Climbing the “hierarchy of needs” to find employee engagement

| Business Briefs

In 1943, psychologist Abraham Maslow set out his “hierarchy of needs.” This theory suggested that human behavior is a response to a variety of needs ranging from physical survival to self-actualization. At this point, you may be wondering, “What does any of this have to do with my business?” The answer is that truly engaged employees are motivated by needs other than just financial compensation. 5 tiers of needs As mentioned, Maslow theorized that humans have various needs to live Read more [...]

Tax impact of investor vs. trader status

| Tax Briefs

If you invest, whether you’re considered an investor or a trader can have a significant impact on your tax bill. Do you know the difference? Investors Most people who trade stocks are classified as investors for tax purposes. This means any net gains are treated as capital gains rather than ordinary income. That’s good if your net gains are long-term (that is, you’ve held the investment more than a year), because you can enjoy the lower long-term capital gains rate. However, any investment-related Read more [...]

Speed up business decisions with dashboard reports

| Business Briefs

Would you drive a car without a functional dashboard? Perhaps once a month someone could tell you how fast you were going and how much fuel you had left. Sound good? Probably not. Yet this is how many business owners run their companies. The good news is there’s a solution. With the right software and some help, you can regularly receive dashboard reports that provide a one- or two-page summary of key business performance metrics in a concise, visual format. Good looking info Similar to Read more [...]

Are frequent flyer miles ever taxable?

| Tax Briefs

If you recently redeemed frequent flyer miles to treat the family to a fun summer vacation or to take your spouse on a romantic getaway, you might assume that there are no tax implications involved. And you’re probably right — but there is a chance your miles could be taxable. Usually tax free As a general rule, miles awarded by airlines for flying with them are considered nontaxable rebates, as are miles awarded for using a credit or debit card. The IRS partially addressed the issue Read more [...]

An effective succession plan calls for decisive action

| Business Briefs, Business Miscellaneous

The prospect of leaving your company in the hands of someone else likely brings mixed emotions. You’ve no doubt spent a substantial amount of time and a great degree of effort in getting your enterprise to where it is today. So, as the saying goes, parting will be such sweet sorrow. Yet, when it comes to creating and executing a succession plan, decisive action is critical. You’ve got to respect the importance of timeliness — not only for you and your family, but also for your successor Read more [...]

What can one word tell you about a company?

| Business Miscellaneous

Living in a home built in 1910, I spend more time in Lowes than I care to think about. On one recent trip, it occurred to me that I’ve been seeing an awful lot of dogs in the store lately. It’s not uncommon to see a service dog, but you certainly don’t see multiple service dogs on a single visit to a store. At checkout, I commented on it and the clerk responded, “They’re dog friendly now”. I casually said I’m sure the dog owners enjoy it and then went about my business. But on the way out of the building, I found myself thinking about the employee’s use of “They” rather than saying “We’re dog friendly now”. Admittedly, it’s a very small difference that I probably shouldn’t have read into, but could it be more telling than it seems? Read more [...]

Combining business and vacation travel: What can you deduct?

| Tax Briefs

If you go on a business trip within the United States and tack on some vacation days, you can deduct some of your expenses. But exactly what can you write off? Transportation expenses Transportation costs to and from the location of your business activity are 100% deductible as long as the primary reason for the trip is business rather than pleasure. On the other hand, if vacation is the primary reason for your travel, then generally none of your transportation expenses are deductible. What Read more [...]

Should you offer spousal health care coverage?

| Business Briefs, Business Miscellaneous

When looking to manage benefits costs, employers have many ideas to consider. One in particular is whether and how to offer health care insurance to their employees’ spouses. The Affordable Care Act doesn’t require spousal coverage. It only requires coverage for dependent children. But many employees may frown on seeing spousal coverage suddenly become expensive or vanish entirely. So this is a question warranting careful forethought. 2 established ways Essentially, there are two established Read more [...]

When it happens to you: An overview of what to expect when the suspicion of employee fraud enters your office

| Business Briefs, Business Miscellaneous

By Jean R. Patterson, CPA, CFE (As printed in the July 19, 2016 issue of DE Dental Economics, a dental industry news publication.) When I meet dentists and they learn that I am a fraud examiner, their reactions are generally the same. I call it the "how-interesting-but-I-totally-can't-relate" response. I sometimes feel like I am selling hurricane insurance in the Midwest. While all agree that hurricane insurance is a good thing, they just do not feel they need it. Here are some of the more Read more [...]

Don’t roll the dice with your taxes if you gamble this year

| Tax Briefs

For anyone who takes a spin at roulette, cries out “Bingo!” or engages in other wagering activities, it’s important to be familiar with the applicable tax rules. Otherwise, you could be putting yourself at risk for interest or penalties — or missing out on tax-saving opportunities. Wins You must report 100% of your wagering winnings as taxable income. The value of complimentary goodies (“comps”) provided by gambling establishments must also be included in taxable income because Read more [...]