News & Events

Counseling Is Often More Valuable Than a Small-Business Loan

The following article appeared online in The Wall Street Journal  on July 7, 2014

Borrowing may not be the best way to solve financial woes.

By  AMI KASSAR

The head of the U.S. Small Business Administration, Maria Contreras-Sweet, made a bold statement this week in an interview regarding the state of small-business lending and the SBA’s role in aiding small businesses. Ms. Contreras-Sweet said “the counseling is almost more important than the lending.”

What she is referring to is something I encounter on a regular basis as well. Small-business owners often believe that loans are a remedy for nearly all business problems. However, a loan isn’t always the best answer. In fact, it can oftentimes worsen the problems small-business owners are facing by putting them even deeper into debt when that may be unnecessary.

By acknowledging the fact that many small-business owners use loans as a crutch or a Band Aid for lingering business problems, Ms. Contreras-Sweet is taking a definitive step toward helping small businesses across the country grow responsibly and with purpose. As a co-founder of a bank servicing small businesses, she knows firsthand how many discussions with business owners seeking financing progress.

When small-business owners call my loan-brokerage firm seeking capital, the first thing that we ask is why they need the money. You’d be surprised that most can’t directly answer this question. From our experience, many get in a tough spot financially and think that they need a loan to fix their problems instead of looking at the true root of the problem.

A few months ago, I spoke to an owner who was in a cash crisis. He thought that he needed a large loan in order to pull his business out of a deep financial hole. When I asked him what the problem with the business was, he said that he thought it had something to do with his marketing and low conversion rate.

I counseled him to put his focus into his company’s marketing endeavors to improve sales conversions instead of taking out a large loan that would only increase financial stress on the company in the long run due to monthly payments and interest rates.

By talking with business owners about the roots of their problems and how they can possibly solve these—without taking a loan—Ms. Contreras-Sweet and others from the lending industry are doing a great service. The need for quality mentoring is just as vital as the need for faster bank-loan processing, or the need for more transparency in the alternative-lending space.

About the Author:   Ami Kassar founded MultiFunding LLC, based near Philadelphia, which helps small businesses around the country find sources of financing. (MultiFunding at times accepts fees from lenders that agree to make loans.)

 

 

March 2nd, 2015|Categories: All|

Requirements for Issuing 1099s

The following, from Gail Rosen, CPA, PC in her Jan. 2015 newsletter contains important Information for small business owners about the requirements for issuing 1099s for all 2014 payments to unincorporated individuals and businesses of $600 or more (rents, services, prizes, attorney fees, etc):

Federal & state taxing authorities increasingly focus their attention in this area, imposing penalties which otherwise might be avoided.
We strongly encourage you to consider the following:
• First, you need to determine if you have a trade or business. If you are operating to make a gain or profit, you have a trade or business. If you run a nonprofit organization, a government agency, or a trust of a qualified pension or profit-sharing employer plan, such are considered trades or businesses for 1099 purposes. The IRS made significant changes to the form 1099-MISC reporting requirements and expanded the types of payees and payments applicable. While the IRS might have previously abated the steep penalties, we’re advised such may not be the case in the future.
• Thoroughly review all disbursements made from January 1, 2014 through December 31, 2014, summarizing all payments to unincorporated individuals and businesses where accumulated total is $600 or more. You should make sure that you have the correct name, employer identification or social security number and address. If you’re unable to confirm if a particular establishment is a corporation or not, issuing a 1099 might be a wise precaution.
• Beyond having to possibly subject yourself to the government auditor, if you fail to file a correct information return timely, you fail to include all information required to be on a return or you include incorrect information on a return, you can be subjected to an array of steep penalties if you cannot show reasonable cause. If the payee fails to furnish his or her taxpayer identification number (TIN), they are subject to backup withholding at a 28% rate. If you do not collect and pay backup withholding from affected payees as required, you may become liable for any uncollected amount. A good policy is to request every vendor to complete and provide a W-9 before you pay them.
• Firms maintaining trust or escrow accounts need to review these disbursements as well. Payments frequently overlooked, where 1099s should be issued, include payments out of these trust accounts as well as disbursements for interest, rentals, contracted services (other than for employees), part-timers where W-2s are not required or issued, commissions, individuals performing plant maintenance or cleaning services, etc. 1099s are required for individuals, partnerships, an LLC, etc. Do not think that just because a payment is made to a “company”, that it is a corporation.
• Payments to attorneys for legal fees that amount to $600 or more should be reported in box 7 of form 1099-misc. even if the attorney is incorporated. Report in box 14 of that form payments or gross proceeds paid to an attorney, such as in a settlement agreement, unless the attorney’s fees are reportable by you in box 7. The exemption for payments to corporations does not apply to payments for legal services.
Many clients have followed our suggestion having 1099s prepared by in-house staff or payroll service bureaus to keep professional fees at a minimum. Regardless, it is incumbent upon such firms to make sure that they still have someone review all 2014 expenditures since we’ve seen all too many types of payments go undetected.

Gail Rosen, CPA, PC
www.gailrosencpa.com
grosen@gailrosencpa.com
2032 Washington Valley Rd.
Martinsville, NJ 08836
732.469.4202

January 16th, 2015|Categories: All|

Healthy Balance 2014 Success Award Winner

Jane Bowers, owner of Healthy Balance

Jane Bowers, owner of Healthy Balance

Jane Bowers
Healthy Balance
1239 US Highway 22 East
Lebanon, NJ 08833

While growing up in rural Hunterdon County, Jane Bowers of Healthy Balance loved being outside identifying plants but often suffered from allergies and other sinus ailments. In high school, her Biology teachers encouraged her to experiment by microscopically studying the effects of natural supplements added to single-cell organisms, and referred her to references on herbal therapeutics – a field Bowers has extensively researched and studied under regional experts such as David Winston of the Herbal Therapeutics’ School of Botanical Medicine.

In 1980 Jane opened up her first health food and supplement store, Good Food Grocer, in Clinton, NJ. In 1990 she sold the store and committed herself to other personal projects. By 1995, she decided it was time to return to the retail trade she enjoyed so much. She became manager of a fledgling retail store which opened in March of the previous year. She purchased that store, Balance Health, in Lebanon, NJ in 2007 and changed the name to Healthy Balance.

Healthy Balance specializes in gluten-free foods, herbs, and a vast inventory of supplements that support your “healthy balance.” Bowers tells Healthy Balance customers, “We have an ‘Intel chip’ in our body that allows us to read and understand natural data (herbs and natural compounds).” She believes the point of using herbal therapeutics is to help a person find wellness naturally rather than by being treated for individual symptoms with artificial substances.

In August 2011 Bowers’ office manager was experiencing problems with Quickbooks which created a posting backlog and hampered her ability to calculate cash flow. The NJ Small Business Development Center (NJSBDC) at Raritan Valley Community College (RVCC) assigned Quickbooks Pro-Advisor counselor, Linda Dousis, to address these concerns. After several productive sessions Dousis put Healthy Balance back on the right path. When her office manager left in January of 2012, Ms. Bowers requested assistance from the SBDC to evaluate accounting methodology and procedures for her business.

Bill Harnden, NJSBDC at RVCC Regional Director, conducted an assessment and laid out a strategic accounting procedural plan for her. Bowers also wanted to improve her social media marketing. NJSBDC counselors Maria Semple and Roland Reinhart were assigned to train her on Constant Contact, Google AdWords, LinkedIn and advertising on Facebook.

In 2014 Bowers saw the need to move Healthy Balance to new premises free of the structural and ground maintenance issues, parking limitations, and other liabilities that had plagued its original location. The move has had a positive effect on Healthy Balance’s operating margin, an edge Harnden assists Bowers in keeping by going over her profit-and-loss numbers on a regular basis.

Bowers continually strives to maintain the success of Healthy Balance by keeping a tight inventory, cutting costs wherever she can, and always offering excellent service, attention to detail, and good information to Healthy Balance customers. This holistic approach to her business operations, along with her utilization of the resources offered by the SBDC@RVCC, has resulted in a 6% increase in annual sales and 9% increase in annual net profit.

December 10th, 2014|Categories: All, Awards|

Is Your Business Ready for the Next Disaster?

America's Small Business Development Centers - New Jersey

 SBDC Header People Crop

Can you afford your business being down for a few days?  Can you afford losing valuable business machinery and equipment? Do you have a plan for how to protect your business if it is struck by a major disaster? Disasters come in many shapes and sizes, often when least expected – the one thing you can count on is that eventually something will happen that will negatively affect your normal level of doing business.
     If you would like to learn how to put a plan of action into place before the next disaster occurs, the NJSBDC at RVCC stands ready to assist you. Our team of experienced counselors will work with you onsite at your workplace to help you first assess, then create a plan to protect your valuable business assets in the case of a disaster striking. If you would like to arrange an appointment for an SBDC counselor to visit your business and assist you with creating a disaster plan, please call the SBDC at (908) 526-1200, Ext. 8516, or email us at sbdc@raritanval.edu.

U.S. Small Business Administrationlogo-rvcc-150x65

October 21st, 2014|Categories: All|

Webinar: Dealing with the IRS ~ What You Need to Know

Eisner Amper logo

SBDC at RVCC Small Business Partner, EisnerAmper, will be conducting a free webinar:

Dealing with the IRS: What You Need to Know

Join in a timely and informative one-hour webinar on a practical step-by-step process for quick resolution of  IRS inquiries, including obtaining authorization and deciding on appropriate contact techniques and reply formats for responding to the most common types of math errors, CP 2000 proposed adjustments and collection notices.

The webinar will provide business leaders, executives, accounting personnel and professionals with the tools and information needed to deal with the IRS.  Participants will learn how to:

  • Recognize and become familiar with the common types of notices the IRS sends to taxpayers
  • Define IRS’ tax assessment and collection process and procedure
  • Identify appropriate responses to IRS notices to achieve quick resolution of the issue.

Speakers:

Dan Gibson, Partner, EisnerAmper LLP

Timothy Schuster, Senior, EisnerAmper LLP

 Thursday, October 23, 2014

12 PM – 1 PM

Delivery Method: Group-Internet Based 

Level: Basic

Advance Preparation: None  Prerequisites: None

Cost: Free

PLEASE CLICK HERE TO REGISTER

Please contact Jenna Prager at jenna.prager@eisneramper.com with questions regarding registration. There is no fee to attend this course.  For more information regarding administrative policies such as cancellations and complaints, please contact Rob Levine at 212.891.4034.

EisnerAmper LLP is registered with the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy (NASBA) as a sponsor of continuing professional education on the National Registry of CPE Sponsors. State boards of accountancy have final authority on the acceptance of individual courses for CPE credit. Complaints regarding registered sponsors may be addressed to the National Registry of CPE Sponsors through its website: www.learningmarket.org. EisnerAmper LLP National Registry Sponsor No. 108139.
New York State recognizes live CPE programs offered by NASBA sponsors as long as they are presented outside of NYS. Live CPE programs presented within NYS (including webcasts originating in NYS) and self study programs are recognized by NYS only if they are offered by a NYS-registered sponsor. EisnerAmper LLP is a NYS-registered sponsor (No. 000256).  Texas recognizes CPE programs offered by NASBA sponsors, but requires registration with the state board. EisnerAmper LLP is a registered sponsor in Texas (No. 010023)
 

 

October 8th, 2014|Categories: All|

NJ SBDC Client Northeast Power Dry Wins Recognition from SCBP

The Somerset County Business Partnership (SCBP) has named NJ SBDC@RVCC client Northeast Power Dry, a professional water removal and drying service located in Bridgewater, NJ, as a recipient of the SCBP 2014 Economic Vitality Award. 

Recipients in the private sector category have made a positive impact on the quality of life and economic vitality in Somerset County in areas including job creation and retention, job training and retraining, sales growth, profitability and reinvestment, increased assets, and influx of new dollars from outside the area. Non-profit recipients have demonstrated a record of significant impact on the quality of life of the targeted constituency and the County in the areas of growth of constituency served, innovative programming, and contribution of volunteer base. 

The Economic Vitality Awards will be presented at the Somerset County Business Partnership Annual Meeting on Monday, December 15, 2014 at the Palace at Somerset Park, 333 Davidson Avenue in Somerset, New Jersey. The day’s activities will begin with a networking reception at 11:30 A.M. followed by the luncheon at 12:15 P.M.

September 26th, 2014|Categories: All|

SBA Loan Fees Update: 7a and 504 Fees Effective Oct. 1, 2014

Each year the Small Business Administration (SBA) reviews certain fees payable to SBA by 7(a) participating lenders (“Lenders”), Certified Development Companies (“CDCs”), and borrowers to determine if any of those fees need to be adjusted to cover estimated subsidy costs of the 7(a) and 504 loan programs.

This Notice announces the FY 2015 yearly fee (also known as the “on-going guaranty fee” or the “annual service fee”) and upfront guaranty fee for all 7(a) loans, including a reduction in the upfront guaranty fee and the yearly fee for all 7(a) loans in the amount of $150,000 or less. These fees are effective for 7(a) loans approved October 1, 2014 through September 30, 2015.

Additionally, this Notice announces that there are no changes to fees for 504 loans approved during FY2015.

A separate notice providing information about reduced fees for certain 7(a) loans approved under SBA Veterans Advantage is also being issued.)

 For 7(a) loans greater than $150,000 approved in FY2015:  

  1. The yearly fee will be 0.519 percent (51.9 basis points) of the guaranteed portion of the outstanding balance of the loan. Lenders will need to manually adjust this fee in the current Authorization Wizard.
  2. The upfront guaranty fee will continue to depend on the loan amount and the maturity of the loan.
    • For loans with a maturity that exceeds 12 months, the applicable guaranty fees remain:
      • For loans of $150,001 to $700,000:   3% of the guaranteed portion
      • For loans of $700,001 to $5,000,000:   3.5% of the guaranteed portion up to $1,000,000 PLUS 3.75% of the guaranteed portion over $1,000,000
    • For loans with a maturity of 12 months or less, the guaranty fee remains 0.25% of the guaranteed portion.

For guidance on when these fees are due, see SOP 50 10 5(F), Subpart B, Chapter 3.

 For 7(a) loans in the amount of $150,000 or less approved in FY2015:

  1. Both the yearly fee and the upfront guaranty fee will be zero. As the fees charged to the lenders will be zero, lenders may not charge a guaranty fee to the borrower in connection with these loans. Lenders will need to manually adjust these fees in the current Authorization Wizard.
  2. If two or more SBA-guaranteed loans are approved within 90 days of each other, the guaranty fee is determined based on the aggregate amount of the loans. This represents no change to current policy. Thus, if the total amount of multiple loans approved within 90 days is greater than $150,000, the normal fees will apply. NOTE: Lenders are not permitted to split loans for the purpose of avoiding fees.

 For 504 loans approved during FY2015:

There are no changes to the fees on these loans. The annual fee continues to be 0.9375 percent (93.75 basis points) of the outstanding balance of the loan, and the one-time guaranty fee continues to be 0.50% (50 basis points).

Notification and Questions

SBA field offices must notify Lenders and CDCs about the fees. Questions concerning this Notice should be directed to the lender relations specialist in the local SBA field office. The local SBA field office may be found at www.sba.gov/about-offices-list/2.

September 26th, 2014|Categories: All|

SBDC @ RVCC Bridgewater Assists Client AR&C Hamilton LLC to Secure $5M Loan

AR&C Hamilton LLC, Hamilton Township NJ

AR&C Hamilton LLC, Hamilton Township NJ

Recently, AR&C Hamilton LLC received the welcome news that a $5M loan had been secured for the business with Fulton Bank of New Jersey.  

Working with Fulton’s commercial lender manager Julie Moriarty of the Flemington branch and principals of AR&C, SBDC Regional Director Bill Harnden provided assistance to help develop and secure the loan, which will be used to expand AR&C’s self-storage business operations.

An AR&C company spokesperson said: “Many thanks to Bill Harnden and the New Jersey Small Business Development Center at Raritan Valley Community College. Through their introduction and direction, we were able to close a $5 million mortgage with Fulton Bank of New Jersey. We are grateful for their professionalism, and recommend them to any small business seeking help and direction.”  

July 21st, 2014|Categories: All|

Important Information: Issuing 1099 Forms

Below is information provided by Gail Rosen, CPA, PC in her January 2014 newsletter:

 We just wanted to remind you of your requirements to file 1099’s for all 2013 payments to unincorporated individuals and businesses of $600 or more (rents, services, prizes, attorney fees, etc). The federal & state taxing authorities increasingly focus their attention in this area, imposing penalties which otherwise might be avoided.

We strongly encourage you to consider the following:

  • First, you need to determine if you have a trade or business. If you are operating to make a gain or profit, you have a trade or business. If you run a nonprofit organization, a government agency, or a trust of a qualified pension or profit-sharing employer plan, such are considered trades or businesses for 1099 purposes. The IRS made significant changes to the form 1099-MISC reporting requirements and expanded the types of payees and payments applicable. While the IRS might have previously abated the steep penalties, we’re advised such may not be the case in the future.
  • Thoroughly review all disbursements made from January 1, 2013 through December 31, 2013, summarizing all payments to unincorporated individuals and businesses where accumulated total is $600 or more. You should make sure that you have the correct name, employer identification or social security number and address. If you’re unable to confirm if a particular establishment is a corporation or not, issuing a 1099 might be a wise precaution.
  • Beyond having to possibly subject yourself to the government auditor, if you fail to file a correct information return timely, you fail to include all information required to be on a return or you include incorrect information on a return, you can be subjected to an array of steep penalties if you cannot show reasonable cause. If the payee fails to furnish his or her taxpayer identification number (TIN), they are subject to backup withholding at a 28% rate. If you do not collect and pay backup withholding from affected payees as required, you may become liable for any uncollected amount. A good policy is to request every vendor to complete and provide a W-9 before you pay them.
  • Firms maintaining trust or escrow accounts need to review these disbursements as well. Payments frequently overlooked, where 1099s should be issued, include payments out of these trust accounts as well as disbursements for interest, rentals, contracted services (other than for employees), part-timers where W-2s are not required or issued, commissions, individuals performing plant maintenance or cleaning services, etc. 1099s are required for individuals, partnerships, an LLC, etc. Do not think that just because a payment is made to a “company”, that it is a corporation.
  • Payments to attorneys for legal fees that amount to $600 or more should be reported in box 7 of form 1099-misc. even if the attorney is incorporated. Report in Box 14 of that form payments or gross proceeds paid to an attorney, such as in a settlement agreement, unless the attorney’s fees are reportable by you in Box 7. The exemption for payments to corporations does not apply to payments for legal services.

Many clients have followed our suggestion of having 1099s prepared by in-house staff or payroll service bureaus to keep professional fees at a minimum.

Provided by: 

 Gail Rosen, CPA, PC
2032 Washington Valley Rd.
Martinsville, NJ 08836
732.469.4202
www.gailrosencpa.com
grosen@gailrosencpa.com

 

January 17th, 2014|Categories: All|

SBDC Client, Balic of Clinton, Is Still Going Strong

 SBDC clients, Joan Schaming and Ron Williams, are celebrating Balic of Clinton’s ninth year of operation.  Schaming and Williams open their doors in the fall of 2004 with a vision of creating a unique wine boutique in the quaint, historic town of Clinton in Hunterdon County.  Balic of Clinton features over 20 wines from Balic Winery of Mays Landing.  Reds, whites, semi-sweets as well as six fruit wines (Blackberry, Blueberry, Cherry, Cranberry, Mango, Raspberry and Pomegranate).  All wines are offered for tasting every day. Balic of Clinton also offers the largest selection of wine accessories in the area including wine decanters and crystal, wine aerators, electric wine openers, wine totes and picnic baskets/backpacks as well as other wine necessities. Gift baskets (custom and pre-made) and personalized labeling add to the special experience at Balic of Clinton. 

Balic of Clinton is located at 20 Main Street in Clinton, NJ 08809.  Visit their website at http://www.balicofclinton.com

November 26th, 2013|Categories: All|