Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Starting the Year off Right

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Starting the Year off Right

Article excerpt

Starting a new year can mean a fresh start for small business owners -- it's the beginning of a new tax period and usually a time for some financial house cleaning.

Certified public accountants suggest more than a change in ledgers -- they say many small business owners could do with a shift in attitude about handling money, their companies and their personal lives. That means doing more planning, exercising some discipline and perhaps getting some financial help.

Gordon Spoor and Bob Doyle, partners in Spoor, Doyle & Associates in St. Petersburg, Fla., say a common mistake many business owners make is to look at company and personal finances separately. These owners don't understand that personal goals need to be considered along with company revenue and earnings projections.

"Don't just look at your taxes. You've got to look at your overall financial plan," said Spoor, who along with Doyle is a certified public accountant and personal financial specialist. "Are you saving for retirement? Are you saving for your children's education?"

A related problem is procrastination. "We get so many people who say, `We're putting it off a year,' and then 10 years go by," Spoor said, noting that many entrepreneurs who poured their money into the business suddenly find they have very little time to get college tuition money together.

Doyle said part of the problem is that many business owners try to do all their financial planning and bookkeeping themselves instead of turning to a professional. While admitting he was being self-serving in suggesting business owners use accountants, Doyle questioned whether the do-it-yourself approach makes sense.

Although hiring an accountant is an added expense, it "can give you an additional 10 hours a week to do with as you choose -- for more family time, more marketing, more planning," Doyle said, noting again that personal issues need to be considered along with the business.

Of course, delegating work -- which is what hiring accountants, lawyers, human resources companies etc. is all about -- is crucial for a business owner trying to build or expand a company. …

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