Why You Need a Dental CPA

Just as a neurosurgeon specializes in brain or spine surgery, a dental CPA specializes in performing accounting and advising tasks for dental practices. Having a specialist on your team can be beneficial in many ways. Here, Only for Dentists explains why enlisting the expertise of a specialized dental CPA is so vital to the success of your dental care business.

A Dental CPA Will Understand Dental Terminology

Dentists must regularly purchase new equipment in order for their practice to remain top-of-the-line and successful. A CPA who specializes in dental practitioners will have a working knowledge of this equipment, and whether it will be a wise investment for this point in the business’ lifetime. General-practice CPAs will have to spend critical time familiarizing themselves with the terminology of dentistry.

A Dental CPA Will Be Able to Discuss Dentistry Trends

A dental CPA has specialized knowledge which allows them to understand overarching trends in the dental industry at large. They will be able to pick out specific opportunities and points of concern that you, as a dentist, should focus on more closely. This will help you better plan for the future, and avoid major hassles looming in the distance.

A Dental CPA Allows You to Focus on Your Practice

As a dentist, providing great service to your clients should be your number one priority. It can be stressful to dedicate your focus to multiple facets of your business. Enlisting the help of a dental CPA; however, allows you to channel your focus on your business, and leave the financials and tax preparation to someone who is qualified to handle it efficiently and easily.

A Dental CPA Will Help You Create or Re-Evaluate Your Retirement Plan

Your dental CPA understands retirement plans, and can help to create or re-design your retirement plan, as well as the plans in place for other employees. Because choosing a successful retirement plan will differ based on an individual’s needs, as well as the demographics of the firm, your dental CPA will be able to hand-tailor a plan to perfectly match your unique business.

A Dental CPA Can Connect You with Loan Providers Who are Familiar with the Dental Industry

If you are preparing to buy or build an office, a dental CPA will be able to put you in contact with loan officers and providers who specialize in providing loans to those within the dental industry. This can greatly streamline the process, ensuring your needs are met quickly and efficiently.

A Dental CPA is a Specialist—Just Like You

As a dentist, you know how vital it is to specialize in the task at hand—you wouldn’t trust your hairstylist to fill a cavity, right? When hiring a CPA, the reasoning should be the same. A dental CPA has the specialized knowledge to successfully perform all the accounting, tax preparation and financial advisory procedures necessary to ensure your dental firm runs smoothly and grows successfully. The specialists at Only for Dentists are excited to begin working with you—contact us today for more information about how we can help!

Do You Have a Business Continuity Plan? You Should

Businesswoman offer hand to handshakeWhat if disaster strikes your business? An estimated 25% of businesses don’t reopen after a major disaster strikes.* Having a business continuity plan can help improve your odds of recovering.

The basic plan

The strategy behind a business continuity (or disaster recovery) plan is straightforward: Identify the various risks that could disrupt your business, look at how each operation could be affected and identify appropriate recovery actions.

Make sure you have a list of employees ready with phone numbers, e-mail addresses and emergency family contacts for communication purposes. If any of your employees can work from home, include that information in your personnel list. You’ll need a similar list of customers, suppliers and other vendors. Social networking tools may be especially helpful for keeping in touch during and after a disaster.

Risk protection

Having the proper insurance is key to protecting your business — at all times. In addition to property and casualty insurance, most small businesses carry disability, key-person life insurance and business interruption insurance. And make sure your buy-sell agreement is up to date, including the life insurance policies that fund it. Meet with your financial professional for a complete review.

Maintaining operations

If your building has to be evacuated, you’ll need an alternative site. Talk with other business owners in your vicinity about locating and equipping a facility that can be shared in case of an emergency. You may be able to limit physical damage by taking some preemptive steps (e.g., having a generator and a pump on hand).

Protecting data

A disaster could damage or destroy your computer equipment and wipe out your data, so take precautions. Invest in surge protectors and arrange for secure storage by transmitting data to a remote server or backing up daily to storage media that can be kept off site.

Protecting your business

If you think your business is too small to need a plan or that it will take too long to create one, just think about how much you stand to lose by not having one. Meet with your financial professional for a full review.

For more tips on how to keep business best practices front and center for your company, give us a call today. We can’t wait to hear from you.

Dental Practice Tips: Find and Keep the Best Talent For Your Business

careersFinding the best candidate to hire is often costly and time consuming. But, if your new hire turns into a loyal, hardworking, long-term employee, your investment may be worth every cent and minute.

Locate Candidates

How do you find good people? In the past, people who were job hunting would look in the “help wanted” section of the newspaper or go from store to store filling out applications. Today, most people use a computer and a mouse and search the Internet for jobs. So if you’re not posting your openings on online job boards and industry blogs and websites, you may be missing talented candidates. Note: Running classified ads may still be a good way to reach out (especially to fill jobs requiring local candidates) since many local newspapers also have an online job board for posting classifieds.

Another way to attract candidates is to add a recruiting page to your website. In addition to posting job openings, you can use the page to attract qualified candidates by highlighting the benefits of working for your company.

And last, but certainly not least, you can use social media to announce openings and solicit job applicants. There’s no better way to reach a large number of people almost instantaneously.

Make an Attractive Offer

If you’re hoping to hire top talent, you’ll want to make sure the benefits you offer are competitive — or better. According to government analysis of private industry data, 86% of full-time workers had access to employer-provided medical care and 76% had access to a retirement plan.*

Keep Employees on Board

Once you’ve assembled a group of valuable employees, an attractive and competitive benefit package will help ensure they stay. Your financial professional can provide insights and help you review your firm’s benefit package for cost efficiency and competitiveness.

For more tips on how to keep business best practices front and center for your company, give us a call today. We can’t wait to hear from you.

Getting a Handle on Payment Issues

Most small business owners love what they do. But that’s not to say things can’t get a little difficult, especially when customers don’t pay their bills on time. Even one or two slow-pay or no-pay customers can be enough to throw your company’s finances off.

Understanding what might be going on with your customers and being proactive can help you keep your accounts receivable on steady ground.

Purchase Order Predicaments

Not all customers use purchase orders, but those that do rely on them to coordinate ordering and accounts payable functions. If there’s a mix-up involving a purchase order and your invoice doesn’t match up with the customer’s purchase order, your invoice could end up on the “problem” pile instead of the “pay” pile. Be proactive by verifying that the purchase order numbers on your invoices are correct before they are sent.

Strapped for Cash

Lack of money is a common excuse for not paying. One reason your customer may not be able to pay you is because your customer’s customers haven’t paid their bills. Regardless of the reason, be the squeaky wheel and keep communicating with your past due customers.

You can help reduce your exposure to customer cash shortfalls by tightening your credit requirements.

Disputes, Dilemmas, and Other Disappointments

Misships, damaged goods, late deliveries. Plenty of things can go wrong during the fulfillment process. Rather than make a phone call, customers may just “file” your invoice at the bottom of the pile.

Follow-up e-mails or phone calls to find out if your customers are satisfied will help smooth any ruffled feathers and could improve how quickly you get paid.

Vanishing Invoices

“We never received your invoice” is a weak excuse, but you still have to find a way around it. Once again, early follow-up is key. Paperless billing and the potential to monitor whether e-mailed invoices have been opened can also help eradicate this excuse.

Don’t get left behind. Contact us today to discover how we can help you keep your business on the right track. Don’t wait, give us a call today.

How to Follow the Rules when Writing off Bad Debts

istock_000002942341_large-5In any economic environment, businesses typically have a percentage of customers who don’t pay their invoices. Here are some tax guidelines.

Cut Your Loss

If a customer or client owes your business money you can’t collect, you might be able to claim a bad debt deduction on your business return. You must be able to show the debt is partially or totally worthless. This may be the case if you have taken reasonable steps to collect a debt and there is no longer any possibility you will receive payment. Business bad debts typically arise from credit sales to customers.

Timing Is Critical

The tax law doesn’t allow a deduction for any part of a debt after the year in which it becomes totally worthless. To ensure you don’t miss out on bad debt deductions this year, review your records carefully to pinpoint any potentially worthless receivables you may still be carrying on the books. Make sure you carefully document your failed collection efforts in case the IRS challenges the bad debt deduction.

Note that bad debt deductions generally aren’t available to businesses that use the cash method of accounting. To deduct a bad debt, you must have previously included the amount in your income. Since cash-method taxpayers don’t report income until payment is received, no deduction is allowed for uncollectible amounts, even if the money is owed to you for services you performed.

To learn more about tax rules and regulations, give us a call today. Our knowledgeable and trained staff is here to help.

Staying One Step Ahead of Tax Issues

Itemized PersonalThe last thing you need as a small business owner is to have to spend time unraveling tax problems you could have avoided. There are many tax issues that can trip up small business owners — here are a few.

Mixing Business and Personal

Keeping your personal bank and credit card accounts separate from your business accounts isn’t always easy. But “commingling” business and personal accounts creates a recordkeeping nightmare. When it’s tax time, you may not be able to identify all the appropriate business expenses. As a result, it could be difficult to accurately determine your business income and you might lose deductions.

Not Keeping Track

Keeping track of business expenses can be a challenge. However, you’ll need proof of purchase for any expenses you plan to deduct. Proof can be a canceled check (or legible image of the check) or a credit card, debit card, or electronic funds transfer (EFT) statement showing the payee, the amount of the purchase or transfer, and the transaction date.

You’ll also need an invoice or a receipt identifying the purchase. If the business purpose for the purchase isn’t immediately obvious, attaching a note of explanation or writing directly on the invoice or receipt can save time later should questions arise. There are specific substantiation requirements for business travel and entertainment expenses. Check with us if you have questions.

Making the IRS Wait

The employment taxes you collect should always be remitted to the IRS in a timely manner — without exception. As an employer, you’re responsible for withholding federal income tax and FICA (Social Security and Medicare) taxes from your employees’ wages and remitting them, along with your company’s FICA contributions, to the IRS. Penalties for noncompliance can be harsh.

Misclassifying Workers

Misclassifying workers as independent contractors when they are actually employees can be a thorny issue because they are treated differently for income-tax withholding and employment-tax purposes.

> Employees: You must withhold federal income tax and FICA taxes, pay your share of FICA taxes, and pay unemployment taxes.

> Independent contractors: You’re not required to withhold income tax, and the worker is fully liable for his or her own self-employment taxes. FICA and unemployment taxes do not apply.

It’s important to get it right to avoid penalties. Generally, the more control you have, the more likely it is that the worker is an employee.

Whether you need individual or business tax advice, give us a call. We’ve got the answers you’re looking for, so don’t wait. Call us today.

What to do When Checks go Unclaimed

account and financeMaybe it was lost, or got tossed out. Maybe the dog ate it. While it may be hard to understand how payroll checks can go uncashed, it happens. Unclaimed wages (and other property, such as commission checks, shareholder dividends, checks to vendors, and unredeemed gift cards) create problems for businesses — and revenue opportunities for cash-strapped state governments. That could be an unfortunate combination if your company isn’t in full compliance with state law.

When Wages Go Unclaimed

Generally speaking, businesses are not permitted to hold on to uncashed checks indefinitely. Each state has its own laws regarding unclaimed property, and employers must follow the rules for reporting and remitting such property to the state.

Most states consider unclaimed wages to be “abandoned” after a year. During that period, employers must make a good faith effort to contact the wage earner so the property can be claimed. If these attempts fail, employers must turn over the abandoned wages to the appropriate state agency.

States Want To Know

To supplement tax revenues, states have generally been stepping up their audit and enforcement efforts regarding abandoned property. For businesses, the cost of noncompliance can be quite high, especially if they haven’t been keeping reliable records. In the absence of records, auditors may — and often do — estimate a business’s liability, which may result in an exaggerated assessment.

Protect Your Business

In addition to paychecks, you might have other unclaimed property to contend with, too. Take steps to protect yourself by putting someone in charge of handling your business’s unclaimed property, keeping accurate records, regularly filing required reports of unclaimed property with the appropriate state agency, and promptly turning over any unclaimed property according to state law. Your time and effort will be well spent if it helps avoid costly problems in the future.

Don’t get left behind. Contact us today to discover how we can help you keep your business on the right track. Don’t wait, give us a call today.

What You Need to Know about IRAs and Taxes

Nest eggTax deferral is a key benefit of investing in a traditional individual retirement account (IRA). But the tax law doesn’t allow indefinite tax deferral. Starting at age 70½, IRA owners must withdraw a minimum amount — called a required minimum distribution, or RMD — every year. All funds withdrawn from a traditional IRA are taxed as ordinary income except for nondeductible contributions, which aren’t taxed again.

A beneficiary who inherits a traditional IRA doesn’t receive a pass on income taxes. If you inherit an IRA, be cautious about simply liquidating the account, since the tax bite could be quite large. Instead, talk with us about your distribution options.


As a Surviving Spouse . . .

You can leave the account as is and designate yourself as the account owner, assuming you are the sole designated beneficiary of your spouse’s IRA. Or you can roll the funds over into your own traditional IRA. Either way, you won’t have to take any money out until after you reach age 70½. Then, you’ll have to start taking RMDs. If you want to, you can allow the rest of your IRA to continue growing tax deferred.

A surviving spouse can also choose to be treated as the IRA beneficiary. This might be the better choice if you’ll need to take money from the IRA before you turn 59½, since withdrawals by IRA beneficiaries escape the 10% tax penalty on early withdrawals. What about RMDs? If you go the beneficiary route, you generally won’t have to start taking them until the year your spouse would have reached 70½.


As a Nonspouse Designated Beneficiary . . .

You can also stretch out withdrawals — and the related income taxes — by setting up an inherited IRA. The deadline for taking your first RMD is December 31 of the year after the year the account owner died. You may make additional withdrawals from the IRA at any time.

Somewhat different rules may apply if you receive an IRA that has passed through an estate instead of directly to you as the account’s designated beneficiary. To get the most from your IRA inheritance, you’ll want to carefully evaluate your options.

Give us a call today, so we can help you determine the right course of action for you.

Tax Rules for Selling Inherited Property

Sooner or later, you may decide to sell property you inherited from a parent or other loved one. Whether the property is an investment, an antique, land, or something else, the sale may result in a taxable gain or loss. But how that gain or loss is calculated may surprise you.

Your Basis

When you sell property you purchased, you generally figure gain or loss by comparing the amount you receive in the sale transaction with your cost basis (as adjusted for certain items, such as depreciation). Inherited property is treated differently. Instead of cost, your basis in inherited property is generally its fair market value on the date of death (or an alternate valuation date elected by the estate’s executor, generally six months after the date of death).

These basis rules can greatly simplify matters, since old cost information can be difficult, if not impossible, to track down. Perhaps even more important, the ability to substitute a “stepped up” basis for the property’s cost can save you federal income taxes. Why? Because any increase in the property’s value that occurred before the date of death won’t be subject to capital gains tax.

Example. Assume your Uncle Harold left you stock he bought in 1986 for $5,000. At the time of his death, the shares were worth $45,000, and you recently sold them for $48,000. Your basis for purposes of calculating your capital gain is stepped up to $45,000. Because of the step-up, your capital gain on the sale is just $3,000 ($48,000 sale proceeds less $45,000 basis). The $40,000 increase in the value of the shares during your Uncle Harold’s lifetime is not subject to capital gains tax.

What happens if a property’s value on the date of death is less than its original purchase price? Instead of a step-up in basis, the basis must be lowered to the date-of-death value.

Holding Period

Capital gains resulting from the disposition of inherited property automatically qualify for long-term capital gain treatment, regardless of how long you or the decedent owned the property. This presents a potential income-tax advantage, since long-term capital gain is taxed at a lower rate than short-term capital gain.

Be cautious if you inherited property from someone who died in 2010 since, depending on the situation, different tax basis rules might apply. Give us a call for details.

Determining a Succession Plan for Your Business – Before You Need It

You’ve devoted time and money and poured heart and soul into building a successful family business. But do you have a succession plan? If not, you should. Without a plan for transferring your business to the next generation, anything could happen.

Deciding on Your New Role

Start by deciding how much or how little you want to be involved in the business after the transfer is complete. Are you picturing a clean break? Or a period of shared responsibilities and gradual transfer? This is an important decision because it will likely influence other decisions, particularly financial ones.

Choosing a Successor

This can get tricky, especially if there are several family members who may have an interest in — or expectation of — taking over the business. If there’s one clear candidate, that makes it easier. But don’t just assume someone (e.g., your oldest son) is the right successor. Do what’s best for the business. The best choice may be a grandchild, a niece, or even a relative paired with a trusted employee.

Estate planning is an important sidebar to a family business succession plan. There may be children who have no interest in being involved in running the business and are happy to let their siblings take over. However, they probably expect equal treatment when it comes to inheritances. If this is a likely scenario, make sure everyone communicates as clearly as possible and develop a plan you think is fair.

Grooming a Successor

Spend time grooming your successor, even if it’s a son or daughter who knows the business. He or she should understand how every part of the business operates. Before your successor starts representing your business publicly, make sure he or she meets your business contacts (clients, vendors, financial partners, etc.).

Figuring Out the Money

You probably don’t want to give your business away, even to your own offspring. Figure out how much you’re going to need to finance your next venture (retirement, a new business, etc.), and come up with an arrangement that meets your needs.

Take charge of your financial future. Give us a call, today, to find out how we can assist you and your business.