start a business or practiceBUSINESS STARTUP


SVA Certified Public Accountants has assisted countless businesses and practices in getting started, growing and becoming successful. Our experience in creating, setting up and supporting the discipline necessary to succeed in today’s complex marketplace is the value we bring to the table. So let us guide you through the key elements of how to start a business.

The information found in this section is general to all businesses and practices. Please check our industry pages for additional service offerings related to your specific industry.

Download the Business Start-Up Guide


Starting a business requires a ton of initial setup work. This FREE guide provides all the information needed in order for you to start a business properly.



Accounting Software Solutions

Staying on top of the accounting function takes less staff time and effort with accounting software that meets your needs, and is nimble enough to service you as your business grows and as your financial reporting needs change. It could be time to evaluate your current accounting system or learn how to maximize its potential. As accounting professionals, we have practical experience with a wide range of accounting software options and can help you choose and implement the system that best fits your needs.

Click the link to learn more about accounting software.

Budget Planning and Forecasting

You have a vision for your company and you have mapped out the key performance objectives to accomplish that vision. Budgeting and forecasting is a critical tool in the planning process to ensure you achieve those performance objectives.

SVA’s professionals can review different forecasting models and tools. We can also help identify the best revenue and expense forecasting methodology. The goal of this process is to help you make good financial decisions and manage growth.

Through best practices, benchmarking and other tools at our disposal, SVA can guide you through the typical pitfalls of budgeting. We use our expertise to define the tactics and strategies needed to set your business on course to achieve realistic budgets and stretch goals in order to achieve your desired growth and success.

Business Structuring Strategies

Accounting Method/Period Changes
We help our clients adopt changes in their accounting method or period for tax purposes. We advise them of the facts and circumstances the IRS considers to allow the change, prepare the required elections and forms, and get IRS consent to change the method. We also fully explain the tax consequences of making the change, so that any issues can be addressed and planned for proactively.

Consolidated Tax Returns
We prepare and review an accurate return for multi-entity consolidated groups in accordance with the complex tax laws by using the most highly qualified personnel. We stay abreast of new developments in tax law so that any requirements or beneficial planning techniques are made available to our clients.

Entity Selection, Formation and Structure Planning
We evaluate the different types of entities available and how they should be formed. We evaluate any changes and develop ideas on how to structure the business as it grows to meet client needs, both now and for the future.

Employee Benefit
In order to attract the best employees possible in a competitive market, often it comes down to what the company offers in employee benefits that drives the decision to accept the offer or take a competitor’s. Our experienced professionals can help implement benefit programs that make sense for the company and the employees.

Executive Compensation
We work closely with businesses to determine appropriate executive compensation including incentives, options and benefits. We help tailor a plan to meet and balance the objectives of the business as well as the executive.

Inventory Method Planning (FIFO, LIFO, etc.)
Inventory issues can have significant consequences to your business. We can help evaluate the best inventory cost method for your business and the industry, for book and tax purposes.

Organizational Costs/Startup Costs
We assist clients in identifying organizational and startup costs, determine if the costs should be capitalized, expensed or amortized for tax purposes, and make the appropriate elections.

Ownership Planning
All businesses will one day either change ownership or liquidate. SVA works with our clients to plan for their businesses' future, whether that is passing it along to the next generation, adding or reducing individual owners, or winding down operations. With advance planning, our valuation experts can help business owners increase the value of their business to maximize the selling price.  In addition, SVA can assist in proactive analysis and development of a company's buy/sell and operating agreements to avoid confusion and problems in the future.

Business Tax Planning Strategies

Buy vs. Lease
There are a number of factors that must be considered in making a buy vs. lease decision. The risk of obsolescence, capital needs, accounting treatment, and the useful life of an asset are all factors that must be taken into account when this decision comes up. We can help analyze the situation and give insight into what will make sense for the business needs.

Depreciation Method Planning
We help determine the best depreciation method and incentives that will suit your business. We consider your industry and look at various scenarios to get the most tax savings possible. We work with extensive depreciation software that allows us to evaluate book, federal, state and Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT) depreciation considerations.

Like-Kind Exchanges
The tax-deferred exchange remains the most important tool in planning for non-personal real estate transactions. We work with clients to navigate the many rules and regulations that affect these transactions. We also will act on our clients’ behalf to arrange and act as a liaison between the various other professionals required to complete the transaction according to strict IRS rules.

Multistate/Nexus Tax Planning
Many companies do business in states other than where they are located – it’s part of growing your company, competing in a larger marketplace and making smarter business decisions. Service providers have a much lower threshold than what a typical “tangible goods” company faces when determining whether they are subject to taxation in a given state.  Our professionals can assist you in determining your company’s multistate tax situation, take steps to insulate your activities from overzealous states, and minimize your overall state tax liability.

Cash Flow Projections and Break-Even Analysis

Cash flow is essential – it is the roadmap to performance or the core of the financial process. A cash flow forecast ensures you have the financial resources to fund your company’s growth or simply, to make the next payroll. Most companies want to do better than just covering all of their fixed or variable costs, but aren’t certain where that actually occurs or what all of the factors are to make that goal attainable.

SVA can help this process along by making sure all costs are considered, pricing for your product or service is right in today’s marketplace, your sales goals are set at the right level, the cost of buying the materials for your product is in line and the list goes on. Let us help you clearly define your average per unit revenue, average per unit cost and your monthly fixed costs to get you to that break-even point as fast as possible.

CFO by the Hour

This option is for businesses who can’t justify the cost of a full-time CFO. This is a flexible role for us as your needs change and your business grows. We’re available to guide you through financing plans, capital projects, financial projections, cash flow, day-to-day accounting operations, oversight of accounting staff and all the financial aspects of running a business. You have the flexibility to use SVA professionals as much or as little as you need, scaling up or down in real time as your business demands.

Establishing Financial Record-Keeping Procedures

A critical step in starting and running a successful business is having good financial records. Efficient and effective records will help you:

  • Monitor the progress of your business
  • Prepare your financial statements
  • Identify sources of income
  • Keep track of deductible expenses
  • Keep track of your basis in property
  • Prepare your tax returns
  • Support items reported on your tax returns

This area is a passion of our SVA CPAs and staff. It’s the backbone of what sets the future of your business or practice success.

Hiring a Business Attorney

Our professional staff has developed relationships with many attorneys in the markets where we are located. After meeting with one of our certified public accountants to discuss your business startup and do some initial planning with you, they will be glad to recommend and refer an attorney in the area that could meet your startup needs.

Market Research

One of your first steps in running a business where people will buy what you are selling or purchase the service(s) you will be providing, is to research the potential market. Your SVA CPA can call upon SVA’s Business Development Director to complete industry category research for you and provide an Industry Profile Report that can include growth rates, forecasts, business challenges and opportunities, executive insights, and a list of companies currently providing services in your same industry code in the geographic region you want to operate out of.

Obtaining General Business Liability and Workers’ Compensation Insurance

General business liability insurance is a policy that safeguards your business against the high cost of certain liabilities. This policy does not cover employee injuries. Instead, the policy covers third-party (non-employee) damages including…

  • Bodily injuries that a person sustains on your business real estate
  • Damage you accidentally cause to someone’s property
  • Personal injury (e.g., slander, libel)
  • Advertising injury (e.g., copyright, trademark infringement)

Workers’ compensation is the policy you need when your employees suffer work injuries or illnesses. In fact, most states require employers to carry this coverage if they have even one employee, but the laws vary depending on your industry and where you do business. This coverage may help your business pay for…

  • Employees’ work-related medical and rehabilitation expenses
  • Replacement wages when employees can’t work because of a covered injury or illness
  • Dependent support payments and funeral expenses when fatal occupational injuries occur
  • Liability expenses when your business is sued over work injuries

Our professional staff has developed relationships with many insurance agents in the markets where we are located. After meeting with one of our certified public accountants to discuss your business startup and do some initial planning with you, they will be glad to recommend and refer an agent in the area that could meet your defined insurance needs.

Obtaining Investor Funding or Financing

Capital is necessary to run any business but accessing debt and capital while working through the myriad of struggles that accompany the process, can be a challenge. SVA’s professionals work with you to develop an understanding of the range of capital sources that are ideal for your situation and help devise a strategy for the future. We also have developed strong professional networks within the markets we serve and will be able to refer you to commercial bankers or private investors.

Obtaining Licenses and Permits

Along with creating your business entity, there may be additional licenses and permits you will need to acquire depending upon your type of business. Given the myriad of businesses and practices we work with, SVA can be a good resource of information for you. If we don’t have the information readily available, we can certainly help you find it!

Measurable Results.
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Measurable Results.

"SVA provides proactive sound financial and business advice. They help me gauge what we are doing well, what we can do better, and they develop strategies to guide my company into the future."

Kim Lobdell, President, KL Engineering

KL Engineering



Measurable Results.

"We were fortunate to partner with SVA. Without their guidance, we would not be in the position we are today – the largest endodontics practice in Madison."

Dr. Nabeel Khan, Partner

Capital Endodontics



Measurable Results.

"SVA provides our accounting and back office functions including bill paying, account reconciliations, and compensation calculations. They also been instrumental in strategic planning for business growth and infrastructure development. "

Dr. Sally McKinnon, Partner

Madison Radiologists



Measurable Results.

"Working with SVA gives us one less thing to worry about. They helped us cut our overhead by 6.5% and created effective business processes allowing us to focus on the core of our business- taking care of our patients."

Dr. John Olson, Managing Partner

Madison Anesthesiology Consultants



Measurable Results.

"We rely on SVA’s forward-thinking approach. With their assistance, we restructured our business creating tax and cost savings."

John Stoker, President

Victory Homes



Measurable Results.

"We rely on SVA’s technical expertise and practical advice to help us navigate the complex issues involved in the real estate business."

Mike Morey, President




Measurable Results.

"Our bank recommended SVA and we have never looked back. SVA doesn’t always tell us what we want to hear, they provide the advice we need to grow our business."

Fred Manske, Owner

Manske Machinery Service



Measurable Results.

"SVA provides top to bottom care by being hands on and thorough. Whatever our need, they respond quickly and efficiently. They helped us reduce our overhead by 6%."

Dr. Paul Elcano, Executive Partner

Racine Dental Group



Measurable Results.

"SVA’s valuation of our company and their expertise in loan structuring was instrumental in maximizing the tax benefits as we transitioned ownership."

Scott Stevenson, Owner




Measurable Results.

"SVA provided financial statement stress testing scenarios including how interest rate fluctuations and federal subsidy changes might affect our bottom line. Our board now has the information they need to make informed decisions."

Mary Wright, President

Wisconsin Housing Preservation Corp. (WHPC)



Measurable Results.

"SVA streamlined our largest and most complicated fundraising effort by developing an effective method of tracking inventory and sales."

Deborah J. Gilpin, President & CEO

Madison Children's Museum



Measurable Results.

"SVA has a reputation in the dental community that is second-to-none. They have exceeded our expectations and truly have been a catalyst for our business."

Dr. Lisa Teel, DDS, MS, Owner

Meridian Endodontics



Measurable Results.

"I would recommend SVA because no question is too small. They have the same core values as BC Adhesives and we trust their opinions and recommendations."

Melissa Shibilski, Finance Manager

BC Adhesives



Measurable Results.

"SVA was our first phone call. They have been with us since Day 1 and without them I [Mark Nolen] don't know where we would be."

Mark Nolen, President & CEO

Wisconsin Brewing



Measurable Results.

"We saved $20,000 in taxes and deferred over $500,000 of taxable income with the help of SVA. They are a tremendous partner for our company."

Mark Barnes, President/CEO




Measurable Results.

"The SVA team understands the business trends in our industry and helps us develop strategies for business in a good economic climate, as well as preparing us for economic downturns that may occur in the future."

James Wagner, President

Capitol Mechanical Inc.



Measurable Results.

"My clinic saves over $10,000 in taxes yearly with the help of SVA. They help me improve my profitability."

Dr. Jesse Sondel, DVM/Owner

Sondel Family Veterinary Clinic



Measurable Results.

"We hire professionals who bring knowledge to the table that we don’t have. SVA continuously delivers a well-informed, objective perspective we value which makes us continuously evaluate our path."

Lincoln Fowler, Co-Founder

Colectivo Coffee



Measurable Results.

"SVA’s reputation and expertise with nonprofits made them our first choice! Their ability to turn the work around in a condensed timeframe, and in a way that all Board of Director members could digest easily, has made them an invaluable resource to us."

Jennifer Jeffress, Executive Director

Madison Public Library Foundation



Measurable Results.

"When it was time to bring on a new partner, SVA discussed the offer, practice numbers, and goals which made our new partner very comfortable with joining our practice. They appreciated the personalized communication as they transitioned into our practice."

Dr. David Toivonen, M.D., Senior Physician

Hand to Shoulder Center of Wisconsin



Measurable Results.

"SVA has helped us look at opportunities for new locations and as we look to grow, they help us determine what plan is financially feasible and a good business decision."

Dr. Todd Stahnke, DDS, Dentist and Owner

Village Family Dental & Orthodontics


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