Your Full-Service Accounting + Business Growth Advisory Partner

Social Media: The New Handshake

Why social media has become a critical way to attract and retain customers By Shelley Lazarescu How strong is your handshake? For years, a firm handshake has been a must-have to succeed in business, for the simple reason that most business contacts have historically been made in person. Companies’ representatives usually met, vetted and negotiated with prospects or customers over lunch, on the golf course and in a variety of other social settings. There will always be a place for...

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FASB Issues Update for Nonprofit Organizations

By Vanessa Munoz In an effort to improve financial reporting for nonprofits, the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) is implementing various changes.  Among these changes are how expenses are being reported. Current Guidance When it comes to financial reporting, many nonprofit organizations are only required to provide expenses by their nature (i.e. salaries, travel, rent, etc.). However, voluntary health and welfare organizations are also required to present a statement...

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Yahoo Breach Update: What You Need to Know

By Wiss Associate Originally in August 2013 hackers stole data associated with more than one billion user accounts. The information was account information such as names, email addresses, phone numbers, birth dates as well as hashed passwords and security questions and answers. Yahoo claimed that payment card data and bank account information was not part of the information stolen as it was not on the compromise system. On Tuesday (10/3/17), Yahoo announced it was 3 billion accounts,...

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Effective Records Retention Practices for Businesses

By Paul Ursich Remember how things used to be? You’d carefully store all business contracts, insurance policies, tax records, purchase orders, invoices, banking statements and correspondence with vendors, customers and prospects. When your filing cabinets filled to capacity you’d buy more, move boxes of paperwork to a lonely storeroom or make a U-Haul delivery to off-site storage, never to be seen again. Things are better in the electronic age—supposedly. Now you can fill hard drives...

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New Leasing Standards: Key Elements of Changes Adopted by FASB

By Erin Silkowski Your company’s operation might rely heavily on leasing equipment or property as a way of using assets without the burden of purchasing or disposing of them when no longer needed. Due to changes adopted by the Financial Accounting Standards Board, many of these lease agreements that take place off the balance sheets will soon find their way on to them. As a result, it is essential to familiarize yourself with the upcoming changes sooner rather than later to avoid...

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Conducting an Internal Audit: What Your Business Needs to Know

By Fatima Wallizadeh Updated 7/30/2019. When an internal audit is conducted, auditors set up in a conference room with boxes of files, stacks of binders and open laptops. They might stay for a day, a week or longer. But do you really know what goes on during an audit, and why doing one is so important to a company’s operations? Here is what happens during an audit, and how auditors work with their clients to help them improve their businesses. Learning the client It’s essential for...

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Keep Track of Your Credit Score

By Joe Turk With everyone concerned about the recent Equifax Data breach, we recommend people remain vigilant and review their credit card, banking and financial transactions on-line very carefully. You can check Credit Karma for your credit scores and activity; however, the service is limited and updated from TransUnion and Equifax every 7 days. The top three credit monitoring services are LifeLock, IdentityForce and IdentityGuard–with LifeLock coming out on top in competitive...

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IRS Disaster Relief: Relief for Taxpayers Affected by Hurricanes Harvey & Irma

By: Evan Gernant The IRS has published various notices granting tax relief to “affected taxpayers” of hurricanes Harvey, impacting Texas beginning August 25, 2017, and Irma, impacting Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Florida and Georgia just a few weeks later. Affected taxpayers are defined as: Individuals whose principal residence is located in a covered disaster area; Businesses whose principal place of business is located in a covered disaster area; Any relief worker affiliated...

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New Extended Form 8938 Filing Requirements

By: Mary Vasilescu For tax years starting after December 31, 2015, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has expanded the criteria for reporting Specified Foreign Financial Assets, or SFFAs. SFFA’s for this purpose are foreign financial accounts maintained at a foreign financial institution and other foreign financial assets held for investment purposes. Enacted in 2010 as a section of FATCA or the “Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act”, Section 6038D of the Internal Revenue Code requires...

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Protect Your Identity: How to Recover from a Data Breach

By Wiss Associate If you maintain a credit score, there is a high chance you are one of the 143 million Americans whose sensitive information was uncovered in the recent data breach at Equifax, one of the country’s three largest credit reporting agencies. This breach, which lasted from May to July, swiped people’s names, birthdates, Social Security numbers, addresses, and in many cases, driver’s license numbers. What’s more, these cybercriminals accessed millions of people’s personal...

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Brewing Up Compliance: How Changes to NJ Laws affect Microbreweries & Brewpubs

By Paul Lembo In recent years, the American alcohol scene has been overtaken by the rise of microbreweries and brewpubs. Entrepreneurs across the country have been taking advantage of the evolving tastes of a beer-drinking population willing to pay a premium for flavorful ports, pilsners, IPAs and other brews. But because of the archaic, limiting laws that were in place until late 2012, the state of New Jersey is behind the craft brew times and is only beginning to catch up to the...

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Nonprofit Accounting – Don’t Get Tripped Up by Form 990 Requirements

By Linda Curro What’s in the price of a ticket? For nonprofit organizations that hold fundraising events and for the people who attend them, the answer is more complicated than it might appear. It’s important to get special event reporting correct because Form 990 has specific lines on the Revenue Statement to report fundraising events. The ticket price of every event carries two components within it – the donation amount and the entertainment benefit. Whether it’s a dinner, a cocktail...

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Wiss: Where Family Comes First

By: Fatima Wallizadeh, former Audit Staff member Life never prepares you for a loss. When a personal tragedy suddenly pierced my family and I, it was one of the toughest experiences we have ever encountered. Unfortunately, this tragedy occurred in the midst of busy season at Wiss, the most frenzied and exigent time of year at any accounting firm. Now not only would I have to cope with the tragedy—I would have to steady the myriad responsibilities that occur during this period on...

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Wiss’ Trailblazing Female Figures: Celebrating National Women’s History Month

By: Danielle Patton, former Marketing Intern The observance of National Women’s Equality Day not only celebrates the adoption of the 19th Amendment, but commemorates women’s remarkable and courageous efforts towards absolute equality in the workforce and all aspects of life. To honor this historic day, we would like to highlight Ugochi Oguh, an Audit Senior and inspiration leader at Wiss. Ugochi has a vast history of stimulating diversity and helping nonprofits conquer their financial...

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End-of-Year Tax Planning: How to Lessen Year-End Stress

By Laura Melville We are more than halfway through 2017 – and that means the fourth quarter is already on the horizon. When those final three months of this year arrive, it’s time for your business to focus on planning for 2018 in earnest. Unfortunately, many businesses wait to begin year-end planning until then, as well. Your team will already have its hands full preparing budgets and mapping out your company’s strategies for the following year, and an end-of-year tax preparation-planning...

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Utilizing Job Costing to Help Manage the Bottom Line

By: Wiss Employee Is your bottom line understated simply because you don’t have the necessary documentation or lack the accounting insight to allocate job costs to contracts? Or are you paying too much in taxes because you have an overly aggressive cost allocation strategy? If you are in either situation, the lack of a sound job costing strategy is costing you money. In the construction industry, there are three main types of costs: direct costs, indirect costs, and general and administrative...

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You Cannot Automate a Relationship

By Ruth Raftery “Hello! My name is Samantha and I am an automated voice recognition answering service.  You can speak to me as you would with a live representative. Please tell me, what are you calling about today?” It seems many calls I make lately– whether to credit card companies or to other businesses – are answered by the type of technology that runs programs like “Samantha.” In my experience, these systems can never actually answer the types of questions...

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Business Leaders: Give Yourself an 85 Percent Chance of Success

Dr. Nick Molinaro, Ed.D., P.C. CEOs and other top business executives have it tough. We read about their challenges all the time. Sometimes they are called heroes and sometimes goats for taking actions in the face of a possible downside – or for refusing to do so. Ah, the magic of 20-20 hindsight. An accountant’s main job consists of narrowly focusing on the specific task in front of them. CEOs, on the other hand, must have the ability to shift awareness to different items perhaps...

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Employment Tax Filings for Nonprofits: How to Ensure Compliance with IRS Rules

By Linda Curro Nonprofit organizations frequently form organically, in response to a need in the community. The people who establish and run them are usually concerned citizens and activists, passionate about the cause, but often less knowledgeable about the operational and financial aspects of running a nonprofit organization. However, it is critical for nonprofit leaders to understand business and finance, particularly when it comes to employment tax compliance. Failure to properly...

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The Power of Language: How Words Can Transform Your Perception

By Wiss Employee The connection between language, words, emotions and self can transform the reality within which you live. If your goal is to be resilient, confident, successful in achieving goals and able to overcome obstacles, start by taking responsibility for the words you use and the phrases that shape your thoughts. What language makes up the beliefs in yourself? Become more aware of your vocabulary and intentionally focus on life-giving, instead of self-diminishing, words. Here...

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Property Management Software is for Everyone

By Wiss Associate Did you know the real estate industry is a $15 trillion industry and small to medium sized companies still command roughly 50% of the total real estate market in the United States? This concept has drastically transformed with the rise of Cloud computing and the price of entry–which is much lower than you think. Companies such as Appfolio, Propertyware, RealPage and Total Management are paving the way with complete property management, accounting, tenant portal,...

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From Collator to Colorado

By Connor Doyle Hindsight is 20/20, but sometimes it takes time to get the full picture. My story begins at college graduation. I was bright eyed, bushy tailed, and without a job. One of my top accounting firm choices, Wiss & Company, had just turned me down for an internship. After an overly anxious two months, a last minute drop from the temporary positions in the Wiss tax department opened up with what I came to know as one of the most unglamorous jobs in accounting. I took...

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Top Business Leaders Learn to Shift Awareness to Maximize Performance

Dr. Nick Molinaro, Ed.D., P.C. As I have explained in this previous post regarding my work as a licensed psychologist with high-level athletes, awareness and focus are critical. Those same mental skills serve the leadership skills of the exceptionally performing business leaders I work with as well. Let’s drill a little deeper into how the performance abilities of both groups align. From a psychological viewpoint, there are two types of sports – closed and open – and many top athletes...

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Valuing Your Company: What to Know Before Seeking Business Valuation

By Brittney Neal Updated 7/30/2019. Businesses change hands all the time, for a variety of reasons. Whether they’re sold, gifted, merged, passed on to next of kin, or divided among former partners, family members or divorcing spouses, ownership of even the most stable of businesses at some point will change. And when a business changes hands in whole or in part, the parties involved need to have an accurate picture of the value of the sum total of the company’s assets....

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Launching A Business: What to Consider When Beginning Your Startup

By Wiss Associate The first step toward launching your own business is having an idea. But even if you have an idea for a business, you may have no idea about the legal and tax obligations that await you should you put that idea into practice. Here are several things to keep in mind before getting your startup off the ground. Separate yourself from the business Running your business through your personal bank account might seem easy and convenient, but unless you keep your business...

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The Language of Success

By Wiss Employee Picture yourself hiking in the Sonoran Desert in Arizona. Miles of warm, red soil stretch out in front of you, dotted by jagged rocks and sporadic cacti. In the distance the sharp ridges of a mountain range catch the sun. What words would you use to build out this scene? Unwelcoming? Desolate? Foreboding? Beautiful? Wonderous? Tranquil? The words that come to mind have a physical effect on your brain and a powerful effect on your behaviors, feelings and actions. Brain...

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Changing Overtime Rules? New Recommendation Could Change Who Qualifies

By Laura Melville Under current regulations, employees are exempt from overtime pay if they meet three criteria: the employee must be salaried, perform executive, administrative or professional duties, and earn more than $455 per week, or $23,660 per year. The current salary threshold was enacted in 2004. But that salary threshold could be increasing, as the U.S. Department of Labor last year recommended raising the salary criteria to $913 per week, or $47,476 per year. (The rule...

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The Power and Pitfalls of Pressure

By Connor Doyle There are few things done in the business world that are performed at a leisurely pace. Owners don’t wander through their fiscal year, money doesn’t change hands without intent, and bosses don’t demand 10% of one’s abilities within a project. More often than not, there’s an urgency to requests. There’s an unspoken agreement that a concerted effort will be made towards completion in a timely manner. With that request comes pressure, and with that pressure often comes...

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Utilizing a Triple Bottom Line Approach for your Future Success

By Arnold Macalintal Yes, businesses can do good while also maintaining a healthy balance sheet and income statement. That’s the premise behind a triple bottom line approach, also known in some circles as TBL, or 3BL. The intent isn’t just to meet the company’s financial bottom line—it’s to focus on two others as well: social and environmental impact. The idea is to give equal consideration to the importance of people, planet and profit for the overall betterment of the business....

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Advice for Accounting Newbies: Words of Wisdom for Future Staff 1’s

By Danielle Patton, former Marketing intern Stepping into a brand new position in the accounting industry can be both exciting and intimidating. Even if you have acquired internships in the past, clocking in on your first official day as a Staff 1 will unlock access to a completely divergent domain full of new experiences and opportunities. To prepare yourself, here is some inspirational advice from our very own Wiss team, sharing some pointers on how to make your Staff 1 experience...

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Enhancing Business Leadership and Performance Through Awareness Training

By Dr. Nick Molinaro, Ed.D., P.C. Successful business leaders have a skill set that includes curiosity, wisdom, courage, creativity, tenacity and the ability to lead, motivate and energize others. But one key trait—and the one that serves as the foundation of all others—is awareness. Internal and external awareness makes business leaders more sensitive to their environment and the conditions in front of them, and to how they’re perceived by employees, partners, vendors, customers...

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The Cadillac of Technology: Yardi Aids Companies Both Big and Small

By Wiss Associate When it comes to real estate investment and property management software, Yardi Technology is the Cadillac of products on the market. Few can compete with Yardi’s scope of offerings, from commercial real estate and construction management to residential rentals and investment partnerships. And while Yardi is one of the longest-standing companies of its kind, it’s also an innovator: It was one of the first such software brands to offer a total cloud-based product. Yardi...

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Update to Fiduciary Rule Improves Retirement Advice

By Wiss Associate You may assume that when a broker, advisor, insurance agent, or consultant makes recommendations about your retirement account, the advice is in your best interest. But that hasn’t always been the case. While the majority of advisers act in the best interest of their clients, not all have been legally required to do so, and some have been swayed by hidden fees or commissions to recommend investments that weren’t necessarily the best choice for their clients’ individual...

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Real Estate Crowdfunding: Is this Option the Right Choice for Your Business?

By Darin Valentine Until recently, developers seeking financing for a hotel, office building, or other project had two primary options to obtain most of the funding for their project: Take out an interest-bearing loan, or find a large investor willing to fund the project in exchange for significant equity. But in 2012, a new law opened the door to another source of real estate financing — crowdfunding. Real estate crowdfunding allows developers to tap into a larger pool of investors,...

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Safeguarding Accounting Ethics

By Brian Harden Across industries, the most effective managers understand that leading by example is the best way to influence corporate culture. In the realm of accounting ethics, this concept is known as Tone at the Top. The premise is simple: Employees look to management for leadership, and odds are high that their behavior will mirror the conduct of their bosses. If managers act with honesty and integrity, employees will generally follow suit. By the same token, if workers see...

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Does Your Business Qualify for Lucrative R&D Tax Credits?

By Wiss Associate “My company’s not in the business of research and development, so how could we qualify for R&D tax credits?” If that’s what runs through your head when you think of this particular credit, it’s understandable – especially if you don’t have any scientists or many engineers on staff. Or a dedicated research and development department. The truth is, you could earn lucrative federal, state and local tax credits with work that you don’t even think of in conventional...

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Borrowing from Your 401(k): What to Know Before Making the Decision

By Cindy Sandomenico Borrowing money from your 401(k) account can be tempting. You know the money is there, and it’s yours, so why not use it? Before you pull the trigger, however, consider the limitations and consequences. Here are some important points to keep in mind. Know the rules Generally, you can borrow from a 401(k) for any reason, such as paying educational expenses or buying a home for the first time — although employers are not required to offer a loan option within...

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The Maturing Cybersecurity Dangers in Commercial Real Estate

By Alexander J. Narcise and Robert Risk The real estate world has become increasingly exposed to cyber-attacks given the increase in the amount of multi-family properties that have been developed over the last few years. Developers who were never before in the multi-family market are now collecting personal data from thousands of individuals. Even commercial properties possess very private tenant financial information that could cause harm if penetrated, and regular insurance alone...

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Moving Your Business to the Cloud: Increase Flexibility, Savings and Security

By Jessica Manas By now you’ve heard about the cloud — that invisible vault that allows you to store data on the internet instead of keeping it on hardware devices. And you likely already use the cloud – whether you realize it or not. If you’ve ever scheduled a meeting on your laptop and it then popped up on your smartphone calendar, or if you’ve ever been relieved to find that your photos still exist after you’ve dropped your iPhone, you have the cloud to thank. Businesses can also...

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Meals and Entertainment: How to Classify Business Expenses for Tax Purposes

By Louann Cassano Whether it’s drinks with a client or dinner during a work trip, meals and entertainment are generally tax-deductible business expenses. However, the size of the allowable write-off depends on the circumstances of the expenditure, including the purpose of the meal or entertainment, who the recipient is and where the expense takes place. If you don’t understand the IRS rules that govern these deductions, you may be tempted to lump all meals and entertainment into...

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The Art of the Contract Schedule

By Wiss Employee When accountants hear the word “estimate,” most go into a panic. In an industry where accuracy and precision are paramount, the mere thought of a number not being exact can create a sense of unrest. However, in the construction industry, estimates are unavoidable. A slight one to two percent change in an estimate on a large contract could add or subtract a substantial amount of profit or loss to or from the bottom line. At Wiss, we work with our clients to strike...

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How to Minimize Your Fiduciary Liability

By Craig Erickson Updated 7/30/2019. Those with discretionary authority or administrative control over their organization’s retirement and 401(k) plan face significant risks. If fiduciaries make decisions that negatively affect plan participants or beneficiaries, they can be held personally liable for breaching their fiduciary duties, even if the action was unintentional. Although fiduciaries cannot entirely eliminate the risks associated with their role, there are several things...

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Accounting and Finance: A Forbidden Love

By Connor Doyle Accounting, our Romeo, and Finance, our Juliet. Two houses, both alike in dignity, in fair New York City, where we lay our scene, from ancient bond break to new maturity, where credit balance makes cash on hand burst seams. Accounting and finance, though both safely under the business umbrella, are divergent in ideology. Finance wants to spend and raise money for the future of a business while accounting wants to keep track of all that has happened in the past. But,...

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10K Plus in Your Foreign Account? File an FBAR to Avoid a Tax Penalty

If you maintain a foreign financial account, which could be a bank account, a mutual fund, a brokerage account, or any other sort of account, that contains a collective value of $10,000, you may be requested by the Bank Secrecy Act to report your account annually to the Department of Treasury through electronic filing. The Report of Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts, FBAR, is a form that must be recorded directly with the office of Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, or FinCEN. Those...

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Take Your Inventory Management System Out of the Spreadsheet Age

By Donna Woronka Many businesses start up so modestly that they can fit their full inventory in their garage, a slice of rented warehouse or in that dark, cobwebby storeroom in their building—and easily keep track of it via a spreadsheet. But as businesses grow and inventory expands, all that manual input catches up with them. In the first place, spreadsheet inventory management is a laborious operation that takes key people away from what they should be doing. And manual input is...

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If You’re Self-Employed, You May Qualify for Insurance Deductions

By Wiss Associate For myriad professionals, becoming an entrepreneur can be a dream come true. Fortunately, health insurance deductions can make maintaining that dream much easier. The Self-Employed Health Insurance Tax Deduction within the Affordable Care Act can assist in lowering your adjust gross income by your payment quantity in premiums on dental, medical, and qualified long-term care insurance for you and your loved ones. For self-employers unable to access a partner’s insurance...

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No Health Coverage? Be Prepared to Pay a Hefty Price

As of now, Obamacare’s individual mandate requests that you purchase health insurance. If you can afford the coverage and refuse to acquire it, a big fee could be headed your way. For the tax year of 2016, the Individual Shared Responsibility fine skyrocketed to 2.5 percent of an individual’s complete household adjusted gross income. However, for the new year and beyond, the amount will stay at 2.5 but the flat fee will be regulated for inflation. For each month you do not have coverage,...

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What the DOL Looks for During an Audit

By Craig Erickson You’ve just learned that the Department of Labor’s Employee Benefit Security Administration has selected your company’s retirement plan for an investigation. Are you and your plan prepared for an audit? The DOL typically doesn’t provide much notice before beginning an audit, which can last several days, weeks or longer. However, in advance of starting, you will receive an investigation notice that includes a list of documents its people will want to review when...

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Tax Benefits of Charitable Giving

By Wiss Associate As the new year is set in motion and you tuck away holiday presents, you may have stumbled upon items that you rarely ever use. Instead of finding additional space for these objects, it can prove to be more beneficial—and profitable—to donate them! If you break down your deductions, a contribution to an eligible philanthropic group can award you a charitable contribution deduction against your income tax.  Normally, you can subtract up to half of your adjusted gross...

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No Phishing! Watch Out for Fake IRS Calls

Have you received a vague phone call from a person claiming to be the IRS, demanding that you cough up money to pay taxes without providing any tangible information? These callers can be relentless and may have ordinary names, persuasive IRS badge numbers, and transform your caller ID to display the words “IRS” across it, as if the actual organization is calling you. Before you panic, this is a scam called phishing, where frauds posing as the IRS make unsolicited communication to...

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Fulfilling the Dream of Home Ownership

By Adriana Cabrera The prospect of buying a home can be daunting, especially for first-time homebuyers who may be saddled with student loans, car payments and credit card debt. But with planning – and some discipline – potential homeowners can make their dream of home ownership a reality. Here are some tips to help you through the process. Create a budget Begin by gaining an understanding of your income and expenses. On an Excel spreadsheet or a free budgeting app, enter your monthly...

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Plug in Your Car and Receive a Tax Break

By Wiss Associate Have you recently purchased an electric or hybrid car? If so, you may be eligible for a significant tax credit. Consumers of these energy-friendly vehicles can benefit from a tax break of $2,500 to $7,500, contingent on two essential factors: a car’s battery size and the amount of income taxes you owe during a specific year. Contrariwise, vehicles that have 4 kWh batteries can be eligible for a $2,500 tax benefit. In order to stay informed on the complex rules of...

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New Doors, Windows, or AC Unit? Get ready to receive a tax credit!

By Wiss Associate If you made your home a little more energy efficient last year, you may qualify for a tax credit on your federal income tax return. In previous years, to encourage clean energy conservation in residences of Americans everywhere, the Department of Energy and the EPA have worked collectively to develop Energy Star, a program designed to promote business and home energy efficiency by deeming appliances like solar panels, air conditioning and heating systems, and windows...

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Goal 2017: To Start Painlessly Building Your Accounting Technology Ecosystem

By Paul Ursich If the end of one calendar year and the beginning of the next is when your company starts planning the future and prioritizing investments in technology, I hope you’ll spend some of this time considering your accounting system. Call it your Y2K17 effort if you will, but it’s your strategic efforts to improve your technology footprint in order to increase productivity, financial accuracy and, ultimately, profitability. If you’re like a lot of our clients, you’re likely...

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Reduce Year-End Accounting Woes with these End-of-Month Closing Best Practices

By Wiss Advisory Associate One of the best ways to alleviate end-of-year financial stress is by being more proactive in your monthly closing process. The trick to keeping procrastination at bay throughout the year is to make your monthly closings more productive and predictable. Follow these tips to stay on track each month. Set and maintain a schedule. When your staff knows that the final Friday of the month (or whichever date you set) is close time, it becomes a structured part...

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Tips for Providing Quality Client Service

By Carrie Grotz I am a lover of coffee and I frequent Dunkin Donuts (DD). I know their menu so well in fact, that I could probably work there. From the moment I enter a DD, I can usually tell which have knowledgeable staff, good donuts (the ones that look fresh, large and full of filling), those that offer the “fun” munchkins instead of just the plain, chocolate, and powdered ones, and just by glancing at the staff, I can usually tell from the moment I place my order if the coffee...

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The Impact of One’s Actions

By Paul Peterson This is a story about how an individual’s actions can have an immense impact on others. Let’s be real, as a white male with blonde hair (albeit getting darker with age) and blue eyes, I am one of the least diverse people in my office. The only time I may get a second glance at being diverse is after a bad sunburn. So for me, I want to take the opportunity to share with you a period of time in my life that shaped me and provide you with a better understanding of why...

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12 Days of Giving – Day 10: Alstede Farms

Alstede Farms is highlighted in Day 10 of the #12DaysofGiving Celebration. Wiss is proud to celebrate this local farm based out of Chester, NJ that produces a huge variety of their own local fruits, vegetables and flowers using only sustainable and USDA certified organic production methods. Today, more than 90 years after Hermann S. Alstede, Sr. immigrated to the United States from Germany, the Alstede Family maintains Hermann’s legacy of “rugged individualism” and the immigrant...

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Pursuing the American Dream

By Arnold Macalintal Whenever I think of grit, determination, and more importantly giving, I think of my father. My father was born in a small municipality in a province in the Philippines. The family didn’t have much growing up and being one of 12 children, there was even less to go around. He found himself running around with gangs in his younger days and has the fading tattoos on his hands to show for it. He could have easily stayed on this path, but he wanted more; so he changed...

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Using Resilience to Overcome a Bad Habit

By Ajay Parikh I was fifteen years old when I somehow picked up the habit of smoking. One night, as I was outside my home with friends smoking, I spotted my older brother from twenty feet away, walking in my direction. As soon as he passed me I quickly crushed the burning cigarette in my hand, forming a visible burn on my right palm. But little did I know, I had already been caught. No one had ever smoked in my family before and I was the first person to ever try it, so I was nervous...

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12 Days of Giving – Day 8: Table to Table

Table to Table is celebrated in Day 8 of our #12DaysofGiving Celebration. We are proud to highlight this organization that helps serve the hungry in our local NJ counties. Table to Table is a community based food rescue program that collects prepared and perishable food that would otherwise be wasted and delivers it to organizations that serve the hungry in Bergen, Essex, Hudson and Passaic counties. The organization “rescues” food from about 200 donors (supermarkets,...

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What Type of 401(k) Plan Document Do I Have and When Do I Need to Update it?

By Craig Erickson When you establish your company’s 401(k) plan, you have to make a range of decisions, from the type of plan and investment tools you’ll offer to participation requirements and guidelines. Once you’ve done this, you need to put it in writing. This is your plan document, a mandatory part of your plan that details its provisions and clearly communicates them to participants. There are three levels of plan documents: Prototype. This off-the-shelf version of a plan...

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Stranger in a Strange Land

By Adrienne Moscinski Every one of us has a story. A bit of truth that we tuck away from new eyes. A gaze that we aren’t quite sure of yet. We swim around the unknown looking for the light, where we can finally share who we are – our truth. Interviewing at a new company can be daunting. Poised with a crisp resume in hand, you present your best face. In a tailored suit, you search for the right words to let your personality shine through, while assuring the interviewer that you are...

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Life is Short. Live it Right; Leave it Fulfilled

By Diana Miller We all have stories. How profound is yours?  How fulfilling is yours? When your time is up, will you leave behind a story people will remember that you are proud of? So here begins my story . . . I was raised in the United States by two immigrant parents, in a non-English speaking household. My father had an 8th-grade education, and my mother only completed 6th grade. I grew up being told you should stay home, cook, clean, be a good wife to your husband, and raise...

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Choosing Your Own Path

By Brittney Neal I was born and raised in Ohio. Around the time of my sixteenth birthday my parents and I had to move to upstate New York due to the threat of my dad losing his job. Unfortunately, a few years after moving and settling my dad was laid off again.  Fast forward a few months later, he was thankfully able to find a job in New Jersey, and we have been in this lovely state ever since. For me, moving was a time of fear and excitement. I was scared to leave behind all my...

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My Sister’s Keeper

By Lori Graham Everyone is capable of inspiring others. I was born into a situation that took me a long time to accept and understand the purpose of it all and while I learned how to make the best of it, but that didn’t come easily. Ultimately, life is a gift; however, it doesn’t always feel that way. From the start everyone is given a deck of cards and it is up to you to choose how to deal with them and find your own happiness. I am not resilient; I’m learning to be resilient....

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Divorce from a Young Adult’s Perspective

By Jack Tawil It happens more than 50% of the time; it happens for many reasons; its emotional result spares few; its societal brand is understood, but a brand nonetheless; it’s happened to me and has possibly in some way happened to you: it’s divorce. I was a freshman in college thinking, “How can the day get any worse after receiving my worst graded exam since third grade spelling?”. A random phone call from my father instantly set off a trigger. Was it my sick grandma, my brother...

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Strengthening Millennials’ Financial Literacy: On the Road to Financial Success

By Connor Doyle Updated 7/30/2019. So, you’ve crash landed in the middle of a city. There’s a funky road going somewhere and a lot of people you don’t know around you are singing and dancing. You’re confused. Last you remember you were safe at home, warm in your bed with your family surrounding you. What happened? College happened – a tornado. Winds whipped around you, you meet some odd characters, got turned in every direction, and have trouble remembering some of the finer details....

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Making a Conscious Effort to Choose Happiness

By Carrie Grotz I think I was born a worrier. I used to worry about everything and anything, especially about things out of my control: things that I thought would happen and especially the worry about what others thought about me. I’ve since learned that worry was a big waste of time and caused me low self-esteem and self-confidence. As the years went on, things happened that broke my heart. I lost my grandmother who I was very close to. I loved my mother more than anything in the...

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The Hidden Cost of Assimilation

By Shelley Lazarescu My story is one of many Asian American experiences. My parents came to the U.S. with $5,000 in cash and no knowledge of the English language or customs. They uprooted our family from Taiwan due to tensions with China. Through extreme hard work and unlimited sacrifice, they created opportunities to build a better life for my sister and I. We hardly took any vacations but when we did travel, it was back to Taiwan for funerals to pay respects to our family. During...

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My True Self: A Story of Acceptance and Change

By Joel Bockhorn When I was younger, both in Middle and High School, coming to terms with my true identity was a serious challenge. I wanted to have a happy and successful future, but based on what I had come to understand about myself, I feared I wouldn’t have the opportunity to live the future that I wanted, or even have the same privileges that others had. Near the end of my time in Middle School, I had figured out that I was gay. It was something that although I knew was true,...

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Developing Resiliency – Are You a Carrot, an Egg, or a Coffee Bean?

By Kimberly Bustamante A young woman spoke with her mother about how hard things were for her in her life. As soon as one problem was solved, a new one arose. She did not know how she was going to make it. She wanted to give up. She was tired of fighting and struggling. Her mother took her to the kitchen and filled three pots with water, placing each on a high fire. The pots came to boil. In the first she placed carrots, in the second – eggs, and in the last she placed ground...

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Preparing for Change: New Rules to Impact NJ Renewal Registration for Nonprofits

By Linda Curro Effective Jan. 1, 2017, New Jersey will require that all charity registrations and annual renewals be submitted digitally, using a new online filing system. In many ways, this is good news: A process that once required up to 75 pages of documents to be sent via snail mail will now go paperless, saving tons of waste. The new system also promises to streamline renewal reviews, enabling the state to more efficiently verify that the forms are completed and accurate. And...

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Preparing for a Financial Audit

By Randy Cohen “We’re being audited.” Those three little words can strike fear into the heart of any executive. Nobody likes the prospect of an outsider combing through the books and potentially exposing errors. Yet as unpleasant as a financial audit can be, with the right attitude and approach, it can prove a valuable tool for improving your business — and an auditor can be viewed as a trusted adviser instead of as an adversary. The key to an efficient and successful financial audit...

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Governor Christie Keeps Reciprocal Agreement

By Wiss Employee In order to boost the state’s revenues, Governor Christie withdrew from a decades old tax agreement with Pennsylvania back in September. It left many business owners and employees anxious about 2017 income taxes and filings. Read in our past blog post about the repercussions of withdrawing from the agreement. On November 22, Gov. Christie announced that the reciprocal agreement with Pennsylvania will remain in place.  New Jersey and Pennsylvania residents that...

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The Importance of Cultivating Relationships at Work

By Lisa Calick Just as maintaining solid relationships among family and friends is vital to a sense of well-being in our personal lives, building relationships is also critical for success in the workplace. A LinkedIn study revealed that 46 percent of professionals around the world believe that their friendships at work play an important role in their overall happiness. These bonds are particularly significant to millennials, who are more likely than older generations to share highly...

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Trump & Republican Tax Proposal

By Evan Gernant With Donald Trump set to move into the United States Presidency in January of 2017 and Republicans retaining control of both houses of Congress, the chances of us seeing significant tax legislation in the near term are likely. During his campaign, president-elect Trump put forward various proposals for substantial changes to the United States tax code. Furthermore, in June of 2016, House Republicans issued their “blueprint” for tax reform. Many of the Trump and House...

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When 401(k) Loans are Considered to be in Default

By Laura Zindel Taking out a 401(k) loan can seem like a relatively simple way to borrow money. It is a very common practice, but many employees who borrow from their plans aren’t prepared for the financial consequences of doing so if a loan ends up in default. The most common reason for defaulting on a 401(k) loan is the loss of a job. If the employee loses his or her job, the plan document rule requires that any outstanding loan balance must be repaid within a certain timeframe,...

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3 Reasons Why It’s Important to Understand Your Cap Table

By Ryan S. Silva Very often some of the most promising early stage growth companies find themselves challenged when asked about their cap table. Simply put, the cap table should list all the securities of the company (i.e., stock options, warrants, convertible debt, SAFE, etc.) and who owns them. This isn’t difficult when it’s just a few people, but as the capital structure becomes more complex from financing transactions, the cap table usually does as well. This is generally because...

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Focus on Your Process: Take Full Advantage of Your Accounting Software

By Carolyn Hall Your business can be using the best accounting software in the world, but unless your team is following standard processes, you’re not taking full advantage of your investment. Here’s how to make sure your system is running efficiently and that you have the right people and processes in place. When setting up a new system, lay out all of the steps involved and continue to communicate to team members throughout the lifecycle of a product or service. Project management...

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Building Customer Relationships: Today’s Clients Demand More

By Paul Peterson Updated 7/30/2019. Your relationship with your customers has never mattered more than it does today. Customers no longer just expect you to sell them a product or service. Instead, they want you to be one step ahead of them, understanding their pain points and bringing issues — and solutions — to the table. To do that, you need to understand your customer and bring transparency to the relationship. Today’s consumers have more access than ever to information...

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How IRS Revenue Protocol 2016-37 Will Impact Retirement Plans

By Cindy Sandomenico Approved in June 2016, IRS Revenue Protocol 2016-37 alters the way individually designed retirement plans must file amendments and submit determination letters to the IRS. This will be effective Jan. 1, 2017. Previously, retirement plans were subject to a five-year cycle involving remedial and formal adoption of amendments, and submission of determination letters every five years, regardless of whether the plan was amended. This process was time-consuming for...

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With the Gas Tax Bill Comes the Elimination of the NJ Estate Tax

By Ruth Raftery The much discussed bill raising the New Jersey gas tax by 23 cents per gallon was signed by Governor Christie on Friday October 14th.  Although not as widely publicized, the new law provides for another major change – the complete elimination of the New Jersey state estate tax. Up to now, and for the remainder of 2016, New Jersey has the lowest estate tax exemption in the country, subjecting estates worth more than $675,000 to estate tax at the time of death. By way...

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Fraud Prevention – A Necessary Evil

By Timothy Kennedy, CPA Do you trust your bookkeeper? This is a question you have to ask yourself periodically. Not only do you want to feel confident that they wouldn’t steal from you, but you also want comfort in knowing that they can properly journalize and manage the accounting information that comes through the door each day. Poor accounting record maintenance and overall sloppy accounting by a lackluster bookkeeper can take you to the point of no return—and force your hand...

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Christie Launches NJ Gas Spike to End Road Funding Crisis

By Christopher Colyer After an extensive three-month long political and financial stalemate, New Jersey Governor, Chris Christie and Democratic leaders reached a deal to renew the Transportation Trust Fund, reviving dozens of construction plans that remained lifeless for months on end. By proposing to raise the gas tax by 23 cents a gallon to replenish the fund, which is recycled and applied to road, rail, and bridge improvements for the state, New Jersey’s transportation projects...

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How Proposed Changes to Form 5500 Could Impact Your Filing Requirements

By Wiss Associate If your company has an employee benefit plan, you should be familiar with IRS Form 5500, the form you use to report activity regarding your retirement and welfare plans. On July 11, 2016, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) proposed revisions to Form 5500 and the related schedules in an effort to promote more thorough monitoring of plans by employers, fiduciairies, participants and, of course, the DOL. Here are some of the changes and how they could significantly...

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Ignite Passion and Inspire Others: Becoming a Transformational Leader

By Andrea Saenz Being a leader often comes with great responsibilities and rather high expectations to maintain. We are often our own worst critics, as we feel an arduous pressure to perform. But, what we fail to do at times, is to take a moment to pause and reflect—look introspectively and ask ourselves, “Why am I in a position of leadership? What can I bring to the table? What are some short and long-term goals that I would like to see accomplished in my own personal growth as...

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Income Tax Pact Dismantled: Gov. Christie Terminates Tax Covenant with PA

By Philip London Do you cross the Delaware River on the way to work? By next year, your commute will be even more expensive. For the past 38 years, neighbor states Pennsylvania and New Jersey have preserved a reciprocity pact that allows taxing solely where workers reside, not where they work. Thus, NJ does not collect tax on PA residents working in New Jersey, and vice versa. However, last week, Governor Christie withdrew from the tax agreement. Consequently, roughly a quarter-million...

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How to Make Sure Your Bookkeeping is Efficient and Accurate

By Laura Melville Updated 7/30/2019. Get organized. Stay timely. Be informed. These three mandates can change the way you manage your books and free you up to focus on other tasks needed to grow your company. Here are some effective bookkeeping strategies to help keep your business on track. Understand and communicate the importance of timely and accurate financial reports Make sure responsible parties are trained on how to keep records,  how to create reports and when those reports...

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Why Business Owners Should Consider Estate and Gift Tax Saving Strategies Now

By Leo Matarazzo Updated 7/30/2019. The Treasury Department recently issued proposed regulations targeting the use of discounts that reduce the value of a family-owned business and any other family controlled entity for estate and gift tax purposes, which lowers a taxpayer’s ultimate tax liability at death. Potentially millions of dollars of estate tax savings are at stake if these regulations are adopted so it is important to remain informed and proactive on the issue. The regulations...

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International Entrepreneurs Welcomed Per USCIS Proposal

By Mary Vasilescu The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) recently announced a groundbreaking new proposal to award temporary admission to international industrialists looking to cultivate their business within the United States. USCIS Director, Leon Rodriguez believes that “America’s economy has long benefitted from the contributions of immigrant entrepreneurs, from Main Street to Silicon Valley,” thus, the proposal when finalized, is expected to strengthen the...

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New Guidance for Nonprofits: Be Aware of FASB’s Changes in Nonprofit Reporting

By Diana Miller Following several years of examination and modification, the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) released its long-awaited update this month on nonprofit financial reporting. The revision is expected to transform the way nonprofit organizations categorize net assets and construct financial statements. To prepare, nonprofit organizations should familiarize themselves with the following developments: Phase 1 (effective for fiscal years beginning after December...

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What Foreign Business Owners Need to Know When Starting to Work in The U.S.

By Mark Feldstein and Mary Vasilescu When international businesses are considering doing business in the U.S., the first question is usually, “Where do we start?” Whether the company is considering an acquisition or opening a facility in this country, there are a number of things to know before stepping foot on U.S. soil. Here are some things to consider. Type of Entity Will the company be a Corporation, an LLC or something else? Each class of entity has its advantages and disadvantages,...

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Utilize Your Point of Difference to Stand Out Among the Crowd

By Paul Peterson How to Utilize Your Point of Difference Today’s marketplace has never been more competitive. The fierce combat for the preponderance of consumer attention has skyrocketed in the past decade. Consequently, it is imperative for establishments to acquire and apply the professional skills required to be distinct among contenders, add value to the profession, and assist in supporting clients with sculpting a more affluent future for their businesses. When casting your...

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Sales Tax Nexus – Comprehending your Business’ Sales Tax Obligations

By Wiss Employee In simpler times, a New York-based industry sold its products or services within its state boundaries. As such, it was their responsibility to gather and remit sales tax to the taxing authority of The Big Apple. However, thanks to the rapid advancements in technology, today’s corporate atmosphere has become much more multifaceted. As inter-state sales are becoming routine, the same New York-based company has many more consumers to choose from, amplifying their client...

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New Jersey ERG Program can Prove Lucrative for Qualifying Redevelopment Projects

By Alex Narcise and Darin Valentine Updated 7/30/2019. Residential and commercial developers are constantly in need of funding and many qualifying New Jersey developers have taken advantage of a program offered by the New Jersey Economic Development Authority (NJEDA). If you’re considering undertaking a redevelopment project in a qualifying economic and redevelopment, and grant incentive area in New Jersey, a program offered by the NJEDA could generate a significant amount of cash...

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How to Assess and Resolve Business Process Issues

By Paul Ursich Updated 7/30/2019. As companies grow, they often fail to focus on the technology or resources required to maintain their edge in the marketplace. This can lead to a breakdown in business process optimization, hinder productivity and impact morale. Take, for example, a construction company that approached Wiss after experiencing 300 percent growth over a five-year period. While sales had tripled, the size of the accounting department and the technology used to run...

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Classifying as Debt vs. Equity to Raise Capital

By Bill Beiermeister It can be tempting to use financial instruments to quickly raise cash, especially for technology and life sciences companies that must go through several rounds of financing before they can develop marketable product lines and begin generating income. But if you’re thinking about going this route, tread carefully. Some financial instruments must be treated as liabilities on your balance sheet if payment is demanded at certain times or under stated circumstances....

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Key Steps to Take When Adopting New Accounting Software

By Paul Ursich Accounting software has certainly changed the way industries function. These systems eliminate numerous manual components of financial organizations while offering businesses countless ways of analyzing and improving corporate performance. Hence, when a myriad of software solutions are at your fingertips, how can you capture the greatest dynamic structure for your business? Execute the following actions necessary to acquire the desired and worthwhile results: Strategize Grasping...

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How to Avoid Tax Penalties on Complimentary Hotel Breakfasts

By Mark Feldstein When is a free meal not really free? When a New York State hotel is offering a complimentary breakfast to its guests. While complimentary breakfasts are free – in a sense – to your guests, if your hotel is audited, you could get a tax bill. And the tax penalties for months – or years – of presumed “tax-free” food can add up. New York sales tax and occupancy tax returns are, in most circumstances, subject to audit for up to three years, longer if fraud is suspected....

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