- More than 138 million taxpayers e-filed last year.
- It’s safe and secure. The IRS e-file platform meets strict security guidelines by utilizing modern encryption technology to protect tax returns.
- Many taxpayers may also qualify to have their taxes e-filed for free through IRS volunteer programs. Volunteer Income Tax Assistance offers free tax preparation to people who generally earned $56,000 or less. The Tax Counseling for the Elderly program helps people who are 60 or older.
- People who e-file get faster refunds!!! When taxpayers e-file and use direct deposit for their refund, in most cases they can get their money in less than 21 days! On the other hand, if they mail a paper tax return to the IRS and request a refund check in the mail, it can take up to six weeks. That’s a difference of three weeks! Also, since e-filed returns are generally more accurate, there probably won’t be additional delays. Delays can be caused when the IRS finds mistakes that must be fixed before the agency can send a refund.
- It’s accurate and easy. When you file your tax return through the E-file system it helps taxpayers avoid mistakes. Taxpayers who e-file receive an acknowledgment from the IRS within minutes, telling them their return has been accepted or rejected along with the reason why.
How to decide whether to file a federal tax return
Do you make a gross income of $12,400 or more? If you do then you must file a federal tax return. Even if you do not meet the financial requirements to file a Federal tax return individuals are encouraged to file a return because they may be eligible for certain tax credits, for example, the earned income tax credit or the recovery rebate credit. In most cases, income, filing status, and age determine whether or not a taxpayer must file a tax return. A good check also is if you are able to answer YES to any of the questions below then you might be due a refund, but you must file a tax return to get your money.
- Did an employer withhold federal income tax from your pay?
- Did you make estimated tax payments?
- Did you overpay taxes in 2019, and have a refund apply to 2020 taxes?
COVID Pandemic Tax Topics
Due to the 2020 Covid Pandemic, there are several important topics that taxpayers need to know about before they file.
- Were you eligible for the Economic Impact Payment but did not get the payments? Did you not get the full payment amount? If you answered YES to either of these questions then you must file a tax return to claim the recovery rebate credit even if you do not meet the financial filing requirements. Those who don’t normally file taxes can use IRS Free File to claim this credit. The maximum Economic Impact Payments (EIP) for qualifying individuals were:1) $1,200 per person and $500 per qualifying child for the first payment
2) $600 per person and $600 per qualifying child for the second payment
- Did you file for unemployment benefits? The unemployment payments received is taxable income and does require you to file a tax return. The mail these days is running slower than normal so be on the lookout for a Form 1099-G. If you did not receive your Form 1099-G then check the website where you signed up for your benefits because, in some states, people may be able to get their copies there from the website.
- There is also a new rule to help people who lost their job or had a change in income in 2020. Check with your tax professional to ensure accuracy but filers can use their 2019 earned income to figure their earned income tax credit. Providing their 2019 earned income was more than their 2020 earned income they can use their 2019 figures; note that this new rule also applies to the additional child tax credit.
So you do not qualify for the child tax credit?
Are you a taxpayer with dependents and do not qualify for the child tax credit? You still have an option to claim the credit for other dependents. The maximum credit amount is $500 for each dependent who meets certain conditions which include:
- Dependents who are age 17 or older.
- Dependents who have individual taxpayer identification numbers.
- Dependent parents or other qualifying relatives supported by the taxpayer.
- Dependents living with the taxpayer who are not related to the taxpayer.
- Please note that the credit begins to phase out when the taxpayer’s income is greater than $200,000. This also includes married couples filing a joint tax return at $400,000.
Have more questions about how you can expand your business and make it more tech-friendly? Call Beaton Accounting today and we’d be happy to help! 631-921-6894.
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We know that 2020 has been an unpredictable year with several challenges so let’s get your federal tax refund faster! To help you better the IRS shared important reminders for taxpayers who are about to file their 2020 federal tax returns. Review these few ways so that you too can get your refund faster.
- File ASAP! as soon as possible; you’ll get your money sooner, of course, but it might also lower the odds of criminals taking your refund. Tax refund theft typically starts when someone steals personal information, then uses it to file fake tax returns and pocket the refunds.
- Choose direct deposit – it is safe, accurate, and fast. Did you know that 8 out of 10 taxpayers get their refunds by using direct deposit already?
- Earned Income Tax Credit – The Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) can give qualifying workers with low-to-moderate income a substantial financial boost. EITC not only reduces the amount of tax someone owes but may give them a refund even if they don’t owe any taxes or aren’t required to file a return. To learn more give us a call to review your eligibility.
- Taxable unemployment compensation – millions of Americans received unemployment compensation in 2020, many of them for the first time. This compensation is taxable and must be included as gross income on their tax return.
- Interest is taxable income – taxpayers who received a refund on their 2019 tax returns also received interest from the IRS. The interest payments were largely the result of the postponed filing deadline of July 15 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The 2019 refund interest payments are taxable, and taxpayers must report the interest on their 2020 federal income tax return.
Combining Electronic Filing Plus Direct Deposit Yields The Fastest Federal Tax Refunds
The safest and most accurate way to file a tax return is to file electronically. Many people may be eligible to file electronically for Free! Did you know that most refunds are issued in less than 21 days; wow right? Taxpayers can track their refund simply by using “Where’s My Refund?” on IRS.gov or by downloading the IRS2Go mobile app.
It is important to note that “Where’s My Refund?” is updated once daily, usually overnight, so there’s no reason to check more than once per day or call the IRS to get information about a refund. Taxpayers can check “Where’s My Refund?” within 24 hours after the IRS has received their e-filed return or four weeks after mailing a paper return. “Where’s My Refund?” has a tracker that displays progress through three stages: (1) Return Received, (2) Refund Approved, and (3) Refund Sent.
New this 2020 tax season
There’s a new rule to help people impacted by a job loss or change in income in 2020. Taxpayers can use their 2019 earned income to figure their Earned Income Tax Credit, if their 2019 earned income was more than their 2020 earned income. The same is true for the additional child tax credit.
2020 Maximum credit amounts allowed: The maximum credit amounts are based on whether the taxpayer can claim a child for the credit and the number of children claimed:
- Zero children: $538
- One child: $3,584
- Two children: $5,920
- Three or more children: $6,660
2020 Income Limits: Those who are working and earn less than these amounts may qualify for the EITC:
Married filing jointly:
- Zero children: $21,710
- One child: $47,646
- Two children: $53,330
- Three or more children: $56,844
Head of household and single:
- Zero children: $15,820
- One child: $41,756
- Two children: $47,440
- Three or more children: $50,954
Get a Refund by Paper Check yields the SLOWEST Federal Tax Refund
A paper check is the slowest way to receive your tax refund. If you choose this option, e-filing your tax return will make for speedier processing: receiving a check takes about three weeks from the time the IRS receives your electronic return and six to eight weeks from the time it gets your paper return.
If it has been at least four weeks since you filed your taxes and you are waiting for your refund to arrive, you can check on its status by calling 1-800- 829-4477. Remember when you do call you will be required to provide the following:
- First social security number shown on your return
- The filing status you claimed
- Amount of your refund
If your check takes longer than eight weeks to arrive, it may have become lost in the mail; you’ll need to contact the IRS through the toll-free number 1-800-829-1954 to initiate a refund trace.
If you do decide to request your refund by paper check, ensure the IRS has the correct mailing address on file. If you discover you made an error after you file your taxes, you can correct or change your address with the IRS by completing and submitting Form 8822.10.
Speak with the Right Financial Advisor For You
Finding the right financial advisor that fits your needs doesn’t have to be hard. At Beaton Accounting, we can save you time and money with our professional, efficient tax and accounting services. We are legally bound to act in your best interests; if you’re ready to save time and money give us a call today and we will help you file your tax return so that you receive your federal tax refund the fastest way possible.
A tax professional can also help you if you’re getting huge refunds each year, you may want to consider tweaking your withholding on your W-4 employment form, making adjustments for life changes, such as new dependents or a change in marital status. Then again if you find yourself in the opposite position and your refund is not enough then you may want to consider becoming more organized.
If there’s one thing you can do to save money, it is to be more organized. That means tracking receipts, tax documents, and forms throughout the year. Those essential papers may include receipts for charitable contributions, student loan interest documentation, property tax forms, and other tax documents relevant to your financial life. Whether you’re using a spreadsheet, a digital organizer, or an old filing folder, keep tabs on the documents that can score you the largest feral tax refund.
It’s no secret that there is no shortage of regulations being imposed on companies from all angles. These regulations encompass everything from taxes, labor laws, advertising, commerce, environmental practices and everything in between. Essentially, they will always be a part of your business dealings and you have to be compliant in all aspects to avoid fines or penalties.
How does anyone do it? Well, that’s a great question with, frankly, an answer that can go on for days; however, there are some basic foundational steps you can take to begin ensuring your company’s code compliancy.
Know the Specifics and Statistics of Your Company
While this may seem redundant, it is incredibly important to know your company from the inside out because many financial, labor & economic codes will be affected by this. For example, the tax brackets for a small ice cream shop with 5 employees will be significantly different from a multi-national corporation with 30,000 employees. So, what should you know about your company? Well, yet again, the list is quite long but some specifics include:
- Size (number of employees)
- Net worth
- Average annual income
- Distribution (local, national, international)
- Product output (how much do you produce in a year)
- Expenditures/overhead costs
- Equipment usage (what you need/use to keep operations going)
Know Your Primary Industry and Cross-Over Industries
This is one of the biggest areas you need to understand when it comes to regulations and remaining compliant due to the number of industry-specific departments there are imposing rules on business owners. First, you must understand your primary industry and make a list of all entities or government agencies that will do compliance audits for that specific area of business. Second, you must find out all the industries your company’s dealings bleed into and list all the entities and agencies that are in charge of those areas. While some companies don’t have any industry cross-overs, many do. When crossovers happen, it is important to understand the degree of the cross-over and what areas of your business are affected by the secondary industry.
A helicopter company’s primary industry is aviation. So, they must be compliant with all FAA (Federal Aviation Association) rules and regulations. This company, however, also has defense contracts, medical contracts and forest fire-fighting contracts. That means they will also likely have to be code-compliant with the Department of Defense, Department of Health and Human Services and the National Park Service, to name a few.
Get the Appropriate Certifications and Licenses
Once you establish which agencies and departments you’ll be reporting to for compliancy, it’s important to get the certifications and licenses that they require. This will not only be part of the regulatory process, but it will help to educate yourself and your employees about the regulations that you must adhere to in order to keep your company in the clear. Understand that not all businesses will require certifications or licensing for all employees―a retail chain is not going to require the salesmen to be licensed in HAZMAT procedures, but that is of the utmost importance for some members in the oil business. And, of course, all of this all ties back into knowing your industries and presiding regulatory agencies.
Discuss Regulations with the Three As―Advisors, Attorneys and Accountants
Finally, because of the inundation of rules that flow down to businesses every day, it’s best to talk with individuals who can help ensure you’re within your legal operating basis. Advisors who either work with or within the departments you report to can help you gain a clear understanding of what is specifically required of you. Attorneys can help ensure that legally you are adhering to all the local, state and federal laws required to keep your company compliant. Finally, a CPA can help you understand what financial codes you need to stick to and ensure that you are assigned to the appropriate tax bracket and all state and federal taxes are taken care of.
Need more ideas on how to keep your business up-to-date on regulations? Call us at Beaton Accounting today―we’re here to help! 631-921-6894
Have a question or topic you wish we’d cover? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll be happy to cover it!
Connections have always been the building blocks of every successful campaign and business the world over. Without establishing relationships, your company will likely plateau in its expansion and have little chance of progressing within the industry. How do you ensure that this won’t happen? Simple. Network and network often!
Networking is key to introducing your company to other companies that can help you with production, expansion, connections, etc. By building strong connections with outside companies, you increase the likelihood of your company’s long-term success and growth. But where to start?
Know Your Company
First thing is first. Make sure you are able to tell other companies what it is your company does and how it benefits others. You should be able to tell others about your business in a 60-second ‘elevator pitch’, so they are able to understand the basics of your company right off the bat. That way, if they aren’t able to help you out with any of your business ventures, they can introduce you to someone else who will.
The Key to Networking Success? A Business Card
When you meet someone, be it on an airplane, at a convention, in a meeting, etc. you must be prepared to exchange your information. Business cards are the most effective and efficient way to distribute your information. Yes, technology and our reliance upon it has certainly increased over the years, but business cards are still the fastest way to exchange information. They also give you a chance to show how prepared you are, which is a great way to make a first impression!
Visit Conventions¾And Get Your Own Booth!
Industry conventions are a great way to meet other companies that can help you to further your goals within your own organization. And the best part? They are looking for the same thing! So, while not an organic method of meeting people, it’s more reliable that you’ll meet companies that have what you need and vice versa.
If you can, it would also behoove you to set up your own booth at a convention. In this regard, people will approach you as much as you approach them. Collecting contact information ensures that you can reach out to acquaintances and start establishing those connections right away.
Finally, Keep Up with Your Contacts
Once you have established contact with your connections, maintain the communication. Contacts won’t keep up with you if you don’t keep up with them. Consistently staying in touch with your acquaintances through email, phone calls and in-person meetings will establish a relationship that you can continue to build into a strong working alliance for your company. And once you have the alliances established, you can focus on working together to expand your business and theirs.
Something to keep in mind, when you are networking, be sure to get in touch with your accountant and make sure you have enough in your marketing budget for convention attendance. You will need to take into account airfare, hotel fare, meals and the cost of the convention (admission, booth, marketing materials, etc.). Once the budget is set, determine which conventions you are going to attend and get to networking!
Need more ideas on how to grow your business through business relationships? Call us at Beaton Accounting today¾we’re here to help! 631-921-6894
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Let’s face it, we are in a digital age and there’s no sign of it changing. Technology that was state-of-the-art 10 years ago now seems archaic and tasks that used to require pen, paper and in-person encounters can all be done online. How can anyone keep up? Simple. Create an app for your company that gives your customers immediate access to your services. So, where do you start?
Decide the Purpose of Your App
First and foremost, you need to decide what you want your app to do. Is it more for informational purposes, community outreach, transactions or records? Does it connect your customers just to you or to other parties, like distributors or other customers? Do you want it to bring your customers to your location or do you want them to do things remotely?
An example of a full-service app is a banking app. Customers have access to their accounts, can deposit checks, can transfer money, can pay bills and can find banking locations closest to them. They have access to the branches, other third-party accounts and can even withdraw money from an ATM using their phone. Other companies, like Target®, have simpler apps dedicated solely to providing items like coupons that customers can use in-store.
Identify Your Accessible Services
While this may seem like an easy step, you need to brainstorm any and all services your customers would want access to. If there is a service that can be done remotely, you’ll want to consider putting it on your app to reduce the number of additions/revisions in programming further down the line. Using the example of a dive shop, here are the services that could be included in their app:
- Order Tracking
- Online Shopping Policies
- Past Order Receipts
- Booking for Diving Excursions/Lessons
- Upcoming Events
- Water Temps
- Current Charts
- Info on Local Dive Spots
- Diving Regulations
- Access to Dive Certificate
- Customer Service Contact
And the list probably goes on. The point is, make a list of everything that you could offer through the app and then decide from there what features you need to make your app do what you need it to do.
Get with a Development Team
Once you know what you want your app to look like, then it’s time to get with a creative team to make it happen. Now, it is worth noting that most companies with apps create and manage them in-house. If you have the staff that can do it, then it is best to get with them, as they are already on the payroll. Creating a successful app is not an inexpensive process and does require a strong team to make an app with few glitches and a platform with excellent user-friendliness. So, when getting together your team, make sure to vet previous apps they have made and make sure it’s in tune with your vision before you take the plunge.
Test Your App!
This is the most important step of them all. Test your app over and over and over again. This is how you are going to determine what is functional about it and what should be removed/modified so it can be successful at its launch. You’ll want to test it throughout the creation process from its infancy to its final product and you’ll want to have a lot of people test it. The best way to find out what will and won’t work is to have people involved in your company and people who don’t know your company try your app. That way, you have an idea of what current and new customers will see when they use the app. Get the following groups to test your app for the best idea of its functionality:
- Current employees
- Current customers
- A random sampling of individuals
Release Your App and Watch it in Action
Once you have conceptualized, created and tested your app, the last thing to do is release it for your consumers. Be sure you tie it into your current marketing plans for maximum exposure to your consumers and then watch the magic happen. It might be a little rocky at first, but if you have tested it correctly, the kinks at initial launch should be few and you should see some results from it quickly.
And that’s it―plain and semi-simple. Launching an app can be one of the best ways to keep your customers in touch with you and it is certainly the direction that most small businesses are heading in. Before you embark on this technological journey, though, make sure you meet with your accountant to go over the initial and continuous costs of creating and maintaining an app and configure your marketing budget from there.
Have more questions about how you can expand your business and make it more tech friendly? Call Beaton Accounting today and we’d be happy to help! 631-921-6894.
If you have other topics or questions you’d like to discuss, you can also email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
When it comes to making your business profitable, it’s always important to remember one thing: customers drive your profits. Plain and simple. Now, it’s necessary to continue to look for new pockets of clientele and work on expanding your brand, but never forget the customers that got you to where you are. That’s right: your previous customers. But here’s the question¾how do you get previous customers to come back?
Keep It Personal
Customers will feel more and more appreciated if you take the time to get to know them and really personalize their experience. Appreciation also leads to trust¾and trust in you means trust in your product. So, in order to do that you must personalize the following:
- In Person or Over-the-Phone Communication: When you’re speaking to them in person, get real with them. Make them feel like they are your ONLY client and that you both have a connection. This sort of rapport is the initial trust and foundation for all future trust and communication. Ensure that all your employees are well-versed in your standards of customer relations and satisfaction so they can create that initial bond.
- Communication Via Email, Mail or Other Platforms: Make sure that you have collected your customers’ data for your mailing list and make sure all communication sent is specific and unique to them. This means, it will have their name, it will show new products they are likely to be interested in, it will follow-up with former purchases and it will send them discounts or gifts all within the realm of their wants and desires.
Once you have personalized the communication with your clients and have made sure they are trusting in you and your product, you are well on your way to creating a repeat customer.
Pass Along Helpful Information
Once you have established a good and personal connection with your clients, you need to realize that you do not always have to be selling something to them. In fact, you shouldn’t always be pushing advertising their way, because it can have a negative effect on the trust you’ve established. Instead, sometimes offer them information through email blasts, blog posts, social media posts or any other method you can think of. This helps them to see that your focus is not solely on making a profit, but perhaps you have other altruistic causes or information regarding activities associated with your company.
For example, if you sell camping gear, it might be interesting for your clients to receive information on camping regulations in different areas. Do they need permits for pit fires? Are there any trails that are closed? What time of year is best for camping? All of these questions could be answered with an article, update or email that is personalized to each customer. This way, you are helping them learn more about the world around them AND keeping your name at the forefront of their mind¾without selling!
Remind Them to Come Back
Now, this one is a big point because it involves three key factors: persistence, incentive and innovation. Without these three factors, your previous clients won’t see the need to return to your company for the following reasons:
- Persistence: In any business, it is important to remain persistent with your customers in your marketing. This does not mean to inundate them with materials, but to periodically remind them that you are still here and you still appreciate their business. That keeps you in their mind for any future needs they may have.
- Incentive: Provide your customers with discounts or promotions that are useful to them. It could be a discount on an item or a percentage off of their next shopping spree. Whatever the promotion, make sure you let the customers know about it and personalize it so they will return based on the trust factor.
- Innovation: Always be looking to new products to better your customers’ life and when you have a new idea, make it known to the customer. Innovation can come from upgrading an old product, releasing a new product or the rebranding of your company. Whatever the invention, make sure your previous customers are the first ones to know about it so they, yet again, feel appreciated.
And That’s all Folks!
Follow these three simple steps and you will see an increase in your repeat customers because these steps instill a level of trust with your clients. Make sure that you also create a budget with your accountant that includes the necessary marketing campaign allotments, production costs and personnel salaries that this level of customer service requires. It will take up a good chunk of your overhead, but the benefits will be far greater reaching than you can imagine!
Need more ideas on how to budget for your marketing services and customer service programs? Call us at Beaton Accounting today―we’re always happy to help! 631-921-6894
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Millennials are now the largest generation in the country and in the workplace, meaning your company will deal with them in both the consumer and the workforce sectors. As a whole, they’ve certainly received a reputation in the media as far as work ethic and spending habits―both good and bad. It’s important to acknowledge that they’re different from previous generations in many different ways and tapping into these differences could be the key to your business success in both sales and productivity.
Millennials as Consumers
Cumulatively, the Millennial generation has an annual buying power of $200 billion and represents one-fourth of the US population. This leaves room for huge financial gain if you can successfully tap into this market. To do so requires a little bit of innovative thinking and a deeper look into your company, but it can be done if you address the following:
Establish Your Brand, Ethics & Purpose
A large item to take into consideration is the sheer amount of advocacy that Millennials participate in. They tend to be very outspoken and passionate in the terms of sociopolitical, environmental and economic issues. Establishing your brand and aligning it with positive causes (such as waste elimination or foreign aid) will go a long way with the Millennial consumer and help drive business in your direction. Make sure to get with your marketing team to determine the best strategy for revamping your image in ways that demonstrate your purpose to this demographic.
Strongly Market Via Social Media & Mobile Devices―But Don’t Make it a Sales Pitch
Millennials grew up with technology―they’ve seen the rapid progression from wall phones and VHS players to smartphones and virtual reality video games with new innovations arising on a near daily basis. This means that advertising to them in the traditional sense is a no-go―to them it’s inauthentic. Social media grants them access to other consumer opinions, videos and photos of products in use, and a plethora of other information, which they often use when determining which brands and products they prefer.
Take advantage of the fact that you can now directly reach out and interact with them. This gives you the ability to speak to the heart of their needs and wants as well as get to know what they want/need from you. So, how do you accomplish this?
- Hire a successful social media marketing team
- Ensure your website is mobile-friendly
- Establish a strong Internet/social media presence
- Develop apps for smart phones, tables & other devices
- Keep it current―immediacy is key
- Interact with your consumers
Build a Relationship & Co-Create
While this is true for all past generations, the Millennial generation is particularly receptive to companies that build relationships with their customers. Make sure that your company has a strong focus on customer service and loyalty. Also, give them the chance to co-create with you through suggestions or submissions. With a strong emphasis on progression, Millennials appreciate the opportunity for their thoughts, ideas and designs to be implemented. You can accomplish this through:
- Suggestion forums
- Social media contests or featured posts
- Online roundtable discussions
- Anonymous customer surveys
Millennials as Employees
As Millennials get older and more settled in their career paths and future goals, they simultaneously establish themselves in the workforce and work their way up the corporate ladder―in less than 10 years they’ll make up 75% of the workforce. With that in mind, Millennials tend to look for specific qualities in companies that they apply to. By adapting your company to fit some of the criteria they are looking for, you will not only increase your number of qualified applicants but your overall productivity as well.
Find the Work-Life Balance That Works
More often than not, the Millennial generation focuses on spending time with their families. The traditional 9 to 5 job with limited vacation time is less attractive and less accommodating to potential employees. Expand your company’s flexibility — allow for your younger employees to spend time with family by providing schedules that include multiple shift options, increased vacation time, remote work opportunities, half days on Friday or flexible hours. Now, please bear in mind that this does not mean you need to eliminate 8-hour work days, nor should you. But providing your employees with the opportunity to balance home and work life on a schedule that works for all goes a long way with this up and coming generation.
Increase Comforts at Work and Add Some Perks
Studies have found that Millennials focus less on salary than on the benefits offered at their companies. Having a comfortable lounge for your employees, hosting social events, increasing benefits and providing other comforts can drive up productivity and increase their motivation. Keep the company environment fun and comfortable as well as driven — this keeps positivity up and keeps Millennial employees in a productive mindset when they come to work.
Have a Strong Company Purpose/Mission
Finally, as is true with Millennial consumers, Millennial employees tend to align themselves with companies that have strong, positive values and a purpose that gives back to society. Make sure you have established a strong company culture and mission statement that is at the forefront of all that you do. Having a cause to support and work toward is a great motivator for many of your Millennial employees and increases their drive to do well within the company, thus increasing their productivity. Posting your mission somewhere in the building where it is clearly visible helps to reaffirm your commitment, which raises its importance in the eyes of your employees.
Get Ahead of the Curve―Start Adapting Now!
Now that you have a starting point to make your company more accessible for the Millennial generation, it’s time to start upgrading your marketing strategies, looking into benefits and establishing your company’s culture and brand. Start looking at your finances to determine what changes you can make immediately and what changes should go on the back burner. A skilled accountant can help you get your budget set up for the short-term and long-term, so you can focus on preparing your company for its bright and lucrative future.
Need more ideas on how to budget for your employee benefits and marketing services? Call us at Beaton Accounting today―we’re always happy to help! 631-921-6894
2018 brought about big financial changes with the passing of the Trump Administration’s Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) that directly affects small businesses and large corporations nationwide. While tax law is complicated and should always be discussed with a tax lawyer, accountant or certified financial advisor, understanding the basics of how it will personally affect your business is imperative in determining your company’s current and future courses of action.
What Was the Purpose of the Bill?
This bill was passed in an effort to strengthen the United States economy by promoting the growth and expansion of businesses through the reduction of taxation. According to the U.S. Small Business Administration Office of Advocacy, as of 2017 there are 29.6 million small businesses running in the United States. Those businesses employ over 57.9 million employees and make up a majority of U.S. exports―the year 2014 saw $1.4 trillion in small business exports alone. With small businesses making up a vast majority of the United States economy, it would make sense that their growth would help to shave off the crippling debt faced by the U.S. today.
How Does the Bill Benefit Your Small Business?
The bill has many benefits for the U.S. small business holder, although there are some limitations and exceptions depending upon several factors. Each benefit is directly intended to reduce the tax liability of each company so they may gain more financial freedom and boost their profits with their expanded budgets. Here are a few of the benefits you may experience:
- The New Tax Rate―The largest benefit, to date, for small businesses is the new pass-through business tax rate of 21%. Pass-through small businesses are any registered Sole Proprietorship, LLC, S-corp or Partnership that is owned by 1 or more individuals.
- Higher Income Deduction―This tax rate runs in tandem with the second highest benefit, which is the 20% deduction of qualified pass-through business income. With this element in the mix, businesses may find themselves paying a lower tax rate than they have in previous years, as such a significant deduction can put them into a lower tax bracket than years prior.
- Overseas Profit Tax Breaks―In previous years, U.S. companies making a profit overseas were hit with several different taxes when they declared foreign incomes. However, under the new tax law, these deductions can be severely reduced, making it more affordable for companies conducting business internationally.
- New Equipment Write-Off―For companies who are reliant upon extensive machinery and property to produce, there will now be an increase in deductions from $510,000 to $1 million for qualifying property placed into service during the 2018 business year.
What Are the Negative Impacts for My Small Business?
While there are many benefits arising from the passing of this bill, as with any legislative act, it won’t be smooth sailing for all involved. There are some negative impacts that this bill may impose upon small businesses, including:
- Complicated Tax Preparation―While the bill has certainly made headway in making sure there are ample tax incentives for the small business owner, it has not made much headway in the means of simplifying the tax laws so that small business owners can understand them. This means that the majority of small business’s owners are forced to employ tax attorneys and CPAs to manage their business taxes and finances.
- The Federal Debt Continues to Rise―Even though the tax law is still in its infancy, there is growing concern around how the national debt will handle all of the tax cuts given to businesses and corporations. If the debt continues to increase, inflation, costs of production, import fees, etc. may all be potential negative factors to the newfound financial freedom of the tax cuts.
- Some Businesses May Experience Fewer Benefits Than Others―Depending upon several factors, some small businesses may experience less benefits than others. Factors that can contribute to a business’s qualifying status are: industry, number of employees, tax bracket, production value and company classification.
So, What’s My Best Course of Action?
The best course of action for you to take right now is to get with a licensed CPA and a tax lawyer who can explain exactly where you stand with the new 2018 TCJA. In this way, you will know exactly what to expect, what benefits you can have and where you might have some impacts that affect your finances. This will also help you to determine if you should look into changing your business platform (e.g. incorporate, start a business, hire more employees, etc.).
Ready to talk about how the 2018 tax bill affects YOU? Call us at Beaton Accounting today to schedule a meeting! 631-921-6894
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When it comes to expanding your business, there are several risks involved, the biggest of which being sacrificing your production quality to serve your new (and larger!) clientele base. It can all become overwhelming rather quickly, and without careful planning, it can actually bring a company to its proverbial knees. That said, it’s not impossible to scale your business and continue to produce high quality products―in fact, it’s far from it! All that it requires is some select and careful planning from the top tiers of the company.
Make Sure You Want to Expand and You’ve Set Expansion Goals
While this may seem trivial, it is absolutely necessary that any business getting ready to grow their company makes sure that they are ready for it. With great power comes great responsibility. If you are not prepared to take on more responsibility, then expansion will not work. You must be mentally ready for the challenges that will arise. Once you have that out of the way, establishing goals is a must if you want to have a successful venture.
- How fast you want to grow
- Which markets you want to break into
- What new products you’d like to produce
- Where will expansion lead―franchise, incorporation, overseas ventures, etc.
All of these goals need to be set early, before expansion even begins so you have a direct line of sight to your end goal (or at least your next mile marker).
Know Your Company (Core Competence)
Again, perhaps this seems like an inconsequential step, but it makes a world of difference to understand your company from the inside out. You and your team must completely understand what it is that sets you apart from the rest of the competition before you can take on the competition. You must be able to identify without delay:
- What makes you unique
- Your brand
- Your company culture and values
- Your mission as a corporate entity
- How you want your clientele to see you
Once you have established this, you must take it a step further―you must identify how your clients see you. If you have adhered to your mission statement and established a strong set of values within your corporate culture, then they will most likely see you the way you intended; however, this is not always the case and it is imperative to find out how you are viewed in the eyes of the public before expanding. If there is any discrepancy in how you view yourself and how your audience views you, then growth will be turbulent and may collapse.
Build Broad Management Skills for Upper Management
Growth and expansion is full of unknown variables. This means that it is imperative to have a team behind you that can not only keep stability within the company but be prepared to handle the unexpected when it arises. By building a strong skill set of complimentary and broad management practices, you’ll be able to maintain firm policy during your expansion while having the leverage to overcome any obstacles that arise.
Establish Protocols and Processes That Are REPEATABLE
This is an incredibly important step―while management must be ready to take on changes head-first, your support staff must have stability in order to maintain the quality of production required during the expansion. Therefore, it is imperative to establish a standardized and repeatable process for each of your departments and your staff members to follow and keep the company grounded. Any and all changes to standardized processes must be slow to implement and must be with good reason―superfluous or unnecessary changes can slow down production and affect the quality and efficiency of production.
Understand the New Markets You Are Breaking Into
When it comes to breaking into new markets while expanding, it is of the utmost importance to learn about them backwards and forwards. Without this knowledge, you will not know how to properly market your products to them. Make sure in any new market you can answer the following questions:
- Who makes up my targeted market?
- What is/are the biggest benefit(s) I can bring to this market?
- How diversified is this market?
- How does this market perceive my company?
- Which other companies are in this market? Which of my competitors are in it?
- Is this a growing market or not?
In making sure to answer all of these questions, you can gauge what your production process will look like down the line and what your marketing strategy will be so you can more accurately estimate your potential profit margins.
Finally, Make Sure You Are Financially Informed―Hire an Accountant That Can Help You Plan for Growth!
Last but not least, remember that in order to grow, you must be financially viable and you much have the resources to do it. With an experienced accountant, you can receive detailed reports about your company’s financial standing and growth capabilities. This is essential in planning for any upgrades to buildings, staff, equipment, and marketing, as well as for understanding where you cannot make immediate changes. Once you have the financial plans all underway and an experienced accountant to offer advice and guidance throughout, you will be absolutely ready to expand without sacrificing the quality of your products and services.
Have more questions about how you can expand your business and cope with the finances that follow expansion? Call Beaton Accounting today and we’d be happy to help! 631-921-6894.
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When it comes to running your business, the hardest thing to do is to lower your overhead costs. These expenses can easily stack up and seem impossible to lower, but here are a few tips for getting them down to manageable levels.
Reduce Your Energy Bills
Energy costs account for a good portion of your company’s overhead costs, especially in businesses reliant upon machinery for production. By improving the building’s energy efficiency (e.g. new roofs, energy efficient doors and windows, LED lights, etc.) you can greatly lower your energy bills and start saving on your monthly overhead.
Lower Your Rent
If you have the ability to maintain your manufacturing/production quota in a more affordable facility, it would be in your best interest to switch buildings. Shaving off a few hundred (or even a thousand) a month will lead to significant yearly savings and opens up your budget for emergency expenditures or expansions!
Keep a Close Eye on Your Company Vehicle Mileage
If your business relies on vehicles to carry out any sort of operations, it is incredibly important to keep a close eye on how the vehicles are being utilized and the amount of mileage/fuel being used on a weekly basis. Since vehicles are depreciating assets, a good chunk of your overhead will have to be put toward fuel, maintenance and vehicle replacement. Monitoring your fuel consumption and mileage can save you in both immediate and future costs.
Examine Your Employee Salaries and Benefits
Obviously, looking to reduce your employee salaries/benefits expenditures is a tricky business, but there are ways to do it. First, see if there are ways you can add to your employees’ responsibilities without overloading them and reducing the quality of their work. This can aid in your operations, without requiring the addition of other employees to the team. Second, see where you can hire part-time employees who will not be eligible for benefits. Finally, find creative ways to reduce the cost of benefits without reducing the actual benefits. Example could be providing Health Savings Accounts (HSAs), high deductible plans, voluntary benefits and switching carriers.
And the Best Solution of All…Hire an Accountant to Monitor Your Expenditures!
At the end of the day, the best way to reduce your overhead expenditures is to hire an accountant who can examine your records and conclude where costs could be cut. A thorough investigation into your bills, payroll and financial practices can give you the information you need to make immediate changes to your spending habits. A skilled accountant can also prep your taxes in a way that maximizes your deductions and return.
Reducing your overhead just takes a little imagination and a good handle on your business requirements/employee needs.
Need more ideas on how to reduce your overhead and make your business flourish? Call us at Beaton Accounting today―we’re always happy to help! 631-921-6894
Have a question or topic you wish we’d discuss? Leave a comment or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org