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On July 6th, 2017 the Oregon legislature passed the $5.3 billion transportation package (Oregon House Bill 2017) which is expected to be signed into law by Gov. Kate Brown. The bill, in part, raises revenue through a 0.5% excise (privilege) tax on dealers for the “privilege of engaging in the business of selling” new cars in Oregon.

Download our latest bulletin for further information.

If you have any questions or concerns about the bill, please contact your advisor.

Author: Blake Seabaugh, CPA, Tax Manager

Portland, Ore. – June 29, 2017Perkins & Co, the largest locally owned accounting firm in Oregon, announces the appointment of shareholder and current Director of Assurance, Jared Holum, to the position of president effective July 1, 2017.

Holum, 49, has been at Perkins since 2003, joining the firm as a manager in the audit department. Prior to that time, he spent ten years working for Pricewaterhouse Coopers and held positions as CFO and controller with communications and technology organizations in Portland.

Women in Business Event Invite
Topic: Celebrating Women in Business

Join us at Windy Hills Winery on Tuesday, August 1, 2017, from 4:00pm – 6:00pm and make a toast to the female professionals who serve Southwest Washington.

RSVP now

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Looking Back as I Start to Look Forward

(Part 3 of 3)

This is the last in a series of three posts I’ve written in anticipation of my retirement at the end of this June. One of the most common responses I receive when informing clients and associates about my pending retirement is, “What are you going to do?” In this series I outlined key factors that anyone approaching retirement should consider, and I intend to embrace those concepts as I enter a new chapter in my life. I’m not worried about having enough to do, and I’m looking forward to doing new meaningful things. But for now I want to take a little time to look back. With all of the planning I have barely reflected on my career, but now seems like a good time to do so.

From the Beginning

My career is not one that I planned on. When I graduated from the University of Oregon in 1977 I never imagined that I might become an owner in a firm as successful as Perkins & Co. After starting my career with a small local accounting firm I was lucky enough to connect with a college classmate that worked for a new firm that needed additional staff. That connection led to a lunch in 1978 which included Gary Reynolds, Perkins & Co’s longtime president, and resulted in my joining one of Perkins’ predecessor firms. To have worked with a person for as long as Gary and I have is a remarkable thing.

I was first introduced to the accounting profession during a math class in my senior year of high school when the teacher brought in a CPA as a guest speaker. To this day I can’t tell you a single word that man said. In spite of that, it left an impression on me, and it was on my list of areas to study in college. It originally was behind Physics/Engineering and broadcast communications as priorities. The evolution is a longer story, but the short version is that I eventually took an introduction to accounting class, got an A, and never looked back.

My Time at Perkins & Co

Back in 1986, when Perkins & Co was founded, one key principle was to have the firm continue beyond its founding owners. In a of couple years we will accomplish just that. I’m very proud of the next generation of firm leaders and have great confidence that they will take the foundation and vision that has been developed and carry it onward. I look forward to watching them from the sidelines.

So, here I am at the end of a 40-year stint in public accounting. My son would tell you that I have spent more than 40 years’ worth of time at this job, and I suppose he’s right based on total hours worked. This was rarely a 40-hour-a-week job, but I knew what I was signing up for.

Thinking back on when I started in public accounting it’s hard not to appreciate the breadth of change that has happened in business and the CPA profession. The year I started as a staff accountant the rules of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) prohibiting direct solicitation of clients were changed under pressure from the Federal Trade Commission. IBM first started selling its stand-alone personal computer in 1981. Almost simultaneously with the merger of the two local firms that formed Perkins & Co in 1986 was the passage of the Tax Reform Act of 1986. It was sometime in the 1990s before everyone had a computer assigned to them. All this combined with a plethora of new professional standards, rules, and regulations caused many of us to change from being generalists to focusing on either tax or audit to stay relevant. The rate of change today is not lessening.

Growing with the Firm

As the firm grew it became clear that we needed to up our game on college recruiting, and I enjoyed being active in the firm’s recruiting activities. I’m particularly proud of the students that have been here for many years and are developing into great professionals. I often say that organizations have personalities and tend to hire employees with similar traits. As I finished my final busy season this year and celebrated with our staff I was reminded about what a nice group of people we’ve attracted here.

Also during my tenure, it has been heartwarming to watch Perkins & Co be named one of “Oregon’s Most Admired” professional services firms by the Portland Business Journal for nine years running. It epitomizes more than just consistently doing good work: it’s also about adding value to your community. The level of engagement by our shareholders and staff in local and national organizations is inspiring. Over the course of my career I have been fortunate to serve several organizations of which I’ve been particularly proud including FISH Emergency Services, Legacy Emanuel Hospital Foundation, Classroom Law Project and Ronald McDonald House of Oregon and Southwest Washington. Participation in these great organizations has made me a better person.

The Closing of One Chapter

As my days at Perkins wind down there are some parts of this job I won’t miss including long days, daily time entry and monthly deadlines. Those are overshadowed by the things I will miss. It’s easy to be able to come to work each day and be surrounded by admirable people who give their all each day to create great outcomes for clients and each other. The firm has a tremendous set of goals to move the organization forward, and I’m keen to watch Perkins accomplish them.

I’ve already received nuggets of advice from friends that have crossed the retirement threshold. One said that “retirement is the last vacation you’ll ever take” while another counseled that the two most important letters in retirement are “N” and “O”.

The Next Chapter

So now to the question at hand, what am I going to do? Based on current research and my family history there’s no reason to believe I won’t live into my 90s. In order for those to be happy years I intend to work hard at taking care of myself. I enjoy cycling and hiking, so I’m not worried about having to adapt new behaviors. But exercise alone isn’t enough. I am a big fan of lifelong learning, and I’m trying to increase the number of books I read every year with a goal of getting to two books a month. Plus I’d like to become a better photographer. Beyond that, my plan is for this first year to be a gap year. I’m going to fill that time exploring what my retirement will be like. During that time my wife and I have some big trips planned plus visits to our children and grandchildren, none of whom live nearby. I don’t worry about having enough to do, but I am open to how I will have to adapt to a non-work schedule.

So I’m off to a new phase of life and I look forward to learning how to engage at a different pace that creates opportunities to discover a lot of new places, subjects and experiences. For me, retirement is a beginning, not an ending. It’s a time to consider a future that includes new ways to stay connected to the people that are important in my life and by keeping a positive attitude toward what’s ahead. I just finished reading a translation of Cicero’s “How to Grow Old” written around 44 BC, and it’s a great reflection on how to approach the last half of life. One of my favorite quotes is “There is no greater satisfaction to be had in life than a leisurely old age devoted to knowledge and learning.” Ageing is a natural part of life and we only get to travel this road once. I’m looking forward to the knowledge and learning adventures that lay ahead. Wish me luck!

About the author:

Grant Jones began his career in public accounting in 1977 and has been a shareholder at Perkins & Co since 1989. In fact, he’s the only remaining non-owner employee of the original Perkins & Co, which formed in 1986. He’s a leader in the firm’s Employee Benefit Plan Audits and Nonprofit practice groups and actively assists clients in managing operational, strategic, and ownership issues. He specializes in working with closely-held businesses in a variety of industries, and his areas of expertise include accounting and auditing, financial management, and general business consulting.

If you missed the first two post(s) in the “Have You Thought About Your Retirement Strategy?” series, be sure to check them out in the links below. Thank you for reading!

This past April the IRS issued Revenue Procedure 2017-33 which provided additional guidance on several beneficial provisions of the Protecting Americans from Tax Hikes (PATH) Act of 2015. The most significant of these provisions relate to the ability to accelerate depreciation on certain real property assets as discussed below.

Prior to the PATH Act, the rules relating to Section 179 expensing were set to revert back to the pre-2004 annual expensing limitation of $25,000 as of January 1, 2015. The PATH Act not only permanently increased the annual expensing limitation to $500,000 but also permanently extended the election which allows taxpayers to include qualified leasehold improvement property as eligible property under Section 179(f). Rev. Proc. 2017-33 provided an additional benefit to these qualified leasehold improvements by removing the lower limitation of $250,000 of annual expensing on these costs.

Rev. Proc. 2017-33 provided additional guidance regarding certain heating or air conditioning units that are eligible for expensing under Section 179(d). The PATH Act, as originally passed, removed these costs from eligibility for expensing, but Rev. Proc. 2017-33 clarified which heating or air conditioning costs may be eligible. In addition, it clarified which portable units would qualify as Section 1245 property. Also, components of a central heating or air conditioning system may qualify if placed in service after December 31, 2015 and the property qualifies as eligible property under Section 179(f).

The PATH Act also introduced the concept of qualified improvement property (QIP) under Section 168(k)(2), which included improvements to the interior of nonresidential real property placed in service after the building was originally placed in service. The concept expands on the definition of qualified leasehold improvements (QLHI) by removing the requirements that the improvements must be made pursuant to a lease and that the building has been placed in service more than three years. Meeting the QLHI requirements qualifies the improvements for a favorable 15 year depreciable life compared to 39 years for QIP, but both improvements are eligible for bonus depreciation. Rev. Proc. 2017-33 clarifies that for purposes of QIP the improvement needs to be placed in service after the building was first placed in service. Therefore an improvement that is completed after the building was initially placed in service (even as little as one day!) is QIP eligible for bonus depreciation.

Additional highlights of Rev. Proc. 2017-33 include:

  • One year extension of placed-in-service dates for certain eligible property to claim bonus depreciation under Section 168(k)
  • Inclusion of certain plants bearing fruit and nuts before those plants are placed in service as eligible for bonus depreciation
  • Permanent ability to revoke the election to take Section 179 expense without IRS consent

And while all eyes are focused on potential tax reform in Washington D.C. this year, these provisions could have a significant impact on some taxpayers, so consult your (Perkins & Co) tax advisor today to see if there are any planning opportunities available as a result of this update.

Author: Trent Baeckl, CPA, Tax Senior Manager

Portland, Ore. – June 7, 2017Perkins & Co, the largest locally owned accounting firm in Oregon, has expanded its Business Transition & Succession Planning (BTS) advisory services.

Led by Paris Powell, CPA, ABV, CFF and shareholder at Perkins & Co, and Donald Bielen, MBA, CFP® and principal at Perkins & Co, BTS integrates legacy planning, tax expertise and valuation services with specialized transition and succession advice to ensure successful ownership transitions.

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Top 5 Lessons I’ll Take with Me Into Retirement

This is the second blog post in my three-part retirement series, and it explores the retirement life lessons that resonated most with me throughout my research. In the first post I talked about how organizations could ease the loss of knowledge and experience while their Boomer generation employees find a balance between being engaged in their final years of work and starting to let go. As I have prepared for my own retirement I’ve gained some perspective on how soon-to-retire employees can make their transition successful.

When I turned 60 I shared with friends that I was looking forward to the last third of my life. I read a statistic recently that if you’re alive at age 60 you have a 50% chance of living to age 90. While I recognize that there are no guarantees, I think 90 (and maybe some change) is a reasonable age for me to plan for, and, luckily, there’s no history of life shortening illness in my family. So, in the summer of 2014 I made the decision to accelerate my anticipated retirement date by two years. I was unaware of what I might experience in the period between then and my last day of employment. As often happens in life, you don’t always know how you will experience an event until it actually happens. Falling in love, having a child, and becoming a grandparent all have feelings associated with them that can only be appreciated and understood by personal experience. My experiences while preparing for retirement seem similar.

A friend of mine told me about an evening with a group of his buddies. They used a tape measure to mark 85 inches, and then they marked their age in inches. 85 marked their consensus of how long, on average, they thought they would live, or at least be active enough to do the things they wished. My friend reports that it was an enlightening moment to come to grips with how much life he has left, and it begged the question of what he wanted to accomplish to pass a no regrets test.

While assisting with developing a shareholder succession guide for Perkins & Co, I devoted a lot of energy to learn about retirement. This led to numerous conversations with clients and friends who were already retired, and I don’t recall a single story of dissatisfaction. For those I spoke with who were not yet retired the most frequently asked question was, “What are you going to do?” There are numerous things I’m interested in that a career in public accounting did not provide time for, such as pursuing my photography interest, which was done only intermittently, and working through a backlog of family archiving projects, which have yet to be started. As I prepare for this next chapter in my life I came across some good lessons.

1) The Six Stages of Retirement

Retirement is a process of transitioning from one chapter of life to another. Psychologists currently identify six stages of retirement. The first phase is pre-retirement, which involves assessing not just financial readiness but non-financial readiness. Phase two is retirement itself. Phase three is labeled disillusionment. At some point after retirement begins misalignment between expectations of the new life in relation to the old working one present themselves. Stage four, reorientation, is an opportunity to realign desires and priorities for what the retirement journey will really be like allowing for phase five, the retirement routine. The last phase is termination of retirement. This isn’t necessarily death but an acknowledgement that at some point all of the things that retirement represents will come to an end as you just can’t do it anymore.

2) A Retirement Formula

There’s a great formula that has inspired me to think positively about retirement. It goes like this:

Retirement = Purpose + Time + Financial Resources + Well Being + Self Satisfaction

This formula nicely captures the key elements of—what I envision to be—a rewarding retirement. I will have an opportunity to use the time available to redirect my energy on activities that will allow me to focus on doing things that bring me a sense of purpose. I want my retirement to be akin to a marathon, not a sprint. One of the retirement blogs I read suggested treating the first year after retirement as a sort of sabbatical or gap year. The point is that anyone successfully completing a long professional career needs some time to let go of the stress that naturally comes with achieving business success. The purpose is to make room for the energy necessary to move on to a new set of challenges. They may not be perceived as lofty as those of the business life, but I believe we all need something we are retiring to. I want to explore learning a language or how to play a musical instrument. Writing this blog series has gotten me interested in learning to be a better writer as well. I’d like to take advantage of the things I have learned throughout my career and community service experience and apply those skills to new organizations.

One observation I have made relates to encounters with friends who I haven’t seen for a number of months, after they begin their retirements. As they let go of their old business lives and embark on new satisfying endeavors, they often look younger. This observation reminded me of another article I recently read that discussed how the decades of your life after age 60 may be your best: The experiences we’ve gained during our lifetimes make us more courageous, and the choices we make are those that make us happy. Research has shown that older adults tend to be happier than younger ones; the benefits of retirement increase both your happiness and your health. And for those that engage in regular exercise and lifelong learning, the benefits are even more pronounced. They enhance the quality of social engagement, arguably the most important aspect of your retired life.

3) Regular Exercise

I’m not just talking about a one-hour stroll every day. As we get older, the cells in our muscles don’t regenerate as easily, and the energy producing components of those cells diminish over time. Including strenuous activity in your exercise routine goes a long way toward improving the chance for you to have more energy in your later years. A New York Times article on a study conducted at the Mayo Clinic reported that head researcher, Dr. Sreekumaran Nair, believed “…older people’s cells responded in some ways more robustly to intense exercise than the cells of the young did — suggesting, he says, that it is never too late to benefit from exercise.”

A perfect example of Dr. Nair’s study comes from a story I read recently about a 105 year old Frenchman, Robert Marchand, who set a new world record for distance cycled in one hour for those over 100 years old on an indoor track—clocking in at 14 miles. Mr. Marchand previously set the world record for this event in 2012 when he was 100. Encouraged by a French exercise researcher, Marchand agreed to add higher intensity workouts to his routine for two years, at which time he again rode the one hour timed event. During this stint he rode for 17 miles. While Mr. Marchand is an unusual case, it does demonstrate that being over 60 doesn’t mean we can’t improve athletic performance.

4) Lifelong Learning

Doing something new and challenging later in life has been found to measurably improve memory and other cognitive abilities. It doesn’t matter the activity type. Learning to play an instrument, write, act, learn a language or become competent in a new subject matter helps people feel prosperous in their later years. Engaging in new learning increases the ability to be socially active by engaging with others of similar interests. There is great benefit to learning something that requires discipline and practice.

5) Social Engagement

In October of 2015, David Brooks of the New York Times wrote a piece titled “The Moral Bucket List”. He observed that there are two sets of virtues: resume virtues and eulogy virtues. Resume virtues are those that you brought to or obtained to accomplish in your career. Eulogy virtues are the ones that are shared at your funeral, and it’s these virtues that are more important than the resume ones. Many of us engage in activities that are over and above what’s necessary for our professional life, and many of us are clearer on how to build an external career than on how to build inner character.

The combination of family, friends and community engagement are powerful forces in ensuring that retirement is full and fulfilling; it doesn’t happen by chance and requires effort and focus. The reward of deeper and stronger connections with those that you interact comes with a positive energy that should be very satisfying.

The gift that retirement gives is the time to explore new interests, new places and, hopefully, positive new feelings. The traditional answers to the question of what will you do in retirement of travel and family alone may not be enough for you. Retirement presents an opportunity to discover your whole self. There’s time to reflect on the accomplishments of your career and to plan for how you will engage in, what I hope, is a fulfilling last third of your life. Be bold. There’s a lot of life ahead, and the rewards that come from living it actively will be worth every effort you make.

As my career in public accounting and at Perkins draw to a close, I’ve made the choice to defer getting old as long as I can and have a plan to get there. In the final installment I’ll share a little bit about my experience.

About the author:

Grant Jones began his career in public accounting in 1977 and has been a shareholder at Perkins & Co since 1989. In fact, he’s the only remaining non-owner employee of the original Perkins & Co, which formed in 1986. He’s a leader in the firm’s Employee Benefit Plan Audits and Nonprofit practice groups and actively assists clients in managing operational, strategic, and ownership issues. He specializes in working with closely-held businesses in a variety of industries, and his areas of expertise include accounting and auditing, financial management, and general business consulting.

If you missed the first post in the “Have You Thought About Your Retirement Strategy?” series, be sure to check it out below and stay tuned for the last post.

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Preparing a Successful Succession Plan within Your Company

“I Hope I Die Before I Get Old”. Do you remember this line? It’s from The Who’s “My Generation” released in December of 1965. Roger Daltrey and Pete Townsend were 20 and 21 years old. How times have changed! Now that I have reached an age that “My Generation” is probably considered old, I find myself looking forward to, what I hope are, some of the best years of my life.

In the last two years I have spent a lot of time preparing for my impending retirement on June 30th of this year. I’ve been reading books on the subject, and have discovered blogs by folks who are already there and willing to share their experiences. I can say that I feel pretty well prepared for the journey ahead. In the course of that preparation, it became clear that my retirement had to be coordinated with the needs of the business and that coordination requires a similar amount of planning.

When Should I Start to Plan?

Getting ready for retirement takes longer than you might think. Starting to plan in your 50s is not too early. This type of forward thinking applies to businesses, as well. Here at Perkins, we’ve been monitoring shareholders’ expected retirement dates for a number of years. As a result, we have a pretty good understanding of what the impacts on the firm would be in terms of lost capacity and knowledge. Despite that planning, when the first of our long-time shareholders retired, we discovered that we didn’t have as much experience on how to execute it as we would have liked.

When an experienced leader in any organization retires there are a number of important components that require attention. At Perkins, our top priority is to ensure the retiring employee’s clients know who their new primary contact will be and giving them plenty of time to get acquainted with their new accountant. Making sure the succeeding service providers are prepared to continue to provide the level of client service previously experienced is paramount. The firm’s long-term growth strategy is dependent on executing this process well. We also want to allow each retiring shareholder to transition to the next phase of their life knowing the firm is there to encourage and support all of the activities and emotions related to that process.

Phase into Retirement

In August of last year, USA Today ran a story titled “Don’t Jump Into Retirement, ‘Phase’ Into it With Part-Time Strategy”. Depending on your role within an organization, you may well be able to make the case that phasing into retirement is good for your company by enabling the organization to ease in the next generation of leaders. We’ve all read the statistics about how the Boomer generation is starting to leave the work force: Organizations need to start identifying their future leaders well in advance of the time the current leaders depart.

In many organizations, the most experienced leaders are not customer facing, however, they touch all aspects of a business’s processes and procedures. A February 2017 Business.com article entitled “Baby Boomer Retirement: Avoid a “Senior Moment” In Your Business” described the “Baby Boomer Brain Drain,” which associates business risk with the loss of experience and knowledge of departing retirees. These risks can be mitigated by slowing the rate of Boomer departures by reducing hours over a longer period of time. Use part-time, job sharing, telecommuting, and compressed work weeks to facilitate phased retirements by senior leaders. Assessing key succession risks is critical to ensuring that organizations progress smoothly to a new generation of leadership.

Another factor to consider in making phase down arrangements is that some Boomers may be unable to retire at the time they want to; those that fall into this category are known as the “grudge workforce,” a term coined by a research group in Australia. Phase down arrangements may help ease the distress these older workers are feeling.

Finding the Right Balance (for you and your company)

As part of my transition planning, we felt that it would be a good idea to test drive “part-time” for my last year. Accountants have a bit of an exaggerated view of what full-time is so a reduction to 85% might equate to a normal 40 hour work week all year ‘round for most. In my case, we settled on 75% of “accountant” full-time with built in increases for the busier times of the year. In my second month on this new schedule I had my first epiphany: I hadn’t started to prepare myself to let go of the responsibilities I had; they were tied to my sense of value over the course of my career. It became immediately clear how important this letting go process was, and it reinforced the value of moving away from the normal CPA work schedule.  Creating a balance between being engaged and letting go is critical to ensuring that both the organization and retiree feel like there is value in the retiree’s presence and that the reduced work schedule is beneficial to all. Do not leave this all up to the retiree; they are just like any other person in your organization, and they continue to need reinforcement that execution of their transitional responsibilities is appreciated.As a result of keeping track of when our Boomer generation owners would be retiring, we were able to establish a plan for making sure a new generation of leaders had the opportunity to develop the skills to take over. I’m delighted with the progress they are making and am excited for the future of Perkins & Co with them at the helm.

Having effective plans for facilitating a smooth transition to retirement for Boomer generation employees allows your organization to minimize the risk associated with the brain-drain from their departure. Being able to provide assistance and resources to those soon-to-retire can be very beneficial for everyone involved. In the next blog post of this series I’ll share some perspective on how to make sure a transition to retirement is successful.

The shareholders at Perkins are well versed in the issues related to Boomer generation retirements; we work regularly with our clients as they navigate the end of their business careers and we are actually living it ourselves. Have you stopped to think about how well prepared your business is for the pending retirement of experienced organizational leaders? Give us a call. We’d be glad to share our perspective.

About the author:

Grant Jones began his career in public accounting in 1977 and has been a shareholder at Perkins & Co since 1989. In fact, he’s the only remaining non-owner employee of the original Perkins & Co, which formed in 1986. He’s a leader in the firm’s Employee Benefit Plan Audits and Nonprofit practice groups and actively assists clients in managing operational, strategic, and ownership issues. He specializes in working with closely-held businesses in a variety of industries, and his areas of expertise include accounting and auditing, financial management, and general business consulting.

CSA Vegetables

So what is a CSA? Believe it or not, it’s not accounting jargon. CSA stands for community supported agriculture and is essentially a produce subscription to a local farm. For Perkins & Co, it means affordable weekly deliveries of organic fresh fruits and vegetables straight to our office. Are you looking for ways to contribute to your organization’s wellness and sustainability goals, or even a convenient low- to-no cost perk to offer employees? A CSA may be just what you’re looking for.

So where do you begin? Here are 6 basic steps to get your CSA off the ground:

Management Approval

If you already have wellness or sustainability initiatives in place, this may not be a challenge, but if employee focused programming is new to your organization this may be a bit trickier. A great start is to learn more about the CSA programs in your area and present a list of benefits. In addition to making local organic produce more accessible, a CSA can help build camaraderie in the workplace and strengthen your relationship with the local community. There is little to no cost to the organization and you may even find that you have healthier, happier employees because of it.

Gauge Interest

While there are many benefits to starting a workplace CSA program, it will only be successful if it’s something people actually want. There are, of course, steps you can take to increase sign-ups, but, ultimately, you still need a base. When introducing the idea, it’s helpful to explain what a CSA is as well as provide a rough estimate of the cost. This does not need to be exact, but interest may vary if the cost is $15-$50 per week versus unknown. And gauging interest doesn’t have to be complicated. We kept it simple by sending out an email with a brief description of the program and then provided an information sign-up sheet with a line for names, number in the household, and if they would be interested in helping coordinate.

Recruit a Coordinator

We didn’t request that last little bit of information for nothing. As with any program or activity, there’s a bit of legwork to make it run smoothly. In our experience, it only took about 15-30 minutes a week but having a designated team or team-member definitely helped. This person, or team, will be responsible for creating awareness, coordinating the drop-off and pick-up of the produce shipments, as well as corresponding with the farm.

Find your Farm

This step can make or break your program. The goal is to find the farm and CSA that’s the best fit for your organization’s needs. For us, the majority of our interested employees were single and environmentally conscious, so finding a certified organic farm that had smaller share sizes was critical. A few other factors to consider are price, frequency of deliveries, minimum subscriptions needed for delivery, as well as payment options.

So how do you find a farm? We were fortunate enough to be a part of a pilot project put on by Zenger Farm which helps match workplaces with local CSA programs. If you’re unable to find a similar organization however, there are many online resources that can help you get started such as Local Harvest and the USDA’s CSA directory.

Here in the Pacific Northwest, we are lucky to have the quantity and quality of local farms that we do, and we found our perfect match with Our Table Cooperative.

Coordinate the Details

This is your coordinator or coordination team’s time to shine. Determining where the deliveries will be made, what to do when someone forgets their box or is on vacation and all of the other details that come up are included in this step. Don’t worry though, the internet has your back; there are many resources available that provide insight into what you need to know to run a successful CSA program!  This “Workplace CSA Tipsheet” from JustFood.org is a great start.

In our experience, once our weekly routine was set-up, the program became a breeze.

Have Fun with It

Your workplace will now have a program delivering healthy, fresh, local produce on a regular basis. This perk can be a great opportunity for ongoing wellness-based activities and to engage with your employees or coworkers. Expecting cilantro in next week’s delivery? Why not have a salsa cook-off?

We found that sending an email when the produce arrived not only served as a reminder but also encouraged everyone to come together at the same time. This resulted in produce swapping, recipe idea sharing, and a general sense of fun—not to mention the opportunity to learn more about coworker’s families. We discovered some of our employees are actually closet gourmet chefs and others are geniuses when it comes to efficient and healthy home cooking. Who would have known?

By following these six steps we successfully established a CSA program that complements our wellness and sustainability initiatives and encourages a health-focused camaraderie at Perkins & Co. Now that you know more, can a CSA program benefit your organization as well?

Author: Quillyn Brown, CPA

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Welcome to the fourth installment of our “Perkins Milestones” anniversary series, which explores our employees’ career paths and their time at Perkins. (If you missed our other anniversary posts, check out our blog to scope them out.)

At a young age, Kimberly developed a desire to help people thrive and a love of real estate and community building. Her family, starting with bare land, built a variety of different businesses on their farm: donut shop, convenience store, and an ice-cream parlor to name a few — all in addition to the production and care of 20,000 chickens, horses and cows. Growing up surrounded by entrepreneurs, Kimberly was raised with a can-do attitude and keen interest in business.

While attending Oregon State University to study business, Kimberly’s father suffered a massive stroke, so she put her studies on hold to assist her mother with the financial aspects of the family’s businesses. Years later, Kimberly is still helping businesses with their finances. Her kind and friendly nature makes everyone feel like family. For 20 years Perkins & Co has been fortunate to have this caring and clever dynamo on our team. We recently asked her to reflect on her time at Perkins, and here’s what she had to say:

Q: How did you first hear about Perkins?

My professors in college recommended Perkins as a good alternative option to the Big 4.

Q: What attracted you to Perkins?

I was attracted to the size of the firm, the people and the firm’s reputation.

Q: What was your first project at Perkins & Co and in what industry was it?

When I first started at Perkins, I was doing both audit and tax work. However, the most memorable projects are from my time as a senior. Tim Kalberg was my supervisor, and we worked on tax returns for a premier new & used store fixture supplier and a prominent high-rise commercial office building in downtown Portland. At the time, those were two of the most complex returns to prepare; they involved crazy work papers to track the various book/tax differences and reconciliations of accounts. The work was further complicated by the fact that Tim used Lotus and 12 column paper work papers, while I only knew Excel. Our team for these projects definitely burned the midnight oil to make things work and ensure the projects were completed on time.

Q: What do you like most about working at Perkins?

I adore the people — both internal at the firm and the clients. We have a smart group and great teams to work with. We also have awesome clients. The sophistication of the interconnected services we can provide allows us to do a better job and make our work more fun! It’s great to be able to simply walk down the hall and get answers to, or brainstorm about, complex or unusual issues.

Q: What’s your best memory at Perkins (so far)?

That’s a tough one. Some of my favorite memories include the family picnics and the fun activities we do as a firm. Back in the day, Cheryl Perkins, our former president, hosted family picnics at her house where people could water ski and the kids giddily played in the mud. I also enjoyed playing on the city league softball team and participating on our firm’s Hood to Coast teams for five consecutive years.

Also, let’s not forget the delirious moments in busy season. After you’ve worked very long hours you say and do some silly things—like wearing one blue shoe and one black shoe to work—and can’t help but laugh at yourself.

Q: What’s one thing you wish you knew before entering “the real world” about the accounting profession? 

To be honest, I wish I had known how rewarding a career at an accounting firm could be. You’re surrounded by smart, dedicated, creative (yeah, who ever thought accountants and creative would be in the same sentence), and, surprisingly, very competitive people. You often hear only about the long hours you’re expected to work during busy season.

Q: What advice would you give to younger accountants or individuals entering the accounting field?

Know yourself and what drives you. Learn the business of accounting and what makes a firm successful and you, too, will be successful. You’ll be surprised how important soft skills are versus technical ones.

Q: What do you look for in a candidate who’s looking to join Perkins &Co?  

Personality. For me it’s important that a candidate has a sense of humor — it gets us through some crazy times, as I mentioned earlier. Someone who’s naturally curious and self-motivated is extremely important too. Be motivated to learn for yourself and to learn about the clients and their needs; that’s why we do what we do…to help clients reach their goals and build their legacy.

There’s no doubt Kimberly is a legacy-builder; we’ve had the benefit of experiencing that first-hand! Kimberly has been integral to building Perkins’ reputation as the go-to firm for the accounting needs of local commercial real estate and construction businesses. Her focus on real estate building a community versus just a building gives her work depth and breadth. She brings skill, experience and a lot of heart to everything she does. Thank you for your great work, Kimberly!

Author: Taylor Valdes, Administrative Assistant

Last year we addressed the question, “Do I Need an Identity Protection PIN to File My Return?”, as the IRS received an increase in fraudulently filed tax returns. Thieves used stolen identities to claim false refunds, and to combat this, the IRS issued Identity Protection PINs (IP PINs) to certain taxpayers who were at risk for identity theft.

The six-digit IP PIN is included on the taxpayer’s federal tax return to authenticate that they are the rightful filer of the return. The IRS has increased the usage of IP PINs to improve their efforts against identity-related theft. So, most taxpayers affected by past identity-related theft issues should have received an IP PIN for the tax year 2015.

However, on January 5th, the IRS announced that the IP PIN correspondence dated January 4th, 2016 incorrectly stated the tax year to which the PIN applied. The IRS announcement advised taxpayers that IP PINs issued on CP01A Notices are intended for use on the 2015 tax return as opposed to the tax year listed on the notice—2014. Here’s the IRS’s explanation regarding the Notice CP01A error.

Taxpayers who file their 2015 federal tax returns without the IP PIN will encounter IRS processing delays of their returns as the IRS will need to take additional steps to verify their identity.

For additional questions on using the IP PIN, see the IRS’s IP PIN page or call Identity Protection Specialized Unit at 1-800-908-4490.

Author: Meredith Miller, Tax Senior

This blog post is a summary and is not intended as tax or legal advice. You should consult with your tax advisor to obtain specific advice with respect to your fact pattern. 

January again! The busiest time of year for many accountants and bookkeepers. There’s the general ledger to reconcile and close out, financial statements to produce, 1099 forms and payroll filings to complete, and personal property tax returns to file. But wait! There’s another task to consider…the income tax return.

Fortunately, the CPA prepares the income tax return for you, but they need your help. There are several strategies you can employ to make your working relationship a successful and productive one.

First Steps

For starters, double-check your accounting software to ensure you’ve posted your CPA’s journal entries for last year (2012). Your CPA may have included these entries in the same packet with the 2012 tax return. If the person who signed the 2012 tax return didn’t pass on any journal entries, check in with your CPA to find out if there were any. If so, be sure to post them to your general ledger as of December 31, 2012 (for calendar year entities).

If the business experienced changes in ownership, or any other type of significant transaction during the past year, gather the relevant legal documents (buy-sell agreements, promissory notes, etc.) and forward copies to you CPA. These documents will provide specific information about the transaction that will help your CPA report it properly on the tax return.

The “PBC List”

Many CPAs send out a document that includes a list of the information they typically need each year to prepare your company’s income tax return.  These documents are commonly called Prepared by Client Lists, or “PBC Lists”. If you have questions about some of the items on the PBC List, don’t hesitate to contact your CPA and ask them what they’re expecting. If some of the items on the PBC List won’t be available for a while, ask your CPA if they’d like you to send the information you’ve gathered so far. You can forward outstanding items once they become available.

Standard items accountants almost always need

If you don’t have a PBC list, feel free to request one. Even without a PBC list you can accomplish a lot by addressing these common items:

  1. 1) Ensure that your books are complete for the tax year: complete the December reconciliations for all cash, credit card and loan accounts; make sure all reimbursable expenses have been submitted by employees and recorded in the company’s books; review the year-end balance sheet and profit & loss statement for erroneous amounts or unusual items.
  2. 2) Once you’re comfortable with the balance sheet and profit & loss statements, export a copy of the company’s trial balance from your general ledger software. We recommend that the file be exported in excel.  Many CPAs prefer to receive the trial balance in this format for ease of import into their firm’s trial balance software. Or, if your business uses Quickbooks, create a “portable file” which backs up the data in a condensed format that can make transferring the file to your CPA simpler.
  3. 3) Collect copies of the company’s year-end bank statements and bank reconciliations for each checking and savings account.
  4. 4) Gather copies of the company’s year-end bank line or credit, bank loan and credit card statements. Since some loan and credit card statement periods cross over month ends, be sure to collect the statements with coverage periods that include the last day of the business’s tax year.
  5. 5) If the business has fixed assets, prepare a list of asset additions that includes a description of each asset, its in-service date and cost. If any assets were retired or sold during the year, prepare a list of each disposed asset that includes the same elements as the asset additions list and also includes the amount of proceeds received from sale of the asset, if any. You could also request a copy of the fixed asset list from your accountant; use that listing to identify disposed assets and the related sales proceeds.
  6. 6) If the business has a retirement plan, contact your plan administrator and ask what information they’ll need from you in order to calculate the required amount of the employer contribution to the plan in accordance with management’s intent and plan requirements.
  7. 7) Prepare a schedule of officers’ compensation showing each officer’s Medicare wages. If the business has a calendar year-end, you can take the amount from box 5 of the W-2 (or simply provide copies of the officers’ W-2s).
  8. 8) If the entity is an S corporation or a partnership, prepare a schedule listing the medical and dental insurance premiums paid on behalf of each owner.
  9. 9) Review any account where you have recorded meals and entertainment expenses. Be sure that these accounts don’t include the expense of any company parties, or meals served on-site to permit employees to meet or work beyond their normal workday.  (Those types of expenses may not be subject to the same tax limitations as business lunches at restaurants, or golf or sporting events with a client.) If you have any questions about the tax treatment of any items in your meals or entertainment accounts, ask first – it will save time in tax preparation, and may save tax dollars, too.
  10. 10) Sign the tax engagement letter, or locate the letter and have the business owner sign it. This agreement describes the terms of the arrangement between the business entity and the accounting firm for the preparation of the return. These letters are often mailed in January, so check with your employer to find out whether they have already signed and returned the letter; if they haven’t returned it yet, you can remind them to do so.

Why do they keep asking me questions?

After you’ve provided this information and whatever else was requested on the PBC List, your CPA will probably contact you with some follow-up questions and requests. This is normal! Your CPA wants to understand your business thoroughly, and help you take advantage of all allowable deductions and tax accounting methods. (Also, we like to talk to you!)

Happily, once you’ve submitted everything to your accountant, you’re likely nearly done – until next year!

Have a question about our post? Don’t be shy! We welcome you to contact us at any time.

Author: Chalayane Woodke, CPA 

This blog post is a summary and is not intended as tax or legal advice. You should consult with your tax advisor to obtain specific advice with respect to your fact pattern. Based on the most recent “best practice” standards for tax advisors issued by the Treasury Department, commonly referred to as Circular 230, we wish to advise you that this blog post has not been prepared to be used, and cannot be used, to provide assurance that penalties which may be assessed by the IRS or other taxing authority (including specifically section 6662 understatement penalties) will not be upheld.