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December 2017
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Dealer-Success LLC

As I may have mentioned previously, I recently started a new venture called Dealer-Success, which is basically a group of service providers I know who can quickly and cost effectively make a positive impact on a dealer’s bottom line, cash flow and value. Once I decided on the basic group I prepared a “menu” of services available and let dealer management decide what they need and then keep score to see that their needs were met. So far, so good.

As an example of the type of expertise we have in the program, I will tell you John Walker is on the list because, as you all know from reading his column in this publication, he is an expert in product support who can provide a professional opinion on the status of your product support efforts and how much profit you are leaving on the table. I know what John can do. I have seen what John can do. I know John can put dollars in your pocket in a cost effective manner.

I use John as an example because product support seems to be a constant issue with dealers. How to do it? How to track it? Who to hire to do it? Should you hire to sell it? How to compensate for it? How to budget results? How to market it? Sound familiar? Sure it does because it is a matter that gets discussed regularly and because you have read John’s comments about many of these topics in his column.

So that’s what we put together a group of people like John who can help with various aspects of the business along with expense control that provides immediate payback. As another example, I suggest to you that your tax person is one of these people. That is, the right tax person is one of these people. Believe or not, the dealer tax environment is one of the most complex tax environments you can get involved in. The sale of product, parts and service alone add some complexity, but when you add the rental activities it just gets downright crazy.

For our tax analysis, we ask for the last three tax returns that have been filed and have our tax person, Steve Pierson, review them and provide a brief analysis of what he sees. Now Steve has worked with me for at least 20 years on lift truck dealers, construction equipment dealers, truck dealers, powersports dealers, rental companies and so on. We have valued them, bought them, sold them, set up tax structures, advised them, represented dealers with the IRS, and even offered comments to the IRS regarding dealer tax matters. In short, Steve knows what a dealer’s tax return should look like and how the data should be presented to minimize IRS challenge. 

Steve provides a memo that outlines issues that need further discussion and what data should be changed to make a better presentation. He also offers up ideas to reduce tax burden or defer tax burden if certain changes are made. I have to tell you, what he comes up with after looking at five pounds of tax return, is sometimes amazing. But what Steve does best is tell you if you will be able to defend your tax positions based on what he sees in the returns and financial statements. Not a lot of folks who can do that.

On our last Dealer-Success dealer review Steve prepared his memo addressing numerous issues that I even had a hard time understanding and also mentioned that the taxpayers paid way too much tax the last couple of years and that we could still amend the returns and get most of that tax back. Quite frankly, I tell dealers Steve should prepare your tax returns and advise you on tax matters because there is not one dealer issue he is not familiar with, which of course results in keeping your tax planning and preparation bills to a minimum. Let’s face it; the complexity of a dealer business with a rental component requires the best expertise you can buy, which in this case also happens to be very cost effective as well.

John Walker you know how to get a hold of. Steve Pierson heads up the tax practice at Selden Fox Ltd. and can be reached at 630 954 1400 or through me. Not comfortable with your tax position, let Steve take a look at it.

I will introduce you to some of the other group members in future issues.

I was inspired to start this Dealer-Success venture after reading numerous articles about risk management and industry disruption ventures and aps. Taking all that information into account I decided to build a team of cost-effective industry experts to deal with a dealers’ biggest risk areas. Said another way, I guess a dealer has choices… with providers who have limited dealer experience or work with providers who not only analyze current activities but also advise on future activities for a nominal cost.

I would appreciate your thoughts on what we are doing here. Also would like your input about other areas of expertise to add to the team.

Garry Bartecki is a CPA MBA with GB Financial Services LLC. You may contact him by e-mailing