Each year as February 14th rolls around, individuals are looking for the perfect gift for their significant other, friend, family member, or themselves. According to the National Retail Federation, the jewelry business was expected to sell over $3.9 billion worth of product. With so many options as to where to buy and who to work with, purchasing a piece of jewelry can mirror high level business matters such as transitioning your company through an M&A deal. In both cases, there are two important ways a trusted advisor can help you navigate these complex financial transactions and find a deal that you love.

Understanding the marketplace. Whether you’re looking for a simple everyday piece or trying to find the right engagement ring, you may or may not have a general idea of your desired quality and price. In jewelry, most buyers, especially first-timers, head to retail stores and try to go through the whole process themselves. By doing this, they risk missing out on better quality items and a better maximization of their budget. A private jeweler may sound intimidating, but these advisors offer direct private assistance and a wealth of knowledge on the market.  Similarly, M&A advisors level the playing field for entrepreneurs by understanding the rules of engagement and developing the right strategy to buy or sell their companies. These experts help you identify investors, strategic and financial, that are a good fit to fuel business growth and can ultimately secure a better end-result than if you went it alone.

Protecting your investment. Private jewelers offer more than a one-time buyer-seller relationship. Many will be able to assist your jewelry purchases for years to come and help you solve any problems with those pieces that may arise in the future. Although working with an expert might seem expensive, the benefits outweigh the cost when considering the complex nature of the industry. An M&A advisor also helps you manage your investments and protects your best interests. Working side by side with management, advisors confirm that your buy or sell-side acquisition criteria are clearly defined, executable and measurable against future results to determine whether adjustments are needed. They help create a win-win situation for each party and optimize a successful outcome.

Whether in a new jewelry purchase or an M&A transaction, every negotiation is unique and needs to be approached with the proper strategy and insight. Talley LLP is uniquely equipped to provide the technical and managerial expertise to help you plan, negotiate, structure and execute on your buy-side or sell-side strategy.

After almost two years of facing off, Cristiano Ronaldo’s match with the Spanish government has ended with a guilty plea to four counts of tax fraud. The soccer star has agreed to pay a $21.7 million fine and serve a 2-year probationary period in lieu of jail time. Like his fellow fraudulent footballers Lionel Messi, Neymar, and Samuel Eto’o found, tax authorities will continue to demonstrate that celebrity athletes are not above the law.

In mid-2017, Spanish tax authorities launched an investigation into Ronaldo, alleging that he underreported his financials related to his image or likeness rights’ deals. As arguably the most famous soccer player in the world, a huge chunk of his earnings derives from his appearance and brand. As #3 on Forbe’s list of the World’s Highest Paid Athletes and #5 on the World’s Highest Paid Celebrities, it’s not a shock that Ronaldo’s finances would undergo a rigorous investigation by Spanish authorities to uncover any wrongdoing.

High net worth individuals and celebrities will continue to face increased scrutiny by tax authorities, both domestically and internationally. Seeing as U.S. celebs such as Mike “The Situation” Sorrentino from “Jersey Shore” and Teresa Giudice from “The Real Housewives of New Jersey” have faced harsher sentences, serving actual prison time, Ronaldo may have got off easy.

With over 30 years’ experience consulting with industry-leading companies, we understand the challenges facing individuals 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.

What happens once your business experiences initial success or substantial growth? Having “real” money can bring about complex problems that your business had yet to encounter. With the help of professional advisors, there are a few ways to make sure you handle these issues effectively and ensure your successes only continue.

Be aware of burnouts. Burnouts are a big reason for business failure especially in the first year and taking that time to appreciate your accomplishments can help prevent this.  Part of avoiding burning out is ensuring that you maintain your personal and mental health. 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.

Be mindful of taxes. While running your business, it’s easy to focus on the day to day operations, forgetting about important long-term details such as tax planning. Working with an experienced tax planning advisor can help you mitigate taxes and proactively plan for the future of your business.

Plan for your long-term future. There will always be more money to be made as an entrepreneur and reaching your first goal is only the beginning.  Although using your earnings to fund entertaining purchases is an earned right, investing your money in things that can appreciate will set you up for continued wealth. Having an expert counsel can help you make these decisions as they are familiar with the challenges that characterize an entrepreneur’s business ventures.

Form habits that create continued success. Specific motivators made you successful in the first place, so do not stop focusing on them. Running a business calls for ongoing work but managing your time effectively and forming useful business habits can help take the stress off of you. Always set new goals for you and your business to ensure you achieve continued growth and success.

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

Whether written by hand or formalized in print, having an official prepared will is better than having none. In the case of a New Jersey man last year, a court even determined his codicil handwritten in his own blood to be valid. As technology infiltrates more and more industries, estate planning is getting its first taste of going digital with the emergence of electronic wills.

Almost identical to standard hand-prepared wills, an electronic or e-will documents’ main difference comes in the form of an E-signature. As of now, the legal validity of a signature online, whether from a Tablet/Stylus duo or a computer-generated mark, is being determined at the state level on a case by case basis. In response, a state law advisory board called the Uniform Law Commission has considered this new trend and is working to develop standards to make things clearer state to state.

The most significant cause of worry for estate planners comes in the potential for corruption and abuse. Many estate planning experts have stressed that there are legitimate reasons that the process is so formalized, stemming back to protecting their clients. The advantage of getting personalized face to face advice versus going the DIY route is immense, especially considering the sensitivity and long-term value of estate planning. An experienced estate planning advisor can provide custom tailored guidance, achieving your family’s goals with certainty. Each estate plan has unique complexities when accounting for different goals and types of assets, and an estate planning advisor should have the expertise to execute your documents correctly and update your estate plan as necessary.

Though your options are virtually limitless, 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 can be a challenging and emotional affair to wrestle with alone. For more information, contact Talley LLP today.

It is no secret that failure to report crucial financial information on your tax returns can result in hefty fines and legal repercussions with the IRS, but some people still try to hide their earnings overseas. A United States schoolteacher was caught with over a million dollars in funds unreported in her United Bank of Switzerland account that resulted in a hefty $803,530 fine. Unsurprisingly, The Court of Federal Claims deemed her willfully and recklessly guilty after she tried to contest her punishment in court.

In 1999, Mindy Norman opened a foreign UBS numbered bank account allowing her to hide her financial information from the IRS. A year later, in 2000, she also waived her rights to invest in U.S. securities to further conceal her account. Later in 2008 when UBS implemented a New Business Model that informed its clients that it would soon be assisting the U.S in finding fraudulent individuals, Norman closed her UBS account and moved her money to Wegelein and Co., a now-defunct Swiss bank.

In 2009, The Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Program (OVDP) was enacted to urge the owners of offshore accounts to disclose their banking information at the promise of more lenient FBAR fines. If properly communicated and approved by the IRS, the standard fine of 50% of the unreported account balance could be reduced to 20%. Norman and her accountant opted for an alternative form of reporting called “quiet disclosure” for 2009 which included amended FBARS and tax returns for 2003-2008. Taxpayers including Norman are informed that filing this way could be risky as it could result in examination/prosecution of statements for applicable years.

Seeing as she taught both government and economics with a total of at least seven subjects, the court concluded her claims to have never read documents related to her accounts invalid. Additionally, her consistently changing testimony further shot down her arguments attempting to make her appear to have no knowledge of tax implications. Her case was dismissed, and the fine was upheld losing her half her earnings, a risky lesson to those attempting to evade the IRS.

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. For more information, contact us today.

Big Data is only getting bigger as business usage increases and more companies change the way they look at their processes in 2019. A recent Gartner survey found 62 percent of participants have indicated that their management teams have developed plans or initiatives to increase digital practices and 47% have at least been encouraged to pursue an increase in digital practices.  More than analyzing buying patterns or customer relationships, Big Data can allow entrepreneurs to improve their financial forecasting and future trends.

Predicting company success and finding potential opportunities is a common goal for any entrepreneur. By leveraging real-time/big data metrics, finance teams can gain valuable insight into trends, improving their ability to take advantage of upcoming opportunities or mitigate risk.  When considering the benefits, implementing big data metrics does not have to overcomplicate your existing financial reporting methods.

Utilize the resources you already have in place. Businesses big and small are already housing stores of information in their existing systems, whether through their business or sales management systems. For example, customer relationship management systems hold valuable details about sales, sizing, markets and more than can be referenced across departments. However, all that data means little without the ability to effectively distinguish between what is important and what is just white noise. These details, although large in quantity, can allow forecasts to adjust as events occur if properly utilized.

Don’t be afraid to let go of old technology. The typical Excel spreadsheet forecast focused on historical trends is very limiting when considering how extensive your decision-driving data may be and the way activities affect different parts of your business. These simple documents continue to emphasize the inefficiency of solely using historical data to make future business decisions. By embracing real-time metrics and overall real-time forecasts, entrepreneurs can gain a greater understanding of how specific actions affect their forecasts.

From technology-based accounting solutions to management information, analysis, and reporting, Talley LLP is the premier business consulting firm for entrepreneurs and their closely-held businesses. For more information on how to leverage your business’s data technology, contact Talley today.

With 2018 fresh in the rear-view mirror, many entrepreneurs and executives are taking time to reflect on what worked and what did not last year. While New Year’s Resolutions can act as a catalyst for change in both your personal and professional life, they usually reflect short-term thinking and fall short.

So why do resolutions not work? For starters, resolutions tend to be vague and lofty in nature. Some individuals simply don’t know where to start and give up immediately.  Others lack an executable plan of action to achieve their goals once they get going. And lastly, there are those who don’t know how to sustain their goals once they reach them (e.g. keeping the weight off after losing it initially).  Sounds familiar? These challenges to resolutions draw many parallels to several critical life cycle stages of a typical business model: Start-Up, Growth, and Stabilization. Each stage comes with its own set of challenges to overcome and opportunities to leverage.

Given their abysmal success rate, your company’s strategic plan for 2018 and beyond should not take on the flawed form of resolutions. Set goals and milestones instead and pick those that will impact you the most. Here are some pointers we’ve collected along the way.

Write your plan down. While it’s great to brainstorm goals, without writing down your mission, focus fades and continuity begins to decrease. Putting pen to paper forces you to identify and define the specific goals that you are working toward.

Be realistic about your expectations. Whether it’s about weight-loss or company growth, setting unattainable goals doesn’t help your success, it hampers it. It’s better to establish a set of smaller goals that can be expanded upon than something you feel you’ll never actually reach. Think about the most important things that will impact your business, and with hard work and effort, you can actually achieve.

Establish milestones to track success. A year is a long time to stay focused. Here’s where effective planning comes into play. Think about what success looks like in both the short term and long term to keep yourself motivated. Be sure to set key performance indicators for each of the goals you set to make sure you are on track.

What are your goals for 2018?

Whether your goal for 2019 is improving the quality or timeliness of financial statements, growth through strategic acquisition, or developing a tax-efficient succession plan, the advisors at Talley are here to help you. Contact us today to see how we can assist you with your strategic goals in 2018.

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.

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