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Blogs by Elliot Hershik


Reopen for Business: How to Adapt to New Financial Realities

July 16, 2020 / by Elliot Hershik posted in Chicago Far West Suburbs, Business Continuity

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How can your company regain the momentum it lost due to the coronavirus outbreak? Here are bookkeeping strategies for finding your new normal.

If your business is among the many that have just reopened, or plan to shortly, after the COVID-19 shutdown, you might feel like you're starting all over again. And yes, there are some similarities between starting a business and restarting a business. But there are important differences, too. Let's look at how you can prepare for these new realities with bookkeeping best practices.

That No-Revenue Déjà Vu
The most vivid reminder of your startup days is probably the lack of immediate revenue to cover your expenses. There's no question that can be a source of stress, particularly if your business has substantial upfront costs or a significant burn rate.

In addition, depending on the nature of your business and your particular state's reopening guidelines, you might have to budget for additional expenses that you never had to worry about in a pre-pandemic world, such as Plexiglas shields or extra cleaning staff.

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Reminder: $130 Billion in PPP Funding Is Still Available

July 13, 2020 / by Elliot Hershik posted in Chicago Far West Suburbs, Business Continuity

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The federal government has given businesses more time to apply for COVID-19 relief. Are your books up to date?

Money that was allocated but not used during the initial rollout of the Small Business Association's (SBA's) Payroll Protection Program is still available to small businesses. With Congress authorizing the extension of the deadline to August 8, access to funds totaling $130 billion is still an option if you haven't already applied for the PPP.

Small businesses that take advantage of the program will benefit in more ways than one, because the SBA has worked out some of the issues in the loan-forgiveness procedures. Basically, if businesses can prove they meet the newest guidelines, the loan will be forgiven before any interest is due. Get the PPP loan and forgiveness details here.

Don't Miss Out
For many small businesses, especially those in states that are seeing a surge in COVID-19 cases, this opportunity couldn't have come at a better time. But the word of caution that my colleague Craig Feltner offered in April about not waiting too long to apply for a PPP loan still applies today: "There will be a flood of applications, and banks will likely have difficulty managing them all."

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The New Normal: Managing a (Sometimes) Remote Workforce

June 9, 2020 / by Elliot Hershik posted in Small Business Advice, Chicago Far West Suburbs, Business Continuity

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As various states begin to relax shelter-in-place directives prompted by the COVID-19 outbreak, employers face critical decisions in how to manage their workforces. Should they allow employees to continue to work from home (WFH) or encourage them to return to their places of business?

The "new normal" might involve a combination of these two approaches. Here are some suggestions for how to effectively manage the situation.

Step One: Determine What's Right for Your Business
To a degree, the nature of your business will make this decision for you. In some cases, such as with hair salons, WFH is simply not an option. If the state told you to shut down, you had to shut down.

Now that many states are allowing salons to reopen, the owner of a salon must first determine whether operating would be safe for employees and customers. This assessment must be done with the input of employees; some may not be ready to return to work due to concerns over their health or that of loved ones. From there, it's just a matter of following your state's guidelines.

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Do More With Less: How Your Business Can Survive COVID-19

April 29, 2020 / by Elliot Hershik posted in Chicago Far West Suburbs, Business Continuity

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Note: For full information on the FFCRA, please refer to the Department of Labor website. For advice, please contact a legal professional.

With much of their customer base forced to stay home, many businesses have seen their revenues shrink during the COVID-19 pandemic. Press coverage has focused on companies' efforts to stay afloat through the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) — understandably so.

But some businesses that have secured funding to remain open face a secondary challenge: how to operate with a reduced workforce.

An employee doesn't have to be suffering symptoms of COVID-19 to be absent from work. The Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) guarantees employees, including part-time employees, up to 80 hours of paid sick leave (see the DOL website for information about calculating hours for part-time employees), at full salary, if they're subject to quarantine due to possible virus exposure. Another component of the FFCRA is that employees, including part-time employees, can receive two-thirds of their regular rate of pay, for up to 10 weeks, if they must stay home to care for children under 18 whose schools or daycare facilities are closed.

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Keeping Your Doors Open With a Business Loan

March 31, 2020 / by Elliot Hershik posted in Chicago Far West Suburbs, Bookkeeping Services, Business Continuity

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The coronavirus pandemic is wreaking havoc with businesses of every size and type. If yours is one of them and you're struggling to meet your obligations, you might be eligible for a loan through the Small Business Administration (SBA) or other organization.

Here's what you need to know.

Basic Application Requirements Still Apply
In a recent blog on coronavirus preparedness, our colleague Andy Hale mentioned the new low-interest SBA loans that have become available. These Economic Injury Disaster Loans, which the SBA is offering in conjunction with state governors, can provide distressed businesses up to $2 million in working capital.

Although the SBA is expediting assistance through a streamlined three-step application process, you'll still need to provide some basic financial information, including:

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An Award-Winning Team Effort Saves a Nonprofit

August 1, 2019 / by Elliot Hershik posted in Chicago Far West Suburbs, Nonprofits

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It's always gratifying to receive an award for your work — especially when you had no idea you were even nominated. But that was the case recently when our Supporting Strategies | Chicago Far West Suburbs learned we had received the Turnaround Management Association (TMA) Pro Bono Transaction of the Year award for our role in helping a distressed nonprofit straighten out its financials and position itself for sale.

Assessing a Community Asset
West Suburban Senior Services (WSSS) in Bellwood, Illinois, had long been a valuable community resource. The nonprofit has provided adult day wellness support for seniors in western Chicagoland since 1972.

When some of its government funding dried up, however, several key executives and staff members departed. WSSS fell behind and missed several deadlines. It would be very difficult for any organization to find a buyer with those unmet obligations hanging over it.

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Business Owners: Beware the Deadlines of March

February 14, 2019 / by Elliot Hershik posted in Small Business Advice, Chicago Far West Suburbs, Business Advice

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"Beware the ides of March," Shakespeare wrote. Well, we have no idea what "ides" are, but we do know our tax deadlines.

Are You Prepared for the March Tax Deadline?
It never hurts to have a reminder about changes in tax laws, because each year brings new ones — especially this year.

You might have changed the structure of your business this year, which could in turn alter your filing status. For example, have you switched from an S corporation to a C corporation? If so, not only are you positioned to possibly pay a lower tax rate — a flat rate of 21% instead of the graduated scale from 15% to 39% — but your filing deadline also moves back from March 15 to April 15.

For S corps, partnerships and multiple-member LLCs, the deadline remains March 15. And don't think that the partial shutdown of the federal government will buy you any additional time. It does not affect any filing deadlines.

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Now Is the Time to Prep Those Pesky 1099s

September 13, 2018 / by Elliot Hershik posted in Small Business Advice, Chicago Far West Suburbs, Bookkeeping Services, Bookkeeping 101, 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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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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Bookkeeping Service | Making Sense of E-Commerce

November 14, 2016 / by Elliot Hershik posted in Chicago Far West Suburbs, Business Advice, E-commerce

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Recently, at a roundtable discussion with fellow services professionals, the topic of e-commerce came up. Most people, when they hear this term, imagine that it only refers to the use of the Internet to sell goods and services. 

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