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Ventura County


Supporting One of Our Own in a Unique Quest

May 22, 2019 / by Mark Wald posted in Santa Monica, Los Angeles, Ventura County

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This was not the usual request for vacation time. When she joined Supporting Strategies | Los Angeles, Financial Operations Manager Mary Rose informed me that at some point she'd need about three months off to row a boat across the Pacific Ocean. All by herself.

For a lot of employers, that would have been a deal-breaker. In fact, Mary, 48, had had to quit an earlier job the first time she took on the Pacific.

But Supporting Strategies is different. Yes, one reason we've been named to Entrepreneur magazine's Fastest-Growing Franchises list is that we consistently deliver top-notch customer service that puts the client first. But another key component is that we provide a flexible work environment for experienced bookkeeping professionals, with redundant systems and cross-training that give our team members the freedom to pursue their passions without giving up their careers.

Mary, Mary, Row Your Boat
Now, you might think that someone who sets out to row across the Pacific Ocean would have a track record of competing in extreme sports, or would at least be an elite athlete. But that's not the case here. Mary, a native of the Australian island of Tasmania, became a long-distance rower after attending an inspiring talk by Roz Savage, who used ocean rowing to raise awareness of her environmental advocacy.

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How Tax Law Changes Regarding Ecommerce Will Impact Businesses

July 3, 2018 / by Mark Wald posted in Small Business Advice, Santa Monica, Bookkeeping Services, Los Angeles, Ventura County, Business Advice, Ecommerce

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A recent U.S. Supreme Court decision that has been hailed as a victory for tax collectors could also be a blow to small businesses. If you conduct online sales to out-of-state customers, you need to start paying close attention to laws regarding sales/use taxes (SUT) in every state where you do business.

The backstory to the landmark case, South Dakota v. Wayfair , stretches back decades. In 1967 the Supreme Court ruled that mail-order companies had no SUT obligation on out-of-state transactions. In 1992 the Quill Court decision upheld the physical presence standard for SUT nexus.

Before the Wayfair decision, the same laws governing mail-order sales also applied to sales made through the internet. In other words, if you ran a business in California that made online sales to New York residents, you weren't obligated to collect New York sales tax because you didn't have a physical presence (or "nexus") in that state.

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Calif. Cracks Down on Independent Contractor Classification

June 12, 2018 / by Mark Wald posted in Small Business Advice, Santa Monica, Los Angeles, Ventura County, Business Advice

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California businesses might soon need to overhaul their staff compensation models, thanks to a ruling from the state's Supreme Court that sets a more rigid standard for determining "independent contractor" status.

As detailed here, the ruling puts the onus on employers to prove a worker's independent contractor status by satisfying all three components of a rigid new "ABC" test.

According to the court's decision, this test presumptively considers all workers to be employees, and permits workers to be classified as independent contractors only if the hiring business demonstrates that the worker in question:

  1. is free from the control and direction of the hirer in connection with the performance of the work, both under the contract for the performance of such work and in fact;
  2. performs work that is outside the usual course of the hiring entity's business; and
  3. is customarily engaged in an independently established trade, occupation, or business of the same nature as the work performed for the hiring entity.
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Are you in Compliance Today? California Supreme Court Adopts New Test for Independent Contractor Status

May 21, 2018 / by Cindy Flynn posted in Small Business Advice, Santa Monica, Bookkeeping Services, Los Angeles, Ventura County, Business Advice

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Originally published on the Hackler Flynn & Associates website.

On April 30, 2018 the California Supreme Court issued an opinion that makes California one of the least hospitable jurisdictions in the nation for utilization of independent contractors. As a result, many companies that were in compliance with the labor laws in California related to independent contractors yesterday may be out of compliance today.

The ruling came in a case originally filed in Los Angeles County Superior Court by a worker named Charles Lee. Lee claimed that Dynamex Inc. improperly classified him as an independent contractor. The case drew attention from the media and legal minds alike because it involved the hot-button issue of independent contractor versus employee. The distinction is that an employee is subject to wage and hour laws and entitled to benefits such as workers’ compensation.

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Three Tips to Maintaining Strong Service Provider/Client Relationships

January 16, 2018 / by Mark Wald posted in Santa Monica, Los Angeles, Ventura County, Business Advice

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The key to an effective business services relationship is for each side to make a good-faith effort to understand the other's goals, priorities and methods. Here are three simple ways to meet that objective.

1. Manage Expectations
For service providers: Be very clear about your available scope of services, working hours, turnaround times and pricing. While there are some areas where they can be more flexible and adapt to a client’s specific needs, sophisticated service providers should primarily stick with a set of core processes, systems and protocols that they work best with for optimum efficiency and results.

Focus on what you can do exceptionally well and be transparent about what you can't. Put yourself in your client's shoes and understand the intended value of your relationship from their perspective. Also, take time to clearly communicate what you expect of your clients to enable a productive, collaborative relationship.

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Case Study: Helping an Overseas Firm Establish a U.S. Subsidiary

November 2, 2017 / by Mark Wald posted in Santa Monica, Los Angeles, Ventura County

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In 2016, Autex Acoustics, a New Zealand-based company that uses sophisticated fiber technology to manufacture ceiling tiles, panels and flooring, decided to open a U.S. sales subsidiary. They needed help navigating complex regulatory filings and tax codes. Supporting Strategies provided that — and more.

Flattening the Learning Curve
The United States was the key market in Autex Acoustics' planned international expansion. But the company feared their lack of familiarity with U.S. regulations could disrupt that effort. "The U.S. is so different from our other markets, and we really had a steep learning curve," says Phil Goodin, Autex Acoustics' General Manager in North America.

Supporting Strategies stepped in to help. "We've had to lean heavily on Supporting Strategies to make sure the taxes and filings were set up," Goodin says. "They've also helped us navigate all the different rules state by state." In addition, Supporting Strategies helped Autex Acoustics clear various logistical hurdles, such as setting up merchant card-processing services so the company could accept credit card sales in the United States.

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Deductive Reasoning: A Deferred Revenue Detective Story

October 26, 2017 / by Mark Wald posted in Santa Monica, Los Angeles, Ventura County

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Multiple sales platforms and fulfillment centers enable ecommerce companies to accumulate revenue through a variety of channels. But the hodgepodge of reporting timeframes, formats and protocols can create a nightmare for any company committed to following GAAP-compliant revenue recognition and inventory reconciliation processes.

Recently, Supporting Strategies | Los Angeles partnered with a client that purchases large quantities of inventory at a time. The company then sells the products through various channels and collects upfront payments from many customers before shipping fulfillment. (This business model requires that we record the company's revenue and expenses on an accrual basis rather than a simple cash basis.)

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What Is Cryptocurrency, and How Does It Work?

September 21, 2017 / by Mark Wald posted in Santa Monica, Los Angeles, Ventura County, Business Advice

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If your business isn't already conducting transactions in Bitcoin or other cryptocurrency, it probably will be eventually. Here's what you need to know.

The biggest differences between cryptocurrency and conventional currency are that cryptocurrency isn't issued by a specific government, and there are no banks serving as middlemen when cryptocurrency "tokens" are traded from one party to another.

In the traditional banking system:

    • First, a government's central bank issues money in the form of their national currency.
    • Then people invest in that government's currency by trading it for other foreign currencies or by accepting it as a form of payment for goods and services.
    • When one party wants to pay money to another party using a check, a credit card, automated clearing house (ACH) or wire transfer, the payer's bank records the transaction in its own ledger, and the recipient's bank records the same transaction in its own separate ledger.
    • Each day, all the banks around the world spend a substantial amount of time and resources comparing their respective ledgers with each other to agree on how much money each bank has to transfer between the other banks to settle their customers' trade debts.
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Bookkeeping for Nonprofits: What Constitutes a 'Fundraiser'?

September 7, 2017 / by Mark Wald posted in Santa Monica, Los Angeles, Ventura County, Business Advice, Nonprofits

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Not all events that raise funds are fundraisers. If you operate a nonprofit, it's critical that you know the difference. Because holding an event that isn't properly identified and recorded appropriately in the general ledger could cause problems for you down the road.

Here are a few things you need to know.

Is the Event Tax-Deductible?
Nonprofits have lots of ways to raise money. Awards banquets, raffles, "fun runs" — there's no shortage of creative ideas.

Whether you call an event a "fundraiser" matters less than whether any of the amount guests pay to attend is tax-deductible. Organizations should always publish a full disclosure (on invitations, electronic media, etc.) of all information related to tax-deductibility. This is usually done through fine print with wording such as this: "Amounts over $xx are tax-deductible to the extent provided by law. (Organization name) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, federal tax ID number xx-xxxxxxx."

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Case Study: Guiding a Business from Startup Through Ramp-up

August 29, 2017 / by Mark Wald posted in Santa Monica, Bookkeeping Services, Los Angeles, Ventura County, Case Study Blogs

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In 2016 EV Connect reached a critical point in its development. The California company, which provides a cloud-based platform for electric vehicle charging stations, had evolved from a startup to a mature company with millions of dollars' worth of contracts.

Bootstrap bookkeeping was no longer enough. The company needed more robust support, from establishing efficient, scalable accounting processes and improved financial reporting to cash flow management and strategic financial planning. Essentially, the company needed a bookkeeper, a controller, and a CFO, but it couldn't afford three full-time staff members for each of these roles.

The solution? Establish outsourced support for financial leadership, streamlined bookkeeping services, and small business operations.

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