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Calling In Sick

Posted by barbie on August 28, 2017

Calling In Sick

When I turned 14, I was so excited to get a job and start earning money for myself. My first job was working at Danna’s Barbecue, a small restaurant in Branson, Missouri. One of the first things I learned was that jobs aren’t always a walk in the park. There were some days where I didn’t want to go to work, I just wanted to stay home and lounge around all day. However, my dad taught me the lesson of hard work and staying true to your word. If I was scheduled to work that day, I was going to work. He told me, “Don’t be the guy that calls in ‘sick’ on Mondays and Fridays.” He was a manager at several different businesses, and he told me that the employees that were the most successful were the ones that were committed to their job. The ones that consistently called in sick around the weekends did not last very long.

From the employer side of things, most businesses do not know how to react when an employee calls in sick. Taken from an article written by Alison Green of US News in which she spoke with attorney Bryan Cavanaugh, he states, “It is reasonable for a manager to ask an employee what is wrong. Otherwise, it would be a no-questions-asked sick leave policy, and that would quickly be abused. Asking what is wrong requires the employee to give a brief and general explanation about why he or she is absent, e.g., the employee’s child is sick, the employee has a general illness, or the employee has a major or minor injury.”

A key exception to this is if the reason for your absence is a medical condition that is protected under the Americans with Disabilities Act. The ADA offers protections to employees with physical or mental impairments that substantially limits one or more major life activities, such as seeing, hearing, speaking, walking, or breathing.

So what do you do about the employee that calls in every third Monday? Well, a business owner or manager cannot get into the business of deciding whose excuses are legitimate and whose aren’t. However, there can be policies put in place in an employee handbook to mitigate the abuse. For example, there can be a section added to the vacation/sick policy talking about frequency of sick days taken. Most employers will not let an employee take more sick time than they have accrued, and if they still take a sick day they agree to take the day unpaid. Another policy is that the employer can set a time frame for calling in sick, such as half an hour before the start of the workday. Lastly, employers could apply a progressive discipline policy. When an employee starts abusing their sick time, it could start with a verbal warning, followed by a written warning, then to suspension, and finally termination of the employee.

At Abacus CPAs, we can help your business, set solid procedures for events like these and many others found within the day-to-day operations. Contact us today at 417-823-7171 and let our team help you be prepared for whatever may come your way.

 

Kasey Bippert

Staff Accountant


The Abacus ALIGN Process

Posted by barbie on August 14, 2017

The Abacus ALIGN Process

by John Helms, CPA, CFE

 

I’ve heard it multiple times from new clients: “We felt like we had a closer relationship with the mail man than our CPA.  We would mail in our tax documents and a month or two later get a packet back with a bill to the IRS and a bill to our CPA.  There was no understanding, just a stack of papers”. 

At Abacus CPAs, LLC we want to have long-lasting, mutually profitable relationships with our clients.  We would never want our clients to feel helpless in their financial or income tax situation, so we created the Abacus ALIGN process to make certain that your relationship is with your accountant and not your local mail carrier.

There are four components to the Abacus ALIGN process:

Available:  Abacus CPAs, LLC works diligently to be available to our clients.  We realize that your financial needs may not fit neatly into an 8:00 am -5:00 pm Monday through Friday schedule.  We are available to you by appointment before or after hours and often on weekends.  We also realize that when you have a question you need a quick response.  Your Abacus team is standing by ready to answer your questions when you need them.

Listen:  Most of our meetings begin the same way, “Tell me what is going on.  Tell me about your goals and your concerns in your ability to achieve them.”  The most valuable part of a client-accountant meeting is the input of the business owner or individual, not the preconceived notions of the accountant.  We begin our sessions by letting you talk first.

Innovate:  Accounting has come a long ways since counting beans and recording financial history.  Abacus CPAs, LLC uses innovative strategies to help you achieve your financial goals.

Guidance:  After you have shared your goals, questions, and concerns, your Abacus associate will spring into action by providing you the best possible guidance so you can make smarter decisions.

Next:  So now what?  This year is in the books and now it is time to look ahead.  Your ALIGN session will conclude with a look to the future, and a discussion between you and your accountant on how you can be where you want to be, faster than you expected.

We realize that it is a busy time of year, but there is no better time to hold your Abacus ALIGN session than now.  Feel free to contact Abacus CPAs at 417-823-7171 or www.abacuscpas.com and we would be happy to assist you.


Great Apps for Business

Posted by barbie on June 27, 2017

In the fast paced world of today’s business, sometimes it can be hard to find the time to stay at your desk throughout the entire day. Thankfully, there is no shortage of apps that allow us to conduct business on the go. Here are a list of some the best apps for businesses.

• QuickBooks: Many businesses today use QuickBooks online as their primary accounting software, but many of those users are not aware that there is a phone app that is included in your subscription. This app has the same functionality as the online version, so you can pay vendors, view reports, and even upload pictures of receipts.

• Square: Does your business have a need to make sales remotely? Square allows you to do just that through the use of their app and a small card reader that you can attach to your phone. You just enter the amount to charge your customer, have them swipe their card, and the money will be deposited into your bank account after a 2.75% service fee. Another great feature of this app is that it can be linked to your QuickBooks to automatically post the sales as they are made.

• Trello: This app is great for organizing all of your projects in one place. You can create different cards that can be viewed by yourself, or by multiple members of a team. These cards can be edited with comments, attachments, pictures, and checklists to allow you to keep ideas or track your projects.

• Abacus Access (NetClientCS): This app, along with the version located on www.abacuscpas.com, allows you to safely and securely upload documents, supply payroll information, and even fill out a tax organizer to be sent directly to Abacus CPAs. The app version of Abacus Access also allows you to upload pictures of your documents, so you can quickly and conveniently provide us with all of your required information. Additionally, Abacus uploads your tax returns for you to view and print for your needs.

If you would like to learn more about ways Abacus CPAs can help your business grow, contact us at 417-823-7171 or at www.abacuscpas.com.


Why a Large Tax Refund Might Not be Best

Posted by Abacus on April 3, 2017

Every year millions of Americans rush to file their income taxes as quickly as possible.  For most of them, their excitement isn’t centered on their desire to expedite their civic duty, but to collect their annual income tax refund from the IRS and state taxing authority.  So what’s the harm?  Here are a few reasons why it might not be the best to count on that huge refund at the end of the year.

Interest Free Loan to the government:  The most obvious reason it is best to limit an end of the year refund, is you are essentially giving an interest free loan to the government.  Think of it this way, you are paying the government through withholdings all year long just to get them back many months later through a refund.  Wouldn’t it be best for you to keep your money all year long?

At the mercy of the government for your refund:  Government agencies do not guarantee a quick turnaround of your refund request.  A perfect example is what happened in Missouri for the 2013 tax year.  As of mid-June 2014, there were over a quarter of a million income tax refunds pending for the 2013 tax year.  Why the delay?  The state did not have the cash to pay the refunds. 

Tax Fraud:  Tax return fraud is a problem that is only getting bigger every year.  Fraudsters obtain the Social Security Number of taxpayers and use it to file fraudulent income tax returns on their behalf.  The income tax return(s) always show a large refund, which is direct deposited into the fraudsters account.  While this normally doesn’t financially impact the taxpayer, it will slow down their legitimate tax refund by months.

For most people, the solution to ending the quest for the annual refund is adjusting their W-4 with their employer.  If you are married with two children, it is not likely that you need the same withholding as a single person with no dependents.  The IRS has created a tool to help you fill out your W-4, the free calculator can be located at:  https://apps.irs.gov/app/withholdingcalculator/.

If you would like to learn more about your tax refund, contact us at 417-823-7171 or at www.abacuscpas.com.

- John Helms, CPA, CFE


It’s the time of year to BE CAUTIOUS!

Posted by Abacus on March 22, 2017

One of an identity thief’s favorite times of year is tax season! This is the time of year we all need to be cautious with phone calls, emails, and mail that we receive. During this time everyone is filing tax returns and waiting on the IRS to be in contact with them about what we owe or what refund we may get. Most of us are afraid of the IRS, so we will do whatever they ask of us to avoid getting in trouble with them. So if they ask, we tend to give them whatever they ask for.  This includes giving bank account numbers, social security numbers, credit card numbers, etc. Criminals know this, so this is the time of year they use to act as the IRS agents and try to get us to give up our information. This doesn’t just extend to individuals, they target businesses as well. Many businesses and accounting firms have received emails that include attachments from a hacker trying to get ahold of information or emails asking payroll employees to give employee names and other information.

Here are a few tips to help avoid the scandals:

  1. Do not open any attachments on an email that you are uneasy about.

    • If you receive and email from a sender that you have never had contact with and there is an attachment…DO NOT OPEN IT! This does not only extend to people that you are not in contact with though. If you receive an email from a coworker or friend but it’s unlike anything that they have ever sent you, be aware also. This is a time to use your instincts and be very cautious. Contact your IT department or contact the sender if you can to find out if the email is real or a scam.

  2. If the IRS emails or calls you it is a scam.

    • The IRS does not email or call. All of their information is through mail. Never give information over the phone or by email. If you do you are giving it to an identity thief. However, this does not mean that if you receive a piece of mail from the IRS you automatically respond without caution. If you receive a piece of mail from the IRS asking for information, make sure you call the IRS about the piece of mail that you have received to make sure they are needing this information. They are happy to let you know if what you have received in the mail is from them or a scam.

  3. If you are a business owner, have an IT department ready to handle scam emails.  

    • If you own a business then the best protection to have is an IT department that will help you shut down hackers if email attachments are accidently opened. This can save you time and money if a hacker is successful, your information can be compromised and then a recovery process will have to begin. This results in losing hours or days of work.

If you follow these tips and your instincts, they can help prevent you from being a victim of the identity theft scandals that are going around our country during this time. If you have any questions or concerns about identity theft during tax season, contact us at 417-823-7171 or at www.abacuscpas.com.

-Bailey Cannon


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