May 31, 2019

Offered Loan Advisory to Multi-Location Restaurant to Save $240,000 in Interest

A local restaurant client had opened another location utilizing financing through an SBA loan. Our team came in and provided loan advisory services to identify the best loan and banking organization to fit the needs of their business. We were able to introduce them to a middle market bank with restaurant experience to help their seasoned business reach profitability faster. After devising a plan to pay off the variable rate SBA loan, we helped pair them with a conventional fixed loan. The restaurant saved $30,000 per year in interest over the remaining eight years of the SBA loan, offering an extra $240,000 to invest back in their business. The new banking relationship also offers intangible savings such as better cash management and security advantages.

Learn more about our Lodging, Food and Beverage services.

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May 31, 2019

Checklist for Opening Another Restaurant

Are you thinking about expanding your restaurant portfolio? Are you READY to open another restaurant? Whether you are opening another location or branching out to create a restaurant unlike anything you currently have, research, dedication, and a well-thought-out plan is crucial.

Considerations Before Expanding Your Restaurant Portfolio

Ask yourself a few questions prior to making your decision:

  • Are you willing to invest the hours it takes for another successful restaurant?
  • Is your current restaurant so busy that you can’t handle the crowds?
  • Do your customers travel from a distance to visit your restaurant?
  • Do you have funding?
  • Will opening another restaurant increase your capital?

Steps for Opening a Successful Restaurant

If the answers are yes to the above questions, you may be ready and should consider each of the following steps as you expand your restaurant business.

Finalize Funding

Opening a restaurant will certainly require capital. After developing a budget to determine the amount of capital needed, will you be funding the new business yourself, taking on outside investors, or utilizing business loans? Any route taken will need careful consideration and planning as each come with their own set of pros and cons. It’s highly recommended that you do NOT utilize funds from your current restaurant to open your new one – in fact, you should make sure your current restaurant is in good standing and financial health before jumping to start another location.

Location, Location, Location

Finding the right location for your new restaurant is one of several key elements to its success.  You’ll want to consider things such as distance from your other restaurant, understanding the area and its demographics, your potential competition and the demand for your proposed concept.

Develop Business and Marketing Plans

Using your experience within the restaurant industry and advice from your inner circle, consider whether you can duplicate processes, systems and marketing tactics from your other restaurant to make things easier. Develop your plans and operations in a way to accommodate future growth and scalability. Understand the location and your target audience to develop the marketing plan in the most effective way.

Hire the Right Management

Owning multiple restaurants may come with increased hours of work. Surround yourself with the right management teams – you cannot be two places at once. Empower and trust the manager at your current location to have success in running and managing the restaurant operations. Make sure the management team has a good, trusting relationship with your employees, and understands the high quality and service expected. You will still want to check in several times a week, but you will likely spend more time and energy at the new restaurant in the early stages.

Purchasing Equipment, Supplies & Inventory

It may be easier the second time around, but remember to measure your space prior to purchasing equipment, appliances, and furniture. Make sure you are set up in a way that utilizes your space properly, creates efficiencies in the kitchen and creates an atmosphere to enhance your guest experiences. Consider using similar types of equipment and the same vendors/suppliers to create consistencies and economies of scale.

The Anders Lodging, Food and Beverage Group will work with you not only on tax planning and compliance, but will also assist with business decisions and analysis of restaurant operations and cashflow. Contact an Anders advisor to discuss our services that can help your restaurant.

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May 28, 2019

Make Better Business Decisions with Microsoft Power BI

When a company understands their data, they are empowered to make smarter business decisions. Accessing and utilizing your data has never been easier than it is with Microsoft Power BI’s immersive and interactive dashboards.

The Power of Power BI

Power BI is a collection of services, apps, and connectors that lets you connect to your data and create compelling visualizations that you can share with others. It also provides every user the ability to easily create their own reports. Users can connect to many varieties of datasets, both on-premise or from the Cloud. Take your data from platforms such as Microsoft Excel and MailChimp directly into Power BI to gather insights from your data.

Microsoft Power BI | Anders Technology Services

 

Built-in Insights and Language Queries Provide the Information You Need

Power BI’s key differentiators in the data analytics space take the product to a whole new level. The built-in insights engine automatically evaluates your datasets to present you with correlations and outliers you might not have been looking for. Power BI also allows you to ask your data questions using natural language queries to get immediate answers or create visuals. When Power BI is paired with the Microsoft Power Apps Platform, you can automate your business and set thresholds for your data to be alerted in real-time.

Two-Way Integration with Microsoft Excel

Not only does Power BI have major differentiators in terms of functionality, but it is built to integrate with Microsoft Excel. In fact, the first release of Power BI was based on Microsoft Excel add-ins like Power Query, Power Pivot, and Power View. If you have worked with any of these, Power BI will look familiar. Not only can you export Power BI to Excel, but you can also reuse and publish your Excel files work to Power BI.

Access Reports from Desktop, Mobile or in the Cloud

Power BI allows you to connect to your reports/dashboards in three easy ways.

  • Power BI Desktop: Power BI Desktop is free application installable on your workstation that allows users access to data analysis and report creation.
  • Power BI Service: Power BI Service is a cloud-based online service that allows you to perform light report editing and collaboration for teams and businesses.
  • Power BI Mobile: Power BI Mobile applications allow you to interact with Power BI reports and visuals on your mobile phone on Windows phones and tablets, Android, and iOS devices. Access your reports anytime, anywhere.

All three options give you quick access to your reports. Some users start their process in Power BI Desktop where they can build relationships between their different data sources allowing the data to connect as one dataset. Desktop is also a great place to start if your data has any errors, or still needs to be molded. Once your data is ready to use you can begin creating your report with drag and drop features to create interactive visuals, whether you use Desktop or Service. With a Power BI Pro license, a measly $7 per month per user, you can access the collaboration features in Power BI and access your work from your mobile device.

 

Power BI Explanation | Anders Technology Services

 

The Anders Technology Services Group is proud to be a Microsoft Gold Partner, and can make these functionalities come to life in your company. If you are interested in scheduling a Power BI Demo, attending one of our Power BI Dashboard in a Day events, or just learning more about Power BI and how it can help your business, contact an Anders advisor.

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May 22, 2019

Banking on the Blues: How the St. Louis Economy Could Benefit from the Stanley Cup Finals

The St. Louis Blues are in the midst of a historic run toward Lord Stanley’s Cup. This is especially exciting for St. Louisans as the Blues were in dead last in the NHL as 2018 turned to 2019 with talk of personnel changes. Luckily, due to a few different factors, the Blues turned the season around and became a favorite for the Cup.

Economic Impact on St. Louis

The turnaround is fantastic for Blues players, the organization and the Cup-thirsty fan base – but the economic impact on the St. Louis region may be the biggest winner of all.

Many estimates of a run through the Stanley Cup finals start with lofty numbers of a $50 million dollar impact on the region. This number stems from projected revenue from tickets, merchandise, hotel, restaurant and bar sales, among others, during the finals. Given the drought Blues fans have waited through and the amazing path to get here, it’s possible the impact could be even higher.

Hopefully, we see the Cup hoisted by the Blues and a long overdue parade down Market Street celebrating a team, a Cup, an economic boon and a region’s professional sports return to prominence.

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May 21, 2019

QuickBooks Online Tips for Small Businesses: Organizing Chart of Accounts

Part Two in a Series on How to Make Accounting Easier with QuickBooks Online

Having an organized chart of accounts provides an accurate snapshot of how your company is spending and receiving money. The chart of accounts is ever-evolving as company processes change and should be reviewed on an annual basis. When reviewing, it’s important to find the balance between having enough accounts that your financials are meaningful, and not too many that you have every vendor setup with their own account.

Categorizing Specific Accounts into Classes in QBO

If you have pages and pages of overly specific accounts, you might want to utilize the class function in QuickBooks Online (QBO). Think of classes like departments. Classes are a way to organize data in QBO without having to create multiple accounts. For example, you might want to track your travel expenses by department, such as General & Administrative, Marketing or Research & Development. Instead of having multiple travel expense accounts, you can create one expense account and assign each transaction to a specific department utilizing classes in QBO.

Examples of how to use classes:

  • Not-for-profits – Program Services, General & Administrative, Fundraising
  • Departments – Marketing, Research & Development, General & Administrative
  • Business Segments

If your accounts are overly general, they become a catch-all for everything and you can’t make decisions because you don’t know where you are even spending your money. “Office Expense” is probably the most over-utilized account and winds up as a dumping ground for transactions.  If your chart of accounts includes “Miscellaneous Expense”, you need a change.

Adding Detail by Creating Sub-accounts

If you find your current accounts do not provide you with enough detail, you may consider utilizing sub-accounts. Sub-accounts can be collapsed or expanded on financial reports in QBO depending on the level of detail you want to make available. For example, you may want a main header account called “Travel” and then have sub-accounts such as Meals, Lodging, Airfare, etc.

Examples of how to use sub-accounts:

Header Account examples

  • Personnel Expenses
  • Building and Occupancy
  • General and Administrative

Sub-account examples

  • Personnel Expenses (Header)
    – Wages
    – Payroll Taxes
    – Health Insurance
    – Retirement Plan
    – Payroll Fees

Organizing Financial Statements by Account Numbers

In addition to classes and sub-accounts, utilizing account numbers is a great way to organize your accounts on financial statements.  Below is a sample account structure that can be used as best practice:

  • 10000-19999 Assets
  • 20000-29999 Liabilities
  • 30000-39999 Equity
  • 40000-49999 Income
  • 50000-59999 Cost of Goods Sold
  • 60000-69999 Expenses
  • 70000-79999 Other Income
  • 80000-89999 Other Expenses
  • 90000-99999 Income Taxes

Feeling overwhelmed or don’t know where to start? Don’t worry, QBO has a sample chart of accounts for most industries that you can use as a starting point. To see how Anders can help relieve you of the day-to-day accounting while providing a real-time snapshot of your financials, contact an Anders advisor or learn more about Anders Outsourced Accounting Services.

Looking for more QBO tips? Learn how to categorize your sales receipts and invoices in QBO.

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May 14, 2019

How Aggregating Business Activities Can Maximize the 20% QBI Deduction

Every taxpayer felt the full effects of tax reform this filing season, but there seemed to be one deduction that helped certain businesses benefit the most. Flow through business owners, such as sole proprietors, partnerships and S corporations, were likely the biggest winners this year due to the new qualified business income (QBI) deduction.

The final QBI regulations provided a certain amount of clarity, but working through real-life examples opened our eyes to a couple of key components of the deduction that can have a significant impact on those with real estate holdings.

Rental Real Estate Enterprises

Rental real estate enterprises (RREE) can qualify as a trade or business for purposes of the QBI deduction by including a signed safe harbor election with your tax return which certifies that:

  1. Separate books and records are being maintained to reflect income and expenses for the RREE,
  2. 250 hours of rental services are performed per year with respect to the RREE, and
  3. The taxpayer maintains contemporaneous records including time reports, logs or similar documents regarding all services performed for an RREE

Aggregating Trade or Business Income

Business owners can significantly increase their QBI deduction by ‘aggregating’ the activity of interrelated, commonly owned businesses. Aggregation allows profitable businesses with little or no wages or depreciable assets that would otherwise not be eligible for a QBI deduction to utilize wages and depreciable assets of a related business to achieve the maximum 20% QBI deduction.

There are a few things to keep in mind when considering aggregating trade or business income:

  1. Once an aggregation election is made, it must be reported consistently in subsequent years,
  2. Newly created businesses may be added to an aggregated group, but existing businesses may not,
  3. You can make an initial election to aggregate trade or business income at any time, but if fail to aggregate, you may not amend your tax return to aggregate after the 2018 taxable year, and
  4. A statement must be filed with your personal tax return each year indicating your desire to aggregate trades or businesses for purposes of the QBI deduction.

Whether you are still working to finalize your 2018 tax filings or if you are already planning to minimize your 2019 tax liability, these strategies are worth considering. Contact an Anders advisor to find out which tax incentives are best for you, or learn more about the Anders Real Estate Group.

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May 13, 2019

Analyzing a Job Offer: Key Factors You Should Consider

When considering a job offer, it’s important to look beyond a position title and base salary. If you do not examine your benefits package closely, you may not get the complete picture of what your offer really entails. What seems like a great fit may be too good to be true when you look at the fine print.

1) Base Salary

A number may look great, but have you checked the Bureau of Labor Statistics and found the average wage for that position in that area? Your offer could be far below average and you didn’t even know it. Another good resource for salary information is Glassdoor.com. You also want to make sure you understand what the responsibilities of your potential new position entail. If you’re getting the salary of an entry-level position, but taking on the responsibilities of a more senior position, you may consider negotiating your original offer.

2) Location

Where do I see myself living in five years? What is the cost of living and is the salary fitting to it? How long would the daily commute be? How is the business growth in this area? Are the local area attractions of interest to me personally, professionally and socially?

3) Benefits

You may already know how important looking at a benefits package is, but you need to look beyond the basics. Are health, dental, and vision benefits employee or employer paid? What are the premiums? Move on to the smaller details: do they offer flexible working schedule? Is there a wellness program? What is the PTO policy and when does it accrue? Do they offer maternity/paternity leave? Do they match your 401k contributions?

4) Company Culture

Knowing the culture of an organization should be vital to your decision process. What is the work attire? Is the environment business casual or professional? Is there a good work/life balance? Do the managers have a good reputation? Does your personality match with the team you would be a part of? Glassdoor.com reviews will come in handy again when you want to learn about a company’s culture. Check the company’s social media pages and website to get a better feel for the culture and a look into what events/activities are happening.

5) Company Growth

You probably don’t want to sign on to a company that isn’t going anywhere. Having information about the company growth in the past five years and the expected company growth in the next five years is important to know. This will tell you whether there is a future with the organization or not.

6) Personal Growth

It’s the phrase you hear all too often: “I didn’t have an opportunity to grow there, so I left”. Unless you are content with staying in the same position for the next 10 years, check whether the organization has a history of promoting from within or not. Do they have a clear career path for the position you’re accepting? If this position is not new, did the last person get promoted to a higher position? What is their bonus structure?

7) Travel

Hopefully by the time you’re receiving a job offer you’ve put some thought towards whether or not you are comfortable with traveling for work. Does this position require travel? If so, what percentage of time is travel required? Are there potential opportunities to travel internationally?

Depending on how new you are to the job market, or how long you’ve been on the job search, you may not think clearly through the excitement of receiving a job offer. Keep this list of questions in mind to make sure you are getting the offer that you truly want and deserve. Your career is not the place to be making snap decisions. Analyze every part of the offer, negotiate, and when you’re satisfied with all of the information- sign!

Interested in learning about the open positions at Anders? Check out our current openings.

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May 10, 2019

Hoops for Hope Raises $16,000 for the Saint Louis Crisis Nursery

The 32nd annual Hoops for Hope tournament attracted 640 colleagues, clients and friends of the firm to support the 2019 Anders Charity of Choice, the Saint Louis Crisis Nursery. Staff at the Crisis Nursery joined Anders for a celebration lunch where a check for $16,000 was presented.

About Hoops for Hope

Hoops for Hope, the annual Anders NCAA basketball pool draws participation from Anders clients, colleagues, referral sources and friends of the firm from all over the U.S. Craig Campbell, CPA, tax partner, started the pool and remains the organizer. He is assisted by a large contingent of Anders staff who set-up the online pool, market it and count the proceeds.

The top 26 bracket winners received a prize donated by sponsors, ranging from an Apple Watch to a weekend getaway at Chaumette Vineyards and gift cards to local restaurants and breweries. Check out the 2019 Hoops for Hope prize winners.

About the Charity of Choice Program

Each January, members of the firm vote on a Charity of Choice and work throughout the year to support the organization through Pick Me Up Carts, volunteer days, a shuffleboard tournament and other fundraising events. Hoops for Hope is the largest of those efforts. Read more about the Anders Charity of Choice program.

About the Saint Louis Crisis Nursery

The Saint Louis Crisis Nursery is an organization committed to preventing child abuse and neglect in our region. The not-for-profit organization provides a short-term, safe haven for about 6,500 children a year, birth through age 12, whose families face an emergency caused by illness, homelessness, domestic violence, or overwhelming parental stress. Since 1986 the Saint Louis Crisis Nursery has helped over 114,000 children. Learn more about the Saint Louis Crisis Nursery.

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May 7, 2019

Making the Move from Volume to Value-Based Physician Compensation

Physician compensation models are evolving to keep up with the new quality metrics defined by the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act (MACRA). Switching from a fee-for-service structure to a value-based payment model changes the focus to providing better quality using less resources. Before making the leap, health care organizations need to have a plan that considers how physicians will be impacted adjusting to the new quality metrics.

Benefits of Value-Based Compensation

Value-based models help increase the quality of care for patients while providing benefits for health care organizations and physicians.

  • Managed Care Contracting – MACRA’s Quality Payment Program (QPP) allows physicians to benchmark themselves across the industry and potentially earn higher bonuses for high performance.
  • ACO Participation – Participating as an Accountable Care Organization (ACO) provides better positioning and allows a practice to qualify for shared savings under the Medicare Shared Savings Program. ACOs also receive resources and support such as health IT, data analytics and quality reporting.
  • Healthier Patient Population – With a focus on quality of care and physician compensation based on patient outcomes, a value-based model provides lower costs and better outcomes for consumers. These models emphasize helping patients recover from illnesses and injuries more quickly and avoid chronic disease. As a result, patients face fewer doctor’s visits, tests and medical procedures, and spend less money on prescription medication.

Developing a Value-Based Incentive Program

While there is a lot of confusion around exactly how to structure a value-based incentive program, below are a few steps to begin and manage the process.

  • Form a Committee – Strategically selecting a committee of stakeholders, executives and physicians will keep the project contained while gathering different perspectives. The committee should research what’s going on in the marketplace and evaluate options for implementing policies in the organization. Having physicians on the committee is vital to gaining their support and trust in the new program.
  • Compare Options with Goals – After diving into marketplace data and evaluating against your current compensation models, the group will need to define goals. What will you measure? How will physicians and teams be incentivized? Use these answers to guide your new compensation plans.
  • Communicate – Keeping the organization informed when plans are finalized is key to gaining trust in the plans. Make sure physicians can easily understand the methodology, reporting of data and timing of payments.

The tips above just scratch the surface of implementing a value-based compensation model. The Anders Health Care Group helps physician groups and health care organizations optimize physician compensation models. Contact an Anders advisor to find out how we can benefit your organization.

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