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Screen-Free Before Bed

BY Diane M. Bauer, CPA, CGMA
04/13/2017 - 11:10am

When my son was a young boy, I insisted that he sit quietly while I read to him before bedtime. He was a pretty high energy kid and I firmly believed in quiet time to transition him from all the activity of the day to rest. 

This was in the days before cell phones, laptops, tablets, e-readers and an array of other devices that make our lives easier but can also add distractions to our otherwise busy days.

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How to Study for the CPA Exam without Going Crazy!

BY Robert Zaffrann, CPA
05/25/2016 - 3:44pm
 
If you are reading this then you are probably looking for tips to pass the CPA exams. Passing these exams isn’t easy for anyone and takes a lot of time and willpower to study for them, especially if you have a full-time job. It took me about a year to pass all the exams while working, and now that I’m done I want to help others to study and pass them as efficiently as possible. Hopefully, the following few paragraphs will give you some insight on how to study for each exam and...

Wellness: The New Norm

BY Courtney Dandy
03/09/2016 - 1:41pm

 

“Wellness is an active process of becoming aware of and making choices toward a healthy and fulfilling life.” UC Davis

One of the new movements influencing businesses large and small alike is a concept called the Wellness Program.  This could include anything from, but not limited to, Health Risk Assessment (HRA) screenings, workplace challenges, walking programs, mindful awareness and ergonomics.

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Helpful Hints for First-Time Home Buyers

BY Dan Griesbach
02/24/2016 - 11:53am
Buying a house can be a scary experience for anyone, especially so if it is your first home purchase.  Below are a few tips that can help make the experience less stressful.
 
Preapproval – Many banks will pre-approve you for a loan before you actually apply for the mortgage, often free of charge.  Not only will this give you an idea of how much house you can afford, but the bank will also run a credit...

Independent Contractors: Understanding the Basics

BY Michael Schroeder
02/10/2016 - 11:41am
 
When it comes to taxes, there is always a benefit to being well-informed.  Whether it is your first time filing a return or whether you have been filing taxes for years, a little information can represent savings for you.  One matter in particular where I have seen much confusion is the tax treatment of independent contractors, who have significantly different tax requirements and opportunities than those of traditional employees.  As a result, it is important to...

Do You Owe Wisconsin Sales or Use Tax on Online Purchases?

BY Kevin Wood, CPA
04/06/2015 - 10:50am
With the increased popularity of online shopping, it is common for companies doing business online that are located outside of Wisconsin, to not charge Wisconsin sales tax on customer purchases. What does this mean for you? Do you think you got lucky that the company forgot to charge you sales tax and ignore it? Or do you find it odd that you were not charged and wonder what you should do next? 
 

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Take The Stress Out of Tax Preparation

BY Michael Toennies, CPA
03/10/2015 - 12:00pm
 
Everyone knows April 15th can be a very stressful time (for you and your accountant).  Organizing paperwork for taxes can be overwhelming, but if you keep your supporting documents separated throughout the year, completing your return can be easier and less stressful. 
 
Following these steps can make tax time less stressful:
 
Tax forms and paperwork  
As you receive various forms, receipts and financial...

To Gift or Not To Gift?

BY Casey Musser
02/16/2015 - 3:32pm
The holidays are a few months behind us, but before you know it they’ll be around again. Most of us gave and received gifts as we do every year. What if you had to pay taxes on those gifts you gave? 
 
What is a gift
A gift is considered property given gratuitously to someone else.  This could be cash or belongings given to a family member or friend.  Does this mean that every time you give a friend some cash or son or daughter the...

Debt Discharge - Real Estate Foreclosures

BY Renee Bardenwerper, CPA
09/24/2014 - 2:59pm
The unfortunate collapse of the real estate market over the last few years has brought about some challenging tax issues.  During this time, I encountered my first Form 1099-C, Cancellation of Debt.  Cancellation of debt can be frustrating and difficult to understand if the right questions are not answered.  Below are a few questions that may ease the process when encountering debt discharge income, relating to a real estate foreclosure: 
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Form 1099 - MISC: When Do You Need to File?

BY Larry Gebhard, CPA
08/13/2014 - 12:21pm

Organizations are required to file Form 1099-MISC for each vendor (including Sole Proprietor, LLC, Partnership and independent contractor) who was paid at least $600 in rents, services, prizes or awards in the calendar year.  In addition, for payments made to an attorney (law firm or other provider of legal services) for $600 or more, regardless of the type of business entity (Sole Proprietor, LLC, Partnership, or Corporation), the organization is required to file Form 1099-MISC.

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New Wisconsin Workplace Wellness Grant Program

BY Diane Bauer, CPA
06/25/2014 - 10:02am
 
You may have heard that earlier this year, Governor Walker signed what is referred to as “The Healthy Jobs Act.”  This Act establishes a grant program for small businesses that sponsor workplace wellness programs for their employees.
 
The Act will reimburse employers with 50 or fewer full-time workers for up to 30 percent of their workplace wellness expenses through a grant program that will be administered by the Wisconsin Department of Health Services...

Fraud – Is Your Business a Potential Victim?

BY Paul Sheahan, CPA, CFE
05/29/2014 - 3:21pm

It happens all too often, business owners find that they and their company have been a victim of fraud. Fraud can negatively impact an organization by undermining its financial security and damaging its reputation.

Small businesses are more vulnerable to fraud because resources are usually limited and there is usually a lack of segregation of duties among employees. There are several different types of fraud; however, asset misappropriation is the...

Wisconsin Sales Tax

BY Mike Toennies, CPA
05/01/2014 - 3:09pm

Every day businesses and individuals pay sales tax on purchases of products or services without giving it too much thought. The Wisconsin state sales tax rate is set at 5 percent.  However, most counties also charge a 0.5 percent county sales tax and several counties charge an additional 0.1 percent stadium tax, effectively making the total tax 5.6 percent. Sales tax is then calculated by multiplying the purchase price of a product or service by the applicable tax rate.

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Internal Controls

BY Matthew Los, CPA
04/17/2014 - 3:06pm

Internal control is a system of policies and procedures that operate within accounting, necessary to reduce the risk of fraud.  Without any controls/oversight in place, it is like leaving the door unlocked with the cash register drawer open, hoping that no one will steal any money.  Even employees who are honest can be tempted when they see large sums of money in front of them.  Also, without internal controls, a business owner can never know if their information is complete, accurate or...

Home Ownership - Can it Help You Save on Your Taxes?

BY Lynn Braden, CPA
03/26/2014 - 1:01pm

Home ownership has traditionally been part of the American dream.  Being a homeowner can also help individuals save on taxes.  There are several expenses associated with owning a home that can produce a tax deduction now or in the future.

The most common expense that homeowners incur is their mortgage on the house.  The amount of interest paid in the calendar year is reported by the lending institution to the homeowner on a form 1098.  This amount is deductible by the mortgagee in the...

A Brief Look at Bitcoin

BY Casey Musser
03/05/2014 - 3:08pm
Maybe some of you have heard of the digital currency Bitcoin in the news lately. It has gained attention due to its growing popularity as a new form of payment. 
 
What is Bitcoin?
Bitcoin is a digital currency that is exchanged over the Bitcoin peer-to -peer network. The network is comprised of every single bitcoin user worldwide.  Bitcoin is a global currency and is not regulated by any government body or authority.
 
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Creating a Personal Budget

BY Ryan Brasch
02/11/2014 - 3:53pm

When you think of budgets, many often relate it to an activity commonly done with businesses to help plan for an upcoming year.  While these are very important for an organization, budgets are also vital for individuals to help keep track of their personal finances.  The overall goal of these personal budgets is to minimize expenses and maximize savings.

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Hair & Dust: The Slow and Silent Computer Killer

BY David Ellingboe
01/28/2014 - 3:22pm

As an IT professional for many years, I have come across many different computer problems. Hardware issues, software problems, viruses. You name it, I’ve seen it. Performing regular maintenance to keep your computer, or server in good working order is just part of owning this equipment. For example, regularly installing software, and operating system updates is crucial. Often forgotten however, is what’s happening on the inside.

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First-Time Homebuyers May be Eligible for Credit

BY Kim Mattila-Kasten
01/20/2014 - 3:17pm

First-time homebuyers in Wisconsin may be eligible for the WHEDA Tax Advantage Mortgage Credit Certificate (MCC) Program.   For qualified applicants, this program provides a special tax credit which reduces the homebuyer’s federal income tax liability.   The credit is based on annual mortgage interest and is claimed when filing the federal individual income tax return.  A summary of the credit is below.

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Dealing with Student Loans

BY Jeni Caldwell
01/20/2014 - 2:29pm

Have you or your child recently graduated from college or an advanced degree program? If you’ve taken out any student loans along the way, it will be time to start paying them back. So where do you start? The first step is figure out how many student loans you have and who is servicing each loan. If you go to The National Student Loan Data System website at www.nslds.ed.gov/nslds_SA/ you can look up the amount of your student...

Identity Theft and the IRS

BY Diane Bauer, CPA
10/31/2013 - 1:57pm

As everyone knows, taking steps to prevent identity theft should be a routine part of our daily, monthly and annual financial affairs.  Everything from guarding your credit card and bank account numbers to checking your credit report regularly and taking care not to divulge your social security number unnecessarily are important things you can do to help prevent what can be a frustrating and time consuming situation.

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Financing Your Child's Education

BY Susan Wenninger, CPA/ABV, CVA
10/17/2013 - 2:10pm

As any parent knows, raising children can be challenging at times, not to mention expensive.  At first there are expenditures for formula, diapers and daycare (or reduced income to stay home if you’re fortunate enough to have the option).  When the last child begins kindergarten, there is a temporary feeling of freedom as daycare expenses drop.  But soon you find yourself following music lessons, sports and other activities, perhaps even parochial school.  After that, driving lessons, cars...

Fiduciary Due Diligence for Retirement Plans

BY Amanda McNutt, CPA
10/03/2013 - 1:47pm

Companies that offer a retirement plan to their employees are required to take certain actions and meet specific responsibilities. Those who manage an employee benefit plan and its assets, known as fiduciaries, have to understand some basic standards of conduct to ensure that all plan contributions are being handled in an ethical and trustworthy way.  As a plan fiduciary, there are responsibilities to the plan, its participants and its beneficiaries. 

I...

Raffle Tickets; Get Your Raffle Tickets…$6 Each or 5 for $20…”

BY Sandy Strelka, CPA
09/18/2013 - 10:21am

Raffles are one of Wisconsin’s favorite and most profitable forms of fund raising.  However, only qualified organizations may legally conduct a raffle in Wisconsin. Qualified organizations consist of religious, charitable, service, fraternal, veterans or other tax exempt organizations.  The only legal forms of gambling in Wisconsin for charitable organizations are bingo and raffles.

Did you know that you need to obtain a license to conduct fund raising raffles or bingo events in...

Starting Payroll - What You Need To Know

BY dan griesbach
09/03/2013 - 9:46am

So, you just started a new business.  Or perhaps you have your business up and running and are ready to hire your first employee(s).  Now come the questions.  How do I pay my payroll taxes?  When are they due? Which taxes do I even need to pay?

The paperwork and varying deadlines can be intimidating, but the tips below should help to clarify the process.

Employer Identification Number

First and foremost, you will need to obtain an Employer Identification...

Savings Tips for Back-to-School Shopping

BY Renee Bardenwerper, CPA
08/13/2013 - 1:24pm

As my oldest child prepares to start school this year, I can’t help but have a bitter-sweet feeling when thinking about back-to-school shopping.  Moreover, I was taken aback when I saw a recent Fox News report stating that American families are expected to spend over $600 this year on back-to-school gear.  Thankfully, my daughter’s supply list is short and she hasn’t developed expensive brand...

Getting Your Records Organized

BY Marge Buchholz, CPA/ABV, CVA
08/06/2013 - 12:08pm

Have you thought of putting a planner together for your own benefit and eventually, the benefit of your family? A planner that contains the critical information your family needs to know, including important personal, legal and financial information. Perhaps you feel the need to get organized but don’t know where to start. Any adult can benefit from making a planner and getting your records organized, but some people may find this process particularly helpful.

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