The Key Benefits of An Internal Audit for Your Small Business

Key Benefits of an Audit for a Small Business
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As a small business owner, you’re tasked with making critical financial decisions and monitoring the productivity of your employees on a daily basis. In the same sense, you may take on the responsibility of overseeing accounting systems, invoicing, or tax planning. As an owner of a business, you may hear the word “audit” and immediately think of the negative connotations that surround it.  

 

The reality is, however, internal audits can be actually incredibly beneficial for your small business. A small business internal audit can help your company discover crucial information about your accounting systems, find technical errors in your business processes, and assist you in modifying your future tax planning. If you’re a small business owner in Southeastern Pennsylvania and are looking for “reputable accounting services near me”, look no further than SD Associates. Below, we’ve listed three major positives in enlisting professionals for a small business internal audit.  

 

Identify Accounting Weaknesses: 

An audit, by definition, is an inspection. Perhaps a major reason that businesses owners fear internal inspections is that they are designed to reveal fundamental flaws within their business operations. Business owners should actually welcome and encourage these internal reviews, as they provide limitless opportunities to improve practices before it’s potentially too late. Receiving pertinent information, updates, and projections regarding key financial areas like gross margins, cash flow, cost analysis and taxes, and more can help you in your business plans and execute more efficiently in a multitude of areas.  

 

When it comes to tax planning, internal reviewing simplifies the filing process and also helps you identify available benefits that you didn’t know existed. Additionally, hiring an independent organization to analyze your small business eliminates any bias that you or one of your internal employees may have.  

 

Strengthen Credibility and Reputation:  

Creating credible financial records is crucial in your small business. An Audits of the financial statements provides greater comfort to potential partners or bankers that all of your financials are in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles. When the time inevitably arrives to start considering succession plans or sale preparation, consistent financial audits provide you as the business owner with more time to correct systematic issues that might be uncovered by potential buyers. This way, any glaring weaknesses within your accounting systems or financial management processes can be improved upon well before your business goes to market.  

 

Test Controls, Detect Fraud:  

Are your business controls (or daily procedures) susceptible to misstatements, errors, or even fraud? Small business internal audits not only work to determine if your controls are able to detect these operational risks, but also if they’re able to prevent them from happening in the first place. Professional auditors will strategize tangible options to overcome these risk areas and increase the security of flawed operations. In the event of internal fraud, an internal audit can identify where fraud is occurring, the extent of the fraud, and how to quickly eliminate it.  

 

Schedule a Small Business Audit Today  

With so much on the line, you need to be absolutely positive that your small business audit is performed by certified public accountant. The expert team at SD Associates has nearly four decades of experience performing concise attestation engagement or agreed upon procedures, providing detailed financial analysis, and facilitating necessary discussions for positive changes for small businesses. If your business is eager to improve daily operations and plan for a better future, schedule an appointment with SD Associates today!  

 

 

 

The Most Important Elements to Financial Planning in Healthcare

Important Elements to Planning in Healthcare
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Amid the chaos of the last two years, many people received another reminder of just how essential healthcare workers are to our society. Through the pandemic, we were also reminded of their amazing ability to work incredibly long hours, multitask, and collaborate to provide medical assistance to patients. 

 

With all of that said, one could imagine how difficult it is to juggle these everyday emergencies or appointments with daunting financial management tasks. At SD Associates, we provide planning for those healthcare professionals that streamlines integral tasks like accounting, planning, taxes, and more. Our focus is on your financial future so that you can focus on the medical challenges of today. Below, we’ve compiled three crucial elements of planning for healthcare organizations. 

 

Create Financial Timelines:

All of the best financial practices for healthcare organizations start with a planning phase. This process involves a deep dive into your own records, your projections, and your financial objectives. Professionals know that not everything will go exactly to plan, especially in the ever-evolving field of healthcare. In that case, it’s essential to consider inevitable roadblocks in the form of taxes, partnerships, and employees in your timeline. Pin-point a few critical missions that your company needs to continue financial growth, and strategize how you will reach them and how much it will cost to do so. 

 

Invest in Financial Tools: 

Healthcare institutions are renowned for consistently being at the forefront of technological innovations and advancements, yet many of them still use outdated payment and billing methods. By switching to modern point-of-sale systems and essentially “going paperless”, your healthcare organization can save money, more efficiently send billing information or appointment updates, and centralize time-consuming tasks related to patient information. 

 

Similarly, healthcare personnel are far too busy with patients or research to constantly worry about bookkeeping, payroll, and accounting. Partnering with business advisors to handle these essential tasks, and training your employees to master integral software like Quickbooks, is the key to streamlining financial operations. One of the principal elements of financial management in healthcare is working with a professional team that understands your unique organization and its specific financial goals. 

 

Accurate Budgeting: 

Healthcare institutions often have multiple verticals within their organization that all require adequate funding and resources. It can be a difficult task deciding which areas to invest more finances into to ultimately grow. A combination of short-term and long-term forecasting can provide a clearer perspective. 

 

As a healthcare provider, you want to ensure that you have state-of-the-art equipment for the sake of your employees and your patients. Yet, there is often internal conflict around spending or budgets for certain tools or hiring new staff. One of the best financial practices for healthcare organizations is establishing a budget that is flexible, responsible, and one that accurately addresses critical needs.

 

Partner with SD Associates to Reach Healthcare Finance Goals! 

SD Associates is a team of full-service, certified public accountants and business advisors who work directly with healthcare business owners or board members on their distinct goals. With so many different elements of financial management in healthcare, we’re a partner you can trust to properly perform budgeting, financial planning, tax, and accounting services. Our comprehensive strategies are designed to map out your company’s financial future, and we work intimately with you so that you can arrive there. Connect with us today to get started on your planning strategy! 

 

4 Things Real Estate Developers Need to Include in Their Financial Plan

Financial Plan for Real Estate Agents
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Due to beneficial returns, certain tax breaks, and the emergence of influential crowdfunding technology, real estate investments remain a fantastic addition to one’s personal portfolio. Developers, a role that traditionally represents an individual or small group of individuals, are known commonly for taking the route that most often leads to financial independence. 

 

In order to achieve consistent success as a developer, you’ll need a comprehensive financial real estate development plan that draws out all business objectives, ways to avoid or correct potential roadblocks, and how to generate mutually beneficial relationships with outside investors. As a CPA and business advisory firm, SD Associates has provided real estate financing advice to countless developers, ranging in investment experience and net worth. Below, we’ve identified four essential things that every developer needs to include in their financial real estate development plan. 

 

Conduct Thorough Research: 

As you could probably imagine, developers need to conduct a considerable amount of research on properties they are interested in purchasing. Most notably, the location of the property is incredibly important not only for resale purposes, but also due to charges for land, labor, materials, and more. In addition, another thing you’ll need to research is contractors. As you’re clearly looking to keep all of your project costs low, you might feel inclined to go with cheaper labor forces for construction phases. By looking through reviews, finding references, and comparing prices, you’ll be able to identify an appropriate, professional service for the right price that you can rely on.   

 

Create Realistic Cost Estimates: 

Before you pitch any investors or begin your crowdfunding campaign on the internet, you’ll need to prepare realistic expectations of total costs. Estimating a realistic property value can often be achieved through identifying the public sale price of neighboring properties, or from commercial spaces that share a similar size as yours. There are a plethora of transactions and contracts that you’ll need to consider throughout the project, including costs for labor, materials, fees, permits, and more.

 

Consider Debt, Equity, and Investors: 

A common misconception is that developers are majority investors or majority “owners” of properties. Relatively speaking, developers traditionally provide a minuscule amount of capital for the development. The large majority, typically around 90%, of capital is raised from high net worth investors or investment funds. In addition, almost every development project requires some sort of debt financing. With all of these moving parts, debt obligations, and equities, you can begin to see why hiring a professional for real estate finance advice can be so beneficial for choosing the appropriate funding option. 

 

Create a Timeline, Maintain Records: 

Inevitably, not everything will go exactly to plan during development. In fact, through every stage, there will more than likely be disruptions or times to shift gears. In any sense, creating a thorough timeline estimation will help you hold yourself accountable for intended deadlines or milestones. It will also help you organize dates on which certain investors or lending institutions should be paid, keep track of when vendors or contractors started and ended, and always be consistent with bank statements or loan applications. 

 

Trust SD Associates for Your Property Developer Finances

The complexities of loans, the jumble of investors with various stakes, and all of the regulatory contracts that go into property developer finances make it difficult to manage for even seasoned investors. If you’re starting a new real estate development project, we provide full-scale advisory services, concise estimates and reports, comprehensive tax services, and more to guide you through the intricate, complicated real estate journey. Connect with us today to partner with specialists that can help you traverse the day-to-day logistics of development investing. 

What a 3rd Stimulus Check May Look Like

What a 3rd Stimulus Check May Look Like
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Though there’s no guarantee yet, talks of a third stimulus check have been making their way around Washington DC for weeks. While the first round took months to reach some people, and the second round appeared too little to most, the path to a third check seems to be happening quickly. With another possible $1,400 on the horizon, there are still a lot of open questions, like “When are we getting a third stimulus check?” “How much will you get for your kids?” and “Who will qualify?”. The team at SD Associates is here to share some valuable information on what a third stimulus check may look like.

 

Who Could Qualify for the Third Stimulus Check?

While millions of people were eligible for the first and second checks, the third round could look a little bit different. Many taxpayers who were eligible for the first two could now find themselves excluded from the $1,400 based upon their earnings. Under President Biden’s $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package (“Budget Reconciliation Act”), the new bill excludes individual taxpayers earning over $75,000 and joint filers making over $150,000. There will still be phase-outs for higher earning taxpayers.

 

It’s important to note that the third round’s eligibility requirements are different from the sliding scale that was used previously to determine past stimulus payments. The new Democratic proposal follows the same path as the second stimulus check, with the IRS reducing checks by 5% for the total amount made over the AGI limit. This means for every $100 made over the limit, the payment goes down by $5.

 

Larger Base Amount

The base amount of the third stimulus check is expected to be $1,400, $200 more than the first round of $1,200 that was delivered under the CARES Act and $800 more than the second round that just hit many bank accounts in January 2021. The $1,400 came about after many Americans complained about the second $600 check being too little, too late.

 

Another possible change? Families with dependent children aged 16 or under could see a little bit more. During the first round, families saw an extra $500 for each child, and that amount was raised to $600 for the second stimulus check. This time around, lawmakers are calling for a higher amount.

 

Quicker Timeline

“Are we getting a third stimulus check?” has been on everyone’s mind since the second check was delivered to many Americans. Should Congress pass a standalone bill centered on stimulus checks by the intended mid-March 2021 timeline, Americans could begin to see their payment in a matter of weeks. However, this date could be delayed due to several factors, including how long it takes the IRS to begin calculating your payments during the busy tax season.

 

Based on 2020 Tax Returns

The first stimulus payment was calculated based on either your 2018 or 2019 tax return. If you didn’t file during those two years, the IRS welcomed you to send in any necessary documentation through an online portal. The IRS also took information from the Social Security Administration, Railroad Retirement Board, or Department of Veterans Affairs if you received benefits. If no information was provided and you didn’t receive government benefits, the IRS is permitting the option to claim the “recovery rebate” credit on your 2020 tax returns. The second stimulus check was based on your 2019 return. If you didn’t file, didn’t use the non-filers portal to get your first payment, and didn’t receive benefits, then the IRS offers the option to claim the “recovery rebate” credit on your 2020 tax returns.

 

Because the IRS has already begun processing tax returns, those who file sooner could not only get their refund quicker, but they might also receive their third stimulus check faster as well.

 

Social Security

With the next round of stimulus funds, it might be possible that having a Social Security number will no longer be a requirement. During the first round of payment, without a Social Security number, people were unable to qualify for the $1,200. For families with children, both parents were required to have one to receive the extra $500 per dependent. After the COVID-Related Tax Relief Act was passed, the guidelines surrounding this loosened, allowing married couples to claim the additional money even if one of the parents didn’t have a Social Security number. This rule was also applicable for the first round of checks, allowing families to claim up to $1,200 with the additional $500 as a recovery rebate credit.

 

The third round of payments could see this requirement dissolve altogether. Under the HEROES Act, individuals, including non-U.S. citizens, would only need a Taxpayer Identification Number to receive the next payment.

 

In the grand scheme of things, the possibility of the third round of stimulus checks is moving at lightning speed. For the most up-to-date news, turn to the professionals at SD Associates. Not only can we provide valuable updates on the proposed third stimulus check, but we’re also here to assist you with our professional tax services all season long. Contact our team today for more information.

Resolve to Practice Better Business Habits…and Live Longer?

A recent study found that the wealthiest among us add, on average, want an extra nine happy and healthy years to their lifespan. This is comparable to quitting smoking and more than if you decided to start hitting the gym five times a week. So what New Year’s resolutions are you setting in place?  Forget about the gym, diet, and Nicorette and focus on practicing business habits that can help you maximize profits. Whether you are starting off with a new business venture or looking to make improvements within your already established company you need an advisor with a proven track record to assist you.

Here are four basic tips to help you save time and money.  Of course, every business and business owner are unique so please do yourself a favor and let SD Associates help guide you toward wealth and potentially a longer life. 

Keep Business Finances in a Separate Account
One of the first things you can do to set yourself up for success is to separate your business and personal spending. This requires opening a separate account to track all your business expenses. Having a dedicated business account will save you time and money in the long run. At SD Associates, our accounting and bookkeeping services will allow you more time to focus on the important aspects of your business, while we take care of the financial aspects.

Establish Clear Payment Terms
Successful companies have strong, open lines of communication with their clients. Establishing clear payment terms from the start can help you and your company avoid late payments and cash crunches. Get paid faster with solidified invoice payment terms. Clearly state accepted forms of payment, due dates and late-payment penalties from the get-go. Don’t be afraid to send out reminders and follow-ups.

Budget for Emergency Expenses
There’s no such thing as being overly prepared. Putting a portion of your profit aside or building space within your budget can save you in case of an emergency. Whether unforeseen office renovations arise, or immediate work equipment replacements are needed, having the extra funds set aside for these situations can help you get back on your feet. Keep at least six months to a year’s savings put aside for these situations— it will make all the difference.

Work with a Professional
Connecting with professionals in the field of accounting will give you a greater insight into your current business standings and what your next steps to success should look like. A professional accountant or bookkeeper can keep your records and books up to date and make you aware of any loopholes, potential fees or additional tax deductions that you might be eligible for. The accounting services offered by SD Associates will give you more time to focus on the forefront of your company rather than stressing over the behind-the-scenes finances.

Set time aside to meet with a trained and experienced CPA for a better tomorrow for your small business. Contact us today to start saving money now to make your new year the best one yet.

How Small Businesses Should Prepare for a Second COVID-19 Lockdown

How Small Businesses Should Prepare For A 2nd Covid-19 Lockdown

 

 

As COVID-19 continues to surge across the country, one thing is certain—the pandemic is far from over. The second wave of coronavirus is here, coinciding with cold and flu season, making everyone extra cautious. Experts believe that this second wave could last longer than the first, with restrictions going beyond face coverings and washing your hands. If you’re running a business during the COVID-19 pandemic and are wondering how to keep your small business successful during this unprecedented time, SD Associates is here to help. Here are some guidelines below to assist your small business for a second COVID-19 lockdown.

 

Build & Save Cash Reserves

One way to keep your small business successful during this time is to not be caught off guard. This includes building and saving assets in case of an interrupted cash flow. Your savings are there to support your business in the event of an emergency. During the first shutdown, if you found you only had enough cash to cover expenses for a couple of weeks, it’s time to formulate a plan and work on aggressively building up a reserve. Experts suggest asking landlords, suppliers, and your bank for deferrals. With our advisory services, we can help you layout your perfect strategy, catered specifically to your business.

 

Tighten Budgets & Spending

While you might already be operating on a tighter budget, now is the right time to consider trimming any excessive “fat”. Try to prioritize your spending based on needs, rather than wants. Negotiating with vendors to defer or stretch payables, spending less on advertising or marketing efforts, and running down inventory to minimum quantities should all be considered when trying to slim down your budget.

 

Strengthen E-Commerce Business

Running a business during the COVID-19 pandemic has forced many businesses to pivot, and this could be mean switching to an e-commerce business model during these unstable times. Nowadays, most people have access to the internet through their phone, computer, or tablet and if your business isn’t online yet, you should make that a top priority. Setting up an e-commerce store is going to be your biggest asset and can help keep sales afloat. If you sell products, services, or food, try moving them online. Take pictures and videos to advertise your specialties to keep business rolling in. If there’s one thing we’re sure of, it’s that the internet isn’t going anywhere anytime soon.

 

Invest in Remote Technology

Remote work became a staple for most businesses at the onset of the pandemic. While most people have a phone and internet connection at home, many companies weren’t set up to allow employees to work out of their homes. The use of video calls, secure Wi-Fi networks, and collaborative tools, like Microsoft Teams, Zoom, and Google Workspace, all allow people to work together virtually, and they come in handy during this shift to a remote-first approach. If the first lockdown brought challenges to your remote work, take this time to assess what went wrong and what you need to do to improve these items.

 

If the first shutdown taught us one thing, it’s to always be prepared for the unexpected. While many businesses around the country brace for a second lockdown, it’s now time to set up and execute a disaster plan. Having a plan in place could be the difference between surviving during the second shutdown and your business closing its doors. If you need help with financial services or planning for your small business, contact the experts at SD Associates in Elkins Park, PA today.

Fall Tax Tips for the Small Business Owners

Whether your small business has a great fall season or slows down, thinking about tax preparation probably falls to the bottom of your to-do list faster than the leaves fall to the ground. But this new season means that the holidays will come and go, winter will be over and tax season will be here once again before you know it. Rather than putting your tax preparation off until the new year. There are some easy tax tips for small business owners that will make tax season much easier.

Create a Checklist

Leaving something out or having an error on your tax return can cause your small business to lose money and may result in you losing precious time. To avoid this, it’s best to write out or type up a list of all the items that are important for filing your business’s taxes. This will include, but is not limited to, the following:

  • Filing payroll forms
  • Submitting 1099 forms to certain employees
  • Putting together income and expense records
  • Collecting expense records

Get Everything Organized

Almost every business owner has dealt with the stress of taking care of business taxes at the last minute of tax season, but there’s no need to put this additional stress on your already full plate. Instead, now is the time to prepare yourself tax filing—you can do this by making sure your bookkeeping is up-to-date, putting all of your tax-related documents in the same place and organizing the receipts that have accrued over the course of the year. In addition making sure your accounting software is up to date including all bank reconciliations have been done timely.

Be Aware of Deductions Eligibility

Far too often, small business owners miss out on tax deduction opportunities, meaning they also miss out on the opportunity to put more money into their pockets. The following is a list of popular small business tax deductions that may apply to yours:

  • Expenses for your home office
  • Costs from starting up your business
  • Office supplies
  • Office furniture
  • Office equipment (may include cell phones used for business)
  • Mileage from transportation to job sites, client visits, etc.
  • Costs from business trips (flights, car rental, meals, etc.)

If you are unsure of which tax deductions your small business is applicable for, now is the time to contact a tax services professional.

Handle Things Early to Maximize Deductions

By “things” we mean spending more money throughout the fall to help maximize your deductions. If your small business is financially stable, then you may want to consider taking care of the following expenses prior to December 31, 2019:

  • Paying vendors
  • Paying advertisers
  • Leasing a vehicle
  • All employee bonuses paid before year end
  • Purchasing new equipment

Although all of these options will cost you, it will make a big difference in your tax refund (in a positive way).

Whether you need assistance with tax preparation by getting your bookkeeping in order, or you need the help of a tax services professional, the team at SD Associates in Elkins Park, PA is here for you. Contact us today to schedule your appointment!

IRS Extends Stimulus Check Deadline to November

If you haven’t received a stimulus check yet, you still have time. The IRS has recently extended the deadline to register for your stimulus check to November 21, 2020, five weeks past the previous October 15, 2020 deadline. This can impact over 9 million people across the country, helping to soften the blow of the coronavirus pandemic. The professionals at SD Associates are sharing everything you need to know about the extension and the non-filers stimulus check.

Who Qualifies?

The non-filer stimulus check is typically reserved for those who have not received a stimulus check yet, including low-income families who live in underserved areas or individuals who made little or no money and didn’t have to file. U.S. citizens and U.S. resident aliens are eligible for checks of up to $2,400 if filing joint tax returns and can get up to an extra $500 with qualifying children aged 16 or younger at the end of 2019. To receive the full payment, there are also income limits including:

  • $150,000 for married couples filing joint returns
  • $112,500 for the head of household filers
  • $75,000 for all other eligible individuals

This extended deadline could help millions of people pay rent, cover bills, feed their families, and pay for other essentials.

How to File

To meet the deadline for the stimulus check, individuals should register as quickly as possible using the Non-Filers tool on IRS.gov. It’s important to understand that this tool will not be available after the November 21 deadline because the IRS needs to prepare for the upcoming 2020 tax filing season. IRS Commissioner Chuck Rettig states, “Any further extension beyond November would adversely impact our work on the 2020 and 2021 filing seasons. The non-filers portal has been available since the spring and has been used successfully by many millions of Americans.” According to the IRS, they sent nearly 9 million letters in September reminding people who meet the requirements for the $1,200 Economic Impact Payment but who don’t normally file a tax return to register for their stimulus check.

Individuals should know there is no cost to register. If you do not have access to the internet, the IRS encourages you to file a tax return for 2019 with the IRS or electronically through your tax preparer, tax software provider, or the IRS Free File. To speed up the process, choose to receive your check by direct deposit versus a paper check by mail. You may review the status of your check by using the IRS Get My Payment tool. If you miss the deadline for the stimulus check, you will have to file a 2020 income tax return to claim your credit.

SD Associates is here for you. As the pandemic carries on, our CPAs are here to offer expert tax services at affordable prices to ensure you and your business gain peace of mind and control over your taxes. Whether you’re looking to find eligible tax credits, develop a smart payment plan or you just want to create an effective business strategy, know our team is here to help. Connect with our accountants today and let us help you with all your tax service needs.

October Is Financial Planning Month: Here Are 6 Steps for a Flaw-Free Financial Plan

financial plan puzzle

 

We all want to have financial security, so it’s important to establish a flaw-free financial plan for yourself in order to achieve this. A financial plan is a comprehensive snapshot of your current finances, your long-term financial goals, and the strategies you put in place for yourself to achieve these goals. A good financial plan strategy will allow you to save money, prepare for the future, and achieve long-term goals, like saving for retirement or your child’s college education. Everyone’s financial plan will look different. We are sharing six common steps how to create a financial plan. 

What Is Financial Planning?

Financial planning is an ongoing process that determines how you will achieve your financial goals and objectives. It can help reduce stress and support your current needs while helping you build a nest egg future needs. A financial plan is important because it helps you create a roadmap for your future so you can make the most of your current assets and help ensure your financial future is comfortable. While you can create a financial plan yourself, it’s best to utilize the talents of a certified financial planner.

 

Set Financial Goals

The first step in creating your financial plan is setting specific goals that will help you stay on track. These goals will be your foundation for financial success. Your goals can include short- or long-term objectives, like paying off student loans or buying a new car. Avoid having grand, lofty goals like, “I want to be rich” and instead focus on smaller objectives like, “I want a college fund for my kids” so you don’t feel overwhelmed trying to accomplish them. Once well-defined and prioritized, your goals will be the driving force behind your financial plan.

 

Track Your Financial Activity

One of the more important aspects of financial planning is creating a budget and tracking where your money goes. Having a sense of your monthly cash flow (expenses/savings/income) can help give you an accurate picture of where your money comes and goes each month and help you establish short, medium, and long-term plans. Once you begin to see where your money goes, you can adjust it to better achieve your goals. For an immediate plan of action, try developing a simple budget. You can create one by:

 

  • Tracking your income and expenses.
  • Using a budgeting app.
  • Utilizing the 50/30/20 budget method. This includes putting 50% of your take-home income toward essentials like housing, utilities, food, and other recurring payments. 30% then goes toward wants like dining out and entertainment. The last 20% goes toward savings and debt payment.

 

Minimizing credit card debt is an example of a medium-term plan and retirement planning is a typical long-term plan.

 

Start Saving

After your major goals are set and you’ve been keeping track of income and expenses, it’s time to start saving! Refer to your budget and re-examine your spending accordingly. You can start immediately saving more by cutting your expenses and increasing your income. First, begin by determining where you’ve been spending too much, such as entertainment or dining out. Then, look for ways to save. Next, find out ways to increase your income. This can be accomplished through a second job, asking for a raise, or even a career change. Once your extra income is flowing, ensure you’re putting it into a savings account.

 

Emergency Expenses

It’s a smart idea to be prepared in the event of an emergency. One of your goals should include putting away extra cash for emergency expenses. Start small—$500 to cover a home repair—and make sure to increase this amount over time to be able to cover a month’s basic living expenses, and so on.

 

Tackle Debt

Unfortunately, you can’t begin your road to financial success if you’re carrying a large amount of high-interest debt. Between large debt with minimum monthly payments with high-interest rates this could take too many years to pay down as well as damaging to your credit score. It’s important to start paying down this type of debt as soon as feasibly possible. Try creating a debt pay-off strategy and be consistent. Slowly reduce credit card balances and other loans and you’ll feel much better about your financial future.

 

Review Your Plan Constantly

Plans change, especially when they involve your finances. It’s important to periodically review your financial situation. Quarterly, ask yourself:

 

  • Have my goals changed?
  • Has my income (or debt) gone up or down?
  • What are the current needs of my health or my family? Have they changed?

 

If anything has changed, it’s simple to alter your goals to handle these unexpected hurdles. Checking in quarterly can help you stay on track and keep plans from derailing.

 

We all want to be financially independent and build wealth, and at SD Associates, our goal is to help you achieve this. Deciding to embark on a journey toward financial independence can be scary and you might not know how to create a financial plan that aligns with your future, but with our guidance, we can help create a fresh beginning with your finances and change your life for the better. Contact us today to get started.

 

Paycheck Protection Program: Current FAQ For Small Business Owners About Loan Forgiveness

 

up close picture of payment protection program

The financial environment and the current state of the economy are ever-changing. For small business owners navigating these difficult waters, we understand the hardships you may have come across this year. With new rules, requirements, protocols, and processes that change almost every day, we know there may be some lingering questions regarding the Paycheck Protection Program which was enacted by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) and the related loan forgiveness process.

 

As of August 11th, 2020, the Small Business Administration alongside the U.S. Treasury issued new guidance through Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) aimed at helping business owners who participated in the Paycheck Protection Program. These FAQs discuss simplified PPP loan forgiveness guidelines and help borrowers navigate maximum loan forgiveness.

 

General Loan Forgiveness

Small business owners have been dealt a lot this year, from storefront closings, layoffs, and the paycheck protection program. With the need for clarity on PPP loan forgiveness guidelines, we’re reporting the key highlights of the ten pages of Treasury FAQs below.

 

  • Self-employed individuals, sole proprietors, and independent contractors with no employees at the time of the PPP loan application and who did not include any employee’s salaries in the total of average monthly payroll in the application form automatically qualify to use Form 3508EZ or lender equivalent.
  • The FAQ addresses a common question regarding making payments while awaiting forgiveness. The answer is no. If the borrower submits an application within 10 months of the end of the Covered Period, the borrower is not required to make any payments until the loan amount is sent to the lender by the SBA. If the loan is fully forgiven, the borrower will not be responsible for any payments. If only part of the loan is forgiven, the remaining balance must be paid in full by the borrower on or before the maturity date of the loan.
  • The Covered Period refers to the 24-week period beginning on the date the PPP loan payment date or if the borrower received the loan before June 5, 2020, the borrower could choose an alternate 8-week period.

Loan Forgiveness Payroll Costs

There are various questions surrounding payroll costs and we’re sharing some of the most important elements of Loan Forgiveness Payroll Costs FAQ:

 

  • Payroll costs that were incurred during the Covered Period or the Alternative Payroll Covered Period but paid after the Covered Period or the Alternative Payroll Covered Period are eligible for loan forgiveness if the payroll costs are paid on or before the next regular payroll date after the Covered Period or Alternative Payroll Covered Period.
  • Borrowers must calculate payroll costs for partial pay periods.
  • When computing compensation, borrowers need to use the gross amount before deductions and not the net amount paid to the employees.
  • Payroll costs include all forms of compensation paid to the employees, including commissions, hazard pay, and tips.
  • Expenses for employee group health care benefits that are paid by the employer can be considered payroll costs that are eligible for loan forgiveness. Expenses paid by the employee are not included in payroll costs.
  • Employer contributions for retirement benefits that are paid or incurred by the borrower during the Covered Period or Alternative Payroll Covered Period qualify as payroll costs and are eligible for loan forgiveness.

 

Calculating Non-Payroll Costs

Non-payroll costs include rent, utilities, and interest on loans incurred before the Covered Period, yet paid during, are eligible as part of the loan forgiveness. Other key points to consider include:

 

  • Non-payroll costs incurred during the Covered Period and paid on or before the next regular billing date, even if this date is after the Covered Period are eligible for forgiveness.
  • Payments made on recently renewed leases on payments on refinanced mortgage loans are eligible for loan forgiveness if the original lease or mortgage existed before February 15th, 2020, and the payments are made following the renewed lease during the Covered Period.
  • Another utility payment eligible for forgiveness includes a “payment for a service for the distribution of . . . transportation” under the CARES Act. This refers to transportation utility fees assessed by state and local governments.

 

Reduction in Work or Wages

Layoffs and the inability to rehire or hire new employees has brought about many complicated issues within the PPP program. Recent regulations have changed and the FAQ states:

 

  • A borrower may exclude any reduction in FTE (full-time equivalent) employees if the borrower can document the inability to rehire individuals employed on February 15th, 2020, and similarly qualified individuals for unfilled positions on or before December 31st, 2020. Borrowers are required to inform the unemployment insurance office of any rejected rehires within 30 days of the rejection.
  • Seasonal employers who use a 12-week period between May 1st, 2019, and September 15th, 2019 to calculate their maximum PPP loan amount must use the same 12-week period as the reference period for the calculation of any reduction in the amount of forgiveness.
  • Certain pay reductions that arose for employees during the Covered Period or the Alternative Payroll Covered Period may reduce the amount of loan forgiveness.

 

If you need assistance with the paycheck protection program or have further questions about the small business loan forgiveness, do not hesitate to contact our team of CPAs. The professionals at SD Associates are here to offer you and your small business the best financial services possible to help you successfully navigate these difficult and uncertain times. Call us today at (215) 517-5600 or contact us here.