Your Business is Speaking. Are you Listening?

The language of business is finance, and your company is talking to you through your financial statements.  Are you listening?

Here are 5 ways to be sure you’re hearing what your business is saying: 

1. Come Clean. Getting your books in order is the first step. If you hate accounting, that’s fine: Outsource it! Hire a good part-time CFO or an experienced business accountant—who may not be a CPA.  Even if you love accounting, get a second opinion on your books.  Accounting is vitally important; don’t do it alone.

2. Ask for More. Don’t accept your financial statements at face value. They are trying to tell you more! Use them to calculate key metrics and ratios. For example, a P&L communicates several things: The true cost of sales (COGS + COS); your Break Even Sales Volume (critically important); and your Overhead Burden per Sales Dollar (which can help on pricing right). In the same way, you can use the balance sheet to determine key liquidity ratios like debt service coverage and cash flow cycle days. These are great places to start.

3. Find New Relationships. Ratios help you see how two important numbers in your financial statements relate. This can give you useful hints about what might happen in the future for your business. Try making your own ratios using numbers that matter to you. This will help you find important signs (called KPIs) that tell you how your business is doing. Need help? Many helpful books are out there, like our reference guide and textbook, The Entrepreneur’s Guide to Financial Statements.

4. Compare to the Competition. Some companies make reports that group together financial information from businesses like yours. Bankers often use these when giving out loans. You can look at data from places like Sageworks or the Risk Management Association to see how your business compares to others. And now, ChatGPT and other AI tools can instantly give you insight into key metrics. Comparing your results to others can help you see where you need to improve.  ChatGPT is just one of the tools: explore AIops tools and “There’s an AI for that” to start learning more.

5. “Draw” Your Conclusions. Literally, draw them! Put your financial results on a graph. You can connect the dots by plotting your metrics to see where you are trending. Reversing a trend requires action—but at least you will be prompted to do so.

Take the Next Step 

After you have applied these five steps, I think you’ll look at your company in a whole new way. Of course, no one set of metrics applies to every business, so it is important to keep experimenting. Chart your results over time to test their effectiveness. The best ones will become a powerful executive dashboard.

Accept that financial statements are not an end but a starting point to understand what your company tells you. Are you listening?  For further information or assistance, contact FuseCFO.

Are You Ready for 1099 Reporting This Year?  

(The Deadline is January 30, 2024)

Each year at about this time, businesses face a challenging task: 1099 reporting. By law, every company must ensure that each qualified vendor and contractor gets a 1099 tax form before January 30.   

Being prepared now is critical because errors can lead to large IRS penalties. 

What do I need to File? 

Every company must report its payments to vendors and contractors to both the IRS and the vendor themselves, using the 1099 form. The deadline for this submission is January 30 for payments made in the previous year. (e.g. By January 30, 2024, you must report all payments made during 2023.)

To do this, you’ll need accurate records of your payments to each vendor, plus the vendor’s legal name, corporate address, and tax identification number. All that information must be entered into the 1099 and mailed (or e-mailed) to both the vendor and the IRS.

How do I get Prepared?

The IRS knows this is a tall order, so they created another form called the W-9. Each vendor should fill out a W-9 before they even begin working for you…but it is your responsibility to ask for a completed W-9. And you should do that before you pay the vendor’s first bill; once the bill is paid, the vendor has no incentive to send you the W-9!

If the vendor is an individual—like an independent contractor—the tax identification number is probably their Social Security Number.  But you don’t have to worry about the details —  the W9 form asks all the right questions.

The Possible Penalties

Copies of the 1099 must go to the vendor (by mail or email) and to the IRS (by electronic submission or mail).  All of that has to be done by January 30.  But it’s not just about timing; accuracy is equally important. 

Missing data or errors on the return can also be costly. Specifically, missing or mistaken details can bring fines. Here’s a breakdown of these penalties:

  • Submitting late, up to 30 days after the deadline, the penalty is $60 for each return, capped at $630,500 annually.
  • Submitting beyond 30 days from the deadline but before August 1, the penalty is $120 for each return, with a maximum penalty of $1,891,500 annually.
  • Submitting after August 1 or not at all: $310 per return, up to $3,783,000 annually.

Make it Easy

Filing complete information on time is easier if you collect W-9s from every vendor and subcontractor as a part of your regular purchasing process. If you don’t already have W-9s for everyone, start collecting them now—don’t wait until January.  

You can also simplify the 1099 filing procedure and avoid potential fines by using tools like This handy website (and there are others) includes a W-9 and Taxpayer Identification Number (TIN) lookup service. This tool confirms that your data matches with IRS records. This will minimize the errors and protect you from the penalties that come with them.

Of course, websites like will also file all the forms for you. They’ve automated the delivery to both the vendor and the IRS. It’s a huge timesaver and a great way to keep a clean historical record of your submissions.  If a vendor (or the IRS) ever needs to see what you filed, having it all on one website is a lifesaver. 

If you’re a QuickBooks user, you may also be in luck: QuickBooks subscribers can e-file 1099s by selecting the Contractor tab in QuickBooks and selecting Prepare 1099s. E-filing is included with QuickBooks Contractor Payments and QuickBooks Online Payroll Core, Premium, and Elite.

Filing 1099s is an annual challenge, and the penalties are substantial for doing it poorly or late.  Don’t get caught in the trap this year — collect your W-9s from vendors ASAP and use a reliable online tool to automate as much as you can.  The actual reporting has to be done between January 1 and January 30, but you can avoid the penalties by starting your preparation now!

How FuseCFO Stands by You
Are you worried about filing 1099s?  Let us help. FuseCFO does more than just maintain records; we provide insight to help you make sound financial choices. Don’t procrastinate. Contact FuseCFO now for a free consultation and make your 1099s easy and your year-end a breeze!