Estimates vs. actuals: Was your 2018 budget reasonable?

| Business Briefs

As the year winds down, business owners can be thankful for the gift of perspective (among other things, we hope). Assuming you created a budget for the calendar year, you should now be able to accurately assess that budget by comparing its estimates to actual results. Your objective is to determine whether your budget was reasonable, and, if not, how to adjust it to be more accurate for 2019. Identify notable changes Your estimates, like those of many companies, probably start with historical Read more [...]

Dig out your business plan to prepare for the year ahead

| Business Briefs

Like many business owners, you probably created a business plan when you launched your company. But, as is also often the case, you may not have looked at it much since then. Now that fall has arrived and year end is coming soon, why not dig it out? Reviewing and revising a business plan can be a great way to plan for the year ahead. 6 sections to scrutinize Comprehensive business plans traditionally are composed of six sections. When revisiting yours, look for insights in each one: Executive Read more [...]

HSA + HDHP can be a winning health benefits formula

| Business Briefs

If you’ve done any research into employee benefits for your business recently, you may have come across a bit of alphabet soup in the form of “HSA + HDHP.” Although perhaps initially confusing, this formula represents an increasingly popular model for health care benefits — that is, offering a Health Savings Account (HSA) coupled with, as required by law, a high-deductible health plan (HDHP). Requirements An HSA operates somewhat like a Flexible Spending Account (FSA), which employers Read more [...]

Choosing the right accounting method for tax purposes

| Business Briefs, Tax Briefs

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) liberalized the eligibility rules for using the cash method of accounting, making this method — which is simpler than the accrual method — available to more businesses. Now the IRS has provided procedures a small business taxpayer can use to obtain automatic consent to change its method of accounting under the TCJA. If you have the option to use either accounting method, it pays to consider whether switching methods would be beneficial. Cash vs. accrual Generally, Read more [...]

A midyear review should go beyond financials

| Business Briefs

Every year is a journey for a business. You begin with a set of objectives for the months ahead, probably encounter a few bumps along the way and, hopefully, reach your destination with some success and a few lessons learned. The middle of the year is the perfect time to stop for a breather. A midyear review can help you and your management team determine which objectives are still “meetable” and which ones may need tweaking or perhaps even elimination. Naturally, this will involve looking Read more [...]

Could a long-term deal ease your succession planning woes?

| Business Briefs, Business Miscellaneous

Some business owners — particularly those who founded their companies — may find it hard to give up control to a successor. Maybe you just can’t identify the right person internally to fill your shoes. While retirement isn’t in your immediate future, you know you must eventually step down. One potential solution is to find an outside buyer for your company and undertake a long-term deal to gradually cede control to them. Going this route can enable a transition to proceed at a more manageable Read more [...]

Bookings vs. shippings: A sales flash report primer

| Business Briefs

Do bad sales months often take you by surprise? If so, don’t forget the power of flash reports — that is, snapshots of critical data for quick, timely viewing every day or week. One specific way to use them is to track bookings vs. shippings. Doing so can help you determine what percentage of volume for certain months should be booked by specific dates. These reports are particularly useful if more than 30 days elapse between these activities. Get super specific Here’s how your flash Read more [...]

Manage health benefits costs with a multipronged approach

| Business Briefs

Many companies offer health care benefits to help ensure employee wellness and compete for better job candidates. And the Affordable Care Act has been using both carrots and sticks (depending on employer size) to encourage businesses to offer health coverage.   If you sponsor a health care plan, you know this is no small investment. It may seem next to impossible to control rising plan costs, which are subject to a variety of factors beyond your control. But the truth is, all business owners can Read more [...]

Business interruption insurance can help some companies

| Business Briefs

Natural disasters and other calamities can affect any company at any time. Depending on the type of business and its financial stability, a few weeks or months of lost income can leave it struggling to turn a profit indefinitely — or force ownership to sell or close. One way to guard against this predicament is through the purchase of business interruption insurance. The difference You might say, “But wait! We already have commercial property insurance. Doesn’t that typically pay the Read more [...]