Tips for Planning Your 2020 Business Strategy

One of the biggest mistakes business owners can make is not dedicating enough time for business strategy and future planning. When this happens, companies miss out on opportunities to protect their revenue and maximize their growth. By taking a step back, reviewing the year to date, and considering some goals for the future, business owners can set up their team for success. Investing time in business strategy planning can yield one of the highest returns possible! Get a jump start on your 2020 business strategy planning with some of our tips, below. Create SMART Goals As you are starting your review prior to year-end, review current year-to-date business information, including financial statements. Consider any changes in your staff, customers, and other data you’ve collected since the last year-end. Do you notice any patterns or insights from the data that you didn’t expect? Is your company meeting its growth goals? Consider what could have been done differently, or any extenuating circumstances that may have affected your numbers. Based on what you accomplished in the last year, set some realistic, actionable SMART goals. SMART stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-Based. By using this framework to set goals, you’ll be able to break down a huge annual goal into strategic, smaller steps that can be accomplished over time. “Acquire more customers,” for example, is not a SMART goal because there is no measure of success. How many more customers would be a measure of success? An example of a SMART goal: “We will secure 15% more contracts in 2020 than we did in 2019 by increasing our monthly internet ad...

Client Spotlight: Majestic Floors and More, LLC

We are excited to introduce the latest monthly addition to our blog: Client Spotlights, where we highlight one of our clients and share their successes and any recent accomplishments. This month, we’re pleased to spotlight Majestic Floors and More, LLC, who are thriving in their new, larger space in Waunakee. The following is a summarized version of an article originally written by Roberta Baumann in the Waunakee Tribune. Read the full article here. “Majestic Flooring and More now has even more. The flooring shop that opened in Waunakee in 2015 at the Village Mall has been in operation since May in its new, larger storefront between Associated Bank and the Dollar Tree. Going from a 2,300-square-foot showroom to a 5,000-square-foot showroom has allowed the company to expand its volume, say its owners, Vic and Michelle Endres. “It allows us to stock more products so they’re readily available for customers who need stuff right away,” Vic said. “We’re also able to show new products.” That includes countertops, tabletops, and custom showers that Majestic Flooring and More can install. … After Majestic Flooring moved to Waunakee from Baraboo in 2015, sales increased immediately. They’ve increased their offerings over time, adding cabinetry, showers and blinds…The new location is more visible than the previous one and has resulted in more. The Endreses say that employing their own installers, rather than hiring out subcontractors, makes the company unique. They have seven employees, all with many years of experience. Vic has more than 30 years in the flooring business. Putting carpet fragments to use, they’ve started their own line of Mighty Kitty Cat Furniture, producing...

Time of the Season: Withholding Checkup

Why you need to adjust your tax withholding now Withholding taxes from your paycheck correctly can be a tricky process – if you withhold too little, you receive a bill at the end of tax season (one that, statistically, only 40% of Americans can afford to pay). If you withhold too much, you get a refund after you submit your taxes in April. Sure, many of us enjoy having a refund come every spring, but the reality is that you overpaid the government and gave them an interest-free loan, while you could have used that money yourself throughout the year. In fact, you’d see a better return on investment by letting that money sit in a high-yielding certificate of deposit or savings account. As you may know, the IRS waived withholding penalties for those whose withholding and estimated payments were at least 80 percent of their tax liability for the most recent tax year due to the significant tax law changes taking effect. For tax years prior to 2018, the penalty was enforced if you paid less than 90 percent of your tax liability, and experts expect the penalties to be enforced at the 90 percent level for 2019 and future years. This means you could face an underpayment penalty in addition to receiving a tax bill at the end of the next tax season. The IRS is also planning to make the W-4 more precise next year, with many more details to be included on a much longer form. If this form is used next year, that means there will be fewer refunds and fewer bills, meaning tax...

I filed my taxes wrong: How do I fix my mistake?

  Mistakes happen: you forget about your side-job income, forget to declare a dependent or forget to include important documents in your tax return. Perhaps your filing status changed, or you didn’t claim a key deduction. The quickest way to remedy the issue is to file an amendment, but you shouldn’t do this right away. If you made a mistake after filing your taxes, you cannot make changes until the IRS accepts or rejects your return. If your return is rejected, the IRS will tell you what information they need in order to fix the mistake. If you filed online, simply upload the necessary documents and make the appropriate changes from there. If you filed your taxes manually, you can mail in the corrected or additional documents, and if you hired a CPA to file your taxes, they can submit the additional information on your behalf. If you made a mistake, but your tax return was accepted by the IRS: If your return is accepted and the IRS does not catch the error or make the correction for you, you’ll need to confess to the mistake and amend your tax return. You can only amend an e-filed return accepted by the government or a paper return that has already been mailed. This means you need to wait until your taxes are fully processed, and you’ve received your tax return or paid your tax bill in full. The most important thing to keep in mind is that there’s no need to panic. Generally, you have up to three years of the original due date of your return to amend your...

What’s the Difference Between an Accountant and a Bookkeeper?

I’m a business owner and I need help with the numbers. Should I hire an accountant or a bookkeeper? When we encounter this question, we always respond in the form of another question: What, specifically, do you need your ‘numbers person’ to do? While some of the responsibilities of a bookkeeper and an accountant can overlap, they play very different roles within a business. Here are some of the key differences between a bookkeeper and an accountant: Why should I hire a bookkeeper? Bookkeeping is the first part of the accounting process, which involves organizing all the raw numbers data of the business into reports for the accountant. A bookkeeper pays bills, invoices customers, maintains the checkbooks, and may also manage payroll. These processes record accurate transactions of sales and expenses. Essentially, he or she manages the documents which are the basis for your financial statements. Generally, bookkeepers are more affordable than accountants, and usually have either a two-year associate’s degree or no formal education. A self-taught bookkeeper is not necessarily a bad thing, so be sure to keep a couple of things in mind when searching for the right fit: Consider their work history. While no formal education might be a red flag at first, a bookkeeper with 20+ years of gainful employment is likely a solid option. Ask for references. If you can easily find companies that recommend a bookkeeper’s work, you’ve likely found a great future asset for your team. What size businesses has your potential hire worked with in the past? Finding someone with experience in a similarly sized business, or a similar industry as...

Notice 2019-07 Creates a Safe Harbor for Rental Income

When the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act signed into law in 2017, the act brought changes to both personal and business income taxes. We developed a comprehensive guide on the TCJA and offered more details on the Qualified Business Income Deduction (QBDI) in 2018, but questions still remain on some of the finer details, particularly with rental properties. In a competitive rental market like the Madison area, you’re likely wondering if your rental property income qualifies for the coveted 20% tax deduction. The IRS recently clarified and issued some guidance on whether income from real estate rental activities was “Qualified Business Income” (QBI). Notice 2019-07, a new proposed revenue procedure, provides a safe harbor under which rental real estate will be treated as a trade or business solely for the purposes of Section 199A. This proposed revenue procedure would apply to tax years ending after December 31, 2017. The new notice, however, does not apply to self-rental situations, where a business pays rent to a related party entity which is owned by the same business owner(s). We’ll outline some of the core details from the IRS notice and how to qualify, below. [Related: A Comprehensive Guide to the Top 8 Provisions of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act]   Qualifying for the Safe Harbor Taxpayers looking to utilize Section 199A’s deduction must hold the rental property directly or through a disregarded entity. They must also treat each rental property as a single activity or elect to treat all similar rentals as a single activity. The choice is either a “one or all,” meaning you must combine all similar rentals,...