July 1, 2021

Restricted Stock & RSUs: 3 Planning Tips

Equity compensation is becoming more mainstream and is not just for executives anymore. Grants of restricted stock or restricted stock units (RSUs) are getting to be more common than stock options – and the rules are different, as is the tax planning. Below we will look at some of the particulars of how restricted stock and RSUs operate, how to understand a grant, planning for the tax consequences, and what to do after the shares vest. How Restricted Stock and RSUs Work At their core, restricted stock and RSU company shares that vest according to a schedule can be awarded as compensation. The vesting schedule can be tied to length of employment, meeting certain performance criteria, or a combination of […]
July 1, 2021

How to Develop a Hybrid Work Policy Post-Pandemic

According to a Prudential survey, 87 percent of respondents said they would prefer to work remotely at least one day per week. This is compared to 13 percent of respondents preferring to work at the office all the time. The same survey found that one-third of respondents wouldn’t want to work for a business that had a 100 percent on-site work policy. According to a report from Microsoft titled, “The Next Great Disruption is Hybrid Work – Are We Ready?” 54 percent of employees report “feeling overworked” while 39 percent say they “feel exhausted.” The study attributes these employee feelings to an overload of “digital collaboration” through “remote meetings, emails, chats, and groups working on documents together.” With workers reporting […]
July 1, 2021

Wishing on a Star: Investors Pour Billions in to SPACs

A SPAC is a special purpose acquisition company. It is typically sponsored by a venture capitalist or a private equity firm that has expertise in a specific sector or industry, such as green technology. A SPAC launches as an IPO, but it is nothing more than a shell company that raises money from investors. Post-IPO, it has a limited amount of time (one to two years) to merge with an existing company, where the capitol is deployed. Once that happens, the private operating company trades publicly under the SPAC name. While SPACs have been around for about 30 years, they’ve only become popular in the past year or so. In fact, this year investors have already poured more than $100 […]
July 1, 2021

5 Tips for Going Back to the Office

Slowly, our world is changing. A percentage of the population has been vaccinated and many employees are headed back to the office. However, this may cause a bit of anxiety – and understandably so. Here are few ways to help take the edge off of returning to the workplace. Wake up Earlier For some of you, working from home might have caused you to shift your office hours. Maybe you’re starting later and staying up later. Whatever your routine, it’s safe to say that generally, office hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. A few days, perhaps a week, before you expect to go back, set your alarm earlier. Each day, baby step it back a few minutes to the […]
July 1, 2021

Audits in Accounting: Improving Audit Quality with Data Analytics

Auditing is crucial to ensure the accuracy and fairness of financial information. However, one of the biggest threats to audit reputation today is data quality. This is because of the large volumes of data that businesses produce today. To deal with so much data, auditors are now turning to data analytics. Data Analytics and Audits Technology has played a major role in business growth as it aids in reducing operational costs and improving customer service. As such, many businesses have adopted enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems. These systems result in huge volumes of data, making it nearly impossible to analyze using the traditional audit process. Auditors are left with no choice but to also use IT-based solutions; and this led […]
July 1, 2021

Recognizing the Abolishment of Slavery and Compensating Law Enforcement, Overseas Federal Employees and Disaster Relief Victims

Juneteenth National Independence Day Act (S 475) – This bill authorizes Juneteenth National Independence Day on June 19 as a legal public holiday. The bill was introduced by Sen. Ed Markey (D-MA) on Feb. 25. It was passed by both the House and the Senate on June 16 and signed into law by the president on June 17. Protecting America’s First Responders Act (S 937) – This bill was introduced by Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) on April 29. The legislation ensures that certain law enforcement and first responders who have become permanently and totally disabled as a result of personal injuries sustained in the line of duty have prompt access to specific payments and benefits. The bill passed in the […]
June 1, 2021

The Biggest Winners and Losers in President Biden’s Proposed Individual Tax Plan

President Biden presented his $1.8 trillion American Families Plan, which focuses on expanding benefits for education, children and childcare. The Biden administration intends to pay for the plan with a series of tax hikes on certain individual taxpayers. Depending on your income and source of wealth, there are some clear winners and losers of this proposal, so let’s look at each and start with those who lose. Losers Under the Plan High Earners: The proposed plan would increase the highest individual tax rate from 37 percent up to 39.6 percent. Currently, this tax bracket starts with those earning more than $523,000 for singles and $628,000 for taxpayers who are married filing jointly. While the percentage increase may appear small, this […]
June 1, 2021

Vaccine Hesitancy: Why We Have It and How It Affects Employers and Employees

According to a Tufts University survey, six in ten of those surveyed are now vaccinated against COVID-19. However, almost 40 percent of the unvaccinated respondents said they won’t get the vaccine. Only 28.5 percent of the remaining unvaccinated respondents said they will get vaccinated against COVID-19 in the future, with the remaining unvaccinated respondents unable to decide whether they will take the vaccination. With vaccine hesitancy a concern, how can employers encourage more people to get the vaccine? It is important to understand why some view vaccines skeptically in order to overcome vaccine hesitancy among employees. The Johns Hopkins University Coronavirus Resource Center attributes vaccine hesitancy to these factors: The first factor is safety. Since the vaccine was developed faster […]
June 1, 2021

Real Estate Opportunities in 2021

Even before the pandemic began, the U.S. residential real estate market was short on houses, with more people looking to buy than those who were selling. And yet, unlike the 2008 recession, any economic woes related to the pandemic did not undercut housing prices. If anything, real estate had a banner year as home prices continued to rise. In April of this year, the median sale price of existing homes rose by 19.1 percent to a record high of $341,600. There are several reasons we haven’t seen a repeat of the housing crisis that we experienced during the Great Recession. Today’s market is different from 2007, when the economic decline was launched by a housing bubble that sent many homeowner […]
June 1, 2021

6 Ways to Make Saving Money Fun

Let’s face it. Saving money is a challenge at best – and really hard the rest of the time. But what if you made it a fun game to inspire yourself to save? Here are a few ways to do just that. Keep the Change Challenge Anytime you receive or find loose change in your pockets or house, put it in a jar. Don’t touch it for a year, and then see how much you save. But here’s a great plus-up for this habit: download a money-saving app like Acorns and watch your savings grow. Anytime you buy something, Acorns will round up the total and deposit the difference into a diversified investment portfolio. Talk about easy. Weather Wednesday Challenge […]
June 1, 2021

How to Choose the Right Accounting Software for your Business

Business accounting activities can be tedious when performed manually and are prone to errors. For these reasons, many businesses have shifted to accounting software that offers numerous benefits, including data accuracy, time savings, easier auditing and on-demand reports. With so many available options, it’s overwhelming to choose the right fit for a particular business. As more software vendors join the market with different enticing offers, it’s wise to be equipped with the right information. Making a Decision Between Different Accounting Software Each business is different and varies with industry. For efficient accounting operations, you cannot afford to choose a one-size-fits-all solution. Here are tips to help ease the selection process. Understand your business requirementsWhether you are a start-up or already […]
June 1, 2021

Addressing Hate Crimes, Banks Serving the Cannabis Industry and Unilateral Power to Restrict Immigration

Comprehensive Debt Collection Improvement Act (HR 2547) – This bill would expand financial protections and restrictions on debt collection activities for consumers, in particular for private student loans and medical debt. The legislation would require lenders to discharge private student loan debt if the borrower dies or becomes permanently disabled. It would prohibit consumer reporting agencies from adding any information related to certain situations, such as debt arising from a medically necessary procedure, and restrict certain debt collection practices. The bill was introduced by Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA) on April 15. It was passed by the House on May 13 and is currently under consideration in the Senate. COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act (S 937) – This bill was introduced by […]
May 1, 2021

Advancing Healthcare Initiatives, Small Business Funding and Protecting the Elderly from Scams

FASTER Act of 2021 (HR 578) – This bill expands the definition of major food allergens for food-labeling purposes to include sesame. It is designed to protect Americans with food allergies and related disorders that could be affected by anaphylaxis, food protein-induced enterocolitis syndrome, and eosinophilic gastrointestinal diseases. It also authorizes the Department of Health and Human Services to report on food allergy research and data collection activities. The bill was introduced by Rep. Tim Scott (R-SC) on March 3. It was passed by Congress on April 14 and is currently awaiting enactment by the president. Advancing Education on Biosimilars Act of 2021 (S 164) – This bill was introduced by Sen. Margaret Hassan (D-NH) on Feb. 2. The legislation […]
May 1, 2021

E-Invoicing Presents Opportunities for Businesses to Save

Invoicing is an important process in any business. Unfortunately, it’s also a laborious process that requires accuracy. With technology advances, businesses have tried to use various means to ease the invoicing process. Some outfits send scanned invoices; others might transfer PDFs through email; and some still use manual invoices. In this technology age, businesses are choosing to automate functions in a bid to increase overall business productivity and efficiency. E-invoicing is a technology that promises to help entrepreneurs add value to their businesses. What is E-Invoicing? E-invoicing is the exchange of an invoice between a buyer and seller using an integrated electronic format. This allows the buyer to pay online through a card payment, direct debit or other option after […]
May 1, 2021

7 Ways to Save 10K a Year

If you’re scratching your head and wondering if we’ve lost our minds, please keep reading. You can do this. All you need to do is plan your steps – and stick to it. After all, Confucius says, “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” So let’s get moving. Save Before You Spend This might well be the opposite of what you do: you get your weekly or monthly paycheck, determine what expenses are ahead, then dedicate what’s left to savings. To save $10,000, the first thing to do is put away the money you’ve designated to reach your goal first (50 percent? 25 percent?), then live off the amount that’s left. Yes, it’s backwards, but in […]
May 1, 2021

New Rules and Ways to Use HSAs/FSAs

People who own a high-deductible health insurance plan may have the ability to open a health savings account (HSA). They can contribute pre-tax income to an HSA and invest the money for tax-free growth in a variety of mutual funds, stocks and exchange-traded funds (ETFs). The funds may be withdrawn tax-free when used to pay for qualified expenses, such as the plan’s high deductible, copayments and coinsurance. The funds also can be used to purchase a wide range of health-related products. However, a recent poll found that 40 percent of respondents who have access to a health savings account do not fully understand them. Perhaps that is why legislation passed last year that increased eligible uses of HSA funds largely […]
May 1, 2021

How Businesses Can Hedge Against Increasing Inflation

Inflation is on the rise. According to a recent Economic News Release from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the Producer Price Index for final demand grew by 1 percent in March. February saw “final demand prices” grow by 0.5 percent; and January’s final demand prices increased by 1.3. According to BLS, the Producer Price Index (PPI) consists of many indicators and evaluates the mean difference over a period of time for the “selling prices received by domestic producers of goods and services.” In other words, PPI is a way to gauge how much manufacturers and similar businesses face in increased costs due to inflation. This inflation gauge takes a broad survey of approximately 10,000 unique manufactured items and […]
May 1, 2021

Everything There is to Know About the New Child Tax Credit

The Child Tax Credit as we know it originated during the Clinton administration, but the recently enacted American Rescue Plan created a new version. The updated version of this tax credit could have a beneficial impact on Americans struggling through the COVID-19 pandemic. There are changes to many aspects of the credit, so let’s look at each one below. Monthly Payments Versus Once-a-Year Credit First, the new version of the Child Tax Credit applies only to the year 2021. If a family qualifies, the credits are $3,600 for each child under age 6 and $3,000 for those ages 6 to 17. The major difference is not the limits, but that in 2021 half of the credit will be paid on […]
April 1, 2021

Economic Stimulus, Making the Post Office Solvent Again, Gun Control, Voting Rights and Restricting China’s Influence

American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (HR 1319) – This $1.9 trillion relief bill provides stimulus money to address the continued impact of COVID-19. Provisions include issuing $1,400 checks to taxpayers, increasing the Child Tax Credit up to $3,000 and the dependent care credit to $4,000, and providing funds for schools, small businesses, renters and landlords, increased subsidies for Americans who buy individual health insurance, and $160 billion allocated toward vaccine development and distribution. The bill was introduced by Rep. John Yarmuth (D-KY) on Jan. 15, first passed in the House on Feb. 27 and in the Senate on March 6, and was signed into law by President Biden on March 11. SAVE LIVES Act (HR 1276) – This bill […]
April 1, 2021

How Cloud Accounting Helps Small Businesses Gain Competitive Edge

In a continuously changing business environment, small businesses have a challenge to keep up. It’s especially expensive to keep pace with ever changing technology. Luckily, with affordable cloud accounting solutions, small businesses can maintain a competitive edge. What is Cloud Accounting Cloud accounting involves moving your business books online. Unlike desktop accounting systems, cloud accounting permits you to access accounting software from a web browser without the need to install it on your personal computer. Companies that offer cloud computing provide their services on remote servers and applications. For a fee, you gain remote access to the services that fit your business needs. Cloud Accounting Benefits for a Small Business Here are benefits offered by cloud accounting that enable small […]
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