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Tax-Season Test: The Sequel

April 16, 2018 / by Jane Lvovskiy posted in Bookkeeping Services, Brooklyn - Staten Island

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Did you take our tax-prep quiz last year? If so, you were probably a lot better prepared for tax time this year.

We've updated our test for 2018 — take it, and see how you do. The answers (and your grade) are at the end.

1. You made a $100,000 equipment purchase in October. What's the maximum amount of that cost you could deduct this year?

  1. 0%
  2. 50%
  3. 100%
  4. A $100,000 equipment purchase? I wish.

2. Now that you've filed your employment taxes for 2017, you can safely discard your records from:

  1. 2016
  2. 2015
  3. 2014
  4. 1973
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Why It's Vital to Keep Personal & Business Expenses Separate

April 12, 2018 / by Laura Zimmerman posted in Small Business Advice, Chicago Far West Suburbs, Bookkeeping Services, Bookkeeping 101, Tips for Startups, Business Advice

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When starting a small business, it's important to keep your business finances separate from your personal finances — particularly when it comes to expenses.

Tempting though it might be to use your personal credit card to buy a smartphone as you launch your business, that sets a dangerous precedent. If you don't treat your personal finances and your business finances separately, the law won't, either. This is known as "piercing the corporate veil." And it could mean, among other things, that you lose the liability protection that ought to come with incorporating.

Here are some tips on how to avoid that potentially disastrous scenario.

Don't Jump the Gun
Starting a small business can be stressful and time-consuming. It's easy to fall into "just-for-now" rationalizing. You'll purchase equipment and other startup essentials from your personal checking account. And then once you get up and running, you'll file all the proper paperwork to become a corporation and open a bank account dedicated to the business. No problem, right?

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Value Stream Analysis: Creating More Value in 30 Days or Less

April 3, 2018 / by Bill Sorenson posted in Small Business Advice, Northeast Florida, Business Advice

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As part of my presentation on value stream analysis, I often ask business owners what their most difficult problems are. The answers are all over the place: inventory, communication, costs, cash flow, late fees, etc. But what most business owners identify as problems are actually just symptoms.

To determine the root cause of these issues, I conduct a value stream analysis.

A Five-Step Process to Solve Business Problems
I can't do a value stream analysis alone. Someone from the business needs to be a willing participant. And they have to be honest. Only then will they benefit from the full value of this five-step process:

  1. Identify your company's value streams. (I define a value stream as any process that creates value within a company for either external or internal customers. There are multiple value streams in any organization.) Decide, as a group, which value stream to examine first. Choose one of the value streams that either needs the most attention or creates the most opportunity for increased value.
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Supporting Strategies Expands to Central Massachusetts

April 2, 2018 / by Leslie Jorgensen posted in Central MA

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Supporting Strategies Expands to Central Massachusetts

Worcester, Mass. — Supporting Strategies, the outsourced bookkeeping service provider that enables business owners to focus on and grow their core business, is pleased to announce the opening of their latest office, in Central Massachusetts.

John Gleason, Franchisee and Managing Director for Supporting Strategies' North Shore and MetroWest locations, will also serve in these roles for Supporting Strategies | Central Massachusetts. Gleason recently hired a Business Development Manager, Darlene Trainor, who will focus on developing business in the Central Massachusetts and MetroWest territories.

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Case Study: Helping a Florida Homebuilder Keep Up with Growth

March 29, 2018 / by Pete Denholm posted in Bookkeeping Services, Case Study Blogs

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A year after launching John Merrill Homes, a custom builder in Jacksonville, Florida, Adam Merrill, had an enviable problem: His business was growing three times faster than anticipated. Realizing it would be nearly impossible to keep up with this growth using DIY bookkeeping, Merrill turned to an outsourced solution with Supporting Strategies.

A Built-in Challenge
Building custom homes is a business that's especially susceptible to bookkeeping challenges. "It's heavy on payables," Merrill says. "There's a lot of check processing. We take in five to seven checks per job, but we write about 500 per job."

In addition, building homes is a long-term process. It often takes a year for John Merrill Homes to see income from a project. That could easily lead to cash-flow problems, particularly at a rapidly growing startup. "I knew the bookkeeping could get overwhelming," Merrill says. "So outsourcing made a lot of sense." He reached out to Supporting Strategies | Northeast Florida for help.

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Supporting Strategies Featured in Glassdoor

March 28, 2018 / by Erica Mitchell posted in News, Bookkeeping Services

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Our CEO shares insight on some misconceptions and benefits of a work-from-home culture

Supporting Strategies’ CEO Leslie Jorgensen was recently interviewed by Glassdoor — one of the nation’s leading websites focusing on career development and what it’s really like to work at top companies from coast to coast.

Glassdoor covers trends, career advice and the latest headlines, with experts and executive insights. The site examined the topic of working from home in a recent article featuring Supporting Strategies.

Supporting Strategies is proud to offer a work-at-home culture in locations across the United States. Leslie Jorgensen shed light on this rising trend and pointed out that this arrangement is not only convenient for employees but can be rewarding for employers as well. She also shared some of the most persistent myths about working from home, as well as what the reality behind them is.

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How the New Tax Law Will Impact Your Business

March 20, 2018 / by David Jean posted in Small Business Advice, Merrimack Valley, Bookkeeping Services, Business Advice, Southern Maine

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The new-for-2018 tax bill, a.k.a. the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA), will have a wide-ranging impact on businesses of every size. And while it's too soon to fully process all the implications of such a massive piece of legislation, we can certainly take a high-level look at some of the changes.

Focusing primarily on small businesses, we've broken the changes down into government "giveaways" and "takeaways."

Giveaways

  • 100% depreciation: A big potential giveaway for small businesses involves depreciation. Businesses can now claim a 100% deduction for any equipment, new or used, placed in service not just in 2018, but retroactive to Sept. 27, 2017. This will provide a major benefit to businesses that are equipment-intensive, such as construction. For retail and service businesses that might need to replace only a couple of computers over the course of a normal year, the benefit will be far less significant. (The 100% depreciation will begin to phase down in 2023.)
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More March (Tax Deadline) Madness

March 15, 2018 / by Elliot Hershik posted in Small Business Advice, Chicago Far West Suburbs, Bookkeeping Services, Business Advice

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Two years ago, I compared the annual "March Madness®" of the NCAA Division I college basketball tournament to the madness that surrounds the March 15 deadline for corporate tax filing. With basketball's March Madness upon us once more, it's a good time to revisit (and revise) those guidelines.

Buzzer-Beater
A game-saving shot at the final buzzer is the most exciting moment in basketball. But if you own a small business, being behind late in the game by not having complete, accurate records to present to a tax preparer isn't exciting; it's just stressful. This is especially true if your last-second attempt at a buzzer-beater is off target. Spare yourself (and your tax preparer) this anxiety by maintaining good financial records all year long. An outsourced bookkeeping services provider can help on this count.

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Supporting Strategies Expands to West Michigan

March 8, 2018 / by Leslie Jorgensen posted in News, West Michigan

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Yeomans Becomes Managing Director of New Franchise

Supporting Strategies is pleased to announce the opening of our latest office, in West Michigan.

Daniel Yeomans, Franchisee and Managing Director, has an extensive background in court-appointed receivership, business management and real estate brokerage. He has been directly involved in managing hundreds of business entities, each requiring bookkeeping, budgeting, financial statement preparation and financial analysis.

"I am extremely impressed with Supporting Strategies," Yeomans says. "It provides a national support system at a local level. More importantly, the people behind the scenes are passionate and continuously strive to maintain the highest standards and implement the best technology available."

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New for 2018: Less-Charitable Laws for Charitable Giving

March 6, 2018 / by Jane Lvovskiy posted in Bookkeeping Services, Brooklyn - Staten Island, Business Advice, Nonprofits

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Individuals and tax preparers need to be aware of a significant impact on charitable giving that likely will result from a provision in the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA).

While the consequences of the law, passed in December 2017, might be unintended, they are no less real for taxpayers — especially for charities. Vikki Sprull, President and CEO of the philanthropic network Council on Foundations, projects the new law "will result in a decrease of $16–$24 billion in charitable giving every year."

Subtraction by Addition
The bad news for charities came about as a result of what was supposed to have been good news for taxpayers. Under TCJA, the standard deduction doubles to $12,000 for individuals and $24,000 for married couples.

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