2015 and Beyond: The New Formula for Success!


We just returned from the annual conference, led by the Woodard Group, for the National Advisor Network, the QuickBooks® ProAdvisor group trained and certified by Intuit. Fiscal Foundations, LLC is the leader of the local chapter of ProAdvisors here in Minneapolis/St. Paul. We were fortunate to hear and participate in discussions with leaders in small business consulting and accounting. Simply put, the trends are: moving to the cloud, and automating data entry. Many industries have shuttered at the idea of their jobs going away because of automation, but the accounting industry and small business will welcome this change. How many of us love the hours we spend entering checks, credit card charges, bills, and invoices. How many hours and how many dollars does your company spend on this activity every year?

Accounting is still the most important, and yes, often most ignored task in small businesses. It’s great to develop wonderful products and services, to be out there selling and earning more money. But without accounting, you don’t actually know how well (or poorly) you’re doing. What’s your profit margin? What’s selling and to whom? Who are your best customers? How much repeat business do you have? How much could you have? Which products should you abandon? What expenses are eating up your hard-earned profit? What are you doing wrong? How do you recognize your business going downhill? On what basis can you make wise, effective business decisions that will help you and your family accomplish your dreams? But here’s the beauty of this evolution.

Your business become more efficient because:

* You can focus on understanding and putting your numbers to work for you instead of putting all your time into data entry.

* Accounting reports are more real time than 10-30 days after the fact. When something is going wrong, you need to know NOW!

* Less money spent on data entry. There will be a cost for the apps that do this work, but you can expect it to be considerably less than staff wages or subcontractor fees.

* Technology costs decrease overall. Moving your data to a cloud service reduces hardware and software costs, reduces IT services needed, provides you the latest software, and ensures your data is protected by higher levels of security than you could ever achieve in your own office.

* You can access your accounting files and other data from anywhere with your PC or other mobile devices.

* You can actually create a paperless environment saving a lot of time, space and clutter in your office.

Over the next 12 months, watch for our reviews on various apps that work with QuickBooks® to simplify your accounting work. We will also schedule webinars to show you the apps, how they work, and how they can simplify your procedures and accounting. Sign up with www.meetup.com and http://www.meetup.com/Free-QuickBooks-Workshop/ to receive notice of these demonstrations. It’s FREE! We have over 900 members in our Meet Up Group so sign up early whenever you receive an invitation.

For more information or questions about how these capabilities can help your business, call my partner, Jennifer at 651-324-2273.

Linda Logan

Founder/Partner/Educational Director

Fiscal Foundations, LLC

Introducing Strategic Business Services (SBS)

Linda and I are thrilled to announce the introduction and roll-out of Fiscal Foundations Strategic Business Services (SBS).  This is a new division of Fiscal Foundations.  As you know, all of us at FF are committed to helping small businesses and non profit organizations succeed – and we do this by ensuring that our clients have accurate and timely accounting information.  SBS allows us to provide additional services that go beyond the scope of accounting consulting, bookkeeping and QuickBooks setup and training.

SBS includes the following:

·         Competitor product pricing and features research and analysis

·         Preparation for debt or equity capital raising

·         Sales and PowerPoint presentation coaching and analysis

·         Lead generation, sales process and revenue creation analysis and guidance

·         Company and product strategic positioning

Strategic Business Services will be led by Kelly Coughlin, MBA and CPA (see attached bio). Kelly is former CEO of a company of which he founded, sold and served as CEO for 12 years. He has over 25 years of experience in strategy, marketing, sales, finance and accounting. Kelly has the unique ability to not only grasp and understand the big picture, but can convert any complicated business transaction to a journal entry.

We need your help in introducing  SBS and Kelly Coughlin.

Linda and I encourage you to contact Kelly at (612) 232-6640 directly with any questions, comments or thoughts. We are offering a free consultation to those who are interesting in exploring how Kelly can help your company leap to the next level.  And as always, please feel free to contact either Linda or me anytime.

MN Unemployment Audit – 1099 Independent Contractors

Just went thru another Minnesota Unemployment audit with a client. Ugh. No one wants to see the audit letter or the auditor. This auditor gave me hope by giving me explanations in plain language on how to treat 1099 independent contractors – no matter what the “contractor” is trying to convince you of. A true 1099 contractor will provide a W9 with their Federal ID tax information and a business name (not just their name and Social Security number). Armed with the W9 and a business name, you can feel confident…whoops…maybe not. Does this person/business use your place of employment to work, use your equipment, work your specific hours, works under your supervision? Then this is NOT an independent contractor, but an employee and you need to withhold tax and report earnings on a W2 and the end of the year. If this person is an independent contractor, then you will issue a 1099 form and no tax will be deducted from the amount paid.

Hope this helps you make a decision on your contractors and employees. Thanks to the tax man!

Sandy VonDeLinde

Questionnaire for Assessing Church Bookkeeping Needs and Preferences

Provided by Fiscal Foundations, LLC
[For questions, call Linda Logan, 612-387-8619]

Tracking member contributions
Each year a church tracks and reports total donations made by each member. Usually a letter or report is sent during the first half of January informing members of the amount of their donations they can claim on their tax return. The church may have a special church software for tracking and reporting these donations by donor. The database is probably complete with names, addresses, amounts, and dates of donations, and has reporting capability built in. If this kind of database is used, it may not be necessary to duplicate this detailed information in the QuickBooks®. Donation totals can be recorded on bank deposits by date, but need not be broken down by individual, therefore saving time on bookkeeping data entry.
1. Does the church have a separate donor database software application? YES ____ NO ____
2. Can that detail serve as backup/support data for the accounting data? YES ____ NO ____
3. Do you prefer to enter only totals of donations in QuickBooks® rather than detail by donor? YES ____ NO ____
4. If you prefer donor detail information to be entered into QuickBooks®, do you need Donor Contribution Reports printed out of QuickBooks® and sent to members? YES ____ NO ____

Church Annual Budget
Each year the church board and management prepare an annual budget. The budget can be recorded in QuickBooks®. To assist the planning process, QuickBooks® can create a new year’s budget based on the previous year’s numbers. That budget template can be exported to Excel and then modified for the new year’s needs. Knowing past income and spending patterns speeds up the planning process, keeps the budget realistic, and Excel is easy to use for creating what-if scenarios.
1. Does the church prepare annual budgets? YES ____ NO ____
2. Do you also need Department Budgets? YES ____ NO ____
You can set up budgets by class in QuickBooks®. “Class” would be the departments or funds that you would like a budget for. Once Department Budgets are set up, we use the same “Class” designations to track income and expenses, and can run Budget to Actual reports for the departments and for the whole church budget as well.
1. Would you like to regularly review Budget to Actual Reports? YES ____ NO ____
2. Would you like Budget to Actual Reports for:
a. Whole organization budget Monthly ____ Quarterly ____ Annual ____
b. Department budgets Monthly ____ Quarterly ____ Annual ____

Overall Organization Financial Reports
Each month, the board reviews the church financial reports: Income Statement, Balance Sheet, Cash Flow Statement. These reports can be titled per the board’s preferences. Standard non-profit titles are:
• Statement of Financial Activity – This is the Income Statement or Profit and Loss Statement listing all revenue and expenses.
• Statement of Financial Position – This is the Balance Sheet showing assets, liabilities and equity accounts. Standard names for equity accounts are:
o Permanently Restricted Net Assets (usually investments that provide dividend income)
o Temporarily Restricted Net Assets (same as designated funds for specific usage)
o Unrestricted Net Assets (general operating funds)
• Cash Flow or Fund Balances Report – If “Class” tracking is set up in QuickBooks®, with classes being the funds, a report (spreadsheet) can easily be set up and maintained by pulling data from standard and customized QuickBooks® reports and plugging in the values to the spreadsheet showing:
Beginning Cash Balance Revenue Received Total Funds Available Expenses Paid Out Ending Balance

From QuickBooks®, you can print out an Income/Expense report by department/fund (class) and enter the totals right into the spreadsheet.
1. How often does the board/management review financial reports?
2. Which reports do you want to review?

3. How would you like the reports titled?

4. Would you also like accounts payable or receivable reports or any other reports?

Department/Fund Management Reports
1. Would you like to have Income & Expense reports for specific departments/funds? YES ____ No ____
2. List the departments/funds you track and for which you need reports. These will be listed on the Class List in QuickBooks® and provide the filter basis for sorting data into departments/funds.

Bookkeeping/QuickBooks® Customization Needs?
Here are the QuickBooks® consulting services we can provide to help you improve and maintain your bookkeeping records and procedures, and to meet your goals for accuracy and completeness of the data you’ll give to the board for periodic reviews and to your CPA for year-end reporting. This detailed reporting will help you make wise decisions to guide your organization. Check off the tasks you need help with.
_____ Review your QuickBooks® file and recommend needed revisions and customization to improve accuracy and efficiency. We can provide instructions for what to do or do some or all of it for you.
_____ Add Classes to your QuickBooks® Lists.
_____ Ensure the Chart of Accounts includes all accounts needed for your reports.
_____ Customize and memorize reports you want to review regularly.
_____ Customize the Icon Bar for ease of use and efficiency.
_____ Write QuickBooks®/bookkeeping procedures as needed to implement new data entry/report generation tasks.

For a free phone consultation and needs assessment, call :
Linda Logan, 612-387-8619
We can provide onsite help in the above areas or remote assistance anywhere.

St. Paul Pioneer Press Article – Fiscal Foundations is quoted.

St. Paul Pioneer Press Article - Fiscal Foundations Quoted

St. Paul Pioneer Press Article – Fiscal Foundations Quoted

Receipt Printer can save time, money and space

Using QuickBooks Pro, Premier, Enterprise or POS provides you with the opportunity to use a receipt printer for the smaller professional looking receipts to hand to a customer upon receiving payment.


This is a great option for the retailer to provide the customer with a professional receipt with all the details. It also makes providing the receipt a one step process into your accounting records. No more hand written receipts and the time spent entering the information at a later date into QuickBooks. Your inventory is current with every receipt.


Time and money are closely related…All employees will be using the same procedure and items list to provide a legible receipt. It will have a date, payment method and items purchased along with the correct taxable and non-taxable totals, making it much easier to balance out your daily sales as cash, checks or credit cards. Having consecutively numbered receipts reduces the opportunity for employee fraud and theft.


The receipt printer can be at your sales counter and measures 5 ½” x 8”. It will connect to the computer ringing the sales into your QuickBooks program. The printer does not need expensive ink cartridges since it uses thermal paper which can be purchased at your local office supply store.


I have set up the receipt printer for businesses who wanted the ease of receipts but were not ready to make the jump to the POS system. Now they have the smaller receipt, current inventory transactions recorded at the time of sale and no longer have to do “after the fact” sales entries into QuickBooks Pro, Premier or Enterprise. If you want your business to give off the air of success – print it out for your customers to take with – a professional looking receipt.

I can customize your sales receipts and have you up and running in less than a day!

Please call Sandy VonDeLinde at 612-245-8979 for more information.

Managing Trust Accounts with QuickBooks

For lawyers and real estate agents—
Managing Trust Accounts (Iolta Accounts) with QuickBooks®
Attorneys and real estate agents often hold client or third party funds in trust and are responsible for tracking the receipt and dispensation of these funds. The purpose is to safeguard these funds from loss. The monies belong to the clients/third parties and cannot be co-mingled with company funds. A separate bank account is set up to hold the funds. Careful record-keeping is required to demonstrate that no improprieties occur in the handling and managing of these funds. If such were to happen, penalties are severe even to the point of suspension of licenses or disbarment.
As many law firms and real estate agencies use QuickBooks® for bookkeeping, we’ve developed a Chart of Accounts and procedures for our clients to use to satisfy their bookkeeping needs for these accounts.

Because the trust funds cannot be comingled with company funds, open a separate bank account and list it separately in the Chart of Accounts, i.e. Client Trust Account. This is a bank account that will be reconciled each month. An immediately realized problem is that this bank account may hold funds from a large number of clients/third parties. How do you track each party’s funds and know their individual balances at any given time? You may be required to give an accounting of the fund transactions for a given client at any time. We recommend setting up a subaccount of the Client Trust Account for each separate client.

 Chart of Accounts
 Acct No               Account                              Type          Balance
1000        Checking – Operating Funds         Bank         12,300.00
1010        Savings Account                            Bank         25,000.00
1100        Client Trust Account                       Bank         55,000.00
                1105        Andersen, Robert           Bank         10,000.00
                1110        Cardian Corporation       Bank         25,000.00
                1160        Logan, John                    Bank          7,010.00
                1190        Wilkins, Mary & Ralph     Bank        12,990.00

Because these monies cannot be comingled with company funds, there must be a liability account to offset the asset account (Client Trust Account). Name that account “Client Trust Liability” and set up matching subaccounts that correspond to the subaccounts under Client Trust Account.

Chart of Accounts
 Acct No           Account                                                    Type              Balance
1000               Checking – Operating Funds                    Bank            12,300.00
1010               Savings Account                                       Bank            25,000.00
1100               Client Trust Account                                 Bank            55,000.00
                        1105               Andersen, Robert              Bank             10,000.00
                        1110               Cardian Corporation         Bank             25,000.00
                        1160              Logan, John                        Bank              7,010.00
                        1190              Wilkins, Mary & Ralph       Bank            12,990.00
2000             Accounts Payable                                        Liab               -7500.00*
2100             Client Trust Liability                                   Liab              -55,000.00*
                      2105             Andersen, Robert                  Liab               -10,000.00*
                       2110             Cardian Corporation             Liab              -25,000.00*
                       2160             Logan, John                            Liab               -7,010.00*
                       2190             Wilkins, Mary & Ralph         Liab                -12,990.00*

*The minus signs on the liability accounts are just there to remind you that liabilities are credits while assets are debits, so on the Balance Sheet, they will zero out. In your QuickBooks® Chart of Accounts, none of these accounts will actually have a minus sign in front of the balances.

The balances in the Client Trust Liability accounts must always match the balances in the Client Trust accounts. If not, find and correct the transaction(s). Once you understand what the transactions are, you’ll know how to fix them.

1. You receive a $5000 check from Robert Andersen to be deposited into the trust account. Record a bank deposit into Client Trust subaccount 1105 Andersen, Robert, crediting Client Trust Liability subaccount 2105 Andersen, Robert.
2. You invoice a client for your services and withdraw funds from the Trust account to pay the invoice.

Your invoice will record the following transaction: Debit Credit
Accounts Receivable 1000.00
Legal Services 1000.00

Receive a customer payment:
Undeposited Funds 1000.00
Accounts Receivable 1000.00

Record a bank deposit entering the following debits and credits:
Checking – Operating Funds 1000.00
Undeposited Funds 1000.00
Client Trust Liability:Andersen, Robert 1000.00
Client Trust Account:Andersen, Robert 1000.00

3. Client receives a judgment for $8500 against him that must be paid to John Smith. Pay the judgment out of the trust account with a check payable to John Smith:

Client Trust Liability:Andersen, Robert 8500.00
Client Trust Account:Andersen, Robert 8500.00

4. Now that the case is closed, return the remaining $500 in the trust account to the client:

Client Trust Liability:Andersen, Robert 500.00
Client Trust Account:Andersen, Robert 500.00

Notice that every transaction in or out of the bank account, Client Trust Account:(Subaccount,) has a corresponding debit or credit to the Client Trust Liability:(Subaccount), so that the balances in these accounts always equal each another, one as a debit and one as a credit.

Describe every entry in detail in the Memo fields of the transactions. If required to report the activity of the trust account(s), customize, memorize and print a Customer Transaction Detail report formatted per this example:

Robert Andersen Trust Account Ledger

Type Date Num Name Memo Clr Debit Credit Balance
Client Trust Account
Andersen, Robert
Deposit 01/02/2012 Client check #1000 deposited into Trust account  10,000.00 10,000.00
Deposit 01/31/2012 3457 Andersen, Robert Paid Legal Fees for representation in court Smith vs Andersen  1,000.00 9,000.00
Check 02/18/2012 3458 John Smith Paid court awarded settle to John Smith Case #49776  8,500.00 500.00
Check 02/18/2012 3459 Andersen, Robert Return remainder of trust funds to client  500.00 0.00
Total Andersen, Robert 10,000.00 10,000.00 0.00
Total Client Trust Account 10,000.00 10,000.00 0.00
Client Trust Liability
Andersen, Robert
Deposit 01/02/2012 1000 Andersen, Robert Client check #1000 deposited into Trust account 10,000.00 -10,000.00
Deposit 01/31/2012 3457 Andersen, Robert Paid Legal Fees for representation in court Smith vs Andersen 1,000.00 -9,000.00
Check 02/18/2012 3458 John Smith Paid court awarded settle to John Smith Case #49776 8,500.00 -500.00
Check 02/18/2012 3459 Andersen, Robert Return remainder of trust funds to client 500.00 0.00
Total Andersen, Robert 10,000.00 10,000.00 0.00
Total Client Trust Liability 10,000.00 10,000.00 0.00
TOTAL 20,000.00 20,000.00 0.00

Once a client’s trust account is closed, make the corresponding subaccounts inactive. This will prevent clutter in your Chart of Accounts. By purposeful design of the Chart of Accounts, carefully positioning accounts and subaccounts, you can make use of a “collapsed” Balance Sheet or “expanded” Balance Sheet. An “expanded” Balance Sheet, showing all the individuals’ trust accounts is good for verifying that trust and trust liability accounts have matching totals. A “collapsed” Balance Sheet would not list the individual trust accounts. There would only be a total balance for the Client Trust Account and the Client Trust Liability account. This form of Balance Sheet is more suitable for partners or lenders reviewing the firm’s financials.

This is a great QuickBooks reference book…

How to start your new business with QuickBooks®

QuickBooks® is the most valuable tool you’ll purchase to help you build a successful business. As a business owner, you must know how your business is performing on a daily business. Managing cash flow is the major challenge of a new business; and QuickBooks® will help you stay on top of it and make smart decisions to keep you in business and grow sensibly.

For a very small investment, you’ll have a very robust accounting system that can handle all your business needs. Managing accounts receivable and accounts payable, reconciling bank and credit card statements, managing inventory, paying employees and handling payroll tax deposits and reporting, tracking and paying sales tax correctly, job costing, managing programs and funds if you’re a nonprofit, using a Point of Sale system, manufacturing products, or managing field services – QuickBooks® can do it all!

QuickBooks® was designed for the non-accountant. It’s easy to learn and use and there are local experts to help you set up, learn and maintain your accounting system and bookkeeping. While this is absolutely true, we do recommend that you call on a QuickBooks® ProAdvisor right at the beginning to help you:


  • Select the right version of QuickBooks® software for your business or nonprofit
  • Customize your Chart of Accounts to ensure your financial reports give you the information you need
  • Set up sales tax tracking. Mistakes in this setup will be costly. It must be set up correctly, and then it will be easy to report and pay your taxes on time. No penalties or interest!
  • Set up payroll accounts, payroll items, and employee records. This is another area in which you cannot afford mistakes. The secret to success is proper setup by someone who understands the applicable taxes, the rules for paying and reporting taxes, the tax implications of various benefit programs, how to handle child support and other garnishments, and who can train you to process your payroll or suggest how best to handle it.
  • Set up inventory items, assemblies, builds, or group items if applicable to your business.
  • Customize QuickBooks® preferences and Icon Bar to your efficiency. (Accounting is critically important, but it doesn’t produce sales; so while you must do it, it shouldn’t take more time than necessary.
  • Customize reports for maximum information about your business and one-click accessibility
  • Show you how to enter all your transactions correctly.

With this personalized support, your new business will be off and running toward success! AND you’ll feel in control of your business and free of the stress that comes from the worry and uncertainty. Whenever you encounter a problem or have a question, your ProAdvisor will be familiar with your business and can provide you quick answers or onsite help if you need it!

As soon as you’ve decided to start your new business, call us at 651-324-2273. Jen will answer your questions or connect you with a ProAdvisor from our staff who can! NO CHARGE FOR THIS CALL! We’ll help you make the right choices!

How Long Should I Keep Paper Documents?

Just because you have entered your data into QuickBooks, doesn’t mean you can throw away the paper copies.  You are obligated to keep them.  It’s important to know how long you should keep your paper documents.  Here’s a great website with a complete list of documents and how long they should be kept.  http://www.skocpa.com/document_retention_recommendation.htm