October 1, 2019
Debt Relief for Military Service Members, Veterans, Family Farmers and Small Business Owners thumbnail

Debt Relief for Military Service Members, Veterans, Family Farmers and Small Business Owners

Small Business Reorganization Act of 2019 (HR 3311) – Scheduled to take effect starting in February 2020, this new law offers small businesses more agreeable terms when filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy status. The bill gives owners: More time (90 days) to file a reorganization plan with easier rules for extension The ability to retain ownership of the company even if debts are not paid in full A new formula for debt payments based on projected disposable income over three to five years Reduced red tape through the appointment of a “standing trustee” (instead of a credit committee) to oversee the reorganization process A more “fair and equitable” process to determine owner and creditor equity interests More protection against creditor […]
October 1, 2019
What is VPN and Why Do You Need It? thumbnail

What is VPN and Why Do You Need It?

The rise in the number of data breaches reported every other day has become a major concern – even to the ordinary internet user. As a result, we have all become aware of the need to maintain privacy while online. One of the measures promising to keep you safe on the internet is the use of a virtual private network (VPN). But before rushing to install one of the many VPNs available, it’s important to understand what a VPN is, why you need it, if it is foolproof and other ways to stay safe on the internet. What is a VPN? The VPN service lets you browse the internet privately by masking your IP address – the unique address identifying […]
October 1, 2019
How Parents Can Save Money for College-Bound Kids thumbnail

How Parents Can Save Money for College-Bound Kids

No matter how old your children are, it’s always a good idea to start saving for college as soon as possible. (Yes, even when they’re still in diapers.) This might sound overwhelming, especially if you haven’t started, but take heart, it’s never too late. Here are a few things to do before you start saving, as well as smart ways to gather the resources you’ll need. Figure Out How Much College Will Cost Is your child interested in a state school? A small private university? Or a trade school? Create a list of schools, do the math and figure out a ballpark number of how much you’ll need. When you do this, you can calculate how much per month or […]
October 1, 2019
How to Inflation-Proof a Retirement Portfolio thumbnail

How to Inflation-Proof a Retirement Portfolio

Statistics indicate that the average life expectancy is longer than it used to be, but empirically we see this every day among elderly people who have lived much longer than they probably expected. This phenomenon spotlights a particular component of retirement planning that was not as significant in the past as it is now: long-term inflation. While we’ve not experienced annual inflation rates this century as high as the latter part of the 20th century, inflation can balloon at any time. But what can be even more devastating to a retiree on a fixed income is cumulative inflation over time. It’s also important to recognize that specific consumer product inflation rates can differ substantially from the averages. For example, according […]
October 1, 2019
Will China's Recent Soybean Purchase Begin Thawing the Trade War? thumbnail

Will China’s Recent Soybean Purchase Begin Thawing the Trade War?

With the United States Department of Agriculture’s Foreign Agriculture Service announcing a purchase of 204,000 metric tons of U.S. soybeans by private Chinese importers, there are hopes that the trade war is beginning to dissipate. Seeing that the last significant purchase of U.S. soybeans by China was in June, professional traders see the September acquisitions as a potential weakening of the U.S.-China trade war. With the USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service announcing more than 600,000 tons of U.S. soybeans purchased by private Chinese operators on Sept. 13, 16 and 17, there are signs of positive movement between the two nations. The shipments are expected to leave between October and December from ports in the Pacific Northwest. Looking at the Chicago Mercantile […]
October 1, 2019
When Full Costing Accounting Makes Sense thumbnail

When Full Costing Accounting Makes Sense

With more than 1.4 million accounting jobs in 2018, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there are many different uses for accountants and their skills. With the need for accuracy and transparency in private and public accounting, one important concept to explore is absorption, or full costing. Absorption or full costing is an accounting method that is used by businesses to determine the complete cost of producing products or services. When it comes to calculating the full cost, there are three main categories taken in account: Direct Costs – How much material, labor, machinery, etc. it costs to produce each product. Total Amount of Fixed Costs – Examples include monthly rent payments, tax payments, base salaries, etc. These are […]
October 1, 2019
How to Get the IRS to Pre-Approve Your Taxes thumbnail

How to Get the IRS to Pre-Approve Your Taxes

It might seem odd, but it is possible to get the IRS to give you a straight-forward and binding answer to ambiguous tax positions in advance. How does this happen, you ask? The answer is through an IRS private letter ruling. IRS private letter rulings provide many benefits, but they are not easy to obtain. There are costs, potential delays, and even then, you run the risk of not being granted a ruling. This dynamic might seem odd as the entire point of applying for a private letter ruling is to obtain certainty. If your position is weak from a tax law perspective, the government could refuse to rule on it. Alternatively, if the position you are seeking is obviously […]
September 1, 2019
5 Money-Saving Ideas for Back-to-School Shopping thumbnail

5 Money-Saving Ideas for Back-to-School Shopping

Just when you’ve finished spending a bunch on swimsuits and stuff for grilling out, summer’s over and it’s time for the kids the head back to school. How did this happen? Here are some ways to cut expenses while shopping for all those inevitable, seemingly never-ending things that the season demands. Create a Budget This might seem like a no-brainer, but it’s worth mentioning and well worth it before you enter headlong and breathless into the frenzy of a superstore. Make a list of the things you need before you leave the house, then let your fingers do the walking and check prices online. If all this seems daunting, never fear, there’s an app to help: EveryDollar. It will walk […]
September 1, 2019
The Rise of Biometrics Security and Why You Should Take Precaution thumbnail

The Rise of Biometrics Security and Why You Should Take Precaution

Biometric technology has been on the rise as it promises to make the authentication process more secure and convenient. Unlike passwords and key cards, biometrics are something you will always have, can’t share and can’t forget. This makes the biometric approach convenient and at the same time it has lower password management costs. Biometrics also are said to be difficult to steal or hack; difficult, but not impossible. Any technology can have loopholes that can be exploited, and that’s why you need to understand it well and take precautions if you decide to use this approach. The use of biometrics is not new, but its increased presence in the public domain such as banks makes it a topic of interest. […]
September 1, 2019
The Five Key IRS Rules of Taxation for Lawsuit Settlements thumbnail

The Five Key IRS Rules of Taxation for Lawsuit Settlements

Coming out on the winning side of a lawsuit as a plaintiff can be a gratifying feeling, especially if there is a financial settlement involved. There is likely a sense of both relief and vindication. Unfortunately, far too often people are in for a shock when they realize that they must pay taxes on the award. You can even be taxed on your attorney fees! However, a little tax planning can go a long way, especially if you do it before the settlement is finalized and the award is substantial. Below are the five key rules to know so you can make the right move. The Origin of the Claim Largely Determines the Tax ConsequencesThe taxation of legal settlements is […]
September 1, 2019
How Will Tariff Developments Impact the Stock Market Going Forward? thumbnail

How Will Tariff Developments Impact the Stock Market Going Forward?

According to an Aug. 13 press release from the office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR), there will be a 10 percent tariff levied against $300 billion of Chinese imports effective Sept. 1. The same press release announced a modification, after hearing from the public and business owners, exempting some of the $300 billion in Chinese imports from the 10 percent tariff until Dec. 15. Items Subject to the 10 Percent Tariff on Sept. 1 Highlights from the USTR’s list include select types of coffee, fruit, vegetables, insects and bees. Along with dairy products, livestock such as sheep, horses and goats are subject to the 10 percent tariff. Items Subject to the 10 Percent Tariff on Dec. 15 The […]
September 1, 2019
Payroll Management Tips thumbnail

Payroll Management Tips

When it comes to an employer’s responsibility for non-exempt workers, according to the U.S. Department of Labor, there are many requirements businesses must follow related to payroll. In one example, there are strict regulations on what information employers must document for each non-exempt worker. While there’s no requirement on how the information is recorded, there are three main categories. Personal details: This should include the employee’s name, complete address, Social Security number, date of birth and gender. Job details: This must include the worker’s job description and hours clocked in each day and week. Pay details: The employee’s hourly wage based on straight time, and how employees are compensated – be it hourly, weekly, project or item-based. It should include […]
September 1, 2019
Lost Inheritance: How To Find a Deceased Parent's Assets thumbnail

Lost Inheritance: How To Find a Deceased Parent’s Assets

If you have a relative who recently died and left you in charge of his or her finances, you are not alone. You probably have colleagues at work in the same boat. A neighbor or two (or 10) and even your millennial yoga teacher might very well be working through a quagmire of wills, probates and assets nobody can find. You are definitely not the only one. The internet has made it much easier to keep track of our checking, savings and investment accounts. But the elder generation generally missed out on the convenience of dashboard consolidation and app trackers. What most of them leave behind are file cabinets full of bank statements and old bills, bookshelves of file folders […]
September 1, 2019
Extending Medicaid Funding, the Debt Limit, Membership into the American Legion, and Support For 9-11 Victims, Law Enforcement Officers, and Breastfeeding Moms thumbnail

Extending Medicaid Funding, the Debt Limit, Membership into the American Legion, and Support For 9-11 Victims, Law Enforcement Officers, and Breastfeeding Moms

Sustaining Excellence in Medicaid Act of 2019 (HR 3253) – This bill authorizes appropriations through fiscal year 2024 and makes changes to several Medicaid programs and funding mechanisms. Some of the provisions include allowing state Medicaid fraud control units to review complaints regarding noninstitutionalized patients; temporarily extending Medicaid eligibility to protect against spousal poverty for recipients of home and community-based services; repealing the requirement for drug manufacturers to include the prices of authorized generic drugs when determining the average manufacturer price (AMP) of brand name drugs; and excluding manufacturers from the definition of “wholesalers” for purposes of rebate calculations. The legislation was sponsored by Rep. Debbie Dingell (D-MI). It was introduced on June 13 and signed into law by the […]
August 1, 2019
Pass It On: Accounting Tips to Share With Kids thumbnail

Pass It On: Accounting Tips to Share With Kids

It’s never too early to helps kids understand accounting – the concepts of earning and spending. Here are a few ways to teach your little ones about how money works and even have a little fun. Play Money Games One way to explain the principles is by playing games like Monopoly and The Game of Life. However, if you want to be more homegrown and less commercial, bake some cookies, bag and price them, and turn your kitchen into a store. You might even get a toy cash register and calculators to make the whole experience more authentic. Then record the earnings, expenses and profits. This will really give children a “taste” of accounting! Create a Family Budget When sharing […]
August 1, 2019
How the Accountant Role has Morphed with Technology, and What New Skills are Necessary thumbnail

How the Accountant Role has Morphed with Technology, and What New Skills are Necessary

Accountants are no strangers to inventions. Known inventions such as the abacus, calculators and computers have helped complete tasks quickly and in less time. However, today’s technology is complex and is reshaping the world of accounting. Such new technologies include big data, cloud computing, artificial intelligence, block chain, payment systems, mobility and social collaboration, among many others. How Technology has Changed the Accounting Industry Accounting, a traditional field, has not been immune to technological innovations. Initially, an accounting department would rely on IT leaders to make its technology decisions. Today, CFOs are increasingly taking part in decision making when it comes to the implementation of new technologies. These changes are due to technological innovations in the accounting industry that have […]
August 1, 2019
3 Big Tax Issues to Look Out for in Your Estate Plan thumbnail

3 Big Tax Issues to Look Out for in Your Estate Plan

There are three big tax issues that can derail an otherwise well-executed estate plan. These include Family Limited Partnerships, Revocable Trust Swap Powers and Trust Situs. Below we explore the pitfalls with each issue. Fixing FLPs Family Limited Partnerships (FLP) are often created to hold investments or business assets in order to leverage a valuation discount, exert control and provide asset protection. First, to understand the valuation discount, take the example in which an FLP owned a family business valued at $10 million. A straight 25 percent interest in this business would therefore be worth $2.5 million. However, due to valuation discounts for a non-controlling interest that would not be readily available for sale or able to control liquidation, the […]
August 1, 2019
How Will the July 17, 2019 Beige Book Impact the Economy? thumbnail

How Will the July 17, 2019 Beige Book Impact the Economy?

The Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) recently met at the close of July, bringing to light many questions on the Federal Reserve’s future monetary policy. While there was much speculation that the Fed would lower the federal funds rate at its most recent meeting, there are many factors impacting this decision. One relevant factor is the Beige Book. Understanding what the Beige Book is and how it’s factored into the FOMC’s decisions gives us a better understanding of our economy.    What is the Beige Book? According to the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, one survey of the U.S. economy is done through the Beige Book. Put out by the Fed eight times annually, it aggregates economic […]
August 1, 2019
Understanding and Applying Accounting Reports and Ratios thumbnail

Understanding and Applying Accounting Reports and Ratios

When it comes to tracking incoming sales and outgoing expenses, there are many ways businesses can keep up with their invoices and implement strategies to reduce the time they spend on unpaid sales. Accounts Receivable Turnover Ratio Simply defined, the accounts receivable turnover ratio is a way of showing what percent of a company’s receivables or invoices are paid by clients.  The U.S. Small Business Administration explains this ratio is determined by “dividing average accounts receivable by sales.” Determining average accounts receivable is done by adding the beginning and ending figures — be it a month, quarter or year, then dividing by 2. Determining the sales figure is calculated by taking the total sales still on credit and deducting any […]
August 1, 2019
Proposed Changes For Retirement Plans thumbnail

Proposed Changes For Retirement Plans

Laws regarding retirement savings plans don’t change all that often or all that much. Occasionally, new regulations are issued mandating disclosures that no one ever reads – and inflation-adjusted contribution limits tend to inch up each year. However, there is one phenomenon that has been increasing over the past decade, and Congress is finally starting to address it. This phenomenon is that retirees are living much longer than in the past. According to Olivia Mitchell, Wharton professor of business economics and public policy, demographers have reported that the baby who will live to be 200 has already been born. Because few people plan on 40 years (or more) in retirement, increasing numbers of retirees rely solely on Social Security benefits […]
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