Your Business and Year-End

Year end pic for blogAs the year draws to a close, many business owners meet with their accountants and focus on tax planning issues. There are other factors to analyze that will assist in ending 2014 in a positive way while focusing on improving success in 2015. Many advisors recommend business owners add the following topics to their end-of-year accountant meetings.

  1. Review the financial results of your business and compare it with the same year-to-date results from the previous year. Use these figures to evaluate your success and make a plan for improvement in 2015.
  2. If you have not already done so, set up a system to track your success. You should be able to tell how much profit is generated by each dollar that comes in from sales.
  3. Compare your profits to those of other similar businesses within your industry. The information is important to help you know how to plan for 2015.
  4. Consider what resources you need to grow your business in 2015. Do you need to invest in new equipment or hire new people? Will you have cash shortages? Do you need a business loan?
  5. Evaluate whether debts have been made on time and if not, will that be a problem for you in getting any necessary business loan. If so, work with your accountant to help you rectify the problem.
  6. Analyze whether equipment you purchased or people you hired in 2014 have given you the return in the investment that you expected.
  7. Schedule quarterly meetings with your accountant for 2015. Discussions should center on cash flow and improving profitability.
  8. Determine the value of your business. Business owners are advised to frequently assess the value of the business if it had to be sold. This generally considers cash flow and earnings as they compare with other businesses in the same industry.
  9. Identify and evaluate strengths and weaknesses from 2014. Make a plan for overcoming the weaknesses while emphasizing and improving on the strengths for 2015.
  10. If you have thought about changing the structure of your business, such as forming a partnership or a type of corporation, the end of the year is a good time to do that so that you start the new year with the new structure in place.

Co-Parenting During the Christmas Holidays

Pic for December BlogContrary to a popular song frequently heard during the holiday season, Christmas may not be the happiest time of the year for divorced parents and their children. While movies and even greeting card advertisements focus on families being together to celebrate the holidays, this generally is not the way it works for a family divided by divorce.

Parents struggle with balancing the interests of their children while they both want to spend time holiday time with them. This is true whether the holiday is Christmas, Kwanza or Chanukah, all of which are celebrated during December this year. Then, there is New Year’s falling closely behind. Although it will likely never be easy, there are a few things you and the other parent can do to make the holiday celebrations fun and less stressful for your children.

  1. Plan ahead for time. Have discussions with the children and the other parent and plan for when the children will be with each parent. Acknowledge with your children that things have changed and there is now a new way of doing things. Emphasize the positive parts of the plan. Be sure the plan is in keeping with your court order regarding holiday visitation.
  2. Plan ahead for gifts. Discuss with the other parent gift-giving to the children. Avoid duplication and competition with each other. Also, help the children choose or make a gift for the other parent.
  3. Compromise. If one parent wants to take the children on a holiday trip and the other wants to have the children on the specific holiday day, compromise. One parent could spend the actual holiday with the children and the one who takes the children on a vacation trip could arrange to leave the day after.
  4. Begin new traditions, but incorporate past ones when possible. You may still enjoy sitting by the fireplace and reading holiday stories or watching a holiday movie. Add something new like making a holiday dinner on a day other than the actual holiday.
  5. Relieve your children of guilt and acknowledge their disappointment. Children have conflicting emotions during the holiday season. They may feel guilty when they are having fun without one parent, or disappointed when they would prefer to be with the other parent. Let them know these feelings are normal. Also, be sure they know that you miss them, but encourage them to have fun even when they are not with you.