Timely Tax Advice from our CFO

As we move into 2015, many small and mid sized business owners are coming off of a year end tax season that may have left them wanting to do more to be better prepared the next time around.

We asked our CFO, and resident tax guru Steve Brown, what small business owners can do in the New Year to ensure that they are filing properly and getting the deductions they deserve.

His advice to business owners is simple-don’t be afraid of being audited, and keep meticulous records. He offers these tips to ensure your next round of business tax preparation goes smoothly.

1. Keep a Diary

For seven years, you should keep a record of everyone you meet with, along with your business mileage.  While most business owners are aware of the deductions associated with business travel, most don’t keep the proper records to do so. Don’t lose out on potential deductions because of bad record keeping.

2. Seek Out a Tax Pro if You Work From Home

A home office can be a great way to reduce business expenses, but will fall under tighter scrutiny during tax season. There are deductions available, and seeking out a tax pro to guide you is probably your best bet to avoid filing mistakes.

3. Track Your Spending

If possible, all business expenses should be put on one credit card for easy tracking. Having all of your business expenses in one place makes pulling them out for your tax preparer a simple task. It also provides a back up for any receipts you may misplace. You should also be keeping a journal listing your expenditures. Your business receipts and journals should be kept for a minimum of five years.

4. Review Your Income Regularly

Significant changes will change your quarterly payments, and can change the way you need to file.

Even if you are short staffed, make sure you don’t shortcut documentation. From keeping a diary of everyone you meet with to tracking business mileage, to everyday expenditures, your records should be meticulous. The more documentation you have, the better you can insulate yourself when it is time to get ready for tax season.

5. Don’t Be Afraid of an Audit

Many business owners miss out on deductions they rightfully deserve because they are afraid of IRS scrutiny. If you are keeping records properly and working with a tax professional, there is nothing to be afraid of. The IRS will never come back and tell you about deductions you should have or could have taken, and if you properly documented everything and kept all of your receipts, there is really nothing to fear.

Always use the tax codes to your advantage, but remember – the bulls and the bears make money, and the pigs get slaughtered.

 

Improve Your Holiday Sales

At the height of the holiday shopping season, retailers are looking for ways to increase sales and bring in new customers-during what for many is the busiest time of year. Having a plan in place to make sure that you reach your sales goals and satisfy your existing customer base is not only smart-it may mean the difference between ending the season on a high or barely breaking even.

Upticks in employment, consumer spending and buyer morale are poised to make 2014 the biggest holiday shopping season ever. Retail industry estimates put this season’s expected consumer spending at $616.9 million, a 4.1% increase over 2013.

This means more potential business for you, and we’ve compiled some tips to help you make sure you’re ready for the holiday rush.

  1. Keep track of inventory – While this may seem like the most obvious of things to do to, the importance of having inventory
  2. Holiday decor – The time from Thanksgiving to New Year’s Day is full of holidays celebrated by most of your customer base. Your decor should match the festiveness of the season. Updating to include holiday themes in your brick and mortar shop and on your website will draw in holiday minded customers looking for gifts.
  3. Update your promotional schedule – scheduling email and in store promotions throughout the season can help you keep track of what customers are buying for what holidays-which can help you determine the best marketing efforts for your business.
  4. Prep for web traffic increase – Make sure your business can handle the increased traffic that comes with the season. Shoppers will be browsing (and buying) more, and you need to have your servers ready for the added bandwidth.
  5. Update your mobile site – more and more customers are relying on their mobile devices to research and complete purchases. According to ___ up to 30% of sales will be completed with the use of a mobile device, so make sure your website’s mobile presence has a customer friendly interface.
  6. Holiday Mailings – Your direct mail and email efforts should also reflect the holiday season in theme and tone. Offering special discounts and deals through customer codes is a great way to track who is shopping with you for the holidays.
  7. Free Shipping Day- Free shipping has been deemed the second most important factor when customers are making a decision to shop online. To this end, Free Shipping Day-December 18th this year-can provide the boost you need to draw customers to your site.

As always, when you’re in need of working capital to make sure you have enough inventory, staff or equipment on hand to keep your holiday retail season running smoothly, you can count on eProdigy to provide you with the funding you need to keep your business growing.

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¹ National Retail FederationHoliday Sales Forecast

We Can Fund Your Business

Does your business accept credit cards? If so, you may be sitting on a great source of working capital. The alternative business financing, or Merchant Cash Advance industry, as it is commonly called, has stepped in to assist small business owners when traditional banks couldn’t or wouldn’t.
Companies like eProdigy have worked with merchants for years to assist them with obtaining the working capital they need to keep their businesses growing.

By tapping into your future receivables, we can work with your business to provide funding from $1,000 to $250,000, with a repayment plan that spans anywhere from 6-18 months – all based on your business’ daily transactions.

Our funding is more inclusive than a traditional bank, because as direct funders, we use different variables to determine the eligibility of our merchants. With our state-of-the-art underwriting software, we are able to take into account a businesses’ receivables, daily transaction amounts, payments and other factors before making a funding decision.

More than a credit score calculator, eProdigy’s software takes existing financial information and aggregates it with other business related data. This gives us a fuller view of the business’ health and ability to repay – and oftentimes is the difference between receiving much needed funding and being declined by a traditional bank.

The beauty of our process, is that we can get the data we need and have a decision in less five minutes-instead of the weeks or months a traditional lender may take just to turn your application down. This software is backed by a professional staff of funding officers who will work with you to get the best possible rates and repayment terms.

Purchasing new equipment, adding inventory for a new location or preparing for a major bid has never been easier. At eProdigy, we can help you get the working capital you need to move your business forward.

 

Fast and Easy Repayment

One of the most important factors to consider when you’re seeing alternative financing for your business is how and when the funds will be repaid. Since the funds are not a traditional loan product, repayment is done a little differently.

Our technology allows us to work with our merchants to pay back a small percentage of their advance daily, usually over the course of 6-12 months.

This is usually done through a preset debit of a percentage of credit card receipts, or a preset amount to be pulled from a business bank account via ACH. This ensures that repayment is as pain free as securing funds for our merchants.

For merchants who choose our credit card repayment option, we offer access to a full complement of card processing services, often at a lower rate than their existing processor. They can save money while processing with us-and repay their advance without having to think about it. Our ACH withdrawal plan is the simplest and fastest way to set up repayments with us-and requires only that merchants provide access to a business account they make regular deposits to.

Our online system helps our merchants to stay focused on what they do best, and grow their businesses while keeping up with their payments. With unlimited access to our portal, merchants can see exactly where they are with repayment amounts, current remaining balances and additional funding options.