Dear M & M: Any year-end tax saving ideas or business tips to make my operations better in 2017? – Betty
The most important thing any business can do is to have the proper people and bookkeeping systems in place. If you are not qualified and/or do not have the proper financial recording and reporting systems in place start there. Assuming you have a bookkeeping system and qualified people doing the work let’s take a look at some other things you can do.
Many times businesses take care of everyone but themselves. Fund a retirement account. Take a look it might be time to purchase equipment or vehicles to take advantage of accelerated deductions before the year closes out. While we are on the vehicle portion of your business, are you properly taking the deductions for the business use of your personal vehicle?
Take a real close look at who you are paying. Are you carrying any dead weight? Maybe it’s time to pay those who deserve it a bonus? Does money need to be spent on training? If you think you will benefit from reduced income, it might be wise to prepay some expenses or stock up on inventory that will sell or supplies you will use. Take a real close look at accounts receivables.
It might be a good time to write off some you know are bad. Time to clean it up and send out some bills or reminders to anyone late. Remember before you do anything that might affect your tax bill consult your business tax advisor. If you don’t have a business tax advisor, you might want to think about getting one. Are you taking advantage of all the tax deductions afforded to a small business?
Take a close look at industry standards. What do similar business pay for advertising, inventory, rent, payroll, repairs or other relevant line items important to your business? If you have any cash receipts I have to ask why? Have all cash receipts been recorded properly? Get yourself a business credit card and only use it for business purposes.
Take a real good look at how you are recording and using cash in your business. Talk to your accountant and set up tight controls in the use of cash for anything. Take a real good look at your inventory. Are you carrying too much? Are you carrying inventory that is out dated or no longer being sold? On the other hand are you out of some items you are selling.
Remember 20% of most companies inventory accounts for 80% of their sales. Do you have the blue one that everyone wants or are you trying to sell them the red one that nobody wants? Look at your business in the eyes of your customer. What do they see? Are the bathrooms clean? Can you tell the customer from your employees? Do people have name tags, identifiable uniforms, a company shirt or something that says they work here? Most importantly, is the time and money you have invested in the business giving you the return you need?