Welcome to Van Cleve, Inc

Local payroll service…Affordable Bookkeeping for Erie’s small businesses.

About Us


Our Approach

is solely focused on you. What your needs are. Helping our clients achieve success makes us successful. We save our clients money and give them much better results, which in turn allows them to focus on their business’s work, knowing the internal “office work” is being handled competently. Your focus is running a profitable company, you can’t help people from an unprofitable stance. Our goal is to help you run a profitable company so you can do your good work. We succeed when you do.

Our Story

I’ve always wanted to help small businesses succeed. Working on the inside of one small business at a time, all my life, was OK, until I went to college as an adult student with a family, and discovered Accounting. I love Accounting! ( I know, you don’t need to say anything…) But then I realized I had a way to really assist small business owners who struggled with what I found to be really bad bookkeepers, and over-charging and incompetent payroll services. I’ve built a business out of being that “money man” for local small businesses.

Next Steps…

Let’s meet so you can tell me all about your business. We’ll talk and then you can decide if we can be of help to your business. I’m an Accountant… not a salesman.

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Local Payroll

You get the absolutely easiest way to pay your people. Send us the hours and you’re work is done! We handle everything else. Checks, direct deposits, tax payments, quarterly forms, reports, W2’s. Online payroll services make you log into a website and you do the data entry. Not us. With our service, you hardly have to lift a finger!

Expert Bookkeeping

Books need some help? If things are not up-to-date, is your bookkeeper up to the task? Most often, we cost you LESS than having your own employee bookkeeper because I’ve become pretty efficient over my 19 years of doing accounting and can work much faster. I’m not on your payroll so that saves. In today’s modern world, most small businesses don’t need an employee bookkeeper on their payroll spending 15-20 hours a week- that’s so 1950’s!

QuickBooks Setup

The built-in setup procedures in QuickBooks is rudimentary at best. QuickBooks can do SO much more to make your work faster but it has to be setup right. Proper setup saves gobs of time, doesn’t need to be revised later and corrected all the time, and produces better reports.


Why you went into business…

I’ll bet it wasn’t to become a desk clerk, shuffling paperwork, working IN a business. You shouldn’t be doing non-profit work. Hire people who are talented at what they do so you can generate revenue! You could be working ON your business. Do the work you started a business to do.

Problems, headaches, fines…

If you’ve had to pay any fines and penalties, if you have collection issues, if you have lost paperwork, if you are in any way having to deal with money and paperwork headaches, call us so we can see if we can help you get organized.


Next Step…

Let’s talk about your business and how it does things. Maybe we can help you, maybe we can’t. But it can’t hurt to take a look and then you be the judge. Call Bruce Van Cleve at (814) 790-4992

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What gets asked the most…

What’s your process with payroll?

We do as much of the work as possible, unlike many payroll services that make you log into a website and do all the data entry yourself- they are not really saving you money or time- you are still paying your employee to enter data, make changes, check accuracy, and finalize the payroll.

What kind of bookkeeping do you do?

Depends. Whatever needs doing. For instance, it almost always makes economic sense for the client to do their own invoicing because the time and effort required to tell us what to invoice you could do it yourself. We do a lot of bill paying, although not always, sometimes we just enter transactions after-the-fact. We are really good at reconciling bank statements each month, remitting sales tax, and in general making sure the financial statements are correct and making your year-end smooth so the CPA doesn’t have to fix your books at their fee rate.

How much do you charge?

Payroll is per pay, one simple fee, no page full of nickel and dime fees, in the form of a check for you to sign, not ACH’ed from your account, like others do, whether you like it or not.

Bookkeeping work is billed per month, one monthly fee. How much depends on the volume of work. It almost always is less than when you pay an employee. So, whatever you’re paying now, I can likely save you. How? because I’ve been doing this for almost 20 years and have figured out how to simplify things to work much faster.


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    Signature Cleaning

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    Hertel & Brown Physical Therapy

  • Know Your Numbers!

    Know Your Numbers!

Understand Accounting in Under 5 Minutes


My Accounting professor used to say, “If it were easy, everybody could do it.”

Why do most people get accounting debits and credits mixed up? It’s not your fault. I’ll reveal why at the end.

Here’s the easy way to remember debits and credits. Hint: think Balance Sheet. Draw a huge “T” on a sheet of paper. Write “Balance Sheet” on top of the “T”. First, the left side of the vertical line is for Assets which are debit balances normally.

In fact, debit really only means “the left side”, nothing more, and is the home of the Assets on the Balance Sheet. On the right side are normally credit (credit only means “the right side”) balances and is the Balance Sheet home of Liabilities and the Equity. For every debit there must be a credit. If cash, an asset, increases, then it must be a debit to cash. If left side things (assets) increase, it must be a debit, if right side things increase, it takes a credit to do that.

The left or debit side lists the assets of the company, the right or credit side list who “owns” those assets, or who has a “claim” on them, like the owners and banks and vendors you owe money to. Like 2 sides of the same coin. That’s why they always have to equal each other. It’s simply 2 different ways of looking at the same thing.

It’s like a home with a mortgage. The asset is the house itself, the “other side” is the mortgage owed to the bank, and the difference to balance is your equity in the house. House on the left, mortgage and equity on the right.

Now, since there are two sides to every transaction, and since we already have the debit, to “balance”, now we must find the credit. (Hint: an easy way to figure this stuff out is by process of elimination; find one and you will know what the other must be.) If cash increased because we collected on A/R (reducing A/R–also an asset), then we know that we must be crediting A/R.

This makes sense because we decreased A/R, an asset. If cash increased because we borrowed the money from the bank, then the credit goes to the bank loan liability, which makes sense because we increased a (right side) liability, which are normally credits. Asset increases are debits, decreases are credits. Liability and Equity (opposite side of the “Balance” Sheet) increases are the opposite, so their increases are credits and decrease with debits.

Now, was that so bad? What about the Profit and Loss or Income Statement? Now that you know the basic rule, you know what to do here as well. If the P&L has a positive bottom line, a profit, then profit is going to increase the value of the company, right?

If profit increases the value, it will increase the equity of the company, right? And we already know that means a credit to the equity. Since profit comes from having more income than expense, incomes must be credits and expenses must be debits. Spend cash to buy pens; debit supplies expense and credit the asset cash. Bill a customer; debit A/R, credit Income.

So, who’s fault is it anyway for all the confusion? Blame your bank! People have learned that the bank “credits” their account and it goes up, so they think increasing cash must be a credit. Wrong!

In reality, from your perspective, they are actually debiting your account, what they really mean is they are crediting their account, from their perspective, specifically, their liability account that has your name on it. They are holding your money, so they owe it to you! So, they are crediting their account!

P.S. We’ll give a free QuickBooks file “Health Check” to the first few people who contact us in August 2017. What is a Health Check? We’ll look at the setup of the QB company, the chart of accounts, your process of conducting transactions to look for ways to work more efficiently so it takes less time and costs you less. No charge. We like seeing how small businesses do their books. Some times we can offer advise, sometimes we learn a new trick!


It’s Monday morning. You’ve gathered up the timecards from the rack and toss them aside. What a pain! Let’s face it, calculating a bunch of timecards is not up there with our favorite things to do every week! Here’s a better way…

First comes the hardest change. Military time. I hear you groaning out there but trust me, you’ll learn to love it. Military time is based on the 24 hours of a day, a “regular” clock spins twice around the same 12 hour face, and forces us to specify either “AM” or “PM” all the time so people know what we’re talking about. The AM time in military time works exactly the same. The part that is different is the after-noon time; the fact that 1:00 PM is now called 13.0 (pronounced thirteen hundred, or thirteen, point-zero).

You will need to either get a new time clock if yours is mechanical or have re-programmed the one you have if it’s electronic, to punch out military time. Cost? How much time are you wasting now? How many errors do you have to go back and correct? How much does that cost? It’s time to simplify your life!

The next change simplifies further by using the decimal system for the fractions of an hour. Instead of the exact time in minutes, which are of coarse, 1/60th of an hour, and  makes figuring the time-elapsed very confusing, make your time clock use 10th’s of an hour instead. The clock will round down to the nearest tenth of an hour. A tenth of an hour is 6 minutes, so 0.1 equals 6 minutes, 0.2 (or two-tenths) equals 12 minutes, 0.5 is 30 minutes or a half hour, and so forth. Examples: 7:00 AM becomes 7.0,  10:18 AM becomes 10.3, 3:30 PM becomes 15.5,  5:07 PM becomes 17.1,  8:46 PM becomes 20.7. Since all you need to remember is that each 10th equals 6 minutes, you will know that 9.9 must be 6 minutes before 10 and 9.8 must be about 12 minutes before 10. It’s easier for you when everything is expressed in tenths (6 minute increments).

Pitfall: It is a very common mistake for people to confuse the minutes with tenths when they attempt to convert in their head, manually. This is why you should get a time clock and let it do the work! People think 9:45 AM, and convert that to 9.45. Wrong! 0.45 is a little less than a half an hour. The correct answer is 9.75, or three-fourths of an hour.

Now we get to the good part that makes your life a breeze. To figure time, all you have to do is subtract the little number from the big number. If someone worked 7:36 AM until 3:30 PM with ½ hour for lunch, you are doing this; 15.5 – 7.6 = 7.9, then deduct lunch,    -0.5 = 7.4. You see? It become almost effortless and it also becomes error-free.



P.S. Setting up QuickBooks using Van Cleve, Inc. instead of doing it yourself with the very limited help for the program itself will SAVE MONEY by having it setup for smooth and fast bookkeeping. Going back and fixing an old QB file is very time-consuming and wasteful. You aren’t saving by skimping on having a professional set it up right from the start. I’ve been using QB since 1997, continuously. Call 814-790-4992 or email bruce@VanCleveInc.com


Declare Your Freedom! Start a Business

My Declaration of Independence

By [Insert Your Name Here] , July 4th, 2017

The unanimous declaration of [Insert Your Name Here].

When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for a person to dissolve the economic bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the free market economy, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Commerce and our  God entitle me, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that I should declare the causes that impel me to this separation.

I hold these truths to be self-evident, that all people are created equal, that I am endowed by my Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.

That to help secure these rights, Businesses are instituted among us, deriving their just profits from the hard work of all the business’s owners and employees.

That whenever any Form of Employment becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the Individual to quit or to abandon it, and to institute a new Business, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its markets in such form, as to me shall seem most likely to effect my Economic Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that employment long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shown, that we are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right ourselves by abolishing the paychecks to which we are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is our right, it is our duty, to throw off such Employment, and to provide new Streams of Income for our future security.

Such has been the patient sufferance of this Individual; and such is now the necessity which constrains me to alter my former System of Employment. The history of the present employer, [fill in former employer’s name here] is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over me. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.

[List here all the abuses of your soon-to-be former employer]

In every stage of these Oppressions I have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: My repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Boss, whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be a ruler of a free person. Nor have I been wanting in attentions to my fellow employees. I have warned them from time to time of attempts by our boss to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. I have reminded them of the circumstances of our being hired and employment here. I have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and I have conjured them by the ties of our common employment to disavow these usurpations, which, would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. I must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of  the Company, Competitors in Business, in Social Settings Friends-

I, therefore, [Your name here], appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of my intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of  myself , solemnly publish and declare, That I am, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent; that I am  Absolved from all Allegiance to the Company, and that all employment connection between myself and the Company, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as a Free and Independent Person, I have full Power to conduct Business, earn Profits, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent Business People may of right do—And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, I pledge my Life, my Fortune and my  sacred Honor.

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Get in touch and we’ll get back to you as soon as we can.  We look forward to hearing from you!