Timing is crucial when making decisions to buy assets or set up new business. What is the impact on the bottom line and ratios? Our expertise works to your advantage when considering the choices and balancing the income/expense as well as tax implications.
Choice of entity
Choosing the correct business structure entity has many ramifications beyond the effect upon tax liabilities. We assist clients in determining which entity structure will result in the most beneficial financial situation while meeting company goals.
Designing, implementing and monitoring the accounting system
We help businesses establish accounting systems and analyze existing systems to more efficiently track the data they need and generate the reports they require.
We can advise you on the best course of action after analyzing the financial viability of the transaction and the potential impacts, including an examination of the options for financing.
Company owners rely on us for our expertise in business valuation when doing gift and estate tax planning, in purchase and sale arrangements, in transferring a business from one generation to the next, and a host of other situations.
Our strength is our understanding of all applicable factors that contribute to the unique value of each business. Standard valuation packages just do not fit, especially with small businesses. We help assure our clients that what is brought to the transaction is a true representation of the value.
When we conduct a business analysis, we go beyond the obvious to understand not just the balance sheets, but also the nature of the business and how the numbers correlate to tangible processes and events. We enter into a dialog with the client to determine what is behind the numbers so we can make specific suggestions that will improve their bottom line.
We might ask a client, “Your molds and casting costs are up 50%. Does that make sense?” or “The sales and tips ratio has changed. Is there a logical reason?” or “Business is slow but your revenue is up. Is that because you raised prices?” or “Your health care costs did not rise 25% like everyone else’s. Did you stop offering the benefit, or are there less employees?”
Identifying Costly Mistakes
We noticed that one client had decreased his workforce but the health care costs had not dropped. We found by checking invoices that employees who were gone were still being covered. The client was able to correct this mistake and reduce costs noticeably.
Passing Along a Great Idea
Sometimes, our clients can provide an idea to help others. A small business owner had been able to cut telephone expenses by 30%. He told us that he had made a deal with a different provider, which we were then able to recommend to others in similar situations.
Catching the “Small Stuff” That Adds Up
We were at a client’s office to help with a bank reconciliation so he could analyze how he was doing in order to plan his next strategic step. In the process, we discovered that he had not recorded some small ATM charges from his bank. It turned out that he was paying $1.50 per transaction plus an additional $1.50 service charge for a total of $3 for each ATM transaction. Some of those were for small withdrawals for petty cash. He had thought the service was free. By catching this seemingly small item, we alerted him to an area where he could save money by consolidating and reducing the number of ATM transactions, or by negotiating a better deal with his bank.
How Many Assets Should Be Liquidated for a Great Deal?
A client wanted to buy a building and was ready to liquidate his assets for the down payment. We recommended that he only liquidate part of his holdings, to retain a cushion to fall back on should there be trouble ahead. Even though this gave him a higher debt structure, he would have assets to call upon if he needed to secure future loans.
Pension and employee benefit plans
We’ll help you analyze the tax consequences involved with the various options as you plan for the future. Careful consideration of all pertinent factors helps us arrive at the best strategy for each client.
• Which plan will meet your needs both individually and for the business?
• What is the best time to implement a pension plan?
• Which plan should you choose?
• How much do you need to invest?
• What are your expectations for your employees?
• Is a pension plan appropriate or is there another instrument that will fulfill your objectives?
• When will your tax liability be lowest?
Sometimes a Simpler Plan is Better Than a 401K
The owner of small company wanted to set up a 401 K but his employees did not all wish to participate. We advised him that this would make a 401 K costly, as he would have to contribute for all employees, even those who did not contribute themselves. Furthermore, some of the other requirements would be difficult for him to meet. Instead, we suggested a much simpler plan that would provide the retirement security that the owner desired, with provisions for the designated employees who wanted to participate.
We work with you to gather information on your assets, liabilities and retirement goals; then explain the potential risks and rewards of the alternatives and develop a properly balanced plan.
Should you need a financial planner who will execute and monitor your investment plan, we can refer you to a reputable choice. Because we are independent and objective, we can match you with the investment manager who best meets your needs.
One of our clients questioned whether he had the right life insurance product. His investment counselor was urging him to place the funds in a higher yield instrument. We provided an unbiased viewpoint. We spoke to the insurance company and developed a cost/benefit analysis. We also checked with his investment broker to determine the investment potential/risks. We assessed the tax liabilities/benefits of each choice. Ultimately, we made a recommendation that fulfilled his particular situation. The answer was that for him, it made sense to keep the insurance as an irrevocable life insurance trust, thereby eliminating estate tax liabilities.
Pension & Retirement Planning
How can I maximize my income and minimize my taxes when I retire?
There are a number of questions to consider when planning retirement. Every situation is unique and we will factor in your variables in our recommendations for allocation and timing.
• How many years do you have to build a retirement portfolio?
• What income will you require to meet your spending plans?
• Do you have health considerations that will impact your choices?
• What investments, sources of income and other resources will you have available for retirement?
• What factors might affect your tax liability?
How can I maximize my income and minimize my taxes when I retire?
Making the right choices can mean the difference between a 15% tax bracket and a 28% bracket. Our expertise with the tax laws will help determine the best plan for you.
Is it best to create a tax-advantaged account such as a 529 or education IRA? If you will have a large estate and high taxes, a tax deferred college plan is a good choice. However, if you will need financial aid, know that it will be adversely affected by money that is in the 529 plan. The 529 works best if you are able to have enough invested there to cover the expenses. An investment of $10,000 would not even cover costs at a state school, yet would reduce the amount of financial aid received substantially.
Grandparents who want to avoid paying a gift tax on money given to grandchildren for education would be better advised to pay the institution directly as it would not be considered a gift for tax purposes. This way they can give up to $11,000 as a gift (using the gift tax exclusion) in addition to the amount of tuition paid. Prepaid tuition is another option to consider.
We provide comprehensive accounting services to nonprofit organizations, including conducting government and yellow book audits, tax compliance, audits, accounting system setup and review, pension planning and employee benefit plans. We are conversant in the issues that are unique to the nonprofit world and develop creative solutions for our clients.