Accounting & Finance

Business Owner's Guide to Profit Planning

Owner's Guide to Profit Planning

International BancardReal people with the right solutions that build relationships for life.

Whether your business serves 50 customers or 100,000 fans, International Bancard can help you grow by providing payment acceptance solutions, including credit and debit card processing, ACH, check, and gift cards. As a nationally recognized industry leader, businesses rely on International Bancard’s market insight, data security knowledge and client care to deliver exceptional service to more customers in more locations.

Durbin Amendment Provides for Lower Credit Card Processing Rates

Article courtesy of SBAM Approved Partner Midwest Transaction Group

As a result of the Durbin Amendment, the Federal Reserve Board has placed a cap on debit card transactions, putting the interchange fee at 0.05% + 21 cents. This new fee went into effect on October 1, 2011. This could mean significant savings for you!

Keep in mind:
  • The cap only applies to debit cards issued by very large banks - it does not include those issued by smaller, community banks or credit unions.  Therefore, some debit card interchange fees will not change.
  • The best way to ensure that you are going to get these new lower fees is to move to the Interchange Plus pricing model. It is the only model that will automatically pass through the interchange fees at their exact cost, including the new lower debit card fee.
  • When you move to Interchange Plus pricing, the new debit fee is not the only fee that can be effected. This model gives processors the ability to better analyze data and potentially offer you even more savings.
  • The move to Interchange Plus is easy. If you are already processing with MTG, all you need to do is call us. If you aren't processing with us, we encourage you to contact your current processor and ask to be moved as soon as possible.
It is not often that government involvement means lower costs for business owners, but this time you could realize some significant savings. Take time to give MTG a call at (888) 599-2209 or request a quote here so you can learn about the benefits of Interchange Plus pricing. Be sure your business takes advantage of all the savings the Durbin Amendment’s new cap on debit fees can provide.

New Guidance Issued on Health Care Reform: Auto Enrollment, Waiting Periods and Full-Time Employees

By Stephanie Hicks, courtesy of Clark Hill PLC, an SBAM Approved Partner
On Feb. 9, 2012, the Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, and Treasury (the Departments) issued Technical Release No. 2012-01 (the Release). The Release provides information regarding PPACA provisions governing automatic enrollment, employer shared responsibility and the 90-day limitation on waiting periods. The Release also outlines various approaches that the Departments are considering proposing in future regulations or other guidance.
A.  Automatic Enrollment Compliance May be Delayed
PPACA requires an employer that has more than 200 full-time employees to automatically enroll new full-time employees in one of the employer's group health plans (subject to any waiting period authorized by law), and to continue the enrollment of current employees in a group health plan offered through the employer. In the Release, the DOL concluded that its automatic enrollment guidance will not be ready to take effect by 2014. It remains the DOL's view that, until final regulations regarding automatic enrollment are issued and become applicable, employers are not required to comply with the automatic enrollment provisions of PPACA.
B.  Determining Who is a Full-Time Employee
PPACA also enacted employer shared responsibility provisions. These provisions provide that an employer with 50 or more full-time employees could be subject to a penalty if the employer does not offer its full-time employees (and their dependents) the opportunity to enroll in minimum essential coverage under an eligible employer-sponsored plan. The employer also may face a penalty if the employer offers its full-time employees (and their dependents) the opportunity to enroll in minimum essential coverage under an eligible employer-sponsored plan that either is unaffordable relative to an employee's household income or does not provide minimum value. For purposes of the employer shared responsibility provisions, a "full-time employee" is an employee who is employed on average at least 30 hours per week.
The Release states that upcoming guidance on the employer shared responsibility provisions is expected to provide that, at least for the first three months following an employee's date of hire, an employer that sponsors a group health plan will not, by reason of failing to offer coverage to the employee under its plan during that three-month period, be subject to the penalty payment. Additionally, the Release states the Department of Treasury and the IRS intend to issue proposed regulations or other guidance that would allow employers to use a "look-back/stability period safe harbor" method for purposes of determining whether an employee (other than a newly-hired employee) is a full-time employee. Accordingly, it is anticipated that the guidance will allow look-back and stability periods not exceeding 12 months. The Department of Treasury and the IRS also intend to issue proposed regulations or other guidance that will address how to determine whether a newly-hired employee is a full-time employee for purposes of the employer shared responsibility provisions. The guidance is expected to provide that, in certain circumstances, employers have six months to determine whether a newly-hired employee is a full-time employee for purposes of the employer shared responsibility provisions and will not be subject to the penalty payment during that six-month period with respect to that employee.
The Department of Treasury and the IRS intend to propose an approach under which the period of time that an employer will have to determine whether a newly-hired employee is a full-time employee will depend upon whether, base

Congress Passes NSBA-Supported JOBS Act

From SBAM's national affiliate, NSBA:

On Tuesday, the U.S. House of Representatives approved the Senate-amended version of Jump-Start Our Business Start-ups Act (H.R. 3606 or “JOBS” Act) by a margin of 380-41, addressing one of NSBA's top priority issues. The bill, which will ease securities regulations on small businesses making it much easier for them to raise capital through public capital markets, will now head to the President’s desk to be signed into law.

The bill originally passed the House along a wide bipartisan basis (390-23) and was then approved with amendments by the Senate last week, also on a bipartisan basis (73-26.) Prior to passage in the Senate, however, an amendment offered by Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) and supported by Sens. Michael Bennet (D-Colo.), Mary Landrieu (D-La.) and Scott Brown (R-Mass.), among others, was adopted 64-35, . This so-called “crowdfunding” amendment (S.Amdt. 1884), will insert the Senate’s version of crowdfunding legislation into the bill, and among other things, require crowdfunding intermediaries to register with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). The original House-passed version of H.R. 3606 did not contain such language.

The final bill includes the following provisions:
  • A provision that would, among other things, effectively amend Regulation A by increasing the aggregate offering amount of all securities sold within the prior 12-month period from $5 million to $50 million;
  • A provision (as inserted by the Senate) that would create a crowdfunding exemption;
  • A provision that would allow for general solicitation or general advertising to find investors, provided that all purchasers of the securities are accredited investors;
  • A provision that would raise the shareholder threshold for mandatory registration under the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 from 500 to 1000 shareholders;
  • A provision that would create an “IPO Onramp” making it easier for small- and medium-sized companies to raise money through capital markets by reducing costs associated with going public and phasing in certain regulatory obligations over time; and
  • A provision that would: (1) amend the securities laws and raise the threshold for mandatory shareholder registration from 500 to 2,000 shareholders for all banks and bank holding companies, and (2) amend U.S. securities laws to raise the deregistration threshold from 300 to 1,200 shareholders.
This bill was also supported by the administration.

This pro-growth, NSBA-supported legislation will positively transform the ability of small businesses to raise capital and help alleviate the disproportionate burden of compliance placed on small firms.

Advice on how we can reinvent Michigan. Today at 10 a.m. on the free Business Next audio seminar

Presentations from the recent Reinventing Michigan seminar in Lansing: State Budget Director John Nixon; David Lorenz, Manager, Public and Industry Relations, Travel Michigan; Sandra Rich, President of Hiring Solutions LLC; Bob Fish, president of BIGGBY COFFEE. Plus, interviews with Loch McCabe, president of Shepherd Advisors, on the tools available to help second stage companies grow and thrive. Listen today at 10 a.m., 3 p.m. and 8 p.m. on the Michigan Business Network. SBAM members can log in and listen to archived programs anytime on a PC or mobile device by going to the Business Next show page

Get Business Next audio seminars delivered three times a week automatically to your iPhone or other mobile device. Subscribe in iTunes using this URL.  

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How would you reinvent Michigan? Leave a comment below.

Simple Checkout an Easy E-Commerce Option

Article courtesy of SBAM Approved Partner Midwest Transaction Group

If you are looking for an easy and inexpensive way to accept payments on the web, Authorize.Net’s Simple Checkout could be the perfect solution. It is so easy to configure that you will save time and money bypassing a web designer.

Simple Checkout is great for those who:
  • have a limited number of items to sell
  • wish to accept donations  
  • want to allow clients to pay invoices.
Buttons offered by Simple Checkout for your page:
  • “Buy Now”
  • “Donate” 
  • “Submit”
What you need to get started:
  • an account with Authorize.Net. Clients of MTG are extended preferred rates - literally less than half the cost of going through them directly.
Whatever your needs, you will also be provided an Authorize.Net verified merchant seal to display on your page, which is promptly recognized and verifies the safety of the transactions.

Whether you are taking orders or collecting money, Simple Checkout gives you the ability to secure your presence on the web and secure your transactions, without spending a lot of hours or dollars to do so. Visit and search Simple Checkout to see how truly easy it is.