May 22, 2019 § Leave a comment
“SpringCleaning” is often used to describe how we sort through clothes or household items to keep, toss, or donate in the attempt to get organized at home. Spring can also be a great time of the year to make sure your accounting software is organized. Check out this video from Jonathan Porter with a few accounting software best processes that will create efficiencies for your team and more time for you to focus on your business.
May 20, 2019 § Leave a comment
Whenever I finish ordering my spicy Chick-fil-A sandwich and waffle fries with Chick-fil-A sauce in the drive-thru line (which is perhaps too often) and thank the employee taking my order, without fail, the last thing through the intercom is the employee saying, “My pleasure!” It’s such a simple phrase, only two short words, but it goes a long way in enhancing the customer’s experience, bringing such a polite closure to the ordering process, and making them feel cared for. The food service industry and the accounting service industry are different in many ways, but the underlying principles of professionalism and customer service are crucial to the success of both industries.
One of my favorite aspects of my job as an auditor is that I get to serve a wide variety of clients. Each client and their business or organization is unique in its strengths, challenges and needs, just like each customer that goes through the line at Chick-fil-A is similarly unique. It’s so important to treat everyone with the utmost level of respect, and the same level that you would expect to receive as a customer. At the end of the day, customer satisfaction is what it’s all about, no matter what industry we serve in.
Maybe all it takes is remembering those two short words as we serve others. It’s a privilege to be able to work with so many fine people of our community, and not take them for granted. It really is “our pleasure” to be able to provide all different kinds of services – from assurance to tax to business valuation and more – to such a wide variety of wonderful people!
Derek Johnson, CPA | Senior Auditor
May 15, 2019 § Leave a comment
I am looking for a new vehicle. I never really thought of an electric vehicle until I became a bit infatuated with a Tesla which, as I am sure you know, is an electric car. Being a CPA, I also knew about the tax credit of $7,500 for certain electric vehicles so that was enticing, also. Then I heard on the news that the credits for Tesla vehicles are being phased out and so I decided I needed to do some research on these credits. And here are my findings.
The electric vehicle federal tax credit is for new (not used) vehicles that are purchased, not leased. It can be worth up to $7,500. To be eligible, a vehicle must be a four-wheeled plug-in electric vehicle to be used primarily in the US on public streets, roads and highways and meet certain technical requirements.
Buyers can rely on the manufacturer’s certification for the amount of the credit since not all electric vehicles will qualify for the full $7,500. It is based on kilowatt hour capacity of the battery, with a minimum of a four-kilowatt-hour battery.
The credit is phased out over four calendar quarters when the manufacturer has sold 200,000 qualifying vehicles. This is what happened with Tesla.
Tesla sold more than $200,000 qualifying vehicles through the third quarter of 2018 which triggered the phase out of the credit, effective January 1, 2019. That means the credit for Tesla vehicles purchased between 1/1/19 and 6/30/19 is reduced to 50% of the credit amount. For Tesla vehicles purchased between 7/1/19 and 12/31/19, the credit is reduced to 25% of the allowable credit. No credit will be allowed for Tesla vehicles purchased after 12/31/19. The models that were eligible for the $7,500 credit are the Model 3, Model S, and Model X.
Well, sad news for me since I was interested in the Model 3, but not quite ready to take the plunge. So, I guess I will have to expand my search of vehicles to see if I can find another vehicle that qualifies for the credit.
Below is a list of fully electric popular eligible vehicles that qualify for the maximum $7,500 credit:
– BMW i3 Kia Soul EV
– Chevrolet Bolt Mercedes-Benz B-Class EV
– Fiat 500e Hyundai Ioniq Electric
– Ford Focus Electric Nissan Leaf
Here is a list of Plug-in Electric/Gas Hybrids eligible for $7,500 credit:
– BMWi3 with range extender Chrysler Pacifica
– Chevrolet Volt Honda Clarity Plug-in Hybrid
There are also several other models that are eligible for lesser credits of the plug-in hybrids.
The credit of $7,500 can be used to offset your regular federal income tax liability as well as any alternative minimum tax (AMT) tax bill. Since there are no income restrictions, even the wealthiest can qualify for this credit. It is claimed by preparing form 8936 and including in your return. Some states also give credits or rebates. I am not aware of any credits for Iowa, but it would be worth discussing with your insurance agent to see if they possibly have any discounts.
If an electric car and saving dollars are of interest to you, take a look at the list above and see if any of those models catch your eye! You may be able to help the environment AND save taxes at the same time.
Kathi Koenig, CPA | Shareholder
May 13, 2019 § Leave a comment
Would you rather have a large tax return in the new year, or have more money each month throughout the year and have a much smaller return or pay in a little? This is a personal question and today, Rob Poterucha breaks down it for us.
May 6, 2019 § Leave a comment
Do you or anyone you know struggle with a mental illness? According to the National Alliance of Mental Illness Organization, one in five adults or roughly 600,000 Iowans live with some form of mental illness. About 37,000 grapple with serious mental illness daily.1 So most likely you or someone you know has a mental illness, though they may or may not know it.
I was one of these people. For several years, I battled with mental illness not knowing what was wrong and feeling ashamed for feeling depressed when I had no reason to be. During my low periods, I felt hopeless, helpless, and the simplest tasks, such as brushing my teeth or showering, felt like running a marathon. Few people knew of my struggles and symptoms, as I was embarrassed and afraid of judgement. I didn’t know or understand what was wrong with me; how could anyone else understand? For these reasons, I kept everyone at a distance and kept those struggles to myself.
However, through my silence, my symptoms continued to worsen. I finally realized that my symptoms were out of my control. Therefore, I reached out for help and found the support I needed from doctors, family, friends, and support groups. My battle with mental illness was not easy and took several years for me to find a trusted doctor, the correct diagnosis, and the right medication. Due to being misdiagnosed and on several medication changes, I had very bad side-effects and a sever loss of hope that burdened everyone around me. However, by breaking my silence about my mental illness, I was able to get the help and the support I needed to recover in more ways than I ever could imagine.
Even though my battle with mental illness was the hardest thing I had ever gone through, I found purpose in my experience. I have been able to help others that are fighting the same issues and need hope that recovery is possible. Therefore, I urge you if you are dealing with a mental illness or know someone who is, please don’t give up, stop the silence, and reach out for help. The road to recovery from mental illness is not easy, but you will be able to help so many people including yourself through your journey.
Jessica Taylor | Senior Accountant
April 25, 2019 § Leave a comment
There are many reasons why your business may need a timely and accurate set of financial statements. Today, Brian Newton gives examples of those reasons and explains the different types of financial statements that MHCS can provide.
April 22, 2019 § Leave a comment
Are you a person who learns by doing? Or would you rather watch someone else show you how it’s done before you give it a try? When the box says, “some assembly required,” do you locate and read the directions first, or do you dump all of the pieces out on the floor and see what fits where? When it comes to financial information, people have style preferences, too.
Often financial information is presented in the form of “financial statements.” For some people, these reports make perfect sense and tell them exactly what they need to know. For others, the reports are just a bunch of noise, and they want their accountant to “just tell me how I’m doing.” Unfortunately, it’s rarely that simple.
Thankfully, the rise of technology has given accounting firms the option of presenting financial information in graphic formats with any number of visual “bells and whistles.” With a couple extra clicks of a mouse, the people who need or want charts and graphs to make things clearer can have those formats now. As with any technology, some people don’t need or want bells and whistles. They can still be provided with financial information in the same format they’re accustomed to. Both style preferences can be accommodated. And regardless of presentation, as long as the underlying financial statements adhere to generally accepted accounting principles, then the graphic reports are acceptable as well.
So, whether you’re providing or receiving the information, how do you make sure it’s in the most effective format? Communication! Ask your client what their financial information style is. Clients, even if you aren’t asked, don’t be shy about letting your accounting professional know your style and preferences. If the financial reports aren’t meeting a need for you, be very clear with your provider about what you need and how you need it presented – “just the facts” rows and columns of numbers and labels? – or “bells and whistles” with graphics and perhaps even animation? It’s your information, so be sure it’s presented to you in a way that doesn’t confuse or intimidate you. Have it complement your style!
Denise Dooley | Accounting Specialist