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Questions About Agreed Upon Procedures

An agreed upon procedures (AUP) engagement uses procedures similar to an audit, but on a smaller and limited scale. Here’s how a customized AUP engagement differs from an audit and can be used to identify specific problems that require immediate action. How do AUPs compare to audits? The American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA)…

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Nonprofits can save with an accountable plan

Your not-for-profit can’t generally reimburse employees for business expenses tax-free just because staffers submit expense records. However, you can if you have a properly executed accountable plan. Under such a plan, reimbursement payments will be free from federal income and employment taxes for recipient employees and not subject to withholding from their paychecks. Additionally, your…

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Offer plan loans? Be sure to set a reasonable interest rate.

Like many businesses, yours may allow retirement plan participants to take out loans from their accounts. Such loans are governed by many IRS and Department of Labor (DOL) rules and regulations. So if your company offers plan loans, your plan document must comply with current laws — including setting a “reasonable” interest rate. Agency perspectives…

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Does the IRS consider your business a hobby?

If you run a business “on the side” and derive most of your income from another source (whether from another business you own, employment or investments), you may face a peculiar risk: Under certain circumstances, this on-the-side business might not be a business at all in the eyes of the IRS. It may be a…

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Who can or should take the American Opportunity credit?

If you have a child in college, you may be eligible to claim the American Opportunity credit on your 2016 income tax return. If your income is too high, you won’t qualify for the credit — but your child might. There’s one potential downside: If your dependent child claims the credit, you must forgo your dependency…

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Consider key person insurance as a succession plan safeguard

In business, and in life, among the most important ways to manage risk is through insurance. For certain types of companies — particularly start-ups and small businesses — one major threat is the sudden loss of an owner or hard-to-replace employee. To safeguard against this risk, insurers offer key person insurance. Under a key person…

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Simple ways to improve your nonprofit’s cash flow

Declining donations, dues, grants or sponsorship funds may lead to not-for-profit budget deficits. But you can reduce the risk of cash flow crunches by making relatively minor changes to your cash management practices. Expedite receipts The sooner your organization accumulates cash, the better your cash flow. For example, consider moving your fundraising calendar ahead. By…

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How do auditors evaluate fraud risks?

Assessing fraud risks is an integral part of the auditing process. Statement on Auditing Standards (SAS) No. 99, Consideration of Fraud in a Financial Statement Audit, requires auditors to consider potential fraud risks before and during the information-gathering process. Business owners and managers may find it helpful to understand how this process works — even…

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Choosing the right lender

It’s easy to think of lenders as doing your company a favor. But business financing relationships are just that: relationships. Yes, a lender has the working capital you need to grow. But a stable, successful business represents an enormously beneficial opportunity for the lender as well. So you should be just as picky with your…

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Protect your nonprofit by cross-training staff

What would happen if one of your not-for-profit’s key people suddenly quit or had to go on long-term disability? Would you be able to conduct business as usual? To prevent a critical function from possibly coming to a standstill, consider cross-training staff. Organization benefits Cross-training personnel means that you teach them how to do one…

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