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July 2017
In This Issue
Your BRC Team
Bernard Robinson & Company ranks number one on the list of the Best Employers in North Carolina (small and medium sized companies) by Business North Carolina!

Click here to learn more about why Bernard Robinson & Company is such a great place to work!

Noteworthy Links
IRS Tax Calendar for Businesses & Self-Employed
United States Economy - CNBC Updates
IRS: Tax Scams / Consumer Alerts
2018 Health Savings Account Limits Increase Slightly
Why Job Hopping Can Hurt Your Retirement
FASB simplifies accounting for certain financial instruments - Journal of Accountancy
Congress weighs tax reforms for small businesses | Accounting Today
BBC Coverage of the Open Championship
Celebrating 70 Years with our Valued Clients
By Genie Petrangeli, CPA Partner
In the spring of 1998, my husband's employer, a chemical manufacturer in Pennsylvania, offered him a re-location to Canton, Ohio or North Carolina. With the enticement of a warmer climate and an abundance of golf courses, it was an easy decision. Canton didn't stand a chance. Growing up as the youngest of eight children in an Italian family in South Philly, I'll admit that I didn't know much about Greensboro, NC. To be honest, I had never heard of Greensboro. Nonetheless, I was looking forward to the new adventure with my husband and our three young children and experiencing the "Southern hospitality" I heard so much about.
After a year of helping my family acclimate to our new home, I applied to Bernard Robinson & Company in October of 1999, and at that time, the interview process included meeting almost all of the 23 members of the firm. I immediately felt at home with the staff members and partners and gladly accepted the offer for employment.
I have vivid memories of my first couple of years at the firm and discovered a few important facts about living and working in Greensboro. I learned that "gumballs" did not only refer to treats found in a vending machine after a shopping trip to the grocery store, but also to seeds of a tree that could make walking to the parking lot after work hazardous. I had always understood a "barbecue" to be a gathering of friends and family in the backyard for grilling hamburgers and hot dogs. However, at Bernard Robinson, I learned that "barbecue" refers to a Southern staple, which is served with hush puppies, slaw, and usually followed by delicious banana pudding.  Most notably, I became acutely aware of how important college sports were to my colleagues. My childhood centered on cheering for the Philadelphia Eagles, the Phillies, and yes, even the Sixers. The devotion to college athletics was astounding! There were many Saturday lunches during tax season when you pledged your allegiance to the Blue Devils or the Tar Heels, as if it wasn't already obvious by your attire, your e-mail correspondence, or your office decorations. The competition was fierce!
As my career at Bernard Robinson flourished, I realized that my co-workers' passion for college athletics was rivaled only by their passion and dedication to our clients and our firm. The office atmosphere was one of helping each other in order to provide outstanding service to our clients. As a new staff, each "job" I was assigned was accompanied by a story or a memory from one of our partners and his or her relationship with the client. It was never just a task, a tax return, or a financial statement; rather, it was our client's livelihood and the fact that they entrusted it to BRC. That trust has been the foundation of our success for the last seven decades.
During my 18 years at BRC, I've had the privilege of assisting small business owners with management decisions. I've experienced the excitement of our entrepreneurial clients realizing their latest business endeavor and I've partnered with our family clients, helping them develop strategies of wealth transfer through generations.   I'm continually humbled by our clients' inspirations and have witnessed their commitment to positively influence their families and communities.  As we celebrate 70 years at Bernard Robinson & Company, we sincerely thank you, our valued clients and partners, for making our first 70 years successful, rewarding, and fulfilling. We appreciate your trust in us and we look forward to working with you in the years ahead.
Taxes Made Easier

By Justin White, CPA, Manager

Summer is my favorite season of the year. It brings cookouts, hot weather, beach trips, long evenings with the sun setting just before bedtime, and the opportunity to save some additional time and money on taxes. For some, the idea of organizing tax information in the summer before the year is over is preposterous. Instead, this information is gathered during the beginning few months of the following year. This may involve scouring bank statements, receipts, emails, phone records, etc. to assemble the necessary information. This can be easily avoided with several applications that will help you record and document important tax information using only your phone. Summarized below are a few software offerings that can be utilized throughout the year and may make preparing your tax information quicker and less painful.
Business mileage must be substantiated in order to deduct. The IRS recommends documenting in a log the date, destination, purpose, beginning and ending odometer reading, and any additional expenses incurred, such as fees for toll roads. Phone applications such as MileIQ and Mile Logger allow for users to document this information into their phone. Once installed, you simply need to identify the ride as business or personal and the purpose of the ride. Reports are generated from these applications that can be used to report the mileage expense on your tax return and substantiate to the IRS the business mileage in the event of an audit.
Meal and entertainment expenses also require specific documentation, such as the cost, date, location, business purpose, and relationship. Phone applications such as XpenseTracker have been created to help quickly capture this information. The expense tracking apps allow the user to take a picture of the receipt and then document the remaining information required to substantiate the expense. Reports are available and the information can be exported to Excel for further review.
Charitable contributions offer benefits to the recipient and donor. However, proper records of these donations are not always maintained. The details can be difficult to remember months later when trying to identify how much or what was donated. Adding complexity is the valuation of donated goods. There are phone apps available such as iDonatedIt, Donation Assistant, and ItsDeductible that allow for the user to document when the charitable donations were made and how much was contributed. These apps offer tools to help value noncash donations such as clothes, and some even allow the user to take a photo of the donated items as support for the contribution.
There are alternatives if you are not using your phone. Many banks and financial institutions will allow you to download your banking activity into a software such as Quicken, QuickBooks, etc. and then code the deposits and withdrawals. Creating categories specifically related to your tax return will help allow you to periodically update this information so all that is required for tax reporting is simply printing or emailing the report to your accountant.
Be sure to monitor new developments in technology, as they may present you with the opportunity to save significant time and money in the future. Please note that this article is not an endorsement for specific products, but rather highlights that technology allows for recordkeeping to be performed in a timely and accurate manner with little effort. Please reach out to a trusted advisor if searching for solutions and alternatives for a specific area you are trying to address.
Are Expenses Demolishing Your Construction Income?
By Courtney Coker, CPA, Senior Manager
Construction is a risky business. Therefore, contractors should ensure they have a thorough understanding of their costs to mitigate their risk and exposure to losses.
Costs and cost estimates can vary tremendously from one contractor to the next. However, all contractors have three significant cost components that need to be thoroughly examined to ensure profitability; direct costs, indirect costs and general and administrative costs.
  • Direct costs are costs that are identifiable with a separate contract and can include labor, materials, equipment rental, and subcontractor costs, among others.
  • Indirect costs are costs necessary for completion, but are difficult to identify to a single contract. Indirect costs are required to be allocated to contracts, per generally accepted accounting principles, and can include insurance costs, equipment depreciation, repairs and maintenance, and payroll related costs. Identified costs should be allocated to contracts based on a systematic and rational allocation. Allocations vary among contractors, and based on accounting system constraints, can be complex in nature.
  • General and administrative costs are necessary costs to run your business, but are not allocable to contracts. Examples include office salaries, rent, building maintenance and utilities, advertising, dues and subscriptions, and legal and accounting fees.
  Contractors should periodically examine their costs and determine whether costs are direct, indirect or general and administrative in nature. With the costs of construction constantly changing due to technology, demand for specialized labor and increased costs, it is imperative for contractors, estimators, and accounting professionals to continually monitor and adjust their indirect costs allocations to determine if their method of allocating costs to contracts is meeting their long-term goals.
Underestimating costs generally results in losses, while overestimating costs generally results in lost opportunities. However, at the end of the day, all three costs components must be recoverable to ensure profitability.  
Expense Reporting Under the New Standard for Not-For-Profits
By Sandy Newell, CPA, Partner

The new standard for not-for-profit entities, ASU 2016-14, affects the reporting of expenses. The goal of the standard is to provide transparency and comparability among not-for-profit entities. There are three primary changes related to expense reporting:
  1. Operating expenses are required to be reported by both nature and function in one location: the statement of activities, the functional expense statement, or disclosed in the notes.
  2. Investment expenses, including external and direct internal investing expenses, are netted against investment return. The components of investment return and the expenses netted in the return are not required to be disclosed; however, organizations should continue to track this information for Form 990 reporting purposes.
  3. Additional disclosures are required regarding specific methodologies used in allocating expenses to program or supporting activities.
In addition, the standard provides enhanced guidance regarding the allocation of certain expenses. Activities that represent direct conduct or direct supervision of a program or supporting activity should be allocated from management and general activities.
The following items are now specifically identified as management and general expenses:
  1. Payroll administration costs
  2. Employee benefits and oversight administration costs
  3. The costs associated with administering grants and contracts, including billing, collecting fees and grant and contract reporting
Not-for-profits should review their allocation methodologies and applicable disclosures to determine if any changes are needed. The standard is effective for fiscal years beginning after December 15, 2017 and encompasses other changes to be addressed in future newsletters, including: net asset classifications, liquidity disclosures, operating measure disclosures, statement of cash flow presentation, and underwater endowment reporting.

Bernard Robinson & Company, LLP | (336) 294-4494 | |
1501 Highwoods Blvd, Ste 300
Greensboro, NC 27410
BRC Strategy is designed to provide information of a general nature and is not intended as a substitute for professional consultation and advice.  The opinions and interpretations expressed should not be construed or used as legal or tax advice, written or otherwise, and cannot be used for the purpose of avoiding any penalties that may be imposed under federal, state or local law.