Questions you should not be afraid to ask your bookkeeper

Sometimes we get so overloaded with the day to day operations of our businesses that we forget about how important it is to have someone creditable keeping our books. One of the things my new clients seem to always say to me when I ask them “well why did your former bookkeeper do…..” and 9 times out of 10 they answer with: I’m not sure I just thought I’d better not question it. Nothing could hurt you more than not asking questions.

I encourage my clients to ask me questions and poll my knowledge. If I don’t know the answer immediately I will find the answer.

One of the most common things I see is not having your bank statement and/or credit card statements reconciled at the end of each month. There is absolutely no reason not to do this. Not only does it give you accurate financials but it keeps your books clean so there is no guessing game.

If your bookkeeping is making large or numerous general ledger entries you should also question their reasoning behind the entries or what they are for. If your books are being balanced each month you should have very little journal entries.

If you would like to find out more please feel free to contact me for more information.

Lauree Adams, Owner
Adams Business Solutions, Inc
lauree@adamsbusinesssolutions.com
850-319-4205

Getting Your Central Air Conditioner Ready for Summer Use

Although it may still be cold outside for now, temperatures will soon start warming up. Of course, for those of us in Florida, that means we’ll need to turn on our central air conditioner units to stay comfortable. The following five tips will help you ensure that your unit is ready to work hard for you all summer long.

Change the Filter

This is perhaps the absolute simplest thing you can do to make sure that your central air conditioner is up to the job of keeping your home or business cool during the summer. First and foremost, though, you’ll want to decide what type of filter to use. The manufacturer of your unit likely recommends a certain type or brand, but many of these are interchangeable, as well. You can choose filters that simply remove dirt and debris from the air or you can even get a HEPA filter that will reduce allergens even at the microscopic level.

Check the Condensate Drain System

The condensate drain system is where all of the water goes that is created as your air conditioner cools the air. Remember that your units job is to remove the humidity from the air, and all of that humidity has to go somewhere in the form of water. Depending upon where your blower is located, your condensate drain system may be a gravity-fed drain or a pan installed under the unit itself. In some cases, and particularly in basements, a pump is used to remove this water as it collects. Make sure that you clear out the debris from these drains and ensure that things are flowing smoothly.

Clear the Debris

Central air conditioners are made up of more than what you can see in your home or business; there is also a condenser unit located outside which essentially acts as a radiator. Because its function is to essentially suck in outside air, it’s only natural that things like leaves, dust, pine needles and more will eventually block the fins. Every so often during the cooling season, and again after storms and other significant events, it is important to ensure that all of the debris is cleared away from the condenser.

Check the Ductsjimypic

Finally, you’ll want to be sure that you’ve thoroughly inspected all of the ducts in your home. This means checking that there are no rugs or other furniture covering or otherwise blocking the registers. Then, you may even want to open them up to make sure that no large particles of dirt and debris have become lodged inside. Finally, take the time to check the main ducts all along your house and ensure that they are all properly connected and sealed. This will make sure that the air your air conditioner is working so hard to cool is reaching its intended destination and not being lost in your attic or basement.
Here at A Superior Air Conditioning, we always recommend our 21-point inspection service prior to the cooling season. We will not only take a look at all of the things mentioned above, but we will check your system as a whole so that we can catch potential problems early. Call us today to schedule your appointment!

Minimum Wage goes up – FL Reemployment Rate Comes Down

By now most of you have received the notice of the minimum wage has increased as of 1/1/14 to 7.93 per hour. If you have not posted your notices in your breakrooms, community office areas in order to be compliant please take a moment to do so.

Also the Florida Department of Revenue has been mailing out their annual notice of reemployment tax rates (formerly unemployment tax). Surprisingly most have been receiving notices of lower rates. Those of you who have been paying 1.2% and have not had any claims should see your rate lowered to .59%. Remember this is for the first $8000.00 of wage earnings for each employee – while employed by your company. If the employee starts with you in June & has already hit their $8000.00 wage cap from their previously company that does not carry over to your company, they start over.

Want to learn more about changes and how they can affect your business or what you can be doing to save you money? Contact me today Lauree Adams, Owner Adams Business Solutions. lauree@adamsbusinesssolutions.com * 850-319-4205.

How to Choose an Air Conditioner for a New Build

If you are in the process of or even considering the prospect of building a new home in Florida, then you will inevitably need to put some thought into the air conditioner you purchase. There are several different factors you should consider to ensure that your air conditioner is an efficient workhorse for many years to come.

Size Comparisons

You can purchase an air conditioner in almost any size imaginable, so it is important that you select one that is just right for the size of your new home. The absolute best way to do this is to have your contractor perform what is known as a ‘load calculation.’ Essentially, this helps in determining the size of the home, the amount and type of insulation being installed, and even the amount of window space in the home. All of these things can have a significant impact on the efficiency of your air conditioner, so they should be considered carefully.

Position of Installation

Something else that you will need to consider is the position within your home that you will be installing your air conditioner. Simply put, if you will need a large unit, then you’ll need to make sure that you can install it in such a place that the cooled air will be able to adequately reach every room in your house through the ducts. If you install the unit in the corner of a basement, for example, then the cooled air will have a more difficult time reaching the areas of the home that are the furthest away.

Consider the Moisture Performance

The primary purpose of an air conditioner is to remove the humidity from the air in your home, thereby causing it to become cooler. As such, you’ll want to be sure that you carefully consider the efficiency with which a unit can remove this humidity from the air. The abilities of these units vary, and not all air conditioners are created equally in this regard. Your unit must be able to sufficiently remove enough humidity from the air to keep you comfortable during even the hottest, stickiest days.

Don’t Go Too Largejimypic

One of the most common mistakes that homeowners make when purchasing a new air conditioner is purchasing one that is simply too large for their homes. While it may seem as if the unit would run more efficiently, this isn’t the case. Consider this: a unit that is too large will cycle on and off more rapidly. This alone causes plenty of problems, including more wear and tear on the unit and higher electricity bills. Furthermore, because the unit will cycle on and off so quickly, it will not have the ability to adequately remove the moisture from the air in your home. It is very important to choose a unit that is the right size for your new home.
If you have questions about different air conditioners, or if you are confused about your load calculation results, then please contact us here at A Superior Air Conditioning. We are always available to discuss different products and applications with you, and we will be more than happy to provide you with estimates for our professional installation services.

Celebrate the Arts is Bigger and Better this Year!

 

Save the Date for Saturday, Jan 25th!

Celebrate the Arts Local Artists Market,  just got bigger and bolder thanks to Harley Davidson of Panama City Beach.

This year the event will also include a Celebrity Fashion Show and Live Auction, where local “celebrities” from Sheriff Frank McKeithen to Holly, Mandy and Miguel of Island 106 will not only be modeling the latest Harley fashions but will be auctioned off for a lunch date to benefit Beach Care Services.

In addition to the Fashion Show, with a $10 donation, participants can also enjoy a wine and cheese tasting.

The artists market portion of the event is free to the public, who can expect the same great wares from years before, with the addition of some new artists such as Roxanne Turnipseed who will be debuting her young girls’ bracelet line and Christon Anderson, whose works can be viewed from Main Street Gallery in Panama City to A.Wickey’s Gallery on 30A.

More About Celebrate the Arts

The event was born three years ago when business neighbors Karen Smith of Beachy Beach Real Estate and Roy Eure Jr., designer and owner of Cerulean Interiors fantasized about using art to help their community.  Eure, an artist himself, wanted to show his support for the local artist community and give them an opportunity to share their work while Smith saw an opportunity to fund raise for charity.  Artists would sell their wares and give a portion of the proceeds to Beach Care Services, a local charity that helps Panama City Beach locals in need.

This year’s event is expected to not only offer more, but more people will get an opportunity to take part due to Harley Davidson  providing the event location.   To stay tuned into the event, visit the Celebrate the Arts Facebook Page.

Information on how to pre-purchase Fashion Show and Wine Tasting tickets will be announced soon. Until then Save the Date for January 25th starting at 11 am.

 

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Where are Mortgage Rates Headed in 2014?

Happy New Year!!

The Fed taper is officially happening. Starting in January, the Fed will cut back its bond buying by $10B per month. This is good news in general, in that it means the Fed sees the economy strengthening to the point where it can start to pull back the artificial support it is providing.  In the latter half of 2013, just on the speculation that this taper was coming, mortgage rates went up around 1.00%.  What will happen now that it is officially here?

While the Fed is merely reducing its $85B in bond purchases to $75B and still providing a great deal of stimulus to prop up the economy, it is expected that rate volatility will be higher in 2014.  A recent AP article states  “Homebuyers aren’t going to be happy,” says Ellen Haberle, an economist at the online real-estate brokerage Redfin. “In the weeks ahead, mortgage rates are likely to reach or exceed 5 percent.”  However, one good thing is that if the economy is truly recovering and improving, then consumer jobs and income levels should also improve to bring new homebuyers into the market.

Another important factor is the stock market which is at all-time high levels right now. The Fed included language in its taper announcement to help ease the market’s fears. It stated it will keep the Fed Funds rate where it is now between 0% and 0.25% for the foreseeable future and not increase it until unemployment drops below 6.50%. Normally what is seen when bond prices rise is that the market declines.  However, with the Fed’s statement, bond prices rose, and the market also increased.

Many are now expecting a market correction as the recent large gains are based on an economy that is reported to be improving, but is currently falsely supported by the artificial low interest rate environment created by the Fed.  Many economists are predicting a substantial stock market correction in 2014, and if this happens, investors may flock back to the safety of bonds, which would in turn have the impact of lowering rates.

Another important factor to watch that may have a larger influence over where mortgage rates and lending take shape in 2014 is related to the loan programs themselves.  Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac which control 2/3 of the mortgage market recently announced they would be increasing overall guarantee fees as well as raising loan-level guarantee fees to lenders where the borrowers have good, but not the best credit.  Experts predicted this would increase mortgage rates from 0.25% to 0.40%.

The good news in this is that the incoming regulator for these two agencies, U.S. Representative Mel Watt, has delayed the increases to allow time to study the impact of the increased pricing.

So where are rates headed in 2014?  While no one knows for sure, all indicators seem  to point towards a long term continued higher rate trend. They cannot stay at these low levels forever.  I would predict a 0.50% to 1.00% increase over the course of the year with a lot of volatility in between.

It may be years from now, but the day will eventually arrive sooner or later, when the Fed is not artificially controlling interest rates to keep them low and the focus is on fighting inflation. We all know raising rates is one of the Feds favorite tools to fend off inflationary pressure.  Those who have purchased houses and obtained long term low rate financing at today’s rates will be pleased to know they did so at the right time.  If you are in the market to buy  a new residence, 2nd home, vacation home or investment property there is no better time than now to get pre-qualified, contact your Realtor and start shopping.

The Pros and Cons of Heat Pumps in Florida Homes

More and more often, the installation of heat pumps in Florida homes is becoming mainstream. This is because the unit can not only cool homes in the hot and humid Florida summers, but it can also heat homes here when the temperatures plummet.

How a Heat Pump Works

There is one basic principle upon which the concept of the first heat pump was designed: the sun’s warmth is always in the air, even when it is cold outside. The purpose of the pump is to collect this air and pass it across a condenser where heat is either added to warm the home or removed to cool the home. Then, once the air has been sufficiently heated or cooled, an electric blower system sends the air through the home through a series of ducts. The principle is actually quite simple to understand.

Best Climates for Heat Pumps

The best climates for heat pumps are mild climates, and this is likely why there are so many heat pumps in Florida homes today. While a heat pump can maintain itself in the hot Florida summers and keep residents cool, extreme temperature changes – plummeting temperatures, namely – are not a heat pump’s forte. Thus, a heat pump is a viable option for both cooling a home in the hot summer and heating it during a mild winter.

The Benefits

The primary benefit of heat pumps in Florida homes is that they are incredibly economical, and this is especially true for the short heating season. Another thing is that these units are naturally better at extracting humidity from the air and this is great news for Floridians who are used to steamy summers and extreme levels of humidity. Finally, because the heating and cooling features are included in the same system, it leaves a much smaller footprint than its more traditional counterparts.

The Drawbacks

There are some drawbacks to consider, too. First of all, the initial purchase and installation costs associated with heat pumps are higher than with their traditional furnace/central air counterparts. The main drawback, though, is that these units deliver the least amount of cooling during the hot summer months meaning that some may struggle to keep their homes as cool as they’d like. Finally, depending upon the model chosen and the location of the unit and the blower, they can be a bit noisy.

Making a Choice jimypic

Whether or not a heat pump is your best bet can be a difficult choice, especially in Florida where temperatures can certainly soar in the summer. Therefore, you should carefully consider not only the benefits associated with these systems, but also the drawbacks that could have a significant impact on your overall level of comfort. Some of this may have to do with whether or not your home is constantly shaded, your optimal comfort level, and more.
If you are interested in installing a heat pump in your Florida home, if you are having trouble with your existing heat pump, or even if you just have questions, A Superior Air Conditioning is here for you. Please don’t hesitate to give our friendly agents a call at your earliest convenience!