According to a survey by Deloitte, only 40% of organizations polled consider the information provided by their finance function to be insightful. The report even suggests that smaller businesses glean more benefit from this type of information.  So why would smaller organizations, who are typically resource-constrained when compared to the “bigger guys”, find more benefit from management information? A strong argument can be made that as you continue to grow, so do your management information needs.

If your objective as an entrepreneur is to build a successful business, how do you stay on top of the quality and insightfulness of management information as you experience growth? Here are several key areas to focus on:

Improving data is a good place to start. Accuracy. Reliability. Accountability. Conduct regular reviews of your data and how you collect it to ensure the accuracy and quality of data entering your management reports. By improving and simplifying your systems, you can achieve greater accuracy and reliability in your Key Performance Indicators (KPIs).

Balance KPIs with your strategic objectives. Deloitte found that 60% of respondents do not review KPIs with strategic objectives in mind while only 20% thought they were focusing on the right metrics. KPIs are major insights that make real connections across all departments. Rather than focus on the sheer number of KPIs, hone in and focus on those that have a causal relationship with your strategic objectives. Also, non-financial KPIs are often glanced over but demonstrate how effectively a company is achieving key business goals (e.g. employee retention rates, customer satisfaction, enquiry-to-sales conversion rates, etc.).

Investing in the right team of advisors. Translating a business’s infinite streams of data into decision-making tools that help increase growth and profitability is no easy task. Working closely with the data particular to your business, you and/or your advisors can pinpoint the right key performing indicators and accurately interpret information to ensure your company is on track to meet goals.

With over 25 years’ experience consulting with industry-leading companies, Talley LLP and our affiliate Group 11 Advisors are committed to providing clear, knowledgeable and applicable financial data and analysis solutions, enabling management to intelligently track performance, progress and profits. To determine whether your business is taking advantage of all metrics available to make the most informed decisions for future success, schedule a time to talk with us today.

 

Tax Freedom Day, the day where Americans as a whole have earned enough money in order to pay the nation’s tax burden fell on April 19 this year. The nation’s total tax bill for 2018, taking into account all federal, state, and local taxes stands at nearly $5.2 trillion, representing 30 percent of national income. This figure represents 30 percent of income. It took 109 days to pay off this year’s bill.

Of course, our personal tax freedom days vary depending on where we live, as well as our income, investments, and other holdings. For example, Californians will celebrate tax freedom day several days later, on April 23. And based on individual factors, the day may come even later (or earlier) in the year for each individual.

Most people are interested in reducing the number of days it takes to reach their own personal tax freedom day. For individuals with straightforward tax profiles, this might be accomplished in the weeks leading up to April 15 by looking for ways to maximize deductions and help score the biggest refund check. For high-income earners, business or property owners, estate beneficiaries or holders, and anyone with multiple tax positions that are intricately connected, this short-term, narrowly targeted approach can actually do more harm than good.

In these cases, personal wealth, business portfolios, and long-term investments are all complicated moving parts to take into consideration months and years before tax day. Otherwise, someone may be minimizing their taxes for any given year, but by doing so expose themselves to greater taxes over the long term. Therefore, a holistic approach may help you lessen your tax burden a substantial amount over the long term.

Talley’s experienced team of tax professionals provide comprehensive tax compliance and consulting services so you can preserve, enhance and pass on to the next generation the assets and wealth that you’ve worked hard to build. We welcome the opportunity to discuss with you the current opportunities available to you, your family and business. For more information, contact us today.

A number of ultra-rich tycoons have decided to divvy up their wealth for charity and other benefactors, leaving much less than they could to their children. Microsoft founder Bill Gates and his wife, through the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, are major proponents of this personal choice. They started The Giving Pledge, which invites the world’s richest to commit to donating at least half their money to charity. Here are several notable tycoons who’ve either signed The Giving Pledge or have otherwise decided not to leave their amassed fortunes to their children.

Warren Buffet – Berkshire Hathaway

Bill Gates’ good friend Warren Buffet is among the list of affluent who signed the Giving Pledge. He plans to give away 99% of his wealth to philanthropy either during his lifetime or death. Why not leave it all to his three kids? In an interview with Fortune magazine over 25 years ago, he was famously quoted for expressing that he’d like to give his children “enough money so that they would feel they could do anything, but not so much that they could do nothing.”

Gene Simmons – KISS Frontman

Rock legend and bassist for the internationally hot-selling band KISS has been quoted for expressing a similar sentiment in regards to his own two kids and their inheritance. He said in a CNBC interview, “…in terms of an inheritance and stuff, they’re gonna be taken care of, but they will never be rich off my money. Because every year they should be forced to get up out of bed, and go out and work and make their own way.” A self-made man who emigrated from Israel to the U.S. with his mother in the late 50s, Simmons pursued a variety of careers before becoming “The Demon.” His net worth has been estimated at $300 million.

Michael Bloomberg – New York City Mayor

An avid philanthropist with a net worth of $50.7 billion according to Forbes, Michael Bloomberg intends to give away nearly all his fortune or leave it to his foundation. He has signed The Giving Pledge, and in his letter to the foundation said, “If you want to do something for your children and show how much you love them, the single best thing-by far-is to support organizations that will create a better world for them and their children.”

Whether you’d like your children to inherit the whole of your fortune, want most of your wealth to go to charity, or feel like striking a balance between options, an experienced financial advisor can help you structure your estate planning so that more of the money goes to your benefactors and less is eaten up in tax obligations. Call Talley LLP to learn more about important inheritance and philanthropic strategies that can help protect your assets and mitigate your tax burden.

Before Michael Lewis’ 2003 book, Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game, most people weren’t familiar with sports analytics. The book chronicled the 2002 Oakland Athletics baseball team and its GM Billy Beane’s analytic approach for assembling a competitive team on a tight budget. Today, it’d be difficult to find a pro sports team that does not have an analytics department or analytic experts on staff.

Sports analytics, like business analytics, will continue to evolve. With an ever-expanding surplus of information, it’s increasingly difficult for organizations to decide where to focus their efforts to deliver meaningful results. Here are three key lessons from sports analytics that can benefit your business.

Data and Metrics: Too Much of a Good Thing?

In professional sports, the supply of data and analytical tools far outweighs the demand. New data sources and the various ways to acquire it, like slow-motion video capture, wearable GPS devices, and fitness trackers, are being developed and released at ever-increasing rates. But just because it’s available, doesn’t mean it’s useful. Determining which metrics have the best effects on business performance remains the more challenging task.

Analyze the Team, Not Just the Individual

Professional baseball pioneered sports analytics because it was easy to measure the performance of individual players on the field. Yet baseball, like a business, is a team sport. Success depends on both individual performance and the overall performance of the group. Variations on this type of analysis can be applied to businesses when you use metrics to identify bottlenecks, measure efficiency, and increase accountability across key departments and personnel.

Success Depends on Strategic Partnerships

Professional sports teams around the world partner with expert data, analytic software, and hardware providers to help them succeed. Choosing the right advisory team can mean the difference between simply spinning your wheels and actually growing your business.

With over 25 years’ experience consulting with industry-leading companies, Talley LLP and our affiliate Group 11 Advisors are committed to providing clear, knowledgeable and applicable financial data and analysis solutions, enabling management to intelligently track performance, progress and profits. To determine whether your business is taking advantage of all the metrics available to make the most informed decisions for future success, schedule a time to talk with us today.

If you own a family-run business, succession planning isn’t simply a decision to not show up to work. Having a well thought-out plan of what will happen when you finally decide to retire seems like it would be a prudent matter, however only 23 percent of family businesses have a robust succession plan in place, according to a report from PricewaterhouseCoopers, with only 52 percent of the family businesses polled intending to pass ownership into the next generation.

Given how dysfunctional families can be, the reluctance of many family business owners to pass the company down to their children or relatives should not be surprising. With family businesses, succession planning can be especially complicated due to the relationships and emotions involved, compounded by the fact most people are not comfortable discussing topics such as aging, death, and their financial affairs -even with their immediate family.

Another problem noted in the report is how a business started 30 or 40 years ago by a father or mother can look significantly different today, and will continue to evolve as time goes on. In a complex business world, the ability to adapt to changes is a skill not appreciated enough, and many would-be family member successors may not be up to snuff.

It is difficult for business owners of any small or mid-sized company to make a serious effort toward succession planning while running day-to-day operations.

In what can be a harrowing process, many business leaders who do attempt to make a plan take on too many tasks by themselves. Others simply don’t start early enough to identify and prepare the right people for future roles. With so much at stake – both emotionally, financially and professionally – the key is simply to bite the bullet, start early, and be thorough. Doing so can create a smooth transition that keeps confidence strong among customers, investors, and employees. This confidence can play a major role in ensuring the success of your company’s future and enhancing your own personal legacy.

The Internal Revenue Service announced last week it will begin to ramp down the 2014 Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Program (OVDP), closing the program on Sept. 28, 2018. By alerting taxpayers now, the IRS is encouraging any U.S. taxpayers with undisclosed foreign financial assets use the OVDP before the program closes. 

Everyone knows the scrutiny given to Cayman Island banks, as well as the hidden accounts revealed by the Panama Papers. But “offshore” in the Internal Revenue Service’s eyes means any location outside United States boundaries. The IRS certainly knows about all these places where U.S. taxpayers stash their cash. And they do all they can to find the money and get the taxes due.

US tax and Report of Foreign Bank Accounts (FBAR) filing requirements for Expats

In addition to employing traditional enforcement actions against offshore accounts, the IRS has used a voluntary program since 2009 to encourage foreign account owners to report their offshore holdings to Uncle Sam at a reduced penalty rate as well as avoid criminal charges.

That option, however, will end in September.

Since the OVDP’s initial launch in 2009, more than 56,000 taxpayers have used one of the programs to comply voluntarily. All told, those taxpayers paid a total of $11.1 billion in back taxes, interest, and penalties. The number of taxpayer disclosures under the OVDP peaked in 2011 when about 18,000 people came forward. The number steadily declined through the years, falling to only 600 disclosures in 2017.

Tax Enforcement

The IRS notes that it will continue to use tools besides voluntary disclosure to combat offshore tax avoidance, including taxpayer education, Whistleblower leads, civil examination and criminal prosecution. Since 2009, IRS Criminal Investigation has indicted 1,545 taxpayers on criminal violations related to international activities, of which 671 taxpayers were indicted on international criminal tax violations.

Streamlined Procedures and Other Options

A separate program, the Streamlined Filing Compliance Procedures, for taxpayers who might not have been aware of their filing obligations, has helped about 65,000 additional taxpayers come into compliance. The Streamlined Filing Compliance Procedures will remain in place and available to eligible taxpayers. As with OVDP, the IRS has said it may end the Streamlined Filing Compliance Procedures at some point.

Talley’s experienced team of tax professionals provide comprehensive tax compliance and consulting services so you can preserve, enhance and pass on to the next generation the assets and wealth that you’ve worked hard to build. We welcome the opportunity to discuss with you the current opportunities available to you and your family. For more information, contact us today.

Changes in the rules for like-kind exchanges under the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act may lead professional sports teams to trade fewer players, according to tax experts.

It has been long established in the past that player contracts are treated as business assets. Assuming there was no cash involved in the trade, teams would recognize no gain or loss when they traded players. They were just trading the business asset that was their contract. The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act that was passed in December amends 1031 to only certain real estate deals now. Since professional athletes’ contracts aren’t considered real property, some tax experts believe that 1031 exchange treatment will no longer apply to professional sports teams trading players after 2017. Starting this year, sports teams might need to begin recognizing a taxable gain when they trade players, though so far that hasn’t slowed the pace.

While taxes are probably never going to drive sports teams’ trade decisions, they may become a factor in their decisions, considering every time a team traded a player it would be treated as a taxable event, affecting the economics of the trade.

The change in 1031 exchange treatment could prompt several reactions from pro sports teams. Team owners might do fewer overall trades, fewer player-for-player trades, more cash-for-player or player-for-draft picks deals, or the development of an alternative trading procedure that allows trades without triggering adverse tax consequences.

Our assessment of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act is that it is the most impactful tax law enacted in the last 30 years. Talley welcomes the opportunity to discuss with you the current opportunities available to you and your family. For more information, contact us here.

After 11 years as one of the buzziest startups in tech, file-sharing company Dropbox filed its S-1 on Friday, kicking off the road to an initial public offering.

Since its launch in 2007, Dropbox’s customer base has grown to more than 500 million registered users, with 100 million joining just in the last year. Dropbox hasn’t managed to convert many of those to paying customers just yet. Unlike many cloud companies that rely on enterprise sales teams, over 90 percent of Dropbox’s revenue comes from users purchasing their own subscription, the company said. In its S-1 filing, Dropbox said it has 11 million paying users between individual accounts and people who are part of a paying team.

Still, the loss-making company has about $1.7 billion in contractual obligations, like leases, outstanding. Dropbox also has a multi-million dollar relationship with Hewlett Packard Enterprise. The San Francisco-based company, which started as a free service to share and store photos, music and other large files, competes with much larger technology firms such as Alphabet Inc’s Google, Microsoft Corp and Amazon.com Inc, as well as cloud-storage rival Box Inc.

Proceeds from the IPO will be used to fund an expansion plan of upgrading more users to subscriptions and expanding integration with third-party software. Goldman Sachs, J.P. Morgan, Deutsche Bank and Allen and Company are among the top underwriters for the IPO.

Revenue grew 31% in 2017 to $1.1 billion, up from $844.8 million in 2016. Dropbox’s net losses also shrank from $210.2 million in 2016 to $111.7 million in 2017. The company also had a positive free cash flow of $305 million in 2017.

While typically compared to competitor Box, Dropbox’s business approach to attracting paying customers is a little different. The company said in its S-1 that 90% of its revenue comes from “self-serve” customers, or users who “actively purchase a subscription through our app or website.” Dropbox spent $314 million on sales and marketing in 2017.

Dropbox will list its shares on the Nasdaq under the stock ticker “DBX.” The company was last valued at $10 billion during a 2014 funding round. Its closest publicly traded competitors, Box and Atlassian, had market caps at close on Friday of $3.17 billion and $12.37 billion, respectively.

With over 25 years’ experience consulting with industry-leading companies, Talley understands the challenges facing entrepreneurs with generating and protecting income. Whether you’re looking to improve your profitability, build your brand through a business transaction or capital raise, Talley is the consulting and financial services firm dedicated to strategic business solutions that deliver meaningful results.

Amazon.com Inc. knocked Microsoft Corp. off the podium on Wednesday, to take over as the third-largest U.S. company by market capitalization for the first time in its history.

Amazon’s stock 2.6% to a record close of $1,451.05, lifting its market value by $17.69 billion to $702.46 billion. Meanwhile, Microsoft shares climbed 1.6% to increase its market cap by $10.78 billion, but only to $699.22 billion.

Amazon has been busy since it reported better-than-expected quarterly earnings in early February, announcing that it will be working with J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. and Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Inc. on improving employee health care. The company also said it would start offering free two-hour delivery of Whole Foods groceries via its Prime Now service. Investors also appear excited about bigger projects that might be on the company’s horizon, following media reports that Amazon is interested in entering the hospital-supply business, building its own shipping service, and designing an artificial-intelligence chip to speed up the response time of its voice-controlled products.

Amazon is still well behind Google-parent Alphabet Inc. which currently sits in second place at $745.47 billion. First-place Apple Inc. has a big lead with a market cap of $849.24 billion.

Although Amazon made its move today, Jeff Bezos, Amazon’s founder, chief executive and largest shareholder, made his months ago, when he passed Microsoft founder Bill Gates to become the world’s richest man. Bezos is currently worth about $118 billion, while Gates is worth about $90.3 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.

Entrepreneurs partner with Talley LLP and its affiliates to take advantage of our wide range of services, such as technology-oriented accounting solutions, financial reporting, tax planning, and estate planning. Talley can help you design and execute fully customizable solutions to fit the unique needs of your business.

 

Source: Marketwatch 2/16/18.

As the world descends upon South Korea for the 2018 Winter Olympics, business professionals across the United States will have their eyes peeled on Pyeongchang. Less discussed: U.S. businesses can expect a $1.7 billion loss in productivity due to employees watching the Olympics at work, according to an Office Pulse study.

More than half of business professionals plan to follow the action in Pyeongchang this month. During work hours, about a quarter of employees will spend up to an hour watching the Olympics, and an additional 12 percent will watch for over an hour, the study shows.

Fortunately, this Winter Olympics is not expected to decrease productivity nearly as much as the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. That year, businesses lost $5.4 billion as a result of a massive productivity drop.

There are those who argue that encouraging people to watch the Olympics together at work can actually increase productivity. Margot Ross-Graham, a workplace columnist at the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC), explained that some companies provide TVs in common areas so employees can watch the Olympics together. The “camaraderie of sports” serves as a good bonding opportunity, she said.

Integrating the Olympics into the workplace also encourages people to take lunch breaks, which actually increases productivity, Ross-Graham reported. Research shows that getting up from your desk and taking a break in the middle of the day improves your concentration, creativity, and efficiency.

So while we shouldn’t let the action in Pyeongchang distract us from work, it highlights how organizations need always stay on the lookout for ways to improve workplace performance.

For over 25 years, Talley has provided clear, knowledgeable and applicable financial data and analysis solutions to our clients, enabling management to intelligently track performance, progress, and profits. To determine whether your business is taking advantage of all the metrics available to make the most informed decisions for future success, schedule a time to talk with us today.

 


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