McLinden Group Newsletter - December 2018

Advantages to Outsourcing HR Functions

Imagine having a full HR team by your side but not having to pay the high cost of employing a team of professionals. That, in a nutshell, is what outsourced HR services can provide to companies large and small. We’ve just launched our outsourced HR services, and we’re excited to help our existing and new clients to learn more about what it is and what it can offer to you.  

First, What Is Outsourced HR?

Many clients know the value and importance of having a well-proven and diverse human resource department. This department, which offers services ranging from employee payroll to tax filing, is at the heart of your business. It works to keep employees and employers on the same page. To provide the best services to your employees, you need a well-designed HR team. Yet, most small to medium-sized businesses cannot afford to invest in or manage a full in-house team. That’s where outsourced HR comes into play.

Why Should You Care about Outsourced HR?

With the use of outsourced HR, your business can reap several benefits. In the article, “The Advantages of Outsourcing HR Functions” by Sherrie Scott, you’ll learn more about how empowering this service is to many companies. What’s more, it fits your budget and gives your company the ability to play with the large competitors who want to lure away your top employees. By providing these services, your business may be able to compete for new, top-talent as well.

If your company has struggled with an ineffective in-house HR team, or you cannot invest enough to put one in place that can meet the specific needs of your organization, now is the time to get some help. Our team is here to speak to you about Outsourced HR services and how they can work to meet your specific needs.

Have You Heard About Fractional HR Services? Are They for You?

Fractional HR is something many companies are hearing about for the first time. While it may seem like a buzzword, it is actually one of the best investments many small to medium-sized companies can make. And, we now are offering Fractional HR to our clients as well.

With Fractional HR, the experienced HR professionals you need are within reach to you, but you are not paying for the full cost of these services. Rather, the costs and overhead are spread out across multiple companies like your own. In that way, it allows your business to have access to the human resource professionals you need when you need them, but at a significantly lower cost. What’s more, you choose these professionals based on what you need. This includes access on-demand support when there is a current concern or investing in a set number of hours each month.

Learn more about our Fractional HR services by contacting our team. You may find this is the type of service you need to get your company moving forward without the extra overhead you thought you had to pay.

Small Business End of Year Tax Tips

It’s the end of the year and tax season will soon be upon us. As a small business owner, knowing how to navigate through this process can help reduce what you owe and get ready for the incoming year. Here are a few tips:

  • Spend more, take in less

As a small business, your taxes are contingent on the profits you earn, which is what you have left after all expenses are paid. To lower your taxes, you want to spend more and show less income. If your company is a pass-through entity, this will work well for you. It’s definitely something to consider.

  • Decrease your revenue

The deposits in your business bank account during December should be less than normal to demonstrate you had lower profits.

  • Give, give, give

Make charitable donations during December – it’s the season of giving, right? This will help decrease your tax bill as well.

  • Get those deductions in

Purchase your supplies and other equipment now to help maximize your tax deductions.

  • Pay early

If you can pay your recurring expenses earlier than normal, it will demonstrate your tax liability for the month is low. Try paying a month in advance.

Last, but not least – start preparing for the new year. Make sure your accounting records are organized and ready for your accountant to go through. Review how you did this year to assess the financial condition of the company and strategize where you want to be this coming year. Speak to a financial advisor on certain things you can do to help reduce taxes, and with these tips you'll be just fine.

Financial Forecasting for Your Small Business

Financial forecasting: It's a valuable skill for business owners who can master it, yet until you get the hang it can seem like fortune-telling. Here's what you need to know about financial forecasting for small businesses. 

How to Create Forecasts 

To forecast, small business owners must anticipate future balances, loans, and profits. Previous years' business data can help you uncover trends, lending a backbone of data to those forecasts. For instance, if you know that winter is your slowest season, then you'll anticipate slow sales that hew closely to winter sales from years before. In a peak summer season, you'd expect to see outsize profits. By looking at consumer trends, economic indicators, and other time-sensitive data, you can make an educated guess on consumer behavior, drawing from your business data and current events. 

To come up with the figures, establish a sales projection informed by previous sales and current goals. Develop a production schedule to take balances into account. From here, you can extrapolate the cost of goods sold for physical products. Service-oriented businesses can use a fee schedule to estimate the value of services provided, per hour or per project. 

Don't forget to calculate all relevant business expenses. You must take dividends, taxes, interest, administrative, and general operating expenses into account. After subtracting expenses from the estimated value of production, you're left with a gross profit estimate - which is what investors want to see on your financial forecast, otherwise known as a pro forma statement. 

How Far Out Should You Forecast?

Financial forecasting most frequently looks six months or one year out. Forecasts are revisited as time passes, so if your winter sales are unexpectedly better than anticipated, you would then adjust the numbers. 

Investors typically want to see medium term forecasts, generally three to five years. If you're seeking small business financing, you'll need to forecast this far out. 

To accompany the pro forma, draw up cash budgets that show monthly cash allowances. Taking the pro forma and cash statements together, you've got a comprehensive financial forecast for your small business. 

Scaling Finance with Your Company's Life Cycle

What a company needs during startup is very different from its needs at maturity. Take a look at finance needs over your company's life cycle -- startup, growth, and maturity -- to make wise choices. 

Startup

While you don't need a full-time financial hire in startup phase, your company must place the foundations in place: HR-affiliated finance like payroll and taxes, financial reporting, and accounts management.

Companies in a startup phase should also plan for the financial skills necessary to raise capital -- cash flow prediction, financial forecasting, and an ability to work with management to refine the business strategy and translate these tactics into projections. 

Growth

During a growth phase, your business needs to refine the startup approach into forecasting methods that are accurate and repeatable. Deeper financial analysis will help your business thrive. To avoid growing pains, you company must get the right person in who can handle all financial reporting and cash management needs. Mistakes here will slow growth. 

If you haven't done so yet, this is the time to hire a controller, who can take ownership of the business financials and manage financials associated with IT and HR. By attending to these different duties, the controller will have their finger on the pulse of your company's financial health. 

Maturity

Mature companies refine the groundwork laid in the growth stage. In addition to your savvy controller, your organization will want to bring on a CFO to capitalize on opportunities here. Working together, the controller and CFO can refine business processes so your company can not only tackle reporting but make strategic plans. They can look to trends your company will want to capitalize on and find ways to optimize margins for maximum productivity. Depending on the size of your company, it may be a smart idea to bring on financial analysts. 

Making smart hires while growing your business is not easy. The right HR talent can help you identify top talent to support your mission, so you bring on the right people at the right time to achieve your vision.  

Are You Leaving Money on the Table?

By Guest Writer: John Madsen, VP, Manufacturing Practice Leader, Black Line Group

As many Midwest manufacturers actively look for business opportunities to improve their profitability, grow faster or be more competitive, one of the most overlooked resources is the ability to use Research and Development (R&D) Tax Credits.  Benjamin Rashleger, President and CEO of WSI Industries discovered the benefits this credit program. After obtaining credits for his company, he shared, "I am amazed how many manufacturers do not realize or understand the IRS's definition of R&D Tax Credits.  If you make or improve a product or a process, either for yourself or your customer, you have activities that qualify for the R&D Tax Credit.  This credit can substantially reduce your Federal and State tax liability."

As stated, many do not believe they have R&D activities taking place in their facilities. If you quote jobs, take orders, build tools, produce products and sell them to your customers, you almost certainly have R&D activities.

 The R&D Tax credit is a dollar for dollar reduction off of your tax liabilities that provides potentially significant sources of unexpected cash for manufacturers of all sizes, including custom manufacturers, that have incurred expenses in pursuit of new or improved products or processes.

According to Black Line Group, the regulatory definition of R&D remains much broader than most people realize. For example, labor, and supply cost spent prototyping or using your resources and equipment; costs incurred to quote or experiment with different designs and materials; the design/engineering of new parts and or the process to make new parts; designing or developing tools, including mold tooling, dies and fixtures; and activities related to software development, can all potentially generate R&D Tax Credits.

Manufacturers of all kinds, including those that design and develop their own products, as well as contract manufacturers and job shops, can all take advantage of the R&D Tax Credit. Both the customer and vendor (job shop/contract manufacturer) of an R&D part can take the credit.  The customer will have qualified expenditures around the “PRODUCT” development/improvement activities of the part or component, and the vendor will have qualified expenditures associated with developing the “PROCESS” for making the part.

If you are unsure of how to navigate or don’t even know where to start to see if you qualify for Research and Development (R&D) Tax Credits, you are not alone. Let our manufacturing practice lead with 40 years in contract manufacturing experience answer your questions.  The R&D Tax Credit is one of the most generous incentives to help business reinvest. If you are looking to add value and fund improvement projects, then learning more about the R&D Tax Credit could be the single most profitable thing you do for your business in 2017.