Julie Ayers: The 2016 NAWBO Woman Business Owner of The Year!

Julie Ayers has been named the 2016 winner of NAWBO’s Woman Business Owner of the Year Award!  This award recognizes the NAWBO member who has most demonstrated strong leadership skills in growing and managing a successful business that is more than five years old.  Julie accepted the award at NAWBO’s 31st Annual Awards Gala on Tuesday May 17th.  Other finalists for the award included: Jennifer Maier, President & CEO of WDS, Inc. and Suzy Johnson, President and Owner of Employee Benefit Advisors of the Carolinas, LLC. 

Julie who is the Immediate Past President of the NAWBO Charlotte Board was blown away by the award and had this to say, “I am so honored and grateful to have received this award. In my time with NAWBO, I have learned and grown so much – from becoming a member, to being named Treasurer and then President, and now winning this award.  I think this speaks volumes for how important NAWBO has been to me and the way that I look at business now.  I have met so many great friends and developed such amazing relationships with other Charlotte women business owners, and I thank them for always being a resource to me and for helping me grow into what I have become today.  I also need to thank my fellow Members and my team at LBA Haynes Strand – we have developed a special Firm and one that holds a very exciting future.”

This marks Julie’s second exciting announcement this year, as she was named one of the 50 Most Influential Women in the Greater Charlotte area by The Mecklenburg Times in March.

What is NAWBO?

NAWBO stands for The National Association of Women Business Owners.  Since 1975, NAWBO has helped women grow their businesses by sharing resources and providing a single voice to shape economic and public policy.  NAWBO is the only dues-based national organization representing the interests of women entrepreneurs across all industries.

In 1999, the Charlotte-based women’s organization WBO joined the National Association of Women Business Owners to become NAWBO Charlotte.  There are chapters of NAWBO in almost every Metropolitan area, and NAWBO is represented in 33 countries across the world through its affiliation with Les Femmes Chefs d’ Enterprises Mondiales (World Association of Women Entrepreneurs).

Today, NAWBO Charlotte is the only organization specially designed to serve, support, and strengthen the 42,000 women-owned businesses in the greater Charlotte, NC metropolitan area.  To learn more visit www.NAWBOCharlotte.org.

Julie Ayers Named A Charlotte SmartCEO Inaugural Brava Award Winner!

Charlotte SmartCEO has announced the winners of its inaugural Brava Awards program. We are excited to announce that Julie Ayers, Principal Member of LBA Haynes Strand, has been named a winner! The Brava Awards celebrate the distinguished achievements of 40 high-impact business leaders across the Greater Charlotte area. Brava award winners combine their entrepreneurial spirit with a passion for giving back to the community. The winners are exemplary leaders of both their companies and their communities. Julie Ayers is among an inaugural class who collectively generate more than $24.69 billion in annual revenue and employs more than 53,800 individuals.

“Brava winners possess the hallmark qualities of successful leaders – vision, passion, compassion, dedication, perseverance. Each winner in this inaugural class exhibits these qualities in all facets of her life, from running her business to tending to her family and donating time and resources to philanthropic initiatives,: says Jaime Nespor-Zawmon, president of SmartCEO. “We are honored to recognize a group of Charlotte women who are truly making a difference in the world.”

In addition, our team congratulates the other 39 women recognized for the Charlotte Brava Awards. To celebrate this tremendous award with Julie Ayers, join us on September 13th at the Charlotte Brava Award Ceremony!  You can find more information, by clicking HERE.

Julie Ayers Honored as a 2016 Most Influential Woman by The Mecklenburg Times

Principal Member Julie Ayers, CPA has been named as one of the honorees for The Mecklenburg Times’ 2016 50 Most Influential Women.  Julie’s leadership and professionalism made her stand out among scores of nominees.

At LBA Haynes Strand, Julie has helped lead the firm through a number of mergers and acquisitions, that have turned LBA Haynes Strand into one of the fastest growing privately held businesses in the Charlotte region.  In addition, Julie is head of the tax and charter school accounting departments at the Firm.

“To be mentioned as one of The 50 Most Influential Women is an enormous achievement for me,” says Ayers. “I am proud of the work I have done at LBA Haynes Strand, proud of the work the team has done at LBA Haynes Strand, and proud of my involvement with the women business community over the past 8 years – where I have learned so much and made such amazing connections.”

The 50 Most Influential Women will be honored during an awards reception on Friday, May 20th at the Hilton Charlotte Center City.  Also during the event, the Woman of the Year honoree will be announced.  This special award will be kept top secret until the announcement and will be selected from the 2016 class of honorees.

Johnny Wood Receives Prestigious Board Position

Principal Member Johnny Wood, CPA has been named Chairman of the Board for the Nussbaum Center for Entrepreneurship. His experience, leadership skills, and outstanding moral character make him the perfect candidate for the job.

The Nussbaum Center for Entrepreneurship

The Nussbaum Center, founded in 1987, is a private non-profit corporation whose mission is to attract, advise, and house start-up and early stage growth entrepreneurs. In just under 30 years, the Center has graduated over 290 businesses with an 80% success rate, compared to a National rate of 44%. Johnny has served on the Board of Directors at the Center for nearly 10 years.

As one of the founding members of LBA Haynes Strand, Johnny is a key leader of our accounting, auditing, and consulting departments. In addition to traditional accounting services, he assists a variety of closely held companies and their owners in tax planning and compliance matters. Johnny is also very passionate about serving the Greensboro community. He is currently active in several community organizations and will now serve as the Nussbaum Center Chairman of the Board, a group that he cares deeply about.

“I am honored by this nomination,” says Johnny. “I truly believe in what the Center stands for, and for some reason the other board members think I am suitable to be the Chairman. This Center is all about helping young entrepreneurs succeed. It gives them countless networking opportunities with tons of folks who have the same desires to make it in the business world, and we help make that happen. If you’re trying to make it on your own, it’s tough, really tough. We help to ease that process and we have tons of success stories. That’s what I enjoy the most. It’s just fun – stressful at times of course, but lots of fun.”

To schedule a meeting with Johnny Wood, contact us today!

John Bly Named a Board Member of EO’s Global Board

Co-Managing Member John Bly has received HUGE news for the upcoming year. John has been named a Board Member of EO’s Global Board, where he will serve the organization!  This is a special announcement, because only 9 members of the organization are asked to serve 3 year terms to lead the organization through vision and strategy, and John is one of three member leaders who will begin their board term in July 2016. While this is an amazing accomplishment for John, it is something that didn’t just happen overnight.  John has been a member and advocate of EO since June of 2008 and has served in a number of roles to further EO’s vision, including: President of the Charlotte Chapter of EO, Chair for the highly successful regional NERVE 2013 Conference, Area Director for the US East Region, Member of the Standing Finance Committee for EO Global, and an EO Accelerator Facilitator.

What is EO, you may ask…

The Entrepreneurs’ Organization, better known as EO, is a collection of like-minded entrepreneurs focused on business growth, personal development and community engagement.  The network is made up of nearly 11,000 individual members across the world!

EO Global’s vision is to grow the world’s most influential community of entrepreneurs.  They accomplish their goals by offering chapter development, learning opportunities, forums, and strategic engagement opportunities to members.  There are currently 144 EO Chapters worldwide in 48 different countries.  This organization truly offers once in a lifetime opportunities to entrepreneurs across the globe.  This is certainly a once in a lifetime experience for John as he will be able to work with entrepreneurs across the globe and will have the ability to visit some very special places!

To get involved with the Entrepreneurs’ Organization or to learn more, visit: www.eonetwork.org or email info@eonetwork.org.

John Bly Interview – Cracking The Code To Mergers & Acquisitions

John Bly recently sat down with ExitCoachRadio.com for an interview with host Bill Black. During the interview John discusses three important aspects of the M&A marketplace:

  1. What does the current M&A environment look like?
  2. Where is the funding for deals coming from today?
  3. Why would a small business want to acquire other companies?

To listen to the interview from ExitCoachRadio.com, CLICK HERE! Do you have more questions about mergers and acquisitions? Contact John Bly today!

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.”

Tax Design Challenge: Reimagine The Taxpayer Experience

The IRS has created a tax design challenge for the taxpayers. Taxpayers are encouraged to reimagine the entire taxpayer experience and design the experience of the future. The IRS is offering a $10,000 award for the Best Overall Design and a number of other prizes for those that are most useful and most financially capable. To see the full Challenge outline: CLICK HERE! Submissions must be made by May 10, 2016 at 11:59AM Eastern Time.

Judging Criteria:

The review panel will make selections based upon the following criteria:

  • Overall Appeal
  • Taxpayer Usefulness
  • Financial Capability
  • Visual Hierarchy
  • Information Density
  • Accessibility
Prize Information

A review panel will select winners based on defined criteria and an individual submission can win multiple awards:

  • Overall Design—$10,000 (1st), and $5,000 (2nd).
  • Best Taxpayer Usefulness—$2,000 (1st), and $1,000 (2nd).
  • Best Financial Capability—$2,000 (1st), and $1,000 (2nd)
Think You Have What It Takes?

If you have been frustrated with the tax paying process and experience, then this is your chance to offer a solution. With this opportunity, you have a chance to make the tax paying experience easier, simpler, and better! Throughout the competition, participants will have the chance to engage with policy experts and a network of mentors that include world-class strategists and designers from government and non-government organizations. The team at LBA Haynes Strand will be happy to assist you with this tax design challenge!

IRS Announces Top Tax Scams for 2017

The IRS has announced the completion of its annual “Dirty Dozen” list of tax scams. The annual list highlights various schemes that taxpayers might encounter throughout the year, and especially during tax-filing season. “Taxpayers need to guard against ploys to steal their personal information, scam them out of money or talk them into engaging in questionable behavior with their taxes,” the IRS said.

The “Dirty Dozen” scams the IRS highlighted in 2017 are as follows:

Phishing: Taxpayers are advised to be on guard against fake emails or websites looking to steal their personal information. Specifically, they are warned to avoid opening surprise emails or clicking on web links claiming to be from the IRS, as the IRS will never initiate contact with taxpayers via email about a bill or refund.

Phone Scams: Taxpayers are warned that aggressive and threatening phone calls from criminals impersonating IRS agents remain an ongoing danger. The IRS said it has seen a surge of these phone scams in recent years, as con artists threaten taxpayers with police arrest, deportation, and revocation of their driver’s license if they fail to pay a bogus tax bill.

Identity Theft: The IRS is advising taxpayers to watch out for identity theft, especially around tax time. Taxpayers are cautioned to always use security software with firewall and anti-virus protections, to make sure the security software is always turned on and can automatically update, to encrypt sensitive files such as tax records stored on the computer, and to use strong passwords.

Return Preparer Fraud: Taxpayers are cautioned to be on the lookout for unscrupulous return preparers, and to choose carefully when hiring an individual or firm to prepare a tax return.

Fake Charities: The IRS is warning taxpayers to be wary of groups masquerading as charitable organizations to attract donations from unsuspecting contributors, and especially of charities with names similar to familiar or nationally known organizations. Taxpayers should avoid giving out financial information to individuals soliciting for charity, and should check the status of charitable organizations using the IRS website.

Inflated Refund Claims: Taxpayers are cautioned to be on the lookout for individuals promising inflated refunds. In particular, taxpayers should be wary of anyone who asks them to sign a blank return, promises a big refund before looking at their records, or charges fees based on a percentage of the refund.

Excessive Claims for Business Credits: The IRS is warning taxpayers to avoid improperly claiming the fuel tax credit, pointing out that this tax benefit is generally not available to most taxpayers, as it is usually limited to off-highway business use. Taxpayers are also cautioned to avoid claiming the research credit unless they can demonstrate that they participated in qualified research activities or satisfy the requirements related to qualified research expenses.

Falsely Padding Deductions on Returns: Taxpayers are urged to resist the temptation to falsely inflate deductions or expenses on their returns. In particular, the IRS warned taxpayers against overstating deductions such as charitable contributions and business expenses, or improperly claiming credits such as the earned income tax credit or the child tax credit.

Falsifying Income to Claim Credits: The IRS is advising taxpayers to avoid inventing income to erroneously qualify for tax credits, such as the earned income tax credit. Taxpayers are warned that individuals are sometimes talked into falsifying their income by con artists. These scams can lead to taxpayers facing large bills to pay back taxes, interest, and penalties; and may even result in criminal prosecution.

Abusive Tax Shelters: Taxpayers are cautioned against using abusive tax structures to avoid paying taxes, and are advised to be on the lookout for individuals advertising tax shelters that sound too good to be true. The IRS emphasized that it is committed to stopping complex tax avoidance schemes and the individuals who create and sell them.

Frivolous Tax Arguments: Taxpayers are warned not to use frivolous tax arguments to avoid paying tax, as the penalty for filing a frivolous tax return is $5,000. The IRS noted that there are frivolous schemes that encourage taxpayers to make unreasonable and outlandish claims, even though such claims have been repeatedly thrown out of court.

Offshore Tax Avoidance: The IRS is cautioning taxpayers against trying to hide money and income offshore, pointing to a recent string of successful enforcement actions against offshore tax cheats and the financial organizations that help them. The IRS recommended that taxpayers with unreported funds in offshore accounts catch up on their filing and tax obligations through the Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Program.

*Content provided by MHM publications*

Introducing Guidance Planning Strategies (GPS) For Wealth Management

LBA Haynes Strand is proud to introduce a new financial planning program for all of our clients. The tool is called GPS which stands for guidance, planning, strategies, and is offered through our wealth management affiliate, HK Financial Services. It allows us to work with our clients to assess their current financial situation as well as project what it could look like in the future.

GPS is a powerful program and experience because clients can keep track of their financial information while being able to see their “financial life” on a screen through images, charts, and graphs. GPS helps us highlight and discuss questions such as:

  • When might I be able to retire?
  • Will we have enough money in retirement?
  • What could my cash flow be like at retirement?

We incorporate tax and financial planning into the process to make certain our clients’ plans are on track and managed efficiently for tax purposes.

If you are interested in learning more about our GPS program and discussing your financial future, do not hesitate to contact one of our office locations today!

Individual North Carolina Tax Law Changes – This May Affect You!

Tax laws are constantly evolving. Below you can find the most recent tax law change that will affect individual taxpayers in North Carolina:

The North Carolina 2016 Appropriations Act (H1030) was signed into law by the governor on July 14, 2016. While the majority of the Act is the state budget for the year there was one provision included that may affect your 2016 and 2017 individual tax returns.  The standard deduction amounts for 2016 and 2017 were increased by $1,000 for married individuals filing joint returns, $500 for single individuals and married individuals filling separate returns, and $800 for individuals filing as head of household.  So, if the standard deduction of $16,500 for married joint, $13,200 for head of household, or $8,250 for single and married separate is more than your itemized deductions consisting of medical expenses, real estate taxes, mortgage interest and charitable contributions in 2016 your tax may be reduced.

If you have questions, contact the LBA Haynes Strand team today for a no-cost consultation!

Inc. 5000 Three Peat for LBA Haynes Strand!

LBA Haynes Strand has been named to its third consecutive Inc. 5000 list of America’s fastest growing companies!  Coming in at #1783 place on the list with a 209% 3 year growth rate, LBA Haynes Strand is ranked as the 14th fastest growing company in the Charlotte, NC area.

The list represents a unique look at the most successful companies within the American economy’s most dynamic segment— its independent small businesses. Companies such as Microsoft, Dell, Domino’s Pizza, Pandora, Timberland, LinkedIn, Yelp, Zillow, and many other well-known names gained their first national exposure as honorees of the Inc. 5000.

“LBA Haynes Strand is amazed by the support of our team, clients, and community that continue to help the growth of our firm,” says LBA Haynes Strand Co-Managing Member, John Bly. “We know how hard it is to be named to the Inc. 5000 list, and we are fortunate enough to make it for our 3rd straight year!  It is a true accomplishment that we are proud of.  We consult with our clients on all matters of growth and this recognition shows that we practice what we preach, as one of our core values is the growth of the firm and the team.”

The 2016 Inc. 5000, unveiled online at Inc.com and with the top 500 companies featured in the September issue of Inc. (available on newsstands August 23) is the most competitive crop in the list’s history. The average company on the list achieved a mind-boggling three-year growth of 433%. The Inc. 5000’s aggregate revenue is $200 billion, and the companies on the list collectively generated 640,000 jobs over the past three years, or about 8% of all jobs created in the entire economy during that period. Complete results of the Inc. 5000, including company profiles and an interactive database that can be sorted by industry, region, and other criteria, can be found at www.inc.com/inc5000.

“The Inc. 5000 list stands out where it really counts,” says Inc. President and Editor-In-Chief Eric Schurenberg. “It honors real achievement by a founder or a team of them. No one makes the Inc. 5000 without building something great – usually from scratch. That’s one of the hardest things to do in business, as every company founder knows. But without it, free enterprise fails.”

The annual Inc. 5000 event honoring all the companies on the list will be held from October 18 through 20, in San Antonio, TX. Speakers include some of the greatest entrepreneurs of this and past generations, such as best-selling author and strategist Tony Robbins, SoulCycle co-founders Elizabeth Cutler and Julie Rice, Cornerstone OnDemand founder, president and CEO Adam Miller, Marvell Technology Group director and co-founder Weili Dai, and New Belgium Brewing co-founder and executive chair Kim Jordan.

Methodology

The 2016 Inc. 5000 is ranked according to percentage revenue growth when comparing 2012 to 2015. To qualify, companies must have been founded and generating revenue by March 31, 2012. They had to be U.S.-based, privately held, for profit, and independent—not subsidiaries or divisions of other companies—as of December 31, 2015. (Since then, a number of companies on the list have gone public or been acquired.) The minimum revenue required for 2012 is $100,000; the minimum for 2015 is $2 million. As always, Inc. reserves the right to decline applicants for subjective reasons. Companies on the Inc. 500 are featured in Inc.’s September issue. They represent the top tier of the Inc. 5000, which can be found at http://www.inc.com/inc5000.