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 […]
August 1, 2019
Relief for Immigrants, Attempts to Deter Foreign Election Interference and Failed Resolutions to Condemn Foreign Arms Sales thumbnail

Relief for Immigrants, Attempts to Deter Foreign Election Interference and Failed Resolutions to Condemn Foreign Arms Sales

Emergency Supplemental Appropriations for Humanitarian Assistance and Security at the Southern Border Act, 2019 (HR 3401) – This legislation provides $4.5 billion in emergency supplemental appropriations to federal departments and agencies for humanitarian assistance and security to respond to migrants attempting to enter the United States at the southern border for the rest of the fiscal year. This funding is available for appropriations for U.S. Customs and Border Protection, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, and the Department of Health and Human Services for the Administration for Children and Families. The bill also includes requirements and restrictions for how the funds may be used. It was introduced on June 21 by Rep. Nita Lowey (D-NY) and […]
July 1, 2019
Disaster Relief Funding, Expanded Benefits for Neglected Vietnam Veterans, and Bipartisan Reforms for the IRS thumbnail

Disaster Relief Funding, Expanded Benefits for Neglected Vietnam Veterans, and Bipartisan Reforms for the IRS

National Flood Insurance Program Extension Act of 2019 (S 1693) – This bill reauthorizes the National Flood Insurance Program, which was set to expire on May 31, through June 14. The bill was introduced by Sen. John Kennedy (R-LA) on May 23, passed the Senate and the House in one week and was signed into law by the president on May 31. Additional Supplemental Appropriations for Disaster Relief Act, 2019 (HR 2157) – This bill adds $17.2 billion to this year’s budget for supplemental emergency funding available to many federal departments and agencies for expenses related to wildfires, hurricanes, volcanos, earthquakes, typhoons and other natural disasters. This supplemental funding basically extends the National Flood Insurance Program until Sept. 30, at […]
July 1, 2019
New from Apple: iPhone iOS 13 Upgrades, All-New Mac Pro thumbnail

New from Apple: iPhone iOS 13 Upgrades, All-New Mac Pro

During its annual Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) on June 3, Apple introduced a lot of new technology. Here, we will have a look at iPhone iOS13 upgrades and the all-new Mac Pro. iOS 13 The main reason for this upgrade is to have a faster and more secure iPhone. Some of the new features that Apple has added to entice buyers include: New map tools that enable consumers to zoom in on a location and have a tour around the place. A dark mode color scheme that users can switch to, replacing the usual white background. The dark mode helps reduce eye strain that users might experience from using a brightly lit screen. Ability to customize your Memoji avatar. Apple […]
July 1, 2019
How To Use AI For HR thumbnail

How To Use AI For HR

There is a lot of new technology being used to automate functions and save money in large corporations, but many small organizations are shut out of those advancements. This is largely because of the cost, training, knowledge and resources it requires to take advantage of such new technology. But while small business owners might not be able to afford such advances, it’s good to keep up with what’s going on in the tech world – particularly innovations that can help a business owner automate processes and save money on personnel expenses. One such advancement is how artificial intelligence (AI) can be used for human resources functions. For example, automated processes that adapt to situations can be useful with recruitment, onboarding […]
July 1, 2019
Why Some People Are Afraid of the Hobby Loss Rules thumbnail

Why Some People Are Afraid of the Hobby Loss Rules

Many tax advisors are very cautious when it comes to claiming hobby losses – and some would argue overly so. This conservative view stems from the impression that the taxpayer usually loses when challenged by the IRS. While technically true that the odds aren’t in your favor of winning a challenge, the overall risk often works out in the taxpayer’s favor over the long run. Below we’ll look at why tax advisors should start from the assumption of taking the losses. Always a Loser Taxpayers usually lose hobby loss cases. Typically, the odds are around 3-to-1 in favor of the IRS. So, on the surface it seems like the smart bet is to assume you’ll lose, but there are reasons […]
July 1, 2019
How Increased Tariffs on Chinese Goods Will Impact Market Earnings thumbnail

How Increased Tariffs on Chinese Goods Will Impact Market Earnings

With the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative announcing the increase of tariffs on imported Chinese goods from 10 percent to 25 percent on $200 billion worth of goods, and a directive from the executive branch to increase tariffs on an additional $300 billion in Chinese goods, how will publicly traded companies’ earnings be impacted? According to a May 10 press release from the office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR), tariffs of 10 percent on imported Chinese goods, consisting of $200 billion, increased to 25 percent. The press release also indicated that the remaining amount of Chinese imports, about $300 billion, will now be subject to tariffs. Based on a June 14 USTR press release, hearings on implementation […]
July 1, 2019
How to Define and Calculate a Break-Even Analysis thumbnail

How to Define and Calculate a Break-Even Analysis

According to data from a U.S. Small Business Administration Office of Advocacy report from August 2018, businesses have varied longevity. Nearly 80 percent (79.8 percent) of business startups in 2016 lasted until 2017. Between 2005 and 2017, the SBA mentions that 78.6 of new businesses lasted 12 months. Similarly, nearly 50 percent lasted at least five years.   While there are many reasons why a company goes out of business – one is profitability. Knowing when the business is breaking even and will start making a profit can be accomplished with a break-even analysis. Defining a Break-Even Analysis As the SBA explains, a Break-Even Analysis is a useful way to measure the level of sales necessary to determine how many […]
July 1, 2019
Financial Tips for Recent College Graduates thumbnail

Financial Tips for Recent College Graduates

Members of the college graduating class of 2017 owed an average of close to $30,000 each in student loan debt. Imagine starting out adult life with that kind of debt load? The prevalence of this type of mounting debt for a 21- or 22-year-old is unprecedented in U.S. history – and all the more reason why young adults need sound financial advice. Financial advisors might not necessarily market to this demographic; instead, waiting until they’re older and have assets worth their while. However, if today’s young adults don’t get off on the right financial footing with regard to managing debt, saving, budgeting and investing for the future, there won’t be that many in need of financial advice once they hit […]
June 1, 2019
Best Road Trips on a Budget thumbnail

Best Road Trips on a Budget

Summer is here and it’s time for getting out of town. However, you don’t want to set off on the open road without a plan. While there are an endless number of places to visit across the United States, here are a few road trips that are filled with natural parks, mountains and beaches, all of which are notably affordable, if not free. From New York City to Charleston, South Carolina First stop, Cape May, NJ, where you can hit Cape May Beach for some sun, then walk/bird watch for free at The Meadows. Next stop, Ocean City, MD, where there’s a 3-mile-long boardwalk with lots of arcades and fast-food joints (read: kid-friendly and affordable). After that, head toward the […]
June 1, 2019
Small Business Survey: How Are Today's SMBs Using Technology? thumbnail

Small Business Survey: How Are Today’s SMBs Using Technology?

One way to reduce the overhead associated with hiring workers is to make efficient use of technology. According to a recent survey by CompTIA, 73 percent of midsize businesses and 56 percent of firms with fewer than 20 employees say technology is a primary factor in pursuing their business objectives. Budgeting According to the 4Q 2018 survey, the average small/midsize business (SMB) invests anywhere from $10,000 to $50,000 a year on technology. About half (52 percent) of small business owners think they’re not spending enough on business technology. Upgrading The largest share of small businesses (36 percent) say that in recent years they’ve focused their technology budget on infrastructure, such as laptops, desktops, servers, phones and storage. The second largest […]
June 1, 2019
When Saving for Retirement in Taxable Account Is a Good Idea thumbnail

When Saving for Retirement in Taxable Account Is a Good Idea

Most people associate saving for retirement with tax deferred or non-taxable accounts: 401(k)s, 403(b)s, Traditional IRAs, Roth IRAs, etc. The tax benefits of these types of retirement accounts give individuals advantages over simply investing in a regular taxable brokerage account.   Savings for retirement in a standard taxable account can also have its place – and the option shouldn’t be ignored. In this article, we’ll look at a handful of reasons why doing so might just be the best option. Your employer doesn’t offer 401(k), 403(b) or similar type plan Some employers, especially very small ones, don’t offer retirement plan options to their employees due to the cost or administrative burden. Others have restrictions on participation, such as waiting periods […]
June 1, 2019
How Will Increased Business Productivity Impact Business Earnings Reports? thumbnail

How Will Increased Business Productivity Impact Business Earnings Reports?

During the first three months of 2019, non-farm labor productivity grew 3.6 percent, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. This is coupled with a 4.1 percent increase in output, along with hours worked increasing by one-half of one percent. Comparing the rates from 2019’s Q1 to the first three months of 2018, productivity grew by 2.4 percent, year over year. Looking at the trend over 12 months, the BLS reported a 3.9 percent uptick in output and a 1.5 percent uptick in hours worked.  With the BLS defining the non-farm business sector accounting for nearly four-fifths (77 percent) of America’s gross domestic product, it’s still noteworthy to see what it doesn’t include. It doesn’t account for government entities, […]
June 1, 2019
How to Make the Most of Margins and Markups thumbnail

How to Make the Most of Margins and Markups

When it comes to gross margins and the American economy, they vary widely throughout the country’s industries. When New York University’s Leonard N. Stern School of Business recently compiled gross margin statistics for January 2019, they found the low end includes the Auto and Truck industry with a gross margin of 11.45 percent and the Oilfield Services/Equipment industry with a gross margin of 10.70 percent. On the top end, the General and Diversified Real Estate industry saw a gross margin of 73.08 percent and the Investments and Asset Management industry saw a 70.67 percent gross margin. While these gross margins are divergent, understanding more about gross margins gives better context for understanding this measure. Why Gross Margins Matter One way […]
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