Financial Analyst Wanted

Engage in accounting and financial reporting, examining and submitting financial analysis, documents, and statements to ensure compliance with laws, analyze revenue and expenditure trends and ensure expenditure control, conduct risk analysis assessments, prepare budget forecasts and prepare and recommend cost reduction, revenue enhancement, and profit maximization for the company.

Assist with implementation and support of business information systems, identifies problems and opportunities within our company and ultimately provide solutions that help achieve the business goals, collaborate with financial reporting to develop initiatives and strategies that optimize costs and improve internal and external reporting, engage in budgeting and forecasting, engage in financial modeling and variance analysis.

Salary of $65,666/year.

Please mail resume to: ATTN: Scott, To & Scott LLC, 301 Forest Ave., Laguna Beach, CA 92651.

Resume must identify experience relevant to job offered.

No phone calls please.

Have you been able to keep your mind clear? Have you kept your time-limited output and attention focused on your Hermosa Beach business? 

I hate to repeat myself, but this is so critical during these globally anxious days. Your business, your team – your FAMILY – is riding on how you manage your most precious resource: your attention.

So as things continue to escalate in this war, I want to, once again, encourage you to reduce your time in the swirl of breaking news and around-the-clock social media alerts. These things (while providing helpful information) only serve to distract you from the activities that will make the most difference for you and your Hermosa Beach business. Hold fast.

For my missive today, I thought I might reorient your focus around the most important components of your business’s financial fortress – your banking partner and your business bank account.

Let’s talk about it.

Business Bank Account Basics for Hermosa Beach Business Owners
“A banker is a fellow who lends you his umbrella when the sun is shining but wants it back the minute it begins to rain.” – Mark Twain

We’ve all had personal bank accounts for most of our lives, but it’s amazing how with all the other concerns of starting and running a company that getting a good business bank account can fall off your to-do list.

Your bank is one of the most important institutions outside of your own small business. Our series on personal versus business financial management kicks off with the key differences between bank accounts for you and for your Hermosa Beach business – and what to look for in this critical service. 

Separate but not equal

Here’s what you can expect when you look for your first business bank account. If you’ve already got your business up and running, here are some things your current bank might be able to do better… 

To open your account, get your federal and state tax ID numbers, aka your Employer Identification Number (EIN). Also, get together the documents that you filed for when you formed your company. 

Unlike a personal account, a business bank account separates – and protects – your work assets and liabilities from the rest of your finances. It streamlines tracking money and doing your taxes and makes getting money for future growth easier. 

Business bank accounts typically give you checking, savings credit card accounts and a merchant services account that allows you to do credit and debit card transactions from customers. Other perks should include multiple credit cards for your employees and merchant services that keep customers’ personal info secure (meaning they won’t blame you if something goes wrong). You’ll probably also get a line-of-credit option for your company larger than what you’d get in a personal account.

The debit’s in the details

You might think about opening a business account in the same bank where you have personal accounts. There are plusses to having all eggs in one basket – like more ways to waive fees. 

Rates, fees, and other details vary from bank to bank – like everything else in business, you’re looking for the most for your money. Shop around and always read the fine print. 

Introductory offers. The name says it all. These will resemble the draws banks use to attract customers for personal accounts, such as cash bonuses for opening an account or maintaining certain levels of balances or deposits. Bank bonuses (which are taxable, by the way) can sometimes be higher if you use the same bank for business and personal banking. Minimum opening deposits can be anything from zero to five figures.

Interest rates. These vary according to the type of account for checking or savings but are often around half a percentage point or less annual percentage yield (APY). Rates for lines of credit, of course, are significantly higher. Outside banks, American Express now offers a business checking account that pays more than 1% APY. So as always, shop around and don’t be afraid to think outside the financial box …

Fees. Banks love these – too few transactions, closing an account before you agreed, dropping below the minimum balance … here comes a fee – and to a degree, there’s no getting around them. Maintaining the minimum balance is generally your best defense against service fees (as with personal accounts), and some banks might cut you some slack if you keep a personal account in the same bank. 

Merchant services accounts. These come with a ton of details such as discount rates (the percentage charged for every transaction processed) and fees for transactions, address verification services, and daily batch processing for your credit card transactions on a given day. There are often fees if your business doesn’t hit the minimum required transactions in a period, usually a month. 

So generally, you want as few charges and fees as possible, a competitive interest rate, unlimited transactions, good online and mobile banking platforms, and convenient access to your company money. 

Your business nest egg

Also, think about a business savings account. Even established businesses sometimes forget about these. When you can cover your payroll and keep the lights on, this additional account allows you to stash extra money for expansion and other long-term moves. 

Think of it as a way to invest in your own company that comes in handy if you’d prefer not to take out an expensive loan. 

Typically, they yield more than personal savings accounts – but do come with the usual catches of fees, limited withdrawals, and minimum initial deposits and balances. Business savings accounts are especially popular with online banks. 

Next in our series: The differences between business and personal debt. 

Know what your business bank account can do for you. Understanding what’s available and how to capitalize on the benefits it offers means financial well-being – and that’s essential for a healthy business.

Want to talk about your banking situation with someone you trust? We’re here when you’re ready.
877-922-2832

 

In your financial corner,

To Nguyen
(877) 922-2832
Accudata Accounting Advisors

 

Congratulations, you’ve won the lottery!

The IRS audit lottery, that is.

If you’re being audited by the IRS, you’re in a very select group. Since the IRS audits less than one-quarter of one percent of all income tax returns – that’s less than 1 out of 400 – it’s a very exclusive company indeed.

Of course, this isn’t a prize that you wanted to win and probably weren’t prepared for. If you’ve won this no-prize, here are three simple audit preparation steps.

Audit Preparation Step #1: Understand the depth of the audit.

There are three distinct levels of IRS audit, characterized by the depth of the government’s investigation into your financial life. Understanding the level of the probing you’re about to experience will help you determine how to handle it.

The first level is the mail audits. These are conducted entirely via the mail – you’ll never meet or speak to an IRS agent. These usually involve math errors and missed forms, such as a W-2 from a second job that you forget to enter when you file your tax return. The IRS will request clarification from you, and it usually requires just writing a letter back that contains the information they need. The vast majority of IRS audits fall into this category.

The next level up is an office audit. These are conducted by relatively low-level IRS agents at local IRS offices around the country. They conduct a basic verification of your income, deductions, and credits to make sure you’ve done everything correctly.

The next level is the nasty one, the field audit. These are conducted by higher-level Revenue Agents that visit you at home or your Hermosa Beach business and their job is to fully verify everything you’ve claimed. They take an in-depth look at source records – we’re talking individual receipts, invoices, bank statements, etc. In the extremely unlikely event that you’ve won a visit from a Revenue Agent for a field audit, we highly suggest having the audit conducted at our office.

The notice that you receive from the IRS will explain what level of audit you’re facing.

Audit Preparation Step #2: Determine exactly what the IRS is questioning.

Once you understand the depth of examination you’re being subjected to, you next need to understand exactly what on your tax return the IRS is questioning. In the majority of audit situations, the IRS is looking to verify one specific thing. 

If you’ve received a letter from the IRS that requests you write them back with copies of specific documentation, you’ve been selected for the simple mail audit. The most common issues that come up in a mail audit involve various tax credits, medical expense deductions, charitable contributions, and education expenses. A whopping three-fourths of all IRS audits are conducted this way and revolve around a single issue on the tax return that the IRS is looking to validate.

For office audits, you’ll receive a request to visit an IRS office near you. These types of audits usually cover questions about income sources that don’t have much of a paper trail, such as tips and rents. They also commonly come up for business expenses that are hard to validate, questions about the value of property, casualty and theft losses, and capital gains tax matters. You have a legal right to have a representative with you at the IRS office for this kind of audit, so don’t go it alone. We can help you understand what the IRS is trying to determine, and show up on your behalf.

For a field exam, you’ll be requested to schedule a time for the Revenue Agent to come to you. These are the most complex audits, and the Revenue Agent will dig into your actual recordkeeping system. Field audits are expensive for the IRS to conduct, so they typically involve people with complex tax situations. Again, we highly recommend scheduling this type of audit at our office, since the IRS agent is going to do a forensic accounting examination of your actual records.

Audit Preparation Step #3: Supply necessary documentation.

For mail audits and office audits, which usually involve singular issues, the documentation you need to prove your income, credit, deduction, etc. will be fairly straightforward.

If you lack the necessary paperwork in your own files, you may need to obtain the documentation from other sources. For example, you may need to request copies of medical bills from healthcare providers in order to validate the medical expenses you’re claiming. If the IRS is questioning the value of an asset, you may need to obtain something like an appraisal from a third party. Or perhaps you’ll need to obtain a tip record from your Hermosa Beach employer in order to satisfy an inquiry into whether you’ve reported all tip income or not.

For mail and office audits, supplying this documentation should satisfy the inquiry in most instances. If you’re unable to supply the documentation, but your position is reasonable, you may be able to provide a simple written or verbal statement about why you’re claiming something (or not claiming it). These cases are a bit more difficult to win, but there is plenty of precedent for them. So just because you don’t have a paper trail for something, don’t give up – there is magic that can be worked.

For a full-blown field audit, the documentation puzzle is a whole different animal. The exact documentation strategy here can’t really be generalized, since the issues being investigated are always unique in these types of audits. We’ll work with you in these types of audits to craft a personalized strategy for defending yourself against the audit.

In conclusion, hopefully, you can now see that not all IRS audits are scary. It really boils down to understanding exactly what it is that they’re after, and what depth of probe they’re going to conduct. When you know those two things, it becomes much less stressful of an incursion into your life.

Of course, no matter what level of audit you’re facing, from the extremely simple to the extremely complex, we’re here to help. If you get a nasty letter from the IRS, don’t panic – call us and we’ll work together to figure out a plan for you. Just schedule a time to chat here:

877-922-2832

 

Your friendly Hermosa Beach tax advisor,

To Nguyen
877-922-2832

 

With the events of the past week and whispers of world war, it’s pretty easy to get caught up in the non-stop fear cycle. Watching a full-scale invasion of Ukraine, anxiously waiting to see if China will invade Taiwan, hearing Turkey issue threats to Russia if they invade the Black Sea… well, it’s more than enough to get everyone on edge. 

So, if I can be so bold here, I want to encourage you at all costs to keep your mind clear of all of this. Of course, you can stay informed — but make sure you take a break from the anxiety-inducing news coverage and get off the triggering social media scroll. 

Instead, focus your energy on your Hermosa Beach business and what YOU can do to lead well at this moment. With all the doomsday voices out there, take this opportunity to be a voice of hope and reason. 

Now, because we’re so very busy over here at Accudata Accounting Advisors, we’ve been able to stay out of the fray (mostly). 

Also, we’d love it if you could carve out a little time to leave us a review on Google.
Make us smile with a review on Google

Reviews really help our business visibility and help others like you see what we can do for them. Thank you in advance for taking some time to do this.

So, today, I thought I might assist in the task of getting our minds away from war … so, let’s talk about mergers and acquisitions, shall we?

Nguyen’s Tips for Successful Mergers and Acquisitions
“One of life’s most painful moments comes when we must admit that we didn’t do our homework.” – Merlin Olsen

Big mergers and acquisitions (M&As) are back in the headlines. Frontier and Spirit airlines plan to get hitched, for instance, and exercise equipment giant Peloton was supposed to be for sale but probably isn’t – for now…

And we all know mergers that famously fizzled in the past: eBay and Skype, AOL and Time Warner, Daimler and Chrysler. Fingers galore pointed afterward but behind the scenes in all these mega-busts was, most likely, somebody just not doing their homework.

Sooner or later your small Hermosa Beach business thinks about buying somebody else (or being bought). How far that idea goes often depends on what one company finds out about the other. Due diligence is finding out all you can about something you want to buy, the same way you’d research a car or a refrigerator before you put down your money. 

There’s a lot to look at with mergers and acquisitions – and a lot of questions to ask. 

Checking the boxes

It’s only common sense that the time to find a trouble spot is before anyone (especially you) puts pen to paper. Proper due diligence into another company means you dig into issues from profits and assets to tax risks and legal troubles. It puts facts and figures to all those claims that one side or the other might have claimed during all the merry dealmaking; it can turn up details that poke holes in some of those claims, too. 

A piece of paper you should be most concerned about as early as possible in the deal is your due diligence checklist covering three areas: financials, legal, and operations. 

(This is only a starter list – the needed documents can vary case to case and company by company … check with us if you have any questions).

Financials: The company’s balance sheets; A/P and A/R; income and cash flow statements; last three years’ tax returns; credit reports; product value reports; data on gross profit margins; fixed and variable expenses; audit and revenue reports; lists of physical assets; and debt information.

You also need a list of past performance projections – and actual results – and assumptions that were used to make those projections, as well as a history of pricing. If the company has them, a list of current investors and shareholders. 

Legal: All contracts, including leases; P/Os; purchase and distribution agreements; sales contracts; employee and contractor agreements; trademarks, copyrights, and patents; articles of incorporation; and business registration documents. 

In operations, you’ll do more interpreting of data that the seller provides. Take customers, for instance: Look at the numbers of repeat customers, the peak buying times, and the most popular products. What are the customers’ demographics and what have they said about the business? How has the business been marketed, and how’s the marketing ROI?

Get a list of all of the company’s products and their development history, costs to create, selling price, planned enhancements, profit margins, and growth rates. 

What about the people in this company? Investigate that, too, starting with an organizational chart and list of current employees, including their positions, earnings, skills, and qualifications. How do the wages stack up against industry standards? What are the benefits plans and perks? A huge factor in this labor market: What are the projected staffing needs? 

Outside of the company, who are the competitors (maybe you were one yourself…)? Who are the lenders and suppliers – find them and ask them what they thought of the business. If you’re new to the industry of the business, research it. Is it growing? 

Has this company been acquired before? Why is the owner selling, anyway? (You probably already asked this of the owner themselves – do others back up that answer?) 

Good rule: Think about the questions that might make you uncomfortable if someone asked them about your company.

Accept no substitutes

All through the mergers and acquisitions process you’ll want written guarantees of confidentiality. No one (least of all you) wants to bear responsibility for a company’s trade secrets or internal information discovered through due diligence. 

There’s no such thing in due diligence as a stupid question – and definitely no substitute for doing your homework with mergers and acquisitions. 

When it comes to being a trusted Hermosa Beach advisor, we’d be happy to give you feedback and help you examine the details of merging with or acquiring a new business – a second set of eyes, so to speak. Reach out if you want some help:
877-922-2832

And again, if you can spare some time, would you leave us a review: Make us smile with a review on Google? Thanks in advance.

Here’s to staying out of the frantic fear swirl and staying focused on your Hermosa Beach business.

We’re here for you,

To Nguyen
(877) 922-2832
Accudata Accounting Advisors

 

Did you know that about 20% of small businesses fail in their first year? 

That’s a daunting statistic for anyone starting a new Hermosa Beach business. 

And, even scarier, is the reality that companies with owners younger than 30 are even more likely to tank. The especially high failures of young owners indicate that inexperience coupled with the various functions required to OPERATE a business play a big part in a business closing its doors. 

There really is no substitute for experience.

But here’s the thing – the right mentor lets you tap into their experience … an older business vet to tell you the mistakes to avoid and ways to streamline a process that might have taken you years to figure out. 

Mentoring is a time-tested method of business development that’s been used by superstars like Mark Zuckerberg and Steve Jobs. And you can make the same resource work for you, too. 

Before I get into all of this though, a word.

Demand for our services here at Accudata Accounting Advisors is at an all-time high, and I want to be sure our best clients get seen properly. 

So …. use this to get on our calendar ASAP:
877-922-2832

and 

Would you take a moment right now to leave Accudata Accounting Advisors a review on Google?
Make us smile with a review on Google

In this very-online world, this stuff makes a massive difference. Really do appreciate you taking a few minutes of your valuable time to do that for us.

Now … back to the small business mentoring thing.

Small Business Mentoring For Your Hermosa Beach Business
“Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn.” – Benjamin Franklin

What can you learn from a mentor?

Well, that really depends on the questions you ask. 

How have they kept on going in their industry? What do they think is a good risk to take? What do they know now that they wish they’d known then? 

You can also ask how to improve your networking and professional communication skills, be a better manager, find your professional strengths and play to them, and even how to educate yourself more about your profession. 

So, what questions should you be prepared to answer? A good mentor will want to know what you’d like to achieve with your business in the near future and how you plan to hit your goals. 

You can also learn how to charge more for your services. Business people have claimed that just three hours of mentoring has helped to boost their company’s profits.

That alone is worth the price of small business mentoring  – a price that, aside from the work and will it’ll take you to learn, is usually free

Where to look

Finding a mentor for your Hermosa Beach small business isn’t as hard as you might think. Put together a list of business people you know and fill it out with those you’re just acquainted with. Social media can be useful for this – and don’t forget to ask coworkers and colleagues if the fit seems right.

You can also find a mentor using online services – in these days of Zoom conferences there’s no reason your mentor even has to be in the same city as you. 

Have you considered returning to school to improve yourself professionally? That environment’s great for networking with potential mentors.

Also check SCORE, a resource partner of the U.S. Small Business Administration. They specialize in hooking volunteer mentors up with companies like yours and have 10,000 volunteers providing free mentoring nationwide. They’ve also got a page where you can search for a mentor.

Before you ask just somebody to be your mentor, ask yourself what you look to get out of the connection. What are the top business goals that you want help with? More customers? Better networking? 

Once you’ve found someone, set up a few preliminary conversations to get to know each other, to see if your careers and outlooks align. If you seem to click and would like to speak more regularly, ask if they’d consider mentoring you. Suggest a frequency to meet, that you’ll bring an agenda and that the meeting can be however and wherever is convenient for them. 

That “consider” gives them time to think about it. You want serious thought to be behind their answer.

What to watch out for with small business mentoring

This all sounds terrific – what could go wrong? Well, a couple of things. 

First, of course, is having the meetings: Everybody’s got jam-packed schedules which can make scheduling difficult. And this is a voluntary arrangement for both of you. Slot meetings at least a few weeks out and commit to that schedule. 

If over time you find too many meetings are getting pushed, you may have to re-think this person as your mentor. You also don’t want to over-schedule in the beginning – this just burns both of you out. 

You also don’t want to come to depend too heavily on your mentor – and the mentor is never to take advantage of the arrangement. If for instance, they start asking you to do their work for them, run for the nearest exit. 

Don’t be afraid to go through a couple of people before you find the mentor who’s right for you. They could soon become one of the best resources for your small business. 

In the area of all things accounting and financial … well, we’d love to play this role for you. If we haven’t (yet) discussed exactly what that could and should look like, get on our calendar. We have options.

877-922-2832

But a good Hermosa Beach business owner has more than one advisor and mentor. I’m happy to make other recommendations if you want them and be a guide where I can be.

 

Always in your corner,

To Nguyen
(877) 922-2832
Accudata Accounting Advisors

 

Whether you’re partial to the Olympics or American football, this past week has brought some great athletic entertainment to many Hermosa Beach homes and businesses. 

As we speak, the U.S. has managed to grab 16 medals – 7 of them gold. Among those gold medal winners is Erin Jackson, the first Black woman to win an Olympic medal in speedskating. And while he didn’t medal, Shaun White made his final snowboarding bow as he placed fourth in the halfpipe contest.

And speaking of winners, hats off to the Los Angeles Rams who battled their way to victory against the Bengals despite the loss of star Odell Beckham Jr. early in the game. They manage to take home a little decorative silver themselves in the form of the Lombardi trophy.

Now, although we love sports and are still hopeful for more great Olympic moments, our schedule has actually been pretty jam-packed the past few weeks. I haven’t been able to pay as close attention as I would have liked, as a result.

But we’re still clearing openings for people, which you can access right here:

877-922-2832

Now, let’s dive into the topic of succession planning and why you need to think about this for your Hermosa Beach business…

Succession Planning 101 for Hermosa Beach Businesses

“What could be more important than equipping the next generation with the character and competence they need to become successful?” – Colin Powell

Your small business is one of your prized possessions. Why wouldn’t you want to take the best care of it possible, for as long as possible – even after you’re no longer running it? 

Handing over the reins of a business doesn’t automatically go well. When Disney screwed up its succession planning a few years back, the stock took a serious hit, causing the bigwigs to launch into hissy fits. 

When the old-time members of the Gucci family wouldn’t let the younger successors spread their wings, the backbiting and the tax accusations flew worse than designer luggage at the airport. 

And brothers who were inseparable since childhood recently watched their business and personal relationship go, as one brother said, “down the drain” at McCain Foods. 

The problem? These businesses either didn’t have a succession plan or – more likely – had one and didn’t stick to it. 

So, what can you do to prevent these problems? 

Envision that clear path

If you’re like many small-business owners, you don’t like to think about the day when you’re no longer at the wheel. Nevertheless, it happens eventually. Be realistic and make a plan – now, while there’s still time – that establishes a clear path of progression for your business. 

No matter who shares control of your small business, a succession plan ensures that the future of what you worked so hard to build won’t suffer from a power void – or a power struggle. Your business is too important to risk it falling into unqualified hands. 

Maybe a part of you is thinking, People are gonna fight if they’re gonna fight when that time comes, no matter who a piece of paper says is in charge… 

Maybe, but a succession plan ahead of time can put things in place to prevent that trouble before it begins. Not only will managers know where they stand, but they can also help people under them understand, too. A succession plan helps everybody understand and start training for their eventual role as soon as possible. That makes everybody feel more secure as part of your business (kind of helping you today, too…). 

What kind of plan do you need?

Succession planning comes in a lot of flavors but there are two basic types of plans: long-term and emergency. 

Your “long-term” plan will be the blueprint for how your business might fill key positions if needed someday. The “emergency” plan, as you can probably guess from the name, comprises temporary measures to keep your business running smoothly.

Some questions to help you start pulling a plan together: 

  • Does it only have to cover you and your senior managers?
  • Is any part of your operation likely to see succession sooner than others? Got a department with a high number of staffers nearing retirement? A lot of folks in one area just plain looking to leave?
  • How are you going to find new people? Promote from within or look outside your business? 

Now, who exactly are you talking about and what do they do? In other words, find the positions where you must have a warm body. CEO? Finance? Department heads? Specialists? How crucial is the position to your company and what skills does someone have to have to do the job? This helps you figure out how training (including on-the-job training) and development fits into your overall plan. 

Does everything that worked years ago in your business still work that way? No? Your succession plan’s the same way – especially if (as we all hope) your business grows and lasts for years and years.

A final word

That word is “emotions.” Don’t let them derail your plan. 

Just because you love someone (like your kid) doesn’t mean they have what’s needed under the hood to run your company. Sure, they might. They might not, too – and don’t make that pick automatically. 

Try to be objective. If you want to keep your kids and other relatives involved but you think they don’t have all the necessary chops, give them senior positions in your company under professional managers who can oversee the business. 

A real-life example from a model of success: How about none other than Warren Buffett, who didn’t choose his children as big-chair successors at Berkshire Hathaway but instead just put them on the board. 

Everybody won – and that’s all you can ask of your succession plan.

We’re here to help with all your plans for the future. If you’re ready to talk it over, grab a time with us here:

877-922-2832

Helping our clients in every possible way we can is Accudata Accounting Advisors 101.

In your corner,

To Nguyen
(877) 922-2832
Accudata Accounting Advisors

Because taxes are one of those sure things in life for every Hermosa Beach resident, it’s pretty normal (rightfully so) to fear the IRS especially if you don’t know about the Practitioner Priority Service. The arm of this particular government agency has a pretty far reach. Their grasp is so powerful, they can take down even the seemingly untouchable (Capone will never live that down).

And if they can take down infamous mobsters, celebs, even Martha Stewart… they can certainly trap the average taxpayer in their snare. 

Right now the memory of money you used to owe the IRS might be picking away at you, but because all went quiet on the government front, you aren’t sure where you stand or how much you exactly owe. And of course, you want to avoid the scary punishments (tax liens, wage garnishment, etc.).

Despite that, this nagging fear persists, so you decide it’s time to contact the IRS about that tax debt. 

But, if you do contact them, it’s possible you’ll end up back on their active list. And you want to keep out of their crosshairs… so now you feel stuck. What do you do?

Well, we’ve got a solution we want to offer up today for this tricky conundrum…

Practitioner Priority Service: How this Hermosa Beach Tax Pro Can Help You
“What simple action could you take today to produce a new momentum toward success in your life?” – Anthony Robbins

Contacting the IRS directly usually means hours-long wait time with that maddening hold music in your ear, and in doing so, you can attract unnecessary attention. That’s not ideal when you simply want answers.

Well, the good news is we have a special tool in our toolbox that the regular Hermosa Beach taxpayer doesn’t have, and we can deploy it on your behalf. It’s called the Practitioner Priority Service.

Basically, tax professionals (Enrolled Agents, Attorneys, and CPAs) have a dedicated phone line to contact the IRS regarding questions about their clients’ accounts.

The best part? These inquiries are made “under the IRS radar” because the representatives that staff the Practitioner Priority Service aren’t Revenue Officers or tied into the IRS collection division. Nor do they work for the IRS Automated Collection Service.

Their main role is to answer our questions and give us information about our clients’ accounts with the IRS.

The dispensing of information is their primary focus, and there’s nothing in their job description which would put the questions we ask into any kind of notification system for future follow-up.

In other words, when we call them on your behalf, it’s a low-key kind of call with minimal risk to you.

Here’s what we can find out for you by calling the IRS Practitioner Priority Service:

  • How much longer the IRS has to collect the taxes from you. By statute, the IRS has 10 years — but the Practitioner Priority Service can tell us the end dates the IRS has in their internal database.
  • We can determine if the IRS has sent out a Final Notice of Intent to Levy, whether they can levy your wages, accounts, and property, and if you have appeal rights to stop it.
  • If the IRS has your account in active collection status or currently uncollectible inactive status.
  • If your case has been assigned to the IRS Automated Collection Service or a local Revenue Officer.
  • We can find out the last time you officially filed a tax return and the information that the IRS has for use in preparing the returns.
  • Whether the IRS has properly applied and processed any payments you have made.
  • Exactly how much you owe the IRS, including the IRS calculations of interest and penalties (which can double the amount due every five years).
  • If your tax liabilities can be discharged in bankruptcy, giving you a clean slate as to the IRS.

We can also secure internal IRS transcripts of your account when we call so that we can verify everything the representative tells us. That way we have backup verification for your records on what the IRS has on your account.

So, here’s the great news: You don’t have to be in the dark about your IRS tax liability, and you don’t have to fear asking the IRS questions. 

We are the Hermosa Beach professional in your corner, ready to get answers for you, under the radar.

If you’re ready to find out where you stand with the IRS in a way that won’t put your account front and center, we’re here and ready to help. 
877-922-2832

You’ve got a friend in the tax reporting business.

Warmly,

To Nguyen
(877) 922-2832
Accudata Accounting Advisors

 

Office space can be a big part of owning your own business. It can be a pretty big expense, too… And of course, the past two years might have changed how you do business in that Hermosa Beach office – a lot. 

Maybe you have more people working from home. Maybe you’ve had to lay off some, at least for now. Odds are good that if you take a peek out over your office these days, you won’t see what you saw in 2019. 

It might be time to ask: Do I still need as much office space?

Now, if your answer to my question above is “no,” let’s look at what your options are for saving on office space…

Saving On Office Space For Your Hermosa Beach Business
“The biggest boss has the clearest desk.” – John Cho

Desks, cubicles, conference rooms: You probably dreamed about them when you imagined having your own business, but the fact today is, they may not be the must-haves they once were – especially when you start looking at how much of your workforce might stay virtual. 

I want my employees where I can see them, you might be thinking. That’s only natural thinking for a boss. But don’t be in such a hurry to put that thinking ahead of your bottom line.

The American Institute of Certified Public Accountants found out in a recent survey that one in five CPAs and accounting firms expect some sort of office space reduction soon because of the pandemic. In a different survey, three-quarters of big business CEOs agreed, estimating that for every five employees they would wind up needing just three desks. Others said they’ll probably wind up for a while with a hybrid schedule where workers switch off being in the office and working from home.

The point is, maybe these companies no longer need as much space. 

Which begs the question: Do you? Let’s talk about saving on office space.

Play the numbers game

What are you spending to maintain your Hermosa Beach office? This is probably a painfully clear number but you need to examine it in terms of how big your staff is … and, more importantly, how big your staff is going to be. 

Let’s assume that you’ve decided changes in space might help your company. Grab a pencil and think about these questions:

  • Over the next year or so, how many workers are going to be in your office on any given workday and who’s going to be remote?
  • Ideally, do you want each employee to have the most possible space – or do you want to put the most workers you can into a given space?
  • Do you like individual offices or open areas with cubicles and workstations? Can employees share a desk?

You probably already have a good idea of how much room your folks need (and don’t be shy about asking them for their ideas), but, if not, here are some general formulas:

  • High density, about 80 to 150 square feet per employee, allows for open seating with rows of small desks (you might need to allow for more private meeting rooms with this layout).
  • Average density, about 200 square feet per employee, gives a mix of open cube or desk space and private offices.
  • Spacious density of about 250 and up square feet per employee allows mostly for large private offices.
  • Common areas tend to eat up as much as a third of your office space. If you’re working on a budget, maybe it’s time to look for a deal where you can share those areas with another company. 

Don’t forget space for reception, storage, and other housekeeping stuff, and ask your people about their needs and wants in office space – you may be paying rent on things they don’t even care about. 

Multiply what kind of layout you want by the number of employees you’ll have going forward, and voila. Is this number more or less than what you have now? 

If it’s less, you’ve got a saving on office space opportunity in your hand.  

It’s the lease you can do

Any change in your need for office space naturally makes you wonder about your lease. Can you tinker with it? 

Many commercial leases are long-term – sometimes a decade or more – but that doesn’t mean you don’t have wiggle room to negotiate as your business changes. Better the devil you know: Try working with your current landlord (assuming you’ve been a good tenant) in your search for less space. 

About new commercial leases in general, look for the length of the lease; see if the rent stacks up against others in the area; watch for details like future rent hikes, hidden costs on “net leases” and termination clauses; and wrangle any favorable clauses that you can. 

We can help you look at your books and see if changing office spaces is a smart move for you. Please don’t hesitate to reach out. 

877-922-2832

 

We’re here for you,

To Nguyen
(877) 922-2832
Accudata Accounting Advisors

 

With all of the extra year-end bookkeeping and tax matters your business is trying to tackle right now, a social media storm is the last thing you need/want to deal with. 

But it’s sadly the sort of thing that will not go away by itself. And how to deal with negative reviews is something Hermosa Beach business owners like you need to be thinking about. 

Anybody who’s been in business five minutes has had a customer stand in front of them with a complaint.

A worker was rude … Something arrived broken … You didn’t do this … You didn’t do that… 

You listen, you work it out, and they either stay a customer or they take their business elsewhere. 

Thing is, it used to be that customer complaints weren’t put in writing for potential customers to read – but now that’s exactly what happens when someone complains about your business online. That gripe can just sit there, week after week, month after month, potentially polluting your relationships with new customers before they even begin. 

Hey, we love you and your Hermosa Beach business, and as far as we’re concerned everybody else ought to love you, too. But here are two truths: You can’t please every customer. And bad reviews of your business online can really hurt your company. 

For a long time. 

Here’s how to deal with negative reviews and keep your company’s good name online (because we want you to be able to focus on running your business well in times like these)…

Hermosa Beach Businesses: Here’s How to Deal with Negative Reviews
“Many a man’s reputation would not know his character if they met on the street.” – Elbert Hubbard

Leaving a good lasting impression is something we all want in life. In business, it’s the key to keeping clients. But leaving a bad one… well that could mean a lot of lost business. 

A recent survey showed that more than nine out of 10 consumers say a negative online review can turn them off from choosing a particular business. Other surveys have shown that often online shoppers won’t even go near a business that has fewer than three out of a possible five stars.

Wow. Losing new customers because of just one bad comment about your business? Unfortunately, that’s the reality. Even if the bad comment was slipped in by a “Karen” who just has it out for your business, figuring out how to deal with negative reviews should be a top priority.

There are a lot of platforms online where customers can bash you (or sing your praises). Google, Amazon, Yelp, Facebook, TripAdvisor – maybe even your own website hosts reviews. 

Are you on those sites? Are your customers? Your first move in managing your online reputation: Find out the platforms where your business is mentioned and where your customers like to go. That’s where you should advertise and build some kind of presence.

It’s also where bad reviews about you will show up.

Put your browser on private mode (aka “incognito” or “InPrivate”) and Google your company’s name. Maybe tack on the word “review.” See anything from a customer? If you did, right now you’re probably either thinking how cool or you’re using some colorful language. 

It’s hard, but step one in how to deal with negative reviews is finding those reviews and reading them.

And the answer is…

Recognize any of your customers? If the comments were positive, write back and thank them – that’s just a win-win. 

If the comments were bad – Well, we’re sorry to say, there is no quick DELETE button for those. 

Where is the comment posted? Are any of the bad comments recent? If they are, you should respond… and fast. 

No, don’t fire off a warhead full of defensive language. Take time to think about your answer. Think relationally. How can you show understanding and build a bridge to a good experience? Responding to the negative comment in this way shows you’re a professional. 

You also might learn something to improve your business. And depending on your follow-up, you might even end up keeping the customer. That’s right – some people respect your effort. Not everybody to be sure, but some… 

Put your initial response in the public platform where the comment appeared but then take all the back and forth offline – email… or phone call (maybe). 

About apologizing: If your business was to blame, say you’re sorry and tell the reviewer you’re working on the problem. But at the first whiff of legal liability, fall back on phrases that don’t pin you down. Better yet, check with a lawyer first. 

Responding fast and thoughtfully also shows the other folks on that website – potential customers – that you’re a businessperson who makes things right and fixes problems. That’s a good reputation to have. 

You don’t ask, you don’t get

One great way to head off problems is to be in charge of the situation. Regarding your online reputation, take the lead and ask for reviews

Yep, it works. If you’ve got a satisfied customer, ask them to say so online. One negative review by itself looks terrible for you; one negative review among half a dozen positive ones can be a good ad for your business. 

Moving forward, if you want to get formal about it, you can set a goal – say, X number a month – for requesting online reviews. Set a schedule for checking your online presence. And if one customer just keeps writing negative review after negative review, don’t be afraid to tell them to take their business elsewhere. It’ll be worth it. 

 

We’re books and accounting experts, but we’d be happy to help you find somebody who can help you figure out how to deal with negative reviews or any other aspect of your business online. Give us a buzz. 

877-922-2832

 

Ready to help you however we can,

To Nguyen
(877) 922-2832
Accudata Accounting Advisors

 

This past weekend’s NFL playoff games were maybe some of the best post-season games to watch in a long, long time… with some of the most unexpected outcomes. Who would have believed that all but one of the top teams from the regular season would be unseated from a Super Bowl trajectory? 

The power of the underdog is not to be underestimated. 

But surprising outcomes and the power of the little guy is a story employers all over the country are all too familiar with right now. 

The Great Reshuffle has businesses everywhere – large and small, new and old – scrambling to figure out how to hold onto their employees or even hire new ones. Providing the best employee benefits has become the name of the hiring (and retaining) game these days.

Financial Planning: One of the Best Employee Benefits Hermosa Beach Businesses Can Offer
“Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the ax.” – Abraham Lincoln

Employee perks are a way of life in business and though they vary from business to business, things like health insurance, PTO, flex time, even Friday donuts are pretty common. However, there’s another perk you might not have considered and could be one of the best your company has to offer: financial planning sessions.

In this current economy, with inflation slapping everyone in the face, hooking your Hermosa Beach employees up with financial planning could be beneficial … for them, and for you.

What do you get out of it?

Did you know that almost two out of every five Americans can’t comfortably cover an unplanned expense? Odds are at least somebody on your staff could hit lean times if they had to fork it over for a medical problem or an emergency car repair. Money woes are top-of-the-heap troubles for many employees, though they would probably never mention it. 

And what’s one of the first steps in tackling any problem? Planning. 

Frankly, it’s surprising just how little most people think about planning with their money or how much financial literacy is not a priority. And, for the most part, they still don’t teach either subject in school. Plus, sitting down with a financial planner remains out of the reach of most American workers mainly because of the cost (but even because of mindset). 

Imagine how much it would impact your employees if you could help them tackle a scary problem like bad finances? As perks go, offering this could be one of the best employee benefits you offer, and it would make you stand out in their eyes – and in the eyes of any potential hires they might refer to you when you have jobs to fill.

Money woes also serve as a huge distraction for your workers. Helping them with money troubles could result in more engagement at the office. And since money troubles tend to stress people out – and we all know the toll stress can take on our health – helping them to have a financial plan means peace of mind for them and better overall health. Added bonus for you: less employee sick time. 

Helping employees plan with their money can also mean they’re not always pressing for a raise – or threatening to dump you for better money elsewhere (though offering perks doesn’t take the place of building a great working culture where employees feel seen and their needs cared for – the best deterrent for employee dissatisfaction). 

Overall, then, offering financial planning as a perk can be a win-win, pure and simple. 

What if they don’t wanna do it?

Though offering financial planning sessions could be one of the best employee benefits you offer, the whole idea could flop, that is… if you just whip it on your people without preparing them for it first. Money is a touchy topic even when all’s well. Nobody’s going to open up about their wants and fears about money unless you make it clear what’s in it for them… and you have answers ready for their objections.

I don’t have enough money to plan with. Sitting down with a planner is especially important for these folks, who more than most, need tips and tricks to whittle debt and stick to a budget as they move toward bigger goals like home-owning or retirement saving.

I don’t need a planner – and I’m too old to start planning. That’s like somebody claiming they have too many friends… Is their retirement all locked up? Are they going to pay the kids’ tuition with twenties from under the mattress? People put off thinking about stuff that has no easy answer. Everyone can always do better with money. And it’s never too late to start. 

I’m not showing some stranger my dirty laundry. Any good planner looks forward, not back, with clients. They look to understand someone’s past decisions, not judge them. 

I can’t afford a financial planner – and I can’t find a good one. You’ve taken care of this one for them, haven’t you? 

Speaking of financial planning …

How much is this gonna cost me?

Let’s say you just want a planner to sit down for an hour or so a couple of times a year with your interested staffers. Advisors’ prices for this can vary – a whole lot – but financial planners’ fees start roughly in the low four figures per day. Hourly fees generally start in the low three figures. 

It’s been said that how the advisor gets paid plays into their recommendations. For example, fee-only advisors (aka “fiduciaries”) earn money exclusively from fees paid by their clients (you) with no commissions from selling products or trading securities. If you can’t imagine the difference, think back on retirement-plan seminars you’ve gone to that were put on by 401(k) sponsors themselves … 

You can check the background of a financial advisor at BrokerCheck, run by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA). Popular credentials for planners and advisors are Certified Financial Planner (CFP), Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA), and Personal Financial Specialist (PFS). All of these require tons of education and passing tough exams (we’re talking day-long tests).

We think some sessions with a qualified Hermosa Beach financial advisor could be one of the best employee benefits you end up offering. Financial peace of mind means peace of mind for everyone. If we can help you set that up in any way, just give us a buzz:

877-922-2832

 

We’re here and ready to serve you,

To Nguyen
(877) 922-2832
Accudata Accounting Advisors

 

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