Things Every Small Business Owner Needs to Know About the SECURE Act

SAMSON HAILEYESUS | February 27, 2020

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The Setting Every Community Up for Retirement Enhancement Act (SECURE) is part of the government’s spending bill that includes numerous provisions intended to strengthen retirement security across the country. It is designed to open up opportunities to segments of the workforce that was previously not covered in retirement plans. In addition, the bill attempts to bring more flexibility to selecting retirement plans for small businesses in particular. The bill is part of a larger government spending package, signed into law in December 2019. The reforms could make saving for retirement easier and more accessible to many Americans. It particularly increases access to tax advantages for young families and prevents older Americans from outliving their assets.

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Mobile Streams

Mobile Streams distributes mobile content directly to consumers through its http://www.Appitalism.com cross-platform app and games store. Founded in 1999, Mobile Streams (LSE: MOS) started out as a research and consulting company famous for its "Yes 2 SMS" report that accurately predicted the success of SMS text messaging. Soon after, the company launched its first consumer mobile internet services with Ringtones.com.

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Treasury management at SMEs - Still too neglected?

Article | August 18, 2021

Treasury management or more generally Supply Chain Finance management is still a neglected topic at many SMEs. While large international corporations make the investment into expensive treasury management solutions (often part of their ERP solution) and even setup their own In-House Banks, this is considerably more difficult for the mid-corp segment and even more so for the smaller segment of the SMEs. Often SMEs lack the funding, time and expertise to deploy those platforms and often those platforms lack the flexibility required by an SME. Nonetheless in this globalized competitive market with fast moving cash, even SMEs are in need of an effective treasury management. Every SME has its own specific challenges, due to its specific payment cycles and cash reserves. Nonetheless most SMEs (estimated to about three-quarters) still do their treasury management via (complex) Excel sheets, requiring a lot of manual effort. This gap forms a big opportunity (in Europe SMEs account for more than half of all gross value added) for incumbent banks and Fintechs to offer easy and user-friendly tooling for this. In recent years, more and more Fintech players try indeed to provide an answer to this gap, often via SaaS platforms, which connect easily to the customer’s banks (via Open Banking APIs) and for which the setup cost is limited. The gains for an SME in optimizing their treasury processes can be very substantial. A good treasury management can reduce costs in multiple ways: Reduce working capital by reducing the time to collect money from customers, by reducing inventory and/or by paying suppliers only at the payment due dates. Reduce unpaid invoices by a better follow-up and good debt collection techniques Reduce penalties (such as administration costs or late-payment interests) due to late payments and indirectly also improve the relationship with suppliers. Reduce effort (resource workload) for financial management, like the follow-up of payments of incoming and outgoing invoices, automated generation of payment instructions for incoming invoices… Optimized cash management allowing to keep on your current account only the required cash amount to run your business, thus allowing to invest excess cash, but also to avoid requiring short-term debt when too much cash is invested (and blocked in medium- to long-term assets) Reduce foreign currency costs and exposure risks by keeping the right reserves of foreign currencies, applying hedging (like swaps or options) techniques, correctly taking forex rate fluctuations into account in future cash flow predictions… Reduce transaction commissions for bank transactions, by selecting the right banking products, but also by using the right banking partner(s) (especially for international foreign currency payments big price differences exist between different banking parties) Reduce cost of fraud by improving control, transparency and accountability via a pro-active, automated monitoring of all cash flows, allowing to detect anomalies as soon as possible … This can be achieved in multiple ways: Setup and optimize the processes and tooling with the help of specialized services companies (like e.g. the offering of BelPay) Setup or acquire software solutions (often in the form of SaaS offerings, i.e. Treasury in a Box) for cash & liquidity management, like invoice generation and follow-up (including invoice and payment matching), debt collection, incoming invoice processing (including payment), cash pooling, cash forecasting/capital planning… These software tools allow a more pro-active treasury management and reduce manual effort by automating certain steps in these processes. Examples of such platforms are HighRadius, Gtreasury, CashForce, Kyriba, Nomentia, Monite, Pair Finance, AiVidens… But there are also more specialized tools, offering only a specific service, like debt collection (e.g. Virteo, recovr, Pair Finance, TrueAccord, CollectAI, CollectionHub, inDebted, Attunely…), digitalization (through OCR) of paper invoices (e.g. Tangentia, Contract.fit, Metamaze, Klippa, SimpleOCR…), expense management (e.g. Payhawk, Rydoo, Expensify, Spendesk, Pleo, Circula…), account aggregation and payment initiation (e.g. Isabel 6/Ponto)… Capture revenue by allowing customers to pay for products or services in a way that is most efficient for them and for the SME, allowing to increase sales, but also to ensure the best possible payment ratio. This includes solutions like digital onboarding and management of Direct Debits (e.g. via Twikey or DigiTeal), including a Pay button (e.g. via Twikey or POM) in invoices which allows to pay the invoice with a pre-filled credit transfer, card payment or other payment option, integration with PSPs (like Adyen, Mollie, MultiSafePay, Ingenico, Stripe…) for online payments, digital invoicing allowing to combine invoicing and payment (e.g. PEPPOL platform or offering invoices with immediate payment option via UnifiedPost, ZoomIt or Doccle), "Buy Now, Pay Later" solutions (like Klarna or AfterPay) or new solutions like PSD2 Payment Initiation or the upcoming new scheme of SEPA Request to Pay (SRTP). Improve integration between accountancy software (and/or accountant) and the cash management solutions and associated bank accounts. Solutions like Silverfin, TOCO, Yuki, OkiOki, Billit, Furoo, Clearfacts, Billtobox, sevDesk, Candis… can provide (a part of) a solution to this. Usage of solutions for cash management (e.g. international cashpooling, sweep accounts…) and more general treasury management services offered by banks to their customers. These can be incumbent banks or new Fintechs, which specialize in the niche of serving SME customers. Examples are Tide, Qonto, Azlo, Arival, Fyrst… Reducing costs of international payments and forex transactions via new Fintech offers, like XE.com, TransferWise, CurrencyTransfer.com, WorldFirst, iBanFirst, Ebury…, but also via specialized software tools, like Kantox, FiREapps, Money Mover, Acumatica… Get cheaper financing via specialized credit institutions and banks (e.g. OakNorth, CapitalBox…), by issuing commercial paper (short-term paper) or long-term debt, via crowdfunding and peer-to-peer lending (e.g. Funding Circle, Auxmoney, LendingCrowd, Iwoca, Look&Fin, Crowdcube…), via Credit Lombard loans or inventory-based loans (e.g. Finventory) or via invoice factoring (e.g. Edebex, Previse, Optimum Finance, GapCap, BlueVine, BillFront, Crowdz…). There are also more and more marketplaces and comparators assisting SMEs to find the best financing option, e.g. Funding Options, BusinessComparison, Crowdz… Improve risk management (like currency risk, interest-rate risk, market risk, credit risk, counterparty risk…) via trade finance, like bank guarantees (cfr. Ebury), via better authorization and fraud detection mechanisms (detecting patterns and anomalies) or by better assessing counterparty risk (e.g. DueDil, InsideView, PitchBook…) Apply tax optimizations, by optimizing for different tax regimes worldwide and also optimizing for tax deductions (like e.g. generate revenue on entities which have collected losses in the past) Clearly the Fintech market for SMEs is in full evolution, but still quite immature. As a result dozens of offers exist, making it very difficult for SMEs (which was one of the reasons in the first place they work with Excel) to select the best and right offering(s) for their company. As such there is a big market for consultancy and other services firms, specialized in helping SMEs to improve their treasury management processes.

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The Four Most Conventional Small Business Legal Issues Confronted

Article | August 18, 2021

While small business owners are typically preoccupied with the day-to-day operations of their businesses, they frequently ignore the small business legal issues and obstacles that they are likely to encounter in the future. Thus, it is a pressing need of an hour, majorly after the COVID-19, to identify their legal challenges and be well prepared for them. The neglected or untimely addressing of the legal issues could cost you a big deal and prove disastrous, and might even be challenging to recover. This article will describe legal issues affecting businesses and how to avoid them tactfully. There are myriad essential aspects of the business to be considered, such as overhead costs, marketing, employee management, business & marketing budget, etc. Among all these, legal aspects of business also hold a similar level of importance but are usually underestimated issues for business. Legal counsel from a reputable legal firm can guide you in identifying prospective issues and preparing for the future. Spend time ensuring that your firm is legally solid. Here are the most common small business legal issues encountered, and you should be cautious about. Establishing the Wrong Business Structure Establishing the wrong business structure stands first in the list of legal issues and is also critical. The business entity is classified into sole proprietorship, partnership, LLC, S-Corp, or C-Corp, and each has its own set of tax structure and legal obligations. However, registering under the wrong ones has a severe repercussion. Business law issues are not limited to tax laws; state and federal legislation changes may also impact a company's risk profile. Contracts are another significant legal issue raised by COVID-19. Unfortunately, once the courts begin to normalize their work environment, precedence will be given to criminal and family law proceedings. Thus, resulting in delays in contract disputes, which will have to wait years to be resolved. Inadequate Protection of Intellectual Property Businesses are constantly developing new and distinctive ideas, technologies, products, and marketing strategies. However, many small business owners believe that intellectual property issues are not their responsibility and only large corporations deal with them. This is the reason often these legal aspects of business are a common issue among small businesses. It is advisable to do in-depth research before naming your business or launching any new products or services to avoid using and enforcing identical trademarks, which will count as infringement. The consequences of infringement are atrocious. The owner will have to alter their name and suffer legal consequences, including damages and attorney's costs. Without trademark registration, ventures risk losing the right to their branding, wiping out years of effort and investment. Securing a trademark registration precludes the occurrence of any of these issues and inconveniences. It is needful to protect intellectual property and law for small businesses. So, consult an expert attorney or business adviser to identify what should be secured by copyright, patent, or trademark. Improper Licensing Every business must have a valid license to operate. However, it may be perplexing and challenging for novice business owners. Before you may lawfully trade, you must obtain a license. Improper licensing leads to business law issues and is one of the most common small business legal issues. Government licensing requirements vary according to the kind, size, and location of the firm. Additionally, the business license is contingent upon the goods or services provided by the business. Therefore, licensing costs vary according to location. Obtaining a license for your particular business demonstrates that you are knowledgeable about your industry and are capable of operating the appropriate equipment. If you are discovered conducting business without the proper license, you may face severe fines or possibly have your business activities halted. An experienced small business lawyer will help you through the paperwork and ensure that your business is properly licensed. Not Hiring or Firing Employees the Right Way Among many legal concerns, one of the most frequent business legal issues for small businesses are improper employment or termination of workers. Unfortunately, numerous small business owners make the error of employing or terminating staff without proper paperwork or agreement. Inadequately executed agreements or employee contracts expose your small business to litigation. Having a written contract is necessary and differs as per the employees whether they are full-time, part-time, and casual. The written contract includes information about the employee and employment details such as: Stipulate payment Rights and responsibilities of the employees Benefits Termination clauses Date the contract was signed Potential reasons for termination The employment contract needs to clarify the terms of employment, conduct, grounds of termination, expected behavior from employees, etc. Employees are asked to abide by this contract. In case of violation, within your legal rights, you can terminate their employment and safeguard every small business's needs. If you have employees or contractors, you must adhere to small businesses' federal and state employment laws. Conclusion Dealing with the legal aspects of business is not a pleasant task, but you cannot ignore it, and if you do, you may have to pay the price. Small business legal issues are critical business law issues that impact a large number of small business owners. Few small business owners are familiar with the legal elements of a business. It is crucial to engage a legal team to assist you in navigating it smoothly and avoiding the danger of destroying the future of your business. Frequently Asked Questions: What are the primary legal issues that small businesses face? Small businesses face many legal issues in their business operation, but the major ones are: Establishing the Wrong Business Structure Shareholders' Agreement Improper Licensing Inadequate Protection of Intellectual Property Not Hiring or Firing Employees the Right Way Response to Changes in the Law and Regulations Employee Termination How can a business overcome legal issues? Below are few tips for businesses to overcome legal issues: Recognize your regulations Inform yourself about labor laws. Acquaint yourself with intellectual property Select the appropriate attorney Maintain Vigilance { "@context": "https://schema.org", "@type": "FAQPage", "mainEntity": [{ "@type": "Question", "name": "What are the primary legal issues that small businesses face?", "acceptedAnswer": { "@type": "Answer", "text": "Small businesses face many legal issues in their business operation, but the major ones are: Establishing the Wrong Business Structure Shareholders' Agreement Improper Licensing Inadequate Protection of Intellectual Property Not Hiring or Firing Employees the Right Way Response to Changes in the Law and Regulations Employee Termination" } },{ "@type": "Question", "name": "How can a business overcome legal issues?", "acceptedAnswer": { "@type": "Answer", "text": "Below are few tips for businesses to overcome legal issues: Recognize your regulations Inform yourself about labor laws. 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What To Know About Getting Government Contracts

Article | August 18, 2021

To help you better understand government contracts, we asked contracting experts and business leaders for their best advice. From cybersecurity training to ensuring worker safety, there are several things that you should know that may help you better understand government contracts.

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How Small Businesses Can Get the IT Support They Need

Article | August 18, 2021

Of all the challenges facing small businesses, staffing is among the most difficult. Finding someone with the right skill set who fits into a company culture while sharing in an organization’s mission can be a tough needle to thread for any open position, but it is particularly challenging for IT departments. The skills gap isn’t a myth. A survey from CareerBuilder found that 60 percent of U.S. employers have job openings that stay vacant for 12 weeks or longer, a problem HR managers say costs an average of $800,000 annually. The Centre for Economics and Business Research calculated that the skills gap costs American businesses $160 billion every year.

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Spotlight

Mobile Streams

Mobile Streams distributes mobile content directly to consumers through its http://www.Appitalism.com cross-platform app and games store. Founded in 1999, Mobile Streams (LSE: MOS) started out as a research and consulting company famous for its "Yes 2 SMS" report that accurately predicted the success of SMS text messaging. Soon after, the company launched its first consumer mobile internet services with Ringtones.com.

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