Exploring the issues that shape today's business world.

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Sugar Tax / Money Smarts / Mentoring / IPOs / Biz Trends / Top Jobs / Jeans Days Spring 2016

"Every time you feel yourself being pulled into other people's drama, repeat these word: Not my circus, not my monkeys." Polish Proverb


TRENDWATCH: Taxing Your Sweet Tooth

In a recent report, the Tax Policy Center asks an interesting question: “Should we tax unhealthy foods and drinks?” Globally, 13% of adults suffered from obesity in 2014. In the United States, though, a scary 33% fell under the obesity label, and 1-in-16 people were classified as suffering from severe obesity. These rates have almost tripled since the 1960s, and are responsible for approximately 3 million deaths a year and some $2T in medical costs and lost productivity. Could a tax on junk food and drinks help both our waistlines and our budget? Well, maybe. It’s estimated that a penny-per-ounce tax on sugar-sweetened beverages would generate a whopping $10B annually. Weigh in on the debate on Twitter.

$273 Million:
The tax payments Italy’s
financial police allege Google Inc
evaded last year. [Bloomberg]

  Balloon - SH

How to Be Money Savvy

>  Know where you’re going. Set clear, prioritized goals.
>  Catch some breaks. Don’t skip all the tax breaks available to you, like those for college savings and home offices.
>  Pay off credit cards. That means on time and in full.
>  Think ‘security.’ Put something aside for a rainy day.
>  Think ‘interest.’ Have a contingency plan in case federal fund rates rise ... again.
>  Rebalance investments. Always track what you invest.
>  Be scammer savvy. Don’t be made a patsy!
>  Know your pro. Use FINRA’s BrokerCheck to check credentials, registration, and more.

CFOs Say Find a Mentor

According to a recent Accountemps survey, 86% of CFOs say it is somewhat or very important to have a mentor. Trouble is, only 26% of workers have one. Why is it so important? The top benefit cited is to learn “firsthand from someone in a role to which you aspire.”

IPO Bankruptcies? Yikes!

Buyers beware. Audit Analytics and MarketWatch report that despite auditors slowing the warnings they issue, 48% of the going-concern warnings that are received target IPO filings, specifically. The kicker is that these going-concern warnings—where auditors signal the near-term survival chances of a company—are frequently followed by a bankruptcy filing. Audit Analytics says the top reasons for the most recent wave of warnings include “net losses since inception,” an “absence of significant revenues,” and the company’s failure to commence operations or its decision to limit operations.

Student Debt

It could take you less time
to have and raise a child to adulthood than it
would to pay off your credit card debt. [MarketWatch]


5 Business Trends Coming Your Way

Customer is king in the world of business. Here, then, is what your audience is looking for most, according to serial entrepreneur Brian Greenberg.
1. Transparency. Communicating regularly and unequivocally holding yourself accountable.
2. Loyalty. From giant corporations to mom-and-pop shops, loyalty programs help win repeat customers and combat customer price sensitivity.
3. Crowdfunding. Global crowdfunding could surpass $34B this year—a revenue source that’s too big to ignore.
4. Pay-for-play social media. Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, et al are limiting organic reach in exchange for "pay-for-play" ad models, meaning you’ll need to increase social media budgets to grow your audience.
5. Instant gratification. This is the “Age of Impatience.” To be competitive you need to find some way to deliver to customers instantaneously.

CPAs in Top Jobs

Two CPA-specific jobs made Glassdoor’s annual top 25 jobs list this year: Tax Manager ranked #2, boasting a median base salary of $108K, and Audit Manager ranked #10, with a median base salary of $95K. Most other jobs competing for the top 10 spots were in the field of technology.

41%: Americans who didn’t take vacation
days in 2015. We’re working much too hard!
[Skift/Google consumer surveys]


Jeans Day Everyday?

Baker Tilly’s new “Dress for Your Day” pilot program is a new approach to workplace flexibility, giving team members a choice in what they wear to work based on where and with whom they will be working. Baker Tilly says this policy is fairly unique to the industry, adding that employees have asked for greater flexibility with respect to workplace policies. In its press release on the topic, the firm says, “we believe in our people, respect their choices and wish to support their need for flexibility ... As the nature of work evolves, we want to provide our employees with policies that evolve as well. Our goal is to ensure they feel welcome, respected and that they have tools to successfully manage their professional and personal lives.”