Posts by Tom Jeffries, CPA:
- Standard Mileage Method – If you keep good notes, then you may prefer the standard mileage method to keep track of your deduction. Here’s how it works: Start by keeping a log or a journal of all your business trips – include who, what, when and where. Then add up all the miles you racked up on your trips and multiply that number by the IRS’s standard mileage rate – which currently stands at 57.5 cents per mile. For example: if you were to drive 15,000 business miles over the year, you can multiply that number by 57.5 cents per mile to claim an $8,625 deduction.
- Actual Costs Method – This method requires that you to keep track of all costs associated with your vehicle, including depreciation, repairs, maintenance, gas, tires, etc. When you have collected all these costs and arrived at a total, multiply this number by the percentage of time the vehicle is used for business purposes. Your deduction is limited to the percentage of time the vehicle was used for business purposes.
As the economy continues to improve, it’s more important than ever to remain focused on the well-being of your team – because if you don’t, somebody else will.
Just because your employees aren’t actively looking for another job opportunity, doesn’t mean that other companies aren’t looking for them. And that makes it your responsibility to keep them happy in their current position or company more important than ever. Maybe your closest competitors have begun to regularly communicate with members of your team as part of a strategy to siphon your top talent or maybe an appealing job posting on LinkedIn has prompted one of your best employees to take a critical look at their current situation. While widespread mutiny among your rank-and-file may not top your list of business threats, it’s a real possibility that must be given proper consideration. If key members of your team determine that the grass is, indeed, greener on the other side, you could be left shorthanded, unable to fulfill your business obligations and ultimately branded with a bad reputation.
Could your business recover after taking this kind of hit?
If you’re not sure how your company would be able to handle the exit of your star employee or a mass exodus of talent, try implementing these tips into your team-building strategy to help secure your overall business structure – and ultimately your success. As an added bonus, you might be able to earn the “workplace of choice” status in your community in the process, which can have an extraordinary impact on all aspects of your organization.
Be A Better Leader
How effective you are as a leader hinges on your ability to provide support, motivation and direction to your team on a regular basis while utilizing fair and constructive methods of communication. Leadership is not just about barking orders, it’s about listening to your team and providing solutions that address challenges and promote higher levels of proactivity and efficiency. Want to be a better leader? Get involved. Listen. Be hands-on. And actively demonstrate the qualities you expect to see from your team.
When team members are able to take ownership of their work and accomplishments, they will take more pride in their work and in the company. Oftentimes, the quality of your team’s work will increase and they will be more likely to offer valuable insight into the effectiveness and shortfalls of certain aspects of their area in the organization. You can’t be everywhere and they can serve as your eyes. Your team’s intuition can be incredibly valuable and can help improve your business’s processes and procedures. One way to encourage your team to take ownership is to give them the chance to walk away with a bonus for their efforts. Individual and company performance bonus plans have been successfully implemented in many businesses.
Want to know the best way to drive your employees away? Make them work in cramped space with poor lighting, uncomfortable working conditions and outdated facilities. On the other hand, if attracting great hires and retaining top talent is your goal, be sure to provide your team with the tools they need to do their jobs effectively while ensuring that your facilities are up-to-date and the working conditions are manageable. Just like you, your employees are working harder than ever to earn a living. Another great way to satisfy your team is to understand that many of the men and women working for you are part of a household that depends on both parents working full-time jobs. Therefore, respecting the need for greater work/life balance might also give your business the edge when it comes to attracting and retaining top talent.
Be Generous With Feedback
It’s easy to blame the pay scale when an employee leaves or when it becomes a struggle to recruit new talent and it’s common for top performers to leave for bigger and brighter opportunities that promise a larger pay check. But sometimes, the reason a top performer leaves has nothing to do with dollar signs. Sometimes their departure has everything to do with whether they believe their work is appreciated. When an employee does a good job, do you let them know? When your team works together to fulfill an especially difficult quota, do you speak up? When you notice that one, two, 10 or more members of your team are struggling, do you take the time to work with them and help them overcome their challenges? When you take the time to give employees feedback with regard to how well they are performing their specific job duties, you help provide them with a roadmap for their own success. Some companies have begun to implement longevity awards to help acknowledge their team for the great work they do. These rewards are not only great incentives, they become points of pride.
Email Rea & Associates to learn more about the benefits a great team can have on your company’s bottom line.
By Tom Jeffries, CPA (Millersburg office)
Employees On The Fence? Ten Reasons To Join Your Ohio 401(k)
Ohio Prepares For Year Three Of Its Workforce Training Voucher Program
What Are The Top 5 Challenges Business Owners Face In Today’s Economy?
If you are one of the many men and women who drive their personal vehicles for business, don’t forget to claim the appropriate tax deduction on your tax return – the savings just might help you keep more cash in your bank account and more gas in your tank.
Here’s what you need to know. …
Deducting expenses related to your car or truck is an allowable business expense – as long as the vehicle is used for business purposes. And if you use it exclusively for business purposes, you may be able to deduct the full cost of your vehicle. But before you start claiming deductions on your tax return, make sure you understand what the IRS considers to be a valid business purpose. Hint: Commuting from your home to work is not considered a valid business purpose.
When To Claim A Deduction
Do – claim a deduction if you use your vehicle for travel between two places of business.
Do – claim travel expenses that result from traveling from one job to another, traveling from one customer or client to another and traveling from your office or business location to perform other business tasks.
Do – claim your travel expenses that accrue between your home and a business destination if you have a home office that is considered your primary place of business.
Which Deduction Is Better?
There are many factors to consider when choosing a deduction method that will result in the most tax savings. The two biggest factors are the cost of the vehicle and how many business miles you drive each year. Here are the nuts and bolts of your two options:
So, which deduction method is better?
Say you purchased a car for $30,000 and you use it exclusively for business purposes. You have figured that you drive about 10,000 miles for business each year. If you use the standard mileage method, you could claim a $5,750 deduction each year. But if you were to use the actual costs method, instead you would find that during the first five years of owning the car the actual vehicle expenses significantly add up to a larger tax deduction.
If you use your vehicle for business purposes, a financial advisor can help you identify the best route to maximize your tax savings. Email Rea & Associates to learn more.
By Tom Jeffries, CPA (Millersburg office)
Do you or someone you know enjoy knitting or jewelry-making? Or perhaps you do résumé writing or other professional consulting work? If you do any of these as a side business and make a profit, did you know that you can deduct expenses that are ordinary and necessary to your business? If your side business expenses exceed the income for your business, then the loss can be deducted against other income. However, if your loss is from a business that’s not making a profit, then you’re not allowed to deduct your loss against other income. Read the rest of this entry “
You have a bank. But do you have a relationship with your bank? A relationship with your bank is important to the success of your business. A banker can be a great source of information and a valuable part of your team. Too often it seems that the banker is only contacted when money is tight or there is an immediate need for cash flow. A business then spends several weeks obtaining information for the banker and attempting to communicate the importance of the current need. If the business had an on-going relationship with the bank, then this process is much easier to handle for the banker and the business. Read the rest of this entry “
Do you know the current balance of your business checking account? If you don’t, keep reading. Cash flow is the key to business survival. A healthy business generates money for the operations of the business. Read the rest of this entry “
Many analysts say that 2013 is the year for jobs – meaning that hiring businesses are going to be going after your employees. Are you sure that you’re doing everything you can to hang onto your talent? How do you plan to motivate your team?
Money is a motivator and you should offer competitive compensation, yes, but compensation is consistently not in the top three when employees list what’s most important to them in their job. Instead, focus on these items to help take care of and hold on to your employees this year. Read the rest of this entry “
Did you know that research shows that young men and women today will likely have more spouses than children? Unfortunately, that could have a huge impact on your family business. Read the rest of this entry “
In July 2011, federal solutions group RSA’s Anti-Fraud Command Center detected more than 25,000 phishing attacks, the most recorded in a one-month period. A part of the reason: Employees are increasingly being deceived into providing personal information through their employee benefit accounts. Read the rest of this entry “
Employee benefit plan audits are deadline-driven, and can require plenty of documentation and interaction with your auditor. Delays could mean fees and/or penalties –as well as higher audit fees than originally estimated. Read the rest of this entry “
A recent study by Bankrate found that nearly one-fifth of full-time employed Americans have raided their retirement accounts in the past year to cover emergency expenses. These results match a Fidelity Investments study last year that reported the number of workers borrowing against their retirement accounts had reached a 10-year high. Given the financial stress that many workers face today, the numbers are not that surprising, but the long-term consequences can be. Read the rest of this entry “
An Illinois healthcare company was fined $5,880 by a judge in U.S. District Court for not complying with the Employee Retirement Income Security Act’s provision by delaying to provide a summary plan description (SPD) to a plan participant beneficiary. Read the rest of this entry “
Although they’re not required for a closely-held business, financial statements can provide a crucial roadmap that helps management determine the financial health of the business and the steps to improve the return on investment for the owners – not to mention the fact that several entities outside your business may also request them.
There are four basic financial statements: balance sheet, income statement, cash flow statement and statement of shareholders equity. Do you know the difference? Read the rest of this entry “