MARIELA RUIZ, CPA, PLLC

Helping Individuals and Businesses Financially Thrive.

Accounting Ethics: Upholding Integrity and Professionalism in the Field

Accounting ethics are the cornerstone of trust and credibility in the financial industry. As accountants, maintaining integrity and professionalism is not just a regulatory requirement but a fundamental aspect of our responsibility to clients, stakeholders, and the public. Adhering to a strict code of ethics ensures that financial information is reported accurately and transparently, fostering confidence in financial markets and business operations. In this month’s blog, we discuss the importance of ethics, integrity, and professionalism as an accountant.

Ethics and Reputation

Upholding integrity in accounting involves consistently applying ethical principles such as honesty, fairness, and objectivity. Accountants are often entrusted with sensitive financial information and are responsible for making decisions that can significantly impact businesses and individuals. Ethical dilemmas, such as conflicts of interest or pressure to manipulate financial results, can arise, making it crucial for accountants to adhere to professional standards and guidelines. By committing to ethical practices, accountants ensure that their work reflects true and fair representations of financial situations, thereby protecting the interests of their clients and the public.

In addition, adhering to accounting ethics is paramount in building and sustaining a corporation’s reputation. Ethical accounting practices, such as transparency, accuracy, and honesty in financial reporting, instill confidence among stakeholders, including investors, clients, and regulatory bodies. When a corporation is known for its integrity and ethical standards, it gains trust and credibility in the marketplace, which can lead to enhanced investor confidence, customer loyalty, and a stronger competitive edge. Furthermore, ethical conduct in accounting helps prevent scandals and financial misstatements, which can severely damage a corporation’s reputation and lead to legal consequences.

Related: “Accounting Mistakes That Could Harm Your Small Business”

Staying Professional and Updated

Professionalism in accounting goes beyond technical competence and includes a commitment to continuous learning and adherence to ethical standards. Accountants must stay updated on changes in laws, regulations, and industry practices to provide the best possible service. This includes maintaining confidentiality, exercising due diligence, and providing objective, unbiased advice. Overall, this ensures that accountants can effectively navigate the complexities of legal requirements, minimize the risk of non-compliance, and avoid potential penalties for their clients. A commitment to ongoing education and awareness not only enhances the accuracy of financial statements, but also positions accountants as reliable advisors who can anticipate and respond to regulatory changes.

Conclusion

At MARIELA RUIZ, CPA, PLLC, we believe that ethical accounting practices are essential for the success and sustainability of businesses. Our commitment to integrity and professionalism is reflected in everything we do, from financial reporting to advisory services. We invite you to experience our dedication to ethical excellence firsthand. Visit our website at mruiz-cpa.com call us at (956) 997-0067 to learn more about how we can support your financial needs with the highest ethical standards. Rely on us to be your trusted partner in achieving financial transparency and success.

Gross Income Before and After Taxes: Key Differences Explained

Understanding your salary may seem like a daunting task, but it’s actually quite straightforward once you grasp the disparity between gross income before and after taxes. When we talk about your salary as CTC (Cost to Company), we refer to it as gross pay, whereas the amount you actually receive in your account every month is termed as net pay. But what exactly is the disparity between gross income before or after taxes? In this month’s blog, we will shed light on this crucial financial concept.

Gross Income Before or After Taxes: What’s the Difference?

Gross income before taxes refers to the total amount of money you earn before any deductions such as income tax, Social Security, or Medicare. It’s essentially the full amount agreed upon in your employment contract, also known as your gross pay or CTC.

On the other hand, gross income after taxes is the amount you receive after deductions for federal, state, and local taxes, as well as other deductions like retirement contributions and health insurance premiums. This is commonly referred to as your net pay.

Calculating Gross Income Before or After Taxes

To calculate your gross income before taxes, simply add up all sources of income, including your salary, bonuses, commissions, and any other forms of compensation. This total represents your gross pay.

Calculating gross income after taxes involves a bit more complexity. You start with your gross income before taxes and then deduct federal income tax, state income tax (if applicable), Social Security tax, Medicare tax, and any other deductions required by law or chosen by you. The resulting amount is your net pay, which is what you actually take home.

Related: Learn more about why it’s important to hire a tax expert here.

Gross Income for Freelancers And Self-Employed Individuals

Unlike employees who have a clear-cut figure in their employment contract, determining gross salary for freelancers and self-employed individuals can be more variable. It encompasses not only the fees they charge for their services but also factors such as business expenses, overhead costs, and fluctuations in income.

Also, it’s crucial to acknowledge that only income received within the tax year is factored into the gross income calculation. Therefore, any outstanding payments owed by clients or customers to the business are not factored into the gross income for that particular tax year until they are received.

Related: Learn more about bookkeeping for freelancers and self-employed individuals here.

Let MARIELA RUIZ, CPA, PLLC Help You!

Understanding gross income before and after taxes requires expertise and precision, especially for freelancers and self-employed individuals. MARIELA RUIZ, CPA, PLLC is here to calculate your gross income, manage your tax obligations, and handle your overall financial strategy. Visit our website at mruiz-cpa.com or call us at (956) 997-0067 to schedule a consultation and optimize your financial management today.

Bookkeeping for Freelancers and Self-Employed Individuals

For freelancers and self-employed individuals, managing finances effectively is crucial for the success and growth of their business. Unlike traditional employees, freelancers must handle their own bookkeeping to track income, expenses, and taxes accurately. By establishing sound bookkeeping practices, freelancers can gain better control over their finances, make informed business decisions, and ensure compliance with tax obligations. Let’s explore some essential tips for freelancers and self-employed individuals to streamline their bookkeeping processes and manage their finances efficiently.

Keep Your Personal and Business Finances Separate

One key aspect of effective bookkeeping for freelancers is to separate personal and business finances. Maintaining separate bank accounts and credit cards for business transactions can help simplify record-keeping and ensure that business expenses are properly tracked. Tracking income and expenses diligently is essential for monitoring cash flow, identifying tax-deductible expenses, and preparing accurate financial statements. Utilizing accounting software or cloud-based bookkeeping solutions can streamline the process and provide real-time insights into the financial health of the business.

Develop an Organized System

In addition to tracking income and expenses, freelancers should also stay organized when it comes to invoicing and payment tracking. Sending invoices promptly, setting clear payment terms, and following up on outstanding payments are essential practices for maintaining a steady cash flow. Keeping detailed records of client invoices, payments received, and expenses incurred can help freelancers monitor their financial performance, identify opportunities for growth, and prepare for tax season efficiently.

Related: “Tips For Keeping Accurate and Organized Financial Records”

Asset and Legal Protection

Maintaining accurate financial records not only helps freelancers and self-employed individuals make informed business decisions but also plays a crucial role in protecting their assets and ensuring legal compliance. By keeping track of income, expenses, invoices, and receipts, freelancers can demonstrate transparency and accountability in their financial dealings.

Proper documentation of financial transactions can provide protection in the event of an audit, dispute, or legal challenge, helping to safeguard assets and mitigate potential risks. Additionally, accurate financial records can serve as evidence of income and expenses in the case of legal proceedings, contract disputes, or tax inquiries, offering a layer of legal protection and ensuring financial stability for freelancers and self-employed professionals.

Rely On an Experienced CPA

Ready to take control of your finances as a freelancer or self-employed individual? Contact MARIELA RUIZ, CPA, PLLC in Mission, TX, for expert bookkeeping and accounting services tailored to your business needs. Our team is dedicated to helping freelancers and self-employed professionals manage their finances effectively and achieve their business goals. Visit our website at mruiz-cpa.com or call us at (956) 997-0067 to schedule a consultation and optimize your financial management today.

How to Avoid a Tax Surprise with Your Remote Work Policy

Working from home has been an emerging trend in recent years. It’s a policy that offers incredible flexibility and productivity as per the latest statistics. However, amidst the comfort of home offices, it’s crucial to stay vigilant about potential tax surprises that could lurk in the shadows. In this month’s blog, we’ll help you navigate the tax system and show you how to keep tax surprises as unwelcome guests.

Understanding Home Office Deduction Rules

You may have heard that taking the home office deduction sends a red flag to the IRS and raises your chances of being audited. So first, let’s see if you’re qualified or not for a tax deduction.

  1. If you’re an employer: Your home office must be used exclusively for work, and it should be your primary place of business. Keep meticulous records of your home office expenses, like utilities, internet, and maintenance, to maximize your deductions when tax season rolls around.
  2. If you’re an employee: You unfortunately don’t qualify for the home office tax deduction (some states do allow this tax deduction for employees). Before the TCJA, employees were allowed to deduct taxes, but, starting from the tax years 2018 through 2025, these deductions have been removed.
  3. If you’re self-employed: If you’re a self-employed taxpayer, you’re qualified for these write-offs. The IRS permits you to subtract 50% of your entire self-employment tax from your tax filing.

Track and Document Expenses Thoroughly

When it comes to taxes, documentation is your best friend. Whether it’s equipment purchases, software subscriptions, or office supplies, keep detailed records of your expenses. These records not only help you claim legitimate deductions but also serve as a robust defense in case of an audit.

Related: Learn more about when to consider a financial audit for your startup here.

Review Your Payroll Withholding

Remote work might affect your tax withholding, especially if your employer is located in a different state. Consult with your HR department to make sure your payroll withholding aligns with your current work situation. Adjustments may be necessary to avoid overpaying or underpaying taxes.

Consult a Tax Professional

When in doubt, seek professional advice. A tax professional can provide personalized guidance based on your unique situation, ensuring that you’re taking advantage of all available opportunities while avoiding potential pitfalls. The investment in their expertise can pay off in the long run.

Related: learn more about why it’s crucial to hire a tax expert here.

Conclusion

At MARIELA RUIZ, CPA, PLLC, we are here to help you stay informed and proactive, ensuring that your work-from-home experience remains financially smooth and rewarding. We will uncover industry-specific deductions for more tax breaks and file your taxes for you. Contact us today at (956) 997-0067 or visit our website mruiz-cpa.com to learn more about our services.

Accounting for Nonprofits: Unique Considerations and Reporting Requirements

Nonprofit organizations play a crucial role in addressing social issues and making a positive impact on our communities. However, when it comes to financial management, nonprofits face unique considerations and reporting requirements that set them apart from for-profit businesses. Proper accounting practices are essential for nonprofits to demonstrate transparency, accountability, and maintain the trust of their donors and stakeholders. In this blog post, we will explore the distinct aspects of accounting for nonprofits and shed light on the specific reporting requirements they must adhere to.

Classification of Funds & Compliance with Reporting Requirements

One of the key differences in accounting for nonprofits lies in the classification of funds. Nonprofits often receive contributions that are restricted for a specific purpose, such as a capital campaign or program funding. These funds must be carefully tracked and reported separately from unrestricted funds. Nonprofits must also consider the treatment of in-kind donations, which are non-cash contributions like services or goods. While these donations can be valuable, they require specific accounting treatment to reflect their fair value accurately.

Another crucial aspect of nonprofit accounting is compliance with reporting requirements. Nonprofits are subject to various regulations, including filing annual reports with the appropriate government agencies and providing financial statements to donors and the public. Additionally, depending on the size of the organization and the amount of funding received, nonprofits may need to undergo independent financial audits. These audits provide an objective evaluation of the organization’s financial statements, enhancing transparency and accountability.

Related: “Best Bookkeeping and Accounting Practices for the Success of Your Business”

Revenue Recognition

Nonprofit organizations must also pay attention to their revenue recognition practices. Unlike for-profit entities that primarily focus on revenue generation, nonprofits rely heavily on contributions and grants. When recording these funds, nonprofits need to determine whether they should be recognized as revenue immediately or over a period of time. This consideration ensures that the financial statements accurately reflect the organization’s financial health and performance.

Related: “Tips For Keeping Accurate and Organized Financial Records”

Conclusion

At Mariela Ruiz, CPA, PLLC, we understand the unique accounting challenges nonprofits face and are here to help. Our experienced team has the expertise and knowledge to navigate the complexities of nonprofit accounting and reporting requirements. Whether you need assistance with fund classification, compliance, revenue recognition, or any other accounting matter, we are committed to providing tailored solutions to meet your organization’s needs. Contact us today at (956) 997-0067 or visit our website mruiz-cpa.com to learn more about our services and how we can support your nonprofit’s financial success.

Why Your Business Isn’t Making Money and How to Fix It

Businesses may offer outstanding products, maintain satisfied customers, and experience steady growth, but still face challenges in generating profit. This issue is frequently seen in small businesses but it’s not exclusive to them. Even long-standing, well-established businesses can experience this problem. In this month’s blog, we will explore the common reasons businesses struggle financially and provide practical solutions.

Businessman stacking coins with a graph of profit. Business successful growth

Lack of Budgeting and Financial Planning

Failing to plan is planning to fail, especially in business finance. Many businesses don’t have a detailed budget or financial plan, leading to overspending or misallocation of resources.

Solution: Keep a close eye on your finances. Implement strict budgeting and use integrated accounting software to track expenses and revenues. Regular financial audits can also help identify and rectify issues before they escalate.

Related: Learn more about when to consider a financial audit for your startup here.

Inadequate Tax Planning and Compliance:

As a business, it is your responsibility to ensure you’re paying the appropriate amount of taxes specified. Any non-compliance with tax laws can lead to hefty fines and penalties. For instance, in Texas, ignorance regarding the filing of tax returns will result in a 5% up to 20% penalty.

Solution: Work with a tax professional who can help in strategic tax planning and ensure compliance. This may involve tax-friendly business structures, tax deductions, and credits that your business can benefit from.

Related: Learn more about the reasons you need to hire a tax expert here.

Woman accountant use calculator and computer with holding pen on desk in office. finance and accounting concept

Unstructured Financing

Borrowing money or having a line of credit is expected and useful for growing businesses that feel the pressures of tight cash flow. However, what should relieve pressure can become a source of stress if it is not well-structured. High-interest business loans come with high monthly payments, which can tighten cash flow and increase monthly costs.

Solution: Businesses with high monthly payments should seek accountants for professional guidance on how to manage their debts effectively. An expert accountant can assist in creating a customized strategy for managing debt, pinpoint ways to save costs and guarantee the financial stability of your business.

MARIELA RUIZ, CPA, PLLC: Your Partner In Managing Your Business Finances

At MARIELA RUIZ, CPA, PLLC, we help businesses just like you thrive by providing comprehensive financial solutions. Our approach combines personalized financial planning, innovative financing strategies, and cutting-edge technology to empower your business’s growth journey. Visit our website at mruiz-cpa.com or give us a call at (956) 997-0067 to learn more about how we can transform your financial challenges into growth opportunities.

Accounting for E-commerce Businesses: Challenges and Best Practices

In the fast-paced world of e-commerce, where transactions are conducted online and businesses operate across borders, accounting becomes a crucial aspect of managing finances. Proper accounting practices are essential for e-commerce businesses to accurately track their revenue, expenses, and overall financial health. However, accounting for e-commerce businesses comes with its own unique set of challenges. In this blog post, we will explore the challenges faced by e-commerce businesses in their accounting processes and discuss best practices to overcome them.

E-commerce Accounting Challenges

One of the main challenges faced by e-commerce businesses is the complexity of sales tax compliance. With transactions occurring across multiple states or even countries, businesses must navigate through various tax regulations and requirements. Determining the correct tax rates, collecting and remitting taxes, and staying up to date with changing regulations can be a daunting task. E-commerce businesses need to invest in robust accounting software that can handle multi-jurisdictional tax calculations and automate the process to ensure compliance.

Another challenge is inventory management. Unlike traditional retail businesses, e-commerce businesses often have large volumes of inventory that need to be accurately tracked. Inventory valuation, including the cost of goods sold (COGS) and determining the value of unsold items, can be complex. Implementing an efficient inventory management system that integrates with the accounting software can help businesses maintain accurate records, optimize inventory levels, and make informed financial decisions.

Furthermore, the reconciliation of online payment platforms poses a challenge for e-commerce businesses. With multiple payment gateways, such as PayPal, Stripe, and Square, it becomes crucial to reconcile transactions and ensure that all payments are properly recorded in the accounting system. Failure to reconcile can lead to discrepancies in financial reports and hinder the accurate assessment of the business’s financial performance. Regular reconciliation, along with the use of accounting tools that integrate with payment platforms, is essential to maintain accurate and up-to-date financial records.

Related: “Accounting Mistakes That Could Harm Your Small Business”

E-commerce Accounting Best Practices

To overcome these challenges, e-commerce businesses should consider adopting best practices in their accounting processes. Investing in cloud-based accounting software that is specifically designed for e-commerce can streamline financial management and provide real-time insights into the business’s financial health. Additionally, partnering with an experienced CPA firm that specializes in e-commerce accounting can provide valuable guidance and expertise in navigating the complexities of e-commerce accounting.

Implementing robust internal controls is also crucial. E-commerce businesses should establish clear policies and procedures for sales tax compliance, inventory management, and reconciliation of payment platforms. Regular audits and reconciliations should be conducted to ensure accuracy and identify any discrepancies or errors promptly.

Related: “Why Is It Essential to Hire an Accountant When Starting a Business?”

Rely On an Experienced CPA

In conclusion, accounting for e-commerce businesses comes with its own set of challenges. However, by leveraging technology, implementing best practices, and seeking professional guidance, e-commerce businesses can overcome these challenges and achieve accurate financial reporting. At MARIELA RUIZ, CPA, PLLC, we specialize in providing comprehensive accounting solutions for e-commerce businesses. Visit our website at www.mruiz-cpa.com or give us a call at (956) 997-0067 to learn more about how we can assist you in managing your e-commerce accounting needs.

Reasons Your Small Business Needs CFO Services

Running a small business requires wearing many hats, from managing day-to-day operations to overseeing finances. While you may have successfully handled these responsibilities on your own thus far, there comes a point when your business can greatly benefit from the expertise of a Chief Financial Officer (CFO). In this month’s blog, we will explore what a CFO is and what CFO services can bring to the table for your business.

What is a CFO?

A Chief Financial Officer (CFO) is a senior executive responsible for overseeing and managing the financial operations of a company. Serving as a strategic partner to the CEO and other stakeholders, the CFO plays a critical role in shaping the financial direction of the organization. They are responsible for financial planning and analysis, budgeting, and keeping your business financial records accurate and organized.

Related: Learn more about tips for keeping accurate and organized financial records here.

Enhanced Financial Strategy and Planning

According to new statistics, the failure rate for new startups is currently 90%. The main reason? A poor financial strategy and planning. A CFO can iron out the wrinkles in your financial management and bring a high level of financial expertise to the table. Your business needs an accurate financial strategy to achieve your goals in both the short term and long term.

Related: Learn more about accounting mistakes that could harm your small business here.

Effective Risk Management

Risk is an inherent part of any business, regardless of the industry. All businesses face risks such as market downturns and unpredictability (as we’ve recently seen with COVID-19). A CFO can help you identify and assess potential risks, whether they are financial, operational, or regulatory in nature. By implementing robust internal controls, developing contingency plans, and monitoring key risk indicators, a CFO can safeguard your business’s financial well-being.

Related: Learn more about key considerations and best accounting practices for startups here.

Rely On an Experienced CFO

As your small business continues to grow, the need for CFO services becomes increasingly important. At MARIELA RUIZ, CPA, PLLC, we offer excellent CFO services designed to drive your business toward sustainable growth and profitability. Visit our website at www.mruiz-cpa.com or call us at (956) 997-0067 to learn more about how our CFO services can benefit your small business.

3 Reasons Why Outsourcing a CFO Saves You Money in Business

Outsourcing the CFO services can be a huge money saver for your business. However, when entrepreneurs and small business owners reach a specific size or level of complexity, it can be beneficial to outsource CFO services. By partnering with a trusted accountant, you can position your business to grow and make it stronger and more secure. In this month’s blog, we will explore three compelling reasons why outsourcing a CFO can save you money in business.

business technology internet network concept

Remain Focused on Financial Goals

When running a business, it’s easy to get caught up in day-to-day operations and lose sight of your long-term financial goals. This is where CFO services come in handy. By outsourcing your CFO responsibilities to experts, you can ensure that someone is dedicated to managing your finances, monitoring cash flow, analyzing financial data, and developing strategic plans to keep your business on track.

Related: learn more about tips for keeping accurate and organized financial records here.

Streamline Your Bookkeeping & Tax Filing Process

As a business owner, you have to deal with a maze of tax regulations. You must stay on top of federal, state, and local regulations, and in a lot of cases, you may end up subject to taxation in multiple jurisdictions. Hiring a CFO who doubles as a trusted CPA is a clever way to save your business money. A CFO will implement efficient bookkeeping systems, automate processes, and provide expert guidance on the latest tax regulations.

Related: Learn more about the reasons you need to hire a tax expert here.

senior CFO developing strategies for businesses

Access to Expertise

A recent report by Datarails indicates that CFOs spend around 10 hours per week on manual work rather than on strategic financial analysis. This means, that when hiring a CFO, your budget, cash flow management, and financial data are all done off-site by a CFO whose only job is to ensure your finances are running smoothly. This could also help you avoid pitfalls that could harm your small business.

Related: Learn more about mistakes that can harm your business here.

Interested in Outsourcing CFO Services?

At Mariela Ruiz, CPA, PLLC, we have a team of dedicated professionals who are ready to provide you with comprehensive CFO services tailored to your specific needs. From financial analysis and forecasting to strategic planning and cost optimization, we have the expertise to help you achieve your financial goals. Visit our website at mruiz-cpa.com or call us at (956) 997-0067 to schedule a consultation and experience the benefits of outsourcing a CFO for your business.

Tips For Keeping Accurate and Organized Financial Records

For every business, performing fast and accurate accounting is a matter of utmost importance. However, many businesses need to be aware of the different regulations surrounding keeping financial records. In Texas, businesses must keep certain records for at least four years unless the comptroller gives written authorization for earlier destruction. This shows the importance of keeping accurate and organized financial records. In this month’s blog, we will explore some valuable tips that can help you maintain accurate financial records, ensuring better financial management and peace of mind.

Keeping Track of Income and Expenses:

The first step towards maintaining accurate financial records is to diligently track your income and expenses. This can be done by regularly updating a spreadsheet, using accounting software, or even keeping physical receipts. These accounting practices can help you identify areas where you can cut costs and make informed financial decisions.

Related: Learn more about best accounting practices for startups here

Go Digital and Use Software:

One of the best ways to ensure accuracy and organization is to use financial software. Tools like QuickBooks or Mint can help in categorizing and tracking every transaction. These software programs often come with features that allow automated data entry from bank accounts and credit cards, reducing the chances of errors. Moreover, opting for cloud-based solutions ensures that your data is accessible from anywhere and gets backed up automatically, protecting against potential data loss.

Related: Learn more about what to consider before getting accounting software implementation here.

Schedule Regular Financial Check-ins:

Just like a regular health check-up, it’s important to routinely review your financial records. Set aside time monthly or quarterly to go over all transactions, ensuring that they are categorized correctly. This also gives you the chance to reconcile your records with bank statements, identifying any discrepancies or fraudulent activities. Additionally, during these check-ins, ensure that all documents are stored systematically. This way, when you need a specific document, it’s easy to locate without sifting through countless folders on your computer.

Related: Learn more about the best bookkeeping and accounting practices for the success of your business here.

Rely On MARIELA RUIZ, CPA, PLLC

For expert assistance in maintaining accurate and organized financial records, contact MARIELA RUIZ, CPA, PLLC. Our team is well-versed in financial management and can provide personalized solutions to suit your needs. Contact us at (956) 997-0067 or visit our website at www.mruiz-cpa.com to learn more about our comprehensive accounting services.

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