Natali Morris Blog

January 20, 2016

How To Manage Your Small Business Income And Actually Earn A Profit!

If you own a small business or work as a contractor, how much do you put away for taxes? How much do you pay yourself in bonuses or salary?

When I started managing our small businesses, I kind of winged it. Then I came across this book: Profit First: A Simple System to Transform Any Business from a Cash-Eating Monster to a Money-Making Machine by Mike Michalowicz. This system helped me immensely so strap in for another this-book-taught-me-the-way-and-now-I’ll-share-it-with-you post.

Profit First is a system that tells you exactly how much to set aside in separate banking accounts for separate purposes. You distribute a portion of every dollar earned into one of four accounts. The portions vary as your business grows. We will discuss that later. For now, what you need to know is the four basic accounts to distribute your earned money into from each sale:

Screen Shot 2016-01-20 at 10.27.57 AM

How much you put into each account depends on your annual revenue. Find the column that your small business makes and use the percentage distributions accordingly:

Screen Shot 2016-01-20 at 10.19.33 AM

Our LLCs are currently operating in Column A. So let’s go through an example using Column A. Say our real estate investing company Action Now Wealth Builders makes $1,000 in rental income. Here is how we distribute that money:

Screen Shot 2016-01-20 at 10.46.32 AM

I use a worksheet I developed to keep track of these disbursements. I use it to track all sales revenue and then make the proper distributions into each account accordingly. I gladly share this spreadsheet but be warned, this is based on our annual revenue of less than $250,000 per year. If your business makes more, good for you! But by this time you probably have hired a proper bookkeeper? If not, change the percentages in Columns B and C accordingly. And then think about that bookkeeper….


After reading this book, I was immediately on board and started to use this system. Although I mistakenly thought that my personal savings account could be used as a Profit Account. Wrong! That’s co-mingling and illegal. If I put money from the business account into my savings account, that is payroll and I must pay personal income tax on it. Thankfully my banker pointed out what I had overlooked and opened a separate business savings account for me.

It is wise to keep some of these accounts in separate banks so that you are not tempted to touch them. The tax account can get pretty attractive but that is not your money. That is the government’s money so you have to make it hard to get to until tax time.

You should also automate these disbursements but if your business has erratic income, that can be tough. Do the best you can or else keep to a regularly-scheduled money transfer system between accounts.

Maybe you don’t like managing all of your four accounts yourself. Fair enough. There are bookkeepers trained in this system. You can find them at the author’s website. If you’ve already got someone you like, ask them about this system. It’s worth a conversation at least.

One more thing: I do keep register-type spreadsheets for each of these four accounts. That helps me remember which deposit was for which sale in the business. I also balance those with the bank statements just to be sure. This is probably extra credit but a financial expert I respect once said: “Money goes to people who take care of it. Money likes to be counted.” So I do it carefully. And I enjoy it.

This is just a small CliffsNotes-type summary of all that there is to learn in this book, Profit First. For more detail, I highly suggest reading the book. If you have questions or comments, I welcome them! Happy bookkeeping everyone! Count that money and enjoy it!


70 responses to “How To Manage Your Small Business Income And Actually Earn A Profit!”

  1. So do you actually have 4 different accounts under your business or do you have them under a single account but split up using a budgeting program.

    • nmorris says:

      Yes, four different accounts. In my experience, if you don’t split this money up immediately, it gets harder to do as time goes on. Three of the four accounts are owned by the business but the payroll account is our joint checking account. Make sense?

  2. Vicki says:

    Thanks for sharing this system. I like the concept. One question: if you’re draining the profit account quarterly, where are your capital reserves?

  3. Vicki says:

    Yes. Thanks for the clarification!

  4. Sue says:

    Once you take that 50% out of the profit account each quarter, how is it taxed? Does it get added to your personal income and so it’s taxed twice? Once in the business and then again as personal income?

    • nmorris says:

      The owners must report it on their personal returns, yes. But that is not double taxation because that 50% will never be taxed inside the business. It is a deduction. It is only taxed as the owners’ personal income at their taxation rate. Which is why we always try to take as small of a salary as possible. Make sense/cents?

  5. I know some banks aren’t great with transfers and having multiple accounts can be a pain. What bank do you use for implementing Profit First?

    • nmorris says:

      I use Bank of America for personal accounts, as well as the business operating account and profit account. I transfer to Capital One for the tax account. Those transfers take a few days so I don’t have easy access to the tax money. None of these transfers cost me any money thankfully.

  6. Ben Grise says:

    Do you invest any of your revenue in a SEP 401k or IRA? My CPA said the investment is suppose to come out of your business account if it’s an employer contribution. You can contribute more money in a SEP then you can in a personal IRA. If you do invest in a SEP where do you pull the money out of or would it be a separate category all together?

    • nmorris says:

      We have self-directed Roth IRAs that we invest in. We use those to either purchase more real estate or lend out to other investors. I don’t know much about SEPs actually.

      • Ben Grise says:

        Thanks Natali. So should I assume that your self-directed Roth IRA contributions come from your personal income and not from the business. I was in the habit of taking a percentage of the revenue from the business and contributing it to savings and investments, but should I be taking a percentage of owner’s pay and then contributing it to investments and savings rather then taking it out of revenue 1st if I’d like to follow the Profit First model?

        • nmorris says:

          Right! We only contribute to our IRAs with money we have already paid to ourselves in our personal accounts, not straight from a business account. The money we have paid to ourselves we 1099 ourselves for at the end of the year. The contributions come out of that money. Make sense?

  7. Ben Grise says:

    I’m loving all of your posts. Very informative and a wealth of great information. You mentioned that you take out a smaller percentage for owner’s pay. I’d like to do the same thing, but am having trouble determining how much to take out exactly because I have no idea what my revenue will be at the end of the year. Also, only 15% in taxes, that seems awfully small, and I’m structured as an LLC S-Corp just like you I believe. Perhaps I need to learn more about tax write offs I’m eligible for and therefore taking 15% out for taxes would be plenty. What do you think?

    • nmorris says:

      You have to read Tax-Free Wealth! Too much there for me to explain but if you read that book your eyes will be OPEN to the reason corporations like Pfizer and Apple pay less than 20% taxes! Believe me! Get the book! Can’t recommend enough!

  8. Andriy says:

    This is the great summary. I listed Biggerpockets podcast episode #165 with you yesterday. It is was great and I love the summary. It helps.

  9. Kathlyn says:

    Hi Natali!

    I heard you on Bigger Pockets and loved the show! It inspired me to get both the books you recommend here (I am a money counter and a tax-savings nut too!). My husband and I own a real estate business that we are growing – question for you: having just finished Profit First, I was wondering if you use any of the more or less fixed costs (insurance, property taxes, etc.) as a “materials and subs” item in the calculation. We can’t eliminate these costs and I think we have gotten them to about as manageable as possible, so I’m wondering if we should take them out of the “expenses” category, since it seems like that category is really about things that are controllable. I certainly consider these costs against my potential profits when I’m buying a rental and trying to determine the right price for the asset. Would love your thoughts! Cheers.

  10. Lori says:

    Hi Natali. I loved your BP podcast and immediately bought and started reading Profit First. I am really confused though on how to make this work for us. We currently have 3 long term rentals and one short term rental. Each house already has its own account so we can keep track of whats coming in and going out. Am I supposed to have 4 more accounts?? All 4 houses have escrowed taxes and ins, but the short term has state and county tax on the income also. According to the amazon reviews most everyone has this figured out and is excited about it. I was excited, but now Im just really confused.

  11. Terry Storch says:

    Natali, I just listened to your podcast on BP…it was great, and drew me to your blog and writings. Also, a huge CNBC fan! Anyway, I am a newbie in the real estate investing world, and trying to learn as much as I possibly can – this concept is very interesting to me.

    Question: With your 4 accounts, where do you “Invest” into your business? For example, I plan on monthly investing into my real estate business with a specific amount of cash. What account would that go into, and I am assuming that would be the account that you would buy new properties out of.

    • Do you mean you want to put your own money into one of the accounts as contributed capital? Do you want to use it to buy properties in the future? I would say to put it into whichever account has the highest interest. Most likely that is your profit account or your tax account, although I wouldn’t mix it in with the tax account because that can get confusing. Great question!

  12. Oliver says:

    I have a question, for a clothing brand that has lots of overhead cost and majority all profit goes back into the business for expansion. How would this apply?

    Lets say production of an item costs $2000 to produce, we make $6000 profit off sales. How would i break this down?

    • The point the author makes is that you should force your business to operate with only 30% of your profits. So if you make $6,000, you need to stay under $1800 for operating expenses to turn a profit for the owners and be able to pay taxes. This same author has another book about running your startup really lean. It is called the Pumpkin Plan. Maybe you want to check out that book for more?

  13. Lala says:

    Hi Natali,

    I’ve just appointment myself CHO of my house. Heck yes.

    When you said you keep register type spreadsheets along side the other 4 account spreadsheets, can you give me an example of one such spreadsheet?

    thank you in advance!


    • Good for you Lala! Thanks for this note! Did you download the spreadsheet in this post? Is that what you meant or do you mean the spreadsheet I use to balance my checkbook for the other 4 accounts?

      • Mudiaga Mukoro says:

        I am at the launch stage of a new enterprise. a small scale rubber producing firm. I was searching for a way to distribute income effectively when i came across your post and it seems to speak just what i need except that i would needs hands on practical explanation to get a full grasp of the concept. I have downloaded the spreadsheet you posted here and would be grateful if you can provide a download link for all the other spreadsheets you use in bringing this business transforming formula to practical application in everyday business operations.

        Thanks in advance for any kindness you show.

  14. Wes says:

    I just finished listening to your podcast with Clayton about implementing Profit First for real estate. I dont see how it can work if you follow Clayton’s recommendation to set aside 40% of income for vacancy, repairs, capital expenditures and property management. Do you adjust the owner pay disbursement down to 40%?


    • Wes, this question confuses me a little but let me try to answer. I have never tried to work this out with a single property so this is a new way to see it for me.

      The 40% you deducts for taxes, insurance, etc. is an estimate of what you will be paying out of your operating expense account. So you’re right that 30% in that account would not be enough. However, remember that there is an extra 15% in a tax account that would cover the tax expense. That should more than cover it. However, in my experience, 40% is still a very conservative estimate of expenses. I have had very few properties that cost that much.

      I hope this answers it. What an excellent question! It is funny how people can see numbers from so many different angles that makes you think in a way you had not before! Thanks for this!

      • Suvir says:

        Hi Natali,

        I wondered about Wes’ question too so thanks for the answer😀 I have a follow-up question though. Which account does the mortgage payment for the property come out of? Is it an expense which reduces the LLC’s tax or do the owner’s pay this and claim that as a personal tax write off? Also if it’s from the expense account does that mean you are limiting the loan monthly pay down amount to 30% of monthly rental income, or actually less as you still need to save for maintenance and vacancies? BTW discovered you and Clayton many years ago on TWIT and loved both of you, and then recently heard about Clayton’s podcast which I devoured in just a few days😀 Also listened to both your BiggerPockets episodes and of course been reading your blog. Awesome resources. Now just looking to work out how to structure it all before making the plunge into Buy and Hold properties through Morris Invest😀 PS I live in Australia so that adds an extra layer of challenge to investing in the US, but I’m up for it!

        • Thanks Suvir! Glad to help you on your learning journey! As for mortgage payment, that comes out of operating expenses. It is an expense and you want that taken off your business taxes, not your personal taxes. I’m not sure I understand this question: Also if it’s from the expense account does that mean you are limiting the loan monthly pay down amount to 30% of monthly rental income, or actually less as you still need to save for maintenance and vacancies?

          Can you ask it another way? I apologize for not understanding it. I have a newborn. I haven’t slept much… 🙂

          • Suvir says:

            Thanks so much for the reply especially just after having your beautiful baby girl! Sorry my question wasn’t clear. More likely my misunderstanding of the Profit First method. So the way I understood it is that 30% (for 0-$250K businesses) of income goes into the expense bucket. So if I receive $1000/mth rental income $300/mth goes into the expense bucket. Now if I pay a mortgage doesn’t that mean I only have $300/mth I can pay towards the mortgage without stealing from another bucket ie Owner’s Pay, Profit and Tax? If I do use the $300/mth from the expense bucket for the mortgage then I’ve got nothing left in that bucket to cover vacancies and other expenses when they come up. Also re your suggestion of using part of the tax bucket in answer to Wes re making the expense bucket the 40% size Clayton often mentions, isnt this a big no no ie keep that tax bucket in a different bank to avoid the temptation to use it? I’m guessing the same goes for the other buckets except maybe the 50% Owner’s Pay bucket. My feeling is that if I’m already making income from my day job then I only take a small Owner’s Pay and plough the remainder into paying down the loan fast. Am I way off base? BTW what % do you and Clayton actually take yourselves for Owner’s Pay. Thanks again! Hope this is clearer 😀

  15. Bony Mathew says:

    Hey Natali,

    here is my scenario: i currently own a rental property that i’m planning on moving to my rental, LLC soon… along with that i have heard the benefits of using another LLC (would have to create a new one) to be used as Management Company LLC. in order for a better structure and liability standpoint. What’s your recommendation?

    Also should the management LLC should be a S-Corp?

    Your blog is amazing!

    • Bony, that is exactly what we are doing! We are setting up an LLC as a holding company that the other LLCs report to. Each smaller LLC will own up to $250k in property values. They will both be LLCs. Why they are not S-Corps I cannot say. Despite researching the differences, I’m still not qualified to really give a summary of why one works better than the other. I’ll work that out eventually!

      I hope that helps! Good luck with your LLCs!!

  16. Simbrit paskins says:

    This is great! So clear and easy to understand! Do you have any tips on budgeting?like setting up budgets for a small business?

    • Thank you for this nice compliment! I don’t have tips on budgeting for a small business yet. I’ll have to think of some. I really should think about HOW to stay within the Operating Expense account. I’ll give that some thought. Thank you for the suggestion!

  17. Linda says:

    Great post Natali! I bought Profit First and Tax Free Wealth after your BP podcast! LOVED Profit First and have your spreadsheet (thank you)! Question, I have a duplex and will be purchasing 2-4 SFH in the next four weeks, do you keep a sperate proft first spreadsheet for each property OR do you maintain just ONE spreadsheet for all of your properties?

    LLC: I would love if you could do a blog post on LLC’s and incorporating say four properties under one master LLC!
    Thank you 🙂

    • Hi Linda, apologies for a late response. As for your question, I have one profit first spreadsheet for the company and then maintain a spending/earnings sheet for each property. I may have to change this as we move properties around into different LLCs and one holding company. I’m still learning on this point as we work this out with our lawyer. I will write about it soon, I promise! Feel free to write me directly with more specific questions. We’ll learn together!

  18. Kate says:

    Hi Natali,
    Would you please clarify for me whether in a single member LLC, the 15% tax account is to cover the business taxes and the 50% owner’s pay requires separate estimated tax payments to cover my husband’s and my personal income? 15% doesn’t seem like enough to do both! Thanks.

    • Kate, a VERY belated response to this but yes, 15% on taxes does seem like too little. I think what the author fails to teach here is that you should be funneling your expenses carefully to lower your taxation. This goes back to the Tax-Free Wealth theory from Tom Wheelwright’s book. Have you read my post about that?

  19. Scott Weatherhogge says:

    Natali. Great article. But I have the same exact question that Suvir had but I noticed that you didn’t answer it. So, here’s this person’s question again; “… So the way I understood it is that 30% (for 0-$250K businesses) of income goes into the expense bucket. So if I receive $1000/mth rental income $300/mth goes into the expense bucket. Now if I pay a mortgage doesn’t that mean I only have $300/mth I can pay towards the mortgage without stealing from another bucket ie Owner’s Pay, Profit and Tax? If I do use the $300/mth from the expense bucket for the mortgage then I’ve got nothing left in that bucket to cover vacancies and other expenses when they come up…” Thank you.

    • Okay a VERY shamefully belated reply here. But this is a great catch. This is VERY hard to make work if you have a debt service on a property. I have tried to work these numbers several times and it is REALLY tough. The only thing I would say is that you would then have to steal from the profit or owner pay bucket. I have even spoken to accountants that specialize in Profit First and real estate and haven’t come up with much. I wish I could say there was a magic way to do this but with a debt service it’s tough. I think the best way is to work the percentages around a little until the debt service is paid off. Thanks for writing!

  20. Bronson says:

    Hello! I am starting my own small business construction company… it is just me, no employees. Not yet. I am still trying to understand the difference between a sole proprietor and and LLC… it sounds to me like and LLC is much more beneficial for tax purposes. Still trying to understand how to incorporate family expenses through the business for tax purposes.
    Can you elaborate on the Profit account? I will be the only owner of the business… if I take out 5% of every transaction, at the end of the quarter, I am able to take out that entire amount for fun and enjoyment?
    Can you also elaborate on the Owner’s Pay account? I, being the only owner, will be the only one getting paid. But you say you try to pay yourself as little as possible so you don’t have to pay individual income tax on that money as a salary, yet I still need to take a “regular salary”? Is the 50% of every transaction the “regular salary” of what I will have to pay individual income taxes on? Is the Owner’s Pay account able to be my personal checking account to pay personal bills, etc?
    Thank you!

    • Bronson, these are great questions! You should probably try to read the book I suggest here or at least the audio version. But let me see if I can answer these questions. The profit account is to build up your cash coffers. You take 50% out of it as a “bonus” every quarter and leave the rest as cash reserve for when you want to buy something big like equipment or some kind of expensive training course. As for the “salary,” if 50% goes straight to you, that is a lot of money for you to report on your individual income tax. If you had a partner it wouldn’t be so bad but since it is just you, you have to come up with a way to benefit from the company money without actually paying yourself. For instance, can you pay your cell phone bill and car payment out of the company money and take less of a paycheck? Can you manage your travel as a business expense? That is how you lower your tax burden and take as little money for yourself yet still benefit. Does that make sense?

  21. Lance says:

    Hey Natali-

    Wow. Thank you so very much and everyone who contributed to the conversation of this thread! I just happened to stumble across the site and realized that I was doing the same 4 account strategy. I haven’t seen/heard a lot of people use this approach. Nonetheless, I discussed this with my CPA a while back and he seemed to agree. I just had a few questions:
    1. When you pay yourself in the “Owners Pay Account”, is it wise to write a check to yourself or just set up a bill pay system? I am also with Bank of America, however I want the monies that are paid to go to my Wells Fargo Checking account (as this is what I use for all of my day to day activities (ie. Amazon, B&N, ebay, subscriptions, etc).
    2. I am a single member LLC and I am really contracting my services to different hospitals. They give me the space needed so I don’t really need/have a lot of expenses. So my question is if what do I do/where do I assign monies that are not used in my operating expenses. Do I/should I just transfer this to my profits:
    Ex. My expected gross is $9,600/month. 30% goes to my operating expenses = $2,800; 40% goes to paying me = $3,840; 10% goes to my taxes (I actually use less than 15%) =$960; 20% will be my profit = $1,920. I guess doing a quick budget… I don’t think I will be anywhere near $2,800/mo for expenses. More realistically like $600. So where does the other potential $2,200 get allocated to with this system. Sorry for the long post… but I just wanted to be clear as possible! Thanks everyone!!!


    • Lance, it sounds like you are in a great position to make great money with low expenses! So I think some of the key to taking advantage of that extra cash is to find ways to make more of your expenses business expenses. Is that doable? For instance, you pay your cell phone and car from your operating expenses? You find a way to pay for travel out of operating expenses. Does that work? As for paying yourself, we now use QuickBooks with direct deposit. I had been tracking simple money transfers but now my CPAs want us to draw paychecks with federal tax payments and such. Does that help?

      • Lance says:

        Hey Natali – Thank you so very much for the response as I know that this was an older post!!! At any rate, I think I may be following you… I believe the gist of what you’re saying is that I have to continue with my 30% operating expenses and that this money is not transferable thus I have to find more more ways to allocate these monies into the business. It’s funny that you bring up cell phone and car, because I am paying for such bills with my Wells Fargo account. As I mentioned before, this is my primary account for all my bills (ie mortgage, car note, utilities, phone bill, food, etc). Furthermore, these are primarily payed with the 40% I use to pay myself. Are your saying my personal cell phone (which I use for my business–only have one phone) and car note can be considered operating expenses? I suspect by travel you are referring to gas/mileage? If so, I think I can definitely make some modifications. Lastly, if I am doing these things… does that mean/should I pay myself less than the 40% I am allotting now? Just curious. Since writing last post, I ended up setting up a money transfers as well but will look into Quick books. I currently use their QB selfemployed app. Thanks again for your advice and input as it is gladly appreciated!!!!


        • Kate says:

          Thank you for this helpful article, Natali! Lance, I am actually in the same boat as you with my own business. Low expenses and not sure how to manage profit to best effect. I have my internet and phone charged to business. I’d like to invest a portion of the profits in something other than retirement and not sure where to start. Also not sure if I want to pay someone to help me sort that out….am already paying for a CPA and a payroll company. Have you made any discoveries since posting this that you’re willing to share? Thanks! Kate

          • I’m not sure which part is the question part here. Have I made discoveries about where to invest? Or where to cut expenses? If you clarify the question I’ll try to tackle it. Thanks for writing and reading Kate!

  22. Ben says:

    Hi Natali,

    I have a question regarding the numbers of your profit account. If you are taking 50% out every 3 months and ur adding the same amount monthly your account stays at around the same amount that you put in, which after about 4 years stays static at around 15% of total income. Let me explain:

    Say you make $2000/month and put 5% in your profit account which is $100 monthly. After 1 quarter which is 3 months you have $300. You pay yourself half and your left with $150. Next quarter is 225, then 262.50 then 281.25 after 1 year. After 2 years it’s 298.83, 3 years it’s 299.93 than after 4 years is $300, which is 3 months pay.

    A simple formula to calculate the next period with consisten pay is:
    A = previous quarter amount
    B = monthly addition
    C = new quarter amount

    (A/2)+([3B]/2) = C

    How can this number grow unless you give yourself less than 50%?

    • Hi Ben,

      Okay I had to do this math for myself to see how this works and you’re right, after 3 years, this account only has $301.03 left. But here is how this has worked for me in practice: I use what I need to out of the profit account to make capital investments in the business. And then I take 50% on the quarters of what is left. Sometimes it is not exactly 50% of what was put in there, but rather 50% of what is left. And to be honest, I don’t always take that 50% draw like you are supposed to because I will pay personal income tax on that draw which I don’t always want to do. I think it will depend on what you are saving for as a capital investment, what your personal rate of taxation is, etc. I think this is the most fluid of all of the accounts. You can’t not take a salary from your business so owner pay is not fluid. You can’t not pay taxes so tax account is not fluid. And your operating expenses are less fluid too. So in your example, leaving more in the profit account would make more sense. You’re totally right. Great question!

  23. Ileana Christian says:

    How wouls you apply all this wonderful information to a Buy and Sell Miscellaneous merchandise business? My husband been the owner and here is one employee in charge of the direct sales, is always feeding the “monster”. Most if not all goes to buy good to sell and nothing is left for him or any other of the bank accounts you describe. When I put the business revenue numbers through the percentages you explain, it would impossib

  24. Ileana Christian says:

    How would you apply all this wonderful information to a “Buy and Sell Miscellaneous merchandise business”? My husband been the owner and there is additionally one employee in charge of the direct sales, is always feeding the “monster”, like you say. Most if not all the revenue goes to buy the good to sell and nothing is left for him or to feed any other of the bank accounts you describe. However when I put the business revenue numbers through the percentages you explain, at first instance it looks impossible to maintain the business afloat.
    Is this system just for Real Estate business?. Would the percentages change for a “Buy ans Sell” business? You mention…to force the business to operate under those percentages, but in our case what if the money left is not sufficient to cover expenses and buy the merchanse to sell?

  25. Joy says:

    Hi There! I’m a newbie in a business world, I just started out and I have 2 paid workers whom They opted out to receive there salary every two weeks. So here’s the thing, it will be my 1 month in the business this coming 24th of may. I made an inventory of the money I spent minus the money I earned then deduct the deductions such is the rent which is 23% of my earnings goes there and also the salary of my workers which is 18% of my earnings then after computing all of it seems like I have a little Less than 5% left for the profit. I know something is wrong and I wanna find it out. I want to know how to manage it properly. Thank you so much for all those who will respond. Lots Love.

    • So if I read this correctly, most of your money goes to payroll? I think that’s pretty common and maybe above my cursory reading of the book. Have you picked up the book? I think he has a way of funneling payroll through this system to reallocate the percentages. Best bet is to give it a read so I don’t steer you wrong. Sorry I’m not more helpful here.

  26. Gerson De Paz says:

    Hi! Great post first of all! We are so inspired by this. I have a question: what if my operating expenses are higher than 30%? How do I adjust the other percentages to meet my operating expense? My current operating expense is about 62%. Leaving me with about 23% to distribute between owners pay and profit. I know this is an older post.

    • Hm. This may be something you’d get from reading the book but my guess is that you can maybe funnel your personal expenses through your operating expense so that you are receiving benefits of profit rather than just taking it as cash. Does that make sense? Like maybe pay your cell phone bill as a business expense so that you don’t have to pay yourself in order to do that and you need less of an owner pay draw?

  27. says:

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  28. Dana White says:

    First, I must say THANK YOU!! I started my business in June of 2016 and have had nothing but headaches since. I have not adopted four bank accounts but I do have two business checking accounts and my personal checking account.

    One business checking account is used for all expenses, the second business account is used for taxes. However, here is my problem. I have an LLC – S Corp which I processed early this year. I don’t have any employees, just my family who help me every now and then. My business is not yet at a profitable point and therefore have not paid myself any wages. As a matter of fact, even if I wanted to take 15% off any sale to put away, I can’t because after transferring the tax over to the checking account, what’s left is barely enough to pay any of the operating expenses. So here’s what I’ve been doing. I have a part-time job as an engineer and have been receiving wages from there. Whenever the business is short on funds, which is practically on a weekly basis, I write checks from my personal account to the business to cover expenses.

    I have an accountant who is hardly ever available (I’m already looking for a replacement) and has not provided me with much guidance which has left me breaking down Google in search of other people in my situation. This article is awesome, but what does one do in my situation?

    • This is tricky! I am not sure how to account for your “contributed capital.” My father says that is not a tax deduction but neither of us are accountants. I’d say time to find a better accountant for starters! And then read Profit First. My post was intended as a summary to teach you this skill. He can teach you the details far better.

      Thanks for sharing and good luck with the small business!!!

      • John says:

        You would account for it on the balance sheet as Contribution or being an S-corp, you may want to treat and account for it like a loan to the company that pays you back on a scheduled time.

  29. Pao Yang says:

    I want to be organized, but if this system is used, per property bringing in $700-$800 in rental income is actually half of what I get per as owner pay per property to kick my job to the curb? Man, that sucks! I’ll need to double the number of properties just for that! How did you and your husband approach this Natali?

    • Well, that is if you want to save enough to buy another one out of the profit account. You could always spend the rest on your bills and living expenses. I guess that would be another way to go! Just be sure you’re saving for taxes no matter what! Hard but necessary pill to swallow!

  30. John says:

    “we try to pay ourselves as little as possible because we don’t want to pay individual income taxes on that money as a salary from the LLC. Also, we want to funnel our family expenses through the business to maximize tax savings.”

    “If I put money from the business account into my savings account, that is payroll and I must pay personal income tax on it. Thankfully my banker pointed out what I had overlooked and opened a separate business savings account for me.”

    I’m trying to understand what you meant by these statements. Unless electing to be taxed a C-corp, the way you explain this is not how an LLC is taxed or pays its members. One also cannot “funnel family expenses” through their business for tax deductions. Taxes are paid on net profit/loss through personal tax returns. LLC owners pay quarterly estimate tax payments, not payments based on their equity reduction (draws). Draws are not expenses to the business. Taking money from business checking to your personal accounts is a member draw, not payroll. Are you taxed as a C-corp?

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