Could an FSA offer the benefits flexibility you need?

| Business Briefs

Business owners have to make tough choices when it comes to providing benefits to their employees. Many companies, especially newer or smaller ones, may understandably prioritize flexibility. No one wants to get locked into a benefits offering that’s cumbersome to administer and expensive to maintain. Well, there’s one possibility that has the word “flexible” built right into its name: the health care Flexible Spending Account (FSA). And these arrangements certainly offer that. No HDHP Read more [...]

Valuation often affects succession plans in hard-to-see ways

| Business Briefs

Any business owner developing a succession plan should rightfully assume that regular business valuations are a must. When envisioning the valuation process, you’re likely to focus on its end result: a reasonable, defensible value estimate of your business as of a certain date. But lurking beneath this number is a variety of often hard-to-see issues.   Estate tax liability   One sometimes blurry issue is the valuation implications of whether you intend to transfer the business to the next Read more [...]

4 ways to get (and keep) your business data in order

| Business Briefs

With so much data flying around these days, it’s easy for a company of any size to get overwhelmed. If something important falls through the cracks, say a contract renewal or outstanding bill, your financial standing and reputation could suffer. Here are four ways to get — and keep — your business data in order: Simplify, simplify, simplify. Look at your data in broad categories and see whether and how you can simplify things. Sometimes refiling documents under basic designations such Read more [...]

Critical connection: How costs impact pricing

| Business Briefs

As we head toward year-end, your company may be reviewing its business strategy for 2017 or devising plans for 2018. As you do so, be sure to give some attention to the prices you’re asking for your existing products and services, as well as those you plan to launch in the near future. The cost of production is a logical starting point. After all, if your prices don’t exceed costs over the long run, your business will fail. This critical connection demands regular re-evaluation. Reconsider Read more [...]

Bridging the divide with a mezzanine loan

| Business Briefs

In their efforts to grow and succeed, many companies eventually reach the edge of a precipice. Across the divide lies a big step forward — perhaps the acquisition of a competitor or the purchase of a new property — but, financially, there’s no way across. The money is just not there. One way to bridge that divide is with a mezzanine loan. These instruments (also known as junior liens and second liens) can bridge financing shortfalls — so long as you meet certain qualifications and can Read more [...]

How profitable are your customers?

| Business Briefs

“We love our customers!” Every business owner says it. But all customers aren’t created equal, and it’s in your strategic interest to know which customers are really strengthening your bottom line and by how much. Sorting out the data If your business systems track individual customer purchases, and your accounting system has good cost accounting or decision support capabilities, determining individual customer profitability will be simple. If you have cost data for individual products, Read more [...]

Find the right path forward with KPIs

| Business Briefs

From the baseball field to the boardroom, statistical analysis has changed various industries nationwide. With proper preparation and guidance, business owners can have at their fingertips a wealth of stats-based insight into how their companies are performing — far beyond the bottom line on an income statement.   The metrics in question are commonly referred to as key performance indicators (KPIs). These formula-based measurements reveal the trends underlying a company’s operations. And seeing Read more [...]

Ensuring a peaceful succession with a buy-sell agreement

| Business Briefs, Business Miscellaneous, News

A buy-sell agreement is a critical component of succession planning for many businesses. It sets the terms and conditions under which an owner’s business interest can be sold to another owner (or owners) should an unexpected tragedy or turn of events occurs. It also establishes the method for determining the price of the interest.   This may sound cut and dried. And a properly conceived, well-written buy-sell agreement should be — it is, after all, a legal document. But there’s a human side Read more [...]

Rev up retirement offerings with an NQDC plan

| Business Briefs

Many business owners and executives would like to save more money for retirement than they’re allowed to sock away in their 401(k) plan. For 2017, the annual elective deferral contribution limit for a 401(k) is just $18,000, or $24,000 if you’re 50 years of age or older. This represents a significantly lower percentage of the typical owner-employee’s or executive’s salary than the percentage of the average employee’s salary. Therefore, it can be difficult for these highly compensated Read more [...]

4 tough questions to ask before expanding to a new location

| Business Briefs

Is business going so well that you’re thinking about adding another location? If this is the case, congratulations! But before you start planning the ribbon-cutting ceremony, take a step back and ask yourself some tough questions about whether a new location will grow your company — or stretch it too thin. Here are four to get you started: What’s driving your interest in another location? It’s important to articulate specifically how the new location will help your business move toward Read more [...]