By Bill Thompson, Financial Applications Analyst, Centage Corporation
For a long time, access to public accounting resources has been a case of the haves vs. the have nots. The Big Four accounting firms attract the best minds and college graduates in financial accounting and strategy and build elite teams of experts in market verticals. These teams are thoroughly positioned to help clients pinpoint new opportunities for growth, maximize efficiencies and outwit their competition. Of course, only the top tier of the Fortune 500 companies, like Walmart, can access these resources. Smaller companies, like a regional retailer with 10 outlets or less, will never have access to those teams. True, the Big Four will take on the accounting and auditing work of smaller companies and deliver excellent tax returns and audits. But they won’t look beyond the raw data for the kinds of insights that are game-changing. There is also a cost-to-benefit issue, as one can very well spend more on analytics than they are worth. This puts SMB companies at a disadvantage.
Fortunately, emerging financial technology is changing that calculus by providing SMBs the ability to access the kinds of data-driven insights that are so critical for enterprise-class businesses. Given the importance of the SMB market in the American economy and job growth, that’s a positive development.
To understand why this is monumental, let’s step back and look at the way things once worked. I started my career working in a small public accounting firm, though our clients weren’t particularly small; some had $70 million in annual revenue. The skillsets we offered were limited: accounting, auditing and taxes. We had no vertical expertise, no ability to observe the unique nuances of an industry and offer strategic insights. That didn’t worry us too much as we assumed our clients were experts in their markets. They could easily glean plenty of insights out of their data just fine on their own, right?
What we didn’t realize is that for them, running a business day to day is all consuming. They didn’t have forty hours to spare to examine tax returns for hidden market insights.
And if I’m honest, even if my old firm had the vertical expertise to advise clients, we weren’t in a position to deploy it. Spending hundreds of hours entering line item data into a tax return puts a person deep into the weeds, and unable to see the big picture. That’s just human nature.
Over the past decade the market has seen a new generation of technology emerge in the Financial Planning and Analytics (FP&A) space. One of the most beneficial aspects of this technology is the degree to which it eliminates the need to enter data manually year after year after year. A financial team, or their accounting firm, can build a model of the business just once, and then the data from all points of the business are integrated (e.g. the the G-L, ERP system, etc.). As a result, the financial teams of these small companies (or the accounting firms that serve them) are freed up from a lot of busy work, giving them the time and space needed to think big picture.
Back when I worked for a small accounting firm, I never once considered metrics that are essential to our clients but fell outside of accounting, auditing or taxes. When I audited a retailer, I wasn’t looking to see if it was using 100% of its available space or calculating the revenue per square foot. We never even looked at that data, much less offer ways to optimize floor plan usage. But innovations in analytics software lets CFOs and accountants analyze metrics in numerous ways using real-time data from the business. Suddenly they can ask things like: what’s our floor plan use going to be? If we eliminate space set aside for operational purposes, what kind of revenue lift can we expect to see? It’s not just about revenue anymore, it is revenue tied to operations at a granular level. The more granular the view, the better the outcomes.
Manufacturing companies can also benefit from emerging financial technology. For instance, they can budget and plan on a per unit basis and analyze by SKU to see where profits are less than ideal, or which products are too costly to produce. If they have a loss, they can analyze each line item for each product made and isolate variables. This is pretty powerful.
Thanks to these advancements in fintech tools, all of this information is accessible and streamlined for the busy SMB owners and operators. This gives them the ability to compete with the likes of, say, Walmart.
The secret to growth has always been top notch FP&A analytics, and emerging financial technology is beginning to democratize those analytics. In a very real sense, the Fortune 500 companies working with the Big Four firms no longer have exclusive access to the keys to growth. SMBs can now play on a level field.
Bill Thompson serves as Financial Applications Analyst for Centage Corporation. He is an expert in corporate finance and accounting, with extensive experience in financial controls, corporate and partnership taxation, audits (Cash/AR/AP/Fixed Assets), reporting, financial systems, cost containment, budget management and tax strategy consulting. At Centage, he spearheads solutions deployment, client onboarding and product functionality training for Centage’s Planning Maestro, the cloud-native planning & analytics platform that delivers year-round financial intelligence. With Planning Maestro, Centage offers the sophisticated features needed by small and mid-market organizations to integrate budgeting, forecasting, and deep data analysis within one easy-to-use, scalable SaaS solution. Follow on LinkedIn or Twitter @centage.
TRUiC Evaluates The Latest Additions to Registered Agents in the US
The US is still the top choice for new businesses that have a global focus. That is not to say that they are all physically located there. Despite the pandemic creating challenges for startups seeking investment, many are still steaming ahead. More and more, companies from Europe and Asia dominate Amazon and other distribution chains in the US via a US registered entity that relies on a registered agent. What should you know about registered agents?
When forming an LLC, there are a few additions to registered agent services in 2021 that could be extremely helpful to ensure that you always maintain your privacy, never miss important mail, and make you aware of legal obligations that may occur without being too costly or complicated. When you are launching a startup as an entrepreneur, it is vital to decide which registered agent service as they act as a point of contact between a business and a state and will greatly benefit your small business in the long-term.
In short, a registered agent will primarily act as your business’s main channel of communication with your states’ government. A non-profit, corporation or LLC can appoint a registered agent service to receive government correspondence, compliance documents on behalf of the business, and service of process – which is arguably the most important role of a registered agent as this informs an entity or individual of an impending lawsuit against him/her or the company.
Suggested video – What is a Registered Agent by TRUiC:
Next will be a review and comparison between the features of the best online business services of 2021 to see which is the top registered agent service when forming an LLC:
Assisting in the formation of over 800,000 businesses, partnerships with experienced legal professionals like Rocket Lawyer makes for a great option to serve as your registered agent service, all thanks to their 100% satisfaction guarantee. Although their services cost slightly more, they can still provide a full year for free if you subscribe to their Accelerate legal service plan for $49.95/month. Additional benefits include:
- The company is supported by Google Ventures
- Norton Web Security Protection & Information website
- Legal Services Pan which includes consultations with business attorneys
Classified as high-quality registered agent services and boasting over 150,000 customers served since 200, Incfile offers lower prices and a free subscription for one year with any incorporation filing purchase. They also provide their clients with a user -friendly website, that is protected by Norton Web Security, and free information available in their Learning Centre.
Northwest Registered Agent
If industry experience and premium customer support are important to you then the following might be the best service for you. Established in 1998, Northwest Registered Agent has made a name for themselves and is one of TRUiCs’ top picks as they are known to being the most friendly LLC service available. Not only do they provide the best email/phone support, but they also locally scan every document you receive, ensuring that you will never miss paperwork and eradicating surprises.
Whilst getting great customer support and a unique dashboard, Harbor Compliance’s registered agent services will also offer discounts to their customers who pay up-front for multiple years and service to those in multiple states. Plus:
- Website protection by Norton and Trustwave
- Free compliance guides and whitepapers
- Document delivery and scanning on the same day
After careful consideration of many other registered agent services, ZenBusiness has been rated best. This small business formation service was founded in 2015 by a team of entrepreneurs who cracked the code to the barriers that others continue to face today and help their respective clients launch their businesses successfully.
Not only will the start of your enterprise go smoothly, but they will also help you stay compliant with government laws, accept service of process and other tax and legal documents, and provide you with an overall peace-of-mind so you can focus all your time and energy on running your business.
Although LegalZoom is the costliest of these options, they had to be mentioned as this registered agent service has extensive experience and capabilities with an informative and North Secure Website and a broad range of business services. Boasting with a large platform of nearly 4 million customers, LegalZoom may be more convenient for you if you have other legal services operating through them as well.
Why should you designate a registered agent service for your business?
By appointing a suitable registered agent service you will be able to maintain your privacy, be alerted to legal obligations that may crop up without breaking the bank or complicating things, and these registered agent services will ensure that you never miss a beat when it comes to crucial paperwork and delivery of important documents. There really aren’t many downsides to working with an online registered agent service provider, and the penalties for not having a registered agent heavily outweigh the cost.
This is a Sponsored Feature.
Transatlantic startups 2021: How To Choose a US Incorporation Specialist
- Start-ups created over 3 million jobs in the U.S. alone in the past 12 months.
- The highest five-year survival rate for new businesses is mining, at 51.3%.
With the high rates of US startups and the pandemic-imposed inability to travel abroad to take care of business in person, company formation services have seen peak demand. Below we discuss the latest about this trend and how the market responded.
An Incorporation Specialist (which can often be referred to as a registered or statutory agent depending on your state), is a corporate entity or professional individual that voluntarily and overtly accepts to undertake personal responsibility over a plethora of legal documents and formalities on behalf of your business.
This is commonly carried out during the official filing of your business’s Articles of Organization and- as further analysed below, can provide a plethora of benefits for you and your business. Such benefits include ensuring that a sufficient level of corporate and legal compliance is always being carried out by your business’s practices, and can save you a significant amount of both time and effort. Consequently, choosing the right incorporation specialist is extremely important.
Suggested video – LLC Formation in the US:
US Start-ups: A Quick Overview
Most commonly, persons erroneously associate the word ‘start-up’ with businesses of a relatively small business size- operating with a team of maybe just 5 different employees and often involving a prolific amount of chaos and disorganisation. In fact, however, a corporation can go on to operate for several years before evolving into a larger-scale business type- a matter further analysed below.
The ‘definition’ of a start-up can encapsulate a surprisingly large number of corporation types, and businesses tend to predominantly ‘evolve’ into large-scale business modules by either: a) opening more than just one office, b) becoming acquired via an acquisition or a takeover, or c) encompassing a total revenue of over $20 million.
Despite the rather ‘loose’ definition of a start-up, the fact is that over 90% of such aforementioned companies end up going bankrupt within their first five years of operation. This is one of the key reasons that make choosing an effective incorporation specialist for your business a crucial task. A prolific, eminent incorporation specialist can provide a plethora of commercial and structural benefits, and undeniably bring in the best llc services for your business start-up.
Choosing the Right Incorporation Specialist
As briefly touched on above, choosing the right incorporation specialist can go a long way in securing both: a) peace of mind, and b) a sufficient level of legal compliance for you and your business.
In ensuring you pick the right incorporation agent for you and your business, always ensure you:
- a) Choose an eminent, nation-wide provider– this is particularly essential if your business operates in several states as working with a variety of different specialists can commonly yield inefficient results- due to an abundance of unnecessary paperwork and a significantly increased risk of a legal document or a potential annual renewal falling ‘through the cracks’ and being missed.
- b) Choose a professional service- this can go a long way in ensuring you do not have to constantly worry about having to file an update with a relevant government agency every time your contact information or office location changes- saving you a prolific amount of irreplaceable time. Additionally, by picking a professional service to represent your company, you are much more likely to see a consistent level of document filing and legal compliance and avert any legal crisis where your legal documents are not made available to you in time.
- c) Evaluate the service’s software– your incorporation specialist needs to offer a reliable operating software that can consistently ensure a timely and efficient transmission of your relevant legal documents is available in the format of your preference. This way, you are likely to see a holistic reduction in your business’s paperwork and significantly improve your company’s overall internal communication.
As touched on above, your incorporation specialist can serve as a crucial part of your business. Picking the wrong service provider can lead to disastrous results- especially in relation to missed subpoenas or late annual renewals. Multiple US states should be considered and their respective benefits ought to be compared. Given the potential risks, it is absolutely essential to ensure you accord an adequate amount of time and effort into choosing the best incorporation specialist for you and your business and consequently save a prolific amount of time and effort in the long run.
This is a Sponsored Feature.
Boeing planned to replace 777 engine covers before failures: WSJ
(Reuters) – Boeing Co was planning to replace engine covers on its 777 jets months before a pair of recent serious failures, the Wall Street Journal reported on Thursday, citing an internal Federal Aviation Administration document.
The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) on Tuesday ordered immediate inspections of 777s with Pratt & Whitney <RTX.N> PW4000 engines before further flights, after an engine failed on a United Airlines 777 on Saturday.
The planemaker and the FAA had been discussing potential fixes for about two years, following an earlier incident in 2018, according to the Journal.
Boeing did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Although immediate attention has focused on the engine’s manufacturer, Pratt & Whitney, Reuters has reported that its cowling, or casing, is manufactured by Boeing.
Boeing has declined to comment on its manufacturing role and referred questions on the part to U.S. air accident investigators.
The inspections affect older 777s fitted with Pratt & Whitney engines. Newer models, mainly powered by rival General Electric, are not affected.
(Reporting by Sanjana Shivdas in Bengaluru; Editing by Ramakrishnan M. and Jane Merriman)
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TRUiC Evaluates The Latest Additions to Registered Agents in the US
The US is still the top choice for new businesses that have a global focus. That is not to say...
Transatlantic startups 2021: How To Choose a US Incorporation Specialist
Start-ups created over 3 million jobs in the U.S. alone in the past 12 months. The highest five-year survival rate...