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Five Recession Warning Signs: Be Prepared, And Don’t Freak Out! 

 We all know that history repeats itself, and there are lots of red-flags associated with recessions. The media is always talking about it, but this time it might be a reality. Don’t let that freak you out just yet! Let’s go over the basic patterns that are typical before a recession hits.

  Is A Recession Really Going To Happen? 

No one knows exactly when a recession will occur. Lots of different factors can change, and any economic situation can reverse under the right circumstances. We aren’t claiming to know the future, but we do know the past. Several puzzle pieces need to fall into place before the economy starts to decline. That’s what we are focusing our forecasts on. It’s not a guarantee of a recession. The current situation is looking bleak, and here’s why we think it’s going to get much worse.

  1. The US Treasury 

If you want to know what the last seven economic declines had in common, then you don’t need to look any further than US Treasury Bonds. The whole world is losing their mind over it. It’s almost turning into mass hysteria. That’s because the yield curve has inverted. It shows that the economic future of the US economy is uncertain. Most economists think of this as a foolproof indicator of a recession looming over the country, but that’s a subject of debate among experts. The bottom line is that all recent recessions happened shortly after the US Treasury Bonds yield changed for the worse. It doesn’t prove that a decline is around the corner, but it makes it a realistic possibility. Some experts are completely convinced that the old world of economics is over, and they believe that this increase of uncertainty in the market will have little effect on the value of the dollar. It could be possible that technology has sped up value tracking to the point that the market seems more fluid than it actually is. That might mean our feedback could be more volatile, and it could make trends extremely unpredictable. 

 2. Probability Models 

 The most accepted probability models of an economic recession are by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. If you’re already worked up, then just take a minute to collect yourself before we go into this point. The Federal Reserve has estimated that there is around a 30 percent chance of a recession occurring within the next twelve months. Their estimates have stayed at less than ten percent since January of 2009. This a big deal, and their predictions are continuing to lean towards a coming recession. Economists who rely on the Federal Reserve’s index are assuming that we’re going to feel the results of these statistics midway through 2020. If something doesn’t change fast, then you might only have a little less than a year to prepare yourself. Conclusions are easy to draw from the Federal Reserve’s data, but that doesn’t mean it’s set in stone. We could bounce back within the next few months, and the US economy hasn’t come close to tanking yet. 

  3. Employment Statistics 

 Unemployment rates have been stable for most of the last several decades. Everyone wants to focus on unemployment, but the real insight is found within the employment data. What’s the first thing that businesses cut when they are uncertain about the economy? It’s always going to be the wages of their workers. That doesn’t mean people are getting paid less, but it does mean that employees are working fewer hours. The average number of hours worked per week have slowly been declining since 2017. It’s not enough for us to freak out about, but it’s enough to get our attention. A growing economy should show substantial stability, and that’s the opposite of what we’re seeing this year. The next big issue is the increase in temporary positions among employers. Our jobs are shifting more towards temporary employment than ever before. These type of opportunities are great for companies who are unsure about the stability of their business because they can easily downsize with very few repercussions. That tells us that businesses want to keep their workforce fluid and expendable. A strong market is made up of skilled workers with specialized training. A growing economy is built through high-demand production. The going outlook is more based on convenience than quality. This could be detrimental to the employment rate in the event of a financial collapse. 

  4. Confidence Indexes 

 One of the most important factors in any economic system is the opinion of the people. The United States is the financial trend-setter of the world economy, and the ongoing trade conflicts with China are having a huge impact on businesses. Many companies have been more reluctant to make new investments until the situation is resolved. It’s having clear effects on the confidence of businesses in almost every market. The indexes don’t lie, and that’s why we’re convinced that this is an important indicator in the coming recession. Supply and demand can change overnight based on the opinions of the public. Is this a sign that investors are nervous about what the future holds for North America? It certainly seems that the ongoing trade war might be the tipping point that leads us over the edge financially. Several Consumer Sentiment Indexes have been published over the last few years that show an obvious dissatisfaction across the board. Consumer confidence is higher than in decades past, but we saw the first major hurdle in the begging of 2019. Business indexes have dropped to their lowest point in three years. Opinion matters more in the long-term than it does at the moment. If we continue to see the presence of pessimism from the coming studies, then it could encourage less spending. It becomes a problem when that increased pessimism becomes a trend for a few years in a row.

  5. Personal Debt Increases 

 Spending habits tend to change significantly when a recession is about to happen. People buy fewer cars, but they borrow more money to maintain their current lifestyle. You’ll also see a decrease in the number of new homes that are built, and the number of home renovations will slow down. That’s what we’ve noticed over the last ten years. The debt of the average American keeps growing, and that might be the only thing that’s giving the economy life. The debt-bubble is bound to pop at some point. Don’t be surprised if it gets a lot tougher to acquire a business loan in the coming years. Banks will have to make up for their loses on unpaid personal loans by cutting back somewhere. 

  Conclusion: Don’t Freak Out 

 We are at a point in time that’s filled with uncertainty, and that’s why you should maintain your certainty. Don’t freak out, and don’t panic! It’s only going to add to the problems we have at hand. The main point we want you to focus on is being prepared if a recession occurs. You don’t have to cut back, but you should shoot to hit a surplus on your budget for the next year. Getting ready isn’t about counting on the worst outcome. We just don’t want you to be taken by surprise! Work on reducing your expendable costs, and you’ll make it out just fine.

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We all know that history repeats itself, and there are lots of red-flags associated with recessions. The media is always talking about it, but this time it might be a reality. Don’t let that freak you out just yet! Let’s go over the basic patterns that are typical before a recession hits.

 Is A Recession Really Going To Happen? 

No one knows exactly when a recession will occur. Lots of different factors can change, and any economic situation can reverse under the right circumstances. We aren’t claiming to know the future, but we do know the past. Several puzzle pieces need to fall into place before the economy starts to decline. That’s what we are focusing our forecasts on. It’s not a guarantee of a recession. The current situation is looking bleak, and here’s why we think it’s going to get much worse.

   1. The US Treasury 

If you want to know what the last seven economic declines had in common, then you don’t need to look any further than US Treasury Bonds. The whole world is losing their mind over it. It’s almost turning into mass hysteria. That’s because the yield curve has inverted. It shows that the economic future of the US economy is uncertain. Most economists think of this as a foolproof indicator of a recession looming over the country, but that’s a subject of debate among experts. The bottom line is that all recent recessions happened shortly after the US Treasury Bonds yield changed for the worse. It doesn’t prove that a decline is around the corner, but it makes it a realistic possibility. Some experts are completely convinced that the old world of economics is over, and they believe that this increase of uncertainty in the market will have little effect on the value of the dollar. It could be possible that technology has sped up value tracking to the point that the market seems more fluid than it actually is. That might mean our feedback could be more volatile, and it could make trends extremely unpredictable. 

  2. Probability Models 

 The most accepted probability models of an economic recession are by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. If you’re already worked up, then just take a minute to collect yourself before we go into this point. The Federal Reserve has estimated that there is around a 30 percent chance of a recession occurring within the next twelve months. Their estimates have stayed at less than ten percent since January of 2009. This a big deal, and their predictions are continuing to lean towards a coming recession. Economists who rely on the Federal Reserve’s index are assuming that we’re going to feel the results of these statistics midway through 2020. If something doesn’t change fast, then you might only have a little less than a year to prepare yourself. Conclusions are easy to draw from the Federal Reserve’s data, but that doesn’t mean it’s set in stone. We could bounce back within the next few months, and the US economy hasn’t come close to tanking yet. 

  3. Employment Statistics 

 Unemployment rates have been stable for most of the last several decades. Everyone wants to focus on unemployment, but the real insight is found within the employment data. What’s the first thing that businesses cut when they are uncertain about the economy? It’s always going to be the wages of their workers. That doesn’t mean people are getting paid less, but it does mean that employees are working fewer hours. The average number of hours worked per week have slowly been declining since 2017. It’s not enough for us to freak out about, but it’s enough to get our attention. A growing economy should show substantial stability, and that’s the opposite of what we’re seeing this year. The next big issue is the increase in temporary positions among employers. Our jobs are shifting more towards temporary employment than ever before. These type of opportunities are great for companies who are unsure about the stability of their business because they can easily downsize with very few repercussions. That tells us that businesses want to keep their workforce fluid and expendable. A strong market is made up of skilled workers with specialized training. A growing economy is built through high-demand production. The going outlook is more based on convenience than quality. This could be detrimental to the employment rate in the event of a financial collapse. 

  4. Confidence Indexes 

 One of the most important factors in any economic system is the opinion of the people. The United States is the financial trend-setter of the world economy, and the ongoing trade conflicts with China are having a huge impact on businesses. Many companies have been more reluctant to make new investments until the situation is resolved. It’s having clear effects on the confidence of businesses in almost every market. The indexes don’t lie, and that’s why we’re convinced that this is an important indicator in the coming recession. Supply and demand can change overnight based on the opinions of the public. Is this a sign that investors are nervous about what the future holds for North America? It certainly seems that the ongoing trade war might be the tipping point that leads us over the edge financially. Several Consumer Sentiment Indexes have been published over the last few years that show an obvious dissatisfaction across the board. Consumer confidence is higher than in decades past, but we saw the first major hurdle in the begging of 2019. Business indexes have dropped to their lowest point in three years. Opinion matters more in the long-term than it does at the moment. If we continue to see the presence of pessimism from the coming studies, then it could encourage less spending. It becomes a problem when that increased pessimism becomes a trend for a few years in a row.

  5. Personal Debt Increases 

 Spending habits tend to change significantly when a recession is about to happen. People buy fewer cars, but they borrow more money to maintain their current lifestyle. You’ll also see a decrease in the number of new homes that are built, and the number of home renovations will slow down. That’s what we’ve noticed over the last ten years. The debt of the average American keeps growing, and that might be the only thing that’s giving the economy life. The debt-bubble is bound to pop at some point. Don’t be surprised if it gets a lot tougher to acquire a business loan in the coming years. Banks will have to make up for their loses on unpaid personal loans by cutting back somewhere. 

  Conclusion: Don’t Freak Out 

 We are at a point in time that’s filled with uncertainty, and that’s why you should maintain your certainty. Don’t freak out, and don’t panic! It’s only going to add to the problems we have at hand. The main point we want you to focus on is being prepared if a recession occurs. You don’t have to cut back, but you should shoot to hit a surplus on your budget for the next year. Getting ready isn’t about counting on the worst outcome. We just don’t want you to be taken by surprise! Work on reducing your expendable costs, and you’ll make it out just fine.

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When entrepreneurs want to make more money, one strategy is to find ways to boost revenue. However, reducing expenses is also important. Profit equals revenue minus expenses. To increase profit, the best strategy is to use expense reduction and revenue boosting strategies together. Expense reduction involves pinpointing problems and finding ways to cut costs. It is not just a few simple tasks. It involves every facet of the business and its operations. 

Inefficiencies may exist in multiple departments and on several levels. For example, the production department may not be working efficiently, and there may be multiple contributing factors. There may be supplier issues, outdated technologies, poor lighting, mismatched teams and more. In such a case, an expense reduction analyst may suggest a software to track and rearrange teams. Placing workers in the right positions during optimal shifts may help. Working out supplier issues, improving the lighting and adding new technologies may also help reduce the overall inefficiency of that department.

Expense reduction also facilitates investing and development. When a company owner saves some money and earns an extra profit, that extra money can be invested in special projects. If the projects will help the business grow and will help reduce overall expenses, that is an ideal outcome. 

From HR to supply chain management, there are many facets to consider with expense reduction strategies. While some businesses assign supervision or management tasks to one or more people, they may not have the expertise to consider expense reduction as a holistic concept. To increase the usefulness of this tactic, it is essential to hire a specialist.

What an Expense Reduction Analyst Does

First, an analyst identifies all inefficiencies. The next step is finding ways to save money, and plans are formed to accomplish those tasks. The analyst monitors the savings throughout the process. In comparison with other types of consultants that do not specifically offer ERA, analysts in this applied discipline have an extensive network of special abilities that span more categories. 

They carry out the plans, and the company owner decides how to allocate the savings. One of the consultant's top goals is to be an analyst, a manager and an acquirer. Analysts help clients learn how to save even more money in the future with better business practices. They can introduce companies to new strategies that can support long-term sustainability while increasing profit.

 

 

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WORKERS COMPENSATION PROCESS

Bottom Line is a leader in workers’ compensation for Retailers, Wholesalers, Restaurants, Hotels, Home Health & Residential Care facilities in New York State. Bottom Line maximizes your productivity and profits by helping to keep your number one asset, your employees, working and safe.

The Problem The costs associated with rehiring, refraining, loss of productivity, poor morale and claims can exceed your premium drastically.

Bottom Line’s Solution As the manager of seven Safety Groups underwritten by the New York Insurance Fund, Bottom Line has saved hundreds of our clients over $100 million in workers’ compensation since 2009. 

What are Safety Groups?

Safety Groups provide a high quality, low cost, fully insured workers’ compensation insurance solution to businesses with a proven track record of safety in the workplace

Our safety groups significantly reduce the cost of workers’ compensation for safety conscious members. Our fully insured safety groups work by pooling members’ annual premiums, and after deducting the costs of claims and administrative charges, the profits are returned to members in the form of a dividend. Only Safety-Conscious employers with a proven track record of safety are invited to join our Safety Groups.

BENEFITS OF WORKING WITH BOTTOM LINE:

• Savings through group advance discounts and dividends 

• Claims Solution services that reduce claims and costs 

• Comprehensive administration and audit services 

• On-site safety engineering


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WORK OPPORTUNITY TAX CREDIT

MAXIMIZE YOUR COMPANY’S TAX CREDIT POTENTIAL:

Every year companies miss out on millions of dollars in tax credits for something they do every day – hiring new employees. The Work Opportunity Tax Credit (“WOTC”) is a Federal tax incentive program to encourage employers to hire and retain employees from specific target groups such as:

• Veterans 

• Qualified Youth 

• Social Assistance Recipients

Although these tax credits range in value depending on the category of employee and length of employment, your company can receive a tax credit of up to $9,600 per new hire. The average credit for the hospitality industry can be as high as $2,000 per employee. Also, many states have companion credits that match or mimic WOTC. The New York Urban Youth Hiring Program can add up to $5,000, over two years, in additional tax credits. Some of the state and local credits are also REFUNDABLE when the entity does not have taxable income.

HOW THE PROGRAM WORKS:

The WOTC program requires the completion of several forms by the employee at the time they are hired. These forms need to be received by the correct state agency within 28 days of the employee start date. Our tax credit experts will work with your company to streamline the documentation process in order to minimize your work, and maximize the credits. We offer flexible options for you to process the necessary documentation in a timely manner, in order to receive approval of your credits. Many state agencies have a back-log of forms to process. Our team will keep your data and information organized, resolve any documentation discrepancies, and follow-up with the government on a regular basis to ensure your credits are approved in a timely manner.

WHO CAN BENEFIT:

Although any company that hires new employees can potentially benefit from the program, there are certain industry such as hospitality, retail and security which see significant benefits. Factors that drive higher returns for these industries include high- turnover rates, urban dwelling employee base, a younger workforce, and unique hiring requirements such as hiring military veterans.


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Waste Removal Process:

Bottom Line will conduct an in-depth analysis of all waste removal costs and services at all locations.  The goal is to identify any inefficiencies in services and to determine whether or not a Client is over paying for waste removal services.   It typically takes anywhere from 60 to 90 days to complete the analysis but if there are a lot of locations or multiple waste removal vendors it can sometimes take longer.

Bottom Line will begin with a review of all current waste removal services to determine if the current services are sufficient or not.  We will determine whether or not additional services need to be added or any services need to be eliminated.

In addition to a complete analysis of all waste removal services Bottom Line will do a market analysis to determine whether or not the pricing for waste removal services is competitive or not.  After analyzing pricing, Bottom Line will determine what cost savings opportunities exist and will then engage waste removal vendors to negotiate more competitive pricing.

The objectives for the project are to make sure that a Client has the appropriate waste removal services at each location, to make sure that a Client is not overpaying for waste removal services, streamline waste removal contracts as much as possible and put a Client in a much better position to manage waste removal services more easily.


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HOW BOTTOM LINE CONCEPTS ACHIEVES UTILITY SAVINGS

Bottom Line Concepts (BLC) is able to save utility costs in both markets, which are Regulated (state owned/run utility) and De-Regulated (open market).

In each market BLC can analyze all the costs associated with a utility bill not just the KWH cost.

BLC also looks at the other ancillary charges such as:

• Transmission fees 

• Delivery fees 

• KW capacity charges 

• System benefit costs ..etc

BLC has and does work with and compliment the existing power management companies a client may have such as:

• Engine Insight (Ecova) 

• Enernoc 

• Utilisave 

• Reliable Power…etc

BLC reviews the bills monthly to ensure the savings are realized, which sets BLC apart from other competitors who only review yearly.

By reviewing each bill monthly it allows BLC to catch additional savings when they present themselves not on a quarterly or yearly basis.

All that is needed is the latest one months bill for Electric, Water and Gas, and BLC can then turn an analysis around in 2 weeks with implementation and savings being seen on the next bill cycle.

BLC has obtained over $100,000,000 in utility savings for our clients.

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 UNEMPLOYMENT TAX PROCESS

The following Unemployment Tax Planning Services and Tax Savings Techniques are State Approved and in compliance with State & Federal laws. Every technique, recommended or revealed includes the preparation and filing of applications for all 50 state agencies on the Clients behalf. It also includes follow up to completion until the reduced tax rate has been issued and the tax savings or refunds have been secured.

I.RESTRUCTURE PLANNING & ANALYSIS 

• Review and provide analysis for every current or past restructure, acquisition, joint venture, reorganization of employees, expansion, retraction, consolidation or legal entity structure change (up to 3 years prior) for Unemployment Tax Rate reduction or refund opportunities Analyze all Transfer of Experience and Reserve Balance tax savings options . 

• Provide alternative options during current or planned future restructures for maximum tax savings impact, or potential avoidable or inevitable costs associated with each transaction 

• Analyze timing of transaction: (1) review tax cost implications for 12/31 vs 1/1 reorganizations (2) ensure taxable wage bases and UI taxes paid under the predecessor are recognized and credited during mid-year reorganization; (3) make recommendations for optimum timing for greatest UI tax savings impact or cost avoidance • Review closed or dormant UI tax accounts for potential available UI tax reserves 

• Review the impact of Common Paymaster, Common Pay Agent, Employee Leasing or PEO type structures 

• (If Desired) Contact the acquired or predecessor company to retrieve all necessary UI tax documents to review impact to client • Provide reorganization materials to include in corporate M&A due diligence initiatives

II.REGISTRATIONS, ACCOUNT CLOSURES AND NAME CHANGES 

• Prepare and file all Unemployment registration applications including but not limited to: New Business Registration, Total Transfer Applications, Partial transfer applications, Account Closures, Wage Continuation forms, Refund Request Forms, • Prepare and file State Withholding applications (at Clients request and at discretion of BLC) • Provide Questionnaire and engage in discussions with the Client to ensure all aspects of the applications are complete to ascertain proper headcounts, predecessor information (if applicable) and all data necessary to complete the forms 

• Review options available for UI tax transfers of experience • Reactivated dormant UI Tax Accounts when beneficial (if available) and previous employment occurred (Utilize positive experience erroneously left behind) 

• File UI Tax Account Closure forms to avoid penalties and excess filings) • File Name Change letters with Articles of Amendment in every state applicable


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Telecommunications Process:

Bottom Line will conduct an in-depth analysis of all Wireless, Local, Long Distance, Toll-Free, Data, WAN and Teleconferencing-related Telecom services.  The goal is to identify and audit the use of all services and determine among other things if any are unused or unneeded.  This can be completed, including the audit portion of this project, along with a detailed report on those findings, within the first 3-4 weeks after the project formally kicks off.

Bottom Line will begin with a review of pre-existing voice and network documentation, relevant telecommunications contracts, and services invoices.  We will then obtain Customer Service Records (“CSRs”) for each billing number from all carriers and providers.  The CSR is used to identify the core components of each monthly charge.

In addition to a complete analysis of all billing from each provider Bottom Line will look at the telecom environment in detail at a location level to determine optimization and utilization of services for additional savings and recovery opportunities.

The objectives for this project are to create a complete, centralized inventory of the Client's in-scope voice and data services, allowing Bottom Line to compare contracts (and tariffs) to customer service records invoices and inventory, as well to reduce the Client's ongoing telecom costs by eliminating unnecessary fees and services, correcting any carrier overbilling errors, and securing credits & refunds wherever possible for past billing errors. 

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SHIPPING AUDIT PROCESS:

Packages shipped using FedEx® and UPS® are guaranteed to arrive on time or the Client is owed a shipping refund. Bottom Line offers a cloud-based refund recovery solution that credits the Clients carrier accounts for late shipments.  Bottom Line manages the entire process so the Client can focus on the product and customers.    

With dynamic weekly reporting and 24/7 Online access that harnesses some of the most advanced proprietary technology on the market, the robust, transparent system is easy to use and navigate.

The Bottom Line solution is the simplest, most cost effective method for clients to decrease their shipping costs without altering operations.  Bottom Lines clients are not buying software nor are they paying fees of any kind to audit package delinquency and help streamline their logistic operations.

Sign-up can be done in 2 minutes and Bottom Line will manage the solution, where all credits are applied to the Clients carrier accounts directly. This is a no-risk solution, with no install of any additional hardware or software that would incur a cost. It is fully managed using dedicated servers running RAID-5 file systems with SSL encryption, encrypted passwords and protected access secures the Clients accounts, refunds and traffic reports.

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SALES & USE TAX RECOVERY PROCESS

At BLC our approach is what separates us from other providers. Our application of technology and experience allows us to identify opportunities other firms overlook. Here is an outline of our three phase approach. 

Phase I:

Scope and Analysis • Review the Client’s operations and processes • Complete limited discussions with the employees’ responsible for administrating sales and use tax for the Client and operational employees responsible for specific areas such as marketing and promotion, information technology and retail sales • Obtain all necessary data from your enterprise accounting system for the period we are reviewing and obtain access to review Client invoices and documentation – remotely if available • Analyze data and documentation to determine if refund opportunities exist based on the Client’s facts and the state specific tax exemptions • Summarize and present the initial results to the Client in order to determine which refund opportunities we will pursue

Phase II:

Completing and Filing the Claims • Complete all of the necessary steps in preparing the refund claims or credits including all forms, compiling data into an acceptable format, and attaching all relevant documentation to the data (i.e. invoices, contracts, purchase orders) • Supply the Client with a complete copy of the claim supported by a summary of the refund positions that were taken • If the refund is offsetting a current assessment, BLC will work with the State to determine what information may be needed • At the completion of Phase II all refunds will have been filed

Phase III:

Audit and Verification • Work directly with the State to verify the refund claims • Supply additional information to support parts of the refund claims as requested by the State • Supply technical documentation (memo or opinion) from BLC to support a particular position based on the Client’s facts • Finalize refund claim and receive results from the State • Have all refunds offset open assessments, if applicable • Supply management statement to the Client

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THE 800LB ELEPHANT IN THE ROOM 

Property taxes represent the largest source of revenue for many state & local governments. Yet, for  most companies this tax becomes an afterthought. Very little planning is done around minimizing the  tax and generally bills are simply accepted as is and paid in accordance. Property tax bills can take several forms: 

• Personal property tax paid directly by the company on an annual basis • Real property tax paid directly by the company on owned property • Real property tax paid indirectly on leased property • Property tax charges passed through to the company through service providers

THE ROOT OF PROBLEM For many companies the problem lies with the lack of experience, information and resources available to understand how these taxes are assessed, who is responsible for the tax and if a  company can appeal a tax. For example, most property taxes are levied on a local basis (city or county). Each local government has their own laws, administrative rules and guidelines  regarding assessments and appeals. In many cases, it is difficult for a professional outside of that  jurisdiction to have the knowledge and ability to appeal each tax. Finally, in certain cases, it is  unclear who has the right to appeal a property tax assessment. For example, with regard to real  property taxes passed through a lease, you will have to understand the terms of the lease to  determine who has the right to appeal. 

OUR SOLUTION Our team at Bottom Line has the solution for you. First, we will create a comprehensive  list of your company’s property tax liabilities (real/personal and direct/indirect). Second, we will  provide you an analysis of which taxes you have the right to appeal and the likelihood of a reduction.  Third, we will layout and execute a plan to appeal any liabilities the company wishes to pursue. All of  this is done at no cost to the company. Bottom Line is only compensated through the  reduction of your property tax assessments. In addition, to the recovery services, our  team also provides a comprehensive personal property tax compliance offering when there is a  need

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OFFICE SUPPLIES PROCESS

Bottom Line will  gather your invoices from all of your supply vendors and compare pricing to the database that we have built up over a decade across our 1000+ clients. If you have multiple vendors we will look to clean it all up for simplicity

Bottom Line will work with your existing vendors to get price discounts/rebates to maximize your savings, this can all be accomplished in 1-2 months time

Bottom Line will reconcile the monthly invoices, to ensure the negotiated pricing is adhered to or the negotiated Rebate has been implemented

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CREDIT CARD PROCESS:

Credit Card costs are made up of the fees assessed by the card-brands - Visa, MasterCard, Discover and American Express and the fees to the processor contracted by the business to clear sales on behalf of the card-brands. Bottom Line Concepts reviews both areas and uses its experience to analyze credit card statements, to identify and negotiate rates/fees to ensure maximum efficiency when transactions are clearing through the card-brand networks. Credit Card merchant processing statements are requested for all accounts from the processor clearing Visa, MasterCard and Discover transactions as well as from American Express, only if American Express transactions are being processed and deposited by American Express directly. 

Upon receipt of statements, Bottom Line will review all current rates and fees, identify the baseline cost, what fees are being assessed above the card-brand costs, what costs are being paid above the published card-brand fees, miscellaneous and extraneous fees, duplicate billing items, processing inefficiencies, identifying the manner in which transactions are being processed and the hardware/software solutions used to process payments . Upon identifying all processing rates and fees, Bottom Line will create both a benchmark and analysis which are reviewed with the Client and discuss strategy for implementation. Generally, this starts with an introduction to the processor over email, a request for them to review all rates/fees and come back with their best offer in one week’s time. At the same time, Bottom Line will provide the processing data to at least 2 other processors to receive blind competitive offers. After the incumbent provides their offer, Bottom Line will negotiate with them based on our understanding of the market and the other competitive proposals.

After agreeing in principle to the new terms with the current processor, the processor will generally ask for a signed addendum or amendment to the current agreement, which gets reviewed by both Bottom Line for the correct rates/fees and the Client’s legal team for language. After signing off on the document and the new fees are implemented, Bottom Line will monitor the statements each month for compliance to ensure the new rates/fees are implemented and that they are not changed as well as any recommendations for how to better process transactions are being utilized. 

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Clients are faced with two challenges when it comes to their strategic bank relationships: (1) where to focus energy for a maximum return and (2) how to negotiate these discounts, in order to not disrupt the symbiotic relationship. Clients need their credit, products, and advisory services, but often pay too much. There are five key treasury management categories of bank revenue that offer significant opportunity: Analysis Fees, Earnings Credit Rate, Investment Rates, P-Card Rebates, and Merchant Cards.

On average, Bottom Line is able to present the Client with savings within three weeks time. Once Bottom Line receives Client statements, they are examined for all areas to optimize profitability and relationship value. An analysis in both a Clients quantitative and qualitative data is completed, along with creating a benchmark and analysis which are reviewed with the Client and discussed strategy for implementation. Bottom Line never require a Client to switch providers to achieve savings, and is very aware of a Clients current relationship. 

Bottom Line Takes a three step approach:

1.Modeling - Bottom Line gathers the Clients statements to determine the relationships overall level of discount against the market.  During this step Bottom Line will provide profitability modeling consistent with what a bank uses to determine pricing.

2.Engaging the bank - preferably Bottom Line will work behind the scenes to keep the relationship in focus, however engagement with the bank on the client’s behalf can be needed.  During this time Bottom Line will review win-win strategies, terms, pricing and rates.

3.Auditing - With the Client’s monthly statement, a continued monitoring of  the accounts for contract adherence is conducted.  This ensures not only that the bank stays in line, but the Client also has the ability to see their savings actively on a month-by-month basis.

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Bottom Line Concepts approaches the accounts payable audit process in phases, starting with categories that typically yield stronger returns, thus creating a foundation for successful audit performance of additional audit categories.

Statement Review Statements are requested from vendors/suppliers/landlords periodically depending upon spend and vendor/supplier knowledge.

With our programs and experience, we review our Client’s vendor/ supplier accounts receivable records and identify overpayments, duplicate payments, payments to the wrong vendor/supplier, returns, credit memos and other sources of open credits.

Bottom Line Concepts will work directly with the Client suppliers and will typically get confirmation that the recovery is agreed upon. This information is submitted to the Accounts Payables team, and the credit is entered into the system and netted against the next payment to that vendor. In some cases where the vendors are no longer active, or seasonal, the recovery is made in the form of a check being sent directly from the vendor.

Accounts Payable Review Depending on the level of detail in the dataset, we will customize our A/P Reviews to include but not be limited to:

Duplicate Payment Review – We typically create a minimum of at least 10 variations of reports to identify all possibility of a Duplicate Payment according. This review also identifies payments made in error to the wrong vendor/supplier.

Pricing and Overpayment Review – We review and identify patterns and anomalies to identify pricing and overpayment issues. We have found that our clients may have more than one buyer purchasing the same item from the same vendor/supplier at two different prices, or an order is placed for a specific price and scheduled to be delivered before a price increase but the vendor/supplier fails to deliver prior to the price increase, resulting in the order to be received at the high price.

Incorrect Currency Conversions – With many products coming in from various countries, we ensure that our clients were charged/paid the correct currency for their product.

Adjustment Errors – May include missed allowances such as a damage allowance, term discounts, rebates, deposits, advertising and price breaks

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Josh Fox, CEO and founder of Bottom Line Concepts talks about finding money, which you never realized you had. 


Josh Fox:   

So I'm literally that guy, the guy between you and having your first drink tonight. It's a good place to be. The Oscars are tonight too, so drinking and the Oscars might be a pretty good combination also. So my name is Josh Fox, I came in all the way from cold New York when the CFO Exchange told me that I could come here six months ago in February, I said, "Where do I sign?" So here we are. So when a company who's logo is on your badges, so each morning when you wake up, you can think of me. But we just rebranded. We just celebrated 10 years in business and when we hired a company to do that, I was pretty amazed. If you guys look at the logo, it's a money tree. And that's really what we are. We help companies literally grow money on trees. It sounds like a fable, but after 10 years, that's really what we've done. And we're in the cost savings, cost recovery business. And if you can believe this number, we've actually saved our clients over 450 million dollars since we started.

Josh Fox: 

So my goal is to literally create a million dollars per minute during this conversation today. I think that would be pretty good. So 15 minutes, 15 million dollars for each CFO in the room, times 30 CFOs, that's a lot of money. So what I did in a very short period of time was I came up with six awesome ideas that we do for our clients every day, that if you do for your companies will be worth millions of dollars. So here we go.

Josh Fox:            

The statute of limitations in most states is two to three years. You have to do one every two or three years. It's a must. It's a best practice. Perform a Worker's Comp and Unemployment Tax Audit every few years. For everyone again who's in 20, 30, 40 states, the amount of money you're paying to those states in Unemployment Tax is insane. Always look for things like joint account opportunities or voluntary contributions for recovering and saving money on your Unemployment Tax. We can't tell you how often we see on Worker's Compensation policies miscalculations, inflated modification ratings, where you can go back and audit those, and get money back. Your insurance broker does not do this. They may tell you they do this, but they don't. They sell you an insurance policy, they collect their commission, and they're on to the next client.

Josh Fox:           

So at those two speeds alone, there's $22 billion in checks that belong to companies like yours. We have this proprietary software, and what we did was we started to look up some of the companies in this room because it's all public information, if you know where to look. Let's see, if we go to the next slide, who in this money has room. Who in the room has money? So Honeywell, we're talking about-

Josh Fox:             

We found over 200 checks in 17 different states. And it's estimated to be over 500000 dollars. And if you can believe it the oldest check that we found was 1985.

Josh Fox:            

So that means there's money that belongs to your company. You're the CFO. I can't imagine you're spending your day looking for lost checks but that's what we do and we found half a million dollars from people.

Josh Fox:            

Is Nationwide here? Hi how are you doing?

Josh Fox:            

So Nationwide 1977, I mean that's just insane that we can find money from 40 years ago. But that's really what's there.

Josh Fox:             

So for Nationwide we found 400 checks in 10 different states for over 400000 dollars. And again, this is public information if you know where to look. It's not like I ... are doing something crazy here. But that's really what we're finding.

Josh Fox:            

Then GNC ... is GNC here?

Josh Fox:            

I'll find her at drinks. But GNC 200 checks in 9 different states, 200000 going back to 1991.

Josh Fox:             

So of the 45 billion out there, this is ... I don't know. One to two million dollars. Just by plugging in it. It's amazing how many times companies move. I mean you all have hundreds if no thousands of locations. Every time you move a location, think about how many checks go to your old address name and never show up. That's why they wrote lost and if the owner was being honest in every single state-

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Expense Reduction Webinar with Josh Fox, CEO Bottom Line Savings

Full Transcript Below:


Lee Ferber:  Good afternoon. Hello, my name is Lee Ferber. I'm a CPA, and partner with Gettry Marcus. I also head up the firm's business advisory services group. In that regard, when working with clients, and regarding business advisory services, the focus is always on building value for a business, whether it's M&A advisory services, strategic planning, helping clients develop growth strategies, perhaps succession planning, it always comes back to building value for a business, whether it's to bring in the best line to sell the business in the future, or perhaps just simply succession planning.

Lee Ferber:      So, when we talk about building value for a business, there are really two factors. One is increasing bottom line profit, which is pretty obvious, and the other is making changes in a business to ultimately increase multiples of the earnings down the road when, and if there's a sale of the business, or you want to bring in an investor to get the highest possible valuation.

Lee Ferber:         Today we'll be focusing on increasing bottom line profit, and specifically reducing expenses. So, that being said, I'd like to introduce Josh Fox from Bottom line Concepts, who's going to discuss his approach to working with clients to reduce expenses.

Josh Fox:              Good morning everybody. This is Josh Fox. I am the founder, and CEO of Bottom Line. Are most of you guys in the New York area?

Josh Fox:              Well, I'm in New York. I think most of the people listening today are also in the New York are, so I hope everybody is staying warm, and dry during this latest snow episode. I'm very proud to say that in April, which of course is tax season for Gettry Marcus, but in April, our company will be celebrating 10 years in business, so it's a pretty big milestone for us, and I'm pretty excited, and proud.

Josh Fox:              You know, most companies unfortunately do fail in the first couple of years. So, for us to be able to reach that 10 year milestone, we're pretty proud to say that. We have a great relationship with Gettry Marcus, they're an incredible accounting firm. We're so proud to call them friends, and partners, and I really do appreciate the firm giving us an opportunity to address the folks that are on the call today.

Josh Fox:              Hopefully you guys have all access to the screen that I'll be sharing going forward. So, what we've done in working with companies is there's a lot of types of consulting that are out there, and I think the issue with most consulting is that the risk is definitely born by the corporation, and not by the consultant, meaning most firms are either charging by the hour, or by the project, and that leads to a very large cost to a company, and sometimes they become very disappointed, because they pay all this money to get advice, and they don't feel like they got what they paid for.

Josh Fox:              But the second issue is that the advice that they're giving is just advice, and then the firm is left to make the implementation themselves, which typically falls short. So, advice, and direction is given, and then there's no implementation. So, words on a paper, pictures on a graph, numbers on a chart are just that.

Josh Fox:              What we've tried to focus on is not only to help give companies advice, but to make sure that we hold their hand throughout the process to make sure that the recommendations are actually implemented. And that's what we're saying here in this first slide is when working with companies, there's two approaches that we take. One is a look back approach, and one is a look forward approach.

Josh Fox:              So, whether you've bought a company, and you're fairly new to the industry, or you've built the company for a long period of time, there's definitely many, many opportunities in looking back on certain expenses in areas where you can actually get refunds back, and then there's a whole other part of the business where you can look forward, and look at all your vendors, and contracts, and try to negotiate better pricing.

Josh Fox:              Now what Lee was saying earlier is, our whole belief system is three things. How do we reduce the company's costs? How do we increase the profits of the business, and then eventually most business owners are looking for some kind of exit, whether they exit to a family member, whether they exit to private equity, whether they exit in the perfect world to going public. Of course the key to that exit is the valuation of the business at the time.

Josh Fox:              So, our whole goal is to reduce costs, increase profits, and enhance the valuation of the business, so upon the exit, that they can sell for the highest valuation possible.

Josh Fox:              So, when we're helping our clients, we are only looking at their indirect cost, we are not looking at their direct costs. So for example, you know, we've done work with Domino's pizza, a great company, a great client, but we don't look at their cost of cheese, and we don't look at their cost of dough. What we are looking at are the things that are on this list. So, any of these areas would be a great way to start reducing cost, or finding out ways to bring back money onto the bottom line.

Josh Fox:              It's done in alphabetical order starting at the top with accounts payable, and moving all the way through worker's compensation. Now, the key is the middle here, right? I mean, every organization has a CEO, a CFO, a chief procurement officer, kind of the newest, fanciest term for purchasing, and also an HR department.

Josh Fox:              And I think what we have found over the years is although individually these four groups of people are phenomenal, if there isn't a lot of coordination, and integration between the C level executives, it usually leads to inefficiency, and redundancy, and waste, where it's super important that the C level executives are constantly in communication, and meeting with each other to make sure that all of these different areas of cost are being handled at least every year.

Josh Fox:              Now what we do here is we take the previous slide, and we break it down to what I was discussing a couple of minutes ago, which is on the left side of the page is all different ways that a business can save money next month, and going forward, and on the right side of the page is all the ways that a business can look back, and try to get refunds.

Josh Fox:              So, we have a process here that is very repeatable, and can be done over, and over, and over, and over again. We are completely industry agnostic, and we are also geographically agnostic. So, I always laugh that we have clients in South Carolina, and North Dakota.

Josh Fox:              For our business, and how we help our clients, it really doesn't matter what city they're located in, anywhere in North America, we've done work for them, and it also doesn't matter what industry they're in, whether they're a retailer, or a law firm, or an accounting firm, or a real estate company, we look at these things very similarly.

Josh Fox:              A lot of people try to say that their business is different, and unique, and unique, and different, and special, and special. At the end of the day, if we're trying to help our clients reduce their cell phone bill, it doesn't matter what industry they're in, if they're with Verizon, or they're with AT&T, it's the same exact approach no matter how big, or how small, or what industry that company is in. Let's do the same thing with AT&T, or Verizon, and help our clients reduce their cell phone cost as an example.

Josh Fox:              So, step one is we basically want to look at our clients spends, you know, right now we're basically collecting a summary of the 2018 spends, so if we can get eyes on who our clients vendors are, and where they're spending money, and how much they're spending money, it really gives us a wonderful snapshot to be able to show them where the opportunities are.

Josh Fox:              So, we've worked with let's say the top 200 vendors over, and over, and over again. So, if we pick on the office supply industry for a second, if we see a client spending money with Staples, or Office Depot, or W.B. Mason, the top three office supply companies in the country, it's a pretty easy conversation to help them bring those costs down.

Josh Fox:              If they're working with, you know, ABC office supply company in Tuscaloosa, Alabama that were not familiar with, the negotiation becomes a little bit harder, but in our experience, 90 some odd percent of the time, our clients tend to use the same vendors over, and over, and they're all consistent.

Josh Fox:              Once we review the expenses, we show them exactly where the opportunities are to help them. Now, what we're trying to do is focus on the top expenses. You know, if a company is spending $20,000 a year on three, or four people's cell phone plan, it's not worth the company's effort, or our effort to try to focus on the small expenses.

Josh Fox:              We try to help them focus on the larger expenses, because if we average about 18 % savings on any category, we'd rather make an impact, and look at something they're spending $1 million a year on, than $100,000 a year on if we're averaging the same 18 % savings.

Josh Fox:              We're then going to work with the different departments. So, if the Chairman, CEO of a company wants to do this process, we then work with their CIO, and we'll get information on telephones, and software licenses. We'll work with their HR departments, and we'll get information on their payroll, and employee benefits. We'll work with their legal team to understand some of the cost in that department. So, it's all about, as I said earlier, the coordination of working with different departments to make sure that they're all in line working together.

Josh Fox:              Step four is to obtain the relevant invoices. So, this is the key to benchmarking. By creating, and reviewing last month's invoices, we can actually create a benchmark document showing the company exactly what they're paying today, and for companies, this is kind of the first time they're seeing it. Not sure what that was, but welcome back everybody.

Josh Fox:              The benchmark processing is the key to the whole process. So, for the first time, a lot of companies are seeing exactly what they're paying for things. So, utilities for example is a very big expense to most industries. You know, let's say a company has 10, or a hundred locations, they don't even know exactly what they're paying for their gas bill every month, or for their electricity bill every month, or their waste management bill every month. We're able to take hundreds of invoices, and create it on a beautiful one pager to show them the benchmark of exactly what they're paying today.

Josh Fox:              And that benchmark allows us to measure, and manage, and quantify on a go forward basis how the savings actually occurs. So, what we'll do is we'll take the delta in the change of price. Let's say that we were looking at electricity bill, they were paying 10 cents per kilowatt, and we get it down to 7 cents per kilowatt. We'll take that change in the price times the usage.

Josh Fox:              So, the bills will change every month in terms of the usage of electricity, and we'll show them every single month exactly what they're saving, compared to the benchmark before they started working with us.

Josh Fox:              One of the keys that we have found is that we try always to work with our clients existing vendors. So, if we find that our client's using FedEx today, we have no reason to do an RFP, we have no reason to call UPS. We very often are able to call up our client's existing vendors, show them exactly the opportunity, and because we're familiar with these top 200 vendors, they're often very cooperative to lower their pricing in order to keep the business.

Josh Fox:              The net result is the vendor gets another long-term contract. The result is the client saves a whole bunch of money, and it's a win-win for the vendor, and it's a win-win for the client.

Josh Fox:              So, what I've done here is I've listed some best practices. After 10 years of doing this, and working with over a thousand companies, I tried to create some really easy wins, some nice best practices for people to adhere to.

Josh Fox:              So, the first one is that when FedEx, and UPS come to meet with their client, they very often try to get their client to sign a waiver that permits them from auditing the bills, and they will present a one, or 2 percent discount in order to avoid the client doing an audit of those packages.

Josh Fox:              Now an audit is, for example, if you send a UPS, or FedEx package, and it's supposed to get there by tomorrow morning at 9:00 AM, and they have those beautiful little machines that they timestamp when the package arrives, if it arrives just one minute late, because the driver was drinking coffee in the truck, the client is supposed to get 100 % refund on that package for the late delivery.

Josh Fox:              So, in our experience is that somewhere between four, to 10 % of the money spent on shipping can be gotten back by doing auditing, and so by signing a waiver, you're really giving up a pretty big percentage, and UPS, and FedEx are very, very smart companies, they do a great job.

Josh Fox:              There's definitely a bit of a monopoly there between the two companies, and they often convince clients to sign waivers to forego, you know, three, four, five, six percent in auditing. So, one of the best practices is definitely to not sign these waivers, and then hire a company to do the auditing for you, and this auditing can be done remotely, it's in the cloud, the client doesn't have to spend any time, or effort on it, and what happens is at the end of the month, credits are put onto your account, and so it's very seamless, and it's easy to do, and there's no reason for signing waivers.

Josh Fox:              Number two best practice is at least every two, but definitely every three, to perform an accounts payable audit. You know, I'm sure you guys all have hundreds, if not thousands of vendors that you pay invoices to, and we're all human. You know, it just happens, a vendor gets paid twice, a vendor gets paid three times by accident.

Josh Fox:              It's really a best practice to hire a firm to go back, and look at, you know, thousands, and thousands of invoices times two, or three years. Now you're talking about 20, 30, 40,000 different invoices, and by reviewing that to make sure that there's no duplicative payments two, or three times, we often find that at least one, or two percent of the spend, often we find in errors that you can go back to the vendors, and get the money back.

Josh Fox:              Very similarly, especially for companies that are located in multiple states, when you're looking at those same invoices I just referenced, there are sales tax attached to most of those invoices. So, let's just say that you have a company headquartered in New York, but you also have offices in three, or four, or five other states.

Josh Fox:              So, you buy a thousand computers, the invoice comes to your New York headquarters, the vendor charges you New York sales tax, but at the end of the day, the vendor didn't realize that a portion of the computers that you bought were being used by employees in states other than New York that had a lower sales tax rate, and it's easy to convince, and go back to the government, and tell them that the wrong sales tax was paid on some of those computers.

Josh Fox:              So, reviewing the sales tax is a phenomenal idea every three years. Most of the states have statute of limitations that are at around three years. So, if you do this, if you don't do this every seven years, you'll lose a lot of money, because you can't go back on the statue of limitations.

Josh Fox:              A lot of people are familiar with this. Maybe you've opened the newspaper, or maybe you've seen a family member listed in a article where people have found unclaimed property that belongs to companies. If you could believe this number, there's $45,000,000,000 in this country in these types of checks.

Josh Fox:              They're checks that were sent to people, and companies over the years that simply went uncashed. Companies that move offices a lot, this is notorious for that to happen, because checks are mailed to old addresses where they won't be able to get those checks, and they're not forwarded on.

Josh Fox:              In New York alone, cause I think a lot of you are in New York, New York is holding about $14 billion of the 45. So, New York represents about a third of the unclaimed property in our country, California second at about 8 billion. So, between California, and New York, it represents about half of the money that goes unclaimed. So, by doing these searches, you know, once, or twice a year would be a great way to see if there's any lost money for your company.

Josh Fox:              Another thing, depending on your industry, and how expensive worker's compensation is, is that you get a modification every year, and that modification is published by the insurance company, and that's calculated to determine your premium on worker's compensation.

Josh Fox:              So again, we find that often the statue of limitations on worker's comp is two, or three years, so by performing an audit to make sure that your calculations were correct, and your premium was calculated correctly, you would want to do this every couple of years.

Josh Fox:              Now, in our experience, everybody has insurance brokers, but this is not typically a function of a broker. It would be an outside consultant, someone like us to do it, to kind of check on the work of the broker.

Josh Fox:              Unemployment tax has become a pretty big topic. We all know that employees are coming, and going more often than ever. I used to think that employees would stay at companies for 20, 25 years, but that's just not the norm anymore. So, as employees are coming, and going, and coming, and going more often from companies, their unemployment rate tends to be higher than it used to be in the past.

Josh Fox:              So, very similar to worker's comp, if you look at your unemployment rates across the country, there might be different strategies that you can put in place to either recover, or reduce your unemployment rates, and your cost across the country.

Josh Fox:              There are things like joint accounts, and voluntary contributions. Those are two strategies that are available that can serve as ways to reduce, and capture back on employment costs, and then everybody has insurance policies. It doesn't matter what industry you're in, whether you have directors, and officer's insurance coverage, or medical insurance, or dental insurance, or vision insurance.

Josh Fox:              I mean today, the list goes on, and on, and on, and on, and on of all the different types of insurances that are out there. Now, there's one called cyber security, I mean, that wasn't even offered a handful of years ago, and that's a policy that a lot of companies are buying.

Josh Fox:              So, as the insurance costs are going up, and as the premiums are rising, and as more insurance policies need to be purchased, all that means is that the insurance broker community is making a larger commission.

Josh Fox:              So, in our experience, if you were to approach your broker, and say, listen, 'I love you, I want to work with you. I'm not here to eliminate you, or fire you. I would just like to work on a flat fee, as opposed to you getting a percentage of premium from all these different insurance carriers', and most of them find that to be fair, and reasonable, and something that really works for the partnership between an insurance broker, and a corporation.

Josh Fox:              In our experience, there's a lot of vendors out there, and they probably call your companies every day, and they're just simply trying to switch you to whatever company they represent. So, if you're with Staples, then W.B. Mason is going to call you all the time. If you're with FedEx, UPS is going to call you all the time. If you're with ADP, Paychex is going to call you all the time.

Josh Fox:              So, you're just bombarded, and I'm sure we all experience this by vendors that are trying to get you to fire, and eliminate the relationships you have in order to save money, and that's a pretty hard one.

Josh Fox:              You know, it's the old zero sum game where one vendor loses, and another vendor wins, where I think it's a much easier approach to just continue to keep the 10, or 20, or 30 year relationships that companies have with their vendors, and just simply renegotiate, and restructure contracts to your benefit, as opposed to doing expensive time consuming RFPs, or time expensive meetings where all these vendors parade into your office, and they bring you gifts, and they try to convince you to fire your existing vendors, and hire them.

Josh Fox:              And so that's what we're saying here is like in our business, we really sit on the same side of the table as you the client, as you the corporation, trying to help you maximize your savings, not by trying to sell you some product, or replacement service that you really don't need it at the end of the day.

Josh Fox:              So our whole mantra is again, zero risk. Our clients should not have to come out of pocket up front for an hourly wage, or a consulting fee. You know, we want to take the risk of our time, and show our clients how to save money.

Josh Fox:              There are absolutely no out of pocket costs, and there's no obligation. You know, we're in the business of advice, and direction, and counseling, and if the advice, and the direction, and counseling aren't what it's supposed to be, or there isn't enough savings, and our clients don't want to go forward, we're not here to force them, or push them to do anything.

Josh Fox:              So, I didn't want to take too much time today, but I understand that there's at least a couple of dozen people on the phone today, and I really wanted to kind of turn it over to you guys giving the presentation, and see what people's thoughts, or questions where,

Josh Fox:              So, is there anybody that's listening that wants to have a conversation, or an interesting debate about some of these best practices? Or maybe you can share some stories of things that you did for your own company that either impacted in a positive way, or a negative way based on cost savings, auditing, speaking to your vendors, working with your vendors.

Josh Fox:              You know, it'd be really interesting to have a conversation to see how some of these things have gone for you guys as companies. So, you're there I'm sure, I mean you're a partner in a really nice accounting firm, and I'm sure you deal with these types of issues all the times when you're in partner meetings, and you're discussing the firm's profitability, and even working with clients, you know, what are some of the things that I've mentioned today that tend to be helpful?

Lee Ferber:         Yeah. So, I'll give you a few thoughts just based on meetings that I have with clients, and I can tell you when we talk about growth strategies, and building value for a business, the focus always seems to come down to the easy fixes. How can we reduce expenses to increase the bottom line profit?

Lee Ferber:         And where I see most business owners don't really focus on certain areas, one would certainly be the vendors, and especially when you have companies that are really growing by leaps, and bounds, their accounting team generally takes a while to catch up with the volume if ever, and there's clearly situations where there are expenses being paid, and it comes up periodically in meetings where there are errors in bills, wrong amounts being charged, and you know, they always talk about reviewing telephone bills, reviewing different insurances, and reality is nobody has time to do it.

Lee Ferber:         So, that to me is just the key focus for all business owners, kind of the low hanging fruit for them. So, maybe if you could just discuss a little bit in some of your experiences with working with companies, and let's talk about small, to middle market size companies, not the Fortune 500 companies, but just what your experience has been, how you work with their team, and what type of feedback, or coordination that you get from ownership, and management.

Josh Fox:              Yeah, I mean our biggest challenge, like most things in life is really, for really, really smart people, because anyone who's achieved a C level executive position at a company, let's be clear, they're really smart people.

Josh Fox:              They've been highly educated, they've worked at some great companies, they have incredible resumes, and basically, the purchasing person, or the legal team, or the HR team really kind of has to like admit to some degree that they might want some outside help, and that's not an easy thing to do.

Josh Fox:              You know, we're all humans, we all tend to like to do things on our own. We tend to not seek outside help in general in every area of our life. So, one of the things is that we just need our clients to be humble to the point where it's like, 'Hey, I've negotiated this contract really well I think, but it'd be nice to get a second opinion.'

Josh Fox:              'I just saved the company 10 %, I thought that was pretty good, but if we can help them get the 20, or 30, or 40 % savings, I would think the client would appreciate that', and just be humble enough to say, 'I did well, but I think there's a way to do better'.

Josh Fox:              In my experience also, I think these vendors are almost shocked when the clients don't call them on an annual basis. You know, a lot of people sign these three, four, five year deals with vendors, and the old set it, and forget it, you know, if it's like, I don't have to worry about it for three years, you know, most companies don't pay attention, they're off to something else, but we are finding the concept of blend, and extend is an incredible, incredible way to save money immediately.

Josh Fox:              So, we often find clients that have signed these three, four, five year contracts, and right now, a year, or two into the agreement, there's definitely ways to blend, and extend that agreement so that they get immediate savings, and then they can also lock in the savings for a longer period of time. So, that's a pretty big strategy for us on the blend, and extend side.

Lee Ferber:         Josh, it's Lee, [inaudible 00:28:05] has one more question, then I guess we could wrap it up, and that question is on an ongoing basis, just using maybe some real life experiences that you had, again with smaller, to middle size companies.

Lee Ferber:         What's your experience, or what's your process in future years? How much of this work can possibly be taken on by the staff with the clients to work with you going forward once they get the process down, and I'm really focusing more on time commitment, and how you extend this process to future years.

Josh Fox:              Yeah, I've never met a client who didn't say that they were super busy, and super crunched for time, and I think that's a big part of how we help our clients. If they just don't have the time to do what we do in two weeks, it might take them three months to do it, just because there's always a stop, and a start, and a stop, and start where they're just doing 20 things, they're juggling 20 things.

Josh Fox:              And I think the other issue is that most of our clients tend to have relationships with their vendors. They play golf with them, they go to dinner with them, they go to lunch with them, they happened to know them from the local church, or temple.

Josh Fox:              The problem with those relationships on a very friendly basis is that it's hard to call your friend at the office supply company, or it's hard to call your friend at the credit card company, or it's hard to call your friend the banker, and really negotiate the way that you need to do it, because of the positive, close relationship.

Josh Fox:              So, having a third party in the middle there I think is very effective in kind of bridging that gap between personal friendship, and maximizing the lowest cost for the corporation.

Lee Ferber:         You know, Josh, I think at this point, I just want to thank you for presenting to affirm our respective clients at Gettry Marcus, this has been very valuable. So, I'll let you just wrap up, maybe go to the last page with your contact information, and then we will send out to all the participants on this call, their own copy of this presentation so they could keep it for themselves. Josh, you wanna wrap up with any final comments?

Josh Fox:              Yeah, I mean, if anybody has questions, or thoughts, or just a conversation they didn't want to share with the whole group, I'm happy to set up a separate call, or even come to a meeting. I mean, you know, we're located here in the city in midtown, so anybody that has a thought, or a question, or a comment, I'd love to hear from you.

Josh Fox:              It's definitely a collaboration between us, and our clients. So, I really appreciate your time. I know you're all busy, and thank you so much for listening, and stay safe in the snow. Take care.

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HARRISBURG - The Pennsylvania Chamber of Business and Industry is pleased to announce a new benefit for its broad-based membership – a free initial consultation with BottomLine Concepts – a no risk, contingency-based cost-savings company.

 “In today’s competitive market, the ability to reduce costs and overhead can have a real positive impact on a businesses’ chance at success,” said PA Chamber President and CEO Gene Barr.  “We’re pleased to start off the New Year by partnering with BottomLine Concepts to offer our members a unique opportunity to improve their overall profitability.”

 BottomLine services include an overall valuation of their clients’ company as well as an auditing of invoices for errors; with the end result of obtaining refunds and credits and increasing overall profitability for its clients. 

 “BottomLine Concepts operates under three main principles on behalf of our clients: reduce costs; increase profits; and enhance valuation,” said BottomLine Concepts CEO Josh Fox.  “We work to uncover hidden cost-savings so that our clients can operate their businesses as efficiently and effectively as possible.”

 “BottomLine Concepts has become part of our Customers Bank team,” said Customers Bank President and COO and PA Chamber Educational Foundation Chair Richard Ehst.  “They work side-by-side as colleagues defining needs, restructuring processes, assembling bid packages and evaluating options to bring our Bank the best value.  They advise; we decide; everyone wins.”

 Additional information on the program can be found on the PA Chamber’s website.    

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The Pennsylvania Chamber of Business and Industry is the state's largest broad-based business association, with its statewide membership comprising businesses of all sizes and across all industry sectors. The PA Chamber is The Statewide Voice of BusinessTM.

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Five Ways Your Nonprofit Can Hedge A Funding Shortfall

Non-profit organizations across the country are experiencing the problem of having to provide a greater range of services while receiving fewer financial resources.  According to the 2018 non-profit survey by Marks Paneth LLC, 38 percent of all non-profit respondents experienced funding cuts in 2017 with 63 percent seeing an increase their demand for services.  Moreover, non-profits may be faced with a reduction in individual and corporate donations, and the changes to federal tax regulations can impact the method whereby charitable donations are deducted.

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