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Build your business’s infrastructure “muscle” without bulky, burdensome costs in the New Year

Yes, at O’Donnell, Ficenec, Wills & Ferdig, we are accountants. But we are also much more than that. We are also partners in your personal and business financial health and wellbeing. To complement our talented team, we have also invested in the infrastructure to help us do more, better. 

And OFWF appreciates that you understand this and want to do much the same, especially as you look to make a fresh start in the New Year. The right investments in technology can help us to finally achieve the ever-elusive notion of work smarter, not harder. 

Getting the most bang for your buck

Savvy investments in technology can ultimately lead to greater profitability, address costly waste and inefficiencies, and overall support the sustainability of your business.

To potentially save money upfront and get the most from your investment, we suggest:

  • Apples-to-apples comparisons – Identify and assess testimonials and reviews from like organizations about a specific piece of equipment, software or vendor that you are considering. This is an important element of being a good tech “shopper,” because organizations in roughly the same “space” or industry, as well as in the same size-range, will likely be encountering similar “pain points” and challenges. The right technologies can help to alleviate those challenges. Unsure about your specific pain points? Get back to the basics and solicit comments and suggestions from members of your team -- meaning all members of your team, as there can definitely be a trickle-down component to the effects of technologies across the organization. 

  • Vet the vendor – Depending on how “hands-on” you plan to be with the technology, it is potentially vital to do your due diligence on a would-be IT support firm. You are looking for any potential vulnerabilities in security and red flags associated with the business and how it protects and supports critical data. We need only look to one of the biggest breaches of all time to see how important this “best practice” really is to the operations that you have worked so hard to build. Ensure that in-house technical leadership are also involved in this decision-making process as needed. 

  • Assess for intuitiveness – Just how easy is this piece of software or hardware to use for your “demographics”/staff? Take a good, hard look at if the features associated with said piece of technology. The truth may be that a “solution” is  merely the “bells and whistles,” boasting minimal substance or value. It could actually add unnecessary complexities to day-to-day functions. Be aware that additional considerations, such as the ease of automating or integrating with existing systems and processes, can either endear employees and top talent or cause frustration and resentment. Technology should not do that. It should be designed and integrated to make things easier on everyone. 

  • Look beyond price tag – As we have found in the designer fashion world and other types of “luxury brands,”  a costly product does not necessarily mean a better product. The more expensive system with the flashier marketing campaign may not be a good fit with your brand at all, in fact, it could make existing bottlenecks and pain points worse. Ensure a holistic look at the product that is under the microscope, with an emphasis on how it fits one’s business needs, industry demands, and the ultimate “value” of the equipment or software. You might just save yourself some money by going with the cheaper, yet higher value (for your case and situation) tech. Likewise, don’t chase after the lowest price, either. A cheaper product may not have the features, support, and capabilities that you need, and may end up costing substantially more in the longer run in terms of inefficiencies and lower productivity. You may end up starting over from scratch or spending exponentially more on upgrades and add-ons to bring the tech up to your speed.

  • Be smart about upgrades – We know you don’t want to be left in the dust by your competition. But, sometimes, the additional costs associated with upgrades are not always worth it, especially if your “legacy” system is really not that “aged.” You may be updating a system before it is dated. Here again, you must identify and assess for real, specific benefits that might be related to certain new, improved, and additional features, which accompany the prospective investment. 

  • The power of negotiation – As a business, you are in the advantageous position of potentially benefiting from discounts associated with your additional “buying power,” for instance. Don’t be shy when asking about special pricing or bundling perks. These vendors know they may have a client for life by offering you a good or features-rich deal to embark on a new relationship with you and your team.

Tax savings opportunities 

Investments in some of the technologies that your business needs to start or to continue running successfully may be eligible for tax “write-offs.” For instance, be mindful of Section 179 of Form 4562 (Depreciation and Amortization). These deductions generally allow for one to expense certain classifications of property. These properties must be purchased for use in the “active conduct” of one’s trade or business. A few upgrades or technologies that may qualify include:

  • New and used computers

  • Off-the-shelf software (not custom-designed for your business)

  • Office equipment; for instance, printers, routers, network equipment

  • Telecommunications equipment; for example, smartphones and tablets

  • Security; i.e., cloud systems, surveillance technology, wireless and two-way communications 

  • Sophisticated machinery, such as diagnostic and therapeutic technologies for clinicians, and 3D printers 

  • Miscellany not limited to servers, network firewalls, printers and scanners, headsets and accessories, and subscriptions for related software to support your operations

We have also actively monitored relevant credits associated with the Inflation Reduction Act. Of particular interest to businesses are: 

  • The clean vehicle credit (for sole proprietors and other entities)

  • The commercial clean vehicle credit (for businesses/tax-exempt organizations)

  • Energy-efficient commercial building property

  • Energy-efficient commercial building retrofit property

The benefits of the aforementioned “clean energy” credits are multi-faceted; there is the initial savings on one’s tax bill, as well as the longer-term ROI associated with more energy-efficient interior lighting, HVAC and other systems. 

Of course, these are rather blanket statements. There is no team or organization quite like yours. So, we look forward to discussing some of the potential pain points that you wish to solve as well as specific opportunities to enhance your business’s operations and to lower your tax bill.

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