How to Successfully Implement Change

3 Tips to Implement Change Successfully

You know what’s hard for organizations? Change. You know what’s worse? Standing still. Whether you need to implement a new corporate process or a new technology, it is critical to not only get the solution and strategy right but also to implement it in a manner that wins over skeptics and ensures long-term success.

Here are three tips for implementing change successfully.

3 Tips to Implement Change Successfully

Tip #1: Recognize that a great idea is only the beginning

Let’s say you know—quantitatively, unequivocally—that your organization needs to automate its accounting system. It’s an absolute no-brainer. If you think your work is done, that all you have to do now is implement your wonderful automated solution, you’re making a mistake.

 

Anytime you’re going to change something at your organization, recognize that there will be hesitancy and resistance. There always is when it comes to dealing with change. So you have to be prepared to tackle several issues that are not about the product but about the culture:

  • Win over management, so you have their support
  • Engage and educate employees
  • Identify opportunities for collaboration across affected divisions
  • Make sure it’s clear who is in charge and accountable

 

Tip #2: Make it a two-way conversation

Employees are less likely to get onboard with a new technology or other solution—again, regardless of how great it is—if they’re simply told after the fact what it is and why it’s good for them.

 

Avoid employee resistance by engaging, as many of them as possible in the full process, from strategy development through implementation. Often, they’ll have valuable, on-the-ground insights into what’s working and what’s not—and they’ll feel more empowered, valued, and engaged.

 

When you announce a forthcoming change to employees, make sure that you explain not only what it is but also why, how, and when it’s being implemented. If you’re not ready to answer all those questions, you’re not ready to announce the change.

 

Tip #3: Review and refine your change processes

After implementing a new process or tool, it’s important to evaluate how well it worked—not the solution itself but the change process. Ask questions such as:

  • Did management adequately support the change?
  • Was there employee resistance? How could it have been better avoided?
  • Was the implementation plan followed? If not, why not?
  • Did the change process move fast enough? Are greater efficiencies possible?

 

About us

Insero & Co. is one of the premier public accounting firms in Western, Central, Upstate, and the Southern Tier of New York. Contact us about our outsource accounting services, audit services, employee benefit plan audits, and how we can help your organization be more productive and efficient.

Bad Debts Cause More Trouble than You Think

How to effectively use your bad debt allowance

When your business extends credit to customers who don’t settle accounts, their debt becomes bad debt. For businesses using the accrual basis method of accounting, establishing the correct bad debt allowance (also called an allowance for doubtful accounts) can bring the asset section of the balance sheet into focus.

 

The basics

The bad debt allowance (balance sheet) and related bad debt expense (income statement) accounts were established to help level out the impact of an uncollected invoice on any one particular financial month. By booking a reasonable estimate of bad debt expense each month, the roller coaster ride of writing off an account in any one month no longer materially impacts a business’ income statement. Instead, you build up a bad debt reserve on your company’s balance sheet to account for the actual recognition of writing off uncollectible sales on the balance sheet.

 

Here’s an example: Assume your accounts receivable totals $500,000. After careful consideration, you determine that only $440,000 is likely collectible this year. By creating a monthly bad debt expense of $5,000 on your income statement, the bad debt allowance on your balance sheet will build up to $60,000 over a year. Then when a write off is required, the reduction is in the allowance account NOT on your income statement. By doing this, you’ll gain a more accurate picture of the company’s monthly financial health, unaffected by one or two large bad debts.

 

Many businesses use a percentage of prior credit sales to calculate bad debt allowance. If your company’s credit sales totaled $100,000 last quarter and bad debts over the same period amount to 2 percent of sales revenue, you could establish an allowance of $2,000. As an alternative, you might assign risk factors based on individual clients, especially if the firm relies on a few large customers.

 

man writing debt

Managing your bad debt allowance

Regardless of the method chosen to calculate bad debt allowance, monitoring it should be a priority. Use these guidelines to help you manage your allowance:

  • Understand the tax implications. Only debts that are considered completely worthless and uncollectible can be taken as an expense on your business tax return — the allowance approach described here is not allowed. Some additional analysis and adjustments to the bad debt on your books will be required when it comes to filing your tax return.
  • Diligently track your allowance. Watch for rising and falling allowance levels, as they will help determine your course of action.
    • Allowance is climbing. A bad debt reserve that’s routinely increasing might highlight the need to adjust policies for extending credit or collecting payment. It means your estimate for bad debts is much higher than actual uncollectible debts. Perhaps you are not being aggressive enough in identifying actual bad debts. Lack of attention here could negatively impact your net asset condition and cause unneeded attention from your bank.
    • Allowance is falling. A declining allowance may indicate you are writing off more uncollectible accounts than you estimated. You need to understand the underlying cause. Perhaps a major customer went out of business or your account receivable group is not pursuing collection aggressively enough.
    • Allowance is holding steady. The initial indication here is that your estimate of bad debts might be appropriate. However, you should still conduct periodic reviews of your accounts receivable aging report to ensure your expectations of credit management are being met. Adjustments should be made as the collectability of specific receivables becomes clearer.

Understanding the bad debt allowance and how it works in conjunction with bad debt expense can really help you manage your financial condition and quickly see if your accounts that pay on credit are being managed to your expectation. Contact us if you have questions.

 

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.

Why Automate Accounting Processes

5 Reasons to Automate Your Accounting Processes

Many businesses begin using manual accounting processes and continue to do so as they grow, often because of the appeal of maintaining the status quo. The problem is that at some point those manual processes can slow organizations down, hindering growth and innovation.

 

If you’ve been on the fence about transitioning to automated accounting processes, it might help to consider the following benefits of automating your accounting processes with Sage Intacct or other cloud ERP solutions.

 

  1. Save time
    Are your month-end closes taking up most of the month? Have you missed payment deadlines? Manual data entry is tedious and time-consuming, with employees spending hours on mind-numbing manual tasks instead of focusing on strategic tasks that add real value to the business.
  2. Be accurate and consistent
    Even highly skilled employees will occasionally make mistakes. Automation alleviates common data entry errors and ensures that every action is performed identically, so your customers, clients, and internal departments receive a consistently high level of service.
  3. Reduce costs
    Manual tasks almost always take longer than automated tasks, which means they demand more employee hours every week, month, and year. Automation reduces those work hours and helps prevent errors that can lead to unexpected additional costs.
  4. Increase visibility
    Using manual accounting methods, it can be extremely difficult to monitor, update, reconcile, and report on every internal process across the organization. When you automate billing, collections, sales, and other processes, you can automatically record and report on key metrics, in real time, so the information you need is always at hand.
  5. Reduce risk
    Automated processes can help you reduce the risk that you are out of compliance with the latest regulations or vulnerable to data breaches and other security concerns. Automated, cloud-based accounting solutions are automatically updated to adhere to the latest guidelines, and top providers follow strict security guidelines to protect your business and its data.

Automate Your Accounting Processes

Where to start?

If you’re convinced of the benefits of automating your accounting functions but overwhelmed by the challenge, remember that you can start slowly. For instance, you could automate your accounts payable workflows or audit documentation first, and move gradually to a completely automated solution.

 

Insero & Co. can help you weigh the benefits of automating your accounting processes and help you make the transition to best-in-class software. Contact us to talk about the relationship-based services we provide and how we can help you improve your processes to be more efficient and productive.

Insero Launches Inaugural Volunteer Day with Rochester Childfirst Network

Insero & Co. CPAs recently held its inaugural Volunteer Day to benefit Rochester Childfirst Network, one of the nation’s oldest organizations providing support to children and families.

 

While Insero and its employees regularly give back to their local communities, Volunteer Day presents an opportunity for staff to come together and make a significant impact for a single organization.

Insero employees work during Volunteer Day at Rochester Childfirst Network

“We take pride in giving back to the communities in which we work, live, and play,” said Nancy Catarisano, Managing Partner of Insero & Co. CPAs. “Volunteer Day is just one of the ways we encourage all of our employees to get involved and make a difference.”

 

More than 100 Insero employees from Rochester, Ithaca, Cortland and Watkins Glen spent the day working on improvement projects to ensure the children have safe and stimulating spaces to learn and play with art, music, and STEM applications. In addition, the firm’s Insero Cares program provides funding to match employee’s direct volunteer time serving eligible charities. As a result, the firm and its employees raised over $12,500 for the organization.

 

“It really is all about the kids,” said Ann Marie Stephan, Executive Director of Rochester Childfirst Network. “Children learn through exploration and play, and we appreciate Insero’s help in providing a nurturing setting for them.”

Nancy Catarisano presents a check to Ann Marie Stephan of Rochester Childfirst Netowrk on Volunteer Day

Insero established its inaugural Volunteer Day in conjunction with RSM’s Volunteer Week. Insero has been a member of RSM US Alliance, a premier affiliation of independent accounting and consulting firms, since 1992. Insero and the RSM US Alliance team have worked together to maximize the volunteer impact for Rochester Childfirst Network.

 

Next year, all RSM US Alliance member firms will have the opportunity and resources to build Volunteer Day in their local markets. This will all be made possible because of Insero and their commitment to stewardship.

 

RSM recently held its tenth annual RSM US Volunteer Week, previously known as Volunteer Day, to benefit local and national nonprofits across the country. While RSM’s people regularly give back to their local communities, RSM Volunteer Week represents part of RSM’s commitment to the communities where the firm’s people work and live.

 

In addition to support from Insero and RSM, the project was supported by donations from a number of local businesses including Wegmans, Home Depot Henrietta, Home Depot Penfield, Lowes Webster, Lowes Henrietta, Broccolo Tree & Lawn Care, Sarah’s Garden Center, Runnings Brockport, Roc Brewing Co., and Mark’s Pizzeria.

 

ABOUT INSERO & CO. CPAS

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 www.inserocpa.com.

 

ABOUT ROCHESTER CHILDFIRST NETWORK

Rochester Childfirst Network is a not-for-profit agency dedicated to advancing the quality of early education and care in Western New York, through leadership, advocacy, and innovative direct services to children. For more than 160 years, RCN has worked to support children and families in Rochester. Through innovative direct services to children, advocacy, and leadership, RCN continues to help children grow safe and strong, able to achieve their full potential. For more information visit www.rcn4kids.org.

 

ABOUT RSM US LLP ALLIANCE

Insero & Co. CPAs has been a member of RSM US Alliance, a premier affiliation of independent accounting and consulting firms, since 1992. This affiliation gives Insero access to a full range of national and international capabilities through RSM US LLP. RSM US Alliance has more than 75 independent member firms in 38 states, the Cayman Islands and Puerto Rico.

 

RSM US Alliance provides its members with access to resources of RSM US LLP, the leading provider of audit, tax and consulting services focused on the middle market, with more than 9,000 people in 86 offices nationwide. RSM US Alliance member firms are separate and independent businesses and legal entities that are responsible for their own acts and omissions, and each are separate and independent from RSM US LLP. Members of RSM US Alliance have access to RSM International resources through RSM US LLP but are not member firms of RSM International. For more information, call toll free 800.537.7178 or visit rsmus.com/alliance.

 

Audit & Accounting Update: August 2019

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 financial reporting insights. We hope that you find these informative and useful, and invite you to reach out to us if you have any questions.

 

Employee benefit plans

Revised reporting on financial statements of plans subject to ERISA
A recent SAS addresses the auditor’s reporting on financial statements of employee benefit plans subject to ERISA.

 

Accounting

Monitoring inflation when applying ASC 830
The Center for Audit Quality International Practices Task Force framework can be used for monitoring inflation statistics.

Transitioning away from LIBOR
The FASB has added a project to its agenda to address accounting changes necessitated by reference rate reform.

Proposed narrow-scope amendments to credit losses standard
The FASB recently issued a proposed ASU to address issues raised by stakeholders during the implementation of ASU 2016-13.

Proposed deferred CECL effective date and the definition of an SRC
Our article discusses the FASB’s proposed deferred CECL effective date and the SEC’s definition of a smaller reporting company.

Second FASB Staff Q&A document: Estimating expected credit losses
The FASB staff recently issued a Q&A document to address more than a dozen frequently asked questions related to ASU 2016-13.

Source: RSM US LLP
Used with permission as a member of the RSM US Alliance
http://rsmus.com/our-insights/newsletters/financial-reporting-insights.html

As always, we hope you enjoy this edition of our newsletter and we look forward to receiving your feedback. Should you have any questions regarding the information contained in the attached materials or our service offerings, please contact us directly.

Considering Employee Raises? Review These Ideas

Considering Employee Raises? Review These Ideas

Deciding how to administer employee raises can perplex even the most seasoned managers. How often should raises be given? Should they be given across the board to all workers? If staff turnover is increasing, can you turn back the tide by granting raises to the most productive workers? There’s a lot to consider.

As you create or update your plan for giving out employee raises, here are some ideas to consider:

  • Pros and cons of merit raises. You may think that giving everyone the same raise (either percentage or dollar amount) seems impartial and will produce harmony. But there’s a downside. Your top performers — workers who sell more widgets, meet customer demand more often, and maintain a great work ethic in the face of additional responsibility — often leave if they’re recognized the same as employees who show up late, have a bad attitude, or perform poorly. To solve this, consider establishing specific goals along with tiered raises for employees who meet or exceed published goals whenever possible.

 

  • Always with budget in mind. Raises mean higher labor costs, expenses that a company’s cash flow must support month after month, year after year. As you create your annual operating budget, incorporate expected labor cost increases. In addition to planning for standard cost-of-living adjustments (COLAs) and performance based wage increases, set aside funds for bonuses, commissions and “spot awards” (lump sum payouts for superior performance). You may also set guidelines for rewarding staff members whom identify operational improvements or generate goodwill in the community.

  • Reward existing staff first. When companies grow, they often face the prospect of hiring additional staff. If you’re in that enviable position, remember to review your current employees. A business that’s gaining customers and market share may load additional responsibility on existing workers. Plus, your more experienced employees may be asked to train new staff or work longer shifts. This current compensation review is especially important if the job market requires hiring new employees at or above the rates of your current, seasoned staff.

 

  • Communicate expectations regularly. Clearly state and routinely emphasize performance goals. Consider separating personal performance discussions with salary action. That way if revenues are down and you’re faced with the tough choice of freezing salaries, there is less chance an individual’s performance will be solely linked to pay. Then you can creatively use incentives and spot awards to reward behavior and ideas that help your business turn the corner.

 

A highly structured system for granting raises may allow your company to stay within budget, but if your best workers become dissatisfied and leave, labor costs can skyrocket. A well-managed payroll system that rewards great performers on a regular basis and is understood by all employees can be an effective tool to retain workers and help keep morale high.

 

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.

How to Implement a Board Assessment

Successful nonprofits tend to have healthy, energized boards of directors. Board members don’t just show up—they actively participate in meetings, fundraise, provide thoughtful oversight, and much more.

The challenge for many nonprofits is to build and then maintain a strong and engaged board. One way to do this is by performing a periodic board assessment, which can accomplish a number of important goals:

  • Illustrate (and reiterate) the board’s importance to the organization
  • Define roles and prevent duplication of effort among board members
  • Provide opportunities for self-reflection regarding strengths, weaknesses, etc.
  • Create a baseline for future efforts
  • Help begin essential conversations (about term limits, recruitment, etc.)
  • Provide a format for expressing concerns and raising or revisiting concerns

energized boards of directors meeting discussing a board assessment

How to build a board assessment

If you think your nonprofit would benefit from a board assessment, begin by asking these two fundamental questions, which will drive the framework for your assessment:

  • Why does this nonprofit exist?
  • How can our board help advance our mission?

There is no single template for board assessments. Depending on your needs, you can tailor the format, questions, grading scales, and more. For example, you might want to ask each board member to rate the board on a scale from 1-5 on topics such as performance on core responsibilities, understanding the mission, and succession planning.

Typically, you’ll want to describe each item you ask about, such as what exactly the board’s core responsibilities are. That ensures that every board member is responding based on the same understanding, and it helps to educate board members who may not have a full understanding of every topic.

Another best practice is to leave room for comments, which can add depth and insight to the results. Remember that your goal is not only to gather information from board members but also to encourage them to reflect on their individual and collective performance, which can lead to new ideas and insights, as well as a greater feeling of belonging.

When you collect and compare all of the board assessments, you can identify challenges, strengths, and opportunities, which can be relayed to board members. Using that information, you can then start to outline the topics of conversation in your timeline for governance agendas.

Learn More

Insero & Co. has worked with nonprofits for more than 40 years. Our experienced experts are available to help you with outsource accounting services, audit services, employee benefit plan audits, and other services designed to free you to focus on mission-critical work.

Employee Benefits Update August/September 2019

This issue’s topics include:

Is it time to give a fresh look at “alts” in retirement plans?

Are many plan participants gaining the benefit of a truly broad diversification of retirement portfolio assets? The answer might depend on whether they’re covered by a defined benefit (DB) plan or a defined contribution (DC) plan. This article takes a look at why DB plans offering “alternative” investments, also known as alts, may make a big difference.

Read More

Time for class

Widening the scope of training for retirement plan committee members

Learning the ropes of overseeing a retirement plan isn’t a “one and done” exercise. Periodic training updates for retirement plan committee members acting in a fiduciary capacity is a prudent approach to ensuring that they maintain the current knowledge essential to carry out their duties. This article reviews why it’s important to ensure that new committee members get a strong grounding in plan operations and their responsibilities promptly on being appointed to a plan committee, if not before. A sidebar discusses whether following the “prudent man rule” is sufficient for retirement plan fiduciaries to perform their duties effectively.

Read More

DB plan de-risking strategies in full swing

Private sector employers have been retreating from the defined benefit (DB) pension model for decades. This is largely motivated by a desire to “de-risk” the company from a financial obligation that’s as variable as financial market behavior. More recently, holdouts on that trend have been given new motivation to depart from the DB design: escalating Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC) premiums. 2015 legislation set the stage for annual increases through 2019, after which the increases will be indexed for inflation. This article examines what plan sponsors of DB plans need to know about de-risking their plans.

Read More

Make your SPDs user-friendly

The text of a summary plan description (SPD) is usually the product of a tug-of-war between cautious ERISA attorneys who worry about the use of general, simple statements, and human resources professionals familiar with their average employees’ reading level. The attorneys often tug harder, and the result is a document that many employees pick up, glance at, and promptly toss. This article discusses why that’s not a good outcome.

Read More

Compliance alert

This feature lists a few key tax reporting deadlines for September.

Read More

adults business meeting, training for retirement plan committee members

As always, we hope you enjoy this edition of our newsletter and we look forward to receiving your feedback. Should you have any questions regarding the information contained in the attached materials or our Employee Benefit Plan Services, please feel free to contact me directly.

Want to learn more?

Join our Employee Benefit Plan Resources group on LinkedIn for more frequent updates on recent developments and best practices and discuss related topics with your peers.

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Nancy Catarisano Named Managing Partner Elite

Nancy Catarisano, Managing Partner of Insero & Co. CPAs, LLP, has been named one of Accounting Today’s 2019 Managing Partner Elite. The publication described Catarisano, who has served as Insero’s Managing Partner since 2011, as being “ahead of the revolution” and featured her photo on the cover of the print edition of the magazine.

“We started a strategic planning process in 2012,” said Catarisano. “It is an ongoing process, consistently working to keep the leadership group all on the same page with the firm’s priorities. The world is changing faster than ever before and the successful accounting firms are focused on the future. Our plan is very simple, we believe that our clients and our community need to be center stage. Strategically, we know that our focus needs to be on our people, ensuring they have the technical skills for the changing accounting landscape and the leadership skills to implement the changes. I believe evolution is led by the partners and revolution is led by the team members and our industry is going through revolution.”

Nancy Catarisano, Managing Partner

“We are dedicated to using innovation and new technology to complete our work more efficiently. This enables us to spend less time blocking and tackling and more time providing value added advice to help our clients.  We assembled a team of the brightest and most forward-thinking team members and asked them to lead our innovation committee focusing on new initiatives using technology.  There are no members of management on this team and we provided them with the autonomy and power to think outside the box, be creative, and dream big.”

“When I assumed the managing partner role, I chose to focus on our core value: ‘Passionate about People’. Our focus on people was the key, and our growth and client service metrics improved as a by-product of that. Yes, we have rolled out new programs and benefits, but ultimately the most important thing we did was listen to what our people had to say.  The initial year we submitted the application for Accounting Today’s Best Accounting Firms to Work For, we did it not to be recognized, but rather to get a baseline and see what honest feedback our people were afraid to share live with us. When we received the results, we scheduled a team meeting and talked about what they had to say, we listened, we were educated, and we made changes.  The result has been a much better firm for everyone.”

To read the full article, visit AccountingToday.com.

ABOUT INSERO & CO. CPAS

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 www.inserocpa.com.

How to Find the Right Cloud ERP Software

The Basics of Cloud ERP Software

Just about every organization is already in the cloud or considering moving there. If you’re trying to decide whether to transition to cloud-based ERP software, you first need to understand some basic terminology. Then you can ask smart questions and identify the right solution to fit your business needs.

Multi-tenant vs. single-tenant

ERP software is built with multi-tenant or single-tenant architecture. Most organizations will benefit most from multi-tenant Software as a Service (SaaS) applications like Sage Intacct that were written exclusively for the cloud. With multi-tenant applications, the cloud provider shares infrastructure and applications across multiple customers and takes care of upgrades, security, and more. That means every user runs on the same software version, with updates and upgrades automatically applied across the business.

Single-tenant software versions—also called hosted or managed services—give a business dedicated access to the infrastructure and applications. Single-tenant solutions are typically more expensive than multi-tenant arrangements, and you have to manage the deployment much as you would for a private cloud.

APIs

Application programming interfaces (APIs) allow for communication between different applications. APIs are critical with ERP software because they allow you to integrate your ERP system with other cloud applications. Every ERP software solution will have APIs, but you’ll want to be sure they’re well-documented and have existing integrations with other popular cloud software products that you use, such as ADP and Salesforce.

Device agnostic

If a cloud application is device-agnostic, you can access it from any device, from desktops to smartphones, using any web browser. Make sure that any ERP software you purchase is device-agnostic, so you can add new devices without concern about accessibility.

SOC 2 compliance

All cloud-based ERP software providers will no doubt promise that your data will be secure, but how can you be sure? First, ask to be certain that their data center has been audited. Then ask if they are SSAE 16 SOC 1 or SOC 2 compliant (SOC 2 is strongest). If they say they are compliant, request a copy of their SOC 1 or 2 report, which they should freely supply.

Learn More

Insero & Co. can help you understand all the key features of different cloud-based ERP software solutions, and help you decide whether now is the right time for you to make the move to the cloud.