CPA Baton Rouge | Common Payroll Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

CPA 70808

CPA Baton RougeHandling payroll for a dental practice is often thought of as a simple task. The truth, however, is that there are many minor errors that can easily lead to major problems. Train your team to catch these small mistakes your practice might be making, so you can be sure to avoid them in the future.

Estimated Recordkeeping – Don’t wait until the day before payroll is due to log shifts worked for the pay period. Days can begin to blend together and it can be challenging to recall who worked which days and times after the fact. Looking through notes and emails to figure out past days’ activities can be stressful and even inaccurate, leading to incorrect pay.

Employee Misclassifications – There are many differences, at both federal and state levels, between an employee and a contractor. Make sure you classify your team members, temporary replacement workers, and anyone else in payroll correctly to ensure an accurate, streamlined process. Depending on the infraction and your area, heavy penalties can occur for misclassified worker pay.

Not Tracking Bonuses or Gifts – Work trips or group outings are no problem, but any sort of bonus or gift that has monetary value needs to be tracked. Gift cards are a common example of this. Make sure to keep a running log of any exchanges like these for year-end purposes.

Paying Employees Wrong Rates – When employees are hired, given a raise, or have their pay otherwise adjusted, make sure this is correctly logged in the system or software you use. Using an hourly wage in a program to pay as salary can have rounding problems, so double-check your work. Manual error or forgetting to process a raise on the books right away can lead to owing back-pay or other issues in the future.

Holidays or Haphazard Payroll – Try to set a fixed schedule for your payroll. When holidays affect the normal cycle, have an established plan to deal with it appropriately. Depending on your area, missing or late payroll can create tax headaches or incur penalties, as well as causing hardship for your team.

Payroll can be a straightforward and mistake-free process at your practice, but it requires proper oversight and attention. Keep an airtight system, follow up on any mistakes, and think ahead. For more information on how to handle payroll or tax concerns, contact our office.

Apple Guerin Company LLC
6421 Perkins Road, Bldg. A, Ste. 1B, Baton Rouge, LA 70808
(255) 767-1020

Baton Rouge CPA | Data Security Best Practices

CPA Baton Rouge

Though most of the attacks making headlines are those aimed at large organizations or political groups, roughly a third of all data security breaches in the last few years have occurred in the health care industry. Of these, employee error caused three times as many breaches as external attacks. In addition, more than half of the businesses who experience a security breach have fewer than 1,000 employees.

The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) requires all health care providers to take steps to protect the private information of their patients from hackers, thieves, and staff. While no data security system is foolproof, there are some best practices that can help to decrease your risk of an information breach, especially from employee error. Here are some of the best practices you should be enforcing:

  • All computers should be placed where screens are not visible to patients or visitors.
  • Every computer should have an encrypted password for access.
  • All passwords should contain a mixture of letters, numbers, and/or symbols and should be changed regularly.
  • Passwords should never be written down in any place accessible by the public. It is preferable that they not be written down at all.
  • Every staff member must be fully educated about the importance of data security practices, their responsibility to follow these practices, and the potential repercussions for failing to comply.
  • Office computers and internet should not be used to check personal email or visit non-work-related websites.
  • Ensure all firewalls, software, and operating systems are kept up to date.
  • Wireless networks should be shielded from public view.
  • Every computer should have antivirus software installed and kept up to date.
  • Do not access office data remotely from a shared computer or unknown WiFi network.
  • Smartphones, tablets, laptops that have access to any work systems or emails should be password protected in case lost or stolen.
  • All hard copies of patient data should be shredded.
  • All transmitted data should be encrypted.
  • Sensitive information, such as social security numbers, financial data, or other private information, should never be sent through email or instant messaging services.
  • Consider purchasing cyber insurance protection.
  • If a breach does occur, take appropriate action immediately. Contact your legal counsel for advice.

Your first and best defense against the theft of sensitive patient information is the integration of data security best practices into your practice policies. Meet with your team to discuss any changes you need to make and your expectations of compliance. Protect yourself, your team, and your patients by working to protect the integrity of your systems.

For more information, contact our office.

6421 Perkins Rd.
Bldg. A, Ste 1B
Baton Rouge, LA 70808

(225) 767-1020

70808 CPA | How to Prepare for an Audit

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The prospect for an audit can be daunting. The best way to combat the stress and anxiety induced with this process is to prepare yourself and your company before it happens. Below are a few tips to keep your stress levels low and your preparations high through the process.

Know what it will entail

If you are unaware of what an audit entails, it is a good idea to do your research and learn about the process. Knowing what questions the IRS examiner might ask or what documents they will want to see can help control your anxiety and show you are well prepared.

Document thoroughly

Get in the habit of keeping up with your primary and secondary tax records year-round to be better prepared for when an audit happens. Staying organized using a personal filing system will help you know where everything is. Be sure to have a digital and paper trail as well incase anything happens to either filing system.

Gather the Information

Before the audit happens, make sure you have all the necessary documentation that will be asked of you to present. If you believe something is missing, you can try to recreate the records as accurately as possible or contact the place where you submitted it to for their records. Since you will have all your documents in one place, lay out the information and label it for the auditor for an efficient process.

Pre-audit compliance report

If you feel overwhelmed or disorganized, get on track with a thorough examination of your financial data to prepare and compile your documents. Our experienced team will help you set up a system and provide you with confidence if facing an audit.

For more information on audits, or addition accounting advice, contact us today.

6421 Perkins Rd.
Bldg. A, Ste 1B
Baton Rouge, LA 70808

(225) 767-1020

CPA Baton Rouge | Manage Your Calendar to Balance Your Life

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Appointments and continuing education consume most of your time. How do you manage to live a happy, well-adjusted, balanced life when you simply don’t have time? The key is in planning. Do you use a calendar to manage your time or do you simply make agreements and arrangements as they come up? Here is how you can balance your schedule by managing your calendar.

Set Clear Boundaries

The first step to achieving a work-life balance is to consider your basic responsibilities and obligations. Set aside blocks of time in your calendar to meet with patients, hold team meetings, and attend organizational group meetings. Your calendar should be your primary time-management tool.

Time Off Means Time Off

You need to set aside time for activities unrelated to work. When you decide to take a day off, make sure it’s in your calendar. If it’s not in there, your time off is likely to be consumed by an emergency patient appointment, unexpected meeting, or other business-related expense. Make your scheduling priorities clear with your office team so they are not left with the burden of how to handle unexpected situations while you are away.

It’s Not Just for Work

Your calendar doesn’t need to be exclusive to work. In fact, it may be beneficial for you to regularly include your other commitments. From your children’s school activities to anniversaries and birthdays, seeing these events alongside your work schedule can help you make better scheduling choices. You’ll be more reluctant to accept an invitation to a meeting or convention when you know it will conflict with another occasion. By including other events on your calendar, you minimize the risk of dealing with a stressful schedule conflict between your work life and your personal life.

Never let your calendar run your day. You have the ability to schedule your day by using your calendar as a tool for time management. Start by setting clear scheduling boundaries by blocking the time you need for your main responsibilities. Don’t be afraid to take time off, but always make sure it is a part of your schedule.  Also, consider including other life events and activities in your calendar to better manage your schedule.

For more tips on effectively managing your work schedule, contact our team today.

 

Apple Guerin Company LLC
6421 Perkins Road, Bldg. A, Ste. 1B, Baton Rouge, LA 70808
(255) 767-1020

CPAs Baton Rouge | Are You Setting the Right Goals?

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No matter how effective you are at vision casting, dreams require hard work and strategic planning to become a reality. Highly successful business owners know the benefits of setting realistic and measurable goals. Rethink the way you are setting goals for your business. Your ambitious plans will be successful only if you have a road map to reach them. By mastering the art of setting incremental, measurable goals, you’ll be able to more effectively to reach them. For more tips on managing your practice, contact our firm today.

Plan out the steps, not just the big picture.

Start small by establishing smaller goals on a quarterly, monthly, or even daily basis. It can be easy to let ambition take over and lose track of the work required to reach your ultimate objective. Setting smaller, incremental goals provides the opportunity for you to celebrate the small victories along the journey and reassess early if something isn’t working.

Measure your success.

How will you know if you achieved your goal if you cannot measure it? Goals should have a measurable standard. Perhaps you want to see 5 more new patients each month or to increase the number of referrals by 50%. Set specific goals that are easy to track. This will help you to definitively know whether or not you’ve reached them and, if not, have a tangible metric of how much you still need to accomplish.

Make your goals visible.

The more visible your goals are, the greater pressure you’ll feel to meet them. Make sure everyone in your practice is aware of what you’re trying to achieve. This will not only ensure that they’re actively helping you reach your goals, but will also provide a source of accountability to hold you to your word. Putting up visual reminders can also be a simple way to accomplish a similar effect. The more you’re reminded of your goal, the more likely you are to work towards it.

Real growth doesn’t happen passively. In order to take your practice to the next level, you need to set goals to help you get there. Whether these goals are financial, patient-oriented, or focused on personal development, we’re here to help. Contact us today to learn more!

Apple Guerin Company LLC
6421 Perkins Road, Bldg. A, Ste. 1B, Baton Rouge, LA 70808
(255) 767-1020

Dental CPA Near Me | Get Organized, Get Productive

Dental Accounting

Time is money. If you want your practice to be as efficient and economically prosperous as possible, you don’t want to spend valuable time dealing with the effects of clutter and chaos. Disorganization is shown to have a direct negative impact on productivity and, by extension, your earning potential as a practice.

Whether you feel like you’re drowning in papers or you want to learn tips to take your efficiency to the next level, here are some tips to help you and your team get organized. Contact our team today to learn more about the strategies we can help you implement to ensure you’re getting the most out of your practice.

Clean Up the Clutter

When you have so many different things demanding your attention throughout the day, it can be difficult to keep on top of everything. If you’re not careful, papers and other clutter can accumulate faster than you realize. Once the pile starts to get away from you, it can be hard to ever work your way back through without having to set aside valuable time to sort through everything.

It’s easier to avoid getting yourself into this mess in the first place once you have organizational strategies in place. You might create a unique filing system for handling the various kinds of mail that comes through your office. Perhaps you set specific team members in charge of returning calls. The best system of organization is the one that works for you and your team.

Don’t Let Your Time Manage You

It can be difficult to prioritize the different duties of your work. It’s rare that even an hour will go by without a variety of different distractions. While you’ll have the occasional emergency that demands immediate response, most of these interruptions will not need to be addressed right away.

Resist the urge to drop everything every time a new email or task arises. Operating this way will only make it harder to actually accomplish any of your duties on time. Instead, learn to prioritize which things need to be addressed immediately and which can be done later. Delegate what can be passed to another and clarify deadlines for things that must be completed by you to allow accurate prioritization of tasks.

The day-to-day efficiency of your business can impact its long-term success. Don’t waste your time digging through clutter because you’re working without a plan. For more strategies for your success, contact our office.

Apple Guerin Company LLC
6421 Perkins Road, Bldg. A, Ste. 1B, Baton Rouge, LA 70808
(255) 767-1020

Dental CPA Near Me | Smart Money – Filing Taxes with an Accountant

Dental CPA Baton Rouge

Did you know that more than 65% of failed businesses blame financial mismanagement as their downfall? This is why forming a good relationship with a professional financial advisor is paramount to the longevity of your business.

When is the most important time to have this established relationship in place? That’s right – tax time. If you’re thinking about taking any shortcuts during this time (like using online software), you may want to reconsider. Why risk your entire business by cutting corners on something so crucial? Consider these reasons why you should work with a professional accountant.

Accountants understand tax code. Tax code is not only complicated – it changes frequently. It’s literally a full-time job interpreting and staying up to date. A financial professional will be able to guide you through this and take that stress off your plate. You’re already busy enough without having to keep up to date on tax law. Knowing you’re working with a professional can eliminate the stress of tax compliance. It’s hard to put a price on peace of mind.

Accountants know how to get you more deductions. Everyone wants to maximize their deductions, but only a true professional financial expert can get you everything you deserve.  Don’t leave any money on the table and don’t overpay on your taxes. Working with an accountant throughout the year will ensure you have the documentation you need to get your deductions and not overpay your taxes. This is exceptionally important especially for small businesses, like most dental offices.

Accountants minimize your risk. Are taxes the place where you want to cut corners and take a risk with your business and your team’s financial future? One mistake can land you in a heap of trouble. No one wants to deal with any sort of issue with the IRS let alone an audit. If you run into one of these scenarios, you’ll wind up paying far more than you would have if you worked with a professional from the beginning.

Everyone is willing to take some risks, especially small business owners and entrepreneurs.  Being brave enough to start your own business or follow your dreams is a risk in itself.  Don’t jeopardize your dream by cutting corners on one of the most important tasks of every year.  Work with a financial professional and allow yourself the peace of mind to protect what you’ve built.

Contact us today for further information. 

Apple Guerin Company LLC
6421 Perkins Road, Bldg. A, Ste. 1B, Baton Rouge, LA 70808
(255) 767-1020

 

Dental CPAs | 5 Signs You NEED an Accountant

Have you wondered whether you actually need to have a professional accountant? Here are 5 signs that confirm you do:

1) You earn over $200,000 per year – Your odds of being audited once you start earning over $200,000 a year increases to nearly 4%. While this may not seem like a large number, it’s actually an increase of over 300%. Having your financials in order in case this does occur is vitally important once you become a high-earner.

2) You are a business owner or are self-employed – Utilizing the services of an accounting professional is vitally important for any business owner or entrepreneur. Tax laws change annually. The current US tax code has over 7 million words in it. Making sure all of your deductions are included, your assets are depreciating properly, and you are maximizing your tax savings will wind up saving you money in the long run.

3) You are setting money aside for others – When putting money aside for your children, grandchildren, or anyone you want to take care of, it’s very important to use a financial professional to decide which vehicles to use for tax-deferred or tax-free savings. This includes college savings plans or trusts.

4) You are incurring large capital gains tax – The key to success in paying big capital gains tax is paying at long-term rates. An accountant can help you with a Qualified Small Business Tax Credit, minimize your taxes, and help you set long-term payment goals.

5) You are experiencing rapid growth in your business – Not only is keeping your finances up to date time-consuming, it’s also complicated. When you’re experiencing rapid growth, it’s time to call in an accounting professional. Having more customers, employees, and vendors is going to require more paperwork and number crunching and can rapidly become impossible for you to manage.

Apple Guerin Company LLC
6421 Perkins Road, Bldg. A, Ste. 1B, Baton Rouge, LA 70808
(255) 767-1020

Dental CPAs | We Visited the University of Mississippi School of Dentistry

AG Dental CPAs and Advisors visited the University of Mississippi School of Dentistry April 23, 2018, for a lunch-n-learn with the 2018 graduating class. Along with an introductory presentation on taxes, AG Dental’s Jude Guerin and Robby Apple were able to answer questions about the new 2018 tax reform laws. As a way to thank our attendees, AG Dental held a drawing to give away a new Yeti Hopper 30 cooler to one lucky student!

Best of luck to all soon-to-be graduates!

Dental CPA | Claim Financial Freedom

Whether you’re starting a new practice or have been an owner dentist for years, the financial stress that can come from being a business owner can sometimes overwhelm even the most seasoned professionals. Our goal is to help you achieve complete financial freedom so that financial worries don’t interfere with your ability to work well.

Below are some tips you can follow on your own to help build a rock-solid foundation for your practice. Staying organized and up-to-date with your financials allows you to focus on delivering quality care to your patients. Contact our firm today to learn how we can help!

Have a plan. As the popular saying goes, “failing to plan is planning to fail.” In order to see true success, you’ll need to have both short and long-term plans for your practice. How will you allocate new earnings? How is your practice prepared to deal with slow seasons? How are you budgeting for new purchases? If you don’t already have answers to these questions, they could be a great place to start. Planning for the unexpected can help safeguard your profitability from being derailed by unforeseen expenses.

Set goals. Don’t be afraid to dream big. Your practice will only be as successful as you make it. Setting goals allows you to have a clear yardstick to measure your success against and can help you make better financial choices in the present. By recognizing the simple truth that every small decision you make now can have a huge impact on the future, you’ll be able to start setting yourself up for success. Your future self with thank you.

Be Smart. When starting or growing your business, there can be benefits to taking on strategic debt. However, doing so in a manner that will benefit, rather than hinder your growth requires an understanding of the returns you can expect on your investment. Don’t jump into big purchases without a plan, rather weigh the potential benefits and risks of all your financial decisions.

Get Organized. Disorganization can be a killer for any business. In order to ensure you’re not letting anything important slip through the cracks, it’s important to have systems in place that will guarantee nothing is missed. In addition to protecting you from unforeseen troubles, efficient organization can also help bring opportunities for improvement to light. Whether it’s money that could be saved or resources that could be conserved, understanding the ins and outs of your financials can help you to understand exactly how your money is being used.

If you feel that you could improve in any of these areas, our firm is here to help! Our goal is to make the process of managing and running your practice as simple as possible, allowing you to focus on delivering quality work to your patients and growing your business. Contact us today to learn more.

Apple Guerin Company LLC
6421 Perkins Road, Bldg. A, Ste. 1B
Baton Rouge, LA 70808
(255) 767-1020