•  

Local Office Blogs

rss
Feel free to peruse our blog or search for posts based on a specific term.





May 7, 2019

A Road Map for Innovation: 3 Elements of Design Thinking

In the second quarter CBIZ Executive Advantage Series, Jon Cook, Global CEO of VMLY&R, shared a key element to the advertising agency’s record of success and innovation, design thinking. The concept of design thinking transcends the advertising world and has broader applications wherever there are people delivering products, services, and experiences. Jon distilled the complex philosophy down to a method that is both repeatable and unrestricting.

Jon distilled design thinking down to three basic elements: perspective, exploration and solution.

1. Perspective

There is no single correct perspective, but beware of limiting your focus to a single overriding principle. Jon used the example of efficiency, which can lead to a culture of “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” This kind of environment stifles innovation and is unlikely to produce products or experiences that exceed expectations.

2. Exploration

Exploration could also be called the research phase. Jon warns against getting caught up in competitor research, although it can be a necessary evil at times. Focusing on competitors limits your research to your own industry, full of people answering the same questions as you with the same basic tools and strategies. Instead, try looking to thought leaders, successful campaigns across all industries, and universal everyday experiences.

3. Solution

When design thinking is used successfully, the solution will do more than answer the immediate question. The solution will change the question. For example, design thinking led VMLY&R to stop asking how to influence their audience to engage with their ads and start asking if ads were the best way to reach their audience. This simple shift led to the social phenomenon that engaged Wendy’s core audience of 18-24 year old men by live streaming a Wendy’s character playing their favorite video game. Click here to learn more about Wendy’s Story.

Jon also cautioned that there is no step-by-step approach to design thinking. The path from perspective to solution is not a linear one, but circular and continuous. By focusing on reframing the question, we can begin to reshape how innovative solutions can effectively address the needs of consumers.

To register for the next CBIZ Executive Advantage Series event, please email kcevents@CBIZ.com.




December 10, 2018

In the fourth quarter CBIZ Executive Advantage Series, Russell Welsh from Polsinelli and Gayle Packer from Terracon dove into succession planning, and leading through transition within a company. As Mr. Welsh retires as Chair of the AM 100 law firm and Ms. Packer steps into the role of CEO, they provided key insights on managing clients, employees, and the organization with a smooth transition process.

  1. “Make a commitment to be in their space, in their offices.”

Gayle said she realized early on that most employees were not too concerned with who the CEO of their company was. They were much more concerned with their direct supervisors, and any initiatives that would affect their day-to-day ability to effectively complete their jobs. To make herself accessible, she began traveling to all the local offices, spending time where the employees were doing their daily work.

  1. “Work to retain the talent that didn’t get the job.”

Russell said that one thing they did before they even began extensive interviews was ensure they could retain the candidates that were passed up for the opportunity. While they may have decided on someone else, the other candidates were invaluable to the firm and needed to know they were crucial components for Polsinelli’s continued success. Russell stressed the importance of making sure this was an intentional process.

  1.  “Find the dysfunction that suits you best and run with it!”

Every team and every leader has their own dysfunction. Gayle’s advice was to accept this fact, find which dysfunction is best for your organization, and embrace it. She encouraged people entering new roles to avoid trying to mimic everything their predecessor might have done; they are going to do some things differently, and while this may be uncomfortable at first, will be better in the long run.

  1. “Bypass your ego – change is not an attack on you or what you’ve done.”

Many times during transition, the retiring or exiting leader can begin to feel like new initiatives or changes within the organization due to new leadership is a personal attack. Russell said the best advice he could give to those who were leaving an organization is to let go of their ego and recognize change is necessary, rather than seeing it as a personal affront to their legacy.

To register for the next two CBIZ Executive Advantage Series events, please email kcevents@CBIZ.com for more information.




June 12, 2017

As you may have seen in the news, Kansas has retroactively repealed the exemption from taxation for flow-through income (including income reported on Federal Schedules C, E and F) beginning in 2017.  The bill does reinstate the deductions associated with this flow-through income, such as self-employment taxes, self-employed health insurance and pension contributions, which will help somewhat to lower the tax increase from the flow-through income.  However, the Kansas bill also retroactively increases individual income tax rates effective for 2017 and ends the “path to zero” income tax rates in Kansas which were scheduled to be phased in over the next few years.  The bill was vetoed by Governor Brownback but quickly overridden by the Kansas Legislature. 

For 2017, the previous income tax rates are increased by .3% and a new rate of 5.2% is established for individuals filing married filing jointly with taxable income over $60,000.  For all other individual taxpayers the 5.2% rate will apply to taxable income over $30,000.  Important to note:  the bill does provide that no penalties or interest will be assessed for any underpayment of taxes due to the changes in law, as long as the underpayment is paid on or before April 17, 2018.  As a result, you will likely be able to continue paying any estimated tax payments which have already been established.

Looking forward, the limit on certain itemized deductions is scheduled to be gradually increased from 2018 to 2020 such that 100% of mortgage interest and real estate taxes will be deductible in 2020.  For the year 2018, medical expenses will again become 50% deductible as part of this gradual phase in of increased itemized deductions. 

For most individuals, the new legislation will result in more income tax liability in Kansas.  As a result, Kansas flow-through entities should take steps to reduce the income flowing through to the shareholders/partners/members of these entities.  One immediate step which should be considered is whether the entity will qualify for any Kansas incentives.  We can schedule a meeting with our State Incentive Team to determine what incentives the company would qualify for in 2017 (including tax credits, training grants and other reimbursements).  If the company currently does not qualify, we can work with you to review and potentially restructure current processes and procedures to qualify.  Most of these credits and incentives are not retroactive so it is imperative to get the process started now!  For this and other tax planning or any questions on the recent tax act, please contact your local CBIZ tax advisor. 




April 27, 2017

On Thursday April 20th the CBIZ MHM, LLC Kansas City Manufacturing Practice co-hosted the 2017 Manufacturing Summit at TopGolf with co-hosts UMB Bank and Spencer Fane. Guests were invited to sit in various presentations surrounding industry hot topics. Bill Smith, Esq., managing director CBIZ National joined Chris Gutierrez, president of KC SmartPort to shed light on President Trump’s upcoming tax reform and the current state of Kansas City development.

Other sessions included Andre’ Trudell, managing director, UMB Bank joined by Special Agent Christopher Lamb, FBI discussing Corporate Security and Accessing Capital Markets. Kansas City Law Firm, Spencer Fane took the stage with partners Patrick McInerey, Pat Whalen and Attorney Jaspal Hare to discuss software development contracts, cyber security and internal and government investigations. After the seminar more than 40 guests were invited to join the speakers for golf and networking featuring a southern buffet and open bar at one of Kansas City’s best entertainment spots, TopGolf. 

For more information about the event or our Manufacturing distribution list please contact Melanie Clark.

 





August 22, 2016

On Thursday, August 18th the CBIZ MHM, LLC Kansas City Transaction Advisory Services (TAS) Practice held a wine tasting event to introduce our national TAS capabilities and our local experts. Members of the CBIZ National TAS Practice, David Stagliano, Managing Director, CBIZ MHM Philadelphia, and Luke Snyder, Director, CBIZ MHM Philadelphia, joined local team members in a brief presentation on the CBIZ TAS capabilities and expertise. 

In addition to a meet and greet session with some of the local and national practitioners, the more than 50 guests in attendance enjoyed a wine tasting featuring a variety of wines provided by Royal Liquors and ample time to connect with peers and local entrepreneurs in possible buy/sell situations and/or looking for capital investment.

The Kansas City TAS group will continue host events on a quarterly basis.

For more information on this event, TAS or to get added to our TAS distribution list, contact Alex Elliott.










May 19, 2016

On June 2nd the Kansas City CFO group will host their second quarter breakfast event, featuring retiring Burns & McDonnell CEO, Greg Graves.

During this interactive discussion, Greg will focus on the explosive growth Burns & McDonnell has experienced over the last 12 years, the finance role and how it plays into leadership and growth, and much more!

For more information and to register, click here.




May 12, 2016

On Thursday May 12th, the Kansas City Construction Practice kicked off their summer breakfast event series with a discussion focused on Key Employee Incentive and Retention Plans – Creating a Motivated Management Team.

Key employees can be hard to find and even harder to keep. High-caliber employees drive the generation of profit and enterprise value, and can be a vital piece in a successful ownership transition. As a business owner, identifying these employees, understanding what motivates them to remain loyal, and encouraging them to stay the course, is critical to your company’s future, your financial independence and your personal legacy.

 While higher pay seems like the best answer, it doesn’t stop competitors from offering even higher pay or better opportunities, it doesn’t encourage the leadership mentality and it doesn’t invoke loyalty – in many cases an incentive or retention plan may be the best solution.  It is important to first understand what motivates your high-caliber employees and then design an effective plan that will benefit both the employer and employee. During our discussion today, Joyce Farris outlined a variety of different plan options and decisions to weigh as you go down this path.  To summarize, no matter what type of plan you institute, the plan should: 

  • Motivate key employees to attains goals and as they do, the company value should increase;
  • “Handcuff” the key employee to the company;  
  • Outline meaningful and realistic objectives that are well-communicated;
  • Provide substantial benefits and should be a win for both the employer and employee; and 
  • Provide specific guidelines on how to achieve the benefit (s).

To receive a copy of today’s presentation, for questions on this topic or for additional information, please contact Joyce Farris at 816.945.5121 or jfarris@cbiz.com

Save the Date for Part II in the Construction Breakfast Series: Employee Stock option Plans (ESOPs) in the Construction Industry, July 12th.




April 5, 2016

Originally featured in Thinking Bigger Magazine - March 2015

As a small business owner, there may come a time, if it hasn’t already, when you need money and you need it now.

There are a variety of funding options available: banks, home equity, the SBA, friends and family, investors, accounts receivable factoring, credit cards—the list goes on and on.

However, what if you have exhausted all of those sources and still have a short-term need for cash? As you begin the quest to find financing, you may consider alternative funding—an option becoming increasingly popular for small businesses across the country. 

 Because the traditional banking system’s regulations have made it increasingly difficult, time-consuming and, in some cases, impossible for a small business to get quick funding from their bank, this niche financing  industry has emerged, filling a need that many  primary funding resources have overlooked. 

What Exactly Is Alternative Funding?

Lending Club and Kabbage are two examples of companies providing alternative funding services. These, as well as other organizations in this niche, are primarily online resources focused on providing fast and flexible short-term financing to small businesses.

Typical lending ranges from $10,000 to $100,000. After the process has started, it usually takes about a day for the company to receive financing, assuming all the funding conditions have been met.

Kansas City is actually home to an alternative funder, CapFusion. Though the company provides funding to small businesses across the country, the company’s founders are based in Kansas City. And they may pay extra attention if they receive an application from a business that is located here, too.

Why Isn’t Everybody Using Alternative Funding?

There are pros and cons to all funding options, but the main cons associated with alternative funding include the associated costs, the dollar limits and the relative experience of the lender.

The costs of these loans can be significantly more than annualized rates associated with conventional financing. Using alternative funding, a typical transaction’s annualized interest expense is anywhere from 30 percent to 50 percent. Remember, there is a reason this niche is referred to as “alternative funding” and not primary funding.

Additionally, the players in this space typically lend in much lower dollar amounts than other types of financing. The thought behind this being, once a company has stabilized its cash flow and has time to patiently search for the best conventional financing arrangement, it will no longer need alternative financing. 

Lastly, as a relatively new niche, many companies in this space are relatively young. Some small business owners simply may prefer working with more established, well-recognized institutions.

What You Should Do

As if running a business doesn’t present enough challenge to the small business owner, I’ll add one more. It is important to understand all the financing options available to you and the pros and cons before you make a decision. Put in the time and effort to analyze your alternative financing options, the same way you would research other goods and services.

While working with an online alternative funding source may be your best solution, make sure your needs align with the company’s capabilities, and make certain you are working with the lending company that will be providing the financing, versus a broker, which will lead to substantially more costs.

Learn more about the author of this article, Daniel Kjergaard and our Entrepreneurial Services Group.




February 29, 2016

Originally published on Startland News

You know the feeling you get when you find $20 in your pocket that you forgot was there?

Or have you seen the late-night infomercials about all the “found money” just sitting around waiting for you to claim it?

It’s exciting stuff — the kind that makes your pulse race and your mind wander to the endless possibilities available to you and your newly found money. But then the nagging voice in the back of your head questions, “Are there other savings opportunities I may be missing out on?”
As a startup, you may be overlooking something more lucrative than that extra $20. It’s called a Research and Development (R&D) tax credit and may even result in CASH!

The Basics: Beginning this year, startup companies with gross receipts of less than $5 million may elect to claim the R&D credit against payroll tax liabilities. Congress wants to encourage companies to remain persistent in developing new products and has created a way for companies investing in these activities to save money.

Almost any for-profit company working on new products or processes may qualify, regardless of whether the company is currently making money. Specific items might include software application, new tangible products or even upgrades to older products. Another great indicator is if you have engineers, computer programmers or other technicians on staff.

Who qualifies: We won’t go into the specifics of the calculation here, but basically, if you’re spending money on personnel and outside professionals to research a new product or platform, you’ll likely qualify for the credit.
The hardest thing for most companies is trying to compile all the research and development costs at the end of the year. While all good companies track spending, they don’t necessarily track costs for specific types of tasks, so when it comes to the end of the year, it may be difficult to accumulate the actual research costs incurred.

The best thing to do is make sure your accounting platform is setup to capture these costs as they occur. Understanding what type of costs can go toward the credit is critical to maximizing the accumulation. For example, does an administrative assistant helping a computer programmer compile data qualify? The answer to that and similar questions depends on the business.

The Bottom Line: Now is the ideal time to talk with your accounting and tax advisors to guarantee you are taking the proper steps to ensure you don’t leave money on the table. 

The only question you should be asking yourself now is, are you ready to discover your company’s hidden savings?  After all, in the words of another late-night infomercial, “It’s your money”.

By: Dan Schmidt, Founder of EBCFO and Ben Anderson, Manager at CBIZ MHM, LLC Kansas City




November 5, 2015

Together, with Husch Blackwell and UMB Bank, CBIZ MHM, LLC proudly sponsored a seminar dedicated to the Manufacturing and Distribution industry on October 29th. Held at Boulevard Brewery, the seminar focused on the cybersecurity threats facing the manufacturing and distribution industry. Attendees heard from accounting, financial and legal professionals as they discussed the industry economic forecast, data breach threats to companies in the Kansas City area, vendor security and risk management.

To wrap up the seminar, special guests Chris Lamb, FBI - Cyber Investigations, and John Cowles, Assistant US Attorney – USAO, Western District of MO, focused on the current trends in cyber investigations (locally and nationally) and prevention tips.   

The Manufacturing industry is important to CBIZ MHM and we are very pleased to have had several clients and guests attend the event to learn more about the security challenges facing this industry. Below, we have included the top ten takeaways from the seminar.  As an additional resource, the presentation is available for download here

  1. Understand the global threat – Threats to cybersecurity are increasing both in quantity and severity. From 2012 to 2013, data breaches doubled!
  2. Know the cost – From 2013 to 2014, the average cost of data breaches went up by more than 15%, making the average $3.5 million.
  3. Know your data - Know what data your company has, where it is stored and how it’s secured.
  4. Clean it out - Look for opportunities to eliminate old and unnecessary data.
  5. Use your resources – There are third party professionals who are experts in various aspects of cybersecurity, including the FBI, all of which are resources for you - use them! 
  6. Mitigate your risk - A formal risk assessment should be performed at least annually – whether done internally or by a third party specialist.
  7. Get covered – Companies should consider obtaining insurance to cover cybersecurity incidents and review policies with specialists to make sure they provide adequate coverage.
  8. Educate your employees – 93% of employees knowingly violate cyber security policies. People are the biggest cause of security breaches. Employees need to be trained and updated on cybersecurity issues.
  9. Size DOESN’T matter – In fact, the smaller the business is, the easier it is to hack!
  10. It could happen to you – The odds of a Manufacturing company being targeted for a cyber-attack are 1 in 3. No one is immune to an attack; assume you will be targeted at some point! It is important to be proactive and have a plan in place ahead of time!

Did you miss the seminar, but want to make sure you are added to future invitation lists? Contact aelliott@cbiz.com.




Tags

Phoenix tax Accounting affordable care act Alex Elliott anna howell Audit audit and assurance Award Awards awards and recognition BEPS Best Places to Work Betty Isler Bill Tapp BizJournals biztips bizwomen Blog Brad Hale brenda brigman bryan koch CBIZ CBIZ MHM CBIZ MHM Memphis CBIZ MHM Tampa Bay cbiz security and advisory services CBIZ Women's Advantage CBIZBlog CBIZKC CBIZMHM CFO CFO & Controller Conference cfo conference CFO of the Year CFO of the year awards Charity Community Involvement Conference Construction Controller Conversation With Craig Gilman cwa Dave Enick DOL EBP EBP Audits Ed Rataj Employee Benefit Plan Audits Employee Benefits employee engagement EmployeeBenefits EntreprenurialServicesGroup ESG Eustis Corrigan events Food Drive healthcare HR Human Resources Innovation International Tax Jenny Matasic Josh Finfrock Joyce Farris Kansas City KansasCity karen cassella KC CFO Breakfast Series KCEvents linda lauer lloyd grissinger Local Managing Director Manufacturing Mark Baricos MBJ Megan Murdock memphis Memphis Business Journal Memphis Daily News memphis super women in business mentoring monday mergers and acquisitions moira house Networking NFP Not-for-profit Paul Dunham pci compliance Phoenix promotions real estate Revenue Recognition SALT Service Social Committee sonya daniels Sponsorships Start Ups State and Local Tax steve dunavant Success Super Women in Business Tampa Bay Tampa Bay Business Journal tangible property regulations Tax Tax Incentives tax reform The Daily News Top Workplaces Tracey McDonald transaction advisory services Transfer Pricing UMB Bank University of Memphis Volunteer workplace award