RBF News                      Q2 2018

Welcome to the latest issue of RBF News - our summary of the important tax, business and financial news and opinion to help you see the bigger picture... and make more informed decisions.

Economic Snapshot
Moving crowd on escalator in modern interior
The U.S. economy remained on firm economic footing in Q1, with continued strength likely according to numerous business and financial experts. 

A poll of privately-held company leaders conducted by PricewaterhouseCoopers found that 83 percent of respondents are optimistic about prospects for U.S. economic growth during the next 12 months, up from 64% at this time last year. The quarterly survey was the first to be released since passage of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act in December. 

CPA executives also remained optimistic about the U.S. economy, according to the latest quarterly economic outlook survey from the American Institute of CPAs. The poll showed a post-recession high of 79 percent among respondents who expressed optimism, citing the general strength of many economic indicators along with corporate tax cuts and deregulation. 

And the optimism wasn't just confined to the U.S. The Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) and the Institute of Management Accountants (IMA) reported that global economic confidence reached its highest point in nine years. The ACCA and IMA's latest Global Economic Conditions Survey found economic confidence at its peak since the first GECS was released in 2009.
Taxes and Tax Planning
RBF partner Bill Rucci created this chart comparing old and new entertainment expense rules.
What is an entertainment expense? New tax law changed things  - Changes to the way business meals and entertainment expenses are deducted could have major implications for your business, according to guest author Vani Murthy writing for entrepreneur.com.

Small businesses unprepared for tax reform  - A survey by the National Association for the Self-Employed, found that 83 percent of   small business owners don't have a complete understanding  of the impact the new tax reform law would have on their business.

Can interest on home equity loans still be deducted?  - According to syndicated personal finance columnist Michelle Singletary, the IRS is getting blitzed by questions from taxpayers and tax professionals alike, asking if the restrictions in the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act on the mortgage deduction also apply to home equity loans.

The IRS audit rate for individuals keeps going down  - The number of audits conducted by the IRS has fallen for a sixth consecutive year, with just 0.62% of taxpayers examined in 2017 - the lowest individual audit rate in 15 years, reports fortune.com. But this ongoing trend is no reason to get complacent. We at RBF have recently noticed an increase in both the number and rapidity of client tax return verification requests coming via mail from both the IRS and the Mass DOR - not necessarily an indicator of a pending audit, but unsettling to the recipient nevertheless.
Managing Your Business
White clock with words Time to Sell on its face
For business owners, it's a seller's market  - The tax law overhaul has created a world of possibilities for those business owners thinking about selling ... and maybe even those not thinking about it. But it pays to be prepared (via Kiplinger.com).
The 5 rare signs of great leadership  - whether or not you've been told you're "leadership material," here is the standard to shoot for, whether you're looking to develop yourself or looking to hire people with the capacity to transform the workplace (via inc.com). 
If you're so smart, why aren't you rich? The most successful people are not the most talented, just the luckiest, a new computer model of wealth creation confirms. Taking that into account can maximize return on many kinds of investment  (via technologyreview.com)  
Around the Office

RBF partner Paul Bardaro has been appointed to the Board of Trustees of the Wellforce health system for a three-year term. He will also serve on the organization's Finance & Audit Committee. Wellforce is the parent company of Tufts Medical Center, Hallmark Health, and Circle Health. Paul has served on the Board of Trustees of Hallmark Health since 2015.

Senior accountants Nicolas Astarita and Nicolette Del Vecchio have volunteered to serve as MSCPA Firm Ambassadors. The Firm Ambassador Program was recently created by the Massachusetts Society of CPAs to encourage young professionals to act as liaisons between their firms and the statewide organization.

Russell Bedford International, the global accounting network represented by RBF in New England, was once again named among the top 20 accounting networks worldwide by the International Accounting Bulletin 2018 World Survey. Russell Bedford recorded the fifth highest member growth rate of all the networks surveyed.

In late March, RBF partner Bill Rucci presented a morning workshop about the 2018 Tax Cut and Jobs Act to members of the Associated Subcontractors of Massachusetts. The presentation, held in RBF's new conference facility, focused on the impact of new tax provisions on construction-related companies. Then in early May, Bill and colleague Richard C. Cella of Ipswich Bay Advisors co-presented two workshops about the effects of the new tax law on individual investors at locations in Danvers and Gloucester, MA.

Meanwhile, Paul Bardaro and tax principal Lenny Smith presented about the new federal tax laws' impact on the real estate industry to real estate brokers from Re/Max Andrew Realty in late February. Lenny will follow up with a presentation about the new law to an international audience of accounting professionals during Russell Bedford's annual International Tax and Europe/Middle East/Africa Conference on May 19 in Munich City, Germany. 

In the publishing arena, RBF partner Vinny Botta's article, "A New Approach to Lease Accounting: Will You Be Ready?" appeared in the Spring 2018 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.

And in entertainment news, RBF executive assistant  Mikaela McLeod appeared in a production (pictured) of "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat" at St. Paul's Church in Malden. She played the part of Reuben's wife and was part of the musical's ensemble. Mikaela has been a member of local community theatre group 2nd Stage Productions for 15 years. Bravo, Mikaela!
 Success, Measured

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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.