The New $125 Million Grant Fund for Small Businesses in Ohio

In late October 2020, Gov. Mike DeWine and legislative leaders announced a new program called the Small Business Relief Grant (SBRG). Ohio has up to $125 million to give to small businesses affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Today’s blog from LongSchaefer highlights the basics of this program.

Related Post: How Sharp Business Planning Helps Your Firm Recover After the Coronavirus

Who is eligible to receive SBRG funding?

Small businesses with between one and 25 employees will be able to receive grants of up to $10,000.

Bars or restaurants with an on-premise liquor license may receive a $2,500 grant from the Bar and Restaurant Assistance Fund. This fund applies to the more than 15,000 liquor permit holders in Ohio, including restaurants, bars, breweries, distilleries, wineries, casinos, and private clubs.

When can my small business apply for a grant?

Small businesses can start applying for SBRG funding at 10 a.m. on Nov. 2, 2020. Applications will be accepted until the end of the year. LongSchaefer can advise you on how to fill out the application properly to ensure you receive this grant in a timely manner.

What documentation must I show for the application?

Small business owners must show proof of all paid W-2 employees on the payroll as of Jan. 1, 2020. You must also show proof of business expenses from at least 60 days before the grant application period. You’ll also need your most recently filed state or federal tax return. 

Liquor permit holders must show they must have one of 30 active liquor licenses and an on-premise permit as of the close of business on Oct. 23, 2020. 

These resources must be in digital format instead of paper. LongSchaefer can help you gather the information you need. 

Where can I find more information?

The Ohio Development Services Agency website has all of the information you need for the SBRG. There is a dedicated page this link for liquor permit holders.

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Business Services From LongSchaefer

The tax and accounting pros at LongSchaefer can help you apply for Ohio’s SBRG funding to help your small business succeed during these challenging times. Contact us or call (513) 245-0300 for assistance.

Strategic Business Planning for the Last Quarter of Any Given Year

Business planning always evolves. What works one quarter may not work for the next. That’s why you need to keep abreast of your KPIs and metrics so you can make informed decisions as your business grows. As such, today’s blog from LongSchaefer talks about strategic business planning for the last quarter of any given year.

Related Post: How Sharp Business Planning Helps Your Firm Recover After the Coronavirus

Staffing Levels

Did your workload increase towards the end of the year? Does your business pick up or decline during the winter holidays? How many workers do you plan to retain going into next year? If growth continues, do you have enough resources to hire more people?

Labor is the single biggest expense for small and medium-sized businesses. Optimizing your labor costs can make a huge difference when it comes to business planning in the coming year. Knowing what staff you need to have on hand going into next year will help you to plan your budget. 

Budgets

Budgeting for various departments must be precise while leaving some wiggle room. If revenue dips, can you reallocate funds to other departments or reduce profits temporarily until the situation resolves? Do you see room for improvement in HR, marketing, or management? How about investing in tools to make your existing departments more efficient?

Revenue forecasts should be realistic based on the data you’ve collected over the past year. Also, the IRS may give you tax advantages if you make capital investments before the end of the year. 

Goals for Next Year

Never forget SMART goal setting. SMART is an acronym describing the characteristics of each goal to set on your way to success.

Specific: Write down your specific goals for the coming year.

Measurable: Achieving a specific goal is only as good as the analytics used to measure it. The more data you collect, and the more incremental goals you have, the more accurate your numbers are in terms of reaching a goal. 

Achievable: Lofty goals are nice to have. However, they must be achievable within a specified timeframe. 

Relevant: Is your goal relevant to your business? What department does the goal belong to?

Time-Bound: What’s the timeframe for the goal? The end of the first month? The second quarter? 

Think about how these goals affect your budget. Will you have to hire more people, invest more in marketing, or make capital improvements to achieve these goals?

Accurate Accounting

Accurate accounting is crucial when it comes to business planning for the next year. You need as much data collection as possible, and then the proper analytics software to interpret the data points. That way, you can make an informed decision about your coming year’s goals. Hiring an accountant might prove useful in this regard.

Related Post: 5 Ways Accountants Help With Business Planning

Business Services From LongSchaefer

The accounting pros at LongSchaefer can tailor a business services plan for your exact situation. Contact us or call (513) 245-0300 for more information on our business services.

Tax Planning: End-of-Year Tax Strategies to Plan for Now

It’s the last quarter of the year, and you’re prepping for the holiday season. The last three months of the year are a great time to employ some end-of-year tax planning strategies so you can optimize your return and lower your income tax liability. LongSchaefer explains in today’s blog.

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Know Which Deduction to Take

Before you make any firm tax planning decisions, you need to determine which deduction to take. The standard deduction is a set amount by which the IRS reduces your income liability. Amounts of the standard deduction vary, depending on if you’re filing as a single person, married and filing jointly, or submitting your taxes as the head of a household. 

It makes sense to itemize deductions if your total annual deduction will be greater than the standard tax deduction. Common itemized deductions include interest on mortgage payments, certain healthcare expenses, and charitable contributions. 

Contribute to Retirement Accounts

Contributions to retirement accounts are a tried-and-true tax deduction that individuals and businesses can make for tax planning purposes. That’s because the annual contribution limits for these plans are $19,500, as of 2020. Those limits may go up in the coming years.

Do you have any extra income in savings heading into the end of the year? Have you lagged in your contributions to IRAs and 401(k) plans? As you decide how best to invest your money at the end of the year, contributions to retirement plans can defer taxes until you use the money for your retirement. 

If you’re 40 and you want to retire at 70, you can put off paying income taxes on those contributions for 30 years. Suppose you put the maximum amount, $19,500, into your retirement account by the end of 2020. That reduces the income used to figure your tax liability by $19,500.

Leverage Stock Losses to Offset Capital Gains

The stock market took a beating in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Although the stock market has climbed back up, you can deduct up to $1,500 ($3,000 if filing a joint return) of capital losses in excess of capital gains per year from your ordinary income. Although this isn’t as great as contributing to a retirement account, these smaller deductions add up when it comes to tax planning and reducing your income tax liability every year.

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Tax Planning Services From LongSchaefer

The tax and accounting pros at LongSchaefer can tailor a tax planning strategy to your specific situation. We recognize that everyone’s definition of success is different. Contact us or call (513) 245-0300 for more information on our tax planning services and end-of-year tax strategies.

4 Reasons to Hire a Small Business Accountant

Small business accounting is often an afterthought. It’s not something you necessarily think about on a daily basis. You’re focused on running your core business, and accounting seems like a faraway topic for you to discuss.

Hiring a small business accountant can help you maintain financial stability and plan for the future. It also ensures you have a financial professional on your side without going through the expense of hiring an in-house accountant. LongSchaefer showcases the top four reasons to hire a small business accountant for your firm.

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1. Regular Financial Services

Monthly or quarterly reports from a small business accountant give you an overall snapshot of your company’s financial performance. LongSchaefer will reconcile your bank account, generate an income statement and a balance sheet, and clean up your general ledger.

Why should you have these things readily available? When you need to apply for a loan, plan for tax time, and if you’re interested in a merger & acquisition. All three of these instances require highly detailed paperwork as to your company’s financial health. Small business accountants can create this paper trail for you.

2. Customization

Regular reports provide a solid foundation for your small business accounting system. However, not all small businesses are the same, and small business accountants should never, ever take a cookie-cutter approach to your financial prosperity. We can customize the package of financial services you receive by adding payroll, tax planning, tax preparation, or any of our other services.

3. Identifying Problems & Plan for the Future

Reconciling your business checking account each month or quarter allows us to keep your accounts up-to-date. Our small business accountants can identify lost checks or deposits. We could find and flag unauthorized wire transactions, and detect or prevent excess/unjustified bank charges and ensure transactions are posted correctly by your bank. Our reports may also find cases of embezzlement of funds from within your company.

Regular financial reports, especially income statements and balance sheets, from a small business accountant help you plan for the future.  You can’t really know what’s going on unless all accounts are reconciled and properly accounted for on your financial statement. Proper management of funds not only saves you money but also makes money for you. You can plan effectively by having accurate numbers in place.

4. Peace of Mind

CPAs are highly trained professionals who specialize in financial planning, tax preparation, and money management. If you have questions, we’ll answer them promptly. You get unlimited consultations when you hire LongSchaefer! Rather than worry about whether your books are showing you accurate numbers, you can sleep more peacefully at night knowing that you have the right financial data to make the correct decisions about your company’s financial future.

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LongSchaefer: Your Small Business Accountant

The CPAs at LongSchaefer help you with comprehensive small business accounting services customized to your needs and goals. Contact LongSchaefer or call (513) 245-0300 to see how we can help as your small business accountant.

5 Ways Accountants Help With Business Planning

When it comes to strategic business planning, you need expertise and experience on your side. You must gather data, analyze every aspect of your business model, and set realistic goals for your profits. Does this sound overwhelming? Business planning can be. Luckily, you have professionals on your side at LongSchaefer. Today’s blog from LongSchaefer explains five ways accountants help with business planning. 

Related Post: Reasons You Should Hire a Small Business Accountant

1. Financial Analysis

Business planning has many facets. Perhaps the most important one is the financial analysis of your company. You can’t plan for the future if you don’t understand what’s going on with your business right now. Accountants dive deep into your numbers, including cash flow, operating expenses, gross revenue, and projected profits. 

Do you have enough loyal customers to sustain your business in lean times? Do you have a target audience that creates a growth pattern for the future? Business planning with accounting professionals can help identify trends for growth in your current numbers.

2. Data Gathering

Financial analysis in a business plan is only as good as the data you have on hand. Accountants know what data you need to collect for a thorough analysis. The more data, the better. Not all of the data will be crucial, but computer software takes the raw numbers and turns them into reports you can use to make decisions about the future of your company. LongSchaefer can crunch the numbers using the right computer software to analyze your current financial standing. We can take a look at your business as a whole, drill down to the unit level, and analyze your costs and pricing models.

3. Risk Management

Risk management is a huge part of business planning. Whereas financial analysis is a quantitative measure, risk management is more qualitative. You must identify future risks to your business and mitigate those risks as much as possible. Think about supply chain issues, labor costs, competitors in your target market, and seasonal ebbs and flows that can all have negative impacts on your company. An accountant can identify and even quantify what these risks can do to your business model.

4. Bank Loan Applications

Applying for additional financing is a daunting task. Banks have stipulations and standards. You’ll need an excellent credit history for your business. Financial institutions also require a stout business plan and financial analysis as part of the application process. The better your business plan, the better your chances of getting an approved business loan. Accountants can help you create the best possible plan for you.

5. Profitability Goals

Profits depend on cash flow and growth. Your business plan can identify growth potential by providing insights on cash flow patterns, inventory management, business financing, diversity of offerings, and the prices of your products or services. Future growth and profitability may include an acquisition of a competitor, adding more staff, or altering the prices of your current offerings. Which ones are right for you? 

This is where accountants thrive on big-picture goals: We help you see where all of the analyses, data, and risk management are headed. If you tweak your prices, where are profits in six months? If you get that business loan and buy a competitor, how quickly can your revenue grow? What happens when you invest in another product line? Accountants can show you how different paths forward could affect your company as you create a business plan for sustained growth and profitability.

Related Post: 5 Small Business Accounting Issues for Summer 2020

LongSchaefer: Business Planning for You

Business planning is no small feat. Whether you want to see one year, five years, or 20 years out, LongSchaefer helps you with comprehensive business services customized to your needs and your goals. Contact LongSchaefer or call (513) 245-0300 to see how we can help your business plan for the future.

How Sharp Business Planning Helps Your Firm Recover After the Coronavirus

The coronavirus pandemic hit the world economy hard. The U.S. economy contracted during the late first quarter of 2020 when stay-at-home orders went into effect. Small businesses had to rethink their strategies while shifting to survival mode.

Fortunately, the government intervened with emergency loans and funding for small businesses. As a small business owner, you know it’s going to take more than that to return to pre-COVID-19 profitability. That’s where business planning comes into play. Today’s blog from LongSchaefer explains how sharp business planning helps your firm recover from the coronavirus pandemic.

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Slow and Steady Wins the Race

Even as state and local governments have eased restrictions for businesses to re-open and allowed larger gatherings to happen, it’s important to monitor the situation carefully. We all want the economy to come back quickly. But we don’t want to move too quickly into pre-coronavirus activities because that may lead to more pandemic problems.

Rethink your 12-month, 3-year, and 5-year goals for your business plan. The goals you set forth at the beginning of 2020 may be unattainable, but that’s okay. Recognize that those six months were a temporary setback. Set realistic goals based on your current situation, how quickly you can hire more people, and how fast your loyal customer base returns. You should also think about a contingency plan should the coronavirus pandemic come back at some point in the future.

Dive Deep Into Your Market

Now is the perfect time to reassess the behavior of your target market for business planning purposes. Many of your customers might have been out of work or had reduced workloads during the pandemic. But they’re also eager to return to a normal life. Revisit your customer personas to see if you can find any gaps left by the pandemic. Do your customers need more time to come back or do they need you right away? As you talk to your customer base, you’ll find out what they need to come back sooner rather than later. The more you communicate with your base, the more information you’ll get from them. When you have more data, you have a better chance of finding the right strategy for success.

Now is an excellent time for competitor analysis. How did the pandemic affect your direct and indirect competitors? Are they starting to come back or are they still waiting? How many of your competitors are offering discounts, and if so, what are they? Seeing what your competitors are up to gives you ideas on how to come back from COVID-19 as you alter your business plan accordingly.

Find Ways to Become More Efficient

Efficiency is one key to profitability. What can your business do to become more efficient? Think about bringing in automated tools, outsourcing mundane and nonessential tasks, consolidating tasks, making your current tools better, and eliminating what doesn’t work. Business planning helps you find weaknesses and costly excesses so you can shore up your core business model and make it more likely to survive in the future.

Diversify

Diversification is another key to survival. It works in nature. It also works in the business world. Find ways to diversify your portfolio of products and services beyond what you already have on hand. Use your business planning time to identify ways you can deliver more and different items to your target audience. This is where your market and competitor analyses come in handy.

Get Help

Seek assistance as much as possible. Keep an eye on the news, industry publications, and newsletters. The SBA has already dished out billions of dollars in federal assistance, but that may be difficult to navigate. Talk to experts in business planning, such as financial advisors and accountants. They can give you valuable advice based on their experience in dealing with financial downturns and crises.

Talk to Other Business Owners

One last thing to remember is that we’re all in this together. Other small business owners are going through the same thing you are. They’re brainstorming ideas, how to plan for the future, and how to come out of this stronger and better than ever. Talk to other business owners to bounce ideas off of them, see what they’re doing, and collaborate on the road to recovery. Your discussions offer not only ways to cope with the coronavirus crisis, but also ways to solve problems and develop better business planning strategies to deal with a new normal.

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LongSchaefer: Business Planning for You

The staff at LongSchaefer understands what you’re going through. We’re a small business that was impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, too. We can help you retool and re-strategize as you come up with new business planning strategies for recovering from the coronavirus pandemic. Contact LongSchaefer or call (513) 245-0300 to see how we can help your business.

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.