Here are five key business issues that should be part of that dialogue.
1. Company growth:
• Expanding into new locations;
• Adding or making changes in staffing;
• Merging with or acquiring companies;
• Positioning the business for acquisition or sale.
2. Financial planning.
Budget tops the agenda for most businesses going into a new year. But what about other financial issues that could impact the business? Now is a great time to do a portfolio review and talk to your trusted advisor about your financial future. Topics to cover include:
• Strategic decisions that could be made to improve cash flow;
• Getting up-to-date with retirement planning and wealth management;
• Any major investments, gifting or charitable giving planned;
• Capital investment, equity financing or bank loans in the works.
3. Risk Management.
Close to 75% of small businesses don’t have a plan in place to protect their business from operational disruptions—either planned or unplanned. Discuss the importance of continuity planning and how to mitigate risk in your business. Questions to ask include:
• Are insurance policies up to date?
• Are stringent compliance, security and privacy standards being met?
• Is the company protected against fraud?
• What internal controls are in place to protect the business?
For businesses that deal in the sale or resale of goods, keeping on top of sales tax rules and
regulations is critical—and challenging. Many states now have nexus rules related to where
businesses warehouse inventory or fulfill orders. Make a thorough assessment of order
process and cross-check that:
• Restocking and ordering processes are maximizing cash flow;
• Unsold inventory is properly accounted for on the balance sheet;
• Sales tax is being collected everywhere the company has nexus.
5. Tax compliance.
State-imposed taxes can be just as onerous on your time as federal taxes. Do you feel confident that you have adequate processes in place to comply with regulations. Discuss any new tax laws with your trusted advisor that could affect your business and how to implement changes to address them. Take action:
• Collect and file W2s and 1099s for any contract staff;
• Ensure exemption and resale certifications are collected and stored properly;
• Update your taxability practices to comply with online sales and nexus rules;
• Conduct an internal review to look for any red flags that could trigger a sales tax audit.
Now is also a great time to reinforce a few best practices. Keep business and personal finances separate and to ensure all transactional records are complete, organized and easy to access. Automate any manual processes to save time and money and reduce risk. The sooner you can start the dialogue around long-term financial planning and compliance, the sooner you can start seeing bottom line results.
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