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19 Mar
Use Your Business Corporate Culture to Improve Employee Retention
Group of business partners explaining ideas at meeting in office

Use Your Business Corporate Culture to Improve Employee Retention

In today’s business world, it can be challenging to attract talented and qualified employees. Even more difficult is employee retention: keeping team members happy, productive and engaged. When employees are not happy with the company work environment, and other jobs are available, they are likely to leave for greener pastures. Losing employees costs a small business time and affects cash flow, so finding ways to retain qualified workers is preferable to turnover. This article discusses how a positive corporate culture can help a small business retain employees and keep the team motivated.

What is Corporate Culture?

Corporate culture encapsulates the rules, values and behaviors that outline how employees behave and are expected to act in a workplace. For example, is the culture in your company to work overtime every day or have a work-life balance? How do managers approach conflict and disputes? Do employees work independently or collaboratively? Are upper-level employees approachable by all? Do you offer fair benefits or any extra perks? What is the expected attire? Does your business have employee retention programs in place?

Positive Corporate Culture = Employee Retention

Positive corporate cultures are sought after by talent. You will likely achieve higher employee retention if your business reflects the workplace values of your employees. It is important that the behaviors, rules and values on paper are reflected in actual practice. If you say that your culture is to encourage creativity through down time and respite, but then you don’t approve any requested vacation time, you are sending the wrong message and can alienate employees. It is best to lead by example and display the values and behaviors you want to be reflected as part of your culture.

A positive corporate culture will have employees feeling that they are an asset to the company. They will feel respected, cared about, and an important part of the team. The office atmosphere will be energized and encouraging. Happier employees will work harder and tend to be more productive, which is always good for the growth, profits and cash flow of a business.

Negative Corporate Culture = Losing Employees

If your small business has a negative corporate culture, you risk losing talented workers who want to seek greater job satisfaction, ultimately hurting your bottom line and cash flow. If you are losing a lot of employees, or you see that employees are not working well together, it is an indication that your corporate culture needs some reviewing. What behaviors do you want to see and how can they be achieved? For example, does management dictate a “yes, sir/yes, ma’am” attitude or do you want team members to be able to voice opinions and concerns? Be honest with your corporate culture’s faults and brainstorm ways to improve morale.

Employee retention starts even before the hiring process. How is your company thought of in the industry? Does your business’s reputation reflect having a positive corporate culture or do you have bad press?  Are your company values conveyed to the public accurately? Do you have a lot of negative or questionable reviews? In other words, are highly-qualified employees going to apply for open positions considering your reputation?

During the hiring process, it is important to make sure candidates will fit in with your corporate culture and be productive and satisfied once they encounter the day to day routines and behaviors. Ask pointed questions during the interview and make sure you have a match. This will save having to go through the hiring process again later, which will cost your company money and reduce its cash flow.

Job Satisfaction Improves Bottom Line

In today’s society, employees are putting value on quality of life in both personal lifestyle and in the workplace. A high salary is no longer the greatest incentive when choosing an employer. Employees are looking for companies that share their values, one that will bring job satisfaction, and offer a corporate culture that makes the workday something to look forward to. While most small businesses with smaller cash flow can’t afford catered lunches and weekly massages, there are still a lot of ways your company culture can be a positive one. This will keep your employees happy and productive, and keep you happy by helping your bottom line. Here are a few ideas:

20 Low-Cost Employee Retention Tactics to Try

  1. Give each employee positive feedback on an ongoing basis
  2. Offer a relaxed dress code and special dress-up theme days
  3. Provide continual training for workers, allowing them the opportunity to grow
  4. Determine which employees are looking for more to do, and give them added responsibility periodically
  5. Give your staff extra creative time to brainstorm ideas or work on side projects that interest them
  6. Express your appreciation regularly, even for the little things
  7. Get to know employees better and schedule one-on-one time with them
  8. Have open-ended conversations with employees, welcoming them to discuss what’s on their mind
  9. Evaluate how your work schedule promotes work-life balance
  10. Avoid or minimize sudden changes in the workplace
  11. Arrange for team lunches, dinners and/or social outings
  12. Ask your employees to offer feedback on important projects
  13. Keep the workplace organized, uncluttered, and low-risk from danger or accidents
  14. Empower employees by providing tools to complete their work faster or more effectively
  15. Allow employees to decorate their own work spaces and/or have an office decorating contest
  16. Provide adequate and regular rest periods throughout the day for your employees
  17. Create a comfortable relaxation zone or separate room where staff can re-energize
  18. Arrange for employee discounts at related entities
  19. Offer telecommuting “work from home” day options
  20. Encourage your team to thank one another and/or create a peer-to-peer recognition program

 

American Receivable, with offices in Dallas and Austin, can improve your bottom line and cash flow. We are ranked No. 1 nationally among small-business factoring companies and have a high satisfaction with our long-time staff. We provide small businesses with the financial resources and accounts receivable management strategies they need to improve cash flow, grow, increase inventory, make payroll on time, and effectively compete in the marketplace. American Receivable, helping small businesses since 1979, is the best choice for factoring and accounts receivable management. Call us for a FREE quote today at 1-800-297-6652, or complete the quick quote form below.

13 Mar
American Receivable is celebrating 40 years

We are proud to be rated #1 among factoring companies nationally by multiple rating agencies.

Invoice Factoring Companies

How Does Factoring WorkHow Does Factoring Work

We are proud to be rated #1 among factoring companies nationally by multiple rating agencies.

DALLAS, TX, UNITED STATES, March 13, 2019 /EINPresswire.com/ — American Receivable is celebrating 40 years in the factoringindustry. We are proud to be rated #1 among factoring companies nationally by multiple rating agencies. Since 1979, American Receivable has been working with a diverse group of small business owners helping them manage continuous growth through cash flow solutions. We attribute our continued success to our clients and our exceptional working partnerships within the financial industry. Owned and managed by the original managing partners, American Receivable offers exceptional customer service through a tenured and dedicated accounts management team. We work individually with each client to find the best cash flow solutions for their specific industry and business needs.

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07 Mar
Tax Changes for Business Owners

Tax Changes for Business Owners

The dreaded part of every new year has arrived, and it is called Tax Season! It is not uncommon for business owners, even those with the best record keeping in place, to be recipient of some unexpected surprises when it comes time to send in their taxes.

Tax Reform Legislation was passed in December of 2017. The IRS has published some of the changes that may affect self-employed individuals as well as the bottom line for many small business owners. It is important to be aware of these changes when filing your 2018 business tax returns.

Qualified Business Income Deduction

Owner’s of sole proprietorships, partnerships, trusts and S corporations may deduct 20% of their qualified business income (Section 199A qualified business deduction) for the first time on their 2018 returns.

The deduction applies to qualified:

  • Business Income
  • Real estate investment trust dividends
  • Publicly traded partnership income

For more information on this deduction see REG-107892-18 at www.irs.gov.

Temporary 100% Expensing for Certain Business Assets

Business assets with a recovery period of 20 years or less generally qualify. Some real property such as office equipment, machinery, furniture and appliances may also apply.

Fringe Benefits

Fringe benefits cover a broad spectrum. Some of the benefits affected are:

  • Meals and Entertainment. The deduction for entertainment or recreational expenses has been eliminated. Fifty percent of the cost of business meals may be allowed if the business owner or an employee is in attendance and consulting for current or potential clients, or similar business contacts. Other qualifying criteria may be

 

  • Deductions for transportation fringe benefits has been disallowed, as well as benefits associated with commuting. The exception is made when these benefits are in place as a necessity for safety.

 

  • Bicycle Commuting. Qualified bicycle commuting may be deducted as a business expense for 2018-2025. Employers are now required to include these reimbursements in employee

·         Moving Expenses. Moving expenses reimbursed by an employer to an employee are now taxable. Moving expenses for years prior to 2018 are exempt. Payments made by employers to a moving companies in 2018 for a prior year, are also exempt.

 

  • Employee Awards/gifts. Employee awards considered tangible personal property may be excluded from wages. Some of these may be deducted by the employer, subject to New definition of tangible personal property is not inclusive of cash, gift cards or cash equivalents, event tickets, stocks, meals and other like items.

 

For a complete explanation, specifics and FAQ’s go to www.irs.gov.

Any aspect of the Tax Reform may affect your business. Many business owners experience a cash deficit when they have to put available funds toward taxes. American Receivable is here to help! Business owners can sell their outstanding invoices to American Receivable for immediate funding, eliminating a slow- down in business due to lack of cash. Cash is vital for any business to flourish as expenses such as payroll, rent, and other operational costs have to be met. The ability to obtain cash for invoices allows the business owner to put funds where they feel they are most needed to keep their business on track and growing.

Call American Receivable today and let us help you survive tax season!

07 Mar
Tax Changes for Business Owners

Tax Changes for Business Owners

The dreaded part of every new year has arrived, and it is called Tax Season! It is not uncommon for business owners, even those with the best record keeping in place, to be recipient of some unexpected surprises when it comes time to send in their taxes.

Tax Reform Legislation was passed in December of 2017. The IRS has published some of the changes that may affect self-employed individuals as well as the bottom line for many small business owners. It is important to be aware of these changes when filing your 2018 business tax returns.

Qualified Business Income Deduction

Owner’s of sole proprietorships, partnerships, trusts and S corporations may deduct 20% of their qualified business income (Section 199A qualified business deduction) for the first time on their 2018 returns.

The deduction applies to qualified:

  • Business Income
  • Real estate investment trust dividends
  • Publicly traded partnership income

For more information on this deduction see REG-107892-18 at www.irs.gov.

Temporary 100% Expensing for Certain Business Assets

Business assets with a recovery period of 20 years or less generally qualify. Some real property such as office equipment, machinery, furniture and appliances may also apply.

Fringe Benefits

Fringe benefits cover a broad spectrum. Some of the benefits affected are:

  • Meals and Entertainment. The deduction for entertainment or recreational expenses has been eliminated. Fifty percent of the cost of business meals may be allowed if the business owner or an employee is in attendance and consulting for current or potential clients, or similar business contacts. Other qualifying criteria may be

 

  • Deductions for transportation fringe benefits has been disallowed, as well as benefits associated with commuting. The exception is made when these benefits are in place as a necessity for safety.

 

  • Bicycle Commuting. Qualified bicycle commuting may be deducted as a business expense for 2018-2025. Employers are now required to include these reimbursements in employee

·         Moving Expenses. Moving expenses reimbursed by an employer to an employee are now taxable. Moving expenses for years prior to 2018 are exempt. Payments made by employers to a moving companies in 2018 for a prior year, are also exempt.

 

  • Employee Awards/gifts. Employee awards considered tangible personal property may be excluded from wages. Some of these may be deducted by the employer, subject to New definition of tangible personal property is not inclusive of cash, gift cards or cash equivalents, event tickets, stocks, meals and other like items.

 

For a complete explanation, specifics and FAQ’s go to www.irs.gov.

Any aspect of the Tax Reform may affect your business. Many business owners experience a cash deficit when they have to put available funds toward taxes. American Receivable is here to help! Business owners can sell their outstanding invoices to American Receivable for immediate funding, eliminating a slow- down in business due to lack of cash. Cash is vital for any business to flourish as expenses such as payroll, rent, and other operational costs have to be met. The ability to obtain cash for invoices allows the business owner to put funds where they feel they are most needed to keep their business on track and growing.

Call American Receivable today and let us help you survive tax season!

21 Feb
Improve Your Business Billing Process

10 Tips to Improve Your Business Billing Process

One factor that contributes to small business success is funds coming in regularly, receiving client payments in a timely manner, and getting paid in full. So it is important to have a business billing process that gets invoices out on time, and ideally, paid on time. Here are some tips to improve your cash flow by making your business billing process seamless.

1. Set Terms Up Front

Your terms should be clearly stated to your client from proposal to payment.

• Do you bill hourly or by the project?
• How are any time overages or unexpected costs billed?
• Do you require a deposit? For example, one firm we have worked with requires a 50% deposit on projects more than $2,000, or for new clients until they have a proven payment record.
• Do you invoice multiple times during a project, especially if it is long or has multiple stages? Or do you only invoice once at completion?
• What timeframe does the client have to pay?
• What forms of payment do you accept?
• What are the penalties for late payment?
• How will the client be apprehended for late or non-payments?

2. Invoice on a Schedule

Decide on a billing schedule and stick to it. Will you bill at the end of each completed project, weekly, or at the beginning of the month? Figure out what billing business process schedule will allow you to be consistent so you can get paid.

3. Have a Business Billing Process System

Like having a schedule, having a clear system with outlined procedures is essential to a business billing process. Whether you use a spreadsheet to keep track of invoices, or a cloud software program, each invoice should be easily found and tracked. Tracked information should include invoice numbers, date sent, payments and dates paid, amounts still due, and any other pertinent information.

4. Consider Cloud Software

Even if your company has a more manual system that works for you, it may be worth considering a cloud billing software system. Integrated with your project management and/or time tracking software, creating invoices is only a few clicks away. Billing reminders and statements are easy to access—and send to clients—too. It will simplify your business billing process. The cloud system may even help offer your clients a convenient way to pay, ensuring you get payments in faster

5. Invoice with Supporting Data

• Make sure invoices received by clients meet these recommended elements:
• Have clear and easy-to-read details regarding the invoice and project including due dates, tracking number, itemized charges, deposits paid and total amount due
• Give a contact for your company if the client has any concerns or questions about the invoice
• Make it clear and easy for the client to know how to pay their bill: with an online paying tool, an address for mailing a check, credit card authorization form, or include an ACH application
• Any addresses and client contact information must be accurate in order to reach the person responsible for paying the bill
• Minimize errors and check for accuracy
• Invoices represent your company: Research shows that invoices with a company logo are paid sooner than those without

6. Keep Detailed Records

Keep accurate records for the project, invoices sent, and any follow-ups requesting payment in case there are any questions about the invoice, or a client contests the charges. For example, if your service is one that is paid by the hour, keep detailed tracking of the hours worked, what work was completed in that time, which staff worked on the project and more.

7. Follow Up Regularly

Part of an effective business billing process is having a system for following up on overdue invoices. Will you contact late paying clients weekly, semi-monthly or monthly? Will you send friendly reminder statements in the mail, email follow-ups, make phone calls, or a combination of these actions? Sometimes late payment is an oversight and the client will appreciate the reminder as flagging an accounting error or lost check payment.

8. Make Billing a Priority

Having an efficient business billing process is essential to the success of a small business. Without getting paid for the work you do, you can’t maintain cash flow, and, therefore, keep your doors open. Make the time in your schedule to keep your business billing process up to date.

9. Value Your Worth

You put a lot of effort into the work you do for your clients. Value your time and your right to get paid for a job well done.

10. Make American Receivable Part of Your Process

If you still have concerns about getting paid on your invoices and cash flow shortages after following these business billing process tips, American Receivable may be able to help. With offices in Dallas and Austin, American Receivable is ranked No. 1 nationally among small-business factoring companies. Since 1979, we have provided small businesses with the financial resources and accounts receivable management strategies they need to grow, increase inventory, make payroll on time, and effectively compete in the marketplace. We can provide funding within as little as 24 hours in some cases. Call us for a FREE quote today at 1-800-297-6652, or complete this quick quote form.

By Jack Stieber –  President  – American Receivable

14 Feb
Effective Teams Contribute to Small Business Success

Characteristics of Effective Teams to Build Your Business Success

We don’t work in a bubble. Every day we are interacting with clients, vendors, co-workers, and other business contacts. One of the most important relationships we develop in a small business environment is the team of professionals working closely together to secure the success of the business. The strength of this team and how well they work together is vital to staying competitive, productive and profitable. In this article, we’ll discuss the important characteristics of effective teams to improve your business.

Commitment to a Common Goal

Teams are created to efficiently and effectively complete a goal. The goal must be defined. It can be increasing sales for your company, getting a large order shipped out, or planning the annual client appreciation event. It is important that the goal has a clear direction, and each member has a good understanding of what the desired outcome looks like. The goal of the team is greater than individual interests. This is the first step towards coming together as a unit and successfully achieving the goal.

Participation

In effective teams, each person of the team needs to have a clear role and must be considered essential to the team’s success. All members need to understand they are a part of the solution and must be motivated to put in their fair share of the work.

Open Communication and Collaboration

The more comfortable team members feel with other members, the more they will be able to communicate openly with each other. Building a team culture that allows for open, frequent, and face-to-face communication will encourage team members to collaborate and freely exchange ideas and information.

It is important to mention that good communication does not just mean sharing your ideas and thoughts in a clear way, but also closely listening to and respecting the ideas and thoughts of other team members. In effective teams, if something is not clear, members ask clarifying questions.

Opinions, Risks, and Change

Differing opinions and ideas help spark creativity. By encouraging diverse opinions, there is an opportunity to have more ideas to evaluate, thus working towards the best solution to achieving your goal. Brainstorming is a safe, tried and true tool for building on each other’s ideas, allowing the team to discard the less valuable ideas, and elaborate on the stronger ideas. This also encourages team members to take risks and suggest possible changes that are in the team’s best interest.

Defined Roles by a Strong Leader

Each team member needs a defined role within the team.  A strong leader is important to effectively motivate the team, give feedback, and, if applicable, select the team members and distribute their roles. A good leader will also be a role model for good, open communication. Members should be placed in roles that take full advantage of their strengths and abilities. For example, a detail-oriented person would be great for keeping the team on track, but a creative artist may not be the best choice for handling budgets and metrics.

Responsibility

While individuals are responsible for completing their assigned tasks in a timely and efficient way, teams should not blame individuals for mistakes. Both failures and successes are shared by the team as a whole. However, it is appreciated when individuals are recognized for special contributions made to the success of the team.

Trust, Mutual Respect

Team members must feel safe communicating with each other. Members cannot feel judged by other team members. There needs to be a culture of mutual respect of abilities, and trust that members are not talking behind each other’s backs. Team members also need to trust that individual parts of the team are handling their responsibilities and tasks. Trust and mutual respect can be built through team building exercises and experiences.

Put American Receivable on Your Team

In conclusion, effective teams will collaborate and work together as a strong, solid unit. By reviewing the characteristics outlined above, you can build a team that will take your small business to new levels. And if your accounting team needs help with accounts receivable or cash flow, consider adding American Receivable to your team.

American Receivable is ranked No. 1 nationally among small-business factoring companies. Since 1979, we have provided small businesses with the financial resources and accounts receivable management strategies to grow, increase inventory, make payroll on time, and effectively compete in the marketplace. With American Receivable on your team, get funding within as little as 24 hours in some cases. Call us for a FREE quote today at 1-800-297-6652, or complete this quick quote form.

By Jack Stieber –  President  – American Receivable

08 Feb
Business Accounts Receivable: A Small Business Overview

Understanding Business Accounts Receivable for Small Businesses

Business accounts receivable is an important accounting term to understand if you are going to have a successful and profitable business. We believe it’s so important that we made it a part of our company name—American Receivable. Simply put, business accounts receivable are the monies customers owe to a business for products and/or services provided. The key term is “owe”. Business accounts receivable are an asset to your company, but they don’t count as actual cash until the invoice is verifiably paid. Some companies fail because they have a lot of accounts receivable on record, but they don’t follow up well enough on actually getting invoices paid and money in the bank quickly.

Have a Strong, Reliable System for Business Accounts Receivable

Without cash flow and money in an account, a business can’t sustain itself. Uncollected payments tie up money that can be used for growth, accounts payable, new orders, etc. Therefore, it is essential that a business has a solid system in place for invoicing, monitoring and collecting on accounts receivable in a timely manner. You are not in the business of giving goods and services for free, so allocating time and resources towards administrating your accounts receivable is good business practice.

To Give Credit or Not to Give Credit?

In retail, transactions are paid for at the time of purchase. However, in many business to business transactions, there are often terms for payment. This is the same as giving your clients credit, as they are receiving goods and services before paying for them. You may require a credit application to check on the prospective client’s payment history before allowing a longer term for their invoices. For example, your company may require payment in only 10 days after the date of the invoice before considering the payment late. For some companies, 30-day terms are the standard, especially when the client has a clean payment history. Whatever you choose, it is important to follow up with clients delinquent on their payment. If a client is consistently late, it may be worth requiring a deposit or shortening the payment terms for future transactions.

Be Diligent with Business Accounts Receivable

There is really no excuse for not being diligent about your business accounts receivable. Thanks to popular computer accounting software, producing business account receivables reports, and keeping track of aging accounts is simple. You just need to make sure to schedule it and generate the needed reports so that you can contact the delinquent clients and remind them that payment is overdue. The longer you let nonpayment slide, the less likely you are to collect on it, and so early intervention can prevent later aggravation.

Still Not Getting Paid?

What do you do when a client doesn’t pay and your company needs the cash? First of all, continue to reach out to the client and try to collect on the delinquent account. Another option is to take legal action, but this can be expensive—sometimes more than the amount you are owed. You can also consider factoring. American Receivable, the go-to source for factoring in Texas and throughout the nation, can help improve your business accounts receivable and help you make your business a success!

Here are some final tips to manage your business accounts receivable:

• Communicate with your clients about their invoice and outstanding balances. This includes making sure you have updated, accurate contact information
• Maintain diligence by having a detailed and scheduled procedure in place for invoicing, monitoring, and collecting payments
• Follow up on sent invoices in a timely manner
• Develop a regular schedule of follow-ups and how the communication will be sent
• Keep accurate records and documentation

Consider Factoring

Does your business accounts receivable need a boost? Are you thinking about factoring for your company help you get the cash your business needs? With offices in Dallas and Austin, American Receivable is ranked No. 1 nationally among small-business factoring companies. Since 1979, we have provided small businesses with the financial resources and business accounts receivable management strategies they need to grow, increase inventory, make payroll on time, and effectively compete in the marketplace. We can provide funding within as little as 24 hours in some cases. Call us for a FREE quote today at 1-800-297-6652, or complete this quick quote form.

By Jack Stieber –  President  – American Receivable

01 Feb
Business Tax Deductions You Should Consider

Tax deductionsBusiness Tax Deductions You Should Consider

The poet Robert Burns once said, “There is no such uncertainty as a sure thing.”

That sentiment rings true for small businesses throughout the U.S. as the dust of the 2016 presidential election settles and tax season approaches.

During the campaign, President Trump focused on growing the economy by leveling the playing field, reducing regulations, repealing the Affordable Care Act and lowering taxes for businesses.  While the rhetoric was music to the ears of many small business owners, others pointed to Trump’s lack of specifics as the reason for caution.

In a January 18th USA Today article, writer Rhonda Abrams pointed out that Trump’s plan to reduce the corporate tax rate would likely only apply to “C” corporations.  And she points out that “eliminating loopholes” could translate to a loss of deductions that many small business owners routinely take – like carrying forward business losses, claiming the use of your car or truck for business use and incentives for investors to fund new ventures.

The truth is it will take months, if not years, and the cooperation of Congress for such sweeping changes to take place.

In the meantime, here are 5 business tax deductions you should consider.

Tax Deductions for Interest Paid on Business Loans

You may deduct interest on small business loans, but keep in mind that the deduction can only be taken if the funds are used for business purposes.  Although interest paid on loans from friends and relatives is deductible, the IRS tends to look at these with a greater scrutiny.  Attorney and author Stephen Fishman warns, “You need to carefully document these transactions. Treat the loan like any other business loan: Sign a promissory note, pay a reasonable rate of interest, and follow a repayment schedule. Keep your canceled loan payment checks to prove you really paid the interest.”

In addition to conventional bank loans, factoring fees are also generally considered a business expense and are therefore deductible.  You should discuss your particular situation with the factoring company and your tax professional to make sure your situation conforms with IRS requirements.

Deductions for Business Travel

You should deduct your business travel costs and save your airline miles for personal use.  In a recent Investopedia article, writer Marc Prosser points out that “Business owners often rack up points on their miles card and figure that they can reduce business travel costs by using their miles for business flights. However, if they also fly fairly frequently for personal trips, this is a mistake. Business travel costs are fully deductible as a business expense; personal travel costs are obviously not.”

Deductions for Maintenance and Repairs

Tax deductions are available for the cost of routine maintenance and repairs to the business property.  However, improvements that add to your property’s value must be capitalized and depreciated.  Tax Consultant William Perez uses the example of changing the oil in a car.  According to Perez, “Changing the oil keeps the car operating normally and efficiently, but it doesn’t substantially prolong the useful life of the car. Replacing the transmission or engine, however, would substantially prolong the useful life of the car, and so this would be more like a repair that needs to be capitalized.”

Tax Deductions for Wages Paid to Independent Contractors

If your business employs independent contractors to meet your labor needs, you may deduct that cost.  Just be sure to provide any contractor who receives $600 or more in wages with Form 1099-MISC.

You should also be sure that independent contractors you employ meet the requirements outlined by the IRS.  Claiming an employee as an independent contractor can have a number of costly legal consequences for your business, including:

  • Reimbursement of wages you should’ve paid them under the Fair Labor Standards Act, including overtime and minimum wage
  • Payment of back taxes and penalties for federal and state income taxes, Social Security, Medicare, and unemployment
  • Payment of workers’ compensation benefits to any employee misclassified as an independent contractor
  • Providing employee benefits, including health insurance, retirement, etc.

Tax Deductions for Employee Education and Tuition

Employee education assistance is deductible provided you set up a qualified educational assistance program that adheres to IRS regulations.  The IRS currently allows businesses to deduct up to $5,250 for tuition reimbursement for employees.

In a recent article published on www.thebalance.com, writer Jean Murray points out, “Independent contractors working for your business can be treated as employees for the purpose of this benefit. That means they may also exclude allowable education to benefit expense payments from income. Their income would be reported on Form 1099-MISC.”

Before claiming any of these deductions, you should refer to IRS publications and discuss them with your tax professional or employee benefits consultant.

Obviously, this article covered just a handful of the deductions small businesses can take.  Are there others that you think our readers would find helpful?  If so, please share them by posting a comment below.

By Jack Stieber –  President  – American Receivable

19 Dec
Get a Fresh Start in the New Year

A Fresh Start:  Keeping Your Employees Healthy and More Productive

A tidy and sanitary office is crucial for quality work.  Distraction lowers productivity, even on a subconscious level.  Studies have also shown that business offices are a breeding ground for germs causing illness, which takes employees away from work, lowering productivity and work quality.

A clean desk has shown to increase productivity.  Stacks of papers and files and other items cause clutter, which also clutters your mind.  It is recommended that after a task is completed, it is filed in the proper place.  How many times have you thought, “where is that file, or paper”? It is estimated that workers spend over 4 hours a week looking for misplaced items and correcting mistakes. If someone else needs the file, it will be easily found if it is returned to the proper place.  Productivity goes down and anxiety goes up when you are not able to locate what you need to complete the next task.  Filing things and putting supplies and other items away will create a more open workspace which will result in less mistakes being made.  Mistakes lessen productivity requiring a task to be done over.  A clean work area, uncluttered the mind as well and also makes things easily accessible.

The bottom line is that a healthy and productive workplace is not just keeping things in their place and immediately replacing files and other important papers. it is important to keep things like your computer, keyboard and other equipment clean and free of clutter.  10 sticky notes on your computer is cluttered are likely to fall to the floor.  Having too many personal items on your desk is also detrimental.  Put one personal item and find a shelf for other items you feel you need in your office. Employers should also require cleaning of electronic equipment, not only for health reasons, but for the maintenance and longevity of the equipment.  A printer full of dust is going to break down.  A keyboard with grime and bacteria will also stop working and will grow bacteria causing illness.  You touch multiple files and papers, pens and other things in an office. Imagine the germs lurking from everyone that has touched these things. Keep hand sanitizer in the office as well.  Healthy and organized employees are always more productive.

A sanitary and clear workspace makes for a clear mind and healthy body that can focus on tasks at hand.  If you have to go through stacks of paper looking for that one thing you cannot find, you will become anxious and frustrated, likely ending in a mistake. And, if there is bacteria on your desk and computer and throughout the office, illness is eminent, which will impede productivity.

Take some time before the new year and get everyone to spend some time cleaning and organizing the office.  It will make for a fresh, productive start to the new year.

Spend some time at the end of the year discussing this with your employees and involve them in cleaning the office.  Cleaning companies do basics and will not make your office sanitary.   It will make for a fresh, more productive office and healthy employees who are at work and able to do their job.   Start the new year off right!

11 Dec
Year End Check List for Small Business

 Year-End Checklist for Small Business Owners

One challenge for small business owners is to assure a strong year-end.  A survey by Office Depot resulted in 32 percent of small and midsize businesses owners stating their main concern during the holidays and end of the year was cash flow. Specifically, to have the financial resources to insure profit and success. 

There are several steps you can take to make the end of the year a success and get the new year off to a good start.

A complete financial accounting of your business will show your current financial standing and allow comparison with previous years.  This would include a profit and loss statement, balance sheet and cash flow report.  The profit and loss statement will not only show where you are for the year, it its will also give you an idea of what to expect in the coming year. 

Analyzing your cash flow for the year will give you the best idea of where you money is being spent. Three important areas to consider are:

1.  Operating expenses – incoming revenue and outgoing expenses.

2.  Investments – this includes inventory and equipment, amount      purchased and sold.

3.  Financial Debt – loans and outgoing payments made on behalf of the business.

It is important to reconcile accounts receivable at year-end.  Print a list of outstanding invoices for work completed.  Collecting amounts due will help with cash flow and allow you to begin the new year with a clean slate.

Update your vendor list.  Confirm contact information is correct on all current vendors and determine if they are profitable for you.  Purge files that are no longer active and delete any incorrect information. In addition, back up all contacts and other important information.  Make sure your client’s information is secure. 

Inventory is especially critical.  Be sure you are keeping accurate records.   Investigate discrepancies and make sure you are not a victim of internal loss.

Payroll and benefits need to be re-evaluated.  Make sure taxable benefits are accounted for, such as health insurance and transportation benefits.  Consider salaries and time off and make sure they are appropriate.  Many employers forget to include benefits like health insurance or transportation benefits as part of the salary.   Make sure the salary and benefits are appropriate,  including paid time off. Update policies and be sure all employees are aware of new policies and changes in benefits.  Be sure your employees are aware of the fringe benefits and total salary.

Many business owners worry about keeping employees on track and completing reports and other necessary year-end tasks.  Meeting with employees and coming up with a strategy will help maintain momentum and get things done right and in a timely manner.

Evaluate employees and determine if they are necessary and are an asset.  Make plans to eliminate employees who are not benefitting the business.

Meet with your staff and share the positive things that have occurred during the year.  Discuss goals that have been met and those that have not.  Set new goals for the coming year and discuss any changes that need to be made.

All of these will make your year-end smooth sailing and you can enjoy the holidays knowing you are ready for the new year.

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