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Sallie Mullins Thompson, CPA PLLC

Navigating Your Financial Life Through Effective Tax Strategies

 

Business Owner Checklist – Part I: Some Basics

| November 12, 2016
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Business

What components are essential for business owners to be positioned for success and growth? Part I highlights the first 6 of ten such items that I have found to be fundamental, during my 20+ years of working with business owners. I have also incorporated references to professionals that I trust to assist my clients with these key areas. 

    1. Legal structure: Given that each type of business organization has pros and cons as well as tax consequences, seeking advice from a tax professional, such as Jack Sullivan of Sullivan & Associates Law Firm, PC, or myself, is a requisite before forming a new business. Plus, it is prudent to re-evaluate after the business is in existence for 3-5 years.  

    2. Agreements: Any business with multiple owners, shareholders, members, or partners needs to execute written documents for matters involving capital contributions, income/expense splits, responsibilities, and compensation. I refer my clients to Doug Wasser of Wasser & Russ LLP to prepare the relevant operating and other business agreements that accurately reflect division of duties, percentages, dollar figures, and perceptions as agreed to by the associated parties. Michael Steger at the Law Office of Michael D. Steger, PC can handle your Intellectual Property issues, so if you have Trademarks, Copyrights, and Logos, contact him.       

    3. Infrastructure: A solid ‘processing’ foundation is critical and should be installed from day 1.  
      • Apps: Some type of accounting package is a necessity to track assets contributed, start-up costs, loans, revenues, costs of sales, operating expenses, budgets, and cash flow projections. If you want to outsource, good bookkeeping firms are Donna Zanger at DBooks; Chara McGill at The RMG Group; Sue Stamos of S&P Accounting NYC; and Naman Trivedi, CPA at Supporting Strategies-NYC. Further, as a QuickBooks Pro Advisor, I also provide services in accounting set-up, training, and reporting.    
      • IT: The 2nd element of your infrastructure is comprised of computers, software applications, networks, servers, routers, databases, cyber security, backup, hosting, cloud, disaster recovery, and help desk support systems. Speak with Sean O’Rourke, consultant at Syzygy 3, and Shari Lowsky of tmg-emedia, to learn what best suits your business.  
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    4. Protection: Buy/sell arrangements, business overhead insurance, and disability coverages are the usual mechanisms used for protection against unexpected events. I like to work with Michael Korn of Guardian Life's National Financial Network, Lynn Chiavaro of Northwestern Mutual, Kelly Welles of Welles Financial Services, and Erin Ardleigh of Dynama Insurance, an independent insurance brokerage. E&O and cyber security insurance are a must as well, so be sure to include that coverage in your business insurance package.
    5.  
    6. Organization: Given that there are only so many hours in a day to accomplish tasks, being organized in your business work space, office, and processes will dramatically increase your productivity. I find that Stephanie Shalofsky of The Organizing Zone and Korinne Belock of Urban Simplicity are fabulous resources to get my clients and me on track. 
    7.  
    8. Employees: If you have employees, not following the myriad laws and regulations can negatively impact your business. Understanding the reporting, documenting, and filing requirements for payroll, employment contracts. and workers’ comp/disability insurance are central to avoiding fines, interest, and penalties. Tiffany Ma of Young & Ma LLP and Eric Sarver, Esq. of The Law Offices of Eric M. Sarver are experts in all things related to employment law.     
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