September 1, 2020

Three Strategies Companies Can Implement to Recover Faster

Small businesses nationwide were already facing cash problems before the COVID-19 pandemic, according to McKinsey & Company. The firm found that almost one-third of small businesses were either seeing losses or making just enough to stay in business, but not realizing profitability. Looking at businesses selling essential and non-essential items, McKinsey & Company reports that before satisfying their “interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization” obligations and accountings, they were facing challenging times. When it comes to selling essential items, such as food, business owners in this industry only had margins of 5 percent. For businesses selling non-essential items, this sector saw margins of less than 10 percent. Restaurants provide an example of one way that outfits can pivot and increase margins […]
August 1, 2020

How to Develop an Employee Leave Policy During COVID-19

According to the United States Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division, the Families First Coronavirus Response Act addresses how select businesses must give their workers paid sick leave or expanded family and medical leave under permitted circumstances in light of COVID-19. Effective starting April 1, 2020, the following will be in effect through Dec. 31, 2020. 1. If the worker cannot perform his duties because he is relegated to a quarantine, as mandated by a medical professional or a local, state or federal government, or if he is symptomatic with COVID-19 and seeking a diagnosis to confirm it, he is entitled to as many as 80 hours of paid sick leave at his normal rate of compensation. OR 2. […]
July 1, 2020

Hiring in the Age of Coronavirus

The U.S. job market gained 2.5 million jobs during the month of May, dropping the unemployment rate to 13.3 percent, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. There’s likely been a lot of rehiring, with more to come as the economy continues reopening. However, until social distancing becomes a thing of the past, hiring effectively will take some pivoting during the pandemic. Finding Candidates Virtually Employers looking to interview and hire candidates can take advantage of LinkedIn during the pandemic. Along with providing a branding opportunity, the platform gives businesses a hybrid social media and marketing tool. Leveraging 1st Connections on LinkedIn, participating in discussion groups, demonstrating one’s industry knowledge, or simply looking for prospective candidates are effective uses […]
June 1, 2020

Understanding the Federal Government’s Proposal for Opening Up Again

After seeing a peak and then a sustained decline in coronavirus cases, hospitalizations, and deaths resulting from COVID-19, the White House and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has rolled out a three-tier approach to get the nation back to its pre-coronavirus economic activities. While this program is led by the Federal Government, it is ultimately up to governors how they will reopen states and localities. However, there are some universal criteria that states must follow to gradually reopen the economy.    Before transitioning from the stay-at-home orders to the three phases, certain criteria must be met. In order to move to less restrictive phases, there must be a dropping trend of documented cases over 14 continuous days or […]
May 1, 2020

Understanding the High-Low Method

When it comes to cost accounting, the high-low method is an approach that’s used to break mixed costs into either a variable or fixed cost. Although it’s straightforward, it’s important to do multiple analyses because outlier costs from the available data can sometimes misconstrue operating costs. This calculation occurs by looking at the periods with the most and least activity, as well as the total costs for both the high and low periods. In order to get results for the high-low method, the variable cost and the fixed cost must be determined first. Once these are established, they are entered into the cost model formula. Variable Cost is determined as follows: VC = Highest Activity Cost – Lowest Activity Cost […]
April 1, 2020

CARES Act – Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act

U.S. Government Provides Relief to Individuals, Businesses in Midst of COVID-19 Crisis On March 27, President Donald Trump signed into law a historic $2 trillion stimulus package designed to provide economic relief to individuals and businesses affected by the coronavirus pandemic. Our aim in this alert is to give a brief overview of both the tax and non-tax provisions of the government’s new stimulus legislation, including what type of assistance is available for individuals and businesses, how to apply for it, and what to do if you become unemployed. The summary is divided into two sections, one for individuals and one for businesses. Individual Provisions Stimulus Payments: Amounts and Eligibility Most adults will receive $1,200; each qualifying child under 16 […]
March 1, 2020

4 Common Liquidity Ratios in Accounting

One way a business can manage its books and viability in the near and long terms is to see how liquid its assets are. Businesses that have better cash positions are naturally geared toward sustaining continued success. One important reason for a business to measure and maintain healthy levels of liquidity is because it promotes better odds that a company will be able to satisfy its short-term debts. There are many ways business can accomplish this, and below are four common ways it can be done.   Current Ratio One of the few liquidity ratios is what’s known as the current ratio. It’s a way to determine how well a company can pay back its debts. The current ratio is […]
February 1, 2020

Understanding Four Types of Depreciation

Depreciation is an accounting process where the cost of an asset is accounted for and expensed over its useful life. It shows how the value of the asset decreases over time. Assets that can be depreciated include buildings, fixtures, production equipment, etc. For intangible assets, including many types of intellectual property, this process is called amortization. For commodities mined or harvested from the earth, such as lumber, crude oil or natural gas, this process is called depletion. Here are four common types of depreciation. Straight Line Method In order to determine depreciation using this method, the following formula is used: Depreciation = (Asset cost – Salvage value) / Useful life The salvage value is the asset’s remaining value after its […]
January 1, 2020

How to Calculate and Analyze Return on Equity

When it comes to evaluating a business, especially one that is publicly traded, determining its return on equity (ROE) is one way to see how it’s performing. What is Return on Equity? Return on equity is a ratio that gives investors insight into how effectively the company’s management team is taking care of the shareholders’ financial investments in the company. The greater the ROE percentage, the better the business’ management staff is at making income and creating growth from shareholders’ investments.   How ROE is Determined In order to calculate ROE, a company’s net income is divided by shareholder equity. To arrive at net income, businesses account for the cost of doing business, which includes the cost of goods sold, sales, […]
December 1, 2019

Furniture, Fixtures and Equipment – and Depreciation

When it comes to determining depreciation for Furniture, Fixtures and Equipment (FF&E), there are many considerations that exist for accountants and business owners. Defining Furniture, Fixtures and Equipment FF&E refers to expenses for business items that are not affixed to the building where that business operates. Real world examples of depreciable assets includes chairs, desks, phones, tables, cabinets, etc., which are used to perform business-related tasks, directly or indirectly. These types of items are associated with long-term use generally more than 12 months, according to the Internal Revenue Service. Understanding How It Works When it comes to accounting for the expense of the item, it can be depreciated equally and discreetly over its useful life. According to the IRS’ General […]
November 1, 2019

LIFO Versus FIFO and How Each Method Values Inventory

As the name implies, First-In, First-Out (FIFO) is a way for companies to value their inventory. The first items put into inventory or produced by the company are accordingly the first taken out of inventory or transferred to customers and therefore expensed. When it comes to accounting for acquisition and/or production costs, initial and earlier costs are the first to be expensed, with more recent costs staying on the balance sheet to be expensed later. Assume a company already has 200 widgets costing $4/widget. From there, the company increased its inventory at three more times during a selected accounting period. Three hypothetical, additional purchases include: 200 widgets @ $6/widget 200 widgets @ $7/widget 200 widgets @ $8/widget If the company […]
October 1, 2019

When Full Costing Accounting Makes Sense

With more than 1.4 million accounting jobs in 2018, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there are many different uses for accountants and their skills. With the need for accuracy and transparency in private and public accounting, one important concept to explore is absorption, or full costing. Absorption or full costing is an accounting method that is used by businesses to determine the complete cost of producing products or services. When it comes to calculating the full cost, there are three main categories taken in account: Direct Costs – How much material, labor, machinery, etc. it costs to produce each product. Total Amount of Fixed Costs – Examples include monthly rent payments, tax payments, base salaries, etc. These are […]
September 1, 2019

Payroll Management Tips

When it comes to an employer’s responsibility for non-exempt workers, according to the U.S. Department of Labor, there are many requirements businesses must follow related to payroll. In one example, there are strict regulations on what information employers must document for each non-exempt worker. While there’s no requirement on how the information is recorded, there are three main categories. Personal details: This should include the employee’s name, complete address, Social Security number, date of birth and gender. Job details: This must include the worker’s job description and hours clocked in each day and week. Pay details: The employee’s hourly wage based on straight time, and how employees are compensated – be it hourly, weekly, project or item-based. It should include […]
August 1, 2019

Understanding and Applying Accounting Reports and Ratios

When it comes to tracking incoming sales and outgoing expenses, there are many ways businesses can keep up with their invoices and implement strategies to reduce the time they spend on unpaid sales. Accounts Receivable Turnover Ratio Simply defined, the accounts receivable turnover ratio is a way of showing what percent of a company’s receivables or invoices are paid by clients.  The U.S. Small Business Administration explains this ratio is determined by “dividing average accounts receivable by sales.” Determining average accounts receivable is done by adding the beginning and ending figures — be it a month, quarter or year, then dividing by 2. Determining the sales figure is calculated by taking the total sales still on credit and deducting any […]
July 1, 2019

How to Define and Calculate a Break-Even Analysis

According to data from a U.S. Small Business Administration Office of Advocacy report from August 2018, businesses have varied longevity. Nearly 80 percent (79.8 percent) of business startups in 2016 lasted until 2017. Between 2005 and 2017, the SBA mentions that 78.6 of new businesses lasted 12 months. Similarly, nearly 50 percent lasted at least five years.   While there are many reasons why a company goes out of business – one is profitability. Knowing when the business is breaking even and will start making a profit can be accomplished with a break-even analysis. Defining a Break-Even Analysis As the SBA explains, a Break-Even Analysis is a useful way to measure the level of sales necessary to determine how many […]
June 1, 2019

How to Make the Most of Margins and Markups

When it comes to gross margins and the American economy, they vary widely throughout the country’s industries. When New York University’s Leonard N. Stern School of Business recently compiled gross margin statistics for January 2019, they found the low end includes the Auto and Truck industry with a gross margin of 11.45 percent and the Oilfield Services/Equipment industry with a gross margin of 10.70 percent. On the top end, the General and Diversified Real Estate industry saw a gross margin of 73.08 percent and the Investments and Asset Management industry saw a 70.67 percent gross margin. While these gross margins are divergent, understanding more about gross margins gives better context for understanding this measure. Why Gross Margins Matter One way […]
May 1, 2019

How to Budget for Estimated Tax Payments

According to a March 22 Internal Revenue Service News Release, 2018 federal tax filers might be able to have any penalties for an underpayment of estimated tax removed. This could be possible if they’ve paid at least 80 percent of their 2018 tax obligations through either quarterly estimated payments, income tax withholdings or a combination of both during the 2018 calendar year. This new level was established after the 90 percent payment requirement was reduced to 85 percent of estimated tax obligations on Jan. 16. With paying estimated taxes a legal requirement for many taxpayers, let’s examine how this works for individuals and business entities. Individuals and Organizations Responsible to Pay Estimated Taxes For the most part, corporations are required […]
April 1, 2019

How to Determine a Business’ Health by its Net Profit Margin

When it comes to figuring out a company’s net profit margin, this calculation gives a business and its financial officers a much better picture of the company’s profitability. Defining Net Profit Margin Net profit margin determines the percentage of revenue that ends up as profit after expenses are accounted for. Represented as a percentage, it’s calculated by taking the company’s net profit and dividing it by the entire revenue. Looking at the Formula Itself When it comes to calculating the net profit, it goes beyond the gross margin calculation, which only factors in the “cost of goods sold” – or how much the input materials and direct labor cost the company to produce saleable goods. Determining net profit includes factoring […]
March 1, 2019

How to Create Cash Flow Projections and Profit & Loss Statements

When it comes to making cash flow projections, we’re all aware that it’s not an exact science. One of the main difficulties about accurately projecting cash flow has to do with timing. Examples include factoring in overhead such as payroll; lease or tax payments on the building; using credit to make purchases or for future investment to grow the business; and when payment is collected from clients. Understanding Cash Flow Projection One important reason that many business owners create a cash flow projection is to include it in their business plan when they approach an investor or bank for a loan. Detailing a company’s cash flow projection consists of three parts: positive, negative or break-even results going forward. The first […]
February 1, 2019

How Businesses Can Effectively Manage Seasonal Sales

When it comes to businesses dealing with seasonal sales, making payroll and other financial obligations can be stressful on budgets. However, one way to deal with fluctuating sales and cash flow problems is to see if invoice factoring is appropriate to meet year-round needs. Invoice Factoring One way for businesses dependent on seasonal sales is to have better financial predictability and available resources, as the Journal of Accountancy explains. Businesses can accomplish this by selling their accounts receivables through factoring. Companies looking to increase cash flow during the slow sales season can benefit by selling their accounts receivable to a third-party business called a factor. When a company sells its invoices through the factoring process, it can collect much faster […]
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