Tag: cash flow

The Importance of Working Capital for Staffing Companies

A snapshot of short-term liquidity

Working capital is a key financial concept for business owners when evaluating the overall health of operations. It reveals a snapshot of the company’s short-term liquidity position.

The working capital computation is relatively simple:

Current Assets – Current Liabilities = Working CapitalThe Importance of Working Capital for Staffing Companies

Current assets represent the most liquid items on the company’s balance sheet. They consist mostly of cash, accounts receivable, and inventory.

Current liabilities represent debts the company will need to satisfy within 12 months or less.

How much working capital do owners need?

A company should have sufficient working capital on hand to pay all its bills for a year. The amount of working capital informs owners if they have the necessary resources to expand internally or they will need to turn to banks or outside services to raise capital to reach sufficient working capital levels. Having a large positive working capital balance allows the company to grow using funds that were generated internally instead of being liable to outside investors or banks.

One of the main advantages of looking at the working capital position of a company is being able to foresee potential financial difficulties that might arise. If there is insufficient working capital the Company may need to secure financing to meet its current financial obligations. For staffing companies, having positive working capital is imperative for the business to succeed.

Staffing companies and working capital

Staffing companies also need to look into the business cycle of the company to fully understand the importance of working capital. The operating cycle analyzes the accounts receivable, inventory, and accounts payable cycles in terms of days. In other words, accounts receivable is analyzed by the average number of days it takes to collect an account. Accounts payable are analyzed by the average number of days it takes to pay a supplier invoice.

The main goal for staffing companies is to have a high accounts receivable turnover ratio, which is net credit sales divided by average accounts receivable. Divide 365 by your ratio and that will reflect the number of days, on average, to collect receivables. A higher ratio and lower number of days means the company is efficient in collecting receivables. A strong performance ratio for staffing companies range from 11.4 to 16.0, with the number of days to collect balances between 23-32 days.

If receivables are not being collected in a timely manner then the agency has to generate the cash to fund payroll, employee benefits, and payroll taxes not only for placements but for its own employees as well.

Working capital has a direct impact on cash flow in a staffing agency. Since cash flow is the name of the game for all business owners, a good understanding of working capital is imperative to make s business venture successful.

We’ve got your back

At KRS, our CPAs can help you review your staffing company’s working capital and put together a plan for improving your company’s financial situation. Give us a call at 201.655.7411 or email Sean at [email protected]

Is Your Business Ready for 2017?

Budget Projections Offer a Road Map to Success

I know that many businesses do not prepare projections, and among the ones that do, many do not use them to monitor results. Many believe that one of the most important steps in achieving personal goals is to write them down.  Preparing and monitoring a budget for your business is similar to a person listing his or her goals.  It introduces accountability, and can be used as a road map for the upcoming year.

preparing a 2017 budget can lead to financial successHow to prepare a budget projection

Using Microsoft Excel, list the months in columns across the top with a total column after December, and income and expense accounts on the left. Add a line for total expenses, and below that a line for net income. Insert formulas to sum total expenses and annual total income and expenses in the column to the right of December.

How much money do you want to make? Start the projection by entering the net income for each month of the year.  Next, enter projected monthly expenses for each month of the year.  Hint: the current year monthly financial statements will be a big help in estimating future expenses.  Now, enter a formula in each month of the sales line that adds net income and total expenses.  Based on projected expenses and budgeted net income, this will show you the monthly sales necessary to achieve this profitability.  Is this sales number realistic and achievable?  If not, which expenses can be reduced?  Does your business offer some products and services that are more profitable than others?  Preparing projections will force you to deal with these issues, and help you understand what drives the profits in your business.

Monitoring business performance

This process is not as overwhelming as it may seem. It will become much easier once you do it, and it is a valuable tool for monitoring business performance.  If you need help, contact your CPA firm; they have all the necessary historical data and the expertise in preparation of financial projections.

Ten Tips for Choosing a Reliable Payment Processor

Choosing a credit card processor can be confusing. Here’s what you need to know to get it right.

Since businesses usually cannot withdraw funds directly from a customer’s bank or credit card account they rely on payment processors as the middleman. These payment processors connect you to merchant accounts such as Visa or American Express.

Tips for choosing a credit card processorThere are many ways to obtain payment processors. For example, they can be found through banks, online providers and companies such as PayPal. They all have different rates. Some may require contracts or mandatory leasing of their equipment (credit card machine), so it is very important that you choose one that will work best for your company’s needs.

Finding the right credit card processor is important and there are many points you should consider. For example, mobile businesses must consider the ability to accept credit card payments from anywhere. For these businesses, a mobile credit card processor would be best. Also consider integration with your accounting system and CRM software to ensure efficient processing and recording.

Selecting Your Payment Processor

With the help of Christopher Mammaro, CEO/President of Integrity Card Systems, we have listed 10 tips to consider when selecting your payment processor:

  1. Don’t be sold/fooled – Make sure you are not being set up with equipment you do not need. Quite often representatives will indicate that you need new equipment that is proprietary in nature and only works with their processing system. If you do need such equipment, are you paying for it? Often merchants will offer a “FREE” terminal when in fact you are actually paying for it through unexpected monthly or annual fees, or costly termination fees.
  2. Bigger does not always mean better – Just because a bank is larger does not mean that it will provide better service. Inquire if your bank uses a third-party provider and be sure to get comfortable with them. As a third party, they may not know anything about your business.
  3. Availability – Make sure the processor you choose can be reached in a timely manner. Inquire about their customer service and response times. Common complaints are in the area of support as many do not have local representation and you will not have a dedicated service representative.
  4. Trust –Referrals from people you trust or respect are more likely to place you in front of a good payment processor.
  5. Rates – Understand your current pricing structure and what type of pricing structure the processor suggests for you. Here are some examples: flat rate, tiered, interchange plus, and surcharge.
  6. Education – The processor should listen to the needs of your business and, afterwards, present a few solutions. Make sure their processing solutions are PCI (payment card industry data security standard) compliant and utilize current technology.
  7. Beware the contract – Avoid a long-term contract. If there is a contract, find out the term and if there is the penalty for leaving before the end. You are looking for a client relationship, not a hostage situation.
  8. Reputation – Do your homework. Make sure the company is reputable. Look for ratings and referrals.
  9. Sales rep vs sales partner – A sales rep may have a quota to fulfill and will be very accommodating during the sales process only to never be seen or heard from again. Make sure the person you deal with has a vested interest in your satisfaction.
  10. Bait and switch – Have a frank discussion about fees. Inquire as to any extra fees there are and how often they are charged. Request this information in writing. You do not want to be sold on a monthly savings only to be charged another “non-disclosed” fee.

Accepting credit/debit cards can increase sales, help you better compete with your competitors, have quicker access to funds, and avoid the cost and time of collections. Choosing a payment processor is perhaps the most difficult task in any businesses decision to accept credit cards. Mammaro’s advice is to take your time, comparison shop and search for the one that best suits your needs and business operations. Credit card processing companies are competitively priced, yet each may have a unique set of fees and contracts; it’s important to understand those nuances so you find the processor that’s a good match for your business needs.

At KRS CPAs, we work with businesses to provide the bridge from operations to financial reporting. Our accountants and bookkeepers understand the sales and collection process and assist our clients in evaluating merchant services and integrating these services with their accounting systems. If you need help, contact me at 201.655.7411 or [email protected].

Beware of Phantom Income

Real Expenses vs. Phantom Expenses

As a real estate investor, it is essential to know the difference between a real expense and a phantom expense. An investor might think a $1,000 roof repair is a good thing since he or she can deduct it as an expense. What if you never had to make that repair in the first place? You would have $1,000 of taxable income in your pocket. Being taxed isn’t automatically a bad thing, since that means you are making money on the property.

real estate and phantom incomeWhat is a Phantom Expense?

Depreciation is the perfect example of a phantom expense since it allows an owner of real estate to recover the value of the building against rental income. The IRS allows a deduction for the decrease in value of your property over time, irrespective of the fact that most properties never really wear out. Simply put, depreciation allows you to write off the buildings and improvements over a prescribed period of time, providing a “phantom expense” that is used to offset rental income.

Residential real estate and improvements are depreciated over a 27.5 year period. Commercial real estate and improvements are depreciated over 39 years.

Debt Amortization

In addition to a depreciation deduction, the Internal Revenue Code allows for the interest portion of a mortgage payment to be deducted for income tax purposes. The principal portion of a mortgage payment is treated as taxable income or “phantom income“.

During the initial years of a typical mortgage loan, the principal reduction (debt amortization) is normally offset by depreciation deductions and interest expense, decreasing taxable income. In the later years of a typical loan amortization, principal reduction will exceed interest expense and depreciation, thereby increasing taxable income and generating a seemingly disproportionate tax liability (the dreaded phantom income).

Disposition of a Property

A taxpayer may incur phantom income upon disposition of a property. Phantom income is triggered when taxable income exceeds sales proceeds upon the disposition of real estate. Usually, this results from prior deductions based on indebtedness. You may have deducted losses and/or received cash distributions in prior years that were greater than your actual investment made in the property. If you are planning to dispose of a property and believe you are in this situation, there are strategies to minimize the tax impact including IRC 1031 exchanges, which are discussed in my blog Understanding IRC Code Section 1031 and why you should care.

Real estate investors who want to maximize their after tax cash flow need to be cognizant of phantom income and compare their cash flow to taxable income. This analysis should be undertaken regularly as it may impact their investment returns. If you have questions about phantom income and your real estate, contact me at [email protected] or 201.655.7411.

Choosing The Right Accounting Software

Get the Accounting Software Your Small Business Needs to Succeed

If you are looking for an accounting system for a small business you may want to start by reviewing the features included in prepackaged solutions such as QuickBooks or Xero. These are relatively inexpensive and can be set up and functioning quickly with some user training.

Businesswoman working on laptop.Depending upon the version purchased, these packages will offer the user the ability to perform basic bookkeeping functions such as

  • Creating estimates and invoices
  • Syncing bank or credit card accounts
  • Printing checks
  • Reconciling bank accounts
  • Exporting data to Excel
  • Maintaining a General Ledger
  • Providing basic financial reports such as Balance Sheet and Profit & Loss statements.

If not offered in the basic versions, more advanced features may include preparation and printing of 1099’s, payroll, inventory tracking, time & billing, budgets, and enhanced financial reporting. In addition to the pre-packaged accounting software, there are many add-on applications that can automate many business processes.  For example, applications are available to provide point of sale solutions, enhanced inventory management, paperless bill-pay processes, employee expense/reimbursement processing and sales tax automation. There are even CRM and document management add-on applications available to help manage and grow your business.

Do your homework before buying accounting software

Not every app will integrate with every software package or version so it is important to do your homework. And if remote access is important to you, many packages offer both cloud-based and desktop versions of their software. Be sure to compare the features offered in each since certain functionality may be available in one and not the other.

It is also important that the system you use for your business provide an audit trail and the ability to lock down closed accounting periods. These functions will protect the integrity of the data and limit unauthorized posting or deletion of data.

Accounting software for a growing business

So what do you do when you believe you have outgrown the small business packaged software solutions such as QuickBooks or Xero?

First, be certain that it is the accounting software that you have outgrown and not your operational software. For example, a large volume distributor may have intricate inventory management, markup and costing operational needs that are best managed through industry-specific operational software. If this is your dilemma, then it is not only necessary to evaluate the accounting functions of the software; most often, the operational functionality will take the lead in the selection process.

Although they are getting better, we often see excellent industry-specific operational systems that lack functionality and integrity on the accounting and financial reporting side. In these circumstances, it is important to determine if the benefits of operational reporting outweigh the accounting functionality. If so, some customized software enhancements may be needed at additional cost. These operational and accounting software packages will be much more costly than packaged software and require significant training for all users. Most often it is recommended to run a new system simultaneously with the prior system until the integrity of the data can be tested and trusted.

In either scenario your accountant should be able to help you in the software selection process. He or she should understand your business operations, user needs and reporting requirements and be able to offer valuable insight in your selection process. Your accounting software should allow you to process transactions efficiently and provide financial reporting that will help your business be more profitable.

If you have questions about choosing the right accounting software for your small business, KRS CPAs can help. Give me a call at 201.655.7411 or email me at [email protected]

Cash Flow Projections Can Protect Your Company’s Future

cash flow managementFor many small businesses and startups, managing their cash flow is a continual challenge. Questions that come up often are:

  • How do we manage seasonal peaks and valleys?
  • How can we keep our cash working for the business throughout the year?
  • What’s the best way to use excess cash to benefit the business?

Good cash flow projections will help any business stay on course towards a brighter future. If you have you ever heard the expression, “Failing to plan is planning fail” then you know how important cash flow projections are to the financial health of your business.

What is a cash flow projection?

A projected cash flow statement lays out a prediction of your company’s available funds over a period of time. It represents cash receipts minus cash payments (income and expenses) over a particular time period (e.g., month, quarter, year). It is a fundamental and vital business tool.

Cash flow projections affect and inform all areas of your business, from human resources to various operational concerns. A good cash flow projection should be realistic and based on your annual operating budget, prevailing market conditions, industry trends, and prior sales cycle data. This will all affect decisions about your inventory (retailers, manufacturers, distributors), staffing levels and payroll, business loans, and your accounts payable process.

If your business is in startup mode, a cash flow statement involves compiling a comprehensive list of budgeted expenses and a conservative estimate of revenues as well as the timing of payments and receipts. Professional and licensing fees, incorporation costs, security deposits and other expenditures associated with starting a business must be included.

Looking at these metrics will help you identify your company’s anticipated cash flow from income and expenses by month (which in turn informs your budgeting process). By updating these cash flow projections on a regular basis, using the actual financial records (receipts, checking account figures, etc.) you will be better prepared to keep that cash flow in the positive column. Managing your cash flow by having smart projections will also affect your company’s credit, as a lender will want to see those projections as part of the business loan process.

How cash flow projections help small – and all – businesses

Decisions that are guided by your company’s cash flow projection may include:

Accounts receivable – You can’t pay your company’s bills if you aren’t being paid by your customers. Cash flow projections will guide decisions about the payment terms to institute from your customers. For instance, does it make good fiscal sense to accept credit cards? What about offering discounts for early payment?

Sales forecasts – How accurate are the sales forecasts and how can we meet them?

Budgets – Budgets are vital road maps to keep companies on track against their actual income and expenses. A cash flow projection by month or by quarter will inform the budgeting process and then help business owners and managers course-correct as needed.

Inventory management – What’s on hand and how do you pay for it? How quickly does your inventory convert to cash? Do your vendors insist on large minimum orders or can you go on a smaller on-demand ordering system?

Business line of credit – You might need a line of credit from your bank to sail through seasonal cash flow crunches; a solid projection will help you get the credit you need to remain viable throughout the year. Another factor here is how debt service impacts your monthly cash flow.

Business loans – If you plan on making capital improvements or will be expanding and need business capital, showing the lender a smart cash projection chart will show you are keeping strong financial records and have long-range plans in place that align with your financials.

Excess cash – If your company is profitable and you find your cash flow is positive, take a look at projections to determine how to use that extra cash. Should you reinvest in the company (and avoid that business loan)? Pay down business debt? Expand into new markets? Award employee bonuses?

In short, projecting your sales and the accompanying cash those sales bring to your company will help you develop smarter budgets and guide more informed business decisions. Cash management will help you prepare for surpluses and deficits.

Getting started on developing your company’s cash flow projection

It all starts with accurate, timely accounting records. Most accounting software will provide cash flow and budget reporting. Or, ask us about our bookkeeping services for small businesses to get your financial records set up properly and maintained regularly.

Want to know more? Download our free Managing Your Small Business’ Cash Flow Guide to find out how to make the most of the money flowing into and out of your business. It’s filled with helpful tips and industry secrets to keep your revenue working as hard as you do.

 

 

What is Risk? How Does it Affect Business Value?

 

risk and business value
What are the risks in your business, and what can you do to reduce them?

According to Dictionary.com, risk is defined as “the chance of injury or loss; a hazard or a dangerous chance.” In the business valuation context, risk refers to the possibility of financial loss or drop in asset value.

In layman’s terms, the risk in buying a business is that you will overpay for it. The more risk that is associated with an investment, the higher the return that is demanded by the investor. The higher expected returns are achieved when the market places a lower value on a business that is perceived as having higher risk.

In estimating the value of a business, the analysis is based on expected cash flows and the risk that such cash flows will not be received as expected. An astute buyer seeks to minimize risk, through careful evaluation and understanding of the business he or she is considering buying or investing in. As I have said in previous blogs, the evaluation of a closely held business is no different than the evaluation done in purchasing 100 shares of a public company:

  • Will the company continue to pay dividends?
  • How much will those dividends be?
  • What will the shares be worth when you are ready to sell them?

Certain risks, such as the economy in which the business operates, are uncontrollable. Some risks, such as future competition, may be anticipated but others, such as technological obsolescence may come as a complete surprise. Many years ago, a client purchased a chain of successful photographic film developing labs and continued to operate them successfully until the advent of digital photography. The client certainly did his homework, but did not see the change that was coming. Neither did Kodak and look what happened to them!

Controllable risks to consider

If you are buying or selling a business, what are some of the controllable risks that you should look out for?  Here are a few of the more common ones:

  • Poor accounting records – A company’s accounting records should tell the full financial story of the business. With all the low-cost accounting software that is available, there is no reason that every business should not have great accounting records. A company’s books should speak for themselves; the more stories, explanations, and exceptions, the greater the perceived risk.
  • Customer concentration – Is the continued success of the business dependent upon a single customer or a few customers? If the loss of any of these customers would negatively impact the business, that is a significant risk.
  • Supplier concentration – Is the business dependent on any suppliers that cannot be quickly and easily replaced? This could be a problem if anything happens to one of those suppliers.
  • Key employees – Is the business dependent on the services of one or more employees? Are there enforceable employment contracts and non-compete agreements in place with them? If the business does not have these agreements (signed by all parties and on file), what would happen if those employees went to work for your competitor?
  • Foreign competition – Can the product or service offered by the business be purchased at a lower cost from a foreign provider? Everything from tax preparation to manufacturing to technology consulting can be outsourced overseas these days. If this hasn’t affected your business yet, chances are it soon will. What are you doing to remain competitive?

Taking these factors into account, what are the risks in your business, and what can you do to reduce them?

Everything you do to reduce business risk will be a step toward increasing your company’s value. If you’d like a fresh look at the risks inherent in your business, or to discuss the business valuation of your company, contact me at 201.655.7411 or  [email protected].

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How to Increase the Value of Your Business

 

increase the value of your business
Reducing costs can help you increase cash flow and, as a result, the value of your business.

The value of a business is based on two factors: the expected future cash flow of the business and the risk that future cash flow will occur when and in the amounts expected.

Cash flow and risk are the meat and potatoes of business valuation. The valuation report that is produced is just a detailed analysis of these factors. Continue reading “How to Increase the Value of Your Business”

Using Rules of Thumb in Valuing a Business

 

business valuation
Rules of thumb may be easier, but considering factors such as cash flow and risk lead to a more accurate business valuation.

From time to time, I receive a call from someone who wants me to tell them the value of a business that they want to buy or sell. They provide a few items of information, such as last year’s sales or net income and expect that I will apply a multiple to quickly and easily come up with a value*.

What they are asking me to do is apply a rule of thumb.

Continue reading “Using Rules of Thumb in Valuing a Business”