Infographic: Do You Have the Right People on Your Financial Team?

Infographic: Do You Have the Right People on Your Financial Team?

Infographic: Do You Have the Right People on Your Financial Team


Description of Infographic:

Do You Have the Right People on
Your Financial Team?

Do they know your industry?
Finding financial team members who understand the ins and outs of your industry can be difficult—and if they lack that knowledge, they could make mistakes or overlook new options or changing requirements, which could cost your organization in lost hours or fines.

Do they have the right skills and experience?
If your employees lack adequate skills and experience, that means a lot of training and management time for you, which increases your operational costs. On the other hand, hiring— and keeping—top-end accounting staff typically requires paying them high salaries.

Will they stay?
Every time an employee takes substantial time off or moves on to another job, you have to go back to the beginning— back to hiring and training another newcomer, which is a costly and time-consuming process. In addition, employees sometimes take critical knowledge with them, leaving you in a scramble to figure out how to plug the gaps they’ve left behind.

Time to outsource?

4 Reasons to Outsource Your Accounting

4 Reasons to Outsource Your Accounting

Outsourced accounting, bookkeeping, and other financial management services are becoming more common—and for good reason. Businesses and nonprofits that used to rely solely on internal accounting departments are finding that outsourcing some or all finance-related tasks results in significant benefits.


Lower personnel costs

There’s no getting around the fact that bookkeeping and accounting are time-consuming tasks that require ongoing staffing costs (including employee benefits), as well as equipment, facility, and IT costs.

Outsourcing finance-related tasks can be a cost-effective alternative that frees organizations to devote more time and resources to business-critical tasks and programs. Plus, some outsourcing costs can be increased or decreased as business fluctuates.


More expert assistance

Hiring a trusted on-site team with all the expertise you need is not easy, and every time an employee leaves, you have to repeat the time-consuming process of hiring and training a new employee.

Outsource accounting and financial management firms specialize in providing outstanding service, and they typically provide a dedicated team with the expertise you need in bookkeeping, accounting, controller services, reporting, and other tasks. Most are also familiar with the latest technologies and software to produce real-time reports, customizable dashboards, and more.


Less risk

Fraud is a concern for any organization, especially those that have only one internal person in charge of accounting. With outsourced accounting services, multiple people look at your data and reports, which can help you reduce errors, as well as risks.


Support for business growth

By outsourcing finance-related tasks to external experts, you can free internal staff and leadership to focus on running—and growing—the organization. With less time devoted to data entry or learning the latest software programs, organizations can focus on finding new ways to grow the business.

Experienced outsourced teams can also provide a valuable outside perspective. For instance, they might be able to spot an overlooked issue with cash flow or expenditures or point out an opportunity to save time or money.


Explore your outsourcing options

Insero & Co. is one of the premier public accounting firms in Western, Central, Upstate, and the Southern Tier of New York. We offer deep experience across a variety of outsourcing services from bookkeeping to outsourced CFO services.


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Insero Named one of Central New York’s Best Places to Work for 2019

Insero & Co. CPAs has been named one of Central New York’s Best Places to Work by the Business Journal News Network and BizEventz. The list, which is based primarily on employee surveys, includes the top 40 companies in three categories based on number of employees in the region.


“This is very exciting news for our Ithaca team,” said David Mandrycky, Director of Human Resources at Insero. “This is the second year we have participated in the survey and are proud to have earned this distinction. We are looking forward to receiving and reviewing the survey data and building on the feedback that everyone provided. Our people are our most important asset, and we wouldn’t be where we are today without them.”

David Mandrycky accepts Award for Central New York's Best Places to Work

Insero currently employs 150 professionals in five locations including Ithaca, Rochester, Cortland and Watkins Glen. The firm has repeatedly been recognized nationally as one of the Best Accounting Firms to Work for by Accounting Today and Best Companies Group.


According to BizEventz, the Best Places to Work awards program identifies and recognizes the best places to work in Central New York. The goal is to identify and promote those companies who best exemplify the following categories: team effectiveness, manager effectiveness, retention risk, trust in senior leaders, alignment with goals, feeling valued, trust with coworkers, work engagement, individual contributions, and people practices. Results are based on employee feedback.



Rochester-based Insero & Co. CPAs is an accounting and business advisory practice with locations throughout New York state. A full-service public accounting firm, Insero provides attest, tax and consulting services to government agencies, colleges and universities, nonprofit organizations and companies ranging from privately held family businesses to multi-national corporations. These clients represent many industries, including service, manufacturing, distribution, high-tech, telecommunications, education, social services and real estate. For more information, visit

Employee or Independent Contractor: Know the Difference!

Are some of your workers independent contractors instead of employees? Correctly classifying your workers will preserve the tax breaks that come with hiring independent contractors — and help you avoid major penalties.

Why it matters

Employers are required to withhold taxes for employees and pay the employer’s share of payroll taxes on wages. These amounts are reported to the IRS, as well as state tax obligations. An employer may also be liable for fringe benefits for eligible employees, like health insurance and matching 401(k) contributions.

Conversely, an employer doesn’t have to withhold or pay taxes on behalf of independent contractors. These workers take care of taxes, insurance and other benefits on their own.This is why the IRS pays special attention to how workers are classified.

Control is key. Generally, the issue boils down to control. If an employer maintains behavioral and financial control over a worker, he or she should be treated as an employee. Independent contractors, on the other hand, have a high level of autonomy and independence over the work being performed.

Avoid misclassification

The stakes are high. If the IRS discovers a misclassification, it will assess back taxes for the tax years in question, plus interest and penalties. For an intentional error, criminal sanctions may be imposed.

Here’s what an employer can do to avoid the IRS challenging an independent contractor classification:

  • Understand the tax rules. If you exercise a great deal of control over workers, they are likely to be considered employees.
  • Be specific. Spell out the services to be performed by independent contractors, their responsibilities and the expectations in a written contract.
  • Keep work schedules flexible. Avoid setting a regular work schedule for independent contractors. Allow them the ability to set their own hours.
  • Maintain separate payment practices. Compensate independent contractors on a per-job basis. Don’t pay them a regular amount each payroll period, like you do employees.
  • Review work arrangements periodically. Request invoices from independent contractors before payments are made.
  • Be careful about benefits. You don’t need to cover independent contractors under a health insurance plan or provide other fringe benefits that are typically given to employees.

Keep in mind that an employer that has experienced misclassification issues may qualify for tax penalty relief if it can establish it has a reasonable basis for treating workers as independent contractors. This is based on various factors and past history. Back taxes and penalties may be waived if the employer has been consistent in its treatment.

Call us if you have questions about your business situation.

definition of employee vs. indpenedent contractor in the dictionary

As always, we hope you find our tips and news for businesses valuable, and look forward to receiving your feedback. Companies focused on growth have sought the help of Insero & Co. for more than 40 years. During that time they have consistently experienced the peace of mind that comes from knowing their CPA firm takes the concept of integrity seriously. Should you have any questions, please contact us directly.

Use Data to Make Better Business Decisions

3 Ways to Use Data for Better Business Decision-Making

Businesses today have access to more data than ever before, which you can use to measure metrics, track trends, and gain insight into just about every aspect of your customers, products, and services.

Although gut instincts still come into play some of the time, the availability of so much data—and advanced software to calculate key performance indicators (KPIs) and issue real-time reports—makes it imperative for businesses to use data to inform their key decisions.

Following are three ways you can use data to make better, faster business decisions.


1. Use data to optimize pricing

One of the basic questions for businesses is whether they have priced their products or services too low or too high. Just because items are selling doesn’t mean the business is profitable, or that a different price might not lead to better sales and margins.

To optimize pricing, you first need up-to-date data on all costs related to each product or service. An item that is selling fast, generating a high level of revenue, may also be expensive to produce, resulting in low profits. Raising the price to reflect those higher costs might be necessary—and any price change can be closely monitored to see how it affects sales.


2. Manage your margins

Total revenue is not a true indicator of business success. What matters more are profit margins, including both contribution and gross profit margins.

Contribution margins are revenue minus variable costs. Gross profit margins are revenue minus the costs of goods sold. By following both, you can better understand what your profits are and where your break-even point is for every product and service you sell. Using those metrics, you can then look for opportunities to increase your margins—which could mean scaling back low-margin products, promoting the sale of high-margin goods, or other steps.


3. Evaluate your revenue stream

To properly evaluate your revenue stream, it is important to run individualized profit and loss statements on every client. Gut instinct might suggest that your oldest, biggest, or most renowned client is your best client. But when you run the numbers, you might be surprised by what you find.

By running individual reports, you can identify low-margin clients that are damaging your cash flow or limiting your growth. Spend too much time on serving those clients, and you might lose others. Then too, there might be an opportunity cost if you fail to reach new, higher-margin clients because you’re working so hard to maintain low-margin clients.


Use Data for Better Business Decision-Making


Get the insights you need

Insero & Co. is one of the premier public accounting firms in Western, Central, Upstate, and the Southern Tier of New York. Contact us to learn about our outsource accounting services, audit services, employee benefit plan audits, and how we can help your business use data and the latest accounting software to make more informed decisions.

Keep Your Nonprofit Board Motivated and Engaged

The Challenge of Board Engagement

Just about every nonprofit understands the need for a motivated and engaged board of directors. So why doesn’t every nonprofit have one? Because it’s challenging to develop—and maintain—a healthy board.

The good news is that you can take a number of concrete steps to motivate both new and existing members of your board of directors, including these:

  • Engage board members in the mission: Involve members in as many programs and activities as possible, so they can better understand and value the organization’s mission.
  • Set high expectations: People rise to the level of expectations set for them, so set high expectations for new board members. Otherwise, you risk losing their attention.
  • Set specific goals: By setting yearly financial goals, and revisiting them regularly, you can keep members on track.
  • Use the latest technology: Provide board members with easy-to-read reports, marketing material, and other information to help them stay engaged and informed.
  • Provide the right direction: Make sure the executive director manages the board but doesn’t lead it. If the ED is too directive, the board will not fully develop.
  • Interview board members: Once a month, check in with each member. Are they pleased with their role? Have their needs or interests changed? Give them an opportunity to express themselves.


Conduct impactful board meetings

Another critical tool for building a better board is conducting impactful board meetings. Meetings set the tone for members, so plan them well, run them on time, and give members a chance to feel heard and valued.

To help board members appreciate the organization’s impact and mission, consider bringing in clients or program participants to speak or perform at meetings. You might also designate a subcommittee or person to monitor the dynamics of the group during meetings to identify issues and tensions, such as who is talking too much, who needs to talk more, and how to involve everyone.


The Challenge of Board Engagement

Don’t overlook the small things

When it comes to building a successful board, details matter. Along with all the steps mentioned above, pay attention to other seemingly small things that can make a real difference:

  • Collect personal information about board members (birthdays, anniversaries, etc.) and acknowledge them as part of building a trusting relationship.
  • Provide training on fundraising and other important board roles. Even members with skills and experience in a particular area can benefit from further training.
  • Create fun contests or other incentives to encourage board members to hit their fundraising and other goals.
  • Be creative to help board members succeed. If, for instance, they’re not comfortable asking for donations, send them out with an experienced staff member.


Learn More

For more than four decades, Insero & Co. has served nonprofits of all sizes. Our experienced experts provide outsource accounting services, audit services, employee benefit plan audits, and other services to help organizations achieve their missions.

Board Orientations Set Boards Up for Success

Build a Better Board with a Better Board Orientation

Every job needs a job description, and every new member of a nonprofit’s board of directors needs a board orientation. The reasons are similar: In both cases, you want the new member of your team to know exactly what is expected of them, so they can be successful right out of the gate.


Key information in a board orientation

Make sure that, at a minimum, your board orientation provides new members with:

  • A written description of the position
  • A review of organizational operations (mission, bylaws, organizational chart, recent Form 990s, etc.)
  • A summary of board goals, with a review of recent meeting minutes
  • Fundraising obligations
  • Attendance expectations and when and for how long the board meets


Motivate and inform

The board orientation provides an opportunity to do more than simply inform members of their roles and responsibilities. It also provides a chance to let new board members know how important they are to the organization’s success.

When members know that their skills and experience are valued, and they know exactly what’s expected of them, they’ll feel more confident when talking to friends, family, and potential donors. They’ll also be more likely to value their position and feel empowered to use their skills and experience to help the organization meet its goals.


Build a Better Board with a Better Board Orientation

Build a better board

Another advantage of conducting a thorough board orientation is that it can help the entire board of directors run more smoothly. If a new member comes on board who does not understand the organization’s mission or is confused or surprised by member responsibilities, the disruption can disrupt operations for both the board and the executive team.

In contrast, the arrival of a new member who understands the organization’s mission knows exactly what is expected of them, and feels empowered to tackle new challenges can breathe new life into the board and the organization.


Get Started

Insero & Co. has served nonprofits of all sizes for more than 40 years. Our experts provide outsource accounting services, audit services, employee benefit plan audits, and other services to help organizations be more productive and efficient.

Ideas to Help Control Health Insurance Costs

Ideas to Help Control Health Insurance Costs

As health care costs continue to rise, businesses are facing some tough decisions to stay profitable while maintaining this important employee benefit. With insurance renewal season right around the corner, now is the time to evaluate your plan. Consider these cost-cutting ideas:

  1. Review your current plan and shop around. The first step to shoring up your health care benefits is to review your current insurance plan. What do you like about it? Where do you have issues? Engaging your employees and asking for their opinions can provide you some insight, as well. Having a full understanding of your plan allows you to effectively compare the costs of other insurance providers. In many cases you can save costs and add benefits simply by changing insurance companies or coverage options.
  2. Move to a high-deductible health insurance plan. The upfront savings realized by high-deductible health plans (HDHP) make them an enticing option for employers and employees alike. The monthly premiums for HDHPs are lower compared to traditional plans, but the employee has to pay more out of pocket for their health expenses because of the higher deductible. To offset the extra cost to employees, you can offer a health savings account (HSA) to pair with the HDHP. With this approach employees can pay for medical expenses with pre-tax dollars. You, as the employer, can help offset the cost of the higher deductible by making tax-free contributions to your employees’ HSAs.
  3. Consider self-funded options. If properly executed, self-funded insurance plans can save your business money and improve cash flow. The basic concept is that you (the employer) pay the medical claims directly, instead of paying premiums to an insurance provider. Switching to a self-funded plan involves hiring a third party administrator to process the claims, creating a reserve fund to pay the claims, and purchasing stop-loss insurance to protect your company from catastrophic events. All in, a self-funded plan can cut your health benefit costs by up to 10 percent, according to Hub International.
  4. Encourage alternatives to traditional doctor visits. When setting premiums, health insurance companies factor in the cost of covering the claims made by your employees. One way to help control these costs is to educate your employees on the alternatives to traditional clinics and emergency room visits. For example, there are now alternatives such as nursing lines, online doctor consultations and remote monitoring apps that can cut your costs and save your employees some money. With a lower claim history, your future insurance premiums may not be as impacted by skyrocketing health insurance costs.
  5. Promote employee wellness initiatives. Another way to lower medical expenses is to promote the health of your employees. Wellness programs can be as simple as offering flu shots, onsite cancer screenings or organizing a company 5k run. The options are endless, but choosing the correct approach is key to your program’s success. According to a study by Knowable Magazine, an effective program starts at the top. Before rolling out a wellness initiative, present your plan to your company’s leadership team to get them on board.

The proper approach to cutting health care costs is different for every company, so take the time to research your options to ensure the correct fit for your business.

Control Health Insurance Costs

As always, we hope you find our tips and news for businesses valuable, and look forward to receiving your feedback. Companies focused on growth have sought the help of Insero & Co. for more than 40 years. During that time they have consistently experienced the peace of mind that comes from knowing their CPA firm takes the concept of integrity seriously. Should you have any questions, please contact us directly.

7 Interview Tips for Accounting Students

Fall is a busy time for many of us. The kids are going back to school, businesses are gearing up for year-end, and college students are getting ready to interview for their first post-grad jobs. Here are my top 7 tips for how to prepare for and conduct yourself during an interview.

Job Interview for Accountant

1. Research the company – impress the interviewer by taking the time to learn about their organization

Utilize the following resources to research the organization:

    • Internet (visit the company’s web site, LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, etc.)
    • Newspaper and magazine articles
    • Talk to others who work for the company
    • Recruitment/employment literature (often available in school library or career service office)
    • Call the company & ask them to send you some company literature prior to your interview
    • Annual reports

Below are recommendations on the type of information you can research about the organization:

    • When was the company founded?
    • Where are their corporate offices located?
    • What does the organization do?
    • What are its products and/or services?
    • Has the organization been growing?
    • What are some of the organization’s latest achievements or awards?
2. Know your skills and qualifications and how they relate to the position for which you are applying
    • Take time to identify your individual strengths
    • Write down your strengths and think of how these strengths can benefit the company
    • Create a list of things you have accomplished in your career to date (or accomplishments from school) that you are particularly proud of
3. Prepare a brief list of questions to ask the interviewer about the organization and position to convey your interest

Examples of questions to ask during the interview:

    • What are some goals for someone in this position?
    • What would you expect one to have accomplished in the first 3 months on the job?
    • What computer systems/programs would this person work with daily?
    • What is the company culture like?
    • What do you enjoy about working here?
4. Be prepared for questions an interviewer might ask

Behavioral-Based Questions

    • In your current position, what would be one accomplishment that you are most proud of and why? What specifically did you do to accomplish this? What obstacles did you run into?
    • In your current/last position, give me a specific example of how you dealt with a recent customer service issue/complaint? How did the customer react? Was the customer satisfied?
    • Tell me about a more challenging team project that you were involved with. What was the project? What was your role? How did the team function? If you had the chance to do it all over again, what would you do differently?

Fact Finding Questions

    • Tell me more about X?
    • What specifically did you do?
5. Practice, Practice, Practice

Role-play interview questions with a friend or conduct a mock interview with a college career service professional. It may seem awkward at first, but it will definitely help you to become more comfortable in the interview process.

6. Pay attention to your appearance
    • Dress professionally & conservatively – a suit is always best
    • It is always better to be over dressed than under dressed
    • Avoid displaying visible body piercings or tattoos
    • Keep your nails neatly trimmed and clean and avoid flashy nail polish or nail jewelry
    • If you wear a coat to the interview, hang it up (do not wear it during the interview)
    • Do not chew gum during the interview
    • Bring a notebook to take notes. You can have a few questions you plan to ask the interviewer written in your notebook.
7. Put yourself in the interviewer’s shoes

What hiring Managers are looking for in a candidate:

    • Verbal and written communication skills
    • Willingness to learn new skills (flexibility)
    • Evidence of achievement & participation
      • Community involvement – sports, clubs & organizations
      • Work experience
    • Personal qualities
      • Ability to get along with others
      • Positive approach
      • Confidence, neat, professional appearance, motivation
      • Clear & realistic goals, enthusiasm
    • Computer Literacy (MS Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Access, Email, Internet)

Factors which may lead to rejection:

    • Overbearing, overaggressive behavior, overconfident
    • Too soft spoken, timid, poor grammar/slang, swearing
    • Lack of interest/enthusiasm
    • Overemphasis on salary/job hopping
    • Being unwilling to start in entry level position
    • Speaking negatively about past employers & supervisors
    • Lack of eye contact
    • Arriving late for interview (Things happen – if you are late, explain tardiness upon arrival)
    • Poor personal appearance

I hope you have found these tips helpful, and look forward to a busy fall full of successful interviews!

Tax Update: August 2019


Cash balance plans may boost benefits for small business owners
Small business owners may be able to increase tax-beneficial retirement contributions with a combination 401(k) cash balance plan. While 401(k) plans are in wide use, cash balances plans and their potential for significant wealth accumulation for owners may be new to most people.

California enacts changes to recent remote seller provisions
California amends the effective date for district remote seller nexus requirements; offers penalty relief for certain marketplace sellers. California is offering a limited penalty abatement to retailers with “inventory nexus” for sales made between April 1, 2016 and March 31, 2019.

New tax transparency rules will have an impact on the auto industry
The work of the OECD regarding tax transparency has been substantial. The new rules will affect car manufacturers in particular, as they represent the industry with the largest volume of intercompany transactions.

10 success tips for the family business and its next generation
Get key tips for bringing the next generation into the family business. Here are some lessons learned and tips that, if addressed, are likely to improve the likelihood that your business can be one of those success stories where the next generation develops the right traits to propel the enterprise to greater heights.


Cash balance plans may boost benefits for small business owners


Source: RSM US LLP
Used with permission as a member of the RSM US Alliance


At Insero, we make it our business to stay abreast of the latest trends and technical updates in accounting, tax, and audit; and we understand how important timely updates are to our clients. As a member of the RSM US Alliance, we also have the benefit of access to the resources and subject matter experts of RSM US LLP (formerly known as McGladrey LLP). This includes regular updates on the latest federal, state, and international tax news as well as updates pertaining to the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. We hope that you find these informative and useful, and invite you to reach out to us if you have any questions.