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Accounting Play Podcast: Learn Accounting

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Learn financial accounting with Accounting Play, by John Gillingham CPA. Find more at and the App Store. Early episodes are focused around introductory lessons from the iOS app: Accounting Review. Also, please see Accounting Play - Debits & Credits, the iOS Accounting Game. Accounting concepts such as debits and credits, assets, liabilities, equity, financial statements, FIFO, LIFO, and the accounting equation are covered. Later episodes will cover topics such as career and tax accounting. Your feedback and review is always appreciated.


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Recent Episodes

APP: 056 Starting a New Business in 30 Minutes – Know Your Numbers
Know Your Numbers in 30 MinutesStarting a company is easy. Creating a profitable business with minimal investment is not. Even good ideas are worth nothing and actually turning ideas to reality is only the start. The Start is a critical time for proper guidance to save your time and money – both of which can be considered as one. Checkout the full course offering HERE.The reality however, is that most early stage entrepreneurs cannot afford proper guidance, even if that was available for purchase. Any qualified business coach or equivalent I would figure in excess of $200 an hour. More importantly this type of person is either in such demand they are onto bigger projects or at full capacity.Enter Know Your Numbers by Accounting Play. This course is designed to distill my decade of experience as a boot-strapped self-funded entrepreneur across two companies and the thousands of individuals and companies that I have consulted with over the years as a Certified Public Accountant. I see through the BS, I see the tax returns, and I know results.By taking Know Your Numbers course and getting our suite of apps – including Tax Fight! you will be accelerating your entrepreneurial journey for a fraction of the cost. We are happy to help and have a ton of free resources like this as well.If you need more assistance in getting started or are already making money, you can see if my CPA and Consulting firm can help you our by filling out our contact form: other software and services that successful business users are already using. Clicking the links and signing up for these earns us an affiliate commission which helps Accounting Play thrive: Know Your Numbers FocusWe are focusing on self-funded (boot-strapped) businesses starting up or in the first few years of operations. This way our material can be as specific and meaningful as possible. Examples could be a consultant transitioning away from the day job, ecommerce business such as selling with Amazon, or blogger / influencer.The material is most relevant as you begin to earn your first dollars and on to your initial $125,000 of profit. This is a major milestone. Past that and along the way it is time to get some professional help!Must knows in rapid, condensed, high-level formDon't forget the Why you are doing this and the perseverance requiredFunction of needs assessmentWriting own narrative, status, and goalsOrganizing infoSelf-funding your wayRunwayMaking moneyFinding a business entity - the Sole ProprietorshipCorporations, LLCs, and S-Corporations in 3 minutesBookkeeping, recordsProfit and lossPaying taxPaying yourselfStrategic and retirement accountsKnow Your Numbers in 30 Minutes                               Here we are trying to distill the most important things that we have found early stage entrepreneurs can benefit from. The full course is closer to three hours and when we work one on one with entrepreneurs it is closer to a three-day and three-thousand dollar ramp up.Each one of these can create important research points a checklist of important factors that should be addressed on an ongoing basis.DisclaimerThis course (of-course) is educational in nature and is not tax advice. If you need assistance with tax and bookkeeping help you can checkout and get in touch from there.Don't forget the Why you are doing this and the perseverance requiredIf there is no why… there is no way. Write down why you are an entrepreneur. Saying you want more money is not enough. What are you going to do with the money? Identifying you want more freedom is just a start. What are you going to do with it? Perseverance is mandatory to solve the hundreds and thousands of issues that you will face. It is not easy. Prepare.Function of needs assessmentA self-assessment and possibly seeking a pro to let you know what you need is invaluable. A solo self-funded consultant the vast majority should not be wasting time researching a Delaware C-Corp for example. When there is more time and less money, then spending more research time will help. Through self-study and perhaps at minimum a little professional support you can get direction on what you need to know, not everything there is to know.Writing own narrative, status, and goalsTake your ideas from thoughts, lips, and to pencil tips. Writing down your tangible (dollars in the bank and how much you make) and intangible (goals, drive, the why) so that you can self-assess or email potential advisors. Review goals daily, read, act, and live as though these goals are well on the way.Organizing infoOrganize your business life so that others can help. So much valuable advisor time can be wasted if info is a mess. If you need to pay someone to organize then do it before talking to higher priced advisors regardless of the budget. An organizational mess detracts from ever getting to tax savings, strategy, and long-term planning.Self-funding your wayYour greatest expense is likely your own personal costs when starting out. Your rent, food, and lifestyle will dictate how much time you can commit to your new venture. Take a hard look on if you are going to use savings or already making money at the same time. An all-in focus is great, but if you need to keep some income coming in through a night job or something that does not take much creative energy from you, then do it. If still at the day job you can get a ton of learning and administrative tasks done before your income adjusts, likely, way down. Items like email address, websites, entity formation, bank accounts, EINs and the like take a ton of time and frustration. Getting the basics in place early and when you are not on a finite time clock will increase your chances of success.RunwayRunway for the small business entrepreneur is generally how much budget you have to spend through before things work. For most, runway is equivalent to how much time is available before money runs out. You want to use your resources so that you have the time and funding to succeed. If you need to ditch a high car payment, move back in with family, or live in a low cost country – do it. Time flies and there is so much learning curve and admin hassle and other demands in life. Be realistic to the time and resources needed and then get creative.Making moneyDo something, collect money, and now you are in business. There are surprisingly little barriers and strict rules no how you must do this in America. It is preferable to have a separate account to assist in tracking money in and out, but not even this is required. Get started and have a taste doing anything, providing value, and creating demand for what you provide.Finding a business entity – the Sole ProprietorshipIf you just start operating by yourself, accepting money, working, and making things happen in your newly found self-employed greatness, you are a sole proprietorship by default. A sole proprietorship is essentially your “operating entity” before pursuing something else if needed later. You can think that you are not incorporated (Inc.) and are not a limited liability company (LLC). You will be taxed on profit which will be more or less the business income (business money in) minus the business expenses (business money out). No payroll for yourself. You can give money to the business and take it out, more or less with few rules. This is the most common and cheap way of operating as far as administrative costs. As a sole proprietor your local city will sometimes require a local registration and fees. You can also file locally a “Doing Business As” a DBA if you would like to accept payments in the name of a business. What are the risks of the sole proprietorship?The sole proprietorship is not a separate legal structure, so that if you get sued in the course of business, then your personal assets could be at risk. This concept is explored in later sections. By definition a sole proprietorship has one owner, unless there is a technical exception of husband and wife operating. So if you need to seek money from investors or want to have a business partner, then the solo default of the sole proprietorship simply wont work. You can borrow money and have employees. Also it is important to mention that personal business liability insurance is generally recommended with every entity as legal corporate and LLC entities don’t protect owners against everything.Corporations, LLCs, and S-Corporations in 3 minutesLegal structures are generally required when there is more than one person owning a business. There are exceptions, such as general partnerships, but two is a crowd so once there is more than one owner, a legal entity is almost always recommended. Legal entities allow for investment, continuity of operation in case of business sale or owner death, and offer a layer of personal liability protection from the owner.Legal structures are the default recommendation by attorneys and CPAs as this is a text book way to form a business. There are, however, a surprisingly large amount of sole proprietors. Why? Corporate, LLC, S-Corp and any fringe structures have costs to maintain in terms of accounting, fed, state, and local tax, and often have attorney involvement. Even the hard-core do-it yourselfer when done properly will need to spend a significant amount of time to make things work. When done improperly, costly errors can happen.Legal entities are very important to have the right fit as far as what is required, the goals of the owners, financing needs, and should be taken into the giant framework of costs versus benefit. Have no money, no time, and not seeking investment? Well then a legal entity could be out of the question. Take insurance needs seriously regardless of entity. Understand the costs versus benefits as far as setup fees, annual requirements, tax returns, accounting, payroll, and many other headaches. There is no one size fits all, but when your needs are communicated properly, then an experienced advisor should be able to identify what is the best structure in the short-term, identify what is affordable short-term, and what happens as things might change in the next few years.Corporate entities can also have a tax rate as well which can create “double taxation.” Proceed with caution, get help early.Bookkeeping, recordsSmall businesses need a way to track profit and loss. Bigger businesses need more. In the first years as possibly a sole proprietor with low transaction volume you could use excel or some other manual process to keep track of the money in. I would suggest, however, start with about a $10 a month accounting software where you connect a business bank account. Using this course for the basics can get you up and running fast. After that, an hour consult early on in the game can save hours, if not days of future headache. It is nice to know where you are. Keep receipts in email and physical form. For me, even small receipts I simply save in a big bag. While you can search out the IRS latest receipt requirements, I still think even small receipts are good to keep in case of audits or examinations.Profit and lossThe first financial statement in practical context to know, in my opinion, is the profit and loss. Plenty of resources to learn with Know Your Numbers and the included Accounting Play apps. The statement captures your profit. Profit is loosely is calculated with the business money collected minus the expenses. It is important to note that there is nuance on the profit and loss depending on your business entity and how you pay yourself. As a sole proprietorship you are basically taxed on the profit, not what you withdraw from the business (known as a draw).Paying taxThe general rule on taxes is that tax is due on a quarterly basis as the money is earned. In years of big income declines or increase, there can be some exceptions, but indeed tax will be due. The quarterly due dates don’t follow an exact year divided by four. The general frequency is as follows: Q1 4/15, Q2 6/15, Q3, 9/15, Q4, 1/15. As a sole proprietorship you can use business funds to pay personal taxes, but this is equivalent to a draw (taking money out). Personal income taxes are not deductions on the profit and loss.Corporate entities including the S-Corp often involves payroll. Payroll is an expense on the profit and loss and then taxes are taken out as an employee – similar to if you were working for someone else.Your first 50K + of profit has a big sting of taxes and should be planned for. It is brutal. Your bootstrapped business finally has a profit, you are paying off some debts and treating your patient significant other to a few nice dinners. Maybe just paying rent is a challenge enough and then… boom, massive taxes due and little to no money to pay for it. As you actually start to make some money is the mandatory time to get, at least, some minimal paid advise from the right advisor.Corporate entities can also have a tax rate as well which can create “double taxation.” Proceed with caution, get help early.Paying yourselfAs a sole proprietor you can take and give money to the business without much issue. Once in the corporate structure, you will be looking at payroll and the complexity and involved fees from there. Start simple when it is appropriate and focus on growing your business.Strategic and retirement accountsIn big transition years, consider use of retirement accounts for tax planning. While initially confusing and complicated, there are ways to use these to great benefit. Start learning now.The post APP: 056 Starting a New Business in 30 Minutes – Know Your Numbers appeared first on Accounting Play.
APP: 055 Making a Podcast, Apps, Teamwork, & Passive Income – The Accounting Play Story
In this episode, learn how we make accounting apps and more.The post APP: 055 Making a Podcast, Apps, Teamwork, & Passive Income – The Accounting Play Story appeared first on Accounting Play.
APP: 054 Accounting App Ashram IX and X Accounting Enlightenment
This is the last episode on my personal and business travel series, where we chronical the making of technology products in foreign lands – as well as share more than a few stories along the way. In the prior episode, Accounting App Ashram VIII: The BRIC Road to Rishikesh, the journey continues from the heart of northern India.The waiter (guru, yogi, et al.) had prayed for rain today and confidently exclaimed he had been denied and rain was certain for tomorrow. One hour later it starts to rain, as I make my way to the banks of the Ganges.  Healing waters always attract the sick, mostly with skin discoloration and deformation. We share the same water, same moment. I was suffering from claustrofobia, agoraphobia, germaphobia, and acrophobia – when a sip of the holy water cured all. I sip the brown Ganga soup. I was inspired by the river's swirling majesty and pilgrims, but little did I know that I would be submerged in the murky depths just days later.The trip to Rishikesh was a road seemingly less traveled, although still very crowded and now I was across the river looking for ways to escape the town. I go on an unmarked trail and then turn on yet another junction... So triple path less travelled. Alone. Thunder. Temple pedestals dot the trail, with deities long since eroded and washed into the Ganges. No water, save for the drops falling on my head, hot, alone, no one knows where I am, least of all myself.  I hear strange sounds.Rain pours and I wrap my iPhone in Hyatt note paper and a leaf I picked off a nearby tree. I approach the new trail with great trepidation, scared mostly to find some kinda hashish or opium den hideout. The ubiquitous plastic wrappers still line the trail and there I found the secret and holy spa. FOR COWS. Ten cows are crowded into their secret pond, chillin' like I never knew cows could chill. One looks over, but most are enjoying their muddy treatments. I sneak away as to not disturb this place... Or create a stampede.Holy CowsHigher and higher I climb, plastic trash and car horns beginning to fade, sweat pours in a refreshing way. So relieved to be away from the never ending flow of people and BRICS. I see shade... MY bodhi tree, overlooking the wispy clouds that line this ancient place. I inhale the future, hold in the present, and exhale the past. My poser Buddha moment is short lived, but the meditation was to be found in the trek itself.APP: 054 Accounting App Ashram X: EnlightenmentI sit cross-legged overlooking the banks of the Ganges River in Rishikesh, a spiritual yoga center in India, pondering, this time, Accounting. No, this, CPA has not lost his mind, although writing and speaking in the third person is always unsettling. I ponder… What spiritual light can Eastern Philosophy shed on the “language of money” - aka accounting?The road to “Ashram Area”A Peaceful View of the Ganges BanksReligion and philosophy might just have a lot to do with how business and accounting is conducted. Accounting may be as ancient as the world’s other oldest profession. The double entry system we are discussing, however, is credited to Luca Pacioli - a Renaissance man and hommie to none other than Leonardo Davinci. This era (14th to 17th century) set the foundation for modern material history and epitomizes “Western” material wealth and Catholic religious grandeur in forms such as the Sistine Chapel and what would become the Vatican Bank. Luca’s accounting system surely supported this growth. Counting, documenting, recording... all an exercise contrary to some “Eastern” philosophies?Grasping (“Upādāna”), material obsession ("Maya"), attachment (“Mo’H”), and presence of mind (“Sati”) have a place in spiritual and business life. These concepts cross various faiths, languages, and philosophies, but I am applying them in the sense of the words only – not how Buddhism or another faith may interpret or apply the words. My own realization is that Accounting IS: materialism, grasping, and lack of presence. I wonder then, if an Accounting App Ashram is contradictory – a fitting predicament for a trip laden with contradictions. How might these concepts be discussed in the field of accountancy?Materialism The accountant accumulates the status of material wealth in the form of the balance sheet. Assets are judged and categorized based on the ability to turn such wealth into cash.Lack of Presence Most accounting looks back on what happened, occasionally projecting into the future, and is rarely present.Grasping The current state and flow of material wealth is captured retrospectively on the balance sheet and income statement. Even when the money and business entity may be gone in the present – aka dead or bankrupt – the accounting exercise may continue on.Perhaps the ancient “anti” contemporary accounting concepts can be used to engender change in of a profession, largely unchanged for five-hundred years. The Bay Area may already unknowingly be leading the charge. Instead of just material consumption, Benefit Corporations are concerned with a triple bottom line which adds social and environmental concerns to traditional metrics of profit and equity. New currency of users and clicks may be viewed as a new type of revenue or asset. Trade using complementary currencies is facilitated by communities such as Bay Bucks. Software is continuing to propel the profession from being six months behind in accounting, to being days or minutes behind, a modern presence. And while the balance sheet date will always be in the past by definition - grasping to the past - we can now more easily look to the future.I am no philosopher and will continue practicing based upon my IRS and FASB gurus. Nor am I a professional accounting or religious historian, anthropologist, or similar. More simply, I am intrigued on how a profession can be in specific contrast to some philosophies. And I wonder how these beliefs cascade down from developed economies which are heavily influenced by seemingly anti-accounting dogma. For now, it is simply time to continue my practice, of the CPA nature.Post Script, Running Away from RishikeshMy last match, but not my last beedi - the miniature cigarettes I had just procured. I was in the strange and rare position where the matter to smoke outweighed the ability to smoke it. I guess that is possible when a pack of these raw tobacco leaf rolled joint looking things cost... 15 cents.  It was my last day in Rishikesh - four nights and days of vegetarian sobriety and I was letting loose. After all, I survived my holy bath.I was finally settling in to the place and after great mental anguish, I decided that I was going to go rafting on the Ganges. It was either that, or follow a stranger’s offer to visit his guru. I explained I was already on my Accounting App Ashram and he understood. I crossed the ladder bridge passing monkey, cow, scooter, and selfie sticks to hookup with the rafting company. Before I knew it, I was in a raft of unbelievable cultural and religious and aquatic diversity. Two people could not swim. Off we go into class four rapids, a week prior to rafting season close. The water just gets toooo dangerous that time of year, but, “luckily” we had just made the cut.The brown river, a favorite place for some to cast bodies into, is quite a different color when viewed close up. Every inch is a swirl of gleaming silt and chocolate. Every inch a mysterious energy. The rapids only amplify this power into full on dancing waves that one could surf. The melting chocolate began to cleanse me of the grasping and judgement I had earlier been steaming over - the open wiring, trash, wild animals, crowds, horns... All started to escape my conscious.Days earlier I could not stop holding to my notions of "living standards" as I recalled frustratingly seeking shelter in a cafe that had a leaky roof. The owner's friend had sent some money via Western Union to try and fix up the river side café, serving water and coffee crystals. I tell him about micro-lending - he basically asks me for some cash. I flipped out, nicely, and identified 10 things they could do to improve, starting with picking up the F-ing trash. We then surveyed cafe property, family living in back, and shreds of Abuja Cement bags around. I left, wondering if I was a total prick, poor attitude amplified by my current vegetarian diet mandated by the city. Shiz I forgot my headphones at the cafe shack. My headphones that cost more than the dang shack were hanging off of a wooden support "beam" (stick) in the one dry area in the place. Now I really felt like an arss. Oh, the Bose headphones were hanging next to my Patagonia visor: gross. I returned to see the owners diligently fixing the roof. Righteous I thought, as the raft leader yelled "Paddle!"My reflective river trance that was stroked by warm canyon breezes ended with a dousing of brown water, as we voluntarily dipped into what looked more like an ocean. Screams of delight were shouted as we broke through to a brief calm before the next section. Back into the raft, "Right side harder, harder!" commanded our leader. I was on the left, nothing to do, except watch the approaching brown walls of water. As though a dark hand reached from the depths below, I felt the raft being lifted from under, the holy river had turned agro, lifting us from below...The night prior I had witnessed a fight started with an angered lady striking a guy with a water bottle in front of a temple. Water bottles turned to fists as orange robed practitioners of non-violence raised their hands in protest. Slowly it became a mob against one dude and some began to pick up stones and rocks. Seriously, STONES, when everything broke up. The calm had been upset, water polluted, currents changed, and a wave had crested. My thoughts all culminated, so full of judgement and palak paneer, and now in the middle of the current, current, now, finally in the moment and then: darkness.I had been hesitant to put my feet in the Ganges and now I was deep under water. I am tossed far from the raft, with many more rapids to enjoy, sans raft. I surface and survey what is ahead. A giant brown wave, seriously huge. And I thought the wave was kinda cool, but what mystery generated this thing? The Ganges cleansed my thinking once again with a mercifully short hold-down. Seconds could have been hours though... Time was lost or gained? Contradictions made sense. I bobbed down the river, eventually reuniting with the soaked crew, non-swimmers white in the face – which was quite a complexion change. Once ashore I bummed a beedi. Others had celebratory curry flavored potato chips and coke.I sank into the evening, becoming more and more local. I ate a fabled $1 meal and bathed with the large AND small bucket that had sat lonely in my shower. My guru referrer spotted me in town and invited me for chi. But no. Coffee, to go, an Americano was the order. I still remembered the purpose of this journey and returned to my work, to find a different kind of enlightenment.A $2 mealJohn Gillingham, CPA is the founder of Accounting Play and the author of the ten part blog series “Accounting App Ashram” where he details his entrepreneurial journeys in India and the islands of Java in search of entrepreneurial enlightenment. The series chronicles the surprises and struggles of meeting remote teams and conducting business abroad. Thanks for joining for the last, for now, installment of our Accounting App Ashram Series, APP: 054 Accounting App Ashram IX & X: Holy Cow and Enlightenment. Join up free at for the community, books, and intro courses to learn academic accounting, tax prep, and small business bookkeeping.Prior Episode APP: 053 Accounting App Ashram VIII: The BRIC Road to Rishikesh Next Episode APP: 055 Making a Podcast, Apps, Teamwork, & Passive Income – The Accounting Play StoryBuild up the ashram one brick at a timeLate Night FriendUntil Next TimeExcited for More – “Can I Come TOOOOO?”The post APP: 054 Accounting App Ashram IX and X Accounting Enlightenment appeared first on Accounting Play.
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Podcast Details
Feb 3rd, 2015
Latest Episode
Sep 25th, 2019
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