Tools To Help Your Small Business Succeed

Small business owners are notoriously hard workers with long hours every single day of the week. Software tools and applications that make their business a bit easier have become more readily available with the current technology.  Documents, appointments, on line calendars and applications they can access through their phones or other devices have become commonplace.  Their business can truly travel with them, and can provide the much needed time to spend doing other more enjoyable things.

To read more about new business applications and other small business topics, follow the links below.


3 Financial Documents Every Small Business Needs

Columbia, S.C. (WLTX) – Happy Money Monday to our entrepreneur viewers. Today we’re covering the basics to help you understand the financial health of your business.

Here are 3 financial documents every small business needs:

1. Balance Sheet – This is a great way to provide a financial overview of your business. If you’re a visual person, this financial report will be easier for you to understand as it’s displayed as a chart. The left side shows what your company owns (aka your assets), while the right side will show you your expenses and equity.

2. Cash flow Statement – Similar to your budget for your personal finances, the cash flow statement shows how money comes and goes for your business. This helps you understand how your business is operating on a day-to-day basis and will help you answer the question, “How much is my business truly making?”


What is Yext and Can It Help Your Small Business?

It you’re looking for a way to automatically sync your business information across 50+ directories such as Google Maps, Yelp and Apple Siri, Yext presents itself as a possible solution.

Last week, the New-York based company filed paperwork with the US securities regulators to raise as much as $100 million in an initial public offering.

What is Yext?

Yext is a data management tool that is designed to keep track of your business’ location-related information on multiple directories. The software allows you to sync your:

  • Business Name, Address and Phone Number;
  • Business hours, products and services, holiday hours, photos and videos, staff bios, menus, and calendars;

Why your small business needs a mobile app

Many small businesses are unsure whether they need a mobile app, many believing that their mobile website is enough. Are you staying relevant?

Are you app-solutely missing the boat?

These days, we carry our smartphones everywhere. People are using them to play, order food, make purchases, do research, communicate, check reviews, read books, find love and generally get by day to day. Some people are even running their business from their phone! In fact, many of you probably prefer using apps over your desktop when it comes to things like checking emails, updating your social media accounts or checking your online banking.


 

Information You Must Know For Your Small Business

If You Think Education Is Expensive, Try Ignorance – Famous quote

And, for many small business owners, knowing the rules and regulations concerning their business can save them a lot of money they can then invest in their business.  Tax incentives, or other type of changes that affect how they do their business, are opportunities they cannot pass up. 

For more about this and other topics, follow the links below.


Medicare rules differ for small business owners and employees

They must enroll when they turn 65 or face lifelong penalties.

Financial advisers who work with owners or employees of small businesses that employ fewer than 20 workers should be aware of a special rule that affects these clients: They must enroll in Medicare when they turn 65 or face lifelong penalties.

Normally, workers age 65 and older can delay enrolling in Medicare, the government-run health insurance program for people 65 and older and certain people with disabilities, if they continue to have group health insurance through their employer or through their spouse’s employer.

If the employer has 20 or more employees, the group health plan generally pays first, according to Medicare.gov. But the rules are different for small businesses and the self-employed. In this case, Medicare is the primary payer and if you don’t sign up for Medicare at 65, it will be as if you have no insurance at all, warns the Medicare Rights Center.


Avoid Business Burnout: 10 Real Small Business Owners Share Their Coping Secrets

Let’s face it: nobody starts a small business so that they’ll work less and have more free time. One thing I’ve heard consistently over the years from small business owners is how much harder it is to run a business than it is to work for one. In fact, many of them describe business ownership as a job that means working from morning till night, seven days a week. A friend of mine who owns a small café recently admitted to me that he hasn’t taken a single vacation in the seven years since he opened!

All of this sounds like a surefire recipe for serious “business owner burnout.” So I decided to ask 10 real-life small business owners how they stay energized. How do they cope with those moments when they feel overwhelmed by the constant pressure, the lack of time off, and the worries that come with being in business for yourself? This is the question I posed to them: “What tactics do you use to re-energize yourself and reinvigorate your passion for your business?”


10 Reasons Why Marketing Training for Small Business Owners is Essential

It’s no secret, at the core of business success is marketing. For small businesses, marketing goods, services and their brand, is essential in reaching customers, selling products and services and generally staying afloat. Though as with any discipline, marketing is achieved more effectively when you have the knowledge and expertise about the most effective forms of advertising, promotion and public relations, hence why marketing training can prove invaluable for many marketing-naïve SMEs.

If you run a small business and your marketing efforts are either non-existent or aren’t getting you very far, it could be worth investing in marketing training. Take a look at the following 10 reasons why marketing training for small business owners is essential.

Open new doors

Being up-to-date with the latest trends, innovations, technology and developments in the world of marketing, can help open new doors for your business. You will be able to implement such innovations into your own marketing strategy, and by doing so, grow your businesses organically by reaching out to new and existing customers.



 

Small Business News

News about the high optimism of small business owners  regarding the economy across the US, seem to be a hot topic of conversation. Despite the incertitude of many of the issues affecting the small business community, the optimism according to media outlets seems to be high. The promise of a quick repeal to Obamacare has some small business owners wondering whether this is going to be a good move for them.  For more about this and other stories affecting the small business community, follow the links below.


Small-business owners are full of questions and regrets about the end of Obamacare

With the repeal of the Affordable Care Act likely but its replacement uncertain, small-business owners are weighing their options for the future.

More details may come Tuesday evening when President Trump makes his first address to both houses of Congress as commander-in-chief.

Trump took executive action on January 20 to “ease the burden” of the Affordable Care Act and formally announced the administration’s policy to “seek the prompt repeal” of the law. However, doing so with any speed has proven difficult. The president told a meeting of the nation’s governors on Monday, “Nobody knew that healthcare could be so complicated.”

Dirk Bak is simply hoping for cost controls. His business, SDQ Janitorial in Minnetonka, Minn., has been family-owned for 34 years and had been offering its nearly 200 full-time workers coverage even before the ACA became law.

A great majority of our nation’s small business owners are old, white men

Two weeks ago the Kauffman Foundation, a well-regarded nonprofit group that specializes in entrepreneurism, released its annual State of Entrepreneurship report — and at least in one respect, the news is encouraging. The report found that, despite still being below the peak that preceded the Great Recession, private enterprise is rebounding and entrepreneurs are driving a resurgence of business activity in America.

However, most of those entrepreneurs are still mostly old, white men.

Even as the U.S. population is becoming more diverse, the changes in the composition of our entrepreneurs is not reflecting these changes: 80.2 percent are white and 64.5 percent are male (other reports have put the average age of a small business owner at around 50 years old). The Kauffman report found that minorities own half as many businesses as non-minorities and their businesses start smaller and stay smaller mostly due to capital challenges. Women are also half as likely as men to own employer businesses.


79 Percent of Small Business Owners Remain Confident, Xero Report Says

With unprecedented economic uncertainty in the US and UK, you would expect small businesses would be more pessimistic about the future. Yet, according to the second annual Make or Break 2017 report from Xero (NZE:XRO), small business owners are irrepressibly optimistic going into 2017. Both small business owners (79 percent) and accountants (84 percent) feel more confident about 2017 than 2016.

Make or Break 2017 Report from Xero: Highlights

The optimism was especially true for young businesses with 94 percent of one-year-old and 84 percent of two-year-old businesses saying that they felt more confident going into 2017 than they did in 2016. Over three quarters (79 percent) of small business owners professed confidence in their businesses’ survival in 2017. While nearly a fifth of businesses going through a tougher time said they expected 2017 to be a turnaround year for their business.


 

Tax Deductions and Small Business Surging Optimism in The Economy

Receipts during this time of year become increasingly more important as small business owners prepare for tax filing.  If you have no receipts that prove your expenses then, you may be out of luck.  But, some of the tax deductions for your small business will be at the hands of your accountant.  Make sure your accountant knows and has all the documentation to give your small business the deductions it deserves.

For more about  this and other news, follow the links below.


5 overlooked small-business tax deductions

Failing to claim all the small-business tax deductions you’re entitled to is like flushing money down the toilet. Deductions are a legal way to reduce the amount of business income that is subject to tax.

Failing to claim all the small-business tax deductions you’re entitled to is like flushing money down the toilet. Deductions are a legal way to reduce the amount of business income that is subject to tax.Keeping good records is key to backing up the deductions, says Barbara Weltman, author of “J.K. Lasser’s Small Business Taxes 2017.”

“Keep receipts, invoices and other documentation,” she says. “If you don’t have the proof, you could be out of luck.”

 


Small business owners are excited about the US economy – and they’re giving Trump the credit

Small business leaders say they’re more enthusiastic about the US economy, according to a new survey from JPMorgan.

The 2017 Business Leaders Outlook found that small business executives from across the US are more optimistic about the global and national economies and think that the Trump administration will be a positive for the country.

The bank surveyed roughly 1,400 executives, and 80% said they were optimistic about the national economy. That’s up nearly 41 points from the 2016 edition of the survey.

About 68% said they were encouraged about the outlook for their local economies, an 18 point increase from the year before. Only 3% and 5% of these executives were pessimistic about the national and local economies respectively, according to JPMorgan.


Small-business optimism surging, surveys show

Small business owners’ view of the economy is surging and giving them an incentive to hire.

That’s the finding of surveys released last week by two advocacy groups, the National Small Business Association and the National Federation of Independent Business.

The number of owners who believe the economy is doing better than it was six months ago has virtually doubled from a survey released during the summer, according to the NSBA survey. Forty-three percent of the 1,426 owners questioned had a more upbeat assessment, compared to 22 percent in the summer.

The survey is in line with others showing owners more upbeat after the election and at the start of 2017.

Looking ahead, 54 percent expect the economy to grow during the next year, up from 29 percent.

The more upbeat view is a reason for owners to add jobs, a shift from the recession and its aftermath, when owners said hiring was too much of a risk. Forty-three percent of the owners surveyed by the NSBA said they expect to hire in the next 12 months, up from 33 percent.


 

From Retirement Accounts to the Federal Rate Hike Affecting the Small Business Owner

Are you thinking about  filing your taxes already?  While there is still time to do so, re-evaluating your current retirement plan, health plan or other benefit plans you currently have for your employees with your accountant, financial advisor, or human resources person might be a good idea.  While changing plans may carry a small increase in prices, some of the benefits with a new plan do make up for the small price difference.  Retirement accounts you may want to set up this year for your employees, or for yourself can be done with the help of a financial advisor.  Before making any changes that affects your business, talk to your accountant or financial advisor.

For more about this and other small business news, follow the links below.


Inexpensive retirement plans for small-business owners

You’ve built your own company from the ground up, and now it’s time to start thinking about a retirement plan for yourself and your employees.

Does Your Small Business Need a Whistleblower Policy?

As business owners, we hope to never have need of a whistleblowing policy. But that doesn’t mean it isn’t incredibly important for protecting ourselves, our businesses and our employees.

Whistleblowing policies are put in place to ensure employees they are protected if they feel there is a topic or problem that needs to be discussed. It also helps you as a company identify what complaints actually constitute whistleblowing and to put guidelines or consequences in place if false allegations are made against the company.

If you don’t have a whistleblowing policy for your company, here are a few of the main reasons why you need to consider creating one, and what you should have in mind while creating your policy.

What Is Whistleblowing?

Whistleblowing happens when an employee — the whistleblower, or “relator” (the technical term used for a whistleblower) — brings a concern, misconduct or questionable act within the company to the public’s attention. When a whistleblower decides to speak out about a certain instance of misconduct within the company, they are doing so because they believe it should be public knowledge.


Will Fed Rate Hike Mean Easier Access to Small Business Loans?

The Federal Reserve raised its benchmark interest rate Wednesday for only the second time since the 2008 recession, citing falling unemployment and low inflation as key factors in its decision.

According to Fed Chairwoman Janet L. Yellen, the country has seen sustained economic growth over the past few years, including nearly 2.3 million net new jobs (PDF) in the previous four quarters alone, and an inflation rate running at a low two percent.

The rate increase is nominal — 0.5 to 0.75 percent — a number that the Fed feels will support sustained growth by encouraging borrowing.

Rohit Arora, CEO of Biz2Credit, an online marketplace for small business funding, and an expert on small business finance, said in a phone interview with Small Business Trends that the rate hike could be a good thing for small companies if it spurs financial institutions to make more loans.

He expressed concern, however, that banks, reluctant to lend to small businesses since the recession, may continue to keep their pocketbooks closed.


 

Productivity In The Workplace

Small and big businesses regardless of what industry they are in, try to boost productivity in the workplace to achieve their goals.  Whether they are offering financial incentives, recognition across the company, or extra vacation days, companies will go to extra lengths to reach or boost workplace productivity.

Every company has employees that are super stars and their productivity is unparalleled.  But, as every company have super stars, they have the super “duds” in it as well.  When looking into improving the productivity in your company, you have to take into account that all your employees have to be accountable for the work they do or are supposed to do.  The superstars can only take the team up to a point. Dragging the employees that are falling way below their potential is exhausting and mentally exhausting for everyone else.

Metrics that help you measure the productivity of your employees and yourself are widely available for businesses.  Every employee believes he is productive, but remember that productivity is a very subjective concept for many of us. We do not measure time or productivity equally.  Reading and answering all emails in your inbox may seem like you are productive, even if you do nothing else.  For other people answering all those emails is only the beginning of their day.

When measuring the productivity of your employees-and yourself-take into consideration that employees respond differently to what management or they owner tells them.  For many employees a job performance review and an unsatisfactory review at that, can be more harmful that no review at all.  You have to get to know your employees before handing out advice.  Sometimes a pat on the back, or a nice word at the beginning of the day are for many employees enough to continue working hard for you.  Recognition that they are doing a good job and that you are aware of it, can increase the productivity of many of your employees.

Most workers across the United States have a life outside work. Families, other jobs, elderly parents, financial problems and a myriad of other issues, are a constant reminder that we are humans and have a limited time of hours every day.  Expecting the employee to be a happy and responsive human being every single day is expecting too much.  When asking an employee for X, Y and Z, think before and ask yourself if it is too much.  I do not believe that you have to hire a slacker and let it be, just think that a happy employee will be a more productive employee for you and your company.

Small Business News For This Coming Tax Season

There are not many relationships in business as important as that of an accountant or tax advisor and a small business owner during this time of year.  During the months ahead, when many small business owners are already thinking about taxes, the advice these people offered them can be a tremendous financial relief for their business. Small business owners try to minimize as much as possible the amount of taxes they pay every year. The advice a CPA  gives them can save them hundreds, if not thousands of dollars.

Talk to a tax advisor soon, prepare papers and other proper documents to take to him/her and beat the rush.

For more about this and other topics, follow the links below.


Tax season is here with rising stress levels, headaches for small businesses

NEW YORK (AP) – With the start of tax season, stress levels are rising at many small businesses.

Even owners who are organized, keep good books and stay in touch with their accountants can find compiling returns to be a painful process. One reason is that tax laws change often, says Rosamaria Bravo, a certified public accountant with the firm MBAF in Miami. One of this year’s big differences: Partnership returns must be filed by March 15, a month earlier than in the past. And companies known as C corporations have a filing deadline of mid-April, after having a March due date in past years.

“It’s very hard to stay on top of all the information,” Bravo says. “The average business owner is more worried about their day-to-day operations.”

Here’s a look at some lessons small business owners learned:

USING SOFTWARE WISELYWhen Christina Divigard started an advertising agency, she bought accounting software and began keeping the company’s books herself. When tax season arrived, she discovered that out of inexperience, she’d incorrectly entered some information and misclassified some types of deductions. It took two weeks to get her books in order.


The $83,000 Question: How Much Do Regulations Really Cost Small Businesses?

How much does it cost the average small business to comply with government regulations? One recent survey, released just in time for Donald J. Trump’s inauguration, dropped this eye-popping number: at least $12,000 a year. And you don’t even want to know what a start-up spends on regulations in its first year. However, I’ll tell you anyway — a whopping $83,019.

These figures come from the first-ever Small Business Regulations Survey, conducted by the National Small Business Association, which of course makes it its business to reduce the regulatory burden on small businesses. Among other conclusions, the survey found that 44 percent of businesses spend at least 40 hours a year dealing with federal regulations, and 29 percent spend at least that much on state and local rules. Three-quarters of business owners say that they have spent time reading proposed rules at least once, and of these, not quite two-thirds discover that more than half the time, the rules they’ve read wouldn’t apply to them. About 40 percent of respondents claim that they have held off making a new investment because of a regulation at some point in the past.


Facebook’s Creative Shop: What Can It Do For Small Businesses (And Itself)

The service helps companies spruce up their ads in order to engage more with the platform—and also keep Facebook ahead of its competitors.

Baked founder Matt Lewis never thought about hiring an ad agency to help boost holiday sales at his three bakeries in New York City, but he did want to run some kind of campaign this year to get people to preorder pies for Thanksgiving.

A former ad man himself, Lewis thought he was capable of making social media content that was good enough to draw in some customers. In the past, he’s hired photographers and considered hiring a design agency to spruce up the Baked website. But the costs are high. A photographer would cost him $1,500 a day, and a video shoot, about $3,800 a day. “We don’t really have those funds,” says Lewis, whose warm smile and calm demeanor might lead you to think he’s a yoga teacher, not a baker. “There’s no return, or the return would be so small after you’ve paid everybody out. It wouldn’t be worth it.”


 

Content Marketing For Your Business For 2017

Are you looking to do something different this year?  Are you changing your marketing strategy to one that involves content marketing?  Then, you are not alone.  Million of businesses across the globe have been implementing content marketing to provide information that is relevant to their customers, and provide a clear benefit to their customer base. To immerse yourself in the world of content marketing, you first have to decide what is the goal your business is trying to achieve.  Then, you have to decide whether videos, podcasts or infographics are your choice instead of blog post.

For more about this topic, follow the links below.


4 Reasons Your Small Business Needs Content Marketing

Small businesses today are competing with a lot of noise.  Consumers are plowing through the clutter as they use DVRs to skip through commercials, install ad-blockers to browse the websites they love without ads interrupting, and customize what shows up in their social media news feeds.

This makes it imperative to find ways to make sure your small business isn’t ignored. Write messages that your target audience will want to see and read.  Whether you are looking for topics for social media post inspiration or ideas to use to make your blog posts draw customers in, it’s essential to reevaluate the way you communicate with customers. Replace the sales pitch with helpful information and the consumers will start to open their eyes and ears.  Market with the goal to make buyers see your brand as a valued information provider — not an interruption.

This type of marketing is called content marketing. Content marketing focuses on communicating with the customer and creating and distributing information with the intent to engage a target audience and promote brand awareness. Information needs to be relevant and value-packed to help your small business attract and retain customers.  Take a look at these 4 ways content marketing can drive results and increase your bottom line.


How Small Businesses Are Cracking the Online Marketing Code

A strong SEO foundation will almost always lead to good results in the end.

When it comes to online marketing, the purpose and objectives are generally the same as traditional strategies in terms of increasing brand awareness and finding new customers.

There are a number of ingredients that go into a successful digital promotion all the way from planning to sales. Perhaps the biggest benefit online marketing has for small businesses is that it enables them to spend each dollar more efficiently to yield a higher ROI.

Here are some ways in which small businesses are making the most out of their online marketing efforts.

Producing strong content

Content marketing is the cornerstone of every online marketing strategy. Producing stellar brand material is a surefire way to create loyal visitors and encourage sharing.

At the end of the day, the most important goal of content creation is to turn visitors into customers. This can start with small objectives like earning a follow on social media, signing up for a newsletter or taking a survey or poll.


Content Marketing for Small Business: Does it Really Work?

Does content marketing really work for small business?

That’s a question I hear all the time — and it’s a good one.

You see huge players like American Express and IBM creating loads of amazing content…

…but they have the resources and money to throw at it.

What about the little guys — the solopreneurs or small businesses of two to ten people? Can content marketing work for them?

I’m here to give you an absolute, undisputed YES!!

However, there are a few caveats (there’s always a caveat, right?):

  • You must commit fully to content marketing. Content marketing institute found that just 21% of content marketers in North America are “extremely” committed to content marketing. The other 79%? They’re just wasting their time (and everyone else’s, too).
  • You have to spend more time promoting than creating content. One of the biggest content marketing myths is “create amazing, out of this world content, and the readers will come.” This is FALSE! Unless you promote that content, NO ONE will see it, share it, or convert on it — period.

 

Focus In Your Business For A Better Year This Time Around

Procrastination is not  a friend for the small business owner. As flawed human beings, we tend to put off chores till we can no longer do so. We try to “delegate” the things we do not like to do, and we make excuses as to why certain things didn’t get done on time.  Focus for the small business owner is too important to treat it lightly.  Focus can mean more sales, or a better strategy for the long run and the prosperity of the business itself. For more about this topic, follow the links below.


How To Maintain Your Small Business Focus

Like most people, I thought I understood what Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) was all about. After all, the conversation about why some kids have a really hard time settling down and focusing in the classroom has been going on since the 1980s.

Over the years, I’ve had classmates and colleagues who were diagnosed, and through interactions with them I thought I knew what the situation was. It wasn’t until I started living with my beau, Rob, who has ADD, that I began to truly appreciate the magnitude of the condition and how it impacts everyday life.

ADD isn’t about a lack of focus. Rob can be exceptionally focused. However, his intense focus only lasts for a brief period of time. Then, in what feels like the blink of an eye, Rob’s focused on something else … and then something else, and then something else: it’s easy to see why it’s hard to get things done. The constant change in focus means using up a lot of energy without seeing a lot of results.  Luckily, there are treatments for ADD. It’s absolutely amazing what a difference medication and behavioral strategies have made in Rob’s life. With them, he can control his focus and achieve his goals.


Cramer admits he was wrong about the impact of small business on stocks

Jim Cramer was convinced last week that a jump in small business optimism would have no influence on the stock market.

“I was wrong,” the “Mad Money” host said.

The monthly National Federation of Independent Business survey of small business optimism report this week indicated that December had greatest surge in optimism since 1980, when Ronald Reagan was elected.

The survey polled 619 businesses, and showed a jump to 105.8, the highest since 2004. The survey was heavily skewed toward the notion of expansion with the notion that more optimism leads to more hiring and job creation, which translates into economic improvement.

“I can’t emphasize how important this all is because right now there is a perception in the media that there is nothing but trouble ahead with Trump’s nominations, with his plans, with his style,” Cramer said.


Abrams: 7 steps to small-business success in 2017

It’s closing in on mid-January, and what happened to all those new year’s resolutions you set with such enthusiasm 10 days ago? Resolutions often quickly get forgotten. How can you turn your good intentions for your small business into real action? Turn those resolutions into “small business success goals” for 2017.

How do goals differ from resolutions? Resolutions are intentions. Goals are specific, realistic, measurable objectives. They give you clear, practical targets. They help you achieve success. After all, one of “Rhonda’s Rules” is “you can’t reach a goal you haven’t set.”

Most small business owners, however, often feel they’re too busy running their companies to take time     to develop a specific list of goals. Besides, if you’re like me, you have a sense of your goals in your head, so why write them down? But “mental goals” tend to be either too big (“Be a millionaire by the time I’m 30”) or more likely, out of our control (“Land five new clients this week”).

Yes, developing a list of achievable goals requires a bit of work. You don’t want to sit down and just write out a whole laundry list of desires. That’s going to result in a frustrating number of unachievable targets.


 

Small Business Lending

According to the FDIC website, as of September 30, 2016 there were 5,170 FDIC insured commercial banks. They gave a total of 8,544 loans as of the third quarter of 2016.  You might think that with so many banks, and loans given every year to business, there would be a surplus of loans for the small business owner.  That is not always the case. Some small businesses have a lot of  trouble getting a small business loan, even though news around the country claim small business borrowing is increasing.

For more about this and other news, follow the links below.

 


13 top U.S. microlenders for your small business

What is a microloan, and is one right for your small business?

If you’re a small-business owner on a quest for capital, there are several smart reasons to turn to nonprofit microlenders. These lenders go beyond making small loans to entrepreneurs and provide some benefits that traditional lenders don’t:

Profit is not their objective. Many microlenders are called mission-focused or mission-based lenders. They offer loans from government or nonprofit programs geared to helping disadvantaged communities, including areas that are struggling economically. Some microlenders also operate internationally, helping entrepreneurs in developing nations.

Many microlenders and nonprofits provide pro bono consulting and training, including helping small businesses build credit.


US small business borrowing rises as Trump elected president

Borrowing by small U.S. firms ticked up in November, data released on Thursday showed, as Americans unexpectedly elected Republican Donald Trump as their next president and investors bid up U.S. stocks on bets that tax cuts will boost profits.

The Thomson Reuters/PayNet Small Business Lending Index rose to 129.9 in November from a downwardly revised 119.8 in October. Measured from a year earlier, it was the first increase in six months. Movements in the index typically correspond with movements in gross domestic product growth a quarter or two ahead.

“Right now we’ve got this post-election bounce, because we know who will be in office,” said Bill Phelan, PayNet’s chief executive and founder. “Is this going to continue into a new era of growth or no? That’s unclear.”


Small Business Health Reimbursement Accounts Resurrected For 2017

Stand-alone HRAs are back for 2017. Employers don’t have to wait for the repeal of Obamacare to fund stand-alone health reimbursement accountsthat employees can use to pay for medical expenses, including health insurance coverage on the individual market. Tucked into the year-end 21stCentury Cures Act, Congress resurrected these HRAs (“qualified small employer health reimbursement arrangements”) for employers with fewer than 50 employees.

“I’ve been contacting small employer clients, telling them, ‘It looks like we can bring your plan back to life,’” says Amy Gordon, an employee benefits lawyer with McDermott Will & Emery in Chicago. “This was an unexpected surprise.”

Stand-alone HRAs were banned under the Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare) because they didn’t meet credible coverage rules (HRAs tied to high-deductible health plans and limited HRAs which cover retiree medical expenses or just dental and vision weren’t banned and are still viable). Employers had to freeze stand-alone HRAs and not make any more contributions to them.