Accounting, Human Resources, Payroll Overview for Start Up Businesses in California

This guide assumes you know 0% about all the numerous laws, best practices, etc., about running a business.  I obviously can’t cover everything, but I can at least bring to your attention some of the most important aspects to minimize your liability (AKA the risk of you getting sued).

 

Accounting

Payroll

Human Resources

– Break Even Analysis

    — Fixed Expenses

    — Variable Expenses

    — Income Sources (variable vs. fixed)

    — Break Even Point

FIRST OFF

Do you have:

    – Need an Federal EIN http://www.irs.gov/Businesses/Small-Businesses-&-Self-Employed/Apply-for-an-Employer-Identification-Number-(EIN)-Online

 

    – Need a State Employer ID

https://www.ftb.ca.gov/businesses/faq/701.shtml

ACCOUNTING

I’ll actually break accounting up into multiple parts:

 

– Accounts Payable

    – Credit Cards

    – Checks

 

– Accounts Receivable

    – Timeframe

    – Keep Track of Accounts and Review

 

– Bookkeeping

    – Quickbooks

    – Download Transactions Online

    – CATEGORIZE!!!

    – Look at Reports to adjust your “break even” analysis to be more accurate

PAYROLL

– In house, or Outsource (http://www.amesoft.com/)

    – Payroll Taxes

– Hourly / Salary

 

– Overtime:

    http://www.dir.ca.gov/dlse/faq_overtime.htm

 

    – Meal periods:

        http://www.dir.ca.gov/dlse/faq_mealperiods.htm

 

    – Paid Break

 

    – Rest Periods:

        http://www.dir.ca.gov/dlse/faq_restperiods.htm

 

– Time management software for clock in and clock out times

    – May come with payroll company

    – TimeTrex (open source)

    – Numerous other options

 

– WHY do this?

 

– Unemployment:

http://jeffersonkim.com/2012/09/20/unemployment-from-a-business-owners-perspective-in-california/

 

http://www.edd.ca.gov/UIBDG/default.htm

 

http://www.edd.ca.gov/pdf_pub_ctr/de2088c.pdf

 

Write Ups and notifications.

 

DOCUMENT EVERYTHING!!!

HUMAN RESOURCES

 

– Protected Classes

http://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/california-employment-discrimination-31690.html

– Applicable to Hiring, Firing, EVERYTHING

 

– At Will Employment

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/At-will_employment

 

– Employee Handbook not 100% necessary at this stage

 

– New Hire Packet

    W-4

    I-9

    Lunch & Break Notice

    MPN Notifications

    Healthcare Notifications (http://www.dol.gov/ebsa/pdf/FLSAwithoutplans.pdf)

Unemployment From a Business Owner’s Perspective in California

NOTE: You can always fire an employee “at will.”  It’s just unemployment you have to be concerned about.

 

WHY YOU SHOULD CARE

If you didn’t already know, employers help pay a percentage of their payroll into the California Unemployment pool.  From that pool, ex-employees get their unemployment.  Unlike pregnancy leave, social security, and medicare, it’s the EMPLOYERS and not employees that end up paying into the unemployment pool.  So you have to be mindful that you’re not firing people like crazy unless you don’t care about paying larger sums of money into the unemployment pool.

The California Employment Development Department keeps track of what percent of your pool has been paid out, and the higher the ratio (more payouts) the higher amount of money you have to put back into the pool.

 

HOW EMPLOYEES GET UNEMPLOYMENT

If an employee leaves a job for any other reason EXCEPT for “willful misconduct” or quitting WITHOUT “good cause,” then they will most likely get unemployment.

 

BUT THEY QUIT THE JOB!

Even if an employee voluntarily quits, they can still get unemployment if the have a “good cause.”

Here are some more “good cause” reasons for people to quit:

http://www.edd.ca.gov/uibdg/Voluntary_Quit_VQ_500.htm

For example, I had an employee that voluntarily quit so that they could move out of state to take care of their ill child.  They got unemployment.

Or if you cut an employee’s rate of pay more than 20% and they quit, they will get unemployment!

 

HOW TO PROVE “WILLFUL MISCONDUCT”

The burden is on the employer to prove “willful misconduct” for why you fired an employee.  You want to have as much written records to support your claim.  I generally try and get 1 verbal warning, and two written/signed warnings within a relatively short period before terminating employment.

Even if they miss one day, it may not be enough to disqualify them from unemployment.

There was this instance where an employee was stealing checks for the last year they were working (story about that later), but I didn’t find out until AFTER they were terminated.  Even though I brought that up to the administrative judge’s attention, they still got unemployment!  The odds definitely are stacked in the employees’ favor.

To get more information on unemployment or before you decide to fire anyone, I recommend you read the information here to minimize your unemployment liability. http://www.edd.ca.gov/Unemployment/More_Employer_Information.htm

How I Became a Paperless Office Using a Document Scanner

I currently use the Fujitsu ScanSnap S1500 as a document management tool. I basically scan any document into this machine, and then it turns it into a searchable PDF document. This means that I can later do a word search and the results will bring up any document with the words I look for.

The time saved on not having to file and pull up documents is well worth the $400 investment. Just make sure you auto back up the folder housing all your saved documents! I’ve been using a document scanner since I first started in 2007.

Imagine: NO MORE FILE CABINETS!!!

Support Software

1) Adobe Acrobat – It comes with the scanner so you can create your own PDFs and separate the PDFs you scan in into individual pages for emailing purposes.

2) SyncBack – This is a freeware program that you can use to schedule automatic backups of your scanned documents. (Advanced Tip: I bought the pro version and setup a freeware FTP server off-site using FileZilla.)