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Inspiring Success on the Road to Recovery

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Step 10 in Business

By Renee Sieradski

Recently I was reminded of how I need to strive to work Step 10 as a self-employed business owner.
Over the years, I've worked with numerous senior financial professionals who, rather than admit their wrongs, swept them under the rug and manipulated the numbers to make it seem like they came out with the same figures. I fear somehow, I might mimic their unethical behavior since they taught me so much of what I know about how to do my work. But one reason I struck out on my own was to start fresh, decide what my ethics were, and create a new style of company where honesty, kindness, and doing the right thing prevailed.

Since I made the decision to start my own tax firm, I’m continuously reminded of my initial goals as I keep meeting new business associates with similar values.

I referred my physical therapist to see a colleague of mine who is a mortgage broker, Stan. Stan has a great work ethic and rave reviews because of his character. I was reminded of this again when my physical therapist said, “Renee, thank you so much for the referral, Stan’s the man! He made a mistake on my numbers but he called and told me, “look I made a mistake, here's how I’m going to make it right. That's amazing, who does that?”

As I reflected on those words, a similar situation came to mind. I was searching for a new insurance broker and found Michele. Michele and I were in a networking group together and the quote she gave me was consistent with what I was paying. But she phoned and said, “I'm really sorry. I have to be honest: I made a mistake with the initial quote. I was quoting the wrong policy and it's going to cost more money and here's the correct number.” Immediately, I thought I don't care what the number is, I know she will always tell me the truth. After working with a 1-800 insurance company for the previous 19 years where I didn’t have personalized service, this was refreshing.

What could be more trustworthy than admitting a wrong? I continue to strive doing that in my recovery and in my business. It can be hard because sometimes my brain thinks I have to hide my mistakes, like when I was a kid, or else....

Transparency in business is what makes people trust you. These two fellow business owners Stan and Michele, have set such a fine example as to how to run an honest ethical business, even when numbers are we miscalculated. We're in the financial industry (mortgage broker, insurance agent, tax professional), we quote figures and sometimes we make inaccurate calculations.

I have faith the right kind of clients will come my way because they will value transparency and rather than yell at me when I make a mistake, they will trust me more for the candor.

Let’s Talk Auto Deduction for Business

Are you self-employed?
Do you drive your car to meet with clients, attend networking meetings, transport clients, or to drive from your home office to the work site?

The IRS allows you to deduct the greater of two types of expense: rate per mile driven OR actual expenses of depreciation, car loan interest, fuel, maintenance, etc.

Regardless of which method you use, you will still need to track your miles for the year. This means total miles driven; personal and business.

You can use a paper log book to track your driving record or a smartphone app, such as mileIQ. The great thing about these smartphone apps is they run in the background on GPS and at the end of the day, you can swipe left for personal or right for business. It saves a lot of time.
You will want to send this record to your tax preparer, and keep it in case of an audit to back up your auto deduction on your tax return. My sister and husband were audited and just used the “estimate” system (which isn’t an IRS authorized system). Now they owe the IRS $25,000 for not having kept mileage records.

You don’t have to send in the detailed mileage with your tax return, if you are audited, you will be so happy that you took the extra minute to track your mileage. It could save you a big tax bill!

Renee Sieradski is a Tax Specialist, visit www.tax-intervention.com or call 602-687-9768.