How to Measure Success With Your Business Planning

Starting a business is an exciting and risk-filled endeavor. Perhaps you’re moving from a hobbyist and taking the next step toward achieving your dream of self-sufficiency doing what you love. What many people do not realize is that business planning is part of achieving success. In today’s blog, our team of experts at LongSchaefer will discuss how to prepare and therefore manage success through the art of business planning. 

What Kind of Business?

First, determine what kind of business you are planning for, then confirm your purpose and vision. If you perform these two simple steps, you will be able to determine how to structure your business plan. 

Start-up business plans should be 10 pages or less initially for investors, so they can grasp the concept of your idea. After the initial review, you should expand on these 10 pages for further clarity. 

Clarity and Proof

Banish fuzzy language and the use of automatic template business planning. You MUST back up all assumptions made with experiments. Show the data. Ask managers to perform field tests of your data in the report, so they can see the answers for themselves. The more successful your field tests are, the more likely they are to support your business plan when enacting changes in front of employees. A united front is an effective front. 

Rinse and Repeat

Once you start achieving success, it’s important to begin the process of planning again, so you can measure your progress. Regular reviews of your business progress are the only effective way to catch mistakes as you make them instead of in time periods where recovering from them would be difficult. It’s important to remain humble and open with your team, so you can grow effectively. 

Ways to do this include:

  • Assessing the effectiveness of core activities.
  • Assessing overall efficiency.
  • Reviewing your budget to determine your financial position.
  • Conducting a competitor analysis.
  • Conducting a customer and market analysis.
  • Using the information you gain to assess your business goals. 

By following these steps you’ll be able to increase your productivity and profitability.

LongSchaefer on Smart Business Planning

Our financial experts at LongSchaefer specialize in assisting you with business planning. Our goal is to help you achieve yours. If you feel your business would benefit from an assessment or business planning session, we’d love to hear from you. Contact us today to discuss how we can help and become your trusted business advisor as long-time Cincinnati CPAs. 

Tax Services Our Cincinnati CPAs Provide During the Summer Months

Handling personal finances and taxes can be stressful. It often doesn’t feel worth it if the end of the process reveals you owed more than you originally anticipated. Our Cincinnati CPAs at LongSchaefer specialize in assisting with your needs for planning and preparation before and after your yearly tax filing. In today’s article, we’ll discuss the different services offered through summer time, after you file your taxes. 

Related Post: 4 Circumstances When You Want to Delay Filing Your Income Taxes

We Handle 

Tax Problems

Forgetting to file taxes, or choosing to file after the deadline, can become a messy situation. According to SmartAsset, the penalty for filing late is 10 times higher than the penalty for filing, and then paying late. The fee charged for filing late is 5% of the amount owed per each month that passes until your return is filed. If you find yourself or business in this situation, our Cincinnati CPAs can assist by helping you file your return as soon as possible. Then we’ll continue to assist by helping you plan and prepare for the next tax season.

Tax Planning

Our CPAs pride themselves on staying up-to-date on all tax laws and regulations that apply to you and your business. When they prepare for tax planning, we assist in setting up saving strategies that will maximize your after-tax income. 

Our team also take advantage of services that ultimately help you financially such as:

  • Tax Provisions
  • Meeting deductibles 
  • Tax Credits that legally and successfully reduce your tax liability

By successfully completing tax planning with our team of Cincinnati CPAs, you’ll be set for the next step in your tax process: tax preparation.

Tax Preparation

After finishing your tax planning process, our CPAs will begin tax preparation for you and your business. Tax preparation largely consists of compiling all of the necessary documents for filing taxes, and then we help you complete the tax filing process. Tax planning and tax preparation allows our team of CPAs to successfully file your taxes and know that all legalities have been accounted for. 

Business and Personal Tax

We cover an array of services for both individuals and businesses, including payroll services, bank financing, part-time CFO services, small business accounting, and business planning. Once your tax return has been filed and you’ve had sufficient rest, we can begin the process of assessing your business and assets. If there is a service we can perform for you, we’ll gladly do everything we can to make sure your business adheres to all laws and regulations from a tax standpoint.

Related Post: What To Do When Your Taxes Are Late? 

LongSchaefer on Summer Services

The tax season never really ends for our Cincinnati CPAs here at LongSchaefer. We believe in doing everything possible to protect you, your business, and your financial dreams. If you think our Cincinnati CPAs can assist with any of your tax planning, preparation, or business planning needs, we’d love to hear from you. Contact us today to discuss how we can help and become your trusted business advisor.

4 Circumstances When You Want to Delay Filing Your Income Taxes

Life happens. The IRS knows this. Whether it’s the fault of someone else or a natural disaster, there are valid reasons you should delay filing your income tax returns. In today’s blog from LongSchaefer, trusted business advisors and Cincinnati CPAs, we will explain what those reasons are and how to handle them best. 

Related Post: What To Do When Your Taxes Are Late? 

1. Death

If you have experienced a recent death in the family, the IRS will grant you an extension without penalty to allow time for grieving, burial, and estate resolution. You may need to provide a death certificate for proof of the delay

2. Destruction of Records 

There can be many reasons tax records are destroyed. Unfortunately, they are often due to natural disasters, fire, and casualty. If your files have been destroyed, report this to the IRS. They can grant an extension without a penalty until you can obtain new records. This grant is referred to as Penalty Relief Due to Reasonable Cause. The IRS may require you to provide proof from your insurance company and police records of the destruction and its validity.

3. Missing Information

Sometimes employers or institutions do not provide you with the accurate information needed to complete your tax return. Schedule K-1 Form 1099 will often arrive too late for you to complete a return by the filing deadline.

If you have a form, but it shows inaccurate information, like incorrect gross annual income, you will need to have that corrected before including it on your return. Providing false information can cost you money and expose you to penalties levied by the IRS.

In either case, you will need to file an extension to gather the missing or corrected information. You could face penalties by not filing an extension. 

4. Active Military Service 

If you’re engaged in active military duty overseas, you will not be required to submit a timely tax return. The United States Department of Defense offers all names and Social Security numbers of officers and servicemembers to the IRS. 

Tax Time at LongSchaefer, Trusted Business Advisors

If you think you will miss the tax filing deadline, contact LongSchaefer today to discuss your options. They can file an extension for you, allowing you the extra time you need to prepare appropriately. Contact us today to discuss how we can help and become your trusted business advisor. 

How a Trusted Business Advisor Helps You With Post-Pandemic Business Planning

No one could have predicted what the COVID-19 pandemic would mean to our personal health and security, let alone our businesses. Now is the time to begin post-pandemic business planning. In today’s blog post, the trusted business advisors at LongSchaefer will explain where to start. 

Related Post: Strategic Business Planning for the Last Quarter of Any Given Year

Review Your Current Situation

One of the many services we offer is strategic business planning. When you started your business, you had a plan, a blueprint, to work with. But that never involved a global pandemic or the sudden rise of online shopping. It may be time to revisit your plan, determine what roads are still worthy to travel, and decide what must be redesigned to suit your new path. 

We will sit down with you to review your current financial situation, including tax statements, profit and loss statements, payroll, and expenses. From here, our trusted business advisors can develop a business plan. 

Develop a Plan

Effective strategic planning is important to the success of any business. To be effective, you need two things: 

  1. A strong understanding of your current finances, and 
  2. A deep knowledge of tax laws and regulations, local and national markets, finance, and accounting. 

Our trusted business advisors work with you to develop a strategic goal for current stability and future growth, identifying areas you may not have considered. Our team of highly trained professionals can provide guidance on current and emerging market trends in a post-pandemic world for any type of business. 

Related Post: 2021 Financial New Year’s Resolutions From LongSchaefer

Integrate Your Financial & Accounting Services 

At LongSchaefer, we want to be your trusted business advisor. That means trusting us to handle the financial aspects of your business. This gives us a better understanding of where your needs lie and how we can help. We offer tax planning and preparation, payroll services, strategic business planning, and even part-time CFO services

Trust LongSchaefer Financial Services 

Do you have questions about your post-pandemic business plan? Do you need accounting, tax, or payroll services? Contact us today or call (513) 245-0300 to discuss how we can help and become your trusted business advisor.

2021 Financial New Year’s Resolutions From LongSchaefer

2020 was a horrible year for finances, despite the stock market closing at record levels in the last part of the year. Massive unemployment, reduced spending power, and stay-at-home orders dominated the country for most of 2020. As we look ahead to 2021, the Cincinnati CPAs at LongSchaefer talk about some financial New Year’s resolutions to strengthen your bottom line.

Related Post: What Are the Benefits of Financial Planning?

Spend Stimulus Funds Wisely, If Possible

It took around nine months, but Congress finally passed (and the president signed) additional stimulus measures to prop up the fragile economy in December 2020. Spend this money wisely, if possible. Use it for essentials, save it for an emergency, or pay down credit card debt. Try not to splurge on anything with your stimulus payment because you don’t know what the economy will do in 2021.

Refinance Your Loans

One effect of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 was record-low mortgage rates. If you haven’t considered refinancing your mortgage yet, 2021 still presents an excellent opportunity to do so. 

Congress’ stimulus package from March 2020 included a forbearance on student loan payments. Consider refinancing student loans before Jan. 31, when the forbearance timeframe ends.

Create a Solid Plan

Don’t have a solid financial plan in place for 2021? Now is the time to start one. Begin with your monthly budget and expenses. Find ways to start saving money at the start of 2021 to calculate how much you should have by the end of the year. LongSchaefer can help you create a solid financial plan for your windfall. Saving money brings us to our next point.

Begin an Emergency Fund

We can’t necessarily count on repeated stimulus money from the federal government, although federal policymakers have indicated more may be on the way. Rather than wait for federal money, use your planned savings to create an emergency fund. Experts say you should save at least six months’ worth of expenses in case you need them.

Start Saving for Retirement

Still need a resolution to follow for 2021? Boost your retirement savings. Contribute to an employer’s 401(k) matching plan. Diversify your investment portfolio for the long term by shying away from money market funds and moving towards long-term growth from stable mutual funds that invest in many types of securities. Your retirement savings add up quickly when you have a solid, consistent plan that you stick with over the years. LongSchaefer’s advisors can help you invest in the right funds for your unique situation.

Related Post: Reasons You Should Hire a Small Business Accountant

Happy New Year From LongSchaefer

The Cincinnati CPAs at LongSchaefer wish you and your family a Happy New Year for 2021! Contact us online or call (513) 245-0300 for more information on how we can help you achieve your financial goals this year.

Tax Planning: What Are the Differences Between Tax Credits & Tax Deductions?

As you prepare to file your income tax return, you’ll probably run across the terms tax deduction and tax credit. Both individuals and businesses can take advantage of tax deductions and credits to lower their income tax and possibly increase their refund. In today’s blog from LongSchaefer, our tax planning experts take a look at the differences between tax credits and tax deductions. 

Related Post: How Filing Taxes Electronically Works

Reducing Income Versus Reducing Taxes You Pay

The major difference between a tax deduction and a tax credit is that deductions lower the income on which the government bases its tax calculations, while tax credits directly reduce the amount of tax you owe.

For example, you get to take a tax deduction of $18,650 because you’re the head of a household. If you made $50,000 in that year, the head of household deduction lowers the amount of your gross income to $31,350. Rather than pay 15% of your income at $50,000, you pay 15% of $31,350. You would pay $4,702.50 rather than $7,500 for taxes in this simplified example.

After you calculate how much money you owe in taxes, a tax credit can lower the amount of tax you pay (or even lead to a higher income tax return). For instance, your tax bill comes to $700. However, you qualify for two tax credits. One is refundable for $500, and one is non-refundable for $750. The $750 credit reduces the amount of tax you owe to $0, while the refundable tax credit means you receive $500 from the IRS.

Deferring income to retirement also has tax benefits for you before you retire. The IRS allows an annual $19,500 elective deferral to 401(k) plans. When you reach age 50, that maximum amount increases to $26,000. You don’t pay income taxes on that pre-tax deduction when you’re working because you’ll pay income taxes after you retire.

Tax planning services can point you to the right types of tax credits or tax deductions available to you.

Examples of Tax Credits

The most common tax credit for individuals is the Child Tax Credit from the Internal Revenue Service. In general, your child must be 16 years old or younger and meet certain qualifications. Each individual can earn up to $2,000 per qualifying child, and up to $1,400 of that is refundable, meaning you can get money back from the IRS. 

There’s also the Earned Income Tax Credit for working people with low to moderate incomes who have children. The EITC is in addition to the Child Tax Credit. 

Business owners can take advantage of tax credits, too. Small employers can take the General Business Credit for undertaking certain activities, such as investing in electric vehicles, increasing research activities, retaining employees, and having employer differential wage payments. Tax planning staff at LongSchaefer will show you what tax credits you may be eligible for.

A refundable credit means you could get that money back from the IRS. A non-refundable credit simply lowers the amount of taxes you may owe, all the way down to zero.

Examples of Tax Deductions

Tax deductions work differently for individuals and businesses. Individuals can take a  standard deduction based on your filing status (single, head of household, or married filing jointly). 

Individuals may choose to deduct certain health care expenses, interest paid on mortgages, and charitable donations. There is one caveat: You can itemize your deductions for federal income taxes, but they must be more than your standard deduction. 

You can deduct certain business expenses from your income to lower your income. Let’s say your business earned $200,000 in 2020. But you invested in new equipment that cost $25,000, advertising for $5,000, and computer software at $3,000. All of these items could lower your income to $167,000. At 25%, you would pay $41,750 in income taxes rather than $50,000 in this simplified example.

Related Post: Tax Credits You Didn’t Know About

Tax Planning From LongSchaefer

The tax planning pros at LongSchaefer can help you get the most out of your income taxes, whether you’re a business or an individual. Contact us online or call (513) 245-0300 for more information on how our firm can help.

May 2020 COVID-19 Update

In order to comply with the Ohio Health Department Order & CDC social distancing recommendations, our offices are closed until further notice. Rest assured that our established protocols and available technology will allow us to provide the same level of service and quality you expect from LongSchaefer during this time.

The SBA has announced details of how it’s helping small businesses through the Coronavirus outbreak. The IRS is sending payments to families affected by this crisis. 

Please click on our Coronavirus information pages for more information.