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by Bob Hutchins, Brad Ayres & Ken Ott
Agency Exposed Podcast

You MUST Optimize Your Business Finances



In today’s episode we have a special guest- CPA/entrepreneur/real estate investor/genius, Founder and Executive Officer of Integrated Financial Group, Chris Picciurro. Chris shares with us 3 main principles that will help you take control of your business finances. We ask Chris some financial questions specific to service businesses, and try to get just a bit better at managing our finances in intelligent ways. We talk financial stability, money optimization, and taxes (cringe!). This episode is meant for grownups who want to win at business.

Top 3 Curtain Pulls in this episode:

  1. Think of the government as your Business Partner. Maybe you threw up a little in your mouth just now, but if you can get past the phrasing, there’s benefit. Involuntary business partner? Yes. But this isn’t inherently a bad thing! You have more control than you realize. You get to write the “operating agreement”- you get to decide how to organize your business and manage your affairs. Get to know your “business partner” well.
  2. Your Facts equal your Tax. Everyone wants to optimize their tax position - the only way to do that is by changing the facts you abide by. This means, YOU MUST, be proactive. Tax planning should be happening all the time. If you can do this, you will be able to optimize your position (which should mean more $$ for you). If you want to change your tax situation, you have to change your fact pattern.
  3. Understand the difference between Cash Flow and Tax Flow. Cash flow is pretty simple, cash comes in and cash goes out. But tax flow is based on determining whether something is a tax deduction or taxable income. Understanding “tax flow” means you will be optimizing all year long. Our advice - find YOUR trusted financial professional.

For more tips, discussion, and behind the scenes:

About our Guest:

  • Chris Picciurro is a 20-year accounting veteran and founder and Executive Officer of Integrated Financial Group. With multiple offices out of Michigan, Florida, and South Carolina, Chris calls Franklin, TN his home base.
  • Connect with Chris on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/picciurro/

About The Guys:

Bob Hutchins: Founder of BuzzPlant, a digital agency that he ran from from 2000 -2017. He is also the author of 3 books. More on Bob:

Brad Ayres: Founder of Anthem Republic, an award-winning ad agency. Brad’s knowledge has led some of the biggest brands in the world. Originally from Detroit, Brad is an OG in the ad agency world and has the wisdom and scars to prove it. Currently that knowledge is being applied to his boutique agency. More on Brad:

Ken Ott: Co-Founder and Chief Growth Rebel of Metacake, an Ecommerce Growth Team for some of the world’s most influential brands with a mission to Grow Brands That Matter. Ken is also an author, speaker, and was nominated for an Emmy for his acting on the Metacake Youtube Channel (not really). More on Ken:

Show Notes:

[0:35] Bob opens the show, introducing our guest for the day.

[1:29] Brad introduces today’s guest Chris Picciurro of Integrated Financial Group. He’s a 20-year CPA who hails from Detroit and has worked with Brad for the last 5 years with accounting help at Anthem.

[3:27] Brad asks Chris about what he sees on the financial horizon for 2021.

[3:58] Chris talks about tax season and the 3 main principles that he follows when maneuvering the complexities of paying taxes.

  1. The government is your business partner. Involuntary business partner? Yes. But you get to write the operating agreement- you get to decide how to organize your business and manage your affairs.

[5:51] Brad says that he wants the advice we give to be informative for everyone- simplified, pared down basics that someone who’s thinking of starting a new business this year.

[6:33] Brad says his objective when dealing with this involuntary business partner is paying them as little as necessary to keep the agreement legal and fair.

[7:14] Chris adds that another part of the perks of being in business with the government is that you get to choose your board of directors, cpa, attorney, insurance professional, and more.

  • Legally and ethically reduce the taxes that employers and entrepreneurs pay in their lifetime- not today, not next year, but over the course of their business life.

[8:08] Chris moves on to principle #2: Your Facts equal your Tax. If you want to change your tax situation, you have to change your fact pattern. Do this on your own, or task it to your board of directors.

[8:51] Chris: “Tax Return” should be a verb, not a noun. If it is something that you only think about at the end of the year, the government is a really bad business partner!

[9:44] Brad mentions a quote that we talk about a lot here on Agency Exposed “The processes run your business and your people run the processes.”

  • He says that as a client, ICPA makes it very easy and clear for the customers to see what the processes are and how things work.

[12:34] Ken asks Chris for some tips on what business owners can do throughout the year that are simple but help to plan for tax season- outside of hiring an advisor.

[13:16] Chris shares principle #3 - Understand the difference between cash flow and tax flow. Cash flow is easy- cash comes in, cash goes out. Tax flow is either tax deduction or taxable income.

[15:12] Chris follows a simple formula- diagnose the problem and prescribe a solution.

[17:13] Ken shares that agencies are one of the most vulnerable to challenges in cash flow, so differentiating between cash flow and tax flow is a great foundation. Often it can be intimidating to put your savings into an account that you can’t access for a long period of time- you want to invest the money and put it somewhere safe where it can make more money for you, but being able to access that in an emergency is important.

[19:06] Chris says that makes sense- after all, cash is king. As a young business owner, start somewhere small. Create a business savings account and grow it over time, use it throughout the year to purchase assets and use for investment.

[20:24] Bob asks Chris about the most common mistake he sees small business owners make.

[20:48] Chris responds that he most often sees small business owners take advice from their peers instead of their CPA or financial advisor- Not creating a financial team & board of advisors.

[22:30] Bob asks if Chris works with marketing agencies- Yes! They work with entrepreneurs and real estate investors, as well as many kinds of agencies. Bob continues, asking the unique challenges that come from service industry businesses as opposed to businesses who offer products.

[23:34] Chris responds that tax returns are a commodity. Their business is a membership-based subscription model, as they want to provide deep value for their clients via guidance on strategy, consulting, and planning. If they can’t provide that, they won’t work with a client.

  • “Let your best client pick your next client.” This is the mantra they follow at ICPA, and it helps them to connect with potential clients that will deeply benefit from the value they offer.

[25:27] Ken asks if there are any things that they do differently for business who are primarily service-oriented.

[26:11] Chris says businesses with inventory automatically have huge cash flow challenges. So for them, making sure they have capital and working with their banker is very important.

  • For a service-based business, the rules change slightly due to the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017. The biggest differences are that successful service-based businesses has strong processes

[27:21] Ken asks about optimizing Research & Development credits available to service-based industries.

[27:34] Chris speaks to the CPA perspective of this. If a client comes forward who wants to take advantage of this R&D credit, they will bring in their team to see what your business is doing that truly are moving forward in your industry. You can also have them look to see if the work you’ve done in the past 3 years is something that you can claim.

[30:04] Brad talks about how Anthem has been able to take advantage of R&D credit. There is quite a lot of time and paperwork that you have to invest, but once you do that it’s done and you can move forward.

  • A caveat to how you may qualify- your labor must be inside of the United States.

[31:34] Ken says that the R&D credit helps businesses like his to learn to innovate and invest in that innovation. It lowers risk.

[34:26] Bob asks Chris what he anticipates changing under our new political administration.

[34:50] Chris talks about new tax plans that may be passed under Biden, saying that nothing is likely to happen in 2021. However, he did propose a corporate tax increase up to 28% flat tax.

  • He mentions tuition credits and student loan differentiations as well, but the theme of the new administration is the higher your income, the more negative result.

[39:25] Brad asks about the types of businesses and allocations/ corporations that there are, for those who many be looking to start a business today.

[40:23] Chris responds:

  • Sole proprietorship- do everything yourself.
  • LLC- limited liability company, either single member or corporation (C or S). C corporations are separately taxed from you as an individual entity.
  • Forming an LLC is the best way to start- in the first 75 days you can choose to be a C or S corp.

[48:28] Chris gives us another piece of advice: Don’t let the tax tail wag the dog- keep doing your business successfully and we’ll work on how to minimize your taxes legally and ethically.


Episode 58

Season 1

by Bob Hutchins, Brad Ayres & Ken Ott