Business Tech Geek

Business Tech Geek is a blog that helps individuals and small business owners navigate the world of finance, information and decision making in the 21st century. Lets learn, build wealth, and manage finances together.

Some of the topics included in this blog will be small business startup, taxes, money management, budgeting, and general finance advice from a CPA.

Credit Checks

It has never been more important to monitor your credit. At these times  of conservatism in bank lending it’s hard to get qualified for a loan and it may have just become harder.

I just read a piece in the New York Times about CoreLogic. They are a credit check agency who dives much deeper than the current big 3 in credit checks. Core logic can tell things like late rents, HOA dues late payments, cash advances of which you’ve applied, and much more.

It’s not enough to just monitor your checking balance or plan for the next paycheck. We need to be long term planning in savings, investing, and credit. All of these aspects of personal finance planning will play a big role in reaching your goals.

IRS Changes Standard Milage Rate

Because of rising fuel costs, IRS is changing the standard milage rate for business use of an automobile from $0.51 to $0.555 (55 and 1/2 cents). Since there is a mid-year change in IRS allowable rate, this means taxpayers will need to pay special attention as to log when the miles are driven. Ideally, everyone claiming standard deduction milage should be keeping a log of where they are driving, what date(s) they were driving on, and how many business miles they drove for that day.

Virtual CFO

Why a Virtual CFO? 

Many people have commented that our firm, J.H. Johnson & Associates, CPA, doesn’t advertise traditional monthly accounting services. There is a reason for that, we don’t offer traditional monthly accounting services. What our firm offers is a much richer and robust solution to your monthly accounting needs. We offer to become your CFO.

What is a CFO in the traditional sense of the word? The letters stand for chief financial officer and their role in a company is to oversee the entire financial process. A CFO and his team makes sure the accounting is completed and accurate, creates and manages budgets and forecasts, plans cash requirements, and much more. A CFO is a member of your business team. This is also a member that usually commands a high salary which many businesses can’t afford.

That’s what we at J. H. Johnson & Associates strive to be partners with our clients. The traditional accountant/client relationship entails the client bringing documents to the accountant once a month, quarter, or year, and the accountant formalizing financial statements which tell the client something of which they were probably already aware. We don’t like to stop there, we don’t want a client/firm relationship, we want to be business partners. Our success depends on our clients’s success, so why wouldn’t we want them to be successful?

As part of our Virtual CFO services we involve ourselves as much our client’s organization as they require. We don’t just do financials, our services include cash forecasting, bill payment, invoicing, payroll administration and many other services a CFO would normally have his staff complete. Our highly trained and educated staff becomes your staff. We offer our services at prices affordable to most businesses and always free consultations to help you understand how we can transform your business into an enterprise.

We at J.H Johnson & Associates, CPA uses a mix of cloud technologies and traditional technologies to find the best solutions and outcomes for our clients.

James h. Johnson
www.cpaashlandky.com

Consistancy and Precision

Constancy and precision, their importance cannot be underestimated within a business. So many times we overlook this simple necessity in our businesses in exchange for a short term payoff of rest or profits. Maybe you have to take the annual family vacation and cannot tend to your business or your dealing with more pressing issues. Sometimes problems with the quality of our product or service come from trying to service more than our capacity.

So then our question becomes, how do we keep consistency and precision when it is not us actually completing the work. Regardless of whether this work is your core product/service or if it is back office support functions, it requires consistency and precision. Even if your pressed by additional requirements from customers or employees or both, you still must carry on the same business functions. The solution is systems.

I’m not taking about computer systems, although they are included in this much broader term. What I’m referring to is a repeatable, documented processes including step by step procedures for whatever task need to be accomplished. Your teaching the man to fish instead of handing him a fish. This can be a tremendous amount of work upfront, but you can consider it a “time annuity”.

In finance, an annuity is a sum of money which is paid upfront in exchange for small payments plus interest over time. In this case, you may be dedicating a total of 160 man hours this year in setting processes and procedures, but it may free up half your year when you hire a part time employee to execute these procedures. The benefit is that you can now focus on other aspects of the business. You can stay strategic instead of getting caught up in tactical maneuvers.

An example that we use at our accounting firm may be the flow of payroll. We have two procedures, one for paper submission from our client, and one for digital submission. When the client submits their payroll, it sets off a schedule of synchronized and documented events which ends with our client’s payroll being paid to their employees, and Uncle Sam getting his part. Regardless of who completes these tasks it is done the same way every time. That is how we achieve consistency and accuracy in tax returns (every client gets a checklist), system implementations (regardless of software there is still a procedure), and even our virtual CFO services (same consistency monthly, quarterly, and annual activities).

If your a restaurant your procedures may include cooking instructions, greeting instructions, and serving instructions. If your a construction contractor then your instructions may include bidding and assigning new work. Whatever the business, when you add this strategy to your business “how to” handbook you will find many more opportunity to grow the business and live the life you set out to achieve. I hope you can apply this concept to your business.

James H. Johnson, CPA. MBA
www.cpaashlandky.com

Pumped Dry

Remember when you used the bad weather as an icebreaker because that’s the one sure fire thing that was ruining the other person’s day too? Maybe you would bring up the UK game or Reds’ score when you stopped to talk to your neighbor. Now it seems like no matter how bad the weather gets, or what’s in the news (with the exception of a couple recent headlines) we always end up sympathizing with each other on one particular subject. Gas. It’s still what everyone’s buzzing about and I’d like to add a little extra perspective.

In every big economic shift, there are always some winners and some losers. Some losers are obvious. Long distance commuters, transportation companies, and anyone driving a 4x4 are feeling the crunch. Each time they pass the pump their paycheck probably seems to get comparably and painfully smaller.

However, there are a few winners. Shareholders, investors, and executives of oil companies. OPEC countries are also big winners in this. However, those guys are not who I’m interested in blogging about. There is dialogue floating around the internet without my help. The winners that I’m rooting for are the entrepreneurs that are seeing the opportunity for them in localizing business transactions.

History has told us that the best time to start a new business is during a recession. When the tide recedes into the ocean, everyone can be on the same spot on the sand, even if they are brand new. Some companies who were started during recessions include Microsoft, IHOP, and FedEx. There are many many more.

The change in business dynamics creates opportunities everywhere. Since some of the food on you regularly eat can travel thousands of miles to arrive at your plate, the advantage is turned to the local farmer who has minimal shipping costs which offset the higher rate of labor. Maybe consumers are less likely to drive to large cities to buy luxury goods or eat at a high end restaurant, so now the advantage lies with the shop or restaurant down the street.

I would encourage anyone to take a look at what their community needs now that we can’t travel near as frequent as we have in times past. Maybe there is something you can do part time to offset the raising cost of living. A small side business or home business. It doesn’t look like there is any relief in sight, take advantage of the situation.

Introduction

Hey guys! Since I’m new to blogging and the whole blog process I’ll take a second to introduce myself and give a you some insight as to what makes me go.

First of all, I am one of two people who will be contributing to this blog. I am a CPA and am partners with Mae Deane Torgrimson, also an accountant. We will both be bringing you information to simplify business and technology that will hopefully make your life easier.

I’m a CPA and an MBA practicing accounting in Northeastern Kentucky. I am one of two owner/managers at J.H. Johnson & Associates, CPA. I am married with no kids and we live on a farm.

What drives me into public practice as an accountant and a businessman is that I see a lot of individuals and small businesses who have great ideas. They have ideas that can make a difference in their communities by creating jobs and boosting the local economy. However, they may not have the resources to compete with large multi-national companies. That’s the exact role that I’m out to fill.

My goal is to be a resource to small businesspeople and individuals giving information and financial guidance to help them take their business to whatever the next level may be. I love the challenge of business growth and development. I also like to help small businesses and individuals harness the power of technology in their business decision making and everyday life.

That’s enough about me, now lets make money together!

JHJ

Just me!

Just me!