Banks provide many critical business services - business checking accounts, loans, financial advisors - but credit unions are another provider to consider if you run a small business. If you haven't heard of credit unions beforehand or want to learn more about how you can leverage them in your business, this blog will give you a concise overview of what credit unions are all about. What is a Credit Union? A credit union is a non-profit financial institution that is organized and operated by its members. Members merge their resources in order...
Successful owners of family businesses know that it's never too early to start planning for the inevitable transfer of ownership. Although it may not seem logical to plan for succession during the prime of your career, detailed and often confusing tax laws make holding off a poor choice. Advance planning gives business owners time to create an appropriate plan, implement tax-saving strategies, and hopefully make the succession process as efficient as possible. First things first: You will likely need an attorney who is familiar with...
The IRS doesn't restrict the home definition to just houses. A business that operates in an apartment, condominium, mobile home, or boat can qualify. The home definition also includes unattached structures on the property, like a garage, studio, barn, or greenhouse. Requirements Checklist Ask yourself the following to see if you are eligible for a business use of the home office deduction: 1. Is your use of the business part of your home exclusive, regular, and for your business? To qualify under the exclusive use test you must use...
The rise in popularity of alternative online payment services such as PayPal and Bill Me Later have begun to change how consumers shop online. If you've never used one of these services, the idea may sound confusing but in reality is quite simple. Check out this quick guide to understand what these alternative payment options are, how they're used, who uses them, and if they're realistic options for your small business. What is an online payment service? Online payment services allow business and consumers to exchange...
Many small business owners do their finances and taxes on their own, so you may ask: why should I find an accountant? The reason: no matter what stage your small business is in, you can benefit from having an accountant on your side. Why Hire an Accountant? Accountants often do more than prepare tax forms for their small business clients. They can act as a trusted consultant and advisor to your small business. A good accountant would be able to advise you on growth opportunities, risk management, bookkeeping, and general financial...
Want to accept credit and debit card payments? You'll need to set up a Merchant Account. Don't know how? Check out this guide for frequently asked questions about Merchant Accounts. What is a Merchant Account? A Merchant Account acts as a clearing account for credit and debit card transactions, allowing your businesses to accept card payments directly from customers. Check out Business.gov's guide to Managing Finances for more information on accepting card payments. How do I set up a Merchant Account? If you're already in...
Should your business accept debit and credit cards? What are the costs and benefits? Choosing to accept debit and credit card payments is a big step but often necessary in running a successful business. It is important to be aware of all the benefits, downfalls, and laws that regulate their use. Accepting Card Payments Although the battle continues between debit and credit cards as the best payment method, businesses don't have to pick a side because it is easy to accept both forms. Both cards are convenient, flexible, and have become...
Small businesses participate in charitable giving for a combination of reasons: to contribute to a worthwhile cause, to network with other philanthropic business owners, and the tax benefits certainly don't hurt. Although the social and emotional benefits of charitable giving are obvious, it's often confusing for business owners to understand how it relates to their taxes. If your business is considering or has participated in charitable giving, you may be entitled to tax benefits. Sponsoring a local charity event, donating inventory or...
Setting employee salaries is one of the many responsibilities that falls on the shoulders of a small business owner. It's important to strike a balance between finding the best talent, what each employee deserves, and what the business can handle. But what about when it comes to your own salary? As the owner, setting your own salary can be a tricky task, especially in markets that see highs and lows. Here are a few tips to help you successfully "pay the boss"... It's not a science. Remember there are no set formulas for...
Many established small business owners agree that using a business credit card - rather than a personal credit card - for business purchases makes good financial sense. Business credit cards generally have higher credit limits, allow you to establish good business credit, and can simplify operational management by eliminating the use of your personal accounts. Here's a quick guide on what you need to know when applying for a business credit card. Look at choosing a business credit card the way you'd look at largepurchase...for example...
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