Small business is the foundation of America’s economy. The definition of a small business used by the Small Business Administration includes about 99% of all U.S. businesses. Each year, thousands of Americans go into business for themselves. To give your business the best chance for success, it is imperative that you are aware of all the regulations and requirements to open your business. You should make sure that you have completed all the necessary tax forms, obtained necessary licenses, permits and registrations before your business is opened to the public. Today’s business exists in a complex world with constantly changing rules, regulations and governmental oversight. BSS can help you navigate the requirements in starting your business. BSS has been a trusted advisor for over 30 years. We have the accounting knowledge and depth of business experience necessary to help insure your small business is a success. Your goal is to succeed and our goal is to help you succeed. The amount of work involved to start a business can be daunting. Below are just some of items that need to be considered when starting a small business.
Structure for your businessChoosing the proper legal structure is one of the first and most important decisions you will make when starting your new business endeavor. Common entity choices include sole proprietorships, general partnerships, limited partnerships, limited liability companies and corporations. There are many factors that need to be considered before choosing a legal structure, including what business structure is best for you, what type of protection is offered under each structure, what income tax rules your entity will be subject to, and what regulations affect each particular business entity. These factors are imperative because each legal entity has its own unique advantages and disadvantages and are treated differently from the standpoint of legal and tax purposes. Before deciding on the choice of a business organization, you should consult with an attorney and an accountant. At BSS, we can help you navigate the entity differences and help you choose the right business structure for you.
Registering your businessDepending on the business entity you choose, various forms may need to be filed at the county, state, and federal level in order to register your new business. It is very important to ensure that all necessary forms have been completed accurately and filed with the appropriate governing body. Many of these forms can be filed electronically for convenience, so please check with the appropriate government authority for online services. We have extensive experience registering every type of entity. We can guide you to make registering your business seamless.
Accounting and bookkeepingKeeping good, well-organized accounting records is imperative to the success of your business. Not only do your records help you make ongoing business decisions, but financial statements are necessary in obtaining potential investors and for securing credit. Taxing agencies and other government bodies may also require access to financial information. It is important not to underestimate the time and commitment required to maintain good records. It may be in your best interest to hire a bookkeeper or outsource your accounting needs. There are a few initial decisions that must be made when setting up your accounting system that include creating a chart of accounts, choosing cash or accrual basis of accounting and choosing an appropriate accounting computer software. At BSS, we can explain the importance of these decisions and help you make the right choice for you and your business. For more information on how we can help you with accounting and bookkeeping, please visit our Accounting and QuickBooks Consulting pages.
Employment and payrollAs your company begins to grow, it may become necessary to hire employees to help get the job done. Even if you are working alone, it may be necessary or advantageous to set up a system to pay yourself a regular paycheck. As a business owner, this may be one of the riskiest areas of your business. There are many traps and pitfalls for the unwary, so it is highly recommended that you enlist the services of a professional to aid you in navigating this complex area of managing your business. Here at BSS, we can assist you with the steps for hiring employees, paying employees, fringe benefits available to offer employees and filing payroll tax returns. For more information on how we can help you with your payroll needs, please visit our Accounting page.
Tax returnsYour business’ obligation for filing federal, state and local tax returns is dependent on the legal structure of your business. In addition to income tax returns, there may be filing requirements for sales and use tax, personal property tax, food & beverage tax, excise tax and many more. BSS can help you determine the tax returns your business will be required to file and the filing frequency. For more information on our tax compliance and consulting services, please visit our Tax Compliance page.
- Prepare a written business plan including financial statements
- Obtain a lawyer and an accountant
- Choose a business entity type
- Select a business name and register the name, if necessary
- Choose a business location
- Register the business with the appropriate state and apply for a Federal Employer Identification Number (FEIN), if needed
- Check to see if any occupational business licenses are required
- Obtain financing
- Obtain adequate business insurance
- Open bank accounts
- Choose an accounting and inventory system
- Arrange for utilities, telephone and other services
- Secure supplies, if applicable
- Start advertising