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The Financial Management Blog for Surprise, Arizona

Reduce These Four Risks by Outsourcing Your Back Office

 

When businesses outsource bookkeeping and accounting, they reduce their risk and gain better insight.

You probably have dreams that you want to realize if you own and run your company. The problem is that you need a recipe with the right ingredients to achieve your goals. You’ve got the foresight, ingenuity, and tenacity, but have you got time, energy, and peace of mind? Smart professionals know that they need to alleviate pressure in order to expand. If their dreams are going to last, they also need to minimize risk.

Most small and medium-sized companies (including a few billion dollars) opt for outsourcing. From research and development to information technology, outsourcing functions of your business will  

          allow your owners and innovators to do their best,

          reduce costs and overhead, and

          reduce risk.

For most businesses, the most often outsourced roles are “non-core” divisions. If your business fails your bookkeeping and accounting department, do not wait for appropriate action to be taken. Take the constructive approach and begin to consider contracting out these functions.

Many business owners are surprised at the impact on the bottom line of a business that a poorly managed back office has. For example, you open up yourself to employee error when the person running your accounting is stretched too thin. Or worse, when your company’s books fall on one person’s plate, you put yourself at an increased risk for fraud. Here are four additional risks that you can reduce by working with an outsourced reliable accounting firm.

Technology –Most small businesses do not have the time to research, evaluate, and learn or keep up with the latest channels to find one they like. When you hire a service provider, you also hire their system, which means you have access to the industry’s latest and best technology (with a service liaison, to boot!).

Compliance – There is considerable regulation for accounting firms. This ensures that you will have peace of mind when you hire an accounting company provider ensuring that the person who performs your bookkeeping and accounting is trained and up-to-date on the latest news of compliance.

Data – In business, staying one step ahead is dependent on your ability to respond to your financial data. When your financial statements are timely and accurate, and the person delivering the numbers is an expert, you will be able to make strategic decisions based on reliable data.

Reporting – You don’t need to survive each month with the bare essentials. An outsourced accountant can empower you to improve your financial position by running the right reports and setting up financial dashboards. You will assess your success and prevent over-expenditure if you monitor the right metrics. When you have access to easily digestible and accurate dashboards, you can quickly assess how your business is performing and identify which areas need your attention. Here are a few ways strategic reporting can reduce your risk.

          Consumers who are not successful frequently fly under the radar. Your outsourced staff will help you determine which clients are no longer suitable for your company (in their present state at least)

          Cash flow problems often occur from incomplete data or from an untrained interpretation of good data. An outsourced expert will be able to head off cash flow circumstances by synchronizing the timing of your payments and receivables, renegotiating terms, and developing predictive models, and more.

          If you do not have key performance metrics, measuring the financial success of ad campaigns and ROI from marketing efforts is challenging. Trained professionals will help you better understand the actual costs of your company and recognize the specific KPIs for your success.

Bookkeeping nuances have the potential to change your situation very quickly. In the hands of an experienced professional, accurate and timely data will allow you to focus on making informed decisions instead of reacting with your gut.

When businesses outsource bookkeeping and accounting, they augment their growth and significantly reduce their risk. Outsourcing your back office will help you maintain financial integrity and allow you to sleep better at night. Allow yourself to do what you do best. If you need help deciding which aspects of outsourcing will most benefit you, give the professionals in our office a call today.

Blucora to Rename Wealth Management Business Unit as Avantax Wealth Management℠

Firm Offers Tax-Smart Planning & Investing Strategies to Advisors and the Clients They Serve

September 9, 2019—Earlier this year, our firm’s wealth management support and services provider, 1st Global, was purchased by Blucora, Inc., a leading provider of technology enabled solutions to consumers, small businesses and tax professionals. Blucora plans to unify its two wealth management divisions, HD Vest and 1st Global.

Popular SECURE Act Signals Significant Shift to Retirement Plans

SECURE Act Most Important Update to Retirement in Over a Decade

 

In terms of retirement planning, Americans share at least one dilemma. From the worker to the employer to the policymaker, everyone is living longer. On May 23, 2019, the House passed the Setting Every Community Up for Retirement Enhancement (SECURE) Act. This legislation, receiving almost unanimous bipartisan support, provides the most important change to retirement plans and opportunities since the Pension Protection Act of 2006. The bill contains over 25 amendments and provisions expressly aimed at promoting savings in retirement among all employees. This bill addresses the apparent need for a worker’s wealth to run (and finish) the race with them. This document may face modification before being signed into law, but one thing is clear: change is coming. Below we have prepared a synopsis of the changes that present the most opportunity. 

IRS Issues Further Opportunity Zone Regulations Guidance

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

IRS Issues Further Opportunity Zone Regulations Guidance

The Qualified Opportunity Zone Program will work only if investors can follow the breadcrumbs to their prize with confidence. Many investors have been paralyzed by regulatory confusion in uncertainty. In the following update, we provide an overview of the highly sought-after guidance released on April 17 by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and the US Treasury Department.

Opportunity Zone Program Primer

 

  • The IRS states that all types of capital gains are eligible for the Opportunity Zones tax incentives through the use of Opportunity Funds, which invests at least ninety percent of its assets in Qualified Opportunity Zone (QOZ) Property.
  • Qualified Opportunity Zone Funds (QOZF) are subject to specific regulations as set forth by the IRS, namely the types of gains that may be deferred, the timeline by which the amounts by invested, and how investors may elect to defer specified gains.
  • The IRS defines eligible opportunity zone property as QOZF stock, QOZF partnership interest, or QOZF business property. Qualified opportunity property must exist and operate in a QOZ, be new to the entity, and abide by specific requirements.

Issues

The original Opportunity Zone legislation left eager investors with more questions then answers. Below are some of the issues that the guidance addresses.

  • The vague term, “substantially all,” used in various places of section 1400Z-2
  • Rules surrounding transactions that trigger the inclusion of gain that a taxpayer elected to defer under section 1400Z-2
  • Unclear definitions of timing and amount of the deferred gain that is included in the package
  • The approved treatment of leased property used by a QOZ business and use of QOZ business property in the QOZ
  • Sourcing of gross income to the QOZ business
  • Another vague term, “reasonable period,” for a QOF to reinvest proceeds from the sale of qualifying assets without paying a penalty

Further Guidance

Below are a few of the key clarifications giving investors the green light to move forward:

  • For use of the property, at least 70 percent of the property must be used in a QOZ.
  • For the holding period of the property, tangible property must be QOZ business property for at least 90 percent of the QOF’s or QOZ business’s holding period.
  • The partnership or corporation must be a QOZ business for at least 90 percent of the QOF’s holding period.
  • Eligible business criteria expand from revenue generation to service transactions and employee location.

In addition, the IRS noted a few situations where deferred gains may become taxable. If an investor transfers their interest in a QOF, e.g., if the transfer is done by gift, the deferred gain may become taxable. However, inheritance by a surviving spouse is not a taxable transfer, nor is a transfer, upon death, of an ownership interest in a QOF to an estate or a revocable trust that becomes irrevocable upon death.

We encourage you to read the update as a whole as it includes additional guidance on the term “original use” and addresses all of the above-mentioned issues. If you are still unsure of moving forward with this investment opportunity, our office professionals will stand by to answer your specific questions and address your concerns.

Accounts Payable: The Best Practices for a Competitive Advantage

There are many reasons why an organization’s revenue can slip through the cracks. Outdated technology, lack of training, employee turnover and complacency are common culprits. Accounts Payable tends to be the land of the lost-disregarded and undervalued. Ignoring best practices in this department leads to loss of revenue and poses significant financial risk to your operation. Accounts Payable is critical to optimizing capital; it’s time to shed light on this core strategy.

Taking a strategic approach to Accounts Payable requires a business owner first to identify which practices are holding up their business. Common mistakes include:

  • Onboarding suppliers without following a standardized procedure
  • Duplicating payments due to workarounds in the ERP system
  • Missing the risky behaviors that expose your business to disbursement fraud
  • Taking liberties with late vendor payments
  • Not separating the duties of new supplier approval from invoice payment

A well-functioning Accounts Payable department is an opportunity to optimize payables and free up the working capital needed to fuel growth. Strengthening your accounts payable department processes and procedures is a big task. Addressing the following areas first will help build momentum:

  • Automated invoice and payment processes. Too often, small businesses use error-prone manual processes to approve requisitions, scan supplier invoices, and issue payments. Adopting automated systems will reduce the number and mistakes and increase the effectiveness of process controls.

 

  • AP Workflow. Unless you have an AP workflow in place, your ERP system will only act as a gatekeeper. Without an intentional workflow, manual loopholes make it possible to outsmart the very systems you have in place to prevent these mistakes. Setting up a workflow – a series of checks and balances – will help you avoid these errors before they begin.   For example,

 

  • Duplicate Payments. One challenging area for some of our clients are payments to vendors via check and by credit card. To avoid duplicate payments, we often suggest requiring PO numbers for payments made by credit card.

 

  • Three-Way Matching. It is always a good idea to confirm that the supplier invoice amount aligns with the goods or services you have purchased. Failure to do this can leave your organization susceptible to paying for things you did order, receive or approve. To prevent this, consider adopting a three-way matching approach to your checks and balances. This steps triple checks your process for oversights or mistakes. The three documents you will review are the vendor invoice, purchase order and receiving document (packing slip or report).

 

  • Airtight Master Files. Take vendor management seriously before an internal audit. Establishing and maintaining a clean vendor master file will safeguard you against potential fraud. Keeping records and contracts up-to-date will help you identify red flags and make it easier for your procurement personnel to do their jobs.

 

  • Proactive Behaviors. Your organization will benefit from a proactive approach, but three main areas will outshine in the Accounts Payable department.
    • Dynamic discounting produces a risk-free, annualized return on investments, simply by leveraging payments terms to your advantage. In simplified terms, the purchasing organization offers to pay their suppliers early in exchange for a discount. This synergistic approach is dependent on transparent and up-to-date disbursement systems and works best in organizations that have an efficient AP workflow.
    • On average, fraud takes 18 months to uncover. In addition to internal and external audits, businesses need to commit to regular, rigorous fraud monitoring. Being proactive in this area means establishing controls that look for red flags such as employee-vendor matches, invoice anomalies, or prohibited entities in your master list. Aggressive monitoring should not invoke a culture of distrust; it should instill a core value around trustworthiness.
    • A great byproduct to careful monitoring is an instinct toward recovery audits. When a department initiates recovery audits as part of their quarterly review process, they catch incidents like overpayments and pricing compliance before they require emergency mitigation.

 

  • A Thriving Team. If members of your accounting team have made a habit of extending payment cycles or accepting discounts without calculating the costs or neglect to take advantage of maximum savings through volume rebates, it might be time to reassess your staffing structure. Reactive accounting will not support your growth; it will curb your progress. Be sure your AP team knows their value, is adequately staffed, sufficiently trained, and has the right skillsets for tasks at hand. Personnel in this department need to have an analytical mind and the tools to get the job done.

Poor accounts Payable procedures happen in both developing and mature enterprises. If you need help strengthening your Accounts Payable department processes and procedures or if you want to talk about creating a capital optimization strategy, our office professionals can help! Give us a call to start today.

Gary Frisch Named Chairman of CPAsNET’s Technology Executive Committee

Boulder, CO – The Board of Directors has named Gary Frisch, CPA, MBA of Monheit Frisch CPAs PLC, Chairman of the Technology Executive Committee.

 

Gary is a Partner at Monheit Frisch CPAs PLC, the Arizona-based public accounting and business consulting firm. As Chairman of the Technology Executive Committee, he will be responsible for the strategic planning of the organization’s technology special interest group. 

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