Friday, June 30, 2017


At one time or another, every company runs into a cash flow crunch, losing out on business opportunities or falling behind while waiting 30, 60 or even 90 days for customer payments. Unfortunately, traditional financing doesn’t always fit these needs, may have too many restrictions, or takes too long for approval.

Accounts receivable financing, or factoring, with Imagine Solutions sister company AmeriStrength gives you the cash flow you need to keep going. You sell us your invoices and we immediately advance you the funds to operate and grow your business. It’s a line of credit based on your sales, not your net worth.

Plus when you factor at AmeriStrength, there are:
  • No monthly minimum obligation
  • No minimum fee requirements
  • No long term contract requirements 
  • No closing costs (other than a one-time due diligence fee)
  • No legal fees
  • No obligations to sell all receivables. You choose which receivables to fund 

There are hundreds of situations in which our fast, flexible receivables financing can help. Benefits include:
  • Meet payroll and other immediate cash flow requirements
  • Spend more time on business operations and less time on reporting requirements
  • Obtain customer credit risk protection
  • Buy inventory for increased sales
  • Have an alternative to bank financing or equity financing
  • Supplement or reduce the amount of equity being raised
  • Take advantage of vendor discounts and opportunistic purchases
  • Bring taxes current
  • Acquire equipment necessary to reduce costs
  • Reorganize, whether in or out of bankruptcy
  • Make strategic acquisitions
  • Manage seasonal sales fluctuations
If you are in need of factoring services, please contact us or AmeriStrength today! 

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Years behind on your accounting.... We have you covered!

As a bookkeeper, there are few things scarier than when a new client approaches you and says they have a few tax issues.  It is a cringeworthy moment.  When it involves more than 5 years of unfurled taxes and missing financial documentation it can be overwhelming. The data entry alone on a multi-year backup could be a full-time job never mind trying to keep current on the day to day.  Over the years we have seen this more times then we can count. 
A bit of organization combined with a bit of technology makes it possible to recreate those financials, on a cash basis, in just a few weeks of work.  Here’s how we tackled it…
  • First, you will need to find out exactly how far back the issue goes.  Asking the client isn’t always going to get you an accurate result.  We ask our clients to provide a tax transcript or their last complete return. This gives us a baseline for how far we must go back in the data reconstruction process.

  • Next, the collection of documentation comes into play.  Often the period is far more than can be downloaded from the banking institutions.  This often leaves you dependent upon paper copies of bank and credit card statements.  These may need to be requested from the banking institution if the client doesn’t have copies in hand.

  • Once the documentation is received you can use a program like Scanwriter to convert PDF copies of the statements into data import files that are much like what you would download from the bank. By importing the transactions you will have an easily reconciled data set in a third of the time. This will allow only for cash basis reporting of income and expenditures, but when the accounting and taxes are this far behind it is often the only alternative.

  • You will need to add any cash transactions, or contributions that never flowed through the banking institutions, via journal entries.

  • You may need to make adjustments for payroll, loan interest, and depreciation as well. Inventory figures can be adjusted only if you have on hand counts for the various fiscal period end dates.

Once all accounts are reconciled and you have verified the balance sheet to be sure assets are all accurate and that all liabilities are represented the file should be ready to forward for tax preparation. If you are behind in filing your taxes, give Imagine Solutions a call so we can get you caught up! 

Monday, June 26, 2017


When working with contractors we deal with hundreds and thousands of subcontractors. Often we get push back when we request their certificates of insurance.  I think I’ve had this argument probably hundreds of times.  The subs like to pull out the old well I’m not required to be on the policy while standing one hand in the electrical panel on the job site.  My other favorite is the sub that says he is a sole proprietor with no employees so the state says he doesn’t need to carry workers’ compensation insurance.  To all these subs we say yes you need it and here is our canned response.  Feel free to use it.

Insurance has nothing to do with an entity type.  Our liability on a job site is the same if the independently contracted service provider is a C corp or a one man D.B.A. sole prop.  Liability and exposure are liability and exposure.  If the sole prop work alone guy falls off the roof and dies or the C-corp employee does the exposure to the homeowner and contractor are the same.  Where the difference in exposure comes is the kind of work that is being done.  For example, there is less exposure and risk for the surveyor on the job site before the project starts than for the roofer.  This is reflected in the insurance rates they themselves pay.  As the contractor, we want to have everyone covered.  With the high net worth of individuals for which our contractors build homes, we are often held to a higher standard by their advisors and lenders as they have more at risk financially.  Exposure and risk mitigation are what is at hand here.  If someone isn’t covered by our company payroll and workers’ compensation insurance as well as by the GL policy of the company we want to see them insured or else they are falling under our exposure.

Some people get the state’s requirements and allowances for certain exemptions under labor laws confused with exposure and risk mitigation.  They are not one in the same.  The state of Massachusetts says that if the electrician is a sole prop or DBA with no employees he is not required to purchase workers comp insurance or that if he has employees he himself can opt out of coverage and only cover the employees.  The problem with this both in the eyes of our customers and in the eyes of our insurance company is that while that guy is allowed to do that by law it then shifts the risk and exposure to us.  If the owner of the electrical company never sets foot on the job site then great no worries, but if he is working alongside the guys or on his own on the job site we are just as exposed.  There is no magic bubble around him because he opted out and is self-employed.

There are all kinds of other audit considerations and legalities but those are secondary.

Imagine Solutions is here to help you manage your subcontractors, contact us today!

Thursday, June 22, 2017

How To Practice Small Business Budgeting That Prepares For The Unexpected

A dollar saved is a dollar earned as they say. For small businesses perhaps that saying should be transformed into "A dollar budgeted for is a dollar earned". The process of budgeting is not the most exciting aspect of running a small business, but it is a vital process by which a business survives. Preparing for the unexpected in particular is a sign of a smart business leader. 
Estimates That Are Far From Reality 
It is all too easy for many of us to incorrectly estimate either how much money our business will bring in, or how much we are going to spend. Many fall into the habit of preparing for the best case scenario and daydreaming of a reality full of profits when in reality it is better to prepare for the worst that could happen. 
If estimates fall too far out of line, it is entirely possible to mess up the budget for the foreseeable future, and no one wants to go down that path. 
Paying Bills Late 
Individuals frequently pay bills late when they are strapped for cash and have to make decisions between what is getting paid and what isn't. Businesses too fall into this trap from time to time and must decide what their priorities are. Unfortunately, they will also have to be prepared to pay late fees on those bills just as individuals do. See what says about it, 
Even the smallest of businesses have bills to pay, and not paying them on time is going to cost you, even if you think you've budgeted for it. It's better to ensure that you stay on top of your regular outgoings. 
Currency Rates 
Businesses that deal in international trade (including online businesses) need to consider currency rates. When currencies rates get too far out of line it can put a damper on business profitability rates. This in turn can also make a mess of even a perfectly laid out budget. It is best to prepare for the reality that currency rates change all the time, and to leave some margin of error in the budget for these changes. If the rates happen to fall in your favor then great, but if they don't you want to be prepared for that as well. 
Contact us for more information regarding prudent budgeting practices to have as a small business. 

Friday, June 16, 2017

The Imagine Staff's favorite office products.

We have people ask us all the time, What products do you recommend I use for my office? So we put together a short list of items we like to have in our office that we use daily.

ACA Compliance Bulletin: ACA Affordability Percentages Will Decrease for 2018

On May 5, 2017, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) issued Revenue Procedure 2017-36 to index the contribution percentages in 2018 for purposes of determining affordability of an employer’s plan under the Affordable Care Act (ACA). For plan years beginning in 2018, employer-sponsored coverage will be considered affordable if the employee’s required contribution for self-only coverage does not exceed:
  • 9.56 percent of the employee’s household income for the year, for purposes of both the pay or play rules and premium tax credit eligibility; and
  • 8.05 percent of the employee’s household income for the year, for purposes of an individual mandate exemption (adjusted under separate guidance).

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Is Workers Comp Necessary for Your Small Business?

There are small businesses sprouting up everywhere and thanks to the Internet, you can manage and grow your own business with ease and professionalism. Small side cleaning businesses, sales operations, cupcake bakers and baby-sitting operations have become full time endeavors for some; and though you can do a lot of things on your own, sometimes you do need others to work for you so that you can manage the operation.

Employees or Independent Contractors?

Though many small companies are opting to have independent contractor arrangements with workers, some still prefer to have employees instead of contractors as a personal preference. If this is your choice, workers comp must be a consideration for you.

When it comes to workers comp, various states have different requirements. For example, some states do not require you to have workers compensation insurance if you have less than three workers, while others require you to have it if you have one independent contractor who is subcontracting out jobs.

There are some trades that sometimes don't require you to get workers compensation insurance including, housekeepers, child care workers, farm workers, non-profit employees and paper boys. However, these trades are going to vary state by state.

What if You Don't Want the Hassle?

If you really don't want to hassle with workers compensation, then working only with independent contractors is the best way to go. However, if you really must have employees and subcontractors, there are things you can do if you don't want to get this type of insurance.

Basically, you have to make sure to cover yourself, especially if you have workers out doing any sort of physical jobs. In order to cover yourself effectively, you want to consult a lawyer and draw up several contracts. Your lawyer might also have additional contracts that he will recommend for you based on specific rules in your home state.

The basic contracts you will need your immediate subcontractors to sign include:

  • A contract stating that they carry adequate liability insurance on the work that they do.
  • A contract stating that they are taking care of workman's compensation, unemployment taxes, and any other taxes and benefits related matters on anyone working on the job under them
  • A contract or waiver stating that all of their subs have been paid out (This contract must be signed after the job is complete and before you make the final payout. This insures that subcontractors you have no immediate relationship with, do not have legal grounds to come after you or any private property owners of the job site for non-payment)

Contact us to learn more strategies to increase the efficiency of your business.