A professional service firm such as an engineering design firm or construction engineering and inspection firm can be thought of as a rocket ship. Looking at the business as a rocket ship, it gets easier to remember and share the elements of developing a successful business.
Like a rocket ship a business has two basic parts, the engines that power the ship, and the guidance systems to set course. Our rock ship has five engines and four guidance systems.
Thinking back to when you first started your firm, if you did not go through the checklist you see below formally, you did so informally.
If you use a car or other vehicle for your business, you may be able to deduct the expense of operating that vehicle on your taxes. Businesses generally can use one of the two methods to figure deductible vehicle expenses:
Professional architectural, engineering, railroad, and utility companies who perform work for government agencies are generally required to have an independently audited overhead rate. You calculate this rate by dividing total allowable indirect expenses over direct labor but getting to this step and optimizing this result involves some effort.
It might seem as you're jumping through hoops to satisfy a regulatory body, but that's only partially true. If you're working in this space, your livelihood and success depend on your ability to be fully reimbursed for your eligible costs and make the right decisions on future contracts. These are just a few of the reasons why understanding and optimizing your overhead rate are vital.
It is literally true that you can succeed best and quickest by helping others to succeed.” - Napoleon Hill
Choosing any professional for a job is never easy. Most people don't know exactly what design engineers do, and they certainly don't know how to judge how competent they are.
But your potential clients might one day need the services of an A/E firm (don't leave out professional services firms) and wonder how they'll be able to choose the best one. While experience and skill in the industry are understandably important, not being deliberate enough in this selection process can have serious ramifications.
Maybe a business chooses an A/E firm based on a recommendation, but there's no innovation or creativity. Or a selected design engineer lacks dedication to the project, leaving the client wishing they could ditch the contract for someone else.
How can a potential client see into the heart and mind of a design engineer professional whose work is done largely behind the scenes?
These are difficult scenarios, but not uncommon. How can a potential client see into the heart and mind of a design engineer professional whose work is done largely behind the scenes?
While past projects are one way to accomplish this, so is the right kind of work with nonprofits.
I have enough money to live comfortably for the rest of my life... If I die next Thursday.” - anonymous
I’ve been told , more times than once, “I do not plan to retire” or worse, “I have no plans to retire and I am not considering even thinking about retiring for the foreseeable future.”
But just because you will never retire, “never” does not mean you forget about goals and metrics to judge your success. And that is just what this article is about, The Earliest Possible, Maximally Strategic Date to Die
Your business is not perfect (whose is?) but your business needs you to make it at least perfect enough. How long do you need to hang on before you correct all of your “grave” errors? That is what you will learn below.
That’s right. Read on and when you are finished, you will have computed the number of months you must remain above ground.
But first, who is this dark dissertation not for?
The United States government spent $835 billion in contractual services in 2018, making it the world's largest employer for contract work. If you or your business can meet the government's requirements, you could end up with a healthy revenue stream. But every job has its pros and cons, and government contracting is no different.
Whether you choose to become a government contractor could involve a mixture of circumstance and personal preference. There are some who swear by this type of work and others who wouldn't touch a government job if offered one. Still, others have more government work than they can handle and long for something else.
While government contracting can be an excellent way to start or sustain a business, it's not without its downsides. As with any risk, you must evaluate all factors to determine if the reward is worth the effort. Here are some of the pros and cons of contracting with the government.
Following the most expansive tax law changes in 30 years, Treasury asked the IRS to look at ways to improve the 1040 filing experience. The IRS reviewed the set of 1040 forms (i.e. the Forms 1040, 1040EZ and 1040A) with the goal of simplifying this experience for taxpayers and its partners in the tax industry.
Treasury approved a new approach that provides flexibility in how IRS will be able to manage future changes to the Form 1040 and reduce the number of 1040 forms from which taxpayers must choose, to one basic Form 1040 that all taxpayers will use.
The 2018 Form 1040 replaces prior year Forms 1040, 1040A and 1040EZ.
If at first you don't succeed, give up and try something else.”
- Homer Simpson
It may seem counterintuitive to joke about throwing in the towel, but the truth is that not every business was meant to succeed. So many of us are given the advice that if we just try hard enough, work smarter, or are resilient, that success is there for the taking.
While it's true that you want to give any endeavor your best shot, you also don't want to lose everything or quit too soon. Many business owners seem to wear their own set of blinders that don't allow them to see when it's time to draw a line and give up.
But businesses do fail and with shocking regularity. If you wait too long, you could lose much more than if you had taken action just a bit sooner. Here are some eye-opening figures about business failures and a list of key indicators that it might be time to shut down your business.
The day your business receives a DR-840 notice from the Florida Department of Revenue will be one that you won't soon forget. This is the state's infamous Notice of Intent to Audit Books and Records. Your first action might be to crumble up the notice, toss it on the floor, and yell, "Why me?" This might feel good, but it's not going to prevent the state from auditing your business.
Professional Consultants seeking to provide services to the Florida Department of Transportation must be certified as “qualified” annually in accordance with Chapter 14-75 of the Florida Administrative Code.
The First & Primary Requirement
Regardless of whether the “Request for Qualification Package for Professional Consultants” is the initial submission or an annual renewal, the package must include evidence that you (the Consultant) maintains an accounting system adequate to separate and accumulate direct and indirect costs and to support billings to the FDOT Department and other clients.
The capability to identify and separately report direct and indirect costs is the first and primary Departmental requirement for your accounting systems.
When you (the Consultant) has the expectation of billing for direct labor by the hour, a job cost accounting system is required in order to “support billings to the FDOT Department.”
The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act – better known simply as tax reform – allows more small business taxpayers to use the cash method of accounting. Tax reform now defines a small business taxpayer as a taxpayer that has average annual gross receipts of $25 million or less for the three prior tax years and is not a tax shelter.
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