8221 Brecksville Rd, STE 205 Brecksville, OH 44141
It Is Time … W e started this year with the very unpleasant task of having to fire an employee. Looking back, I’m not sure who felt more uneasy, Borbala or the employee. We talked about this decision for weeks and tried to avoid it, but in the end, we had to go through with it. Luckily, the rest of the year was filled with much more pleasant events. We continued the year by hiring an experienced staff accountant, and then, at mid-year, a full-time CPA candidate and a part-time bookkeeper joined our team. Of course, working with more staff brought new challenges, but it also gave us the opportunity to serve more clients. What helped us grow the business by 40 percent this year? I can’t really point to one single marketing strategy or advertising secret that drastically increased revenue, because it was more of a combination of various marketing efforts. This was the first year we spent the majority of our time on offline marketing, such as this print newsletter, direct mail, and gift boxes. Social media and online advertising seem easy, but they haven’t been able to replace face-to-face interactions, which are necessary when building trust. This is why Borbala doubled the number of her speaking engagements, we attended multiple events as exhibitors, and I even hosted my first Q&A session at the local women’s business center. Thanksgiving is behind us, but as the year is almost over, this is the best time to look back and be grateful for all the good that happened. • The most exciting part of the year was seeing many of YOU start to grow your own businesses! Many of you hired new employees, created jobs, and served even more clients. • We are grateful for our families who support us! Running a small business often affects our personal lives, and all of this would not be possible without their support. • We appreciate our dedicated staff, who helped us serve you better! Their hard work made a huge difference this year. These are just a few examples of what we are grateful for:
As the new year approaches, this is also the time to think ahead, make plans, and prepare for a great new year!
So it’s time to do the following:
• Evaluate this year and celebrate every victory. • Let go of the failures and turn them into learning opportunities. • Evaluate what did work well this year and 10X it in 2019. • Consider the value of what you offer. • Stop feeling uneasy about charging what you are worth. The new year can mean a fresh start and some much-needed change. If you want different results from 2019, you may consider implementing different ideas and trying new strategies. We are here to serve and help you with some of the challenges you’ll face.
We wish you a merry Christmas and a happy New Year!
–Laszlo Szilagyi, CPA
1 (440) 340-1030
Seminars and Events Dec. 6: Edward Jones Open House, Seven Hills, Ohio Dec. 7: Client Group #1 Appreciation Luncheon in our Boardroom Dec. 7: Advocacy & Communication Solutions Holiday Party, Hilton Downtown Cleveland Dec. 10–17: Borbala and Laszlo are out of the country with limited phone and internet connection. Amy and Monica will be in the office. Dec. 21: Concierge CPAs Holiday Luncheon
Weekly Live Roundtable Calls
Register at BeyondTheNumbers.Club Thursdays at 2 p.m. EDT: • Dec. 6 • Dec. 20 •
Client Advising and Coaching Days
Schedule at Borbala.AcuityScheduling.com Prospective client inquiries: Borbala@ConciergeCPAs.com
CLIENT OF THE MONTH Advocacy & Communication Solutions
A: Early on, we’ve been intentional about maintaining a small and purposeful portfolio — keeping the number of clients low in order to give them the time and attention they deserve and also making sure routine things like paying bills are completed in a timely manner. We’re also finding new ways to take care of our employees like an attractive 401(k) program, annual off-site staff retreat, and other benefits. It’s not always easy to maintain that balance and every day is a challenge, but having the privilege to work with organizations we respect and on issues which we have a passion and commitment makes it worth it. Q: I know you travel a lot and work virtually from anywhere. What are some technology tools that you can’t live without? A: Sounds simple, but it’s certainly our jetpacks. We do not rely on hotel or airport internet for various reasons, so those little things allow us to keep things moving wherever we go, even in rural areas of the country. Q: What do you like best about what you do? A: Since our firm is nearly 15 years old, we are fortunate enough to be able to choose the work we do and who we partner with. Leveraging that decade and a half of experience on their behalf to create lasting change for the people our clients serve is very satisfying. We are lucky to do the work we do. Q: Where do you see ACS in the next 15 years? A: Continuing to do the work we love with organizations, agencies, and people that are committed to have a long-lasting impact on communities across the country!
I have the privilege of introducing you to Lori McClung and Scarlett Bouder , owners of Advocacy & Communication Solutions, LLC. The two of them, along with senior strategist Rebecca Cohen, are true subject matter experts when it comes to strategic communication, government relations, policy analysis, media relations, and strategy development services for national, state, and local organizations. ACS is one of the only female-owned consulting firms in Ohio and has gained a national reputation. In January, ACS is celebrating their 15th anniversary, and we have had the privilege of supporting them on the financial and accounting side for 13 of those years. Q: What are some lessons you learned when it comes to managing both your client load and running a business?
Changes That Will Affect Your Taxes
The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 is the biggest tax reform in the last 31 years, and it’s comprised of 186 pages and no fewer than 130 new tax provisions.
• HELOC interest is only deductible if the line of credit was used to buy, build, or substantially improve the home that secured the loan. • The child tax credit is now worth $2K per qualifying child, and the income phaseout now starts at $400K for joint filers.
Here are just a few that will affect your 2018 taxes:
• Your new Form 1040 will look like a giant postcard, but will be followed by 6 new pages (Schedules 1–6) to fit all the info that was on the prior 1040.
• We have new tax rates and brackets, but not everybody will see bigger refunds or lower tax bills.
• Remember the personal exemptions that meant a little over $4K non-taxable income PER family member? They are completely GONE.
• Now you can use funds from a 529 Plan to pay for elementary and secondary private and parochial school tuition (up to $10K per kid/year).
• Standard deduction went up to $24K for MFJ, or $12K for single taxpayers.
• Self-employment income on LLC returns is scrutinized even more by the IRS. Also watch out if you have consistent losses.
• If you itemize, your deduction on state, local, and property taxes you paid is limited to only $10K.
• All entertainment expenses are NO longer deductible, including tickets, concerts, sporting events, golf outings. But (most) business meals and beverages remain 50 percent deductible.
• No big changes regarding gifts to charities, except you can deduct donations up to 60 percent of your adjusted gross income and some of the donations need appraisal documents attached.
• Depreciation rules got even more complicated.
• Miscellaneous itemized deductions are eliminated (ex. the deduction of unreimbursed employee expenses).
• Watch for a new deduction called Section 199A Qualified Business Income Deduction. If it applies to you and it’s calculated correctly, it can mean a 20 percent lower tax bill on your business income!
• Home mortgage interest is only deductible on qualified residence loans up to $750K (MFJ) or $375K (MFS).
Holiday Roast Prime Rib Looking for an easy holiday roast that still feels elegant enough for the occasion? Look no further than this delicious prime rib flavored with garlic, thyme, and red wine.
4 cups beef stock
1 bone-in prime rib (6–7 pounds)
1 tablespoon fresh thyme, chopped Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
8 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
2 cups red wine
DIRECTIONS 1. 30 minutes before cooking, remove roast from fridge and let sit until it reaches room temperature. 2. Heat oven to 350 F. 3. Make small slits in prime rib and stuff with slices of garlic. Liberally season with salt and pepper. 4. Place a rack inside a roasting pan and roast prime rib for 2 hours, until medium-rare. 5. To make au jus, place roasting pan with drippings from roast over 2 burners on high. Add wine and scrape pan as liquid reduces. Add beef stock and cook until reduced by half. Finally, sprinkle in thyme. 6. Slice roast and serve topped with au jus
Inspired by Food Network
3 (440) 340-1030
8221 Brecksville Rd, STE 205 Brecksville, OH 44141
PRST STD US POSTAGE PAID BOISE, ID PERMIT 411
INSIDE It Is Time … Page 1 Borbala’s Schedule Page 2 Client of the Month Page 2 Changes That Will Affect Your Taxes Page 3 Holiday Roast Prime Rib Page 3 Come and Taste Our Award-Winning Hungarian Goulash! Page 4
Come and Taste Our Award-Winning Hungarian Goulash!
Remember our September article about the Hungarian Goulash Cook-Off we participated in this summer? Many of our clients asked us when they can have a taste, so we decided to throw an Open House in the new year and cook a huge batch! If you are a current client, look out for your invitation soon! Meanwhile, here is a picture of the luncheon we threw in our new boardroom when hosting my EOA (Entrepreneur Organization Accelerator) monthly accountability group meeting in late November. All four of us in the office and Mama Szilagyi worked very hard to impress our guests, and at the end, everybody loved the goulash, Italian desserts, and the Tuscan wine. I welcomed the validation of our brand coming from Andy Fortner, a fellow EOA member, who expressed, “I can only imagine what effort and detail you put into your accounting and tax work if you go to this length to host a perfect lunch!”
I hope we are going to stay in the CPA business, but it’s good to have options, isn’t it?
Next, we’ll be hosting a luncheon for a small group of 14 consulting clients in early December.
–Borbala Banto, CPA
Monica from our staff noted: “If by any chance the CPA business fails, we can just rebrand ourselves as a catering company!”
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