Local Office Blogs

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January 30, 2014

Over 100 employees attended our semi-annual office meeting at the Racquet Club of Memphis. CBIZ guests including Jerry Grisko, CBIZ President/Chief Operating Officer, Bill Tapp, Senior Managing Director in the Tampa Bay office of CBIZ MHM, and Ken Rideout, CBIZ President of Employee Services Tennessee, gave presentations reflecting the national, regional and local perspectives of CBIZ.

These perspectives served to inform Memphis employees of where the company has been and where it is headed. Steve Dunavant kicked off the meeting with 2013 metrics and then steered the conversation into office plans for 2014 - the firm's third year with the national accounting services provider. Representatives from different service lines also gave short presentations reflecting on 2013 results and announcing 2014 goals and initiatives. Eustis Corrigan, a New Orleans native, gave the closing remarks to the firm, and he certainly kicked it up a notch by bringing in personalized CBIZ MHM tabasco bottles for the staff. The takeaway: CBIZ MHM is 'Spicing it up' in 2014!        

January 28, 2014

We are proud to announce the promotion of Karen Cassella, CICA to Managing Director in the Memphis office of CBIZ MHM. Karen has more than 20 years of experience in accounting, internal audit, and consulting services. Her expertise is in risk management with her most recent concentration in the payment card industry, particularly with data security assessment and compliance. She excels at designing and documenting internal controls, lean accounting and business processes, financial and operational policies and procedures, and developing formal risk assessments involving finance, information technology and fraud.

“Karen has been an asset to our organization, as well as a national leader in the CBIZ Security & Advisory Services division,” said Steve Dunavant, Senior Managing Director, CBIZ MHM, Memphis. “Her promotion is well deserved, and we anticipate her new role as Managing Director to be one of great influence in our company.”

She received her Executive MBA from the University of Memphis and her bachelor’s in accounting from Christian Brothers University. She is a Certified Internal Control Auditor (CICA) and a member of the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners (ACFE), the Institute of Internal Auditors (IIA), and the Accounting & Financial Women’s Alliance (AFWA). Karen served as President of the Memphis Chapter of Financial Executives International (FEI) from 2011-2013.

January 23, 2014

The final tangible property regulations and proposed regulations on partial dispositions will likely require changes in tax accounting practices and also may create numerous tax planning opportunities. Recently, Eustis Corrigan, Managing Director, filmed a Youtube video which describes the impact of the final regulations.

Important topics covered include: the final regulations release and effective dates, changes in tax accounting practices for these regulations, and compliance and application of the new regulations, including modifications to internal processes. Make sure to continue watching until the end, as Eustis shares 6 questions to determine whether the new regulations have application to your company.

January 21, 2014
The Memphis Grizzlies won in the last two seconds of Friday's home game against the Sacramento Kings, and the Memphis office of CBIZ MHM was there to witness the final score of 91-90. Office Night Out at the Grizzlies, voted by our employees as their #1 favorite CBIZ MHM social event, is our "can't miss" of the year. We had more than 100 people representing CBIZ MHM in the FedEx Forum's club level, and two of our lucky associates made it on the 'fan cam!'    

January 16, 2014

Before meeting with your adviser, plan sponsors should know what to anticipate in an annual review and take steps to complete the following list of responsibilities in order to ensure a successful plan year. Take a look at our fast five on what to achieve in your 401(k) Annual Review:

1. Review what did and did not work in your plan during the prior year. The annual review is not just an advisory meeting. You should expect a more comprehensive review of your investment performance and be ready to make necessary adjustments if needed.

2. Anticipate changing financial environments and mirror these in your plan. While you will want to look at the past year to review plan design and performance, you may also want to think ahead to the coming year. Keep in mind changes in the marketplace or your company dynamics that could affect financial investment plan options for the future, then make changes accordingly.

3. Communicate plan changes to employees. While implementing these changes in your new plan is important, informing your employees of changes and any effective dates is perhaps just as pressing of a matter.

4. Discuss fee arrangements. Though reviewing and negotiating fees is never an easy topic to include in your annual review, it is a necessary one. If your 401(k) investment adviser is not initiating the conversation surrounding your provider fees, you should do so.

5. Confirm that your plan is in compliance with the Investment Policy Statement (IPS). Though your plan should already be in compliance, yearly review of these standards should be commonplace to ensure that any changes in the plan and related investment holdings are in accordance with the IPS.

If you have any questions regarding your 401(k) Annual Review, feel free to contact our Certified Employee Benefit Specialist, Linda Lauer at llauer@cbiz.com or 901.685.5595.

January 14, 2014

As part of the 2013 Uniformity and Small Business Relief Act, taxpayers need to be aware of a change to business tax return due dates, effective January 1, 2014. All Tennessee Business Tax returns (TN Business License based on Gross Receipts) have a due date of the 15th day of the 4th month after the close of their year end.

Effective January 1, 2014, all Business Tax returns must be filed electronically, along with the associated payment. (Ex. December 31 year end, new due date of 4/15/2014.). During the transition, some businesses will be required to file short period returns and deductions will be prorated. Click herefor more information on this business tax transition.

If you need further information regarding this update to business tax returns, please contact Anna Howell, Senior Manager, State and Local Tax, in our Memphis office: ahowell@cbiz.com or 901.685.5575.

January 10, 2014

Drew-Bringhurst-Headshot-croppedToday we announce the addition of Drew Bringhurst as Business Development Manager in our Memphis office.

Drew joins CBIZ MHM with more than 10 years of experience in the sales, marketing, and human resources industries. He most recently served as New Job Fever’s Vice President of Sales and Marketing. His familiarity with the Greater Memphis area is highlighted by this past position, as well as his roles as Senior Account Director at Bringmor Group and Recruiting Manager at Robert Half. As Business Development Manager for CBIZ MHM, Drew will support and expand the organization's business growth model through lead generation and client retention. His major areas of expertise include the finance and accounting, engineering, information technology, and human resources industries.

“Drew’s experience in sales and his knowledge of the Memphis market will be a great asset to our expanding office,” said Steve Dunavant, Senior Managing Director, CBIZ MHM.  “His addition showcases our commitment to delivering superior product lines and client service to the Greater Memphis market.”

Drew received his Bachelor of Business Administration from Christian Brothers University. He currently holds a board position at the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. He is also a board member of the Christian Brothers University Career Services Alumni Advisory Board.

January 7, 2014

Shortly after the U.S. enacted its first federal tax (a customs duty), the Continental Congress created a drawback of that same tax in 1789 to promote trade and allow American companies to compete internationally. Today, the federal government collects more than $28 billion annually in customs tariffs, of which somewhere between $2 billion to $3 billion is available to be refunded under drawback.

Surprisingly, the U.S. Bureau of Customs and Border Protection (CBP) estimates that in any given year more than 70% of these monies go unclaimed and are eventually lost by companies. What is drawback?

 In its simplest form, drawback is a refund of duty paid on imported merchandise that is linked to an exportation (or destruction) of an article. For valid drawback claims, CBP refunds 99% of the value of duties paid at the time of import, retaining 1% to cover its costs of administering the program. Today, there are three categories of drawback: 1) manufacturing drawback, 2) unused merchandise drawback, and 3) rejected merchandise drawback.

How long does it take to receive a refund?

Drawback regulations provide for generous time periods to collect information, import/export documentation, and prepare and file refund claims. For example, recovery of import duties and fees for unused merchandise that is subsequently sent abroad is available when such goods are exported or destroyed within 3 years following import. Considering the multi-year window for claiming drawback after the export of the merchandise, a company new to the drawback program can potentially receive a significant duty recovery on its initial filing(s). Thereafter, duty refund claims can be filed in periodic installments based on import and export activity.

What are the steps required to receive drawback?

In addition to gathering import and export transaction documentation, authorization to operate under drawback is required, and detailed records of the company’s inventory flows must be maintained. For certain types of drawback, the claimant must select a drawback accounting method (e.g., FIFO, LIFO, Low-to-High) which does not necessarily have to match that used by the company for financial or tax purposes. Additionally, a notice of intent to export or destroy merchandise may be required prior to export or destruction, but in many cases, a waiver may be requested.

While there are many benefits to duty drawback beyond cash recovery, the initial and ongoing diligence required to maintain a compliant and effective drawback program can be challenging for some companies.

Considering the various types of drawback available and the advanced approval/ruling requirement, initial studies, such as a duty-refund opportunity identification exercise and operational feasibility analysis, are recommended. These efforts will help determine the amount of duties that may be available for recovery, the type of drawback that may apply to your company, and the process you need to follow to prepare for filing claims. The output of these efforts will provide you with 1) the proper insight for selecting the type of drawback that is right for your company and 2) help you to develop and implement the procedures necessary to operate a robust and compliant drawback program. This guest post was written by Mark Ludwig of Variant Advisors,* a corporate management consulting firm offering value-added services including export control compliance program development, reviews or assessments, and staff & management training.

For more information contact Mark at mludwig@variantadvisors.com or 305-213-8775. *Outside of the Big Four, and through its relationship with Variant Advisors, CBIZ is unique among other major national professional services firm by offering these value-added solutions.      


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