A sad and oft-repeated truth is that half of all new businesses fail within the first five years. In fact, all too many fail in their first decade.
Although many factors contribute to business failure, a common culprit is poor cash management. Farmers, retailers, and car dealers are especially aware of seasonal fluctuations in cash flows. But to some extent, all businesses, large and small, must deal with the uncertainty of fluctuating sales, inventories, and expenses. An owner-manager who engages in wishful thinking about profitability, who becomes lackadaisical about money flowing through the business, is often headed for disaster. By endeavoring to smooth out cash fluctuations, prudent managers keep their companies strong throughout the business cycle.
In a flurry of year-end activity, Congress has approved the Tax Increase Prevention Act of 2014 (HR 5771). The new law extends so-called "tax extenders" retroactively for one year (through 2014). It also includes the Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) Act, creating tax-favored savings accounts for individuals with disabilities along with some tax-related offsets. Before adjourning, Congress also approved an Omnibus Spending Agreement for fiscal year (FY) 2015, which cuts funding for the IRS. President Obama has indicated that he will sign both the Omnibus Agreement and H.R. 5771 bills as soon as they reach his desk.
The Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) recently issued Accounting Standards Update No. (ASU) 2014-15, Presentation of Financial Statements — Going Concern (Subtopic 205-40): Disclosure of Uncertainties about an Entity’s Ability to Continue as a Going Concern. Now management, not auditors, will be responsible for assessing if there’s a going concern issue. Disclosure will be required when there’s substantial doubt about business continuity or substantial doubt has been alleviated by management’s mitigating plans.
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