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Financial Planning

2022 Budget Planning with a Financial Professional

By
Catherine Tsai

Why It Matters:

  • The lingering effects of COVID-19 could complicate budgeting and forecasting for 2022.
  • Financial professionals can offer an outside perspective on cash flow management, expenses, employee benefits, business succession, and more.
  • Employee benefits can be a worthwhile expense if they improve employee recruitment and retention, especially in the current job market.

 

A savvy financial professional can be a valuable resource for business owners in any year, but as effects of the COVID-19 pandemic linger, their help with business budgeting planning and forecasting for 2022 could be priceless.

The past two years have been challenging for many business owners. As many as 1.4 million small businesses closed or suspended operations1 immediately after the pandemic led to widespread restrictions in March 2020, according to Oxxford Information Technology Ltd. Some businesses’ profit margins were hurt2 by lower foot traffic, higher expenses for gear to protect workers’ and customers’ health, and investments in technology so they could continue serving customers who weren’t venturing far from home.

Now companies are facing a tight labor market that is pressuring even companies that thrived during work-from-home orders. The federal unemployment rate fell to 4.8 percent3 in September, raising the prospect that businesses may have to improve pay, benefits, or both to attract and hold on to their workforce.

Rather than trying to predict what the next year will look like on your own, you can turn to a business financial planner who will take a fact-based approach to budget planning for your operation while you focus on running your business.

 

Benefits of a financial professional for your business

Whether you’re a farmer, doctor, restaurant owner, or running a tech startup, maintaining a business budget will give you a record of revenues, expenses, profits, and losses from year to year. It can help you identify:

  • Busy seasons and slow seasons to help with cash flow management
  • Opportunities to trim unnecessary expenses
  • Projected profits that you might have available to invest in improvements

In addition to building budget plans, forecasts, and projections, the best financial professionals can help you review:

  • Employee benefits and coverage you plan to offer as a business owner in 2022
  • Retirement plans
  • Tax strategies
  • Profit and loss analysis
  • Business succession planning
  • Spending and saving strategies

Each can affect spending, employee retention, recruiting, and the health of a business.

Build business budget plans, forecasts, and projections for 2022

As a business owner, you’re probably familiar with creating a budget for the financial results you hope to achieve for the year based on revenues, expenses, cash flow, and loan payments.

A financial professional may be able to help with financial forecasting to track how well the business is expected to stick to the budget during the year, based on historical data. They also may be able to help you develop financial projections for best- and worst-case scenarios in 2022, if all pandemic restrictions are lifted worldwide or if stay-at-home orders come back unexpectedly, or if shipping delays of products from overseas ease or worsen, for example.

Review health insurance options

Financial projections also can take into account other “what if” scenarios like what expenses might be if you extend healthcare benefits to part- and full-time employees, not just full-time employees.

The Affordable Care Act requires employers with 50 or more workers to provide health insurance, but some smaller businesses opt to offer coverage too. You can be eligible for a federal tax credit4 if you have fewer than 25 full-time equivalent employees, pay at least half the cost of employee-only coverage for each employee, and offer wages that fall under a certain limit. Some states also offer healthcare tax incentives to employers.

A financial professional can explore whether it makes financial sense for small businesses and microbusinesses to contribute to employees’ health coverage, factoring in tax advantages and the benefits of offering health insurance. After all, health benefits are among the top benefits5 that win employees over, according to the human resource company Robert Half.

That’s important to note as unemployment rates dip back toward pre-pandemic levels and employers compete for labor.

Workplace benefits: The extras

Offering generous healthcare coverage and higher pay aren’t the only ways to attract and hold on to employees when unemployment rates are low. While in-office ping-pong tables may have fallen out of favor, plenty of employers are offering perks such as paid vacation days, flexible schedules, the ability to work remotely at least part of each week, or tuition assistance.

Supplemental health insurance, supplemental life insurance, and health savings accounts can provide a financial cushion for employees in times of need. Financial professionals can connect you with providers.

Explore retirement benefits

Many employers provide benefits to help team members save and invest for the future so they can prepare to retire one day. Eight in 10 employees agree retirement benefits are a major factor in their final decision-making when job hunting, according to the Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies® 20th Annual Retirement Survey.6

Stimulus payments during the pandemic, combined with fewer options for spending disposable income during lockdowns, left many employees awash with cash that could now go toward saving for retirement.

While retirement benefits can give employees more flexibility to work less — or perhaps not at all — as they get older, there can be tax advantages7 for you as an employer as well. Employers may be able to deduct contributions from income or claim a tax credit, depending on the type of retirement plan they offer employees.

A financial professional can walk you through your options and discuss costs and advantages of offering retirement benefits.

Read Transamerica’s Guide to Small Business Retirement Plans for more.

Succession planning

Even though succession planning might not affect your 2022 budget, it’s just one more area where working with a financial professional can provide valuable insights.

Stepping aside could mean passing the enterprise on to an heir or trusted deputy, cashing out, selling, or winding down. Those moves can have tax consequences that a financial professional may be able to mitigate.

Peace of mind

As a business owner, you know just how many decisions are involved in creating a successful business. But you don’t have to go it alone. Enlisting the help of a wealth management professional can help you build your business with an objective analysis of every financial component. And help provide peace of mind that every penny is really in its place with your personal business plan.

 

Things to Consider:

  • What are the tax consequences of offering various employee benefits?
  • Which benefits deliver the most advantages for the health of the business?
  • Do you have a succession plan for the business?

 

1 “COVID-19 Shuttered More Than 1 Million Small Businesses. Here Is How Five Survived,” The Wall Street Journal, August 2020

2 “Protecting U.S. Small Businesses from The Impact Of COVID-19,” McKinsey & Company, July 2020

3 “The Employment Situation—September 2021,” Bureau of Labor Statistics, October 2021

4 “Affordable Care Act: What Employers Need to Know,” irs.gov, accessed October 2021

5 “10 Top Perks and Benefits That Win Employees Over,” Robert Half, December 2020

6 “20th Annual Retirement Survey,” Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies, December 2020

7 “Choosing a Retirement Solution for Your Small Business,” Department of Labor EBSA and IRS, November 2020

 

Transamerica Resources, Inc. is an Aegon company and is affiliated with various companies which include, but are not limited to, insurance companies and broker dealers. Transamerica Resources, Inc. does not offer insurance products or securities. The information provided is for educational purposes only and should not be construed as insurance, securities, ERISA, tax, investment, legal, medical or financial advice or guidance. Please consult your personal independent professionals for answers to your specific questions.