Shawn McBride interviewed with Holly Signorelli, CPA (also known as The Money Therapist — www.moneytherapist.com) about Business Planning for 2017 and other issues on November 16, 2016.
You can find the full interview here: https://www.facebook.com/hollysignorelli/videos/10210507436143105/
Holly: I am Holly Signorelli, CPA and The Money Therapist. I work with businesses from start- up to multimillionaires, save taxes, build wealth, and make more time by working smarter, not harder. I have Shawn McBride back again. If you missed it last week, just scroll on down in my news feed and you’ll see what we were talking about, setting up LLCs. This week we’re going to be talking about going into 2017 and a few things that you need to know about … Did I say 17 or 16?
R. Shawn McBride: Going into 17. You got it.
Holly: 2017 planning and in 2016 last minute deductions. Shawn, for those that don’t know you or haven’t seen you, tell us more about yourself.
R. Shawn McBride: Sure. I am a business lawyer by training. That’s how I began my career, my life. As things evolved I started doing more and more business strategy. I work with business owners on really putting together plans that work to build their business, get them where they’re going, and to make sure they’re protected and protecting that wealth for themselves and families for now and into the future.
Holly: Excellent. All right. Let’s get started. I was going to start with some last minute tax deductions, just a few of them, unless anybody has any questions. The IRS had changed it to it’s like permanently for section 179 that you can buy up to 500,000 in equipment or furniture. A lot of people don’t know that. One thing though is make sure that you’re actually buying stuff that you need, because sometimes I see people, they don’t want to pay tax, so they buy stuff that they don’t need. That doesn’t really help you. It’s better to pay a little bit of tax and then keep what’s left over than to buy something that’s meaningless. If you do need to get some equipment, the tax rates are really high this year. They’re probably going to go down next year. We’ll see what happens. You might want to go out and get equipment, or furniture, stuff like that, that’s really going to help your business.
R. Shawn McBride: Absolutely.
Holly: Yeah. Do you have anything to add to that tax-wise? I know you’re a CPA, but really mostly an attorney.
R. Shawn McBride: Mostly stay here on a legal and planning side, but that’s right. Tax is a part of the calculation. If you’re calculating what something truly costs you, for a lot of stuff you can do an after-tax cost. You might get the government to foot part of the bill, but there’s still a cost. Even if you’re at a 30% tax rate, maybe higher if you have some state tax involved, you still got to put out the 65/70% of the money that you’re buying, the asset. It’s not free because you’re getting a tax deduction. It’s just cheaper. For doing your planning, you want to do a net after tax cost. This cost me 65% or 70% of the full cost, because I’m going to enjoy that tax benefit. If you can’t get enough revenue or business benefit off of the expenditure, then it doesn’t make sense to buy it, just to get the tax deduction. You really need to look at the whole picture.
Holly: Right. That’s why I like to do the tax deductible retirement plans. I’ll be talking about that probably next week with Fran Cushner again, my financial planning partner, because a lot of times or most of the time when you’re doing any kind of tax deduction for retirement it’s going to you. I mean it’s going into your savings account. Sometimes people resist that, because you can’t get the money out until you’re 59 and a half, but if you balance it right between having money that is available for you now and money available for you later, then you’re going to be better off, and you’re going to save significant taxes that way.
R. Shawn McBride: Right. There’s reasons why the government’s incentivizing people to do it. Part of it is that long term issue. They want you to put that money away, so they’re paying you in a sense to save for awhile and to ultimately invest that money in the economy in other endeavors. There’s a reason why you’re getting that deduction, but it can make a ton of sense. It’s a great way to get that deduction, but then you actually get to keep that money. You may have to wait awhile, but it’s still your money versus buying an asset you might not need to get a deduction. It’s much smarter to squirrel that money away for some time.
Holly: Yeah. It is true. I see different statistics, but something like 70 to almost 80% of people nowadays only have about $1,000 in savings. If you think about that, so many people nowadays do not start saving until their 40’s. It’s crazy.
R. Shawn McBride: It’s a crazy world we’re in. People don’t think about it soon enough, but if you look at the compounding charts it certainly makes sense to save sooner than later and to build that wealth over time. If you’re going to have the government help you start doing that process, take advantage of it.
Holly: Yeah. Yeah. It’s never too late. I did a little video, just a real short one, a week ago. A lot of people when they’re getting divorced and stuff they’re starting over, and the feel like, “Oh, man. I’m 40,” or whatever, “It’s too late,” but it’s not, because a lot of people don’t start until then. If you’re in your 30’s or even late 20’s and you can start saving even little bits, then you should. Let’s move on with a subject that you wanted to talk about today, which is getting ready for 2017 and planning better. Tell us more about that.
R. Shawn McBride: Well, a lot of people want to hit the ground running for a new year. We hear a lot of New Year’s Resolutions, “I’m going to do this next year. I’m going to do that next year.” If you’re doing something on the business front, the time to do the planning’s probably now rather than January. If you wait until January to start your planning, you’ve already lost several months of the year. I want to start getting people thinking about what is my 2017 plan? How am I going to get to where I want to get to? Close out 2016 strong. Take advantage of the things you’ve done in the past. Capitalize on those. Now is the time to start saying, “What am I going to do in ’17, and what do I need to do now to start getting things in order to have a strong ’17?”
Holly: Yeah. Exactly. I’m always telling my clients that too. We talked about this a little bit last week too, that when you want to set up your LLC now for 2017, because you’ve got to get it set up. You got to get your new bank account. There’s a lot of little things that people don’t think about. If you’re going to be a corporation, you’ve got to get set up on some kind of a payroll system. If you do it in January, like you said, and everybody’s doing it then, then you might lose as much of a month. Then it complicates the taxes and things too.
R. Shawn McBride: Right. There’s usually a rush at the beginning of the year. People do those New Year’s Resolutions. People pick that arbitrary date of December 31st, January 1st and say, “We’re going to hit the button January 1st and do this.” The problem is you’re not the only one hitting the button on January 1st. If you can get ahead of it, you can start capitalizing. You’re going to lose up possibly up to, like you say, a month of business. If you don’t put things in order today, you may not be jumping in full force in a month. You really want to get things pointed the right direction and make sure that when you come out of the box January 1st, if that’s your magic date, have all your ducks in a row so you can really start doing real business on January 1st.
Holly: What else would you recommend, besides setting up an LLC, if they even need to set one up, and the things that go along with an LLC? What other things should people be looking at? A lot of people right now they’re thinking about the holidays. Sometimes I find that because of the holidays and all the family is when people start wanting to do things like wills, and trusts, and other types of things. What do you recommend?
R. Shawn McBride: Sure. It’s a great time to have a holistic view of your planning, “Where am I at? Where am I going to? How’s that all going to play together?” You really got to look at your business and your business plan. Now’s the time to lay the infrastructure, LLC, accounting system, which I know you can help people with, making sure you’re getting things tabulated the right way and you’re setting the foundation for understanding your business, and paying your taxes, and doing all those things you have to do. Now’s the time to start doing that. What’s your marketing system? How are you going to handle email, and web pages. There’s a lot of pieces to a business.
It seems overwhelming to a lot of people getting involved and just jumping in, but reach out to somebody, get somebody that’s done the process before, worked with people on the business planning, and map out for your particular business and your particular industry what pieces need to come together? What order do they come together in? What do I need to start doing now so that come January 1st I can hit the ground running, and I’m possibly earning some revenue in January, rather than waiting until February or March to get that business actually off the ground?
Holly: Yeah. Then you just reminded me with that too is a lot of people are afraid to get a program. Of course, I’m a big fan of QuickBooks. I think QuickBooks is cutting edge. They get better and better every year. They pretty much own the accounting industry. There’s also FreshBooks and Xero. There’s all kinds of … everything is online now too. You don’t have to be an accountant or a CPA to use these programs. They’re actually meant to be like a check register. If you’re invoicing, then you’re invoicing somewhere using some kind of system.
Too, if you have something like QuickBooks, or FreshBooks, or Xero, you can invoice in there, you can put all of your deposits in there, and then you can download everything from your bank account right into there. A lot of people want to take control of their own bookkeeping now, sometimes just to save money or just to have control over and actually see where their money’s going. I definitely recommend that or at least have a bookkeeper do it every quarter, because sometimes people come at the end of the year and they have no idea how much money they’ve made. They haven’t paid enough taxes in.
If you haven’t been using some kind of system like that, they’re very, very affordable nowadays, anywhere from 99 to 299. You don’t have to upgrade it every year. You can and you should at least every two years, but it’s just very inexpensive, and it just, again, saves you money. Even if somebody else is doing the book work for you, at least you have a more clear idea of where your money is going, because so many people do think that they made less money than they did, because they’re not looking at the numbers.
It’s a real simple report that QuickBooks or any other program spits out. Anybody out there, if you’re not using that or getting a bookkeeper and your company’s big enough to where it needs one, then think about getting that lined up now for January. Same thing, because you’re not going to have to give somebody some log ins, and you’re going to have to get the program, instead of doing that in January and making January stressful.
R. Shawn McBride: Yeah. You’ve got a little bit behind the scenes stuff of figuring out what your accounts are, how to set your accounts up. There’s a little bit in the set-up of those programs. They’re very simple, as you say, to work with. I’ve worked with QuickBooks for some time. It’s easy to work with. It’s not that hard, especially once you’re set up. You may want to spend a little bit of time getting set up properly. That’s the types of things we’re talking about planning for next year. If you’re going to hit the ground running on January 1st and you’re ready to move forward, you don’t want to be logging into QuickBooks for the first time, putting the CD in your computer, uploading it, and then setting up your accounts and typing your account names in.
Start getting some of this stuff in order, particularly if you’re working for somebody else. I mean, if you’re working for somebody else and you know you’re going to stop drawing that paycheck January 1st, do the stuff in your evenings and your weekends when you’re off company time, so that you’re ready to hit the ground running, rather than having your pay stop and you spend the first two to three weeks of your business just laying the foundation.
Holly: Yeah. The other benefit of having everything into any kind of program, whichever one anybody chooses to use, is I know QuickBooks does this, because again, that’s what I’ve always used. I haven’t used all the other programs, but I’m typically in it, editing it, because my clients, they’ll use their own bookkeeping, and then they’ll let me just clean it up each quarter or at the end of the year. I know in QuickBooks you can do this, and probably in the other ones too. You can do a budget or a forecast for 2017. It’ll show you what the average that you’ve been spending or bringing in every month, and then you can look at that for 2017 and make your goals.
What I do with the budget is it’s really more like a goal budget. If I want to make a certain amount of money, that’s what I put in to that projection. It is so easy, because all the numbers flow into it, and then you just override it, because you’re like, “Okay. I’m going to get rid of this expense,” so you get rid of it or you change it or, “I’d like to have a more expensive car,” so you increase it. Then each quarter then you can look at it and see where you are in conjunction with your goals.
R. Shawn McBride: Right. A lot of practical stuff there. The more you can track and the more you can build these systems in place you’re going to need this data later, particularly as your business grows. It’s so much easier and simple to do it right from the beginning, rather than have to go back and reinvent it. If you’re going to be a QuickBooks user, if that’s what you decided to do, Holly recommends it. I think it it’s great. If that’s your financial platform, from the beginning. Don’t start with a spreadsheet and then try to switch to QuickBooks, because then you’ll do a lot of work to reinvent it. You’re not going to have that historical data.
The more you can get good advice at the beginning, spend a little bit of money, get everything set up right, you’re going to save a lot of money down the road and a lot of headaches. Once your business starts doing what it’s supposed to do and you’ve got the customers at the door you want to be servicing them and bringing that revenue in, not playing with QuickBooks files and things like that. All about planning, and preparing, and building your map to the future.
Holly: Also, for any biz owner, I don’t care if it’s small, start up, or millionaires, you got to do your contracts with your contractors, your employers, your non-compete, non-solicitation. Non-compete is obvious. You don’t want an employee to be workings for you, even if you only have two employees, you don’t want them taking your business or trying to market to your clients. Non-solicitation is, and correct me if I’m wrong, Shawn, is when you have an employee that goes to work for someone else, and then they have their new owner solicit your clients. Right?
R. Shawn McBride: Yeah, or they go after their own customer list. Sometimes the employee tries to take the customers, because they use that as an incentive to their new employer. They’re like, “Oh. Guess what? I’ll switch from where I currently work. I’ll switch to you. All these customers love me, so they’ll come over with me.” Sometimes non-solicit hits employees too. You’ve got employee A. Employee A talks and they’re going to go work for company B. They show up at company B and they say, “Oh. I work with all these other people over there. They’re great. Let’s go hire them too.” Now you got your whole shop being raided.
There’s things you can do to protect that kind of stuff from a lot of different angles. That’s something you want to be proactive about. Make an employment environment that people want to work at. Then start building some of these legal things as well of how do you make sure that if somebody does leave, how do they manage the possible damage to your business? What if something happens to the business owner? A lot of people, particularly people who might be listening today, you’re the business owner, you’re running the business. What happens if something happens to you? How does that business keep moving?
We work on building systems in place to make the business bigger than just the owner so that wealth’s created. A lot of times when I talk to business owners, business owner dies, business owner gets in a car accident, a lot of the employees might be circulating their resumes and checking out before they wait to see whether their next pay check gets delivered. That’s not what you want. If you want to be able to pass that business onto your family of your heirs, you want to make sure that business is going to keep running and keep adding that value, and not have all the employees disappear.
Holly: Right. Exactly. That’s really, really important stuff. I actually a few years ago, it was quite a few years ago, had somebody that I had hired offer to give me the names of the people that she was working with at the other firm. I actually fired her, because I was like, “Well, if she’s going to do that for them, then what is she going to do to me?” I have the contracts. I’m really, really good at that stuff, but you never know when somebody’s going to try to get sneaky about it. You know?
R. Shawn McBride: You learn people’s personalities over time. I believe most people in the world are good, but unfortunately being a lawyer for so long and working on the business strategy side I’ve had people show up to me with horror stories. There are people out there that just – they do bad things, or they take advantage of opportunities that they probably ethically shouldn’t. Maybe they’re going to take your customer list to somebody else and show it to somebody else. Maybe they’re going to go after your customers. They’re going to try to take money from your business, going back to the control point we were talking about earlier. You want to have safeguards in place too. You want to make sure that whatever you’re doing you’re protecting it for yourself.
Holly: Absolutely. We’re about to run out of time, so let’s just recap it from the last week and today. If you’re going to set up an LLC, if it’s time, you need to do it now. Get your new bank account and get set up on payroll. Shawn and I can both help you. I’m going to have the links on top for you guys to be able to click on it if you need to have a one-on-one with either one of us. Make sure that you have contracts in place with your employees and your contractors, non-competes and non-solicitation.
If you are not using a software program, then you need to get with the picture, because they’re so easy nowadays. You don’t have to be a CPA or an accountant to do it. It’s really more like a check register. Then you send it over to the CPA, let them clean it up for your taxes. Then you’ll be really more aware of where your money is going, and you can even start doing projections and forecasts, which again, on these new software programs are very simple. If this sounds complicated, I promise it’s not. Everybody, please have a wonderful holiday and be safe What do you have to say, Shawn?
R. Shawn McBride: Just do it right from the beginning. Now’s your time. Plan. Get yourself in order. Little steps like this, little tiny things, make huge differences later. Do it now. Have a great holiday. We have Thanksgiving coming. Be thankful for those things you have and the opportunities. Look forward to connecting with all of you later.
Holly: Thank you so much for being on the show again, Shawn McBride, attorney. Again, we’ll have the link up above, and see you guys next time.
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This posting is intended to be a tool to familiarize readers with some of the issues discussed herein. This is not meant to be a comprehensive discussion and additional details should be discussed with your attorneys, accountants, consultants, bankers and other business planners who can provide advice for your circumstances. Each case is unique. Past results do not guarantee future outcomes. This article should not be treated as legal advice to any person or entity.
Shawn McBride is the Chief Innovation Officer at McBride For Business, LLC. His signature keynote, The 3 Laws of Empowerment (www.rshawnmcbridelive.com ), gives audiences an entertaining look at how they can prepare, plan and protect themselves. You can reach R. Shawn McBride at firstname.lastname@example.org or (214) 418-0258.
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