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DCAA Compliance Quiz: Bookkeeping for Government Contractors

October 16, 2018 / by Jim Rice posted in Orlando, Rochester, Bookkeeping Services, Business Advice, Small Business Advice

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Pop quiz: Your business recently landed a $50 million Department of Defense contract. You've let a couple of smaller jobs expire in anticipation of taking on the government work. You've invested in materials and lined up a series of subcontractors to help you meet the contract terms. Everything's humming along beautifully.

Then the Defense Contract Audit Agency (DCAA) pays a surprise visit and determines your accounting system isn't in compliance with their standards. What happens next?

A: The DCAA immediately terminates the contract.

B: The DCAA sets a reasonable deadline for bringing your system into compliance, and the work continues.

C: The DCAA suspends the contract until you come into compliance. You're solely liable for any lost revenue and for any money invested in materials and subcontractors to date, as well as the costs of reaching compliance.

D: None of the above.

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Case Study: How a Small Business Gets Government Contracts

October 11, 2018 / by Jim Rice posted in Orlando, Rochester, Bookkeeping Services, Case Study Blogs, Business Advice, Small Business Advice

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With its cutting-edge shelter construction, World Housing Solution (WHS) addressed an obvious need for the U.S. Department of Defense. The small Sanford, Fla., company creates modular buildings that could be raised quickly in challenging circumstances ranging from refugee crises to natural disasters to rapid military deployments.

But securing government contracts meant negotiating a complex regulatory maze that included the Defense Contract Audit Agency (DCAA). "Once you are a government subcontractor, you have to run all of your accounting through a DCCA system regardless of whether it's a commercial sale or a government sale," says WHS Director of Administration Michelle Theodoseau. "Our original accounting firm did not have the experience that these very specialized government contracts require."

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Florence Illustrates the Importance of Disaster Preparedness

October 2, 2018 / by Brad Stickland posted in South Carolina, Bookkeeping Services, Small Business Advice, Business Advice

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You never know when or where the next hurricane will strike the United States. You only know that it will. As Hurricane Florence violently demonstrated once again, it's vital that your business have a solid continuity plan in place for the worst-case scenario.

People tend to use the term "major disaster area" generically to describe any region where a calamity has occurred. But when it comes to relief, the Federal Emergency Management Agency has specific guidelines that enable the president to issue a major disaster declaration, releasing federal funds for assistance in the stipulated region. While much of the relief funding is used to repair public infrastructure, some can also benefit businesses, often in the form of loans through the Small Business Administration.

If a business needs to be completely rebuilt and will be offline for a while, its employees or contractors might be eligible for Disaster Unemployment Assistance. In addition, the IRS grants many businesses in federal disaster areas extensions on certain filing deadlines.

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Which Documents Does Your Small Business Need to Secure a Loan?

September 27, 2018 / by John Gleason posted in North Shore, Metrowest, MA, Central MA, Bookkeeping Services, Business Advice, Small Business Advice, Tips for Startups

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Do you have a new business that shows promise or an established business that's having a growth spurt? Either way, at some point you'll probably wonder whether an infusion of cash could help you reach that highly desirable (though difficult to define) "next level."

Getting Your Priorities in Order
As a first step, make sure your records are organized and up-to-date. A number of bookkeeping issues, from misclassified expenses to improperly applied COGS, can jeopardize your loan application.

The key reports and documents you’ll typically need to provide are:

  • Current P&L: This represents your revenue minus your operating expenses for a given period of time. If it's a negative number, then a loan won't fix your problems.
  • A balance sheet: I covered this one in an earlier post. Basically, the balance sheet is a snapshot of your company's liability, assets and capital on a specific date.
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How Your Small Business Can Become More Profitable

September 18, 2018 / by John Gleason posted in North Shore, Metrowest, MA, Central MA, Business Advice, Small Business Advice, Bookkeeping Services

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Business owners strive to maximize the profitability of their companies. Determining your company's profitability can be trickier than you think, however. For example, say Business A generates $10 million in annual revenue against $9.5 million in total costs, while Business B generates $250,000 in annual revenue against $50,000 in total costs. Which is more profitable?

Measured in raw dollars, Business A comes out way ahead, $500,000 to $200,000. But in terms of profit margin, Business B trounces Business A, 20% to 5%.

The point is, there are different ways to measure profitability. There are also different ways to maximize your company's profitability. Let's take a closer look.

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Now Is the Time to Prep Those Pesky 1099s

September 13, 2018 / by Elliot Hershik posted in Chicago Far West Suburbs, Bookkeeping 101, Bookkeeping Services, Business Advice, Small Business Advice

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For small-business owners, eternal vigilance on important documents is more important than ever. That includes those seemingly routine year-end 1099 forms.

If You Wait, It Could Be Too Late
In an ideal world business owners would keep up with their 1099s all year long, as my colleague Jeanne Richards recently suggested they do. Haven’t given 1099-prep a thought yet? Don’t worry — it’s not too late. Now that it’s September, it’s the perfect time to check the status of your records and get them in shape before the end of the year.

Periodically evaluating your records keeps you up to date on which vendors or independent contractors (IC) are above the $600 threshold that requires a 1099. That’s a threshold that is easy to meet without realizing it. You might have given someone several small projects that were each well under $600, but together meet the threshold requirement. Or perhaps you forgot about an IC you used for a project early in the year — now is the time to make sure you have the records you need.

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Course Correction: Tweaks that Could Help Your Small Business Before Year’s End

September 4, 2018 / by Dawn Hershik posted in Chicago Far West Suburbs, Bookkeeping Services, Business Advice, Small Business Advice

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Like all good business owners, you started the year with a solid plan. But is your plan still as solid as you thought it was, or are there areas that could use shoring up? Here are some revisions to consider as the year winds down.

Look for Over- and Underperformers in Sales
This is the area that offers the greatest potential for improving your bottom line. It is also one of the easiest to analyze. Basically, all you have to do is review your year-to-date sales figures to see if you can root out both winners and losers — products or services that performed better than anticipated, as well as “dogs” that yielded disappointing results. (Here’s where budgeting, forecasting and ongoing analysis of your finances can be invaluable.)

With those figures in hand, it’s a simple matter of applying a little common sense. Increase your inventory and/or marketing efforts on whatever is performing well and sell off the underperforming products at a deep discount to generate cash. In the case of a costly or time-consuming service that isn’t generating a sufficient return, you can simply discontinue it — be careful to honor any commitments you have already entered into, of course.

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Get Your Small Business off the Filing-Extension Treadmill

August 30, 2018 / by Dawn Hershik posted in Chicago Far West Suburbs, Bookkeeping Services, Small Business Advice, Tips for Startups

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Two years ago, I blogged about how outsourced bookkeeping services can help you keep your financial records up to date and enable you to avoid filing for an extension on your business tax returns. With the September drop-dead nearing once again (this year it's September 17 instead of September 15), it's a good time to revisit the topic.

Putting the Tension in Extension
The deadline extension exists to give businesses a break in the event of unforeseen circumstances. For example, if a natural disaster impacts the business or a personal health crisis affects a key employee just ahead of the March 15 deadline, it would be unreasonable for the IRS to fine the business for filing a late return. (To be clear, we're talking about small businesses that are structured as partnerships or S corporations. Note that the Final deadline for C Corporations and individuals (with extension) is October 15, 2018) An additional six months ought to be ample time to resolve any issues.

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Supporting Strategies NYC Supports New York Maker Community

August 23, 2018 / by Michael Oberther posted in NYC - Midtown, Manhattan Financial District

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“As Told by Makers” is an event produced by Alice Chin of Your Other Half and the Supporting Strategies NYC team. The goal is to build a community of business people who want to support Makers as they develop their businesses. The event will be held on Wednesday, September 12th from 5:30 pm - 7 pm at WeWork on W 41st St. 

This is a structured Q&A event designed to give attendees the opportunity to listen, learn and ask questions. Each Maker is different and we want to give our guests and speakers the opportunity explore topics together.
 
What is a Maker?
For us, a Maker is someone who makes a tangible product that can be eaten, worn or held in your hand. We support this community of business people because they are making great things, improving our lives and creating local jobs.

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4 Tips to Stop Fraud

August 21, 2018 / by Jane Willis posted in Business Advice, Small Business Advice, Tips for Startups

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Originally posted on the Bill.com blog.

You’d like to think your business is safe from fraud. But there are many, sneaky ways that those with ill intent — both inside and outside your organization — can take advantage of your company.

But, by noting the below risks, you can begin to plug any leaky opportunities for fraudulent activities.

Using paper checks
According to this survey of finance professionals, three out of four businesses were victims of check fraud and check forgery in 2016. Yes, you read that right. Seventy-five percent of businesses have been subjected to financial crimes.

The true culprit? Paper checks.

Those little pieces of paper give fraudsters everything they need to steal your money — account number, routing number, and even your bank and address. It’s like handing burglars the key to your house.

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