Partner, Bowman & Company LLP
As 2014 comes to a close, and we look forward to the new year, local business owners are taking stock on the year and how they’d like to improve for 2015 when it comes to their finances. Harry Willis III, CPA, a partner with Bowman & Company LLP, shares what lessons businesses can take from 2014 and how they can be applied to make 2015 one of the most successful years yet.
On financial lessons of 2014: With Target, Home Depot and many others having their credit card systems compromised, smaller companies having their phone systems hacked and receiving $200,000 phone bills, unauthorized bank withdrawals going overseas, and telephone IRS impersonators requesting payment of taxes, we all learned that we must do a better job of protecting our customers and our own assets and proprietary information. Cyber security has to be at the top of our to-do list for 2015.
On applying lessons learned in 2015: [Businesses should] have their system stress tested to identify possible exposure points. Our Information Technology Group has been very active identifying exposure points and suggesting solutions for our clients. A recent article in Bloomberg Businessweek suggested that a 50-employee company should spend on average close to $58,000 to protect against cybercrime. Consideration should also be given to the purchase of a cyber-insurance policy that can cover breach response and third-party liability.
How to make 2015 profitable: Use the power of social media to the fullest to get your message and your brand out. Also, rate lock any floating rate loans so that you know what your payment will be. It is just a matter of time before rates head up. And of course, continue to monitor health insurance and the marketplace.
On starting a business in 2015: Have your team in place before you go live. Meet with your lawyer, accountant, banker, insurance agent and IT consultants, etc., to make your plans together and get off to the right start. You want to educate yourself. A simple thing, such as choice of business entity, can have long-term consequences.
For more from Wills, including one of the most important financial lessons he’s learned in his 20 years in the business, visit SouthJerseyBiz.net.
Published (and copyrighted) in South Jersey Biz, Volume 4, Issue 12 (December, 2014).
For more info on South Jersey Biz, click here.
To subscribe to South Jersey Biz, click here.
To advertise in South Jersey Biz, click here.