Category Archives: Raleigh CPA Firm

5 ways to strengthen your business for the new year

The end of one year and the beginning of the next is a great opportunity for reflection and planning. You have 12 months to look back on and another 12 ahead to look forward to. Here are five ways to strengthen your business for the new year by doing a little of both:

1. Compare 2019 financial performance to budget. Did you meet the financial goals you set at the beginning of the year? If not, why? Analyze variances between budget and actual results. Then, evaluate what changes you could make to get closer to achieving your objectives in 2020. And if you did meet your goals, identify precisely what you did right and build on those strategies.

2. Create a multiyear capital budget. Look around your offices or facilities at your equipment, software and people. What investments will you need to make to grow your business? Such investments can be both tangible (new equipment and technology) and intangible (employees’ technical and soft skills).

Equipment, software, furniture, vehicles and other types of assets inevitably wear out or become obsolete. You’ll need to regularly maintain, update and replace them. Lay out a long-term plan for doing so; this way, you won’t be caught off guard by a big expense.

3. Assess the competition. Identify your biggest rivals over the past year. Discuss with your partners, managers and advisors what those competitors did to make your life so “interesting.” Also, honestly appraise the quality of what your business sells versus what competitors offer. Are you doing everything you can to meet — or, better yet, exceed — customer expectations? Devise some responsive competitive strategies for the next 12 months.

4. Review insurance coverage. It’s important to stay on top of your property, casualty and liability coverage. Property values or risks may change — or you may add new assets or retire old ones — requiring you to increase or decrease your level of coverage. A fire, natural disaster, accident or out-of-the-blue lawsuit that you’re not fully protected against could devastate your business. Look at the policies you have in place and determine whether you’re adequately protected.

5. Analyze market trends. Recognize the major events and trends in your industry over the past year. Consider areas such as economic drivers or detractors, technology, the regulatory environment and customer demographics. In what direction is your industry heading over the next five or ten years? Anticipating and quickly reacting to trends are the keys to a company’s long-term success.

These are just a few ideas for looking back and ahead to set a successful course forward. We can help you review the past year’s tax, accounting and financial strategies, and implement savvy moves toward a secure and profitable 2020 for your business.

© 2019

Does your team know the profitability game plan?

Autumn brings falling leaves and … the gridiron. Football teams — from high school to pro — are trying to put as many wins on the board as possible to make this season a special one.

For business owners, sports can highlight important lessons about profitability. One in particular is that you and your coaches must learn from your mistakes and adjust your game plan accordingly to have a winning year.

Spot the fumbles

More specifically, your business needs to identify the profit fumbles that are hurting your ability to score bottom-line touchdowns and, in response, execute earnings plays that improve the score. Doing so is always important but takes on added significance as the year winds down and you want to finish strong.

Your company’s earnings game plan should be based partly on strong strategic planning for the year and partly from uncovering and working to eliminate such profit fumbles as:

  • Employees interacting with customers poorly, giving a bad impression or providing inaccurate information,
  • Pricing strategies that turn off customers or bring in inadequate revenue, and
  • Supply chain issues that slow productivity.

Ask employees at all levels whether and where they see such fumbles. Then assign a negative dollar value to each fumble that keeps your organization from reaching its full profit potential.

Once you start putting a value on profit fumbles, you can add them to your income statement for a clearer picture of how they affect net profit. Historically, unidentified and unmeasured profit fumbles are buried in lower sales and inflated costs of sales and overhead.

Fortify your position

After you’ve identified one or more profit blunders, act to fortify your offensive line as you drive downfield. To do so:

Define (or redefine) the game plan. Work with your coaches (management, key employees) to devise specific profit-building initiatives. Calculate how much each initiative could add to the bottom line. To arrive at these values, you’ll need to estimate the potential income of each initiative — but only after you’ve projected the costs as well.

Appoint team leaders. Each profit initiative must have a single person assigned to champion it. When profit-building strategies become everyone’s job, they tend to become no one’s job. All players on the field must know their jobs and where to look for leadership.

Communicating clearly and building consensus. Explain each initiative to employees and outline the steps you’ll need to achieve them. If the wide receiver doesn’t know his route, he won’t be in the right place when the quarterback throws the ball. Most important, that wide receiver must believe in the play.

Win the game

With a strong profit game plan in place, everyone wins. Your company’s bottom line is strong, employees are motivated by the business’s success and, oh yes, customers are satisfied. Touchdown! We can help you perform the financial analyses to identity your profit fumbles and come up with budget-smart initiatives likely to build your bottom line.

© 2019

Employer Shared Responsibility Penalties

by Tony Pandiscia

The Internal Revenue Service “IRS” has recently been issuing “226J Letters” to businesses to conduct inquiry into whether compliance was properly maintained under the Affordable Care Act [“ACA”] for the 2016 Tax Year.  While the IRS has been authorized to issue this correspondence in the past, the 2016 Tax Year is significant because it marks the first year following the sunset of favorable “transitional relief” rules that had been available in prior years for businesses that were not in compliance with the ACA.  When a business is not in compliance with the ACA healthcare mandate, the result is exposure to the “employer shared responsibility penalty” [or “ESRP”].

A business may incur the “ESRP” under the ACA when it is an applicable large employer [“ALEs”] whom fails to offer:

  • “minimum essential” health insurance coverage to its full-time employees and their children, or
  •  insurance coverage that is “considered affordable”.

Technical rules help determine exactly whom is an ALE [i.e. how to properly count the “full-time equivalent” employees], what would be considered “minimum essential” [health insurance coverage], as well as whether the premiums charged employees were “considered affordable”.  Most businesses confronted the myriad of health insurance options designed to meet ACA compliance beginning back in 2013 when the law was initially announced, although various provisions of the law effectively delayed the assessment of penalties until after January 1, 2015 to give businesses ample time to implement suitable health insurance programs and permit the IRS opportunity to develop adequate record keeping and tracking mechanisms.

It is important to understand that receipt of a the 226J Letter is not the actual assessment of the liability.  Instead it is a notification from the IRS that based on certain records in its database, the business may be subject to the ESRP and the business now has the responsibility to formally contest or confirm the assertion.  [Typically the records the IRS has analyzed include Forms 1094, 1095, W-2 along with the Premium Tax Credit database that is populated through the “Exchange” where individuals obtained coverage through “Healthcare.gov”.]  The formal response to the 226J Letter must be submitted to the IRS using Form 14764, plus attachments.  Included in the 226J Letter will be a “response deadline” [generally 30 days from the date of the letter] for which a business owner must submit the response or by default the IRS will assume no additional evidence is available to refute the ESRP assertion.

Due to the complexity and time-constraints involved, upon receipt of a 226J Letter a business owner should immediately contact a Tax Professional to assist with the response process.  The format of the Form 14764 allows for submission of explanations and substantive documentation that may help update or correct the IRS’ records, as well as counter (if applicable) the government’s ESRP assertion.  As with other IRS dispute resolution matters, reliance on a qualified Tax Professional will permit the business owner to avail him/herself of all applicable ESRP response strategies (including extensions of time, available exemptions, review of formula computations and ratios, and even installment payment plan negotiation attempts, as necessary).  Langdon & Company LLP is well-versed in ESRP issues, so feel free to connect with us if you have any questions.

NC Medicaid Compliance Update

by Rachel Owens

North Carolina requires program-specific reporting of facilities/homes based on their license. For many facilities this is not a new requirement, however, for adult care, mental health and dual-licensed facilities this is only required every other year.  This year is an on year.  Compliance with these state requirements fulfill the mandate enforced by the North Carolina General Assembly under General Statute 131 D-4.1-4.3 through the Office of the Controller.  Facilities that do not receive funds through State/County Special Assistance are exempt, but all others must complete a cost report.  The deadline for which, is just a few short months away – September 30, 2019!

What report is my facility required to file?

Requirements of the statute vary depending on the license and the number of beds in the facility.  Facilities with 6 beds or less are required to prepare a cost report only.  Facilities with 7 or more beds must complete a cost report and have agreed-upon-procedures performed by an independent CPA.  The larger facilities with 31 beds or more have additional requirements for their cost report this year.

There are many factors to consider to determine exactly what is expected of each facility and what period is to be reported.  The repercussions of non-compliance of these requirements are suspended admissions or worse!  The OOC office anticipates releasing updated cost report information and agreed-upon-procedures in the next few weeks.  The healthcare industry continues to be an ever-changing environment and we continue to be on the look out for additional information as the deadline approaches.  We would be happy to answer any questions you have and would appreciate the opportunity to serve your organization.

 

Financial statements tell your business’s story, inside and out

Ask many entrepreneurs and small business owners to show you their financial statements and they’ll likely open a laptop and show you their bookkeeping software. Although tracking financial transactions is critical, spreadsheets aren’t financial statements.

In short, financial statements are detailed and carefully organized reports about the financial activities and overall position of a business. As any company evolves, it will likely encounter an increasing need to properly generate these reports to build credibility with outside parties, such as investors and lenders, and to make well-informed strategic decisions.

These are the typical components of financial statements:

Income statement. Also known as a profit and loss statement, the income statement shows revenues and expenses for a specified period. To help show which parts of the business are profitable (or not), it should carefully match revenues and expenses.

Balance sheet. This provides a snapshot of a company’s assets and liabilities. Assets are items of value, such as cash, accounts receivable, equipment and intellectual property. Liabilities are debts, such as accounts payable, payroll and lines of credit. The balance sheet also states the company’s net worth, which is calculated by subtracting total liabilities from total assets.

Cash flow statement. This shows how much cash a company generates for a particular period, which is a good indicator of how easily it can pay its bills. The statement details the net increase or decrease in cash as a result of operations, investment activities (such as property or equipment sales or purchases) and financing activities (such as taking out or repaying a loan).

Retained earnings/equity statement. Not always included, this statement shows how much a company’s net worth grew during a specified period. If the business is a corporation, the statement details what percentage of profits for that period the company distributed as dividends to its shareholders and what percentage it retained internally.

Notes to financial statements. Many if not most financial statements contain a supplementary report to provide additional details about the other sections. Some of these notes may take the form of disclosures that are required under Generally Accepted Accounting Principles — the most widely used set of accounting rules and standards. Others might include supporting calculations or written clarifications.

Financial statements tell the ongoing narrative of your company’s finances and profitability. Without them, you really can’t tell anyone — including yourself — precisely how well you’re doing. We can help you generate these reports to the highest standards and then use them to your best advantage.

© 2019

Holding a fundraising auction? Make sure your nonprofit is tax-compliant

Auctions have long been lucrative fundraising events for not-for-profits. But these events come with some tax compliance responsibilities.

Acknowledging item donations

If you auction off merchandise or services donated to your charity, you should provide written acknowledgments to the donors of the auctioned items valued at $250 or more. You won’t incur a penalty for failing to acknowledge the donation, but the donor can’t claim a deduction without substantiation, which could hurt your ability to obtain donations in the future.

Written statements should include your organization’s name and a description — but not the value — of the donated item. (It’s the donor’s responsibility to substantiate the donated auction item’s value.) Also indicate the value of any goods or services provided to the donor in return.

Other rules

Donors of services or the use of property may be surprised to learn that their donations aren’t tax-deductible. Alert these donors before they make their pledges. Also inform donors of property such as artwork that tax law generally limits their deduction to their tax basis in the property (typically what they paid for it).

If you receive an auction item valued at greater than $500 — and within three years sell the property — you must file Form 8282, “Donee Information Return,” and provide a copy to the original donor. Form 8282 must be filed within 125 days of the sale.

Substantiation for winning bidders

A contribution made by a donor who also receives substantial goods and services in exchange — such as the item won in the auction — is known as a quid pro quo contribution. To take a charitable deduction, winning bidders at a charitable auction must be able to show that they knew the value of the item was less than the amount paid. So provide bidders with a good faith estimate of the fair market value of each available item before the auction and state that only the amount paid in excess is deductible as a charitable donation.

In addition, your nonprofit is required to provide a written disclosure statement to any donor who makes a payment of more than $75 that’s partly a contribution and partly for goods and services received. The failure to provide the disclosures can result in penalties of $10 per contribution, not to exceed $5,000 per auction.

Plan ahead

If you plan to hold a fundraising auction, don’t wait until the last minute to think about tax compliance. Contact us: We can help.

© 2018

A midyear review should go beyond financials


Every year is a journey for a business. You begin with a set of objectives for the months ahead, probably encounter a few bumps along the way and, hopefully, reach your destination with some success and a few lessons learned.

The middle of the year is the perfect time to stop for a breather. A midyear review can help you and your management team determine which objectives are still “meetable” and which one’s may need tweaking or perhaps even elimination.

Naturally, this will involve looking at your financials. There are various metrics that can tell you whether your cash flow is strong and debt load manageable, and if your profitability goals are within reach. But don’t stop there.

3 key areas

Here are three other key areas of your business to review at midyear:

1. HR. Your people are your most valuable asset. So, how is your employee turnover rate trending compared with last year or previous years? High employee turnover could be a sign of underlying problems, such as poor training, lax management or low employee morale.

2. Sales and marketing. Are you meeting your monthly goals for new sales, in terms of both sales volume and number of new customers? Are you generating an adequate return on investment (ROI) for your marketing dollars? If you can’t answer this last question, enhance your tracking of existing marketing efforts so you can gauge marketing ROI going forward.

3. Production. If you manufacture products, what’s your unit reject rate so far this year? Or if yours is a service business, how satisfied are your customers with the level of service being provided? Again, you may need to tighten up your methods of tracking product quality or measuring customer satisfaction to meet this year’s strategic goals.

Necessary adjustments

Don’t wait to the end of the year to assess the progress of your 2018 strategic plan. Conduct a midyear review and get the information you need to make any adjustments necessary to help ensure success. Let us know how we can help.

©2018

Audit Manager Announcement


Langdon & Company LLP is pleased to announce the promotion of Rebecca Lunn to audit manager.  Rebecca joined Langdon & Company LLP in 2014 and has over seven years of public accounting experience including work for Cherry Bekaert LLP in their Raleigh, NC office.  She is a graduate of Elon University with a Bachelor of Science and North Carolina State University with a Masters of Science in Accounting. 

Rebecca provides audit and attest services to clients primarily in the nonprofit, healthcare and small business industries.  She is an active member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, the North Carolina Association of Certified Public Accountants, and the Young Professional Network of the Greater Raleigh Chamber of Commerce.

Join us in congratulating Rebecca!

 

 

Does your nonprofit properly report donations?


Your not-for-profit probably already ensures that donors receive a receipt with information about claiming a charitable contribution deduction on their tax return. But your obligations may go further than that. For noncash donations, you might have responsibilities related to certain tax forms.

Form 8283 for donors

When filing their tax returns, donors must attach Section A of Form 8283, “Noncash Charitable Contributions,” if the amount of their deduction for all noncash gifts is more than $500. Only when a single noncash contribution is greater than $5,000 does the donor need to complete Section B, which must be signed by an official of the organization receiving the donation or another person designated by that official. When you return a Schedule B to a donor, the donor should provide you with a full copy of Form 8283.

Donors usually must obtain an appraisal for donated property over $5,000. However, your official’s signature on Section B doesn’t represent concurrence with the appraised value of a donation. It merely acknowledges receipt of the described property on the date specified on the form.

Form 8282 for nonprofits

Your organization generally needs to file Form 8282, “Donee Information Return,” with the IRS if you sell, exchange or otherwise dispose of a donated item within three years of receiving the donation. File the form within 125 days of the disposition unless:

• The item was valued at $500 or less at the time of the original donation, or

• The item was consumed or distributed without compensation in furtherance of your exempt purpose. For example, a relief organization that distributes donated medical supplies while aiding disaster victims isn’t required to file Form 8282.

You also must provide a copy of Form 8282 to the donor. When a donated item is transferred from one nonprofit to another within three years, the transferring organization must provide the successor with its name, address and tax identification number, a copy of the Form 8283 it received from the original donor, and a copy of the Form 8282 within 15 days after filing with the IRS.

Avoidable consequences

Failing to file required forms can lead to IRS penalties. While your organization may be excused if you show the failure was due to reasonable cause, your donor still stands to lose the tax deduction — a result neither of you want. Contact us if you have questions.

© 2018