Why Do You Need a Quarterly Financial Check-In?

Once tax season is over, you might think you can breathe easy until next year, but — despite sounding like a pain — it will be better for you to conduct a quarterly financial check-in to keep your finger on the pulse of your business.

Here are some reasons why you should consider a financial check-in every three months:

Keeping Tabs on Your Financial Data

Ask yourself whether you know how your business is functioning right now. While you may have a general idea of where you stand, a quarterly check-in can ensure that you know exactly where you stand financially, giving you an update on things like profit margins, working capital, and other important data. With the right software, all of that information can be available at your fingertips.

Making Informed Business Decisions

Throughout the fiscal year, you’ll need to make decisions about what’s best for your company. These can range from things like purchasing new inventory, launching a new marketing campaign, or even hiring new staff.

If you don’t have access to your current business data, you’re left to make these decisions in the dark. Having access to your company’s financial records empowers you to make choices that make sense for the bigger picture of your business and give you greater confidence in your future.

Tracking KPIs

Many entrepreneurs set goals for themselves, the best of which are measurable. For instance, you might measure the success of your marketing campaigns by seeing an increase in revenue. 

Instead of waiting for the end of the year to evaluate your performance toward your goals, you can tap into your current data to provide yourself with a progress update. In other words, a quarterly check-in will allow you to establish regular benchmarks so you can more closely monitor your strategic business decisions. 

Keeping Your Business Plan Up-to-Date

Your business plan should be kept up-to-date and accurate. Not only will it keep you and your leadership accountable to your company goals, but lenders and stakeholders are also likely to ask to see your plan before approving any funding. Having quarterly financial data ensures that you keep your governing documents up-to-date, which will make it easier to obtain funding whenever you may need it.

Adapting to New Challenges

Many business owners are feeling the strain caused by rising interest rates and inflationary pressures. To counter these hurdles, you’ll need to adjust your finances to keep up with rising challenges.

A quarterly check-in might reveal that your overhead costs are negatively impacting your profit margin, for instance, and knowing that will allow you to adjust your business model to minimize its operating expenses or find ways to increase revenue.

Seizing New Opportunities

During the year, you may encounter new opportunities to expand your product line or purchase a new piece of equipment for your company, but you can’t capitalize on these kinds of opportunities unless you know whether your business can handle them.

Having access to regular, up-to-date financial data will not only guide your business decisions but can also help you seize new opportunities as they come your way. The best way to stay flexible is to stay informed and on top of your business’s performance.

Maximizing Future Tax Deductions

You can deduct many common business expenses from your annual taxes, but in order to do so properly, you’ll need to keep track of your receipts and documentation to validate these deductions. Quarterly check-ins ensure that you keep track of your records and that no deductible expense is missed.

A regular check-in can, likewise, enable you to plan your deductions more effectively, and by planning them in advance, you can reduce your tax liability in a way that aligns with your broader business strategy.

Preventing Financial Missteps

No business owner wants to make a purchasing decision only to realize that they lack the cash flow to execute it. If you don’t keep track of your business data, you could quickly run out of the working capital you need to cover your expenses and pay your employees. Quarterly check-ins will keep you informed about your company’s finances and prevent the kinds of errors that can land you in jeopardy.

Get the Help You Need

Managing your finances is hard work, but thankfully, there’s Zabel and Co. We offer fractional CFO services that give you access to industry-leading expertise at a fraction of the cost of a full-time worker. Reach out for help today.

If You Wanted to Sell Your Business, Could You Also Maximize Its Value?

You’ve put countless hours into building a successful business. But when the time comes to leave it, what will you do?

Recent studies indicate that even founders of highly successful businesses find themselves facing a similar problem: they regret the way they handled leaving their businesses.

A successful exit takes planning and coordination. And when you plan ahead, you can also maximize your company’s value before you sell. Here’s how to do just that.

Recruit (and Keep) Top Talent

Employees are at the heart of every business. In order to make your business as attractive as possible to potential buyers, you should make every effort to make sure your most qualified employees stay on after a sale.

But how do you do that? The key is to incentivize staying on with your business. You might consider offering employees equity ownership in your company. Alternatively, you could offer bonuses tied to company profits. With these incentives in place, your employees will be as invested in your company’s success as you are.

Organize Your Books

If your business’s books have gotten jumbled and disorganized over the years, you aren’t alone. But cleaning up your books and making them easy to follow is essential if you want to make top dollar on your business sale. 

One of the best ways to do this is to hire a professional bookkeeping team — professionals can not only fix issues with your books but also optimize them so your business makes a great impression on potential buyers.

Find a Niche

Certain sectors are saturated with businesses; if your company doesn’t have anything distinguishing it from its competitors, you’ll have trouble selling it for a high price. In some cases, you might have trouble selling it at all!

The easiest way to stand out to buyers is to find a niche to dominate. For example, maybe you specialize in computer repair but you’re the only company that will go to a customer’s home to do the repair. Once you find a way to stand out, emphasize that facet of your business to potential buyers.

Make Sure You Have a Clear Sales and Marketing Process

When a would-be buyer evaluates your business, they’ll want to see that sales and marketing will continue just fine without you. For instance, if lead generation is an important part of your business and how it works, you should be able to document the lead-generation process for a potential buyer.

It’s also wise to make sure that you don’t depend on a few customers for the majority of your sales. This type of situation is a risky one for buyers. After all, if one of your customers starts buying elsewhere, a significant portion of your sales will disappear. Before you sell, analyze your customer base to make sure it’s significantly diverse.

Clean Up Your Website

Having a nicer website might sound trivial, but it’s an important part of the impression you make on buyers. In many cases, your website is a buyer’s (or customer’s) introduction to your company. If your site is jumbled, hard to navigate, or rife with grammatical errors, you’ll come off as unprofessional.

On the other hand, if you have an aesthetically appealing, navigable website, you’ve already made your business look trustworthy. Your site also allows you to point out key business attributes — something potential buyers are certainly looking for. 

Here are a few things to make sure you include on your website:

  • How long you’ve been in business
  • Why you do what you do
  • What sets you apart from competitors
  • How to contact you

If you don’t have existing web design skills, hiring a web designer is worth it. The one-time fee you pay will likely end up getting you a higher price when you do finally sell your business.

Handle Leaving Your Company the Right Way

Don’t be like the countless founders who came to regret the way they left their companies. Long before you’re ready to leave, it’s a good idea to start formulating a plan — and part of that plan is maximizing your business’s value. 

It’s never too early to start looking to the future! Use this checklist to start developing your long-term plan.

Zabel & Co., LLC Announces Michael Munson as New Partner 

Vadnais Heights, Minnesota (May 24, 2023) – Zabel & Co. is proud to announce that Michael Munson will be stepping up from his current role as a manager within our firm to taking on the responsibility as a new firm partner in 2023. In this partnership, Munson will be focusing on seeking new business opportunities to position the company for increased growth and development.

Zabel & Co. is known in the advising industry for its superior guidance in counseling businesses and entrepreneurs to scale sustainably. “We are very excited for Michael to be taking this role in our company. Michael has shown great leadership and professionalism for the past 10 years,” said Todd Zabel, President of Zabel & Co.

Michael Munson is an outstanding advising professional who has devoted himself to helping Zabel & Co. clients develop their businesses and achieve their goals. This partnership agreement exemplifies his dedication to Zabel & Co. and we look forward to him continuing to be an enormous asset to Zabel & Co.’s present and future endeavors.

“Like every other team member at Zabel & Co., I hold dear the core value of helping others. I know listening to their challenges and goals is the best way to help clients excel. Taking on the responsibility of being a partner at Zabel & Co. will help me achieve those goals on a new level,” said Munson. 

Having been at Zabel & Co. for over a decade, Munson has worn multiple hats in handling billing, staff training, management, preparing business returns and financial statements, and reviewing personal tax returns. In all responsibilities Munson has held, he has always demonstrated outstanding leadership qualities that will make him an exceptional partner. 

About Zabel & Co.

Zabel & Co. offers personalized guidance to businesses and entrepreneurs. Armed with over 30 years of industry expertise, their clients get one-to-one support, business counsel, and accountability partners to scale sustainably while building a well-rounded life. Over the years, they’ve served hundreds of businesses. During this time, Zabel & Co. has realized what gets them out of bed in the morning: serving their clients in a way that allows them to dedicate every ounce of their time, knowledge, and passion.

SOURCE: Zabel & Co.

What to Do if You Want to Sell and Your Partner Doesn’t

Creating exit strategies when selling your business is already complex, but it becomes even more complicated when your business partner doesn’t want to sell. In order to protect your interests and ensure there’s a smooth transition, you should approach the situation with thoughtfulness and a well-formulated strategy.

Here are some steps you can take to create an exit strategy when you want to sell but your partner doesn’t.

Address Your Reasons for Selling

Take time to thoroughly articulate your reasons for selling. Do they have to do with financial performance? Market conditions? Personal circumstances?

Your reasons for selling may have to do with your partner. Perhaps you’re unhappy with their contributions to the business.

Whatever reasons you have, clearly defining them will help you properly communicate your intentions to your partner when you discuss selling your business.

Communicate Honestly

Honest communication is a good tool to have when addressing wanting to sell your business. If you’re unhappy with your business partner, have an honest conversation about what you’re unhappy with while trying not to be hostile or accusatory.

Your partner may be going through personal struggles that have negatively affected their ability to focus on business. Having an honest conversation can help you work together to come up with a consensus on what’s expected from each partner for the sake of the business.

Putting these expectations in writing and establishing a timeline for performance goals can help add structure to the conversation.

Review Your Partnership Agreement

One of the first steps you should take is reviewing your partnership or operating agreement, which should have defined terms and conditions for selling or transferring your business. The partnership agreement may also contain language to help guide you through a conflict with your partner.

Knowing what’s included in your partnership agreement can help you understand your obligations and legal rights in the situation.

Negotiate Exit Terms

Once you’ve put together an exit strategy, you should negotiate the terms of the exit. This may involve payment terms, non-compete agreements, valuation, etc. Be prepared to negotiate these aspects of the exit as part of the transaction.

Determine Business Valuation

Part of your exit strategy should be determining the fair value of your ownership. A valuation expert or business appraiser can help with this based on market conditions, your company’s financial performance, and contemporary industry standards.

Explore Alternative Solutions

If your partner does not want to sell the business, there may be alternative exit strategies that allow for both of your needs to be met. Some examples include:

Partial Sale

Instead of selling your entire business, you could sell part of your ownership to your partner or an interested third party. A partial sale allows you to get some return on your investment while allowing your partner to control the business.


This is the process of bringing in outside investors, which allows you to receive a cash payout while enabling your business partner to continue business operations.

Management Buyout

If you have key high-performing employees who are interested in business ownership, you could consider a management buyout. This allows you to sell your ownership to an existing manager on your team, which may be a good compromise with your partner.

Bring in Professional Advisors

If you and your business partner cannot come to an amicable agreement that meets both of your objectives, you should consider bringing in professional advisors who can provide help.

A neutral third-party advisor can act as a mediator who helps both partners be heard without feeling bullied or isolated in the process.

Consider Taking Legal Action

If mediation and negotiations don’t go anywhere, you may need to consider contacting a lawyer. An attorney can review business documents and the status of your business, then offer assistance when negotiating resolutions between you and your partner.

If your partner hasn’t been taking your selling efforts seriously, bringing in legal experts may persuade them to either contribute more to the business or move forward in the negotiation process.

Get Professional Help from Zabel & Co.

Selling your business is a major transition. In order to ensure you’re doing it correctly, you should work with professionals who can make the transition as seamless as possible.

If you want to sell your business, talk to Zabel & Co. We can help you create an actional exit plan for your future retirement. Let’s connect to chat about your options.

3 Steps to Build a Business You Love

Sustaining a business is a lot of work. If you find yourself going through an exhausting daily grind for a company you don’t believe in, it’s easy to feel as though it just isn’t worth it. That’s why it’s so important to create a business that makes you excited to get to work each day.

But how exactly do you do that? Well-meaning people might advise you to choose an industry that you’re passionate about. And while passion may play a part in your business dealings, if you want to build a business (and a life) that you truly love, you need a plan that sets you firmly on the path to success. 

Here are 3 key steps you can use to start planning.

1. Create Measurable Goals

Creating real, trackable goals is one of the golden rules of business. It’s a logical one too. If only 37% of your leads converted in September, you might want to turn that number to 40% in October and raise it again in November. Over time, these trackable goals drive business growth.

But when you really want to love your business and your life, you need to set goals for where you want to be in the future. Do you want to step back from being an owner-operator? Have 4-hour workdays? Take 2 months off every summer? Sell for a sizable sum in 20 years?

Whatever your goals are, the first step is to set them. Writing them down is a good place to start. From there, you can make a plan to achieve each goal. For instance, if your plan is to be able to step back from day-to-day operations, you might focus on finding a promising employee you can train to become your new operations manager.

Set regular intervals for tracking your goals. You might decide that each month you’ll take a few minutes to analyze where you are and determine whether anything needs to change. Setting your large-scale strategy is important, but so is regularly revisiting that strategy and adjusting it as necessary.

2. Build an Incredible Team

If your vision is the brain of your business, your team is the heart. And if you want to be able to step back from your business (or even sell it at some point), having a competent team and developing a positive company culture will go a long way.

When you make your hiring decisions, try to bring in smart, motivated people. If your goal is to eventually have your business function seamlessly without you, you need capable employees you can train and promote. When you have outstanding employees, you can delegate tasks with confidence, freeing up more time to focus on your goals.

This is where fostering a positive company spirit comes into play. If you hire a few great employees but your company culture is a particularly negative one, those employees are likely to leave before they can take on more responsibility. Do your best to foster a healthy, happy work environment your team won’t want to leave.

3. Focus on the Process

If you prefer to do things yourself to make sure they get done right, you might want to work on breaking that habit. After all, if you spend most of your time overseeing basic daily operations, you won’t be able to dedicate your energy and focus to building your business and reaching your personal goals.

One of the best things you can do for your business is to create detailed documentation for each task employees perform repeatedly. For instance, if you run a car detailing business, creating a step-by-step procedure for detailers means that you don’t have to train each person individually. 

Having a set procedure for each task or process has other benefits too. It ensures that your clients or customers have consistently positive experiences with your company. And if your employees have questions about a task, they can consult the documentation rather than asking you for clarification.

The process of documentation may seem like a time-consuming one, but it will ultimately save you time. Each hour you spend documenting a given procedure will lead to many hours pursuing and achieving your goals.

Ready to Build a Business You Love?

Building a business is rewarding, but it certainly poses a challenge — especially for first-time business owners. Luckily, you don’t have to create your business alone.

At Zabel & Co., we help business owners lead a business they love. Let’s chat about how we can help you get to where you want to be.

Advantages of Working with a Business Advisory Team Who Values Certifications

Business advisors are valuable industry players who help business owners like you manage your companies and build success.

There can certainly be merit to working with advisors who don’t have certifications, as they likely have valuable experience. However, certifications set great advisors apart from good ones. That’s because certifications often require rigorous qualifications, like relevant work experience, knowledge and education, and training.

Advisors who have certifications bring next-level expertise to clients. Here are some of the most popular certifications that should be of interest to business owners.

Certified Business Exit Consultant

Certified Business Exit Consultants (CBECs) are professionals who are certified to assist entrepreneurs in planning business exits.

CBEC professionals counsel entrepreneurs concerning:

  • Their exit options
  • How to estimate the value of their businesses
  • Tax considerations when exiting their businesses
  • Preparing for the formal exit

Professionals who receive a CBEC certification undergo extensive training and testing that covers mental preparation for a business exit, validating businesses, private capital markets, transfer strategies, and retaining management teams during transitions.

Certified Exit Planning Advisor

A Certified Exit Planning Advisor (CEPA) is a financial professional who helps business owners with processes like selling their businesses and transitioning them successfully. 

CEPA professionals rely on a proprietary framework known as Value Acceleration Methodology to advise their clients. The three major parts of this framework are:

  • Maximizing the value of your business
  • Personal financial planning
  • Planning for life after business

Through this methodology, advisors educate their clients on how they can build and preserve their wealth.

Value Builder-Certified

The Value Builder System is an advanced software that offers a proven process for growing a company’s wealth.

Business owners who work with advisors certified by the Value Builder System tend to increase the overall value of their companies by more than 30% during the first eight months of use.

Those certified to use the Value Builder System often serve as accountants, business brokers, business coaches, merger and acquisitions specialists, financial advisors, management consultants, and wealth managers.

Certified Information Technology Professional

A Certified Information Technology Professional (CITP) has technical expertise across various branches of business technology. These professionals are experts on:

  • Data analytics
  • Information management and assurance
  • Business solutions and emerging trends

To become a CITP, you must first have a CPA. The CITP requires a minimum of 1,000 hours of relevant work experience, usually in IT management.

Certified Public Accountant

Certified Public Accountants (CPAs) are professionals whose expertise extends to taxes, business finances, and finances in general. Essentially, CPAs help businesses and individuals reach their financial goals.

CPAs also help create those financial goals in the first place by bringing their experience and business savvy to the table to help define the action a company should take to achieve success.

The CPA designation is a rigorous one, requiring not only the right education and experience credentials but also a passing score on a notoriously difficult exam.

Certified Valuation Analyst

Certified Valuation Analysts (CVAs) act as business valuation advisors. CVAs perform a variety of functions, including roles such as:

  • Financial and investment analysts
  • Merger and acquisition consultants
  • Financial officers

Their roles may include offering guidance for businesses in the process of mergers or acquisitions, as well as valuing businesses being passed down to a family member. They also help business owners value their companies so they can secure credit or funding.

Why Zabel & Co Values Certifications

The partners at Zabel & Co have invested in many certifications, including those above. We believe it’s one of the best ways to serve and inspire confidence in our clients. The more we invest in our own knowledge, the more reliable we can be for our clients who depend on that knowledge. If we can help you advance your business or identify opportunities to maximize your cash flow, we’d love to be of assistance. Reach out to our team today to connect

What’s the Ideal Age to Start Thinking About Your Retirement Plan as a Business Owner?

You started a business as a source of income. But with the right planning, it can be your legacy. When’s the ideal age to start thinking about retirement as a business owner?

The sooner you start to think about your succession plan, the better. Here are some tips to help you think about long-range planning as a business owner.

Consider Your Long-Term Plan

Forget about the business for a moment. What are your long-term personal plans? For example, do you have an age at which you’d like to retire? Do you have specific goals for life post-retirement?

These questions naturally depend on your personal financial planning. You’ll need to ensure that you have sufficient funds to carry you into retirement, which means you’ll need to develop a plan to save for a retirement “nest egg” to supplement other sources of income like Social Security, annuities, or a retirement account.

That’s why it’s never too early to start dreaming about retirement. As a business owner, your retirement planning will have a direct bearing on how involved you are in your company over the long term.

Having a solid personal plan will give you more flexibility regarding the timing — and urgency — of your business succession plan.

Plan Your Exit

What comes next for your company itself? This is where your business succession plan comes into play. You’ll need a strategy that allows you to gracefully exit your business while determining your company’s future.

Possible exits include:

  • Selling to an employee
  • Selling to a business partner
  • Selling a book of business
  • Passing your company on to your children
  • Selling your business to another company

If your company is to remain a family-owned business, you’ll need to have some very pointed conversations with your potential heirs. Your children may or may not be interested in taking on the family business, which could prompt you to consider a different exit strategy altogether.

Depending on your timing, you may also need to communicate this plan to your employees or shareholders so they can prepare for a coming transition as well.

Maximize the Value of Your Company

Do you know how much your business is truly worth? This is an important question when it comes time to sell your company. Unfortunately, many entrepreneurs overestimate the value of their companies, which can lead to a kind of “sticker shock” when they learn how much their company might sell for.

Fortunately, you can maximize the value of your business with the right planning, which includes:

  • Developing a strategy to increase sales
  • Tapping into new markets
  • Acquiring new equipment or commercial real estate
  • Creating standard operating plans that make it easy to transfer ownership

All of these strategies can make your business more attractive to buyers, thereby increasing your company’s potential value. But implementing them can take time. Making these things a priority now can help you build value in your company once you reach retirement age.

Standardize Your Processes

As an entrepreneur, it can be easy to handle many of your internal processes. But that can create a company that depends heavily on you. If you wish to create a succession plan, you’ll need to develop a set of standard operating procedures for both your core processes and administrative procedures.

Creating standard processes will make it easier to delegate tasks to other employees. It will also make it easier to train a successor once you retire, ensuring that your company will continue on as you intended. Even if you choose to sell your company, having a set of standards in place can help you attract the right buyers.

It’s never too early to start developing these standard procedures. In fact, the sooner you standardize your processes, the sooner you can start delegating. Prompt planning will allow you to grow and expand, which is another way to increase your company’s value.

Get Help with Your Exit Strategy

Our team is committed to providing entrepreneurs with the tools they need to thrive in and out of retirement. We can help you set up an exit plan while maximizing the value of your business. Reach out today to discuss your options.

Benefits of Hiring a Fractional CFO During a Recession

A fractional CFO is a wise investment in any economic climate, but during a recession, their input can truly be critical. No business is totally recession-proof, but a fractional CFO can provide expert-level guidance to help you weather the storm. Here’s how a fractional CFO can help you.

What Is a Fractional CFO?

A fractional CFO is an individual or organization that serves as your company’s Chief Financial Officer (CFO) on a part-time or contractual basis. With this arrangement, your business gets all of the advantages of having a CFO but at a fraction of the cost of hiring a financial professional. 

Fractional CFO services are often offered through online accounting firms, which can provide virtual financial services that give you access to world-class financial advice from anywhere in the country.

How a Fractional CFO Can Help During a Recession

During a recession, you might be resistant to investing in new products or services. But investing in a fractional CFO can actually help you survive a recession. Here’s how.

Reduced Operating Costs

Hiring a full-time financial consultant can be costly, but a fractional CFO offers industry-leading advice without the expense of hiring an actual employee. Additionally, many fractional CFOs work remotely, so you won’t have to worry about carving out valuable office space. This convenience likewise reduces your operating burdens.

Boost in Productivity

Chances are that you and your employees are trying to handle your financial decisions on your own. But the time you’re spending on these administrative needs only steals focus from your core business activities. 

A fractional CFO will help you handle these operational needs and allow you to stay focused on the revenue-generating activities your business needs to thrive during an economic recession.

Specialized Experience

Most fractional CFOs are found through accounting firms that hire whole teams of financial professionals. Investing in a fractional CFO service means you’ll partner with a CFO who can offer industry-specific help and guidance to you and your team. 

A fractional CFO will usually also bring advanced education and an understanding of current best practices that can improve your operational viability both in and out of a recession.

Economic Guidance in a Period of Uncertainty

One of the most important things that a fractional CFO can do is offer advice and guidance. Again, this is especially valuable during a recession, when the path forward seems unclear. 

A fractional CFO can provide a broader perspective of the state of the economy and introduce solutions to help you know when to focus on maintenance and when to take on new opportunities and initiatives.

Better Internal Controls

During a recession, mistakes and fraud are some of the last things you want to worry about. A fractional CFO places your company under constant watch, adding an additional, unbiased layer of accountability. 

This monitoring helps to minimize — if not eliminate — instances of financial fraud as well as provide support for ongoing reconciliations and other financial processes. This service keeps you up to date and allows you to measure your progress toward your most important benchmarks and KPIs.

Accurate, Up-to-Date Reporting

Fractional CFO services ensure that you and your team are always operating with the best information. A fractional CFO can help you develop revenue forecasts and budget projections that offer clarity regarding the future of your company. 

Because fractional CFOs typically operate with online accounting firms, you’ll enjoy 24/7 access to your most valuable information. These reports and data can be especially helpful if you need to apply for financing to cover your expenses as a recession persists.

Improved Stakeholder Confidence

Investors and other stakeholders appreciate companies that adapt and innovate. Hiring a fractional CFO can give your stakeholders greater assurance that your company can weather the current economic climate. 

A fractional CFO can also help you identify ways to stay ahead of the competition, and having this edge may entice other investors to support your company.

Don’t Just Survive — Thrive

At Zabel and Co., we understand the challenges business owners face during a season of economic instability. That’s why we offer fractional CFO services that can help you stay the course, if not thrive, during a recession. To discuss your options, contact our team today.

EOY Planning — What Business Owners Need to Know

For most business owners, the new year represents a fresh start. But as the current year draws to a close, it’s important to think through some of your core business processes. Here are some of the most important things to focus on when doing your end-of-year planning.

Collect Documentation Related to ERC Issues

The Employee Retention Credit (ERC) is part of the CARES Act rolled out in 2020. If you received funding through this program, you’ll need to provide documentation indicating how much you received and how you used these funds in your business.

Review Your Tax Bracket

Remember, tax brackets have been updated for 2023, meaning it’s possible your business now fits into a bracket. If that’s the case, you’ll need to adjust your withholdings for the next year.

If you’re struggling with your tax planning, working with a financial team can help with preparation and planning for the following year.

Make Plans for Section 179 Deduction

You could take a Section 179 deduction if you purchased any new vehicles or equipment for your business this year. You’ll need to gather the appropriate documentation to validate this deduction. If you haven’t made these sorts of purchases, consider doing so, as it could help you with your tax situation.

Once again, it can help to consult a qualified financial professional if you’re unsure whether your purchase qualifies.

Check Your Retirement Contributions

Make sure you’ve maxed out your retirement contributions for the year. If not, you still have time to ramp up your contributions before the year closes. Check to see what limits may apply to your retirement accounts: 401(k)s, IRAs, or other investment vehicles.

Reconcile Your Accounts

Reconciling your accounts regularly can help you keep your books up-to-date and accurate. But making sure they’re reconciled before the year’s end is particularly important, as it will give you a final opportunity to address any issues that may have snowballed since your last review.

Pay particular attention to any unpaid accounts receivable or accounts payable, as this can likewise be a good opportunity to catch up on outstanding debts or invoices.

Reflect on Your Goals and Strategy

Now’s a good time to look back on the previous year. Did you achieve all of your goals? How might you refine your strategy for the coming year?

If you work with a leadership team, this can also be a perfect occasion to solicit their input on how well your company’s processes are performing and generate new ideas to help you hone your strategy for the coming year.

Review Your Staffing Needs

Just as it’s important to reflect on your company’s overall mission, it’s also important to reflect on the personnel who help you accomplish that mission.

Is your current staff sufficient to help you maintain and grow your business? If the answer is “no,” consider bringing on new staff members or offering training to sharpen your existing staff’s skills and competency.

Update Your List of Vendors

It’s not unusual for vendors to change contact information or for your business to switch to new vendors for certain items and supplies. As such, the end of the year is a good time to update your vendor contact information and purge your supplier list of any inactive vendors.

Celebrate Your Victories

Recognizing your workers’ contributions can go a long way toward improving employee performance and engagement (and retainment, for that matter). Take the time to show your appreciation for your team’s hard work and accomplishments.

Here’s a tip: highlight outstanding employees on your website or social media pages to give them some deserved recognition while also drawing attention to your services.

Update Your Technology Stack

What new technology do you need to expand your business in the near future? The year’s end is a great time to update your security software and protocols or introduce new software to help you manage your finances, inventory, and other processes.

Zabel & Co Can Help with EOY Planning and Financial Oversight

Zabel & Company is committed to helping you meet your financial goals and business objectives each and every year.

Our proactive approach to analysis and expansion can help you align your EOY planning with your future goals, while our financial oversight offers transparency and analysis for every aspect of your business. Contact our team today to learn more.

How to Get Your Business Ready for a Potential Recession

The fear of a recession that brings layoffs and business shutdowns is now closer to becoming a reality. However, the more you do now to prepare, the better off you will be. Even if we don’t hit a recession, and you do all of these things, your company and your cash flow will be better off and more sustainable. 

What Is a Recession? 

Technically, a recession is any two consecutive quarters of negative GDP growth. By that measure, the U.S. is already in a recession — GDP fell by 0.6% in the second quarter and then another 1.6% in the third quarter. 

The major effects of a recession, such as a slowing economy and steep declines in cash flow, have potential to come in 2023. However, business owners can start preparing now for festering economic changes that will help to prevent layoffs and shrinking profit margins. 

Can You Recession-Proof Your Business? 

It is possible to streamline your business operations now and prepare for the worst-case scenario. This includes looking for opportunities to reduce overhead and improve cash flow. There are several ways to start preparing today. 

Start with Your Operating Structure 

Remaining nimble is one of the best things you can do to survive an economic slowdown. This means keeping a flexible cost structure and identifying unnecessary overhead and discretionary expenses. Addressing these costs now will help you help maintain margins in the near term without sacrificing long-term growth. 

How to Improve Operating Efficiency 

Operational efficiency is a relatively easy lever that businesses can pull; however, many overlook this step. A good first step involves creating standard operating procedures to identify any gaps in efficiency — then filling those.

Good examples of gaps you can fill to improve efficiency include: 

  • Identifying what can be automated within your business
  • Deepening customer relationships to reduce competitor shopping
  • Assessing cash flow to reduce overhead, improve cash inflows, and limit outflows 
  • Improving the invoicing and collections process 

Keeping an open line of communication with your customers and vendors can go a long way during a recession. Keeping the customers you already have is vital and will save you from having to find ways to replace that revenue. Good relationships with vendors can get you discounts, whether by paying in cash or buying in bulk. 

The Importance of Managing Cash Flow 

Showing an impressive net income figure on your financial statements is nice, but it doesn’t necessarily translate into cash flow. Managing cash flows appropriately will be imperative in a recession. 

Improving efficiency will boost cash flow, and so will being proactive with negotiating with your vendors and outsourcing. 

While downsizing your workforce might be the last resort, you can still feed the growth of your business during a recession with outsourcing. This can be an easy way to fill needed positions or get expertise for your company without committing to a full-time salary. 

Shoring Up Your Balance Sheet 

Getting your balance sheet in order is one of the best things you can do to weather a downturn. This includes making sure you have enough liquidity to offset revenue declines. 

Actionable activities may include refinancing debt now that might come due in the next couple of years and selling off unproductive assets to build a cash reserve. 

Prepare to Capitalize 

If and when the worst of the recession comes, many businesses will be hit unprepared. If you have completed the steps above, you will be ready to capitalize on their shortcomings. 

This may include making strategic acquisitions of other businesses or buying deeply discounted assets. This is where an ironclad balance sheet comes into play. Having the cash to buy these assets is vital, and having the balance sheet to get financing for a big move can be even more vital. 

Other opportunities you will have include being able to diversify your business and further boost marketing efforts. Most businesses will cut marketing expenses when the recession hits, leaving opportunities for your firm to gain a foothold and significant market visibility. 

Also, there will still be customers that need your products — strategic marketing can help you effectively steal customers from the competition. 

Get Expert Help with Recession-Proofing Your Business 

If you need help creating solutions to improve efficiency and plug cash flow leaks, we can help. The Zabel & Co. team has deep expertise in helping businesses navigate the unknown. Connect with us today to see how our business advisors can help you get the right people in the right roles.