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Q3 2017 Issue

RBF News is our quarterly summary of the important tax, business and financial news and opinion you may need to see the bigger picture... and make more informed decisions.

Economic Snapshot
Moving crowd on escalator in modern interior
The U.S. economy accelerated in the second quarter as consumers ramped up spending and businesses invested more on equipment. Gross domestic product increased at a 2.6 percent annual rate in the April-June period, more than double the first quarter's 1.2 percent growth pace.
 
Similarly, the Massachusetts economy surged in the second quarter. The state's GDP grew by 4 percent, compared to the national average of 2.6 percent, according to MassBenchmarks, a local economic service administered by the UMass Donahue Institute.

And in a further sign of business confidence by small U.S. companies, borrowing hit a nearly two-year high in June, driven by restaurants, hotels, and businesses investing to meet customer demand. The latest monthly Thomson Reuters / PayNet Small Business Lending Index rose to 139.9, its highest since July 2015.
Taxes and Tax Planning
United States Internal Revenue Service building sign
What tax deductions do high income earners use most? A new analysis of IRS data by the Tax Foundation sheds some light on just what tax deductions high-income earners take.
 
IRS warns of new twist on an old scam The IRS is warning taxpayers to be aware of a new scam linked to the Electronic Federal Tax Payment System (EFTPS), where fraudsters call to demand an immediate tax payment through a prepaid debit card, according to Forbes.
 
Are sales tax holidays a good thing? This year, 16 states will hold a sales tax holiday. But do these sales tax-free events promote economic growth or significantly increase consumer purchases as intended? A new study by the Federal Reserve weighs in.
Managing Your Business
Busy woman working with laptop computer at home
The rise and fall of working from home Last year, Richard Laermer decided to let his employees work from home on a regular basis. "I assumed that you can get your work done anywhere, as long as you actually get it done," Laermer told Bloomberg. Turns out, he was wrong.
 
This one management trait is the top reason employees leave Research tells us the number one reason employees leave a job is their direct manager. But why? What are managers doing that prompts employees to look for a way out? Inc.com contributor Robin Camarote has an answer.
 
3 ways to control your phone addiction on vacation Americans are finally starting to take more paid time off. The problem is we're not using it to its fullest potential. To truly disconnect on vacation, try setting these three helpful phone boundaries suggested by the Harvard Business Review.
Around the Office
Jody Kannally prepares to go Over The Edge to raise money for the Massachusetts Special Olympics.
In July, RBF controller consultant Jody Kannally and her son CJ raised money for the Massachusetts Special Olympics by rappelling 22 stories down the face of the Hyatt Regency building in Boston. "I am amazed we did it," said Jody. "We were actually very calm." Their efforts have generated $2,145 so far; additional donations are being accepted through August 12th.
 
RBF partners Jack Malley and Vinny Botta will be going on the road this fall to educate local banks and trade organizations about looming changes to several financial accounting rules, specifically in the areas of revenue recognition and lease accounting.
 
Also this fall, RBF will be inaugurating a monthly business roundtable to help high-level executives find solutions to their common business problems. Titled the " CEO Exchange," the group will be facilitated by seasoned executive and entrepreneur Bill Galatis, and will offer smart, confidential peer advice over five 90-minute sessions. 
 
Last month, a contingent of RBF employees spent the day sorting donated goods at Cradles to Crayons, a non-profit organization that provides homeless and low-income children with basic essentials. The effort was part of an annual Day of Service sponsored by the Massachusetts Society of CPAs to encourage members to get involved in community volunteer projects.
 
In RBF client news, Atlas Devices received this year's Presidential Export Award, bestowed annually to companies for expanding U.S. exports. Atlas was one of 32 organizations to receive the award from Secretary of Commerce Wilber Ross during a ceremony in Washington D.C.
 
Our congratulations also go to RBF client Crusader Paper as it celebrates its 50th year in business.  Crusader has grown to become a leading supplier of paper products to the printing and packaging industries since the family-owned business first opened 1967.
 
And our clients Maura Duggan and Justin Housman, co-owners of Fancypants Baking Company, have been chosen as semifinalists for the 2017 Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award. EY's program has been identifying game -changing business leaders for more than 30 years.
 
In RBF staff news, senior accountant Dan Collins and his wife Mary welcomed their new daughter Mia Allison into the world. Mia weighed in at 6 lbs. 14 oz. Congratulations to the Collins family!   
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RBF is the  New England-area affiliate of Russell Bedford International, a leading global network of independent accounting and business consulting firms.
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