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Business Continuity


Best Practices for Applying for PPP Loan Forgiveness

October 13, 2020 / by Elliot Hershik posted in Chicago Far West Suburbs, Bookkeeping Services, Business Continuity

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Ready to have your PPP loan forgiven? Working with a professional bookkeeping and controller services provider can make the process much easier. 

Note: Please visit the Small Business Administration's PPP website for the current details.

Forgivable Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans can be a lifesaver for small businesses — provided those businesses follow all the steps required to actually have a loan forgiven. It can be a challenging process, which is why many businesses have turned to professional bookkeepers rather than go the DIY route.

Bookkeepers Know the PPP Procedures
Professional bookkeepers stay on top of all the Small Business Administration bulletins pertaining to the PPP program — bulletins like Interim Final Rule on Revisions to the Third and Sixth Interim Final Rules. Wondering how a rule can be both "interim" and "final" (not to mention why a final rule would need revision)? Well, let's just say that despite the government's best intentions, PPP loan forgiveness is a moving target. That's why you should seek assistance from somebody whose job it is to keep up with the changes.

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How Today's Numbers Drive Business Decisions for Next Year

October 8, 2020 / by Sandra Finerghty posted in Bookkeeping Services, Durham & Chapel Hill, NC, Business Continuity

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Note: This blog first appeared on the NCACPA website.

Ready for 2021? Insights into current cash flow are more important than ever for creating an accurate forecast.

If revenue was lower than anticipated at your business this year, you're not alone. But if you were among the fortunate ones whose business remained open or only had a brief disruption, you have an opportunity to regroup and get a fresh start next year. And it all starts with examining your current cash flow.

Understanding the Numbers
For any business to succeed, it must have enough cash available to pay expenses, bank loans, taxes and salaries and to purchase whatever inventory and equipment is necessary to function effectively. That's why the kind of disruption in cash flow that many businesses suffered this year has been so unsettling. Some organizations suddenly found themselves unable to pay their bills.

If you're in that category, now isn't the time to panic — that's never a good approach. But it is the time to apply a sense of urgency and figure out a way forward in this new financial reality.

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Managing Accounts Receivable for Prompt Payment

September 8, 2020 / by George Stephen posted in Bookkeeping Services, Northern Chicago, Business Continuity

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From reviewing your A/R aging each week to knowing how and when to follow up, these collection strategies will help you get paid.

Considering the importance of cash, it's surprising collections is one of the more neglected processes for businesses. It easily gets out of control if not managed consistently. Especially in the current environment, you need to have a systematic approach in place.

Here's how to manage your accounts receivable to ensure timely payments.

Know Your Cash Status
Like brushing your teeth, getting paid requires consistent effort to avoid unpleasant surprises. While tools are available to automate certain aspects, you still must devote time to compiling and reviewing transactions as well as confirming your records are up to date and accurate.

It all starts with billing. Your invoices should contain all required information to be paid (accurate descriptions, P.O. numbers, bank instructions, etc.) and be sent as soon as possible. Having any missing information and/or not following a client's procedure just delays payment.

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Update Your Business Plan for the Pandemic

August 11, 2020 / by Dee Johnson posted in Chicago Northwest Suburbs, Business Continuity

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Learn how the process of planning can help you prepare your business for unexpected changes.

Remember when you wrote your original business plan before starting your company? And remember the last time you updated it, say, late in 2019? That seems like a different world now, doesn't it?

Well, that was a different world. COVID-19 changed everything, and you need to adjust your business plan accordingly.

A Business Plan Is an Informed Prediction
"In preparing for battle I have always found that plans are useless, but planning is indispensable."
– Dwight D. Eisenhower

I love that quote. What Eisenhower meant was that committing to a specific plan was foolish, because it doesn't allow any wiggle room when circumstances change — as they always do. However, the process of planning gives you valuable intelligence about what to expect so you can react appropriately.

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Updates on PPP Loan Forgiveness, Including Safe Harbors

July 20, 2020 / by Linan Zhang posted in Business Continuity, Southwest Houston, TX

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Are you applying for loan forgiveness on your Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan? Learn about safe harbor provisions and coverage period restrictions.

Note: Please visit the Small Business Administration's PPP website for the most current details.

As of July 14, American businesses had received more than 4.9 million loans through the PPP. All of those loans — some $518 billion worth — are eligible for forgiveness under certain circumstances. Make sure you understand the requirements.

Payroll and Salary Criteria
Initially, the PPP stipulated that 75% of any loan had to be dedicated to payroll costs. But recent legislation revised that figure to 60%.

That's just one of many adjustments. The government's latest Loan Forgiveness Application revision, which has two application forms and two corresponding instructions, can be confusing. We will try to summarize the changes by focusing on a few key provisions.

Coverage period definitions and restrictions: Businesses that received their PPP loan by June 4 can still choose an eight-week period for their loan. However, just like post-June 4 borrowers, they may also elect to use a 24-week period. Among other things, choosing the 24-week option effectively increases the maximum amount you can pay any individual employee with PPP funds from $15,385 to $46,154 (prorated based on a $100,000 cap on annual salary).

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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) Paycheck 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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Proven Value: Online Bookkeeping in the Time of COVID-19

July 7, 2020 / by Diane Denholm posted in Northeast Florida, Bookkeeping Services, Business Continuity

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With cloud-based technology and remote-work best practices, online bookkeeping services will help you strengthen your business as you prepare for the future.

For many businesses that had relied on onsite employees and desktop applications, remote work and cloud-based technology have become the new normal during the pandemic. Now that you've seen what's possible with remote work … what's holding you back from outsourcing your bookkeeping?

With outsourced bookkeeping, you can not only help ensure business continuity, but also gain expertise and financial insight you didn't know you were missing.

Stop By Your Bookkeeper's Desk — Online
You may have appreciated the ability to stop by your bookkeeper's desk to ask a question — back when your bookkeeper actually had a desk. But once the pandemic hit, many businesses had to transition instantly to a remote workforce. Any company that still relied on an in-house bookkeeper, and a desktop system that required them to physically be onsite to get access, was caught unprepared.

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Opening a U.S. Subsidiary Is Still Possible During COVID-19

July 2, 2020 / by Loren Sweigart posted in Santa Monica, Bookkeeping Services, Los Angeles, Ventura County, Business Continuity

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Although COVID-19 has created obstacles for overseas companies to set up U.S. subsidiaries, it has also presented possible opportunities to pursue.

The coronavirus pandemic has had a catastrophic impact on the world's economy, with some sources forecasting a decline of up to 8.8% in global GDP this year. In addition, ongoing travel restrictions prevent entry to the United States from many countries, which may have disrupted plans at some international companies to open subsidiaries here. (As a general rule, opening a U.S. subsidiary requires obtaining a U.S. bank account, which must be done in person.)

Even so, there are glimmers of optimism amid the gloom. The pandemic has also revealed new opportunities, especially for companies that specialize in technologies that enable e-commerce, telemedicine and remote learning. For international companies in those fields, the U.S. market could be more receptive than ever. Here's what you'll need to know about starting a U.S. subsidiary.

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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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