From the October 2010 Issue
Completing those projects you promised yourself you would complete before the end of 2010 should be high on the list of most accountants toward the end of the year. Thanksgiving and Christmas seem to take over many companies in November and December, so accountants planning ahead should realize that October is the last full month before the holiday season begins. New initiatives, which begin in early 2011, must be planned now to ensure that you and your company have a smooth year-end close. If you combine the impact of the holidays with the extra work due to the year-end closing process, after this month, many accountants will have very little time to work on project implementations until February of 2011. In the event you’ve lost that list of things you promised yourself you would do, here are some ideas for consideration:
1. CLEANING UP PERPETUAL INVENTORY RECORDS
Many organizations that have inventory on hand use a “periodic” inventory system, where they only know the correct quantities on hand for items on the day of the physical inventory count. Other companies know that their perpetual inventory records are not reliable, and instead of trying to maintain the records properly, they allow problems such as negative on-hand quantities to create errors in unit cost records. If your organization doesn’t have an accurate, real-time inventory by item, you may be missing sales of products you have, and could be promising products to customers when you cannot deliver because you don’t have them on hand. Peachtree supports all major inventory costing methods, including FIFO, LIFO, Average Cost, and specific identification, and also supports advanced features like serialized inventory tracking and automated item reorder generation.
2. IMPROVING THE QUALITY OF INFORMATION RELATED TO MANUFACTURING AND PRODUCTION ACTIVITIES
While the accuracy of item level inventory records is a concern for many manufacturers, accurate reporting on the item-level costs associated with production runs of individual items can help managers identify and correct problems in the production process, saving time and increasing efficiency. Specialized manufacturing industry versions of business management applications like Sage Peachtree Quantum – Manufacturing Edition (which is bundled with the MISys manufacturing information system) can help companies better report, monitor and track production cycle activities.
PAYROLL SERVICE PROVIDERS
Accountants frequently express frustration with payroll services at points during the year when they don’t have the time to re-enter the year-to-date information needed to implement a new payroll service. Public accounting professionals who currently offer or who are considering offering payroll services in 2011 should be selling to new payroll customers now and adjusting their internal processes to accommodate any new payrolls to avoid “crisis” situations around the end of the year.
4. IMPLEMENTING A “CAFETERIA” (IRC §125) PLAN, A FLEXIBLE
SPENDING PLAN, OR OTHER EMPLOYEE BENEFITS
Companies may want to consider ways to reduce payroll and income tax liabilities for both the company and employees by providing the option to pay for insurance, child care and out-of-pocket healthcare costs on a pre-tax basis through arrangements such as cafeteria plans and flexible spending accounts. Since many of these plans are required to report on a calendar year basis, there will be a surge of activity with most providers around the end of the year, and it may not be possible to get the assistance needed to effectively implement some of these plans if the process isn’t started now.