2020 is here, and it’s a chance for a fresh start for your business. Milestone years can be motivational in making the business improvements you may have been delaying, and it’s an opportune time to set the tone for the next 10 years. From taxes, to accounting, to processes and growth, here are some tips we’ve compiled to help you make the most of 2020.
- Review your entity structure – If you haven’t revisited your entity structure recently, you could be missing out on significant tax opportunities created by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA). Meet with your CPA to discuss the tax opportunities available to you and what would change if your entity changed.
- Optimize your deductions – This seems obvious, but if you’re not tracking all your business movements, you could be missing out on key deductions. Meet with your CPA to make a plan to optimize your deductions wherever possible this year, especially if you have plans for growth in staff or production.
- Take advantage of opportunity zones – Opportunity zones are an often-over-looked tax strategy, but they shouldn’t be. They’re ripe with potential, and the opportunities for capital gains deferral is significant. Your CPA advisor can help you understand what’s available and create a tax strategy around these zones.
- Review your retirement plan – Reviewing your personal retirement plan is always important when it comes to tax strategy; however, your business’s retirement plan for employees can also have a significant impact on your overall business tax situation. Explore your options for offering employees retirement, if you don’t currently, and ensure that any current plan you do have is benefitting you as well as your employees.
- Seek help – You don’t have to go it alone with taxes. A proactive strategy with a CPA advisor who understands your industry is key as they can provide peace of mind and fewer surprises come tax time. They do the hard work, you reap the benefits.
- Clean up your QuickBooks and financial management platforms – If you haven’t already cleaned up your QuickBooks for 2020, do it now. Get the year started with a clean slate so you can stay on top of the other tips in this section.
- Get and stay organized – Once your accounting management platform is clean, keep it that way with organizational tactics and systems for things like receipts and purchase orders. Efficient organization and proper documentation will also make tax time easier.
- If you’re not using a platform, get one – Some small businesses can survive using a simple spreadsheet for managing their accounting. However, platforms today, like QuickBooks, offer so much more in the way of budgeting, organization, and data analysis. You can get more than ever before, and with cloud technology, you can see it wherever you are. Regardless of your business’s size, they can be a worthwhile investment.
- Establish operating procedures and ensure your staff knows them – If you don’t already have standard operating procedures for your accounts payable/receivable, draw up a policy and train your staff. If everyone is following the same process and on the same page, you can ensure fewer issues slip through the cracks.
- Use the budget feature to efficiently stay on top of your finances – Many accounting platforms include a budget feature, but how well are you utilizing it, if at all? These are powerful tools for small businesses to track their business’s financial health throughout the year. If you’re unsure how to set it up so it works for you, your CPA advisor can help.
- Take time to clean up one part of your process that has been bugging you – Maybe it’s in production or distribution or in the client experience – every business owner has an area of their processes that they wish was different or could be fine-tuned. Now is the time to tackle that issue and resolve it once and for all in 2020.
- Survey your team for areas where they think things can improve – Your team is a huge asset in process improvement because they are in each level of the process every day and could see areas for improvement that you may overlook. Use their experience and expertise to resolve any shortcomings in your processes. Plus, getting them to buy-in and feel they have a stake in the process helps employees feel more engaged and more likely to stay with a company.
- Ask your clients/customers how you could make their experience better, and do what they ask – It can be scary to survey customers, but there are many ways to accomplish this and gain valuable feedback. Whether it’s at the register, during an order process, or a follow up call, ask your customers how you can better serve their needs. But then, you must do what they ask. Even better, follow up and let them know their valuable feedback made an impact. This can improve customer retention.
- Use time-tracking software – Time-tracking software can help you better understand where the day goes for you and your employees. You can see what areas take the most time and why, and use that data to improve or reallocate resources.
- Explore automation where possible – You may feel like you’re too busy to research automation solutions for your business, but the truth is in today’s world, you can’t afford not to. There are so many platforms and products out there that nearly everything can be automated – saving you time and energy.
- Establish your benchmarks and KPIs for the year – When was the last time you set benchmarks for your business? Do you know what your key performance indicators (KPIs) are? 2020 is a great time to set up benchmarks not just for the year, but for the next 10 years to set a course for your business. If you’re unsure where to start, your CPA advisor can help.
- Set up a system to monitor your benchmarks and KPIs – Once you’ve established your benchmarks and KPIs, you need to track them. Software platforms exist for this kind of management, and your CPA advisor can make a recommendation.
- Establish who is responsible for reporting on each – Each KPI should have an owner for reporting on progress. Engage your team members and make them part of this process of contributing to your business’s growth by inviting them to serve as a manager of one or more KPIs. Work with them to ensure successful management.
- Hold short but effective meetings regularly to ensure you’re meeting goals – You don’t need to have weekly, long-winded meetings to stay on top of your business’s growth progress. Studies show that short, effective meetings are best and can help hold each team member accountable. Set a schedule and stick to it. That way, each member of the team knows when they are responsible for reporting on their area and can be prepared.
- Review, change, improve – At each meeting, set reasonable goals and timelines for each task. Review progress on the tasks set at the previous meeting, and implement the necessary changes going forward. Through regular accountability, your growth goals can become a reality.
Goering and Granatino can help you make the most out of 2020 no matter what stage your business is in. Contact us to learn more.