Posts by Lauren Perkins

Invest in Yourself: Volunteer in Your Industry Association to Build Skills and Meet People

“An investment in knowledge pays the best interest.” Benjamin Franklin, one of the Founding Fathers of the United States and a deep observer of life and people, wrote those words more than 225 years ago. Like much of his wise counsel, those words hold as true now as they did then. In today’s incredibly fast-paced business environment, investing in knowledge for yourself is important to help you and your company remain competitive and current. A proven way to invest in knowledge is to volunteer your ideas and leadership talents in your specific industry association and learn from the people you meet along the way.

Getting involved in a professional association will help you learn more about your industry and its trends, tactics, technologies, and best practices. You can volunteer to serve on or lead a project or committee to learn new skills or offer to speak at a meeting to share your knowledge with others. Through these types of opportunities – and others offered by your particular association – you will develop helpful professional and leadership skills and build your personal brand. You’ll also expand your network which will let you explore new business opportunities. You’ll also have fun as you get to know more people and they get to know you and your company!

The Barter Company is a proud member of the National Association of Trade Exchanges (NATE). Owner Ric Zampatti is a four-time past president of the organization and a past board member on the NATE Board of Directors. He enjoys learning from others, sharing his knowledge, and influencing the direction and standards of the industry. The Barter Company has sponsored numerous national conventions and reciprocates with more than 50 exchanges nationwide. By reciprocating with these exchanges, the company gives clients access to thousands of barter options across the U.S.

Put Benjamin Franklin’s advice to work for you. Check out your professional association today to see how you can invest in some knowledge for yourself and your company. There is always room for leaders in a professional association to expand their network, develop professional and leadership skills, explore new technologies, and develop their personal brand. Get involved today!

 

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In 2019, I Resolve to Spend Less and Save More. How Do I Do That?

How many times have you told yourself that THIS is the year you will improve your life by making an important change like exercising more, eating healthier, spending less or saving more? If your 2019 New Year’s resolutions involve money, a recent Fidelity Investments study indicates that you’re not alone. In fact, the survey shows that nearly one-third of Americans plan to make a money resolution for 2019, with 48 percent planning to save more, 29 percent aiming to pay down debt, and 15 percent aspiring to spend less.

The article lists 20 options for people to consider if they are making money resolutions. They include proven methods such as identifying your financial goals, tracking spending, paying off debt and automating savings, to name a few options. These are certainly good methods, but there is one missing: barter. Bartering is an excellent way that individuals and companies can achieve important money goals like saving more and spending less. And, for people who own a company, bartering for business-to-business (B2B) services offers another avenue for improved cash management.

Barter is not a new concept. In fact, simple trading has existed for centuries. While it’s not flashy or new, barter offers a good option of how people can “pay” for some products and services. With B2B bartering, companies can get the added benefit of gaining new customers and increasing profits. From a business accounting standpoint, barter income is treated the same as cash income, so trading purchases that are normally tax deductible as business expenses are also tax deductible when purchased on trade. And, using a trustworthy, experienced barter company, makes it easy to do.

As you consider your money resolutions, consider barter as a good way to help you make 2019 THE year you achieve at least one of your New Year’s resolutions. Exercising more and eating healthier are up to you, although you can explore barter options for gym memberships, restaurants, or other services to help you achieve those too!

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Why use cash to buy things? Use barter instead!

Imagine paying for things with trade instead of cash. Many people and businesses in your area are doing just that, including The Oral, Facial & Implant Surgery Center in north Atlanta.

“One morning, I saw the daily news from The Barter Company and decided it was time for me to get Lasik surgery,” said Office Manager Yolanda Ducksworth. “The whole process was very easy. I called our Trade Coordinator to get started. Soon after that, I researched the eye doctor options they offered, looked at reviews, and set up a consultation with Atlanta Vision Institute.” A mere two weeks later, she had a successful, bartered surgery.

Ducksworth praised how effortless it was to arrange the trade. The Trade Coordinator at The Barter Company worked directly with the doctor she selected. “Having the surgery and using The Barter Company was the best decision I ever made!”

The Barter Company has established itself as the leading force in the barter industry throughout the Southeast. They’ve created an alternative currency network by us-ing barter dollars instead of cash to handle transactions.

Are you ready to see how barter can work for you? Contact The Barter Company today.

Visit www.thebartercompany.com or call 770-591-4343.

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Small Business Taxes: What to Expect in 2019

(courtesy of Business News Daily)

2019 may not see major changes to the small business tax code, but there are some important things to keep in mind. Last year, Congress introduced some major adjustments to business tax law, including a lower corporate tax rate, new rules for pass-through businesses and a tax break for some industries. As these laws and regulations continue to be implemented, 2019 will be a year of adjusting to change as opposed to incorporating new ones.

“The tax changes were so significant, I would imagine that there’s still a lot of issues in terms of digesting what has occurred,” said Wayne Winegarden, senior fellow in business and economics at the Pacific Research Institute and managing editor of EconoSTATS.

This adjustment means your taxes could be different from last year. If you’re a small business operating domestically, Anthony Parent, founding partner of Parent & Parent LLP, said you should experience mostly positive changes.

“People haven’t seen most of the impact of it yet, and you’re not going to see it until next year,” Parent said. “This is really when you’re going to get surprised – sometimes for good, sometimes for bad. Generally, if you’re a domestic business owner, this should be good news for you.”

Tax reform in 2018 resulted in a major overhaul for small business taxes. Last year, small business insurance company Insureon partnered with Manta to poll 2,700 small businesses about the new tax legislation’s potential impact. The survey found that 83 percent of small businesses owners are optimistic about the tax bill, and 38 percent said they would hire additional employees because of the savings. This kind of positivity, combined with the actual benefits from the legislation, can act as a catalyst for small business and economic growth.

“With respect to the current tax law changes … we wanted to understand what this meant for small business and what the general attitude and tone among small businesses are as they contemplate the impact that this might have on their future growth” said Jeff Somers, president at Insureon.

As a small business owner, it’s important to stay up to date on current tax laws so you can ensure you’re paying the right amount each year. [Doing your taxes on your own? Find the best software to use in our reviews of the Best Tax Software for Business 2019.]

  • International business: If you run a small or medium-size business that operates overseas, there have been some major regulation developments that are important to be aware of. Parent said many SMBs could have a rude awakening in 2019 if they have significant operations abroad. “There are a lot of small and medium businesses that have some sort of international components,” he said. “We’re trying to get ahead of it and warn people.” International taxation and regulation are very complicated, so it’s important to work directly with a professional to ensure you’re being taxed at the correct rate.
  • SALT cap: Filers can now only deduct up to $10,000 in state and local property and income taxes. While this applies to more than just small business owners, many business owners operating a pass-through entity in a high-tax state can take advantage of SALT deductions. Winegarden said all business owners should be aware of this new cap. “I really think in the high-tax states, the SALT cap is going to be meaningful, more for small businesses just because they’re going to be filing through their personal taxes,” he said.

These are two minor aspects of tax law to keep in mind in 2019. 2018 tax reform is still taking effect, and understanding all of the regulations that will be implemented is important for working with your tax professional. The noteworthy changes include deductions for pass throughs, first-year bonus depreciation and net operating loss changes.

The biggest change all businesses are facing this year is a significant deduction for both pass-through and corporate entities. Pass-through businesses are small businesses structured as S corporations, limited liability companies, sole proprietorships and partnerships. Pass throughs make up about 95 percent of U.S. businesses. The new bill provides a 20 percent deduction for all of those businesses. The only limitation is on service-based businesses, like law and accounting firms making more than $315,000 per year ($157,500 if single).

C corporations are also getting a big deduction: The new legislation lowers the tax rate from 35 to 21 percent. This slashed rate aims to bring major corporations back to the U.S. to employ workers and create wealth.

The first-year bonus depreciation deduction is going from 50 to 100 percent. In other words, businesses making eligible equipment and property purchases can deduct the full amount of the purchase, instead of writing off a portion of the expense each year. This provides businesses with more money upfront, which lawmakers hope will be invested back into the business or used to hire workers.

“The new tax plan will allow businesses to write off the cost of assets in one shot,” said Josh Zimmelman, founder of Westwood Tax & Consulting. “A company can invest in vehicles, computers and equipment, and claim the entire expense on their 2018 tax return.”

Winegarden said the break is an incentive for businesses to spend more.

“Anything that gets you closer to complete expensing is going to increase the value of the depreciation, lower the tax burden and reward those capital-intensive firms,” he said.

Net operating losses (NOL) can no longer be carried back for two years, but instead can be applied for an indefinite amount of time going forward. Net operating losses occur when a business’s tax deductions are greater than its taxable income. It functions as a form of tax relief for businesses, where business owners can apply a NOL to future tax payments.

The change eliminates the ability for businesses to restructure taxes completed in years past, but it extends net operating losses’ lifespan indefinitely. This can only be applied to 80 percent of taxable income.

Winegarden said the thinking behind this change is to incentivize businesses to take risks and spend more money.

“Knowing you can carry [net operating loss] forward and carry it forward indefinitely … lowers the cost of failure,” he said.

In addition to some structural changes, there are some important deadlines to keep in mind as well:

  • S corporations need to file their business taxes by March 15.
  • The deadline for 2018 tax returns is April 15.
  • Quarterly estimated tax deadlines are April 17, June 15, September 17 and January 15.

If you’ve just bought a business, or are new to small business tax structures, there are a few things you should keep in mind. While it is possible to do your taxes on your own, you should seriously consider working with a CPA. A tax professional can ensure your business is taking advantage of all the deductions available and, more importantly, can ensure you’re paying everything you owe. Other tips:

  • Think about taxes all year long. Small business owners should not treat income taxes as a once-a-year event. Rather, tax planning should be a year-round activity. Waiting until the last minute makes tax preparation more complicated, and it limits your money-saving options.
  • Be aware of law changes. Even with the help of a skilled professional, a small business owner must keep up with news related to laws. This will ensure your tax professional is doing the best possible job, and it keeps you informed as a business owner. Read the business papers and keep up with Congress’ work on tax laws.
  • Don’t make assumptions. Tax planning, to some extent, is a gamble. Never make business decisions assuming that particular tax breaks will pass, or that certain policies will be enacted.
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Alternative Currencies: How Does Barter Fit In?

Alternative currencies, specifically cryptocurrencies, have been in the news again – only this time it’s been reported that there might be a “crypto winter” as many of these digital currencies lose value. Bitcoin is still the most prominent of these cryptocurrencies with several more that have now entered into the market. These digital currencies are the latest form of an alternative currency which groups of people have used for years. As a quick review, an alternative currency is any type of currency that is accepted between the individuals or groups that are using it. Unlike a national currency that is controlled by a country, alternative currencies work outside a country’s regulations with their own set of rules.

Alternative currencies can range from the ultramodern cryptocurrencies to a very low-tech type of currency called Berk Shares. Berk Shares are used in the Berkshires region of Massachusetts and consist of paper and coin denominations issued at the local banks – all to support local businesses. This encourages the concept of “shopping locally” and those who use the currency know it is only accepted by this specific group.

A complementary currency is similar to an alternative currency as it is not legal tender and used only by those individuals within a closed group who also agree to its value. Complementary currencies are meant to work with a national currency to provide additional value. Frequent flier miles can be described as a complementary currency but are limited to travel with a specific airline and its travel partners.

From an historical perspective, barter is perhaps the “oldest” alternative currency since it most likely existed before currency was even created! Managed correctly, barter can provide exceptional benefits for business owners and individuals by helping them control and save their cash money by using an alternative currency. Like gold (or a government) supports their local currency, the users of a barter system back each other’s products and services thereby providing value. That’s why a barter network is only as good as the people and companies that participate in it. If you’re interested in learning more about barter, check out our website and this short video.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Tax Deductible Donations During the Holidays

The holidays are upon us and it’s the perfect time of year to give back! Being a client of The Barter Company gives you access to making trade donations to some incredible non-profit groups who would greatly appreciate your support. Here are some organizations you can make a tax deductible donation to:

Pediatric Brain Tumor Foundation for Children – GA Chapter – The PBTF-GA is the first line of support for families of children with brain tumors in Georgia, with some programs extending into eight other states.

C.H.O.I.C.E.S (provides fun outings, nutritional products to obese children ages 3 – 17 boys & girls)

To make a donation, please call our office at (770) 591-4343.

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Today is “Giving Tuesday”… How Will You Give?

Black Friday. Cyber Monday. Giving Tuesday.

We have a day for giving thanks. We have two for getting deals. Now, we have #GivingTuesday, a global day dedicated to giving back. On Tuesday, November 27, charities, families, businesses, community centers, and people around the world will come together for one common purpose: to celebrate generosity and to give.

It’s a simple idea. Just find a way for your family, your community, your company or your organization to come together to give something more. Then tell everyone you can about how you are giving. Join us and be a part of a global celebration of a new tradition of generosity.

Being a client of The Barter Company also gives you access to making trade donations to some incredible non-profit groups who would greatly appreciate your support. Here are some organizations you can make a tax deductible donation to:

To make a donation, please call our office at (770) 591-4343.

 

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The Future of Money Includes Barter

This month, the USA location of the global Money 20/20 event takes place with other such events occurring in China, Asia, and Europe later this year and next. At this event, industry experts and visionaries from across the world meet to talk about the future of money, learn about new technology, and witness innovations impacting the financial industry. Even Shaquille O’Neal will be there. Yes, very cool stuff.

Just as Bitcoin and Blockchain technologies have been the disruptive “money” focus for many years, the financial technology (FinTech) market continues to change and grow by leaps and bounds. The industry seeks to find new ways to make payments, collect money, and keep it safe. One of the “hot” topics now is digital economies which presents a world without cash. We’re already seeing this on a small scale as some restaurants turn to a cashless system only accepting credit and debit cards and payment systems like Apple Pay. And, Amazon already has “Go” stores without a checkout but rather uses technology to detect what you buy and automatically deducts the amount from your account. No more waiting in line!

So how does barter play a role in all this talk about money and FinTech? Since barter is not a new concept, it doesn’t usually capture the attention of the media or excite global business leaders. Not a lot of sizzle with barter. However, technology does play an important role in making business-to-business (B2B) barter more convenient and easy to use. A simple app can now direct you to the closest barter member, search products and services, and allow you to download a QR code for a special promotion.

More importantly, although barter keeps pace with technology, it’s not driven by it. Simple trading was around well before technology – like back in 1996 when The Barter Company started. Today, technology can enhance the barter experience, but it will never replace the solid network of like-minded business owners who make the trade exchange successful. It may not be considered glamorous or revolutionary but, in some form or fashion, barter will always be an option of how people can “pay” for some products and services.

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Barter Business Industry Sees Changes and Consolidation

Like most industries, the barter economy has seen some changes. During the Recession, many barter exchanges throughout the country closed their doors. Those of us that survived, tightened up and weathered the storm.

Once the economy picked up, a number of “new” independent and franchised-owned trade exchanges jumped to open locations in several major markets in the United States – thinking that it’s an easy business to be in. However, after a couple of years, we’ve seen many of these start-ups shut down leaving customers with trade dollars and no place to spend them. Others have merged or consolidated with other trade exchanges once they experienced some growing pains. These consolidated trade exchanges hope to improve their revenue by cutting overhead and sharing administrative costs.

Running a trade exchange is not easy as it would appear to some. Not only do you have to sign-up clients, you have to identify those businesses that would be beneficial to the exchange. Once on board, clients need constant education about how the system works and why they should think “barter” before spending cash. Those clients who get it, can’t live without it. It helps them manage their cash flow and bring in new customers. Strong and stable customer service is also essential. Having dedicated trade coordinators working with clients, like The Barter Company does, is just one way to make sure clients stay engaged with the system.

We believe that the business-to-business (B2B) barter industry is still in a healthy growth phase. Technology has been at the core of taking the ancient practice of trading into the 21st Century. Mobile devices and apps have helped make round-robin trading simple and convenient in the palm of your hand. Emerging technology and a positive economic outlook will continue to impact trade exchanges. We’re seeing this as more people are confident about the growing economy, they open new businesses and look for ways to grow their business. Of course, a solid, trustworthy barter exchange can assist any business – large, medium or small – with that by saving cash and providing new customers. B2B barter will remain a valuable component of business management for many years to come.

 

 

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