Latest News

I am happy to announce we have secured a date for our volunteer project with Atlanta Community Food Bank on Friday, August 4th, from 9am – 12pm. We will be working at the food sorting facility, same place as last year for those of you that volunteered. We will be inspecting, sorting, and packing grocery items and health and beauty products for distribution to over 600 non-profit organizations in the Metro Atlanta and North Georgia Area. ACFB is an awesome organization, you can read more about it here:



Tuesday, 15 August 2017 00:00

CPA Client Bulletin Select August 2017

What’s Inside

College Costs Really Are Increasing Again
Start FAFSA Planning Earlier
Asset Allocation in 529 Plans
Outlining the Trump Tax Plan
How Small Business Retirement Plans Compare
Tax Calendar


Factoid: Vacation Destinations 


Among recent vacation home buyers, 36% purchased in a beach location, 21% bought lakefront property, and 20% bought elsewhere in the country. 



Did You Know ?


In the 2016–17 academic year, the average undergraduate cost for tuition and fees was $9,650 at public, four-year colleges for in-state residents. On average, out-of-state students paid $24,930. Therefore, the amount paid by out-of-staters at public colleges is closer to the cost for private institutions ($33,480 on average) than to the amounts paid by state residents at their schools.


Source: The College Board

Article: College Costs Really Are Increasing Again 


The College Board reports that the average published charges for tuition, fees, room, and board at private, nonprofit, four-year schools were over $45,000 in the 2016–17 academic year. At public universities, the average charge was around $20,000 for state residents. Both numbers are the highest on record.


Such expenses for higher education are daunting, but the reality may be less onerous. Many collegians receive some form of financial aid that brings down the actual cost. The College Board also reports “net” prices, estimating the true cost of a year in college after recognizing financial aid and the savings from certain education-related tax benefits. 


For the 2006–07 academic year to 2010–11, net prices declined in constant 2016 dollars. Even as published prices continued to rise, the average net price at private colleges fell from $24,580 to $23,620.


Since then, however, net prices have begun to move up. In 2016–17, the average figure at four-year private colleges reached $26,080. In-state students at public universities saw average net prices hold steady in the $11,000–$12,000 range from 2006–07 to 2010–11, but shoot up to $14,210 in 2016–17. In recent years, increases in grants have not kept up with rising published prices, creating more expensive net prices for higher education.


For parents of collegians and younger students, the message is that they may have to put more effort into competing for college grants. Some strategies for dealing with the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) can be found on page 2 of this issue of the CPA Client Bulletin. Savvy investing of college funds can also help; on page 3, you’ll find suggestions on how to manage 529 college savings accounts.


Article: Start FAFSA Planning Earlier 


The “new” FAFSA schedule (introduced in 2016) makes summer the time for FAFSA prep. On October 1, 2017, financial aid applications for the 2018-19 school year can be filed. In prior years, students had to wait until January 1 to request financial aid for the coming academic year.


Why is this important? Some observers believe that financial aid may be granted on a first come, first served basis, so the early filer may have more of a chance to receive aid. Also, filing a FAFSA early may increase the chance for merit (not need-based) aid because some colleges require the FAFSA for such grants.


In addition, FAFSA will now have real family income numbers from federal income tax returns, rather than estimates.


Example 1: Mark Thompson will start college in the fall of 2020. In October 2019, Mark can file the FAFSA. He’ll use his family’s income from 2018 based on the tax return filed in 2019. (Even if Mark’s family gets a filing extension from April 15, 2019, the return must still be filed by October 15 of that year, so the 2018 income numbers will be available for a FAFSA filing in October 2019.)


Under the previous FAFSA schedule, Mark would have filed the FAFSA in early 2020, using estimated income numbers for 2019. Then, he would have amended the FAFSA, if necessary, to conform with the actual 2019 numbers. That won’t be necessary now that the Thompsons’ 2018 income will help determine Mark’s need-based aid in the 2020-21 school year. 


Link to Full Article





Factoid: Vacation Destinations[Office1] 


Among recent vacation home buyers, 36% purchased in a beach location, 21% bought lakefront property, and 20% bought elsewhere in the country.



Did You Know[Office2] ?


In the 2016–17 academic year, the average undergraduate cost for tuition and fees was $9,650 at public, four-year colleges for in-state residents. On average, out-of-state students paid $24,930. Therefore, the amount paid by out-of-staters at public colleges is closer to the cost for private institutions ($33,480 on average) than to the amounts paid by state residents at their schools.


Source: The College Board


Include a Factoid section in your next client email, then copy and paste this item.



Factoid: 36% of #vacation home buyers bought at a beach location. Can you guess where 21% bought? #RealEstate



Where would you buy a vacation home? Among recent vacation home buyers, 36% buy at the beach, 21% buy near a lakefront, and 20% bought elsewhere. #Vacation #RealEstate

 [Office2] [Office2]Email

Include a “Did You Know” section in your monthly email and include this tip.



Did U Know? Out-of-State #College students pay nearly the same as if they went to a private school. [link] #Education



Did You Know?
College students paying public, out-of-state tuition spend nearly the same as in-state students going to a private institution.
Source: The College Board [Link to CPA Client Bulletin or blog page] #College #Education

Wednesday, 12 July 2017 00:00

CPA Client Bulletin Select July 2017

CPA Client Bulletin Select
July 2017

What’s Inside

Calculating Retirement Needs
Taxable Versus Tax-Deferred Accounts
Small Companies Can Do Well While Doing Good
Tax Calendar

Factoid: Exporting Energy

From January to February 2017, U.S. oil exports jumped by 35% to a record high of over 1 million barrels per day.

Did You Know?
Up to 43% of U.S. employees spend some time working outside of the office. Moreover, 35% of employees say they would change jobs to have flexible working locations where they can choose to work off-site full time. Employees who sometimes work remotely show greater levels of engagement; the optimal engagement boost occurs when employees spend 60—80% of their workweek (or three to four days) working off-site.
Source: Gallup

Article: Calculating Retirement Needs

A staple in retirement planning is the search for “your number.” That is, how much money do you need to accumulate in savings and investment accounts so you can afford to stop working? Life expectancy is increasing, so the amount you have when you retire might have to last for decades.
To find the number, you can start with a target for cash flow in retirement. Then determine how much you can expect from all anticipated sources of income: Social Security, a pension, rental income from investment property, and so on. The gap will probably be filled from your financial resources.
Example 1: Linda Morgan, age 52, hopes to retire at 65. Linda expects to need about $75,000 a year for a comfortable retirement, with approximately $25,000–$30,000 coming from Social Security. She will not receive a pension from any employer and has no other obvious source of retirement income. Therefore, Linda will need about $45,000–$50,000 a year from her savings and investment accounts.

Doing the math

How can Linda find “her number,” the amount of financial assets she’ll need to generate $45,000–$50,000 a year in retirement? One tactic is to go online, where she’ll find many retirement calculators to crunch the numbers. Social Security, for instance, has a “Quick Calculator” at to help you estimate future payouts from that source.
Many other websites offer more comprehensive retirement calculators. Frequently, they allow people to enter their personal information, then make various adjustments to future plans to see what methods might increase their chances for financial security after the paychecks stop.
Example 2: Linda uses a retirement calculator provided by the AICPA at
She enters the information from example 1 and other requested data into the calculator. In this hypothetical illustration, Linda is single, earning $100,000 a year, and saving 15% of her earnings for retirement. Her future expectations include salary increases (2% a year), investment returns (6%), inflation (3%), and living until age 95. Linda has $300,000 in current retirement savings.


Download Full Article


Rodney L. Chandler, CPA, partner at Smith, Adcock and Company LLP of Athens, has been elected chair of The Georgia Society of Certified Public Accountants' (GSCPA) Board of Directors for the 2017-18 fiscal year. Mr. Chandler was selected at the Society's annual business meeting in Atlantic Beach, Florida.
"Rodney’s commitment to the profession and the Society is admirable,” said GSCPA CEO Boyd Search. “He believes in the importance of mentoring young professionals, professional involvement, and giving back to the community."


During his one-year term as Chair, Mr. Chandler hopes to help strengthen the legacy of the profession in Georgia. "I want to be involved in a professional community that’s looking toward the highest and best aspirations for our profession and that holds each other accountable to those standards, so we set ourselves apart from the rest," says Chandler.
A 25-year member of GSCPA, Mr. Chandler has served as chair-elect, treasurer, and director of the GSCPA Board of Directors as well as a member of the GSCPA Leadership Council. He is a former chair of GSCPA's Professional Ethics Committee, Investment Committee, and Budget Committee. He is also an active member of the Northeast Georgia Chapter of GSCPA and of the American Institute of CPAs' (AICPA) Governing Council.
In addition to his service to GSCPA, Mr. Chandler serves as a director of Jackson EMC and is a member, past president, and past treasurer of the Rotary Club of Madison County. He holds a Bachelor of Science in accounting and political science from Berry College.

Tuesday, 20 June 2017 00:00

CPA Client Bulletin Select June 2017

CPA Client Bulletin Select
June 2017

What’s Inside

The Third Best Investment You Can Make
Prenups Can Serve Many Purposes
Solo 401(k) Plans for Companies Without Employees
Tax Calendar

Factoid: Going Higher

Nearly 40% of people under 65 with employer-based insurance had high-deductible health plans in 2016, up from over 25% in 2010.

Did You Know ?

For the lowest air travel prices, purchase tickets on a Sunday. If you’re traveling within the United States, buying on Sunday can cut prices by 11% compared with the average for other days. Sunday savings for flights from the United States to Europe are even better for travelers: 16%.


Article: The Third Best Investment You Can Make

The second-best investment you can make is paying off high interest rate debt (see CPA Client Bulletin, August 2016). That could come after you’ve contributed enough to your 401(k) to get a full match from your employer. What should come next? If you have no expensive debt to pay down and you’re getting the full employer match, where should you direct your money? Here are some suggestions.

Unmatched 401(k) contributions

In 2017, employees can contribute up to $18,000, or $24,000 if they’re at least age 50. Few (if any) company matches are that generous.
Example 1: Julie Benson earns $100,000 a year. Her employer’s 401(k) match is dollar-for-dollar, up to 6% of pay, so Julie will put at least $6,000 into the plan this year to get $6,000 in “free money” from the match. Julie, age 45, could contribute another $12,000.

Such a contribution is easy to do, with the money flowing directly into the 401(k) with every paycheck. The deferred income won’t be subject to income tax and any investment earnings can compound, untaxed. Other possible advantages include access to plan loans, offered by many companies, and considerable shelter from creditors.

That said, the main benefit of an unmatched 401(k) contribution is income tax deferral. If you are in a relatively high tax bracket now and expect to be in a lower bracket when you take withdrawals in retirement, maximizing 401(k) contributions could pay off. On the other hand, tax deferral might not appeal to workers in their 20s with modest incomes, perhaps deferring tax in a 15% bracket, who will face uncertain tax rates on distributions decades from now.


Download Full Article

Thursday, 09 March 2017 00:00

CPA Client Bulletin Select March 2017


Playing Defense as Stock Prices Soar
Holding Down Premiums for Medicare Part B
Safe Harbor 401(k) Plans for Small Companies
Tax Calendar

Factoid: States for Seniors

Of more than 55 million total Medicare beneficiaries, about 10 million live in just two states: California and Florida.

Did You Know ?

The average published cost for tuition, fees, room and board at private nonprofit colleges and universities is $45,570 in the 2016-17 academic year. At public institutions, that average cost is $35,370 for out-of-state students, while state residents pay $20,090, on average. Financial aid and tax benefits may reduce the actual cost of higher education.



Article: Playing Defense as Stock Prices Soar

As of this writing, major U.S. stock market indexes are at or near record highs. This bullish run might continue...or it might end with a severe slide. Here are some strategies to consider.

Stay the course

Many investors will prefer to keep their current stock market positions. For nearly a century, every stock market reversal has been followed by a recovery. Even the severe shock of late 2008 through early 2009 has led to new peaks, less than a decade later.

What’s more, holding onto stocks and stock funds won’t trigger any tax on capital gains.

Move into cash

Investors who are truly nervous about pricey stocks can sell some or all of those holdings, then put the sales proceeds into vehicles that historically have been safe havens, such as bank accounts and money market funds. This would reduce or eliminate the risk of steep losses from a market crash. In both the 2000–2002 and the 2007–2009 bear markets, the S&P 500 Index of large-company stocks fell about 50%. After a loss of that magnitude, investors need a 100% rebound, just to regain their portfolio value.

However, cash equivalents have negligible yields right now, so investors would essentially be treading water in bank accounts and money funds. Timing the market has proven to be extremely difficult, so investors who go to cash risk missing out on future gains as well as possible losses. In addition, investors who sell appreciated equities held in taxable accounts will owe capital gains tax, which could be substantial.


Download Full Article



Playing Defense as Stock Prices Soar

Holding Down Premiums for Medicare Part B

Safe Harbor 401(k) Plans for Small Companies

Tax Calendar

 [AS1]Marketing Tip:Five-Step Spring Cleaning Marketing Strategy

Now that winter is coming to a close, it’s time for spring cleaning. Here’s what you can do in the marketing area to keep things fresh and consistent.

1.      Review your goals. How are the marketing efforts you’ve been doing helping you to attain the firm’s goals? Have you checked recently? A monthly update is best, but quarterly is good too. Now is a good time to revisit those efforts and determine successes, failures, and areas for adjustment.

2.      Is it time for something new? If efforts you’ve liked in the past just don’t “fit” any longer, it’s time for a new effort. Sometimes you have to get rid of the good to find the great.

3.      Go shopping! If your marketing efforts feel a little stale, it might be time to shop around for marketers with fresh ideas, graphic designers with a new perspective, or vendors with better pricing advantages.

4.      Sharpen your pencils and create some new content. Develop a spring and summer content strategy that you can leverage the rest of the year. Start with 5 to 10 topics you can quickly write about (e.g., “Top 3 Advantages of [fill in the blank]” or “5 Ways Small [industry] Companies Can Save on Taxes”). Then post them on your website over the next several weeks. You can future date most blogs to release on the same date each month. Voila, content through fall.

5.      Stop trying to be everywhere on social media. Focus on one or two platforms, where your target market is, and form a strategic plan to reach new leads through those channels.


Bonus Tip

Consider adding a paid promotion element to your efforts to increase exposure in niche markets. This can be done with sponsored Tweets, Facebook and LinkedIn posts. Google and Bing AdWords are also a great tool.


Now that you have the cleaning supplies you need, what will you tackle this spring?

Thursday, 23 February 2017 00:00

CPA Client Bulletin Select February 2017

What’s Inside

After-Tax Dollars in Traditional IRAs
“Combo” Products for Long-Term Care Coverage
Defined Benefit Plans for (Very) Small Companies
Tax Calendar

Factoid: Costly care

In 2016, the national median daily rate for a private room in a nursing home was $253 a day; that’s $92,345 a year.

Did You Know?

Online sales are driving in-store traffic. Half of shoppers who buy online will ship their purchase to a physical store. Of these, 46% make additional purchases while picking up their items. A majority of shoppers (60%) also prefer to return items to a store, at which time 70% of them make additional purchases.


Article: After-Tax Dollars in Traditional IRAs

Workers under age 70½ can deduct contributions to a traditional IRA, as long as they are not covered by an employer’s retirement plan. The same is true for those workers’ spouses.
If these taxpayers are covered by an employer plan, they may or may not be able to deduct IRA contributions, depending on the taxpayer’s income. (See Trusted Advice, “Deducting IRA Contributions.”) However, all eligible workers and spouses can make nondeductible contributions to a traditional IRA, regardless of income. Inside a traditional IRA, any investment earnings will be untaxed.


Dealing with distributions

Problems can arise for people who hold nondeductible dollars in their IRAs when they take distributions. Unless they’re careful, they may pay tax twice on the same dollars.

Example 1: Marge Barnes has $100,000 in her traditional IRA on February 15, 2017. Over the years, she has made deductible and nondeductible contributions. Assume that $25,000 came from nondeductible contributions, $45,000 came from deductible contributions, and $30,000 came from investment earnings inside Marge’s IRA.

Now Marge wants to take a $20,000 distribution from her IRA. She might report $20,000 of taxable income from that distribution; indeed, Marge’s IRA custodian may report a $20,000 distribution to the IRS. However, Marge would be making a mistake, resulting in a tax overpayment.

Cream in the coffee


To the IRS, a taxpayer’s IRA money must be stirred together to include pre-tax and after-tax dollars. Any distribution is considered to be proportionate. If Marge were to pay tax on a full $20,000 distribution, she would effectively be paying tax twice on the after-tax dollars included in this distribution.
Example 2: After hearing about this rule, Marge calculates that her $25,000 of after-tax money (her nondeductible contributions) was 25% of her $100,000 IRA on the date of the distribution. Thus, 25% of the $20,000 ($5,000) represented after-tax dollars, so Marge reports the $15,000 remainder of the distribution as a taxable withdrawal of pre-tax dollars. Again, this would be incorrect.


Year-end calculation

Tax rules require an IRA’s after-tax contributions to be compared with the year-end IRA balance, plus distributions during the year, to calculate the ratio of pre-tax and after-tax dollars involved in a distribution.

Example 3: Assume that Marge’s IRA holds $90,000 on December 31, 2017. Her $100,000 IRA was reduced by the $20,000 distribution in February, but increased by subsequent contributions and investment earnings. Therefore, Marge’s IRA balance for this calculation is $110,000 (the $90,000 at year-end plus the $20,000 distribution). This assumes no other distributions in 2017.

Accordingly, Marge divides her $110,000 IRA balance into the $25,000 of after-tax money used in this example. The result22.7%is the portion of her distribution representing after-tax dollars. Of Marge’s $20,000 distribution, $4,540 (22.7%) is a tax-free return of after-tax dollars, and the balance ($15,460) is reported as taxable income. Marge reduces the after-tax dollars in her IRA by that $4,540, from $25,000 to $20,460, so the tax on future IRA distributions can be computed.


Form 8606

As you can see, paying the correct amount of tax on distributions from IRAs with after-tax dollars can be complicated. Without knowledge of the rules, an IRA owner may overpay tax by reporting already-taxed dollars as income. However, keeping track of after-tax and pre-tax dollars may not be simple, especially for taxpayers with multiple IRAs and multiple transactions during that year.
The best way to deal with this issue is to track pre-tax and after-tax IRA money by filing IRS Form 8606 with your federal income tax return each year that your IRA holds after-tax dollars. Our office can help prepare Form 8606 for you, when it’s indicated, and, thus, prevent this type of double taxation.


Download Full Article

As most CFMs know, the PCM calculation is a ratio of two figures: The numerator is the cost incurred on a contract and the denominator is the total estimated cost on that contract. (This is the cost-to-cost method.) Then, that ratio is multiplied by the contract amount to derive the revenue to be recognized.
Revenue recognition is not dependent on, or related to, billings – even though the next step is the comparison of the computed revenue to billings. That comparison is only to adjust the booked revenue based on billings to the PCM-computed revenue.


Calculating the PCM


The PCM is computed on the contract as a whole; line-item PCM is not allowed. There is no difference between a dollar of labor, a dollar of materials, or a dollar of subcontract costs. If the cost is incurred, it’s in the numerator.
However, some items in the contract may require separate accounting. For example, costs related to contingencies, pre-contract expenses, post-completion maintenance, and follow-on contracts are not accounted for in the same manner as other contract costs, and are excluded from the PCM calculation.


The 95% Rule


When a contract is considered complete because: 1) the owner uses the product (beyond testing it) and 2) the contract is at least 95% complete at the end of the year, the PCM calculation can become more complex.


In construction, the percentage-of-completion method (PCM) is required for revenue recognition, unless
certain exceptions apply.

Even if an exception is met for regular tax purposes, the PCM is still required for calculating the AMT’s long-term contract adjustment. So, familiarity with the PCM is essential for all types of contractors and their CFMs.


Download Full Article

Monday, 23 January 2017 00:00

Citation and Resource Guide

Seeking a Stable Retirement ■ The IRS explains the tax treatment of annuity withdrawals in Publication 939, General Rule For Pensions and Annuities, p. 7, at Foreign Stock Funds Can Be Doubly Taxing ■ IRS Publication 514, Foreign Tax Credit For Individuals, can be found at Automatic Enrollment Retirement Plans ■ The IRS answers frequently asked questions about automatic enrollment arrangements at

Practice Development Tip Follow Up on the Election Results By the time you read this issue of the CPA Client Bulletin Select, the results of this year’s elections will be clear. When you send year-end communications to clients, via your website, email, or regular mail, summarize the positions taken by the winning candidates on issues such as taxes and small business. Assure clients that you are aware of these proposals and will follow them closely as they pass through the processes needed for enactment. Let clients know that you’ll inform them as soon as developments occur that require or suggest action on their part. At the same time, remind clients that these proposals will not become effective right away, if ever. Meanwhile, clients will have to file their 2016 tax returns in the near future, based on pre-election rules. Indeed, there is still time to save tax by yearend 2016, for example, clients can make tax-deductible contributions to charity. Alert clients of traditional year-end planning maneuvers. Mutual fund companies, for instance, typically make annual capital gains distributions late in the year. Clients who invest just before these distributions may soon receive a tax bill for getting some of their own money back. Instead, clients might wait to invest until just after the “record date,” as announced on the company’s website, when the payout to shareholders has resulted in a lower trading price. Such timely tips can indicate that your expertise is year-round, not restricted to the tax return filing season.


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Monday, 23 January 2017 00:00

Citation and Resource Guide 2017

Be Cautious With Hard-to-Value IRAs ■ The IRS lists examples of traditional IRA assets not having a readily available fair market value in the Instructions For Forms 5498 and 1099-R, p. 17, at The “Other” Exchange-Traded Funds ■ The U.S. Securities And Exchange Commission provides information about closed-end funds at Profit Sharing Plans for Your Small Business ■ The U.S. Department of Labor spells out the rules for profit-sharing plans in its publication, Choosing A Retirement Solution For Your Small Business, p. 2, at

Practice Development Tip

Resolve to Focus on Your Firm’s Website in 2017 A New Year will bring Resolutions: lose weight, exercise more, appreciate time spent with loved ones, and so on. In terms of practice development, one key promise to yourself should be a review and, if necessary, an upgrade of your firm’s website. In today’s world, prospective clients probably will visit the site before arranging personal contact and existing clients may be encouraged to expand their engagement by the content they find there. The first step is simply to go over all the material available to visitors. Is it accurate? Up to date? If you post employee photos on the site, make sure that former staff members are removed and newcomers are included with the correct title for all pictured. Give your employees a chance to update their bios (and photos, if desired); do the same for your own bio. The second step is to decide if any of the existing material should be deleted and other features added. Go beyond your own impressions and ask others—perhaps including younger relatives—for input. You don’t have to approve every suggestion, but it will be helpful to get an idea of how others react to your website and how they think it might be improved. Be aware that your website doesn’t exist in a vacuum. Other marketing materials, such as emails to a targeted list with tax and financial content might drive people to your website for a more complete appreciation of what your firm has to offer.

Online Marketing Tip Transition to Google Expanded Ads by January 31, 2017, or Face the Consequences In mid-2016, Google announced an upgrade to its adwords text platform to include “expanded” ad formats. That means, among other things, that headlines and description lines in ads have increased in length. Effective January 31, 2017, all text ad formats will be required to be in the new expanded format.


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