Tag Archives: cash flow

6 Warning Signs of Financial Trouble for Your Small Business

28 Aug

Any entrepreneur knows there’s a chance that their business may not take succeed. Risk is inherent in any new business venture, of course. The Small Business Administration says that, while about 80% of small businesses make it through their first year, only 50% of small businesses make it past the five-year mark. Only one in three celebrate their 10th anniversary.

While most small business owners lack the crystal ball clarity of knowing what their future will hold, there are some clear warning signs that the company is faltering and in danger of failing.

Warning Signs of Small Business Trouble

  1. A failing income statement.
    Keeping an eye on the income statement is imperative no matter the age of the company. Red flags include a rising accounts receivables line or outright losses. If outstanding debt is high and you’re failing to collect on it, this could signal real trouble.
  2. Low cash on hand.
    Watching the balance sheet unbalance should make any CFO nervous. If cash on hand is shrinking or if you need to sell assets to make payroll, that’s a bad sign. Are sales down? Are your shelves filled with inventory that isn’t moving? If your business has a credit line, is it maxed out? Watch out for company bills not being paid quickly or increasing debt as a signal of trouble.
  3. External market factors signal increased competition.
    When a company feels competitive pressure, they must have the cash flow to shift tactics. If cash flow is a problem, a competitor could outbid or undercut on price, which could drive you right out of business.
  4. Legal troubles.
    Beware the corporate lawsuit. For companies struggling to stay afloat, a host of legal issues could arise such as vendors suing for nonpayment of bills, lenders pursuing property or equipment repossession, or even, failure to pay quarterly taxes.
  5. Failure to make payroll.
    If payroll checks bounce, there is a huge problem with the health of the company. One missed paycheck could have a long lasting impact on the employment relationship Once trust is lost, employee morale can decline in a self-perpetuating loop that customers will definitely notice.
  6. Bookkeeping holes.
    The health of a business can almost always be determined by the quality of the financial documentation. Clean books impact the company’s decisions about purchasing and growth. Without an accurate record, how can companies create a strategic plan for expansion? The simple answer is – they cannot.

While small companies can go through financial hills and valleys, these signs may signal that the business is in real trouble. If your company is struggling, talk to me about debt collection and other services that can improve the bottom line. There is no charge for this consultation, and it might just save your business.

Contact me today!

Call me at 770-224-8504 or 888-780-1333
Email me by clicking here
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Medical Providers: Still Waiting for Your Personal Injury Cases to Settle?

7 Aug

Personal injury cases are taking longer than ever to settle, 18-22 months in some cases and possibly much longer. Many of the medical providers I speak with tell me that it takes WAY too long to get paid on their personal injury liens and LOPs (Letters of Protection). This causes serious cash flow challenges and excessive staff time needed to continue to monitor the status of cases and negotiate the reductions often requested by attorneys on the case.

If you treat personal injury patients on a lien or LOP, chances are you are facing the same kind of challenges to both your cash flow and staff time.

Get Paid Sooner, Not Later

I am now working with a firm that specializes in helping medical practices like yours get paid or treating personal injury patients. They purchase medical liens. This allows you to receive your payment sooner, and they work, and negotiate, with the attorneys to receive payment at the end of the case. Regardless of how the case ultimately resolves, you will have been paid for your services and relieved of your payment risk.

What’s In It For You?

Benefits of working with Velocity Medical Receivables Solutions, LLC.

  • No cost or financial investment required for the medical provider
  • Predictable cash flow on future receivables
  • Removal of payment risk
  • Money in advance of case settling, no waiting for cases to resolve
  • Confidence in accepting more personal injury cases knowing you won’t have to wait for your payment.

Let’s Talk!

I would love to show you how you can turn your waiting on personal injury cases into regular cash flow.

Let’s talk! Schedule a quick conversation about your practice at your convenience by CLICKING HERE.

See other ways that Cash Flow Strategies, Inc. can help you improve your practice cash flow by visiting our web site by CLICKING HERE

6 Little-Known Facts about Debt Collection Compliance

13 May

Debt collection is one of the most heavily regulated activities you will ever undertake.

The debt collection industry is one of the most heavily regulated in the United States. That is precisely why it’s risky to undertake debt collections on your own; there are rules for when and how past due clients can be contacted, what mediums you can use to reach out, what you can say, and how often you can say it.

There are federal rules and industry-specific rules, rules for how data is collected and stored, and even rules for what you should do if a consumer or past due client asks you to stop contacting them. These rules can shift quickly, but failing to stay compliant can promptly get a business into hot water.

We’ve compiled half a dozen rules currently governing the debt collection industry. These rules also apply and those businesses seeking a more DIY approach.

Following the Rules for Debt Collection

First, let’s start with the rules under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), the federal law that protects consumers from overzealous debt collection agents.

  1. The FDCPA usually does not cover a business debt. If your business is trying to collect a past due mortgage, credit card, medical bill, or personal or household-type debts, your debt collection practices are covered by FDCPA.
  2. The FDCPA regulates time and place of debt collection. For example, your debt collection efforts cannot occur before 8:00 a.m. or after 9:00 p.m. If you attempt debt collection in the workplace and the consumer or client asks you to stop, you may not continue your efforts.
  3. If you’ve been informed that an attorney is representing the client, debt collection must go through them and not the customer.
  4. If the past due client writes to tell you to stop contacting them, you cannot contact them. The exception is that you may tell them there will be no further contact or inform them that other legal action will be taken. It doesn’t mean you can’t pursue other avenues of debt collection, just that you cannot contact them to collect the debt.
  5. A debt collection agent is required to tell you certain things about the debt, specifically who the money is owed to, how much, and how the client can dispute the debt. If this information isn’t provided on initial contact, you have five days to send these details in writing.
  6. If the past due account holder disputes the past due debt within 30-days of receipt of the initial communication, you must stop all collection activityuntil you have verified the past due debt.

There are also rules under the Fair Credit Reporting Act governing how debt collection and past due balances can be documented in credit reports. There are even state laws governing fair practices by anyone conducting debt collection. Keeping compliant with all of these rules is a full-time job. That’s exactly why businesses turn to TSI. Our track record of compliance with all debt collection laws, along with decades of experience in most industries make us the top company in the nation to partner with companies seeking a better bottom line.

The TSI data-driven approach is designed to boost debt recovery while enhancing the relationship with your valuable customers. Contact me directly at 770-224-8504 for more information.

Hotels and Cost Segregation

6 May

U.S. tax codes require expensing assets such as vehicles, office equipment, and buildings over their designated recovery period. Depreciation accounts for the wear and tear on an asset and reduces the value of the asset over time. Depreciation is a non-cash expense which means money was not spent to create the deduction. To someone who owns commercial property including hotels, depreciation is a huge benefit because it reduces their taxable income.

Generally, on a depreciation schedule, hotels are set up to depreciate over a 39-year period. However, separating the structural and non-structural components of a building and accelerating the depreciation lives of the non-structural components can result in significant tax savings. Structural components include the building’s roof, walls, and foundation which depreciate over 39 years. Non-structural components can be depreciated over five years and include carpeting, molding, window coverings, security systems, and more. Property improvements like curbing, paving, and striping can also be segregated and depreciated over 15 years.

Hotels have many non-structural components that can be reclassified into shorter depreciable lives. Failing to properly separate these components can result in missed tax savings. Having a cost segregation study done on a hotel can help property owners realize these tax savings.

Since 1999, cost segregation studies have been recognized as an accepted method of accelerating the depreciation of property. Through reclassifying a portion of the building’s assets as business use, the cost segregation study lowers the property owner’s income tax liability, thereby increasing cash flow. Average savings to the hotel owner is between $50,000 and $70,000 per $1,000,000 of building cost. This savings can be used to invest in the business, pay off debt, or however they see fit; it is their money.

Cost Segregation studies have the potential to provide significant financial benefits to hotel owners— benefits that are most likely overlooked. With proper guidance from a reputable cost segregation provider, hotel owners can even take advantage of greater expensing of repairs and improvements under the 2014 Tangible Property Regulations.

If you have questions, I can provide answers. Contact me directly at 770-224-8504 for more information, or visit http://davidwiener.cssistudy.com

Best Practices for Collecting Debt from Millennials in 2019

29 Apr

Millennials, those youthful consumers born after 1980, are about to overtake Baby Boomers as the largest living adult population in the U.S., with more than 74 million of them working and accruing debt. Speaking of debt, there is a lot of it; CNBC says the average student loan debt is around $33,000  – and yet that isn’t even the main source of debt for the older millennial.

That’s why the chances are good that your business will often be conducting debt collection from the millennial population. What are some special considerations related to this age group? Are there any communication best practices to follow?

Facts About Millennials and The Debt They Accrue

According to CNBC, Millennials between the ages of 25 and 34 have around $42,000 in debt. The highest level of debt is from credit cards. But CNBC says these young professionals also have other stressors that prior generations didn’t have, such as higher education expenses and student loans as well as the high cost of housing. Almost one-half of Millennials are 90-days past due on at least one bill. In fact, Americans owe more than $1 trillion in debt from student loans. It’s possible that other debts will suffer as these people spend more money on college debt.

While debt is increasing across all age brackets in the United States, these trends are particularly troubling for an age group that is just getting started on a career path. CNBC says that Generation Z, the age bracket that comes behind the Millennials is following in their footsteps with an average debt of $4,343.

Given the high debt ratio for these young people, are there any considerations for handling collecting debt that might be different from older populations?

Best Practices for Collecting Debt from Millennials

Collecting debt from Millennials is actually different from GenX or the Baby Boomers. First, it might be more difficult to reach these young consumers, because most of them have given up a landline for a personal smartphone.

Pursuing debt collection from this youthful population requires a few tricks in order to accommodate their personal preferences and styles:

  • Use technology to reach Millennials. They are one of the first generations to grow up with the immediacy of the internet and a host of software tools. Debt collection must mine this tech-familiarity to reach these consumers.
    Tip: Try setting up a web portal so these customers can explore easy online payment.
  • Make connections with Millennials and use the power of relationships to pursue debt collections.
    Tip: A compassionate and diplomatic approach to debt collection can go a long way when it comes to collecting what’s owed.

Debt collection for the Millennial population requires some flexibility to handle the special needs of this population. Contact me today at 770-224-8504 for more information.

Businesses and Cash Flow

22 Apr

Business and Cash Flow

The first rule of business is to stay in business, and businesses need cash to operate. Every successful business keeps a close eye on cash flow for this reason. There are many tax-saving advantages for those who own or have improved commercial properties through tax law. If you own or lease commercial or income producing property and you are not taking advantage of all that US Tax Code has to offer, you are actually diminishing cash flow.

Let’s look at how your business can easily increase its cash flow by using the cost segregation method of depreciating your building.

Cost segregation is a way for commercial property owners to accelerate their building’s depreciation, saving significantly on income taxes. Within the first five years of building ownership, an owner can save up to $100,000 for every $1 million in building costs. To maximize cash flow, an owner or lessee who has paid for improvements can have a cost segregation study performed.

At CSSI, we perform an engineering-based study to ensure you comply with US Tax Code rules and regulations. Our team of specialists will segregate parts of your building that are deemed non-structural. Non-structural items include carpeting, flooring, cabinets, specialty lighting and electrical, etc. These and other non-structural items are placed in accelerated tax lives. After the analysis, your CPA will adjust your depreciation schedule from the conventional 27.5-/39-year schedule to a 5-, 7-, 15-, and 27.5-/39-year schedule.
A cost segregation study reduces your taxable income and results in lower taxes paid. Using this cash surplus to reinvest in your business or pay down debt is a great way of maximizing the time value of money.

At CSSI, our tax experts will help your business generate more cash flow through an engineering-based study. In some cases, the calculations from our study can be necessary to realize benefits from the 2014 Repair Regulations and the 2017 TCJA. Contact us today, and we can provide you with a no-cost preliminary analysis, and we can facilitate a discussion with you and your CPA or tax professional.

Contact me directly at 770-224-8504, or schedule a conversation with me by clicking here, to see how much you can add to your cash flow this year. There is, as always, no cost or obligation.

It’s Your Money . . . Keep More of It!

The Cost Segregation Estate Planning Strategy

12 Oct

estate-planning

If someone dies owning commercial or rental residential real estate, a highly effective tool for reducing the tax burden on the estate might be a cost segregation study.

When a property owner dies. their heirs receive a step up in tax basis to the current fair market value of the property.  Any recapture that the decedent would have been required to pay upon the sale of the property is forgiven.  Using an engineering-based cost segregation study to accelerate the depreciation on the  pre-stepped up cost basis provides a windfall of immediate tax deductions that are never recaptured on the sale.  The estate must, however, act very quickly to take advantage of this benefit.  The study must be conducted and implemented before the due date of the decedent’s final income tax return.

Commercial buildings are normally depreciated over a 39 year period, and residential property is depreciated over a 27.5 year period, straight line.  An engineering based cost segregation study uses accounting and engineering principles to identify non-structural building components that can be depreciated over a much shorter time period (5,7 or 15 years)

The studies do not generally increase the amount of deductions over the life of the property.  By accelerating the depreciation, they generate net-present-value savings.

When this type of study is used in an estate-planning context, a cost segregation study can substantially reduce or eliminate taxes owed on the decedent’s final federal income tax return.  It also avoids a potential disadvantage, namely recapture.

Timing is everything

It is not necessary to perform the cost segregation study before a building owner’s death, but it is vital to complete and implement it before the decedent’s final tax return is filed.  If the deadline is missed, the opportunity is lost, as the benefits of a study cannot generally be claimed on an amended return.

To preserve and maximize the benefits of this strategy, it is vital to identify the opportunity early and to work with a reputable, experienced cost segregation firm that has the experience in implementing this type of strategy.

CSSI – Cost Segregation Services Inc. is the premier cost segregation company in the US.  With over 20,000 studies performed and not one IRS audit caused by our studies, we can help you in all ways to maximize the benefits of an engineering-based cost segregation study.

Contact me today for further information.

4 Tax Tips For Commercial Building Owners

13 Sep

Recently, the regulations for commercial property owners were overhauled in one of the most dramatic changes to the tax law in years.  The Tangible Property Regulations in conjunction with the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act have major economic benefits for building owners as well as some serious compliance issues.

tax-time_1

Properly applying these new U.S. tax code standards can help you capture economic opportunities to the tune of millions in tax savings that flow from your business to your personal taxes.

I would be happy to work with you and your tax professional to make sure you are taking the greatest advantage of these new tax laws.  CSSI, a company that I represent, can be your calculation experts for the following

  1. COST SEGREGATION – The U.S. tax cost method of identifying and classifying building components that allow you to accelerate depreciation and generate additional cash flow. An engineering-based cost segregation study is the basis for allowing you to capture many of the tax saving opportunities below and it helps you maintain U.S. tax code compliance moving forward with these regulations.
  2. BUILDING SYSTEMS VALUATION – An engineering-based study that will identify building systems and structural components.  Going forward every expenditure cannot be expensed.  The new regulations give very specific instructions on whether expenditures should be capitalized as an “improvement” or expensed as a repair.  We will provide the calculations that your tax professional will need to make these important decisions.
  3. CAPITAL TO EXPENSE “REVERSAL” OPPORTUNITY – Building owners may now expense previously capitalized costs and expense them in the current year by applying the new regulations to prior years.  For example, we helped a client receive $1.1 Million in tax savings on one of his properties through this method.
  4. PARTIAL ASSET DISPOSITION (PAD) – Renovate in the current tax year?  Thinking of an LED lighting upgrade?  A PAD allows you to write down the basis of what you removed and the costs for the removal and disposal of those items.  You can receive a tax deduction in the current year but it is a “use it or lose it” opportunity.  Fail to capture it in the current tax year and you lose the ability to write it down.  Both capital to expense reversals and PADs yield a permanent tax savings at the time of the sale by reducing recapture costs.

Let me provide you and your tax professional a no-cost, no-bligation analysis of the benefits you may receive and the cost for this type of study for your property.

Return the following information, and I will prepare your analysis immediately.

 

5 Things to Avoid When Collecting Debt From Customers

22 Aug

Before conducting debt collections, make sure you understand the do’s and don’ts of the industry.

The do’s and don’ts of collecting debt are a sticky wicket. If you do it wrong, you can alienate potential customers, ruin your reputation, and maybe even pick up a hefty fine from regulators. Playing by the rules means compliance with all laws, certainly, but also collecting debt in a way that treats every customer with dignity and respect.

Here are five things to avoid when collecting debt from customers.

Do Not Try This at Home – or at the Office

We’ve heard all the horror stories from collections gone awry. Industry publications such as Inside ARM often report on companies fined by regulators for breaking collection regulations. Our biggest complaint, beyond the fact that these techniques are generally not effective, is that conducting yourself in this manner gives the collections industry a bad reputation. Not good!

The best course of action is to partner with a professional collection agency like TSI. But just in case you plan to give debt recovery on your own a try, here are some things that should never be part of your DIY debt collection strategy:

  1. Don’t stalk your customers. Really! This means you (or the debt collector for that matter) cannot show up at someone’s workplace and demand they pay you. The law also prohibits you from publicizing the debt, too, so even though you want to go on Facebook call out someone that owes you money – don’t. Here is the caveat: You may, respectfully, call the customer at work but you cannot let the other workers know that you’re trying to collect on a debt. Plus, if the customer asks you to not call them at work, you legally must comply.
  2. Don’t harass your customers. See #1. But actions such as repeated calls, threats of violence, and extreme language are not only bad form, they’re illegal too. For a small business owner, it feels personal when someone doesn’t pay. But conducting yourself in a professional way will pay off in the long run.

There are rules about pursuing debt collections – make sure you follow them.

  1. You can’t arrest the debtor. Sorry, we know this may not feel fair, but if a customer is 90-days past due, you cannot call 911 for help. However, there may be legal actions you can take in certain circumstances.
  2. You cannot pursue the debtor for things they don’t owe. This happens a lot when the data you have on the customer is inaccurate. So many times we see that the person already paid the debt but the information wasn’t logged properly. A simple mistake can land you in hot water, so use caution and double-check the facts before pursuing a debt.
  3. You cannot call at odd hours of the day and night. Did you know there are rules that state you can only call a past-due customer between 8:00 am and 9:00 pm? For small business owners that work hard all day, this means just because you’re up at 7:30 am you can’t squeeze in a few collections calls.

If you’re worried about running afoul of the rules of collecting debt, you don’t need to.

Contact me today at 888-780-1333, and I’ll show you how to collect more money, cut costs, and stay 100% compliant with all of the many laws and regulations that relate to debt collection.

After all…it’s your money!  Keep more of it!!

How Debt Collection Affects Revenue Cycle in Healthcare

2 Apr

medical-debt

Debt collection is a hot topic in healthcare revenue cycle circles. That’s because hospitals are facing higher costs, declining reimbursement, along with high-deductible insurance policies and patients that simply cannot afford to pay.

This article looks at how debt collection best practices could improve the revenue cycle in healthcare. What are the issues affecting debt in healthcare?

Debt Collection and Medical Billing 

Medical billing serves at the core of healthcare revenue cycle. But Rev Cycle Intelligence points out the elephant in the room: Medical billing is often riddled with errors.

Simple mistakes in the patient billing record are a challenge in the revenue cycle. Collecting patient information at the front desk lays the reimbursement framework that every revenue cycle is built upon.

When you cull out simple human mistakes, providers are still left with the complexities inherent in billing practices that are unique to every payer. That alone creates glitches in clinical cash flow when reimbursements are submitted and rejected by the payer.

Another problem with medical billing is tied to the healthcare paradigm itself. It is a patchwork of disparate providers – even within a single health system. If the steps to getting paid hinge upon a previous interaction, but documentation are peppered with missing pieces, the likelihood of that provider being reimbursed by a payer drops with every missed checkbox.

A frequent issue that occurs well before the bill is generated is the issue of collecting a patient’s co-pay. Even when the co-pay is $20, the medical practitioner at the front desk may fail to collect it. For clinical administrators, it can be difficult to ask for payment from a sick patient. Now imagine the struggles when a patient has a $2,000 deductible. But failing to collect this revenue up front does nothing to alleviate patient responsibility for their bill. In fact, it almost certainly guarantees the need for debt collection later. Rev Cycle Intelligence states that 90% of the 12.7 million Americans participating in 2016’s open enrollment had high deductible insurance.

InsideARM has been waving a red flag around this issue, citing statistics that say, “The percentage of consumers not paying their total hospital bills will increase to 95 percent by 2020.” Even worse news for hospital revenue cycle, the volume of patients who are only paying a part of their overall hospital bill has declined from around 90 percent in 2015 to 77 percent in 2016.

As bad debt rises, healthcare providers are turning to debt collection agencies to help save their revenue cycle.

Debt Collection Improves Healthcare Revenue Cycle

TSI specializes in debt collection in the healthcare space. With over 45+ years of healthcare collection experience, we use an empathetic approach to collections to protect the patient relationships you’ve worked hard to cultivate. We understand the delicacy inherent in keeping patient satisfaction scores high while still collecting on an unpaid medical debt. That’s why we’ve invested in technology that can help us collect on all bad debt in ways that acknowledge and respond to patient payment preferences across multiple digital venues as well as through more traditional formats.

In addition, our proprietary data analytics platform, CollectX boosts your results by identifying the most liquid accounts and ensuring they receive the appropriate collections activity. Since implementation of CollectX, our clients have seen on average a 22% lift to their liquidation rates. Maintain your patient relationships, while improving your revenue cycle, with TSI.

To learn more about how to optimize your revenue, contact me today at 888-780-1333 or at david.wiener@cashflowstrategies.us.

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