by Josh Amidon 

I used to work for a small business owner who scoffed at the idea of branding his company. “That stuff is for big companies; I don’t need to brand.” What he didn’t realize is he already branded his company, he branded his company as the company that didn’t care about branding – and it showed.    

Here’s the scary part: Every business has a brand. The only question is whether it was created intentionally or by accident.

You need to put yourself in charge of creating a brand that works for you.

For the small business owner, brand creation really just comes down to defining and communicating a couple of simple things.

  • A narrow target market
  • A unique benefit or point of difference
  • A core message that provides a solution
  • Marketing materials to match

I could use a bunch of marketing and branding mumbo jumbo here to fill up the page and make me sound incredibly intelligent, but branding for the small business is short and sweet – tell someone who cares how you are uniquely qualified to solve their problems and follow-through.  

As always, you can reach me at or (315) 258-8780 to answer any questions, comments or concerns you have about the above info. 

Can using a subcontractor affect your safety record and/or safety program?

by Rhonda Sheffield

If you own a construction company, the answer can definitely be YES.

There are a lot of factors to take in to consideration when using a new subcontractor or vendor but there is one area that is most often overlooked.  This one mistake could be very costly to your company and you personally depending how your company structure.  Now you may ask “Why would it be costly to my company?”  Well, let’s say for example that one of their workers causes an incident at your workplace.  This may involve one of your employees getting injured, getting a visit from an OSHA inspector – or even worse yet, you may have an innocent bystander get injured which could even open you up to potential lawsuits. 


The best prevention, before starting a relationship with any new subcontractor or vendor, you should review their workplace safety habits.  Here are 5 easy steps to protecting yourself, your company and your workers.


1.      Prequalify your subcontractors/vendors.  Don’t be afraid to ask for their written safety programs, permits and licenses.


2.      Pre-job task and risk assessment.  Have a method for evaluating the risks of the work the subcontractors will be performing on your job site.  You should require them to also adhere to your safety program and policies.


3.      Training and Evaluation.  This should be a requirement before they even step foot on your job site.  Make sure that they have all necessary PPE and training and/or licensing to perform such work.  It might not hurt to even have them review the safety procedures they have been taught with you so that you know that they understand the importance of safety.


4.      Job Monitoring.  Include all onsite workers in to your morning safety or pre-shift tailgate meetings.  Complete weekly inspection walk-throughs to include those areas worked by the subcontractor employees.


5.      Post-job evaluations.  This is something you would or should be doing anyway.  Be sure to include those areas completed by the subcontractors/vendors.  The quality of the finished work is ultimately your responsibility.  It is your reputation on the line.


If you should have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us at (315) 258-8780.


by Josh Amidon

Fun Fact: Mister Rogers Neighborhood made me cry as a child (as a grown adult, it probably still does, but I won’t get into that). The creepy puppets that seemed to pop out of nowhere and suck you into their creepy puppet world still skeeves me out. With that off my chest and out in the open, I can honestly say one thing Mister Rogers said has stuck with me throughout my personal and professional life – “it’s hard not to like someone once you know their story.”   

From a business prospective, let that sink in.

Small business marketing is all about getting your customers/prospective customers to know and trust you. Few things are more powerful at helping you accomplish this than your story. Your marketing should include a peek behind the curtain at what you and your company are all about.

Tell your customers why you started your company, why your service/product is your passion, how you overcame adversity, what you do/did wrong, what your dreams for your company are, who your heroes are.

Most national marketing is a web of half-truths and exaggerated statements spun to fool the customer – imagine how far sincerity in your approach can go when you focus on building trust with your customers.

People want to connect with the companies they do business with and when they can learn what you really stand for…it’s hard not to like you.

Except for those puppets, I will never learn to like those evil puppets. 

How Important Are Job Descriptions?

Are formal job descriptions really necessary?  Are you currently utilizing job descriptions for all current positions?  Are your employees aware of what their job qualifications and responsibilities truly are?

If you answered “NO” to any or all of these questions, you may want to read the rest of this article to find out the benefits of job descriptions.

While there is no state or federal law requiring you to have or provide job descriptions, they can be a helpful tool for both legal and practical reasons.

Some of the most important reasons to have them and hand them out to your employees are:

They are a useful communication tool.
They can help you or your team identify the right candidate for the right job.
Legally they could help with potential new hires who may need “reasonable accommodations”.  The job description would serve as a starting point for the conversation with the applicant on which duties they may or may not be able to perform without such accommodations.
Gives clear and legitimate minimum qualifications for any position.
Assists with justifying an employee’s exempt status.

 Feel free to consult with our Human Resource Generalist at 315-258-8780.

Worker’s Compensation Costs causing you pain?

Here are a few easy tips to help you lower these costs:

  • Establish an accident-prevention program.
  • Investigate all accidents, not just ones resulting in claims. 
  • Report accidents promptly. Delays lead employees to contact lawyers.
  • Stay in touch with injured employees and their doctors. That will help you design an appropriate return-to-work plan.
  • Have you checked your coverages lately?  Have you looked in to other worker’s compensation insurance programs such as pay-as-you-go?

 Feel free to consult with our Human Resource Generalist at 315-258-8780.


by Josh Amidon

“Why should I buy from you?” It has plagued the small business owner since the dawn of time. Ok, I can’t really prove that – but I imagine the very first small business owners struggling over how to answer “why should I buy this fancy new wheel from you and not from the guy in the cave next to you?”

The first thing you need to do is get out your small business decoder ring and decipher the question the customer is really asking is “what’s in it for me?”

The best answer to this question is called USP – Unique Selling Proposition. Identifying and communicating a concise statement of your business’ most compelling offer and/or benefit – that’s all a USP is!

“Buy from us because we’ve been doing this for 20 years,” or “we’re dependable” don’t count (you didn’t think it was that easy, did you?). The fact that you’re dependable, honest or offer fair pricing are all expectations….not points of differentiation. There’s a reason you’ve never heard a business tagline “I started doing this yesterday, I’m sorta flighty and I lie giving the time.”

To craft a killer USP create a list of all the benefits of doing business with your business. Don’t leave a thing out.

Then using these guidelines weed-out the “losers” (not a textbook marketing term, but it works):

Keep the items that are unique vs your direct competitors in your trade area.
Which of the items left are most important to your ideal customer?
Which of the items left are difficult for your competitors to copy?
Which of the items left can be communicated the easiest?

Take what remains and BAM! you have your USP! It’s a little like magic - I feel like David Copperfield asking you if this is the card you picked.

One word of warning: you better deliver on the USP to the customer – failure to do so will do more harm than not even having a USP.   

If you need more help, please don't hesitate to ask me at (315) 258-8780, or visit 


By Josh Amidon

Challenge: Ask any business owner “what way do they generate the most new business” and I’ll bet you everything I have (except for my dogs, I love my dogs) they answer “word-of-mouth.” With that being said, I don’t think business owners fully understand what that means. Few businesses really harness the power of referral marketing by making it a major part of their marketing efforts.

First let me tell you why you need to do this.

  • When a trusted friend tells you about a business you transfer that trust to this company…even if you’ve never heard of them before.
  • People who are referred to a business tend to spend more money. Research has proven this beyond the shadow of a doubt and it is likely because people tend to refer other who are highly qualified and not just tire kickers, window shoppers or price detectives.
  • Referrals are very cost-effective. In most cases, free or a fraction of what you might pay in advertising costs.

In some industries, like consulting and professional services most companies are chosen solely on the recommendation of a friend.

Are you getting your referrals…if not consider these little ideas.

  •  Expect to get referrals but don’t assume you will. It doesn’t hurt to prompt customers by saying “don’t be shy about sharing my info with your friends.” Talk about them early and often and build them into your sales and marketing efforts…don’t wait for people to offer them.
  • Create a system or reward program. It can be as simple as advertising $20 for every referral.
  • Give every client 2 or 3 business cards – so they can share them with others. Don’t tell me “oh Josh, that’s just wasteful!” Look in your drawer you’ve got hundreds just sitting there – THAT’S wasteful.

Referrals are essential to your business so don’t overlook them chasing the newest trend in marketing in your industry. Remember, you want GOOD referrals – studies show a customer will share a bad business experience with 8x more friends and family than a positive one. If you need anything, please don’t hesitate to call me at (315) 258-8780 or email 


By Josh Amidon

In the world of marketing, social media is a baby. Social media is so new, many business owners don’t know how to harness it to it’s fullest potential. Let’s look at the most important steps for an effective social media marketing plan.      

Truly Look At Your Current Social Presence
Before you strategize about where you are headed, take a quick look at where you are. A few areas to consider when auditing your business’s social media presence are:

·         Which networks are you currently active on

·         Are your networks optimized

·         Which networks are currently bringing you the most value

·         How do your profiles compare to your competitors’ profiles


Know Who Your Ideal Customer Is
We covered this is my last article – you have to know who your ideal customer is before approaching social media marketing.

Even the best marketing geniuses will fail if they are marketing to the wrong audience.

Create A Social Media Mission Statement
This step might sound lame and self-important, but your social media mission statement will drive your future actions, so make sure you put some thought into it. This statement will make it clear exactly what you plan to use your social media presence for and should reflect your brand identity. Keep in mind your ideal customer when trying to create this statement.

I have a personal and professional social media mission statement. Every time I hit “post” I ask myself, is this communication falling in-line with my mission statement? If the answer is no, I start over.

Track, Analyze & Adjust

This might be the most important step. Trial and error is key to any social media plan. It might seem basic, but tracking your results, analyzing the data and then making tweaks to optimize them is crucial. Get to know your social media platforms analytics programs – they’ll be your BFF in the world of social media.

In the end know the social media world is vast and confusing. If you need help along the way – please feel free to reach out by calling me at (315) 258-8780 or email


I haven’t met a small business owner who isn’t obsessed with the term “marketing strategy” – and if they’re not, chances are they won’t be small business owners for long. Do you have a good marketing strategy? Follow along as I layout the key components to a successful marketing strategy.

Target Customer:
The first thing I do when I sit down with a client is ask them “who is your target customer?” Whenever a small business owner looks back at me and says “everyone” – I die a little inside. No, no, no and lots more no – you don’t/can’t/won’t target “everyone.” Who is your perfect customer? The age, location, gender and interests of your clientele all play a huge role in defining your target customer.   

My second question to new clients is “what are you currently doing to raise awareness of your brand/company?” Some will answer with “nothing.” I have to remind them, they’re not Kevin Costner in Field of Dreams and if you only build it, they will not come. You need multiple ways to communicate to your customers – radio, social, digital, tv, etc., all need to be looked at and investigated.

Unique Advantages:
What makes you stand-out from your competitors? And don’t even think about answering that question by bashing your competition – nothing turns a new customer off more than small business mudslinging. Your customer will hear what your competitor doesn’t do and not what you do.

We’ve discussed your target customer, the importance of raising awareness and why you stand out from the other guy (or gal) – now it’s time to put all that into action! This is the fun part....activities. You need to inform your target audience about the advantages of your business through a series of activities that include advertising, online presence, seminars, webinars, promotions, giveaways, interviews, and other smart ways of using media.

There are no shortcuts to achieving the ultimate goals of your business through a proper marketing strategy. If you need help, I’m always here for you – call me at 315.258.8780 or – and please, please, please don’t answer “everyone” when I ask who your target customer is. 





                A person born between 1982 and 2002.


Narcissistic, self-important, broke and wasteful – these are ways many Baby Boomers describe the Millennial generation. The truth is, Millennials spent $1.3 trillion in 2014 and $2.45 trillion in 2015 - plus, they’re the most likely generation to try new brands, products and experiences. That should be enough for any small business owner to sit-up and take notice, but the problem is too many people have too many preconceived notions about their personality and interests. Because of this, It can be hard to know how to approach this generation through marketing. The answer is easy and I'm going to break it down in three easy steps.


1.       Mobile, Mobile and More Mobile Marketing

If you read this blog enough, you know I’m a huge proponent of mobile marketing. Want to know why? Over 85% of millennials have their smart device attached to their hip. Whether you love it or hate it, it’s essential when you target this generation.  


2.       Targeting Procedures Have Changed

Millennials are the most non-traditional generation so far, and they don’t value traditional life-stage advertising the way previous generations did. Because of this, targeting millennials based on social causes or those who follow specific celebrity personalities tend to be more fruitful.


3.       Have A Big Digital Foot Print

You’re not going to believe me when I say this, but I promise it’s true - a good deal of millennials have never known a world without the internet and social media. GASP! SHOCK! HORROR! There, now that we’ve gotten over the lost innocence of this generation…This fact has trained millennials that solving any issue is only a Google search away – primarily blogs and social media. 


If you need any help with the steps above, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me or (315) 258-8780.


According to the latest Kiplinger Letter (a personal finance publication for executives and investors), America’s overall economy is in a comfortable situation. It’s important to note that this is the perspective of investors looking at the economy from a national standpoint and not on a regional or industry specific level. Here are some fast facts:


  • Rumors persist of an oncoming recession. 95% of investors don’t see this in the foreseeable future.
  • Energy firms won’t see much recovery in oil prices.
  • Exporters are still slammed by the strong dollar which don’t expect to weaken until 2017.
  • Consumer spending, which accounts for 2/3 of economic activity, is up 4% over this time last year.
    • Spending on travel, dining out and other leisure activities are strong. Apparel continues to fall.
  • Business spending is also up 4% over this time last year.
    • Firms will continue spending money on tech and vehicle fleets, but not much on building inventories.


  • Housing & health care services are sure to be bright spots for 2016. Both will help propel job and wage growth.
  • Tech, leisure and hospitality will remain a source of jobs.
  • Business formation is on the rise – largest numbers of start-ups are in health care, professional services and tech.


Real Estate:

  • Healthy job gains in recent months are benefiting apartment rentals. Strongest rental activity is in smaller and midsize markets.
  • Rents will climb 4% this year vs 4.6% last year.
  • 30 year mortgage rate will be 4.3% by year end. It’s 3.8% now.


Financial Services:

  • New rules to provide more transparency in lending to small business are coming.
  • These rules will help regulators enforce fair lending laws and make it easier to assess whether lending patterns are equitable and not discriminatory.


Retail Trends:

  • Overall, comfort is in and continue to be in for spring into fall 2016.
  • Women: Looks from 70’s & 90’s will merge and be popular. Suede skirts, fringe, chokers, button-front skirts and crop tops.
  • Men: Crumpled suits and wrinkled shirts, bomber jackets – plus monochromatic dressing from head to toe.


Tech Trends:

  • More billion-dollar tech start-ups will consider going public this year. The low interest environment has made it cheaper for those firms to borrow from hedge funds and private trusts.
  • Services that help firms control workers’ social feeds will get more popular.



  • Employers will be required to file W-2 forms with the IRS by 1/31/2017. They currently have till the last day in February or March 31st if they’re filing electronically.
  • Also, W-2’s will include only the last four digits of SS numbers for security reasons.
  • Congress approved both these laws in recently passed tax legislation.


If you have any questions or concerns – please don’t hesitate to reach out to us at (315) 258-8780. 

New Year's Resolution: Improve Your SEO!

If you run a company that depends on local customers, then local SEO is vital for your business. Local SEO is a subset of search engine optimization (SEO) that helps people in your area find you on the search engines. And let’s be honest - when we say “the search engines”, we really mean Google. Does anyone really use anything else?

·         Mobile, Mobile & More Mobile.
Mobile-friendly website design is no longer optional. Mobile device searches have already surpassed desktop and laptop computer searches worldwide. Giving people a great mobile experience on your website means making more conversions and generating more revenue. Your first move in 2016 should be to create the best possible mobile experience for your prospective customers.

·         Voice Search Is Calling. Answer It.
Along with the growth of mobile searching comes greater demand for voice search. More people are using this feature on their smartphones to locate the businesses, products, and services they need. The trend toward voice search means that businesses have to optimize their website to hook these consumers. This means shifting your keywords to voice search-friendly phrases. 

·         Direct Data Is New, But It Matters.
The rise of “direct data” in the search engine results pages (SERPs) means that companies need to provide more detailed information about themselves in order to get a top slot with search engines. Direct data is the granular pieces of information that appear with business listings in search engine data – the more direct data, the higher up the page Google places you. Before direct data existed many companies purposely left key info off their websites. This was to force the customer to call you or send an email – from there, the idea was you had them hooked and could sell to them directly. This way of doing business is antiquated – a website robust with information has quickly become mandatory. Websites without proper data will be skipped and potential customers will go to your competitors.  

·         Customer Service Isn’t Dead – Don’t Let Anyone Tell You Otherwise.
In the end, a potential customer’s decision to buy (or not) will come down to the entire customer experience from click-to-close. While you can’t control every salesperson’s actions and words all day long, you can be in total control of the customer experience provided by your website. 


Once you identify your website’s weak points, you may need to get some technical help to get it in order. After that, get to work on your local SEO campaign. Custom Business Services is here to help you with any mobile website or SEO questions. Call (315) 258-8780 or email for more info. 

For Small Businesses: IRS Raises Tangible Property Expensing Threshold to $2,500; Simplifies Filing and Recordkeeping

*Taken from the National Society of Accountants’ Newsletter*

The Internal Revenue Service today simplified the paperwork and recordkeeping requirements for small businesses by raising from $500 to $2,500 the safe harbor threshold for deducting certain capital items.  

The change affects businesses that do not maintain an applicable financial statement (audited financial statement). It applies to amounts spent to acquire, produce or improve tangible property that would normally qualify as a capital item.

The new $2,500 threshold applies to any such item substantiated by an invoice. As a result, small businesses will be able to immediately deduct many expenditures that would otherwise need to be spread over a period of years through annual depreciation deductions.
"We received many thoughtful comments from taxpayers, their representatives and the professional tax community, said IRS Commissioner John Koskinen. "This important step simplifies taxes for small businesses, easing the recordkeeping and paperwork burden on small business owners and their tax preparers."

Responding to a February comment request, the IRS received more than 150 letters from businesses and their representatives suggesting an increase in the threshold. Commenters noted that the existing $500 threshold was too low to effectively reduce administrative burden on small business. Moreover, the cost of many commonly expensed items such as tablet-style personal computers, smart phones, and machinery and equipment parts typically surpass the $500 threshold.

As before, businesses can still claim otherwise deductible repair and maintenance costs, even if they exceed the $2,500 threshold.
The new $2,500 threshold takes effect starting with tax year 2016. In addition, the IRS will provide audit protection to eligible businesses by not challenging use of the new $2,500 threshold in tax years prior to 2016.

For taxpayers with an applicable financial statement, the de minimis or small-dollar threshold remains $5,000.


If you have any questions or concerns about the above the new requirement, please don’t hesitate to reach-out and contact us at (315) 258-8780.

1099 or W-2, That Is The Question

To this day, many businesses both large and small struggle with the question “Are they an employee or a subcontractor? Do I issue them a W-2 or a 1099?” Does this sound familiar?

It’s the beginning of a new year and we are thinking about taxes, W-2s and 1099s and I’m sure like most companies the subject of W-2s vs. 1099s comes up every year.  Your next thought may be “Oh well, I’m a small business, they won’t bother me.” Trust me, this could not farther from the truth. 

Recently, a local small business owner who had similar situation and ended up paying the penalties or fighting it at an Unemployment Insurance Hearing.  The penalties and interest you could be charged for misclassification can be very steep.  The state may also look to collect workers’ compensation and unemployment premiums for unreported wages. 

If you are unsure or have any questions, please contact the Human Resources team at Custom Accounting Services today.  

Easy (and cheap) ways to increase holiday sales

The holiday season is upon us – and consumers are prepared to spend. 45 percent of Americans plan to spend more on holiday shopping this year compared to last year. A few simple steps of preparation can go a long way to maximize your efforts and kick off the holiday shopping season. If you’re planning to participate, here are a few attention-grabbing tips to have some fun while cultivating your customer base for the year to come.

1. Host an in-house event or party.

Running a promotion or discount is a great way to attract interest from new customers, but making sure those customers have a great shopping experience will keep them coming back. If your small business has a brick-and-mortar location, consider providing refreshments or offer a free service – gift wrapping perhaps?

2. Capture new leads.

Take advantage of the rush by running a raffle or giveaway to generate excitement -- which is also a great way to capture email addresses or contact information. After the event, follow-up with those who entered within the next few days to thank them for their participation and provide more information on your website and ways to keep in touch on your social media pages. You can even use this outreach to share a special discount with those who supported your business. This will go a long way in converting one-time shoppers into loyal lifelong clients.

3. Keep your online info as up-to-date as possible.

People want to support small business, but one of the biggest complaints among shoppers is small businesses doesn’t update their online information as much as national big chain stores. Outdated information online isn’t helpful, and if you are hard to find, it can be frustrating to potential customers. Make sure your website -- including key information like location and hours -- is up-to-date. Posting sales or events regularly online is ideal.  

4. Reward social interactions.

Incentivize customers to share the news that they stopped by your store. Offer a special promotion or discount to those who show they’ve shared your info across Yelp, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or Swarm. The most credible advertising comes straight from the people we know and trust, so seeing a friend’s check-in on social media will raise awareness for your store. 

5. Celebrate other small businesses. 

Show your community support by following, re-tweeting or promoting other local businesses in your area. Chances are, they’ll end up doing the same for you, offering exposure to an entirely new set of followers and potential customers. 

End Of Year Hustle & Bustle

As we all know, the busy holiday season is filled with responsibilities. You have shopping, cooking and travel plans to pull together and execute – and this is just your personal responsibilities.  

When it comes to your business, you have just as many responsibilities – if not more this time of year.  Believe it or not, it’s time to start thinking about the following:    

                1099s                                     W-2s                      1094s & 1095s

These are only the basic employee forms that need to be printed and distributed to employees and/or subcontractors.  These are items that we may have processed for you in years past.  If you would like us to continue processing them, please just let us know.

This year the W-2s and the 1094s and 1095s all need to include the medical benefit information.  Depending on the size of your company, this could be a pretty intense process. 

NOW is the time to make sure that your employee’s social security numbers and addresses are all correct.  An incorrect address could cause a delay in your employee getting their W-2.

If you have any questions, we are here to help.  Start 2016 off on the right foot, contact us for any assistance that you may need to be able to enjoy your holiday season and to lighten some of your work load.

2015 FLEX—Final Call!

”FLEX” with us—show the strength of the Finger Lakes’ small business community!   

As you’ve probably heard, ASTER Financial Group is presenting the 2015 Finger Lakes Entrepreneurial Expo (FLEX) on November 18th, 2015 at the Holiday Inn Auburn - this show has many components, all geared towards the small business community.

Who should be a vendor in the main showroom?

If you sell services or products to local small businesses—you should consider taking a booth within our main showroom. Don’t worry about cold calling or pounding the pavement, let us bring the sales leads directly to you! Booths start at $250—we have limited space and space is moving fast!

Who should be a vendor in Made In The Finger Lakes area? 

Loosely inspired by David Muir’s “Made In America” weekly segment, our Made In The Finger Lakes area will have it’s own dedicated area of the show where locally grown businesses can showcase not only their products and services, but also share why the Finger Lakes region is still one of the best in the country to start a small business—a MITFL booth is only $100. You’re proud of your business achievements and successes—share them with the rest of the small business community while bringing further promotion to your goods.

Why be an attendee?                                                                                                               

Join the rest of the area’s small business community in FREE interactive educational seminars, an all day QuickBooks Clinic and a 15 minute business consultation with Kimberly S. Manrow, EA—a serial entrepreneur driven who has dedicated herself to helping the small business community for over 20 years. Every component of FLEX is FREE to local small business owners to attend and participate in.

Door prizes will be drawn every hour and a Grand Prize worth $1,000 will be awarded at the end of the night!  

For more information on FLEX and our seminar schedule, please visit

Why Should You Consider Outsourcing Your Marketing?

Most small businesses believe marketing to be a simple and straightforward operation, such as coming up with a fancy brochure, website or flyer. After all, how hard can it be? Typically, smaller companies tend to see marketing as a one-man operation or it’s something that can easily be done in the owner’s spare time. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Outsourced marketing allows you to benefit from established marketing professionals who can provide the essential information to reach your full market potential. What are some of the benefits of outsourcing your marketing functions?

Time is money—We are all familiar with the saying “time is money”. Outsourcing your marketing saves you precious time and/or allows key personnel to concentrate on other essential functions.

Lower cost structure—Perhaps the single biggest benefit of outsourced marketing is the fact that it represents a fraction of the cost of having a full time employee or department. Without the overhead, you have the flexibility to pay for what you need, when you need it.

Ease of use—Using an outsourced marketing service allows you the flexibility to use them when you need them. Do you have a special marketing initiative and need to see how it’s received before doing more? Have you tried approaches in the past that you thought would work, but didn’t produce the desired results? Well, with outsourced marketing, you have the flexibility to try new approaches without having to commit yourself long-term. You also benefit from being able to explore a number of different initiatives and approaches.

With today’s constantly changing business environment, companies must do everything to stay one step ahead of their competition. Marketing is a continually changing process that amalgamates every one of your company’s best attributes into one cohesive business message. It’s the ultimate plan in motion. It’s everything you need to answer your most pressing question: How do we grow and where are we going?

Contact Custom Business Services at 315-258-8780 for further information on how our team can be of assistance to you.

2015 is almost over. So what do I need to file this year?

If you are confused about Obamacare, you are not alone.  Just when you think you understand the rules and the new reporting procedures, something changes.  We hope this article helps to eliminate some of the confusion for you.

If you are a small business that employs less than 50 full-time employees, including full-time equivalent employees on average during the year, then you may be exempt from this reporting.  However, if you are a small self-insured employer, then these reporting requirements also apply to you.  So first, ask yourself these 2 questions:

  •  Do I have more than 50 full-time equivalent employees?
  •  Am I a self-insured employer?

If you answered NO to both of these questions, then you will have no additional reporting requirements for 2015.  If you answered YES to one or both, please read on.

Starting for 2015, not only will the employer have to file W-2s, but they will also need to report a 1095B or a 1095C for each applicable employee.  These forms are required if the employer offers an insured or self-insured group health plan or does not offer any group health plan.  In addition, small, self-insured employers will also need to file a 1095B to report employees and their family members who have coverage under the self-insured plan.

Employees will need to receive their copy by January 31st, the same date as the W-2 requirement.  For Tax Year 2015, we actually have until February 1st since January 31, 2016 falls on a Sunday. 

The penalties on failing to provide these forms to the IRS can result in a fine of $250 per return.

Custom Accounting Services has been attempting to get health care information from its payroll clients since the beginning of 2015 to help eliminate the end of the year scramble.  If you as an Employer have contributed to your employee’s health care or HSA benefits, please contact us today for reporting this information.  Some of you have been keeping us up to date, but some of you we have not heard from.

This is a confusing time for all of us, but the team at Custom Accounting Services is here to help.