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!

 

Third Quarter Performance ... in 200 Words (or Less)

The last day of market activity for the third quarter in 2014 comes to a close this evening. Therefore, it’s only fitting to bring you the happenings of the past three months just the way you like it: short, simple and to the point.

Third Quarter Performance: 2014

Jobs

The September labor report is expected to dominate this week’s headlines. Coming out this Friday, it’s estimated that at least 200,000 new jobs were created this month alone, ending the quarter on a positive note from last month’s upset with fewer than 150,000 new jobs.

Real Estate

New home sales rose 18% in August—over 504,000 new home sales across the nation. More growth around the nation prompts builders to believe our current rising real estate trend will continue.

Spending

Consumer spending rose over .5% in August, leading analysts to believe the rest of the third quarter will continue to see consumer spending on the rise.

GDP

46 economic analysts surveyed throughout August and September agree that the expected growth rate of the national GDP at 3% throughout the third and fourth 2014 quarters.

Stay in touch with VAST. 

(177 words - nailed it)

Amazon Local Register: New Sights on Retail

Amazon is expanding its horizons yet again, and industry competitors should (as usual) be concerned. Already dominating the worlds of online book sales, electronics and pretty much anything else that can be purchased, Amazon has set its sights on appealing to small businesses. How so? In a recent article by Forbes, the company led by CEO, Jeff Bezos, has developed a new product aiming to replace mobile point-of-sale systems offered by companies such as Square and PayPal. According to the article, “over 60% of Amazon transactions take place through independent small and medium sized merchants. This represents millions of successful merchants, many that operate retail stores.”

 

Amazon Local Register

Unfortunately for Amazon’s competition, many of these small and medium sized merchants give their loyalty to the company with the lowest price. Because Amazon is indeed Amazon, it can afford to offer prices-per-transaction that are lower than their competition’s. According to the Amazon Local Register website, their rates vs. competitors like Square and PayPal are as follows:

 

 

Amazon

Square

PayPal Here

Swiped Transactions

1.75% Limited Time Offer. 2  2.75%  2.7%

Manually Keyed

2.75% 3.5% + $0.15 3.5% + $0.15

 

As you can see, Amazon’s prices are significantly less than those of its competition. Even after their promotional pricing is over, they expect to set their price-per-transaction rate at 2.5% - the lowest on the market for any devices in the industry.

This is just one component of Amazon’s regimen to dominate the retail market like it did with the online market over the past decade. In addition to Local Register, Amazon offers one-step payment options for merchants. Plus, as the largest distributer of wholesale goods in the world, Amazon has the potential to further their relationship with these merchants far beyond in store transactions.

So, Square and PayPal should most definitely be concerned about Amazon’s moves in the retail market. This is just the beginning.

The New Guys: Our New Virtual Accounting Teammates

There are a few things we go absolutely bonkers for here in the VAST office: watching the clock strike midnight at the end of tax day, chai tea lattes from The Hub, puppies and new additions to the office. Although we don’t have the capacity for a CPO (Chief Puppy Officer) yet, we are happy to welcome our latest and greatest members to our team. The Virtual Accounting New Guy/Gal Roster

Debbie Page, VAST: Tech | Staff Accountant

As a staff accountant at VAST, Debbie is responsible for ensuring all things financial are attended to accurately and in adequate time. When she isn’t scanning your income statements or balancing your cash flows, you can find Debbie racing the streets as a part of the Reno Corvette Club, where she’s been a member for over 2 years.

She has over 20 years of accounting experience … AKA; she’s a bad hombre. But, don't let her extensive background in accounting (or Corvette’s) intimidate you. She also enjoys reading, traveling during the summer, skiing during the winter and donating to the Reno Sparks Gospel Mission in her free time.

Welcome to the team, Debbie.

 

Connor Estep, VAST: Intern

Much like the greats of classical music, this VAST Intern is all about the piano life. Currently an undergraduate student studying accounting at the University of Nevada, Connor hopes to obtain his CPA after graduation.

When he isn’t serenading the ladies with his Beethoven-like piano skills, he spends his time camping, working (and playing) on the computer and, like every other college student, studying.

Knowledge is power, Connor; prepare to learn from our team of the best virtual accountants in Reno (and possibly the universe).

Comcast's Customer Service Debacle: What We Can Learn

Comcast has made headlines in business publications around the nation over the past month; unfortunately, it’s for remarkably terrible customer service. For those who haven’t had enough daily doses of business happenings, Comcast has been ousted for some truly absurd customer interactions.

Here's what happened:

In one viral instance, (the semi) well-known former Engadget Editor Ryan Block recorded being belittled and harassed during an attempt to cancel his service. A report by CNN Money mentioned another instance when former Comcast customer Tim Davis was told a clearly improper charge on his account simply couldn’t be reversed.

None, however, were as bad as Chicago photographer Aaron Spain’s experience, when he recorded himself being placed on hold for three hours when calling to cancel his service. Not only is the customer service terrible, this debacle just happens to be taking place merely weeks before an expected merge with Time Warner Cable. Ouch.

We We Learned as Virtual CFOs

As a virtual CFO and virtual accounting group, there are two valuable lessons the VAST team has taken away from Comcast’s unexcusable customer service.

The first lesson is that regardless of the industry and no matter how long a business has been in operation, the customer still always comes first. In our case, our virtual accounting services exist to make our clients' lives easier, giving them the superb accounting services regardless or their location.

The second lesson to be learned is to continue working as a team and never settle for "good enough." Learning new techniques, embracing new technology and consistently raising the standards of our business is encouraged around our workplace. Also, we want departments that are interdependent to still be informed on the services provided by other departments. Nobody can say whether or not providing a better overall service would have prevented customers from canceling their service with Comcast for sure; however, this entire debacle may have been prevented if Comcast aimed to increase the standards of their company and continue to offer better and better services to their clients.

Around VAST, we believe in working to be the best company our clients have ever worked with, and if we acted as cable providers (which we don't), we'd have the same belief because it's at the root of who we are.

VAST: Proud Sponsor of the Reno Instagrammys

Lights … camera … filter!

The Reno Instagrammys went off with a flash of bling, glamour and smiles as locals from all over the Biggest Little City headed out for a night to raise money for the Holland Project, an all-ages arts and music initiative by young people, for young people, in the Truckee Meadows.

The Reno Instagrammys are more than just a fundraiser, however. In fact, the event stands as yet another marker of the ever-changing music and arts culture fostered here in Reno. And when events like this, in just their first year, pack a full house it’s a sign that the community is all in favor of further fostering that future. With more than 500 participants, 200 event attendees and 50 winners, the night was packed (literally) full of fun.

the Reno Instagrammys

VAST CFO was proud to be a Corporate Sponsor at this awesome inaugural event benefiting the Reno music and art community, raising more than $6k for the musical and artistic wellbeing of Reno’s youth. Better yet, our very own marketing executive slash professional butt-kicker, Chelsie Kern, helped co-found this awesome charity event.

As events such as these continue to grow, whether they be charities for the Holland Project or organized events to promote small businesses such as the Reno MidTown Artwalk, our team here at VAST can’t help but sit back with a sense of pride. While we may not have the opportunity to help every small business in Reno, Tahoe or the surrounding areas, our work ensures that the culture-rich communities formed by small businesses continue to survive.

The VAST team could not have been more proud to see the Reno Instagrammys go off with such booming success. Check out some of our VAST rockstars on the red carpet at this year’s Intagrammys (above).

 

VAST at Bob Proctor's Matrixx

As a small business in Reno that works on the forefront of the virtual financial firms, VAST has some of the best team members in the nation. Each year, we send a representative from our firm to attend a world-renowned professional conference hosted by none other than Bob Proctor.

Matrixx is a quaterly conference hosted in Toronto, Canada where leading professionals from around the world in various industries meet with attendees for a once in a lifetime training opportunity. Between August 18-23 of this summer, conference goers will have the chance to listen, learn and speak with industry leaders to better their professional repertoire.

While you may not recognize the name Bob Proctor off the top of your head, his professional accomplishments are nothing but spectacular. One of the primary teachers in the wildly popular film, The Secret, Bob Proctor has become one of the world’s most sought after professional and motivational speakers. As Doug Wead, former Special Assistant to the President of the United States so eloquently stated, "Zig Ziglar may be the master motivator, Mark Victor Hansen and Jack Canfield of Chicken Soup for the Soul, the master storytellers; Anthony Robbins may be the guru of personal development, but Bob Proctor is the master thinker. When it comes to systematizing life, no one can touch him."

VAST is proud to have had their very own Tanya McCafferey invited to speak at Bob Proctor’s Matrixx for several times now, including the upcoming August Matrixx event. For more information on the Matrixx event and our involvement, please visit their website or contact us at VAST HQ today.

Virtual Accounting: Where you Need it When it Matters

It's the world we live in: everything is digital. From cloud-based document sharing through Google and Dropbox to applications like Venmo offering instant person-to-person financial transfers, it seems that everything will be digital within only a matter of years. And while some things are better left in their old traditional ways, company accounting and financial management is not one of them. Here are the top three benefits that Team VAST brings its clients by granting them access to their finances anytime, any place.

Time-Sensitive Decisions

How many times have you had to check your bank account before making a large purchase? Chances are, more than once. Having access to your company’s financial data when making time-sensitive decision can be the difference between a great new purchase or the cause of your company’s Christmas bonus death. With virtual accounting, you have access to updated information you need when you want it, on your time – not your accountant's.

Financial Safety

Although when you use a certified virtual accounting firm such as VAST you can rest assured that your finances are being protected, it never hurts to know that your money is where it should be. Whether you need to check the status of a transaction or you are just keeping an eye on your accounts, let online virtual accounting lay your worries to rest.

Travel the Easy Way

Using virtual accounting for your small, medium or large business grants you the freedom to travel without the worry of leaving the financial information you need behind. With online virtual accounting services, you have all the information you need no matter where you are, from Berlin to Burbank.

VAST provides small businesses all over the world with the best virtual accounting services. Let us help you transition your finances into the 21st century today. Surely, you won’t regret it.

Beware the Spreadsheet

Microsoft sought to change the world of data organization in 1982 with the release of the computer software, Multiplan. Things, however, didn’t begin as smoothly as they hoped. Lotus, one of Microsoft’s competitors at the time, beat their market share with their own program, leaving Multiplan out to dry. After countless revisions, Microsoft’s Multiplan became the game-changer known as Excel, and, without it, the world of business would not be the same. Nearly every industry uses data-rich spreadsheets in one aspect of company operations or another; however, a recent study found that up to 94% of internal spreadsheets had errors. Therefore, beware of the spreadsheet.

Spreadsheets can be useful for everything from simple budgeting to complex data analyses. Unfortunately, flawed data means flawed results, which can lead to some pretty major issues down the road. This leads accountants (or those muli-hat-wearing employees doubling as accountants) to the question, "why is so much data so flawed?"

The answer lies in self-governing internal departments lacking a check-system. This can be especially true for entrepreneurs and business owners who are managing part or all of their own company finances but don’t have the resources for someone to check their spreadsheets.

So, what’s the solution?

In any regard, proofing your spreadsheets can be an invaluably important process. However, it isn’t always easy to find someone to sort through hundreds of line items to verify their accuracy.

Taking your time and checking your information as you go is one method of ensuring accuracy. Another is blocking your data entry time and then reviewing smaller blocks of spreadsheets at a time so you don’t have to check the whole file at once. Outsourcing your books to professional accountants in Reno is another great option to ensure your books are being kept accurately. Excel changed the game of the business world forever, and for the better. Don’t let foolish mistakes keep your company from the success it deserves.

VAST: Growing the Era of the Small Business

Still recovering from the brunt impact of the Recession, the American economy is once again growing. Business seems to be booming, start-ups are sprouting around the nation at a surprising rate and overall things are looking good. As the economy continues to grow, it’s difficult not to notice the overwhelming support of small businesses in nearly every industry. At VAST, our purpose is to help small business owners maintain accurate financial records for their success, and VAST itself is a small business, so naturally we have some interest in the topic. So, the team at VAST did some digging and uncovered some interesting small business facts. Welcome the era of the small business.

A small business, according to the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), is a business with less than 500 employees. This includes businesses of all shapes and sizes, from sole-proprietorships to companies operating with just a few employees under the national quota.

Whether we all realize it or not, there is a towering number of small businesses in the U.S. today, roughly 28 million in fact. This equates to over 50% of the working population being employed by small businesses around the nation. And whoever said you can’t work in your pajamas? Nearly 22 million of the 28 million small businesses in America operate from the home base of home sweet home.

While corporations surely have their place in the world, the role that small businesses have played over the past two decades is not only surprising but also critical to the growth of our economy. Small businesses alone are responsible for the creation of 65% of new jobs between 1995 and today. This coincides directly with the fact that nearly 543,000 new small businesses are created each month in the nation.

Small businesses are driving today’s workforce, playing a larger role in the economy than ever before. Forbes reports that small businesses in America are not only beneficial for economic growth, but they’re even better for the environment because of their role in promoting local growth rather than national or international.

Needless to say, we are living in the era of the small business and the folks at VAST couldn’t be happier with small business facts like the one we've highlighted here popping up all over the web. Whether you’re purchasing your food from a local organic co-op or getting your morning started with an Americano at the corner cafe, small businesses are a real part of nearly every U.S. community.

For facts and figures, see http://www.sba.gov/

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.

Entrepreneurship Tips: Staying Focused on the Pride of Owning Your Own Business

Simply said, entrepreneurship is not for the faint of heart. Staying motivated, keeping your business above water and living a healthy life outside of your business may not seem overwhelming on paper, but if you've lived it, you know it's enough to swallow you whole. The world of owning your own business can be the most rewarding endeavor of your life, but it can also be the most detrimental. While VAST handles the financial side of small businesses, we do so for the sake of small-business owners so they can stay focused on the heart of their business. We’ve picked our brains to come up with the following entrepreneurship tips to stay grounded when owning your own business.

Remind Yourself “Why”

On a regular basis we hear stories of individuals setting out to achieve their dreams and make a difference in their community through their business endeavors, but all too often they become consumed with the idea of a dollar. When the going gets tough, reminding yourself of why you started your business in the first place can be a breath of fresh air while keeping your morals in line.

 

Stay Grounded Outside of Work

Some of the most successful professionals understand that work is simply work. They are passionate about the work they do because they know the impact of their performance (in the community, at home, etc.), but their professional life is only a small piece of their life puzzle. Spending time with family and pursuing your hobbies--among so many other activities you find passion in--will keep you motivated and grounded inside and outside of the office.

Develop a Trustworthy Professional Network

As the owner of small business, it’s easy to feel lonely and discouraged because you believe you are the only person in your shoes. While in some ways you are, there are millions of entrepreneurs in this world who know your struggles first-hand. Develop a network of similar-minded professionals from all industries and share your successes and your struggles. It helps, trust us.

Entrepreneurship is so rewarding. But at the same time, it can be so difficult. Team VAST takes pride in the work we do for our clients, and we are happy to provide entrepreneurship tips for success. Keep moving and shaking, all you daring movers and shakers!

Mastering Small Business Financial Tips

Wearing all the hats it requires to keep your business operational is enough of a head-trip to have many entrepreneurs ripping at their hair. As if you didn’t already know, managing a small business is a vastly rewarding yet ridiculously tedious process. For those fighting the good fight and persevering through those day-to-day struggles, mastering small business financial tips will benefit you time and time again.

Therefore, it’s important to understand the basics of financial operations facing small businesses, which is the point of this post. While covering all of the necessary areas in small business financial literacy would take a multi-volume encyclopedia large enough to cover the first floors of the national library, Team VAST recommends filling up on the following couple of small business financial tips sooner than later.

Creating budgets may not be the most ideal way to spend your time as an exciting new entrepreneur, but it’s important. Reviewing past and present records to project future operating expenses may be tedious, but failing to forecast how much, where and when your cash is being spent creates all-out pandemonium as your company continues to grow. Don’t expect your budget to match actual spending; in fact, that nearly never happens. Yet, the knowledge of creating and comparing an expected vs. actual budget reaps copious financial benefits.

Keeping track of employee paperwork and financial paperwork (for taxes, loans, etc.) from the beginning is smart. Thoroughly understanding the documents you have on file is even smarter. Familiarizing yourself with these documents will not only build your wealth of financial legal workings but also reduce the stress associated with confusing documents. There is nothing worse than being asked for legal licensing and tax documents from the IRS and drawing a blank when it’s time to deliver.

Whether you choose to outsource your financial responsibilities or not, having a basic understanding of your small business finances and what your accountant is doing for your company is important in many more ways than one. The team at VAST has the financial knowledge and expertise to assist you throughout all stages of your entrepreneurial endeavors. Contact us today to start building your trustworthy bank of financial literacy.

When it comes to small business accounting, the virtual accounting experts at VAST have your back.

Filing a Tax Extension: Your Saving Grace on Tax Day

"The 15th of April": Just saying the date out loud can be reason to cringe.

It’s tax day, and while those over achievers who filed their returns moments after receiving their W-2’s near the end of January have long-since passed off Tax Day, procrastinators the nation ‘round are suffering the blow that comes with realizing that today is … today.

Lucky for you who specialize in procrastination, the end is not as near as you may think. Saving graces exist in many forms, and for you: the tax extension. Filing a tax extension can help you avoid IRS penalties even though your taxes are not 100% complete. Here’s why.

You would be surprised at just how many people have an inaccurate understanding of what exactly a tax extension is. Perhaps, that person is you. A tax extension is essentially exactly what it sounds like: a 6-month extension for submitting your tax paperwork to avoid penalties from the IRS. However, tax extensions only apply to the paperwork portion of your income taxes, not the monetary value that you must pay in the event that you owe money for your personal or company 2014 taxes.

Therefore, estimating the amount you owe on your income taxes is vital to navigating the tax extension slope because although your tax paperwork isn’t due until October 15, 2014, however much you owe for your taxes is due on April 15 (otherwise known as today). The team at VAST gladly assists clients in need of tax estimates when filing extensions, but there are a variety of online tools you may use as well.

Assuming that either you don’t owe anything on your taxes or you have estimated the amount you owe and paid it by April 15, there are several benefits to filing a tax extension. Filing a tax extension not only offers you more time to gather the information and necessary paperwork to file, it also offers your accountant more time to thoroughly file your taxes, which can oftentimes decrease potential for error (not that VAST makes errors, how absurd).

Additionally, filing a tax extension has little to no direct correlation in warranting an audit. While nobody really knows exactly what triggers audits, there is no significant reason to worry that filing a tax extension will doom you to an audit.

Filing a tax extension is a useful, practical way to give yourself more time to file those pesky tax forms. While you still have to pay the amount you owe on your 2014 income taxes by April 15, you can find all of the information to file a tax extension online at the IRS website.

Happy Tax Day! (OK, maybe not happy).

Tips for Starting an Entity in Nevada and Beyond

The time has finally come. You’ve summoned your inner entrepreneur. You’ve “stuck it to the man” like you’ve been telling your spouse and/or best friend you would for the past few years. You’re ready get rolling down the path of starting your own business, and … you feel completely lost.

Fear not! Many have walked this road before, and while it may seem daunting … even impossible at times, you can conquer the struggles of starting your entity in Nevada. Here’s how.

“Fail to plan and plan to fail.” Yes, it may sound cliché, but this statement rings especially true when considering starting an entity in Nevada. From the initial stages of conceptual design to physically writing your business plan, planning is an absolute necessity to starting your business. Unfortunately, there’s no room for that “sway with the wind and follow my heart” mumbo-jumbo here. You can follow your heart wherever it goes, just have a plan when you do so.

After creating your business plan the time comes to register your business with the state. Visiting the Nevada Silver Flume website (a government website for starting new businesses) will prompt you along a series of different questions, such as what type of business you are starting, your business name, a description of your new entity in Nevada and more.

Your new (hopefully soon to be Fortune 500) company is registered, and it’s time to get cracking on the fun stuff: federal and state licenses and registrations. Again, check with the Nevada Secretary of State website for information on which licenses you will need to operate your business legally. Failing to research exactly which documentation you will need can cost you a lot of money in the future, so doing it right the first time is imperative. Researching business practices and state laws are also important during this time, so don’t forget about those either.

Once you’ve officially registered and licensed your business, let the financing begin. No stage is more important than the other when starting an entity in Nevada; however, this must be done correctly and effectively. From choosing an accountant (such as VAST) or establishing company operating plans and bank accounts, how you handle the financial side of starting your business may determine how it ends as well. Set yourself up for success and consult a professional.

While choosing a location, equipment and employees requires insight specific to each operation, you’ve already began to walk on the racetrack of small-business ownership. For more information on the steps listed above, you can also visit the U.S. Small Business Administration Website. As always, feel free to consult VAST with any questions regarding your entrepreneurial endeavors to learn how we can assist you when starting an entity in Nevada and beyond.

Small Business Accounting: Setting a Strong Foundation for Success

The terms “accounting” or “financial analysis” are often dull enough to put business owners to sleep or frightening enough to send them screaming from a room. In reality, managing company finances can be among the least sexy components of starting your own business; however, establishing methodical and accurate financial habits now will only reap success for your company in the future. Similar to the progression of college math classes, accounting practices only become more complex and varied as your business advances. In order to establish a secure financial foundation that allows your business to grow, keep the following tips in mind for your entrepreneurial ventures.

New business owners often forget that borrowed money must be accounted for before when considering profitability. To fund startup assets such as buildings and equipment, borrowing money is common practice; forgetting to account for the money used to acquire those assets, unfortunately, is common practice as well. Although having more equipment to increase revenues may seem profitable, failing to analyze the value of equipment compared to the revenue can cause confusion and an inaccurate interpretation of your company’s finances. Taking the time to understand your debt-to-profit ratio in the early stages of your business will help maintain that ratio as your company transforms from a small to medium-sized business.

Although it may seem mundane, tracking your company’s breakeven point from the start is crucial to creating a sound financial foundation. Take advantage of the small number of transactions when your doors first open to understand your breakeven analysis thoroughly. By doing so, you’ll have a more comprehensive understanding of the analysis when revenues and expenses begin to increase. All too often small business owners find tracking their breakeven point unnecessary during the first stages of business; when business increases, they find themselves too confused to establish a breakeven analysis, resulting in financial pandemonium.

Company accounting tends to snowball as business grows. Practices that at first appear easy to understand often become more complex over time as assets, debt, transactions and profits increase. Establishing a strong financial foundation during the first months of business is crucial to maintaining financial literacy and achieving success. While VAST welcomes clients throughout all stages of their business’s life cycle, it’s never too early to start building your company’s financial foundation for success.

Small Business Accounting and much, much more ...

VAST offers small business accounting as well as many higher level accounting services for larger businesses. To find out which of our products are best to set your business up for success, visit our products page.

Online Bookkeeping Services: The Wave of the Future, Now

Small business owners are exceptionally well known for their ability to wear more than one hat around the office. From entrepreneur to marketing director to the occasional role of office handyman, they seem to be capable of doing it all; without letting a twirling plate hit the floor. However, when your business’s accounting is one of the spinning plates, you run a hefty risk of major setbacks.

In this post, we’ve listed some of our customer’s most common frustrations with DIY small business accounting.

The Mixup: How to Keep Personal and Company Finances Separate

As a business owner you are responsible for both personal and company finances. While it may suffice for the first few weeks, months and sometimes years of operation, independently managing these finances may prove detrimental to your company’s financial well-being. Combine this common DIY-method accounting error with the rest of the responsibilities that come with owning a small business and it’s only a matter of time before financial errors begin to appear and spread inaccuracy.

To Zig or to Zag: Accrual vs. Cash-Based Accounting

How hard can it be to differentiate which accounting method to use? Surprisingly, very. At-a-glance differences may appear to be minimal, but the accrual and cash-based accounting methods vary indefinitely. While one accounts for services at the time of operation, the other accounts for revenue when cash has been collected, regardless of the time of service. When choosing the DIY method of small business bookkeeping, selecting the wrong method can cause confusion and ultimately lead to damages.

Is it a Case of Tomato/Tamato?: Differentiating Between Cash Flow and Profit

Off the top of your head, can you name the difference? If not, you may need to reevaluate your current bookkeeping situation. Although the two appear to be similar, confusing cash flow and profits is one of the leading complications small business owners face when handling their own bookkeeping. Having positive cash flows does not mean your business is profitable, but many small business owners make the mistake of thinking so every day.

The Solution: Online Bookkeeping

So, how do we recommend resolving these issues? Through a convenient and secure service brought about by advanced technology: online bookkeeping. Whether you are just opening doors or your business has been operating for years, an online bookkeeping service is beneficial to business owners of all types. As a vital component to your company’s health, bookkeeping and accounting is not an area worth cutting corners. DIY style bookkeeping for small businesses is a way of the past; online bookkeeping is the way of the future. At VAST, the future is now.

Easy, Accurate, Done: Outsourced Accounts Payable in Reno

Managing your business’s accounts payable can be a daunting and often annoying nuisance. When managing your own finances as a small business owner, it can feel as if there simply aren’t enough hours in your day stay on top of it all, leading to unnecessary stress, unorganized financial documents and sometimes fiscal penalties when dealing with suppliers and manufacturers; all of which can really dampen your Danish (if you know what we mean).

Fortunately, VAST makes managing accounts payable easy, accurate and done. As just one of the many services we offer, VAST understands the benefits that come with outsourced accounts payable, and our Fortune 500 expertise ensures satisfaction and exceptional results. Although a recent study from the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) found that small business owners worry that using outsourced accounting, (also known as virtual accounting) may disrupt executive control of finances and managerial practice, the results prove otherwise.

Allowing VAST to take control of your accounts payable in Reno (or wherever your business is based) can reduce financial errors while allowing you to enforce business rules and limits that prevent employees from making costly mistakes. Whether your accounts payable includes basic costs or a laundry list of expenses, allowing a professional to manage your accounts payable offers abundant benefits.

VAST offers full-service, across-the-board virtual accounting services; however, we can accommodate working with your internal CPA should you choose--no problem. As virtual accounting becomes more widely used by businesses everywhere, you can count on VAST to stay ahead of the game, providing the best service for outsourced accounts payable and all things virtual accounting.

Choose VAST to ensure managing your accounts payable is easy, accurate and ultimately, done.

VAST; Offering Outsourced Accounts Payable in Reno

VAST is proud to offer reliable outsourced accounts payable in Reno and beyond. While we may be headquartered in Reno, Nevada, our services are available country-wide, with global options pending. For outsourced accounts payable in Reno (or anywhere else), or a full spread of virtual accounting services. Please contact us to get started today. VAST, sounds like ‘fast,’ feels like trust.