The E&A CFO Group enhances its clients’ success in many ways and works with them in several unique ways. Numerous clients have commented that: “That’s the first time an accountant wanted to know what our mission is.”; “Nobody has asked us this many questions about our business before.”; and “You don’t make me feel dumb like my last accountant did.” That’s because several concepts are crucial to how we work with clients. Principal among them are:
Caring about your mission and goals. Only by knowing what is important to you and collaborating effectively with you and others can we help you achieve it. E&A brings in talented colleagues as needed, but we also are very comfortable in a narrow role as part of your team.
Adapting solutions that you can do. Of course, we provide recommendations and suggestions to improve things, but whatever solutions are chosen need to be meaningful and useful to you. As General George Patton said, “A good plan executed vigorously today is far superior to an excellent plan executed tomorrow.”—So, too, it is with clients: A good plan they execute is far superior to a perfect plan that they can’t/won’t do.
Understanding your core competency is not the same as ours. We add value by handling activities you don’t have the expertise, time, and/or desire to handle. We’ll be your “Finance guy down the hall” that handles what you want help with — without being elitist. We can’t do what you do, so let us do for you what we do best.
Examples of Specific Client Outcomes
Proactively Obtaining Huge Employee Retention Credits (ERC)
ERC is a COVID-relief program that benefits 70-80% of small businesses (per the IRS), but is widely misunderstood and, therefore, grossly under-utilized. It’s worth $25,000-$100,000 for even a 5-employee eligible business. Very early, E&A saw the value ERC had for clients and chose to make ERC a core competency and line of business. The program continues until the end of 2024; is in addition to PPP; is completely confidential; and is not restricted in its use.
To date, E&A has filed claims for $15 million of credits, of which, over $5 million paid client claims range from $20,000 to over $2 million. E&A’s clients typically claim $250 to $500,000. Moreover, E&A has not had a single claim denied by the IRS.
Wind Down and Starting Again
A 20+ year client’s two owners decided to end their partnership. As often occurs, it was a bumpy process. To prevent a conflict of interest, we worked with only one owner. That owner then started a completely new business with his children. Like many start-ups, initial funding was critical and things started slowly. E&A helped the owners access a non-traditional source of capital and provided complete accounting outsourcing services, so the family could focus on operating the business. We also coordinated tax services for the owners and the company to ensure optimal outcomes. E&A was the company’s “Rent-A-CFO℠” and dealt with the start-up surprises and challenges of growing a business with limited capital. The relationship with E&A continues 20+ years after. They remain a client today.
Family Business Succession
A family founded a successful business with one of several adult children. The company represented the vast majority of the parents’ net worth but the other children weren’t directly involved. The parents had concerns about the business and family relationships if the parents suddenly couldn’t work. The parents didn’t want to relinquish control prematurely and wanted to treat all of their children equitably, so they turned to E&A for help. E&A and a trusted attorney colleague collaborated to create a solution that transferred ownership to the involved child over time and titling the shares to pass to that child immediately upon the second parent’s death. The parents’ shares carried 10 to 1 voting rights compared to the son’s shares to prevent premature loss of control. A trust purchased a “second to die” life insurance policy equal to the company’s value for each non-involved child. Upon the second parent’s death, the involved child owned 100% of the company; other children couldn’t influence the company; and the uninvolved children still receive equitable treatment—a win for all!
$500,000 of Research & Development (R&D) Tax Credits
An explosively growing client hired E&A to provide 1-2 days per month of Rent-A-CFO℠” services. In the first month, E&A determined the client’s pioneering technology qualified for R&D tax credits. Because E&A moved quickly, we obtained $400,000 of tax refunds for the current year and three prior years. Subsequent years raised the total to well over $½ million. The two owners’ were so (pleasantly) stunned they asked, “Are you sure this is legal?” Coincidentally, the client’s rapid growth had triggered an IRS audit for one of the years E&A was amending for the credits. E&A pressed the IRS auditor to include the R&D credits in his audit to eliminate the owners’ concerns; obtain precedent with the IRS from the audit; and guarantee the initial refunds. The IRS agent gave them a complete pass on the original audit and the R&D credits!
Business in Distress
A long-time family business transitioned from father to son years earlier. Under the son, the business was marginally profitable, but deep in debt. The owner was struggling, and could earn a better income elsewhere. Plus, his father passed away two years earlier and the son’s heart wasn’t in the business anymore. His lender asked E&A to help turn the business around. During E&A’s work as consultant, tax adviser, and accounting/payroll services provider, it became clear the company would never be what the owner wanted. We counseled the owner carefully to help him realize that reality. With that help, he accepted what he already knew and closed the business. After liquidation, he fully repaid the debt and received a nice windfall. More importantly, he was far happier. He told us we’d helped him accept what he needed to do and made it “OK” to do it – we’d given him the validation he needed.