Posts tagged with: accountant
A Right Brain Perspective From A Left Brain Accountant
Curt Feldman is a CPA and Partner in charge of the Framingham office of Shephert & Goldstein, a CPA and business consulting firm. Curt applies his passion and commitment to helping his clients achieve their business and personal financial goals. He has also obtained his investment advisory and insurance licenses.
Curt balances his professional dedication with a strong community focus. He is currently the Treasurer for the Metrowest English as a Second Language organization (MWESL). He is also an active participant with Interise, an organization dedicated to assisting small business owners developing their companies.
Curt speaks regularly on tax, accounting and business issues facing small business owners, business development and customer service strategies. He has also authored numerous articles on business development, tax and accounting issues.
Curt is a graduate of Boston University School of Management, Summa Cum Laude with a BS degree in Accounting, He is a member of the American Institute and Massachusetts Society of CPA’s.
Underlying facts about private business owners
Curt started with some underlying facts about private business owners. As much as owners recognize the importance of protecting their business, they spend the majority of their time working in their business and not on their business:
- 90% of their wealth is tied up in the value of the business, which is a very illiquid asset.
- 80% of private business owners are not actively trying to increase the value of their business.
- The average entrepreneur spends about 80,000 hours working in their business but they only spend about 6 hours planning for any transition.
Curt offered one explanation of why this is, planning for the exit from your business, is not natural for a business owner, something they may only do one time in their life. It’s a scary thought, so it’s easier to just work in the business day-to-day and ‘hope’ for the best.
Common thoughts business owners have before they decide to sell
Curt sees common threads among owners before they decide to sell their business. Typically, they start talking about working less. And when you ask when they’d like to sell – they always say 5 more years – no matter when you ask.
- They don’t know the value of their business
- They don’t know what they need to plan for the sale
- They don’t know how much savings they need to accumulate to pay for the next phase of their lives
- They don’t know how to increase the value of their business
- They don’t know the process of how they’ll ‘get out’
- They should be concerned that (if) the business is too dependent on them – which decreases the value of a business
- They don’t know where to start, they are frozen in fear, and wind up not doing anything.
When do you know it’s the right time to sell?
Ideally, you want to sell at the peak of your business value. But who really knows when that is. As Curt says, that’s a fleeting moment in time and only in hindsight do you really know the answer.
Look at your personal situation and your business’ lifecycle. Curt used the example of the driverless car – how could that impact your business? He recommends looking ahead to the impact of such systemic changes on your product or services. Roadside services for truckers will be impacted when the trucks will be driverless. Taxis are being impacted by Uber and Lyft. So timing is important to get out of a particular business based on what you see is the future of that business, and the economics of that industry.
Curt explained how essential it is for owners to look at the macro economic factors surrounding your business, in addition to being attentive to the internal micro economic factors you face every day.
Additional topics Curt discussed in this invaluable interview:
- The need for strategic planning for the business owner who will be selling their business.
- Some of the emotional obstacles business owners face before deciding to sell their business?
- Some consequences of not planning for a sale.
- Some benefits of proper advance planning
- Recommended transition planning steps
- Key personal things a business owner should consider before selling
- How do you determine the value of the business
- What are important factors in increasing the risks in the business and lowering the value
- Tax considerations of selling your business – stock or asset sale
- Transition strategy objectives and timeline
Listen to Curt’s full interview here.
Listen to David McLaren on Exit This Way™
David McLaren, CPA, CGMA, CRFAC, the founder and owner of McLaren Associates CPA in Shrewsbury, MA joined host Kerri Salls on Exit This Way™ to discuss:
Accountancy Beyond The Spreadsheet
David McLaren is the founder and owner of McLaren Associates CPA. David began his career in 1985 as an accountant for Colony Farms. He advanced to head accountant for Randolph Press and later moved to Meola’s Dairy where he served in the capacity as internal auditor.
In the nineties, David served as an accountant at United Parcel Service while teaching at Bentley College. He then worked as staff accountant for Greenberg, Rosenblatt, Kull and Bitsoli, CPAs in Worcester. He spent nearly a decade as a supervisor at Shepherd & Goldstein, CPAs where his accomplishments included organizing and growing their Cape Cod office.
David worked as director of finance at Qinetiq Trusted Information Management, Inc., a computer forensics firm with offices in the United States and Europe; working with the FBI, Ministry of Defense in the UK, and the Department of Defense in the USA. He served as controller at Atlantic Construction Services, Inc. and as accountant at Goulet, Salvidio & Associates, CPAs in Worcester.
David holds a degree in accountancy cum laude from Bentley College and is a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants and the Massachusetts Society of Certified Public Accountants. In addition, David has been recognized by the Worcester Business Journal as a “40 Under Forty” winner.
David started the conversation by putting the role of an accountant who does your taxes in perspective. He reminded us that there’s more to being an accountant than just putting historical numbers on a form. As a tax strategist, a pro-active accountant is doing you a favor by knowing the tax laws to save you a great deal of money. Beyond that, he highlighted that there’s significant value showing clients where their money is going.
David clarified what a tax strategist can do, referencing industry specific deductions and credits in the tax law back to 1945, to save money, steps to take, or get 9% of profits back.
David described the challenge owners face of the double-edged sword. They want to take aggressive deductions to reduce taxes. But this will hurt your business value down the road, spending a lot and not making any money. David explained the advantages of using credits instead because credits are add-backs, so they don’t hurt your valuation, and actually add value.
Match Deductions with Cash Flows
Understanding your client, what keeps them up at night so we can help make the business work the best possible. As that strategist, David looks at the whole business, the risk profile before they may want to sell. He shows owners three of the top concerns to get them in the best position possible.
David sees his job is to focus clients on what their goal is for cash flow, exit strategy, taxes, loans and banking and making the entire’ thing’ work. He says accountants tend not to do this and just historically records numbers on tax forms rather than proactively work with clients on their goals.
David sees his job is to assist clients with process improvement or process creation. The more the business relies on the client/owner, the less value it has, as another buyer cannot walk in their shoes. He identifies issues, problems or risk. Many times this may take a great deal of convincing.
David made the distinction that most accountants are reactive and wait for the phone to ring, leaving it up to the client to address the issues, figure things out and come up with questions on their own. When you take accountancy beyond the spreadsheet, a tax strategist is going to be looking at your business proactively to identify the three things an owner should do that will give them the highest return, best bang for their buck.
Red flags on tax returns can be big issues triggering a government audit. Even if you are doing everything perfectly, David says audits cause an unnecessary distraction from your business and cause damage, even when you are not doing anything wrong. The government will treat you like you are doing something wrong.
Most accountants may not even know what the latest things are that cause audits and red flags. That’s why David recommends using an accountant who knows all the current laws, who represents clients in front of the IRS regularly, and is current on how the IRS looks at your returns.
The distraction from your business can be costly. If you will be audited he recommends simply paying someone to represent you. ‘You’ll never get a benefit from being audited’.
David recommends using one accountant to do your taxes, review operations for any red flags and to design your tax strategy because you don’t want one accountant disagreeing with how another accountant looked at your numbers.
David things accountants should be asking owners what keeps them up at night. But how many accountants actually ask their clients what is keeping them up and try to help? Most do not act as a partner, but should. Great accountants do get to know their clients, are proactive tax strategists and know what keeps their clients up at night to help fix the issues.
Listen to David’s full interview here.
Titles are important to understand the specialties, experience, and expertise advisors bring to your exit team. For exit planning, the attorneys, accountants, valuation experts, growth experts, wealth advisors on your team must be specialists in helping you cash out to achieve your goals, your dreams.
You can hire coaches to ask good questions and keep you accountable for the work to be done to plan and execute on your exit strategy.
You can hire consultants who can do many things for you: market research, competitive research, improve your sales results or reduce expenses to increase your profit margins.
It is essential to surround yourself with a team of experts who can collaborate (not compete with each other) to fulfill your goals and objectives on your terms, on your timeline.
That’s where I come in as a strategist. Sure, I bring coaching and consulting to the table, but my function extends much farther into your exit team, your organization and your reinvention.
I’m a specialist in engineering how you get the wealth out of your business. I’m an expert on preparing you, your company and your team for your exit to achieve your dreams. I’ve been hired by corporate leaders, fast-track entrepreneurs, royalty, family businesses, and multi-millionaires, among others.
You need your CFO, M&A attorney, tax attorney, insurance broker, wealth advisor, business broker/M&A/Investment Banker. You need all of them to get the deal that best serves all your goals for the team, your company and your future reinvention. They are transaction driven and work for closure. That’s their primary focus.
In contrast, my role as an exit strategist is to prepare you the owner, your business and your team for the transaction and transition in the years leading up to that milestone event, and developing your reinvention plan so it unfolds just as smoothly after the transaction event itself.
Titles aren’t everything. The licensed experts on your exit team don’t get paid to help you maximize the value of your business before the transaction. They don’t get into the business fundamentals, the growth strategies, cleaning up the financials, contingency planning, protecting IP, employee contracts to tie the team to the company beyond your departure, succession planning, protecting and preserving your wealth goals, minimizing both your tax concerns and the company’s tax impact.
They are your trusted advisors. They will advise you to do all of the above. And for a fee, they’ll work with you on these things outside their experience and expertise. But it’s not their bailiwick. The data proves that this approach is failing you, the CEO. Only a dismal 10% of all sellers (business owner/CEOs like you) EVER close the deal, and complete the transaction in this model.
It takes 2-5 years to prepare you, your team and your business to transition to what’s next, profitably. That’s why This Way Out Group exists. This is the support, integration, and facilitation that an exit strategist from This Way Out Group provides.
If you have any questions relating to exiting your business, please email me. I’d be happy to assist in whatever way I can.