Important Tax Alert: How The 2015 Budget Act Will Affect Medicare and Social Security

The effect of the 2015 Budget Act will impact Medicare premiums and Social Security benefits.  Based on our reading of the bill and various other articles analyzing the new law, the following is an understanding of the changes in the 2015 Budget Act impacting Social Security Benefits:

Medicare Part B Premiums for 2016

The 2016 Medicare Part B premiums were originally scheduled to increase by 52% over the 2015 monthly amount of $104.90 for single taxpayers with income of $85,000 or less and married taxpayers with income of $170,000 or less.  Taxpayers with income above those amounts paid higher premiums. 

NEW LAW: The Act limits the 2016 premiums to the 2015 amounts for most taxpayers.  Taxpayers with higher incomes will pay the 2015 premiums plus $3 per month.  For 2017 and subsequent years, the premiums for the lower income taxpayers will be increased by the lesser of $3 or the cost of living adjustments in their monthly Social Security payments.

Social Security Benefits

Individuals who are or will be age 66 before May 1, 2016:

Under prior rules, individuals who turned age 66 could file for social security benefits and immediately suspend receipt of those benefits.  Their retirement benefits would continue to grow by 8% per year until the earlier of age 70 or an election to start receiving benefits.  While  benefits are suspended, their spouse or dependent child(ren) could receive up to 50% of their normal payment amount.  When the individual later begins  drawing payments, the individual could request a lump sum payment of the accumulated suspended payments in lieu of receiving the increased monthly payments.

NEW LAW: The 2015 Budget Act provides that anyone, who has already filed for and suspended the receipt of benefits prior to passage of the Act and whose family is receiving benefits, will not be affected. 

Individuals turning age 66 before May 1, 2016 can follow the old rule that allows them to file and suspend while their future benefits increase by 8% per year until age 70.  Their dependent child(ren) will be eligible to receive benefits and their spouse aged 62 or older as of December 31, 2015 will be able to receive spousal benefits at age 66. 

Individuals that will turn age 66 before May 1, 2016 but do not file for benefits before that date may file and suspend their benefits after April 30, 2016, but their family will not be able to collect any benefits while their benefits are suspended.   In other words, if the individual turning age 66 is not receiving cash payments, spouses and dependent children may not receive payments unless the individual turned age 66 before May 1, 2016 and filed for benefits. 

Individuals who will be age 62 before December 31, 2015:

Under the old rules, an individual born in 1943 through 1954 could file for full Social Security benefits at age 66 regardless of employment status or earnings.   Generally, spouses age 62 or older and certain dependent children could also get benefits of up to 50% of the individual’s benefit amounts, even if suspended.

NEW LAW: The Act limits the spousal benefits to the greater of the spouse’s own benefits or 50% of the primary beneficiary’s benefits when the spouse reaches age 66.  Spousal benefits and dependent benefits are only paid when the primary beneficiary has filed for benefits and is receiving benefits. 

There is an exception  for a spouse who is age 62 as of December 31, 2015.  If the primary beneficiary attained full retirement age before May 1, 2016 and has either claimed Social Security benefits or has filed and suspended their benefits prior to May 1, 2016, the spouse may claim either spousal benefits or their own benefits when he or she turns 66.  This allows the spouse to collect 50% of the primary beneficiary’s full retirement amount for up to four years and their benefit will increase by 8% until age 70 when they must switch to their own retirement benefits. 

The other exception is for surviving spouses who may continue to choose their own benefits or the spousal benefits.

Individuals under age 62 at December 31, 2015:

NEW LAW: Anyone who turns 62 after December 31, 2015 will lose the right to claim spousal benefits.  If they are entitled to both their own retirement benefit and a spousal benefit, they will only receive the higher amount.  The only exception is for surviving spouses.  A surviving spouse may choose the spousal benefit first while his or her benefit continues to increase by 8% per year until age 70 at which time the surviving spouse can claim his or her own benefit.

Due to the complexity of the rules for electing Social Security Benefits, we encourage you to consult your tax advisor.  The tax professionals at LBA Haynes Strand, PLLC are available to assist you in understanding this process, and making the best possible decision.  Click the button below if you would like to schedule an appointment to discuss your Social Security Benefits, or other important tax planning for your retirement years.

Results of the Contractor Remittance Survey

A CPA Firm should not just strive to be your accountant, but strive to be an industry resource to you. Your CPA Firm should be active in local trade organizations and in local chambers, to keep you up to speed with recent changes that may affect your business.   As a firm that includes a large number of construction related clients, we are members of the Construction Financial Management Association (CFMA) and have access to The Institute of Certified Construction Industry Financial Professionals (ICCIFP).  We do this to be active in the local construction community, as well as to represent our clients.

As a member, we receive valuable information, in many different forms, that we can then communicate to our clients and prospects.

The ICCIFP, has released the results or their “Remittance Survey.”  The survey was posted on September 28th, 2015 on the CFMA Bottom Lines newsletter.  The survey reached approximately 7000 members and was emailed to 950 CCIFPs.  The survey was closed on October 14th with 165 respondents.  Since the sample was targeted at CFMA membership and CCIFPs, the results are skewed towards larger contractors. Questions included in the survey were:

  • On average, how long does it take your company to remit payment to subcontractors?
  • How does your current remittance time to subcontractors compare to last year?
  • How does your current remittance time to subcontractors compare to three years ago?
  • On average, how long does it take your company to remit payment to suppliers/vendors?
  • How does your current remittance time to suppliers/vendors compare to last year?
  • How does your current remittance time to suppliers/vendors compare to three years ago?
  • Of all remittance transactions you made during the last year, what percent were checks, what percent were ACH/wire, and what percent were credit card?
  • When considering your total remittances for the last year, what percent were checks, what percent were ACH/wire, and what percent were via credit card?

To see the results of the survey: CLICK HERE!

Charlotte Business Journal Fast 50 List Revealed

The Charlotte Business Journal has released their Fast 50 list for 2015. This list honors the 50 fastest growing private companies in the Charlotte region. LBA Haynes Strand is honored to have made the list for the second year in a row and continues to make firm growth a priority.

We are excited to once again join this exceptional list of Charlotte companies. Our approach to being a growth-oriented CPA Firm has led us to opportunities to grow through mergers and acquisitions as well as organically. In 2004, the LBA Haynes Strand’s Matthews office was started by John Bly and his wife Darci. The firm was known as Bly & Bly at the time. Over the next eleven years, the firm grew through a series of eleven mergers and acquisitions, including our most recent merger in 2014. These mergers have allowed the firm to grow from $0 to $8 million in revenue in a relatively short period of time and has provided the opportunity to grow our footprint in Charlotte and across North Carolina. With offices now in Matthews, Mount Airy, and Greensboro – we have become a regional CPA Firm.

Our geographical footprint isn’t the only thing that has been changed as a result of our growth strategy. We have also seen growth in our suite of service offerings that we are able to offer to clients. In the Triad we now have a large employee benefit plan audit practice, in Matthews we have a Capital Advisory arm of the firm, and overall we have grown our Sarbanes Oxley, Construction, Manufacturing, and Non-Profit Niches with the experience of key employees and the leadership of our Partner Group.

Thank you to the Charlotte Business Journal for including LBA Haynes Strand on this list and congratulations to the other 49 companies that have been honored as well.

To learn more about LBA Haynes Strand, set up a time to meet with one of our team members in Matthews, Greensboro, or Mount Airy!

Year End Tax Announcements and Updates

Now that fall has officially begun, it’s time to begin your tax planning for 2015 and tie up any loose ends that you may have from 2014.  The IRS recently sent out the following reminders and helpful federal income tax-saving opportunities for individuals and businesses:

October 15th Extension Reminder

About a quarter of the 13 million taxpayers who requested an automatic six-month extension for their 2014 tax returns have YET to file.  The IRS recently urged individuals whose tax-filing extension runs out on October 15 to double check their returns for often overlooked tax benefits, such as deductions for job hunting costs or moving expenses and credits for education or child care.

If you filed for an extension, you should file your return by October 15, even if you can’t pay the full amount due. By doing so, you can avoid the late-filing penalty, which is normally 5% per month, that would otherwise apply to any unpaid balance after October 15. However, interest (currently at the rate of 3% per year compounded daily) and late-payment penalties (normally 0.5% per month) will continue to accrue on any unpaid tax bills.

If you need to file an extension for your personal tax return, don’t forget to check the new box on Forms 1040, 1040A or 1040-EZ that indicates whether you had health coverage for 2014. If you plan to claim the Health Coverage Tax Credit (HCTC) for 2014, you must first file an original 2014 tax return without claiming the HCTC, even if you have no other filing requirement. Then you can file an amended return when the IRS issues further HCTC guidance.

Guidance for Filing an Amended Personal Return

Many taxpayers need to file an amended federal tax return for 2014, whether it’s to correct an error or to claim a missing credit or deduction, such as the HCTC when the final guidance is published. (See above.) Don’t panic if you need to correct your filing status, the number of dependents you claimed or your total income. The IRS allows individuals to amend a previously filed federal income tax return using Form 1040X.

But this form has specific requirements. For example, it currently can’t be filed electronically. Instead, you’ll need to file it on paper and mail it to the IRS. In addition, a separate form must be filed for each tax year that you’re amending.

In some cases, the IRS will correct math errors on your behalf. If that happens, you generally don’t need to file an amended return. Likewise, the IRS may just send you a notice for failing to attach a required form or schedule and simply request additional documentation. Such a notice generally doesn’t necessitate an amended return either.

If you expect a refund but need to amend your original return, it’s OK to cash your original refund check from the IRS. It generally takes the IRS a few months to process amended returns and issue additional refund checks. However, if you’ll owe additional income taxes, send a check as soon as possible. Doing so will limit interest and penalty charges.

To claim a refund, file Form 1040X no more than three years from the date you filed your original tax return. You can also file it no more than two years from the date you paid the tax if that date is later than the three-year rule.

Affordable Care Act Reporting For Individuals

About 800,000 taxpayers who purchased health insurance from the federally facilitated Marketplace during 2014 received an erroneous Form 1095-A, “Health Insurance Marketplace Statement.” The IRS recently reminded those taxpayers who filed a federal tax return based on their original Form 1095-A that they’re not required to file an amended return based on a corrected Form 1095-A. This is true even if you would owe additional taxes based on the new information.

However, you may voluntarily choose to file an amended return based on the corrected form if it would result in an additional refund or lower the amount of taxes you owe. You may also want to file an amended return if you filed a federal tax return based on the original form and 1) incorrectly claimed a premium tax credit or 2) failed to file Form 8962, “Premium Tax Credit,” to reconcile your advance payments of the premium tax credit.

Retroactive Extension of Bonus Depreciation and Section 179 Expense Elections

The IRS recently issued guidance on changes made by the Tax Increase Prevention Act of 2014 (TIPA) to provisions dealing with bonus depreciation options in 2014. The guidance is effective September 15, 2015.

In 2013, taxpayers were allowed to deduct 50% first-year bonus depreciation on qualifying new equipment and purchased software that was placed in service before year end. At the end of 2014, TIPA retroactively extended through 2014 the bonus depreciation provisions that expired at the end of 2013. But the extension was passed after some taxpayers had already filed their 2014 tax returns.

The recent IRS guidance provides options to amend returns to 1) claim missed bonus depreciation for assets brought into service in 2014, revoke an election, or file a change in method of accounting for the current year to claim missed bonus depreciation and 2) carry over to 2014 any disallowed Section 179 deduction for qualified real property placed in service during 2010 through 2013.

Important note: The deadline for making such an amendment is generally December 4, 2015. In some cases, the deadline may be later. Regardless, time is of the essence.

As the year winds down, it’s important to (once again) watch for legislation on these and other expired tax provisions. For 2015, bonus depreciation is currently unavailable and the current maximum Section 179 deduction is only $25,000 (compared to $500,000 for tax years beginning in 2010 through 2014). But it’s possible that Congress might extend these tax-saving opportunities again for fiscal tax year 2015.

If that happens, business owners should be prepared to act fast to lower taxable income for 2015. Remember that assets must be placed in service by no later than the end of your business’s tax year to qualify for these deductions.

Don’t miss out on any tax saving opportunities for the 2015 tax season. Contact your CPA today and schedule your no-cost consultation.

It’s A Great Time To Buy A Business

As you look to purchase a business make sure you are doing it for the right reasons.  Don’t just say, “I want to get rich.”  That line of thinking probably won’t cut it, unfortunately.  You need to make sure you have wisdom, passion, and a sound plan for your new business.  Do your Due Diligence!!  The timing is right to purchase, in fact 2015 through 2017 may be one of the very best times EVER to buy a business.  There are a number of factors that make this the best time in history to buy:

  • Supply and Demand
  • Capital Availability
  • Larger Companies Are Worth More
  • Strategic Savings

1. Supply & Demand

As Baby Boomers are exiting their companies – there are lots of sellers, but there are not as many buyers as there were 10 years ago.  This makes the selection of businesses to buy better than the past.  Also technology has helped in this regard.  Most Capital Advisors that provide buy side searches or sell side representation have access to websites that list companies that are up for sale.  This makes it much easier to find the demographic fit, niche fit, and value that the buyers are looking for.  Therefore, when a business owner comes to a Capital Advisor they are receiving information on numerous companies that are interested in selling, and have more choices than they would have had at any time in the past.

2. Capital Availability

The Private Equity Groups, Private Investors, and Banks have more money on the sidelines that they want to put to use in the marketplace than ever before.  Additionally, interest rates are still at historic lows (however this could change slightly in 2016 – so keep an eye on this) – so borrowing capital to buy a business can be done very efficiently.

3. Larger Companies Are Worth More

Acquiring 1 to 3 competitors and building your current company may change the multiple you get on an exit from 4x to 6x of EBITDA.  The big difference here is that you may be buying a smaller business for 3x the earnings and later as you combine it with your business and thus resell a larger business in the future, you may be able to get a rate arbitrage on your purchase.  Thus, the same business you bought for more than 3x.

4. Strategic Savings

If you already own a company in the given industry and you acquire another one, the savings could be 5 to 25% on expenses for the combined company.  Which means you could add more profit and cash flow than the prior owner.  There are many different expense categories that would overlap, and when you combine companies you wouldn’t have to pay twice!

For more information on how LBA Haynes Strand Capital Advisors can help you successfully buy a business, click here for your no cost consultation!  In the meantime, click the button below to download your free report: “The Essential Guide To Successful Mergers and Acquisitions.”

Attention Business Owners: Don’t Just Survive….Thrive!

Are you helping your business thrive or are you helping it survive? If you are a business owner you may be spending too much time focusing on how to keep the ship afloat and not focusing enough on the opportunity to shift your time and attention to helping your business thrive.  One option to assist you is outsourcing business functions to professionals.  Look outside your company for consultants, for example a CPA firm that provides bookkeeping or outsourced accounting services.  This can save you time and money, as the fee will likely be less than hiring a full time accountant on your staff.

The moral of the story: Don’t try to wear all the hats!

Business owners that try to wear all the hats simply don’t have time to focus on their business.  They are too busy focused on the mundane activities such as accounting, marketing, hr, etc. As the leader of your business, you should be spending 0% of your time crunching numbers of everyday finances, and 100% of your time finding ways to increase the overall value of your business.

Let’s examine how outsourcing your accounting function can give you a tighter grip on managing your business in its entirety:

Outsourcing Saves Time

Your accounting department shouldn’t require a babysitter. You might think it’s your duty to manage work flow, or you might just be intent on keeping a close eye on your company’s finances. Is this really the best use of your time as the leader of your business? What you should be doing is checking in to each of your departments, ensuring smooth sailing, and then getting back to running your business as a whole.  

Outsourced accounting allows you to do this by taking all accounting issues off your hands. With an outside accounting firm, you are relieved of the day-to-day oversight of your company’s finances. Your available time increases, and you feel confident in taking that time to tackle other, more important, business issues.

Outsourcing Gives You An Organized System

When you ask your bookkeeper for a specific document, they should be able to retrieve it immediately. There shouldn’t be massive amounts of time spent digging through files and searching through desktops.

If you’re like most successful business owners, disorganization conflicts with your strategically structured approach to running a business. When you have a CPA firm on your team, your files are classified by revenue, or expense or location – however YOU want them to be classified. Which brings us to your next point…

Outsourcing Puts You In Control

You obviously have control over your business if you own it, but are things being managed according to your guidelines? Are the financial policies and procedures your company requires being put into place? You may not have tremendous accounting knowledge, but you have ideas on how you’d like to see your reports compiled and presented.

A good CPA firm abides by these ideas, taking your business plans and reporting preferences and arranging them in an easy-to-read, comprehensible format. For example, if you’re not 100% in tune with 100% of your expenditures, a CPA firm might recommend a weekly, monthly or quarterly cash flow analysis, depending on your needs.

The fact that you are not an accounting expert shouldn’t prevent you from creating policies around your finances.

Leading your business means bringing about a brighter future, looking at the overall picture, and not busying yourself with daily duties throughout your departments. Even if your accounting department is performing adequately, as a leader, it is your responsibility to turn “adequate” into “effective” if you want to achieve sustainable business success. Outsourced accounting services ensure this effectiveness, and give you the time and tools you need to lead your business.

Want to learn more about the benefits outsourced accounting provides for your business?  Click here to start the conversation about your financial future with LBA Haynes Strand or click the button below to download your free whitepaper on the subject!

Delegation

Business Owners: Delegation Is The Key To Sustainable Value

Business Owners need to learn how to properly delegate roles in order to create a sustainable business. We have seen instances where business owners, who have worked as an “army of 1”, leave their business or retire and the value of the business leaves as well. If you really want  to make a difference in your employees lives and you want to create a lasting business long after you leave, you must learn the art of delegation!

Delegation is tough for some business owners. It is about empowering others to step up and make decisions on behalf of YOUR business and it is about you TRUSTING those employees to do so. Let me ask you a simple question:  Why did you start your business? Look back to when you were a wide eyed, optimistic entrepreneur. You started your business probably because you had a passion and wanted to make a difference in some kind of capacity. You have now created a successful business, one that has value and one that employs actual people! It has been successful, however you still feel the need to make every decision on your own.

What is your company going to do when you retire? Is it going to continue to run successfully or is it going to run like a ship without a captain?

If you want it to run successfully when you are gone, you must master delegation. Stop wearing every hat in the business and find people who are capable and willing to help your business grow. Find people you can trust to make the right decisions, that work within your value system and your business’ objectives. If you fail at this your business will likely fail soon after you leave.

To learn more, contact our team at LBA Haynes Strand Capital Advisors for your no-cost consultation!

Results of the Contractor Payment Survey

A CPA Firm should not just strive to be your accountant, but strive to be an industry resource to you. Your CPA Firm should be active in local trade organizations and in local chambers, to keep you up to speed with recent changes that may affect your business. As a firm that includes a large number of construction related clients, we are members of the Construction Financial Management Association (CFMA). We do this to be active in the local construction community as well as to represent our clients.

As a member, we receive valuable information, in many different forms, that we can in turn communicate to our clients. At the bottom of this blog, you can find the results of a survey titled, “Contractor Payment Survey.” This survey was put together by the Institute of Certified Construction Industry Financial Professionals. On August 10th, the survey was mailed to 925 CCIFPs and was also posted on the CFMA Cafe website that reached approximately 7000 members. The survey was then closed on August 17th with 142 respondents. 

Questions included in the survey are:
  • On average, how long does it take to collect payments?
  • How does your current collection time compare to last year?
  • How does your current collection time compare to three years ago?
  • Of all payment transactions you received during the last year, what percent were checks, ACH/wire, or credit card?
  • When considering your total revenue for the last year, what percent was received from checks, ACH/wire, and/or credit card?
  • What is your gross annual revenue?
  • What is your total number of employees?

Results of Contractor Payment Survey: CLICK HERE

LBA Haynes Strand Launches Capital Advisors Group

We are excited to announce a new division at our firm – LBA Haynes Strand Capital Advisors.

John Bly, Co-Managing Member of LBA Haynes Strand, PLLC, had this to say about the announcement: “Since the firm was established, LBA Haynes Strand has been an active participant in the M&A marketplace. Our firm itself has successfully merged or acquired 11 CPA Firms in 11 years, which has created many new and exciting opportunities for the firm.  Over the past few years our clients have been hiring us to advise on mergers and acquisitions, performing due diligence work and providing advice on the structure of the deal. With our history and given the tidal wave of M&A activity coming over the next 10 years, we felt that this was the perfect time to launch our own Capital Advisors group.”

The new entity will be known as LBA Haynes Strand Capital Advisors, LLC and will be led by Saeed Moghadam. Saeed brings over 17 years of banking experience to the group, as he has enjoyed a successful career working with some of the largest banks in the Charlotte area. Our clients will now benefit from being able to leverage both the CPA knowledge and the Banker knowledge under one roof. LBA Haynes Strand Capital Advisors will offer professional advisory with in house due diligence, providing a seamless experience to our clients. 

New Service Lines under LBA Haynes Strand Capital Advisors include:
  • Capital Raise
  • Buy Side Searches
  • Sell Side Representation
  • Debt Refinance
  • Exit Planning
  • Valuation
  • M&A Advisory

To learn more about our Capital Advisors team and how we can help your business, contact us for your no-cost consultation.

Finding The Right CPA For Your Construction Firm

Often times the relationship between accountants and their clients can be misunderstood as one that just produces a tax return or one time advice.  If this describes your current relationship with your CPA, you might want to re-think your CPA Firm.  An accountant is supposed to act as a trusted advisor, one that you can count on to answer all your accounting questions on a year-round basis and someone you will never hesitate to call with a question.

So, how do you maximize your relationship with your accountant?

It starts with hiring the right accountant.  You need to find the professional CPA firm that has experience handling similarly sized construction companies, someone who understands the nuances of construction accounting.  They should also show a general interest in your company.  Your accountant should be able to ask relevant questions about your company/industry and should be able to provide advice that is specific to the construction industry.  For example if your CPA firm is REALLY knowledgeable about the construction industry, the CPA firm will be able to provide you with strategic planning, smart growth and expansion consulting, sound internal controls, tax and cash flow planning, and finally budgeting and forecasting.

You must understand that your CPA is a resource to your company. If you are only sending over your financial information and waiting for your accountant to send over a completed tax return – then you are missing an opportunity to better your company. Your accountant should be utilized as a financial resource.  Accountants can develop corporate strategies, financial plans, can make recommendations to how to lower taxes and increase profits, and can open up doors to new relationships with lawyers and bankers for example.

In today’s economy many general contractors have attempted to do more work with less resources.  This often times puts more of a burden on employees and on the contractor or owner of the company.  This has led to some aspects of the overall financial plan being ignored or not maintained.  If you are a contractor, wouldn’t it be nice to receive monthly reports and analysis of your spending, cash flow, and other financial data?  Utilizing your accountant to do this, can help you stick to a financial plan that increases your financial health and can help identify problems before they turn into significant issues.  When hiring the right accountant, ask them if they are able to provide monthly analysis and reporting, if they say, “no”, then move on and find an accountant who can.

What else should you be looking for in an accounting firm for construction companies?
  • Accountants with industry knowledge.  Look for the “CCIFP” designation!
  • Look for accountants who won’t charge for phone calls and will never put you on the “clock.”
  • Look for CPAs who are in Construction related groups.  CFMA for example.
  • Find your trusted advisor – someone you can envision developing a relationship with and contacting on a weekly or monthly basis.
  • Someone who can provide insight into the construction industry.
  • During your first meeting, ask the accountant a specific tax question about the construction industry.  If they truly are a “specialist” in construction accounting, this will help you learn that.

Construction accounting is a specialty. That’s why you need an accounting firm that has keen insight into the challenges faced by general contractors and specialty contractors. LBA Haynes Strand’s in depth understanding of construction accounting is the result of providing services to more than 150 clients in the construction industry. For more information on construction accounting, download our free guide, “Profitable Construction: A Guide To Outsourcing Tax Preparation And Accounting.”

Criminals Stole Data From 330,000 Taxpayers Off IRS Website

This week, the IRS reported that the initial data breach on taxpayer data was much worse than initially stated… 3 times worse. Back in May, we reported that the breach had compromised 100,000 accounts, based on initial reports from the IRS. After conducting an extensive review covering the 2015 filing season, the IRS realized that the number of accounts that had been breached was actually more like 330,000. However, we are sure this number will rise in the coming months.

The cyber group that remains unnamed, attacked the IRS through the “Get Transcript” tool. This group then duped “Get Transcript” by using previously acquired stolen information and downloading millions of people’s tax documents. “Get Transcript” has since been disabled to prevent any more fraud.

How Do You Know If You Are A Victim?

The IRS will be sending letters to each taxpayer whose information has been breached that warns them of potential identity theft. It is very important that if you receive this letter, you contact your CPA or you follow the steps that the IRS recommends to protect you from future issues. This includes an extra PIN number to protect your future tax filings and free credit protection.

Are You Safe Now?

The answer unfortunately is no. Off of tax forms, these criminals had access to salary, family information, property and investment values. In addition to identity theft, these criminals are able to claim bogus tax refunds and are also able to open lines of credit in your name. Unfortunately it is becoming increasingly difficult to secure anyones information in the digital age.

Remember: The IRS will not call, email or send you letters for your personal information in response. Scammers and thieves see this as an open opportunity. These thieves will try emailing malicious links to alleged receipt of funds or calling taxpayers and posing as the IRS to receive funds. If you have a situation occur and you receive an email or a phone call from the IRS, contact your CPA. Your CPA will be able to tell you if it is a scam or not. Contact LBA Haynes Strand regarding a scam attempt – click here – and our team will get back to you ASAP!

Accounting For Growing Companies: What To Consider

Do you know the old adage of “it takes one to know one?” We believe this to be a characteristic of LBA Haynes Strand, that just isn’t available at other CPA Firms. We of course are talking about a growing company. Growing companies face all kinds of challenges: accounting, hr, marketing, operations, etc, etc. There are two areas that we see growing companies needing the most assistance in: Cash Management and Internal Controls.

Cash Management

The truth of the matter is, it takes a LOT of cash to grow a business. Think about it – when a company grows their receivables grow, their work in progress grows, they have to hire new employees, they may need more inventory to sell, different technology needs, etc. All this costs money, but it is essential to creating a business structure that is capable of handling the business growth. If you are a business owner and you are looking to grow your company, you need to be aware of this.

It is a common story in the business world that businesses grow quickly, but then fail quickly, because the business was not properly prepared to handle the growth.  Business growth does not always equal success. When you grow you must look at all sides of your business and make sure that each function is strong and able to handle the increasing workload. Cash is going to be spent quickly to do these things, but the business owners must realize that this is necessary! The trick is not running out of money and working with your CPA can help you accomplish that.

Internal Controls

We see it often that a company comes to us asking for assistance because their company’s growth is outpacing their business structure. Sometimes these companies have little to no accounting function, because they just haven’t had the time to put the right systems in place, the right internal controls in place, or put the right people in place. This is a big area of concern for us.

Internal controls are often pretty logical measures that can make the difference between the success or the failure of your business. Implementing strong internal controls early on in the growth process can save the company a lot of time and money in the long run. This will also ensure the company that they will have efficient and effective business functions, reliable financial reporting, compliance with laws pertaining to the businesses activities, and the company’s assets are properly protected. So how do you know what internal controls you need to strengthen? This is where a certified public accounting firm with a team of internal auditors comes in handy. The internal audit team will come in and learn your business, conduct testing of your internal controls, create solutions for any issues they find, and then make recommendations to the management team.

If you are a growing company and have questions about your internal controls and your accounting function, contact LBA Haynes Strand today. As a two-year Inc. 5000 fastest growing company, we understand growing companies. What better advisors to your growing company than ones who knows how to handle it themselves!  Contact us today for your no cost-consultation!