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Death From Taxes

I don’t know of any entrepreneurs that go into business because they are experts on tax codes.  They go into business because they are passionate about their product or service.

For many, accounting simply is not a “fun” part of the business and therefore gets neglected.  As a result, many entrepreneurs foolishly ignore the details of accounting which can result in serious injury or even death.  Here are some tips that can help to overcome this hurdle.

Rule #1: Hire a CPA.  If you don’t know what you are doing, hire someone that does it everyday for a living.  By taking advantages of deductions that you were not aware of, the accountant may save you money.  My accountant saved me enough money in the first year to pay for his fee for the next two years.  Having access to a CPA can also be valuable during the year for quick questions and expert advice.  Acknowledge your weakness in this area, and hire a specialist.  You won’t regret it.

Rule #2: If It Moves, Track It.  I would encourage you put all your bills into a file folder and label it “Accounts Payable.”  Create another file for your “Accounts Receivable.”  At the end of the week pay all your bills, bank deposits, and backing up files.  This way you stay organized and systematic.  I call this “Bills, Backup and Banking Day”.  On this day record all your revenues and expense for the week in a simple excel spread sheet.  Also, I would suggest you total up all your revenues and expense for the month.  This way you can determine your busy and slow months.  This can also help you with planning your strategic goals each year.  By tax time you can email it to your accountant and you will make their life easier and get your return faster. 

Rule #3: Contact the Small Business Development Center as well as SCORE Albany.
They can offer you free tips and ideas on how to improve your accounting processes.  Call (518)485-7647 for the Small Business Development Center and 518-446-1118 x233 for SCORE Albany.

Rule #4: Celebrate Your Success.  By staying detailed oriented with your accounting, you can specifically compare your financial performance to previous years.  How much did revenues increase over last year?  Did you do a good job of containing costs last year?  What is your financial strategy for the new year?  Don’t let taxes be the death of your venture.  Good accounting practices just makes good business sense.

If you are a small business owner or entrepreneur, I would like to invite you to our next meeting on Thursday, February 20th from 7:30-9am at the Chamber Offices.



(This article originally appeared in AC-Chamber Visions Article – SEC February 2008 Issue.)


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