Six Business Topics and Trends to Study for 2014

Happy New Year!  The New Year brings new areas to benefit from and be aware of.  You’ve likely heard these topics mentioned in the news.  The question is, have you stopped and thought about how they will be impacting your business this year?

The Biggie:  The Affordable Care Act

This new law impacts both employer insurance and taxes of small businesses.  The law is complicated with many definitions and varying effective dates.  It impacts self-employed individuals, business with fewer than 25 employees, and businesses with fewer than 50 employees.

You may be eligible for tax credits, and under certain circumstances, you could be subject to penalties if you don’t act.  It’s best to consult with a tax professional to sort out what it means to you.

Big Data and Data Transparency

In large businesses, big data refers to all of the data that is collected from customer’s habits and purchases.  In small businesses, we do not collect data on the scale that large businesses do, but we do collect customer information.  It will become more important than ever to be transparent about what data is being collected and how it is used.

If you do not already have a privacy policy that you provide to your clients, this may be a good first step in becoming more transparent with your clients about data collection.

Mobile Accounting

Mobile everything is as hot as any trend out there, and mobile accounting is certainly keeping up.  You can now do so much on your phone:  swipe credit cards to take payments, scan receipts and upload them to your accounting system, check credit card and bank balances, pay for things, create invoices, and pay bills.

The days of men with green eye shades and long paper receipts in the back office are long gone.  Accounting goes where you and your phone go.  If you have not downloaded your mobile bank and accounting apps, let us know how we can help you get mobile.

Government Budgets, Shutdowns, and Last Minute Tax Laws

Last year’s tax filing season was compressed due to laws that were enacted at the last minute.  As you might imagine, last-minute tax law changes put the tax software companies and the IRS into a tailspin.  Once forms are finalized and interpretations are published, the accountants then get busy figuring out what’s changed.

Many forms were not finalized last year until early March, but the April 15th deadline remained fixed.  This makes tax accountants have to do a year’s worth of work in about six to eight weeks.  And it’s going to happen again this year because the government was shut down during a key time that the IRS needed to get their systems ready.

To help avoid adding stress to this year’s tax season, you can help your accountant as well as yourself by having your books up-to-date and accurate, getting as much as you can ready early by scanning key documents into digital files, and having a checklist of questions you want to cover at your meeting.

Nexus

As states scramble to balance their budgets, they are constantly looking for new ways to tax businesses, and sales tax is one of their favorite ways.  Nexus means “presence.”  If your business has a presence in a state, you may need to collect and pay sales tax in that state.  If you hire employees or contractors that work from home and are located in a state other than where you are located, you may have nexus in those states.  Check with a sales tax expert who can guide you on these issues.

Engagement and Collaboration

Products and services in the accounting marketplace continue to experience a renaissance in accessibility and enhanced functionality.  This is exciting because small businesses can benefit most by the increased ability to collaborate with their accountant.  Gone are the days of once a year tax consults and never hearing from your accountant.  Now accountants can reach out more often, learn more about your business, and provide valuable collaborative advice to help you reach your financial goals.

If we can help you monetize any of these current events in accounting, please contact us, and let’s have a conversation.

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