Tax Planning for the New Year: Setting Financial Goals 

Financial goals make excellent new year’s resolutions. And now, before the new year actually arrives, is the ideal time to think about your financial goals for 2024 and how those goals can contribute to a more effective tax strategy.

Maximize Tax Deductions and Credits

When you combine tax planning with a comprehensive financial plan, you can protect your money from unnecessary tax burdens. That means there’s more money available for your short-term and long-term needs and wants.

A good place to start is understanding the difference between a tax credit and a tax deduction.

A tax deduction is an expense that lowers your taxable income, such as the interest you pay on your home mortgage or student loans, out-of-pocket medical expenses and moving expenses from a job. 

A tax credit is a lump sum amount that pays off a portion of your owed taxes. These include the Earned Income Tax Credit for lower-income working families, the Child and Dependent Care Credit that offsets the cost of child care and credits for improvements such as solar panels that make a home more energy efficient.

Neely’s Accounting Service can help you research which tax deductions and tax credits you may qualify for now or after a major life event, like getting married or having a baby. Then you’ll have the 2024 calendar year to save records and receipts needed for the next tax year.

Optimize Retirement Contributions

Setting aside savings for your retirement years should be at the top of your financial planning list.

Contribute to your workplace retirement account up to the employer match or to a traditional IRA. Money invested in either can be deducted from your taxable income for the year you made the contribution. In 2023, the IRS allowed a maximum $6,500 in IRA contributions, or $,7500 for people 50 and older.

Strongly also consider contributions to a health savings account, which allows you to set aside money to pay for future qualified medical expenses. Your HSA has three tax advantages: 

  • Contributions to these accounts can be deducted from your taxable income.
  • Money in your account is invested and grows tax free. 
  • You won’t owe any taxes on money withdrawn and used for qualified medical expenses.

In 2024, the maximum HSA contribution allowed by the IRS will be $4,150 for an individual and $8,300 for a family. 

Plan for Major Life Events

Another important piece of financial planning is to be prepared for major life events and any tax implications that come with them, such as getting married, having a child, or planning for educational expenses.

This is where a trusted financial partner, like Neely’s Accounting Service, can help you think through your options and create a financial blueprint that meets your unique needs.

Strategy Matters

Having clear financial goals and aligning them with tax planning strategies can have a significant impact on your financial resources in 2024. Our advisors are always ready to help you with personalized solutions that meet your needs and help you get the most of your financial resources in 2024.

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PREVIOUS Tax Considerations for Charitable Giving during the Holiday Season

Tax Considerations for Charitable Giving during the Holiday Season

An end-of-year charitable donation to a nonprofit or church is a meaningful way to celebrate the holidays and support the causes that are important to you. 

To be able to deduct your donation from your 2023 taxes, you’ll need to do a little planning ahead.

  • You must give to a qualified charitable organization – meaning the organization must be registered as tax-exempt under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. This information can usually be found on the nonprofit’s website. 
  • You must keep good documentation for the IRS. This includes the date you made your donation, the name and address of the nonprofit, and a description of your donation. For monetary donations, that means a receipt or a canceled check. If you donated goods or services, you need a detailed list of each item and its estimated fair market value. (If you donated anything worth more than $5,000, you’ll need an actual appraisal of the item instead of the estimate.)
  • You will need to itemize all your deductions on your 2023 tax return using Schedule A. Ultimately, you will need enough deductible expenses to exceed the standard deduction amount: $13,850 for single filers and $27,700 for married couples filing jointly. 

Here are a few ways to maximize your tax deductions in 2023.

  • Bundled donations, or making two year’s worth of gifts in one calendar year, can be useful if you expect to be just shy of meeting the standard deduction amount on your 2023 tax returns. By bundling your 2023 and 2024 donations this year, you can maximize the tax benefit for this year.
  • Use a donor-advised fund — basically an account that allows you to manage assets for future charitable giving. Your contribution to a donor-advised fund is immediately tax-deductible and you can distribute the funds to the charities of your choice over time. But be mindful of fees associated with these funds.
  • Donate appreciated assets such as stocks or mutual funds that have increased in value. This gives you a charitable deduction plus it can shelter you from paying capital gains taxes on the appreciation.

Through year-end charitable giving, you can help make a difference in your community. According to multiple surveys, local nonprofits receive most of their annual budgets through donations given the last quarter of each year, meaning every gift matters.Charitable giving can also reduce your tax liability when you keep up-to-date and detailed records of your donations to qualified charitable organization. If you have questions, Neely’s Accounting Services has answers. You can count on us for strategic tax advice, so get in touch today.

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PREVIOUS Preparing for the Year-End: Essential Accounting Tasks
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Preparing for the Year-End: Essential Accounting Tasks

With less than three months until the end of 2023, now is the time to focus on year-end accounting tasks that will help your business stay organized and ensure compliance with financial regulations. 

Not sure where to start? We’ve rounded up a list of essential accounting tasks to help you stay on top of your finances and end the year strong.

Tax Planning

Now is the time to start planning for tax filing so the process is smooth and straightforward. Stay informed on any changes to the tax codes and make any final adjustments to ensure your business is ready to take full advantage of any relevant tax changes for the 2023 cycle. 

The fourth quarter is your last chance to offset your tax burden with the purchase of any assets or supplies needed for the coming year. Prepaying for needed services in the coming year is also an option. Be sure to document any purchases and save your receipts. Neely’s Roanoke CPAs are ready to help you make any last-minute tweaks to maximize your tax strategy.

Financial Statement Preparation 

After Jan. 1, be prepared to create three key financial statements: A balance sheet, an income statement and a cash flow statement. 

To get ready before the year’s end, you can start reviewing your records. Some questions to ask yourself to stay on track: Do you have all invoices from vendors used in the last year? Did you issue all necessary invoices to customers? Have you reconciled all bank accounts? Taking care of this ahead of time will help you avoid a scramble in the new year.

Inventory Valuation

Inventory valuation calculates the value of any unsold product, and the calculation is needed for year-end balance sheet. The information will also help inform purchases during the coming year, ensuring you don’t overbuy but also have the inventory you need.

There are three ways to do this; each has a different method of addressing changes production costs throughout the year. Neely’s CPAs are skilled at helping you choose the option that makes the most business sense for your unique needs.


Annual budgeting is critical to the health of your business and will help you meet your key business goals for 2024.

Start with a review of recent year-end income statements, including the one for 2023, to assess regular revenue and expenses as well as how inflation affected those numbers from year to year. Then, factor in any known large expenses expected in 2024, including any needed capital expenditures. Understanding your cash flow will help you choose the perfect time to make those big purchases.

Neely’s Is Ready to Help

Feeling a bit overwhelmed at prepping for the new year? The great news is that you don’t have to do it alone! Neely’s Accounting Services has supported Roanoke-area individuals and business for 16 years offering big-city financial services with a hometown feel. Contact us today to see how we can help you. 

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PREVIOUS Navigating Financial Reporting: Understanding the Essentials
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Navigating Financial Reporting: Understanding the Essentials

Financial reporting is crucial for businesses of all sizes in understanding their financial health. Even if you’re the sole employee, generating financial reports helps you stay on top of your goals and can expedite your growth. 

Financial reporting are standard accounting reports that offer detail into how much money a business has, where the money is coming from and how it’s being spent over a fixed amount of time, such as quarterly or annually. 

Why Financial Reporting Matters

By interpreting and analyzing financial reports, managers can assess a business’s performance in real time, make informed decisions about the business and support everything from tax filings to compliance with financial regulations.

Financial reports help you avoid being caught by surprise. They provide credible documentation for regulators, banks, potential investors and other external stakeholders. 

3 Key Financial Reports You Need to Know

The income statement, also called a profit and loss statement, shows all revenue, expenses, gains and losses during a specific period of time. It starts with revenues and calculates the amount of money a business earned or lost during the period by listing and subtracting expenses and then taxes paid.

The term “bottom line” comes from the last line of the income statement, which calculates profit — the net income — for the business for that period. 

The balance sheet shows assets and liabilities and calculates the difference between the two, which is your equity. Overall, it illustrates how well a business can meet its financial obligations at a given point in time. 

It’s called a balance sheet because the two sides of the equation — assets = liabilities + equity — must balance. Balance sheets are used to determine the book value, or net worth, of a business.

The cash flow statement does exactly what it sounds like. It shows cash moving in and out of the business during a determined time period. This documents liquidity — how well a business can pay bills and fund future growth. 

Cash flow is the movement of money and is different than profit, which is what remains after business expenses are subtracted from revenues. It’s useful for managing budgets and assessing business performance. 

Stay on Top of Financial Reporting Standards with Neely’s

Financial reporting requirements do change often, and the team at Neely’s can keep your business ahead of the changes and trends with our expert outsourced accounting or bookkeeping services. Reach out to us today to get started on the best accounting solution for you.

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PREVIOUS Tax Planning Tips for College Students and Parents
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Tax Planning Tips for College Students and Parents

As students head to campuses to begin their fall semesters, now is the time to educate the whole family on tax planning strategies for the next four-plus years. Whether you need education-related tax credits or tips to maximize your students’ financial aid eligibility, Neely’s Accounting Services can help both students and families ace this financial test.

Getting Started: The FAFSA

You’ll hear a lot about the Free Application for Federal Student Aid — commonly called the FAFSA. This is what colleges and universities use to determine if a student qualifies for federal financial aid or any of the school’s scholarships and aid programs. Families must fill out the FAFSA each year, but it’s the first year that really sets the foundation for a student’s financial aid package.

Here are a few tips to maximize your eligibility for financial aid:

  • Even if you think your family won’t qualify, file a FAFSA. In reality, most families do qualify for some financial aid, and you’ll be eligible for school-specific, need- and merit-based scholarships and grants as well. Plus, you’ll be prepared in the event your financial situation unexpectedly changes before the start of the academic year.
  • Submit your FAFSA as soon as possible after it’s available Oct. 1 to give your student the best shot at federal aid and grant programs that are award funds on a first-come, first-served basis. 
  • Keep your family’s taxable income as low as possible the first year you file without doing the family financial harm. Small, thoughtful tweaks can make a difference, such as delaying the sale of stocks or bonds, avoiding early withdrawals from retirement savings and asking employers to defer a bonus to another tax year.

Is Your Student Still a Dependent?

Families should figure out whether their student will be considered a dependent during college. Parents can claim a full-time college student as a dependent until age 24 if they are proving more than half of the student’s support. Most college students fall into this category. If a parent does claim a student as a dependent, the student likewise will need to answer “yes” when asked on tax documents if someone else can claim him or her as a dependent. 

Take Advantage of Tax Credits

Several federal tax credits are available to help offset the cost of education. Pick the best one that fits your circumstances because they cannot be used in combination.

  • The American Opportunity Credit: Qualifying students or their parents may claim up to $2,500 of college expenses — including tuition, fees, books and other requirements — for the first four years of schooling while working toward a degree or certificate. 
  • The Lifetime Learning Credit: Qualifying students or their parents may claim up $2,000 in education expenses for an unlimited number of years. This would be helpful to a non-degree-seeking student or a graduate student.
  • Tuition and Fees Deduction: Qualifying students or their parents can deduct up to $4,000 in education expenses paid directly to the student’s school. Expenses include tuition and related expenses required to be enrolled.
  • Student Loan Interest Deduction: After graduation, a student can deduct the interest paid on student loans in the past year. The lender will provide the required interest statement each January.

Military Students and Veterans

Military students or students using a military benefit to pay for schooling should understand that their tax planning will look a little different. 

  • For students received ROTC stipends for education and living expenses, these payments are not taxable and do not need to be included on your federal tax return.
  • Cadets at the federal service academies, however, are considered on “active duty” while at school, so any payments made generally are taxable and should be reported as income on your federal return.
  • Funds received from the VA for education, training, or subsistence are not taxable. 

Contact Neely’s Accounting for Expert Help

Neely’s Accounting Services can offer some time-tested lessons in tax planning. We’ve supported Roanoke-area individuals and business since 2007 with our big-city services and a hometown feel. Contact us today and let us set yourself up for tax success for your students’ college years.

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PREVIOUS Harnessing Excellence in Financial Management: A CPA's Guide to Developing and Improving Your Accounting Systems
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Harnessing Excellence in Financial Management: A CPA’s Guide to Developing and Improving Your Accounting Systems

At Neely’s Accounting, we understand the critical role an efficient accounting system plays in the success of your business. It’s the financial heartbeat, influencing decisions and strategy while ensuring precision and compliance. To help you navigate the maze of developing and improving your accounting system, we’ve compiled a step-by-step guide with an insider’s perspective.

1. Identify Your Needs: We’ve worked with a diverse range of businesses, and if there’s one thing we’ve learned, it’s that no two are the same. Your accounting system should reflect the unique nature of your operations. From simple expense tracking to full-fledged financial reporting, determine what you need from your system. 

2. Selecting the Right Software: The advent of accounting software has streamlined financial management. In our experience, consider scalability, ease of use, integration capabilities, and security when selecting software. We often recommend solutions like QuickBooks, Sage, and Zoho Books to our clients.

3. Customization is Key: A one-size-fits-all approach seldom works for accounting systems. Tailor your system to match your operations. Our friendly, Roanoke CPAs can assist you in customizing your system, from setting up automated invoice reminders to report generation.

4. Invest in Training: As CPAs, we know the difference comprehensive training can make. Ensure your team knows how to use your system effectively, from its basic functionality to troubleshooting.

5. Implement Regular Auditing: An essential step often overlooked is regular auditing. Internal audits ensure data accuracy and system efficiency, preventing minor issues from escalating. Neely’s offers comprehensive auditing services to provide peace of mind.

6. Updates and Upgrades: Just as tax laws and financial regulations evolve, so do accounting systems. Staying updated with the latest features and upgrades will ensure you’re utilizing the most efficient tools. 

7. Consult with Professionals: A professional perspective can prove invaluable. As Roanoke’s trusted CPA firm, we can provide expert advice to ensure your system aligns with financial regulations and mitigates potential risks.

Streamline Your Accounting System with Neely’s

Developing and refining an accounting system is not a one-and-done process. It’s a journey that involves continuous learning and adaptation. By following these steps, you’ll not only create a system that caters to your current needs, but also one that’s ready to grow with you. Reach out to us today, and let’s pave the path to financial excellence together.

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PREVIOUS Enjoy Your Summer Break but Remember: Tax Planning is a Year-Round Adventure!
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Three Reasons to Love Tax Season with Neely’s

February is the month of love, but most people don’t immediately associate taxes with fuzzy feelings. In fact, the mention of tax season fills them with dread. If this sounds like you, then we have great news! When you work with Neely’s Accounting, your taxes don’t have to be daunting. We’ve been Roanoke and Vinton’s go-to tax expert since 2007 because our team makes filing taxes so easy. 

Let’s take the stress out of tax season. Below are three reasons to love tax season with Neely’s Accounting Services on your side.

1. Big City Tax Service with Hometown Values

Don’t struggle through tax preparation software or outsource your taxes to an impersonal big box company. Instead, work with a local tax expert who understands your needs. At Neely’s we combine modern, streamlined services with deep community knowledge to offer affordable tax solutions that work. You’ll love working with a tax expert you can trust, and you may even recognize our CPAs from the local grocery, workout class, or event!

2. Customized Tax Support 

If you’ve ever had your taxes prepared by a stranger, you may have wondered if they truly understood the details of your financial situation. We understand that your tax needs are as unique as you are. Our local CPAs meet with you one-on-one to get to know you and your finances, so no detail is left behind. Plus, they’re available to answer any questions all year long so you can banish tax anxiety once and for all. 

3. Maximum Tax Returns

Customized tax services do more than just give you peace of mind. They also give you the maximum return possible. We pride ourselves on getting to know you, which means we can find every deduction you’re eligible for. When you work with us, you’ll love feeling sure that you received the maximum possible tax refund (and your bank account will love it too!). 

Contact Us to Get Started on Your Taxes

We’re proud to offer a full range of professional products at a fair price without sacrificing the individual attention you deserve. Our friendly, dedicated advisors are always ready to help you with personalized solutions that meet your needs.

Let us take the stress out of running your business and filing income taxes. Contact us or visit at either of our two convenient locations today.

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PREVIOUS Don’t Sweat Tax Season: Here’s Every Tax Deadline You Need to Know
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Don’t Sweat Tax Season: Here’s Every Tax Deadline You Need to Know

What comes to mind when you think about tax season? Maybe you’re one of those people who gets excited about doing taxes. On the other hand, you might feel a sense of dread or confusion when you think about filing your taxes. If you’re the latter, you’re not alone. A recent study showed that one-third of taxpayers wait until the filing deadline to do their taxes and 56% don’t even know when the deadline is!

Whether you relish taxes or feel a bit nervous, having a trustworthy expert on your side can makes all the difference between complicated and stress-free. As Roanoke’s trusted tax experts, Neely’s wants you to have all the info you need. To help, we’ve compiled all the season’s tax deadlines so you can face the 2023 tax season with confidence. 

Personal Income Tax & Self-Employed Deadlines

  • January 31, 2023 – Due date for employers to send W-2 forms. To ensure you’re able to complete your tax return on time, the IRS requires all employers to send you a W-2 no later than January 31 following the close of the tax year. Generally, this means W-2s get sent by January 31, but you won’t necessarily receive your form by this date.
  • January 31, 2023 – Certain 1099 forms are sent. Various 1099 forms, and forms 1099-NEC,1099-MISC, and 1099-K are used to report payments that typically don’t come from an employer, such as if you work as an independent contractor, gig worker, or self-employed person or if you receive income such as interest, dividends, prize winnings, rents, royalties, or brokerage account transactions. If January 31 falls on a weekend or holiday, these forms are due to be sent the following business day.
  • April 18, 2023 – Tax day (unless extended due to local state holiday). The tax deadline typically falls on April 15 each year, but can be delayed if it falls on a weekend or holiday. Missing the tax deadline can have consequences like penalties and interest.
  • April 18, 2023 – Deadline to File Form 4868 and request an extension. The tax day deadline is also the last day to file Form 4868 requesting an extension to file your individual income tax return. If you won’t be ready to file your tax return by tax day, make sure you instead complete an extension request, granting you the ability to delay filing a completed return until October 16, 2023. But remember, even if you choose to file an extension, you are still required to pay any taxes you may owe by the April deadline.
  • April 18, 2023 – Deadline to make IRA and HSA contributions for 2022 tax year. For individual income tax return filers, this also marks the final day to make contributions to your IRA or HSA for the 2022 tax year. After this date, you generally can’t make contributions for the previous tax year.
  • April 18, 2023 – First quarter 2023 estimated tax payment due. Making estimated tax payments means that you need to estimate how much income you’re likely to make for the year and determine how much you will owe to the IRS for income taxes. You can use IRS Form 1040-ES to calculate how much tax liability you’ll have for the year. IRS Publication 505 contains all the rules and details you might need to know about how to calculate this amount. If you overestimated how much tax liability you’d owe for a year and are due a refund, you can choose to receive that money now or apply the overage to the following year’s quarterly tax payments.
  • June 15, 2023 – Second quarter 2023 estimated tax payment due. Despite the IRS referring to these payments as quarterly estimated taxes, the due dates don’t necessarily fall within “quarters” nor do they each represent three months of tax payments. They represent an equal quarterly share of your estimated income tax liability paid at uneven intervals. The first payment occurs 3 and a half months into the year. The second payment is five and a half months; the third payment is eight and a half months, and the fourth payment is due 12 and a half months after the year starts.
  • September 15, 2023 – Third quarter 2023 estimated tax payment due.
  • October 16, 2023 – Deadline to file your extended 2022 tax return. If you chose to file an extension request on your tax return, this is the due date for filing your tax return.
  • January 15, 2024 – Fourth quarter 2023 estimated tax payment due. This represents the final quarterly estimated tax payment due for 2023. If you choose the option to pay 100% of your previous year’s tax liability, any unpaid taxes will be due when you file your 2023 individual tax return by the April 2024 deadline.

Businesses – Partnerships (including LLCs), C Corps (Form 1120), and S Corps (Form 1120S)

  • January 31, 2023 – Employers send W-2s forms to employees
  • January 31, 2023 – Send certain 1099 forms
  • March 15, 2023 – Taxes are due for some business types (partnerships, multi-member LLCs, and S-Corporations). Businesses organized as partnerships, including multi-member LLCs, and S-Corporations need to file Form 1065, or 1120S by March 15, 2023, if they are a calendar year business. If your business uses a fiscal year, you need to file your tax return by the 15th day of the third month following the close of your tax year. For example, if your business uses an April 1 – March 31 tax year, your business tax return would be due June 15 instead of March 15.
  • April 18, 2023 – Taxes for C-Corporations are due. Businesses organized as C-Corporations need to file form 1120 by April 18, 2023, if they are a calendar year business. If your business uses a fiscal year, you need to file your tax return by the 15th day of the third month following the close of your tax year. For example, if your business uses an April 1 – March 31 tax year, your business tax return would be due June 15 instead of in April.
  • September 15, 2023 – Deadline for extended partnership and S-corporation returns
  • October 16, 2023 – Deadline for extended C-corporation returns
  • January 15, 2024 – Fourth quarter 2023 estimated tax payment due

Contact Neely’s Accounting Services for Expert Tax Support in Roanoke. 

Since 2007, Neely’s Accounting Services has provided expert tax preparation and accounting in Roanoke and Vinton, VA. We help small and service-based businesses, restaurants, nonprofits & churches, and families and individuals. We pride ourselves on delivering big-city service with hometown values. Our friendly, dedicated advisors are always ready to help you with personalized solutions that meet your needs.

Let us take the stress out of running your business and filing income taxes. Contact us or visit at either of our two convenient locations today.

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PREVIOUS How to Identify and Protect Your Company from Occupational Fraud
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How to Identify and Protect Your Company from Occupational Fraud

Hiring a new employee takes a lot of thought and effort, and for good reason. Your new employee may have access to sensitive company information or finances so it’s essential to quickly establish trust. In most cases, that trust results in a positive, productive working relationship. However, sometimes the worst can happen, and your business becomes a victim of occupational fraud.

Although it is unlikely, preparedness is one of the best ways to identify and prevent someone stealing from your company. Having solid accounting services can help protect you if you become the victim of occupational fraud.

What is Occupational Fraud?

The Association of Certified Fraud Examiners (ACFE) defines occupational fraud as “the use of a person’s occupation for self-enrichment through deliberate misappropriation and misuse of the employing organization’s asset and resources.” In other words, if an employee steals from their company, they are committing occupational fraud.  While this can happen in a variety of ways, there are three common types of fraud to look out for. 

  • Asset misappropriation is the most common form of occupational fraud, occurring in about 89% of cases. This happens when employees steal equipment or cash, or present inflated expense reports and bills to pocket the excess. 
  • Corruption occurs when an employee uses their influence inappropriately for personal gain. It often takes the form of bribery or extortion and is most frequently undertaken by senior employees.
  • Financial statement fraud happens rarely but is the costliest. Perpetrators inflate revenues and minimize losses to present an image of success to gain performance raises or new investors. 

Who is at Risk for Occupational Fraud?

Any business can fall prey to occupational fraud, but those without strong accounting services and regular audits are particularly at risk. While it can happen anywhere, certain conditions make it more likely that occupational fraud will occur.

  • Pressure either on the job or at home can contribute to an employee’s decision to commit fraud. If an employee feels pressure to perform or to make payments for a lifestyle beyond their means, it may drive them to commit fraud. 
  • Access to sensitive information and lack of accountability creates opportunity. If your business has lax accounting, then it becomes easier for an employee to take advantage. 
  • Frustration on the job can lead to an employee that rationalizes theft. Maybe the employee feels they deserve a raise, or they don’t agree with certain business practices and “compensate” themselves by stealing from the business. 

How Can I Protect My Protect My Business from Occupational Fraud?

The best way to protect your business from occupational fraud is through a culture of accountability and reliable accounting services. Developing effective internal financial controls like accounting audits ensures you have the information you need to identify or even prevent fraud. 

  • Proper employee management goes a long way to preventing fraud. Creating a culture of transparency and accountability as well as ensuring that your employees are satisfied isn’t easy but often leads to greater trust and productivity. 
  • Clear boundaries and accountability are critical tools for safeguarding against fraud. Assigning clear ownership and oversight of financial tasks makes it difficult for fraud to happen and protects against event accidental missteps. 
  • Strong accounting services and regular audits give you a clear overview of your financial situation, making it easy to spot discrepancies and issues.

Contact Neely’s Accounting to Learn More

You don’t have to go it alone when it comes to developing a fraud protection plan. Since 2007, we’ve been helping Roanoke businesses stay financially healthy and secure. Contact us today to learn more about how we can provide accounting services that make sense for your business. 

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PREVIOUS Everything You Need to Know for A Successful Tax Day
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