Ensuring Financial Success for Your Business

Can you point your company in the direction of financial success, step on the gas, and then sit back and wait to arrive at your destination?

Not quite. You can’t let your business run on autopilot and expect good results. Any business owner knows you need to make numerous adjustments along the way – decisions about pricing, hiring, investments, and so on.

So, how do you handle the array of questions facing you?

One way is through cost accounting.

Cost Accounting Helps You Make Informed Decisions

Cost accounting reports and determines the various costs associated with running your business. With cost accounting, you track the cost of all your business functions – raw materials, labor, inventory, and overhead, among others.

Note: Cost accounting differs from financial accounting because it’s only used internally, for decision making. Because financial accounting is employed to produce financial statements for external stakeholders, such as stockholders and the media, it must comply with generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP). Cost accounting does not.

Cost accounting allows you to understand the following:

  1. Cost behavior. For example, will the costs increase or stay the same if production of your product goes up?
  2. Appropriate prices for your goods or services. Once you understand cost behavior, you can tweak your pricing based on the current market.
  3. Budgeting. You can’t create an effective budget if you don’t know the real costs of the line items.

Is It Hard?

To monitor your company’s costs with this method, you need to pay attention to the two types of costs in any business: fixed and variable.

Fixed costs don’t fluctuate with changes in production or sales. They include:

  • rent
  • insurance
  • dues and subscriptions
  • equipment leases
  • payments on loans
  • management salaries
  • advertising

Variable costs DO change with variations in production and sales. Variable costs include:

  • raw materials
  • hourly wages and commissions
  • utilities
  • inventory
  • office supplies
  • packaging, mailing, and shipping costs

Tip: Cost accounting is easier for smaller, less complicated businesses. The more complex your business model, the harder it becomes to assign proper values to all the facets of your company’s functioning.

If you’d like to understand the ins and outs of your business better and create sound guidance for internal decision making, consider setting up a cost accounting system.

Need Help?

Please call if you need assistance setting up cost accounting and inventory systems, preparing budgets, cash flow management or any other matter related to ensuring the financial success of your business.

ALES: Information Reporting and Health Coverage

The Affordable Care Act requires applicable large employers (ALEs) to file information reporting returns with the IRS and employees. ALEs are generally those employers with 50 or more full-time employees, including full-time equivalent employees in the preceding calendar year.

The vast majority of employers are not ALEs and are not subject to this health care tax provision. However, those who are must use Form 1094-C, Transmittal of Employer-Provided Health Insurance Offer and Coverage Information Returns, and Form 1095-C, Employer-Provided Health Insurance Offer and Coverage, to report the information about offers of health coverage and enrollment in health coverage for their employees.

Here are eight things ALEs should know about the information returns they must file at the beginning of 2016.

1. Form 1095-C is used to report information about each employee who was a full-time employee of the ALE member for any month of the calendar year.

2. Form 1094-C must be used to report to the IRS summary information for each employer, and to transmit Forms 1095-C to the IRS.

3. ALEs file a separate Form 1095-C for each of its full-time employees, and a transmittal on Form 1094-C for all of the returns filed for a given calendar year.

4. Employers that offer employer-sponsored self-insured coverage use Form 1095-C to report information to the IRS and to employees about individuals who have minimum essential coverage under the employer plan.

5. The information reported on Form 1094-C, and Form 1095-C is used in determining whether an employer owes a payment under the employer shared responsibility provisions.

6. Form 1095-C is used by the IRS and the employee in determining the eligibility of the employee for the premium tax credit.

7. An ALE may satisfy this requirement by filing a substitute form, but the substitute form must include all of the information required on Form 1094-C and Form 1095-C and satisfy all form and content requirements as specified by the IRS.

8. Forms 1094-C and 1095-C, or a substitute form must be filed regardless of whether the ALE member offers coverage, or the employee enrolls in any coverage offered.

Tangible Property Expensing Threshold Increases

The safe harbor threshold for small businesses deducting certain capital items has increased from $500 to $2,500. The new $2,500 threshold takes effect starting with tax year 2016. In addition, the IRS will provide audit protection to eligible businesses by not challenging use of the new $2,500 threshold in tax years prior to 2016.

The change affects businesses that do not maintain an applicable financial statement (audited financial statement). It applies to amounts spent to acquire, produce or improve tangible property that would normally qualify as a capital item.

For taxpayers with an applicable financial statement, the de minimis or small-dollar threshold remains $5,000.

The new $2,500 threshold applies to any such item substantiated by an invoice. Small businesses will be able to immediately deduct many expenditures that would otherwise need to be spread over a period of years through annual depreciation deductions, simplifying paperwork and recordkeeping requirements.

During the February comment period, the IRS received more than 150 letters from businesses and their representatives suggesting an increase in the threshold. Commenters noted that the existing $500 threshold was too low to effectively reduce the administrative burden on small business. Moreover, the cost of many commonly expensed items such as tablet-style personal computers, smartphones, and machinery and equipment parts typically surpass the $500 threshold.

As before, businesses can still claim otherwise deductible repair and maintenance costs, even if they exceed the $2,500 threshold.

Please call if you have any questions or would like additional details about this change.