It's Quickbooks Season!
According to USA Today, the company that creates Gibson guitars and Baldwin pianos has filed for a Chapter 11 bankruptcy in an effort to stabilize the business in a new deal. Gibson Brands itself was founded in 1894, and though the company had many supporters, their rapidly declining sales in recent years made it difficult to keep afloat.
With this latest anouncement about Gibson Brands, Pathways Consulting LLC has been thinking about the adjustment business owners have to make to their business over time in order to continue on.
When you start to decline in sales in your business, it's very important to come up with a 'gameplan' as to how you will continue your business efforts. As people grow and change, community does as well so often times the service or products you provide become outdated. For instance, many decades ago, they had calltakers for the telephone lines as a prominent job position. As telephones became more self-sufficient in communication, that job position began to become unnecessary. So what could the business owners of those companies have done to adapt and continue their business? Perhaps refine their service to telephone repair or design?
If you are a small business owner, you know how hard it is to keep everything running. The main way to keep it running smoothly is by preparing and planning. Think about how your company could adapt as trends change and your business industry evolves over time.
One of the many perks of being a large corporation is that you are eligible for larger tax breaks. They can write off things that normal small businesses just do not have the means to do so. For instance, large corporations can write off research and experimentation. It does not make sense for a small business to spend money on research just to receive a tax break because they have much less revenue.
There are many more breaks that large corporations can get like deferral of income from controlled foreign corporations, exclusion of interest on local and state bonds, and deduction of domestic manufacturing just to name a few. Of course, these are far outside the reach of small business owners’ ability to take advantage. Meaning even though large corporations will pay a larger amount of money in taxes they do not take the same tole as taxes on smaller businesses.
This is about to change. Annette Nellen, the Executive Committee chair, testified before the Senate’s Small Business and Entrepreneurship Committee in favor of lowering taxes for small businesses as much as corporations. In her testimony Nellen says, “Congress should continue to encourage, or at least not discourage, the formation of sole proprietorship and pass-through entities. If Congress decides to lower corporate income tax rates, small businesses should receive a lower tax rate as well.”
Hopefully, the future will hold an easier time for small business tax rates. The whole committee agreed that without tax accounting software small businesses will have an extremely difficult time optimizing and filing their taxes. Having a one stop place, for small business owners, to receive small business advice and have a certified professional file their taxes, in a way that will benefit them the most, is still of great importance. As the tax laws change, small business owners that can save money on their taxes will be ahead of the game and have more capital to invest in their business to promote growth.
If you receive a letter from the IRS remember that this does not mean they are automatically going to audit you. They could be looking for clarification or additional information. Once you receive a formal audit figure out what part of your returns is being audited. Only provide the specific information that the IRS requests to prevent broadening the audit. Make sure you are polite and quick to respond. With that being said, here are 10 red flags for the IRS that are in no particular order.
When you start your own business, it is common to make mistakes especially when it comes to accounting. Skipping small accounting tasks seems like it would save time, but it ends up costing time and sometimes even money in the future. It is better to get into a habit of taking care of accounting tasks early so they become less of an ordeal towards the end of the fiscal year. The focus should be clean, clear, and accurate accounting that will make your life easier. So, here are a few tips to help with your small business accounting.
Separate your business funds from your personal funds. Even if your business consists of only you. Create a separate account for the business and the business only. This not only allows you to make your reconciliations and end of the year deductions easier, it also lets you keep close accounting of your cash flow.
Many accounting professionals that work with small business owners will tell you that often they see the business owner not applying payments to open receivable accounts. It seems almost too simple to point out but it is easy to forget. Leaving receivable accounts open can cause major headaches down the road.
Reconcile all your accounts as soon as the statement is available. This process will be much easier now since the rest of your records should be accurate. Not reconciling accounts can reduce the amount of deductions you will receive.
Understand the tools and functions of your accounting software. Whether you are using QuickBooks or another software, understanding exactly what it can do and its limitations are important to making good use of your time.
Read the entirety of Terms of Credit agreements. Reading long terms can be monotonous at first but It can save you money in interest and other fees.
When first starting out it is easy to keep track of the small books you will be keeping. It is important to set up in a way that you can grow and scale without exponentially raising the amount of work you must put in to maintaining your books. You can set up automation in some online cloud based accounting that will allow your business to scale without you having to maintain all the accounting records by hand.
Use this tips for your benefit to learn from the mistakes that others have made in the past. Professionals are always ready to help with high level expert advice for small business owners.
Business owners make mistakes, both large and small. Poor cash flow management is one of the most frequent reasons why small businesses will fail. Here are some ways to improve your cash flow management.
It is important to know at any given time the financial health of your business. Keeping good records and tracking cash flow make this a much easier task. If the stress of doing it all yourself becomes too much you can outsource to the professionals. Many small businesses will have accounting firms help because of the demand and time required.
Plan for the worst. Since we do not live in a perfect world, your sales cycle will probably see cash leaving before it comes in. Having a cash buffer for times where you need cash but the money has not come in yet will allow you to have access to capital.
Try to keep a handle on your spending decisions. Whenever cash leaves there should be a good reason and a clear purpose. Having capital tied up in unneeded expenses at the wrong time could prove fatal for a small business. As always it is important to use your cash to grow your business and monitor your bottom line.
Are you a new business owner and need help planning? We can help you with your questions about licenses, registrations, and more in our upcoming training on the 25th! Visit our Key Elements page for more information on other topics that will be focused on and reserve your spot today!
The Pathways Team