Preparing Your Business Books for Tax Preparation

Are your books ready for tax preparation?

Your tax return is only as accurate as your bookkeeping records.  There are several things you can do to ensure your books are complete, accurate, reconciled, and ready for tax preparation.

Below is a basic Year End checklist to help you wrap up your bookkeeping for the year. Each company’s bookkeeping is unique to the business so this list may include items that do not apply or may not cover specific aspects of your company’s accounting records.

Balance Sheet Review:  Use a Comparative Balance Sheet that shows the current year and the prior year for comparison. It helps draw attention to significant variances from year to year, which can be an indication of bookkeeping errors.

__   Confirm that your Prior Year Balance Sheet hasn’t changed since your tax return was prepared last year.  It should match your tax return from the prior year.

__   Reconcile all bank, credit card, and loan accounts.  Make sure to resolve any uncleared/unreconciled transactions that are more than 3 months old.

__   Reconcile payroll liabilities and excise tax liabilities to actual year end balances.

__   Review Accounts Receivable Aging report – write off any uncollectible balances.

__   Review Accounts Payable Aging report – resolve any inaccuracies.

__   Verify the ending inventory balance reflects the actual cost value based on physical count.

__   Review any new asset entries to make sure they should be reported as assets.  Purchases for $500 or less can be recorded as expenses.  (Some businesses report anything $2,500 or less as and expense.)

__   Look for any accounts that have significant changes from the prior year or no change from the prior year – investigate to see if anything is missing or inaccurate


Profit & Loss Review:  Use a Comparative Profit & Loss that shows the current year and the prior year for comparison. It helps draw attention to significant variances from year to year, which can be an indication of bookkeeping errors.

__    Look at a Profit & Loss Detail report that shows all transactions in each account.  Look for unusual   entries in each account. This is not an intensive detailed review or audit, just a quick look through transactions looking for oddities or anomalies that may need correcting.  Also, look for & correct expense transactions that should be recorded as assets (generally greater than $500, though some businesses use the benchmark of $2,500 or more).

__    Verify revenue is reconciled to POS, Billing, or other revenue tracking system.

__    Verify payroll expenses (wages & taxes) agree with the year-end payroll reports and payroll tax returns.

__    For corporations, verify that officer wages are reported in their own expense account.

__    For partnerships, verify that compensation to partners for services is reported as guaranteed payments.

__    Verify charitable contributions are reported correctly.  Only those donations that have a business purpose are deductible.  Other charitable contributions are not tax deductible in a business.

__     Look for any expenses reported in the prior year that don’t show up in the current year.  This can be an indication that something is missing in your current year bookkeeping.

__    Add any owner reimbursements for items paid personally (mileage, cell phone, home office, etc.)


Download a pdf of the Business Bookkeeping Year End Checklist


Job Posting: Experienced Tax Accountant – Quality of Work, Quality of Life

Thrive Business Group is a rapidly growing small CPA firm dedicated to helping small business owners and self-employed individuals Thrive. We believe in providing a truly excellent experience for our clients – from technical proficiency, to genuine caring. We take care of their accounting & tax service needs with quality work, and sprinkle the process with encouragement, mentoring, and humor.

We believe a thriving team helps develop thriving clients. We provide a quality workplace for our team – from true life-work balance (even during tax season), to internal mentoring and comradery. We have a rock-solid team who works beautifully together and enjoys the satisfaction of being highly productive and collaborating for a job well done.

We are seeking an experienced Tax Accountant:

  • CPA or EA preferred, but not required (technical experience is more important than your designation)
  • Income Tax Preparation experience required (minimum 3 years, 5+ is better – 1040, 1120S, 1065 required; 1041, 990 preferred; Tax return review experience preferred
  • Small Business Accounting required, including flexibility in tailoring services to unique small business needs
  • QuickBooks Desktop and QuickBooks Online proficiency
  • WA state payroll proficiency
  • Detail oriented, organized, highly productive
  • Works well independently and with a team
  • Cares about making a difference with our clients, cares about our team

To apply, submit cover letter, including compensation requirements, and resume by email to

5% Discount on Services when you sign up for Auto Payment

Thrive Business Group now offers a 5% discount on all services paid through our Auto Pay program. Here’s how it works.

You complete and sign an Auto Pay agreement that gives us permission to charge your payment method of choice automatically for our service fees.  You choose whether you want your automatic payment to come out of your checking account, or charge to a credit card or debit card.

Starting the month following receipt of your completed agreement, you will see a 5% discount applied to each invoice under the Auto Payment agreement.

At the beginning of each month, we will still email you an invoice for services with a note that you are set up for Auto Pay. After the 17th of the month, we will automatically charge your account on file.

For federal tax return preparation, we will automatically charge your account 10 days after we send you your completed tax return and invoice.

If you have both a personal and a business account with us, you can choose to put either or both accounts on autopay.  Use one form (and check both personal and business) if you want to use one payment method for both.  To use a different payment method for each, simply fill out two forms.

It’s easy to sign up, just fill out this secure online form.  Or, email to request an autopay form to print out and return by mail.



What if I have a question about my invoice?

You will still receive your invoice by email at the beginning of each month. If you have a question, reply to the email with your questions. We have plenty of time to make sure you have all of your questions answered before the Auto Payment is processed after the 17th of the month.

What services do I get a discount on?

The 5% discount applies to all services included under your Auto Payment agreement, beginning the month after signing up.

For monthly services, when does Auto Payment start?

Auto Payment and discount starts the month after signing up.

If you would like to use your new Auto Pay method to pay an invoice you have already received,  simply send an email to   The discount however, will start with the following invoice.

Can I set this up for both my personal and business accounts?

Yes!  You can mark on the autopay form which accounts you want the autopay/discount to apply to.

Can I use different payment methods for my personal and business accounts?

Yes!   Simply fill out the autopay form twice — one for each account.

If I choose discount/autopay for my tax return preparation fee, when will that be debited?

The payment will be debited no less than 10 days after your invoice has been sent to you.

Can I use either a bank account or credit card for my autopayment?


What if I want to stop the Direct-Debit payment?

Email us at to request cancellation at any time.

How do I sign up?

Email to request an auto pay enrollment agreement, or just fill out this secure online form

What if I have questions that aren’t answered here?

Call us at 360-746-8738 or email

Info Sessions for Transitioning from Powell Business Solutions


I would like to introduce myself. My name is Siobhan Murphy. I am the CPA and founder of Thrive Business Group.

Cami recently contacted me about her decision to focus her business into CFO services exclusively. She asked if we could handle the additional clients if she referred her non-CFO clients to us. I was honored that she shared her confidence in us and appreciated her desire to make sure you continue getting the services you need.

I founded Thrive Business Group nine years ago and have been a practicing accountant for 18 years (13 of those as a CPA). I was raised by two entrepreneurial parents, which infused me with a passion for small business. I founded our organization on the belief that small business owners and self-employed individuals deserve excellent service at a fair price.

We have a team of six: me, two accountants, one bookkeeper, and two administrative team members (plus a few more seasonal additions during tax season). We provide a full range of bookkeeping, accounting, tax preparation, and tax strategy consulting services for individuals, small businesses, and the self-employed.

I love to make tax time easy for our clients and to help you pay the minimum legal and ethical amount in tax. Our team provides bookkeeping and accounting support tailored to your needs – a little or a lot – we can help.

I have great respect for Cami’s skills as an accountant and appreciate the care with which she serves her clients. I look forward to continuing this level of excellence in working with you.

I would like to extend two invitations to you:

An educational meet & greet: hosted by me and Cami for clients transitioning out of her services.

Friday, December 7th 1:00 – 2:30pm [Presentation 1:15-2:00]
Location: The Big Love Boardroom
1140 10th Street, Suite 102, Bellingham (in Fairhaven)

We’ll provide a variety of munchies, give a brief presentation regarding 2018 tax law changes, and introduce you to our firm. I will be available for general Q&A and I’ll bring some of our team for you to meet too.

Please RSVP by emailing or calling 360-746-8738 so we make sure we have food and a seat for you.

One-on-One Meetings: If you would like to meet with me one-on-one to talk about your needs in more detail, I have added priority scheduling appointments in December and January for clients coming from Cami’s practice. This will provide you with a 30-minute free consultation with me (without having to wait our normal 4-6 weeks during the busy season).

Please call our office at 360-746-8738 to reach our front desk to schedule an appointment. Be sure to tell us that you were referred by Cami.

If you would like to make this transition as quick and easy as possible, you can help us expedite your setup as a new client. Please call 360-746-8738 or email and let us know you would like to consider transitioning to our firm.  We will send you a secure link with a new client intake form to fill out and a request for your 2017 tax return(s) (both personal and business, if applicable). This will help us prepare a tax packet to send you in the first week of January and avoid any potential tax season delays.

I am honored by the trust Cami shows by referring you to us and I will be delighted to be of service. I look forward to meeting you.

All my best,

B. Siobhan Q. Murphy, CPA

How to Contact Us Regarding Your Tax Return

We are working to streamline our communication systems to provide the best possible service for you.

With double the number of team members working at Thrive this year, it can sometimes be hard to know who to send your email to.

When in doubt, it’s best to email our administration address at  or call our office at 360-746-8738. Our admin team will forward your communication to the right team member.

To help make your tax preparation process as smooth & timely as possible, please note the following additional communication strategies with our team:

  • Who to email if you have a question (or for that one surprise tax document that just came in the mail):
    • If you receive a question about your tax return from one of our accountants, please email them back directly.
    • If you are not responding directly to one of our accountants, and it’s a tax processing question, please direct it to
    • For non tax processing questions, or if you are unsure, please email

Thrive is Expanding! Hiring a Top Notch Bookkeeper

Thrive Business Group is Expanding!

We are a small (but mighty) accounting office serving self-employed individuals and small business clients in a full range of bookkeeping, accounting, tax, and consulting services.  We are growing rapidly and need a Top Notch Bookkeeper to add to our team.

Our Ideal candidate:Bookkeeping

  • Loves working hard and enjoys the satisfaction of a job well done
  • Is energetic, cheerful, professional, and works well with a wide range of people
  • Is highly organized, detail-oriented, efficient, goal oriented, able to meet a variety of deadlines
  • Can thrive working independently and enjoy a team-oriented environment

Job duties include: A/P, A/R, Payroll and related tax returns, state & city B&O tax returns, bank recs, and related admin duties.  Software familiarity preferred: QuickBooks Pro, QuickBooks Online, MS Word, MS Excel, gmail, wave accounting

This position ranges 20-40 hours/week (depending on accounting cycle timing through the month) with an average of 30 hours/week.  (Full time potential in the next 9-18 months.)  Compensation is hourly, depending on experience and productivity.

To apply, submit cover letter explaining why you want this job, resume, and pay rate history by email to cpa @ thrivebusinessgroup . com — please include your text in the body of your email or in pdf attachment (word docs or other attachments will not be opened).

Interviews are starting immediately.  This position will remain open until filled.

Crafting Your Business: from Vision to Results

Crafting Your Business: From Vision to Results

“He who fails to plan is planning to fail.” – Winston Churchill

“Vision without Action is a Dream; Action without Vision is a Nightmare.” – Japanese Proverb


This workshop is for you if you are…

  • Committed to starting a new business, but don’t know where to start.
  • Already in business and ready to grow to the next level.
  • Ready to engage your team in crafting a shared vision & plan for success.


In this 4-part workshop, I will show you how to:

  • Lay Your Foundation:
    • Clarify Your Vision
    • Change Your Thinking for Success
    • Structure Your Entity & Tax Strategy
  • Map Out Your Process:
    • Build Multiple Streams of Income
    • Set Up Systems for Success
    • Create Your Revenue Plan
    • Bring in Business with Your Marketing Plan
    • Make Money with Your Sales Plan
  • Lead Your Team To Success
    • Focus on the Highest & Best Use of Your Time
    • Build & Empower Your Team
    • Implement Your Action Plan with Accountability

All sessions 5:30pm – 9:30pm

April  29, 2014 Vision & Values
May 5, 2014      Multiple Streams of Income
May 13, 2014   Marketing & Sales Bootcamp
May 20, 2014  Taking Action

Register Now

$397 per person; 50% discount for each additional team working on the same business.  

Use the Paypal button below to Register:

Please Choose Your Registration

Siobhan Murphy holds a Master of Business Administration (MBA) from Western Washington University; is a Certified Public Accountant (CPA), a Certified Management Accountant (CMA), and a Certified Financial Manager (CFM).  She has applied her accounting and business experience to not-for-profit, public accounting, small business, home-based business, service and retail industries.  Having grown up in an entrepreneurial family, Siobhan holds a strong passion for supporting small business owners.  She enjoys living an entrepreneurial lifestyle as a 10-year serial entrepreneur.

About Us

Thrive Business Group is an elite team of financial support professionals committed to helping our clients’ thrive – in business and in life. Our team members truly understand the challenges and rewards of living an entrepreneurial lifestyle – we have personal experience running businesses in the accounting, financial services, online marketing, real estate, home-based direct sales, and retail industries.

A savvy business owner knows the different between activities that generate revenue and those that don’t. Our team handles the bookkeeping, accounting, taxation, and financial reporting functions so our clients can focus on the highest and best use of their time leading their ventures.

We are honored by the trust our clients place in us to help them create accurate financial reports, pay the minimum legal and ethical amount in tax, oversee their financial business operations, and let go of the accounting details in their lives to focus on what matters most.

Thrive Business Group is led by B. Siobhan Q. Murphy. Siobhan brings 12 years of accounting experience and entrepreneurship to her role as Consulting Director. She holds a Master of Business Administration (MBA) from Western Washington University; is a Certified Public Accountant (CPA), a Certified Management Accountant (CMA), and a Certified Financial Manager (CFM). She has taught college-level accounting courses at Charter College, and served as the Finance Director, Treasurer, President, and Director at a variety of local non-profit organizations.

She has applied her accounting and business experience to a wide range of industries including not-for-profit, public accounting, privately held small business, home-based business, and individuals. She has served businesses from start-up to millions of dollars in annual sales with specialization in businesses from $0 – $500,000 in annual profit.

Siobhan loves to serve her clients with a cheerful smile and an infusion of fun. She’s been known to say, “If we’re not having fun, then we need to do something different!” She is passionate about education so that self-employed individuals and small business owners are empowered with a deeper understanding of the financial workings of their businesses, which results in more effectively leadership of their businesses to support their lives.

At Thrive Business Group, we believe it’s about Your Life. Your Business. In That Order.