Growing Small Business Revenue

Growing Small Business Revenue

As a new calendar year begins, it is an important time for small business owners to analyze their priorities and focus on improving their business.

This article discusses a few ways your small business can grow revenue in the upcoming year.

To view this article, click the following link to access the original content.…

6 Ways to Avoid the Holiday Blues

6 Ways to Avoid the Holiday Blues

Despite the never-ending flurry of merry salutations, the holidays can be emotionally challenging — if not downright depressing. Here are a few practical ways to take care of yourself during this time of year. 

Set a Budget. When you’re out shopping, it’s so easy to cave to “spending sprawl” – irresistible gifts that seem to call your name, obliterating any control you thought you had before you left the house. Truth is, you can’t buy happiness with an avalanche of gifts. Instead, you might want to make something for someone (cookies or a homemade ornament), organize a gift exchange and set a spending limit, or donate to a charity in a person’s name. Another way to save money and infuse your gifts with meaning is to barter. For example, you might offer to weed someone’s garden in exchange for organizing your pantry. Design a website in exchange for painting your house. The list goes on and on. This way, you strip the season of its suck-your-wallet-dry tendency and replace it with the true meaning of the season, which is not about things at all. 

Learn to Say No. Saying yes to a holiday party or event when you really want to say no can breed resentment, which is never a good thing. Give yourself permission to decline invitations. Your friends will understand. Besides, a little alone time during the holidays might help you enjoy the things you do participate in that much more. 

Step Outside Your Comfort Zone. If you find yourself longing for companionship or are in a new city where you don’t know anyone, select some holiday events in your neighborhood or city, take a deep breath and show up. Chances are, you’ll meet others who might be in the same situation and make some new friends. 

Carve Out A Bit of ‚ÄúMe” Time. December is month that is notoriously busy, but you don‚Äôt have to be. Do something that celebrates you: get a massage or facial, read a book that‚Äôs been on your list, put on your favorite music and enjoy a cup of tea or take a walk and look at the stars. You‚Äôll feel refreshed and centered.¬†

Move Your Body. If you’re an exerciser, don’t abandon your routine. Keep up the good work. Getting your heart rate up and sweating not only helps get rid of cortisol, the stress hormone, it also triggers the release of endorphins – neurotransmitters that interact with your opiate receptors in the brain to generate positive feelings. If you’re not an exerciser, don’t worry. A simple 20-minute walk can help reduce cortisol and alleviate anxiety. But that’s not all. Walking can also help reduce your risk of heart disease and strengthen your bones, among many other health benefits. 

Acknowledge Your Feelings. If you’ve lost a loved one or recently gone through a divorce or break up, accept that feeling sad and lonely is normal. It’s okay to cry, get angry and grieve. As difficult as these emotions may be, getting them out might be the best remedy for healing. If you feel you need a little extra help, you can always try light therapy. Like exercise, these light therapy devices release endorphins by emitting UV-free light. Your mood and sleep pattern will improve, and best of all, they’re affordable. Varilux sells them starting at $40. However, if you feel that you’re really spiraling downward, pick up the phone and call a friend, a relative or a professional. Just being able to release what you’re feeling and hearing someone’s voice can be comforting and dilute what you thought was an impending disaster. 

Remember: Keep your chin up. The holidays are temporary and will be over before you know it. Soon you’ll be into a new year with a fresh start.

Online Home Appraisal Tools

Online Home Appraisal Tools

Real estate appraisal and land valuation is the process of putting a price on the value of property. Buy and sell transactions generally require an up-to-date appraisal because each property is unique and values are based on the current economic landscape. 

In the past, it was necessary to hire a professional real estate appraiser to conduct an onsite property visit to make this assessment. Granted, an onsite appraisal is still considered the most accurate because it involves a thorough review of the home, including the roof, siding, foundation, windows and doors, flooring, walls, plumbing, electrical, kitchen and bath updates. 

However, it is also possible to get a relatively accurate appraisal using automated valuation models. Fortunately, there are a variety of websites that can provide this valuation for free. In addition to basic criteria such as square footage and the number of bedrooms and baths, online appraisals rely substantially on a comparative market analysis (CMA). This is basically a calculation of data from similar homes that have recently sold (within six months to a year) in the same geographical proximity. Online appraiser tools generally utilize publicly available data to estimate a home’s value without having to consult an appraiser or real estate professional. 

The following is an overview of some of the most popular websites for establishing a home’s value. By comparing the estimates of several sites, you might be able to establish a reliable value or value range.

The real estate website Zillow offers a tool called “Zestimate,” which basically compiles an appraisal based on comparable homes in the same general locale. For most homes where public data is accessible, Zillow provides an automatic home value evaluation based on comparable home sales, local tax assessments, and market appreciation of local home values over 1-, 5- and 10-year periods. 

A homeowner also has the opportunity to adjust his own real estate appraisal. To use this function, he should set up a free user account. This will require an email-based verification process to ensure that he is the actual owner of the property. Once he is logged into his Zillow account, he should enter his home address to get started. 

Zillow automatically uses public data in its proprietary formula to estimate the value of a home. The formula looks at factors such as number of bedrooms, number of baths, square footage and location, and assigns a weight to each factor. However, the website also enables a homeowner to edit the home's information, such as upgrades like a new bath, deck, swimming pool, renovated kitchen, new roof or HVAC. Next, the homeowner can choose comparable homes in the area that have sold recently. This means if one home sold way under market price for the neighborhood because it was a fixer upper or private sale, he can exclude that home from the CMA calculation. Comparables also can be viewed on a map to determine if they are in a similar neighborhood from a value perspective. Once the owner has selected comparable homes, his Zestimate will be updated as a Private Estimate.

RealtyTrac works similarly to Zillow, using publicly available data to generate an online appraisal tool called Home ValueTrac. Enter the street address, city and state or zip code to receive an estimate of median value as well as an estimated change in value over the last month. 

Chase Mortgage Services

Chase Bank offers a free home property value tool for online users. Enter the property address to receive a price range rather than an exact number. This tool also provides an estimate value for surrounding homes in the neighborhood.

Not only can you list your home for sale on this website, but it offers a simple tool to help establish your home value. Simply enter your address and the Pricing Scout instantly estimates your home's value based on nearby comparables. The tool provides an exhaustive list of the most recent sales of comparable homes in the area, detailing their address, bed/baths, square footage and sales price. The property valuation tool illustrates where your home value lies on a scale of nearby properties. 

While online tools can provide a general estimate, they do not necessarily dictate the price you would receive at sale. In addition to using a home appraiser, you will want to meet with two or three real estate agents for their market value estimate, as they probably have better insights into your local market. Clearly, home appraisals are not an exact science. Whether using an online tool or personalized estimates from professionals, your estimates will almost always vary within a range.

What’s the Best Type of Business Entity for Tax Purposes

What’s the Best Type of Business Entity for Tax Purposes

There are several major types of business entities, including S Corporations, C Corporations, Limited Liability Companies (LLCs) and self-employment. Each type of structure has its own advantages and disadvantages when it comes to taxes, assets and liability protection. 

Generally, certain types of businesses are best for certain professions from a tax perspective; however, in light of the tax law changes enacted last year, it may be time for some business to reconsider the entity selection. Under the current tax law, what used to be the best business entity type for certain scenarios may no longer be the best choice, due to the pass-through deduction and corporate tax rate changes. Let’s look at the most common business entity types and see what’s best. 


Self-employment includes everyone who is a freelancer or independent contractor, and many business owners who don’t have any partners. The nice thing about being self-employed is that it’s simple; you don’t need to set up any type of legal entity. Moreover, if you qualify for the 20 percent pass-through deduction, you’ll pay even less. Being self-employed is best for simple businesses without major assets and little potential legal liability due to the lack of protection. 

Self-employed individuals should, however, take into account that they are required to pay both halves of self-employment taxes, on top of their regular income (conversely, if you are an employee, you pay one half and your employer pays the other). 

S Corporations 

Aside from taxation, asset protection is a major consideration when selecting a corporate entity. For those who have significant assets that need protection, especially if they don’t have any partners in the business, an S Corporation may be the best bet. There are restrictions on ownership structure; for example, S Corporations are limited to 100 shareholders, so this might be a limitation for some. 

As a pass-through entity, an S Corporation doesn’t pay taxes on income at the corporate level; instead, it passes through to the business owners. As a result, S Corporations can benefit from the 20 percent pass-through deduction as well, though high earners may be phased out. S Corporations are generally favored by certain professions such as doctors, dentists and certain types of consultants. 

C Corporations 

Unlike S Corporations, there are no restrictions on ownership for C Corporations, and they provide great asset protection. Therefore, almost all public companies and those that want to go public, such as start-ups, are C Corporations. 

The downside of C Corporations is that they are subject to “double taxation.” The corporation is taxed on entity level profits and then shareholders are taxed again on dividend distributions. The dividend distributions are not deductible to the entity, hence the double taxation issue. 

The new tax law lowered the top corporate tax rate to 21 percent, so for high earners the double taxation issue is not as much of a consideration as it used to be. Also, Section 1202 allows shareholders of start-ups to sell their stock without any taxes on the first $5 million in gain after five years. 

Limited Liability Company (LLCs) 

LLCs are generally the preferred entity structure for certain professionals and landlords. LLCs have flexibility as the owners can file as a partnership, S Corporation or even sole proprietor since the LLC is really a legal—and not a tax—designation. LLCs benefit from the 20 percent pass-through deduction if the owner elects to be taxed as a pass-through, depending on the income level and nature of the business. 

Many states do charge annual fees or minimum taxes on LLCs, but it’s usually insignificant. California is one of the most onerous ,with an $800 minimum fee per year. 


Tax savings are often the main motivator in selecting a corporate entity, with asset protection right behind it. The new tax law’s 20 percent pass-through deduction and corporation tax rate reductions make the choice a little tougher than in the past, but generally, unless a company wants to go public, most businesses will either choose an LLC or S Corporation structure. Every situation is unique, so make sure to consult a professional that can help you choose the right entity type for your situation.

Top 5 Latest Tech Advances That Help Heal Our World

Top 5 Latest Tech Advances That Help Heal Our World

As often as we lament how quickly change occurs in the tech world, there is an upside when it comes to treating diseases and chronic conditions. Here are some of the coolest new devices available. Read on to learn how impressive it can be when technology and medicine intersect.

Getting a Foothold on Diabetes. The body’s extremities are most vulnerable to the effects of diabetes – especially the feet. If improperly treated, peripheral nerves and blood vessels can become damaged, causing ulcers, which can become infected and sometimes result in amputations, if not death. Siren© has developed high-tech socks with embedded sensors woven into the company’s Neurofabric™. These sensors continuously monitor the temperature at the bottom of the feet — a vital sign which can indicate  whether the body is fighting an infection. Measurements are automatically transmitted to Siren via the wearer’s smart phone. In the event of a temperature warning, Siren’s customer service department reaches out to the user via call or text. 

Seeing for the Blind. Created by AT&T, Aira glasses are a lifesaver. When a person who is seeing-impaired puts on these glasses, they’re connected to agents via microphone who see what the user sees in real time and can talk them through what’s around them. These agents become visual interpreters, aka “seeing-eye people” and help users accomplish a wide range of daily tasks — everything from crossing busy streets to recognizing faces to traveling the world. 

Treating Cancer with Robots. No, it’s not science fiction. The CyberKnife System® is very real. As the only fully robotic radiation delivery system, this miraculous surgical aid uses real-time imaging to deliver a maximum dose of radiation directly to the tumor from many different angles with sub-millimeter precision. It does this by tracking and adjusting for tumor or patient movement during the treatment, which minimizes radiation to healthy organs and tissues.

Scratching the Spread of Infection. Moms the world over have warned against scratching after a bug bite. This advice has some truth and relevance: recent studies have found a direct connection between scratching, inflammation and the rapid replication of infections. Given the rise of mosquito-borne viruses like zika, dengue and malaria that are making their way into the United States, you’ll want to check out Bite Helper™. This ingenious device neutralizes the itch and irritation of insect bites with Thermo-Pulse Technology™, which delivers heat and vibration to the bite area. This increases blood flow and circulation, relieving the itch and desire to scratch, and potentially containing the spread of the disease. 

Rehabbing After a Stroke. Upon first glance, the Rapael Neofect© smart glove looks like a robot skeleton from the Lego movie. However, this incredible invention uses a variety of sensors to guide a stroke victim’s rehabilitation for hand and wrist injuries. Using wireless technology, the glove connects to the Rapael app installed on a computer, which guides a patient through repetitive movements to engage specific muscles and tendons. But here’s the thing: it makes the work less tedious and, in some cases, fun. The app projects games involving exercises that are actually everyday tasks like chopping vegetables, pouring a glass of wine or even throwing darts. The secret? Data from the sensors feed through a software algorithm that customizes the game play for the patient's needs, similar to the way Netflix's algorithm customizes a viewer's TV show and movie recommendations. 


Employee Spotlight: Austen Myers

Austen Myers is an Audit Senior at the firm. In addition to his everyday duties assisting Financial Institutions with internal and external audit procedures, he currently serves as the leader of the firm’s Young Professionals Group (YPG). The YPG provides an opportunity for younger staff and seniors to voice ideas for making the firm better.

Austen believes that the best part of the YPG is that the firm’s COO and managing partner care about the ideas that team members bring to the table. Often, some variation of ideas from YPG are actually implemented firm-wide. 

RBG believes in having a young professional group because it exposes older members of the firm to the younger generation. It also helps the firm to attract and retain the best young professionals for future leadership at the firm.

Below, you’ll find a little more information about Austen and why he enjoys working with RBG. 

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?
The key to success is communication. Since public accounting is a team environment, we must communicate to all team members about where we stand on projects in order to be as efficient and effective as possible. When one team member falls behind, there is always a team member to pick you up if the communication is clear throughout the project. 

What advice would you give a candidate who wants to join our team of superstars?
When a team member asks you to help them, don’t let yes be your only response. Let that team member know what is on your plate so your workload can be prioritized. Only then can the proper help be assigned and work spread around if needed. 

What accomplishment are you most proud of so far in our career?
I’m most proud of earning my CPA, CFE, and then continuing to educate myself every chance I get. I am also proud of my willingness to learn and develop my skills to better serve our clients.

What's the most inspiring part of your job?
The most inspiring part of my job is getting to help team members and clients better understand accounting.

If I were a superhero, my superpower would be: the power to remove negative thoughts from people.

What is your favorite part of working at RBG?
My favorite part of working at RBG is the ability to make a difference not only for our clients but for the firm. The management at RBG has an open door policy. All team members are able to meet with managers talk about altering or adding new policies and procedures that make RBG, in my opinion, the most desirable firm in Memphis to work for.

What is your favorite part of working in the Memphis area?
My favorite thing about working in the Memphis area is getting to be with my family. I love spending time with family and childhood friends. I also enjoy exercising at Shelby Farms Park and enjoying many of the city’s local breweries and restaurants.

What profession other than your own would you like to attempt? Beer Brewer

What is one item on your bucket list?
I want to spend the maximum amount of time with my family and friends. That is number one on my list and I strive to achieve it every day.

Who would you most like to swap places with for a day? Someone who owns a very large Ford Mustang collection. 

Who is someone you admire, and why?
My grandmother Neane. She retired early to take care of me while parents worked so that I did not have to go to a daycare. The time I spent with her and the many lessons she taught me helped me to relate to a different generation of people. She also taught me how to cook and how to maintain a yard which actually led to me having a yard maintenance business during high school and much of college.

What is your biggest pet peeve?
Negativity. You can find the good in all bad. I like to encourage others to spend negative energy finding the good versus bringing down the people around you.

Do you have any skills or talents that most people don’t know about?
Many people don’t know that I love to garden. My flower beds are filled with flowering shrubs and annuals.

Want to work with others like Austen? Learn more about joining the RBG team by clicking here.

Reynolds, Bone & Griesbeck, PLC Partner Participates in JDRF Bike Ride

Reynolds, Bone & Griesbeck, PLC is pleased to announce that audit partner Joseph Callicutt, Jr., CPA recently participated in the JDRF Ride to Cure Diabetes in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

“It was an honor to be able to participate in the ride and contribute towards this important cause,” said Callicutt. “The JDRF is a fantastic organization, and their mission is near and dear to my heart. I’m proud to support their efforts to find a cure for type 1 diabetes.” 

Established in 1970, JDRF is a global organization that supports the search for treatment, prevention, and, ultimately, a cure for type 1 diabetes. Their efforts include funding research, advocating for government support, helping new therapies come to market, and engaging with the type 1 diabetes community. The JDRF Ride to Cure Diabetes is a charitable event that takes place six times throughout the year, in various locations. To date, the ride has raised more than $47 million to support type 1 diabetes initiatives.

“At Reynolds, Bone & Griesbeck, we’re always thrilled to see our team members giving back to the community,” said John Griesbeck, CPA, managing partner. “Joseph’s involvement with and support of JDRF truly embodies the spirit of our firm.”

Callicutt joined Reynolds, Bone & Griesbeck in 2007 and currently serves as an audit partner in the firm’s financial institution niche. He holds Bachelor of Accountancy and Bachelor of Business Administration in Banking and Finance degrees from the University of Mississippi. Callicutt is a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) and the Tennessee Society of CPAs (TSCPA). He currently resides in Memphis with his wife and two daughters. 

Hiring Millennials Will Pay Off

Hiring Millennials Will Pay Off

Finding and retaining millennial talent will help small businesses compete with bigger businesses.

This article discusses how small businesses can attract millennials, and why hiring millennials is the right move for small businesses.

To view this article, click the following link to access the original content.