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Should I Apply For the PPP Loan Forgiveness Right Now in 2020 or Defer?

The Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) was created as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. It is a part of the Coronavirus, Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act). Many business owners are wondering if they should apply for the PPP loan forgiveness or defer in 2020.

 

PL Consulting has helped many employers apply for the PPP loan and assisted others when deciding not to. Here is our expert advice on the pros and cons of applying before the end of 2020.

 

PPP

 

PPP Background Information

The PPP has helped businesses both large and small ever since it was enacted on June 5, 2020. If you apply for it, all the money that you have borrowed will be forgiven. Payroll costs include all forms of cash compensation paid to employees, including tips, commissions, bonuses, and hazard pay. The forgivable cash compensation per employee is limited to $100,000 annually.

 

The uncertainty that many employers are having right now is that they want to defer payroll taxes, but still hope and expect to get a PPP loan at some point. Some taxpayers want to avoid IRS penalties that may come with deferring payroll. Others are deferring payroll taxes intending to repay them if they ultimately get loan forgiveness under a PPP loan.

 

Employers who obtain PPP loans may defer the deposit of payroll taxes until the employer receives a decision from its lender that all or any portion of their PPP loan is forgiven.

Once loan forgiveness has occurred, the employer must resume timely payroll tax deposits. The amount that was deferred through the date that the loan was forgiven will continue to be deferred. Half of the deferred amount will be due on December 31, 2021, and the other half will be due on December 31, 2022.

 

Our PPP Recommendation

Instead of rushing to apply, consider how much adequate preparation will help you in the decision-making process. If you wait to apply for the PPP loan, there also may be financial benefits for borrowers. There will be additional information and guidance available to you. The loan forgiveness process has been frustrating for many employers, so the longer you wait, the more established the system is.

 

There is a PPP FAQ page that was recently updated in October. This page has great information that may help with your decision-making process.

 

Do You Have Additional PPP Questions?

We understand many factors go into your decision as a borrower and employer. We suggest that you discuss your decision with a CPA or legal counsel before submitting your application.

PL Consulting is committed to helping each one of our current and future clients with their business finances and bookkeeping. We are continuously researching up-to-date information on the Paycheck Protection Program. We are available for all the questions you have about the PPP loan forgiveness and deferring. If you would like to set up an appointment, call us at 410-764-3731.

January-October Financial Review for Tax Planning: Why It’s Beneficial

 

Financial reviews evaluate your financial position. Since everyone’s tax planning needs are different, each review focuses on what is most important to you. 

 

Financial reviews help with future tax planning. This gives you structure in your transactions and minimizes the legitimate amount of tax you pay. Tax planning is a great tool to use for businesses, wills, retirement plans, and properties. 

 

Tax season is a stressful time of year for everyone, but everything becomes easier when there is a tax plan in place. These 4 concepts are a part of the tax planning process and will benefit your business. 

 

tax planning

 

Utilize Tax Deductions and Tax Credits

 

Both tax credits and deductions reduce your tax bill. Tax credits are more beneficial, giving you a dollar-for-dollar reduction of income tax that you owe.

 

Tax deductions are expenses that are subtracted from your taxable income. Expenses include contract labor, supplies, and depreciation. These expenses must be for business use, and not personal use. You should keep track of your tax deductions throughout the year. 

 

Decide on Standard Deductions or Itemizing

 

Many taxpayers use standard deduction because it is much faster. Standard deductions are a flat rate deduction. The government provides set amounts of standard deductions each year based on filing statuses. 

 

Itemizing is a longer process, but typically ends up with more deductions. Itemizing takes your tax deductions one by one.

 

Determine Your Tax Bracket

 

Knowing which tax bracket you fall in is vital because it gives you knowledge of your current standing. It also helps you plan for the future. The higher your income is, the more money you may have to pay in taxes.

 

Keep Track of Your Tax Records

 

The most important part of tax planning is keeping records of past tax returns and documents. Stay organized so it is easy to find the paperwork. If you work with a tax preparer, it helps them keep you on track to filing taxes on time. 

 

It can take the IRS up to three years to decide whether to audit your return, so hold on to your records for at least that long.

 

Financial Review for Tax Planning

 

PL Consulting is experienced in all facets of tax planning and financial reviews. We structure tax plans to cut the legitimate amount of tax you pay. We help plan your tax obligations for the entire year, so there are not any surprises at tax time. We can explain the tax structure so you know where your money is going. 

 

Whatever your financial objectives are, we will discuss them with you and then deliver a plan to help you achieve them. We are here as your business’s go-to resource when you have questions about bookkeeping, taxes, and finances. Our services are customized to each of our clients and their business plans. 

If you have questions about why financial reviews for tax planning is beneficial, call us at 410.764.3731 or visit us at https://www.plcfo.com/contact/.

End of Year Bookkeeping Tips: Preparing for 2021

 

We are quickly approaching the end of 2020. This year many construction companies, small businesses, and restaurants lost money due to COVID-19. The upcoming year is a fresh start for everyone. With these bookkeeping tips, you can stay optimistic and improve your business after the pandemic.

 

Now is the perfect time to sit down and analyze your business finances. Create a plan to save money, increase profits, and ensure success. Stay prepared for the upcoming year. Follow these bookkeeping tips to end the year smoothly and plan for 2021.

 

bookkeeping

Submit Tax Forms

Although Tax Day (April 15, 2021) seems far away, you want to give your accountants time to file tax forms. Try not to wait until the last minute in case you need to fix any information. Additionally, these common mistakes on your taxes should be avoided. 

 

Gather important information from your vendors. This includes their name, address, and tax ID number. If your business works with 1099 contract workers, be sure to prepare and submit those forms by January 31, 2021. 

 

Bookkeeping: Plan a 2021 Budget

Create a new budget for the year based on the previous year. Keep track of what your money is going towards. Budgets put you in the right standing and prevent you from spending money on unnecessary products and services. 

 

If you are looking for new vendors, do it at the beginning of the year when they are giving out discounts for new customers. The right vendor will be reasonably priced and provide quality products to your company. Make note of the vendor expenses so you can make your payments on time. 

 

Bonuses and Holiday Gifts

You might still have room in your budget at the end of this year to give back to your hardworking employees. If you decide on using that money towards an end-of-the-year bonus, keep in mind that taxes are involved. These are taxed differently than normal paychecks. Check with an accounting professional if you are unsure of tax laws.

 

There may also be room in your budget to purchase holiday gifts for employees, customers, or clients. Although you may want to gift them with something expensive to show your appreciation, remember that you have a budget for a reason. Choose gifts that they will enjoy while staying within your means. 

 

Set and Review Bookkeeping Goals

Measure the success of your yearly goals. You may need to reevaluate or work on some goals. Use these as benchmarks for the next year. Remember that your goals can be quantitative and qualitative. Measure sales, financial statements, customers, and the satisfaction of yourself and customers. 

 

Get Ready for the New Year

PL Consulting hopes that you enjoy the holidays. Use these business tips to end the year strong and prepare your business for the new year. 

 

Do you want to learn more about bookkeeping, budgeting, taxes, or goal setting? We are here for all the questions you have as a business owner. If you would like to set up an appointment, call us at 410-764-3731.

 

Budgeting Basics for Small Business Owners

 

Creating a budget is one of the most important parts of running your small business. Your budget should be realistic. Match expenses to your expected revenue. Budgeting should allow your small business to expand and grow. 

 

It is nearly impossible to run a successful business without a budget in place, so you must keep track of what your money is going towards. Budget planning helps with the financial aspect of your business. It also improves general business management. Here is our expert advice on budgeting basics that you need to know to run your small business.

budgeting benefits

Budget Research

Extensive research is the first thing you want to do when developing your budget. Learn about industry standards and common costs that go into running your type of business. Speak with other business owners to get an insight on what expenses are like for them. 

 

Find suppliers and vendors that fit within your budget. Determine which business has the best deals and quality. Ask the right questions about bulk orders and payment plans.

 

Use Spreadsheets

When creating a budget for your small business, you must use a spreadsheet to manage your expenses. Drafting a spreadsheet is an effective way to lie out all the important numbers. Constantly update your spreadsheet with your revenue and costs.

 

Pricing Help

A budget maps out each of your costs including health care, utilities, wages, rent, and marketing. Once you have figured out the costs, you can set a reasonable price for your products and services to make a profit.

 

Spend What You Need

Budgets prevent you from spending money on unnecessary products and services. Your budget shows your upcoming business costs so you can prepare for them. This ensures that you make your payments in the right amounts and on time. 

 

Loan Assistance

You might take out a loan to grow your business. This could be for a building renovation, new product, or marketing expenses. Show lenders that you make payments on time and have valuable assets. Your budget proves that you are financially stable enough for their loans. 

 

Planning for the Unknown

Plans do not always work out. Having a budget in place means you can easily track your business’ financial activity and performance throughout the year. Adjust your budget as new expenses come along so that you are ready for unexpected occurrences. 

 

Build Your Budget

Whether you do the budgeting on your own or delegate the task to someone else, it needs to be done. Increase your profits, save money, and run a successful business.

 

PL Consulting has served the Baltimore, Maryland area for many years. We customize our services to each client and their business plans. Your ideas are unique to your business, and we understand that. 

 

Want to learn more about budgeting basics and benefits? We are here for all of the questions that you have as a small business owner. If you would like to set up an appointment, call us at 410-764-3731.

 

Get Your Small Business Ready For the Holidays

 

Fall and winter holidays are quickly approaching us. Although this year may look different, people are still looking forward to spending time with their families (safely, of course.) 

 

Get ready for holiday promotions, high traffic in-store and online, and increased profits. Is your small business ready for the holidays?

 

holidays

Plan Ahead of Time

 

The holidays are hectic and stressful. Stay level-headed by planning as much as you can ahead of time. Determine what promotions you are having each week. Make your advertisements. Estimate your expenses. Planning ahead helps manage your finances

 

Set Sales Goals

 

Many small businesses have their busy season around the holidays and Small Business Saturday. Set goals based on last year’s sales. These goals help you measure success

 

In the long run, your sales goals will make a major difference in your business. These goals can gradually increase as you accomplish them.

 

Follow Up and Get Reviews

 

What makes your business stand out? With so many options for consumers to purchase from, it may be hard to choose. When your business has positive feedback on social media and your website, people are more likely to purchase from it.

 

Encourage your customers to give their input on your products, services, and promotions so you can make changes for next year. Maybe something that you did went better than expected, and it is important to know that so you can leverage it. 

 

Support Your Community

 

During the season of giving, provide a helping hand to your local community. Donate to charities as an act of kindness. Donations include money, food, clothing, and services. 

 

Get your customers involved by setting up a canned food drive inside your business. Put up a “giving tree” where customers choose a person in need and purchase gifts for them. Match every dollar that customers put into your donation jar for an important cause.

 

Show Employees Your Appreciation

 

Your employees work hard all year, and even more so during the holidays. Express how much they mean to you. Do this verbally, in a written card, or with gifts. Each one of your employees is unique, so personalize their gifts. 

 

Some employees may want a bonus or a monetary gift. Others love getting clothing items or bottles of wine. You can even throw a holiday party at a local restaurant.

 

Give your employees time off on major holidays if you can. This acknowledges that their time is valuable. They have the chance to spend the day with their family instead of working. 

 

Happy Holidays!

 

PL Consulting hopes that this holiday season runs smoothly for your business. Get your business ready!

 

We customize our services to each client and their business plans. Your ideas are unique to your business, and we understand that. 

 

Have questions about financing, bookkeeping, or increasing profits? We are here for all of your questions as a small business owner. If you would like to set up an appointment, call us at 410-764-3731.

 

6 Productivity Tips for Small Business Owners

 

Small businesses continuously figure out ways to expand their reach and compete with large corporations. Among their many talents, small business owners come up with creative ways to succeed with their productivity.

 

small business owners

Prioritize Tasks

 

Write or type out a list of your tasks. This list determines what should be focused on right away. You will know what does not need as much attention at the moment. Your running task list should have due dates, so you never miss a deadline. Continue to update this list as you gain or complete your tasks.

 

Once you decide the order of tasks that you need to work on, delegate tasks to one of your employees or an outside contractor. If you are new to this, check out our guide about when you should start delegating tasks as a small business owner

 

Set Up an FAQ on Your Website

 

An FAQ page shows customers important information about your business. Answer simple and common questions that many of your customers have. This page minimizes the number of phone calls, messages, and emails your business gets daily because customers will have more clarity.

 

Automate Everything You Can

 

Do what you love as a business owner. Again, the less time that is taken answering repeat questions, the more time you have to work on new products and scale your business. 

 

On your business’s Facebook page, people have the option to send instant messages. Set up recurring questions that your customers typically have so it is easier for them. Turn your automatic response on for those common questions and answer them thoroughly.

 

Websites have a similar option with instant messenger chatbots. These pop up on websites and answer almost any question that a customer has. If the person’s question is not answered with the automated responses, they either have the option to call or message an employee.

 

When customers call your business, have an automated response giving them information about store hours, location, and other frequently asked questions. This frees up time spent on the phone with customers, giving you more time for productivity.

 

Streamline Your Processes

 

Refining each one of your business’s processes leaves less confusion and sets clear expectations for your customers and employees. Streamline your management style as a small business owner so you have more time to focus on creativity and strategy. 

 

Have Great Communication

 

Arrange daily or weekly meetings with your staff so that everyone is on the same page. Make these meetings short and focused so that everyone can get back to working on their task list.

 

Communicate with your employees about what the strategies and policies are in your business. By relaying these vital details, you are setting employees up for success.

 

Outsource Your Bookkeeping

 

Outsource your business’s bookkeeping to a firm that specializes in it instead of doing it yourself. PL Consulting customizes services to each client and their business plans. Your ideas are unique to your business, and we understand that. 

 

Small business owners, we are here to answer questions you have about keeping your small business productive. If you would like to set up an appointment, call us at 410-764-3731.

 

The Best Podcasts For Small Business Owners

 

Podcasts are great to listen to while getting work done, driving in the car, or as background noise. With so many options of what to listen to, we broke down the following podcasts by categories that are helpful to small business owners. 

 

podcasts

Marketing

This aspect of your small business includes social media, online marketing, traditional marketing, and even blogging. These three podcasts will keep you up-to-date with the newest trends.

 

Online Marketing Made Easy with Amy Porterfield 

Wondering how to start your business online? This podcast features mini marketing masterclasses and step-by-step guides.

 

Social Pros

Get insights from social media strategists including current trends and ideas. 

 

Pro Blogger 

The goal of Pro Blogger is to help business owners develop effective blog writing habits. 

 

Finance and Investing

Your small business needs financing and investing to grow. Listen to these podcasts for money making tips and tricks.

 

Masters in Business

If you are looking for people that speak about the market, financing, and investing, this is the podcast for you. 

 

Smart Passive Income

Pat Flynn dives into techniques for increasing profits and growing your business. 

 

So Money 

The host of So Money, Farnoosh Torabi, brings on guests to talk about their personal stories around money. This helps listeners learn lessons others have already learned the hard way.

 

Technology and Software

If your small business is into using the latest technology and software, listen to these podcasts.

 

Shopify Masters 

Successful entrepreneurs are invited to this show to talk about their experience and advice for growing businesses with Shopify. 

 

Startups For the Rest of Us

This podcast is helpful for both startups and businesses with years of experience. The host Rob Walling shares his experiences and mistakes for business owners, designers, and developers to avoid. 

 

This Week in Tech

TWiT focuses on tech news and reviews, consumer electronics, and the internet. The panelists vary from week to week. 

 

Inspirational

Lacking motivation or ideas? These inspirational podcasts will give you the push that you need.

 

Goal Digger 

Tune in to learn how to work hard and tackle your biggest goals along the way.

 

The Tim Ferriss Show 

Ferriss speaks to high achievers in business, investing, music, science, and sports about how to do things better in their industry.

 

The GaryVee Audio Experience 

GaryVee has a motivational tone that makes his podcast inspiring for startup businesses. 

 

Questions About Your Small Business?

If you have questions outside of what these podcasts offer you, we are here to help. PL Consulting has resources for bookkeeping, taxes and accounting, budgeting, and so much more. Our one-on-one interactions are valuable for both your team and ours. 

 

We customize our services to each of our clients and their business plans. Your ideas are unique to your business, and we understand that. 

 

We are here to answer questions you have about running your small business. If you would like to set up an appointment, call us at 410-764-3731.

 

How to Streamline Your Payroll Process

 

Paying your employees consistently and promptly is important for your business. Small businesses and startups may struggle with an efficient system. A streamlined payroll process is something that any business needs to have.

 

streamline payroll process

Choose a Paperless System

Many small businesses still use paper checks, time cards, and paper stubs. An online system for payroll makes paying your employees easier. This is also an opportunity for your business to become sustainable. 

 

It is in your employees’ best interest for them to receive their pay stubs and pay information electronically. Make sure that you can pay every employee through direct deposit.

 

Connect Systems

Choose a system that integrates your time log software and payroll software. This minimizes the time spent manually logging hours into the payroll system. All the data transfers automatically. Because of this, human error is less likely. 

 

Minimize Pay Cycles

Some businesses pay employees at different times depending on their level or rank. It is common for management to be paid monthly and midlevel to entry-level employees to be paid on a bi-weekly basis.

 

However, it is more efficient to pay every employee at the same time. Combining pay schedules decreases the chance of errors made during the payroll process.

 

Processing Payroll

If you own a small business and do not have the means to pay for a payroll department, it is often better to do it yourself. There is great payroll software that will keep adequate track of getting payroll out on time. Find one that has the correct information for taxes.

 

Stay Current on Tax Laws and Policies

You must stay up to date on the current IRS regulations and tax laws. Make sure you are filing your payroll taxes correctly and on time. States and Federal tax regulations are always being updated, so make sure you are aware of the changes when you are filing.

 

Get Payroll Help

If your business is growing and you find it hard to keep up with payroll on your own, it is important to send it to an outside contractor. The last thing you need is your employees noticing you are not paying them on time because you are too busy. This gives you time to focus on what is more important to running your business.

 

If you submit payroll to a bookkeeping firm, keep track of your employee’s working hours. Input a time clock so you have the most accurate data. It is easy for your employees to manage the time clock, and motivates them to come to work on time.

 

 

Are you considering outsourcing your payroll process or have further questions? PL Consulting is here as your business’s go-to resource for bookkeeping. We customize our services to each of our clients and their business plans. Call us at 410.764.3731.

 

Why Your Small Business Should Support Fair Trade Certified Products

 

October is Fair Trade Month. It is about supporting businesses that are Fair Trade Certified. These businesses create equality in the international trade system through respect and transparency. Americans are encouraged to shop Fair Trade businesses this month in their communities. 

 

Last year, Fair Trade USA impacted over 975,000 farmers and workers in 45 countries across Africa, Asia, Oceania, Latin America, and the Caribbean. Fair Trade USA stated that “the fair trade market is growing because of businesses’ dedication to Fair Trade USA standards. As a result, consumer awareness of the Fair Trade Certified seal is at 63%—nearly double what it was in 2008.”

 

pl consulting fair trade

Fair Trade product categories include:

  • Bananas
  • Avocados
  • Coffee
  • Chocolate
  • Textiles
  • Clothing

 

Here are the benefits of why your business should support Fair Trade Certified products.

 

Help End Poor Working Conditions

Certifications prevent poverty due to businesses paying low wages. It also focuses on ending sweatshop labor conditions. This assists producers in developing countries to achieve fair trade relationships.

 

Back Your Mission

If your small business sells or uses Fair Trade Certified products, it supports your business’s philanthropy of promoting the welfare of others. It motivates your community to support this movement. Your business will have a meaningful impact on equality and do something good for the world.

 

Focus on Sustainability

Environmental degradation is another focal point of Fair Trade Certified products. This includes the depletion of air, water, and soil resources; the destruction of ecosystems; habitat destruction; the extinction of wildlife; and pollution. Your business would support environmentally friendly business practices to reduce the amount of degradation. 

 

Keeping up with consumer trends is important for small businesses, and this is a topic that many people care about. This will attract more customers to your business if you support the causes they believe in.

 

Find Fair Trade Certified Products

When a customer spots the green and blue Fairtrade Mark, they can shop with confidence and know that your business is making a positive impact on the world. Both the business and consumer are using their purchasing power to support farmers and workers who deserve to enjoy sustainable livelihoods and equality. Not sure where to start? Check out these Fair Trade Certified products

 

We encourage your business to support Fair Trade Certified products. Sell certified food items at your stores like avocados and bananas. Make employee uniforms from Fair Trade clothing. If you sell coffee or offer it for free to customers/employees, find a Fair Trade option. Supporting these products stimulates business growth and opportunity. 

 

PL Consulting is here as your business’s go-to resource when you have questions. Not sure how Fair Trade products fit into your business plan? Call us at 410.764.3731. We customize our services to each of our clients and their business plans. 

 

6 Ways to Organize Your Small Business Strategies and Policies

 

Place organization at the top of your small business’s priority list. It results in less confusion among employees and more productivity. Strategies and policies should reflect your business’s mission. These six effective tips will help you organize your small business strategies and policies. 

 

organize

Dress Code

Businesses use dress codes to make sure everyone is safe and dressed appropriately. Employers set reasonable standards of dress and appearance that suits their industry, as long as there is no discrimination. 

Relate the dress code to work conditions instead of management levels. For example, your construction business should require hard hats and work boots for anyone working on site. Employees working in an office space can dress business casual unless they go to a work site. 

 

Discipline

What actions result in discipline? Who enforces it? Set up a system and stay dedicated to it. This way employees know what kinds of repercussions result from what they did. This cuts down the number of employees taking advantage of your small business. 

 

Termination

Determine who has the authority to terminate another employee. Decide what qualifies an employee’s termination. Set up a process for pre and post-termination. This can include a plan of action for improvement or a face-to-face meeting. 

 

Evaluation

Does your business adhere to annual performance reviews? Or do you allow employees to gain meaningful metrics and evaluate themselves? Evaluations are not always enjoyable for employees or employers, but they are necessary. 

Employee evaluations are beneficial to your business. They clarify employee roles and statuses. There is the opportunity to praise your employees and give constructive feedback. Reviewing performance helps determine promotions, raises, and rewards. 

As a small business owner, evaluate yourself too! If self-evaluation is not giving you the review that you need, ask some of your employees for their honest opinion.

 

Employee Handbook

Locate all of your business strategies and policies in one place, which is considered the employee handbook. It should include the legal obligations of your business. Add in an overall look at the company culture and expectations of your employees. 

Keep the handbook short enough for new employees to read. Write clear and easy to understand language. Make sure all new employees receive a copy of the employee handbook or know where it is readily available. 

Employee handbooks reduce the number of questions that employees have about the business. It is even more useful as your small business grows, so it is best to set one up as soon as possible. 

 

Set Clear Limits

Think about what you aim to achieve in your workplace. Provide your workers with a safe and encouraging place to develop their abilities. Have a positive organizational culture that sets clear limits.

 

If you have questions about organizing your small business’s policies and strategies, call us at 410-764-3731 or book an appointment with us at https://calendly.com/michaelplc.