By Lindsey Anderson, CPA
Manager, Tax Services Group

Year-end is an ideal time to give to charity, both for the spirit of the holiday season and the ability to include those deductions on this year's return. Here are some tips on how to maximize the tax benefits of your charitable donations:

Donate Highly Appreciated Stock Instead of Contributing Cash
When it comes to charitable giving, the IRS allows you to take a tax deduction for the fair market value of donated stock held for more than one year, even though you may have paid substantially less for the stock originally. By donating the stock directly to the charity, you will avoid capital gain tax that would have been owed if you had sold the stock directly.

Depending on your tax bracket, this strategy could result in up to an extra 23.8% tax savings on the gain. The charity will usually sell the stock as soon as they receive it to use the proceeds for their mission purposes. You save money by avoiding taxes on the gain and by receiving a charitable deduction for the fair market value of the donated stock.

By Chris Edwards
Manager, IT Services

One of the simplest and least expensive methods of increasing an information worker's productivity is to provide them with more screen space in which to work. This seems like it would be obvious: if you have more workspace, you can do more work.

A study from the University of Utah, first published in 2003 and then updated in 2008, shows that an increase in virtual desk space increases productivity. But the productivity increases taper off after a total screen size of approximately 26 to 30 inches on the diagonal, or 2560 x 1440.

At the time that study was first reported, multiple monitors were uncommon and generally considered expensive. This is no longer true. Almost any computer can be fitted with a USB video card to allow another monitor at a cost of around $50, plus the cost of the second monitor you choose. It's easy to find lower-end or refurbished models for under $100.

Aimee Woehler joined the firm a little over three years ago as a Staff accountant in the Entrepreneurial Services department after an extensive background in the not-for-profit sector. In July of this year her hard work and dedication to finding value for clients was rewarded with a promotion to Senior Accountant.

A Certified QuickBooks ProAdvisor, Aimee sets up QuickBooks for clients and trains their teams with using it, in addition processing payroll, quarterly payroll returns and ongoing bookkeeping services.

  Read More
By Eric Woodruff, CPA
Manager, Audit & Assurance Services

Now is the time of year when people look back on 2017 to take stock of the good and the bad, both personally and professionally. If you're the member of an organization, whether as an employee, manager or owner, this is the season for things like performance evaluations, making goals for the new year and setting budgets.

If you really want to feel satisfied when this time rolls around at the end of 2018, you need to develop a strong bias for ACTION, and avoid accepting the status quo of yesterday!  Put together your plan for improvement, and put it into action -- TODAY!

Not long ago we were speaking to a client who was talking about how 2017 was such a bad year for their company, but they had high hopes for 2018, with a list of plans to start doing in January. Our reaction was, if those steps will make a significant improvement in your operations and outcomes, why aren't you doing them right now instead of waiting for New Year's Day?

Read More
Holiday closures
The offices of Sponsel CPA Group will be closed on Monday, Dec. 25 and Monday, Jan. 1 in celebration of the holidays and to give our team much-deserved time with their families. We thank you for an outstanding 2017, and look forward to serving you in 2018!