Small Business Saturday

It’s the day after Thanksgiving. Everyone’s eaten and drunk more than they should, and some have been able to enjoy time with family and/or friends. Then the aftermath of shopping insanity (I saw the lines outside a major chain starting after dinner on Thursday) — “Black Friday” has its name because many retail businesses are “in the red” in terms of profit until the last six weeks of the year. This shopping frenzy begins on Black Friday, but in recent years, “Small Business Saturday” promotions have begun to win the hearts of many a shopper who doesn’t want to push and shove, or who values the sense of community and dedication that these small business owners bring to a neighborhood.

Keep an eye out for additional promotions from local Chambers of Commerce for those who Shop Small and Buy Local during Small Business Saturday, like these from my own neighborhood in Logan Square, Chicago. Email your receipt from any of the participating shops to for your chance to win gift cards, free classes and more. A full list of participating stores can be found on the Small Business Saturday in Logan Square Facebook event page.

The Small Business Administration released a PSA recently and lots of advice for small business owners on how to prepare for the holiday season.

Find Participating Businesses near you: Small Business Saturday | Shop Small.

NSAC Cooperative Learning Network – Upcoming Webinars

The National Society of Accountants for Cooperatives offers some great online learning resources from time-to-time, and in today’s e-newsletter update, a few in particular were listed that caught my attention. In particular, George Benson and Teree Castanias are excellent, knowledgeable presenters, and Don Frederick — himself a legend in the co-op tax world — does a great job introducing the concept of co-op taxation.

Book vs Tax vs Hybrid Basis of Paying Patronage
Tuesday, November 14, 2017
02:00 PM EST / 01:00 PM CST / 12:00 PM MST / 11:00 AM PST

A cooperative must return the profits of its patronage operations to the member/patrons based on the business done with the cooperative for the year. But how that income is computed (book, tax or hybrid) will create very different results. How the cooperative addresses this issue can have important financial and member relations implications.


Fraud Risk Management for Cooperatives
Wednesday, December 06, 2017
11:00 AM EST / 10:00 AM CST / 09:00 AM MST / 08:00 AM PST

Cooperatives face a multitude of risks every day. How that risk is managed can affect the long-term success of the organization. Fraud Risk Management for Cooperatives focuses on recognizing risks, especially related to the difficult topic of fraud, and building a simple, actionable organization wide plan to effectively manage those fraud risks.


Basic A&A Seminar
Tuesday, December 12, 2017
11:00 AM EST / 10:00 AM CST / 09:00 AM MST / 08:00 AM PST

This 4-hour, 4-CPE credit course, is designed for new hires and other employe es of cooperatives and firms serving cooperatives that can benefit from training in the unique nature of cooperatives.

Introduction to Cooperatives – Donald Frederick (11:00 am – 12:00 pm
During this presentation we explain the foundation for doing business on a cooperative basis, with special emphasis on the owner-customer role of a co-op’s members. We discuss the rich history of cooperatives in America, the many types of cooperatives in our communities, and conclude with an examination of the benefits of having businesses operate as cooperatives.

Equity Management & Inter-Cooperative Investments – Phil Miller (12:00 pm – 1:00 pm
The course discusses the various types of Cooperative Equity and introduces the concepts of Equity Redemption. It discusses the Components of Inter-Cooperative Investments and why Co-ops so often invest in each other. It covers Balance Sheet and Income Statement Presentation, Timing and Recognition issues, Footnote Disclosures, and Impairment Questions related specifically to Inter-Cooperative Investments.

Lunch (1:00 pm – 1:30 pm
The audio portion of the CLN will be suspended during this time.

Basic Cooperative Taxation – Donald Frederick (1:30 pm – 2:30 pm
During this session we discuss the unique Federal income tax treatment of cooperatives. We focus on how tax law supports equity accumulation by cooperatives, particularly the patronage refund. We conclude by providing a set of tools to facilitate tax planning by cooperatives and their professional advisers.

Co-op GAAP – Phil Miller (2:30 pm – 3:30 pm
The course discusses how all GAAP is applicable to co-ops, but also how some GAAP applies specifically to only co-ops. We will discuss the two single pieces of GAAP that form the basis for Co-op GAAP, plus one piece of GAAP that applies to electric co-ops. We will discuss how NSAC has contributed to the body of Co-op GAAP over the years and will finish with a discussion of the new FASB Codification and how Co-op GAAP is contained within the Codification.


Record Retention Policies and Practices: A Legal Perspective
Tuesday, January 16, 2018
11:00 AM EST / 10:00 AM CST / 09:00 AM MST / 08:00 AM PST

What documents do you have to keep?? Can you destroy documents?? This session will answer those questions and discuss organizing, cataloguing, r etaining and routinely destroying documents to allow you to review your process at your organization.? The process of creating and enforcing a formal policy for document retention with attendant schedules will be examined, and the annual documentation that should accompany the policy will be discussed. Legal holds for documents and leading practices for routine destruction will also be reviewed


Advanced A&A Seminar
Wednesday, March 14, 2018
11:00 AM EST / 10:00 AM CST / 09:00 AM MST / 08:00 AM PST

This 4-hour webinar is designed for recent hires and other employees of cooperatives and firms serving cooperatives that can benefit from training in the unique nature of cooperatives. The three modules presented in this course include Hedge Acco unting, Advanced Cooperative Taxation and Co-op Ratio Analysis.


The full list of online webinars can be found at the NSAC Cooperative Learning Network.

IRS Filing Date Announcements

The IRS made two announcements yesterday about filing dates. One is that for Tax Year 2016, E-File closes this Saturday, November 18; after that, disaster victims and others need to file on paper.

While most individuals have already filed their 2016 federal tax returns, certain taxpayers may qualify for an extension until Jan. 31, 2018. This includes taxpayers who live in a federally declared disaster area, have a U.S. tax filing obligation, and had previously obtained a valid 6-month extension of time to file their federal tax return.

The second announcement is that the IRS has not yet set the date on which they will be accepting Tax Year 2017 returns.

Speculation on the Internet that the IRS will begin accepting tax returns on Jan. 22 or after the Martin Luther King Jr. Day holiday in January is inaccurate and misleading; no such date has been set.

The IRS must keep an eye on pending legislation and extender tax provisions that may be renewed, and then finish updating programming and processing systems before they can announce a filing season start-date.

However, they also explain that:

Due to law changes first affecting last year’s returns, the IRS cannot issue refunds for tax returns claiming the EITC or ACTC before mid-February. This law requires the IRS to hold the entire refund — even the portion not associated with the EITC or ACTC. However, there is no need to wait to file such returns since the IRS will process them to the point of refund and then begin refund release when permitted by law.

Six Common Client Financial Mistakes

The AICPA‘s Journal of Accountancy ran a short but excellent article today noting the six most common financial mistakes that clients make:

  1. Miscalculating startup costs or personal funds.
  2. Failing to plan and project.
  3. Buying unnecessarily.
  4. Failing to analyze all revenue streams.
  5. Ignoring the human element in mergers and acquisitions.
  6. Delaying a succession plan.

They stress the importance of having a proactive approach, involving proper management training — rather than procrastinating, overreacting, or calling their CPA in a panic when facing over-extension, employee problems, customer losses, or even bankruptcy.

With small businesses, we see these issues regularly, but especially the first two, which are intrinsically related — miscalculating or underestimating startup costs is the number one mistake we see clients make when starting a business, and going into operations under-capitalized is a harbinger of difficulties to come. However, with more planning and projection (second on the above list), one can come much closer to an accurate estimate of startup costs — we always recommend working with a professional to create fluid forecasts, “what-if” projections, and “worse-case”/”best case”/”expected” scenarios.

Source: 6 common client financial mistakes – Journal of Accountancy