Growing a business takes a certain level of both personal and professional investment to better the likelihood of success.  With the nonstop demands that come with running a business, even the most energetic of leaders can get worn down and many entrepreneurs have experienced firsthand how not letting go of the “CEO of Everything” mentality can lead to sub-par results. Here are a few ways to keep things in check so you can consistently show up at your best.

Take a 10,000 foot view. With the daily influx of emails, message pings and phone calls, it’s easy to see productivity as a measure of how fast we clear our inboxes and how many items we tick off our to-do lists. These lists are certainly helpful, but the real value CEOs bring to the table doesn’t always fit in a series of checkboxes. To fully comprehend crises, challenges and opportunities within a business, CEOs do well to take a 10,000-foot perspective, not just a close-up.

Don’t micro-manage mundane tasks. The surest way to stifle innovation and decrease your own productivity as well as that of your staff and partners—is to micro-manage every task. Eventually, as your business grows, the day-to-day administrative tasks of running an organization will take valuable time away from growing your business.  Smart business owners know when it’s time to hire help to scale their growth initiatives.

Systemize and automate as much as possible. Take a closer look at how your business process works, from your marketing process to your customer acquisition to purchase fulfillment and look for ways to make each step easier. Is there a part of your business that slows you down or frustrates you? Find a way to make challenging aspects work on autopilot (or as much as possible) and it will free you up to tackle other responsibilities and make your business run smoother.

It’s necessary for business leaders to be keenly aware of the goings-on, processes and results in their companies, providing guidance and support where needed. But is it necessary to enter every invoice yourself? Make every social media post? Schedule every vendor meeting? Instead, find team members and service partners who can help you focus what you do best: grow your business.

To learn more how Talley can help grow your business, give us a call today.

For the entrepreneur, there’s usually much more to personal finance than a W-2 employee content to passively funnel money into 401(k)s and IRAs full of mutual funds.

Here are three key questions to ask yourself when planning for future success.

Are you taking advantage of all the legally allowed tax savings? The IRS tax code is more than 5,700 pages long (over 75,000+ pages if you count supporting documents like court case rulings). That includes which deductions you can take and which strategies you can implement. Whether it’s forgetting to deduct the interest from business loans, paying business items on a personal credit card, not recording self-employed health insurance properly, or forgetting to write-off business transportation taxes, missed deductions add up fast.

Do you have the capital to take advantage of growth opportunities and to get through hard times? With enough liquidity in your “back pocket” you can greatly reward your business and even save it in the future. For example, if the right business opportunity comes along and it requires a capital investment, you’ll be able to act quickly. Additionally, if your business hits a rough patch, you won’t need to look at financing options to get through the tough times.

Do you have an estate plan in order? It seems morbid, but it’s a vital issue to address. What happens if you’re not around anymore? Do you have a succession plan for your business in the event of incapacity or death?

Proper estate planning—deciding on the “who, what, when, and how”—and executing this with the least amount paid in taxes, legal fees, and court costs possible is a challenging affair. Start early.

Proper business planning is a complex and on-going effort. It requires expert counsel from a professional with knowledge and experience, one who’s familiar with the challenges that characterize an entrepreneur’s business ventures.

Talley shares the same entrepreneurial spirit that has helped propel our clients to their current levels of success. With over 25 years of experience helping high net worth individuals and business owners, Talley has the expertise necessary to assist entrepreneurs throughout their entire journey, from formation through succession.

It’s not uncommon for billionaires to give up some of their money to charity, but some give a lot more than others to causes close to their hearts. The Giving Pledge, championed by Warren Buffett and Bill & Melinda Gates, invites the world’s wealthiest to pledge more than half of their wealth to charitable causes either during their lives or in their wills.  As of this year, 186 ultra high-net worth individuals have joined the effort, with many promising to allocate more than 99% of their wealth to philanthropy. 
Last year, the 5 most generous individuals and couples gave away a combined $14.7 billion. Here are some of the more notable pledgers and what causes they support.
Microsoft cofounder Paul Allen, funds invaluable scientific research through the Allen Institute for Brain Science. Allen established the Allen Institute for Brain Science, which studies the genetic causes of brain diseases and disorders. As of 2015, Allen has donated $2 billion to charity.
Warren Buffett pledged to give away more than 99% of his riches and has already donated over $21.5 billion. Buffett noted in his pledge letter that “about 20% of my shares (in Berkshire Hathaway stock) have been distributed” to various charities and he will continue to distribute another 4% of his stock every year.
Bill and Melinda Gates are champions in eradicating preventable diseases. Bill Gates and his wife Melinda gave away more money than anyone else last year, donating $4.8 billion, according to Forbes. The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation funds initiatives and programs around the world that support agricultural development, emergency relief, urban poverty, global health, and education. They are particularly devoted to fighting diseases that, with treatments like vaccinations, are easily preventable.
Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg and his wife Priscilla Chan are fighting Ebola and improving San Francisco Bay-area public schools. Mark Zuckerberg was one of the first individuals to join the Giving Pledge and donated $2 billion last year. 
No matter the amount, your generosity in gifting time and money to worthwhile causes can have a significant impact on your tax liability. While tax considerations should never drive your charitable giving, it makes sense to structure your gifting to maximize the tax benefits. If you have questions regarding your gifting or estate plan, please contact Talley LLP today.
Why is it so important to fail at something before we can succeed? Whether you simply drop the ball, or experience an epic fail, it is almost a necessity to see that failure is part of the process and to see it as a tool as opposed to a roadblock. For over 25 years, Talley LLP has had the pleasure of working with many successful entrepreneurs and world championship athletes. Here are a few of our favorite lessons on failure we’ve picked up along the way.
Success grows from failure. Bill Gates is one of the most recognizable figures in the tech industry, and is on Forbes’ list of wealthiest people on the planet. Many people attribute his success to having had a great idea at just the right time during the technology boom. But the reality is, Gates experienced a sizeable failure before he ever dreamed up Microsoft. Originally, Gates and his business partner Paul Allen created a product called Traf-O-Data, which analyzed data from traffic tapes. The device had some serious kinks and the company never took off, but it was seminal in preparing Gates to make Microsoft’s first product several years later.
Failure can simply mean a change in direction is required. Love Ben & Jerry’s ice cream? You’re not alone. Here is a story of two gentlemen that completely reversed course in their lives yet managed to become admirably successful. Mr. Ben Cohen dropped out of college, while Mr. Jerry Greenfield failed to get into medical school, and both managed to become and remain wildly successful after attending an ice-cream making class and putting together a $12,000 investment.
Don’t give up. Despite now having dozens of financially successful and popularly titles in circulation, Stephen King’s first novel, Carrie, was nearly a failure. The novel was rejected 30 times before it was finally accepted and published, leading to King’s breakout career. King considered quitting, but his perseverance (or arguably his wife’s) kept him going.
At Talley, we understand the challenges facing both professional athletes and entrepreneurs when it comes to generating and protecting income earned in the ring, on the field or in the boardroom. Whether you’re looking to improve your tax position, build your brand through a business transaction, or wish to guarantee a legacy for your family, Talley & Company is uniquely equipped to provide the technical and managerial expertise to help you plan, negotiate, structure and execute upon your goals.

The U.K. said it will move ahead with plans to introduce a first-of-its-kind tax on locally generated revenue by large technology firms, representing the most tangible attempt yet by an industrialized nation to transition its tax code into an increasingly digital era.

Britain’s chancellor of the Exchequer, Philip Hammond, on Monday unveiled a 2 percent tax on the revenue that big search engines, social-media platforms and online marketplaces earn in the country.

Such taxes, which are separate from corporate income taxes many companies already pay, are generally known as digital taxes and could add billions of dollars to companies’ tax bills. They seek to impose levies on digital services sold by global companies in a given country from units based outside that country.

As large tech firms have grown into global, digital consumer-service giants, governments outside their home jurisdictions have struggled with the digital nature of their wares in coming up with an appropriate level of local tax to levy.

Big American tech firms have been criticized for reporting relatively little of their profit in local jurisdictions, opening them up to scrutiny. An international effort among rich nations to help standardize how and where to tax these digital services has been progressing slowly. The U.K. on Monday said it could no longer wait. As part of its annual budget, it said it was moving ahead with a plan to begin a digital tax for large tech firms by 2020.

The new digital U.K. tax puts pressure on other big countries, including the U.S., to speed up the global effort. The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, a forum of wealthy countries, has been leading the international digital-tax talks.

Only broadly experienced tax advisory professionals can provide a truly global perspective so you can preserve, enhance and pass on to the next generation the assets and wealth that you’ve worked hard to build. Talley welcomes the opportunity to discuss with you the current opportunities available to you and your family. For more information, contact us today.

Do people often refer to you as the “Chief Everything Officer”? You may think single-handedly managing your books, administering your tax burden, and being your own IT professional is saving you money, but is it? If you’re spending more time tackling everyday tasks than you are growing your business, you’re probably spreading yourself too thin and not focusing on growing your company and meeting the needs of your customers.

Are your talents best used bringing in new business, serving and growing your top clientele and improving the quality of the product or service you provide? -Most likely so. Here are some key outsourcing opportunities you may want to consider outsourcing to save you time, money and opportunity cost.

Accounting. Here’s the bad news first: When it comes to ranking the best and worst states to be a taxpayer, California ranks #2 on the list of states with the highest tax burdens, with New Jersey taking the top spot. Outsourcing your accounting not only saves you time, but it can also bring invaluable insights from specialists who’re dialed into the latest practices, strategies, and technologies in their fields.

Banking. Most small business owners are no stranger to the bank. In fact, more than 80% of small business owners use some sort of financing to help grow their business. Finding the right bank and obtaining all the financial reports necessary could prove challenging to a time-strapped entrepreneur. Partnering with the right CPA firm can increase your chances of successfully obtaining loans, grants, lines of credit and more by presenting your financial data in the most favorable way.

Social Media. Not every entrepreneur dreams of becoming the next big social media star to go viral, but the latest numbers don’t lie: 81% of small businesses employ a social media strategy to grow their business.  Keeping up with the latest and greatest social media strategies as well as posting, responding and article linking is a time-consuming process probably best suited for someone who has the time and savvy to tackle this emerging marketing tool.

Leading businesses are partnering with Talley to take advantage of our wide range of services, such as bookkeeping, financial reporting, technology advising, tax planning, auditing, and estate planning, all under one roof. Letting go can be hard at first, especially with our hearts and minds deeply invested in our businesses, but it can allow you to focus on what you do best and take back control of your business’ productivity and profitability.

For more information on how Talley can help grow your business, give us a call today.

It’s not unusual for entrepreneurs to face a multitude of unique challenges every day that can stretch their ability to stay productive. When you have employees relying on you and a mountain of deadlines to meet, shutting your door and curling up into a ball in the corner is not an option. Besides money and health, time is the greatest commodity an entrepreneur can have. It makes sense, then, that the most successful business owners have figured out how to work more efficiently with the time they do have. Listed below are some productivity tips that we’ve picked up along the way.
“Eat your frog” first. Wait, what?! Mark Twain said it best: “Eat a live frog first thing in the morning, and nothing worse will happen to you the rest of the day.” In other words, spend your morning working on something that you don’t want to do, which requires a large amount of concentration. By doing so, you’ll get the more tedious task done, freeing yourself up to move on to the other pressing items on your to-do list.
Want to be productive? Don’t multitask. Multitasking in the morning when you have lots to do, tons of energy, and a venti-sized cup of coffee with a double shot of espresso in front of you, is tempting. However, doing so can set your whole day back. Research conducted at Stanford University confirmed that multitasking is less productive than working on one task at a time. Researchers found that people who are regularly bombarded with several streams of electronic information cannot pay attention, recall information, or switch from one job to another, as well as those who complete one task at a time.
Take care of yourself. This is both the most important and the most overlooked tip for any entrepreneur to follow. All the business and productivity advice in the world won’t help you if you’re already stressed out, sleep deprived, and running yourself into the ground before you take that first sip of coffee or tea in the morning.
Whether you’re looking to improve your tax position, build your brand through a business transaction, or guarantee a legacy for your family, Talley is uniquely equipped to provide the technical and managerial expertise to help you plan, negotiate, structure, and execute your goals.
To learn more how Talley can help your business become more productive and profitable, contact us today.
Great leadership touches every space and process of a growing business, from employee engagement to brand value, operational productivity, and ultimately—profitability. Here are three ways to refine your leadership strategy with perspectives from Howard Schultz, Steve Jobs and Larry Page.
Empower others.  
Successful leaders provide vision, focus and direction for their teams, but they also give their people a voice. Former Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz said it this way, “People want guidance, not rhetoric. They need to know what the plan of action is, and how it will be implemented.” And, “They want to be given responsibility to help solve the problem and authority to act on it.”
While management and leadership are two inextricably linked jobs, it’s been said that the manager relies on control, while the leader inspires trust. By helping people within a company unlock their own talents, leaders can fully benefit from the ideas and abilities of their staff.
Maintain focus as a leader and as a company.
Rather than create an army of mediocre offerings, Steve Jobs made sure Apple was known for creating a few iconic products. He once said, “Focusing is about saying no.” That’s because fixed resources and time dictate that leaders identify and develop areas with the greatest potential for their companies.
Without the right information in front of you, it’s much harder to accurately identify what those areas are for your business. This data is all around you, from profit/loss statements to month-over-month sales trends, changes in the cost of goods sold, changes in your social media following, and much more. Tap into this data to define, reinforce or shift your focus while keeping your company’s core values in mind.
Balance short-term solutions with long-term opportunity.
Google’s Larry Page once said, “Lots of companies don’t succeed over time. What do they fundamentally do wrong? They usually miss the future.” External forces like shifting consumer trends and new technological developments can render a company irrelevant in the marketplace if company leaders don’t pivot in time. Internal forces, can too, based on decision-making. For example, an equipment sale one year might actually increase a company’s tax liabilities over the long haul if the long-term tax effects are not considered.  
No CEO goes it alone; you can be sure these didn’t. Regardless if your company is large or modest, draw on a network of knowledgeable advisors by partnering with Talley. Whether you’re looking to improve your tax position, build your brand through a business transaction, or guarantee a legacy for your family, Talley is uniquely equipped to provide the technical and managerial expertise to help you plan, negotiate, structure, and execute your goals.

A CPA-trained business consultant can give you deeper insight into key decisions made on a regular basis, such as buying or renting office space, hiring independent contractors or full-time employees, renting or leasing equipment, and much more. Here are three questions you might ask to help you get the most out of your relationship.

What’s the Best Way for Me to Track, Monitor and Improve Cash Flow? Whether you’re running a startup or an established business, properly projecting your cash flow is essential to maintaining its health and navigating out of challenging periods. An accountant can help you develop an effective cash flow model to improve receivables, manage payables, and work through shortfalls. Experienced business advisory teams also alert leaders to damaging missteps and profit maximization opportunities that may not be immediately apparent.

Am I Taking Advantage of Opportunities Unique to My Industry? Advisors like those at Talley and Company have decades of experience working with a number of different industries, from retail to construction to high tech, and can spotlight opportunities that apply to specific businesses. For example, companies in the tech industry can take advantage of certain R&D, facilities and manufacturing tax credits or exemptions. Working with your advisor can ensure you’re following industry best practices and managing your business competitively.

What Are My Options for Securing Capital for Growth? There are more financing options today than ever before, from equity vs. debt financing, loans, grants, venture capital, angel investing, crowdfunding, peer-to-peer lending, and of course friends, family, and colleagues. Depending on the intended use for the capital, the urgency of the need, the state of your industry, the strength of your management team, and many other factors, experienced advisors can help you assess your financial situation and discover whether one option might suit your needs better than another. The right team can also help you prepare your business to be considered favorably by banks, lenders, and investors when outlining your plan for the next five years and showing what your revenue stream will look like.

These are only some of the areas in which Talley LLP advisors can offer business and tax advice throughout the year. Contact us to learn more about how we can help you become more profitable.

As part of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA), there have been changes to the treatment of certain business-related expenses, including travel, business meals, and entertainment. On Wednesday, the IRS released guidance on the business expense deduction for meals and entertainment in the wake of the TCJA, which was supposed to eliminate deductions for expenses pertaining to activities generally considered entertainment, amusement or recreation.

The TCJA did not change the definition of entertainment. Where things get murky, though, is whether providing food and beverages might be considered entertainment, especially if food and beverages are tied to an activity considered to be entertainment.

Under prior law, the rule was that you could deduct up to 50% of entertainment expenses directly related to the active conduct of a trade or business or, amusement, or recreation expenses directly related to your trade or business. That changed, however, with the passage of the tax code overhaul last December.

The IRS said taxpayers can still deduct 50 percent of the cost of business meals if the taxpayer (or an employee of the business) is present at the meal, and the food or beverages aren’t considered to be “lavish or extravagant.” The meals can involve a current or potential business customer, client, consultant or a similar business contact. Food and beverages provided during entertainment events won’t be considered entertainment if they’re bought separately from the event.

The Treasury Department and the IRS plan to publish proposed regulations that will make clear when business meal expenses are deductible and what constitutes entertainment. Until those proposed regulations take effect, taxpayers can rely on guidance in Notice 2018-76, which the IRS issued Wednesday in conjunction with the announcement.

Whether you are considering the new tax treatment of M&E expenses for 2018 or evaluating how tax reform will affect your overall tax situation, consult with the tax experts at Talley LLP today.


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