The One Page Business Plan

The One Page Business Plan

 

LUTZ BUSINESS INSIGHTS

 

The One Page Business Plan

LAUREN DUREN, SENIOR ACCOUNTANT

 

Traditional business plans usually consist of dozens of pages of text and data tables. They can take many days or even weeks to produce. But if your small business is seeking financing, you may need one.

Or do you? Can you get by with a one-page look at your company’s structure and financials?

There may be occasions when you can. Even if you’re required to present a lengthy, by-the-book business plan to a potential lender or partner or other interested party, summing it all up on one sheet of paper can be a helpful exercise. There may be numerous occasions when you can introduce your company with a document that’s longer than an elevator pitch but shorter than your average Executive Summary. In fact, that may be all that some investors want to see.

 

Many Elements

What would a “business plan lite” look like? It could consist of several short sections, answering questions you had to ponder yourself as you prepared to launch your company.

 

First, what problem(s) did you hope to solve with your products and/or services?

Many businesses have been started because the founder had a personal or professional need and didn’t like the available solutions. The founder of a popular invoicing website, for example, created his application because he saved over an important invoice created in Microsoft Word.

 

What is your solution?

It will be hard to boil your dream down into a paragraph the size of a Tweet. Try to frame your product description in terms of how it will benefit buyers.

 

How/why will your product make money?

You don’t have room for a spreadsheet here, but you can touch on issues like production, distribution, and pricing.

 

What does the competitive landscape look like?

Who else is selling similar solutions, and in what ways is yours better (cost, quality, geographical location, effectiveness, etc.)? If you’ve come up with a unique product that has no serious rivals, the rest of your mini-plan needs to be especially robust and convincing.

 

Who’s going to buy it?

Other businesses, or consumers? Is it a local solution, or one that might have national or even global appeal? Who do you picture as your customers (age, gender, economic status, interests)?

 

How will prospects find their way to you?

Do you anticipate needing a sizable marketing/advertising budget, or are you planning more cost-effective ways to spread the word?

 

Why are you the right person to launch this venture?

Toot your own horn a little here, but avoid over-selling yourself. Point to any experience or expertise that will increase the chances that your entrepreneurial vision can be a successful reality.

 

If you do find yourself in need of help with a comprehensive business plan, we can help, particularly with the complex financial reports required. We can take a look at your entire business plan and suggest how you might make it more effective. Contact us soon, and we’ll get started.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

402.827.2062

 

lduren@lutz.us

 

LINKEDIN

 

LAUREN DUREN + SENIOR ACCOUNTANT

Lauren Duren is a Senior Accountant at Lutz with over three years of relevant experience. She provides outsourced accounting services to clients with a focus on tax, payroll compliance, and healthcare consulting.

AREAS OF FOCUS
  • Outsourced Accounting
  • Tax
  • Payroll Compliance
  • Healthcare Accounting Consulting
  • Nonprofit Industry
AFFILIATIONS AND CREDENTIALS
  • American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, Member
  • Nebraska Society of Certified Public Accountants, Member
  • Certified Public Accountant
EDUCATIONAL BACKGROUND
  • MBA, University of Nebraska, Omaha, NE
  • BSBA in Accounting, University of Nebraska, Omaha, NE
COMMUNITY SERVICE
  • Lutz Gives Back, Volunteer

SIGN UP FOR OUR NEWSLETTERS!

We tap into the vast knowledge and experience within our organization to provide you with monthly content on topics and ideas that drive and challenge your company every day.

Toll-Free: 866.577.0780  |  Privacy Policy

All content © 2018 Lutz & Company, PC

OMAHA

13616 California Street, Suite 300

Omaha, NE 68154

P: 402.496.8800

HASTINGS

747 N Burlington Avenue, Suite 401

Hastings, NE 68901

P: 402.462.4154

LINCOLN 

601 P Street, Suite 103

Lincoln, NE 68508

P: 531.500.2000

GRAND ISLAND

3320 James Road, Suite 100

Grand Island, NE 68803

P: 308.382.7850

What You Need to Know About Accounting to Use QuickBooks

What You Need to Know About Accounting to Use QuickBooks

 

LUTZ BUSINESS INSIGHTS

 

What You Need to Know About Accounting to Use QuickBooks

JIMMY BURGESS, SENIOR ACCOUNTANT

 

Whether or not you use the word “accounting,” your business already does it. You manage accounts, pay bills, receive payments – all tasks that are a part of the process. When you use QuickBooks, though, you are following the same generally-accepted practices that professionals do.

The thing is, though, that you don’t have to deal with most of the nuts-and-bolts activity that is required. You don’t have to understand how to, for example:

  • Create a Chart of Accounts.
  • Balance debits and credits.
  • Design standard financial reports.
  • Assemble customer statements.

 

An Invisible Helper

QuickBooks takes care of those chores—and much more—behind the scenes. It provides a digital framework for the financial data provided. You’ll interact with it by entering words and numbers in blank fields, selecting options from drop-down lists, and clicking on buttons and in boxes. It works much like other Windows software, so navigation and data entry shouldn’t be a problem.

But you should have a basic understanding of some simple accounting concepts. You may also need to learn about how to stay in compliance with government agencies if you are going to use QuickBooks’ payroll features.

Specifically, here’s some of what we recommend you know as you begin to use QuickBooks:

 

The role of the Chart of Accounts

Again, you don’t have to create one: QuickBooks does that for you. This list of accounts is divided by type: assets (what you own), liabilities (what you owe), equity (the difference between the previous two), income, and expenses. You’ll encounter accounts at various places in the program, like when you have to assign an expense account to a bill you’re paying. Incorrect account classifications can lead to serious problems when you create reports and prepare income taxes.

 

Item types

QuickBooks helps you create records for each “item” you buy or sell. These can be inventory parts, non-inventory parts, or services. It’s very important that you recognize the difference and categorize each item record correctly.

 

The sales tax status of items you sell

QuickBooks lets you add sales tax when you’re creating invoices, but you’ll need to know the rates and regulations for any state and local sales tax that you are required to collect and pay.

 

Your state’s payroll requirements

If you’re already doing your company’s payroll manually or using a payroll service, you may save time and money by using QuickBooks’ payroll tools. The mechanics of this challenging element of accounting are simplified by the software, but every state has its own requirements for withholding and paying payroll taxes. You’ll need to know what these are, in addition to understanding exactly what’s expected by benefits providers.

 

There are other concepts you’ll need to understand, like the role of all sales (invoices, statements, receipts, etc.) and purchase (bills, purchase orders, vendor credits, etc.) forms; report customization; and the recording of incoming payments. We can get you up to speed on what you should know or provide a refresher for you if you’re already struggling with QuickBooks. Contact us to get started.

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

402.514.0016

jburgess@lutz.us

Download VCF Card

JIMMY BURGESS + SENIOR ACCOUNTANT

Jimmy Burgess is a Senior Accountant at Lutz with over four years of relevant experience. His primary focus is to provide outsourced accounting to clients with a focus on QuickBooks, tax and payroll compliance, small business consulting, as well as software implementation training.

AREAS OF FOCUS
  • Outsourced Accounting Services
  • QuickBooks
  • Tax & Payroll Compliance
  • Small Business Consulting
  • Software Implementation & Training
  • Construction Industry
AFFILIATIONS AND CREDENTIALS
  • Nebraska Society of Certified Public Accountants, Member
  • Certified Public Accountant
EDUCATIONAL BACKGROUND
  • BS in Business Administration and Accounting, University of Wyoming, Laramie, WY
COMMUNITY SERVICE
  • Youth Sports Coach, Volunteer
QUICKBOOKS PROADVISOR CERTIFICATIONS

SIGN UP FOR OUR NEWSLETTERS!

We tap into the vast knowledge and experience within our organization to provide you with monthly content on topics and ideas that drive and challenge your company every day.

Toll-Free: 866.577.0780  |  Privacy Policy

All content © 2018 Lutz & Company, PC

OMAHA

13616 California Street, Suite 300

Omaha, NE 68154

P: 402.496.8800

HASTINGS

747 N Burlington Avenue, Suite 401

Hastings, NE 68901

P: 402.462.4154

LINCOLN 

601 P Street, Suite 103

Lincoln, NE 68508

P: 531.500.2000

GRAND ISLAND

3320 James Road, Suite 100

Grand Island, NE 68803

P: 308.382.7850

What Financial Statements Can Tell You About Your Business

What Financial Statements Can Tell You About Your Business

 

LUTZ BUSINESS INSIGHTS

 

What Financial Statements Can Tell You About Your Business

LAUREN HARRIS, SENIOR ACCOUNTANT

 

One of the best things about QuickBooks is its reporting options. You select one, and the software creates the report using your company’s data. Some of these are called financial statements. They are always required by financial institutions and investors when you apply for a loan or other financing. You should also produce them at least once a quarter for your own information.

Financial statements can answer three questions:

  • Where did my money come from?
  • Where did it go?
  • Where is it now?

Sounds simple enough. QuickBooks can create them in seconds. But it takes some accounting skill to analyze them. They are not always as easy to read.

 

Three Types

You may have heard the names of the three primary financial statements. They are:

Balance Sheet

This report focuses on a specific point in time and tells you what you own and what you owe at that precise moment by displaying your company’s:

  • Assets, which can be physical things you own (cash and investments, buildings and vehicles, inventory, etc.) or not-so-tangible property that is also valuable (like patents or trademarks).
  • In a nutshell, this word refers to money, goods, or services that your company owes to financial institutions, suppliers, customers or employees, taxing agencies, etc.
  • Shareholders’ equity. This is sometimes referred to as net worth. It’s your core capital, the money that would remain if you paid off all liabilities and sold all assets. It belongs to the shareholders (owners).

Balance sheets are based on a simple formula: ASSETS=LIABILITIES+SHAREHOLDERS’ EQUITY.

The two sides must “balance,” thus the name.

Income Statement

This is sometimes referred to as Profit & Loss. It tells you how much revenue you brought in and what you spent to make that money over a specified period of time. The result is that you will know how much profit you made or how much you lost.

This is probably the least complicated of the financial statements that is generated automatically by QuickBooks. Creating it manually would be time-consuming.

Cash Flow Statement

This is more involved than its name might imply. While it reports on inflows and outflows of cash, it’s different from the Income Statement. It doesn’t just tell you whether you had a net profit or loss. Rather, it reports on whether your company actually generated cash by reordering information from the first two reports and illustrating changes over the time period for reporting. It details if there is a net increase or decrease in cash over the period.

 

We Can Interpret

Like we said earlier, generating these required reports in QuickBooks is easy. We want you to understand their implications for your business, though. Whether you’re applying for financing or just want to manage your operations, we can help. Let’s connect and explore what they mean for you.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

402.514.0012

lharris@lutz.us

LINKEDIN

LAUREN HARRIS + SENIOR ACCOUNTANT

Lauren Harris is a Senior Accountant in the Client Accounting Services department at Lutz with over two years of related experience. She provides payroll tax reporting and compliance, as well as outsourced accounting assistance to small businesses through QuickBooks support and training.

AREAS OF FOCUS
  • QuickBooks Training & Support
  • Outsourced Accounting
  • Payroll Tax Reporting and Compliance
AFFILIATIONS AND CREDENTIALS
  • Certified Public Accountant
EDUCATIONAL BACKGROUND
  • BSBA in Finance and Accounting, University of Nebraska, Omaha, NE
COMMUNITY SERVICE
  • Midwest YouCan Foundation, Treasurer

SIGN UP FOR OUR NEWSLETTERS!

We tap into the vast knowledge and experience within our organization to provide you with monthly content on topics and ideas that drive and challenge your company every day.

Toll-Free: 866.577.0780  |  Privacy Policy

All content © 2018 Lutz & Company, PC

OMAHA

13616 California Street, Suite 300

Omaha, NE 68154

P: 402.496.8800

HASTINGS

747 N Burlington Avenue, Suite 401

Hastings, NE 68901

P: 402.462.4154

LINCOLN 

601 P Street, Suite 103

Lincoln, NE 68508

P: 531.500.2000

GRAND ISLAND

3320 James Road, Suite 100

Grand Island, NE 68803

P: 308.382.7850

2019 Payroll Update

2019 Payroll Update

 

LUTZ BUSINESS INSIGHTS

 

2019 Payroll Update

PAYROLL TAX DEPOSITS

If you are a semi-weekly federal tax deposit employer and your payroll tax deposit is less than $100,000, your tax deposit is due Friday, January 4, 2019 for any payroll checks dated December 31, 2018. Deposits due on January 4, 2019 must be initiated electronically by Thursday, January 3, 2019 to be considered timely for withdrawal on Friday, January 4, 2019. If your payroll tax deposit is greater than $100,000, it is due the next day after the date of the payroll check. For December 31, 2018 paychecks, you must initiate the payment on Monday, December 31, 2018 to ensure timely withdrawal on Tuesday, January 2, 2019.

 

UNEMPLOYMENT INSURANCE RATE NOTICE FOR 2019

State unemployment agencies are mailing the notices of the 2019 insurance rates to employers during the months of November and December 2018. 2019 rate information for Nebraska employers is also available online through your UICONNECT account. If our office assists you with the preparation of your payroll tax returns, please forward a copy of the 2019 rate notice to our office. In addition, the state agencies often provide an opportunity to reduce the 2019 insurance rate by making a voluntary contribution. If you would like our assistance in evaluating whether to make the voluntary contribution, please forward the notice to our office as soon as possible as there is a deadline for making this contribution.

 

EMPLOYEE ADDRESSES AND SOCIAL SECURITY NUMBERS

For the purposes of preparing your 2018 Forms W-2, please review your employee list to be sure you have communicated any name and address changes to our office. If we use your accounting software to prepare your Forms W-2, please review your file to be sure all employee names, addresses, and social security numbers are correct prior to sending the backup or export files.

 

REMINDER FORMS W-2 DUE DATE

The filing deadline for 2018 Forms W-2 to the Social Security Administration is January 31, regardless if filing on paper or electronically.

 

2019 PAYROLL CHANGES

There are several important changes which affect the calculation and payment of payroll taxes. Click the button below to view the updates.

 

2019 PAYROLL TAX UPDATE

 

SIGN UP FOR OUR NEWSLETTERS!

We tap into the vast knowledge and experience within our organization to provide you with monthly content on topics and ideas that drive and challenge your company every day.

Toll-Free: 866.577.0780  |  Privacy Policy

All content © 2018 Lutz & Company, PC

OMAHA

13616 California Street, Suite 300

Omaha, NE 68154

P: 402.496.8800

HASTINGS

747 N Burlington Avenue, Suite 401

Hastings, NE 68901

P: 402.462.4154

LINCOLN 

601 P Street, Suite 103

Lincoln, NE 68508

P: 531.500.2000

GRAND ISLAND

3320 James Road, Suite 100

Grand Island, NE 68803

P: 308.382.7850

6 Things to Know About the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act

6 Things to Know About the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act

 

LUTZ BUSINESS INSIGHTS

 

6 Things to Know About the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act

JUSTIN KORTH, SENIOR ACCOUNTANT

 

If the final couple months of 2018 snuck up on you, it’s not too late to do some tax planning for the current year. It may be time for a refresher on how the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, passed last December, may affect you and/or your business.

 

If you’re filing for your own household, remember that:

1. The standard deduction has nearly doubled. All single taxpayers can now claim a $12,000 standard deduction. Married couples filing jointly will see an increase to $24,000. But the personal exemption has been eliminated, which may have an adverse effect for larger families.

2. Taxpayers who itemize will not be able to claim as many deductions. This isn’t as critical because of the increased standard deduction, but if you’re still planning to itemize, you’ll find that some deductions have been eliminated, including investment and tax preparation expenses and unreimbursed employee business expenses.

3. You can still deduct medical expenses if they exceed 7.5 percent of your Adjusted Gross Income (AGI). As far as charitable cash donations go, you’ll be able to deduct up to 60 percent of your AGI (the maximum was previously 50 percent). And if you bought a home after December 15, 2017, you’ll only be allowed to deduct mortgage interest on $750,000 of acquired debt, a reduction of $250,000. Interest on home equity loans is no longer deductible.

4. The deduction for state, personal property, and real estate taxes paid is now limited to $10,000. This change will likely force many taxpayers to use the standard deduction.

5. A bit of good news, the child tax credit has expanded. Taxpayers receive a $2,000 tax credit, of which $1,400 is refundable, for each qualifying child under age 17. The phase-out has also increased significantly, starting at $200,000 for single filers and $400,000 for joint filers.

6. Individual tax rates have been lowered. There are still seven brackets, but they now range from 10-37 percent instead of 10-39.6 percent. The brackets have also widened, meaning taxpayers benefit from lower rates on more dollars of income.

 

Good News (Mostly) for Businesses

Experts are still unpacking the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, and some rules for businesses have yet to be clarified thoroughly. Some things are clear, like the drop in the corporate tax rate to a flat 21 percent.

Others are still a little hazy. Owners of sole proprietorships and pass-through entities, like S-corporations and partnerships, will be allowed to deduct 20 percent of their Qualified Business Income (QBI) if taxable income does not exceed $157,500 for single filers or $315,000 for joint filers. Taxpayers who report more than these limits will receive a reduced deduction. Some professions (legal, medical, accounting, and other service businesses) may not be eligible for the 20 percent deduction if taxable income exceeds certain thresholds.

We’re keeping up with everything that could have an impact on your 2018 taxes, whether it’s for personal or business income. We strongly suggest you contact us soon to help determine whether you need to take some action before the end of the year.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

402.514.0007

jkorth@lutz.us

LINKEDIN

Download VCF Card

JUSTIN KORTH + SENIOR ACCOUNTANT

Justin Korth is a Staff Accountant at Lutz with over 3 years of experience in taxation. He specializes in individual, business, and fiduciary income tax returns, estate and business planning, and taxpayer representation on IRS matters. In addition, he provides consulting on small business accounting and payroll tax reporting.

AREAS OF FOCUS
  • Income, Business, and Fiduciary Income Tax Returns
  • Taxpayer Representation
  • Estate and Business Planning
  • Payroll Processing
  • Payroll Tax Reporting
  • Client Accounting Services
  • Small Business Accounting Consulting
AFFILIATIONS AND CREDENTIALS
  • Nebraska Society of Certified Public Accountants, Member, Career Committee
  • Certified Public Accountant
EDUCATIONAL BACKGROUND
  • BSBA in Accounting and Finance, University of Nebraska, Omaha, NE
COMMUNITY SERVICE
  • UNO Young Alumni Academy, Member
  • St. Vincent de Paul Knights of Columbus, Member
  • Youth Catholic Professionals, Parish Ambassador

SIGN UP FOR OUR NEWSLETTERS!

We tap into the vast knowledge and experience within our organization to provide you with monthly content on topics and ideas that drive and challenge your company every day.

Toll-Free: 866.577.0780  |  Privacy Policy

All content © 2018 Lutz & Company, PC

OMAHA

13616 California Street, Suite 300

Omaha, NE 68154

P: 402.496.8800

HASTINGS

747 N Burlington Avenue, Suite 401

Hastings, NE 68901

P: 402.462.4154

LINCOLN 

601 P Street, Suite 103

Lincoln, NE 68508

P: 531.500.2000

GRAND ISLAND

3320 James Road, Suite 100

Grand Island, NE 68803

P: 308.382.7850

5 Ways to Make Your Budgets Work

5 Ways to Make Your Budgets Work

 

LUTZ BUSINESS INSIGHTS

 

5 Ways to Make Your Budgets Work

LAUREN DUREN, SENIOR ACCOUNTANT

 

There are many reasons why a lot of small businesses don’t create budgets. They are time-consuming, difficult to create, and perhaps the most universal reason, it’s challenging to predict what your income and expenses will be in the future.

If budgeting just seems too futile to you, take heart. There are steps you can take to build a budget that works. Here are some suggestions.

 

Start with the right mindset

Take your budget seriously, but don’t think of it as an absolutely rigid document that must be followed to the letter (or rather, number). Budgets help you:

  • Better understand how you spend money and make money.
  • Recognize expense and income patterns.
  • Determine where you need improvement.

Tip: Keep your company’s overall mission and individual goals in mind. Does your proposed budget reflect these?

 

Model your budget based on historical numbers

Starting from scratch can be formidable and discouraging enough to keep you from completing this critical task. Even if your income and expenses fluctuate quite a bit from month to month, using a previous period or year as a model will provide a true representation of how your company actually performs over several months.

If you’re doing your accounting manually, this might be quite a chore. Start thinking about making the transition to QuickBooks in early 2019. If that’s not an option, at least retool your paper organizational scheme so you’re storing things by month.

Tip: Be sure to build in seasonal expenses, for example customer gifts during the holidays.

 

Make a distinction between what your company needs and what it wants

You could actually create two budgets and include your wish list in one. Work from a budget that contains conservative yet realistic amounts for each line item. You can then see if you have room for a “want.”

Some financial professionals recommend that you minimize your income projections and maximize your expense line items. This tactic forces you to stay realistic.

Tip: Don’t budget yourself to the penny, be sure to leave incomes as the end result.

 

Prioritize and be as detailed as possible

You’ve probably had to do this with your personal household budget. Your monthly fixed expenses come first, and you make decisions about the rest based on what’s left. This is a good way to motivate yourself when you’re staring at a blank piece of paper or spreadsheet.

Try to break major categories down into smaller, more specific sub-categories, but don’t overdo it. 

Tip: Does your business work from a Chart of Accounts? Look to that for help with organization and comprehensiveness.

 

Use technology

There are standalone budgeting applications available, but you would be able to work with your own company’s income and expense data if you use QuickBooks. The software contains special tools that make it easier to both create budgets and revisit them for periodic tweaking.

Tip: Let us help you get set up with QuickBooks. We know the software and we know small businesses and their budget needs. Contact us for a consultation.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

402.827.2062

 

lduren@lutz.us

 

LINKEDIN

 

LAUREN DUREN + SENIOR ACCOUNTANT

Lauren Duren is a Senior Accountant at Lutz with over three years of relevant experience. She provides outsourced accounting services to clients with a focus on tax, payroll compliance, and healthcare consulting.

AREAS OF FOCUS
  • Outsourced Accounting
  • Tax
  • Payroll Compliance
  • Healthcare Accounting Consulting
  • Nonprofit Industry
AFFILIATIONS AND CREDENTIALS
  • American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, Member
  • Nebraska Society of Certified Public Accountants, Member
  • Certified Public Accountant
EDUCATIONAL BACKGROUND
  • MBA, University of Nebraska, Omaha, NE
  • BSBA in Accounting, University of Nebraska, Omaha, NE
COMMUNITY SERVICE
  • Lutz Gives Back, Volunteer

SIGN UP FOR OUR NEWSLETTERS!

We tap into the vast knowledge and experience within our organization to provide you with monthly content on topics and ideas that drive and challenge your company every day.

Toll-Free: 866.577.0780  |  Privacy Policy

All content © 2018 Lutz & Company, PC

OMAHA

13616 California Street, Suite 300

Omaha, NE 68154

P: 402.496.8800

HASTINGS

747 N Burlington Avenue, Suite 401

Hastings, NE 68901

P: 402.462.4154

LINCOLN 

601 P Street, Suite 103

Lincoln, NE 68508

P: 531.500.2000

GRAND ISLAND

3320 James Road, Suite 100

Grand Island, NE 68803

P: 308.382.7850