The year 2020 started out on a positive note for me, as, I had recently received the Sedona Chamber of Commerce & Tourism Bureau’s “2019 Customer Service Excellence Award.”
The beginning of each year is always busy for me as I run year-end financial reports for many of my clients in order to check for any bookkeeping errors they may have made. In addition, if needed, I assist my clients in preparing 1099s to send to all service providers that are not incorporated and were paid at least $600 in total for the year. For 2021 the IRS made a change, and they now require the use of a 1099 NEC form instead of a 1099 MISC form to send to independent contractors.
After helping many of my clients get their year-end bookkeeping in order, business usually slows down for me once April has passed. This past year, even with the pandemic causing havoc for many businesses, my business continued to flourish all year long, and I had my best year ever. I worked with 96 clients this past year – 43 new clients and 53 clients who I worked with previously.
As my specialty is training individuals and small businesses to effectively use QuickBooks, once they are trained, many of my clients no longer need my services. However, some clients have me come monthly or every few months to help them reconcile their accounts and help them with bookkeeping issues. Other clients only have me come once a year to review their financial reports for the previous year before they send these reports to their accountant to file their taxes. And some clients I work with on a continuing basis doing their bookkeeping. I work with clients in their home or office, in my home office, or virtually using Zoom.
As I work primarily with QuickBooks, I do want to mention that every year QuickBooks Online continues to improve, and I now recommend clients use this software instead of using one of the QuickBooks Desktop applications. Most of my clients can use the least expensive online version of QuickBooks, which is called QuickBooks Online Simple Start, and costs $25 a month. But for clients with a more complicated business, they need to use QuickBooks Online Plus, which costs $70 a month. The QuickBooks Pro desktop version of QuickBooks costs around $200 to purchase, and you will need to purchase a new version every three years so that you are able to continue downloading transactions into QuickBooks from your online bank and credit card accounts.
Most of my clients, who have been using QuickBooks for years, are using the desktop version. For individuals that have never used QuickBooks, and want to learn how to use this program, I explain the differences between the online and desktop versions, and most of them choose to use the online version. I am a QuickBooks ProAdvisor, and I have passed the certification exams for both the online and desktop version of QuickBooks, so I feel equally comfortable teaching my clients to effectively use either of these programs.
Up until a couple of years ago, I would very occasionally recommend that a client use Quicken to manage their business finances. I only recommended this for very simple businesses, such as real estate agents. But I stopped recommending Quicken a few years ago because my Quicken clients were having a lot of problems with this program. I used to use Quicken to track my personal finances, and I have always used QuickBooks for my business finances. But I stopped using Quicken, and switched my personal financial record keeping to QuickBooks because of problems I was having with Quicken. In the past year, I helped a few clients move from Quicken to QuickBooks. Some Quicken clients started the new year using QuickBooks, and kept their old data from previous years in Quicken. Other clients had me export their Quicken data to QuickBooks so that all of their financial data is all in one place.
In late 2019 I expanded my services to include helping individuals and small businesses get more organized. In early 2020, I presented seminars at the Sedona Chamber of Commerce & Tourism Bureau’s administrative office and at Yavapai College. These seminars were: Using Gmail Effectively, Using Google Contacts Effectively, Using Google Chrome Effectively. The seminars were well attended, but I stopped offering them once the pandemic started. Helping individuals and small businesses get more organized is a small part of my business (Shor Solutions), but I hope to do more of that kind of work this year.