Friday, August 25, 2017

What a month for a business owner

Boy, what a month we have gone through here at Gun's E-Z Own. Adn it hasn't been all fun and games.

Ah, yes accounting. I know people who just love it.
We started off with an audit from the MN Department of Commerce. We have gone through these type of audit before. We understand what they are looking for and they understand how we operate. I think I have gone through over a dozen of these audits. Severely as Regional Manager and now four as owner. The DOC tries to do an audit every 3 years per license holder.

Since I am a veteran of these audits there were no worries about the outcome. We pride ourselves on running a tight ship when it comes to bookkeeping. It just the process of collecting all the information they are looking for and getting it to them. That takes some time. We passed the audit.

Next we had a Fire Safety Audit. Did you know that you can't store old, non-up-to date inspected fire extinguishers in your building, just as spares. Well I didn't. He said just to take them home. Well then.

The Fire Marshall then wanted us to get rid of all extension cords and daisy chaining of our surge protectors. No problem there. Kind of expected the extension cords. I think we only had three extension cords to get rid of.

But then he had said to add an emergency light in our back room area, which we never had to have one before. (I've been in this building since 2002.) So there is an unexpected expense.

Then he asked us to fix our front door emergency exit sign. He preferred that we have one with emergency lights. Sure no problem. Didn't want to spend the money for a new sign, but the old sign had light bulbs and we ordered the newer fancy LED lighting. The light bulbs looked burnt out anyway.
Our new front door exit sign

Electricity is one of my things. I helped my cousin wire a house in my youth. Then I worked on electrical systems for tanks while in the Army.

So, I switched out the front sign. It was like replacing a light switch. No problem. Turn off that circuit breaker, replace the sign, turn the circuit breaker back on. Simple Right? Hold on there young buckaroo.

I turned the electricity back on and nothing. (DOH!!) My first thought was that the wiring was not hooked up correctly. Sure enough I get into the ceiling, find the conduit and .... it leads to nowhere. There is three feet of conduit just laying there. (flippin', flippity, flippin, flip!!!) So as of this blog, we are still waiting for the electrician to fix the conduit to nowhere.

Then we had to go through a Sales Tax Audit from the MN Department of Revenue. Now that one got me a little stressed. I hadn't been through one of these audits before. Not sure what information and paperwork they would need.

We pulled out our boxes from previous years and he did his accounting thing. Turns out that more cities and counties have sales tax then I had realized. And if we deliver the product to there home, we need to charge that sales tax. Which we hadn't been doing. Here is an example. One of my very good customers from Rochester comes to Red Wing to purchase via a loan, a sofa & Love seat and need delivery. MN sales tax is 6.875%, then Olmsted County as a .50% sales tax and then Rochester needs to have their .75% sales tax. So rather than charging the customer just 6.875% for the purchase I need to charge a total of 8.125% sales tax because I will be delivering to them and per the State of Minnesota, the place the customer acquires the product is the place sales tax needs to be charged for. There is your civil lesson for the day. Several other counties have there own sales tax too.

Now our accounting system is not programmed to handle this division of sales tax. Fortunately there were not that many sales that required extra sales tax.

Then there were some questions I didn't have the answer to right away. But looking things up, speaking to my CPA and the previous owner I found the answers.

The auditor looked at this as an educational audit and there were no penalties. (YAY!) But on the other side, we are going to have to pay up to $1,500 in updates to our software to comply with the State of Minnesota and for my store the State of Wisconsin.

Now that things have settled somewhat, I can take time and write this blog.

So when a customer complains about prices, now you know why business price the way we do. Because we must follow a ton of government regulations along with all the other expenses involved with owning a business.