Private Client Services

Business Owners and Entrepreneurs

As a business owner or entrepreneur, you’re deeply invested in moving a mission forward. From strategic oversight of the big picture to operational decisions that affect the day-to-day, you’re making incremental progress on your goals. You need partners who align with and advance those goals. At Smith and Howard, we take that responsibility seriously and work to enhance your business in ways that exceed what you’ve come to expect from a tax advisor. We thrive on being an integral part of your team, with a focus on what’s most important to you. You’ll find we take the initiative to deliver next-level tax planning, succession planning, incentive plans and more.

Tax planning: By managing and minimizing your tax burden, you can accelerate the growth of your business as well as your personal wealth. In many cases, a critical review of the links between tax planning for the business and for the owners illuminates opportunities to reduce overall taxes and leave more money in your pocket or in the business. For your business, we consider how to reduce taxes and increase available cash, including entity selection, accelerated tax depreciation when acquiring new real estate or capital improvements, tax credits and incentives or accounting method planning. For your personal tax planning, we identify ways to maximize available tax deductions, review the tax efficiency of your investments and consider estate planning opportunities.

Succession planning: While you’re busy running your business day-to-day, it’s also important to consider what’s next and build your long-term exit strategy. It’s a combination of reviewing options and finding the right approach to match your aspirations. Options include a full or partial sale to a strategic or private equity investor, sale to an ESOP, selling and/or transferring shares to key management or planning to keep the business in the family by selling or gifting the business to the next generation. Beyond a planned exit from the business, it’s also a consideration of the what-ifs, such as what if you become sick or disabled and can no longer lead the organization? Finally, there are many financial and tax strategies involved in successful succession planning including buy/sell arrangements and the use of life insurance. Once a plan is in place, collaborate with you to bring the pieces together and make sure it’s ready when you need it to give you confidence for the future.

Incentive and benefit plans: Growing a successful business requires a qualified and committed management team and employees. To attract and retain the right people in today’s market, businesses must offer a competitive compensation package. When structuring incentive plans for employees, you want to ensure that objectives for the business and employees are met, while minimizing taxes for both. Short- and long-term plans to consider include qualified retirement plans, deferred compensation plans, phantom stock arrangements and annual bonus plans, to name a few. Smith and Howard’s tax professionals have years of experience advising businesses on how to implement the best plans to facilitate growth and minimize the tax impact to all involved.

As you run your business, let Smith and Howard run alongside you to position you for growth, reduce your tax burden and ready you for what’s next.