Interesting, have heard about this but not explored it yet. Thanks for the info!
Category Archives: Resources
This is the first of a series of notes I would like to write about issues facing the business world – through the lense of accounting.
There are some particular accounting specifics I’ll mention, but mainly these notes will cover ideas widely applicable to anyone in business.
Normalcy provides solid ground, a foundation for strategizing and taking action. For most of our careers, it was probably assumed to be present, like gravity. It permits shortcuts and abbreviations – both in writing and thinking.
These days though, as well all know, hardly anything is normal. There are obvious consequences of that which we all are aware of. They vary among us.
But I suggest it’s important to look beyond those immediate consequences, dig deeper, and uncover other ways in which your thoughts or practices are based on a situation – normalcy – which no longer exists.
We always limit our attention, according to what matters to us, what we want, what we don’t want. Those limits are based on prior experience and long-standing patterns. Now, all those past indications are much less relevant.
One big area is relationships – whether it’s co-worker’s, managers, customers, suppliers, competitors: in every case, taking anything for granted isn’t as valid. It needn’t take long, but checking in with the folks in the periphery of your day could inform you of situations you weren’t aware of. The highly-effective among us check in with a wide swath of people regularly all the time already, but many of us are normally more relaxed, and fall in to a rut. Time to reach beyond that are reconnect more widely.
It also is a good time to widen your circle of people as possible. Whatever important vendors you use – check out their competition. In case something changes with someone you rely on, you want to have beginnings of relationships already in place. Know who is the best among the rest of the folks. Know who would not be a good fit for you, no matter the circumstance.
If your business or organization has seasonal variations in your activities, and you normally prepare a certain way for that next season – try to check in more extensively and earlier before making those plans.
Your contingency planning – that one area that is already based on the absence of normal – even that can become outdated or lax. Review those assumptions. What if your alternate location itself was unavailable? Are the resources needed in that scenario readily available? Are your current staff and any important contractors all as familiar with your plans as they need to be?
Staff redundancy/cross training is always useful. In these days, even more important. The time-worn preference that employees have for making themselves invaluable to increase their power is really non-optimal for the company/organization. You want the ability to continue in any circumstance. You want all the necessary information from every employee/contractor necessary to have that ability.
In accounting land, I’ll just mention two areas of consideration very briefly. If you would like the longer version, please contact me.
In terms of accounting, there are relationships between the balance sheet and the income statement that are relatively stable. The balance sheet – a snapshot in time – contains the results of the income statement – which shows results of a period of time.
Balance sheet accounts – snapshot data – is supposed to be accurate at every interim point. Oftentimes the various accounts also vary in the extent to which that is true. Some accounts are really only accurate at year end, but the variations during the year are small enough that everyone is comfortable with that. Accrued vacation/pto payable and accrued salaries are two of those accounts.
If, however, your staff size and/or your programs/sales are changing, then you may want to reconsider.
Going about things the normal way when operations are shrinking can overstate your expenses during the year, and misstate the detail revenue/expense data to a degree that you might notice if you pay close attention to those things.
Accrued vacation – if you have a significant % of your staff leave, and they are taking PTO payouts, and they had a large amount of that pto already accrued at the beginning of the year – consider booking that payout to the liability account rather than the expense. That makes your expense this year smaller, and the balance sheet more accurate.
Accrued payroll is a more complicated consideration, for those of you with payroll period that don’t match the calendar months. It’s complicated because for you, accrued payroll – to be accurate – would be different every month, but nobody does that. Payroll is so important though that making any change from actual is a big deal. So again, please contact me if you’d like to know the rest of my spiel about that.
The accounting reality though – of the balance sheet / income statement relationship being complicated – is similar to many business realities.
It is similar to the ongoing differences we all have between how we want to be, and how we are. Our intentions and our actions. ‘Mind the Gap’.
During periods of rapid transition such as this one, that gap can change dimension and depth and have an impact on us unexpectedly. For that reason, it is useful to look more closely at these areas we normally ignore, to become aware of small shifts in time to respond effectively.
In this way there is more likelihood all of us coming through this transition period as optimally as possible.
Given the extreme pressure right now to bill/request an advance prior to the shutdown, I’m sharing a copy of my notes on the new egrants system that replaced WEGO.
IntelliGrants site aka egrants
Task = Grant
Related Items = FSR’s
Grant ID numbers in this system may be different from what you have in your other documentation. If you have multiple grants, you’ll need to determine which is which by looking at the grant budgets etc..
—**Important: Within the FSR process, the lines that you bill on are identified differently. In particular, if you have a line per position, those lines don’t include the position name. Instead what is provided is the total budgeted amount per position. So you’ll want to indicate that on the sheet you’re billing from, for easiest processing.
You probably want to have your grant budget handy the first time you go through this process on this site. The line descriptions may relate best to the budget, instead of what you’re used to seeing.
Good News –> This site doesn’t time out after the slightest delay! I haven’t had it ever time out on my so far. So you can take the time needed without concern for that (but still save often!).
Process for creating FSR
1. Under View My Tasks, click on TASKS box
2. Choose the grant you want to work with.
New ‘Main’ page opens, with additional choices. You want the last choice on the bottom:
3. Examine Related Items
This will show you the FSR’s filed in the past, and last item in the list is
4. ‘Initiate new FSR’
New ‘Agreement’ page opens, click on ‘I agree’ to create new FSR
Back to ‘OJP FSR Menu.’ You want to
5. View Forms
OJP FSR Menu – Forms menu, and a box, with one choice in it:
6. Financial Status Report Type
Then it opens a screen in which you choose whether to file an Expense or Advance type:
7. Expense or Advance – click radio button (round one), then click ‘save’ at top of window
Then it tells you that the info has been saved, but you’re still on that same page. (tricky!)
8. You have to click on ‘Forms Menu’ yourself to move forward in the process.
(That selection is in grey, and the other things around it are distracting. Above it, in orange, is the grant ID number. Below it, also in bigger, darker letters is ‘Financial Status Report Type’. But you want the small, light gray lettered option – Forms Menu. Have to select those words on that line, not the ‘OJP-FSR Menu’ option in the middle of the line.)
If you are creating an Expense-Type FSR:
You will see the OJP FSR Menu – Forms screen, with a box in the center. The top of the box includes the words ‘Financial Status Report Type’ (does not indicate which type you chose), and the name of the logged in user and the time.
Below the border in the middle of the box are two options, similar to the WEGO system:
10. FINANCIAL STATUS REPORT/PAYMENT REQUEST LINE ITEMS
9. FINANCIAL STATUS REPORT/PAYMENT REQUEST SUMMARY
They are in reverse order in these instructions because that’s how they are on the screen.
I didn’t do detail instructions for this process, because it is very similar to the WEGO process. Just have to look at the line info when you first open the detail lines, and make sure you know what each line corresponds to in your budget and your biling.
Like in WEGO, you can do the summary first, Main Contact (from a pull-down list), whether it is final or not, the period covered (I’ve done 6/1/2011 to 6/22/2011 for instance, for this emergency expense request).
Then you can do the detail lines. You want to hit ‘save’ often (especially when there might be high volume on the server). Hitting save updates the total, and it also opens up new lines. (Note: the ‘save’ button and that menu bar floats at the top of your screen, is always visible even when you scroll down).
Like in WEGO, the data from the detail line entry fills in to the Summary page.
After you have all your detail entry done, you can print both pages (in the line with ‘save), at the top of the page.
Process: I like to take that detail print out and manually add up all the detail numbers for each line, to confirm that that matches the amount I entered in the total box, since Excel has that goofy pennies-off problem. After printing you can still go back in and change the detail info or the line total as needed, then re-print.
After you’ve printed both pages, there is one more task before you are done filing your FSR.
You need to click on the Left/most part of that main grey line:
11. Advance/FSR Menu
Then you are again on that main page, with 3 options, and you choose the middle one:
12. Under: ‘Change the Status’ — > View Status Options
It then opens the Advance/FSR Menu – Status Options window, where you can submit or cancel your document.
To do that, look below the box, and it says:
Payment Request Submitted
With a box below that which says ‘Apply Status’.
13. Clicking that ‘Apply Status’ box is the final step in the process.
Once you have done that, in the box it will show this message: ‘Payment Request in Process’. This is the final sheet you may want to print to document the billing process. (The Floating menu bar isn’t available at this point, have to print from the browser command.)
Unlike in WEGO, this last sheet does not indicate the period billed, the amount billed, or even the grant info very well.
Hopefully more of the old functionality will be added in yet!
If I can help further at all, please don’t hesitate to contact me. Hope this helps you and your organization spend more time on the important work you do!
This is the day when your 2nd of 4 annual payments of self-employment tax are due.
The payment today is for taxes due on your net operations income generated during April and May.
Here are two links for more information, from BHB Advisors here in the Twin Cities:
Determining if this payment requirement applies to you
Details on how to make the payment.
Feel free to comment with any further questions or mentions of anything else that would be useful.
Fascinating, thanks for making these known!