3 Money Management Tips to Meet Your Small Business Financial Goals at Year-End

Resources to help you with money management do not need to be an EXTRA scary task.  The perfect way to satisfy this year’s financial goals in your small business is to take one step at a time.

1) Set a budget and stick to it. If the idea of budgeting seems intimidating, start with something simple by writing down your monthly income (paychecks, child support, etc.) and how much money you spend each month (rent, food, child care, car loan, etc.). Use this budget worksheet to help you plan.

2) Give your business and personal finances a wellness check. Your personal finances and well-being are closely tied to how well your business is doing.  Whether or not your business is as healthy as you’d like to be, it is recommended to run a wellness check to ensure that you meet your business’ financial goals.

3) Hire a tax professional to help you with your year-end tax planning.  The US code can be complex and difficult to understand.  Tax planning allows you to take advantage of strategies that may help reduce your tax obligation. To make things even easier, we recommend researching your tax credit opportunities to reduce your liability.

T. Williams & Associates are willing to educate our clients as to what their financial statements say as well as make suggestions as to what courses of action are advisable.  With the new year fast approaching, it’s important to understand the recent changes to our tax laws. Together, we can identify new ways to save you money and increase profits wherever possible. Through our experience and expertise, we have developed proven processes to help automate your bookkeeping, increase your cash flow, and ultimately save money on your taxes.

If you enroll in our accounting services by December 31st, we are offering a two month FREE trial of our payroll and Online Quickbooks software!*

Please follow this link to schedule a meeting or conference call, so we can discuss your business’ needs and determine how much money we can save you monthly.

Give Your Business and Personal Finances a Wellness Check

For richer, for poorer, for better, for worse. If you own a small business, these familiar wedding vows might signify more than promises to a spouse. They might describe your relationship with your business as well. And with good reason if your personal financial well-being is closely tied to how well your business is doing.
A strong cash flow is good for business and good for you. If your company’s cash flow isn’t as healthy as you’d like it to be, here are some things to consider.



Rely on Reports

What you don’t know can hurt you, especially when it comes to cash flow. If you’re not already checking them, start generating cash flow and cash balance reports on a monthly basis. If your figures are off for even a few months, find out why. A problem could be lurking.



Market, Market, Market

When things are slow, developing new business opportunities is critical to your cash flow — and perhaps, your company’s survival. But it’s also critical when things are good. You can’t afford to be complacent about the future. If you stop devoting time to growing your business, your success may be short-lived.

Look at Limits

In a cash crunch, many small business owners instinctively dip into their personal accounts to help their businesses over the hump. While this may be simpler and faster than some other solutions, it could turn disastrous for an owner’s personal finances if the business is seriously failing. If you haven’t already decided how much of your personal assets you’re willing to invest in your business, now may be a good time to come up with a limit.



Create a Credit Line

Even if you’re doing everything right, you could still hit a rough patch. Or, an opportunity might come up that requires some quick financial maneuvering. Instead of using your own money, consider using a line of credit. For maximum flexibility, establish a line of credit for your business before you need it. If you wait to apply until you’re in a bind or a hurry, you might be turned down.



Wedded Bliss

If your personal and business finances are intertwined, your planning should integrate the two.



Tax Credit Opportunities

Tax deductions aren’t the only things to consider when looking for ways to reduce your 2018 tax bill. There are a number of tax credits that you may be able to claim. A tax credit reduces your tax liability dollar for dollar (and, in some instances, may be fully or partially “refundable” to the extent of any excess credit).



Child-Related Credits

Parents of children under age 17 may claim a child tax credit of up to $2,000 per qualified child. The child tax credit is phased out for higher income taxpayers. A different credit of up to $13,810 is available for the payment of qualified adoption expenses, such as adoption fees, attorney fees, and court costs. The credit is phased out at certain income levels, and there are certain restrictions as to the tax year in which the credit is available. Look into claiming the child and dependent care credit if you pay for the care of a child under age 13 while you work. It’s available for 20% (or more) of up to $3,000 of qualifying expenses ($6,000 for two or more dependents). This credit isn’t confined to child care expenses — it may also be applicable for the care of a disabled spouse or another adult dependent.



Higher Education Credits

The American Opportunity credit can be as much as $2,500 annually (per student) for the payment of tuition and related expenses for the first four years of college. A different credit — known as the Lifetime Learning credit — is available for undergraduate or graduate tuition and for job training courses (maximum credit of $2,000 per tax return). You’re not allowed to claim both credits for the same student’s expenses, and both credits are subject to income-based phaseouts and other requirements.



Sometimes Overlooked

One credit that taxpayers sometimes miss is the credit for excess Social Security tax withheld. If you work for two or more employers and your combined wages total more than the Social Security taxable wage base ($128,400 in 2018), too much Social Security tax will be withheld from your pay. You can claim the excess as a credit against your income tax. The alternative minimum tax (AMT) credit is another credit that’s easy to overlook. If you paid the AMT last year, you may be able to take a credit for at least some of the AMT you paid. The credit is available only for AMT paid with respect to certain “deferral preference” items, such as the adjustment required when incentive stock options are exercised.

Your tax advisor can provide more details regarding these and other tax credits that may be available to you.



Why Small Businesses Should Outsource their Bookkeeping

We all get 24 hours in one day. But between answering texts, emails, filling staffing holes, attending meetings, networking, attaining funding and trying to have a personal life, how do business owners also run a successful company with 24 hours in a day?

Working with outsourced accounting and bookkeeping firms, you can surround yourself with experts, provides sound counsel, allows for business owners to focus and, and ultimately, increases profits. They are a trusted source of deep knowledge in an aspect of business and can quickly identify risks facing the operation and understand common pain points.  In addition to  bringing  solutions, best practices and efficiencies to quickly get to the desired solution.

Working with outsourced  accounting and bookkeeping firms also encourages owners to get answers to pertinent and sometimes not yet considered questions to prevent a sticky situation down the road. These questions also encourage decisions  to help get to a good consideration.

Most small business owners start a business to give themselves an outlet for their passion, not to meddle with bookkeeping, payroll and tax compliance. With outsourcing your accounting and bookkeeping it saves time and resources to keep your business needs rolling so you can invest in your passion.

A good accounting and bookkeeping firm will work to increase a company’s profitability.  While it’s true partnering with an accounting and bookkeeping firm requires an initial investment.  Accounting and bookkeeping firms offer turnkey services.  These add efficiencies lowering operation expenses, giving a leg up on the competition, an ultimately maximizing profits.

Ultimately, outsourcing your bookkeeping to experts is worth it.  Accounting and bookkeeping firms invest in making your business better and, in the end, provide efficiencies that add to the bottom line.  In addition, you’ll be able to grow your business, focus on what you do best, and lower your stress.

T. Williams & Associates believes when our client wins, our firm wins.  We will invest as much of ourselves to see your business succeed.  In the past 10 years, T. Williams & Associates have helped many small businesses get a handle on their accounting and bookkeeping needs by automating their back office finances, so they can increase cash flow, grow faster, and save more money on their returns.  You can use this link to reserve some time to chat: https://twilliamsassociates.youcanbook.me    Or just call us directly at 816-251-4527.

In the meantime, you can learn about our firm here: https://www.twa-accountingservice.com/

Church and Non-Profits Record Keeping Requirement

All tax-exempt organization, including churches and religious organization (regardless of whether tax-exempt status has been officially recognized by the IRS) are required to maintain books of accounting and other records necessary to justify their claim for exemption in the event of an audit and accurately file tax and information returns that may be required.

Every church should adopt and implement a records management and retention policy that reflect its unique circumstances.

Books of Accounting and Other Types of Records
There is no specific format for keeping records. However, the types of required records frequently include organizing document such as bylaws, minute books, property records, general ledgers, payroll records, and banking records. The extent of the records necessary generally varies according the type and size of the organization.

Length of Time to Retain Records

7 Years

  • Bank Statements, checks and reconciliations
  • Acquisitions and disposition of property
  • Contributions records
  • Accounts Payable and Account Receivable records
  • Payroll tax records and registers

Permanently

  • Articles of Incorporation
  • Tax-Exempt Documents
  • By-laws
  • Annual Corporate reports
  • Corporate Seals
  • Minute Books
  • Signed Minutes of Board and all committees
  • Insurance Records and Payments (property and worker’s compensation)
  • W-2s, W-3s, 1099s, and 1096s
  • Financial Statements
  • General ledger detail

Most documents are kept 7 years mostly because IRS audits can go back a maximum of 7 years. There is no accepted standard for record-keeping, it’s totally up to the organization. Right now, the best way is with an electronic backup in PDF format.

Five Keys to Success For A Small Business

Statistics indicate 80% of small business make it through their first year, but only 55 percent make it to five.   So how can you increase your chances of being among the 50 percent of businesses that make it for at least five years? With this in mind, you can improve your odds with careful planning, knowing the best method of running your business successfully and a detailed strategy.

Here are the five keys to a small business success:


1. Budget the Costs
Launching and running a small business requires a thorough accounting of costs, both financial and personal. Not creating a budget, is one of the top reasons for business failure.  Therefore, make sure you have a detailed budget that includes not only startup costs but the living expenses you’ll have to take on before your business can start paying you.  In addition to anticipate major equipment purchases and real estate investments so you have a realistic estimate of your needs and costs for the upcoming year.

Numbers don’t lie, they’re not emotional and they don’t make excuses.  It’s best to assume it will cost more and take longer than you initially think it will.  If the numbers show you are in a steep decline, take action and make changes before you crash.  It’s better to overestimate the costs and be pleasantly surprised than to project an overly rosy scenario and end up bankrupt.

2. Consider Your Profit Goals
To allow your business to run successfully and earn a profit, it helps to calculate your expenses and consider your customers, goals and amount of profits you ultimately want to bring in.  From there you can determine roughly what range your profit margins should be in so that you can support all of your operations and still grow your business.

3. Outsource Your Accounting
Growing a small business is physically demanding work.  Nobody wants to end their day prepping books, especially when it some to payroll and tax preparation.  Having a monthly accounting service on your team allows you to concentrate on your business and the daily activities of managing employees, increasing your customer base, and maximizing your profits. Smart business owner knows how to lead and when to delegate.  Defining and sticking to your role provides stability for your small business.  Don’t try to be the owner and the accountant.  Expert monthly accounting services go beyond the numbers.

Experienced accountants can be used as a resource for strategic decisions and also provide proactive business advice for any stage of your business. In addition to providing accounting and payroll, an outsourced accountant will work with business owners to set clear goals for increasing profits.  In addition, as your small business grow it can present operational challenges with the need to keep expenses in check.  Accountants can identify any expense areas that are tracking above or below industry average, enabling you as the owner to make adjustments, to keep costs contained or to spend additional money in areas that could boost sales.



4. Use an Integrated Accounting System
A small business benefits from using a business-specific and integrated accounting system into its daily business practices.  A good small business accounting system provides many options including appointment control, work-in-progress, point of sale accounting, daily sales reports, invoicing, customer data and history, and report capabilities that include uploading to other software systems such as QuickBooks. This king of integrated accounting software saves money, time avoids duplicate data entry and ultimately prevents those nasty tax-based headaches that occur during tax season.

5. Stay on Top of Your Taxes
Staying on top of your taxes is a full-time job and your income tax obligation needs to be on your mind year-round.  Whether you’re a small business or an individual taxpayer, year-round tax planning is more than just a way to make tax preparation an easier, faster process.  By keeping taxes in mind as you go through every 12-month period, you’ll be able to see where you might take specific actions early that will have impact on what you end up owing.  Your budget can be a tremendous tool as you plan for the current tax year. I f you’ve never created one, an outsourced accountant can help you with this.  In addition to staying ahead of the process by outsourcing your tax planning, preparation and tax filing.