What is Small Business Saturday?

Thanksgiving is close, real close. Before we know it, we’ll be together with friends and family gathering over one of the largest meals of the year.

Thanksgiving in America has some surprisingly vast financial numbers, just think about the record year in 2010 when American consumed a staggering $4.6 billion worth of turkey, two thirds of which came from Thanksgiving alone. But, what is even more impressive are the shopping stats that come from the shopping days following Thanksgiving.

While you’re preparing to get down on some roasted turkey, cranberry sauce, stuffing and pumpkin pie, we want to remind you of a part of this holiday that many people happen to look over: Small Business Saturday--the brick and mortar version of Black Friday, the busiest corporate shopping day of the year.

What is Small Business Saturday?

Small Business Saturday was orignially created by American Express in 2010 as a campaign to urge consumers to support small businesses in contrast to the large spending at corporate stores on Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

At the time, American Express had accounts with Facebook, who in turn promoted the campaign to its merchants through rebates and online advertising efforts. These social media and PR strategies resulted in over 1 million Facebook likes and endorsements from at least 41 local politicians.

As a firm believer in empowering small businesses across the nation, VAST stands behind Small Business Saturday as a perfect opportunity for Americans to support small businesses.

So, this Saturday, when the malls are overflowing from the hustle and bustle of the holiday weekend, don’t forget to stop by the local small businesses in your community with your support.

Happy Thanksgiving from Team VAST!

 

VAST is an ambitious, cutting-edge virtual accounting firm based in Reno, Nevada ... with clients worldwide. 

Tesla Gigafactory in Reno: What This Means for Reno's Economy

Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla Motors, is a man with a vision. From pioneering the luxury car revolution to breaking ground on the forefront of space travel and hyperspeed transportation services throughout the world, he has already accomplished more in 43 years than many accomplish in a lifetime. On September 4, 2014, Musk announced that Nevada would be the new home of his $5 billion “gigafactory” responsible for producing high-tech batteries for his electric vehicles. The first (and largest) factory of its kind, its construction is estimated to bring tremendous economic growth to the Reno area, the factory's closest major city in Northern Nevada.

VAST HQ resides here in Reno, and now that the initial glamour and excitement over Tesla’s giga-announcement has settled, economists have analyzed the factory's expected economic impact on the Northern Nevada.

 

Tesla Gigafactory in Reno: What the Economists Say

Jobs: In the next five years, Tesla is expected to boost jobs in the Reno and surrounding economies. While the Reno/Tahoe area may already be well known among Tesla’s executives as a favorite for weekend getaways and vacation homes, an estimated 6,500 more employees (new and existing) will soon call Reno their home.

Economic Growth: Tesla’s new factory marks a major step in the right direction towards establishing Reno as the new high-tech city it’s striving to be. Over the next two decades, an estimated $100 billion economic impact is expected in Reno. According to the Governor’s Office for Economic Development, that’s about a 20% boost in 20 years.

Economic Diversification: Reno is no longer just the slot machine, shotgun-wedding town it used to be. With a revamped downtown area and Startup Row well underway, the Tesla move will only further Reno’s diverse economic makeup … which can only mean good things for the area.

In all reality, Tesla’s gigafactory has the potential to, and likely will, change the Reno economy forever. While some analysts say the economic impact might be overstated, there is no denying that big changes are on the horizon as Tesla’s gigafactory, and the other companies it attracts, set out to make Reno their new home.

The VAST Virtual Accountants Award for Breaking the Glass Ceiling

For those who are unfamiliar with the term, the U.S. Department of Labor defines the glass ceiling as "the unseen, yet unbreachable barrier that keeps minorities and women from rising to the upper rungs of the corporate ladder, regardless of their qualifications or achievements." While anti-discrimination laws designed to dismantle the glass ceiling do exist, they are often enforced in lax or non-existent ways. In light of the modern day where equality is being fought for on social, political and professional platforms, women around the nation are working harder and working smarter to become pioneers in industries long-dominated by men. Women who redefine their industries, women who work not only for themselves, but also in the name of women’s rights and the idea that gender should not and cannot hold them back.

The VAST team is all about progress; therefore, it only seemed fitting to highlight a woman who has made waves in the field of technology for women around the world.

Esther Dyson

The VAST Award for Breaking the Glass Ceiling

Known as the most influential woman in technology, Esther Dyson is no stranger to challenging the status quo.

She enrolled in Harvard at the age of 16. She attained immense success as a reporter for Forbes. She’s even a trained cosmonaut (what? woah). In the male-dominated technology industry, there’s really no one like her.

According to a May 2014 article by the BBC, Esther has built her empire by investing in new technology for decades—one of few female tech investors of the century.

As the CEO of her own company, EDventure Holdings, Esther spends her time today investing in new business models in the areas of health, technology and even aerospace. She works to help men and women around the world through her investment in companies aiming to boost health practices through advances in technology.

Esther Dyson has rocked the tech industry from the day she stepped onto the field after graduating Harvard. She has shown the world success can, and will, be achieved by anyone in any field through hard work, ingenuity and innovation.

Esther Dyson, our hats go off to you from the team at VAST for all you have achieved and what is to come from all that you’ve done!

 

Navigating Small Business Financial Forms

So the time has come for your small business to begin growing. While hiring new employees often means increased business, a reason for singing from the rooftops, the process can be confusing and downright scary to small business owners navigating the system for the first time. Federal and state penalties can be harsh, so the need to follow new-hire processes to the T is a must. At VAST, our motto is help small business owners do what they do best while we handle their financial and accounting duties. Here’s the lowdown on hiring new employees and the frightening small business financial forms associated with growing your small business team.

Apply for an Employee Identification Number

Your EIN allows your employees to file taxes. This is super simple, and can be done in a few minutes online or by phoning the IRS at 1-800-829-4933.

Create a Record System for Employee Taxes

The IRS requires quite a few different records to be held for all company tax information, the most common being a 4-year record for tax documents. Create a system now to avoid confusion and lost information in the future. The three main tax documents you’ll need to hold onto are for federal income, federal wage and tax and state taxes (depending on your state).

Verify Your New Hire’s Credentials

Employers are required to complete the I-9 form for employment eligibility. This form is needed to confirm that your new employee is indeed a citizen and available for work. While this form doesn’t need to be submitted to the government, employers are required to hold onto them for three years after the hire date or one year after termination, whichever comes later.

 Register with Your State’s New Hire Program

All employers must register new employees with their state government within 20 days of hiring new employees.

Worker’s Compensation Insurance

Companies are required to carry worker’s compensation insurance, and for good reason. This will protect you and your employees in case of an accident.

Spread the Word

As a new employer, you are required by law to post informational notices in the workplace that explain a worker’s rights on the job as a U.S. Citizen. Avoid a future fine and post that poster.

Tax Time

Filing taxes is never fun, but neither are the penalties associated with doing them incorrectly. Depending on your company, you’ll need to submit a few different tax forms.

Stay Organized

As employees continue to grow alongside your business, establishing a system to stay organized for all of your forms by year, employee or some other sorting system is key. Preare yourself when you first begin to grow for your own future benefit.

Small business financial forms can be confusing, but there is a plethora of information available online regarding all the different forms you might need as an employer. Visit the U.S. Small Business Administration, the IRS website or contact your local virtual accounting firm (that’s us!) with any questions you might have.

4 Startup Accounting Tips for the New Entrepreneur

Recently named as 1 of 3 Alternative Tech Startup Cities by Entrepreneur.com, Reno, Nev. has rapidly transformed throughout the past decade to transcend its former personality of a shadier Las Vegas. Therefore, it only seemed fitting that in the midst of our hometown’s up and coming identity transformation, VAST would provide some startup accounting tips tailored for entrepreneurs. While entrepreneurs may be eager, ambitious and talented, most often they are not experienced accountants. Here are 4 simple yet effective startup accounting tips for new entrepreneurs.

Plan for Long-Term Expenses

Forecasting future expenses can be difficult; however, it’s really important. More often than not, they’re also really expensive. It can be nearly impossible to account for technology upgrades, new equipment and new employees without budgeting for them from the beginning.

Beware

Money is incredibly valuable when first beginning operations. So, when that money is stolen or misused, the repercussions of not acting fast can be detrimental to your business. Always check your financial statements for any type of fraudulent activity and act immediately in the event you find something out of place.

 

Track Your Marketing Efforts

It can be easy to gauge whether your startup is profitable, but it can be frustrating and difficult to determine which marketing strategies are worth continued investment or a kick to the can. Keeping track of online interactions through Google Analytics and social media software can help you determine what is actually worth spending your money on.

 

Use a Professional

This may be the most important startup accounting tip for entrepreneurs. While business is growing and profitable, convert your financial accounting to a professional team. The cost of employing an accounting service is far more affordable than many would think, and the benefit far outweighs the cost. Eventually the time will come to hand over the hat of CFO; do it before it’s too late.

VAST works with professionals to let them do what they do best: running their small business, and that includes letting entrepreneurs keep on dreaming of the next new thing. Take these startup accounting tips for entrepreneurs and continue making Reno the Biggest Little Startup City it has the potential to be.