Wealth Strategies

Introduction to Wealth Strategies

Tampa Bay accounting firm, GSS offers a wide range of financial planning and wealth preservation services, including business valuation and planning. Our approach is holistic and starts with a discussion of your life and financial reporting goals. We can assist you in the succession planning process when transferring your business to your children or key employees. You may decide to sell your business if there is no one in the organization to succeed you. With any business, you need to know its value to achieve your objectives, and GSS can assist you by performing business valuations periodically. Our objective is to help you provide for your family, friends and charitable organizations that you value after you pass away, while minimizing estate and income taxes. Our succession planning process will give you peace of mind. We’ve compiled a list of frequently asked questions for each general area of services below.

Succession Planning

How can I transfer my business to my children?
GSS identifies the challenges and provides solutions to the issues surrounding the transfer of your business to your children. Transitioning your business to new leaders is an emotional journey. Questions such as “Are my children capable?” and “Who can help them?” are critical components to a successful transfer. It is vital that trusted advisors be involved early in the process so financially sound business decisions are made.
What is succession planning and when should I start?
Business owners should have a plan in place so that their business can carry on should they retire, die or become incapacitated. Succession planning is the process through which future leaders of your company are identified, trained and molded into leadership roles. Succession plans can involve key employees, family members and/or outside third parties. An effective succession planning process must address both expected and unexpected events. The best time for us to develop a plan with you is now.
How can you help me with my succession planning process?
GSS can help you understand the common pitfalls involved in transitioning a business and provide insight into the most effective solutions. We spend time understanding your goals for the business and with your attorney; we can formalize a plan to ensure the business survives and thrives during this potentially challenging time. We can evaluate and minimize the tax implications and control issues associated with your business.

Business Valuations

GSS provides business valuation services to assist you with determining the monetary worth of your business.

What are the benefits of knowing what my business is worth?
  • Compliance. The IRS requires all businesses to be valued for estate and gift tax returns. Certain transactions (sales or gifts) for income tax purposes also require a valuation of your business.
  • Planning. For your financial well-being, it is crucial to know the value of your business in structuring buy-sell agreements, financial planning, and mergers and acquisitions.
  • Litigation. Determining the value of your business will assist in resolving stockholder disputes, determining damages, settling insurance claims and solving other business disputes.
How is my business valued?
There are five basic steps accredited business appraisers follow in performing a business valuation:

  • Define the appraisal engagement.
  • Gather the necessary data (financial and underlying official documents) to assist in performing the appraisal.
  • Analyze the data to develop an understanding of the business and the economic impacts of business operations going into the future.
  • Estimate the value of the business.
  • Provide written communication describing the business valuation process and how the value was determined.
How do I improve the value of my business?
Potential buyers of your business first look at prior years’ profits as reported on your federal income tax returns. Value is based on profits. To increase your business value, you must increase your profits – our business valuation services will help you achieve this goal. Documenting decisions will establish evidence of a well-functioning management team and enhance the value of your business. Potential buyers (or their agents) can then recognize the steps taken to improve the value of your business.
Who should value my business?
The person performing your business valuation should have one of the following accreditations: Accredited in Business Valuation (ABV), Certified Valuation Analyst (CVA) and Accredited Senior Appraiser (ASA). GSS team members have achieved the ABV designation as prescribed by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA). The AICPA established the ABV Credential Program in 1998 for CPAs who specialize in valuation. This credential is granted exclusively to CPAs who demonstrate considerable expertise in valuation through their knowledge, skill and experience. To obtain and retain the ABV credentials, a CPA must pass the ABV examination, document business valuation experience and participate in continuing education specific to business valuations.
When should I have my business valued?
Key events in which business valuations are appropriate include: at death, upon gifting (charitable and non-charitable), structuring buy/sell agreements, prior to selling your business and succession planning. The valuation methods applied can be different for each of these events. Our team has the experience and knowledge to properly utilize these methods.
Why should I have my business valued?
Business valuations are a business planning tool that helps a business owner understand how to make the business more profitable. This is accomplished by comparing your business to other similar businesses and identifying your strong and weak points. Balance sheets, profit and loss statements, and cash flow statements are not always enough. The business valuation provides information not available through other sources.

Estate Planning

Who and/or what receives my assets?
Who will inherit my assets when I die? There is much uncertainty about estate tax law. GSS can help you understand how assets are distributed to beneficiaries after your death and the tax implications to your estate. As part of this process, we work with your attorney to make sure your documents are current and consistent with your wishes.
How can I minimize estate taxes?
GSS evaluates the estate tax implications associated with both lifetime gifting and post-mortem asset transfers. GSS tax accountants will help you utilize the latest available concepts to save estate taxes while ensuring your beneficiaries receive assets in accordance with your wishes.
Are my family and assets protected?
Estate taxes, if not properly addressed, can have a devastating effect on a family business and your other assets. We ensure your assets pass to your beneficiaries with as little tax as possible. All you’ve worked for is then preserved for your spouse, future generations, charity or any combination you desire.
How do estate law changes affect me?
Although the estate tax exemption is more than $5 million per person and a deceased spouse’s unused exemption can transfer to the surviving spouse’s estate, the law changes periodically and it is important to review estate plans regularly to assure you are taking advantage of the most up to date rules. We monitor legislative activity so we can timely advise you about your best course of action.
What documents do I need?
You need a will, living trust, durable power of attorney, living will, healthcare surrogate and a declaration of pre-need guardian, to name a few. Working with your attorney, we can assist in the preparation and organization of these documents.

Contact Information for Wealth Strategies & Services in St. Petersburg