Software to help save your business time and money
Are you busy
with day-to-day tasks and tend to procrastinate tracking expenses? Are
you asking yourself, “why is it important
to track expenses in a timely fashion?” Tracking expenses provides you with
financial awareness and insight on spending habits, making your life easier
come tax season. In addition, if you are audited by the IRS or the State, you
will have proper records to verify your deductions on your return.
Sorting through receipts is time consuming. Using software to track your expenses will SAVE YOU TIME AND MONEY, while allowing your business to operate more efficiently. There are numerous applications (apps) to help you easily track expenses and receipts so we have compiled a list of our top five favorites. We have seen these make a big difference in our clients lives!
Having a vast array of
features and extensive automation capabilities, Expensify is easily the best
expense tracker in our opinion. From expense report management to tracking
receipts, Expensify eliminates manual data entry. You simply take a picture of
the receipt and details such as merchant, date and price, and they are
automatically coded for faster reimbursement.
Mileage tracker is also
included in the mix.
This app makes is easy
for businesses to automatically review and approve expenses quickly.
want to go paperless tracking receipts, Foreceipt is one of the best apps out
there. The cloud-based receipt-capturing app (it uses Google Drive) enables you to securely
capture each receipt for all business expenses accrued.
has features embedded into the platform, making it an efficient choice for
businesses. For example, it allows you to establish budgeting categories, so
you can track the types of expenses you or your employees are incurring. It
also has a built-in exchange tracker, which allows you to input expenses in any
QuickBooks is a great
tool to handle all your business’ finances. Once you connect your credit card
account to QuickBooks, scan your receipts with your phone and load them into a
mobile app for receipt management. QuickBooks will automatically match the
receipts with the existing transaction.
QuickBooks also now has
the capability to track mileage.
Mint is a simple tool for smaller
businesses to track where money is going.
It enables you to create budgets and
goals within the app.
The app is user-friendly and gives you a
nice snapshot of how much you spend on each expense category monthly or yearly.
You can assess where you are spending your money and where you can possibly
Another plus when using the Mint app is
you are able to set up reminders for large purchases and bills.
your business goes smoother and profits stay higher with the right expense
tracking tool. Smith Schafer can help you choose the right tool for your business
and guide you through the implementation.
Tariff – a tax on imports or exports, typically between two countries. It is a form of regulation of foreign trade and a policy that taxes foreign products to encourage or safeguard the domestic industry.
In recent years, governments have used tariffs as a form of protectionism. In 2018, the United States government began imposing tariffs on steel, aluminum and lumber from a number of countries. These tariffs were imposed in order to try to protect the United States manufacturing industry. However, these tariffs may lead to negative effects for industries, such as construction, because it relies heavily on these products. Construction businesses need to be:
• aware of these tariffs • the challenges they could bring • have strategies in place to address these challenges
Impact of Tariffs on Construction Businesses
• Increases in material costs. As tariffs are an additional tax on the imported materials, the cost of these materials will increase, leading to increased job costs for your construction business. If they cannot be passed to the customer, they will go directly to the bottom line. • Volatility in pricing. As the government is in control of the tariff policies, at any time there may be changes to the rate or it may be removed completely. Being unable to accurately predict this pricing, may have a negative impact on contracts and budgets, which were completed under different scenarios. • Delays in receipt of materials and project completion. Tariffs often lead to delays in receipt of materials as processing times at ports of entry typically become longer. Large projects, which had their scheduling completed prior to the tariffs, may face difficulties in reaching completion. • Changes in supply chain or lack of materials. Tariffs may lead to your vendor’s prices increasing to where you cannot afford. You may need to shop around for the best price. This could lead to difficulties working with a new vendor, decreased reliability in receiving materials or having to settle for the increased costs. Tariffs may also affect the number or type of choices for material specifications for a project, as there may only be a few types of materials in the desired price range.
4 Strategies to Mitigate Challenges
Escalation Clauses An escalation clause is a provision in a contract calling for adjustments in fees, wages, or other payments to account for fluctuations in the costs of raw materials or labor. As it relates to tariffs, an escalation clause may be included in a contract to shift the burden of increased material costs from the contractor to the customer.
Supply Bonds Supply bonds are used to provide a guarantee that a supplier will deliver the promised materials on time. Securing supply bonds upfront, will mitigate the risk of materials not being delivered if a large tariff is imposed on the vendor in between the time of the signing of the contract and the time of delivery.
Subcontractor Default Insurance Subcontractor Default Insurance may be used to recoup costs incurred from a default in performance by a subcontractor. If tariffs affect a subcontractor to a point where they are unable to fulfil their performance requirements, this will help to protect the contractor.
Stay Up-to-Date Keep track of current and future proposed tariffs. This will help your construction businesses improve planning and allow you to get in front of the challenges discussed above.
Our Construction & Real Estate Group, comprised of numerous professionals, is committed to serving over 800 Minnesota construction and real estate entities. Contact us today to learn business strategies that will help you grow and save you money.
As a business owner, you
have a lot of responsibilities – budgeting, marketing, selling, and countless
other tasks. It is easy to put your own financial plans on the back burner for
the sake of growing the business. But it is important for you to have a
personal financial plan and to ensure it takes into account the unique
considerations and opportunities of owning a business. Below are seven basic
tips to start creating your personal financial plan:
1. Save for your own retirement.
The right retirement plan
allows you to maximize your retirement savings, while also benefiting your
transportation company and employees.
Example: You could implement a safe harbor 401(k) plan for your transportation company. This type of plan requires the company to contribute to employees’ savings accounts. These contributions by the company are completely tax deductible. In addition, a safe harbor 401(k) plan automatically passes annual compliance testing, which will allow you as an owner to maximize your contributions to the plan.
A retirement plan only helps
your retirement savings IF you choose to contribute to it. We recommend you
maximize your contributions, or at least contribute enough to maximize your
company’s matching funds. If you have a 401(k) plan, you can contribute up to
$19,000 to it in 2019 (plus another $6,000 if you are over 50).
2. Create key estate planning documents.
The first step to estate
planning is to start with the documents:
Ensure these documents
address what happens to your transportation business in the case of your death
or disability. Well-executed estate planning documents ensure someone you trust
inherits the business or manages business transactions on your behalf.
3. Purchase life and disability insurance.
As a business owner, you
should have life and disability insurance policies naming the business as a
beneficiary. This will guarantee an income stream to help keep the business
operating in your absence.
4. Have a buy-sell agreement.
If your transportation business
has multiple owners, you should have a buy-sell agreement in place. Buy-sell
agreements specify who can buy an owner’s shares of the business, under what conditions,
and at what price. Having this agreement in place now may reduce conflict and
potential costs when a business owner exits the business.
5. Create a succession plan.
After completing basic estate planning documents, we recommend creating a succession plan. This lays out, in detail, how the business will prepare for a transition in ownership. If your succession plan includes transferring the business to a family member or key employee, it could be beneficial to start that transfer now.
In 2019, you are allowed to gift up to $15,000 to an individual without incurring a gift tax liability. If you and your spouse own the business, each of you can gift $15,000. Likewise, if you are transferring the business to an individual and his or her spouse, you can gift each of them $15,000. Transferring your transportation business this way allows you to transfer a significant portion of your business without any gift or estate tax liabilities.
6. Discuss your plans.
Once you have an estate or succession plan in place, make sure you discuss them with all parties affected. These may be hard conversations, but they are imperative to ensure everyone knows what is at stake. This can help avoid conflict and disappointment later.
7. Review and update your plans regularly.
Finally, you should review
your plans regularly and update them as necessary. You may have a new family
member or a key employee leave your organization. These things can drastically
change your retirement, estate or succession plans. In addition, tax laws are constantly changing, so something
that is tax advantageous in one year may not be in a different year. It is
important your plan is always up-to-date to reflect your wishes.
Your future can be more
secure with the help of a Smith Schafer advisor. We can help you determine the
appropriate immediate and long-term retirement and estate planning strategies.
The sooner you start planning, the better. We can help with:
As a general rule, local sales tax should be charged to customers on all sales made in a local taxing area. The local tax applies to anyone who is from outside the city or county and picks up items in the local area for business or personal use. This applies even if the customer takes the items outside of the local tax area.
Do not charge local sales tax on sales of taxable items when:
You receive a completed Form ST3 – Certificate of Exemption.
You ship or deliver the items to your customer outside the local area.
Note: You must collect local sales tax based on where your customer receives the taxable product or service. The tax should be calculated and charged to the customer based on the final destination of the delivered items.
If a restaurant (outside the locality) buys and picks up materials in a city with a local tax, the local tax rule applies to this sale. To figure the tax, combine the state tax rate and the local rates. Apply the combined rate to the taxable sales price and round to the nearest full cent. Report local taxes when filing your Minnesota Sales and Use Tax. Note – the figures are reported separately from state taxes.
The Minnesota Department of Revenue website has a sales tax calculator to determine the state and local sales and use tax rate to apply to taxable purchases. To find the appropriate sales tax rate for a particular jurisdiction, enter a valid address and city, or enter the full nine digit zip code. The nine digit zip code method is the most accurate. The sales tax calculator DOES NOT include any special local taxes, such as lodging taxes or liquor.