24January
2019
Get Back in the Loop

Customer relations are key to your business. But as your company grows, so does the likelihood that you and other executives will lose touch with your clientele. Over time, you may let go of the individualized treatment that you felt compelled to offer as a new business. “If we aren’t customer driven, our cars won’t be either.” — Donald Petersen, former CEO of Ford Motor Company   Many companies even turn to outsiders to handle customer service. In an age of 24-hour, seven-day-a-week customer service, there’s a growing trend — especially among retailers — to outsource some tasks to third…

24January
2019
Make Sure Employees Dress for Success

Most employees want to fit in at work, but they also want to be comfortable during the one-third of their lives they spend on the job. That’s why a dress code is essential at many companies and should reflect your industry, the part of the country you’re located in and your clientele. Your company’s policies should give employees specific guidance, but not be too restrictive. For example, you probably don’t want to limit the type of ties your salesmen wear, unless they all wear ties with the corporate logo as part of a uniform. On the other hand, many companies…

24January
2019
Family Financing Can Be Fragile

Financing a family-run enterprise can bring out the worst in some people. So handling the transactions carefully can go a long way toward keeping the peace. Common sources of financing family firms can include personal savings, credit cards, home equity loans, second mortgages and personal loans — sometimes from relatives not directly involved in the business. These sources can cause the success or failure of the business and put family finances in jeopardy. Tax Consequences Family loans must be properly structured for several reasons: The lender must charge an interest rate the IRS considers adequate or there can be negative…

23January
2019
Announcing Managing Partner – James S. Pellen

We are honored to announce the appointment of James S. Pellen as Managing Partner effective January 1, 2019.

10January
2019
U.S. Personal Savings Rate

The U.S. personal saving rate stood at 5.5% in November 2017, quite a bit higher than its 10-year average of 4.5% and well below the recent five-year high of 11% in December 2012.1 The personal saving rate is the federal government’s estimate of what percent of their incomes U.S. households are saving. But market watchers and economists are mixed on what can be learned from swings in the saving rate. Why Economists Struggle They struggle with the personal saving rate because it’s a derivative number — that is, it’s not measured directly. Instead, the Bureau of Economic Analysis derives the…

10January
2019
Gain Employee Loyalty with Commuting Tax Breaks

Commuting can be a nightmare for employees. Your company can help by offering your staff members some financial relief from their commuting hassles. Employees appreciate this benefit and there’s a bonus for your company: You can save money on payroll taxes. Similar to a cafeteria plan election, staff members can have money deducted on a pre-tax basis to be applied toward the transportation benefits. Both the company and the employee avoid payroll taxes on the salary reduction. In another option, employees can be given the choice of taking the benefit in cash. However, if an employee takes cash, the amount is…

10January
2019
A Brief History of Estate Taxes

Federal estate taxes have been a source of funding for the federal government almost since the U.S. was founded. For Richer or Poorer Regardless of your net worth, it’s critical to understand your choices when developing an estate strategy. In 1797, Congress instituted a system of federal stamps that were required on all wills offered for probate when property (land, homes) was transferred from one generation to the next. The revenue from these stamps was used to build the navy for an undeclared war with France, which had begun in 1794. When the crisis ended in 1802, the tax was…