Startups: Important Tips to Secure the Right Loan

Congratulations on having a great business idea! You are now starting a journey that will challenge you to make critical decisions for your business. You now find yourself needing to secure funding. You can accomplish this by pitching your idea to angel investors, investors, borrow from friends and family or seek commercial lending. Majority of startup owners do not much, commercial lenders base their decision to lend on the business plan and the owners ability to execute it successfully.

Traditional commercial lending companies and/or online lenders are generally very conservative. Meaning, they want to know that their money is secure in whatever venture they invest in. They will need to be confident that you can and will repay the loan, otherwise they will have to liquidate assets when you default. With that being said, you have to do your best to assure the lender of your confidence in your business and the potential for its success. You will likely not secure funding for your venture if you cannot accomplish this.

Have a Strong Well Written Business Plan

You need to have a strong and well written business plan. Conduct thorough research on all aspects of your startup. Show your potential lender that you have done your homework and are well versed in the space. Have a full and complete understanding of the market and show that you have the systems in place to execute your business plan. I generally recommend that you include your resume or CV to reassure potential lenders that you have what it takes to run the business. Also be sure to include a cash flow projection of at least 12 months, this demonstrates that you understand what to expect.

Secure a Strong Credit Score

You need to verify that you have a strong credit score. There are multiple ways that you can check your score for free. Try Credit Karma or a like service. If you have a low score, you may want to consider dedicating a month or two and improve your score. Study your score and see what is contributing to the low score and work to correct the issues. This will likely make you more eligible for a loan.

Understand Your Needs

You must be able to provide accurate figures or very close estimates on the amount of money that you need. You should provide information on how you will use the funds, how long the loan should extend for (loan period), and how you intend to repay the loan.

Detail Your Current Situation

If you are already operating your startup it is very important that you provide a report showing key performance indicators (KPI’s) in your business plan. Prepare accurate and up-to-date financials, fully understand them and be prepared to discuss them in detail.

Follow Up

After you submit your application and even possibly meet with a representative it is critical that you promptly provide all of the necessary information being requested. Do not try to hide negative results, instead be forthcoming and explain the situation and how you have learned from it and are working to remedy it.

We understand that if for some reason your application is rejected, you may feel like giving up. Instead of giving up, find out why this happened and work to get as much information as possible. Make the necessary adjustments to your plan and presentation. Network with other lenders and ask them for recommendations before trying again. With persistence and with a well organized plan, you will find the right lender who is willing to take a risk on you.

At MCDA CCG we have partnered and worked with 100’s of clients preparing and presenting business plans to our lending partners. We have successfully obtained hundreds of successful loans for startups and early stage businesses. If you would like more information or help preparing a successful business plan or financials please contact us today.

CEO Recap: Questions You Must Ask Weekly

When speaking to CEOs they are typically unsure how to evaluate their own company. Many CEOs will just push the task to the side since they do not know the best way forward. This can become extremely frustrating especially once it feels an impossible task to complete.

In order to keep your business evolving and gaining ground, remember to take it day by day. Every small victory can lead to a major victory. You as CEO and your executive management team must ask these questions every week:

Do I have big enough goals?

Goal setting is a critical part of evolving any company. As CEO or as part of the executive management team your mind must arrive at the destination before anything else can. You will be faced with obstacles along your destination. If you are not hitting obstacles, it is likely that your goals are probably too small. GO BIG and accept and believe that you can solve your obstacles in stride.

How my team improve?

Are you and your executive management team acting with intention today to get your company to where it wants to be tomorrow? Each day is an opportunity to improve as a CEO, as an executive manager, or as a business. Be vigilant and look for ways to make things better because when you challenge yourself you improve your abilities. Remember, there are no limits.

Are we having fun?

Find appropriate humor and don’t take yourself or your team too seriously. Productivity can be diminished if your team feels exhausted and overworked. Get to know your team, learn their stressors, and know when to lighten up and show them you care. Demonstrate caring by ensuring that humor is not at another co-workers expense. Be intentional by increasing employee morale, it will help you retain your employees, after all they are your most valuable asset.

Are the right people in the right place?

As the CEO you need to constantly re-evaluate your employees, their skill sets, and their level of happiness in their current role. You can utilize the “Got, Want, Have” formula to help you determine if the right people are where they need to be within your company. Ask, What role do they GOT, what role do they WANT, and do they HAVE the capacity to handle the role and responsibility of the position they want? If you notice that one of your great employees performance is declining and they no longer seem passionate about the position, you need to immediately have the Got, Want, Have discussion with them.

Do we appropriately handle obstacles?

Build a refuse to lose mentality for when you run into obstacles. Keep in mind that when you set goals you know that you will run into obstacles. Utilize them as stepping stones towards continuous improvement. Do not allow obstacles to define you, embrace them, and conquer them. Have a reference guide to help you overcome these obstacles or connect yourself with an executive coach that has likely already faced similar obstacles. These resources will help you quickly ramp up your success and make you a better leader.

Are time and resources being wasted?

Time is a valuable commodity, as are company resources. Is there a product or project that your company has been attempting to complete, but it’s just not happening? Evaluate those projects and unnecessary expenditures that are costing the company hundreds or thousands of dollars and start eliminating them as you see fit. Do not wait, now is the time to shift into high gear and take your company to the next level. Push yourself to dig deep and push hard to get past any obstacles.

Can we give back?

As a CEO myself, I firmly believe that it is a crucial aspect of a successful company to give back. I involve my team and make them aware that they have a special opportunity to help change the lives of others. This can be done one dollar, one life, or one cause at a time. If we a business leaders can each do a little bit, we can make a large impact.

As with your business plan, continually ask yourself where you can improve and where or how you can make a bigger impact.

At MCDA CCG we have industry leaders who have overcome obstacles and have proven methods to help you succeed. Contact us today and we can help you on your journey to ultimate success.

5 Tips on Becoming a Great HR Manager

As the Human Resources Manager you have some of the most consequential responsibilities within the office environment. A successful work environment depends heavily on interactions and the relationships of the individuals sharing the space. The HR manager is largely responsible to ensure these interactions are fostering a comfortable and productive work environment. You want to provide the individuals with the opportunity to perform at their highest level. When there are individuals who frequently bicker or butt heads this can be overwhelming at times. We want to provide you with tips that will help make you into a successful HR manager.

Use Discretion

There is a common misconception that HR manager are required to keep all of the information that comes to them confidential. It is inevitable that you will find yourself in a tricky situation, possibly unsure of which information should be shared or which party to assist. While you are not legally required to do so, you must learn to use discretion to decide when information should or needs to be shared to someone else and when it is in all parties best interest to keep it confidential. Follow your gut and make your decision based on the well-being of your employees and the company.

Practice Compassion

Serving as the person that people will come to with conflicts, you are going to have to demonstrate and practice compassion so that people feel they can confide in you. As a HR manager you are often privy to sensitive or private information about employees in the office. It is for this reason, the employees must feel that you genuinely care about their concerns. If they are coming to you and sitting in your office to discuss, the issue is likely pressing. Remember, you are by no means a therapist, and there is definitely a line that can be crossed, it is critical to foster an environment in which people feel like they are being heard.

Refine Your Communication Skills

One of the best tips that we can provide HR managers is to refine your ability to communicate effectively with employees of all levels. You are the voice of our company’s culture and as such you should have the ability to inspire and foster relationships in the office by effectively communicating with everyone. As an example, you can practice by emulating the methods of some of your favorite speakers. Harness a compelling aspect of their personality and use it to emphasize the importance of communication around the office.

Creating a Vision

Going beyond being the representative of the rules of your organization, as the HR manager you need to get specific about the type of environment you want to create. Research as much as you can and hone in on a specific vision that will create a symbiotic relationship office wide. There are plenty of networking groups that include HR managers from other organizations that are happy to exchange information and ideas on what can make an office space excel beyond its basic functions.

Expand Your Legal and Health Insurance Knowledge

Having a basic understanding of employment law is fundamental as an HR manager. With this knowledge you will confidently know how to proceed in legally questionable situations and know when you will need to actually refer to a lawyer. As you will often be tasked as the person to fire people, as an example, it is critical you know when the law permits this action. Many decisions you will make as the HR manager have legal implications, so study up and make sure you aren’t breaking any of the rules. In addition to having legal knowledge, you should have a working knowledge of the health insurance benefits offered to your employees. Of course, employees can call their health insurance provider for more information or to ask more in-depth questions, but you as the HR manager should be able to provide the preliminary and straight forward guidance as well. Save your employees from having to sit on some insurance company’s customer service line listening to 101 useless menu options!

At MCDA CCG we have very seasoned and well versed HR consultants who would be happy to develop your good HR manager and make them Great! Contact us today for more details!

HR Audits & Why They Are Important

Having an HR audit conducted is a key component to help companies like yours avoid legal and regulatory liability. At MCDA CCG our audits will identify areas of legal risk and we will help you quickly resolve the findings. Our audits will make sure that you are in compliance with the countless employment laws, and to review with you any and all HR best practices. Putting into place solid and sound policies will help you defend yourself in the event of legal action. At the conclusion of the audit, the results will provide you with a road map for changes and improvement.

We have performed hundreds of HR audits and still to this day, we are amazed at some of our findings. Employment laws are always evolving and have changed so much in the past five years that employee handbooks do not have the correct updated language, mandatory new hire forms and not utilized correctly or at all, mandatory on-boarding documents are missing, providing employees with plenty of ammunition for potential lawsuits. It is better to be safe than sorry, right?

The number of employees dictates the number of laws that apply to you. Our audits generally include (but are not limited to) the following sections:

  • Policies and Handbook Review – Employment, Employee Relations, Training, Compliance, New Hire procedures, Termination procedures
  • Wage and Hour payroll practices
  • Workers compensation – Safety, OSHA, IRCA
  • LOA, COBRA, ADA

We always conduct our audits in person but in today’s Covid pandemic we are happy to conduct our audits via zoom, FaceTime or utilize other methods.

For more information, please contact us. We are here to partner with you and help.

SaaS Businesses: Should I ask for annual prepayment?

MCDA PAY

In recent discussions with founders and CEO’s of SaaS companies we have discussed the advantages and disadvantages of asking customers to prepay their subscription annually. When drilling into the why, it is often due to a motive to improve conversion rates. I feel this is a mistake…

My opinion is that a customer who is willing to prepay for the year was likely to convert anyway. Alternatively, offering a prepay discount of some sort to a renewing customer likely will not keep them if they were already planning to leave.

Annual prepayments should not be done to improve retention and conversion rates. If that’s the case, then when is it appropriate to offer annual prepayments? Here are two thoughts…

  1. In the early stages of your business, an annual prepayment offer can be successful to test “product-market fit”. If you did not build the “right product” for the “right customer” they will not prepay.
  2. In all stages of your business obtaining annual prepayments will fill the cash void. With a traditional SaaS business model, you pay to acquire the customer on day one and only recover acquisition cost over time as you collect subscriptions. Meaning that your ability to grow is going to be limited by your abilities to fund that cash gap.

When you receive payment upfront, there is no cash gap unless your acquisition cost is higher than one year’s subscription revenue. I would not recommend such an aggressive customer acquisition spend until the company is further into the growth stage and is unquestionably well funded and you can show enough historical data in it’s unit finance and acquisition channels to be satisfied about investing aggressively in growth.

If you are a startup or established business with a SaaS model we would like to talk to you about improving your finance model. Contact us today we would love to talk with you.

How to Pay Back a PPP or EIDL Loan

Loan Payback

If your business was fortunate enough to have received a Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan or an Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL), you may have now decided that you want to pay it back for for any number of reasons:

  • You didn’t fully understand the loan terms when you applied,
  • You cannot use the PPP funds or EIDL funds the way you had hoped
  • You just wanted the EIDL grant and not an EIDL loan,
  • You don’t think most of your PPP loan will be eligible for forgiveness,
  • You do not think your business will survive to be able to repay a loan

Whatever your reason, you may want to pay it back. It can be a confusing process, so how do you do that?

PPP Loan Repayment

Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans were made by lenders, not by the Small Business Administration. You must pay your loan back to your lender, not to the SBA. All of the major financial institutions, Wells Fargo, JP Morgan Chase Bank, Bank of America, etc. have begun to post their process for Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan repayments. Contact your lender to ask for instructions for returning your PPP loan.

EIDL grant repayment

Keep in mind that borrowers generally don’t have to repay an EIDL grant. These grants were given in increments of $1,000 (up to $10,000) and should have been deposited into your bank account with the notation “EIDG” (with the “G” for “grant”). Until the IRS says otherwise, these funds may be taxable, but for now it is still free money for your business. 

However in some cases, it’s possible that your organization did not apply in good faith, or did not fill out the application truthfully. Another example could be that you discovered that your business really didn’t need the money, or maybe you just want to return the grant. The SBA specifies that you should contact them at +1 (800) 659-2955 or you can email disastercustomerservice@sba.gov for payment instructions.

EIDL Loan Repayment

You can locate the website to repay your EIDL loan at www.pay.gov

To get started have your 10-digit loan number and a payment amount ready in order to pay it back. There is no prepayment penalty associated with the EIDL loan but it is possible a minimal amount of interest has accrued from the time the loan was disbursed. In addition, you’ll have to pay back the UCC filing fee of $100 if one applies to your loan. (Note: UCC-1 filings apply to EIDL loans greater than $25,000.) 

Request a payoff amount before you submit your payment by contacting either: 

  • The Service Office listed on your monthly 1201 Borrower Statement OR 
  • The Disaster Customer Service Center at +1 (800) 659-2955 if you have not yet received your 1201 Borrower Statement

You will be able to pay by:

  • Bank account (ACH)
  • PayPal account
  • Debit card

Here’s what the repayment form looks like: 

Tip: Always make sure you are on the secure Pay.gov website when you make a payment! Look for the padlock in the URL bar of the page that you can click on to confirm you are on a secure site. 

You will want to record and keep good records of any and all payments you make and when you make them. It is a good idea to also take screenshots for backup.

If you did receive an EIDL loan for more than $25,000, you will want to check your business credit reports to make sure that the SBA releases the UCC-1 filing. UCC filings typically impact your ability to qualify for other small business loans.

The same form applies if you only want to pay back a portion of the loan early as well.

For assistance with your EIDL or PPP loan or grant please contact us at MCDA CCG Inc., today, we are happy to assist and guide you through the process.

Startup Plans: Stock Option & Incentive Plans

Stock options or other similar incentive plans are a great way to attract top talent, incentivize employees and build long term employee loyalty for your business. 

We have clients that prefer to grant them only to the senior management staff. However, I have always been a fan of distributing them throughout the entire organization, so everyone feels invested and contributes to your success. Plan to set aside 10-20% of your equity value for your expanded team. (e.g., 0.25-0.5% for entry level staff; 0.5-1% for mid-level managers; 1-5% for senior execs). This is assuming that they are standard salaried employees, and not a co-founder, where the equity values are materially higher.

I am detailing out the typical four types of incentive plans for you to consider, with various rules and tax consequences for the company and the recipients, as summarized below:

1. Non-Qualified Stock Option Plans (The Most Typically Used, Given Advantages Below)

Who Can Receive:  Anyone (e.g., employees, directors, partners)
Waiting Period to Exercise:  No restrictions.  Exercise anytime after they vest.
Exercise Price:  At any price, but taxable to recipient if less than fair market value (FMV)
Transfer Rights:  May or may not be transferable, depending on how you set up the plan.
Term of Options:  Exercisable anytime, provided plan is not set up otherwise.
Value of Underlying Stock:  No limit at time of exercise, provided plan is not set up otherwise.
Taxes to Company:  Deductions allowed from grants, at time recipient recognizes income, provided the company fulfills its withholding obligations.  This ordinary expense is equal to the ordinary income declared by the recipient.
Taxes to Recipient:  No tax at time of grant or exercise.  The recipient receives ordinary income at time of exercise for the difference between sale price and strike price. (So, people don’t typically exercise until close to a known liquidity event where they will receive proceeds to cover taxes).

2. Qualified Incentive Stock Option Plans (Not Typically Used, Given Restrictions Below)

Who Can Receive:  Employees Only
Waiting Period to Exercise: One year.
Exercise Price:  At least equal to fair market value (or at least 110% of FMV for 10% holders)
Transfer Rights:  May not be transferred to anyone.
Term of Options:  Exercisable no more than 10 years after grant.
Value of Underlying Stock:  Cannot exceed $100,000 at time of exercise (in one calendar year).
Taxes to Company:  No deductions allowed from grants.
Taxes to Recipient:  No tax at time of grant or exercise.  Capital gain on sale of underlying stock (provided they hold the stock for at least one year after exercise, ordinary income if not).

3. Phantom Stock Option Plans

For some companies, the founders do not want any dilution to their equity.  But, they want to incentivize their employees with the same economic value they would have realized by owning equity.  In this scenario, you would launch what is known as a Phantom Stock Option Plan.  Instead of given rights to purchase stock, you are giving rights to receive the same economic value they would have made by owning the stock, without actually owning the stock.  These cash payouts are typically tied to a liquidity event or exit for the company. For tax purposes, phantom stock is treated the same as deferred cash compensation. Phantom stock payouts are taxable to the employee as ordinary income and tax deductible to the company. 

4. Profit Sharing Plans

Another way to accomplish the same incentive, is to establish a profit sharing plan for the company.  So, instead of splitting up the equity and ownership of the business, you simply split up any profits that are generated each year.  The benefit to the individual is getting more control (easier to influence driving profits, than sale of company), in a more timely fashion (paid out annually, instead of at unknown time of sale of the company).  The problem with this route is early-stage businesses should not be distributing cash to its employees, it should be reinvesting that cash into accelerating the company’s growth during its early-stage years.  So, if you plan on being a heavy cash user for growth, I would avoid this route.

Vesting, Acceleration & Other Key Terms
In all of the above cases, it is important you put a vesting schedule in place for the recipients before they are able to exercise their options.  Most vesting schedules are set over a four year period of time, to create long term hooks for retaining employees.  Typically, 25% vests per year, where it is a cliff vest in the first year (you have to wait all 12 months before first 25% is earned).  That ensures if an employee is not working out, you can terminate them without losing any equity.  Then after the first year, 1/36 of the 75% is earned monthly, over years two, three and four.  In the event there is a change in control of the business, you would typically accelerate the vesting to 100% earned, so the recipient can get the value created in the sale.

In addition, you want to make sure the company has a mechanic to buy back the underlying stock at the then fair market value and does not allow the recipients to transfer equity to other third parties outside of the company, without your written approval.  You typically don’t want equity in the hands of strangers or “unfriendly” parties.

And, worth mentioning, you don’t typically grant stock outright, as you do not want to trigger any immediate compensation tax consequences for the recipient or the company.  And, if you don’t want to have the expense of setting up and maintaining a formal stock option plan, there are ways to motivate specific individuals, by granting them individual warrants to purchase stock, often with the same economics and vesting you would see with a stock option plan for many.

Hopefully, you found this high level information useful.  But, these are really complex issues.  So, as always, when setting up your plan, seek the counsel of a good startup lawyer to help you avoid the many known pitfalls. At MCDA CCG we have partnered with some of the best start-up lawyers around to help get you and your startup set up properly.

Call us today for a free consultation!

DIY Quickbooks: Mistakes to Avoid

QuickBooks is one of the most popular tools for small business accounting. It is a wonderful tool but it must be used properly. Unfortunately we have too often seen mistakes or omission in books that were DIYed by our clients.

Even little mistakes can have large, expensive consequences. The ugliest example, if your tax return contains discrepancies or errors you will likely get hit with penalties from the IRS. We have provided 6 quick tips to help you avoid these costly errors.

1. Create your own chart of accounts.

QuickBooks enables you to set up a system for organizing transactions into categories, such as income, assets, liabilities, receivables, and your operating expenses. QuickBooks can and will default to include a long list of sub-categories that will only cause confusion. Keep it simple and straightforward; a good guide are the categories on your tax return. As a reference look at (IRS Form 1040 Schedule C). This will decrease your chance of coding items incorrectly and possibly making errors on your tax return.

2. Switch to cash basis accounting.

QuickBooks by default selects the other most common method of accounting, called accrual accounting. With accrual, you enter money owed to you at the time of the sale; with cash basis, you enter it when you actually get paid. For some of our clients that timing can be weeks or even months, especially during Covid when people are delaying payments longer than usual. For small businesses, it’s typically more useful to see how much cash you really have at the moment, rather than a theoretical number.

3. Entering the same transaction multiple times.

A very common example that we come across with our clients is that they go and purchase an office supply with their credit card and enter it as a business expense on the day of the purchase. When they receive their credit card bill they accidentally enter that expense again.

4. Forgetting to record transactions.

As you are focused on running your business, its all too common and easy to put off data entry to another time. Unfortunately, that time may not come for a while and by then you may have completely forgotten about it or can’t locate the receipt.

Build in 10-20 minutes into your daily routine to keep up with the books, rather than having to spend hours tackling a huge pile at the end of the month. There are other advantages to keeping up with your books such as a clear and accurate view of your current cash flow. This also allows you quick insight to have the ability to tackle potential problems much quicker.

5. Incorrectly performing adjustments.

With some of our recent new clients we are also finding that DIY bookkeepers skip the necessary steps to separately identify gross income, net income, and expenses. A perfect example, you’re are an e-commerce business and you utilize a payment processing service. Your customer purchases a $200 item, and your payment processing service takes a $20 fee. You cannot just enter your net revenue as $180. You must enter the gross revenue of $200 and an expense of $20 separately.

Another very common DIY mistake occurs in adjusting for interest paid towards a business loan. You should be utilizing an amortization schedule to get the numbers correct.

6. Not saving old records.

If you make the decision to leave QuickBooks for any reason, you will get a read-only access to your most recent year of bookkeeping. Anything older will likely be lost unless you export and save them.

Even if your business is closed, keep these records. The old records have other potential such as securing a loan or investor to start a new business, or be an essential requirement in an IRS audit.

The last thing that you should be doing is worrying over whether you’re doing Quickbooks properly. MCDA CCG accounting experts are here to help you clean up any problems and provide helpful guidance for getting the absolute most out of your accounting software.

Contact us today for a free consultation! Also please mention the coupon on our website for a great savings!

Bookkeeping Pains An Outsourced Service Can Resolve

For many businesses, their bookkeeping causes a lot of pain. However, when handled correctly, there are many pains that proper bookkeeping can remedy. Common reasons that bookkeeping causes pain are: it is intimidating, people don’t like it, and it’s often way behind because it gets pushed to the back burner. 

It is crucial to keep up on your bookkeeping so that you can keep your business on track towards its goals. If you are feeling any of the following bookkeeping pains, you need to make some changes to your current system.

Here are 6 pains we can help you resolve as your outsourced bookkeeping partner.

  1. Time Crunch
  2. Stress & Anxiety
  3. Access to Updated Information
  4. Access to Relevant Information
  5. Ability to Adjust
  6. Taxes
Time Crunch

There is never enough time to accomplish everything in your small business, is there? People often use time as an excuse for not performing a task when they don’t want to deal with it or don’t know how to get it done properly. 

If you don’t find it practical to do your bookkeeping because it takes you away from more critical business tasks, then you should probably outsource it. Not only do you want to focus on your product or service, you do want to maintain a healthy work/life balance.

At MCDA CCG we take on majority of the bookkeeping tasks and let you focus on running your business. We keep you involved with the bookkeeping process to remain in control. You always want to have your finger on your financial pulse and be involved with crucial tasks such as financial reporting.

Stress & Anxiety

When you start talking bookkeeping and taxes with many business owners, you often trigger a worried look. Bookkeeping can cause a lot of anxiety and worry for the small business owner, but for outsourced bookkeeping experts, it creates an opportunity. 

Creating the proper bookkeeping system and giving a business owner a set of books that adds value will reduce their anxiety and worry when it comes to their business finances. Quite often, the key is accurately updating the books regularly. 

If bookkeeping causes you to stress, then don’t take it on. Stress is unproductive for your business. People stress over bookkeeping because they know they should be keeping up on it, but they don’t have the time or knowledge to do so. Rather than stress about your bookkeeping let a professional take that load off of you.

Access to Updated Information

Another real pain that bookkeeping can create is a lack of access to updated information. 

New clients often complain that the books are behind and inaccurate. Business owners complain that they don’t get reports from their bookkeeper often enough, and when they do, they don’t contain accurate or relevant information. 

To run a business, you need updated and accurate financial information that can aid you in making business decisions.

A good bookkeeping system can and should give a business owner access to regularly-updated financial information that is accurate. 

The major trends in the accounting industry right now are a movement to cloud-based solutions and the need for more regularly updated information. You should set expectations with your bookkeeper on how often you would like to see the books updated. 

Also, be sure that you have access to your bookkeeping system and financial reports anytime you want them and from where ever you are.  A cloud based system is perfect to have access to your information at the tips of your fingers with smart phones, tablets, etc.

Access to Relevant Information

If you don’t have updated information, you likely have no idea of where your business stands, and if you don’t have access to the relevant information you surely have no idea where you are going.

Outsourced bookkeeping services should not only give you a firm grasp on where you currently stand as a business but more importantly, where you are going. Your small business financial reporting should not only identify possible issues but opportunities as well. 

If an opportunity presents itself in your financials, you want to be ready to take advantage of it. Conversely, if you see potential problems, you want to try and get ahead of them the best that you can. At MCDA CCG our bookkeeper can provide strategy guidance to best keep you informed to make smart, logical business decisions that you are happy with.

Ability To Adjust

An inability to adjust to happening changes can be a huge pain point. 

If you don’t know where you are at or where you are going, you are in a horrible spot. This position leaves you incapable of making the proper adjustments to keep your business on track. 

A robust bookkeeping system will keep you fully in tune with the financial aspects of your business. This will give you the flexibility and power that you need to make quick adjustments in your business to overcome market changes and take care of opportunities that present themselves. You want to remain in a proactive position versus a reactive position, which in most cases is too late.

It would help if you were using your small business budget to compare budget vs actual results to look for both opportunities and problems to make the necessary adjustments.

Taxes

Taxes are painful for a lot of businesses. If you are continually filing for extensions or have not filed taxes at all, then you are feeling a lot of pain and have this monkey on your back. 

Business owners hate taxes, but too many of them take a reactive approach to taxes rather than a proactive approach. You should be reviewing your tax situation with your CPA at least semi-annually if not quarterly.  Our approach here at MCDA CCG is to align with your CPA and/or bring in our resources to help you with your tax needs.

If your bookkeeping system is not kept current, then you have no way to solve your tax pain and you will waste time trying to solve that situation and you will not be running your business.

With an outsourced bookkeeping service, you should never have tax pains. If your books are updated regularly filing your taxes should be simple. 

A tax review and estimate before year-end is probably one of the most critical things you can do regarding taxes. A tax review will do two very valuable things. First, you will understand your potential tax liability, and you can make any tax advantageous moves or purchases before year-end. 

Second, you will have a tax liability estimate, which will give you several months’ notice so that you can plan to pay any taxes that are due. The above tax planning is only possible if you are maintaining an accurate bookkeeping system that is updated regularly.

Come January you shouldn’t be thinking about taxes you should only be worried about keeping your business on track towards its goals. Closing out the end of year bookkeeping should be nothing more than closing out one more month of books.

Fortunately for many small business owners like you, it is never too late to get your bookkeeping on track with the support of the best-outsourced bookkeeping experts.

Contact us today for a free introductory call and reference CODE: SMMP20 for a free month of bookkeeping services!

Cost Management: Mitigate Project Cost Overruns

Proficient and proper planning is the key to a successful project, but of course, there are a few problems beyond the realm of planning as it is not always possible to predict what would happen after a project starts.

One of the major problems is the cost overrun. Besides the underlying nature of massive and complex projects, poor execution of project management leads to increased costs. A good project management team must be capable of identifying the possible sources of cost overruns early and mitigate their effect.

This blog will present the 5 most elemental and evident technical reasons for the cost overruns and the ways to dodge them while working on a project.

1. Design Errors

One major reason for cost overruns in most projects is design errors. Project design is the base of everything. In order to execute a project, proper representation of the client’s requirement, as well as the blue print to achieving good technical input are required, which are both based on the project design. In this practical world, design with errors means the wrong or insufficient representation of the project deliverables. 

Let’s try to link this scenario to the triple constraint (Figure 1) and see the effects. Wrong design leads to the wrong application of plans and techniques in the project. Later, in the execution phase of the project, these design errors start showing up, causing extra works, change order, etc. which lead to delays in schedule or in the worst-case scope change, which eventually leads to cost overruns. 

2. Unfeasible Cost Estimate

An unfeasible cost estimate is another common reason for project cost overruns. Cost estimation is a vital part of a project, which goes hand in hand with the project design phase. If the cost is calculated based on a hunch (imperfect estimation) without considering proper escalations and contingencies, then the project undoubtedly faces cost overruns. This might not be detected in the early phases, but in the later stages, it becomes very evident.

3. Scope Change

Scope change could lead to a delay in schedule or cost overruns. The scope is the term that defines the entire deliverables that are expected at the end of a project. Therefore, it can be said that all project plans, estimation, schedule, quality and baselines are usually designed in the initial project scope.

Project scope change could occur as a result of wrong initial scope definition, inherent risk and uncertainties, sudden change of interest, project funding change, etc. A change in the project scope during execution creates a need to change the entire initial project plan, which results in the redevelopment of the budget, schedule, quality and even the whole project team. This means more time and resources will be needed compared to the initial baseline.

4. Project Complexity 

Project complexity often is a contributing factor which results in project cost overruns and schedule delays. Large projects are usually at risk of overrunning their budgets because the larger the project, the bigger the complications that may arise during the execution. With the increase in a project’s implementation time, the project can be affected by factors like inflation, change in material prices and exchange rates, all leading to a requirement of additional budget to supplement the initial budget for the completion of the project.

Apart from this, as the complexity of the project increases, the need for being more precise increases while executing the plans. Neglecting this might cause a chain of delays, thereby significantly shifting the schedule of the project, which in turn results in budget overruns.

5. Lack of Resource Planning – Inappropriate and Inadequate Procurement

Another common reason for budget overruns and schedule delays is failing to plan the available resources effectively. Failing to estimate the resources that would be used during the project might lead to under assigning or over assigning resources to a task. This means an increase in the duration or a blockage, respectively.

Resource planning also matters with regards to the contract management system. Inadequate, irrelevant or unclear information in the contract may cause long chains of negotiations, disputes, arbitration and mitigation due to work change orders and the quest for reviewed contractual agreement with new budgets and schedule. The result will no doubt be a project delay and cost overrun.

Conclusion

Even though cost overruns and schedule delays may seem to be inherited in most projects, they can be reduced or eliminated by controlling and monitoring projects meticulously. Identifying the causes of overruns and delays and taking corrective actions in the earlier phases is a must in this sense.

If you have an upcoming project or would like us to review a project currently underway MCDA CCG is happy to help. Contact us today and we will jump right in and help you save or increase your bottomline results! Guaranteed.