Saturday, June 21, 2014

Chargebacks!! How To Handle Them Efficiently

Chargeback - A word no business owner like to hear!

What is a chargeback? A chargeback occurs when a customer's credit card is approved at the point of sale, but then is reversed when the customer files a dispute with their card issuer. This is the most common reason for a chargeback, but there are a few others, such as computer glitches or miscommunications. However, any chargeback could mean lost revenue for your company as well as incurring fees.

The chargeback process

The typical chargeback process may consist of the following steps:

  1. Your buyer contacts the credit card issuing bank to dispute a specific charge.
  2. The credit card issuer contacts the appropriate credit card association, who then notifies merchant of the chargeback.  
  3. Your merchant services alerts you of the chargeback via fax, mail or email and requests supporting documentation to contest it on your behalf. To dispute a chargeback, you must reply to the correspondence by the indicated reply-by date. 
  4. Your merchant service provider will review the details of the chargeback and the documentation provided by you. 
  5. When deemed necessary your merchant service provider submits the evidence to the credit card issuer in an attempt to reverse the chargeback. 
  6. If the chargeback is successfully disputed on your behalf, no further action is required. If the credit card issuer does not resolve the chargeback in your favor, you may be liable for the chargeback.

Chargeback liability

Keep in mind that your merchant service provider can only forward your chargeback response to the credit card issuers for review. The credit card issuer is ultimately responsible for determining the resolution of chargebacks.

If you're found liable for a chargeback: You'll receive a notification via mail, fax or email from your merchant service provider with details about the chargeback. You'll be charged for the full amount of the chargeback. 

Things to remember

  • Different orders from the same buyer count as separate chargebacks. Please be sure to respond to each information request you receive individually so that all of the chargebacks can be properly contested, if possible.  
  • The Fair Credit Billing Act protects customers' rights to dispute charges for a number of accepted reasons. Generally, a policy that allows no refunds will not be upheld by the credit card associations.  
  • Because credit card issuers require that any documentation be received within a certain number of days, prompt replies to our information requests are necessary if you intend to contest the chargeback. Once this time frame has expired and the credit card issuer has resolved a chargeback in the buyer's favor, they will not review any additional documentation. 
  • The final status of a chargeback may not be determined for several weeks or occasionally several months after it is initiated.
  • Not answering chargebacks in a timely manner can be detrimental to your merchant services account. If you agree that the customer should be refunded, go ahead and refund them, but you must still answer the chargeback notice. Each chargeback that goes unanswered counts as a strike against you, too many and your service provider will revoke your account.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

How to Handle a Returned Check

How to Handle a Returned Check

For most any business, accepting checks is a service to its customers. Unfortunately, banks every so often return checks, and dealing with them can be a frustrating process. If you are the receiver of a bad check, you can take several steps to recover the money you lost on the sale, as well as the fees you incurred from your bank.

Handle the return check on your books:
The first thing you will need to do is record this returned check in your accounting system. You don’t want your accounts receivable and bank account to be misstated.  If you don’t have this item set up already in your QuickBooks you want to create a new item "other charge" for your Item List: Bounced Check.  Leave Amount at zero, tax code as non, and for the Account choose your checking account.  Also create another "other charge" item: Bad Check Charge -- no amount, non-tax, and for the account set up an income item named "returned check charge”.  Then create an invoice to your customer using these two items.  Invoice for the amount of the check on item Bounced Check and for the bank charge on the Bad Check charge item. (Include a description of the NSF ck# number, date.)  This will have the effect of backing out the deposit and will match to your bank statement.   When you receive a replacement check from your customer, receive it as you would any other payment.
Now for the handling of the check with your customer:
Do not redeposit the check without first speaking with your customer. This will avoid additional bank fees if the check still isn’t good.  Call your customer. Good people make mistakes too, and giving your customer a call, and letting him know what happened often can solve the problem. Let the customer know the check number and dollar amount, as well as any fees your bank assessed you. The oversight might embarrass many people, and they will want make good on the check and then your problem is resolved.
If you don’t get anywhere after speaking with the customer, send a certified letter. Bad check laws vary from state to state but many State guidelines typically require you to send a certified letter to the check writer asking for payment of funds. Ask for payment to be made by a certified check or money order; request the check writer to pay bank fees you incurred because of the returned check. State law requires the check writer to respond within a certain number of days to your letter. Check with your state before sending the letter.
Place a follow-up call to the check maker. You are within your legal rights to go directly to small claims court if payment is not received. However, if you contact the check writer again and they pay restitution in full, then a court appearance can be avoided. Explain to the check writer that you will file a police report or take them to small claims court if they do not pay what is owed to you.
If none of the above actions are getting you anywhere, notify the police. If the check writer lives in your area, file a complaint with your local police department. You will need to fill out a police report and include copies of the bounced check, your certified letter, related receipts and document your attempts to recover the funds. Ask the police to pursue the check writer and bring forth charges.
Hopefully it will not come to the final step and you are able to recover the payment in full. But if not, it’s good to know there are steps you can take. The events might make you, the company; more cautious of whom you accept check payments from in the future.

Friday, June 6, 2014

Veterans honor D-Day's fallen, 70 years later

  • CORRECTS DATE OF PHOTO, REMOVES REFERENCE TO TODAY - FILE - In this June 6, 1944, file photo, Allied troops crouch behind the bulwarks of a landing craft as it nears Omaha Beach during a landing in Normandy, France. The D-Day invasion broke through Adolf Hitler’s western defenses and led to the liberation of France from Nazi occupation just as the Soviet Army was making advances in the east, turning the tide of the war in the Allies’ favor. Allied troops landed on the Normandy coast of France in tremendous strength by cloudy daylight and stormed several miles inland with tanks and infantry in the grand assault which Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower called a crusade in which “we will accept nothing less than full victory.”(AP Photo/U.S. Coast Guard, File)The Associated Press

Men who stormed Normandy's shore 70 years ago joined world leaders Friday in paying tribute to the 150,000 Allied troops who risked and lost their lives in the D-Day landings in Nazi-occupied France, in a day of international commemorations of history's biggest amphibious invasion.
They are honoring the troops and civilians who fell in mighty battles that helped bring Europe peace and unity -- just as bloodshed in Ukraine is posing new challenges to European security and threatening a new East-West divide.
As the sun rose Friday over a gusty Omaha Beach, flags flew at half-staff. A U.S. military band played Taps, while D-Day veterans from the 29th Infantry Division and serving soldiers stood at attention at exactly 6:30 a.m., the moment on June 6, 1944, when Allied troops first waded ashore.
"Twenty-nine, let's go!" they shouted, then downed shots of Calvados, Normandy apple brandy.
Hundreds of Normandy residents and other onlookers applauded the veterans, then began forming a human chain on the beach.
World leaders and dignitaries including President Barack Obama and Queen Elizabeth II are converging on Normandy to honor the more than 150,000 American, British, Canadian and other Allied D-Day troops who risked and gave their lives to defeat Adolf Hitler's Third Reich.
The D-Day invasion was a turning point in World War II, cracking Hitler's western front as the Soviet troops made advances in the east. Overall at least 4,400 Allied troops were killed the first day, and many thousands more in the ensuing three-month Battle of Normandy, which brought the Allies to Paris to liberate the French capital from Nazi occupation.
Russian President Vladimir Putin is also in attendance, invited by French President Francois Hollande in a gesture toward the 27 million Soviet citizens killed in World War II.
The D-Day commemorations are also offering a moment to try to reconcile Russia and Ukraine, and Russia and the West.
Putin is meeting German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Deauville on the Normandy coast Friday morning, after meeting Hollande and British Prime Minister David Cameron on Thursday night. Ukraine's president-elect is also coming to Normandy, and there is hope he and Putin may meet, too.
The encounters marked the first time the isolated Russian leader has met Western leaders since pro-European protests in Kiev pushed out Ukraine's Russian-leaning president in February and Russia annexed the Crimean Peninsula.
Back in Normandy, several thousand veterans, family members and others gathered at the Normandy American Cemetery and Memorial, with its 9,387 white marble tombstones on a bluff overlooking the site of the battle's bloodiest fighting at Omaha Beach, the emotional centerpiece of pilgrimages to honor the men killed in Normandy.
Soldiers of 173rd Airborne brigade, the ceremony organizers, served as ushers, wearing maroon berets. For the ceremony, small U.S. and French flags were placed in the ground at each grave.
Obama declared June 6 a national remembrance day.
In a declaration Friday, he said, "Seventy years later, we pay tribute to the service members who secured a beachhead on an unforgiving shore -- the patriots who, through their courage and sacrifice, changed the course of an entire century. Today, as we carry on the struggle for liberty and universal human rights, let us draw strength from a moment when free nations beat back the forces of oppression and gave new hope to the world."
In addition to the fallen troops, Allied bombardments killed an estimated 20,000 French civilians, and Hollande paid tribute to them Friday in Caen, which like many cities of Normandy was largely destroyed in the bombings.
France has only tentatively come to grips with the invasion's toll on civilians. The Allied bombings -- especially the deadly onslaught in Normandy during the invasion launched on D-Day -- were used as a propaganda tool by the Vichy government. But historians now believe that nearly as many French civilians died in Allied air raids as Britons during the German Blitz.
"No one knew that this day would be the first of one of the most ferocious battles of France. This battle was also a battle of civilians," Hollande said. He said Normandy's residents "helped the victory happen. They opened their doors to the liberators."
Ceremonies large and small are taking place across Normandy, ahead of an international summit on Friday in Ouistreham, a small port that was the site of a strategic battle on D-Day.
Today's conflicts are also on many minds at the D-Day commemorations.
Jeffrey McIllwain, professor at the San Diego State University school of public affairs, will lay a wreath on behalf of educators who have lost students to wars in Iraq and Afghanistan -- himself included.
He, like many veterans and world leaders here, is concerned about keeping the memory of D-Day alive as the number of survivors dwindles.
He brought 12 students to Normandy for a course on the lessons of D-Day.
"I make them promise to bring their grandchildren to serve as a bridge to the next generation," he said.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Thought for the Day #125

Worry less, smile more, accept criticism, take responsibility, listen & love, don’t hate, embrace change, feel good anyway…

Find Joy in the Ordinary

Find joy in the ordinary

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

What is Class Tracking in QuickBooks® and How Do I Use It?

Do you need to track you income and expenses by location, department, event or project? Then using class tracking in QuickBooks® might be just what you're looking for.  


By using the class tracking feature, you can define these segments and track their associated account balances on invoices, bills, and other documents. Businesses with different departments or locations can use classes to report account balances for each department.

Let's say for example, you have a restaurant with three locations, you could create a class for each: an Uptown, a Midtown, and a Downtown for tracking account balances by location. For a farmer it might be useful to create a class for each enterprise, for example: Corn, Hogs, and Wheat. 

For any given accounting period, the restaurant could create separate reports for each location and likewise, the farmer could create separate reports for each enterprise.

To turn class tracking on go to  
Edit>Preferences>Accounting>Company Preferences>Use class tracking

Now that you have turned on the class tracking, you will need to set up the classes you want to use. 

To do that Go to Lists > Class List. In the bottom left corner of the screen, click on Class, then select New from the menu. You'll see this

QB Article 9-11 Figure 1

Assign a class to every transaction: I highly recommendation is to assign a class to every transaction you post to QuickBooks®. Be consistent when entering the class information on your forms and registers to ensure that this information is valid and useful. I also like to have a class called "Operating" or “Overhead” for transactions that do not apply to a specific location or project I am specifically tracking. 

Once the classes are setup and you start using them with all your transactions you will be able to run reports by the classes you've set up. This will enable you to get a better picture of what location or enterprise is more profitable than others.   Happy Classifying... 

If you need further information email us for a consultation.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Five Tips to Help You Pay Your Tax Bill

Issue Number:    IRS Special Edition Tax Tip 2014-14

Five Tips to Help You Pay Your Tax Bill
If you get a tax bill from the IRS, don’t ignore it. A delay may cost you more in the long run. The longer you wait the more interest and penalties you may have to pay. Here are five tips to help you avoid those extra charges:
1. Pay electronically.  Using an IRS electronic payment to pay your tax is quick, accurate and safe. You also get a record of your payment. Your options include:
  • IRS Direct Pay
  • Electronic Federal Tax Payment System
  • Credit or debit card
Direct Pay and EFTPS are free services. If you pay by credit or debit card, the company that processes your payment will charge a fee.
2. Pay monthly if you can’t pay in full.  If you can’t pay all at once, apply for a payment plan. Most people and some small businesses can apply using the IRS Online Payment Agreement Application on You can also apply for a plan using Form 9465, Installment Agreement Request. The best way to get the form is from the IRS.govwebsite. You can also call the IRS at 800-TAX-FORM (800-829-3676) to get it by mail.
3. Check out a direct debit pay plan.  A direct debit pay plan is the lower-cost hassle-free way to pay. The set-up fee is less than other plans – $52 instead of $120. With this type of plan, you pay each month automatically from your bank account. There are no reminder notices from IRS, no missed payments and no checks to write and mail. For more on these rules see the Payment Plans, Installment Agreements page on
4. Consider an Offer in Compromise.  An Offer in Compromise allows you to settle your tax debt with the IRS for less than the full amount. An OIC may be an option if you can’t pay your tax in full. It may also apply if full payment will create a financial hardship. To see if you may qualify and what a reasonable offer might be, use the IRS Offer in Compromise Pre-Qualifier Tool.
5. Pay by check or money order.  Make your check or money order payable to the U.S. Treasury. Be sure to include:
  • Your name, address and daytime phone number
  • Your Social Security number or employer ID number if business tax
  • The tax period and related tax form, such as “2013 Form 1040”
Mail it to the address listed on your notice. Do not send cash in the mail.
Find out more about the IRS collection process on