Restarting Your Business After a Pandemic

It is a learning process for everyone to restart their business during and after the pandemic. Tough decisions have been made over savings, payments, employee safety, and how to better serve your customers. This blog post will help you organize your thoughts and plan your actions. Put your business in a position to withstand any future downturns.

after a pandemic

Business Relationships

Evaluate your business’s relationships with its customers. Keep strong relationships with customers that continue to purchase from your business. Research what current and future customers need from your business and find ways that you can help fill those needs. These can change over time because of finances or preferences.

Supply chains were severely impacted by COVID-19. Keep strong relationships with vendors you continued working with, and other vendors that you had to stop working with either temporarily or permanently. Consider what makes your business operate at its best. 

Focus on the community that keeps your business going. Explain and show them exactly how your business is continuing to take precautions to prevent the spread of germs. This transparency should be used in the future. Give back to the community in ways that help them, while fitting your business’s mission. Last, show your appreciation to the surrounding community, vendors, mentors, and workers.

Consider New Techniques and Technology

You might have already changed the way your business operates. Continue brainstorming more efficient techniques or technology that your business can implement during and after the pandemic. Touchless technology or a new process on cash collections are ideas to consider. This will keep your business fresh and up-to-date.

Create an Emergency Plan

The best way to get your business through a tough time is by having a plan set up. If your business did not have to use an emergency plan during the current pandemic, it is a great idea to have one in case of another emergency. Set up a list of tasks that your business needs to better position it. 

Consider adding these to your “task list.”

  • Operational costs that must be covered
  • Where the business can save money
  • How to deliver your business/service to customers
  • Prioritize employees
  • Staying transparent

PL Consulting Is There For You

During the pandemic, changes and tough decisions were made quickly. You and your business must be open and prepared to change with the world around you. 

PL Consulting has assisted many businesses during tough times in applying for the CARES Act, bookkeeping services, and taxes to name a few things. We can help your business get on the right track and stay prepared for any future downturns. 

We customize our services to each of our clients and their business plans. We understand that each one of your ideas is unique to your business. Our one-on-one interactions are a valuable resource for both your team and ours. 

If you have questions or would like to set up an appointment, call us at 410-764-3731 or book a time with us at https://calendly.com/michaelplc.

6 Tips For Managing a Small Business’s Finances

 

Managing every aspect of a small business is time-consuming and requires tons of research. You may have to go through the trial-and-error process, but you will eventually find a way that works for your business. One major part of running a business is keeping track of finances. Small mistakes can cost the business time and money. These are some of our professional tips for managing your business’s finances.

 

Overestimate Your Expenses

Many of us have recently seen that each month is unpredictable. Identify trends to the best of your ability, even though there is uncertainty. Thus, overestimating your expenses is helpful. Planning to spend extra money will not hurt your company because the unused money can be put right back into next year’s budget.

 

Find a Trusted Mentor

Build a relationship with someone that fits your financing needs. This person should be knowledgeable and experienced. A mentor is important because the internet does not always have all the answers to your questions. If you are having trouble finding a mentor, ask your surrounding network if they know someone that is reliable. 

 

Revise Your Budget

Consistently revise your budget throughout the year. Again, everything is unpredictable and you need to adjust your budget to trends that are occurring. As your business grows, pay attention to your priorities. This helps you make smart financial decisions and allow your business to thrive.

 

Incorporate Time

Time gets overlooked sometimes when planning finances. Include the time and money that is incurred by your employees when they are on the clock. Consider big projects that need to be done, holidays and sales, or other times that your business is usually busy. 

 

Set Goals

Setting small goals will help enforce the right behavior that you need to help with financing. These small goals might not be noticeable at first, but in the long run they will make a major difference in your business. These goals can gradually be increased as you accomplish them.

 

Hire a Bookkeeper

Consider hiring a bookkeeper to take over the mundane financing tasks. A trustworthy bookkeeper will keep things running on the back end of your business. This will open up your availability so you can focus on what you love doing as a business owner. 

 

How PL Consulting Can Help You

Business financing is not always an easy task. PL Consulting hopes that these tips make it easier to understand and manage. 

 

We offer a diverse range of bookkeeping and budgeting services. We are here as your business’s go-to resource when you have questions. We customize our services to each of our clients and their business plans. 

 

If you have questions about managing a successful small business, call us at 410.764.3731 or book an appointment through https://calendly.com/michaelplc.

How to Take Action in Uncertain Times

 

Show customers that you are resilient during uncertain times. Keep your business thriving instead of shying away from running your business altogether. Although it may seem challenging, there is always an opportunity waiting to happen. Follow these steps to get your business on the right track during this unprecedented time. 

Host Virtual Workshops

 

While most people are staying home, they are looking for virtual events to attend. These events can be free or paid. Host a workshop that teaches something that resonates with them and the current situation that we are in. 

 

Provide a call-to-action at the end of the workshop. An idea for this could be to link a landing page on your website that provides them with further information on the topic. You could also give out a coupon code for those that attended the workshop as an incentive to purchase from your business. This can land you new customers and keep your current customers satisfied.

 

Reach Out to Customers 

 

Call, email, text, or send a letter to current and past customers. See how your customers are doing and offer them support. It is okay to continue to sell your product or service, as long as you are not pushy with those that are not ready to buy. You may need to tailor your messaging to fit with what is happening right now. Be sure to share it promptly so that it fits with their current mindset.

 

Build Your Relationship With Vendors

 

Build relationships with vendors in your industry. Keep in mind that relationships take time to establish. Introduce your business, ask how they are doing, and let them know you are here for them if they need anything. These connections can lead to future partnerships or collaborations. Collaborations can be on products, virtual workshops, or campaigns to give back to the community. 

 

Focus On the Positive

 

Instead of looking at what your business does not have, find what it does have. Use your available resources to create an innovative campaign, socially safe service, or useful product. Show your community that you are a leader by controlling the situation to the best of your ability.

 

Create New Opportunities

 

Utilize these uncertain times to create opportunities for your business. Take an inventory of what your business currently offers. This can be tangible or intangible. Does this offering benefit your business and its customers? You may need to add, change, or remove parts of your inventory to increase your business’s value. Try incorporating customer engagement in these new opportunities. This increases the business to consumer interactions.

 

Take Action

 

PL Consulting has taken action in these uncertain times. We can help you navigate the future of your business. Serving the Baltimore area for several years, we are dedicated to providing customized services to fit each one of our client’s unique needs. 

Please contact us at (410)-764-3731 or at https://www.plcfo.com/contact/ for questions or to book an appointment.

 

Employers Can Defer Employment Tax Deposits Until Payment Protection Program Loan is Forgiven

 

April 2020 – The IRS has issued frequently asked questions (FAQs) on the payroll tax deferral opportunity provided by the Coronavirus, Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act (Public Law 116-136). Under that provision, employers of all sizes (including tax exempt/non-profit employers) can defer the deposit and payment of the employer’s share of Social Security taxes. Self-employed individuals can also defer payment of some self-employment taxes.


Background

 

To help employers conserve cash while retaining their workforce, Section 2302 of the CARES Act allows all employers to defer depositing the employer’s share of Social Security taxes for payments due from March 27 (CARES Act enactment date) through December 31, 2020. Generally, employers are required to deposit timely 6.2% of employee wages up to $137,700 (which is the 2020 Social Security wage base), along with 1.45% of Medicare (or “hospital insurance”) taxes (with no wage base cap). But Section 2302 of the CARES act allows employers to defer depositing the 6.2% of wages, interest-free and penalty-free. Payment of half of the amount deferred is due on December 31, 2021, and the remainder is due on December 31, 2022.

Insight

 

  • Employers’ 1.45% Medicare tax cannot be deferred under the CARES Act and must be deposited unless it is being used to offset payroll tax credits allowed under the CARES Act or the Family First Coronavirus Response Act.
  •  There is no application form or approval procedure to use the payroll tax deposit deferral. Rather, employers simply do not remit the amount that would otherwise be due. IRS will update the Form 941 for the second quarter of 2020 to track the deferred deposits.
  • While not addressed by the IRS in the recent FAQs, it appears that an employer who paid their social security tax liabilities due on or after March 27 could take advantage of the full deferral amount allowed by recovering the previously paid, but not required, amounts from other 2020 federal tax deposits. Employers using third party payroll-providers should discuss system capabilities and procedures for taking advantage of the allowed deferral and the possibility of recovering any previously paid amounts that were eligible for deferral.

Coordination With PPP Loan Forgiveness

 

There was some confusion over whether employers who obtain a Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) Small Business Administration (SBA) loan could use the payroll tax deferral, since Section 2302 of the CARES Act states that employers who obtain forgiveness of a PPP loan may not defer deposit of payroll taxes. The FAQs clarify that employers who obtain PPP loans may defer deposit of payroll taxes until such time that 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 FAQs confirm that the amount that was deferred through the date that the loan was forgiven will continue to be deferred. Accordingly, half of the deferred amount will be due on December 31, 2021, and the other half will be due on December 31, 2022.

 

Insight

 

To maximize the payroll tax deferral opportunity, employers with PPP loans may wish to consider delaying their request for PPP loan forgiveness until December 31, 2020. PPP loans are for two years, at 1% interest and do not require any payments during the first six months. Employers can request PPP loan forgiveness for qualified payroll costs and certain other expenses incurred during an eight-week period beginning on the date they receive the loan proceeds (lenders must disburse proceeds within 10 days after the loan is approved). Lenders generally have up to 60 days to consider the loan forgiveness.  There does not appear to be any time limit for when an employer could submit its request for loan forgiveness, and many will wait until after June 30, 2020, to take advantage of provisions that maximize loan forgiveness.

 

For example, if an employer submits a request for loan forgiveness on July 15, 2020, the lender could forgive the loan anytime through September 15, 2020. Assume the loan is forgiven on August 15, the employer could no longer defer payroll taxes from August 15 through December 31, 2020. But if the employer does not request loan forgiveness until December 15 (and assuming the lender does not forgive the loan until early 2021), the employer could continue deferring payroll taxes through December 31, 2020.

 

5 Ways Sustainability Can Save Your Business Money

 

Consumers are using their spending power to effect change. They are purchasing products and services that are created sustainably. Your company can save money by adopting these sustainable practices into daily operations.

 

Electronic recycling

Instead of throwing away your old electronics when upgrading your business, you can:

 

  • Find a company with a buyback program and receive cash for your old products
  • Donate old electronics to 501(c)(3) organizations as a charitable contribution and get a tax break
  • Recycle toner cartridges at stores such as Office Max, Walmart, Walgreens, and Best Buy

 

Lower utility bills

Implementing LED lights is one of the easiest ways to slash your electric bill. If the bulbs are used 8 hours a day, they can last up to 17 years! This will reduce your spending and waste production with its long life span.

 

Money is being lost every time someone flushes a toilet or washes their hands at your business. Consider purchasing low-flow water fixtures for your sinks and toilets. Less water is being wasted while the pressure levels remain the same as a traditional appliance.

 

Commute efficiently

Do you provide your employees with company vehicles? To efficiently commute keep these tips in mind:

 

  • Provide a well-planned path for employees to take their routes on to reduce the amount of gas the cars are using
  • Find vehicles with efficient gas mileage
  • Consider investing in an electric or hybrid cars

 

If your business doesn’t supply company cars, encourage employees to carpool, walk, bike, or use public transportation to get to work.

 

Shop smart

By resisting the urge to purchase the newest products or services, you can reduce the amount of waste generated by your business. If your business purchases do not add value to the company, don’t buy them. Try setting a budget if you are still struggling with this. PL Consulting can help you with budgeting and planning if you need it.

 

Provide reusable products

Offer your customers and employees reusable products. This creates stronger relationships with the people that value sustainability. Consider making these changes:

 

  • Install water dispensing systems instead of one-time-use water bottles
  • Provide reusable bags instead of plastic bags
  • Give away reusable promotional products instead of paper products

 

Save your business money

Saving money while running a sustainable business isn’t as difficult as it seems and has many advantages. Consumers are more likely to support your business. The community will be less polluted. It just takes a few adjustments, and over time your actions will become habits.

 

PL Consulting can help with saving your business even more money through budget planning and forecasting. This can also help when purchasing pricy sustainable products that will generate revenue in the long run.

 

Serving the Baltimore area for several years, we are dedicated to providing customized service to fit each one of our client’s unique needs.

 

Please contact us at (410)-764-3731 or at https://www.plcfo.com/contact/ for questions or to book an appointment.

 

CARES Act Resources for Small Businesses

 

“Every business owner needs to be taking advantage of at least one of these programs”

 

COVID-19 has had an extreme impact on small businesses. We understand this is a tough time for many people. At PL Consulting, we are running at full capacity while taking safety precautions to keep our staff, clients, and community safe. We are here to get you through this abnormal situation. If you have any questions, please reach out to us. We have already submitted 20+ applications for our clients and can help you too. 

 

CARES ACT

 

The CARES Act was signed into law by President Trump on March 27th, 2020. The Act is broad in scope and can be confusing. In the links below we break down everything you need to know about it. 

 

CARES ACT Information: https://ecs.page.link/1ASqM

 

More information on the CARES Act: https://ecs.page.link/bXmdC

 

Economic Injury Disaster Loans

 

Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL) are available to businesses suffering from COVID-19 related financial hardship. This can cover up to $2M in operating expenses. These loans have favorable repayment terms and an up-front grant of $10K. The grant portion of the loan should be received within three days after applying with the SBA. The application for this loan can be submitted online directly with the SBA.

 

EIDL Application: https://covid19relief.sba.gov/#/

 

Payment Protection Program

 

This information we compiled about the Payment Protection Program (PPP) will help determine your business’s eligibility. We also answer questions about the amount businesses are eligible for and the circumstances for loan forgiveness. More information on the loan is provided in the links below. 

 

PPP Information: https://ecs.page.link/4s7qD

 

PPP Application: https://home.treasury.gov/system/files/136/Paycheck-Protection-Program-Application-3-30-2020-v3.pdf

 

Payroll Tax Deferral

 

50% of Social Security tax payments from 3/27/19-1/1/21 can be deferred until 12/31/21. The other 50% is due by 12/31/22. This relief is not available to those who receive SBA loans.    

 

Payroll Tax Credit

 

Businesses that suspended operations or have seen a 50% decrease in revenue from the same calendar quarter of the prior year can claim a quarterly credit for the employed portion of Social Security taxes up to $5K per employee. The credit is refundable if it exceeds the total Social Security taxes otherwise payable in the quarter. This relief is not available to those who receive SBA loans.

 

Additional Resources

 

Below are some more resources you may find helpful and relevant for your small business.

 

 

Contact PL Consulting For Your Small Business Needs

 

Serving the Baltimore area for several years, we are dedicated to providing customized service to fit each one of our client’s unique needs. We understand you may still have questions about the CARES Act, so please contact us at 410-764-3731 or https://www.plcfo.com/contact/. Please be patient as we attempt to respond to all inquiries in a timely manner. You can also follow us on Facebook and LinkedIn for more updates. 

 

Managing the COVID-19 Impact as a Business

 

 

COVID-19 is impacting businesses and organizations large and small around the world. Businesses are dealing with quarantines and shut-downs, making it necessary for them to take action to protect their employees and customers while minimizing economic damage. Some of the direct business impacts we’re seeing include customers, supply chain, leadership, and the workplace.

 

Customers

 

Since most non-essential stores are closed, brick and mortar businesses are struggling with selling products or services. By delivering customer experiences that are in line with the rest of your business through social media, websites, and phone calls, you can reduce the potential negative impact and revenue loss. 

 

Customers also want to know that even though you are still in business, your workers are safe and the products that they will receive through the mail will be packaged and manufactured with safety protocols in place. 

Supply Chain

 

supply chain

 

The supply chain is especially important right now in delivering products and services quickly and securely to medical staff helping those affected by COVID-19. With that being said, businesses still have the responsibility to protect their supply chain workers and the areas they operate in. By executing a safety plan and informing all workers of it, the flow of the supply chain can continue. It is important that the plan is continuously being tested, redeveloped, and communicated to the employees.

Leadership

 

workplace

 

Having strong leadership and guidance is vital in maintaining trust. Show people that you care for your workers, the industry, and the community that you are operating in. Be transparent when deciding and communicating with them. Do something to stop the spread or help the unemployed such as:

 

  1. Donate to a local food shelter.
  2. Gift your employees with a gift card to pay for groceries.
  3. Allow your employees to work from home.
  4. Provide extra safety measures if you are still operating as normal.

Workplace

 

If your business and employees can shift to remote work, you can safely continue your business operations. This might not be the norm for some people, so here are a few tips on how to keep you and your team productive:

 

  1. Hold virtual meetings to keep some human interaction instead of talking only through emails and instant messages.
  2. Keep everyone organized and on the same page through calendar apps.
  3. Use collaboration tools to reduce the feeling of isolation in your employees and increase motivation.

PL Consulting Can Help You

 

We can help ease any stress that you or your company are having. We consider our clients part of our team. We provide full financial management services including bookkeeping, accounting, payroll, tax preparation, budgeting, and more.

 

Serving the Baltimore area for several years, we are dedicated to providing customized service to fit each one of our client’s unique needs.

 

Please don’t hesitate to contact us at (410)-764-3731 or at https://www.plcfo.com/contact/ for any questions or concerns that you may have.

Implementing Telework for Employees

 

Businesses across the world are worried about having to close their doors as the COVID-19 pandemic spreads. However, for many businesses, there are other options. Not only can implementing telework for employees benefit your company right now, but it could help save you money for years to come. The good news is that it’s not that complicated. We’re breaking it down for you below.

 

How Telework for Employees Can Help You

Have you ever had an employee leave your company because they were moving to a different town or state? When a valued employee leaves and you suddenly find yourself needing to replace them, it can be devastating.

 

Allowing that person to telework means they can continue working for you long distance. Additionally, if they’re not too far, you can always do weekly or monthly in-person check-ins. You’ll save money on attempting to recruit and hire someone new and you’ll show your employees that you value hard work and dedication.

 

Additionally, many employees are willing to telework when they have colds or other minor illnesses. Giving them the tools to work remotely prevents germs from spreading around the office and causing other employees to have to call out sick.  

Create Ways to Connect

Most businesses are already using software for inter-office chat or client video conferencing. This software can easily be adapted to work for remote employees as well. Just because a person isn’t in the office doesn’t mean you can’t have a face-to-face chat with them. Options like Zoom, Google Hangouts, and Slack are making it easier to stay in touch and get work done.

 

If you’re requiring people to telework, it’s good practice to provide them with the technology they need to do it. Most people have the internet already, but providing a laptop or desktop and monitors is fairly standard. 

 

You’ll also want to make sure that the computers you provide have all the same software as in-office computers. The idea is for employees to have the same resources at home as they do in the office so they can continue doing their best work.

 

The good news is that you can write off both the hardware and software at the end of the year. In addition, Adobe is currently offering two months of free Adobe Creative Cloud to assist businesses that are implementing telework for employees. 

Stay Secure

One worry that many businesses owners have about setting up telework for employees is data security. There is a risk associated with remote work, especially if you don’t go through the proper channels to secure your information.

 

Working with your IT department or a local IT company can help, though. They can set you up with a VPN (virtual private network). This network allows employees to sign in from the computer that they’re using at home, but their internet connection will go through your secure network, just as if they’re in the office.

 

Even with this measure, you’re still going to want to go through some cybersecurity information with all employees before you allow them to telework. Your IT company should be able to help you out with this.

 

There’s no doubt that this is a time of uncertainty and stress for many, but with a little bit of adjusting, most businesses should be able to pivot and adapt to allow telework for employees. 

 

Please don’t hesitate to reach out to us with any questions. We are still available via phone and email for anything you may need. You can reach us at 410-764-3731 or on the website here

What to Consider when Hiring a Professional Accountant for Your Business

 

Managing your business finances correctly and efficiently can mean the difference between business success and failure. Not all business owners are savvy in the accounting field, so sometimes it’s best to bring in a professional to ensure your finances are being handled properly. A professional accountant can keep track of your business finances and make suggestions to help you make as much money as possible. Here are some things to consider when hiring a professional accountant for your business!

Desired Services

The first thing you should consider when hiring a professional accountant is what specific accounting services you need for your business. Do you just want someone to file your business taxes? Or do you need someone to manage your daily business finances? Coming up with a specific outline of what you want from your accountant gives you better guidelines when you begin your search.

Reviews & References

Don’t hesitate to ask a potential accountant for any client references they may have. This gives you further insight on how well the accountant does their job and also which specific accounting fields they specialize in. You also want to do your research and look for any reviews that give you an idea of their quality of service. One of the best ways to find a good accountant is to ask people you trust for suggestions, as they are the most likely to provide you with honest feedback.

Pricing

Before you begin looking for an accountant, it’s best to set a concrete budget. This helps you to stay on track and find a good accountant without breaking the bank. Always be sure to get specific rates from potential accountants because the last thing you want is to be surprised by unknown expenses when you get your first bill. Take the time to go over the exact services you want and let the potential accountant break down specifics of how payments work so that there is no confusion down the line.

Stay Involved

A professional accountant is there to assist you in managing your business finances. However, you shouldn’t rely on them solely for your financial success. Create a plan and make sure you’re aware of your own responsibilities to keep your finances in order. Be sure that you fully understand your financial situation so that you know what to ask and expect of your professional accountant.

 

Along the way, always follow up to ensure your account is providing the best quality services for your business. As business grows and expands, your accountant should adapt and grow with you.

Contact PL Consulting Today for Your Accounting Needs!

At PL Consulting, we consider our clients part of our team. We provide full financial management services including bookkeeping, accounting, payroll, tax preparation, budgeting, and more.

 

Serving the Baltimore area for several years, we are dedicated to providing customized service to fit each and every one of our client’s unique needs.

 

To book PL Consulting today or get more information, contact us at (410)-764-3731 or at https://www.plcfo.com/contact/

Tax 101: Small Business Preparation Tips

 

Tax season starts this year on Monday, January 27th. Though filing taxes isn’t everyone’s favorite task, it’s better to get it done early than wait until the last minute. Once you file your small business taxes, you’ll have a better idea of your official budget for the year. Here are some small business preparation tips for this year’s tax season!

Separate Personal & Business Expense

 

When you first start up your small business, you may find it difficult to separate your work and business expenses. While it may seem easier to just keep all financial information in one place, this can lead to a lot of confusion during tax time.

 

Mixing expenses can cause the IRS to disallow certain business expenses and also confuses your accounting information. The best way to prevent this is to open a separate bank account for your business.

Track Expenses

 

Keeping close track of your business expenses allows you to better reduce your tax liability. Certain business expenses can be used to reduce your adjusted gross income, therefore reducing the amount of tax money you’ll owe.

 

Keep track of each and every expense your small business makes, including office supplies, entertainment, travel, advertising, and insurance. Waiting until tax time to try and track your expenses increase the chance of overlooking something.

Remember the Dates

 

The IRS provides a tax calendar that helps businesses keep track of deadlines for tax season. This calendar includes dates for things like filing W2’s, W9’s, making estimated payments, and filing your return.

 

For freelance workers and independent contractors, you must obtain 1099’s from the clients you worked for during the year.

Digital Receipts

 

Modern technology has made it so much easier to get through tax season. There is expense tracking software that allows you to scan and save all of your small business receipts.

 

This makes it way easier to organize your expenses when they can all be accessed from one place. Creating digital receipts means you can throw away those paper ones, helping you organize your business space as well.

Hire a Professional

 

As a small business owner, your expertise may not be in accounting and that’s perfectly okay. Even with the expertise, time is limited when you have a business to run. Rather than stress yourself out about your business taxes, hire a professional to take care of it for you.

 

An account knows how to file your taxes correctly and efficiently the first time around. Having an experienced accountant on your team can make or break the long-term success of your small business.

Contact PL Consulting Today for Your Accounting Needs!

 

At PL Consulting, we consider our clients part of our team. We provide full financial management services including bookkeeping, accounting, payroll, tax preparation, budgeting, and more.

 

Serving the Baltimore area for several years, we are dedicated to providing customized service to fit each and every one of our client’s unique needs.

 

To book PL Consulting today or get more information, contact us at (410)-764-3731 or at https://www.plcfo.com/contact/