Accounting tips highlight Midland Business Association meeting

Learn how this organization is working to help promote business – and public safety – in their area. And discover some of the tips that Kevin “Not your ordinary bean-counter” Minkoff CPA shared with the group …

Helping promote the idea of doing businesses, members of the Midland Business Association have printed and are distributing these promotional window clings to area stores.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
Working to stimulate business in the southern area of outer East Portland, members of the Midland Business Association have started a “buy local” branding campaign in their area.

“It doesn’t make any difference whether or not businesses in our service area — from I-205 to Gresham, and SE Holgate Street north to SE Market Street — are members,” explained association president Donna Dionne. “We’re giving them all a window cling to put on their front door. More and more, neighbors will recognize that we appreciate them doing business here.”

Association president, Donna Dionne tells about the group’s plans to further promote their district.

Electronic billboard ads in December
Additionally, the group plans to buy ads on the electronic billboard at the corner of SE Division Street at SE 122nd Avenue during the holiday season. “This is another way of promoting the idea of doing business in the Midway area,” said Dionne.

These ads, she said, will direct viewers to the organization’s website, featuring merchant coupons.

Partnering for neighborhood Safety
Working with the Powellhurst-Gilbert Neighborhood Association, the business group is helping sponsor aSafety Fair” on October 13. At the fair, residents learn safety tips from law enforcement, community and business re– learn. The business association is sponsoring free, on-site shredding.

The Safety Fair event runs from 9:00 am to 3:00 pm at Floyd Light Middle School at 10800 SE Washington St.

“Not your ordinary bean-counter” Kevin Minkoff, CPA warms up the crowd by telling the accountant jokes for which he is well known.

Better business results through accurate accounting
The featured speaker at their September meeting was Kevin Minkoff CPA.

Minkoff’s upbeat, lively presentation was filled with tips and techniques.

“My very best small business tip is this,” Minkoff began. “You already know how to use your ‘tools of your trade’ required in your business or profession. Now, learn how to use accounting tools to work on your business. These tools include financial statements, your balance statement, and profit and loss analysis.”

“Instead of always focusing on how to reduce income taxes,” Minkoff went on, “organize the financial portion of your business so you can maximize and understand the ‘big picture’ of your business – including taxes.”

While Minkoff presents information in an easy-going way, attendees got solid, practical advice.

Avoiding common tax mistakes
Minkoff suggested business people take full advantage of legal tax deductions by:

1. Keeping track of all income and expenses. “Don’t ignore cash expenses. This includes parking meter money — even newspapers dedicated to business use. Not keeping track can add up to thousands of lost expense dollars you could deduct.”

2. Prepare for an audit before you are audited, he recommends. “Keep good documentation; without it, you have no proof of transactions that might be questioned.” Unsubstantiated vehicle mileage claims are an area of abuse for which auditors look, Minkoff noted.

3. Use care accounting for independent contractors. “Make sure you send 1099 forms to your contractors. By the way, it isn’t your choice whether or not a worker can be designated as a contractor or an employee; you must follow the Oregon Department of Revenue and IRS guidelines. If the preponderance of evidence is that they are an employee, account for them as an employee.”

4. Be careful allocating business and personal expenses. “Is your ‘gear’ (car, tool, rent) really used 100% for business purposes? If not, don’t claim all of it. The goal is to be sensible. An IRS auditor should be able to look at your income and expense statement and say to himself, ‘Oh, this makes sense’.”

Minkoff tells the group he has a wealth of free information available at his web site. We checked; and he does have helpful calculators and tip lists! CLICK HERE to visit his site.

Tax tips:

  • Start a New Retirement Plan for your small business — you can claim a tax credit of up to $500.
  • Small business health insurance — business owners must follow separate rules for deductions, but self-employed people can deduct the cost of their health insurance on their 1040 form.
  • Selling your business — consider an installment sale, to defer and save tax. “Spreading capital gains over time may put you in a lower tax bracket.”
  • Pay taxes online — The IRS Electronic Federal Tax Payment System allows business owners to pay most business taxes online, eliminating paper checks and payments.

Come meet the members
Come learn all about this new business group and meet the Midland Business Association members. Visitors are always welcome; reservations aren’t required.

This month: Arleen Mcleen of Work Smarter will be the speaker. She will offer ideas to help small business folks be more efficient, to get more from their business both in profit and smooth operation.

The meeting and presentation is free (but you pay for your own lunch). The meeting runs from 11:45 AM until 1 PM at Bill Dayton’s PIZZA BARON Restaurant on SE 122nd Avenue, just south of Division Street. For more information, go to www.midwayba.com.

© 2007 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News Service

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