporting.

Tax Registration

Savvy tax managers know the first step in figuring out sales tax obligations begins with understanding where they do business and where they’re required to register, collect, and remit sales tax. These include the following recommended tasks:

  • Identify where you are currently registered.
  • Be sure tax collection is enabled in your tax calculation system (if automated within your ERP or other platform).
  • Determine where your company has additional activities that may require further tax registration and reporting obligations.
  • Monitor changes in market, products, or geography that trigger additional responsibilities.

See also: HomeAway Incorporates Avalara’s Tax Center as Resource to Assist Vacation Rental Owners with Tax Law Compliance

Tax Collection

Obviously, the rubber meets the road at the point of collecting sales tax from a seller. And this is also where transactions and compliance can go wrong; very wrong. From unhappy customers with inaccurate pricing, to irritated auditors with a trail of erroneous charges, collecting the right amount of sales tax is crucial. Follow these basic recommendations to stay on track:

  • Review your existing approaches to tax calculations and exemption methodologies.
  • Identify how products and services are taxed – including the use of tax categories or tax vendor-provided system codes.
  • Identify the process in which tax categories are assigned to specific billing codes or inventory/service line items (the ‘tax mapping’ process).
  • Identifying how tax credits are used and incorporated into the tax reporting process.
  • Understand how customer exemption and resale certificates are obtained from your customers, including the validation process of the certificates and relevant documents.
  • Document the flow of tax charged from transaction to tax form.

See also: Public, Private, Hybrid. Which Cloud Is Best For QuickBooks Hosting?

Tax Reporting

When all is said and done, knowing where and how and when to report and remit sales tax to the correct jurisdiction is critical. What good are robust systems and accurate collections substantiated by well-documented processes, if the form is sent to the wrong place; late. Here are a few reporting recommendations:

  • Document the current ‘tax calendar’ – the list of state and local taxing jurisdictions in which your company is registered, along with the key filing requirements (filing frequency, prepayment requirement, return type, etc).
  • Document how sales and use tax charged and reported is recorded in your financial reporting system(s), including GL accounting and distribution.
  • Identify supplemental reporting requirements such as consumer’s use tax reporting – including the nature of the data sources used and the existence of processes to validate vendor-charged tax in the purchasing process.

See also: Top Partner Tweets, April 2015

Savvy tax managers know sales tax compliance is a difficult but worthy task. Read the 2015 Sales Tax Survival Guide to learn the important business function you can’t handle alone and what you can do about it.

READ NOW

See also: Cloud9 Real Time Presents CloudFest2015!

Cloud Computing: Myths & Facts

Cloud Computing: Myths & Facts

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This blog is intended to set the record straight and focus on the myths and facts regarding Cloud computing. Everyone has a different view about Cloud computing, “From a consumer perspective, ‘in the cloud’ means where the magic happens, where the implementation details are supposed to be hidden. So it should be no surprise that such an environment is rife with myths and misunderstandings.” Gartner’s Vice President, David Mitchell Smith continues, “Cloud computing, by its very nature, is uniquely vulnerable to the risks of myths. It is all about capabilities delivered as a service, with a clear boundary between the provider of the service and the consumer.” (Source)

See also: Cloud9 Real Time Presents CloudFest 2015

Myth 1. Cloud Computing: There Is Only One Cloud

There are actually 3 different types of Clouds. There is a Public Cloud, a Private Cloud and a Hybrid Cloud. It’s simple, really. The Public Cloud is public, meaning it is easier to share files and can be more susceptible when it comes to security in comparison to the Private Cloud. Being as it is not as secure, it is not recommended for QuickBooks Hosting or any other financial software. A Public Cloud has an infrastructure that is available from an off-site internet source. Another type of Cloud is a Private Cloud. Even though purchase is required for a Private Cloud, companies can rest assure that they will have top notch security and high quality maintenance on software and infrastructure. The third Cloud is a Hybrid Cloud, which is a combination of a Private and a Public Cloud. In order to manage the Hybrid Cloud, companies need to keep track of multiple different security platforms. When it comes to QuickBooks Hosting, companies can keep their data and applications on a Private Cloud and less sensitive documents can be stored on a Public Cloud.

See also: Public, Private, Hybrid. Which Cloud Is Best For QuickBooks Hosting?

Myth 2: Cloud Computing Is “Expensive” Or Cloud Computing Is “Cheap”

Some people believe that Cloud computing is too expensive, and some believe that Cloud computing is extremely cheap. Neither is correct. With the Cloud, you pay for what you get. The cost depends on a few factors:
• Number of Users
• Size of Data
• Customized Backups
• Applications You Use (System Requirements Vary On Each)
• Exchange Services
Also, it’s important to know exactly what you’re paying for. Cloud computing replaces:
• Local Servers
• IT Billable Hours
• Backup Solutions
• Maintenance
• Electricity
• Server Room
• Licensing Of Software
• User support
• Network Equipment
• Antivirus
• Power Conditioning

Myth 3: Cloud Computing Is “Too New” To Trust

Contrary to the belief, Cloud computing is nothing new. Cloud computing has of course evolved through a number of phases and each year it continues to improve. Many would be surprised to hear that the initial ideas of Cloud computing actually began in the sixties. “The idea of an ‘intergalactic computer network’ was introduced in the sixties by J.C.R. Licklider, who was responsible for enabling the development of ARPANET (Advanced Research Projects Agency Network). “His vision was for everyone on the globe to be interconnected and accessing programs and data at any site, from anywhere. It is a vision that sounds a lot like Cloud computing,” explained Margaret Lewis, product director at AMD. Another person who proposed the idea of Cloud computing, is scientist John McCarthy who “proposed the idea of computation being delivered as a public utility, similar to the service bureaus which date back to the sixties.” (Source)  According to the International Data Corporation (IDC), the estimated infrastructure is worth $452 Billion dollars. Myth 3= Debunked.

See also: 5 Predictions For Cloud Computing In 2015

Myth 4: Cloud Computing Is Just a Fad

Will Cloud computing be as popular as it is now ten years from now? Experts say that Cloud computing has all signs pointing to it being an evolution, as opposed to a fad. Businesses all over are putting their trust in Cloud computing more than ever. Companies around the world are sharing their success stories by using Cloud computing over the years. Whether it’s for enterprise applications, extra processing power, storage capabilities, etc., Cloud computing is expected to become even more popular in the future.

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See also: The Benefits Of DaaS

Myth 5: Cloud Computing Is Less Secure Than On-Premise

picccThe Cloud holds an SOC2/SSAE16 data center, 256-bit encryption, automatic off site backups, cisco firewalls, cisco routers, uninterrupted power supply, mirror disks, RAID implementation, 24/7 onsite monitoring and N+1/2N redundancy. According to Gartner, “To date, there have been very few security breaches in the public cloud-most breaches continue to involve on-premises data center environments. While cloud providers should have to demonstrate their capabilities, once they have done so there is no reason to believe their offerings cannot be secure.” (Source)  That being said, there is no reason to not trust the Cloud.

 

 

See also: Premise IT vs. Cloud Computing: What You Need To Consider For Your Business

Myth 6: Put Everything In Cloud Computing

Cloud Computing should not be used for everything. There are a few characteristics in the Cloud which could make it not the best fit to host particular applications. Of course, there are some cases where Cloud computing is a perfect fit to host your businesses applications. Gartner explains, “Unless there are cost savings, moving a legacy application that doesn’t change is not a good candidate.”

See also: Why Every Business Should Have A Disaster Recovery Plan On The Cloud

Myth 7: Cloud Computing Is The Data Center

While the Cloud and data center go hand in hand, it’s important to view them independently. The Cloud is more than just a data center and in some cases completely shutting down data centers just doesn’t make sense. According to Gartner, “Organizations, with the help of their solution provider partners, need help distinguishing between embracing and rolling out cloud applications and actual cloud services. They are two different things. (Source)

See also: The Future of QuickBooks Desktop: What’s Next?

Cloud computing is bound to happen for almost any small to medium-sized businesses in the near future. “The move to cloud computing is expected to continue to fuel IT growth for foreseeable future bringing efficiencies and greater capabilities to businesses and opportunities to service providers.” (Source)  Solution providers will be playing a huge role by helping customers as well as businesses gain satisfaction. Jumping on the Cloud is highly recommended for companies to leverage Cloud technology in order to compete with competitors who are already taking advantage of Cloud Computing.

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CloudFest 2015

Cloud9 Real Time


Presents CloudFest2015!

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Register today!

It’s time to dust off your favorite concert t-shirt. Cloud9 Real Time is changing it up this year by putting a whole new spin on the typical conference. Instead of throwing the traditional 6th annual “Cloud Summit,” Cloud9 is proud to present CloudFest 2015! This conference will be a rock festival themed event that will be educational and fun, held at the beautiful Paradise Point Resort in San Diego. This will be a whole new experience for all exhibitors and attendees. CloudFest 2015 will be the ultimate experience by incorporating creativity and fun, while at the same time, leaving attendees with a head full of useful information to take back to the office.

See also: The Future Of QuickBooks Desktop: What’s Next?

CloudFest’s schedule will consist of interactive sessions, giving your business the chance to succeed. The three day experience will consist of:

  • 12 CPEs (You down with CPE? Yeah you know me!)
  • 4 All-Inclusive Tracks (Practice Management, CFO, Marketing, Cloud Technology)
  • World-class keynote speakers (Bill Butterworth & Chris Widener)
  • Checklists
  • Templates
  • One-on-one Training Sessions With Vendors
  • A Data Center Tour
  • Journeymen In Concert
  • Fireball Backstage Party
  • Exhibit Hall Beer & Wine Fest

The Real Crowd Pleaser: One-on-One Training

Similar to the past Cloud Summits, we will be having a One-on-One training room again. Reserve a time to sit down with solution providers and ask them anything you want. You can become more familiar with pieces of software you own, or you can take a look at entirely new software programs that have peaked your interest. One-on-One scheduling will be available soon.

See also: The Benefits Of DaaS

Let’s go over the four innovative business tracks for CloudFest 2015:

“Cloud Techno”

(Cloud Technology)

If you are already on the Cloud, or are looking to get more information about the Cloud, then the Cloud Techno track is the place for you. Take the opportunity to review best practices, hear case studies from Cloud9’s actual users, and listen in as knowledgeable speakers explain where the Cloud will be headed in the future.

“Guitar Practice Management”

(Practice Management)

Just like running a successful firm, you need to exercise. Join QuickBooks Express’s take on “Firm Fitness”. Here you will receive checklists and information, as well as “exercises” to take home with you and put into place at your own firm. Make the most of your practice and it will benefit you! In this track, you will receive the vital management strategies that will give you the tools that you need to develop your corporate culture of effective operations. Our QuickBooks Express speakers will provide helpful management tips and tricks, giving you the ability to develop a management approach that works best for your company and your team.

See also: Why Every Business Should Have A Disaster Recovery Plan On The Cloud

“M.C. Marketing & The Guerrillas”

(Marketing-Social, Guerrilla, Automation)

Straight off the plane from Seattle, Fannit is the marketing company to listen to. Fannit will be planning a great lineup of sessions for the marketing hungry. By covering everything from building a marketing calendar, generating web traffic, marketing automation, contemporary methods and much more. Be prepared for tons of information that will help grow your business.

“The CFOrchestra”

(CFO BootCamp)

Filling the shoes of a CFO is no easy task, and it is one of the most challenging roles an executive can have. The CFOrchestra track will consist of practical sessions that will help clarify your company’s CFO role. Attend this track if you’re interested in developing new skills and increase your company’s productivity, efficiency, team-collaboration, customer service and overall value to its full extent.

See also: 5 Predictions For Cloud Computing in 2015

In order to make CloudFest a little more exciting, Cloud9 is holding a contest where the winner can win $5,000 in cash. How do you win the $5,000? It’s simple. Take what you learned at CloudFest back to the office. Then, create and submit a short, 3 minute (approx.) video to Cloud9 Real Time by December 31st, 2015. The video should consist of what you learned at CloudFest and how you put it to use in your practice. By pulling from your notes about checklists, knowledge, best practices, and stellar  marketing techniques, show us how your business is improving. Capture these points in a video format, and after all entries are in, the Cloud9 judges will award the most creative and well-done video the $5,000 prize! In addition to the contest, one attendee will have the opportunity to win CloudFest Tickets for life!

 

Mark your calendars for August 12-14 2015 and join us at our rock n’ roll event of a lifetime!

Early Bird Registration ends May 31, 2015: Limited Seats Left*



Register today!

Show up. Rock Out. Go Home. Perform.

The Future of QuickBooks Desktop: What’s Next?

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Everyone has been wondering what the future of QuickBooks Desktop will be. Some may say that QuickBooks online is the future in cloud technology. However, Intuit Senior Vice President and General Manager of the Small Business Financial Solutions, Dan Wernikoff, said, “We are never discontinuing it. I can’t see a time when we are not doing a desktop release. We will still do over a million units of the desktop this year. The point we make about new users, over half are coming into QuickBooks Online this year? It’s still almost half that are coming in to the desktop also.”  Intuit has been trying to make it very clear that QuickBooks Desktop will not be discontinued anytime soon. However, if you go to Intuit’s website it’s difficult to find information about any of the desktop products. (Source)

See also: The Benefits Of DaaS

While QuickBooks Online is a global platform, Intuits CEO Brad Smith states that “We are making important product changes to continue to delight our QuickBooks desktop customers, many of whom will be cloud customers in the future.” For those of you worried thinking that the end of QuickBooks Desktop is near, you’d be happy to hear this. “Our goal is to attract them with a compelling online experience and incentives to move to the cloud. To that end, we are strengthening our desktop products beginning in 2-15 by delivering ongoing releases to continuously improve the product experience, support operating system updates, and provide access to connected services.”

See also: A Look Inside QuickBooks Online vs. QuickBooks Desktop

Let’s figure out why people might be worried about QuickBooks Desktop disappearing. Many people believe that QuickBooks Desktop is more expensive than QuickBooks Online. Intuit has only just recently increased the price of the desktop software in the beginning of 2015. According to Sleeter, “Intuit still sells a lot of units of the desktop product, and they recognize that their existing desktop user base represents a significant source of income.”

See also: Why Every Business Should Have A Disaster Recovery Plan On The Cloud

Another reason why QuickBooks Desktop isn’t going anywhere anytime soon, is growth. With QuickBooks online, users have to pay for each file separately, whereas QuickBooks Desktop charges at a flat rate, giving your company the opportunity to grow. If your company begins to grow with QuickBooks Online, you’d have to pay for each file per user which could cost thousands of dollars. QuickBooks Desktop encourages companies to grow by offering access to mobile devices, unlimited automatic data backups and much more. In the end, your company can benefit from using QuickBooks Desktops, therefore it’s not going anywhere anytime soon.

See also: 5 Predictions For Cloud Computing in 2015

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