Vermont Food Regulations Resource

Ever wonder what kind of regulations you need to follow for your food business?  In partnership with the Center for An Agricultural Economy in Hardwick, I researched and developed an online tool that will help you get started with understanding regulations specific to your food product.

The guidelines are specific to Vermont businesses and attempt to cover all types of food products.  To use the resource, you must first sign up here to retrieve a username and password.  Then, you can login to get access to the questionnaire.  After answering a few questions you will get a profile specific to your food product with links to information on the food safety regulations you must follow.

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Burlington Community Glass Studio

Terry Zigmund makes unique stained glass artwork at Burlington Community Glass Studio.

She needed a website that demonstrates the variety of colors in her work and a complete gallery that helps customers understand what is possible.  Terry’s signature work is her trees which are made from wire and she can also make windows, doors, mandalas, and bike chain rings with stained glass inside.

Burlington Community Glass Studio link to website

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QuickBooks Online Bank Feeds & Rules

I previously wrote an article about Bank Feeds for QuickBooks Desktop where I explained that bank feeds are great, but there are issues with Accounts Receivable (A/R).  I suggested that everyone enter A/R manually, which still holds true.

For QuickBooks Online Bank Feeds, I have been finding that many business owners have been confused with the automatic renaming of transactions.  QuickBooks Online will automatically place a Name of a vendor or customer without your doing, so you must be careful when reviewing your bank data.

One solution is to manually set up rules in QuickBooks Online.  Check out Intuit’s explanation for how to do this, but keep in mind there are some major limitations because you can only write rules based on bank text, description, or amount.  Sometimes the description or bank text is not all that helpful.

Another “solution” is to go slowly and be careful.  Read the bank description closely to avoid miscategorizing the transaction.

For more guidance on setting up rules in QuickBooks Online, read this article.


QuickBooks Online

QuickBooks Online Bank Feeds

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QuickBooks is Now More Expensive for Mac Users

Intuit decided to stop updating QuickBooks for Mac (QBM).  Many Accountants complained about QB for Mac, and while it had its issues, it worked and was much more affordable than QuickBooks Online (QBO).  The desktop edition was about $200 and only needed to be upgraded once every three years.  A comparable version of QBO starts at $540 paid over a three-year period.

QuickBooks for Mac 2016 will be the last version, meaning that if you have QBM you will no longer get updates starting in 2019.  By then you will have to decide to switch to QBO or another company’s software.  Intuit has introduced an affordable option in QuickBooks Self-Employed which is $10/month, but it lacks all of the tools that was available in the software edition.  What is frustrating is that other than being able to download bank data into QuickBooks for Mac, little else has changed.  It’s likely a good move for Intuit, but will be frustrating for Mac users.  Many may choose to move to WaveApps, Xero or other competitors.

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The Continued Struggle

John wanted to create an e-commerce website to sell his t-shirts that promote discussions on the contributions people of color have made to our country.   We built a website using WordPress and WooCommerce to create a simple online store along with a Black History educational component.

The Continued Struggle WebsiteIn the future, John has plans for more interactive elements like allowing users to submit their own designs for t-shirts. Check out The Continued Struggle.


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Tamarack Hollow Farm

Tamarack Hollow Farm wanted a new website that is easy to update and provides a gallery for their customers.  We built a website using WordPress and set it up for the possibility of having an e-commerce store in the future.  For now, users can learn where to find them at the market or look up photographs to remember the name of one of their unique vegetables.

Tamarack Hollow Farm - An informational Website for a Vegetable Farm

Visit Tamarack Hollow Farm or view more websites in my portfolio.

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Vermont Employment Taxes Explained

In my Small Business Management class, we were reviewing organization & staffing in a small business and we found a great deal of information on the theory of organizational management.  More difficult was finding a practical, how-to guide for hiring an employee, be it in Vermont or anywhere else in the U.S. Many of  my clients also find this to be a difficult system to comprehend as it requires coordinating with three different branches of government: the IRS, the Vermont Department of Taxes, and the Vermont Department of Labor (and ensuring that you have workers compensation). While many business owners hire a payroll service, for those that want to do it themselves or in QuickBooks, there are some steps to ensure proper setup.  The Small Business Administration has a website that comes close to explaining the legal side of the hiring process, albeit with outdated links.

The organizations that you need to coordinate with include:

  1. Federal Withholding (with the IRS). This is the income taxes & medicare/social security that employers have to withhold from paychecks.  Most business owners prefer to file electronically, so they set up an account through EFTPS (QuickBooks allows you to connect through this system so it is very easy to pay Federal withholdings).
  2. State Withholding (with the Vermont Department of Taxes).  This is the state income taxes the business withholds for their employee.  Businesses can manually pay this through myVTax (an online systems similar to EFTPS). If you are using QuickBooks Online for payroll, you can set it up so you do not need to log into myVTax.
  3. State Unemployment Insurance Taxes (with the Vermont Department of Labor). Unemployment taxes are due on the first $16,800 paid to each employee during the calendar year. If you are a new employer, sign up here.
  4. An insurance agency to ensure you are properly set up with workers compensation insurance.

Beyond this initial communication with government agencies, business owners and nonprofits who are budgeting for a new employee have a difficult time understanding what additional costs they will incur.  This is where it can get messy.

Continue reading

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Third Branch

Third Branch Flower farm needed an updated website that they could modify themselves. They also wanted an outlet to sell their peony roots and provide information for wholesale buyers.  We built a WordPress website using WooCommerce for the peony roots store. Little of this really matters as you become mesmerized by their beautiful pictures…


Visit or view more websites in my portfolio.

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“Introduction to Accounting Software” Seminar

I am instructing a seminar on the different types of accounting software for small business owners on October 29th, 2015 10 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. at the Champlain Office of Economic Opportunity in Burlington, Vermont.

I will provide an overview of software programs like QuickBooks, Xero, and WaveApps and discuss the advantages and disadvantages of each.  We’ll go over which software is best for certain kinds of businesses and the learning curve required for each type of software.

To register, please call Simeon Geigel at 802-860-1417 ext 116.

Below is the flyer for the event:

October 2015 Bookkeeping Seminar

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Walden Maple Company – New Website

Walden Maple Company wanted a clean, simple e-commerce website.  They produce and sell maple syrup through their farm in Walden, Vermont.

All I had to do was set up the template, show Michael how to get started he was able to add most of the content to his website.

screenshot walden mapleVisit or view more websites in my portfolio.

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