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Smith Office Solutions, Inc.

February 2012


In this issue
Important Dates
Feature: Part-Time Controller
Preventing Fraud and Identity Theft
Last Chance to Check on Your Minimum Wage this Year
Social Security rates for Employees
Probable Requirement for Reporting on the Affordable Care Act
QuickBooks Tip of the Month


Make sure you check the important dates.  One may be romantic but not so much the other dates. 


We brought more government information about minimum wages, the Social Security rates and possible reporting information the Affordable Care Act and your employees. 


Our feature article is on the need for a part time controller.  How important are they?  Well they could turn your business around by a concentrated beginning and a much smoother life of the business down the road.
We have created a website specifically for our bookkeeping services,, and will keep more for our consulting & training services.  A third website for office space and conference room rentals can be found at:

Important Dates:


2/2     Groundhog Day

2/14   Happy Valentine's Day

2/15   Payroll Tax Deposit due for Monthly Depositors

2/20   President's Day 

2/29   Federal & State forms must have been sent to the appropriate agencies (W-2, W-3, State W-2s, 1099s, 1096s, W-R (Oregon or annual report to other states) 

2/29   Federal Government need to have decided what to do with Social Security.  You may be deducting more for Social Security.  


April 2012  QuickBooks 2009 Payroll Services are no longer supported by Intuit and you will be required to move to 2012.  If you are using Online Payroll Services you do not have to move up to 2012.  Online Payroll is not recomended for Job Cosing companies by Smith Office Solutions.


Feature Article: Part-Time Controller 

As a small business owner(s) you probably find yourselves constantly busy and sometimes overwhelmed.  Is your company profitable as you would like it to be, if it isn't do you really know what is causing the problems?  Many small business owners find themselves doing the bookkeeping.  If even the company has a bookkeeper, do they really know what bookkeeper is doing and is correct.  A controller is a very important part of a large company.  Small companies can not usually afford to hire a controller. According to Accountemps a controller's salary are around $100,000 - $125,000 last year.  Part-time controllers are the answer.  They may cost a bit more per hour but that is because the need isn't constant, just part-time.  A controller is going to have at least a bachelor degree in accounting with other business studies such as marketing, personnel & industrial management, strong computer skills, finance, statistics, inventory, job costing accounting and many more.  A controller is going to have experience in business with a possibility of experience in CPA firm(s).  Can this person really add value to your company? Yes, Yes, Yes. 

  1. The first job of the controller should be reviewing your financial & operations to see what needs to change.
  2. Then make a plan & a timeline to move your company in the right direction.
  3. They should be able to put that timeline into effect in a short period of time.
  4. They should be able to track the process and the results numerically.
  5. When all systems are working correctly they should be providing reports to management on all levels of the conversion.
  6. As time goes on they should be looking for even better systems that can show cost effectiveness. After all their objective is to protect the assets of the company.

Duties of a Controller:

  • Prepare accurate and timely financial statements
  • Assess, design and set up accounting systems to ensure effective and efficient recording of accounting transactions
  • Evaluate and recommend changes to internal controls
  • Identify critical success factors and ways to measure them
  • Monitor adherence to established operating procedures and internal controls
  • Prepare/review general ledger accounts to ensure the integrity and accuracy of accounts
  • Manage and perform accounting and month end closing
  • Assist in analysis of Buy vs. lease decisions
  • Manage fixed asset accounting and reporting
  • Manage cash flows, collections and payments
  • Provide management with financial and operational information vital to the decision-making process including revenue streams, costs and margins
  • Review and analyze results for operational management
  • Facilitate management meetings
  • Hire, train and retain competent accounting staff
  • Effectively develop and manage accounting staff
  • Assist with tax functions as well as special projects
  • Coordinate activities of external auditors
  • Prepare support schedules for year-end work papers
  • Perform other assignments as directed

(Duties according to Right Path Business Advisors) We agree pretty much with the descriptions. 



Smith Office Solutions NW, is constantly looking for ways to help you in this economy.  Call us and let us give you a bid.


Preventing Fraud and Identity Theft


Most companies keep information in their files that identifies their customers or employees, including names, Social Security numbers, credit card , or other account data.  This information is usually necessary to process payroll and perform routine business functions.  However, if this kind of information falls into the wrong hands, it can lead to fraud, identity theft, or similar issues.  Smith Office Solutions wants you and your customers to be protected from these costly issues.


A sound data security plan to prevent fraud and identity theft is built on 5 key guidelines.  Over the next few months, Smith Office Solutions will give you the knowledge you need to ensure the security of your client's and employee's information.


First Guideline:
Take stock and know what personal information you keep in your files, and on your computers.

Effective data security begins with assessing what information you have in your files and identifying the employees who have access to it.  Knowing how personal information is handled in your company and who could have access to it is important to finding weaknesses in your data security.  Remember that your business can receive personal information in a number of ways; including through websites and from contractors.

Take an inventory of computers, laptops, mobile devices, flash drives, disks, digital copiers, and other equipment to find out where your company stores sensitive information.

Also, take an inventory of the information you have by type and location.  Where do you keep personnel data or tax return information?  Who has access to these files?  Access to some kinds of data is restricted by laws; do you know what regulations pertain to your business?


The following questions should be answered during your inventory of the sensitive information your company keeps:

1. Who sends sen­sitive personal information to your business?

2. How does your business receive personal information?

3. What kind of information do you collect?

4. Where do you keep the information you collect?

5. Who has-or could have-access to the information?


Different types of information present different risks.  Pay particular attention to how you keep the information used most often to commit fraud or identity theft: Social Security numbers, credit card or financial information, and other sensitive data.  If you would like more information on this topic, contact us.  We would love to work with you to develop and implement a sound data security plan. 


Next issue we will present:

Guideline two: Keeping only the information you need to run your business.

If you haven't checked this out, you may be behind in your minimum wages due to the increase on January 1, 2012 if you have employees in the following states. 


Do you read the messages that Quickbooks provides on it's regular payroll program?  If you don't, you might want to look at the following.
"New State Minimum Wages in January 2012

Several states have updated their minimum wage requirements for 2012. These increases will be effective January 1, 2012.

Arizona: The state minimum wage increased to $7.65 per hour from $7.35.

Colorado: The state wage increased to $7.64 per hour from $7.36. The minimum wage for tipped employees also increased from $4.34 to $4.62 (in addition to tips).

Florida: The minimum wage increased from $7.31 per hour to $7.67. The minimum wage for tipped employees also increased from $4.29 to $4.65 (in addition to tips).

Montana: The state wage is going to $7.65 per hour-an increase from $7.35.

Ohio: The minimum wage increased to $7.70 per hour for non-tipped employees and to $3.85 per hour for tipped employees (in addition to tips). However, for employees whose employers gross $283,000 or less per year (and for minors ages 14 and 15 years old), the minimum wage is $7.25, which is equal to the federal rate.

Oregon: The minimum wage increased from $8.50 an hour to $8.80.

Vermont: The state minimum wage increased from $8.15 an hour to $8.65 an hour. The minimum wage for tipped employees also increased from $3.95 to $4.10 (in addition to tips).

Washington: The state minimum wage increased 37 cents to $9.04 per hour. "


It is really important to have you look at any messages relating to changes for Federal & your state.  As owners of the company, it is not enough to say "I didn't know."

What will the Federal Government do with the  Social Security tax rate this year?


At this point the 4.2% will last through February 29, 2012.  We will watching QuickBooks.  It would be nice to know before February 29, 2012.  If you have questions contact us at 503-579-8059.

Reporting for Employer-Provided Health Plan Coverage are you required to file this information next year on your W-2s.
Intuit is following this requirement.  The links are not active because we copied this off the Intuit "Payroll update info button".  The button is on the Get Payroll Update down near the bottom of the Employees menu.

"A new tax tracking type has been added so you can track the cost of group health plan coverage reportable on Form W-2, box 12 code DD.  This new tax tracking type can be used beginning with tax year 2012 and for reporting on your employees 2012 Forms W-2. For additional information, click here. (21201)"



"Action Required: If you are an employer who will be required to report the cost of group health plan coverage on your employees Form W-2 for tax year 2012, please refer to the document Health Coverage Reporting User Guide for QuickBooks for detailed instructions. (21201) 

If you're not sure your company is required to report the cost of group health plan coverage or you want more information about Employer-Provided Health Coverage Informational Reporting Requirements, visit the IRS website. (21201)

Note:  Employers choosing to report, but are not required to report, the cost of group health plan coverage may also refer to the Health Coverage Reporting User Guide for QuickBooks. (21201)

As Intuit's Payroll Newsletters we will share more information.  On this topic we believe that it will hit smaller businesses 2013."


"Disclaimer: The information contained on these pages is meant to provide general information about the payroll process. It is not intended to provide comprehensive tax or legal advice and does not modify or extend the service guarantee to any Intuit product or service. You are responsible for consulting with your own professional tax advisor, accountant, and/or attorney concerning your business' specific concerns." 


QuickBooks Tip of the Month


Exporting QuickBooks reports into Excel spreadsheets


Sometimes, you may want to send the report as an e-mail attachment or change the appearance or contents of a report in ways that are not available to you within QuickBooks.  Fortunately, QuickBooks has an easy way of solving this problem; export your report to Excel. Once your report has been exported, you can use any of the tools available in your version of Excel to sort and filter the data, or change the look or contents of the report.


To export a report to Excel, just follow the four easy steps below:

  1. Open the report you want to export
  2. Click Export in the options at the top of the report
  3. Choose whether you want to create a new workbook or add the report as a new sheet in an existing workbook on your computer
  4. Click the "Export" button; QuickBooks will automatically open Excel for you.

What information gets exported into Excel?

  • All data contained in the report, just as it is displayed on screen
  • Any formulas for subtotals, totals, and other calculations
  • Row labels that describe the contents of each row
  • Any headers and footers from the QuickBooks report

Using this feature of QuickBooks is a simple way to create a more customizable report for your business needs. If you need an even greater level of customized reporting, contact us. We can set up a wide variety of professional, customized reporting that will make running your business in the dark, a thing of the past.



Last month:  "What San Francisco landmark is located between Filbert St., Union St., Stockton St., and Columbus Avenue?"
Answer:  Washington Park 


This month's Questions:  "What do you get if you cross a chicken with a cement mixer?"


See ya next month!
Answers given next month


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