4Thought Blog

4thought graphic - blog 2020

Cybersecurity for Small Businesses: Consider This Flexible Strategy

Posted by Michael Bilby on Tue, Oct 27, 2020

Cybersecurity has become increasingly important to companies over the past several years. As technology continues to become more central to all areas of business, it is vital that companies consider cybersecurity not just as an IT function but as an integral part of their overall risk management strategy.

Small businesses are often faced with a dilemma; they are vulnerable to cyberattacks and other cybersecurity issues but often lack both the financial and human capital resources to properly mitigate the risks.

However small businesses cannot ignore the importance of cybersecurity and should have strategic initiatives to address the risk of cyberattacks and better protect their critical assets and operations.

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Topics: Business consulting

Attention Pennsylvania Businesses: New Overtime Pay Rules to Know

Posted by Concannon Miller on Fri, Oct 9, 2020

Attention Pennsylvania businesses: The state this week raised the threshold for determining whether employees are eligible for overtime pay.

The threshold is scheduled to continue to rise automatically in October 2021 and 2022 and every three years after that.

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Topics: Business consulting

Monitoring Overtime Pay for Remote Workers: The New DOL Guidance

Posted by Concannon Miller on Thu, Oct 1, 2020

Paying your employees for hours that you know they've worked is straightforward enough. But what if they're doing more work than you think they are — or more than you've asked them to do? As federal regulations state, "Work not requested but suffered or permitted is work time" and, thus, must be compensated.

As explained in a new Department of Labor (DOL) field assistance bulletin (FAB), "If the employer knows or has reason to believe that the work is being performed, he must count the time as hours worked." The rub, the FAB explains, is this:

"While it may be easy to define what an employer actually knows, it may not always be clear when an employer 'has reason to believe that work is being performed,' particularly when employees telework or otherwise work remotely at locations that the employer does not control or monitor."

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Topics: Business consulting

Proactive Cyber Security Prevention Methods for Businesses & Nonprofits

Posted by Michael Bilby on Tue, Sep 29, 2020

It is no secret that cyberattacks are a serious and significant risk to businesses and organizations of all sizes. As more companies and organizations migrate their data and IT operations to the cloud and adopt the remote working environments necessitated by the COVID-19 pandemic, the importance of cybersecurity has never been greater.

There has been a 67% increase in security breaches over the past five years and the cost of cybercrime has increased 72% during the same period, according to a recent study by Accenture. A successful cyberattack can cause considerable harm and result in loss of valuable data, money and customer confidence.

No company is immune from a cyberattack; in fact smaller organizations are often more susceptible to the tactics of cyber criminals due to having fewer IT resources and to the lack of a comprehensive plan addressing cybersecurity.

So is your company or organization prepared for a cyberattack? Below are several questions that every small business or nonprofit organization should ask to better assess their preparedness for a cyberattack.

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Topics: Business consulting

Should You Defer Your Employees’ Social Security Taxes? New Info from the IRS

Posted by Lainie Smith on Wed, Sep 2, 2020

The IRS last week provided additional clarity how employers can defer withholding and remitting employees’ Social Security taxes in response to President Trump’s executive memorandum.

We still recommend our clients continue to withhold and pay the tax. This deferral is ripe for problems for both the employee and employer.

For employers interested in learning more about the option, here is the new guidance from the IRS:

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Topics: Business consulting, 2020 Coronavirus

Common Business Cyber Attacks – and How to Prevent Them

Posted by Michael Bilby on Thu, Aug 27, 2020

As the world continues to deal with and recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, the danger from digital threats remains a significant and growing challenge to the business world and the economy at large.

Cyberattacks on businesses and other organizations result in billions of dollars in financial losses each year, cause disruption and damage to operations and supply chains, and inflict reputational damage from impacted customers, investors and other key stakeholders.

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Topics: Business consulting

Deferring Employee Social Security Taxes: Considerations for Employers to Weigh

Posted by Concannon Miller on Tue, Aug 18, 2020

President Trump issued an executive memorandum on August 8 to defer the employee's portion of Social Security tax obligations for many workers. The deferral will last from September 1, 2020, through December 31, 2020.

What, if anything, should employers do to comply with the order by the September 1 deadline? The answer depends on impending guidance from the U.S. Department of Treasury.

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Topics: Business consulting, 2020 Coronavirus

Strategic Financial Planning Steps to Boost Business Post-Pandemic

Posted by Andrea Brady and Andrew Desiderio on Thu, Jul 2, 2020

As businesses look to navigate towards financial health in the changing normal of a post-pandemic world, there are key areas of their business plan to reassess.

The goal, as we endure and ultimately come out of this crisis, is to rebound to better than normal. Because as the pandemic ends —whether in 3, 6, 12 months or more — the world will not look the same.

Businesses that start forecasting the post- COVID-19 landscape —and make plans accordingly—will be in a good position to succeed during the pandemic and beyond. Below are some key areas to to address in planning, and businesses should work with their trusted advisors to ensure a well deep perspective and test the thinking in critical areas.

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Topics: Business consulting, 2020 Coronavirus

Calculating Overtime Costs: A New Method for Employers

Posted by Concannon Miller on Tue, Jun 23, 2020

After decades in limbo, regulations that clarify certain overtime pay practices have been released by the U.S. Department of Labor. The newly finalized rules explain how to calculate overtime pay for nonexempt salaried employees using the "fluctuating workweek" method.

Use of this method to calculate overtime pay currently affects only around 700,000 employees. But these rules "may encourage some employers to switch" to using it, said the DOL. The agency also expects that some employers will move hourly employees to salaried status to take advantage of the new rule.

One potential outcome of using the FWW method is lowering the cost of overtime pay. For that reason, when the rule was proposed, it was criticized by labor groups. In defending the rule, the DOL conceded that while the lower overtime pay scenario could happen, "the same employer could also reduce the employee's earnings by the exact same amount by lowering the employee's weekly rate of pay."

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Topics: Business consulting

Congress Approves Significant Paycheck Protection Program Loan Flexibility

Posted by Concannon Miller on Thu, Jun 4, 2020

There's very welcome news for businesses with Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans.

Following on the heels of the House last week, the U.S. Senate on Wednesday passed a plan allowing companies more flexibility on spending their PPP loans.

Highlights include:

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Topics: Business consulting, 2020 Coronavirus

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