Small businesses and non-profits need to economize wherever they can. It can be tempting to do without help or to hire the least expensive option. IT services and equipment, in particular, can be expensive. But is money really saved in the long run when a friend or volunteer handles the organization’s IT needs? Is it really less expensive to use donated or second-hand equipment?
Non-profits inspire donors to give by sharing stories about impacting the people and communities that they serve. Without adequate systems and processes to collect and track that information, non-profits cannot report reliably on their activities. Or, they expend a lot of time and effort pulling the information together.
Without the right tools or equipment to get the job done, it takes longer. Often, things have to be done over. It’s the same with people. Trying to do the job with lower-paid, but unqualified, employees will cost your organization more in the long run.
Small businesses and non-profits often think that their budgets aren’t big enough to invest in the people they really need. Especially finance and administrative staff, who provide information and support for the entire organization. What does it cost not to invest in knowledgeable and experienced people for finance and administrative roles?
Knowing whether your small business is producing enough income to cover costs seems pretty straightforward, right? Not necessarily. If you don’t plan your income and expenses appropriately, you could have a nasty surprise. It’s good practice to perform a breakeven analysis to make sure your sales are covering your costs, or to work with an accounting professional to get it done.
Many organizations maintain physical inventory on-hand to do their business. Examples include retail stores, restaurants, food banks, construction, and landscapers. Businesses and non-profits need to track all that “stuff” to sell, distribute, or provide services to their customers. Keeping accurate inventory records, knowing when to order more, and minimizing losses (aka “shrinkage”), are essential parts of managing costs and meeting demand.
Automating inventory tracking makes a lot of sense. However, automation on its own does not address everything. For example, your people need to know their roles and responsibilities, such as entering information and reading/acting on system reports. Your business rules and policies need to be set up in the system. How can you do all of that?
Running a business is much like raising a child; it takes a village. In the business world, however, the village consists of vendors and outsourced professionals. Without these resources, your business can turn into a one man show/torture device and quickly burn you and your business out. Hiring vendors to provide goods to supplement your services or to outsource projects/work in order to maximize time can widen your profit margin. Yes, outsourcing can be great. But don’t forget that it also means verifying whether your vendors deliver or perform as promised.
There are a lot of reasons why you might not be ready to file your income tax returns on time. Maybe you didn’t receive all your tax information yet. Or you’ve been traveling a lot for business or family needs. Whatever the reason, the IRS gives you an automatic six-month extension to file a complete tax return.
That means six more months to get it together – or engage in more procrastination. Either one, you never have to tell the IRS your reason. However, you or your tax preparer must let the IRS know about your plans to extend your time to file. Most states provide an automatic extension when the taxpayer requests an IRS extension.
Your home; it’s the most valuable asset you’ll ever own. When it’s time to sell your house or condo, professionals assist with making it attractive to purchasers; negotiating the sales price, and settling the transaction. So, who can help you figure out if you owe taxes from selling your home?
Even if you have a tax professional to help, it’s a good idea to know some of the basics. Knowing the records you need to keep can help make the process a lot easier and stress-free.