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Q2 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
Shopping Online Commercial Consumer Spending Concept
U.S. gross domestic product - the government's official scorecard for the economy - registered its weakest quarterly growth in three years, at 0.7 percent. But the slowdown appeared to be tied to temporary factors that are likely to rebound in the coming months.

On the flip side, business executives were feeling more optimistic about the U.S. economy than they had in over 12 years, according to a survey by the American Institute of CPAs. Their optimism climbed from 62 percent last quarter to 69 percent in the first quarter of 2017.

Closer to home, Massachusetts employment data showed a slower pace of job gains in April. Still, over the past year, more than two-thirds of public companies based in the Commonwealth grew their total head count, according to the Boston Business Journal.
Taxes and Tax Planning
What are your chances of being audited? The number of audits carried out on individual taxpayers by the IRS declined for the fifth consecutive year in 2016 to its lowest total since 2003. Marketwatch shares highlights from the agency's most recent annual data book.
 
IRS offers a new way for startups to claim the research tax creditSm all businesses have a new option allowing them to apply a portion or all of their research credit against their payroll tax liability, instead of their income tax liability. CFO Magazine says that could amount to big savings.

Sorry America, your taxes aren't high - Americans generally feel they're being over-taxed, especially around this time of the year. But the reality is that the average U.S. worker pays quite a bit less than he would elsewhere in the developed world, according to a Bloomberg report on the Organization of Economic Cooperation & Development's recent study, Taxing Wages 2017.
Managing Your Business
Portrait of young man sitting at the table in front of laptop sleepy tired overworked or lazy to work. Attractive business man looking at laptop computer screen with bored expression
5 workplace practices that are on their way out - A lot of change is coming in the future of work, but we can start by removing these five outdated work practices from our offices, writes Jacob Morgan for Inc. Magazine.
 
How much does a bad employee cost a business? - As expensive as it is to replace a bad hire, the money isn't what concerns employers most. In a recent Robert Half survey, CFOs cited two factors other than money as being the single greatest cost of a poor hiring decision.
 
The new sales imperative - Most B2B sellers think their customers are in the driver's seat - empowered, armed to the teeth with information, and crystal clear about their needs. But in a recent study published in the Harvard Business Review, customers report feeling increasingly more paralyzed than empowered.
Around the Office
The Parthenon Temple on the Acropolis in Athens Greece. The Acropolis of Athens is an ancient citadel located on a rocky outcrop above the city of Athens.
Athens,Greece is the site of the next RBI international business and tax conference.
We proudly announce that RBF was recently ranked #33 on the list of the area's Top 50 Accounting Firms, compiled annually by the Boston Business Journal. Collectively, the firms on this year's list employ a combined 12,744 workers in the Bay State, which includes 4,164 CPAs.
 
Russell Bedford International, the global network of independent accounting and business  advisory firms (of which RBF is the Boston-area member), has appointed Stephen Hamlet as its new CEO. Hamlet joins RBI after having spent ten years developing global accounting organizations.
 
In late May, several RBF leaders will attend the RBI 2017 International Tax & European Conference in Athens, Greece. After opening remarks by RBF managing partner and RBI chairman Bill Rucci, the conference will focus on late-breaking topics such as the latest changes in tax and auditing regulations in Europe; cross-border taxation in the post-BEPS world; and U.S. tax changes impacting global taxpayers (including the "Trump effect") presented by RBF tax principal Lenny Smith.

In RBF staff news, Yun Ding and David Leroux have both been promoted to the position of Senior Accountant. Congratulations, gentlemen!

In the publishing arena, RBF partner  Vinny Botta's article, "New Accounting Rules for Contract-based Companies Looming: Will You Be Ready?" appeared in the Spring 2017 issue of The Professional Contractor, the member magazine of the Associated Subcontractors of MA.  An electronic version of the article can be found here on page 8.
 
In RBF client news, longtime clients David Jenks and Dominic Benvenuti were recently selected as 2017 recipients of the Golden Franny Award, bestowed annually by the International Franchise Association. The IFA established the Franny Awards more than 20 years ago to honor franchisee excellence. The two entrepreneurs own and operate 34 Domino's Pizza franchises.
 
Speaking of client accolades, RBF client RetroFit Technologies was recognized as one of North America's top managed services providers by the respected IT trade publication CRN. The list is compiled annually by CRN to recognize IT solution providers who exhibit the most innovative approaches to delivering managed IT services to their clients.
 
And RBF client Randolph Hardware was chosen by the trade publication Hardware and Building Supply Dealer as one of 50 Stihl National Hardware All Stars of 2017, one from each state. Owners Rob Gardiner and his sister Susan Geyer were lauded for their all-star perseverance in opening their Randolph, Maine location in June, 2015 - the family's second store.  
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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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