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Blogs by Pete Denholm

Opening a US Subsidiary: Next Steps

July 5, 2019 / by Pete Denholm posted in Northeast Florida, Bookkeeping Services, Business Advice


The response to our post on setting up a U.S. subsidiary of a foreign company demonstrates there is great interest in this topic. Here is some additional information.

Determine Your Expectations
For a foreign entity, the thought of entering the huge U.S. market can be very enticing. But pursuing that market can also create a financial hardship if not done correctly. That's why, as we covered last time, you'll have to follow a specific set of parameters, including (in most cases) choosing a subsidiary over a branch office and setting up an LLC.

The most important step in setting up a U.S. subsidiary is to determine exactly what you hope to accomplish. Consider questions like these:

  • If you're selling a product, have you done the research to determine who your established U.S. competitors are?
  • Does your product meet U.S. safety standards?
  • Can you simply export your product to the United States from your existing manufacturing facility, or do exorbitant tariffs make it more cost-effective to build a manufacturing facility domestically?
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Case Study: Helping an Escrow Agent End a Flood of Paperwork

April 26, 2018 / by Pete Denholm posted in Small Business Advice, Northeast Florida, Bookkeeping Services, Case Study Blogs


When he launched River City Title in 2016, President and CEO Eric Blocker knew he'd have to process reams of legal paperwork. That goes with being an escrow agent in a growing Florida real estate market. What he didn't anticipate was a separate stream of bookkeeping paperwork, which soon became a flood.

Spurred by positive reviews and referrals, River City Title grew rapidly in its first year. Blocker quickly expanded his staff from two to six, including an office manager who was responsible for bookkeeping. When Blocker saw that part of his company's financial records consisted of paper receipts taped into a binder, he realized he needed to adapt this system to an online world.

A meeting with Pete Denholm, Managing Director of Supporting Strategies | Northeast Florida, led to an efficient, cost-effective solution: outsourced bookkeeping services.

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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


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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Case Study: How Outsourcing Helped an Entrepreneur Stay on Mission

February 15, 2018 / by Pete Denholm posted in Northeast Florida, Tips for Startups, Business Advice, Case Study Blogs



Experience had taught Florida entrepreneur Jeff Davis that tackling too many responsibilities could lead to burnout. When he launched an executive networking startup in 2013, he identified one of his weak spots, bookkeeping, as a prime area for outsourcing.

Helping Others by Helping Himself
Having previously built and sold a successful business, Davis knew how valuable it is to be able to meet regularly with other entrepreneurs. That inspired his next business: Plan the Attack/12 Mavens. The idea was to sell memberships to a think tank in which Jacksonville-area business leaders would gather periodically at high-end locations to exchange ideas and map strategies.

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How Better Bookkeeping Makes Better Managers

February 8, 2018 / by Pete Denholm posted in Small Business Advice, Northeast Florida, Bookkeeping Services, Tips for Startups, Business Advice


Background image with sketches and drawings on grey wall.jpegAt small- and medium-sized businesses, business owners have many roles. One role is business manager. As business manager, many approach bookkeeping with dread, particularly during tax season. They want to get the process over with as quickly as possible so they can get back to the important business of managing the company.

What many managers fail to realize is that a trained bookkeeping professional can provide information that is not only vital to satisfying the company's tax obligations, but also to managing the company more effectively. The key is to know what to look for.

Getting Ahead of the Game
Imagine coaching a basketball team without ever looking at the scoreboard. You'd have a hard time knowing whether you were winning or losing, let alone what steps you could take to make the team better. That's essentially what you're doing when you try to manage a business with no understanding of basic bookkeeping principles. You might think your team is playing well, only to learn after the final buzzer that you lost by 20 points.

Once you see bookkeeping for what it is — a way to analyze vital data to make informed decisions — you can become a much more effective manager.

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Why Smart Law Firms Use the Cloud for Case Management

July 18, 2017 / by Pete Denholm posted in Northeast Florida, Business Advice, Law Firm


Large law firms have long had advantages over new or small law firms — an established name, existing clients, support staff and resources. But newer technology has helped level the playing field for small law firms when it comes to system infrastructure and management.

Small startups are often in a better position to take advantage of cloud-based case-management and accounting software. Harness the power of the cloud, and your firm can move with speed and efficiency well beyond your numbers.

A Case Management System Case Study
Let's say your firm lands a new client that posts an initial $10,000 deposit to handle their case. That money immediately is recorded in the trust account on your case-management system. From that point on, every increment of time, whether it's 15 hours or 15 minutes, gets logged into the case-management system for that particular case. The time of anyone at your firm who is working on the case is recorded at the appropriate billable rate. You can also invoice your clients directly out of that system while accounting for all relevant expenses.

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The Top Three Things to Consider When Starting a Law Practice

May 23, 2017 / by Pete Denholm posted in Northeast Florida, Tips for Startups, Law Firm


You've built up considerable experience working for a large law firm. Now you're ready to fulfill your lifetime ambition by starting your own practice. While you relish the freedom, you also understand you can no longer rely on a large support staff to manage the day-to-day responsibilities of running the business.

From here on out, it's your business — and your responsibility. Here are three things that are critical to keep an eye on. 

1. Trust Accounts
We've listed this No. 1 for a reason (in fact, there's an entire Supporting Strategies blog post devoted to the topic). Every bar association has a zero-tolerance policy when it comes to errors involving trust accounts. If your trust accounts aren't appropriately reconciled or the record-keeping is not clean — meaning that you can't attribute the full balance to every individual client by dollar amount — then your state bar will sanction you and take your license. And the bar can conduct an audit without warning, at any time.

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Setting up a U.S. Subsidiary of a Foreign Company

May 18, 2017 / by Pete Denholm posted in Northeast Florida, Business Advice


The U.S. economy is the largest in the world by a wide margin. In fact, it's roughly equal to the next three largest economies combined. So it's easy to see why so many foreign companies want to do business stateside.

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Can Your Business Survive a Catastrophe Like Hurricane Matthew?

October 13, 2016 / by Pete Denholm posted in Northeast Florida, Business Advice, Business Continuity


The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) calls it Continuity of Operations, or COOP. It's a plan to ensure essential government agencies continue to function in the event of a disaster. As the devastation recently wrought by Hurricane Matthew made painfully clear, private businesses should have similar plans in place.

To help you get started, the Department of Homeland Security website has a diagram that outlines a basic Business Continuity Plan. In general, your COOP plan should begin with a business impact analysis. From there, it's a matter of defining your recovery strategies, developing the specifics of your plan and testing it on a periodic basis. At a minimum, every plan needs to address recovery procedures and manual workarounds for standard operations.

Sound like too much to take on yourself? Many private consultants out there can assist you in formulating a COOP plan for your organization's specific needs.

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Accounting Services 101 | Top Ten Small Business Blogs of 2015

January 28, 2016 / by Pete Denholm posted in Northeast Florida, Bookkeeping 101


The business world is best navigated with a mentor. While it’s important to learn how to follow your inner compass, having a network of advice givers and sounding boards is always a boon to an entrepreneur. I suggest that small business owners make mentors wherever they can find. This can be your father, mother, accounting services provider, or even a beloved podcaster.

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