This article featuring our CEO & Founder, Lil Roberts, outlines the current highs the eCommerce industry is seeing as a result of COVID-19 pandemic, and what to look out for to sustain your growth.
September 10 — Employees who work for tips
If you received $20 or more in tips during August, report them to your employer
September 15 — Individuals
Make a payment of your 2020 estimated tax if you are not paying your income tax for the year through withholding (or will not pay in enough tax that way). Use Form 1040-ES. This is the third installment For more information
September 15 — S Corporations
File a 2019 calendar year income tax return (Form 1120S) and pay any tax due. This due date applies only if you timely requested an automatic extension
September 15 — Partnerships
File a 2019 calendar year return (Form 1065). This due date applies only if you were given an additional extension
September 15 — Corporations
Deposit the third installment of estimated income tax for 2020
October 11 — Employees who work for tips
If you received $20 or more in tips during September, report them to your employer
October 12 — Everyone
Federal Holiday (Columbus Day)
October 15 — Individuals
If you have an automatic extension to file your income tax return for 2019, file Form 1040 and pay any tax, interest, and penalties due
The federal Payment Protection Program (PPP) ended on August 8, 2020. Although no new applications are being accepted, the thousands of small businesses who already received a loan — and the banks who issued those loans — must now make decisions about the process of obtaining loan forgiveness.
The federal Payment Protection Program (PPP) was designed to help small businesses — and their employees — stay afloat during the COVID-19 pandemic. As long as these cash handouts are used for payroll and other essential operating expenses, it’s free money. If not, the business must repay the government.
Confusing the issue are uncertainties about if or when the program will be reinstated, as well as the many grey areas in the rules on what business expenses do and don’t qualify for forgiveness.
In any case, PPP loan recipients should be thinking about submitting their forgiveness application. Why give back the money you don’t have to, right? Here are our accountants’ best tips to help you as you wade into the process.
Tip #1: Don’t Submit Too Fast
While the SBA’s PPP forgiveness portal is open to lenders, many banks are not yet accepting loan forgiveness applications from businesses. Why? Because the situation is still up in the air and may change in your favor before the application deadline.
For example, Congress was discussing the possibility of automatic forgiveness for loans of $150,000 or less, and a streamlined application for loans up to $2 million. If that happens, it would either completely eliminate or greatly reduce your (and your bank’s) paperwork burden.
There’s still plenty of time to wait and see. The deadline for sending in the forms is 10 months from the end of the loan’s covered period. So if your loan period ends in September 2020, the forgiveness application deadline is July 2021.
Stay in touch with your accountant for PPP developments that may affect your best interests.
Tip #2: Self-Employed Borrowers *Really* Need to Wait
As the rule stands now, you must compare your 2019 and 2020 incomes in order to determine what compensation you’re eligible for. But you won’t have any proof of your 2020 income until the end of the year.
Hopefully, more guidance for self-employed PPP loan recipients will be issued soon, but until then, there’s nothing you can do but wait.
Tip #3: Count All the Utilities You Can
Utility costs such as electricity and water were always considered qualifying expenses. But more recent guidance documents from the SBA also include internet services which have proven to be essential during this time of working from home and remote delivery of goods and services.
It’s possible — but not yet clear — that transportation costs for a business vehicle could be included as well. Again, keep an eye out for future updates and clarifications from the SBA.
Tip #4: Take Advantage of FTE Exceptions
Because the PPP was intended to help employees keep their jobs during the pandemic slowdown, the general rule is that wages — or full-time equivalent (FTE) — must remain and pre-pandemic levels.
However, there are a variety of allowable exceptions for a reduced workforce, pay scale, or working hours. To mention just a few, employees who:
- Refused an offer to return to their job
- Were fired for cause or voluntarily resigned
- Voluntarily requested and received a reduction in hours
Tip #5: Keep All the Documentation
Documents you need to submit with the forgiveness application. Those that aren’t needed for submission but required to be retained by the borrower. Anything else that relates to your business operations during the period of the loan. It’s better to have too much backup than be missing the one piece of paper you needed to receive your PPP loan forgiveness.
You’ll need to document:
- Full-time equivalent employees on payroll and their pay rates
- Retirement and health insurance contributions
- Eligible interest, rent, and utility payments
Need help with your PPP loan forgiveness application or documentation? The small business accounting experts at Xendoo have the information you need. Check out our affordable monthly plans today!
We must teach young children that they can do anything, the opportunities are there, and there are no gender-based opportunities…
You’ve got options when choosing a platform to sell your products online. Two of the best known are Amazon and Shopify. But there’s another big name player you might not have considered: Walmart.
The power of the world’s largest brick-and-mortar retailer is now expanding to Walmart’s eCommerce operation; and you can reap the benefits, from accounting to customer service.
Pros of Selling on Walmart Marketplace
Let’s start with a rundown of its advantages.
- No set-up or maintenance fees (unlike Amazon). The only fee Walmart charges is a referral on sales (which other platforms also charge), typically 6% to 20% of the sale price.
- Share in Walmart’s brand awareness. Customers trust the brand more than they do private Shopify sites and will be more likely to visit when directed by ads.
- Attract a larger — and different — pool of customers. More than 100 million people visit walmart.com every month. And because of Walmart’s everyday low price guarantee, they aren’t all the same people who visit Amazon.
- Less competition. Amazon has more than 2.5 million sellers. As of now, Walmart Marketplace has about 33,000. Which group would you rather compete with?
- Returns to local stores (online return processing is still an option). This gives customers an added convenience and saves you from paying return shipping.
Cons of Selling on Walmart Marketplace
- Walmart isn’t pie-in-the-sky-perfect. Before you choose this platform for your eCommerce business, decide whether these drawbacks are deal-breakers.
- Lower margins. That low price guarantee we mentioned above might mean you’ll be making less profit. If you list the same product elsewhere at a higher price, Walmart will unpublish it on their site.
- Application and approval hoops to jump through. Walmart vets every eCommerce business before they’re allowed to sell on the platform. Thus, they ensure the quality of products and services associated with their name.
- Order fulfillment, another hoop. You must also be approved to participate in Walmart Fulfillment Services and a 2-day shipping program. If you don’t, you’ll have to handle it all yourself. Also, note that Walmart may penalize you for shipping errors.
Lackluster seller support services. There have been reports that Walmart is slow to respond to seller issues (or never responds at all).
Tips for Maximizing Walmart Marketplace Sales
- Categorize products correctly when you upload product pages — including filling out all the attributes that customers might be inputting as keywords when they search walmart.com. If you aren’t complete and accurate, your product may never even be seen.
- Use paid ads to drive site traffic. With a cost-per-click model, you are only charged when a customer actually clicks through to your site. Choose Walmart’s own Media Group or another third-party provider.
- Price products for the “buy box.” Buyers on walmart.com can view this box to see which seller is offering the lowest price. It may not be a viable strategy for all businesses, but it can definitely amp up your sales volume.
- Maintain quality fulfillment standards, as spelled out in the seller agreement contract — 99% on-time shipping, etc. You’ll not only be allowed to stay on Walmart Marketplace, you’ll move up in the rankings that customers use to choose a seller.
- The same goes for customer service — prompt response to customer inquiries, number of complaint escalations, shipping notifications, and tracking.
- Get favorable reviews. Because many people filter search results by best reviews, it’s worth your while to work for a positive customer experience every time. Also, send a follow-up email after the sale asking for a review — and a chance to fix any issues before the review is written.
Need help setting up your accounting for Walmart Marketplace? Turn to the eCommerce small business specialists at Xendoo. We’ll get you started with a one-month free trial.