4Thought Blog

4thought graphic - blog 2020

Post-PPP Financing Options to Grow Your Business

Posted by Concannon Miller on Thu, Sep 16, 2021

Business activity ground to a halt in many areas during the pandemic. Fortunately, the Paycheck Protection Plan program and other relief programs rescued many small enterprises from financial crisis. If certain requirements are met, all or part of PPP loan proceeds may be forgivable — similar to a grant from the federal government.

The PPP loan program ended on May 31, 2021. Now, struggling businesses might be applying for affordable conventional loans — or negotiating more favorable terms for their existing debt. Doing so can help reduce interest expense and working capital requirements. Don't wait for lenders to make the first move. Here's how to get the optimal terms from your lender.

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Topics: Business consulting

Should You Have the Same Office Post-COVID? Maybe Consider a New Approach

Posted by Concannon Miller on Thu, Sep 2, 2021

Where your business is located, and how you use the commercial space that you have, can mean the difference between thriving and just limping along — or worse.

That fact was brought home for many business owners during the COVID-19 pandemic, when lease payments became a big financial strain, and dust was accumulating on the desks of employees working remotely.

Even with the economy bouncing back in many sectors, returning to previous uses of commercial real estate could be a big mistake. Here are some reasons why:

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Topics: Business consulting

Federal Overtime Rules: Often Overlooked Requirements Businesses Should Know

Posted by Concannon Miller on Thu, Jul 29, 2021

Employers' legal obligations regarding overtime pay aren't always as straightforward as one might think. Sometimes even well-intentioned employers might be oblivious to some fine points of the law.

When the U.S. Department of Labor publicizes financial penalties it has levied against employers for overtime pay violations, it's not hoping to shame them. The treatment and calculation of this pay can be confusing. So the DOL's goal is to make the most of "teachable moments." Three recent cases involving OT pay rules come under that heading.

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Topics: Business consulting

A Warning to Employers: Teleworking May Cause State Tax Withholding Issues

Posted by Concannon Miller on Tue, Jul 27, 2021

During the COVID-19 pandemic, many employers shut down their regular workplaces, either partially or wholly, as a safety precaution and instructed their employees to work from home. While some employees have returned to work, many are still working from home.

Some employers have found that using remote workers is a sound strategy going forward. As a result, the state in which an employee lives may not necessarily be the same as the state where he or she works. How does this affect state income tax withholding?

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Topics: Business consulting

Latest ACA Supreme Court Ruling: What it Means for Businesses

Posted by Concannon Miller on Tue, Jun 29, 2021

In a highly anticipated decision, the U.S. Supreme Court on June 17 ruled by a 7-2 vote that the plaintiffs in the latest challenge to the Affordable Care Act lacked standing to bring the lawsuit. The decision marks the third failed attempt to repeal the ACA since it became law on March 23, 2010.

In anticipation of the Supreme Court’s action, many taxpayers filed protective refund claims asking the IRS to refund either or both the 0.9% additional Medicare tax or 3.8% net Investment Income tax enacted as part of the ACA. The Court’s decision means that those protective refund claims will not be approved by the IRS.

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Topics: Business consulting

How Employers Can Fight Fraudulent Unemployment Insurance Claims

Posted by Concannon Miller on Tue, Jun 22, 2021

The Department of Labor's Employment and Training Administration reports "unprecedented increases in unemployment insurance claims amid the pandemic and related surges in fraudulent filing in states' systems by sophisticated criminal rings." This has caused widespread problems for states, employers and employees alike.

Innocent employees have had claims filed in their names, employers are winding up with higher UI premiums, and some state UI systems have been unable to keep up with the increased work necessary to fight the fraud. In response, the ETA has issued guidance to state UI departments on stricter standards for verifying the legitimacy of claims before paying benefits.

The explosion in sophisticated criminal activity is in addition to lower-level fraud perpetrated by former employees. Some laid-off workers who receive UI benefits may not report their new working status when they become reemployed. Or laid-off employees may claim they're meeting eligibility requirements for unemployment benefits, such as actively looking for work, when they aren't doing so.

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Topics: Business consulting

Unemployment: Which States Opted Out and How to Reboard Returning Employees

Posted by Concannon Miller on Thu, Jun 17, 2021

In recent weeks, many employers have complained about how difficult it is to fill job openings.

The country is returning to normalcy, with COVID-19 cases drastically falling, yet some businesses can't get all their workers to come back. Maryland recently joined 24 other states in ending the $300 per week federal unemployment benefits in a bid to encourage people to return to the workforce.

The Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC) program was established under the CARES Act back in March 2020. Subsequently, it has been extended, most recently through the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA). Federal unemployment benefits are scheduled to expire on September 6, 2021.

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Topics: Business consulting

Employee or Independent Contractor? There’s New Rules Again

Posted by Concannon Miller on Thu, Apr 1, 2021

The U.S. Department of Labor has recently taken action on the criteria for determining independent contractor status, rescinding regulations that were enacted as recently as two weeks prior to President Biden's inauguration in the last days of the Trump administration. That means what's old is new — the regulations in force now are left over from previous administrations.

However, the DOL is taking public comments on its action until April 12. It's possible that the agency may fine-tune the old-is-new regulations in the future.

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Topics: Business consulting

2021 New Year’s Resolutions for Small Business Owners

Posted by Concannon Miller on Thu, Dec 31, 2020

Have you made any New Year's resolutions for 2021? Resolutions usually take the form of personal goals like eating healthier or getting rid of clutter around the house. But you can also make New Year's resolutions for your small business.

Here are a dozen resolutions for small business owners to consider implementing to succeed in the future.

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Topics: Business consulting

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

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