December 7, 2023
Dr. Ronak Mehta
Founder and CEO, NerdBugs
CPA, Partner, Finance Transformation Consulting, Crowe LLP
Vice President and Editor-in-Chief, CO—
Navigating tax deductions can be overwhelming for small businesses, yet it's an area ripe with opportunities for savings.
During this CO— Strategy Studio event, industry experts spoke with VP and CO— Editor-in-Chief Jeanette Mulvey about tax preparation strategies for small businesses. Jana Kelly, CPA and partner at Finance Transformation Consulting at Crowe LLP, and Dr. Ronak Mehta, founder and CEO of NerdBugs, discussed the importance of early preparation and offered tips for assembling an effective financial team.
Boost Your Small Business’s Tax Savings by Taking Qualified Deductions
Many small business owners overlook tax deductions — including the qualified business income deduction and those centered around asset depreciation, meals, vehicle expenses, and entertainment — that could provide great savings. However, Kelly warns of taking deductions your business isn’t qualified for.
“Be very careful that you don't create deductions. Make sure these deductions are true and are a part of doing business,” said Kelly. “You don't want to get in any trouble with the IRS… [and] you want to make sure that you're not artificially lowering your taxable income just for tax purposes, which hits profitability.”
Kelly advises partnering with a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) to guarantee deductions are appropriately claimed and to receive expert guidance. She emphasized the importance of choosing a CPA who is dedicated to a long-term partnership, knowledgeable about your industry, adaptable to your business's growth, and well-versed in current tax laws.
“It's fair to have tax deductions,” Kelly said. “There's nothing to be afraid of. However, you don't want someone that pushes you into something aggressive because… that could put you in a very dangerous position.”
Set Your Business Up for Success by Making and Utilizing Connections
Mehta, a 2023 honoree of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s America’s Top Small Business Awards, entered her industry with no connections. However, by focusing on long-term relationships right from the onset, she has assembled a reliable team behind her.
“I didn't have any connections in the business space,” Mehta explained. “But … I took chances, even though I felt like I was underqualified … and I genuinely took interest in the people [who] could help me."
Mehta outsourced her financial team early in her career, as she acknowledged she lacked the knowledge to manage that aspect of the business alone. Now, she meets with them regularly to stay on track and facilitate long-term strategizing and tax planning.
“By doing little steps [like] meeting with our bookkeeper [for] 15 minutes a month throughout the year and meeting once a quarter with the accountant, it keeps things up to speed all year round,” said Mehta.
She also emphasized the need for a clear separation between personal and professional banking.
“It does not matter if you foresee that this is going to be a successful endeavor or not,” Mehta said. “Set yourself up for success… [by making] the account separate from the beginning.”