Computer software drives the world. Businesses use software to account for transactions, communicate with colleagues and customers, and design and manufacture new products. One thing is clear: without software, we’d be lost. Accounting for the costs associated with software acquisition, however, can be less than straightforward. In this article, we’ll outline some things a business will need to consider when acquiring or implementing new software for its own use and how to account for those transactions.
Social Security and Medicare Tax As of January 1, 2019, the maximum amount of annual earnings subject to the Social Security increases to $132,900 (from $128,400 in 2018). There is no limit on the amount of earnings subject to the Medicare tax. The maximum Social Security tax to be deducted from an employee’s compensation during 2019 will be $8,239.80 (6.2% x $132,900).
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If your business employs veterans, you might be eligible for a HIRE Vets Medallion Award. Businesses that earn this award are recognized for their leadership in recruiting, employing and retaining veterans. About HIRE Vets Created in 2017, President Trump signed into law the Honoring Investments Recruiting and Employing American Military Veterans Act, more commonly known as HIRE Vets. The program is overseen by the U.S. Department of Labor and while it is not a monetary award, it is the only federal award program that recognizes businesses for their commitment to veteran careers. Is Your Business Eligible for a 2019 Award? You can visit the www.hirevets.gov website to review specific program criteria and determine whether your business is eligible for the HIRE Vets Medallion Award. There are awards for small, mid-sized and large employers. You can download a detailed award criteria checklist, along with sample applications, here.
On December 17, 2018, the Small Business Runway Extension Act of 2018 was signed into law, increasing the measurement of a small business' size status. Prior to this, a business' small business status was determined based on three years of average gross receipts. Once the business’s three-year average gross receipts exceeded a specific dollar threshold, that business was considered ready to enter the open marketplace.
As 2019 gets closer, businesses and nonprofits across the country are struggling to understand how to calculate how new parking expense rules will impact their tax liability. The changes to parking expense deductibility and the unrelated business income tax for nonprofits are part of the changes under the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA).
There continues to be a lot of discussion about the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, signed into law in December 2017. There are new tax rates for individuals and corporations and different ways to apply existing provisions of the tax code. One new credit, however, has been largely ignored and may provide a significant tax benefit for businesses that are paying employees under the Family Medical Leave Act of 1993 (FMLA).
In case you haven’t noticed, community service in the workplace is more than a passing fad. Since the early days of employees putting in a day of labor for Habitat for Humanity, supporting social and community causes has only grown in popularity. Employees at all types of businesses are sharing their time and special skills with local nonprofits while on their employers’ clock. While nonprofits still rely heavily on corporate donations, it’s no longer just about companies writing a check at year end. Our staff here at Gross Mendelsohn looks forward to participating in several organized community service events every year. Since 2011, our firm has had a robust community service program in place. In case you’re feeling inspired to make community service a bigger part of your business, we are happy to share a behind-the-scenes look at our own experience with a structured, company-sponsored volunteer program.
Financial ratios and benchmarks can be used to assess the financial health of your nonprofit. These ratios and benchmarks can help management make decisions regarding organizational strategy and budgeting and, ultimately, help your nonprofit manage its resources. This financial data can also help donors or grantors determine whether to support your nonprofit.
We get it. As an administrator, you’re overloaded. You’re wrestling with staffing shortages, complex reimbursement issues, and keeping up on regulatory requirements – all while giving top notch care to your residents. When polled for our 2018 Maryland Skilled Nursing Facility Survey, skilled nursing facility administrators, owners and senior financial staff said their top three concerns are finding and retaining qualified employees; changes in payment/reimbursement systems; and the level of outside regulatory requirements. These three issues consistently top our list of top concerns in our annual skilled nursing facility survey. Coming in at fourth in 2018 is maintaining census. Maintaining census is an excellent thing for administrators to be concerned about. Here's why.
Raise your hand if you’ve ever felt awkward introducing yourself to a stranger at a networking event. That’s an impressive show of virtual hands! You were probably told early in your career to have a rehearsed elevator speech in your back pocket at networking events. An elevator speech is a 20- to 30-second rehearsed introduction that you use when you meet someone new. It’s called an elevator speech because it should equate to the length of an elevator ride – not too short, not too long. The elevator speech includes a short introduction of yourself, your company, your products and services, and maybe something that makes you unique. Sounds like a smart tool to have in your networking toolbox, right?
In many divorces, a significant asset of the marriage is an S corporation. Oftentimes, the business owned by the S corporation is the source that will be used to make lifetime distributions to a spouse. Two important aspects of S corporations prevent a simple solution to this problem.
When people think about the divorce process, they often imagine combative couples and attorneys at each other’s throats. They picture a process completely void of trust among the parties, along with a cut-throat effort to “win” at any cost. Times have changed. These days, a growing number of divorcing couples are choosing alternatives that involve cooperation and good faith. One of those alternatives is known as a collaborative divorce.
There’s excellent news for Maryland businesses and it comes in the form of a tax credit. If your business has purchased cyber security goods or services from a Maryland cyber security company, congratulations. You’ve taken a smart step toward protecting your business from hackers. The promising news doesn’t stop there. There’s also a strong chance you’ll be eligible for a tax credit.
A Certified Public Accountant (CPA) financial expert can provide valuable assistance to attorneys throughout the discovery phase of a litigation case. Cases involving economic damages often depend on documents to establish or disprove the amount of the plaintiff’s damages. A financial expert gathers, analyzes and evaluates information from documents to calculate damages, and to provide expert testimony opining as to the amount of damages. When is the right time to hire your CPA expert? The answer is simple: sooner rather than later. Let’s consider why.
Sales and use tax compliance has changed significantly with the recent U.S. Supreme Court decision in South Dakota v. Wayfair, Inc. The changes especially impact online sellers. It’s imperative that you understand where your business has nexus and how the recent ruling might impact your taxes and reporting requirements.
The IRS finally issued its long awaited proposed regulations for the qualified business income deduction, also known as the Section 199A deduction for qualified business income of pass-through entities. Whew, what a mouthful! If your head is already spinning, I encourage you to keep reading, as business owners stand to benefit from this deduction.
If you have incurred at least $20,000 in undergraduate and/or graduate student loan debt, you may be eligible for a Maryland tax credit.
It’s no secret that playing golf can help you develop business relationships. While business has a long-standing place on the golf course, women haven’t had a prominent place on the green. According to Forbes, women are interested in playing golf, but they don’t because they haven’t been invited or don’t feel especially welcome. When only 19% of adult golfers are women, it’s intimidating to start.
Millions of small business owners – about 4.3 million to be more precise – rely on QuickBooks to manage their day-to day-accounting. While QuickBooks has earned a reputation for its ease of use, many small business owners don’t realize that with the addition of one or more software applications, they can run their business more efficiently both on the front end and on the back end.
A lot has been written on the new tax law, more formally known as the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, and how it will affect taxpayers. But really, what most business owners want to know is the bottom line – the actual numbers – and how the TCJA will affect them personally. There is really no simple way to determine how the tax law will affect you without a comprehensive analysis of your tax situation. (No worries – we can do that for you! Contact us to talk with one of our tax experts.) We’re going to show you the numbers through a real life example. Let’s take a look behind the curtain, shall we?
By now, most taxpayers are aware of some of the basics of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, including the decrease in individual and corporate tax rates and increase in standard deductions. But there are some aspects of the new law that haven’t gotten nearly as much attention. That’s why we’re going to reveal ten things you might not know about the tax law, but should.
Religious organizations may technically be classified as nonprofit organizations, yet they are subject to a unique set of accounting rules. Anyone providing accounting services within a religious organization must be aware of special policies that can affect the organization’s compliance and tax status.
Construction contractors are getting worried about profitability. In our 2018 Maryland Construction Industry Survey, concerns about profitability jumped 11% in 2018, making it the second biggest concern contractors had for 2018.
If you are a government contractor, you likely already have a CPA helping you with accounting and taxes. But is the CPA you hired when you started your business still the right CPA for you? There are a number of reasons why it might be time to consider a new CPA firm. Let’s take a look at a few of those triggers.
There’s a lot of talk about employee engagement these days. At Gross Mendelsohn, we have an unusually large number of career employees (i.e., individuals who stick with one company throughout the majority of their career). Despite this, most employers would agree that career employees are becoming less and less the norm.
Hiring a chief financial officer (CFO) for your nonprofit and hiring the right CFO are two very different things. While some accountants get their start at for-profit businesses, nonprofits have specific accounting and tax needs that differ from how accounting is done at private businesses. This means nonprofit CFOs need special training and expertise outside of the standard for-profit accounting and tax environment.
As construction companies see booms in business, finding and holding onto good employees is only going to get tougher. Construction contractors must be prepared for even fiercer competition for quality staff. Our 2018 Maryland Construction Industry Survey revealed several trends in personnel development, including why employees leave, common benefits being offered and more. We documented a few of these trends in the following infographic.
Mission and vision statements are an essential element of running a successful and forward-thinking nonprofit. Not only do mission and vision statements serve as the foundation for all organizational programs, goals and activities, but these statements also serve as tools to better educate the public on who your organization is and what you do.
Not all accountants are created equal when it comes to understanding the ins and outs of government contracting. Understanding the compliance issues that encompass government contracts sounds easy enough: cross your T’s and dot your I’s, right? Wrong. Government contract compliance is akin to learning Arabic. Learning a new language sounds fairly simple, but it’s not. With an entirely different alphabet and grammar rules to learn, it can take years of intense study for an English speaker to master Arabic. The same goes for accountants who work with government contractors. It takes YEARS of immersion in the world of government contracts for a CPA to master the complex rules and compliance issues that can make or break a contractor. It is an understatement to say that your CPA should have an extremely specialized skill set. Only then can your CPA help you keep your government contracting business in compliance and successful. Whether you’re looking for a new CPA for your established government contracting business, or you’re just starting out, there are a few key traits to focus on.
For the third consecutive year the #1 concern among contractors is recruiting and retaining employees, according to our 2018 Maryland Construction Industry Survey. Now that the economy has bounced back, the work is coming in but the competition for construction employees is fierce. Given the industry’s aging workforce and an unprecedented number of retiring owners, contractors need to do everything possible to recruit young employees into the industry. We polled local construction contractors to see what they think should be done to attract younger people to the profession. Here’s what they said …
There’s a provision in the new tax law that allows owners of sole proprietorships, S corporations and partnerships to deduct up to 20% of income earned by the business. It’s known as the Qualified Business Income (QBI) deduction, or more formally, Internal Revenue Code §199A. The QBI deduction was introduced in the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, which was signed into law on December 22, 2017, and represents the largest change to the tax system since 1986. The intent of this new deduction is to give these business owners a level playing field to keep pace with the significant corporate tax cut, previously a top rate of 35%, reduced to a flat 21%. As with any tax legislation, there are certain requirements, limitations and exceptions. In this article, we’ll discuss the general provisions of the QBI deduction, who qualifies, and how eligible taxpayers can benefit.
Government contractors along with grant recipients and managers who use the System for Award Management, more commonly known as SAM.gov, are seeing changes to the free database’s login and registration process.
One of the most common questions we get from construction business owners is, “Should I own or lease my building”? The answer, which we will get to in a moment, might be simpler than you think.
When the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) was passed in late 2017, nonprofits across the country had one big question – how does this affect us as an organization? Here is a quick overview of the four key changes that nonprofits should look out for under the TCJA.
Thanks to the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, signed into law at the end of 2017, businesses will experience dramatic tax cuts. Those tax cuts will not only have a positive impact on a company’s bottom line, but will significantly affect the company’s value. If you’re an attorney and have a matter where a business valuation comes into play, or a business owner who is thinking of selling, it’s essential that you know how business values could change as a result of the new tax law.
On June 21, 2018, the United States Supreme Court passed a landmark ruling that will permit individual states to collect sales tax from online retailers.
Whether you want your construction company to continue growing after you retire or simply want to turn a profit on the sale of your business, every construction company owner needs an exit plan. In the 2018 Maryland Construction Industry Survey, 60% of Maryland construction contractors said they didn’t have an exit plan. That means more than half of Maryland’s construction company owners have no plan as to how they are going to sell or transfer their business. As a CPA who has worked with construction contractors for over 30 years, I’ve seen several companies unravel simply because they failed to plan ahead. Here’s just one example of a company who lost it all.
Members of our team listened with rapt attention as four of Maryland’s finest business leaders spoke about their paths to career success during a recent panel discussion on women’s leadership here at Gross Mendelsohn.
Every year Gross Mendelsohn takes the pulse of Maryland’s construction industry in the form of a survey. As this infographic shows, 70% of contractors reported being more optimistic about the construction industry in 2018 as compared to last year. While that upbeat feeling is reassuring for those working in and around the industry, the stock market may be foreshadowing something a little different about the outlook for the remainder of 2018.
When it comes to strategic planning, there are several key steps that organizations must prepare themselves for. Strategic planning is the formal process of determining an organization’s long term goals and identifying the best approach to take to achieve those goals. This usually involves key people in an organization, sometimes with the help of outside advisors, who analyze the organization’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. This short video offers tips for developing your nonprofit's strategic plan:
Responding to a bad review about your construction company can be difficult. It’s natural that criticism of you, your business and/or your employees can sting. However, bad reviews aren’t always bad for your business. There is value in the candid feedback of customers, and even though it may bruise an ego or two, business owners who take and learn from the feedback in reviews can better their business overall.
Managing the board or serving on the board of a nonprofit can be tough. To help, we asked three members of our nonprofit group — Ernie Paszkiewicz, CPA, Lisa Johnson, CPA, and Richard Wolf, CPA — about their experience working on various nonprofit boards.
If you’re a business owner or CFO, the idea of leaving money on the table is cringe-worthy. Tax credits and incentives offer the opportunity to lower your construction company’s tax burden, dropping more money to your bottom line. If your construction business isn’t taking advantage of every available tax savings opportunity, you’re missing out. Many construction contractors, however, aren’t aware of some Maryland and federal credits that could generate substantial tax savings for them.
Between the recent presidential election, a pickup in the economy and an abundance of new work, construction contractors remain hopeful for the future. This trend continues from 2017, when Maryland construction contractors reported record levels of optimism for the year ahead.
For three consecutive years, construction contractors in Maryland have reported that finding and retaining good employees is their #1 concern. In fact, according to our 2018 Maryland Construction Industry Survey, the number of contractors who ranked employee recruiting and retention as their top concern jumped from 64% in 2016 to 75% in 2018. That’s quite an increase! With many Maryland contractors reporting a large backlog of work in 2018, this jump is not surprising. As contractors battle to find, manage and complete new projects, a construction company’s ability to retain its best employees is paramount to success.
Yesterday I presented the results of our 2018 Maryland Construction Industry Survey to members of the Maryland Construction Network. As I analyzed the results of our annual survey to prepare my presentation, one theme kept cropping up: construction contractors would benefit greatly by saying “no” more often. “No” to certain jobs, and “no” to certain customers.
According to our 2018 Maryland Construction Industry Survey, less than half of Maryland contractors have a Facebook page. The more important statistic, though, is that a third of contractors don’t use social media at all to promote their business. And, the majority of those contractors say they have no plans to start. So what's a contractor to do?
If your nonprofit is concerned about security, you’re not alone. According to Capterra, the top nonprofit security concerns are weak passwords, outdated software, past employees and insecure payment processors. Managing network health and security is a time-consuming job. It makes sense that nonprofit leaders are opting for managed services to ensure their organization is secure, without compromising their job duties.
This post was updated on March 7, 2018 to reflect new guidance issued by the IRS.
The new Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) raises a lot of questions for divorce attorneys. I recently hosted several seminars on the effects of the TCJA on divorcing couples alongside my colleague, Richard Wolf. At these seminars, several questions were raised, which we will individually address in this and future blog posts. In this article, co-authored with family law attorney Carol Ehlenberger, Esq., we will discuss the new dependency exemption and child tax credit.
With the passing of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) in December 2017, the IRS has been working diligently to keep up with the changes of the law. On March 1, 2018, the IRS released a new withholding calculator for individual taxpayers and an updated Form W-4.
If you’re a government contractor, or if your organization makes, receives or manages federal grants, you’ve probably heard about beta.SAM.gov. According to the beta.SAM.gov website, “SAM is the official U.S. government website for people who make, receive and manage federal awards. It’s the central hub for the entire federal awards community.” If you think SAM sounds all encompassing, you’re right – it is. Let's take a look at what the website is and whether you should create a user account.
Being a business owner generally doesn’t come with an excitement for keeping the books. But QuickBooks can help owners comply with the required chore of keeping accounting records in good shape without costing an arm and a leg — or needing a full-time staff with accounting degrees. QuickBooks is one of the most widely used accounting software packages around. When setup correctly and used well, it is a formidable low-cost alternative to more sophisticated accounting systems.
We sat down on camera with three members of our nonprofit group — Ernie Paszkiewicz, CPA, Lisa Johnson, CPA, and Richard Wolf, CPA — to solicit a few tips from their experience working with nonprofit organizations.
A new law, dubbed “mandatory paid sick leave,” will have a substantial impact on many Maryland businesses, starting now. Despite a last minute attempt by the Maryland Senate to delay the roll out of the new mandatory paid sick leave law until July, the Maryland Healthy Working Families Act took effect yesterday, February 11, 2018. The core provision of the Act that’s causing Maryland employers to scramble revolves around sick leave. Under the new law, which was hotly debated in the state legislature, some Maryland businesses must provide paid sick leave for employees.
I recently hosted several seminars as part of the firm’s divorce seminar series regarding the effects of the new Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) on divorcing couples alongside my colleague, Richard Wolf. At these seminars, several questions were raised which we will individually address in this and future blog posts. Under the current law, alimony is considered income for IRA contribution purposes. However, under the TCJA and as of 2019, alimony will no longer be taxable income for the alimony recipient. This raises the question of whether IRA contributions can still be made based on alimony income. For some taxpayers, alimony could be the main or only source of income.
Everyone starts somewhere, even nonprofit board members. Serving on a board is not only gratifying, but it also gives you an opportunity to share and develop your expertise and skills to help an organization grow. As a board member, you will grow your professional network by making new contacts and building connections with new businesses and organizations.
There’s one aspect of the new tax law that hasn’t gotten a lot of attention, but is worth considering — the $25 million average gross receipt.
While there are many good summaries of the new tax law, it can be overwhelming when trying to find only the changes that impact you and your business. This article focuses on some of the major items in the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act that impact manufacturers.
This payroll update was compiled by the following members of Gross Mendelsohn's tax department: Dawn Ebeling, CPA; Conor Kregecz, CPA; and Paul Wallace, CPA, CFP(R). Social Security and Medicare Tax As of January 1, 2018, the maximum amount of annual earnings subject to Social Security increases to $128,400 (from $127,200 in 2017). There is no limit on the amount of earnings subject to the Medicare tax. The maximum Social Security tax to be deducted from an employee’s compensation during 2018 will be $7,960.80 (6.2% x $128,400).
Now that the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act has been signed into law, we can start to examine its impact on family law attorneys and their divorce clients. As a result of the sweeping tax reform, family law attorneys will need to reconsider the financial strategies they use for their divorce clients.
When it comes to fundraising, you may be surprised that some donors, and especially those with deep pockets, could be taking a long look at your nonprofit’s IRS Form 990 before signing their first (or hundredth) donation check.
The new tax reform law, commonly called the “Tax Cuts and Jobs Act” (TCJA), is the biggest federal tax law overhaul in 31 years, and it has both good and bad news for taxpayers.
When it comes to investing, nonprofits often struggle to invest their hard earned donation dollars. Not only do organizations need the right knowledge and understanding to make sound investments, but many nonprofits are paralyzed (and understandably so) by the idea of potentially losing charitable funds due to fluctuations in the market.
I hear it from family law attorneys frequently: “My client doesn’t own a business, so I really don’t need a financial expert for this case.” In cases where one or both parties own a business, it’s a no brainer to work with a Certified Valuation Analyst. But even when neither party owns a business, a qualified financial expert with experience handling complex financial issues can assist you in your divorce case.
If your Maryland nonprofit has an exemption certificate, it may have expired on September 30, 2017. An exemption certificate is a wallet-sized card with the holder’s eight-digit exemption number.
With the confusing terminology, complicated tax code and the feeling that tax rates are just too high, many business owners hear “taxes” and run the other way. However, there is one tax phrase that’s easy to understand and every business owner likes to hear: safe harbor. With the de minimis safe harbor election, you can immediately expense certain assets up to $2,500. If you have an applicable financial statement (AFS), this goes up to $5,000. Sound good? You must act NOW to ensure that your business is eligible to make this election for the 2018 tax year.
December is the time of year when many taxpayers take last-minute steps to lower their income tax liability. This year, however, year-end tax planning is proving to be difficult. As taxpayers think about dotting their I’s and crossing their T’s as 2017 comes to a rapid close, there is one big item up in the air: a major tax reform bill. The Senate just approved the most comprehensive tax reform proposal in 30 years, and we’re now waiting for the House and Senate versions of the bill to be reconciled before going to President Trump’s desk to be signed into law. While the changes brought about by the tax reform bill are not expected to apply to the 2017 tax year, there are provisions in the bill that make certain year-end tax planning strategies for 2017 especially important. Let’s take a look at several steps you can take now to take advantage of current tax laws, and position yourself for the changes that are coming down the pipeline.
Family law attorneys could see some big changes in the treatment of alimony and business valuation thanks to proposed tax legislation that is making its way to the Senate floor.
Do you find yourself stuck performing (sometimes mundane) tasks in areas of your business that might be better off performed by someone else? Most small business owners would answer with a resounding “YES!” In the ideal world you’d have a chief financial officer who generates financial reports that help you monitor profitability. Wouldn’t it also be nice to have a human resources director to coordinate hiring and employee benefits for your business? Let’s not forget about a chief technology officer who can make sure your computer network and software are up and running smoothly 24/7. If this sounds like a dream come true for your business, join the club of small business owners who would love to delegate accounting, HR and technology tasks to someone else. But what if that “someone else” doesn’t exist in your business?
Coming up with fundraising ideas for your nonprofit can be tough. Not only are you competing for donors’ time and money with other local and national nonprofits, but you have to come up with ideas that work and, more importantly, make enough money to make your efforts worthwhile.
Prior to the Tax Reform Act of 1986, a C corporation could sell its appreciated assets, or liquidate, and avoid any tax inside of the company. The shareholder would only pay a single capital gains tax.
There is no question the construction industry has recovered from where it was in 2009, so why haven’t Maryland construction companies started increasing their pricing? We surveyed nearly 200 Maryland construction contractors in the 2017 Maryland Construction Industry Survey, and over half of respondents said they didn’t increase their pricing in 2016. Now, more than ever, is the time to increase your company’s prices, and those who fail to make increases will end up paying more in the long run.
With the minimal amount of outlook data available, getting a pulse on what is happening in the Maryland skilled nursing industry can be difficult. To help, we surveyed Maryland skilled nursing facility owners, executive directors and administrators as part of our 2017 Maryland Skilled Nursing Facility Outlook Survey to get their feedback on topics like their optimism for the future, top concerns and more. Here is what we learned:
Selecting an accounting firm for your nonprofit’s next audit can be a daunting task. Not only might you be unsure of which qualities to look for in a firm, but requesting and reviewing proposals can be a long and tedious process, requiring time and attention that may be needed elsewhere.
Whether you like giving reviews or not, employee performance reviews are critical to your construction company’s success. After all, expecting your employees’ behavior to change without acknowledging the areas they must improve is a lot like expecting a job to finish itself – it’s not going to happen.
Despite slower than expected movement on the legislative front, manufacturers in the United States continue to show historic levels of optimism. In the most recent National Association of Manufacturers’ (NAM) Quarterly Outlook Survey, which covers data from April – June 2017, over 89% of manufacturers said they had a positive outlook for their own company. This is only a slight drop from a few months earlier, when manufacturers reported an unprecedented 93% rate of optimism.
While construction companies have historically relied on word of mouth to find new employees, the internet is changing the way job candidates discover new opportunities.
If you’ve never googled your company, you might be surprised at what you find. Chances are, your company’s website (assuming you have one) will rank high in your search results and, more likely than not, so will a few online reviews of your business. In a 2017 survey of Maryland construction contractors, 43% of contractors said they believe the reviews posted about a construction company online don’t impact whether a customer will do business with that company. This, however, cannot be further from the truth.
Have you ever wanted to know what grants are funded by agencies in your area of interest? Well, now you can. There’s a searchable database – called Federal RePORTER – of scientific awards from different agencies.
Things are looking up for Maryland’s construction industry. In early 2017, we surveyed nearly 200 Maryland construction contractors on their take on the future of the industry, their individual company and top concerns for the year, and found high levels of optimism abound.
If you have ever felt like your Maryland skilled nursing facility cannot catch a break when it comes to the state’s Medicaid rates, you are not alone. Many facilities struggle to control costs and remain profitable, even at the current rates, especially as costs in areas like nursing and salary and benefits continue to rise. And even with the most recent 2% Medicaid rate increase, the big news facilities should be keeping their eye on is the upcoming rebasing of Maryland’s Medicaid rates.
If you’re struggling to understand the difference between “allowable” and “unallowable” costs related to your government contracts, you are not alone. Even the most experienced government contractors struggle from time to time when it comes to identifying which costs can be allocated directly, indirectly or not at all to a government contract.
In a recent poll of Maryland construction company owners, more than one-quarter said profitability is their #1 concern for 2017. Even more construction company owners – 62% to be exact – told us that finding and retaining good employees is their biggest concern. What if we told you there is a way to add money to your bottom line AND alleviate the pain of finding and retaining a good employee? That’s where outsourcing the accounting function comes in.
Don’t stop reading. This article isn’t about participation trophies, role playing or sensitivity training. It’s about how you can improve and retain your employees, and hopefully, grow your construction business through soft skills training.
Claims for lost profits arise in many types of cases, including contract disputes, business torts, insurance claims, personal injury and antitrust claims.
There’s nothing quite like the sinking feeling you get when you complete a job you thought was profitable, only to discover that you barely broke even or, even worse, you lost money. These situations inevitably raise a lot of questions, specifically where you went wrong and how to avoid the same situation in the future.
The manufacturing industry isn’t what it was ten years ago. Not only has changing and increasingly advanced technology made finding and recruiting qualified employees more difficult than ever, but uncertainty about the future of tax law and governmental regulations can make planning for the future difficult. Despite this, there are key ways manufacturers can grow their business and thrive.
If you’ve ever had a teenager sullenly ask “what is this?” when presented with a now rare copy of the Yellow Pages, you know that the way customers find businesses has fundamentally changed in the past decade. Consumers are more informed and empowered than ever to make better buying decisions, which puts the onus on businesses to own up to promises and provide good customer experiences.
As a small business owner, you know what it’s like to perform a juggling act. From sales and accounting to technology and human resources, you keep dozens of balls up in the air every day. It goes without saying that all this juggling can make it hard to focus on the long term growth of your business. Instead, you spend your time just maintaining the status quo, while sales and profits plateau. More times than not, if the financial reporting task were given to someone who could also provide strategic financial guidance, your business would have an edge and be able to get a step ahead of the competition.
In a recent case, Gross Mendelsohn was asked to value a franchisee with three separate locations, including an unused license for a fourth location. During early 2010, there was a disagreement between the four franchise owners regarding the expansion of one of the locations. Since two of the owners (our clients) wanted to move forward with the expansion and two of the owners did not, the state statute required the determination of a buyout price as of the date of dissociation, which was set as March 10, 2010.
If you’ve wrestled with the idea of outsourcing your organization’s accounting function, you’re in good company. Many small- and medium-sized business owners have grown weary of maintaining an internal bookkeeping staff due to frustrations with employee turnover and the high cost of hiring and training people. Some business owners have turned to outsourcing their accounting function to a CPA firm. If you’re thinking, “I can’t afford that,” think again.
Be honest. How many times have you heard someone say “our people are our greatest asset” and rolled your eyes? It’s cliché, but there is a good bit of truth to the statement. The truth lies in the simple fact that human and intellectual capital are expensive to replace. When you watch a good employee walk out the door, it’s like throwing $100 bills into a big summer bonfire. Losing a valuable employee can be a big hit, financial and otherwise, to your business.
Nonprofits spend a lot of time and effort looking for donors. However, for all the effort put into attracting and getting gifts from new benefactors, many organizations drop the ball when it comes to retaining those who have given in the past. While it is important to continually attract new donors to your nonprofit, your organization must be cognizant of whether new donors are giving past their initial contribution.
For many nonprofits, there is often no greater challenge than fundraising. Despite the great work your organization does every day, the truth is, fundraising is often one of the most vital components of a nonprofit’s operations. After all, the funds you raise are most likely used to pay the bills, your staff and support the programs you implement. Whether you have a full-time fundraising team or rely on volunteers to solicit donations, there are a several elements you need to be successful in your fundraising efforts.
It’s no secret that your company is only as good as the people you hire. With competition for good construction employees at an all-time high, it’s more important than ever to position your company to attract the right job candidates. Regardless of whether you’re looking to hire skilled laborers, project managers or estimators for your construction business, knowing where to find the best employees can give you an edge over the competition.
In an industry that has had its fair share of hurdles to jump, manufacturers have shown a tremendous increase in optimism since the 2016 election.
Losing your nonprofit’s executive director is a lot like losing your trail guide in the middle of the forest – slightly terrifying, completely disorienting and leaving you wishing you’d spent more time watching which turns your guide had made along the way. For most nonprofits, executive level turnover can be a challenging and chaotic time for the entire organization, leading to operational and managerial speed bumps, uncertainty for the future and headaches for board members.
When it comes to fundraising, nonprofits have a lot of questions. In a recent webinar hosted by our Nonprofit Group, Secrets of Successful Nonprofit Fundraising, presented by nonprofit fundraising expert Vince Connelly of Connelly & Assoc. Fundraising, LLC, we received several questions from nonprofits with concerns about all too common fundraising issues.
The Trump administration, through Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin and U.S. National Economic Director Gary Cohen, recently provided a brief outline of the much-anticipated tax reform and relief proposals it intends to pursue later this year. Although Secretary Mnuchin described the plan as “the biggest tax cut and the largest tax reform in the history of our country,” and said it would have a significant impact on how businesses and individuals pay their taxes, the plan is, well, short on actual details. Let’s look at what’s been proposed for individuals and businesses. Many of these proposals call for dramatic tax cuts for individuals and businesses, and are reminiscent of concepts promoted by Trump’s presidential campaign.
Over half of Maryland construction contractors say finding and retaining good employees is their top concern for 2017. Personnel development has long been an issue in the construction industry, but as the economy continues to recover, competition for experienced labor is expected to get fiercer. In early 2017, we surveyed Maryland construction contractors to get their take on personnel topics like: The #1 reason employees leave their company Top benefits offered to employees Where they find new employees
Even as a CPA firm, we’re not above admitting that while the accounting function is incredibly important in any organization, it is often time consuming and gets in the way of more exciting revenue-generating business initiatives. If, as a business owner, you have toiled over internal accounting tasks when you could have spent that time on big picture items like developing an amazing new marketing campaign, you’re not alone. That’s why recent years have seen a growing trend in business owners outsourcing their accounting function to CPA firms. How do you know whether outsourcing the accounting function makes sense for your business? Let’s pose some questions.
I recently read a letter published by former business manager, Jonathan Schwartz. “I am writing this open letter to you,” he said, “so that you can learn from my mistakes and never find yourself in the situation I am now in.” Schwartz recently pled guilty to embezzling $7 million from his clients, including celebrities like Alanis Morissette, and his business partners in order to fuel his gambling addiction.
No matter how successful your nonprofit is, there is always room for improvement. Nonprofits are businesses, and as such, are expected to operate as efficiently as their private sector counterparts despite having less resources, staff and funds to get the job done. This quest for efficiency often leads to cutbacks in essential areas, which, more often than not, ends up hurting an organization in the long run. But which areas should more nonprofits be paying attention to?
Big tax incentives for Maryland manufacturers are coming on June 1, 2017. On April 11, 2017, Governor Larry Hogan signed the More Jobs for Marylanders Act (SB 317), a bill targeted to help restore Maryland’s economy and increase the number of jobs in the state, into law.
Strategic planning is one of those activities most nonprofit leaders know is important, but don’t always make the time for. Let’s face it – with limited resources, you often have to decide whether to put out today’s fires or plan for the future. We’ve all been there. Most of the time we need to, and do, put out the fires.
A new building project is taking flight: design plans are finalized, a budget is approved, and an award-winning contractor is selected. It’s an exciting time in the construction process. While construction contracts are significantly less exciting than design decisions, they are a necessary component of the construction process for both owners and contractors. It’s essential that owners and contractors understand the types of contracts available to them. Let’s look at three common contract types and the risks that each holds for the owner and contractor.
Being the chair of a nonprofit board of directors comes with a laundry list of responsibilities. Not only are you responsible with overseeing the board as a whole, you’ve also got committees to keep track of, board members to keep focused and energized, a management team to work with – not to mention your full-time job and personal life.
The mystery of President Trump’s unreleased tax returns has raised questions from both legislators and the electorate since the president’s earliest days on the campaign trail. On March 14, 2017, the first two pages of President Trump’s 2005 tax return were leaked to the media, prompting questions from news outlets and the public on the significance of the documents, and more importantly, what they do and don’t tell us about the president’s past finances. To help, David Goldner, CPA, CFP®, CVA, answered a few questions being asked publicly after the release of the return.
As politics and policies continue to change under the new administration, it is more important than ever that Maryland manufacturers stay up to date on what is happening in the industry, take advantage of financial opportunities and keep an eye on new and existing tax credits.
Manufacturers, like most businesses, are always looking for ways to minimize expenditures, yet many fail to realize they are leaving money on the table every year when they file their taxes. The following are just a few federal and state credits that Maryland manufacturers should know about:
There is always a lesson to be learned in the experience of another nonprofit, especially when it comes to fraud. Nonprofits frequently lack the strong controls and policies to ensure their organization is fully protected against employee fraud, making them vulnerable when they put too much power in the wrong employee’s hands. Below is the real-life story (names withheld) of a nonprofit organization whose lack of internal controls and policies lost them more than $160,000 from employee fraud, and the lessons learned that could stop the same thing from happening to your organization.
Tax season is here and the scammers are at it again. Taxpayers have lost millions of dollars and sensitive personal information to a variety of tax scams in recent years.
As we settle into another new year, manufacturers across the country are betting big that 2017 is going to be a big improvement over years prior. With the combination of a changing political climate and the advantageous financial opportunities currently available, manufacturers will risk missing out if they do not take the opportunity to increase their capital spending in 2017.
It’s a good day. You, your team and board just made the decision to develop a much-needed strategic plan for your nonprofit. It’s time to jump in and get started … or is it? When funds are limited you might be tempted to go it alone and handle your organization’s strategic planning process internally. After all, you know your organization better than anyone right? Well, maybe. The best person to lead your organization’s strategic planning process, though, is someone who doesn’t know your organization as intimately as you do.
When valuing a business as part of a divorce proceeding, it’s critical to understand the distinction between personal and enterprise goodwill. Knowing how to distinguish between the two could have a significant impact on the financial outcome of the case.
Maryland businesses (including nonprofits) who already provide or plan to start providing commuter or transportation benefits to their employees may be entitled to state income tax credits. 1. What Are the Credit Details? The Maryland Commuter Tax Credit allows employers to claim half of eligible commuter expenses made by an employee as part of a workplace commute transportation benefit up to $50 per participating employee per month. The credit can be applied to personal or corporate income tax or insurance premium tax. Credit can be applied up to the total of the tax liability ($50 per employee). If the credit is greater than the tax liability, the overage is not eligible to be applied to any other tax year.
This payroll update was compiled by the following members of Gross Mendelsohn's tax department: Dawn Ebeling, CPA; Carrie King, CPA; and Paul Wallace, CPA, CFP(R). Social Security and Medicare tax As of January 1, 2017, the maximum amount of annual earnings subject to the Social Security tax increases to $127,200 (from $118,500 in 2016). There is no limit on the amount of earnings subject to the Medicare tax. The maximum Social Security tax to be deducted from an employee’s compensation during 2017 will be $7,886.40 (6.2% x $127,200).
I’ve been in fundraising for 30 plus years, and in that time, I’ve watched nonprofits struggle to figure out what they need to do to be successful in raising funds for their organization. A common mistake nonprofits make is believing fundraising is the “hard” part of running an organization, but in my experience that assumption can’t be further from the truth. The fact is, the “hard” part of overseeing a nonprofit is developing and running an effective and well-respected organization that continually strives to meet its mission. The “hard” part is the time and effort that goes into the work you do. In retrospect, after all the blood, sweat and tears you’ve given to make your organization great, asking members of the community to provide financial support to continue the work you are already doing should be the “easy” part.
It’s early enough in the new year to remember all those holiday gifts you purchased online. Many of those internet purchases, however, didn’t involve you paying sales tax. Some states want to change that in order to boost their revenue. But online retailers resist the red tape associated with collecting sales tax.
Just like no two nonprofits operate exactly alike, no two nonprofit boards are the same. Board composition can be a tricky problem to tackle, especially since the success of a board of directors is unique to each individual nonprofit. A successful nonprofit board does not fit a cookie cutter mold, and while the “do’s” of your nonprofit’s board may not be the same for everyone, the “don’ts” are more easily applicable across the board.
Even in a closely knit community like the Maryland construction industry, most Maryland construction contractors remain in the dark as to how other businesses like theirs are performing. To help, we partnered with Maryland Construction Network and surveyed over 200 Maryland construction contractors to gather their thoughts and perspectives on hot-topics like: Personnel issues, including the number one reason good employees leave How optimistic they are about the future of their business and the industry Whether they expect their revenue to increase or decrease Tax deductions and credits they are (and aren't) taking advantage of
If your business is creating new full-time jobs in Maryland, you may be entitled to state income tax credits. The Maryland Job Creation Tax Credit rewards businesses that create a minimum number of new full-time positions in Maryland before January 1, 2020.
Whether your organization has had a 401(k) plan in place for years, or you are just putting one into place, you know all about the seemingly endless string of documentation and regulatory requirements that hang over your plan like a dark cloud.
Changes to the way your construction company accounts for leases are on the horizon. Are you ready? The use of leases in the business world is widespread. Businesses can lease land, buildings, rail cars, airplanes, large machinery, office equipment … the list goes on and on. Chances are, your business uses leases in some way. The reasons businesses use leases vary, but the bottom line is that all leases have to be accounted for in financial statements.
Nonprofit organizations are constantly under scrutiny as to how they allocate their functional expenses in their statement of activities. Unlike for-profit entities, nonprofits must provide a statement of activities in the financial statements about expenses reported by their functional classification in order to assist outside individuals (like donors and grantors) in evaluating the organization, its use of resources and cost of services1. Functional classification can be reported into two areas: Program services: activities that result in goods and services provided to beneficiaries, customers and members, which fulfill the mission of the organization Supporting activities: all activities other than program services, which include management and general, membership development and fundraising activities
It’s no secret the manufacturing industry faces more challenges than most. And while these obstacles may vary based on the size and location of your manufacturing business, there are a few standout challenges facing manufacturers of all types and sizes across the country.
With the recent hike in the audit and review threshold for charitable contributions for Maryland nonprofits, many organizations may be asking themselves – if we aren’t required to have an audit or review anymore, do we really need to continue our current level of assurance? The Maryland threshold increase, which took effect on October 1, 2016, was made in order to better align with federal Uniform Guidance standards and upped the threshold for charitable contributions from $500K to $750K for audits. The charitable contribution threshold for reviews was also raised from $200K to $300K.
Your brand new client, Mrs. Archer, just filed for divorce from her husband of 15 years. The case is in its very early stages and you want to learn a little more about your new client, her financial situation, the marital assets, and her lifestyle. Where do you begin?
One of the most misunderstood components of any nonprofit organization is the board of directors. Nonprofits typically base board member selection on two things: the candidate’s interest in the organization’s mission and the size of the candidate’s wallet. What many nonprofits fail to realize is that these qualities, while desirable, shouldn’t serve as the basis for their board recruitment efforts. It’s important to populate your board with members who are able and willing to put in the effort to see your nonprofit succeed. The question is – which types of people do you need for a successful board?
Our 2016 Maryland Construction Industry Survey revealed some interesting news: Only 26% of construction company CFOs report that they do a financial statement audit. Under current accounting rules, accountants are allowed to prepare compiled, reviewed and audited financial statements. Each service provides a different level of assurance, and as you move up the level of assurance, the cost to the business owner increases. You can read more on compiled, reviewed and audited financial statements here. But if you’re looking to hitch your wagon to the expected increase in construction business, and need financing or bonding to do so — a topic discussed in our blog post, Financing Opportunities Improve for Construction Companies: Time to Shop for a New Bank or Surety? — you might need to reconsider whether or not you need to have an audit of your financial statements done by your CPA.
Business owners and executives pour their hearts and souls into building a successful company. Often their hard work and dedication pays off, quite literally, with the sale of the business to a publicly traded company. Those corporate executives and their families end up with the majority of their wealth tied up in a single asset – the stock of a publicly traded company. While the wealth you accumulate from the stock can be substantial, a concentrated stock position presents several problems, namely, that there is risk associated with tying all of your wealth to a single company. Sure, you can sell the stock, but this can result in a big tax liability. So what do you do?
Despite national concerns about the degree of government regulations and rising healthcare and insurance costs, the future of Maryland’s manufacturing industry is looking brighter. While not all Maryland manufactures and industry experts share this positive outlook, according to the Governor’s Office, Maryland reported a 2.8% increase in Maryland manufacturing jobs since 2015. This is the largest percentage increase of any state in the region, and the first time Maryland has had a positive year-to-year manufacturing job growth since 1998.
As a matrimonial attorney, you know better than anyone that divorce can bring out the worst in people. Despite their best efforts to work amicably, divorcing husbands and wives often end up being less than forthcoming.
After you’ve allotted the time and resources to ensure that your nonprofit is ready for an endowment, the next question you must answer is: how much money do we raise? This decision, like many choices in business, comes down to your organization and specifically your current goals and operating budget.
When we polled skilled nursing facility (SNF) executives for our 2016 Maryland Skilled Nursing Facility Outlook Survey, more than two out of three of them ranked changes to the payment and reimbursement system as their number one concern. Concerns about the new payment and reimbursement system are significant among both for-profit and nonprofit SNF executives. Likewise, it is of nearly equal concern to owners, administrators and chief financial offers of Maryland’s facilities.
If you own a construction firm, what we uncovered in our 2016 Maryland Construction Industry Survey does not bode well for you. Owners are largely ill-prepared to exit their business, with less than 30% saying they know how much their business is worth. About half say they could make an educated guess, but this isn’t encouraging. Even more disheartening: 70% of survey respondents say a successor has not been identified at their firm.
I recently hosted a webinar on best practices in nonprofit endowment management. Afterwards, I received an all too common question from a nonprofit executive who had been considering an endowment for her organization – how do I know if and when my nonprofit is ready to establish an endowment? The answer, like most strategic decisions, comes down to the individual organization and circumstances. If your organization already has an open-minded management team and board who is willing to entertain the idea of attempting to build an endowment, you’re already a step ahead than most. For the rest of the nonprofit world, decision makers at your organization may be wary of diverting incoming funds to a long-term investment strategy rather than meeting the needs of today. In these instances, there are two integral elements to consider when deciding the feasibility of founding an endowment: presence and prioritization.