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Friends and Family as Financiers: Borrowing for Your Bellingham, MA Business

Posted by Ann Irons, CPA

Aug 5, 2014 3:02:00 PM

$30,000 – that’s the average cost of setting up shop and starting your own business these days. It may not seem like much at first until you consider the competition for loans and the difficulty securing a hefty investment up front. When you’re unable or unwilling to seek loans from private lenders and banking institutions, your natural inclination may be to approach friends and families. Here are a few things to keep in mind, compliments of Ann Irons, a small business CPA in Bellingham, MA.

Weighing Your Options

Before you approach a prospective financier, consider the advantages and disadvantages you may encounter over the course of business:


  • You’ve already established trust
  • Fewer requirements must be met
  • Subjectivity, or the “We know him; he’s a good guy” advantage
  • Cash is usually received sooner
  • Less paperwork


  • Lender may expect to gain control over decision-making in exchange for funding
  • Failure or delays in repayment can harm relationships
  • Other perceived entitlements, such as free or discounted merchandise or services
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Topics: Family Business, Small Business Accounting, Personal Finance

Tax Considerations for the Modern Mom-and-Pop Business in Bellingham MA

Posted by Ann Irons, CPA

Jun 6, 2014 2:19:36 PM

Starting a family-owned company is a dream for many, a way to support one’s family financially while capitalizing on their unique skills and insights. Because members of the family are so vested in the success of the business, they also happen to make some of the best employees. Ann Irons, a certified public accountant who provides small business payroll, accounting, and bookkeeping services, discusses considerations for the modern mom-and-pop business model.

Employee, Partner, or Joint Venture?

How do you determine whether your spouse qualifies as an employee? First, there must be an employer-employee relationship in which one spouse exerts substantially more control over management and operations. For example, suppose Mr. Smith owns a lawn care business and employees 10 landscapers and gardeners. He oversees all aspects of business development, hiring, and marketing for the company. He pays Mrs. Smith to answer phones and dispatch workers to clients’ locations. In this case, Mrs. Smith is considered an employee. As an employee of Mr. Smith’s company, she is subject to withholding for income tax, Medicare, and Social Security. If Mr. and Mrs. Smith share equal control over business matters, contribute equally, and make comparable investments in the business, then Mrs. Smith is considered a partner, not an employee. As a partnership, the company will report its income on the U.S. Return of Partnership Income, Form 1065.

What if Mr. and Mrs. Smith are the only two employees on the payroll—no landscapers, no gardeners—and each has control over the business? In this case, they would defer to the Small Business and Work Opportunity Act passed in 2007. For purposes of filing federal taxes, Mr. and Mrs. Smith can now be considered a qualified joint venture, not a partnership. Three requirements must be met:

  • Mr. and Mrs. Smith elect to apply the provision
  • Mr. and Mrs. Smith are the only two members of the venture, and
  • Mr. and Mrs. Smith both participate in their business or trade
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Topics: Family Business

3 Reasons You Cannot Afford to Ignore Outsourcing Your Accounting

Posted by Ann Irons, CPA

May 13, 2014 10:54:49 AM

Every small business owner is different, but many are single-minded in their passion to succeed.
They enjoy getting their hands dirty, so to speak, conducting market research, interviewing potential vendors, creating new products, and looking for ways to improve their services and staff.
At the office of Ann Irons, CPA, we understand how important it is to immerse yourself in your business. It’s a huge part of why we offer outsourced accounting in Bellingham, MA.
Irons shares three reasons to consider handing off your accounts payable and accounts receivables to our team.
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Topics: Family Business, Small Business Accounting

Boston Small Business Owners' April 15th Countdown: 12 Days

Posted by Ann Irons, CPA

Apr 3, 2014 6:56:00 PM

With just under two weeks remaining to file your small business income taxes, last-minute procrastinators are feeling the heat. With great stress and pressure comes the temptation to cut corners. Ann Irons, CPA, a tax preparer in Boston, MA, cautions that the risk is too great, and the penalties are far too high. You still have some time left, albeit very little, but the point is that you have time to prepare your taxes accuratelyand honestly. Better still, there’s even time to take advantage of key deductions and filing options that will maximize your savings.

Employee and Independent Contractor: Know the Difference

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Topics: Family Business, Small Business Accounting

Considering a Franchise Opportunity? Read This First

Posted by Ann Irons, CPA

Mar 13, 2014 5:29:00 PM

Franchises have gained steam over the past decade, and it’s not difficult to see why. Entrepreneurial types can appreciate the marketing, product, and financial support afforded by franchisers while enjoying the challenge and excitement that comes with owning one’s own business. With the right franchise, you could be set for life. With the wrong one, on the other hand…well, it isn’t pretty. CPA Ann Irons has worked with all types of small business owners, and has learned what it takes for an entrepreneur to thrive.

As you consider various opportunities, Ann advises you to research industry growth, satisfied (and unsatisfied) franchisees, earnings records, and unit growth. Look for business opportunities that enable you to pursue the things that you are most passionate about. For example, you might look into a franchise for a boutique fitness center, restaurant, or childcare provider. Finding a good match will make it easy to wake up each morning, ready to build your business.

Don’t Forget the Detailed Disclosure Document

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Topics: Family Business, Small Business Accounting

A Good CPA Changes Your Life, Your Family, and Your Business

Posted by Ann Irons, CPA

Feb 11, 2014 8:49:00 PM

When your livelihood depends on filing an accurate, timely tax return, you simply cannot afford to wing it or entrust your taxes to a second-rate firm with slipshod business practices. Owning and operating a family business creates challenges that can overwhelm even the most seasoned entrepreneur. CPA Ann Irons invites you to consider the unique requirements involved in small business accounting in Bellingham, MA. 

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Topics: Family Business

About Ann M. Irons, CPA LLC

ann_irons_head_shotAnn spent over 25 years in the financial service industry, gaining knowledge and experience that allows her to provide an array of tax, bookkeeping, and accounting services for her clients. Relying on a stringent code of ethics and a dedication to maintaining the highest industry standards, Ann works hard to ensure her clients receive the quality service they’ve come to expect. A member of AICPA and MSCPA, Ann has also had an article featured in the renowned publication, Banker and Tradesman. 

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