Business

Top 10 Business Tax Shelters You Should Know

As we all know, two things are certain in life, death and taxes. I personally enjoy doing my taxes but like everyone else I don’t enjoy paying them. In business, it is critical that you know all the deductions that are available to you when it comes to keeping your bottom line healthy and your tax payment as low as possible. See below for the top 10 business tax shelters you should know:

  • Real Estate
  • Pension Plans
  • 401K/Roth
  • Municipal Bonds
  • Health Insurance
  • Life Insurance
  • Tuition Assistance/Reimbursement
  • Charity
  • Leasing Vehicles (offers larger deductions than owning one)
  • Assets bought on credit (e.g.; computers, equipment, inventory, office furnishings, et cetera)

It is important that businesses keep a separate high yield savings account designated for taxes and automate quarterly deposits.

Notable Bookkeeping knows taxes. Let us help you with your tax planning and research needs. Contact us today

Lean Wednesday Tip: Accounts Payable Performance

 

“By encouraging your A/P team to report and make critical department KPI metrics visual, such as, process cycle time, activity lead times, and cost per invoice with industry and competitor comparisons you realize the opportunity to reduce costs, increase productivity and streamline processes.”

Lean Wednesday Tip: Customer Focused Process Improvement

 

“Effective Lean organizations study their processes from their customer’s point of view and align their processes to meet their customers’ needs the first time and every time.” – Donna Summers

Lean Wednesday Tip

 

“To run an efficient accounting department opt for a chart of accounts with less than 180 accounts for improved productivity and financial planning.”

Reduce A/P and A/R Errors with Standardized Work

Per my previous article, “Taking a Visual Management Approach to Accounts Payable”, I touched upon a Lean Six Sigma technique, called, Standardized Work.

“Standardized work is often referred as standard operating procedures to refer to the activities that must happen in order to complete a process. Essentially, everyone doing the job does it exactly the same way.” There should be no difference as to how your Sr. Accounts Payable Manager enters and processes bills versus your Junior Accounts Payable Coordinator. There would also be no difference between the 10th time they did the work or the 7,000th time they performed the work.

These standards and process procedures should include visual checklists, setup procedures, an integrated preventative plan, or other process steps. They should be written in terms of expected behavior or actions, and must be auditable.

Why do visual process controls make sense? It is known that people gain 80% of their information from their vision, 18% from their hearing and 2% from other senses. By implementing visual standard operating procedures for Accounts Receivable and Accounts Payable you aid in the reduction of transaction errors and process cycle time; and improve overall productivity, and client and vendor relations.

Critical departmental information, such as, KPI metrics (cost of A/P and A/R invoice, current process cycle time, on time delivery rate, et cetera) compared with industry and competitor data should also be visual as this will prompt your team to look for opportunities to improve.

Lean Wednesday Tip

“Did you know that if your company leases its space from a multiple office building you can have your key financial representative analyze how utility charges are distributed amongst all tenants. This can help you realize savings and offer a negotiation opportunity based on your company’s utility use.”

The Customers that HATE you bring in the most valuable insights

¬†When utilizing the Voice of the Customer to glean insights don’t just target the customers that love you. When you take the time to really listen to the customers that hate you and turn their pains into solutions that is when you actually drive growth for your company.

Why target customers that hate you, you may ask? They have valuable insights on how your product or service can improve and can inspire you to create solutions that are currently not offered in the industry (first to market opportunities).

cust-service1Companies that are customer focused stay on top of customer pains and actually listen to them. They take more meetings with customers and work to turn client requirements into products, services or solutions.

The questions are:

Why do you hate us and what can we do to change that?

What are we doing wrong?

What are your pains?

When you acquire the answers to these questions then you can brainstorm ideas for products, services or solutions that will solve these pains. As a customer focused company you can’t be afraid to ask the hard questions. By turning customers who hate you into customers that love you will not only increase your client base and revenue but also make your competitors run for their money.

Bringing Collaboration Into Business Strategy

 Companies that encourage collaboration of data from all departmental functions see improved forecasting and internal/external client data that can be used to achieve strategic goals. Sales, Marketing, Accounting, Production, and Procurement departments should be encourage to share data through cloud productivity solutions like Google Docs/Sheets. business-strategy-clip-art-clipart-strategy-ball-people-NVXx1H-clipart

However, this plethora of information can cause delays in decision making according to a Harvard Business Review article. Data that is analyzed in small batches and matched to critical strategy variables can be a best course of action to reducing the strategy process cycle time.

In other words, matching insights from small data batch analysis with strategic objectives and then proceeding with a strategy implementation framework. For example, say a business wants to increase revenue from 10 million to 20 million this year. When they analyze their data and use the voice of the customer, they realize that the customers that hate them want the software to load faster and integrate a picture feature for all their menu items so that their customers can see how their meal looks like before they order. The company then translates this customer requirement into product specification and increases their client base by 25%, in turn, reaching their goal and making their competitors run for their money.

The production team would also have to manage this new feature to client requirements and ensure load times stay at acceptable levels. A financial impact/financial modeling analysis is also required to provide top management a sense of what would drive the most revenue for the company.

Price focused Sourcing is bad for business

We live in a capitalist society. It’s understandable that companies want the best prices on supplies and materials to make their products or provide a service.

When your procurement team is only motivated by price instead of the total cost, quality, delivery and logistics is lost. agreement-clip-art-478088

For example, your Procurement Manager may think, “Hey, we just saved 12% by switching to a new handbag manufacturer but then it comes to your attention that their workers are not as skilled as your former provider and the bags are in poor quality. Now you have to pay workers overtime to fix the issue and deliver to customers on time. Since they were focused on category savings they spent more money on zippers for the bags, in turn, going over budget for materials. That 12% did not save you much at all.

It is also important that accounting, sales, marketing, and procurement teams actively share data so that smart decisions and better forecasting can be made. For example, if the accounting team had made budget data available to the procurement team they would not have ordered more zippers.

Therefore, instead of focusing on price encourage your procurement team to engage suppliers in a several years contract with quality stipulations and locked in year by year price. Savings can also be realized by auditing invoices/Purchase orders to identify unapproved vendor charges, purchases and price increases.

In short, don’t look at price but the total cost.

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