Four Legs Essential to Building a Strong Business Foundation

The Crash Table by Judson Beaumont

More than crunching numbers or creating accounting processes for my clients, I am a strategic business advisor. In this advisory role, I’ve heard many questions and seen many issues that could be addressed by pausing to ask ourselves and others about the nature of our professional lives and foundation of the business we are building.

As I see it, there are four parts to each business that are fundamental to success. These parts are like the four legs of a table which form a stable foundation. The four table legs must be equally sturdy to hold up your table and keep your business level. If there is something wrong with one table leg, then the whole table is out of balance.

Leg 1: Operations and Delivery of Your Product or Service

Setting standards for the delivery your product or service ensures your customers are getting what they paid for, even if you’re not around to oversee it. Consider these factors in your delivery standards: time, quality, and expectations.

If you have created procedures, then they include key factors such as how much time it takes to create or provide the product or service. Establishing tests for the accuracy or condition of your product is imperative because that quality reflects your entire business. Does the final product or service meet the expectations of your customer? Aligning these elements means you can feel rest assured that you’re delivering what you said you would.

To help you with overall organizational performance and strategy, Suzyn Skaggs with Solara Performance can help!

The strength of this leg is knowing you can go on vacation assured that your service or product is produced to the brand quality standards you have set.

Leg 2: Sales and Marketing

What are you doing if you are not bringing money in the door? If your business is aligned with your passion and your skills, then selling can be easy. However, having a plan in place makes it even easier. Define how you will sell, to whom you are selling, and the pricing in your plan. These are vital questions to answer for successful sales and marketing.

Oprah Quote, Passion is energy, monetizing-your-passion, accounting, bookkeeping, entrepreneur, DMR accounting, business development

When you begin monetizing something that you’re passionate about, it means you’re bringing in enough profit to cover personal costs, business costs, and allowing room for growth. Don’t be afraid to attach an appropriate price to your product or service. Your price should reflect what the product or service is worth, and not just what you think people may pay.

Beyond covering costs, think about the value you bring to the table. What are the intangible benefits of your product or service? For instance, do you help people sleep better at night because they aren’t worried anymore thanks to your solution? Or does your product or service fill a gap that is unique to your industry?

I highly recommend a couple of clients and resources of mine to help you in this regard:

Once that money comes in, the policies and procedures that you develop will help keep everything on track. This leg ensures that you have a strategic way of earning income for yourself and your business.

Leg 3: Financial and Administrative

This leg is my specialty as it is core to my own service offerings. Entrepreneurs sometimes confuse administrative tasks as busy-work versus necessary, essential work that needs to be learned and mastered (i.e. core business tasks). Mastery of finances and streamlined processes and procedures will get you on the path to profit and to fulfilling your higher purpose.

Smart Goals, goal setting, business development, DMR Accounting, Deidra Ryan

The first step is in setting SMART goals and objectives for your business to keep you and your team on the same page and accountable. Setting a specific strategy before you start implementation is key. Otherwise, you end up doing busy-work that is often costly and time-consuming in the long run.

Next, create measurable processes, policies, and procedures to define how you will achieve those goals – step by step. These policies and procedures support your ongoing growth. For instance, hiring a knowledgeable professional to support you with setting up your books and records properly, versus “winging it” on your own, can save you so much time and heartache in the future.

Oftentimes, we see clients who have been “getting by” for years with their finances. These clients come to realize they have little confidence in their numbers and own the fact that their financial records are scattered and disorganized. The relief that is felt when everything is cleaned up and clients are trained properly is palpable.

Also consider those smaller steps and tactics for handling your procedures such as scheduling time on your calendar and your accounting month-end close procedures. You can automate some tasks or delegate work to others. Of course, you should document it all.

Attention and time management have their own set of professionals. A couple of resources I highly recommend include:

This leg of the table allows you to not only measure results, but also to find areas for improvements in efficiency.

Leg 4: Company Culture and Your People

Whether you have employees, contractors or others supporting your business, there is a culture to each interaction. The culture you create should align with your vision for the business; so be sure to clearly communicate the direction the business is moving toward.

teamwork, company culture, business development, finance, bookkeeping, DMR Accounting, Deidra Ryan

 

Your big brand vision is the basis for culture in your organization. Once you get clear on what you are building, it is important for your team to be 100% on board. Remember that your team is a representation of your business, not only with customers but out in the community too.

Also, a team with strong company culture works better together. They can help to hold you and each other accountable on the fulfillment of tasks and setting standards aligned with your vision. Beyond accountability, your team can help you to see what you cannot see yourself. They find areas for improvement and company advancement.

I recommend Susan Yenzer with Advancing Performance to help you in this regard.

Your people are the fourth leg holding you and your business up and creating sustainable growth.

 

Building Your Strong Table Means Planning and Strategizing

  • Operations and Delivery of Your Product or Service
  • Sales and Marketing
  • Financial and Administrative
  • Company Culture and Your People

teamwork, all-in, business development, DMR Accounting, Deidra Ryan, business foundation, company culture

It’s difficult to build a business if it is not anchored to a strong business foundation with all four legs. This issue becomes very apparent when you are in growth mode. Without the strong business foundation, you will have a tough time delivering and sustaining your big vision.

As with most things in life, the key is balance.

As a small business owner, I struggle with the back and forth, push and pull of these four legs in my own business. However, I have learned that I can’t and fortunately don’t have to do it all myself. Hiring help and building a team of both employees and independent contractors who understand my dreams and business plans helps me to balance these four legs. Working a little at a time and building strength in each of these legs is the long-term key to success. A little patience and a whole lot of determination help tremendously too!

As you can tell, this topic of building a strong business foundation is paramount for me and my clients. Together, we look closely at the business’ four legs. Today I invite you to examine these four legs in your own business.

I would love to hear from you! Please share any comments or lessons learned below.

 

A Talk on Fearless Accounting, Courageous Life From Deidra Ryan

Fearless Accounting, Deidra Ryan, DMR Accounting, Business Consulting, Small Business finance, bookkeeping, Soma Vida, Austin TX

Did you know Deidra gives talks?

In an effort to further support the small business community, Deidra Ryan has begun visiting with groups and organizations around the greater Austin area to talk about a sensitive and important topic – Fearless Accounting, Courageous Life.

 

Click below to watch a short clip from a recent talk at Soma Vida

This month, Deidra presented Fearless Accounting, Courageous Life for the first time to a group of local women entrepreneurs and small business owners. A special thank you to the team at Soma Vida, especially owner and somatic psychotherapist, Laura Shook Guzman. They offer a unique coworking experience focused on innovation and wellness here in Austin. I recommend visiting Soma Vida and experiencing their events.

 

If you or anyone you know would like to learn more about Fearless Accounting, Courageous Life and have Deidra speak to your group, please contact her at talks@dmraccounting.com.

 

 

2017 IRS Tax Deadlines & Tax Tip

tax deadlines, IRS deadlines, texas businesses, DMR Accounting, tax tip, tax calendar

IRS Tax Deadlines

The dates below relate to calendar year-end taxpayers  If the deadline falls on a weekend or holiday, then the form is due the following business day.

Check out the latest Tax Tip at the bottom of this post.

 

Individuals
If you are self-employed, a sole proprietor, a freelancer or a contractor

April 15th – Form 1040, Individual Income Tax Return. This form is due on the 15th day of the 4th month after the end of your tax year.
OR
April 15th if filing an extension – Form 4868. This form is used to request an extension of time to file Form 1040.
October 15th if filed a Form 4868 extension – Form 1040.

Estimated tax payments (Form 1040-ES) 

Payments are due on the 15th day of the 4th, 6th, and 9th months of your tax year and on the 15th day of the 1st month after your tax year ends.

  • Payment 1 is due April 17th for current year
  • Payment 2 is due June 15th for current year
  • Payment 3 is due September 15th for current year
  • Payment 4 is due January 17th for prior year

 

Partnerships
A partnership is the relationship existing between two or more persons who join to carry on a trade or business.

March 15th  – Form 1065.  Provide each partner with a copy of their Schedule K-1 (Form 1065) or substitute Schedule K-1 (Form 1065) by the 15th day of the 3rd month after the end of the partnership’s tax year.
OR
March 15th if filing an extension – Form 7004 is used to request an automatic 6-month extension of time to file Form 1065.
September 15th if filed Form 7004 extension.

Form 1065-B (electing large partnerships).   This form is due on the 15th day of the 3rd month after the end of the partnership’s tax year. Provide each partner with a copy of their Schedule K-1 (Form 1065-B) or substitute Schedule K-1 (Form 1065-B) by
March 15 following the close of the partnership’s tax year.

This due date for filing Schedule K-1 (Form 1065-B) applies even if the partnership requests an extension of time to file Form 1065-B. Form 7004 is used to request an automatic 6-month extension of time to file Form 1065-B.

      Want to ADD THESE DATES to your calendar?    

   Use the IRS CalendarConnector    

 

Corporations and S Corporations
In forming a corporation, prospective shareholders exchange money, property, or both, for the corporation’s capital stock.

Form 1120 (or Form 7004).   This form is due on the 15th day of the 4th month after the end of the corporation’s tax year. However, a corporation with a fiscal tax year ending June 30th must file by the 15th day of the 3rd month after the end of its tax year.

A corporation with a short tax year ending anytime in June will be treated as if the short year ended on June 30, and must file by the 15th day of the 3rd month after the end of its tax year.  Form 7004 is used to request an automatic 6-month extension of time to file Form 1120.

However, corporations with a fiscal tax year ending June 30, or a short tax year treated as if the short year ended June 30 will use Form 7004 to request an automatic 7-month extension of time to file Form 1120.

Form 1120S (or Form 7004).   This form is due on the 15th day of the 3rd month after the end of the corporation’s tax year. Provide each shareholder with a copy of their Schedule K-1 (Form 1120S) by the 15th day of the 3rd month after the end of the corporation’s tax year. Form 7004 is used to request an automatic 6-month extension of time to file Form 1120S.

Estimated Tax Payments   

Payments are due on the 15th day of the 4th, 6th, 9th, and 12th months of the corporation’s tax year.

Form 2553.   This form is used to choose S corporation treatment. It is due no more than two months and 15 days after the beginning of the tax year the election is to take effect or at any time during the preceding tax year.

Tax deadlines, calendar, IRS calendar, tax calendar, DMR accounting

Employer’s Tax Calendar

This tax calendar covers various due dates of interest to employers. Principally, it covers the following federal taxes.

  • Income tax you withhold from your employees’ wages or from non-payroll amounts you pay out.
  • Social security and Medicare taxes (FICA taxes) you withhold from your employees’ wages and the social security and Medicare taxes you must pay as an employer.
  • Federal unemployment (FUTA) tax you must pay as an employer.

The calendar lists due dates for filing returns and for making deposits of these three taxes throughout the year. Use this calendar with Pub. 15 which gives the deposit rules.

Forms You Need

The following is a list and description of the primary employment tax forms you may need.

  1. Form 940, Employer’s Annual Federal Unemployment (FUTA) Tax Return. This form is due the last day of the first calendar month after the calendar year ends. Use it to report the FUTA tax on wages you paid.
  2. Form 941, Employer’s QUARTERLY Federal Tax Return. This form is due the last day of the first calendar month after the calendar quarter ends. Use it to report social security and Medicare taxes and withheld income taxes on wages if your employees aren’t farm workers or household employees.
  3. Form 943, Employer’s Annual Federal Tax Return for Agricultural Employees. This form is due the last day of the first calendar month after the calendar year ends. Use it to report social security and Medicare taxes and withheld income taxes on wages if your employees are farm workers.
  4. Form 944, Employer’s ANNUAL Federal Tax Return. This form is due the last day of the first calendar month after the calendar year ends. Certain small employers use it instead of Form 941 to report social security and Medicare taxes and withheld income tax.
  5. Form 945, Annual Return of Withheld Federal Income Tax. This form is due the last day of the first calendar month after the calendar year ends. Use it to report income tax withheld on all non-payroll items. A list of non-payroll items is available in the Instructions for Form 945.

Fiscal-Year Taxpayers

The dates in this calendar apply whether you use a fiscal year or the calendar year as your tax year. The only exception is the date for filing Forms 5500, Annual Return/Report of Employee Benefit Plan, and 5500-EZ, Annual Return of One-Participant (Owners and Their Spouses) Retirement Plan. These employee benefit plan forms are due by the last day of the seventh month after the plan year ends. See July 31 publication

 

Extended Due Dates

If you timely deposit in-full the tax that you’re required to report on Form 940, 941, 943, 944, or 945, then you may file the return by the 10th day of the second month that follows the end of the return period.

 

Tax-Exempt Organizations
Non-profit organization under the IRS tax code

If you are a tax-exempt organization under the IRS tax code you still have to file an annual return of income and expenses to the IRS. (Forms 990, 990-EZ, 990-PF, or 990-BL.) The return must be filed by the 15th day of the 5th month after your tax year ends. You may use that deadline to file a Form 8868 to request a 6-month extension to file the annual return.

For example, if your tax year ends December 31st, your deadline to file or extend is May 15th. If you file an extension, the return is due November 15th. If a due date falls on a Saturday, Sunday, or legal holiday, the due date is delayed until the next business day.

Fiscal-Year Taxpayers

If you use a fiscal year (rather than the calendar year) as your tax year, you should change some of the dates in this calendar. Use the following general guidelines to make these changes.

The 3 months that make up each quarter of a fiscal year may be different from those of each calendar quarter, depending on when the fiscal year begins. Also see Saturday, Sunday, or legal holiday, earlier.

 

W-2s and 1099s

Employers and small businesses must file a W-2 for each employee. If you paid more than $600 to an independent contractor then you must file a 1099. There are 3 copies – one for the IRS, one for the employee or contractor, and one for your records. January 31st is the deadline by which the forms must be postmarked.

 


TAX TIP

Be careful about how you pay your estimated taxes online. Make sure you are choosing the correct “Reason for Payment” and “Apply Payment To” options. Mistaking this information can cause problems with the IRS. 

IRS, Tax Payments, Estimated Payments, Quarterly Tax Payments, Pay IRS Online

 

We know that this is a lot of information, and we want you to be well-prepared for the upcoming tax season. If you have any questions about your specific situation or deadlines, please don’t hesitate to contact our office!

 

An Empowering Client Story

I just had a client come in and give me a “high five”. She was totally excited that she was able to complete her bookkeeping work all on her own whereas this time last year she was completely terrified to even talk to a CPA or look at her business finances.

She said she now feels like she can use QuickBooks like it’s Microsoft Word and not a big scary program like before. She also strongly encouraged me to share this story since she never felt this type of freedom was possible.

Since she reached out to me last summer, we’ve been working together to clean up her QB file which was a big MESS inherited from her previous bookkeeper. And in the process, she has steadily been releasing her fears and resistance and now feels completely empowered and has even gained a sense of strength from knowing that her numbers are clean and straight.

I’m sharing this because it makes me so happy to see this transformation occur with my clients over and over again and because it is my passion to help entrepreneurs make their accounting processes and procedures easy, enjoyable and even fun!

If you are even a little bit afraid of your numbers and don’t want to be, I can help relieve your stress! Please give me a call for a complimentary “Love your Numbers” 30 minute discussion about the current state of your business accounting. You can do this!

Let me know if I can help.

-Deidra

DMR_Testimonial

Featured on AlyAndAndrea.com

Last year I was feature in a blog post by Aly and Andrea’s on the top of Small Business? Know Your Money Big Time. Here is a repost of what we discussed.

As a small business owner, what do you need to be doing with your money? What do you need to know (that you don’t know now, but are afraid to admit)? More importantly, what do you need to stop doing NOW so your company can thrive? We chatted with CPA Deidra Ryan and dug up some great nuggets for you. If you have specific questions, ask in the comments below and she’ll answer. For starters, here are a few bookkeeping basics, straight from the CPA and Certified Quickbooks Pro Adviser herself, Deidra Ryan:
Continue reading

January is the time to wrap up the old and start with the new

This goes for all your 2011 and 2012 tax, accounting and bookkeeping work as well.

Now is the time to meet with your tax accountant, if you haven’t already, to calculate your tax estimate for 2011 so you can avoid penalties and interest for not paying your tax on time.  Remember, for self-employed individuals and partners or shareholders who receive K-1 income, January 17th is the due date for your 4th and final 2011 estimated tax payment (Form 1040-ES).  In addition, good planning now will help you avoid a big tax bill surprise in April regardless of whether you are self-employed or not.
Continue reading