MACRS Half-year convention Depreciation Schedule

This Excel spreadsheet uses lookup functionality to pull in the proper MACRS Half-year convention rate from a table to use in the depreciation schedule.  The lookup that is functionally used is the VLookup as I felt this was the simpler method of accomplishing this functionality, but in column H it has also been demonstrated using the Index function just to drive home the point that there is more than one way to get the job done.

I don’t know if this has a lot of practical application as it will certainly not replace any type of tax depreciation software, but it is a fun exercise to gain additional familiarity with the uses of lookup and index functions.  It may be useful to do some quick entry of a few items to see what the impact may be on some planning issues or for clients to track some of their purchases throughout the year.  This spreadsheet will also function rather well within Google documents for those that do work in the cloud.

MACRS Half-year convention depreciation schedule

Utilize online backups

Small businesses often forget the importance of backing up important data files as most of their time is spent growing revenues and cutting costs.  Both Mozy and Idrive offer a couple gigabytes free for personal or very small business use (this would be good for at least your Quickbooks files) but are limited to Windows based machines.  Unlimited personal use plans are also reasonably priced from these two vendors.

However, being a proponent of open-source programs and software, I expanded my search to find a company that at least supported a Linux solution.  It appears the standard solution is rsync.   Even Ibackup, the other provider I found uses the open-source rsync utility to facilitate Linux backups.

 So, no matter your machine’s configuration, make online backups part of your daily routine to ensure that no matter what calamity may strike, your business will be back up and running smoothly.

Diamond in the rough

An article at PCWorld.com showcased several open-source projects that serve as alternatives to software products for which most users pay dearly.  One of my favorites as an accountant was GNUCash.  While I have not had time to thoroughly review the product, the screenshots appear similar to the registers in Quickbooks.

Considering the price of Quickbooks, and its lack of interoperability between versions (one of the greatest annoyances I have with the program) GNUCash may provide a very simple but powerful alternative for users that are familiar with accounting programs.  I doubt that it is as pretty, but it seems to be a great value.

There were several other products shown in the review and it is a great article for small business owners who are tired of paying high prices for products that overpromise and underdeliver.