Insights

Articles & E-Books

Thought-provoking insights on long-range organizational issues.

Wipfli is dedicated to business leaders and their organizations. We bring you thought-provoking articles on long-range organizational issues related to people, processes, technology, customers, and financial management.

Three Red Flags Your Accounting System Is Failing to Support Your Business

The goal of every business is to grow, but often its accounting system gets left behind. Many finance departments are working with technology half as effective as it could be or using outdated systems that only pile more work onto employees’ plates.

Apr 20, 2018
Industries: Agribusiness, Construction and Real Estate, Dealerships, FinTech, Financial Institutions, Financial Services, Freshwater, Governments, Health Care, Insurance, Manufacturing and Distribution, Nonprofits, Private Equity
Services: Consulting, Technology
By: Shereen Mahoney

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Russian State-Sponsored Cyber Actors Are Targeting Network Infrastructure Devices

The FBI, Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the United Kingdom’s National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) have issued a joint alert warning that Russian state-sponsored hackers are targeting public-facing networking equipment.  

Apr 19, 2018
Industries: Agribusiness, Construction and Real Estate, Dealerships, FinTech, Financial Institutions, Financial Services, Freshwater, Governments, Health Care, Insurance, Manufacturing and Distribution, Nonprofits, Private Equity
Services: Governance, Risk, and Compliance

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Latest FFIEC Cyber Insurance Guidance - One Size Does Not Fit All

The Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council (FFIEC) recently released a Joint Statement entitled Cyber Insurance and Its Potential Role in Risk Management Programs, highlighting the importance of cyber insurance and providing some considerations for how to best understand your financial institution’s insurance needs, evaluate providers, and understand different coverage levels. While cyber insurance is not required by regulatory agencies, it is an area that your management team and board of directors should pay attention to.

Apr 18, 2018
Industries: Financial Institutions
By: Pedro J. Pinto

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You Are Not the Only One With Questions in Search of Answers

We all have questions on the practical application of TCJA: how it will impact our business and personal tax returns and what we can do now to minimize the resulting tax liabilities. 

Apr 17, 2018
Industries: Agribusiness, Construction and Real Estate, Dealerships, FinTech, Financial Institutions, Financial Services, Freshwater, Governments, Health Care, Insurance, Manufacturing and Distribution, Nonprofits, Private Equity
Services: Tax
By: Crystal Christenson

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How Transition Planning Can Be a GPS for Your Business

Most successful entrepreneurs have built their lives and businesses upon well thought-out processes to avoid not knowing where they’re going. Yet why do only about 20% of entrepreneurs have a written succession plan? Maybe, while inevitable, it’s a trip they don’t want to take!

Apr 16, 2018
Industries: Agribusiness, Construction and Real Estate, Dealerships, FinTech, Financial Institutions, Financial Services, Freshwater, Governments, Health Care, Insurance, Manufacturing and Distribution, Nonprofits, Private Equity
Services: Business Advisory
By: Paul T. Lally

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Using Data Analytics to Identify Errors, Waste and Abuse

Mistakes happen in organizations of all sizes and types. Unfortunately, so does fraud. Data analytics offers organizations an efficient and effective way to monitor what’s occurring so they can spot concerns before they cause problems.

Apr 12, 2018
Industries: Agribusiness, Construction and Real Estate, Dealerships, FinTech, Financial Institutions, Financial Services, Freshwater, Governments, Health Care, Insurance, Manufacturing and Distribution, Nonprofits, Private Equity
Services: Business Advisory
By: Marc W. Courey

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Sneak Peek at the IRS’s Thoughts on the Application of the 30% Business Interest Limitation

We now know a little more about how the IRS is interpreting the application of the 30% business interest limitation that applies to tax years beginning after 2017, thanks to its release of Notice 2018-28 and an accompanying news release on April 2nd. 

Apr 12, 2018
Industries: Agribusiness, Construction and Real Estate, Dealerships, FinTech, Financial Institutions, Financial Services, Freshwater, Governments, Health Care, Insurance, Manufacturing and Distribution, Nonprofits, Private Equity
Services: Tax
By: Crystal Christenson

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Tracking Time in QuickBooks, Part 2

If your company sells services, you can track the time spent providing them in QuickBooks.

In part one, we learned about getting QuickBooks ready for time-tracking by activating it in Preferences. We also created a record for a service item. In part two, we’ll use that record in the two ways you’ll use it in QuickBooks: to pay employees for their hourly work and to bill customers for services.

Apr 10, 2018
Industries: Agribusiness, Construction and Real Estate, Dealerships, Financial Institutions, Financial Services, Freshwater, Governments, Health Care, Insurance, Manufacturing and Distribution, Nonprofits, Private Equity
Services: Audit and Accounting, Business Advisory

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Attention Farmers, Partnerships and Developers of and Investors in Low-Income Housing Projects!

Congress recently signed a spending bill that funds the federal government through September 30, 2018, avoiding another last-minute federal government shutdown.

Apr 05, 2018
Industries: Agribusiness, Construction and Real Estate, Dealerships, FinTech, Financial Institutions, Financial Services, Freshwater, Governments, Health Care, Insurance, Manufacturing and Distribution, Nonprofits, Private Equity
Services: Tax
By: Crystal Christenson

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There Is No Such Thing as a Free Lunch (or in This Case, a Tax-Free Grant)

Under the old tax law, a C or S corporation (but not a sole proprietorship, single-member LLC or any entity taxed as a partnership) could receive contributions to capital from any governmental entity or civic group on a tax-free basis.

Apr 03, 2018
Industries: Agribusiness, Construction and Real Estate, Dealerships, FinTech, Financial Institutions, Financial Services, Freshwater, Governments, Health Care, Insurance, Manufacturing and Distribution, Nonprofits, Private Equity
Services: Tax
By: Crystal Christenson

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New Section 199A Deduction for Cooperatives and Their Patrons

On Friday, March 23, 2018, President Trump signed a government spending bill, avoiding a government shutdown. Included in that bill was a very important change to the new Section 199A deduction available to patrons of agricultural and horticultural cooperatives that creates a two-pronged potential deduction. This article provides an overview. 

Apr 02, 2018
Industries: Agribusiness
Services: Tax
By: Dustin Wiesner

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Is Your Business in the Zone?

The TCJA created a new source of equity for qualified operating businesses and real estate developments. 

Apr 02, 2018
Industries: Agribusiness, Construction and Real Estate, Dealerships, FinTech, Financial Institutions, Financial Services, Freshwater, Governments, Health Care, Insurance, Manufacturing and Distribution, Nonprofits, Private Equity
Services: Tax
By: Crystal Christenson

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Tax Extenders

Just a reminder that in February Congress passed a law extending over 30 otherwise-expired tax provisions that were not addressed in the TCJA. Included in the extenders were the Section 179D deduction for energy-efficient commercial buildings, the deduction of mortgage insurance premiums as qualified residence interest, and various energy-related tax credits.

Mar 31, 2018
Industries: Agribusiness, Construction and Real Estate, Dealerships, FinTech, Financial Institutions, Financial Services, Freshwater, Governments, Health Care, Insurance, Manufacturing and Distribution, Nonprofits, Private Equity
Services: Tax
By: Crystal Christenson

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2018 Outlook Survey Report for Nonprofits

The Nonprofit Financial Priorities Benchmark 2018 Survey sponsored by Wipfli was conducted in December 2017. Polling over 350 financial professionals and executives from the nonprofit sector across the country, the survey explored the challenges facing this industry, as well as organizations' priorities in 2018. Read the full report.

Mar 28, 2018
Industries: Nonprofits
Services: Consulting, Governance, Risk, and Compliance, Technology

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What’s the word on technical corrections?

Pretty much everyone agrees that the last-minute scramble to write and pass a tax bill that would garner enough votes to pass resulted in a lot of “unexpected consequences.”

Mar 28, 2018
Industries: Agribusiness, Construction and Real Estate, Dealerships, FinTech, Financial Institutions, Financial Services, Freshwater, Governments, Health Care, Insurance, Manufacturing and Distribution, Nonprofits, Private Equity
Services: Tax
By: Crystal Christenson

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If I have carried interest in an S corporation, can I avoid the three-year holding period?

Effective for tax years beginning after December 31, 2017, the TCJA imposes a three-year holding period requirement (instead of the former one-year holding period) for “applicable partnership interests” received in connection with the performance of services in “an applicable trade or business” to be taxed as long-term capital gain. These interests are often referred to as “carried interests” or “sweat equity.” The new statute stated that an applicable partnership interest does not include any interest in a partnership directly or indirectly held by a corporation.

Mar 27, 2018
Industries: Agribusiness, Construction and Real Estate, Dealerships, FinTech, Financial Institutions, Financial Services, Freshwater, Governments, Health Care, Insurance, Manufacturing and Distribution, Nonprofits, Private Equity
Services: Tax
By: Crystal Christenson

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TCJA makes home equity loan interest nondeductible – Or does it?

Here is what people thought the TCJA said: For tax years beginning after Dec. 31, 2017, and before January 1, 2026, there is no longer a deduction for interest on “home equity debt.” The elimination of the deduction for interest on home equity debt applies regardless of when the home equity debt was incurred.

Mar 26, 2018
Industries: Agribusiness, Construction and Real Estate, Dealerships, FinTech, Financial Institutions, Financial Services, Freshwater, Governments, Health Care, Insurance, Manufacturing and Distribution, Nonprofits, Private Equity
Services: Tax
By: Crystal Christenson

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It’s All About the Data

It doesn’t take much to start turning data into information. The most important step is to get started. Leverage these ideas and start seeing how information can impact your business’s bottom line and customers.

Mar 23, 2018
Industries: Agribusiness, Construction and Real Estate, Dealerships, FinTech, Financial Institutions, Financial Services, Freshwater, Governments, Health Care, Insurance, Manufacturing and Distribution, Nonprofits, Private Equity
Services: Audit and Accounting
By: Luis J. Murgas

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Hey, why did my paycheck go up?

If you receive a paycheck, you might have noticed that your post-February 15, 2018 paychecks are larger than before. As a result of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA), the federal income tax withholding tables have been adjusted, generally resulting in less withholding and bigger paychecks. This could cause problems if you are set up with safe harbor estimates for 2018 and your withholding is assumed to be the same as it was in 2017. This could also cause problems if your individual situation results in you owing more, rather than less, tax for 2018 under the new law, and you would rather not write a check when you file your return in April.

Mar 23, 2018
Industries: Agribusiness, Construction and Real Estate, Dealerships, FinTech, Financial Institutions, Financial Services, Freshwater, Governments, Health Care, Insurance, Manufacturing and Distribution, Nonprofits, Private Equity
Services: Tax
By: Crystal Christenson

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C Corp vs. S Corp – Comparison After 2017 Tax Reform

In this article, we’ll address the question of C corporation or S corporation.  This comparison, which is an option for most producers, has a new twist because of the changing tax rates, a few different rules, and the prominent new Section 199A deduction.  

 

Mar 22, 2018
Industries: Agribusiness
Services: Tax
By: Curt Barnekoff

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Five Myths About Internal Controls

An organization’s objectives are best achieved when everyone involved works toward a common goal. A strong internal control structure monitors progress, but to figure out exactly what role internal controls play in an organization’s success, we have to separate myths from reality.

Mar 21, 2018
Industries: Agribusiness, Business Continuity Exercise Workshop, Construction and Real Estate, Dealerships, FinTech, Financial Institutions, Financial Services, Freshwater, Governments, Health Care, Insurance, Manufacturing and Distribution, Nonprofits, Private Equity
Services: Audit and Accounting
By: Dawson A. Smith

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Financial Planning and Analysis – The Magic 8 Ball® of Accounting

Financial planning and analysis (FP&A) is a means for any company to look into the proverbial Magic 8 Ball® to possibly predict its future and take steps to make adjustments to its strategies in a timely manner.

Mar 21, 2018
Industries: Agribusiness, Business Continuity Exercise Workshop, Construction and Real Estate, Dealerships, FinTech, Financial Institutions, Financial Services, Freshwater, Governments, Health Care, Insurance, Manufacturing and Distribution, Nonprofits, Private Equity
Services: Audit and Accounting
By: Michelle Berkoben

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Leases – A Whole New Ball Game

While the adoption deadline for accounting standards update (ASU) No. 2016-02, Leases (Topic 842), might seem far enough away to relegate this topic as tomorrow’s problem, given that the topic must be applied retrospectively for comparative financial statements and that time is needed to plan and execute implementation, your best bet is to begin planning for implementation today.

Mar 21, 2018
Industries: Agribusiness, Construction and Real Estate, Dealerships, FinTech, Financial Institutions, Financial Services, Freshwater, Governments, Health Care, Insurance, Manufacturing and Distribution, Nonprofits, Private Equity
Services: Audit and Accounting
By: Kortni K. Smith

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How Damage Calculations and Financial Condition Analyses Can Help You Win Your Case

Damage calculations can entail many things. They can involve calculating the lost profits and loss of future profits resulting from the improper denial of an insurance claim. 

Mar 13, 2018
Industries: Agribusiness, Construction and Real Estate, Dealerships, FinTech, Financial Institutions, Financial Services, Freshwater, Governments, Health Care, Insurance, Manufacturing and Distribution, Nonprofits, Private Equity
Services: Business Advisory
By: Carly S. Jacobson

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2018 Health Savings Account Contribution Limit Reduced for Family Coverage

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) recently issued Internal Revenue Bulletin No. 2018-10, which revises certain 2018 inflation-adjusted amounts previously released.

Mar 08, 2018
Industries: Agribusiness, Construction and Real Estate, Dealerships, FinTech, Financial Institutions, Financial Services, Freshwater, Governments, Health Care, Insurance, Manufacturing and Distribution, Nonprofits, Private Equity
Services: Business Advisory

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Health Savings Accounts - Employee Benefit Cost Savings

Most businesses are looking for cost savings. Combine that with the recently enacted health care reforms, which could result in health benefits being even more costly for employers, and businesses have a great reason to revisit health savings accounts!

Mar 08, 2018
Industries: Agribusiness, Construction and Real Estate, Dealerships, Financial Institutions, Financial Services, Freshwater, Governments, Health Care, Insurance, Private Equity, Manufacturing and Distribution, Nonprofits, FinTech
Services: Business Advisory
By: Pamela R. Branshaw, Thomas Krieg, Robert A. Buss, Jr.

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Health Savings Account Cost of Living Adjustments for 2018

The Internal Revenue Service has announced the annual cost-of-living adjustments for Health Savings Account (HSA) contribution limits for calendar year 2018. These limits apply for qualifying High Deductible Health Plan (HDHP) deductibles and out-of-pocket maximums. Plan sponsors should verify that their administrative and payroll systems reflect the appropriate limits. 

Mar 08, 2018
Industries: Agribusiness, Construction and Real Estate, Dealerships, Financial Institutions, Financial Services, Freshwater, Governments, Health Care, Insurance, Manufacturing and Distribution, Nonprofits, Private Equity, FinTech
Services: Business Advisory

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Align Performance Management and Compensation Systems

As talent management consultants, we see more frustration and consternation among our clients over performance management and compensation issues than any other human resource issue. It is important to align performance management and compensation systems to enhance employee understanding of the expectations surrounding performance and the impact performance has on compensation.

Feb 28, 2018
Industries: Financial Institutions
By: Julia A. Johnson

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Compliance Steps to Complete Before the End of the First Quarter

We are already a couple months into the new year. If you have not already done so, now is the time to be thinking about your compliance management system and planning for the new year. 

Feb 28, 2018
Industries: Financial Institutions
By: Shelley Foster

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Compliance Steps to Complete Before the End of the First Quarter – Credit Unions

We are already a couple months into the new year. If you have not already done so, now is the time to be thinking about your compliance management system and planning for the new year. 

Feb 28, 2018
Industries: Financial Institutions
By: Shelley Foster

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FASB Simplifies Hedging Rules

Derivatives can be effective tools for managing various risks in financial institutions, especially interest rate risk; however, not many community financial institutions use derivatives for a variety of reasons, including:

  • Derivatives are not always well understood.
  • Derivatives can change the risk profile of a balance sheet very quickly, sometimes causing unintended consequences, especially if the impact of the derivatives isn’t well understood up front.
  • Accounting for derivatives when hedge accounting is not used can result in volatility in the income statement since the change in fair value of derivatives is reported in net income.
  • Taking advantage of hedge accounting rules, which can minimize volatility in the income statement, can often be complex and costly.

Feb 28, 2018
Industries: Financial Institutions
By: Brett D. Schwantes

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FinTech Accounting Issues: Accounting for Digital Currency

Since the emergence of digital currencies, there has been significant divergence in how to account for these instruments. There are currently several schools of thought on how these assets should appear on the financial statements of the holder.

Feb 28, 2018
Industries: Financial Institutions
By: David Schroepfer

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How Has the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act Changed the Deductibility of Meals and Entertainment?

As they say, better late than never. I was one year late on when I thought we would have tax reform. I am not going to explain all the changes that went into effect with the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. There are numerous changes that will benefit taxpayers. Yet, as we know, for every tax benefit received, there is a cost. I want to explain in further detail one of those costs. The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act changed Internal Revenue Code Section 274 that defines the tax deductibility of entertainment expenses. I cannot imagine that the loss in deduction from meals and entertainment expenses will nullify the tax savings from the other benefits taxpayers will experience. It will, however, change how you record these expenses in your general ledger

Feb 28, 2018
Industries: Financial Institutions
Services: Tax
By: Jessica H. Mac Naughton

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How to Minimize the Risk of Fraud by Customers

Since the 2009 recession, many statisticians have claimed fraud, especially against financial institutions, is on the rise and some claim that there are more frauds being exposed because there’s less cash to cover up frauds. In any case, almost every statistician would agree that more fraud is coming to light and being exposed.

Feb 28, 2018
Industries: Financial Institutions
By: David G. Friedman

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Regulatory Risk and FinTech/Faster Payments: Balancing Consumer Expectations With Regulatory Requirements

Based on information noted in the January 2018 Digital Banking Report’s 2018 Retail Banking Trends and Predictions[1], recent survey responses indicate consumers, particularly younger consumers, support and wish to have a relationship with financial service providers that embrace the following focus areas:

 

  • Improved consumer experience
  • Expanded use of data and analytics
  • Multichannel delivery support
  • FinTech partnership building
  • Upgraded digital payment capabilities
  • Exploration of advanced technologies
  • Blockchain capabilities testing 

Feb 28, 2018
Industries: Financial Institutions
By: Helen Touchton

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The Need for Enhanced Appraisal Reviews

The loan portfolios of many community banks are largely comprised of commercial real estate loans, including both owner-occupied and non-owner-occupied properties. Over a year ago, the Fed’s Monetary Policy Report to Congress singled out “commercial property prices” as a growing concern. The report stated “commercial real estate (CRE) valuations, which have been an area of growing concern over the past year, rose further, with property prices continuing to climb and capitalization decreasing to historically low levels. The rising valuation pressures may leave some smaller banks vulnerable to a sizable CRE price decline.” In 2017 the Fed also pointed out that prices of commercial real estate have grown faster than rents for an extended period and measures of the amount of operating income relative to the sale price of commercial properties have reached historic lows. Cap rates on commercial real estate are at the lowest point since 2007. As interest rates rise, heavily leveraged properties will produce even less net operating income. 

Feb 28, 2018
Industries: Financial Institutions
By: Doug Wynveen

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The Need for Enhanced Appraisal Reviews – Credit Unions

The member business loan portfolios of many credit unions are largely comprised of commercial real estate loans, including both owner-occupied and non-owner-occupied properties. Over a year ago, the Fed’s Monetary Policy Report to Congress singled out “commercial property prices” as a growing concern. The report stated “commercial real estate (CRE) valuations, which have been an area of growing concern over the past year, rose further, with property prices continuing to climb and capitalization decreasing to historically low levels. The rising valuation pressures may leave some smaller financial institutions vulnerable to a sizable CRE price decline.” In 2017 the Fed also pointed out that prices of commercial real estate have grown faster than rents for an extended period and measures of the amount of operating income relative to the sale price of commercial properties have reached historic lows. Cap rates on commercial real estate are at the lowest point since 2007. As interest rates rise, heavily leveraged properties will produce even less net operating income. 

Feb 28, 2018
Industries: Financial Institutions
By: Doug Wynveen

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Website Accessibility – An Exercise in Third-Party Risk Management

Website accessibility relates to the practice of designing websites and online content in such a way that individuals with visual, hearing, motor, or cognitive impairments are able to access such content in its native format, or through the use of assistive tools such as screen readers, voice recognition, magnification, etc.

Feb 28, 2018
Industries: Financial Institutions
By: Pedro J. Pinto

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What’s Old Is New Again

Our Compliance Help email service has been inundated with questions on compliance with beneficial ownership as part of the customer due diligence rule. While the focus on beneficial ownership is not unfounded, I am a bit concerned that many financial institutions may be overlooking something more basic but very crucial in BSA management—the new codified expectation of customer due diligence and how it intertwines with your suspicious activity surveillance system. 

Feb 28, 2018
Industries: Financial Institutions
By: John Moniak

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10 Essential Ways to Protect Your Business Against Cyber Crime

Cyber crime will cost businesses $2 trillion by 2019 and $8 trillion by 2022. Costs can include damages resulting from theft of personal and financial data, stolen money, theft of intellectual property, fraud, lost productivity, forensic investigation, and reputational damages. Although there is no silver bullet, businesses can reduce risk and the likelihood of a breach.

Feb 27, 2018
Industries: Agribusiness, Construction and Real Estate, Dealerships, Financial Institutions, Financial Services, Freshwater, Governments, Health Care, Insurance, Manufacturing and Distribution, Nonprofits, Private Equity
Services: Governance, Risk, and Compliance, Consulting
By: Jeff Olejnik

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How Do You Determine Your Lost Profits?

A business suffers a loss of profits (also referred to as damages) when an act decreases its projected revenues, raises its projected expenses, or does a combination of both. It’s your legal counsel’s job to convince a judge, jury, or arbitrator that the defendant committed the act in question, but how do you know exactly how much profit you lost? Here’s a quick overview of how to quantify your lost profits.

Feb 23, 2018
Industries: Agribusiness, Construction and Real Estate, Dealerships, FinTech, Financial Institutions, Financial Services, Freshwater, Governments, Health Care, Insurance, Manufacturing and Distribution, Nonprofits, Private Equity
Services: Business Advisory
By: Thomas E. Copley

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Does the General Data Protection Regulation Apply to Your Business?

You’ve heard about the European Union’s (EU) General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), and you probably know that it goes into effect on May 25, 2018, but you might not be sure what GDPR is or, more importantly, whether it applies to your business. To help you determine whether your organization is impacted and what you can do to comply, we answer common GDPR questions.

Feb 22, 2018
Industries: Construction and Real Estate, FinTech, Financial Institutions, Financial Services, Health Care, Insurance, Manufacturing and Distribution, Private Equity
Services: Governance, Risk, and Compliance, Going Global
By: Robert D. Cedergren

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The New Depreciation Expense Rules – What You Need to Know

There are several major provisions of the 2017 tax reform that impact agriculture. In this article, we’ll dig deep into the new rules for depreciation expense and the opportunities the new law provides for producers. 

Feb 21, 2018
Industries: Agribusiness
Services: Tax
By: Curt Barnekoff

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Retirement Plan Design Considerations for Hardship Withdrawals

On February 9, 2018, the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018 (the “Budget Act”) was approved by Congress and signed into law by President Trump. This law passed not only to fund the federal government, but also to provide important changes to retirement plans, including provisions that expand hardship withdrawals from 401(k) and 403(b) plans. Plan sponsors will need to carefully consider these provisions.

Feb 21, 2018
Industries: Agribusiness, Construction and Real Estate, Dealerships, FinTech, Financial Institutions, Financial Services, Freshwater, Governments, Health Care, Insurance, Manufacturing and Distribution, Nonprofits, Private Equity
Services: Business Advisory

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Tax Reform and Agribusiness – 2018 and Beyond

As you’re preparing your 2017 tax information and meeting with your tax service provider over the next few months, it’s an opportune time to outline some of the new tax reform topics as they pertain to our farming and ranching communities for 2018 and beyond. The purpose of this article is to help you prepare questions and discussion topics to discuss with your tax advisor.

 

 

Feb 13, 2018
Industries: Agribusiness
Services: Tax
By: Kristina M. Odermann

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Customize QuickBooks Online Using Settings

You can start using QuickBooks Online the first time you sign in. However, your tasks will be easier and faster, if you customize it for your company.

Feb 10, 2018
Industries: Agribusiness, Construction and Real Estate, Dealerships, Financial Institutions, Financial Services, Freshwater, Governments, Health Care, Insurance, Manufacturing and Distribution, Nonprofits, Private Equity
Services: Audit and Accounting, Business Advisory

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Tracking Time in QuickBooks, Part 1

If your company sells services, you can track the time spent providing them in QuickBooks.

If your business provides services to customers you’re selling your employees’ time and skills. There’s no inventory count; you can sell as many hours as you have workers to fill them. Tracking time accurately and comprehensively, though, is as important as knowing how many hard drives or tote bags you’ve sold.

QuickBooks contains tools to help you record the hours employees spend doing work for customers, so you can bill them for services rendered. You can also use these same features to enter employee time for payroll purposes. The software offers two options here: single-activity records and timesheets.

Feb 10, 2018
Industries: Agribusiness, Construction and Real Estate, Dealerships, Financial Institutions, Financial Services, Freshwater, Governments, Health Care, Insurance, Manufacturing and Distribution, Nonprofits, Private Equity
Services: Audit and Accounting, Business Advisory

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Big Changes Ahead: The New Leasing Accounting Standard (ASC 842) and What It Means for Manufacturers Now

The new leasing accounting standard (ASC 842) is one of the most significant accounting changes in recent history. It fundamentally brings all leases, including operating leases, onto the balance sheet. It becomes effective for public companies in 2019 and for nonpublic companies in 2020, and it’s going to dramatically change financial statements. The time to prepare is now.

Feb 09, 2018
Industries: Manufacturing and Distribution
Services: Audit and Accounting
By: Steve Scaduto

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Top Five Ways the New Tax Law Affects Dealerships

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act has passed. If you own or run a dealership, you’re probably wondering what this means for you. Most significantly, it means dealerships will pay less in taxes for the year 2018. However, we’re dealing with a very large piece of legislation, so there’s obviously more to it than that.

 

 

Jan 24, 2018
Industries: Dealerships
Services: Tax
By: Steve Hewitt, Michele Bazzanella

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Economic Nexus Reporting Requirements Reference Table

The states listed in the reference table have enacted economic nexus either legislatively or through an administrative rule as of December 31, 2017. The table provides the effective date of the reporting requirements, the sales threshold or number of transactions that subject a company to sales tax collection requirements, and whether any other ancillary activities by the company are required.

Jan 23, 2018
Industries: Agribusiness, Construction and Real Estate, Dealerships, FinTech, Financial Institutions, Financial Services, Freshwater, Insurance, Manufacturing and Distribution, Private Equity
Services: Tax
By: Craig Cookle

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Notice Reporting Compliance Requirements Reference Table

The states listed in this reference table have enacted notice reporting requirements either legislatively or through administrative rule as of December 31, 2017. The table provides the effective date of the notice reporting requirements, the required sales threshold. whether a state requires notification to be posted on the company’s website to a purchaser that use tax is due on the transaction, whether notification to the purchaser itself is required, and whether annual reporting to the state is required. Penalties imposed by the state for failure to comply with any notification requirements are also addressed.

Jan 23, 2018
Industries: Agribusiness, Construction and Real Estate, Dealerships, FinTech, Financial Institutions, Financial Services, Freshwater, Insurance, Manufacturing and Distribution, Private Equity
Services: Tax
By: Craig Cookle

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Why Is Succession Such a Dirty Word?

Having a solid strategic plan only enhances the likelihood of perpetuating a legacy, which you worked so hard to create. It’s good for your clients, your staff, your family and—oh, yeah—your business. Recommended timetables for succession planning are typically in the range of three to ten years (three years for a business that has a simple structure and is in very good shape, and longer for others). However, the sooner you incorporate succession planning into your strategic planning, the greater the benefits for your business. You can use this opportunity to leverage your succession planning for a competitive advantage.

Jan 19, 2018
Industries: Agribusiness, Construction and Real Estate, Dealerships, FinTech, Financial Institutions, Financial Services, Freshwater, Governments, Health Care, Insurance, Manufacturing and Distribution, Nonprofits, Private Equity
Services: Business Advisory
By: Paul T. Lally

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Private Equity Fund Formation: 101

At first blush, the title of this article may seem somewhat fundamental. However, on four separate and recent occasions, a client or prospect asked me to provide an overview of typical fund formation and structure. The information in this article can serve as a simple reference for industry standards and practices as they relate to private equity fund formation and related infrastructure to support fund activities.

Jan 18, 2018
Industries: Private Equity
Services: Business Advisory, Consulting
By: Mark B. Martinelli

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Busted for Not Filing Proper Multistate Tax Returns—Now What?

In the article, Gotcha! How a state finds a non-filer, we addressed how a state may find out a company is active within its borders. This article addresses what you can do once a state catches up to you for not filing the proper sales, use, income, or franchise tax returns within its jurisdiction.

Jan 18, 2018
Industries: Agribusiness, Construction and Real Estate, Dealerships, FinTech, Financial Institutions, Financial Services, Freshwater, Manufacturing and Distribution, Private Equity
Services: Tax
By: Jessica L. Macklin

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Make the Most of National Cybersecurity Awareness Month

October is National Cybersecurity Awareness Month. In addition to implementing the 30 tips we recommend in our e-book, here are some additional activities you should consider to promote security awareness.

Jan 11, 2018
Industries: Agribusiness, Construction and Real Estate, Dealerships, FinTech, Financial Institutions, Financial Services, Freshwater, Governments, Health Care, Insurance, Manufacturing and Distribution, Nonprofits, Private Equity
Services: Governance, Risk, and Compliance
By: Jeff Olejnik

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Don’t Lose Money in the Process of Collecting It: The Art and Science of Customer Invoicing for Sales Tax Purposes

The importance of a well-constructed invoice may come as a surprise to some, but it should not be underestimated. In sales tax audits, we see many instances when the way sales are invoiced leads to assessments, interest, and penalties—all of which could have been avoided. This article addresses five key fundamentals of customer invoicing. The thoughtful and intentional presentation of these key components can help you avoid sales tax headaches.

Jan 11, 2018
Industries: Agribusiness, Construction and Real Estate, Dealerships, FinTech, Financial Institutions, Financial Services, Freshwater, Health Care, Insurance, Manufacturing and Distribution, Private Equity
Services: Tax
By: Tara T. Johnson

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Buying an Airplane for Business Use: Frequently Asked Questions

Many companies with multiple facilities or customers in remote locations may decide to purchase an airplane for both business and personal use. While there are many benefits to aircraft ownership, there are potential sales tax implications to this purchase, depending on the structuring. Wipfli’s State and Local Tax experts frequently address sales tax questions related to airplane purchases. This article addresses those most common questions.

Jan 11, 2018
Industries: Agribusiness, Construction and Real Estate, Dealerships, Financial Institutions, Financial Services, Freshwater, Health Care, Insurance, Manufacturing and Distribution, Private Equity
Services: Tax
By: Daryl L. Ohland

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The Missing Middle: Making Succession Planning Part of Your Business’s Strategy

In over 28 years of working with privately owned businesses, I have noted recurring themes:  an entrepreneurial spirit, commitment to family and community, and a focus on building a legacy. I have also seen a common and critical blind spot regarding succession planning and the requisite good governance that should underlie it.

Jan 10, 2018
Industries: Agribusiness, Construction and Real Estate, Dealerships, FinTech, Financial Institutions, Financial Services, Freshwater, Governments, Health Care, Insurance, Manufacturing and Distribution, Nonprofits, Private Equity
Services: Business Advisory
By: Paul T. Lally

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Five QuickBooks Reports You Need to Run in January

Getting all of your accounting tasks done in December is always a challenge. Besides the vacation time you and your employees probably took for the holidays, there are those year-end, “Let’s wrap it up by December 31” projects.

Besides paying bills and chasing payments, submitting taxes and counting inventory in December, there’s another item that should have been on your to-do list: creating end-of-year reports. If you didn’t get this done, it’s not too late. It’s important to have this information as you begin the New Year. QuickBooks can provide it.

Jan 09, 2018
Industries: Agribusiness, Construction and Real Estate, Dealerships, FinTech, Financial Institutions, Financial Services, Freshwater, Governments, Health Care, Insurance, Manufacturing and Distribution, Nonprofits, Private Equity
Services: Audit and Accounting, Business Advisory

> Read More

Using QuickBooks Online's Customer Records

Your customers are your company’s lifeblood. Are you managing those relationships carefully? Here’s how QuickBooks Online can help.

Jan 09, 2018
Industries: Agribusiness, Construction and Real Estate, Dealerships, FinTech, Financial Institutions, Financial Services, Freshwater, Governments, Health Care, Insurance, Manufacturing and Distribution, Nonprofits, Private Equity
Services: Audit and Accounting, Business Advisory

> Read More

All In: Achieving ERP Implementation Success Across Portfolio Companies

Manufacturing portfolios, particularly those which consist of smaller, undervalued companies, are often attractive to private equity firms. Yet, a lot of these types of businesses rely on unsophisticated or antiquated enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems while others might have adopted ERP but have yet to receive performance benefits or sound returns. This paper explores some of the best practices for achieving ERP implementation success across portfolio companies.

Jan 04, 2018
Industries: Private Equity
Services: Technology, Consulting
By: Jason Muhlstein, Michael L. Vaccarella

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2017 GAAP – The Year in Review

As of November 30, the FASB issued 14 new Accounting Standards Updates (ASU) in 2017. This article highlights four of the new GAAP standards issued in 2017 and a few earlier standards with approaching effective dates. 

Jan 03, 2018
Industries: Agribusiness, Construction and Real Estate, Dealerships, FinTech, Financial Institutions, Financial Services, Freshwater, Governments, Health Care, Insurance, Manufacturing and Distribution, Nonprofits, Private Equity
Services: Audit and Accounting
By: Sheila Border

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New Revenue Recognition Standard: You Have Less Time Than You Think. Put Project Management on Your Side.

The new revenue recognition standard is said to be one of the largest changes to GAAP in over a decade. With adoption dates quickly approaching the importance of planning and taking action cannot be stressed enough. 

Jan 03, 2018
Industries: Agribusiness, Construction and Real Estate, Dealerships, FinTech, Financial Institutions, Financial Services, Freshwater, Governments, Health Care, Insurance, Manufacturing and Distribution, Nonprofits, Private Equity
Services: Audit and Accounting
By: Colleen Cooke-Varallo

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Six Microsoft Excel Tips to Increase Your Productivity

Some of us have used Microsoft Excel for so many years, we have built habits to do things the “old way.”  Some of us have been using it for only a few years but do not know some of the best ways to use it.  As with any software from a large company, enhancements come fast, so let’s learn about some ways to use Excel more efficiently.  Each of the items listed below is a habit I build for creating and manipulating Excel data in pivot tables.

Dec 29, 2017
Industries: Agribusiness, Construction and Real Estate, Dealerships, FinTech, Financial Institutions, Financial Services, Freshwater, Governments, Health Care, Insurance, Manufacturing and Distribution, Nonprofits, Private Equity
Services: Audit and Accounting
By: Richard McClure

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Decide Your Future Today With a Business Valuation Now

All business owners will exit their businesses someday, whether by choice, death, health, or other circumstances, and planning for the inevitable is crucial. Proper planning through a business valuation  and knowing what your company is worth today, you’re taking the first step toward planning for tomorrow. 

Dec 29, 2017
Industries: Agribusiness, Construction and Real Estate, Dealerships, FinTech, Financial Institutions, Financial Services, Freshwater, Governments, Health Care, Insurance, Manufacturing and Distribution, Nonprofits, Private Equity
Services: Business Advisory
By: Audra M. Moncur

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Tax Reform Impacting Construction and Real Estate Companies

On Friday, December 15, Congressional Republicans released the details of their Tax Cuts and Jobs Act legislation. It now appears it will be sent to the President’s desk for signature by Christmas. Click here for Wipfli’s recently issued summary of the sweeping tax changes made by the bill.

The following is a more detailed discussion of those provisions in the proposed law that will most impact businesses in the construction and/or real estate industry. Unless otherwise noted, the changes would be effective for tax years beginning after 2017. Upon federal enactment, one can expect additional complications at the state level because some states automatically adopt federal changes and others may adopt them in part or in whole at a future time.

Dec 29, 2017
Industries: Construction and Real Estate
Services: Tax
By: Crystal Christenson

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Don’t let the new tax plan fool you: ACA employer mandate remains intact

Despite some administration officials touting that the new Tax Cuts and Jobs Act “essentially” repeals the health law, this is not the case. 

Dec 28, 2017
Industries: Agribusiness, Construction and Real Estate, Dealerships, FinTech, Financial Institutions, Financial Services, Freshwater, Governments, Health Care, Insurance, Manufacturing and Distribution, Nonprofits, Private Equity
Services: Business Advisory

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Tax Reform Provisions Impacting Agribusiness: Action Needed Before December 31, 2017

On December 20, Congress approved the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, which provides sweeping changes for businesses, trusts, and individuals. President Trump signed the bill into law on December 22. The revised version of the bill carries the title “An Act to provide for reconciliation pursuant to Titles II and V of the concurrent resolution on the budget for fiscal year 2018.” However, the bill is still commonly referred to by its former name, the “Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.”

Following is a summary of some of the key changes affecting agricultural producers along with some tax planning strategies that need to happen before the end of 2017.

Unless otherwise noted, the changes will be effective for tax years beginning after 2017. Keep in mind that these are federal changes and that state-level conformity on applicable items will remain to be seen.

Dec 27, 2017
Industries: Agribusiness
Services: Tax

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Tax Reform Provisions Impacting Manufacturing and Distribution: Action Needed Before December 31, 2017

On December 20, Congress approved the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, which provides sweeping changes for businesses, trusts, and individuals. President Trump signed the bill into law on December 22. The revised version of the bill carries the title “An Act to provide for reconciliation pursuant to Titles II and V of the concurrent resolution on the budget for fiscal year 2018.” However, the bill is still commonly referred to by its former name, the “Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.”

Following is a summary of some of the key changes affecting manufacturers and distributors along with some tax planning strategies that need to happen before the end of 2017.

Dec 27, 2017
Industries: Manufacturing and Distribution
Services: Tax

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Tax Cuts and Jobs Act Approved - President Signs Tax Plan Into Law

On December 20, Congress approved the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, which provides sweeping changes for businesses, trusts, and individuals. The revised version of the bill carries the title “An Act to provide for reconciliation pursuant to Titles II and V of the concurrent resolution on the budget for fiscal year 2018.” The bill was signed by President Trump earlier today, December 22, 2017.

Dec 22, 2017
Industries: Agribusiness, Construction and Real Estate, Dealerships, FinTech, Financial Institutions, Financial Services, Freshwater, Governments, Health Care, Insurance, Manufacturing and Distribution, Nonprofits, Private Equity
Services: Tax

> Read More

After the Loss: The Benefits of Insurance Claim Assistance

Sometimes the unthinkable happens to a business, and it happens in more ways than you might imagine. Catastrophes of all types not only cause physical damage and property losses, but can severely disrupt operations and create additional business losses.

Dec 19, 2017
Industries: Agribusiness, Construction and Real Estate, Dealerships, FinTech, Financial Institutions, Financial Services, Freshwater, Governments, Health Care, Insurance, Manufacturing and Distribution, Nonprofits, Private Equity
Services: Business Advisory
By: William Metzdorff, Allen E. Jacque

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Common Issues Noted in Community Reinvestment Act Public Files

The Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) lays out specific information that must be contained in a bank’s public file at its main office. If the bank is located in multiple states (an interstate bank), CRA public files must be maintained at one branch office in each state. In addition, other branch locations must maintain a copy of the public section of the bank’s most recent CRA Performance Evaluation and a list of services provided by the branch and must be able to provide, within five calendar days of a request, all of the information in the public file relating to the assessment area in which the branch is located. 

Dec 19, 2017
Industries: Financial Institutions
By: Cindy L. Mabry

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Critical Inputs to the Strategic Planning Process

In the world of software programming, there is an old saying “garbage in, garbage out,” we get results in line with the quality of our input. In working with financial institutions in recent strategic planning efforts, we saw this principle in action. One institution had taken great pains in collecting information and performance data through a number of channels, providing it to the strategic planning team ahead of the meeting and preparing the team in advance for a discussion of the information. The other institution approached the planning process with a heavy reliance on personal knowledge and a sort of “we’ll look it up as we need to” philosophy. 

Dec 19, 2017
Industries: Financial Institutions
By: Deron J. Kling

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The Road to Beneficial Ownership Implementation

The Beneficial Ownership rule’s mandatory compliance date of May 11, 2018, is right around the corner.  While the mechanics of the rule may seem rudimentary, the implementation of this rule involves many facets. (For institutions who would like a refresher on the rule, please see the July 2016 BSA article, Beneficial Ownership Rule Is Finalized Finally, posted on Wipfli.com.)  Some areas of implementation are under financial institutions’ direct control, while in other areas, institutions may need to rely on third-party vendors to implement changes. The following areas are directly impacted by the rule.

Dec 19, 2017
Industries: Financial Institutions
By: Robin Guthridge

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2018 Payroll Update

As a service to you, we are pleased to provide this list of updates and reminders regarding payroll. The information below includes federal updates; however, some state-specific information has also been included. 

Dec 18, 2017
Industries: Agribusiness, Construction and Real Estate, Dealerships, FinTech, Financial Institutions, Financial Services, Freshwater, Governments, Health Care, Insurance, Manufacturing and Distribution, Nonprofits, Private Equity
Services: Outsourcing, Business Advisory

> Read More

FinTech – A Trend or a Mainstream Business?

FinTech was rather a cool trend to watch out for in the year 2017, and going into 2018, we are looking at FinTech becoming more of a mainstream business. 

Dec 18, 2017
Industries: FinTech, Financial Institutions
By: Girish M. Ramachandra

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Make a Resolution to Keep Your Identity Safe

This time of year finds many people making resolutions. Whether it is joining a gym, spending more time with family and friends, quitting a bad habit, starting a new hobby, or helping others, one resolution that you may not have considered is keeping your identity safe.

Dec 18, 2017
Industries: Financial Institutions
By: Travis Wouters

> Read More

New Payday, Vehicle Title, and Other Short-Term Loan Rules: Will They Apply to Your Institution?

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) issued a final rule in the Federal Register on November 17, 2017, that impacts payday and short-term loans as well as longer-term loans with balloon payments. The final rule will become effective January 16, 2018, 60 days after publication of the final rule in the Federal Register. However, compliance with most sections including 12 CFR 1041.2 through 1041.10, 1041.12, and 1041.13 will not be required until August 19, 2019, 21 months after publication of the final rule in the Federal Register. 

Dec 18, 2017
Industries: Financial Institutions
By: Teri Downey

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New Year's Resolutions for Financial Institutions in 2018

The worst part of making New Year’s resolutions is that very shortly into the year, they usually fall by the wayside. Last year I challenged you to make one resolution: “Resolve to incorporate a change management model into any major project you undertake.” I, too, challenged myself to one resolution—“to find a greater balance in my life for work and play.” So, how did you do?

Dec 18, 2017
Industries: Financial Institutions
By: Sara Mikuta

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Planning for Reform

2017 was a year of significant changes for our country. With the start of a new year, one change on everyone’s mind is tax reform. The year 2018 comes with the promise of one of the largest overhauls of our tax system in many years. With the potential for significantly lower tax rates for businesses, there are several planning opportunities to be cognizant of when preparing your 2017 tax returns. 

Dec 18, 2017
Industries: Financial Institutions
Services: Tax
By: Kimberly Massopust

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Revenue Recognition for Financial Institutions

You may have heard about the Financial Accounting Standards Board’s (FASB’s) Accounting Standards Update (ASU) No. 2014-09, Revenue from Contracts with Customers, but you may not know very much about this new accounting standard. This standard is codified in the accounting standards as Topic 606 (ASC 606) and is applicable to all entities. For non-public entities, it will be effective for fiscal years beginning after December 15, 2018. Public business entities must adopt the standard for fiscal years beginning after December 15, 2017. The standard does not impact the financial institution industry nearly as much as it does other industries, but there are some important concepts institutions should be aware of.

Dec 18, 2017
Industries: Financial Institutions
Services: Audit and Accounting
By: Brett D. Schwantes

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Reconciliation Reached - Tax Reform Proposal - Tax Cuts and Jobs Act

On Friday, December 15, the conference committee reached an agreement to reconcile the discrepancies between the House and Senate tax bills and released their compromised bill, which proposes sweeping changes for businesses, trusts, and individuals.

Dec 18, 2017
Industries: Agribusiness, Construction and Real Estate, Dealerships, FinTech, Financial Institutions, Financial Services, Freshwater, Governments, Health Care, Insurance, Manufacturing and Distribution, Nonprofits, Private Equity
Services: Tax

> Read More

Working with Downloaded Transactions in QuickBooks Online

Its ability to download financial transactions is one of the five best things about QuickBooks Online. Without it, you’d spend a lot of time on tedious data entry, verifying which checks and deposits had cleared and entering new ones.

Instead, you can easily connect to your bank and bring in all your activity from the previous hours or day. QuickBooks Online stores this neatly in a register and provides tools for you to further describe and classify each transaction.

Dec 15, 2017
Industries: Agribusiness, Construction and Real Estate, Dealerships, FinTech, Financial Institutions, Financial Services, Freshwater, Governments, Health Care, Insurance, Manufacturing and Distribution, Nonprofits, Private Equity
Services: Audit and Accounting, Business Advisory

> Read More

Are You Using QuickBooks’ Reminders?

We can’t emphasize this enough: QuickBooks’ Reminders can prevent countless problems with your finances.

How do you know when it’s time to pay a bill or follow up on overdue customer payments or print payroll checks? If you’re still using a paper calendar and sticky notes and file folders, there’s a good chance you’re missing some important deadlines on occasion. Manual methods aren’t effective enough when you’re dealing with your business finances.

Dec 15, 2017
Industries: Agribusiness, Construction and Real Estate, Dealerships, Financial Institutions, Financial Services, Freshwater, Governments, Health Care, Insurance, Manufacturing and Distribution, Nonprofits, Private Equity
Services: Audit and Accounting, Business Advisory

> Read More

Individual Year-End Tax Planning in Face of Potential Tax Reform

December is quickly coming to a close along with the final chance to do any significant tax planning before year-end. This year, however, the looming potential for individual income tax reform has created numerous uncertainties, making year-end tax planning more complex.

Dec 13, 2017
Services: Tax, Private Wealth Services

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The New Leasing Accounting Standard (ASC 842) and How It May Affect Your Valuation

The new FASB standard (ASC 842) has effective dates of 2019 for public companies and 2020 for private companies (see sidebar) and contains changes that will ripple through your organization and may affect your valuation. The primary change is to recognize a right-of-use asset and lease obligation for operating leases.

A few items, however, are not changing. Lease accounting from the lessor’s perspective, for instance, remains fairly unchanged, with real-estate-specific provisions and leveraged leases eliminated. The definition of a lease also remains fairly unchanged but was clarified by the new standard. But many other items are changing—more than 400 pages worth. Your appraiser will need to understand how the new lease accounting standard affects your balance sheet in terms of long-term assets, short- and long-term liabilities, and the effects on EBITDA and cash flow to properly value your company.

Dec 08, 2017
Industries: Agribusiness, Construction and Real Estate, Dealerships, FinTech, Financial Institutions, Financial Services, Freshwater, Governments, Health Care, Insurance, Manufacturing and Distribution, Nonprofits, Private Equity
Services: Business Advisory
By: Kevin Janke

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Revenue Recognition: Why Should I Care?

What’s the Big Deal?

“Why should I waste my time reading an article about financial statements? Shouldn’t we be putting a shovel in the ground instead to get some work done?”

Your financial statements matter, and you need to understand them. They are the prism through which your surety, financial institution, and investors see your company. There is no better time to get that understanding than in the calm before the storm. “What storm?” you might ask. The upcoming changes to revenue recognition from contracts with customers are going to be one heck of a storm, and many people don’t know it yet. It’s been brewing for a few years and it’s going to hit public entities hard in just a few short weeks (January 1, 2018). Nonpublic entities get a little more time to prepare: January 1, 2019. It’s coming fast though.

Dec 07, 2017
Industries: Construction and Real Estate, Health Care, Manufacturing and Distribution, FinTech, Financial Institutions, Financial Services, Nonprofits
Services: Audit and Accounting
By: Adam Mueller

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Take Advantage of Opportunities for R&D Tax Credits

Contrary to popular belief, the research tax credit isn’t limited to high-tech, biotech, and pharmaceutical companies.  Many businesses do not realize that many of the day-to-day activities associated with agriculture and farming fit within the definition of activities that qualify for the R&D tax credit. Recent court cases have confirmed that businesses no longer are required to develop technology that is new to their industry; instead, the regulations now require that the technology or process be new to the taxpayer.

 

Dec 05, 2017
Industries: Agribusiness
Services: Tax
By: Valerie K. Fedie

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2017 Pennsylvania Budget Bill Summary

On October 30, 2017, Governor Tom Wolf signed additional legislation (House Bill 542) to address the state’s $2.3 billion budget deficit. Estimated revenue derived from this bill is approximated at $1.6 billion, with $1.5 billion generated by borrowing against future revenues due to Pennsylvania from the 1998 national tobacco settlement. Some significant changes to Pennsylvania’s tax code as adopted in this legislation are discussed herein. 

Dec 05, 2017
Industries: Agribusiness, Construction and Real Estate, Dealerships, FinTech, Financial Institutions, Financial Services, Freshwater, Governments, Health Care, Insurance, Manufacturing and Distribution, Nonprofits, Private Equity
Services: Tax

> Read More

Pretax Payroll Deductions of Insurance Benefits - IRS Requirements and Documentation

In order to deduct insurance benefits on a pretax basis, employers are required by the IRS to adopt a formal Section 125 plan document, provide a summary plan description (SPD) to employees, and distribute a new SPD once every five years if there have been any material changes.

Nov 28, 2017
Industries: Agribusiness, Construction and Real Estate, Dealerships, FinTech, Financial Institutions, Financial Services, Freshwater, Governments, Health Care, Insurance, Manufacturing and Distribution, Nonprofits, Private Equity
Services: Business Advisory

> Read More

Catastrophes: Before You Have a Loss and Need Help, Scrutinize Your Coverage

Natural disasters, hacker-directed malware and ransomware, explosions, fire, equipment failures, and a myriad of other hazards can leave a business in hardship. Manufacturers and distributors are especially vulnerable. For many, the physical losses are compounded by a loss of sales and accompanying profits. Yet, vulnerabilities can be partially mitigated through the use of business interruption, contingent business interruption, and extra expense insurance coverage.

Nov 28, 2017
Industries: Manufacturing and Distribution
Services: Governance, Risk, and Compliance, Consulting
By: Allen E. Jacque, William Metzdorff

> Read More

Avoiding ERP Implementation Disaster: Five Best Practices to Ensure Success for Your Portfolio Companies

When the topic of ERP (enterprise resource planning) implementation comes up among private equity firms, you’re sure to hear a host of horror stories. More often than not, things go badly and become costly, delaying and/or reducing the expected benefits. Yet ERP implementation across all portfolio companies doesn’t have to be problematic or painful.

Nov 28, 2017
Industries: Private Equity
Services: Consulting, Technology
By: Jason Muhlstein

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New Revenue Recognition Standard’s Impact on Dealerships

The Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) has issued a new accounting standard for revenue recognition, “ASC 606: Revenue from Contracts with Customers.”  This new standard outlines a single, comprehensive, principles-based model and replaces the current revenue recognition guidance under accounting principles generally accepted in the United States (GAAP). 

 

 

Nov 17, 2017
Industries: Dealerships
Services: Audit and Accounting
By: Steve Hewitt

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5 Succession Planning Questions Every Family Business Owner Must Consider

Succession planning for family business owners is one of the most talked-about areas of financial planning — but it is often poorly executed or even overlooked altogether.

Article co-written by Dean Stange, J.D., CFP(R), Principal and Senior Financial Advisor - Wipfli Hewins Investment Advisors, LLC

Nov 15, 2017
Industries: Agribusiness, Construction and Real Estate, Dealerships, FinTech, Financial Institutions, Financial Services, Freshwater, Governments, Health Care, Insurance, Manufacturing and Distribution, Nonprofits, Private Equity
Services: Private Wealth Services, Business Advisory
By: David J. Elyashar

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Setting Up Sales Tax in QuickBooks Online

Sales tax is one of the more complicated concepts supported by QuickBooks Online.

However, just because QuickBooks Online can do something doesn’t mean you should attempt it on your own. Sales tax is one of those things. Depending on your geographical location, you may have to charge not only state sales tax, but also county and city/municipality taxes (and sometimes special taxes). If you’re selling products or services to customers in other states, your situation can get very complicated.

We’ll show you some of the mechanics involved, but we strongly recommend that you let us help you with this.

Nov 15, 2017
Industries: Agribusiness, Construction and Real Estate, Dealerships, FinTech, Financial Institutions, Financial Services, Freshwater, Governments, Health Care, Insurance, Manufacturing and Distribution, Nonprofits, Private Equity
Services: Audit and Accounting, Business Advisory

> Read More

Working with QuickBooks’ Vendor Records

It’s important to maintain good relationships with your vendors and suppliers. QuickBooks helps you track your interaction with them.

QuickBooks makes it possible—easy, even—to maintain thorough records of your vendors, the individuals and companies who provide you with office supplies, product parts, computer equipment – everything you need to keep your business operating. Once you’ve started building a vendor record, you’ll be able to use it in transactions and reports, and to simply refer to it when you need some information.

Nov 15, 2017
Industries: Agribusiness, Construction and Real Estate, Dealerships, FinTech, Financial Institutions, Financial Services, Freshwater, Governments, Health Care, Insurance, Manufacturing and Distribution, Nonprofits, Private Equity
Services: Audit and Accounting, Business Advisory

> Read More

Closing the Technology Skills Gap: Lessons From the Classroom

Before considering any new technology implementation, organizations should take an honest and introspective look at how well they are using their existing technology.

Nov 08, 2017
Industries: Agribusiness, Construction and Real Estate, Dealerships, FinTech, Financial Institutions, Financial Services, Freshwater, Governments, Health Care, Insurance, Manufacturing and Distribution, Nonprofits, Private Equity
Services: Business Advisory, Technology
By: Mark A. Burger

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House Tax Reform Proposal Released

After months of anticipation and speculation, the House has released its version of a comprehensive tax reform bill. The 429-page bill proposes sweeping changes for both businesses and individuals. Some of the key changes are summarized in this article.

Nov 03, 2017
Industries: Agribusiness, Construction and Real Estate, Dealerships, FinTech, Financial Institutions, Financial Services, Freshwater, Governments, Health Care, Insurance, Manufacturing and Distribution, Nonprofits, Private Equity
Services: Tax

> Read More

It’s Almost Year-End. Do You Know Where Your Covenants Are?

One of the most crucial and overlooked parts of signing a debt agreement appears in that small paragraph entitled “Covenants.” It is essential to your organization to monitor your covenants throughout the year so you are not surprised come year-end. Failure to meet covenants could result in varying degrees of action the lender can take, ranging from waiving the violations to more serious consequences.

Oct 30, 2017
Industries: Agribusiness, Construction and Real Estate, Dealerships, FinTech, Financial Institutions, Financial Services, Freshwater, Governments, Health Care, Insurance, Manufacturing and Distribution, Nonprofits, Private Equity
Services: Audit and Accounting

> Read More

“I think I see a GAAP in the clouds” – GAAP and Accounting for Cloud Computing Arrangements

For generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP) to remain relevant in today’s business environment, the FASB must increasingly address new topics. Cloud computing is one such topic. Examples of cloud computing arrangements include software as a service, platform as a service, infrastructure as a service, and other similar hosting arrangements. A new accounting standard, effective for years beginning after December 15, 2015 (calendar year 2016), addressed accounting for cloud computing costs.

Oct 30, 2017
Industries: Agribusiness, Construction and Real Estate, Dealerships, FinTech, Financial Institutions, Financial Services, Freshwater, Governments, Health Care, Insurance, Manufacturing and Distribution, Nonprofits, Private Equity
Services: Audit and Accounting
By: Sheila Border

> Read More

Risky Business – Doing Business in Other Jurisdictions

As another year draws to an end, people may question whether their businesses must file tax returns in another state. The question is answered by asking whether a business has acquired “nexus” in a state. The determination of nexus affects a business’s financial reporting as well as tax compliance.

Oct 30, 2017
Industries: Agribusiness, Construction and Real Estate, Dealerships, FinTech, Financial Institutions, Financial Services, Freshwater, Governments, Health Care, Insurance, Manufacturing and Distribution, Nonprofits, Private Equity
Services: Audit and Accounting
By: Gregory G. Butler, Sheila Border

> Read More

Succession Planning: Why NOW Is the Time

Most business owners recognize the need to plan for succession; however, very few have a written plan. A recent study of baby boomer business owners showed 96 percent of them thought an exit strategy was important, yet only 13 percent had a formal plan in place.

Oct 30, 2017
Industries: Agribusiness, Construction and Real Estate, Dealerships, FinTech, Financial Institutions, Financial Services, Freshwater, Governments, Health Care, Insurance, Manufacturing and Distribution, Nonprofits, Private Equity
Services: Business Advisory
By: Lisa M. Cribben

> Read More

Workplace Fraud: Stats That Will Keep You Skeptical

Fraud happens. It happens to organizations of all sizes and across every industry. It happens even to the best of companies, and often it’s committed by the best of employees. And in almost every instance, businesses hit by occupational fraud say they never dreamed it would happen to them.

Oct 30, 2017
Industries: Agribusiness, Construction and Real Estate, Dealerships, FinTech, Financial Institutions, Financial Services, Freshwater, Governments, Health Care, Insurance, Manufacturing and Distribution, Nonprofits, Private Equity
Services: Audit and Accounting, Governance, Risk, and Compliance
By: Marc W. Courey

> Read More

CECL Methodologies Series: Migration Analysis

This article is the third in our series of articles focusing on the different Current Expected Credit Loss (CECL) methodologies and their pros and cons. The first methodology we looked at was the cumulative loss rate, which was the simplest methodology to use under the new standard, but it will require a great deal of qualitative (Q) factor analysis and will likely result in a higher allowance for loan and lease losses (ALLL) balance relative to other available methodologies. The second, more complicated methodology we looked at was the vintage loss rate, one of the most discussed CECL models that could still be prepared internally and utilizes data institutions should already collect. In this article, we will explore migration analysis.

Oct 30, 2017
Industries: Financial Institutions
By: Brett D. Schwantes

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Getting Off to the Right Start

Starting off on the right foot is always important, but it is essential when taking an application for a closed-end consumer mortgage loan that is subject to the integrated Truth in Lending Act disclosures, ”Know Before you Owe” or “TRID.” The technicalities of TRID can cause even one error at the time of application to have a snowball effect that impacts the contents of the Loan Estimate and the Closing Disclosure.

Oct 30, 2017
Industries: Financial Institutions
By: Amanda L. Knudsen

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Self-Identification and Prompt Corrective Action – Are You Ready for the New Uniform Consumer Compliance Rating System?

In November of 2016, the Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council published final guidance revising the consumer compliance rating system used by federal regulators during their compliance examinations effective March 31, 2017. If your institution hasn’t had a compliance examination since April 1, 2017, you may not know how the new Uniform Interagency Consumer Compliance Rating System will affect your institution’s compliance management system (CMS).  

Oct 30, 2017
Industries: Financial Institutions
By: Melissa D. Blaser

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Staying on the Right Side of Regulation O

Although Regulation O has been around since the 1930s, it is still sometimes easy to forget some of the requirements. This article includes some common mistakes to avoid and will help keep your Regulation O program compliant.

Oct 30, 2017
Industries: Financial Institutions
By: Teri Downey

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How to Avoid Information Reporting Penalties

The IRS has increased its information reporting penalties. Being on top of the filing requirements can help financial institutions, and all companies, avoid possible penalties. Mistakes can happen though, and when they do, there may be potential relief from the information reporting penalties, should you find yourself in that situation

Oct 30, 2017
Industries: Financial Institutions
Services: Tax
By: Nicole Meinhardt

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The Case for a Community Reinvestment Act Plan (or why every bank should have one)

When we work with financial institutions on Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) matters, we ask whether they have created a CRA plan. The answers we get range from “Yes” to “Not yet, but it’s on our list of things to do” to “No, and it’s not going to happen!”   

Oct 30, 2017
Industries: Financial Institutions
By: Jerry Miller

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Where Is Your Center?

What I mean by that is, when you are contemplating a new product or service and the process to support it, who or what do you focus on? What is most important to you? Is it your client? Do you focus on whether it will be profitable? Or is it your employees? As you are reviewing most processes, ultimately your client should be the primary focus, and when you are doing that well, your profits will show it. 

Oct 30, 2017
Industries: Financial Institutions
By: Susan Kappel

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You’ve Got (Suspicious) Mail: Email Compromise Fraud

The imminent threat posed by cyber attacks is constantly changing and always seems to be top of mind at each institution we visit. One aspect of this threat is how email compromise fraud has evolved over time, becoming more sophisticated and a larger risk to its victims. The Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) announced that from 2013 through June 2016 there had been approximately 22,000 reported cases that totaled $3.1 billion. Email compromise fraud has been reported in all 50 states and in 131 countries according to the statistics released by the FBI. Financial institutions should all be aware of the red flags indicating a possible fraudulent attempt and implement preventative measures to protect themselves and their customers or members.

Oct 30, 2017
Industries: Financial Institutions
By: Nick Bonnema

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ACA Enforcement Has Begun: Are You Ready?

Even as the political rhetoric continues in relation to the Affordable Care Act, the IRS is stepping up enforcement of both the individual mandate, which requires individuals to obtain health insurance, and the employer mandate requiring many employers to offer insurance coverage to their employees and then report on that offer annually to the IRS.

Oct 25, 2017
Industries: Agribusiness, Construction and Real Estate, Dealerships, FinTech, Financial Institutions, Financial Services, Freshwater, Governments, Health Care, Insurance, Manufacturing and Distribution, Nonprofits, Private Equity
Services: Business Advisory

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QuickBooks Tip - Improving the Use of Reports Sent to Excel

One of the advantages of using QuickBooks is the ability to quickly generate meaningful reports about your business. This is true for both the Desktop and Online versions of QuickBooks. Both versions of QuickBooks have the ability to simply and seamlessly export reports to Microsoft Excel so that data analysis can be taken a step further with the tools and functions that are available within Excel.  Blending the best features of QuickBooks and Excel can be a powerful way to extract and analyze meaningful data about your business.

Ideally, Excel likes data in a list, block, or table-like format with no blank cells. Blank cells can be troublesome, if not downright destructive, when filtering, slicing data, or summarizing information within a pivot table. 

Oct 16, 2017
Industries: Agribusiness, Construction and Real Estate, Dealerships, Financial Institutions, Financial Services, Freshwater, Governments, Health Care, Insurance, Manufacturing and Distribution, Nonprofits, Private Equity, FinTech
Services: Audit and Accounting, Business Advisory
By: Marv Reesor

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Creating Customer Statements in QuickBooks

Invoices not being paid promptly? Customers questioning their payment history? Create statements.

QuickBooks’ statements provide an overview of every transaction that has occurred between you and individual customers during a specified period of time. They’re easy to create, easy to understand, and can be effective at resolving payment disputes.

Oct 13, 2017
Industries: Agribusiness, Construction and Real Estate, Dealerships, FinTech, Financial Institutions, Financial Services, Freshwater, Governments, Health Care, Insurance, Manufacturing and Distribution, Nonprofits, Private Equity
Services: Audit and Accounting, Business Advisory

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Are You Using QuickBooks Online's Mobile App?

Even if you don’t travel for work (but especially if you do), you should explore what QuickBooks Online’s mobile app has to offer.

You already know how convenient it is to be able to access your company’s financial data from any desktop or laptop computer that has an internet connection. Still, there are times when you’d like to be able to complete some of your accounting tasks without firing up a full-blown browser and logging on to QuickBooks Online.

Oct 13, 2017
Industries: Agribusiness, Construction and Real Estate, Dealerships, FinTech, Financial Institutions, Financial Services, Freshwater, Governments, Health Care, Insurance, Manufacturing and Distribution, Nonprofits, Private Equity
Services: Audit and Accounting, Business Advisory

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2017 Wisconsin Budget Bill Updates

On September 21, 2017, the Governor of Wisconsin signed into law the 2017-2019 budget bill (2017 Wisconsin Act 59), which included many changes to the state of Wisconsin’s tax system. The changes affect sales and use taxes, individual income taxes, corporate income taxes, and property taxes.

Oct 06, 2017
Industries: Agribusiness, Construction and Real Estate, Dealerships, FinTech, Financial Institutions, Financial Services, Freshwater, Governments, Health Care, Insurance, Manufacturing and Distribution, Nonprofits, Private Equity
Services: Tax

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Five Considerations When You Have a Sales and Use Tax Question and Your Crystal Ball is “Out of Order”

Oh, to live in a world where all sales and use tax questions are easily answered! Unfortunately, such a tax utopia does not currently exist. In reality, sales tax matters can be very complex, with limited state guidance on certain issues. It may be even more difficult to find an answer when your situation is unique. What’s a well-meaning, law-abiding taxpayer to do? This article addresses some ways in which taxpayers go about finding answers to their state and local tax questions and the pitfalls they encounter.

Oct 04, 2017
Industries: Agribusiness, Construction and Real Estate, Dealerships, Freshwater, Manufacturing and Distribution, Private Equity
Services: Tax
By: Tara T. Johnson

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Gotcha! How a state finds a non-filer.

Things that we should be doing are often overshadowed by the activities that we are currently performing and that seem to be working for us. As companies continue to expand their sales across the country, a growing company may not realize the required tax filings needed in the various states. Oftentimes, it may take a state a few years to catch up with a new taxpayer…but eventually they need to pay the piper.


Oct 04, 2017
Industries: Agribusiness, Construction and Real Estate, Dealerships, Freshwater, Manufacturing and Distribution, Private Equity
Services: Tax
By: Jessica L. Macklin

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New Trend in State Sales Taxation – Pennsylvania’s Proposed Warehouse Tax

A growing trend in state sales and use taxation is to extend the state’s sales and use tax rate to currently exempted services in hopes to bring in additional revenue to offset budget deficits.

Oct 04, 2017
Industries: Agribusiness, Construction and Real Estate, Dealerships, Freshwater, Manufacturing and Distribution, Private Equity
Services: Tax
By: Craig Cookle

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Seven Noteworthy Trends and Highlights in State and Local Tax

As we march steadily toward year-end (boy, didn’t that happen quickly?), we thought it might be a good time to let you know some of the things that are “going on” in state and local tax. Though it would be impossible to cover everything that has impacted the world of state and local taxes, this article addresses some of the highlights and trends.

Oct 04, 2017
Industries: Agribusiness, Construction and Real Estate, Dealerships, Freshwater, Manufacturing and Distribution, Private Equity
Services: Tax
By: Linda J. Feirn

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Federal Tax Update – Republicans Release a “Unified Framework”

On Wednesday, September 27, the Trump administration and Congressional Republican leaders released their “Unified Framework for Fixing Our Broken Tax Code.” We believe the items in bold in the article are most likely to have the biggest impact on you and your business. 

Sep 29, 2017
Industries: Agribusiness, Construction and Real Estate, Dealerships, Financial Institutions, Financial Services, Freshwater, Governments, Health Care, Insurance, Manufacturing and Distribution, Nonprofits, Private Equity, FinTech
Services: Tax, Private Wealth Services

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Federal Fuel Tax Credit Subject to IRS Audit

In recent months, the IRS has been conducting “line item correspondence audits” of the fuel tax credit claimed by many farmers on their federal income tax return. 

 

Sep 29, 2017
Industries: Agribusiness
Services: Tax
By: Curt Barnekoff

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Nonprofits: Bringing Finance and Accounting to the Cloud

Learn how today’s cloud-based financial management solutions are helping nonprofit organizations solve their biggest challenges and take their missions to the next level.

Sep 22, 2017
Industries: Nonprofits
Services: Technology, Consulting
By: Brian Dietz, Shereen Mahoney

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Livestock Disaster Recovery Assistance

It can be difficult to navigate the myriad of options available for disaster relief—and, in some cases, equally difficult to prove eligibility. This article outlines resources, programs, and options and offers tips for ranchers seeking disaster recovery assistance. 

 

Sep 21, 2017
Industries: Agribusiness
By: Curt Barnekoff

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Equifax Data Breach – Is Your Identity at Risk?

With over 143 million records compromised, it is very likely that your personal data was compromised in the Equifax data breach.

Sep 11, 2017
Industries: Agribusiness, Construction and Real Estate, Dealerships, FinTech, Financial Institutions, Financial Services, Freshwater, Governments, Health Care, Insurance, Manufacturing and Distribution, Nonprofits, Private Equity
Services: Governance, Risk, and Compliance

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QuickBooks Tip - The Importance of Account Types

The purpose of the chart of accounts is to summarize where money comes from and where it goes. Plain and simple right? Not always, setting up the chart of accounts is crucial when it comes to keeping your financial information in order.

The “account type” is the most important part of setting up the chart of accounts, it helps create reports like a balance sheet and Profit and Loss statement.

Sep 11, 2017
Industries: Agribusiness, Construction and Real Estate, Dealerships, Financial Institutions, Financial Services, Freshwater, Governments, Health Care, Insurance, Manufacturing and Distribution, Nonprofits, Private Equity
Services: Audit and Accounting, Business Advisory
By: Dean Klemenz

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Using QuickBooks' Income Tracker

QuickBooks provides numerous ways to learn about your company’s health. Income Tracker is one of the most effective.

Sep 11, 2017
Industries: Agribusiness, Construction and Real Estate, Dealerships, Financial Institutions, Financial Services, Freshwater, Governments, Health Care, Insurance, Manufacturing and Distribution, Nonprofits, Private Equity
Services: Audit and Accounting, Business Advisory

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About Three Years and Counting

During the next several years, experts project a significant change in the United States payment structure. Regulatory changes as well as a host of other risk areas falling under the scope of enterprise risk management will be in the spotlight due to the massive change. In addition, it will be important to address financial institution payment system connectivity along with that of nonfinancial institutions, including FinTech companies. And for the record, the United States is not alone in the push to expedite payments.

Aug 25, 2017
Industries: Financial Institutions
By: Karen A. Mitchell

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Are the Phones Your Employees Using to Contact Consumers Subjecting the Financial Institution to Compliance With the Telephone Consumer Protections Act?

At the recent ABA Compliance Conference in Orlando, Florida, I had the opportunity to hear Jonathan Thessin, Senior Counsel, American Bankers Association, speak on the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA). I had one of those “Aha!” moments when he was explaining one of the 2015 changes to the broad definition of “autodialer” and how financial institutions could be using one and not realize it.

Aug 25, 2017
Industries: Financial Institutions
By: Cindy L. Mabry

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CECL Methodologies Series: Vintage Loss Rate

In our last newsletter, we began a series of articles that will focus on the different Current Expected Credit Loss (CECL) methodologies and their pros and cons. The first methodology we looked at was the cumulative loss rate, CECL Methodologies Series: Cumulative Loss Rate, which is the simplest methodology to use under the new standard, but will require a great deal of qualitative (Q) factor analysis and will likely result in a higher allowance for loan and lease losses (ALLL) balance relative to other available methodologies. In this article, we will explore the vintage loss rate methodology.

Aug 25, 2017
Industries: Financial Institutions
By: Brett D. Schwantes

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Cyber Threat Predictions for 2017

We live in a never-ending game of cat and mouse pitting security professionals and information technology administrators against bad actors out to steal money, corporate secrets, and personal identifiable information (PII). Methods used by bad actors have evolved over the years as security measures have been put in place. 2016 saw a continued rise in phishing and ransomware attacks. If bad actors can find a way to profit from these tactics, 2017 will continue with this trend and introduce newer threats.

Aug 25, 2017
Industries: Financial Institutions
By: Joel R. Lego

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Does Culture Drive Your Strategic Initiatives?

Strategic planning is a time to harness the thoughts, ideas, and energy of your financial institution’s leaders to identify key strategic issues, develop strategies and actions plans to address those issues, build capacity to implement action plans and create a single-minded team focus on desired outcomes.

Aug 25, 2017
Industries: Financial Institutions
By: Susi Massaro, Heather L. Debelak

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Historic Tax Credits and the R&D Credit for Financial Institutions

With the current top C-corporation tax rate at 35% and the top individual rate at 39.6% for S-corporation shareholders, many financial institutions actively look for deductions to take some of the bite out of their tax bill. The use of tax credits can be an extremely effective way to reduce tax liability. While tax deductions reduce the amount of taxable income to which the tax rates are applied to figure the liability, tax credits are a dollar-for-dollar reduction of the tax liability itself. There are a plethora of credits available, but this article will focus on two types of credits that are increasingly being used by financial institutions: historic tax credits and the research credit. 

Aug 25, 2017
Industries: Financial Institutions
By: Brianna N. Komppa

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Improving Your Interest Rate and Liquidity Risk Process

A steep yield curve usually results in strong financial institution net interest margins. Unfortunately, the Great Recession lowered both short- and long-term interest rates to record lows and flattened the yield curve, which decreased net interest margins. For the past eight-plus years, the market has been forecasting higher interest rates. Since November 15, 2016, the Federal Reserve has raised short-term interest rates four times, each by 25 basis points, so short-term interest rates have risen modestly, but less than forecasted. In the same time frame, the 5-year rate in the Treasury curve has not experienced any significant increases at all. This has resulted in a continuing flattening of the yield curve. 

Aug 25, 2017
Industries: Financial Institutions, Financial Services

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Let's Dip Into NDIP for a Refresher

Despite significant changes in the regulatory environment over the past 23 years, the Interagency Statement on Retail Sales of Nondeposit Investment Products (“Interagency Statement”), issued on February 15, 1994, remains unchanged. With the recent implementation of the Department of Labor’s Fiduciary Rule, however, many banks have taken this as an opportunity to review and freshen up their nondeposit investment products (NDIP) written programs. In this article, we’ll give you a jump start by focusing on the regulatory requirements as they relate to the NDIP program, disclosure obligations, and setting and circumstances. Let’s get started!

Aug 25, 2017
Industries: Financial Institutions
By: Brianna Herder

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Section 314(b) and John Lennon: An Unusual Parallel

The 314(a) process has proven to be an effective tool in many law enforcement investigations. According to the July 2017 FinCEN 314(a) Fact Sheet, the 314(a) program office has processed 3,257 requests to date, relating to 556 cases of terrorism or terrorist financing and 2,701 cases of money laundering. FinCEN’s Section 314(a) reaches out to more than 16,000 financial institutions to locate accounts and transactions of persons who may be involved in terrorism or money laundering. The process enables law enforcement to obtain critical evidence to help advance their investigations.

Aug 25, 2017
Industries: Financial Institutions
By: Craig E. Johnson

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Customer Digital Experience: There is more to catch up!

In one of its recent articles, American Banker mentioned that U.S. banks are falling behind in digital adoption as compared to banks in other parts of the world. When we explore this topic further, we find two specific areas where customers would have liked better digital experiences:  account opening and customer service.

Aug 24, 2017
Industries: Financial Institutions, Financial Services, FinTech
By: Girish M. Ramachandra

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How Come We Don’t Talk Anymore? Getting Your Systems Connected

So what if your systems could magically talk to each other? How much better reporting could you get? How much more time would you have to do actual analysis of the data and be a business advisor? How much more time would you have to think about innovation and increasing value in your organization? This article discusses how you can make steps toward making this dream become a reality.

Aug 23, 2017
Industries: Agribusiness, Construction and Real Estate, Dealerships, FinTech, Financial Institutions, Financial Services, Freshwater, Governments, Health Care, Insurance, Manufacturing and Distribution, Nonprofits, Private Equity
Services: Audit and Accounting
By: Matt Rowley

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SOC for Cybersecurity: Let Your Stakeholders Know You’re Ready for the Threats

There’s no better way to validate your cybersecurity efforts than with an independent SOC for Cybersecurity exam, and there’s no better way to easily communicate it to all your audiences than with a SOC for Cybersecurity report from an experienced CPA firm.

Aug 23, 2017
Industries: Agribusiness, Construction and Real Estate, Dealerships, FinTech, Financial Institutions, Financial Services, Freshwater, Governments, Health Care, Insurance, Manufacturing and Distribution, Nonprofits, Private Equity
Services: Governance, Risk, and Compliance
By: Robert D. Cedergren, Torpey White

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Not-for-Profit Revenue Recognition

The Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) has issued an exposure draft that aims to clarify the guidance on determining whether a transfer of assets is a contribution or an exchange transaction and how to distinguish between a conditional and an unconditional contribution. The distinction is substantial because contributions are reported in accordance with FASB Topic 958-605, and exchange transactions are reported in accordance with FASB ASC Topic 606 (a/k/a the “new” revenue recognition standard that applies to contracts with customers). Although the accounting for contributions most commonly affects not-for-profit organizations, this draft proposal would apply to all entities (including business entities) that might receive or make contributions.

Aug 23, 2017
Industries: Nonprofits
By: Stephanie J. Cavadeas

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Interest Rates: What Goes Down Must Come Up

Increases in interest rates affect all businesses, regardless of size. It is important that businesses understand how changes in interest rates can impact their choices in lending, business expansion decisions, and current operations.

Aug 21, 2017
Industries: Agribusiness, Construction and Real Estate, Dealerships, FinTech, Financial Institutions, Financial Services, Freshwater, Governments, Health Care, Insurance, Manufacturing and Distribution, Nonprofits, Private Equity
Services: Audit and Accounting
By: Dan Fabich

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Thinking Outside the Net Income Box. How Does Your Organization Measure Success?

While you have to follow some regulatory standards governing how you prepare and present your financial statements, many organizations overlook the fact that they do have a lot of flexibility in what financial data they present in their financial statements. Make sure yours gives you the data necessary to evaluate the truly important aspects of what makes your organization successful.

Aug 21, 2017
Industries: Agribusiness, Construction and Real Estate, Dealerships, FinTech, Financial Institutions, Financial Services, Freshwater, Governments, Health Care, Insurance, Manufacturing and Distribution, Nonprofits, Private Equity
Services: Audit and Accounting
By: Steven A. Jordan

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Ransomware: Avoiding a Hostage Situation

Ransomware attacks continue to escalate worldwide, causing data loss, downtime, and costly expense to businesses in all industries. Unfortunately, because of the ease of ransomware deployment and the lucrative nature of this type of cybercrime, all businesses must be prepared to prevent attacks and respond to them if affected.

Aug 21, 2017
Industries: Agribusiness, Construction and Real Estate, Dealerships, FinTech, Financial Institutions, Financial Services, Freshwater, Governments, Health Care, Insurance, Manufacturing and Distribution, Nonprofits, Private Equity
Services: Governance, Risk, and Compliance
By: Jeff Olejnik

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Seven Best Practices for QuickBooks Online

“Best practices” aren’t enforceable rules. They’re simply guidelines businesses commonly follow in one area or another. Even if you’ve been using QuickBooks Online for a long time, it’s good to step back and evaluate your actions.

QuickBooks Online has many best practices, some of which may serve multiple purposes, including these:


Aug 19, 2017
Industries: Agribusiness, Construction and Real Estate, Dealerships, FinTech, Financial Institutions, Financial Services, Freshwater, Governments, Health Care, Insurance, Manufacturing and Distribution, Nonprofits, Private Equity
Services: Audit and Accounting, Business Advisory

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What QuickBooks Sales Orders Are and When to Use Them

When you want to document sales that you can’t (or won’t) fulfill immediately, but you plan to do so in the future, you can’t create an invoice just yet. This is where sales orders come in. If you plan to use sales orders, you must first make sure QuickBooks is set up to accommodate them.

Aug 19, 2017
Industries: Agribusiness, Construction and Real Estate, Dealerships, Health Care, Insurance, Manufacturing and Distribution, Nonprofits
Services: Audit and Accounting, Business Advisory

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Retiring From Farming Soon? Proactive Tax Planning Is Critical

Two things are apparent in the world of farming:  Farmers are getting older (the average age of farmers is now 58), and retirement and transition is becoming a major issue in the farming community.

 

Aug 15, 2017
Industries: Agribusiness
Services: Tax
By: Edward Megli

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Take 2 – DOL Seeks to Delay Fiduciary Rule Implementation to 2019

Last week, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) issued a proposal to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to further postpone the implementation date for the second phase of its investment fiduciary rule by 18 months.

Aug 15, 2017
Industries: Agribusiness, Construction and Real Estate, Dealerships, FinTech, Financial Institutions, Financial Services, Freshwater, Governments, Health Care, Insurance, Manufacturing and Distribution, Nonprofits, Private Equity
Services: Business Advisory

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Short-Lived Amnesty Program for Remote Sellers Requires Attention Now - Frequently Asked Questions

The recently drafted plan by the Multistate Tax Commission’s (MTC) Nexus Committee provides a voluntary disclosure program, or amnesty, that would be in effect for 60 days. During this period, businesses that engage in “marketplace sales” through Amazon’s Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA) or other online marketplaces can come into compliance with state sales tax laws.

Aug 14, 2017
Industries: Manufacturing and Distribution, Freshwater
Services: Tax
By: Daryl L. Ohland

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Multistate Tax Commission Announces Special Voluntary Disclosure Program - Businesses Must Act Quickly

State governments continue to pursue remote sellers who sell to consumers in their state. Marketplace facilitators like Amazon’s Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA) assist online sellers to facilitate retail sales in states where they have no locations/employees. The facilitators maintain fulfillment centers in various states to store the inventory of the sellers. The maintenance of inventory by the online seller through a marketplace facilitator is sufficient to create nexus. Many online sellers are not aware of this fact.

The Multistate Tax Commission's National Nexus Committee is offering a limited-time voluntary disclosure program, or amnesty, for remote sellers that would be in effect for 60 days.

Aug 14, 2017
Industries: Manufacturing and Distribution, Freshwater
Services: Tax

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Tax Options for Crop Insurance Proceeds

If Mother Nature hands you crop damage via drought, inability to plant, hail, flooding, or fire and you receive crop insurance proceeds, alternatives for the tax reporting of this income are available. 

 

Aug 10, 2017
Industries: Agribusiness
Services: Tax
By: Curt Barnekoff

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Disaster Recovery Tips for Montana Farmers and Ranchers

In the aftermath of recent wildfires in northeastern Montana, farmers and ranchers are picking up the pieces and rebuilding. During this process, it is important to remember to keep records of losses and expenses, including receipts, pictures, and logs to substantiate losses that may be eligible for disaster assistance programs, as well as to report tax losses on state and federal returns. A number of relief and assistance resources are available to those affected.

 

Aug 03, 2017
Industries: Agribusiness
By: Barbara Hyndman

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Verify Third-Party Security: The Role of SOC 2 Reports

Outsourcing portions of your business to third-party vendors using the cloud and the Internet create great efficiencies for businesses, but they also introduce tremendous challenges. Information that’s stored in the cloud, information stored at a third-party location, and information in transit can put both organizations and their customers at risk. The AICPA’s SOC 2® reports are intended to meet the needs of a broad range of users who need information and assurance about the controls designed and implemented at third-party vendors.

Aug 02, 2017
Industries: Agribusiness, Construction and Real Estate, Dealerships, FinTech, Financial Institutions, Financial Services, Freshwater, Governments, Health Care, Insurance, Manufacturing and Distribution, Nonprofits, Private Equity
Services: Governance, Risk, and Compliance
By: Robert D. Cedergren, Torpey White

> Read More

Getting It Right: Understanding the Updated Not-for-Profit Financial Reporting Standard

Current financial reporting standards for not-for-profit organizations have been in place for nearly 25 years. The Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB), the board responsible for setting the standards for not-for-profit organizations, recognized that while existing guidance held up well, some improvements were necessary. The updated standard reflects the desire for not-for-profit organizations to be able to tell their unique story while simultaneously improving relevance, transparency, and comparability for the ease of the intended users. It’s no surprise that over time the needs of intended users of financial statements have changed, thus changing the way information needs to be presented.

Aug 01, 2017
Industries: Governments, Nonprofits
Services: Audit and Accounting
By: Stephanie J. Cavadeas

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The Business Associates Path to HITRUST CSF Certification

The Health Information Trust (HITRUST) Alliance developed the Common Security Framework (CSF) in 2007 to give health care organizations a comprehensive set of baseline security controls.This whitepaper presents the key measures and corresponding activities business associates can expect to encounter along the path to HITRUST CSF certification.

Jul 28, 2017
Industries: Agribusiness, Construction and Real Estate, Dealerships, FinTech, Financial Institutions, Financial Services, Freshwater, Governments, Health Care, Insurance, Manufacturing and Distribution, Nonprofits, Private Equity
Services: Governance, Risk, and Compliance
By: Paul J. Johnson

> Read More

Colorado Use Tax Notice and Reporting Requirements Effective July 1, 2017

A Colorado law passed in 2010 aimed at significantly increasing sales and use tax remittance in the state took effect July 1, 2017, after many years of litigation. The law targets “non-collecting retailers,” better known as “remote sellers,” that sell tangible personal property into the state of Colorado but do not have a physical presence in the state to collect and remit sales and use tax. The Colorado Department of Revenue adopted an emergency rule effective July 1 and intends to promulgate a permanent rule later in the year.

Jul 11, 2017
Industries: Manufacturing and Distribution, Private Equity
Services: Tax

> Read More

Receiving Payments in QuickBooks Online

It’s perhaps one of your favorite activities in QuickBooks Online: recording money that comes in. Are you doing it right?

Jul 07, 2017
Industries: Agribusiness, Construction and Real Estate, Dealerships, Financial Institutions, Financial Services, Freshwater, Governments, Health Care, Insurance, Manufacturing and Distribution, Nonprofits, Private Equity
Services: Audit and Accounting, Business Advisory

> Read More

Working with Checks in QuickBooks

Online banking may get all the headlines, but a lot of small businesses still prefer paper checks. QuickBooks can accommodate them.

Jul 07, 2017
Industries: Agribusiness, Construction and Real Estate, Dealerships, Financial Institutions, Financial Services, Freshwater, Governments, Health Care, Insurance, Manufacturing and Distribution, Nonprofits, Private Equity
Services: Audit and Accounting, Business Advisory

> Read More

Illinois Budget Bill Enacted

The Illinois General Assembly passed the state’s spending plan yesterday, July 6, with an override of Governor Rauner’s veto. The legislation enacts quite a few changes, which are a mix of tax increases and tax credit extensions.

Jul 07, 2017
Industries: Agribusiness, Construction and Real Estate, Dealerships, Financial Institutions, Financial Services, Freshwater, Governments, Health Care, Insurance, Manufacturing and Distribution, Nonprofits, Private Equity
Services: Tax

> Read More

Looking for Reliable Cybersecurity Guidance? Start Here.

At first blush, it may seem odd that the words CPA and cybersecurity would appear in the same sentence together. The fact is, the public accounting profession has long been active in helping organizations address information security.

Jul 06, 2017
Industries: Agribusiness, Construction and Real Estate, Dealerships, Financial Institutions, Financial Services, Freshwater, Governments, Health Care, Insurance, Manufacturing and Distribution, Nonprofits, Private Equity
Services: Governance, Risk, and Compliance
By: Robert D. Cedergren, Torpey White

> Read More

Your Best Guess: Estimates in Accounting

To outsiders, the world of accounting seems very cut and dry. However, quality estimation is a critical part of financial reporting and is an exercise undertaken routinely.

Jun 27, 2017
Industries: Agribusiness, Construction and Real Estate, Dealerships, Financial Institutions, Financial Services, Freshwater, Governments, Health Care, Insurance, Manufacturing and Distribution, Nonprofits, Private Equity
Services: Audit and Accounting
By: Travis Richert, Bryan Johnson

> Read More

401(k) Plans – Always Room for Improvement

Offering a retirement plan can be one of the most challenging, yet rewarding, decisions an employer can make. By following these best practices and having the proper benefits in place, an employer can both operate its plan smoothly and efficiently and attract the right employees.

Jun 27, 2017
Industries: Agribusiness, Construction and Real Estate, Dealerships, Financial Institutions, Financial Services, Freshwater, Governments, Health Care, Insurance, Manufacturing and Distribution, Nonprofits, Private Equity
Services: Audit and Accounting
By: Kayla M. Hembel

> Read More

Is it Time for a Mid-Year Resolution?

For calendar year-end organizations, June marks the mid-year. The mid-year period can serve as a refresher and call to focus topics that, if addressed now, can ease the year-end audit season and help firm up reported amounts to help round out the year. Here are a few areas that may be worth consideration during the summer months.

Jun 27, 2017
Industries: Agribusiness, Construction and Real Estate, Dealerships, Financial Institutions, Financial Services, Freshwater, Governments, Health Care, Insurance, Manufacturing and Distribution, Nonprofits, Private Equity
Services: Audit and Accounting
By: Jim Hyland

> Read More

House Passes Mobile Workforce Taxation Bill

Under current law, it is extremely difficult for companies to comply with current state withholding rules. If this bill also passes the Senate and becomes law, the Mobile Workforce State Income Tax Simplification Act (H.R. 1393) would simplify a national patchwork of interlocking obligations for employers who send employees over state lines to perform work. 

Jun 23, 2017
Services: Tax
By: Craig Cookle

> Read More

The DOL Fiduciary Rule...Maybe Not As Bad As You Think

Unless you’ve been in solitary confinement or otherwise “off the grid” in the world of wealth management and retirement accounts, you have probably heard of the Department of Labor’s Conflict of Interest Rule, more commonly known as “the Fiduciary Rule.” The Fiduciary Rule was published in the Federal Register on April 8, 2016, became effective on June 7, 2016, and had an original applicability date of April 10, 2017, with a phased implementation period ending on January 1, 2018. Original time frames were established under President Obama’s administration, but after President Trump took office in January, things began to get “interesting” – for lack of a better term.

Jun 21, 2017
Industries: Financial Institutions
By: Bryan Meddings

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BSA/AML Risk Management and Electronic Banking

Just as certain products and services offered by financial institutions pose a heightened level of risk, how customers interact with those products and services also alters the levels of associated risk, as well as the regulatory expectations for risk mitigation.  Financial institutions should consider all indicators of risk when evaluating methods of risk mitigation.  In this article, we will focus on electronic banking.  E-banking continues to become exponentially more important to the financial industry, both in terms of serving customers and presenting new challenges from a regulatory and risk standpoint.  

Jun 20, 2017
Industries: Financial Institutions
By: Nick Bonnema

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CECL Methodologies Series: Cumulative Loss Rate

In a recent article, CECL:  Getting Started, we looked at setting specific milestones to help guide management teams through the CECL implementation process. The first milestone we suggested was to investigate available CECL methodologies. In the next several articles, we will explore some of the different methodologies and their pros and cons, starting in this article with the cumulative loss rate methodology.

Jun 20, 2017
Industries: Financial Institutions
By: Brett D. Schwantes

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ESOPs: Align Employee Interests With Long-Term Business Goals and Succession Planning

More and more companies are struggling to attract and retain good employees. Today’s younger generations are not committed to or even looking for a lifelong career, and it is getting harder to find and keep good people. The workforce is changing, and in order to stay competitive, business owners are going to have to offer more benefits and flexibility than ever before. 

Jun 20, 2017
Industries: Financial Institutions
By: Nicole L. Stewart

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Have You Considered Your Redlining Risk Recently?

Those of us who have been in banking for a few decades remember some of the earlier redlining cases of the 1990s, which until recently seemed to be a thing of the past, a dark point in our history. But the recent uptick in enforcement activity involving redlining should cause us to stop and take another look at the geographies and communities from which we take applications and in which we originate loans.  

Jun 20, 2017
Industries: Financial Institutions
By: Melissa D. Blaser

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Internal Controls – Back to the Basics

Performing a thorough, quality internal control risk assessment, documenting management internal controls, and identifying missing control points are rigorous tasks that all organizations, including financial institutions, are challenged with on an ongoing basis. Bank executives, regulators, boards of directors, and external auditors are all very invested in internal controls. Strong, well-thought-out internal controls are not just for Fortune 100 companies, they are also important for local community financial institutions.  

Jun 20, 2017
Industries: Financial Institutions
By: John Schroeder

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E-mail Compromise – Is Your Institution Vulnerable? Do You Know How to Report It?

On September 2016, the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) updated its Suspicious Activity Report (SAR) Key Advisory Terms to add a new key term. FinCEN periodically issues these advisories to provide institutions with guidance on potential threats that may affect the U.S. financial banking system. The advisories also provide guidance to financial institutions on preparing SARs related to the covered activity. This article will discuss the details of the September 2016 advisory, including SAR preparation tips. The most recent advisory term addition, e-mail compromise, was the result of a recent spate of compromised personal and business e-mail accounts. According to the FBI, there have been approximately 22,000 reported cases involving $3.1 billion since 2013. These scams not only hit businesses and individuals but also financial institutions directly. The scams present themselves as follows: Business e-mail compromise (BEC) fraud, which means the cyber criminal is targeting a financial institution's commercial customers, and e-mail account compromise (EAC), which involves a victim's personal accounts. 

Jun 20, 2017
Industries: Financial Institutions
By: Robin Guthridge

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What You Should Know Before Outsourcing Bank Services

Have you outsourced or are you thinking of outsourcing any banking services?  If so, here are some things to consider. 

The federal regulators actually have an act called The Bank Service Company Act (the “Act”), which was first introduced in 1962.  

Jun 20, 2017
Industries: Financial Institutions
By: Teri Downey

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How to Keep Your QuickBooks Data Safe

We can’t overstate the vital importance of protecting your QuickBooks company file, especially your customer and payroll information. Whether someone steals it or it’s inaccessible for another reason, it’s gone. Keeping your business going after such a loss would be very difficult – maybe even impossible.

Here’s what we suggest to prevent that.

Jun 15, 2017
Industries: Agribusiness, Construction and Real Estate, Dealerships, Insurance, Manufacturing and Distribution, Nonprofits, Private Equity, Financial Institutions, Financial Services, Freshwater, Governments, Health Care
Services: Audit and Accounting, Business Advisory

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SOC 2 Reporting and HITRUST CSF Leveraging the Best Path to Assurance

Business associates can agree that providing assurances of the protection of systems and data is the right thing to do. Some of the biggest names in health care require that their business associates adopt the new HITRUST Common Security Framework (CSF) Assurance Program.

Jun 06, 2017
Industries: Agribusiness, Construction and Real Estate, Dealerships, Financial Institutions, Financial Services, Freshwater, Governments, Health Care, Insurance, Manufacturing and Distribution, Nonprofits, Private Equity, FinTech
Services: Governance, Risk, and Compliance
By: Paul J. Johnson

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Recording Simple Expenses in QuickBooks Online

Keeping track of your outgoing funds can be challenging, since there are so many ways to complete those transactions. But it’s important that all expenses are recorded correctly and consistently, to keep your company file accurate. In addition, so many of your expenses are tax-deductible. You don’t want to miss any of them.

Jun 06, 2017
Industries: Agribusiness, Construction and Real Estate, Dealerships, Insurance, Manufacturing and Distribution, Nonprofits, Private Equity, Financial Institutions, Financial Services, Freshwater, Governments, Health Care
Services: Audit and Accounting, Business Advisory

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Making Cybersecurity a Business Priority: Can You Handle the Risks?

Cybersecurity has become a nonnegotiable responsibility for companies of every size and in every industry. That’s because cybercriminals are equal opportunity offenders. Today’s organizations must continually identify risks and diligently mitigate them in order to protect the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of their information systems and overall infrastructures. This includes protecting customer data and especially applies to all third-party relationships.

Jun 05, 2017
Industries: Agribusiness, Construction and Real Estate, Dealerships, Financial Institutions, Financial Services, Freshwater, Governments, Health Care, Insurance, Manufacturing and Distribution, Nonprofits, Private Equity
Services: Governance, Risk, and Compliance
By: Robert D. Cedergren, Torpey White

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Hospital-Physician Leasing Arrangements: If You’ve Seen One, You’ve Seen One

Structuring legally compliant hospital-physician leases and establishing fair market value (FMV) rental rates can be challenging. This is especially true given that scrutiny has increased greatly over the past decade, with the government taking aim at fraud and questionable arrangements and more fervently enforcing the Stark Law and Anti-Kickback Statute (AKS). When regulatory and reimbursement pressures are combined with the wide variety of leasing arrangements, it’s easy to see why obtaining an independent valuation can be a prudent move.

May 25, 2017
Industries: Health Care
Services: Business Advisory
By: Lisa M. Cribben, Francis P. Egan

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Succession Planning: A Critical Talent Retention Strategy

From the regulators to the board of directors, to bank executives to human resources leaders, succession planning and talent retention is a hot topic!  Not only is finding quality talent a challenge faced by every organization in every industry at every level, but retaining that highly sought after talent has also become a significant challenge—particularly for the banking industry.

May 24, 2017
Industries: Financial Services, Financial Institutions
By: Julia A. Johnson

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Cost Segregation Studies: Understanding the Application of Income Tax Analysis to Property Tax and Sales Tax Reporting

To get the most state-tax-favorable treatment for your construction project, it is important to understand the potential integration between the cost segregation study and sales and property taxes. Understanding your study will ensure that your company will use the information from the study to properly report both sales/use and property taxes. Used properly, the cost segregation study may also provide valuable substantiation for property and sales tax opportunities available to your organization.

May 23, 2017
Industries: Agribusiness, Construction and Real Estate, Dealerships, Financial Institutions, Financial Services, Freshwater, Health Care, Insurance, Manufacturing and Distribution, Private Equity
Services: Tax
By: Daryl L. Ohland

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Demystifying Out-of-State Sales Tax Registration

Companies should be reviewing their sales tax filing requirements in other states regularly, even long before they hire their first out-of-state employee. We find that companies may not think this is necessary because of two misunderstandings that occur with regard to filing requirements.

May 23, 2017
Services: Tax
By: Daryl L. Ohland

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Handling a Sales and Use Tax Audit: What You Don’t Know Could Hurt You

You didn’t ask for it, but you have been selected for and notified of a sales tax audit! You immediately ask yourself, “What should I do?”  While the requested lists of records and documents that will be reviewed appear straightforward, there is much more to handling a sales tax audit. There are a lot of potential pitfalls during the interaction with auditors that may occur as you address the questions they typically ask. 

May 23, 2017
Industries: Agribusiness, Construction and Real Estate, Dealerships, Financial Institutions, Financial Services, Freshwater, Health Care, Insurance, Manufacturing and Distribution, Nonprofits, Private Equity
Services: Tax
By: Daryl L. Ohland

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Minnesota Provides Up-Front Sales Tax Exemption on Capital Equipment

Minnesota law allows a sales and use tax exemption at the time of purchase on qualified capital equipment; previously a purchaser was required to file a refund claim for any tax paid at time of purchase. 

May 23, 2017
Services: Tax
By: Jessica L. Macklin

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Sales Tax and Technology Solutions: Accepting the Mission Impossible

An often overlooked item in a software and technology implementation is the sales tax treatment of the transaction. This article features 10 tips to help you navigate the complex sales tax world of technology solutions.

 

May 18, 2017
Industries: Agribusiness, Construction and Real Estate, Dealerships, Financial Institutions, Financial Services, Freshwater, Health Care, Insurance, Manufacturing and Distribution, Nonprofits, Private Equity
Services: Tax
By: Linda J. Feirn

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An Influence Strategy for Changing Patient Behavior

Wouldn’t it be nice if you could send patients home from the hospital or physician’s office and count on them to follow through with all the recommendations for how to finish their healing, improve a chronic health condition, or increase their overall health status? Let’s face it, health is a complex concept. It’s even more complicated (and costly) to manage the health status of someone with multiple health or chronic conditions. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), chronic disease accounts for approximately 75 percent of the nation's aggregate health care spending or an estimated $5,300 per person in the U.S. each year. For those covered under Medicare, 96 cents per dollar is spent on managing chronic disease and for those covered by Medicaid, its 83 cents per dollar. Chronic disease and the nation’s aging population, combined with other existing risk factors (tobacco use, poor nutrition, lack of physical activity), lead to the conclusion that we must do a better job of changing patient behaviors if we are to improve our country’s health status.

May 18, 2017
Industries: Health Care
By: Tina Nazier

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WannaCry Delivers a Wake-up Call

A global ransomware attack called WannaCry was launched on May 12 to exploit a known vulnerability in Windows SMB and Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP). This malware targeted networks in health care and critical infrastructure throughout at least 99 countries, with the bulk of infections reported in Russia, Taiwan, and Spain. Infected users’ computers were encrypted, and the users were instructed to pay a ransom for the decryption key. 

Despite this widespread event, the reality is that ransomware itself is nothing new. However, because of the numbers affected in this recent event, the size of the attack, and the velocity of its spread, WannaCry has caught attention of the media and consequently of business executives.

May 17, 2017
Industries: Agribusiness, Construction and Real Estate, Dealerships, Financial Institutions, Financial Services, Freshwater, Governments, Health Care, Insurance, Manufacturing and Distribution, Nonprofits, Private Equity
Services: Governance, Risk, and Compliance

> Read More

Getting to Know QuickBooks Online Reports

QuickBooks Online’s home page only tells part of the story. You also need more in-depth, customizable reports. In the short term, reports help you further determine any necessary accounting work. Long-term, they’ll provide insight to help you make smarter decisions as you plan for your company’s future.

May 06, 2017
Industries: Agribusiness, Construction and Real Estate, Dealerships, Insurance, Manufacturing and Distribution, Nonprofits, Private Equity, Financial Institutions, Financial Services, Freshwater, Governments, Health Care
Services: Audit and Accounting, Business Advisory

> Read More

Receiving Customer Payments: Your Options

The process of receiving customer payments is one of your more enjoyable responsibilities. You supplied a product or service that someone liked and purchased, and you’re getting the money due you. Depending on the situation, you’ll use one of multiple methods to record customer payments. Here’s a look at some of your options

May 06, 2017
Industries: Agribusiness, Construction and Real Estate, Dealerships, Insurance, Manufacturing and Distribution, Nonprofits, Private Equity, Financial Institutions, Financial Services, Freshwater, Governments, Health Care
Services: Audit and Accounting, Business Advisory

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The American Health Care Act (AHCA) Passed the House in a 217 to 213 Vote

The House of Representatives has passed the AHCA, the bill to “repeal and replace” the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The bill must now pass the Senate.  

May 05, 2017
Industries: Agribusiness, Construction and Real Estate, Dealerships, Financial Institutions, Financial Services, Freshwater, Governments, Health Care, Insurance, Manufacturing and Distribution, Nonprofits, Private Equity
Services: Business Advisory

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5 Reasons to Conduct Penetration Tests

Want an eye-opening view of your institution’s true vulnerability? Conduct penetration (pen) testing. Pen testing, when performed by experienced, qualified, and ethical hackers, can either give you peace of mind and allow you to sleep well or show you weaknesses that will keep you up at night. Whatever the outcome, organizations are always glad they conducted a pen test.

May 01, 2017
Industries: Financial Institutions, Financial Services
By: Jeff Olejnik

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A Tip of the Hat to My Favorite Columnist, Mike Royko

Recently I was having lunch with my old pal Slats Grobnick, Jr., you know the one who got all huffy about the Fair Credit Reporting Act.  Slats has been promoted to chief lending officer overseeing commercial and consumer lending.  He was bemoaning all of the rules relating to notifying loan applicants about the decision.  Each sentence started out, “When I was a commercial lender . . . .”  We are really good friends, so I bit my tongue and proceeded to give him my elevator speech on Regulation B.   

May 01, 2017
Industries: Financial Institutions, Financial Services
By: John Moniak

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Elder Financial Exploitation: The Crime of the 21st Century

Elder financial exploitation is the illegal or improper use of an older person’s funds, property, or assets.  Studies suggest that financial exploitation is the most common form of elder abuse, yet only a small fraction of incidents are reported, just one in 44 cases according to the National Adult Protective Services Association (NAPSA).

May 01, 2017
Industries: Financial Institutions, Financial Services
By: Craig E. Johnson

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Medical Information: Does Your Financial Institution Have a Policy and Procedures?

The Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act of 2003 (FACTA) included rules governing medical information protections.  In November 2005, the federal agencies finalized these rules, and they became effective in April 2006.  The rules are codified now in the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s Fair Credit Reporting Act (Regulation V), 12 CFR Part 1022, sections 1022.30 to 1022.32.  Despite the fact that these rules have been around for more than 10 years, when we visit financial institutions and ask for their policy and procedures regarding the proper use of medical information, we are usually informed there is nothing documented for us to review.

May 01, 2017
Industries: Financial Institutions, Financial Services
By: Cindy L. Mabry

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Not Just For Sale–Disposing of OREO Properties

Most financial institutions have worked their way out of holding other real estate properties.  However, there are times when a bank may hold a property on its books that it can’t seem to find the right buyer for.  There are several other options available to dispose of these properties.  One way is to donate the property to a qualified charitable organization that could benefit from the donation.    

May 01, 2017
Industries: Financial Institutions, Financial Services
By: Lindsey L. Sabelko

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Overcoming Resistance to Change

When individuals at your financial institution learn about plans to change the status quo, many are likely to react with cynicism and skepticism, either vocally or privately. While these people may seem like they are just being negative or not seeing the big picture, their reactions might be quite rational and deserved. 

May 01, 2017
Industries: Financial Institutions, Financial Services
By: Jeffrey H. Wulf

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RegTech – New Opportunities From the World of FinTech

The term FinTech has recently become frequent newsworthy focus.  Likewise, through innovation, the term RegTech is also emerging as industry jargon.  In the financial services industry, the two terms are often considered to be related.

May 01, 2017
Industries: Financial Institutions, Financial Services
By: Jerry Miller

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Some Big (And Not So Big) Changes Ahead

The Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) issues new accounting standards each year in an effort to continually improve the usefulness of accounting standards generally accepted in the United States (GAAP).  Since 2014, the FASB has finalized three key Accounting Standards Updates (ASUs), concluding its work on some longstanding projects.  These are not some marginal adjustments to existing guidance; these standards will bring about fundamental changes in how organizations account for elements that haven’t changed all that much for decades.  Financial institutions need to understand the impact these ASUs and related Accounting Standards Codification (ASC) Topics will have on their financial statements and their operations so they can properly plan and implement necessary changes.

May 01, 2017
Industries: Financial Institutions, Financial Services
By: Brett D. Schwantes

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What About Those "Other" Higher Risk Customers?

The Bank Secrecy Act (BSA) and Anti-Money Laundering (AML) requirements for customer and enhanced due diligence are the cornerstone of a strong BSA/AML compliance program.  Customer due diligence procedures are critical to your institution to aid in detecting and reporting unusual or suspicious transactions that potentially expose your institution to financial loss, increased expenses, or reputation risk; avoiding criminal exposure from persons who use or attempt to use your institution’s products and services for illicit purposes; and adhering to safe and sound banking practices.  

May 01, 2017
Industries: Financial Institutions, Financial Services
By: Tracy Bush

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ASC 606: The Devil Is in the Details – Six Key Considerations to Take Away From the New Revenue Recognition Standard

In May 2014, the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) completed its revenue recognition project by issuing Accounting Standards Update (ASU) No. 2014-09, Revenue from Contracts with Customers, which can be found in the Accounting Standards Codification (ASC) Topic 606.

This article will cover six topics within ASC 606 that will likely impact your organization.  

Apr 28, 2017
Industries: Agribusiness, Construction and Real Estate, Dealerships, Financial Institutions, Financial Services, Freshwater, Governments, Health Care, Insurance, Manufacturing and Distribution, Nonprofits, Private Equity
Services: Audit and Accounting
By: Joshua J. Boyle, Brad Werner

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Trump Makes Opening Bid for Biggest Tax Cut in U.S. History

President Trump announced the broad outlines of what he is calling “the biggest tax cut” in U.S. history on Wednesday. While the plan is short on specific details, it provides a clear indication that upcoming tax reform negotiations are going to center on simplifying the tax code and reducing business tax burdens.  

Apr 27, 2017
Industries: Agribusiness, Construction and Real Estate, Dealerships, Financial Institutions, Financial Services, Freshwater, Governments, Health Care, Insurance, Manufacturing and Distribution, Nonprofits, Private Equity
Services: Business Advisory, Tax

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Data Analytics – How ready are you to become a data scientist?

The world is changing, and data analytics is a frequent topic when we are making business decisions. Mark Cuban, owner of the NBA’s Dallas Mavericks, said in an article that the world’s first trillionaire will be a person who invests in artificial intelligence (AI). So what is AI, and how do data analytics fit in? 

Apr 19, 2017
Industries: Agribusiness, Construction and Real Estate, Dealerships, Financial Institutions, Financial Services, Freshwater, Governments, Health Care, Insurance, Manufacturing and Distribution, Nonprofits, Private Equity
Services: Audit and Accounting
By: Richard McClure

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HITRUST: What You Should Know About Using Third-Party Tools - Part 4

This series has already explored potential solutions that support five of the 19 CSF Assessment domains. Today’s article dives into another two domains.

Apr 13, 2017
Industries: Financial Institutions, Financial Services, Agribusiness, Construction and Real Estate, Dealerships, Freshwater, Governments, Health Care, Insurance, Manufacturing and Distribution, Nonprofits, Private Equity, FinTech
Services: Governance, Risk, and Compliance
By: Jason J. Papador

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Are You Memorizing Transactions? Should You Be?

QuickBooks contains a shortcut to recurring tasks, called Memorized Transactions. You can save the details that remain the same every time, and use that template every time the bill or invoice is due, which can save a lot of time and improve accuracy. Here’s how it works.

Apr 06, 2017
Industries: Agribusiness, Construction and Real Estate, Dealerships, Insurance, Manufacturing and Distribution, Nonprofits, Private Equity, Financial Institutions, Financial Services, Freshwater, Governments, Health Care
Services: Audit and Accounting, Business Advisory

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American Health Care Act (AHCA) - Does it have a future?

The AHCA draft was approved by the House Ways and Means Committee and Energy and Commerce Committee on March 9, 2017. The bill was scored by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) and went through a number of amendments and rescoring and was scheduled to be voted on by the full House on March 27, which was delayed to March 28 as negotiations for changes continued. The vote was ultimately canceled late on March 28. The bill had failed to get the support necessary to pass the House.

Apr 04, 2017
Industries: Agribusiness, Construction and Real Estate, Dealerships, Financial Institutions, Financial Services, Freshwater, Governments, Health Care, Insurance, Manufacturing and Distribution, Nonprofits, Private Equity
Services: Business Advisory

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By the Numbers: A Look at Overseas Expansion

There’s a lot of press about corporate inversions and losing jobs to other countries. But there’s another side of this story, and it’s the significant benefits of exporting as a way to growth.

Mar 16, 2017
Industries: Manufacturing and Distribution
Services: Tax, Consulting, Audit and Accounting
By: Kelly M. Fisher

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Setting Up Users in QuickBooks

When you add new employees to the mix, do you want them to have access to absolutely everything in QuickBooks? Probably not. You have confidence in your employees or you wouldn’t have hired them, but this isn’t solely a matter of trust. It’s just good business practice to restrict individuals to specific areas and responsibilities--no matter what the application.

That’s why QuickBooks has built-in tools to help you limit activity. Here’s how it works.

Mar 07, 2017
Industries: Agribusiness, Construction and Real Estate, Dealerships, Insurance, Manufacturing and Distribution, Nonprofits, Private Equity, Financial Institutions, Financial Services, Freshwater, Governments, Health Care
Services: Audit and Accounting, Business Advisory

> Read More

Your First Hour with QuickBooks Online

Whether you’re just launching a business or you’re going online with an existing company, take some time to get acquainted with QuickBooks Online.

Mar 05, 2017
Industries: Agribusiness, Construction and Real Estate, Dealerships, Insurance, Manufacturing and Distribution, Nonprofits, Private Equity, Financial Institutions, Financial Services, Freshwater, Governments, Health Care
Services: Audit and Accounting, Business Advisory

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Quiz: Are You Smarter Than a Fraudster?

Given the enormity of the risk and costs and the prevalence of frauds occurrence, how fraud savvy do you believe you are? Take this short quiz to determine whether you can outsmart a fraudster. 

Mar 03, 2017
Industries: Agribusiness, Construction and Real Estate, Dealerships, Financial Institutions, Financial Services, Freshwater, Governments, Health Care, Insurance, Manufacturing and Distribution, Nonprofits, Private Equity
Services: Audit and Accounting, Business Advisory
By: Marc W. Courey

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Audit Committee: Keeping Your Organization Running at the Top of Its Game

The culture of compliance is rapidly evolving, and while public companies have been directly impacted, private companies, governments, and not-for-profits are also feeling the effects of change. Governing bodies are directly responsible for organizational governance and oversight; however, a well-functioning audit committee can be a substantial component in improving overall governance and compliance.

Mar 02, 2017
Industries: Agribusiness, Construction and Real Estate, Dealerships, Financial Institutions, Financial Services, Freshwater, Governments, Health Care, Insurance, Manufacturing and Distribution, Nonprofits, Private Equity
Services: Audit and Accounting
By: Stephanie J. Cavadeas, Brian Walczak

> Read More

FASB 2017-01 Business Combinations (Topic 805): Clarifying the Definition of a Business

New guidance issued by the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) in January 2017 revises the definition of a business. If you are wondering whether this will have any effect on your organization, the definition of a business affects many areas of accounting, including acquisitions, disposals, goodwill, and consolidation. The new standard will affect all entities that must determine whether they have acquired/sold a business.

This revision in the definition is anticipated to result in far fewer business combinations and more asset acquisitions.

Mar 02, 2017
Industries: Private Equity, Nonprofits, Manufacturing and Distribution, Insurance, Health Care, Governments, Freshwater, Financial Services, Financial Institutions, Dealerships, Construction and Real Estate, Agribusiness, FinTech
Services: Audit and Accounting
By: Sheila Border

> Read More

Materiality - What Is It Good For?

No, the answer is not “absolutely nothing.” Materiality is something that we come across in our everyday lives whether we recognize it or not. For example, if the speed limit is 65 miles an hour, and you are driving 66 miles an hour, would you be surprised if you were pulled over and issued a citation? Probably so. You might argue that you were not “materially” exceeding the speed limit, right?

Mar 02, 2017
Industries: Agribusiness, Construction and Real Estate, Dealerships, Financial Institutions, Financial Services, Freshwater, Governments, Health Care, Insurance, Manufacturing and Distribution, Nonprofits, Private Equity
Services: Audit and Accounting
By: Steven A. Jordan

> Read More

Accounting Methods Can Save Your Bank Money

When was the last time you looked at your accounting methods for tax purposes as a strategy to save money?  Does this question make you ask yourself, What is an accounting method and when did I make an election for it?  Many banks do not realize that they have made an accounting method election because it is done on the first tax return, and most banks do not revisit the election as they continue to grow.  

Mar 02, 2017
Industries: Financial Institutions, Financial Services
By: Jessica H. Mac Naughton

> Read More

CECL: Getting Started

We know the Current Expected Credit Loss model (CECL) will be effective starting in 2020 for public institutions and 2021 for all other institutions, and we know it will be a significant change to the current process each institution uses to estimate its allowance for loan losses. The real question is, How do we implement a new model that is so different from what we are accustomed to seeing and using?

Mar 02, 2017
Industries: Financial Institutions, Financial Services
By: Brett D. Schwantes

> Read More

Don’t Lose Sleep Over Your HMDA LAR

It’s that time of year again.  If you are responsible for filing your financial institution’s Home Mortgage Disclosure Act (HMDA) Loan Application Register (LAR), you just finished reviewing it for accuracy and correcting errors prior to submission.  For some, it was an easy seamless process, but for others, year after year, it seems to take weeks away from other duties and leaves them worrying about what errors have gone undetected.

Mar 02, 2017
Industries: Financial Institutions, Financial Services
By: Melissa D. Blaser

> Read More

Are Your Incentive Programs Exposing You to UDAAP Risks?

With the recent fines and consent order issued to Wells Fargo, financial institutions are taking a look at their sales culture and incentive programs.  In response to the Wells Fargo findings, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) issued a bulletin November 28, 2016, titled “Detecting and Preventing Consumer Harm from Production Incentives,” informing financial institutions of the risks of consumer harm that may result from poorly established and managed incentive programs

Mar 02, 2017
Industries: Financial Institutions, Financial Services
By: Shelley Foster

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New Year, New BSA Focus?

The decorations are put away, holiday time with friends and family was enjoyed, and another year in the banking business is well underway.  Where will you spend your compliance time and dollars this year?  Regardless of the number of regulations and changes in the regulatory world, one area should be firmly entrenched in every institution’s compliance resource plan every year, and that’s the Bank Secrecy Act (BSA) and related Anti-Money Laundering (AML) laws.

Mar 02, 2017
Industries: Financial Institutions, Financial Services
By: Maureen Fassbinder

> Read More

Seven Ways to Be a Great Banker in the Future

The pace of change in the financial services industry is accelerating faster than many bankers can imagine.  The millennial generation will soon dominate our customer demographics and our workforce. The upcoming and eminent evolution of financial products, services, and payment methods will likely create a new prototype of a “great banker.”  

Mar 02, 2017
Industries: Financial Institutions, Financial Services
By: David Bue

> Read More

Troubled Debt Restructuring and Agricultural Lending – How Subjective Is It?

Most financial institutions had a good understanding of troubled debt restructuring (TDR) during the “work-out” years, 2009–2011. Most of the credits were commercial real estate or land development loans, and it was relatively easy to identify them as TDRs. There was little doubt that the borrowers were experiencing financial difficulties, and it was also obvious that the financial institutions were making a concession in most work-out situations. Now that most of the troubled commercial real estate and land development loans have been worked out with an improved economy, financial institutions who are involved in agricultural lending are dealing with TDR determinations on Ag credits that have underperformed due to low commodity prices.  

Mar 02, 2017
Industries: Financial Institutions, Financial Services
By: Doug Wynveen

> Read More

What the Internet of Things (IoT) Means to the Future of Discrete Manufacturing

Microsoft reports that 79 percent of today’s manufacturing leaders are using Internet of Things (IoT) technologies, with 82 percent of them reporting increases in operational efficiency and improved product quality. Are you leveraging the IoT to your best advantage? This eBook explains the benefits manufacturers are realizing in many areas of their operation by using the IoT—and what it means to you.

Mar 01, 2017
Industries: Manufacturing and Distribution
Services: Consulting, Technology
By: Mark Stevens

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Why Change Management Is Key To Technology Implementation Success

A technology initiative’s success depends largely on effective change management. Too often, leaders assume people are ready for new projects, rather than actively preparing personnel for coming changes. Using a change management approach helps a company get the most value from technology investments, while keeping personnel engaged and motivated.

Feb 28, 2017
Industries: Agribusiness, Construction and Real Estate, Dealerships, Financial Institutions, Financial Services, Freshwater, Governments, Health Care, Nonprofits, Private Equity
Services: Consulting, Technology
By: Jeffrey H. Wulf

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How ERM Can Enhance Your Insurance Investment

Given the volume of attention and buzz that regulators, credit rating agencies, the SEC, consultancies, Fortune 500 firms, insurance brokers, and others are creating about risk management and ERM in particular, you may be left wondering is ERM best practice, required practice, or a  practice in futility? Let’s cut through the ERM buzz so you can determine if an ERM program could enhance your organization’s financial, operational, compliance, and/or risk management results while also enhancing and supplementing the value your insurance program provides. 

Feb 23, 2017
Industries: Agribusiness, Construction and Real Estate, Dealerships, Financial Institutions, Financial Services, Freshwater, Governments, Health Care, Insurance, Manufacturing and Distribution, Nonprofits, Private Equity
Services: Governance, Risk, and Compliance
By: Robert D. Cedergren

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The Future of Fiduciary - What You Should Know Now

The President has instructed the DOL to review the regulation and, pending the results of its analysis, start the process of developing a new version of the rule or repealing it altogether.

Feb 15, 2017
Industries: Agribusiness, Construction and Real Estate, Dealerships, FinTech, Financial Institutions, Financial Services, Freshwater, Governments, Health Care, Insurance, Manufacturing and Distribution, Nonprofits, Private Equity
Services: Business Advisory

> Read More

Establishing Preferences in QuickBooks

QuickBooks was designed to serve the needs of millions of small businesses. To do that, it had to include the tools and processes suitable for a wide variety of companies. But Intuit recognized that every organization is unique, so your copy of QuickBooks can be customized in ways that make it work best for you.

Feb 06, 2017
Industries: Agribusiness, Construction and Real Estate, Dealerships, Insurance, Manufacturing and Distribution, Nonprofits, Private Equity, Financial Institutions, Financial Services, Freshwater, Governments, Health Care
Services: Audit and Accounting, Business Advisory

> Read More

Using Custom Fields and Classes in QuickBooks Online

QuickBooks Online's tools are generic enough that myriad businesses can use it. However, custom fields and classes help you shape it to meet your specific needs.

Feb 06, 2017
Industries: Agribusiness, Construction and Real Estate, Dealerships, Insurance, Manufacturing and Distribution, Nonprofits, Private Equity, Financial Institutions, Financial Services, Freshwater, Governments, Health Care
Services: Audit and Accounting, Business Advisory

> Read More

2017 Payroll Update

We are pleased to provide this list of updates and reminders regarding payroll. The information below includes federal updates; however, some state-specific information has been included.

Feb 06, 2017
Industries: Agribusiness, Construction and Real Estate, Dealerships, Financial Institutions, Financial Services, Freshwater, Governments, Health Care, Insurance, Manufacturing and Distribution, Nonprofits, Private Equity
Services: Outsourcing

> Read More

What's the Cost of Putting Off an ERP Decision?

An enterprise resource planning (ERP) system is a valuable tool for any job shop interested in streamlining processes for better data management, sharing, and optimization across all departments. Unfortunately, many job shops do not include ERP implementation in their business strategy for a variety of reasons, not the least of which is allegiance to—and comfort with—outdated processes. This could be detrimental to production, planning, and ROI. A cloud-based ERP helps streamline and optimize processes to save time and money throughout the organization.

Feb 01, 2017
Industries: Manufacturing and Distribution
Services: Consulting, Technology
By: Mark Stevens

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Five Mistakes Companies Make In Managing Customer-Provided Exemption Certificates

Too often, exemption certificates take a back seat in a company’s sales tax compliance procedures, when a proper system can protect the company from significant liability. Here are five of the most common mistakes we see.

Jan 24, 2017
Industries: Agribusiness, Construction and Real Estate, Dealerships, FinTech, Financial Institutions, Financial Services, Freshwater, Governments, Health Care, Insurance, Manufacturing and Distribution, Nonprofits, Private Equity
Services: Tax
By: Linda J. Feirn

> Read More

Most Common Sales and Use Tax Audit Adjustments

Sales and use tax audits are common these days and on the rise. More and more states are hiring auditors to find unreported taxes. What could you expect during a sales and use tax examination?

Jan 24, 2017
Services: Tax
By: Tara T. Johnson, Austin DeMoss

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SALT-ED Q&A: My vendor is being audited and I'm being asked for information. What should I do?

A concern frequently addressed by Wipfli’s State and Local Tax Practice Group relates to a client’s vendor being audited. This article answers the question, ‘My vendor is being audited, and I’m being asked for information. What should I do?'

Jan 24, 2017
Industries: Agribusiness, Construction and Real Estate, Dealerships, Financial Institutions, Financial Services, Freshwater, Health Care, Insurance, Manufacturing and Distribution, Nonprofits, Private Equity
Services: Tax
By: Daryl L. Ohland

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Top Ten Red Flags for a Sales Tax Audit

The following ‘top ten’ list is designed to help make you aware of the most common items/actions that could trigger or increase the likelihood of a possible sales tax audit.

Jan 24, 2017
Services: Tax
By: Daryl L. Ohland

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Why Company Credit Cards Can Become a Sales Tax Audit Nightmare

We'll discuss why credit cards can become a sales tax audit nightmare (or at least a bad dream) and what should be done about it.

Jan 24, 2017
By: Linda J. Feirn

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Excel: The Power of a Grid

Excel. Some people love it, some despise it, and many fall somewhere in the middle. Often, users build bad habits in working with Excel that lead to an inefficient use of the tool or dissatisfaction with it. Yet by changing a few habits and unlocking your imagination about everything it can accomplish, you will discover that Excel can fully be the software you need it to be. This article provides ways to stop those bad habits and start unleashing the power of Excel.

Jan 17, 2017
Industries: Agribusiness, Dealerships, Construction and Real Estate, Financial Institutions, Financial Services, Freshwater, Governments, Health Care, Insurance, Private Equity, Manufacturing and Distribution, Nonprofits, FinTech
Services: Audit and Accounting
By: Richard McClure

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GAAP - The Year in Review

The Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) had another busy year, issuing 18 Accounting Standards Updates (ASU). This article highlights five of the 18 U.S. Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP) standards, as well as a few earlier standards that now have approaching effective dates or that you may want to consider for early adoption.

Whether you work in the health care, financial institution, manufacturing, nonprofit, or another industry, many of these ASUs could potentially impact your organization and have a direct effect on your annual financial reporting.

Jan 10, 2017
Industries: Financial Institutions, Financial Services, Agribusiness, Construction and Real Estate, Dealerships, Freshwater, Governments, Health Care, Insurance, Manufacturing and Distribution, Nonprofits, Private Equity
Services: Audit and Accounting
By: Donna Mae Huss, Sheila Border

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Keys to Minimizing Surprises in Your Audit

If you “love” surprises, you probably have never had anything bad happen to you in your life. Life is full of surprises. In an ideal world, we would maximize the “good” surprises and minimize the “bad” surprises, right? This article focuses on the latter, specifically those in your year-end audit.

Jan 10, 2017
Industries: Financial Institutions, Financial Services, Agribusiness, Construction and Real Estate, Dealerships, Freshwater, Governments, Health Care, Insurance, Manufacturing and Distribution, Nonprofits, Private Equity
Services: Audit and Accounting
By: Steven A. Jordan

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Understanding the New Lease Guidance

In February 2016, the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) issued Accounting Standards Update (ASU) 2016-02 Leases (Topic 842). Topic 842 defines a lease as “a contract, or part of a contract, that conveys the right to control the use of identified property, plant, or equipment (an identified asset) for a period of time in exchange for consideration.”

Jan 10, 2017
Industries: Financial Institutions, Financial Services, Agribusiness, Construction and Real Estate, Dealerships, Freshwater, Governments, Health Care, Insurance, Manufacturing and Distribution, Nonprofits, Private Equity
Services: Audit and Accounting
By: Travis Richert

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HITRUST: What You Should Know About Using Third-Party Tools - Part 3

In this continuing article series, Wipfli explores the list of HITRUST CSF assessment domains and describes the potentially beneficial compliance tools the firm has encountered most frequently.

Jan 10, 2017
Industries: Financial Institutions, Financial Services, Agribusiness, Construction and Real Estate, Dealerships, Freshwater, Governments, Health Care, Insurance, Manufacturing and Distribution, Nonprofits, Private Equity, FinTech
Services: Governance, Risk, and Compliance
By: Jason J. Papador

> Read More

Anatomy of a QuickBooks Inventory Item

QuickBooks can help you create thorough records for each product you sell. It keeps track of how much you have on hand and warns you when your stock is running low. And its reports tell you what’s selling and what’s not, so you can make better, smarter purchasing decisions.

Jan 06, 2017
Industries: Agribusiness, Construction and Real Estate, Dealerships, Insurance, Manufacturing and Distribution, Nonprofits, Private Equity, Financial Institutions, Financial Services, Freshwater, Governments, Health Care
Services: Audit and Accounting, Business Advisory

> Read More

Use Recurring Transactions in QuickBooks Online

QuickBooks Online can reduce the time you spend on accounting chores: recurring transactions. If you have invoices, bills, and other transactions that occur on a regular basis, you can save all or part of their data to use again. You can even choose to have them dispatched automatically.

Jan 06, 2017
Industries: Agribusiness, Construction and Real Estate, Dealerships, Insurance, Manufacturing and Distribution, Nonprofits, Private Equity, Financial Institutions, Financial Services, Freshwater, Governments, Health Care
Services: Audit and Accounting, Business Advisory

> Read More

Harness the Power of Business Intelligence For Better Decision Making and More Effective Collaboration

Business intelligence technology is now cheaper, the development time is faster, and the tool is intuitive. Manufacturers are eager to unleash the potential buried in their data asset and are ready for the right BI system to help them. Learn how today’s BI can help you find the insights to run and improve your business.

Jan 03, 2017
Industries: Manufacturing and Distribution
Services: Consulting, Technology
By: Mark Stevens

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Assess the Quality and Priorities of Your Boards Governance

In a U.S. CEO Outlook Directors Quarterly published in July of 2016 by KPMG, the article “It’s Now or Never” highlighted the finding that two-thirds of CEOs polled believe that the next three years will be more critical than the last 50 years. Of course, that publication was before the recent U.S. presidential election!

Jan 02, 2017
Industries: Financial Institutions, Financial Services

> Read More

Banking Marijuana-Related Businesses in 2017 and Beyond

While many people were watching the elections in November to witness who would be the next President, other important ballots were on the table across the country to legalize recreational and/or medicinal marijuana usage.

Jan 02, 2017
Industries: Financial Institutions, Financial Services
By: Helen Touchton

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CECL Governance

The Current Expected Credit Loss model (CECL) is top of mind for most financial institution executives—if it isn’t, it probably should be.  As we’ve discussed previously, the accounting standard that introduced CECL is going to be one of the most significant changes to financial institution accounting in at least a generation.

Jan 02, 2017
By: Brett D. Schwantes

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Deferred Tax Asset-Liability Valuation

Given all the discussion of tax reform in Washington, D.C., financial institutions should understand how tax reform, if passed, may affect their financial statements.

Jan 02, 2017
Industries: Financial Institutions, Financial Services
By: Traci J. Hollister

> Read More

Discovering How To Become Lean

How many times do employees come to you with a problem, looking to you to come up with the solution even though they know their job better than anyone? If this happens more frequently than you would like, you are not alone. This article will offer some insights on how to increase efficiency by teaching your employees how to be lean.

Jan 02, 2017
Industries: Financial Institutions, Financial Services
By: Susan Kappel

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How Blockchain Could Influence the Way We See the World of Finance

A blockchain is a distributed database hosted across different computers across the globe, which maintains a continuously growing list of records called “blocks” secured from tampering and revision.  Each block contains a timestamp and a link to a previous block, which makes each one of them very unique and immutable.

Jan 02, 2017
Industries: Financial Institutions, Financial Services, FinTech
By: Girish M. Ramachandra

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Moving From Holiday Shopping to Processing Regulation E Error Disputes

It’s that time of year again. As we move past Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and a month’s long slog through various sales, deals, and steals, we move into a period of higher incidence of Regulation E error disputes. Unfortunately, along with the increase in shopping and holiday cheer, there is also an increase in fraud and stolen debit cards. With this in mind, now is a great time to revisit internal procedures, as well as follow up with personnel to ensure they are acting appropriately and within the confines of consumer regulations.

Jan 02, 2017
Industries: Financial Institutions, Financial Services
By: Nick Bonnema

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New Year Resolutions for Financial Institutions in 2017

It’s that time of year again and many of the same resolutions from my New Year’s Resolutions for 2016 still apply, including but by no means limited to those concerning cybersecurity, BSA and AML, CECL, credit underwriting, and consumer regulation.

Jan 02, 2017
Industries: Financial Institutions, Financial Services
By: Sara Mikuta

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Tax Reform and Tax Planning for 2017

Today is the start of a new year, and one that comes with many questions.  What will the new diet fads be for New Year’s resolutions?  What will be the new popular trends for 2017?  What will happen to interest rates?  And what will happen with tax reform?

Jan 02, 2017
Industries: Financial Institutions, Financial Services
By: Kimberly Massopust

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2016 Year-End Compensation Accruals

The deductibility of year-end compensation accruals varies by the type of business and the relationship of the worker to the business.

Dec 28, 2016
Industries: Agribusiness, Construction and Real Estate, Dealerships, Financial Institutions, Financial Services, Freshwater, Governments, Health Care, Insurance, Private Equity, Manufacturing and Distribution, Nonprofits
Services: Audit and Accounting, Tax, Business Advisory

> Read More

2016 Year-End Compensation Accruals

The deductibility of year-end compensation accruals varies by the type of business and the relationship of the worker to the business. Learn the general rules for deduction in this Wipfli Alerts & Updates article.

Dec 28, 2016
Industries: Agribusiness, Construction and Real Estate, Dealerships, FinTech, Financial Institutions, Financial Services, Freshwater, Governments, Health Care, Insurance, Manufacturing and Distribution, Nonprofits, Private Equity
Services: Business Advisory

> Read More

Small Employers Can Use HRAs and Reimburse for Individual Health Insurance Premiums

The 21st Century Cures Act was signed into law in December of 2016. The legislation allows small employers to implement a standalone Health Reimbursement Arrangement (HRA) so employers can provide funds to employees to help pay for medical care expenses.

Dec 22, 2016
Industries: Agribusiness, Construction and Real Estate, Dealerships, Financial Institutions, Financial Services, Freshwater, Governments, Health Care, Insurance, Manufacturing and Distribution, Nonprofits, Private Equity
Services: Business Advisory

> Read More

Clarification Regarding the U.S. Department of Labor Letter on Quality Audits of Benefit Plans

Organizations with 401(k) and other benefit plans that require an annual audit will likely receive a letter via email from the Department of Labor emphasizing the importance of audit quality and due diligence in selecting your plan auditor.

Dec 12, 2016
Industries: Agribusiness, Construction and Real Estate, Dealerships, Financial Institutions, Financial Services, Freshwater, Governments, Health Care, Insurance, Manufacturing and Distribution, Nonprofits, Private Equity
Services: Business Advisory, Audit and Accounting

> Read More

Five QuickBooks Online Add-On Apps You May Need in 2017

Intuit has partnered with other small business websites to provide add-ons  —  applications that extend the usefulness of QuickBooks Online in one or more areas, like accounts receivable and payable, inventory, and expense-tracking. They integrate easily to share data and do the extra work you need. Here are some of them to consider.

Dec 09, 2016
Industries: Agribusiness, Construction and Real Estate, Dealerships, Insurance, Manufacturing and Distribution, Nonprofits, Private Equity, Financial Institutions, Financial Services, Freshwater, Governments, Health Care
Services: Audit and Accounting, Business Advisory

> Read More

HITRUST: What You Should Know About Using AWS, Azure, and Other Third-Party Tools - Part 2

As a designated HITRUST CSF Assessor, Wipfli helps health care clients and business associates with HITRUST programs. In this article series, we address some of the uncertainties encountered with cloud computing services with regard to HITRUST compliance.

The intent is to share examples of tools that can help with HITRUST compliance by mentioning as many of the most useful offerings as possible. We’ll continue down the list of HITRUST CSF assessment domains and call attention to those tools which come up most frequently and/or heavily promote specific security features.  

Dec 07, 2016
Industries: Agribusiness, Construction and Real Estate, Dealerships, Financial Institutions, Financial Services, Freshwater, Governments, Health Care, Insurance, Manufacturing and Distribution, Nonprofits, Private Equity
Services: Governance, Risk, and Compliance
By: Jason J. Papador

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Ringing Out 2016 in QuickBooks

The end of the year is rapidly approaching. In the midst of holiday get-togethers, gift shopping, and perhaps preparing for travel, you probably have a list of work tasks that must be completed by December 31.

Is your annual QuickBooks wrap-up on that list? It should be. Here are some of the things we suggest you fit into your busy schedule sometime this month.

Dec 03, 2016
Industries: Agribusiness, Construction and Real Estate, Dealerships, Insurance, Manufacturing and Distribution, Nonprofits, Private Equity, Financial Institutions, Financial Services, Freshwater, Governments, Health Care
Services: Audit and Accounting, Business Advisory

> Read More

Sales Tax and Technology Solutions: Accepting the “Mission Impossible”

Ten Tips to Help Navigate Sales Tax Treatment of Technology Solutions

Dec 02, 2016
Services: Tax
By: Linda J. Feirn

> Read More

Goodwill: Why it Shouldn't be a Dirty Word in the Valuation of Physician Practices

The topic of goodwill in a physician practice acquisition continues to be hotly debated. This article discusses the merits of considering and including goodwill in the valuation of a physician practice.

Dec 01, 2016
Industries: Health Care
Services: Business Advisory
By: Lisa M. Cribben

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Federal Judge Delays Overtime Rule

On Tuesday, November 22, 2016, U.S. District Court Judge Amos Mazzant issued an injunction delaying the national implementation of the U.S. Department of Labor’s proposed overtime rule that was scheduled to take effect on December 1.

Nov 29, 2016
Industries: Agribusiness, Construction and Real Estate, Dealerships, Financial Institutions, Financial Services, Freshwater, Governments, Health Care, Insurance, Private Equity, Manufacturing and Distribution, Nonprofits
Services: Business Advisory

> Read More

Extension of Due Date for Furnishing Statements to Participants of Forms 1095 and Related Relief

For employers subject to 2016 information reporting on Forms 1095-B and 1095-C under the Affordable Care Act, the IRS has granted taxpayers an automatic extension from January 31, 2017 to March 2, 2017, to furnish the forms to employees, without the need to file an application with the IRS.

Nov 23, 2016
Industries: Agribusiness, Construction and Real Estate, Dealerships, Financial Institutions, Financial Services, Freshwater, Governments, Health Care, Insurance, Manufacturing and Distribution, Nonprofits, Private Equity, FinTech
Services: Business Advisory

> Read More

Addressing Prior-Year Exposure Issues Voluntary Disclosure Agreement Versus Tax Amnesty

Not filing the proper multistate tax returns creates exposure. There are remedies for correction prior year(s) exposure but how do you know which option is best for your business? This article will review the concept of nexus and the remedies available to businesses when they have been doing business in another state in past years and not filing proper returns.

Nov 19, 2016
Industries: Agribusiness, Construction and Real Estate, Dealerships, Financial Institutions, Financial Services, Freshwater, Health Care, Insurance, Manufacturing and Distribution, Private Equity
Services: Tax
By: Craig Cookle

> Read More

Audit Defense in the Digital Age

Technology continues to be a significant part of our day to day business lives. Just as this is true for our business, the same is true for state taxing authorities. This article will address some of the challenges faced in handling electronic records requests.

Nov 19, 2016
Services: Tax
By: Linda J. Feirn

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Pennsylvania Tax Credits and Incentives

There are a plethora of credits and incentives available in the Northeast. This article will highlight some of the tax savings available in the State of Pennsylvania. Although it will focus on credits and incentives applicable to Pennsylvania, many of these tax savings are available in other states as well.

Nov 19, 2016
Services: Tax
By: Laura E. Karpo

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Understanding the State Tax Implications of Consumer Direct Sales

Many manufacturers, distributors, and retailers looking for additional sales and revenue are considering selling directly to consumers. While there are potential benefits, there are a few state tax considerations you should factor into your decision making

Nov 19, 2016
Services: Tax
By: Daryl L. Ohland

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Evaluating the Robustness of "Market Determined" Rates in Litigation Settings

Individuals serving as financial experts in the legal field (e.g., financial damages) may utilize rates that are presumed to be “market determined.” Such use is frequently embodied in the formulation of a “should have been” scenario, which when compared to an actual outcome yields a difference. Pending adjustments, this difference provides the basis for a calculation of financial damages.

Nov 18, 2016
Services: Business Advisory
By: Allen E. Jacque

> Read More

Creating Reports in QuickBooks, Part 2

Sometimes, QuickBooks’ own report output is a bit too broad for your needs. So the program provides sophisticated customization options. You can work with these to narrow down and shape the data that appears in your reports.

Nov 04, 2016
Industries: Agribusiness, Construction and Real Estate, Dealerships, Insurance, Manufacturing and Distribution, Nonprofits, Private Equity, Financial Institutions, Financial Services, Freshwater, Governments, Health Care
Services: Audit and Accounting, Business Advisory

> Read More

Paying Bills in QuickBooks Online

We recently laid out the benefits of using QuickBooks Online for bill entry and payment. It’s faster than manual methods. It leaves an electronic record of your accounts payable. And it helps ensure that bills are paid accurately and on time.

As we discussed, QuickBooks Online employs a two-step process for bill payment. Once you’ve completed the first (setup), the hard part is done, and you can move on to fulfilling your financial obligations. Let’s take a look.

Nov 04, 2016
Industries: Agribusiness, Construction and Real Estate, Dealerships, Insurance, Manufacturing and Distribution, Nonprofits, Private Equity, Financial Institutions, Financial Services, Freshwater, Governments, Health Care
Services: Audit and Accounting, Business Advisory

> Read More

Accounting for Debt – The Devil Is in the Details

Businesses take out debt obligations, including loans payable and bonds payable, for many reasons. It may be to purchase real estate, equipment, or inventory; expand operations; or increase working capital. Before debt obligations are obtained, it is important to understand the financial reporting implications.

This article explores some of the common accounting topics related to debt financing:  how to initially measure debt, accounting for debt issuance costs, debt covenants, presenting debt as either current or noncurrent, and other details that may be present in debt agreements.

Nov 03, 2016
Industries: Agribusiness, Construction and Real Estate, Dealerships, Financial Institutions, Financial Services, Freshwater, Governments, Health Care, Insurance, Manufacturing and Distribution, Nonprofits, Private Equity, FinTech
Services: Audit and Accounting
By: Michael Webber

> Read More

Simplifying and Improving Not-for-Profit Financial Statements

In August 2016, the FASB issued ASU No. 2016-14 Not-for-Profit Entities (Topic 958) Presentation of Financial Statements of Not-for-Profit Entities (ASU). The ASU is Phase I of the FASB project to update the financial statement presentation and disclosures for not-for-profit entities. It’s intended to improve the current net asset classification and the information presented in the notes about a not-for-profit’s liquidity, financial performance, and cash flows. The changes are expected to improve the usefulness of information provided to financial statement users and/or reduce complexities or costs for preparers or users of the financial statements.

Nov 03, 2016
Industries: Agribusiness, Construction and Real Estate, Dealerships, Financial Institutions, Financial Services, Freshwater, Governments, Health Care, Insurance, Manufacturing and Distribution, Nonprofits, Private Equity
Services: Audit and Accounting
By: Michelle R. Swoboda, Rachel Most

> Read More

The Three “D”s of Fixed Asset Accounting: Dos, Don’ts, and Details

Fixed assets—also known as tangible assets or property, plant, and equipment (PP&E)—is an accounting term for assets and property that cannot be easily converted into cash. The word fixed indicates that these assets will not be used up, consumed, or sold in the current accounting year. Yet there still can be confusion surrounding the accounting for fixed assets.

Nov 03, 2016
Industries: Agribusiness, Construction and Real Estate, Dealerships, Financial Institutions, Financial Services, Freshwater, Governments, Health Care, Insurance, Manufacturing and Distribution, Nonprofits, Private Equity
Services: Audit and Accounting
By: Sheila Border

> Read More

Top 10 Budgeting Tips for Your Business

Creating and using a budget is a key component in driving your organization’s financial future.This top 10 list offers guidance. Even if all 10 of these tips won’t work for your organization, just by adopting a few suggestions you can make your organization’s budget a more effective tool.

Nov 02, 2016
Industries: Agribusiness, Construction and Real Estate, Dealerships, Financial Institutions, Financial Services, Freshwater, Governments, Health Care, Insurance, Manufacturing and Distribution, Nonprofits, Private Equity
Services: Audit and Accounting
By: Steven A. Jordan

> Read More

2016 Year-End Tax Planning

It’s that time of the year when tax savvy banks start identifying year-end tax-saving opportunities.  Few tax law changes are expected in 2016, making this year the first time in several years that taxpayers can project their tax outcome with some confidence.  Combining traditional strategies and “extender” provisions enacted in December 2015 should make year-end tax planning somewhat less complicated this year.

Nov 01, 2016
Industries: Financial Institutions, Financial Services
By: Susan M. Rammer

> Read More

Building Blocks of FinTech for Community Bankers

In recent years, an increasing buzz has emerged on FinTech and its related components.  A few of our financial institution clients find this to be exciting and innovative, eagerly embracing the opportunity to work in this developing field.  However, the majority of clients find themselves in varying stages of skepticism and perhaps even annoyance at this subtle threat of disruption to business as they know it.  While technology has a place in a community financial institution’s strategic planning and risk management process, FinTech considerations have probably not been front and center in that process.

Nov 01, 2016
Industries: Financial Institutions, Financial Services
By: Susi Massaro

> Read More

Investigating CECL Methodologies

In our September 2016 e-Newsletter, we provided an overview of the new Accounting Standards Update (ASU) No. 2016-13, Measurement of Credit Losses on Financial Instruments.  This standard will be effective in 2020 or 2021, depending on whether an institution meets the definition of a public business entity.  Please refer to the article, Measuring Credit Impairment of Financial Instruments, for an overview of ASU No. 2016-13.
 
The Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) and regulators have emphasized that the standard is scalable for different institutions and that various methods are permitted to estimate life-of-loan losses.  In other words, not every institution will implement the same methodology to estimate loan losses.  This will allow institutions to implement a Current Expected Credit Loss (CECL) methodology that is appropriate for the size and complexity of their specific institution and loan portfolio.

Nov 01, 2016
Industries: Financial Institutions, Financial Services
By: Brett D. Schwantes

> Read More

Overdraft Programs: Balancing Risk vs. Reward

One thing that came out of the financial crisis that started in 2007 in the United States was the government concluding that consumers needed more protection from the financial industry.  President Obama proposed a new financial agency that would focus on consumers instead of on bank safety and soundness or monetary policy.  The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) was born in 2010 as a result of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act.  One of the CFPB’s main focuses, since its inception, has been fees charged to consumers.  One type of fee that has always been on the CFPB’s radar is the overdraft fee.  Regulators are looking at overdraft programs as they pertain to specific regulations such as Regulation DD, Regulation E, and Unfair or Deceptive Acts or Practices (UDAP), and the expanded Unfair, Deceptive, or Abusive Acts or Practices (UDAAP).  It is crucial for banks to minimize their risks associated with overdraft products.

Nov 01, 2016
Industries: Financial Institutions, Financial Services
By: Kristen Ferwerda

> Read More

Taking a Look at Your Bank Secrecy Act/Anti-Money Laundering Program

When was the last time you took a close look at your financial institution’s Bank Secrecy Act/Anti-Money Laundering (BSA/AML) program?  With the recent implementation of rules to strengthen the customer due diligence requirements, now is a good time to do a careful review of your program to ensure it is adequate.  Financial institutions are expected to implement and maintain a sound, effective BSA/AML program that incorporates procedures to identify, measure, monitor, and manage risks and is reviewed and revised as necessary on an ongoing basis.

Nov 01, 2016
Industries: Financial Institutions, Financial Services
By: Shelley Foster

> Read More

Who's Guarding the Exits?

I was in a movie theater recently and sat in one of those new lounger seats.  I had my popcorn, my soda, and I was ready to start the movie.  Just as the lights dimmed, something drew my attention to the exit signs.  As the theater employees walked down the main aisles to make sure everything was functioning, nobody snuck into the movie, and there were no safety or security issues.  It was at that point that I thought about my youth and how kids used to sneak into the movie theater.  While the kids would have been caught if there was someone consistently watching, most theaters were too busy and didn’t have enough employees to cover every exit.

Nov 01, 2016
Industries: Financial Institutions, Financial Services
By: Travis Wouters

> Read More

Why Change Management Is Key To Manufacturing Technology Implementation Success

A technology initiative’s success depends largely on effective change management. Too often, leaders assume people are ready for new projects, rather than actively preparing personnel for coming changes. Using a change management approach helps a company get the most value from technology investments, while keeping personnel engaged and motivated.

Nov 01, 2016
Industries: Manufacturing and Distribution
Services: Consulting, Technology
By: Jeffrey H. Wulf

> Read More

Accounting for Debt The Devil Is in the Details

This article explores some of the common accounting topics related to debt financing: how to initially measure debt, accounting for debt issuance costs, debt covenants, presenting debt as either current or noncurrent, and other details that may be present in debt agreements.

Nov 01, 2016
Industries: Governments, Nonprofits
Services: Audit and Accounting, Consulting, Private Wealth Services, Tax
By: Michael Webber

> Read More

Simplifying and Improving Not-for-Profit Financial Statements

In August 2016, the FASB issued ASU No. 2016-14 Not-for-Profit Entities (Topic 958) Presentation of Financial Statements of Not-for-Profit Entities (ASU). The ASU is Phase I of the FASB project to update the financial statement presentation and disclosures for not-for-profit entities. It’s intended to improve the current net asset classification and the information presented in the notes about a not-for-profit’s liquidity, financial performance, and cash flows.

Nov 01, 2016
Industries: Nonprofits
Services: Audit and Accounting
By: Michelle R. Swoboda, Rachel Most

> Read More

HITRUST: What You Should Know About Using AWS, Azure, and Other Third-Party Tools

The Health Information Trust Alliance (HITRUST) Common Security Framework (CSF) is one of the industry’s most widely adopted security frameworks. As a designated HITRUST CSF Assessor, Wipfli helps health care clients and business associates alike with HITRUST programs and does so in a variety of capacities.

Lately, we’ve uncovered uncertainties about cloud computing services with regard to HITRUST compliance—in particular, whether Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure, or other third-party tools offer features that can help address the assurances required across the 19 CSF assessment domains.

This series of articles will share some of the useful tools and features we’ve encountered while performing assessments. This is not intended to be a comprehensive list; rather, it’s a list of constructive observations. The intent is to share examples of tools that can help with HITRUST compliance by mentioning as many of the most useful offerings as possible. And if your organization already pays for an enterprise security solution, by all means ask your vendor if it can also provide some of the other security controls mentioned in this series of articles.

Nov 01, 2016
Industries: Agribusiness, Construction and Real Estate, Dealerships, Financial Institutions, Financial Services, Freshwater, Governments, Health Care, Insurance, Manufacturing and Distribution, Nonprofits, Private Equity
Services: Governance, Risk, and Compliance
By: Jason J. Papador

> Read More

Going Global: Business, Banking, Tax, and Accounting Considerations

If you’re thinking about overseas expansion or exporting products and services, you’re also thinking about how to get paid, how to protect your intellectual property, and how to simply operate internationally. Obviously, it’s important to understand the environment you’re entering. That’s because business, banking, tax, and accounting rules can all be very different than they are in the United States, and they often vary from country to country.

Nov 01, 2016
Industries: Manufacturing and Distribution
Services: Audit and Accounting, Tax
By: Kelly M. Fisher

> Read More

Going Global: General Objectives and Considerations for Structuring

Whether you’ve already jumped into overseas opportunities through buying, selling, or sourcing materials or have yet to develop a market strategy, one thing is for certain: There are plenty of hurdles, challenges, and tax consequences that come with doing business internationally.

An essential objective is to balance your tax requirements with your business requirements to find an optimal arrangement. Avoid overcomplicating, so you can grow comfortably into your structural, reporting, and legal requirements.

Nov 01, 2016
Industries: Manufacturing and Distribution
Services: Audit and Accounting, Tax
By: Kelly M. Fisher

> Read More

Going Global: International Tax Planning Primer

When expanding globally, there are many tax repercussions to address, and simply being aware that taxes will be “different” is not the same as actively planning for them. After all, every business is different and every foreign jurisdiction is also different.

Nov 01, 2016
Industries: Manufacturing and Distribution
Services: Tax
By: Kelly M. Fisher

> Read More

6 Questions Boards of Directors Should Be Asking About Cybersecurity

According to the Allianz 2016 Global Risk Report, business interruption and cybersecurity occupied two of the top three risks to businesses. It’s no wonder that with the increased frequency of cyber attacks, data leaks, and computer fraud, cyber risk now nears the top of board and audit committee agendas.

Oct 19, 2016
Industries: Agribusiness, Construction and Real Estate, Dealerships, FinTech, Financial Institutions, Financial Services, Freshwater, Governments, Health Care, Insurance, Manufacturing and Distribution, Nonprofits, Private Equity
Services: Governance, Risk, and Compliance
By: Jeff Olejnik

> Read More

Creating Reports in QuickBooks, Part 1

QuickBooks comes with dozens of report templates that can be run as is. This month and next, we’ll show you ways to make them “fit” your company.

Oct 06, 2016
Industries: Agribusiness, Construction and Real Estate, Dealerships, Insurance, Manufacturing and Distribution, Nonprofits, Private Equity, Financial Institutions, Financial Services, Freshwater, Governments, Health Care
Services: Audit and Accounting, Business Advisory

> Read More

Customizing QuickBooks Online Forms

Make a good impression on your customers by sending them well-designed sales forms. QuickBooks Online helps you create them.

Oct 05, 2016
Industries: Agribusiness, Construction and Real Estate, Dealerships, Insurance, Manufacturing and Distribution, Nonprofits, Private Equity, Financial Institutions, Financial Services, Freshwater, Governments, Health Care
Services: Audit and Accounting, Business Advisory

> Read More

What Are Payroll Items in QuickBooks?

Considering processing your own payroll in QuickBooks? Whether you’re moving from a payroll service or getting ready to pay your first employee, you’re taking on a complex set of tasks that requires a great deal of setup and absolute precision. But the reward is complete control over your compensation records and transactions, and constant access to your payroll data.

Sep 07, 2016
Industries: Agribusiness, Construction and Real Estate, Dealerships, Insurance, Manufacturing and Distribution, Nonprofits, Private Equity, Financial Institutions, Financial Services, Freshwater, Governments, Health Care
Services: Audit and Accounting, Business Advisory

> Read More

Accounting Improvements for Share-Based Payments

In March 2016 the FASB issued ASU 2016-09, Improvements to Employee Share-Based Payment Accounting. The intention of the new guidance is to simplify certain aspects of the accounting for stock-based compensation. Some of the provisions apply to all companies, while others are specific to nonpublic companies only. The changes are significant and worth a closer look.

Sep 03, 2016
Industries: Agribusiness, Construction and Real Estate, Dealerships, Financial Institutions, Financial Services, Freshwater, Governments, Health Care, Insurance, Manufacturing and Distribution, Nonprofits, Private Equity
Services: Audit and Accounting
By: Gina C. Skibo

> Read More

Breaking the Stereotype of Being Audited

“I’m being audited.” Those are three of the most terrifying words in the English language, especially when followed by the words “by the IRS.” However, when your CPA audits you, it can be a valuable process for your organization, one that provides a variety of benefits. 

Sep 03, 2016
Industries: Agribusiness, Construction and Real Estate, Dealerships, Financial Institutions, Financial Services, Freshwater, Governments, Health Care, Insurance, Manufacturing and Distribution, Nonprofits, Private Equity
Services: Audit and Accounting
By: Adam Mueller

> Read More

How Dr. Phil Could Help You Build a Better Accounting Department

Accounting staff handle a great number of tasks to ensure a business runs smoothly. Unfortunately, a great deal of stress can often result from managing all these responsibilities, details, and deadlines. 

This stress, accompanied by the technical requirements of handling a company’s confidential financial information, can produce undesirable outcomes among employees. They may become unmotivated, inefficient, or difficult to get along with, or they may choose to leave your organization. If your team is experiencing high turnover, lack of cohesion among team members, or low productivity, there are things you can do to re-engage your employees and lead a high-performing team.

Sep 03, 2016
Industries: Agribusiness, Construction and Real Estate, Dealerships, Financial Institutions, Financial Services, Freshwater, Governments, Health Care, Insurance, Manufacturing and Distribution, Nonprofits, Private Equity
Services: Audit and Accounting
By: Daniel T. Szidon, Anne E. Kirschling

> Read More

Financial Statements – Let’s Meet the Players!

Financial statements is a term used to describe a set of individual statements a company might use to assess and analyze its business. Financial statements always include a balance sheet and income statement. They may also include a statement of cash flows, a statement of owner’s equity, or footnotes. Supplementary information like detailed cost information or contract information may also be part of financial statements. Each of these statements provides different information that, when used together, helps owners and other users gain a better understanding of the overall financial position of the business.

This article will not discuss the specifics of each statement. Rather, it is meant to introduce you to the different types of “players” in the financial statements “game.” Each player performs a different role on the team, brings different performance expectations, and uses varying methods of preparation in advance of the big game

Sep 02, 2016
Industries: Agribusiness, Construction and Real Estate, Dealerships, Financial Institutions, Financial Services, Freshwater, Governments, Health Care, Insurance, Manufacturing and Distribution, Nonprofits, Private Equity
Services: Audit and Accounting
By: Kelly R. Runge

> Read More

Measuring Credit Impairment of Financial Instruments

In June 2016, the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) issued Accounting Standards Update (ASU) No. 2016-13, Measurement of Credit Losses on Financial Instruments.  This standard replaces existing financial asset impairment models with two new models—one for financial assets measured at amortized cost, such as loans held for investment and debt securities held to maturity (the CECL model), and one for debt securities classified as available for sale.  

Sep 01, 2016
Industries: Financial Institutions, Financial Services
By: Brett D. Schwantes

> Read More

Money Market Reform 2016

In July 2014, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) issued new rules to enhance the stability and resilience of money market funds.  These rules, which are to be implemented by October 2016, place tighter restrictions on portfolio holdings, enhance liquidity and credit quality requirements, and provide for greater transparency.  Furthermore, the rules allow all money market funds, during times of extreme volatility, to temporarily prevent investors from making withdrawals or to impose fees for investors who redeem shares.

 

Sep 01, 2016
Industries: Financial Institutions, Financial Services
By: Julianne Hoffmaster

> Read More

Privacy Notice-Decoded

Your financial institution’s privacy practices aren’t supposed to be a secret.  But trying to complete this notice properly and ensure compliance with Regulation P and the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) can sometimes make you feel like a secret agent trying to decode the regulation and the act to correctly describe your privacy practices.  Throughout the years, Wipfli has continued to receive many questions about this.  It’s important for you to identify exactly what information you share, with whom you share it, how the entity you share it with uses the information, and whether there is a contractual agreement in place between the parties that specifies how it can be used.

 

Sep 01, 2016
Industries: Financial Institutions, Financial Services
By: Brianna Herder

> Read More

The Next Generation- Emerging Leaders

Jack Welch, Former CEO of General Electric, once said, “If we don’t get the people thing right, we lose.  It’s the most important thing in all of our businesses.”  Ultimately, people, the right people, are your competitive differentiator and advantage.  So, what are you doing to develop your emerging leaders and strengthen your business?

 

Sep 01, 2016
Industries: Financial Institutions, Financial Services
By: Julia A. Johnson

> Read More

Unclaimed Property: A Few Best Practices

Financial institutions are aware of and have been consistently reporting certain unclaimed property for some time since this industry, among others, has historically been subject to compliance enforcement in many states.  The following considerations take into account sometimes overlooked issues specifically relevant to the financial institutions industry.

 

Sep 01, 2016
Industries: Financial Institutions, Financial Services

> Read More

What Ever Happened to That SAR?

In the last three years, nearly 2,400,000 Suspicious Activity Reports (SARs) have been filed by depository institutions in the U.S.  A question we are frequently asked by our clients is, “What happens to those SARs?”  Or more specifically, “What happens to the SARs I file on behalf of my institution?”  You may think that the reports you file to report criminal financial activity end up in a cyber cloud, never to be read or heard from again, but that is not the case.  It may surprise you to know that every SAR you file, regardless of amount or activity, will be read by human eyes.  That task may seem daunting to you, but it is not to the over one hundred SAR review teams across the country.  Each federal judicial district is represented by at least one team.  The teams consist of members from federal, state, and local levels of law enforcement.  The review teams are diverse and may include members of homeland security and the FBI as well as representatives from states’ attorneys offices and high-ranking members of local law enforcement agencies who proactively review SARs for their respective geographic areas.

 

Sep 01, 2016
Industries: Financial Institutions, Financial Services
By: Robin Guthridge

> Read More

Changes to the FLSA Overtime Regulations - Are You Ready?

The final rule changes to the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) Overtime Regulations were published on May 23, 2016, and will become effective on December 1, 2016. It is anticipated that as many as 4.2 million workers across the country may now be eligible for overtime pay within the first year of implementation. The Department of Labor (DOL) estimates that employers will spend $592.7 million to prepare to comply with the new rule, which includes time spent becoming familiar with the current regulations and making adjustments to policies and procedures and the related managerial costs. The impact is significant and affects all industries.

 

Jul 31, 2016
Industries: Financial Institutions, Financial Services
By: Julia A. Johnson

> Read More

Taxation of Software Downloads Issues to Consider When Licensing a Solution

This article will focus on the taxability of software that is accessed over the Internet

Jul 25, 2016
Services: Tax
By: Craig Cookle

> Read More

Sales and Use Tax Automation: Crucial Tools for Accurate Reporting

With sales and use tax being a complex and ever-changing area, it’s crucial to have an effective and up-to-date record of your sales and use tax activity. Accounting software is widely used by small to medium-sized companies to track financial transactions, as well as additional data surrounding business operations.

Jul 22, 2016
Industries: Manufacturing and Distribution
Services: Tax
By: Laura E. Karpo

> Read More

Surviving a Sales Tax Audit of Your Cash-Based Business

More often than not, states are using their data warehouses to identify audit candidates. Techniques like comparing gross receipts levels for both income tax and sales tax reporting or comparing your taxable sales percentage to other filers for your NAICS code are becoming standard

Jul 22, 2016
Services: Tax
By: Daryl L. Ohland

> Read More

What to do when you receive a Marketplace notice

Many employers have begun to receive Health Insurance Marketplace notices. The various state Health Insurance Marketplaces are now required to provide employers with a notice when an employee applies for health insurance on the state Marketplace and their application indicates they are eligible for federal subsidies to purchase their insurance.

Jul 20, 2016
Industries: Agribusiness, Construction and Real Estate, Dealerships, Financial Institutions, Financial Services, Freshwater, Governments, Health Care, Insurance, Manufacturing and Distribution, Nonprofits, Private Equity
Services: Business Advisory

> Read More

Crowdfunding for Capital? Know the Rules.

Crowdfunding is a method of raising capital through the collective effort of friends, family, customers, individual investors, even complete strangers. The method taps into expansive pools of potential investors primarily through social media and other crowdfunding platforms, letting business owners, in essence, make their pitch to the world.

Jul 02, 2016
Industries: Agribusiness, Construction and Real Estate, Dealerships, Financial Institutions, Financial Services, Freshwater, Governments, Health Care, Insurance, Manufacturing and Distribution, Nonprofits, Private Equity
Services: Audit and Accounting
By: Paul D. Ouweneel

> Read More

New Accounting Standards Update: Simplifying the Transition to the Equity Method

The Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) continued its efforts to simplify accounting requirements while maintaining or improving information for financial statement users. To this end, it recently issued ASU 2016-07, Investments – Equity Method and Joint Ventures: Simplifying the Transition to the Equity Method of Accounting. Before diving into the substance of this new ASU, it’s important to identify the transactions and arrangements impacted by equity method treatment, namely, corporate joint ventures.

Jul 02, 2016
Industries: Agribusiness, Construction and Real Estate, Dealerships, Financial Institutions, Financial Services, Freshwater, Governments, Health Care, Insurance, Manufacturing and Distribution, Nonprofits, Private Equity
Services: Audit and Accounting
By: Jim Hyland, Donna Mae Huss

> Read More

Revenue Recognition Update

In May 2014, the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) finalized Accounting Standards Update (ASU) No. 2014-09, Revenue from Contracts with Customers. As you likely know, this is a broad, principles-based standard for recognizing revenue from contracts that will supersede numerous revenue recognition requirements for particular industries or transactions. In addition, this standard generally converges revenue recognition standards for accounting principles generally accepted in the United States (GAAP) with International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS). 

Jul 02, 2016
Industries: Agribusiness, Construction and Real Estate, Dealerships, Financial Institutions, Financial Services, Freshwater, Governments, Health Care, Insurance, Manufacturing and Distribution, Nonprofits, Private Equity
Services: Audit and Accounting
By: Brett D. Schwantes

> Read More

Accounting for Contract Incentives

An institution enters into a number of long-term contracts for services and software, including the core processing system and debit and credit card payment systems.  To obtain these contracts, vendors may provide various incentives such as an upfront payment to the institution or reduced or no payments for a certain period of time.  This article will discuss factors and principles an institution should consider to properly account for contract incentives.

 

Jul 01, 2016
Industries: Financial Institutions, Financial Services
By: Brett D. Schwantes

> Read More

Are You Balancing Employee Trust With Smart Internal Controls?

At home, our almost two-year-old daughter is into everything.  It seems as though each day we learn of a new way our home is not “toddler proofed.”  Luckily for us, there are child locks on cabinets and dead bolts on outside doors that prevent her from accessing the other side.  Without these controls, she would be able to enter the pantry and eat goldfish until she was sick or run outside unattended, and she would be causing herself some pain and her parents a headache.  She has to rely on a second person (mom or dad) to open the door and go out with her.  She may find these controls a little irritating now (or a lot depending on the daily mood), but she will one day realize they were there for her protection.

 

Jul 01, 2016
Industries: Financial Institutions, Financial Services
By: Adam B. Baker

> Read More

Assessment and Execution of Strategy: Keys to Strategic Success

Across the country, boards are becoming increasingly vigilant in their oversight of strategic direction and holding the CEO accountable for implementation and effective execution of such.

 

Jul 01, 2016
Industries: Financial Institutions, Financial Services

> Read More

Beneficial Ownership Rule Is Finalized-Finally

After four long years in the making, the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) finalized the Customer Due Diligence Beneficial Ownership rule on May 11, 2016, with the mandatory compliance date set as May 11, 2018.  The arduous process included an Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking issued in February 2012 and a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking issued in August 2014.  Both provided opportunities for commentary.  The release of this long-delayed rule may have been motivated in part by the recent disclosure of the “Panama Papers,” which outed a host of wealthy individuals, including celebrities and well-known public officials, who used offshore shell companies to conceal their assets.  The Panama Papers brought to light that the United States has become a popular tax haven for money launderers hoping to evade taxes or hide income from other illicit activities.

 

Jul 01, 2016
Industries: Financial Institutions, Financial Services
By: Robin Guthridge

> Read More

Did the Requirements Within Regulation AA Go Away With Its Repeal?

On March 21, 2016, the Federal Reserve Board’s (the Board’s) repeal of Regulation AA (Unfair or Deceptive Acts or Practices) became effective. Since the announcement of the repeal, we have been receiving questions regarding what happened to the requirements that were within the regulation. More specifically, financial institutions want to know whether they can discontinue providing a Notice to Cosigner and whether they are now allowed to take a security interest in household goods.

Jul 01, 2016
Industries: Financial Institutions, Financial Services
By: Cindy L. Mabry

> Read More

Mergers and Acquisitions - Basic Tax Considerations for Taxable Asset and Stock Sales

Mergers and acquisitions of financial institutions increased steadily throughout 2014 and 2015, and it looks like the trend is continuing into 2016.  An increasingly complex regulatory environment, the retirement of baby boomers, changing technology, and improvements in the overall economy have contributed to this trend.  Whether your bank is considering an acquisition or a sale, there are some basic tax consequences that should be considered.

 

Jul 01, 2016
Industries: Financial Institutions, Financial Services
By: Brianna N. Komppa

> Read More

Secondary Market Quality Control: Have You Been Flying Under the Radar

Secondary market investors and quality control (QC)—will it ever get easier?  As I shake my Magic 8 Ball for an answer, I get the response, “Don’t count on it.”

 

Jul 01, 2016
Industries: Financial Institutions, Financial Services
By: AnneMarie E. Marchel

> Read More

Is Your Job Shop Ready for an ERP?

How do you know if an ERP system is an appropriate solution for your organization? What specific benefits will you see? How will it change how you and your team do things? What are the steps involved in implementation and who’s responsible for each? This eBook answers these and many other questions and provides some practical advice that will help ensure a successful implementation.

Jul 01, 2016
Industries: Manufacturing and Distribution
Services: Consulting, Technology
By: Mark Stevens

> Read More

Unclaimed Property What Are My Organization's Responsibilities

Are you familiar with unclaimed or abandoned property? How is your organization currently handling its obligations with respect to accounting for, tracking, and ultimately reporting and remitting these funds to the appropriate state government for safekeeping?

Jun 16, 2016
Industries: Governments, Nonprofits
Services: Tax

> Read More

The Health Care Industry Current State and Future Potential

Over the past few months, I have attended numerous health care industry conferences where CEOs and CFOs were asked to share their insight on the current state of health care and where they see the potential for this industry in the near future. Although many of the themes were similar, I was able to take away the following eight concepts, some of which may surprise you.

Jun 15, 2016
Industries: Health Care
Services: Audit and Accounting, Consulting, Private Wealth Services, Tax
By: Tina Nazier

> Read More

What Is Your Bank Really Worth?

With the struggles of the Great Recession largely in the rearview mirror, the banking industry has repositioned itself for growth profitability. 

May 31, 2016
Industries: Financial Institutions, Financial Services
Services: Business Advisory
By: Paul D. Ouweneel, Kevin Janke

> Read More

Run Your Financial Statement General Ledger for You (Not Your CPA)

Far too often, general ledgers (GL) are set up to make the processes of preparing year-end GAAP financial statements and filing income tax returns easier. Those are once-a-year activities, whereas running your business is an everyday activity. Organize your GL to give you better operational information, even if it complicates the year-end financial statement and tax return processes.

May 03, 2016
Industries: Agribusiness, Construction and Real Estate, Dealerships, Financial Institutions, Financial Services, Freshwater, Governments, Health Care, Insurance, Manufacturing and Distribution, Nonprofits, Private Equity
Services: Audit and Accounting
By: Megan A. Cera

> Read More

Why You Should Think Like an Auditor

Maybe auditing isn’t for everyone, but auditors have a unique perspective that can benefit any manager. We tend to ask a lot of questions from an independent point of view to gain an understanding of an organization’s operations. While it may seem we dwell on the negatives and the “what could go wrongs,” we are usually following a process that helps us challenge the status quo to see whether something’s been missed or whether there might be a better way.

Here are some of the ways an auditor thinks that could help you better manage your organization (and maybe even your life).

May 03, 2016
Industries: Agribusiness, Construction and Real Estate, Dealerships, Financial Institutions, Financial Services, Freshwater, Governments, Health Care, Insurance, Manufacturing and Distribution, Nonprofits, Private Equity
Services: Audit and Accounting
By: Brett D. Schwantes

> Read More

The Importance of Having Strong Financial Planning and Analysis

Looking for growth? Having a strong financial planning and analysis function is a key to success. The role of a financial planning and analysis (FP&A) professional or function is to provide accurate, timely financial analysis and advice to the leaders of the organization. While that sounds broad and little more than number crunching, the role brings much more value than that. In fact,lately FP&A has come to the fore as a strategic and relevant advantage to organizations.

May 02, 2016
Industries: Agribusiness, Construction and Real Estate, Dealerships, Financial Institutions, Financial Services, Freshwater, Governments, Health Care, Insurance, Manufacturing and Distribution, Nonprofits, Private Equity
Services: Audit and Accounting
By: Mark B. Martinelli

> Read More

Keep Calm and Give On

Giving to charities is an inherent cost of doing business as an independent community financial institution.  Aside from the satisfying feeling that comes from helping others, does the charitable giving align with the public relations strategy—does it engage your employees—does it have a measurable impact?  Are you choosing the right charity, and is it a qualifying charity?  Is it truly charitable giving or a community relations expense?

May 01, 2016
Industries: Financial Institutions, Financial Services
By: Lindsey L. Sabelko, Traci J. Hollister

> Read More

Preparing for Your Next Bank Secrecy Act Examination

Do you have a Bank Secrecy Act (BSA) examination looming?  The best way to prepare is to test the elements that examiners will be looking at and correct any deficiencies prior to the time examiners show up on your doorstep.  This article features a list of items to address in advance of the examination start date so you can take corrective actions before the examination commences.

May 01, 2016
Industries: Financial Institutions, Financial Services
By: Teri Downey

> Read More

Profit Improvement: It's Not Rocket Science

Wipfli sends your financial institution the Financial and Operational Performance Analysis quarterly to help you understand the significant factors impacting profitability and what differentiates your financial institution’s performance from others in your state.  The data is captured from your quarterly call report.  If you do not receive this quarterly analysis and are interested in receiving it, please forward your email address to myself or your Wipfli contact and we will make sure we add you to the list.

 
The Financial and Operational Performance Analyses allow me to review the state averages to note significant trends, and I want to make you aware of a few of those trends from the December 31, 2015, reports and offer ideas for you to review so your financial institution can increase or at least maintain your current profitability.
 

May 01, 2016
Industries: Financial Institutions, Financial Services
By: Susan Kappel

> Read More

Proposed Changes to the FLSA Overtime Regulations

At the recent 2016 American Bar Association’s midwinter meeting, Solicitor of Labor Patricia Smith announced that the final amendments to the Fair Labor Standards Act’s (FLSA’s) so-called “white collar” exemptions will be published in July 2016.  The Department of Labor (DOL) expects the regulations will become effective 60 days after publication and is committed to them being effective by the end of 2016.  

May 01, 2016
Industries: Financial Institutions, Financial Services
By: Julia A. Johnson

> Read More

Unique New Risk Management Insights

By nature, the banking industry is a risk management business, specifically taking a risk in lending funds, investing in bonds, or utilizing customer deposits, shareholder capital, or market borrowings.  The risk management process becomes more complicated based on numerous factors such as the complexity of the institution or the volume, velocity, and value of transactions. 
 
No doubt, risk management techniques have been discussed, identified, and utilized for centuries, going back to initial barter techniques before the Roman Empire.  Assigning a value, accepting something in return, and then trading for another item a person might need involved risk.
 
Over time, the financial system has evolved, and while many of the same risks remain, there are new issues and concerns.  In turn, the financial services industry adapts and adjusts its risk management governance and controls. 

May 01, 2016
Industries: Financial Institutions, Financial Services
By: Jerry Miller

> Read More

What Job Shops Need to Know About Cloud ERP Systems

The best way for a job shop to take advantage of new opportunities to grow its business is by replacing very basic and inefficient business operations software with a cloudbased enterprise resource planning (ERP) system. This tool captures a wide range of data and turns it into actionable insights that help job shops make the best decisions for their futures. A cloud-based ERP also helps streamline and optimize processes to save time and money throughout the organization.

May 01, 2016
Industries: Manufacturing and Distribution
Services: Consulting, Technology
By: Mark Stevens

> Read More

How Job Shops and Contract Manufacturers Can Create a Quality Sales Pipeline

A solid sales pipeline is fundamental to sustained growth and success for today’s job shops and contract manufacturers. This eBook explains the basics of what it takes to effectively develop a pipeline that extends reach and promotes profitable growth

May 01, 2016
Industries: Manufacturing and Distribution
Services: Consulting, Technology
By: Mark Stevens

> Read More

Creating a Donor-Centric Culture

The people you serve in your communities depend on you to be there. Having a strong donor-relation strategy improves the sustainability of your organization. How do you get everyone in your agency involved? How do you create an organizational culture that is obsessed with its donors? Get started with two steps.

Apr 20, 2016
Industries: Governments, Nonprofits
Services: Consulting
By: Kate Atkins

> Read More

Improve Your Ransomware Awareness and Defense

How well is your organization prepared to handle a ransomware threat, and how well do you know the facts surrounding this malicious attack? Test your basic ransomware understanding with a few true or-false questions.

Mar 15, 2016
Services: Governance, Risk, and Compliance
By: Paul J. Johnson

> Read More

Orthopedic Bundles and Acute Care Providers

Hospitals in 67 geographic areas must participate in the federal Comprehensive Care for Joint Replacement (CCJR) bundled payment model for episodes that start on or after April 1, 2016. Although your acute care facility may not be in this first wave of participation, there’s much your organization should be doing now to prepare for its inevitability.

Mar 11, 2016
Industries: Health Care
Services: Audit and Accounting, Consulting, Private Wealth Services, Tax
By: Jane F. Jerzak

> Read More

Orthopedic Bundles and Post-Acute Care Providers

The Comprehensive Care for Joint Replacement (CCJR) bundled payment model went into effect for hospitals in targeted geographic areas on April 1, but the stakes have just gotten higher for post-acute care providers everywhere.

Mar 11, 2016
Industries: Health Care
By: Patricia J. Boyer

> Read More

A-Simplification of Accounting Items-Make Life Easier in 2016

You finally have the 2015 year closed, and your CPA firm has completed its annual audit and tax work. Now, how can you make 2016 a much more stress-free year?

Our professionals have created a “Top 10” list just for you. Even if all 10 of these suggestions don’t work for you, we hope you can take away at least a few tips to make your 2016 run as effectively as a well-oiled machine.

Mar 03, 2016
Industries: Agribusiness, Construction and Real Estate, Dealerships, Financial Institutions, Financial Services, Freshwater, Governments, Health Care, Insurance, Manufacturing and Distribution, Nonprofits, Private Equity
Services: Audit and Accounting
By: Steven A. Jordan

> Read More

To Accrue or Not to Accrue Distributions: That Is the Question

Entities that are organized as a pass-through entity (PTE), such as S corporations and limited liability companies, are generally not subject to federal or state income taxes. The shareholders (owners) of these entities report their share of taxable income or loss on their personal tax returns. For most nontaxable entities, distributions are made to the owners to assist them in paying their tax liabilities.

A PTE should consider policies to determine the amount of owner distributions and whether or not to accrue them. We believe it is advisable to have a policy that guides the amount and timing of when distributions are accrued. 

Mar 02, 2016
Industries: Agribusiness, Construction and Real Estate, Dealerships, Financial Institutions, Financial Services, Freshwater, Governments, Health Care, Insurance, Manufacturing and Distribution, Nonprofits, Private Equity
Services: Audit and Accounting
By: Laura C. Heleniak, Daniel T. Szidon

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Need a Service Provider for Your Employee Benefit Plan? Proceed With Prudence

Business owners are generally responsible for ensuring their 401(k) plans and other types of retirement plans comply with federal law. That includes the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA).

To help carry out such responsibilities, owners often rely heavily on service providers to assist in controlling, managing, and overseeing plans and their investments.  

Mar 02, 2016
Industries: Agribusiness, Construction and Real Estate, Dealerships, Financial Institutions, Financial Services, Freshwater, Governments, Health Care, Insurance, Manufacturing and Distribution, Nonprofits, Private Equity, FinTech
Services: Audit and Accounting

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Biometric Authentication-Will We Ever Get Rid of the Password

One of the biggest challenges for financial institutions today is protecting access to customer information.  How can you be sure the person logging into a customer’s Internet banking application is who they claim to be? Since the inception of authentication, we have almost exclusively relied on passwords for authentication.  But the FFIEC’s Authentication in an Internet Banking Environment states that passwords, at least alone, are not good enough.  The guidance introduces requirements for dual or multifactor authentication.  While proving an added layer of security, the extra factors tend to be some other question or the use of a token.  This becomes cumbersome for the user, struggling to remember yet another password and then maintaining possession of a token or having to either look up or log into yet another location (with another password) to obtain the answer to some out-of-wallet question.  Now, thanks to some technology improvements and perhaps the necessity of a more convenient process, biometric authentication is beginning to see more widespread use.

Mar 02, 2016
Industries: Financial Institutions, Financial Services
By: Joel R. Lego

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Fair Credit Reporting Act-Part Three-Revenge of the Reseller

It has been almost a year since my last Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) article and I have a new FCRA issue to address that has been a big discussion topic within our compliance team.  Many lenders contract with a third party to obtain a credit report from the big three; however, the preparation of the adverse action notice becomes challenging depending on what type of report is obtained.  
 
First, let’s look at the FCRA basics. Section 615 of the act requires the lender to provide a notice of adverse action taken, and when information from a credit report was used in the decision process, the lender must provide details about the credit reporting agency (CRA).  In addition, if a credit score was used in making the decision, the credit score and credit reporting agency must be disclosed.  
 
Now that seems pretty simple:  list the CRA used in making the decision.  Well, not so fast. 

Mar 02, 2016
Industries: Financial Institutions, Financial Services
By: John Moniak

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FASBs New Standard for Financial Instruments

The Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) has finalized the first standard to emerge from its longstanding financial instruments project.  This project began around 2005 as a joint project with the International Accounting Standards Board (IASB) to improve and achieve convergence of their respective standards on the accounting for financial instruments.  Eventually, the project was divided into three separate financial instrument projects:  classification and measurement, impairment, and hedging.

Mar 02, 2016
Industries: Financial Institutions, Financial Services
By: Brett D. Schwantes

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FASBs New Standard for Leases

In February 2016, the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) finalized its new standard for leases. This project began around 2006 as a joint project with the International Accounting Standards Board (IASB) to create an accounting standard that provides a more faithful representation of leasing transactions in financial reports.

Mar 02, 2016
Industries: Financial Institutions, Financial Services
By: Brett D. Schwantes

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Five Ways to Win by Doing the Main Thing

The other day I was asked my opinion on what separates winners from losers in today’s banking environment.  Without hesitation, I responded that the winners are focused on the “main thing.”
 
That “main thing” is something that was described to me back in 1994 by a manager of mine, and it is a trait that holds true today.  “You see, our job as bankers is actually pretty simple,” my old mentor told me.  “Our job is to make sure that we keep the ‘main thing’ the main thing.” 

Mar 02, 2016
Industries: Financial Institutions, Financial Services
By: David Bue

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How Does the PATH Act Benefit Your Business Operations

Congress did not let us down in 2015 by not passing a bill to extend over 50 tax provisions that expired on January 1, 2015.  They just waited until December 18, 2015, to pass the tax bill.  It left us with 13 days in 2015 to take advantage of the tax provisions.  The Protecting Americans from Tax Hikes Act of 2015 (PATH Act) extended several provisions that expired on January 1, 2015, but instead of extending for just one year like Congress has done the past several years, they made some provisions permanent: some have five-year extensions and others have two-year extensions.
 
You may be wondering whether there are any provisions in the PATH Act that would benefit your operations and what you should do to take advantage of them.  First, we will go over the provisions that will affect your financial institution.

Mar 02, 2016
Industries: Financial Institutions, Financial Services
By: Jessica H. Mac Naughton

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Is It 1980 Again? Credit Impacts of the Current Agricultural Economic Environment

The agriculture industry has experienced vast changes in commodity prices over the past several years.  The U.S. average farm price of corn increased from approximately $3.00 per bushel during the 2006-2007 marketing year to over $5.00 per bushel during the three marketing years from 2010-2011 through 2012-2013.   During this period, the profitability of grain producers increased dramatically with consequential impact on the financial condition and spending patterns of farm operators throughout the Midwest.  Balance sheets were strengthened as earnings and appreciating values increased liquidity, equity, and debt service coverage in the industry.  As the income of grain farms increased, peaking at about $263,000 in 2012,  production, land, capital expenditures (CAPEX), and living expenses increased during that time frame as well. 

Mar 02, 2016
Industries: Financial Institutions, Financial Services, Agribusiness
By: Jeffrey W. Davey

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Is Your BSA-AML Training Program Adequate

The Bank Secrecy Act is one of a few regulations with statutory training requirements.  In addition to internal controls, independent testing, and the designation of a Bank Secrecy Act (BSA) officer, training is one of the four pillars of a financial institution’s BSA Program.  Therefore, Bank Secrecy Act/Anti-Money Laundering (BSA/AML) training should be a priority when planning and implementing the annual training program.  BSA/AML requirements cover a broad range of employees and departments, from new accounts personnel and tellers to operations employees and loan officers, all the way up to senior management and the board of directors.  Consequently, training materials must provide a comprehensive overview and be tailored to each employee’s specific responsibilities.  A “one-size-fits-all” approach is not sufficient. 

Mar 02, 2016
Industries: Financial Institutions, Financial Services
By: Craig E. Johnson

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What's Next on the Horizon - Military Lending Act

You may feel you have a little time to catch your breath after implementing the new TRID Integrated Disclosure rules, but don’t take too long; the Military Lending Act (the “Act”) went into effect October 1, 2015, with required compliance by October 3, 2016.  That leaves you approximately six months to make sure your procedures and systems are in place.

Mar 02, 2016
Industries: Financial Institutions, Financial Services
By: Melissa D. Blaser

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Why Change Management Is Key To Insurance Technology Implementation Success

A technology initiative’s success depends largely on effective change management. Too often, leaders assume people are ready for new projects, rather than actively preparing personnel for coming changes. Using a change management approach helps a company get the most value from technology investments, while keeping personnel engaged and motivated.

Feb 26, 2016
Industries: Insurance
Services: Consulting, Technology
By: Jeffrey H. Wulf

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Are You Monitoring Your Advertising Purchases for Proper Taxability

How closely do you monitor your advertising-related purchases for compliance with state sales and use tax laws? Advertising-related purchases are facing increased scrutiny during sales and use tax audit examinations.

Feb 24, 2016
Services: Tax
By: Craig Cookle

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Excise Taxes What Are You Missing

Periodically, I refer to certain taxes as poor orphan step children. By that, I mean they are the taxes that aren’t talked about, researched, measured, or evaluated. Our clients ask us to help them reduce their income tax, property tax, and sales tax burden, but few ask us whether there are means to ensure they pay the appropriate amounts of excise tax, no more or no less than what is required

Feb 24, 2016
Services: Tax
By: Linda J. Feirn

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Sales and Use Tax Return Filings Understanding and Avoiding the Impact of Negligence Penalties

To encourage on-time filing and payment of sales and use taxes, states impose negligence penalties on any sales and use tax returns filed or paid late. The penalty amount can vary greatly from state to state and can be quite costly, with the penalty rate ranging from 1% to 30% of the tax due.

Feb 24, 2016
Services: Tax
By: Austin DeMoss

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State Tax Filings Important Year-End Tax Review Tips

Here are some best practices companies employ to reduce exposure and identify opportunities for state and local tax savings

Feb 24, 2016
Services: Tax
By: Daryl L. Ohland

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Top Three Strategies for Rural Health Care Success

Health care providers must navigate a myriad of issues in order to be successful in the future. Rural health care providers have some unique challenges (staffing, financial resources, clinical expertise, provider shortages, etc.) and also have a few advantages over their non-rural counterparts (access to special rural health care grant funding, cost-based reimbursement options, etc.).

Feb 12, 2016
Industries: Health Care
Services: Audit and Accounting, Consulting, Private Wealth Services, Tax
By: Tina Nazier

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Telemedicine An Alternative to Improve Patient Access

Health care services have traditionally been conducted through face-to-face exchange of information between provider and patient, but advanced technology has changed how, when, and where patient care can be delivered. For example, many patients prefer to communicate with their provider online, patient portals allow patients immediate access to their medical information, and providers can collaborate about patients via telemedicine, which has become a cost-effective alternative to face-to-face patient services.

Feb 03, 2016
Industries: Health Care
Services: Audit and Accounting, Consulting, Private Wealth Services, Tax
By: Jeanne M. Chapdelaine

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How to Get Value from Your Audit Relationship

Do you feel like the annual financial statement audit for your health care organization is a costly exercise that adds little or no value to the performance of your organization? If you do, you may be in need of audit process improvements. This article is designed to help ensure the dollars you spend with your audit firm both add value and ultimately make your organization better. To do so, we are going to “debunk” several commonly held misconceptions about audits and auditors.

Jan 28, 2016
Industries: Health Care
Services: Audit and Accounting, Consulting, Private Wealth Services, Tax
By: Kimberly K. Heller, Wayne R. Hiett, Tim A. Ritter, Corina R. Schoenke, Francis P. Egan

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Six Points About Orthopedic Bundled Payments

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) and the federal government are working hard to ensure current and future Americans have access to high-quality health care and those same Americans don’t go to the “poor house” because of the current unsustainable health care system. Two critical challenges are the financial burden health care places on preretirement Americans and our predicted inability to provide health care for seniors after 2030.

Jan 27, 2016
Industries: Health Care, Private Equity
Services: Audit and Accounting, Consulting, Private Wealth Services, Tax
By: Kimberly K. Heller

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Nuts and Bolts of Orthopedic Bundled Payments

The orthopedic bundled payment initiatives begin in less than two months. Some providers are working hard to prepare for this new payment reform while others are hardly aware of its existence. Our first article, published on February 2, 2016, included six key points related to the orthopedic bundled payment initiative. In this article we will explore the “nuts and bolts” of this Medicare initiative.

Jan 27, 2016
Industries: Health Care
Services: Audit and Accounting, Consulting, Private Wealth Services, Tax
By: Kimberly K. Heller

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Health Care Trends and Issues for 2016

2016 is sure to be exciting, as the pressure to cut costs will bring about newly emerging reimbursement methods, technological advances, and more efficient and value-driven health care service delivery. While change can be exciting, it can also create anxiety, especially among smaller rural and independent hospital organizations. These organizations are often less able to withstand the continued pressure on costs and less able to deploy the capital necessary to keep up with advances in technology and other more enduring changes in the health care landscape. In these uncertain times, it is more important than ever to remain focused on core business fundamentals.

Jan 12, 2016
Industries: Health Care
Services: Audit and Accounting, Consulting, Private Wealth Services, Tax
By: Nicholas E. Smith

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Top Ten Tips for Coder Physician Collaboration

The devil is in the details for effective coding, but the real answer to improving compliance and increasing revenues lies in communication and relationships. Although these areas are challenging to tackle, they are essential elements in improving the total patient experience and are critical to demonstrating high-quality care at lower costs.

Jan 12, 2016
Industries: Health Care
Services: Audit and Accounting, Consulting, Private Wealth Services, Tax
By: Jeanne M. Chapdelaine

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To Disclose or Not to Disclose – Applying the concept of materiality to financial statement disclosures

As company owners and managers consider what information warrants additional disclosure in their financial statements, there is little guidance available. Applying the concept of materiality requires judgment, and it’s often why the concept of materiality is thought of quantitatively. However, it is also important to consider the qualitative aspects

Jan 05, 2016
Services: Audit and Accounting
By: Travis Richert

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Document Retention: What’s Your Policy?

Many businesses have not developed document retention policies, have outdated policies, or simply do not follow their existing policies. A record retention policy provides guidance for how long organizations are to possess various types of business documents including corporate, accounting, taxation, human resources, payroll, insurance, legal, and other types of records

Jan 05, 2016
Industries: Agribusiness, Construction and Real Estate, Dealerships, Financial Institutions, Financial Services, Freshwater, Governments, Health Care, Insurance, Manufacturing and Distribution, Nonprofits, Private Equity
Services: Audit and Accounting
By: Michael Webber

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GAAP Is Getting Easier

The accounting and finance worlds seem to become more complex every day, whether that complexity is generated by government or industry standard setters, new products, or new markets. To combat this ever-increasing complexity, the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB), established the Private Company Council (PCC) in 2012. 

The PCC was created to amend and simplify areas of accounting principles generally accepted in the United States (GAAP) that are considered challenging for private companies and that provide little value to readers of private company financial statements. These amendments are commonly called PCC alternatives

Jan 05, 2016
Industries: Agribusiness, Construction and Real Estate, Dealerships, Financial Institutions, Financial Services, Freshwater, Governments, Health Care, Insurance, Manufacturing and Distribution, Nonprofits, Private Equity
Services: Audit and Accounting
By: Adam Mueller

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New Lease Accounting Rules

Recently, the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) voted to begin the process of issuing new lease accounting rules that, starting in 2020 for calendar year-end private companies, will require all long-term leases to be capitalized. Gone are the old FAS 13 rules that required capitalization of only certain "capital" leases. Under these new rules, all leases will be treated as capital leases with a right-of-use (ROU) asset being recorded and amortized and a corresponding discounted lease obligation being recorded as well.

Jan 05, 2016
Industries: Agribusiness, Construction and Real Estate, Dealerships, Financial Institutions, Financial Services, Freshwater, Governments, Health Care, Insurance, Manufacturing and Distribution, Nonprofits, Private Equity
Services: Audit and Accounting
By: Daniel T. Szidon

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Document Retention: What's Your Policy?

The following explains why a standardized approach to document retention is important. It also lists the sources of regulations that govern record retention and offers guidelines for developing and implementing a document retention policy.

Jan 05, 2016
Industries: Governments, Nonprofits
Services: Audit and Accounting
By: Michael Webber

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Changing Culture

As community banking continues to find its way back from the turbulent years of the financial crisis, optimism about the future is returning.  History has proven time and again that remarkable changes emerge from times of adversity.  For some financial institutions, there is a renewed interest and pursuit of mergers and acquisitions; for others, change means finding innovative ways to grow in order to meet the needs of clients, regulators, and other key stakeholders, including employees.

Jan 02, 2016
Industries: Financial Institutions, Financial Services
Services: Audit and Accounting, Consulting, Private Wealth Services, Tax

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Diagnosing the Fair Lending Health of Your HMDA-LAR

This article discusses starting the New Year with a resolution involving health as well, except this resolution involves the fair lending health of your Home Mortgage Disclosure Act Loan Application Register (HMDA-LAR).  There are several simple tests you can integrate into your quarterly HMDA process to help gauge the fair lending health of your HMDA-LAR and identify potential issues before they become problematic.

 

Jan 02, 2016
Industries: Financial Institutions, Financial Services
Services: Audit and Accounting, Consulting, Private Wealth Services, Tax
By: Melissa D. Blaser

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Meals and Entertainment Deductions

Are you making the most of your meals and entertainment deductions? Whether you look at the 50 percent meals and entertainment limitation as the glass being half full or half empty, it is important to remember that the glass can be full as well! There are several exceptions that allow you to deduct 100 percent of certain meals and entertainment (M&E) expenses.

Jan 02, 2016
Industries: Financial Institutions, Financial Services
Services: Audit and Accounting, Consulting, Private Wealth Services, Tax
By: Kimberly Massopust

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New Guidance for Public Business Entities

In December 2013, the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) issued Accounting Standards Update (ASU) No. 2013-12, Definition of a Public Business Entity.  This standard created a single definition for a “public entity” to be used for future standard setting.  Prior to this standard, public entities were defined differently for different accounting standards.

Jan 02, 2016
Industries: Financial Institutions, Financial Services
Services: Audit and Accounting, Consulting, Private Wealth Services, Tax
By: Brett D. Schwantes

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New Years Resolutions for 2016

They say the older you get, the faster time passes.  So it was with 2015.  It just seemed like yesterday I was writing this article for the 2015 January edition of our newsletter with my ankle in a cast and a lot of supporting hardware inside.  At this time I am happy to say, I am no longer in a cast, there are a few less screws in my ankle, and the intense physical therapy is behind me.  I can, however, predict the weather (if only I could predict interest rate changes as easily).

Jan 02, 2016
Industries: Financial Institutions, Financial Services
By: Sara Mikuta

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The Dynamics of a Well-Written Suspicious Activity Report Narrative

A system providing for proper Suspicious Activity Report (SAR) completion and timely filing is an indicator of a strong Bank Secrecy Act (BSA) program that incorporates policies, procedures, and processes to properly monitor for suspicious activity.  Just as important as the data input in Parts I-IV of the SAR is, so too is the written completion of Part V:  Suspicious Activity Information—Narrative.  SAR narratives are useful in describing information about specific activity for possible law enforcement investigation.  In addition, the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) utilizes BSA data in its analytical tools to provide law enforcement, regulatory agencies, and the financial services industry important information and guidance on broader regional and systemic threats and trends.  Clearly written narratives have helped identify mortgage fraud, identity theft, and terrorist financing schemes at the institution level, as well as reflect how pervasive illicit behavior has become industry-wide.  A sufficiently written narrative should, therefore, be a focus of a BSA program’s suspicious activity monitoring.

Jan 02, 2016
Industries: Financial Institutions, Financial Services
By: Nick Bonnema

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Six Risks That Can Sabotage Your Enterprise Technology Investment

Because of the significant investment involved, return on investment (ROI) expectations are high when implementing new enterprise technology. However, many organizations fail to achieve these expectations because they didn’t take the time to understand the risks involved or plan to mitigate or manage them at the outset.

Jan 02, 2016
Industries: Insurance
Services: Consulting, Technology
By: Steve Kronsnoble

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The Top 10 Must-Haves for Better IT Governance

Information technology can be a financial institution's greatest advantage. Not only does technology serve as a catalyst for improved business performance, but when leveraged, it can also enhance customer service and help differentiate the organization.

Dec 30, 2015
Industries: Financial Institutions, Financial Services
By: Robert D. Cedergren

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Update on Prior Guidance on Health Insurance for More-Than-Two-Percent S Corporation Shareholders Under IRS Notice 2015-17

Guidance issued in Notice 2015-17 delayed the application of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) market reforms to individual policies that were held by S-corporation shareholders and for which premiums were reimbursed or paid for by the S corporation.

Dec 22, 2015
Industries: Financial Institutions, Agribusiness, Construction and Real Estate, Dealerships, Financial Services, Freshwater, Governments, Health Care, Insurance, Manufacturing and Distribution, Nonprofits, Private Equity
Services: Business Advisory

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Resources for Creating an Effective Cybersecurity Preparedness Plan

Coined by Ronald Reagan and probably one of the ten most dangerous phrases in the English language is “I’m from the government and I’m here to help.”  When it comes to assisting financial institutions with developing a cybersecurity strategy, this may not be exactly the case but close.
 
It’s no secret that cyber threats continue to increase.  The bad guys will go where the money is.  But you can’t develop a cybersecurity strategy if you don’t know what you are up against.  So where do you go for help to understand the evolving threats and how to mitigate them based on your risk profile?

Dec 16, 2015
Industries: Financial Institutions, Financial Services
By: Mark Scholl

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Multifaceted Benchmarking Financial Performance

Profit margins for senior living providers who serve Medicaid and low income individuals are razor thin. Without a solid financial plan, an effective budget, and timely response to operational and industry changes, a senior living facility will struggle to survive.

Nov 14, 2015
Industries: Health Care
Services: Audit and Accounting, Consulting, Private Wealth Services, Tax
By: Larry Lester

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Expense Report Fraud How It Happens and How to Fight It

Expense reporting is a common and necessary business practice. It’s also commonly abused, and in extreme cases, used to conduct fraud. In fact, the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners (ACFE) reports that the estimated median loss from expense reimbursement fraud in 2014 was $30,000. In addition, ACFE findings show that individuals perpetrate such schemes for at least two years before being discovered.

When you also consider that nearly every employee within a business has the opportunity to submit expense reports for reimbursements, you begin to further understand the magnitude of this threat.

Nov 03, 2015
Industries: Nonprofits, Governments
Services: Audit and Accounting
By: Stephanie J. Cavadeas

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Don't Forget About the Escrow Cancellation Requirements Effective October 3-2015

While you might be aware of the Loan Estimate and Closing Disclosure changes effective October 3, 2015, did you also know that the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s Integrated Mortgage Disclosure rule includes an Escrow Closing Notice disclosure requirement that is effective October 3, 2015, as well?

Nov 02, 2015
Industries: Financial Institutions, Financial Services
By: Shelley Foster

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Multifaceted Benchmarking Establishing Market Position

As the population over the age of 65 becomes an increasingly larger portion of the U.S. population and health care reform is fully implemented, impacting the senior living industry, competition will heat up to meet the growing demand for senior housing and services and the needs of the local health care systems. 

Oct 26, 2015
Industries: Health Care
Services: Audit and Accounting, Consulting, Private Wealth Services, Tax
By: Michael Edwin, Patrick J. Carroll

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Has Cybersecurity Moved up the Priority List in Your Small Health Care Organization

This year’s survey from the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) offers more sobering news on privacy threats. In it, two-thirds of health care organizations said their organizations had recently experienced a “significant security incident.”

Oct 21, 2015
Industries: Health Care
Services: Audit and Accounting, Consulting, Private Wealth Services, Tax
By: Paul J. Johnson

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Multifaceted Benchmarking Clinical Quality and Integration

Previously, benchmarking for senior living facilities was just about the financials. Today, benchmarking consists of so much more than financial numbers. In this continuing article series, we will explore the four critical benchmark categories senior living and post-acute providers must address in order to succeed in today’s wildly dynamic marketplace (and that’s putting it mildly).

 

Sep 03, 2015
Industries: Health Care
Services: Audit and Accounting, Consulting, Private Wealth Services, Tax
By: Patricia J. Boyer

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Benchmarking to Achieve Financial Performance

The sheer size of the baby boomer generation has caused tremendous shifts in cultural paradigms over the last six decades, and boomers’ impact on the practices of our health care system is no exception. Amid a sea of changing health care laws, the needs of the country’s largest demographic are once again making waves across the health care delivery continuum.

Aug 24, 2015
Industries: Health Care
Services: Audit and Accounting, Consulting, Private Wealth Services, Tax
By: Kimberly K. Heller

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Have You Proactively Addressed State and Local Tax Issues Before the For Sale Goes Up? -Part 2

Most of the time, state and local tax is not at the forefront when a business owner or management team puts a company up for sale. In Part One of this article from July 2015, we focused specifically on addressing sales and use tax issues because these typically draw the most attention when selling or buying a company. In this article, we will address the remaining state and local tax types, including employment tax, property tax, unclaimed property, and state income/franchise tax, and the impact they have on selling or purchasing a business.

 

Aug 13, 2015
Industries: Agribusiness, Construction and Real Estate, Dealerships, Financial Institutions, Financial Services, Freshwater, Health Care, Insurance, Manufacturing and Distribution, Private Equity
Services: Tax
By: Craig Cookle

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Have You Proactively Addressed State and Local Tax Issues Before the For Sale Sign Goes Up? - Part 1

Most of the time, state and local tax is not at the forefront when a business owner or management team puts a company up for sale.  However, our experience dictates that it should be addressed early in the process because of the potentially significant impact state and local tax can have on the seller’s side of the transaction.  

Jul 28, 2015
Industries: Agribusiness, Construction and Real Estate, Dealerships, Financial Institutions, Financial Services, Freshwater, Health Care, Insurance, Manufacturing and Distribution, Private Equity
Services: Tax
By: Craig Cookle

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Commercial Real Estate Assessments: Are You Paying Too Much in Real Estate Taxes?

Understanding whether your commercial real estate has been appropriately assessed can be very complicated. This article will focus on assessment issues, valuation techniques, and payment of real estate taxes. 

Mar 20, 2015
Industries: Agribusiness, Dealerships, Financial Institutions, Manufacturing and Distribution, Private Equity, Construction and Real Estate
Services: Tax
By: Steve Traudt

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Challenges and Tips for Strong Passwords

The challenge: Passwords that are easy to remember are often easy to guess. Conversely, strong passwords are difficult to remember and are often written down. So how do we create strong login credentials but still remember them? Here are some guidelines for creating and managing passwords. 

Feb 28, 2015
Industries: Governments, Nonprofits, Agribusiness, Construction and Real Estate, Dealerships, Financial Institutions, Financial Services, Freshwater, Health Care, Insurance, Private Equity, Manufacturing and Distribution
Services: Governance, Risk, and Compliance
By: Mark Scholl

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Top 7 Security Tips for Law Firms

There has been a lot of press lately about hackers targeting the legal industry. We put together a list of the top seven security tips for law firms to help manage security risk.

Feb 25, 2015
Services: Governance, Risk, and Compliance
By: Jeff Olejnik

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New-New Guidance on Health Insurance for Small Employers

New guidance issued on February 18th provides limited relief to certain small business taxpayers and may be beneficial for many Wipfli clients. This guidance is important in that it provides clarity for employers on certain issues that otherwise exposed the employer to $100 per day per employee excise taxes under Code Section 4980D for noncompliance with Affordable Care Act (ACA) mandates.

Feb 21, 2015
Industries: Agribusiness, Construction and Real Estate, Dealerships, Financial Institutions, Financial Services, Freshwater, Governments, Health Care, Insurance, Manufacturing and Distribution, Nonprofits, Private Equity
Services: Business Advisory

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Privately Owned ATMs and Money Laundering

Since the first cash dispenser was introduced in 1969, getting money when you need it has become a common convenience and an essential way we get our money. There are 2.2 million automated teller machines (ATMs) in the world—more than 400,000 in the U.S. alone. Privately owned ATMs can be found in convenience stores, restaurants, bars, and grocery stores in large urban and small communities today. Some privately owned ATMs are owned by the proprietor of the business; some are owned by independent sales organizations (ISOs), which own many ATMs and place them in businesses in your community.

Jan 02, 2015
Industries: Financial Institutions, Financial Services
Services: Consulting
By: Susan Kappel

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Unclaimed Property Reporting Requirements- Are You in Compliance

Nearly every business has a legal duty to notify customers they are holding unclaimed property. In addition, they are required to file an annual report and remit unclaimed funds to the state. If your business hasn’t been taking these steps, be aware—the cost of noncompliance is steep, and the risk of audit is dramatically increasing.

Dec 20, 2014

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SALT-ED Q&A: When do I pay taxes in another state?

A question frequently addressed by Wipfli’s State and Local Tax Practice Group is whether a business must file a tax return in another state. The question is actually answered by addressing whether a business has acquired “nexus” in a state. Read this informative Q&A article to get the complete answer.

Dec 16, 2014
Services: Tax

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Employer Reimbursements of Individual Health Insurance Policies

For plan years beginning after 2013, the Affordable Care Act (ACA) instituted so-called market reform provisions that place a host of new restrictions on group health plans. The penalty for violating the market reform restrictions is a punitive $100-per-day, per-employee penalty or $36,500 per employee per year. With a limited exception, these market reform provisions significantly restrict an employer’s ability to reimburse employees for premiums paid on individual health insurance policies, referred to as employer payment arrangements.

Dec 03, 2014
Industries: Agribusiness, Construction and Real Estate, Dealerships, Financial Institutions, Financial Services, Freshwater, Governments, Health Care, Insurance, Manufacturing and Distribution, Nonprofits, Private Equity
Services: Business Advisory

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Health Insurance Reporting: Forms 1095?

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) put in place Code Sections 6055 and 6056, which provide for information return reporting of health insurance coverage not only to the IRS, but also to employees and individuals who have been offered, and who have, health coverage. It is sort of a W-2 for health coverage. The purpose of the forms is to (1) enforce the Individual Shared Responsibility mandate that every individual must have minimum essential health coverage or pay a penalty, and (2) enforce the Employer Shared Responsibility mandate that all applicable large employers offer coverage to their full-time employees or pay a penalty.

Jun 13, 2014
Industries: Agribusiness, Construction and Real Estate, Dealerships, Financial Institutions, Financial Services, Freshwater, Governments, Health Care, Insurance, Manufacturing and Distribution, Nonprofits, Private Equity
Services: Business Advisory

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Employer Shared Responsibility Under the Affordable Care Act - Determining Full Time Employees

This Alert will cover how to determine who your full-time employees are and thus who must be offered health coverage under the Employer Shared Responsibility rules:

  1. How do you count hours to determine full-time status of employees?
  2. What is the 90-day waiting period rule for health coverage?
  3. What is the look-back period, administrative period, and stability period?
  4. How do you count hours for new hires who aren’t full-time from their date of hire?

Jun 13, 2014
Industries: Agribusiness, Construction and Real Estate, Dealerships, Financial Institutions, Financial Services, Freshwater, Governments, Health Care, Insurance, Manufacturing and Distribution, Nonprofits, Private Equity
Services: Business Advisory

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Physician Practice Acquisitions Paying Upfront for Practice Goodwill and Intangible Value

The topic of paying goodwill and intangible value in hospital acquisitions of physician practices has become hotly debated. Questions continue to be raised whether goodwill or intangible assets should be considered in the purchase of a physician practice and whether they could be considered payment for referrals.

Jun 06, 2014
Industries: Health Care
Services: Business Advisory
By: Lisa M. Cribben

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Employer Shared Responsibility Under the Affordable Care Act: What Does it Mean?

The Employer Shared Responsibility rules are set forth in new Code Section 4980H and are often referred to as the “Employer Mandate” or the “Play or Pay Rules.” Under Code Section 4980H, large employers (more than 50 full-time equivalent employees) face penalties if they do not offer their full-time employees and their dependents affordable, minimum value health care coverage, but only if just one employee purchases health insurance on a state health insurance exchange (including a federally run state exchange) and the employee receives a premium tax credit or reduced-cost health insurance.

Apr 09, 2014
Industries: Agribusiness, Construction and Real Estate, Dealerships, Financial Institutions, Financial Services, Freshwater, Governments, Health Care, Insurance, Manufacturing and Distribution, Nonprofits, Private Equity
Services: Business Advisory

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Due Diligence for Private ATM Owners or Operators - Credit Unions

The number of privately owned or operated ATMs has increased over the past few years. The reasons businesses and individuals own ATMs varies. The ATMs generate income for their owners and require little time to maintain. In addition, they are convenient for the business’ customers to obtain cash.

Mar 02, 2014
Industries: Financial Institutions
Services: Consulting
By: Shelley Foster

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Due Diligence for Private ATM Owners or Operators

The number of privately owned or operated ATMs has increased over the past few years. The reasons businesses and individuals own ATMs varies. The ATMs generate income for their owners and require little time to maintain. In addition, they are convenient for business’ customers to obtain cash.

Mar 02, 2014
Industries: Financial Institutions, Financial Services
Services: Consulting
By: Shelley Foster

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Health Care Trends and Issues for 2014

As we stated in last year’s Trends article, we believe that for the next several years the overarching trend and strategy for health care delivery systems around the country will continue to be clinical integration across the care continuum as efforts and incentives to achieve the Triple Aim—bending the cost curve, delivering an exceptional patient experience, and improving population health—will accelerate. While the pace will vary from market to market, particularly between rural and urban areas, common challenges will be faced, and tactics will be pursued. With that as a backdrop, this article highlights what we believe to be key observations and trends for 2014.

Jan 01, 2014
Industries: Health Care
Services: Audit and Accounting, Consulting, Private Wealth Services, Tax

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Critical Access Hospital Medicare Cost Report Annual Checkup

Download our checklist for evaluating your Medicare cost report, assuring proper reimbursement for your hospital, and potentially boosting your overall financial performance.

 

Dec 02, 2013
Industries: Health Care
Services: Audit and Accounting, Consulting, Private Wealth Services, Tax
By: Holly S. Pokrandt, Kathleen J. LaBrake

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Guidance on Health Reimbursement Arrangements and Required Changes to Cafeteria Plans

On September 13, 2013, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and Department of Labor (DOL) issued nearly identical guidance, and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) issued a memo on September 16, 2013, concurring with the guidance, which is specific to changes made under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) to Health Reimbursement Arrangements (HRAs) and individual health coverage. In addition, guidance also extends some unexpected changes to benefits under Code Section 125 cafeteria plans. All this is outlined in IRS Notice 2013-54 and DOL Technical Release 2013-3. This guidance created quite a stir in the benefits community as experts tried to figure out the far-reaching effects it had beyond just the guidance as written. The IRS further issued Notice 2013-71 on October 31, 2013, which made modifications to the “use it or lose it” rule for health flexible spending arrangements in Code Section 125 cafeteria plans.

Nov 16, 2013
Industries: Agribusiness, Construction and Real Estate, Dealerships, Financial Institutions, Financial Services, Freshwater, Governments, Health Care, Insurance, Manufacturing and Distribution, Nonprofits, Private Equity
Services: Audit and Accounting, Business Advisory

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Notice to Employees of Health Insurance Marketplace Options

Section 1512 of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act created a new Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) Section 18B, which requires a notice to employees of coverage options available through the State Marketplaces, which were set to be operational January 1, 2014. By its terms, the notice requirement applies to employers subject to FLSA, which generally means employers engaged in interstate commerce that employ one or more employees and have more than $500,000 in annual revenues. However, the notice requirement in FLSA Section 18B does not appear to have this same limitation and instead appears to apply to a broad definition of employer under the FLSA, which includes any employer that employs one or more employees. As with other provisions of the Affordable Care Act, this applies to all employers—private, public, and nonprofit.

Sep 11, 2013
Industries: Agribusiness, Construction and Real Estate, Dealerships, Financial Institutions, Financial Services, Freshwater, Governments, Health Care, Insurance, Manufacturing and Distribution, Nonprofits, Private Equity
Services: Business Advisory

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25 Accounting Terms You Should Know

QuickBooks is easy to use, intuitive and flexible. But it is not an accounting manual or class or tutorial. If your business is exceptionally uncomplicated, you might get by without knowing a lot about the principles of bookkeeping.

Still, it helps to understand the basics. Here’s a look at some terms and phrases you should understand.

Sep 02, 2013
Services: Business Advisory, Technology

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Health Reimbursement Arrangements and the Prohibition on Annual Limits

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) and subsequent interim final regulations jointly issued by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), Department of Labor (DOL), and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) have made it clear that HRAs can exist only in limited circumstances starting in 2014.

Jun 27, 2013
Industries: Agribusiness, Construction and Real Estate, Dealerships, Financial Institutions, Financial Services, Freshwater, Governments, Health Care, Insurance, Manufacturing and Distribution, Nonprofits, Private Equity, FinTech
Services: Business Advisory

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Health Care Reform – The New Patient Centered Outcomes Research Fee

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) created a nonprofit entity, the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research (PCOR) Institute, to support clinical effectiveness research. The intent of this entity is to assist patients and health care providers and policy makers by advancing evidence-based medicine through gathering and disseminating clinical research findings.

May 02, 2013
Industries: Agribusiness, Construction and Real Estate, Dealerships, Financial Institutions, Financial Services, Freshwater, Governments, Health Care, Insurance, Manufacturing and Distribution, Nonprofits, Private Equity
Services: Business Advisory

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Conflict Minerals: Disclosures, Dilemmas, Decisions

What impact do the following have on your Midwest organization?

  1. Mining operations in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC)
  2. The Dodd-Frank Act of 2011

If you are a small or mid-sized manufacturer, the answer could be quite a lot. At the heart of both issues is the concern over “conflict minerals.” It’s a concern that may directly impact your sustainability position, your upstream customer relationships, and your bottom line.

Mar 14, 2013
Industries: Manufacturing and Distribution
Services: Audit and Accounting
By: Robert D. Cedergren

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Health Care Trends and Issues for 2013

In 2013 and for the next several years to come, the overarching trend and strategy for health care delivery systems around the country will be clinical integration across the care continuum as efforts to achieve the Triple Aim of cost and quality of care, exceptional patient experience, and population health management accelerate. And while the pace of clinical integration will vary from market to market, particularly between rural and urban areas, common challenges will be faced and tactics will be pursued.

Jan 10, 2013
Industries: Health Care
Services: Audit and Accounting, Consulting, Private Wealth Services, Tax

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