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Ryan Lasker

Ryan Lasker is an accounting writer with a penchant for breaking down complex topics and has work published in USA TODAY. He is a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) licensed in the District of Columbia, holds a Master of Accountancy, and specializes in small-business financial planning.

Recent Articles

Supplemental Pay: 2 Methods for Withholding Income Taxes
Supplemental pay is a variable payment from bonuses to sales commissions made to employees. Here's how supplemental pay works and how to handle withholding tax.
7 Types of Payroll Reports and How to Make Them
Payroll reports help small businesses understand payroll costs and summarize payroll data. Here are the seven most common payroll report types that are used.
New Business Applications Up 24% Amid Shaky Economy
New business applications rose significantly in pandemic-ridden 2020. The Blueprint explains what that means and why it might not be so surprising.
28 Payroll Terms You Should Know
Small business owners should familiarize themselves with standard payroll terms. Here is a list of the most common payroll terms you'll be confronted with.
9 Tasks to Put on Your Payroll Audit Checklist
A payroll audit ensures you're paying employees on time, with accuracy, and in compliance with the law. Learn how to perform a payroll audit for your business.
8 Types of Payroll Fraud and 5 Ways to Prevent It
Payroll fraud can occur if you're not careful and can cost you thousands of dollars if you do nothing. Here's how to prevent payroll fraud in your business.
10 Payroll Tax Forms Your Small Business Needs to Know
Small businesses must collect and report payroll information using the correct payroll forms. Here are 10 tax forms your business should submit in a timely manner.
Form 940 vs. Form 941: What’s the Difference?
IRS Forms 940 and 941 must be filled out to ensure you're paying employment taxes. We discuss the difference in each form and how to fill them out accurately.
What’s in a Paycheck? Payroll Taxes vs. Income Taxes
Payroll tax and income tax will both affect your payroll check differently, but what's the difference? Here's how to calculate payroll tax and income tax.
3 Tips to Get W-9s From Vendors
A Form W-9 gathers information about a vendor for a business to prepare contractor tax forms. Here are tips for getting W-9s from vendors and when to ask for them.
3 Ways to Send Forms W-2 to Your Employees
The Form W-2 details employee earnings and is used when they file their individual income taxes. Here are three ways to send employees their Forms W-2.
7 Payroll Errors and How to Avoid Them
Payroll errors can cost your small business money, and you may not find out about it for weeks. Here's how to avoid some of the most common payroll errors.
4 Considerations for Choosing Your Business’s Pay Period
Small business owners choose their pay periods based on business cash flow and employee needs. Learn how to decide which pay period works best for your business.
Onboard New Employees With These Tax Forms
When hiring new employees, make sure to collect the tax forms you need to run payroll. Here are employee tax forms to complete during the onboarding process.
What "De Minimis" Means for Your Business Taxes
Small businesses most often use the phrase de minimis to talk about employee benefits. Here are the most common de minimis employee benefits (plus examples).
3 Signs That Your Business Should Switch to Payroll Software
When should your business switch from manual payroll to payroll software? The Blueprint goes through the relevant signs of when it's time to make the switch.
How and Why to Automate Billing in Your Small Business
When it comes to invoicing customers, automated billing can save you a ton of hours. Here are some tips to set up an effective automated billing system.
How Do I File Taxes as an Entrepreneur?
You don't have to be a tax expert to keep your entrepreneur tax-related documents organized. Here are five common tax deductions and tips for handling your taxes.
How to Deduct Home Office Expenses With Form 8829
IRS Form 8829 is made for individuals that want to deduct home office expenses. Learn how to get a tax break with your home office using our step-by-step guide.
What Are Payroll Liabilities?
Payroll liabilities remain on your books until you pay the money owed. Here are five of the most common payroll liabilities your small business will encounter.
How to Calculate Prime Costs
Before calculating prime costs, you need to determine your direct material, direct labor, and manufacturing overhead costs. Here's how to calculate prime costs.
8 Ways to Reinvest Business Profits
If your business is generating a profit, you should be considering what to do with those earnings. Here are eight smart ways to reinvest your business profits.
A Small Business Guide to Reversing Entries
Reversing entries neutralize journal entries from the previous accounting period. Here’s why you should use reversing entries in your accounting (plus examples).
How to Qualify and Apply for PPP Forgiveness
In order to qualify for 100% PPP loan forgiveness, your business must meet several criteria. Here are the most recent requirements to apply for PPP forgiveness.
A Small Business Guide to the Second COVID Relief Package
Trump just signed off on a second COVID relief package, and it includes a lot -- such as simplified PPP loan forgiveness. Let's explore what else is available.
A Step-by-Step Guide to Calculating an Asset's Salvage Value
The salvage value is the value of the asset after it has been depreciated over its life. Learn how to calculate and record depreciation with salvage value.
Here’s When to Outsource Payroll
Are you paying employees late or have employees earning overtime? It might be time to outsource your payroll. Here’s what to look for, as well as best practices.
A Small Business Guide to SaaS Payroll
A SaaS payroll system offers an automated solution so you can process payroll from anywhere. We cover the benefits and limitations to help you decide.
A Guide to Nonprofit Payroll
When it comes to doing payroll at a nonprofit, you may or may not be responsible for paying unemployment tax for employees. Find out if you're obligated to pay.
Hobby vs. Business: 9 Questions to Ask
Not sure if your side hustle should be taxed as a business? Find out if your activity is a hobby or a business under this nine-point test created by the IRS.
A Small Business Guide to Direct Materials
Calculating direct material costs helps estimate the total manufacturing cost of the product. Here are three best practices when calculating direct materials use.
A Guide to Accounting for Restaurants
Restaurants need to have robust accounting software in place. Here are four considerations to keep in mind as you build your restaurant accounting system.
5 Ways to Use Excel for Small Business Accounting
Excel is a powerful platform that simplifies hard work with its built-in automation features. Learn how Excel can help you with your business accounting.
How to Build a Small Business Cash Budget
A cash budget predicts when cash comes in and leaves the business and helps identify that enough cash is available. Learn how to prepare one in six steps.
How to Catch and Correct Transposition Errors
Transposition errors are inputting errors that happen when you carry a number from one source to another. Here are a few tips on how to avoid these errors.
How to Do a Cost Volume Profit Analysis
A cost volume profit (CVP) analysis determines the number of units that need to be sold to make a profit. Learn how to conduct a CVP analysis in five steps.
4 Questions to Ask Yourself When Hiring an Accountant
As your business grows, you may resort to a small business accountant to handle complex issues. Here are four things to consider when looking for an accountant.
How Do I Report Excise Taxes? A Guide to Filling out Form 720
Form 720 is for businesses that need to report excise tax paid on targeted goods and services. Here's how to fill out Form 720 and file it in seven steps.
Here’s Why You Should Adopt Paperless Payroll
Are you ready to take your paychecks, payroll records, and pay stubs to a paperless payroll system? Here are three reasons why you should go paperless.
OnPay vs. QuickBooks Online Payroll: Which Wins on Customer Support?
Both OnPay and Quickbooks Online Payroll customer support professionals can help navigate you through any issues, but which platform does a better job?
How to Calculate Materials Quantity Variance
Materials quantity variance determines the production efficiency of converting raw materials into finished goods. Learn how to calculate it to uncover issues.
4 Accounting Considerations for Law Firms
Before opening your law firm, make sure you are aware of the accounting compliance standards. Here are three accounting best practices you should implement.
Here’s How Long to Keep Payroll Records
How long should payroll records be kept? It differs from state to state. Before tossing your payroll records, here are some retention guidelines to follow.
How to Create a Holiday Pay Policy
Employees that work on major holidays should receive a higher-than-normal hourly wage. Here's how to set up a holiday pay policy that will make employees happy.
How to Accrue Payroll for Your Small Business
Accrued payroll is a debt owed to employees. You record the compensation when it’s earned, but it’s not paid until the next period. Here are four examples.
How to Deduct the Business Use of Your Car
If you use your personal car for business, you can take a car tax deduction and lower your tax bill. Learn how to take the deduction and reduce taxable income.
How to Print Payroll Checks
Prior to direct deposit, employees received a printed payroll check; however, some employees prefer printed checks. Follow our five steps on how to print them.
How Does AI Affect Small Business Accounting?
Accounting software companies have invested millions into AI to make small business accounting easier. Here are five tasks AI accounting software can handle.
How to Amend Your S Corp Tax Return Form 1120-S
If you've made an adjustment on your S corp return, you will need to submit Form 1120-S. Learn how to amend an S corp return with Form 1120-S in five steps.
How to Fill out IRS Form 945
Form 945 is used to report backup withholding tax for an independent contractor. Here's why your business might need to complete Form 945 and how to fill it out.
How Are Partnerships Taxed?
Partnership taxation is based on the partner's portion of income generated by the partnership. Learn how to file your partnership taxes in four easy steps.
4 Steps to Filing a Business Tax Return Extension
A business tax extension can give your business an additional six months to prepare your tax return. Learn how to file a tax extension in four simple steps.
12 Tax Tips for Your Small Business
Finding ways to reduce your business tax bill should be at the top of your list. Learn how to maximize your deductions and credits with these 12 tips.
What to Include in a Bill of Materials
A bill of materials (BOM) specifies the raw materials, parts, and costs needed to manufacture your product. Here are six essential items to include in your BOM.
A Small Business Guide to Excise Taxes
Excise tax is imposed by the government to generate revenue on certain items like cigarettes, alcohol, fuel, and gambling. Here's how excise tax is recorded.
What Are Pro Forma Financial Statements?
Business owners use pro forma statements to draft forecasted financial statements, budgets, and quotes. Here we detail the three types of pro forma statements.
How to Reconcile the General Ledger
A general ledger lists all the transactions in an account and should be checked for errors. Learn how to prepare a general ledger reconciliation in five steps.
A Small Business Guide to Job Costing
Job costing allows you to focus on building a profitable business by accurately tracking your project expenses. Learn how to calculate the components of a job.
How to Calculate Your Product’s True Cost with Cost Accounting
Cost accounting is designed to determine the true cost of the manufactured product. Learn which type of cost accounting you should implement in your business.
A Small Business Guide to Fair Value Accounting
Fair value accounting gives you the estimated value of an asset or liability at today's current market price. Here's an example for how to determine fair value.
Filing Your Sole Proprietor Taxes Jointly with Spouse
Should you file your sole proprietorship taxes as married filing jointly? Here are a few things to consider before filing your next tax return with your spouse.
How to Write off a Car Lease in Your Business
If you are using a leased car for business, you can deduct a portion of your expenses. Learn which car lease tax write-off method offers the highest deduction.
How to File Taxes for an LLC With No Income
You should expect to file your LLC taxes every calendar year, even if your business had no activity. Learn how to file taxes for an LLC when there is no income.
LLC Tax Classifications: Which One Should You Choose?
Depending on your LLC tax classification, you can be taxed as a sole proprietor, partnership, or corporation. Here are the types of specific taxes an LLC pays.
A Small Business Guide to Pretax Deductions
A pretax deduction is money taken out of an employee's paycheck before taxes are withheld. Here are four deductions you can use to reduce your income taxes.
How to Calculate the Tip Credit
A tip credit is a set amount by state law that can be deducted from the hourly minimum wage of tipped employees. Learn how to calculate it in four steps.
3 Steps to Paying Yourself With an Owner's Draw
As a business owner, the owner's draw allows you to take your share of cash out of the business. Learn how to pay yourself from an owner's draw in three steps.
4 Steps to Becoming an S Corp
An S corporation receives special tax treatment: It allows you to file your business and personal taxes together. Learn how to become an S corp in four steps.
What Is a Business Tax Receipt?
A business tax receipt is proof that your company can operate and legally open for business. Learn how to obtain a business tax receipt in three steps.
When Do You File Personal and Business Taxes Together?
Do you file personal and business taxes together? Depending on your business structure, you may want to. Here are some things to consider before tax time.
Are Unreimbursed Employee Expenses Deductible This Year?
An unreimbursed employee expense is when an employer doesn’t repay a business expense an employee covered. Learn if you can deduct these types of expenses.
A Small Business Guide to MACRS
The modified accelerated cost recovery system (MACRS) is the IRS's depreciation method used for filing taxes. Learn how MACRS works in five simple steps.
How to Use the FreshBooks Mobile App in Your Small Business
The FreshBooks mobile app is great if you need to expense something while you're outside the office. Here are five features that will make record-keeping easy.
10 Tax Deductions for the Self-Employed
Business owners should take advantage of self-employed tax deductions to reduce their tax liability. Here are 10 valuable tax deductions to take this year.
A Small Business Guide to Independent Contractors vs. Employees
Taxes, control, and benefits are what sets independent contractors apart from employees. Learn the three criteria the IRS uses to classify a worker.
5 Steps for Filing S Corporation Taxes
S corporations enjoy pass-through taxation in which the owner pays taxes based on their individual tax rate. Learn how to file S corp taxes in five steps.
A Small Business Guide to Accumulated Depreciation
Accumulated depreciation is the total recorded depreciation since an asset was placed in service. Learn how to calculate and record it in your balance sheet.
6 Accounting Concepts E-Commerce Business Owners Need to Know
Setting up an e-commerce accounting system can be a stressful part of opening a new business. Here are six accounting concepts you need to know to run a business.
A Small Business Guide to Bonus Depreciation
Bonus depreciation allows you to report a chunk of depreciation in the year an asset was purchased. Learn how to claim your bonus depreciation in five steps.
Gross Profit vs. Net Profit: What’s the Difference?
Gross profit and net profit are two terms businesses use to determine the bottom line. Here we look at the differences between them and how to calculate each.
How to Create a Financial Forecast
Financial forecasting allows you to predict your company's future performance based on certain assumptions. Learn how to create a forecast for your business.
How to Fill Out (and File) Schedule C for Form 1040
Sole proprietorships and single-member LLCs file Schedule C to report business net profit or loss. Follow these 9 steps to filling out and filing Schedule C.
A Small Business Guide to Inventory
Managing your inventory is essential to keep up with the consumer demand for your product. Here we outline the benefits of successfully managing your inventory.
How to Make a Depreciation Schedule: A Small Business Guide
Depreciation schedules detail how a fixed asset’s costs are expensed over the life of the asset. Learn how to set up a depreciation schedule for your business.
How to Use Unit Contribution Margin to Help Make Business Decisions
Unit contribution margin measures the profitability of manufactured goods and is used to make production decisions. Here's how to calculate it plus see examples.
A Guide to Tax-Advantaged S Corp Health Insurance Deductions
S corporations can offer health insurance premium coverage for non-owner employees. Learn to achieve the maximum tax advantage for S corp health insurance.
FICA Taxes: What You Should Know
FICA taxes consist of Medicare and Social Security payroll taxes, which fund retirement benefits. Learn how to calculate it and how much should be withheld.
A Beginner’s Guide to Independent Contractor Taxes
An independent contractor is a one-person business that provides goods and services to clients for a fee. Learn how to pay taxes as one in just five steps.
A Beginner's Guide to Minimum Wage by State
The federal government and most states have passed minimum wage laws to protect workers from unfair compensation. Here's the minimum wage rate for each state.
How to Calculate Total Manufacturing Cost
Total manufacturing cost is what a company spent to produce its inventory within a given period. Learn how to calculate it and optimize the manufacturing process.
7 Steps to Small Business Payroll in Canada
Do you have a business in Canada? There are a few things you should know before setting up payroll. Learn how to do your small business payroll in seven steps.
6 Steps to Filing Form 1120
If you have a C corporation, you'll need to use Form 1120 to file your business taxes. Here's a tax preparation checklist that will guide you during tax time.
Best Practices for Small Business Record-Keeping
An effective record-keeping system can streamline your tax preparation and financial audits. Here are five record-keeping tips that will simplify bookkeeping.
How to Use Cost Flow Assumptions in Your Business
Cost flow assumption determines the order in which FIFO, LIFO, and weighted average costs flow out of a balance sheet account. Here's how it works.
How to Use Variable Pay in Your Small Business
Variable pay is an incentive employers can pay to employees when their performance meets or exceeds expectations. Here's how to implement it in four steps.
A Small Business Guide to Pass-Through Entity Types
A pass-through entity allows the owner to pay taxes as an individual instead of paying corporate taxes. Here's how to decide if it's the right option for you.
What Is IRS Form W-3? How to Fill It Out and File It
IRS Form W-3 tracks your employee's wages, salary, commission, tips, and other compensation. Here we show how to fill it out and how to file it with the SSA.
Employee Mileage Reimbursement: What You Need to Know
If your employees are using their personal vehicles for work, you should reimburse them accordingly. Here's how to quickly calculate mileage reimbursement.
Employees on Jury Duty: What You Need to Know
If your employee gets summoned for jury duty, are you responsible for paying them while they serve? Find out which states require employers to pay for jury duty.
10 Steps for Doing Payroll Manually
For businesses with just a few employees, it might make sense to do payroll manually. We show you how to manually calculate payroll for your small business.
How to Calculate Shift Differentials
Picking up shifts at irregular times of the day incentivizes employees to earn shift differential pay. Here we discuss how to calculate shift differential pay.
What Are Gross Wages? A Small Business Guide
Gross wages include any cash compensation, tips, or fringe benefits received. Here's an introduction to gross wages and how to calculate them for tax purposes.
EIN vs. SSN: What’s the Difference?
The IRS uses Social Security numbers and EINs to identify individuals and businesses for tax purposes. This guide explains the differences between EINs and SSNs.
How to Manage Payroll: 9 Steps for Your Small Business
If you're looking to do payroll more efficiently, consider an organized payroll management system. Here are the best payroll management tools for your business.
10 Tax Credits for Your Small Business
Tax credits are an effective way to reduce your small business tax liability. The Blueprint explores 10 small business tax credits business owners can use.
How to Use Responsibility Accounting in Your Small Business
Responsibility accounting develops clear expectations for your business and its employees. The Blueprint covers the benefits of responsibility accounting.
5 Employer Payroll Taxes and How to Calculate Them
Both employers and employees pay payroll taxes, but which taxes are you responsible for? Here are the most common payroll taxes employers and employees pay.
How to Calculate Time and a Half
If your employees work more than 40 hours per week, the overtime pay rate is required. Here's how to calculate time and a half for your employees.
How to Calculate and Pay State Unemployment Tax (SUTA)
The unemployment benefits program starts when an employee gets laid off or let go. Here's how to pay state unemployment taxes for your small business.
Period Costs: What Small Businesses Need to Know
Period costs are indirect costs such as your selling, administrative, and depreciation expenses. Here's how to calculate period costs for your small business.
Balance Sheet vs. Income Statement: What’s the Difference?
The balance sheet and income statement highlight various aspects of your business’s financial health. The Blueprint explains the difference between the two.
How Your Small Business LLC Can Be Taxed
Starting your business as a limited liability company (LLC) offers certain legal and financial protections. The Blueprint explains how LLCs are taxed.
How to Calculate the Federal Unemployment Tax (FUTA)
Businesses contribute to federal unemployment through a payroll tax that is deducted from employee's check. The Blueprint shows how to calculate FUTA Tax.
A Small Business Guide to Using Pay Stubs
Pay stubs show how employee paychecks are calculated and list deductions line by line. The Blueprint covers how to create pay stubs for your employees.
How Net Operating Loss Affects Your Business
A business incurs a net operating loss (NOL) when expenses exceed revenues. The Blueprint goes through how to calculate NOL and turn it into a tax deduction.
A Guide to Small Business Payroll Deductions
Payroll deductions are costs that employers deduct from their employees' paychecks. The Blueprint discusses the types of payroll deductions for your business.
3 Ways to Value Any Small Business
Valuing your business determines the financial value to a potential investor. The Blueprint goes through how to value a small business.