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So far Alley Rubadeau has created 20 blog entries.
7 06, 2021

The Startup End Game

2021-06-07T20:57:31+00:00

The hardest part about starting a business is starting. We have talked a lot about how to make the leap into entrepreneurship but we rarely talk about the end game. If you haven’t also planned your end game, you may be building a trap from which you find difficult to escape. The reality is, you must not only plan your startup strategy but also your exit strategy.

Whether you plan on selling your business or not, it is important to plan your exit with your personal goals in mind. In this article, we will go over why it’s crucial to have a plan as well as the flexibility to change the plan, and the multiple ways you can say adios to your business and make a graceful exit.

Figure Out Your Goals

Let’s first be clear about your goals and what kind of business you are trying to build. Is this going to be a lifestyle business? Will you want to pass it down to your children? Is this a small side hustle that you will run alongside your day job? Or is this going to be something of value that you would like to sell to a new owner one day? Being clear on your goals will help guide you in the decision making process.

Team Makes the Dream

Whitewater rafting

By understanding what kind of business you want to build and your exit strategy, you will be able to form the right team around you that meets the needs and goals of your business. You may want to surround yourself with employees who share the same long term vision. For example, if your ultimate goal is to sell your business, your future buyer might be one of your current employees… that just may determine the conversation and direction you have today in planning for tomorrow.

Who’s Going to Replace You?

You may have anxiety about who is going to run your company when you decide to transition. Having a plan will relieve some of the stress and potential pitfalls that may come when dealing with customers and your employee team both now and in the future during a sale.

Be thinking now. Do not make yourself irreplaceable. Ensure you delegate as much as you possibly can. If you can’t delegate a task, train someone.

Don’t make your company your name. It’s very hard for someone other than Kim to own and operate “Kim’s Accounting Business”. Make it something easily transferable.

Make sure you are not the only point of contact for your customers. Get managers in place that can have those conversations for you. Get yourself out of the “operation”….ultimately as an owner you want to work on your business, not in your business. Everything you do during the startup phase should be pointing you in this direction.

Even if you are a “one-person-show” owner/operator, there are things that you can do to position your business for a sale. Build strong, tight workflows that are easily taught to a new owner. Document everything; how the work is managed, who you serve, absolutely everything should have a system in place that you can explain to another individual.

Be Flexible

Entrepreneur planning

Just because you set a goal of building a lifestyle business and moving steady eddy doesn’t mean you should not take the opportunity someone wants to buy your company. You should be ready! You may have had a vision of building up your lifestyle company slowly only to realize you are solving a bigger problem than you anticipate and are growing rapidly. The opposite may be true if you are planning on building a large, rapidly growing business and you experience slow growth. Being flexible and rolling with the punches is all part of the startup game.

Takeaway

The act of creating this plan should include the experts that know how to do such things: a business coach, an accountant, a business broker, and perhaps an attorney to guide you through the entire process both during startup and when approaching your exit. By putting together all these strategies in a robust plan for the duration of your business, you will be better prepared when it comes time to move on to your next venture. Having a plan will give you peace of mind when the day to day stresses creep up on you.

At Singletrack Accounting, we are with you every step of the way throughout your business lifecycle. It’s sometimes hard to plan for the long run when you are day to day building the start of a business, however having your paperwork and books in order will make the endgame a smooth transition regardless of the way you plan to exit. We offer full service accounting and business consulting. No entrepreneur should go at it alone and we are here to help you with expert advice while you plan the future. Reach out for a free consultation.

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13 05, 2021

How Biden’s Proposed Tax Bill Will Affect Small Businesses

2021-05-13T14:32:26+00:00

The new presidential administration has proposed a large new tax bill to offset other priorities such as improving infrastructure, funding the American Rescue Plan, combating employment inequality and tackling climate change. These are expected to be financed with increased taxes targeted at high income brackets and corporations. According to the Tax Policy Center, the tax hikes would generate $2.4 trillion dollars between 2021 and 2030.

We have been getting questions lately on how the new tax bill will affect small businesses. The main points the new tax bill proposes should not affect most small businesses and Biden has made it clear that he will only tax “the rich.” But what does that actually mean for small businesses owners?

Corporate Tax Rate

The proposed corporate tax rate would see an increase from 21% to 28%. This is still less than under other presidents such as Clinton, Bush, and Obama where the corporate tax rate was 35%. This is good news for the small businesses that have been hit the hardest in 2020 since they will most likely be exempt. The last thing the administration wants to do is put these businesses through more hardship. Big giants such as Amazon and WalMart who have significantly profited from the pandemic will see this tax increase, while the mom and pop ski shop most likely will not.

You may be wondering how you know if your business is in line with the tax increase since there is not a clear definition of what constitutes a “small business”. While this is not yet determined, it will most likely be that the administration sets a threshold of greater than 2.5 million dollars in annual profit or over $400,000 in individual income. Only about 10% of businesses would fall into this category while the rest of the 90% of businesses will see no change to their corporate tax rate. It’s targeting Wall Street not Main Street.

If you are a pass through business owner (s-corp, LLC, partnerships, and sole proprietors) which is the category most of our clients fall under, the tax bill would phase out the qualified business income deductions if you make over that 2.5 million dollar profit or over $400,000 in individual income. Let’s break this down into two scenarios.

Examples

Joe owns a small business named “Joe’s Ski Shop.” His annual profit is $400,000. He pays $100,000 to his employees and he pays $100,000 (subject to typical payroll taxes) to himself as a salaried employee. This leaves $200,000 as business profit left over to be taxed at ~20%. Therefore; his tax bill in April would be roughly $40,000 ($200,000 x .20). Since his personal income is under $400,000, nothing would change for Joe.

Mary owns a large advertising firm. Her annual profit is $2,000,000. She pays $1,000,000 to her employees and she pays herself $500,000 leaving an additional $500,000 exposed. Under Trump’s tax plan, that $500,000 of exposed income would be taxed as qualified business income (pass through income) at around ~29%. With Biden’s new tax plan, since her income is so high, she would not be able to have the pass through deduction and would be taxed in the highest proposed income bracket which is 39.6%. Therefore; her tax bill in April would be $198,000 ($500,000 x .396) under Biden’s policy, a $50,000 increase.

In order to avoid large corporations from manipulating the system and paying no corporate taxes, Biden has proposed a 15% minimum corporate tax. It may come as a breath of fresh air to stop hearing stories about large corporations paying no federal income tax and in some cases even receiving a refund.

Bonus:

In order to increase production in the United States, there is a proposed 10% “Made in America” tax cut for companies who produce products in the US and hire US employees instead of farming out work overseas.

Tips

In order to successfully navigate any changes, here are a few tips for small business owners:

1- Wait until the tax plan gets signed. Right now, the Biden administration has been focused on COVID relief and like all of America has not paid much attention to taxes yet… We cannot predict the future and until we get a concrete plan, there’s no sense in stressing. It’s just a proposal right now and will have a long road ahead to become policy.

2- Stay informed and collaborate on the best way to handle any changes that could be coming your way. Does it make sense to put more into retirement? Should you switch to growth mode and hire more people instead of putting profit in savings?

3- Schedule a meeting with a consultant. Our team of experts can help you navigate the dynamic and rapidly changing tax policy to get you set on the best strategies moving forward. No small business is the same and having a professional on your side could save you thousands.

Takeaway

Unless you fall into the top 1%, the new President has said that he will not raise taxes on small business. If you’re a startup or small business not making a huge profit, there is no reason to lose sleep over the proposed tax plan. You would be better off brainstorming about how to position your business to capture the economic lift created from all the new infrastructure projects that will happen in your area. Construction workers spend those paychecks on Main Street.

However; nothing is set in stone and our team is diligently monitoring the situation to see if anything changes. If you are wondering how the new proposed tax plan will affect your small business, reach out to our team of experts and schedule a free consultation.

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12 04, 2021

Q&A With A Founder

2021-04-12T22:13:44+00:00

At Singletrack Accounting, we love hearing from happy small business owners that our team has saved time, headaches, and the stress of the dreaded tax filing season. In addition, as entrepreneurs ourselves, we enjoy connecting with our customers and learning their struggles as well as what makes them tick. We sat down with one of our customers, Alley Rubadeau, from Chair 9 Marketing and did a Q&A with Kim Hornsby, Singletrack’s founder.

Kim: What inspired you to go off on your own and start your own business?

Alley: Freedom. I dreaded the idea of living somewhere that did not fit my lifestyle and I feared not being able to spend my time the way I wanted to. I’ve always had somewhat of an issue of sitting in a cubicle and being “just a number.” Becoming the boss of myself seemed logical. Yes, I technically have multiple “bosses” since I work for clients but I can choose which projects excite me and craft a schedule that fits my lifestyle. I schedule meetings around the things I enjoy doing such as taking a hike in the middle of the day or taking off a Friday to head to the mountains. This may mean I sometimes work longer nights or weekends but the freedom of being the boss of my schedule was my main motivator. Once I started running towards entrepreneurship life 6 years ago, I never looked back.

Kim: When you first started your business, was accounting on your mind?

Alley: Not exactly. When I first took the leap to go off on my own, I knew I had to manage my books and stay compliant but I was naive to the time commitment and the complexity of accounting. Yes, I was concerned with how much revenue was coming in but I wasn’t concerned with the specifics such as what type of business to form, how to categorize my expenses, and how to correctly run payroll. I was determined to do everything myself and I was in the dark on how much my expenses were compared to my revenue. I was only looking at the number at the end of the month of how much profit I retained in my bank account.

Kim: What was the turning point in your business where you thought “Hey, maybe it’s a good idea to hire an accountant?”

Alley: In 2016, I specifically remember being on vacation in New York City, having to sit out of sightseeing for the day to file taxes. I was sulking in my AirBnb pressing submit before midnight on April 15th. While this was poor planning on my part, I didn’t anticipate the complexity of filing business returns. The next year, the week before taxes were due, it was like a big cloud hanging over my head. I would then take that day at the very last minute and go through all my bookkeeping. Full transparency – it was a big, giant mess! I did my business taxes myself for 2 years and each year, I swore I would hire an accountant the next year. The time, uncertainty, and stress it added to me was unnecessary.

It’s common for entrepreneurs to think they can do everything themselves and the moment I realized that was not the case, my life changed. The same year I took the leap to hire an accountant, it motivated me to ask for help from other experts to take on aspects of my business that I am not an expert in such as hiring my first social media manager.

Kim: What scared you the most about hiring others?

Alley: Control and cost. Besides wanting to be in control, the cost scared me. Running a contract marketing company, my business income in the first few years of business looked like a rollercoaster. Some months, I was booking trips to Hawaii and other months I was trying to go 5 days without spending any money. Being a contractor can be unpredictable and I was worried that outsourcing work would be financial suicide. Boy was I wrong! In fact, after I was able to admit that I could not do everything myself, all of a sudden I was excelling at everything else that was being put on the backburner. I was able to focus on my strengths in my business such as project management, I had more time to acquire business instead of doing all the work, and the best of all, I gained more time for myself and my family. Also, I no longer loath the month of April. And did I mention, I saved thousands of dollars on my tax bill?

Kim: Bringing time back to our customers is one of our biggest goals. Speaking of having more time, how much time do you think you have saved by hiring our team?

Alley: Endless hours. While I can’t give a specific amount of time, to me it’s more about redirecting that time into something I enjoy. I value looking at my bookkeeping numbers at the end of the month but the road to get there is not one I have the time, motivation or expertise to take. I remember the first time I filed my personal taxes in 2018 after hiring Singletrack and I was ecstatic about how little time it took because my business taxes were done. I also had the peace of mind that they were done right which to me is invaluable.

Kim: What advice do you have for other small business owners when it comes to outsourcing accounting?

Alley: Don’t wait to start. If I had started even a year earlier, I would have saved thousands of dollars in taxes. I thought by doing it myself, I would be saving money. That was not the case at all. In fact, not only was I paying unnecessary money to the tax man but I was losing precious time I could have been doing things I love. Before Singletrack, I felt this sense of anxiety around tax time. Even after I filed, I never knew if I had done it quite right. I think as entrepreneurs we can all relate to this feeling when it comes to making business decisions. It took me multiple years to realize that I cannot wear all the hats and I don’t want to wear all the hats. By letting go of some control, I not only hired an amazing team but I’m more successful and organized because of it. They say that your productivity goes down 50% if you have a cluttered, disorganized desk. I would say the same may hold true if you have messy books.

At Singletrack Accounting, we have countless customers with similar stories. Hearing stories like Alley’s is why we love what we do. We understand that no one can go at it alone and asking for help is not only smart but can be invaluable for your business. Take the leap! Reach out today for a free consultation.

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3 03, 2021

Niche Down, Level Up

2021-03-03T14:55:25+00:00

Over the past several years we have learned as a company who our ideal customer and niche industries are. Our main objective is to work with people who our values align with. Our ideal customers are “mountain people.” This does not mean they need to live in the mountains to fall into this category. We prefer to work with customers who are positive, enjoy and respect the outdoors, and understand that no one can go at it alone. We like to call them lifestyle entrepreneurs. Just like our team they are hard workers yet know when it’s time to take a break and enjoy life. They are also simply kind and good humans. Based on the type of clients we want to work with combined with our personal expertise, we have also narrowed down our niche industries.

Coaches and Consultants 

Surf coach

We have numerous coaches and consultants as customers and we know the highs and lows of helping others. It can be emotionally draining and at the same time an emotional high helping people succeed. We also know how important financial success and stability is to your business. Income can fluctuate greatly and your books can be tricky since coaches and consultants typically do a range of work from Ted Talks to surf lessons. Maintaining cash flow, keeping track of expenses, and having full financial transparency is especially important with this type of business and we are with you every turn of the way. 

Learn more: https://singletrackaccounting.com/consultants/

Web and Graphic Designers

Creative types such as web and graphic designers are talented individuals that are excellent at what they do but most likely do not have the time, energy, or expertise in accounting. We love helping designers because of your growth potential and flexible lifestyle which typically allows you to have the “work hard, play harder” attitude. We want you to be as creative as possible and we help put your “boring” accounting on autopilot. We are also well aware that these businesses face ups and downs in income based on what contracts you choose to take on. We work with you to make sure you have enough cash flow for every month despite the rollercoaster of busy and slow months. 

Learn more: https://singletrackaccounting.com/web-design/

Doctors, Dentists, and Chiropractors


You are an expert in your trade and we applaud you for your success. If you own your own practice, chances are you are far too busy to do your books. You are helping clients, managing your personal life, and building wealth. However; you can quickly end up with a large tax bill if your accounting is not managed properly. Did we mention the tax man also loves your industry? Our team will make sure your books are audit ready and our tax planning service will make sure you are not overpaying taxes and you have a good cash flow strategy for years to come. 

Learn more: https://singletrackaccounting.com/doctors/

Attorneys 

Lawyer talking on Zoom

Like the above industries, the tax man also loves attorneys. You are hopefully making lots of money which can quickly add up in taxes. Choosing how to structure and manage your business is immensely important. You didn’t spend multiple years in law school to do your own accounting. Our attorney packages keep the books accurate and we structure your finances to keep the tax burden as low as possible so you can keep earning those dollars. 

Learn more: https://singletrackaccounting.com/attorneys/

Contractors and Freelancers

Remote freelancer working

You are a hustler! We applaud you on taking the leap to take your career in your own hands. You could be a tech freelancer, writer, independent contractor, part of the gig economy, and the list goes on. We know how dynamic your income can be and we are here to make your accounting a breeze. It can get complex with 1099s, K-1s, etc… We want to make sure we limit your tax burden as much as possible. When things get messy, having a professional team behind you will save you money and headaches. 

Learn more: https://singletrackaccounting.com/contractors/

Restaurants

Restaurant in Telluride, CO

We are old hands in the restaurant industry. Our managing CPA, Joe Soave, even owned his own restaurant. Having walked the walk, Joe is incredibly knowledgeable about restaurant accounting. He is also aware of the challenges restaurant owners face on keeping cash flow steady throughout the year to set you up for long term success. Similar to some of the above industries, restaurants can also be a good target for an audit. Our team of professionals will make sure your accounting is in tip top shape in the case the tax man comes knocking. Do us a favor and focus on delivering excellent food and service. We’ll take care of the books. 

Learn more: https://singletrackaccounting.com/restaurants/

By narrowing down this list, we have niched down and in return, leveled up. We have pinpointed our ideal customer and with that narrowed down the industries we work with. However; just because your industry was not mentioned does not mean we cannot work for you. Although we do not work with some companies such as nonprofits and retail, we work with numerous companies in all different industries all over the world. We know small businesses and our speciality is to keep your finances organized and save you a ton of money on taxes. What are you waiting for? Reach out to see if your business is a good fit. 

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2 02, 2021

The Greatest Apps of 2021

2021-02-02T20:16:54+00:00

As we transition into a new year, tech has been busy keeping up with a massive transformation in the way we do business. With the sudden work from home surge, there are many great apps out there to take some heavy mental and time suck lifting off of your work day. Tech is one of our greatest tools in the 21st century and fully using it to your advantage will help you thrive as a business owner and person. In this article, “Planet of the Apps,” we break down our top app picks for 2021. 

Zoom

We’ll start with the most cliche, no brainer app, Zoom, which is a video conferencing app. This app has been around since 2011 yet only recently have they seen the tremendous amount of growth. It seems as if Zoom experienced massive “overnight success” but in actuality it took them nine years and a world pandemic to get there. Not only is this video conferencing app a godsend for business meetings, people are using it for birthday parties, happy hours, cooking classes, fitness classes, and even romantic dates. Chances are you have already tried Zoom but if not, check it out. Their ease of use and features make it one of the best video conferencing apps on the market. 

Gusto Payroll

Gusto payroll

With the second round of Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) Loans in full swing, business owners all over the country are pulling tedious reports to upload to the Small Business Administration (SBA). With Gusto payroll system, they are one step ahead of you and already have the reports and documents well organized for you to download. This makes submitting your application a breeze. This is only one of the many benefits of this helpful program. They also simplify paying yourself, employees, and 1099 contractors. Stuck? Get ahold of their helpful support and receive a timely response. They also have a dedicated support team to help business owners navigate PPP loans. 

Square

Square’s motto is “Tools to run your business even when it’s not business as usual.” Most people know square as the pioneer app of taking credit card payments. But did you know they offer several tools such as invoicing, tracking and accounts receivable? They work with every type of business and keep all your statistics in one dashboard. Square simplifies the process for business owners so they can focus on running their business efficiently. 

Hubdoc

Hubdoc app

We all know that person who has a purse full of paper receipts or dressers full of receipts from 10 years ago. Luckily, we are not in the dark ages anymore and there’s a good solution for holding onto your receipts without heaping piles of paper. Meet Hubdoc. With this app, you can automatically import your financial documents and export them into data you can use. Say goodbye to digging in the recycling bin looking for that Home Depot receipt you accidentally threw away a week ago. With Hubdoc, immediately have the receipt emailed into your database or snap a photo of it. Voila, one step closer to a more organized and efficient life paper and clutter free. 

IRS Free File Program

The Free File Alliance is a nonprofit coalition of industry-leading tax software companies who partnered with the IRS to help millions of Americans prepare and e-file their federal tax returns for free. The service is unique because it gives taxpayers access to a number of different tax software options from Free File Alliance members. After selecting the software that works best for their tax situations, users are seamlessly transferred from IRS.gov to the company’s website to complete their returns. 

RescueTime

Mountain biking

As much time and headaches these apps will save you, sometimes we can get trapped in not so productive apps. It may seem counterintuitive to download another app however; RescueTime rescues us from wasting precious time on apps that are not going to be beneficial to our day. Most of us enjoy scrolling through Instagram reels of golden retrievers as much as the next person but it’s not uncommon to let over an hour go by watching dogs eating birthday cake and sliding down ski runs. What could you be doing with that time? Skiing, fat biking, working on your business? With RescueTime, get clarity on exactly where your time goes, block your worst distractions, set time limits on certain apps, and get reports and tools on how productive your day was. 

We’ve done the homework and these are our top apps of 2021 based on ease of use, features they offer, and pricing. Use these suggestions as tools to improve efficiency, concentration, organization and accuracy for your business and throughout your life. If you are still craving more terrific app ideas visit our post, “The Best Apps On the Planet for Productivity.” 

At Singletrack Accounting, we know small business. Similar to the above apps, we are here to make your life easier. Our team of accountants, bookkeepers, and coaches live and breathe helping business owners just like you with accounting and coaching. Reach out today for a free consultation. 

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6 01, 2021

A Fresh Start

2021-01-06T02:13:05+00:00

A new year means a fresh start. With 2020 in our rearview mirror, it’s time to reflect on all the things we have learned and to start fresh for planning for the future. Let’s be grateful for how we have grown as people and as business owners over the past year. There’s no doubt we have learned a whole lot and we are stronger for it. Now is the time to take what we have learned and create a fresh start. 

With all this madness ending on the horizon, our futures look bright. It’s time to hit the ground running. Innovation is at an all time high and the art of pivoting has never been more pronounced. The world has changed rapidly and has forced many companies to rethink how they do business as well as how we as business owners and entrepreneurs live our lives. Are you living your best life?

Important lessons we have learned is how important our health and our families are, the art of multitasking, and the agility to roll with the punches. It has also forced us to take a step back and evaluate our processes. Is our process working for our customers? Is it working for us? How is it affecting our loved ones? How do we create fresh starts and become a healthier and happier entrepreneur in 2021?

Prioritize Health

As entrepreneurs we have the opportunity to lead by example, not just by earning money but by prioritizing our health and wellbeing as well as the health of our employees. As driven individuals, some entrepreneurs tend to give up some quality of life to grow their business.  Living in the mountain town of Steamboat Springs, Colorado, our team is well aware of stepping outside for some fresh air as well as busting our asses in the office but there has to be balance. We try to lead by example by getting out of the office to hike, bike, run, ski, or take a quick jont in the woods. While we have always prioritized outdoor activity and our health, we will be more conscious of it going forward. 

Practice Good Karma

Bikers in Steamboat Springs

Photo credit: Yampa Valley Community Foundation

The world is full of great people that truly care about our community and give back and our hometown of Steamboat Springs is no exception. Our quaint, mountain town raised $1.1 million dollars on Yampa Valley Gives Day, beating out last year’s number even during a particular tough financial year. It’s a real town with real people that care about others. Giving back is one of the most gratifying things you can do. Practicing empathy is satisfying and reminds you of why you became an entrepreneur in the first place. 

Learn Something New

Most if not all business owners were forced to at least change something about the way they do business in the last year. It forced us to think outside of the box and truly understand our customers wants and needs during a rapidly changing year. One of the best ways to prepare yourself for a pivot is to challenge yourself to learn something new. Learning something new changes your brain activity to think outside of the box.. The greatest threat to your business is complacency. Doing the same thing over and over again the same way may have worked in the past but it is not guaranteed to work in the future. Some good examples of learning something new are, learning a new language, teaching yourself a new business skill set such as Google Analytics, or taking up a new sport. The process will positively translate into your business. 

Make a plan

Backcountry skiing

The best way to achieve goals and create a fresh start for yourself and your business is to make a tangible plan. Start by writing down the large goals and work your way backwards on the tangible steps to achieve those goals. You may have a goal to acquire 5 new customers in Q1. While this is a great, tangible goal, what detailed steps will you take to achieve it? What potential obstacles could you run into and how will you overcome them? The more detailed of a plan, the better chance you will have to carry it out. Like accounting, seeing the actual numbers helps us have full clarity of our progress. It’s hard to make a revenue goal without running the numbers of what it will take to get there such as expenses, costs of goods sold, and ultimately profit. 

The main thing to remember is that you are not in this alone. Not only does Singletrack Accounting provide excellent accounting and bookkeeping services but we are with you every step of the journey. When you succeed, we succeed. We also offer small business consulting services. Getting a fresh perspective is a crucial part of setting fresh goals. Reach out for a free consultation to our team of experts. 

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