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Ask the Expert – Seidenberg Protzko Eye Associates
August 2017
Can Cataracts Affect My Performance at Work?  If your vision is affected by cataracts, there is a possibility that you may experience issues with your work performance.  The lens in your eye is much like that of a camera. It focuses light for your eye to process as vision

Have You Considered Private Banking
August 2017
Private banking refers to a suite of services offered by a bank to high net worth individuals (HNWI) designed to grow wealth. General wealth management strategies in banking and investment are reserved for HNWIs with at least $250,000 in liquid assets; however, many banks require at least $1,000,000 in liquid assets. Although bank customers with assets topping […]

Is Your Adviser Serving Your Best Interest? 
August 2017
The word “fiduciary” is popping up quite a bit in the financial press lately. That is because the Department of Labor recently issued a ruling that expands both the definition of that term and its applicability. The rule’s anticipated consequences – like the financial services industry itself – are rather complex and will likely change the […]

How to Make Next Tax Season Less Painful
June 2017
Bruce Caulk, Partner Naden/Lean LLC With tax season behind us, it’s tempting to banish any tax-related thoughts until next spring. However, resisting those urges can significantly ease your burden. Alleviate your tax season stress by replacing procrastination with PLANNING. Get Organized Store your tax documents together, either physically or electronically. This is not limited to […]

The CPA/Lawyer Team
June 2017
Jeffrey A. Jacobson, CPA, Esq., Tax Director at Weyrich, Cronin & Sorra Chartered Based on my experiences, a client is best served when their lawyer and CPA work together on issues or transactions as each provides different, but critical skills and analysis. Often, lawyers are engaged by a client to handle a specific situation and […]

Four Financial Management Tips for the Health Care Professional
April 2017
While many financial management tools and ideas remain the same from year to year, some of the basics concepts are valuable steps worth repeating. Here are four tips that every health care professional in private practice should be aware of: 1. Maintain Good Billing and Collection Procedures Ensure that your billing team remains current with […]

Is Cloud Computing Right For Your Business?
April 2017
Cloud technology is, in many respects, in its infancy. Small-to-medium-sized businesses like yours are discovering how the cloud can boost efficiency and security, yet local hardware still has value. What is “The Cloud”? The cloud is an internet-based way of computing, sharing, storing and protecting data. Everything is done online, so the work hub no […]

Buy-Sell Agreements And Deferred Compensation Plans
April 2017
Buy-sell agreements are important for all business entities to protect the owners from having to sell/transfer their business interest without a plan in place. A business starts with great intentions of a long lasting relationship that will continue for the owners. Unfortunately circumstances such as an owner passing away, a divorce, retirement or a decision […]

Is Your Business’ Back-Up and Disaster Recovery Plan Up to Speed?
February 2017
Your systems probably hold a few terabytes worth of CRM and vendor data, billing and payroll history, legal and other documents. You generate vast amounts of new data daily. Yet, if you’re like 40 percent of small-to-medium sized companies, you don’t back up that gold at various points throughout the day. Or you assume it’s […]

What Did You Say?
February 2017
Ever have one of those moments when you realize that what you said was taken differently than you intended? We all have. Sometimes it happens because we “stuck our foot in our mouth.” More often it happens because we all communicate differently, and that results in misunderstandings. Every relationship has communication at its core. Think […]

Ask The Expert – Wellness Programs
February 2017
Q: Should vision screenings be included in workplace wellness efforts? A:  Workplace wellness programs are gaining in popularity. They are used as both incentives for employee retention and as cost-saving measures for employers. By keeping employees healthy and happy, the company has a lower absentee rate due to sickness or injury. When employees are healthy, […]

Marketing Optimization: What’s Trending in 2017
February 2017
Embrace Customer Focused Strategies The main focus this year for marketers is personalization. Take the approach of adding value over volume in your marketing content and creating customer centric marketing strategies that connect with customers. This begins with investing time to listen to and understand your customer in order to build an authentic connection beyond […]

How to Avoid Price Objections
February 2017
Your solution was exactly what the prospect was looking for … actually, more than what he expected. There was only one roadblock – the price was greater than he anticipated. If you would be willing to cut your price, he would give you the “thumbs up” then and there. Otherwise, he would have to think […]

Ethical Will
February 2017
Q: How is my ethical will different from a standard will? A:  When we speak of a will, we are usually referring to a legal document – preferably drafted by an estate planning attorney – that mandates how the assets in your estate are to be conveyed upon your death. By contrast, your ethical will […]

The Sun is Setting on Valuation Discounts
December 2016
The U.S. Department of Treasury recently proposed regulations that could end up giving family owned businesses a significantly higher tax bill as early as January of 2017. The proposed regulations, which were released on Aug. 1, aim to eliminate or reduce valuation discounts used for transfers of interests in family businesses. Valuation discounts are reductions […]

Investment Property Advisors
December 2016
Q:  What exactly is an investment property? A:  There is often confusion surrounding this term. Typically, an investment property is any property that generates regular income for its owner. It may be commercial, such as retail, office, industrial, or it may be residential – single or multifamily. There are other specialty categories as well, such […]

Succession Planning: Looking Toward Tomorrow
December 2016
Planning for the succession of ownership is often relegated to a low-priority task because the current challenges of ownership always dominate your time. Focusing on the here and now is common, but focusing on the future can assure your ultimate succession and improve business operations. Here are some succession planning steps you can take now […]

Keeping Your 401(k) Plan in Compliance
October 2016
There are many benefits of a company-sponsored retirement plan such as a 401(k) plan. For the employer, it can improve employee retention and serve as a recruitment tool. For employees, it provides a valuable opportunity to save in a tax deferred manner. However, there are several common mistakes that plan sponsors often make that can […]

Get Ready, Get Set, Hacked …
October 2016
It’s practically impossible to claim ignorance of the innumerable information security dangers present in our digital world nowadays. Even if you’ve somehow managed to miss the almost daily news blasts reporting the millions of personal records spilled from big-name organizations by hacker groups, it’s almost a guaranteed bet that your credit card has been reissued […]

Booming 401(k) Benefits for Businesses Employing Millennials
October 2016
You’ve heard about the baby boom, but what about the 401(k) boom? From a single plan created in 1980, today there are more than 600,000 401(k) plans and similar types of defined contribution plans in the United States. With such growth and popularity, every business should consider implementing some form of defined contribution plan. This […]

Perfect Storm On The Radar
October 2016
Maryland faces a “perfect storm.” No, we’re not talking about this year’s hurricane season or that George Clooney movie. Rather, this is a storm that if weathered well has the potential to drive business growth and new jobs in our state for the next decade. To remain competitive and continue to grow, both in terms […]

Ask the Expert
October 2016
Seidenberg Protzko Eye Associates specializes in general ophthalmology, which includes cataract, refractive, and pediatric surgery, as well as therapeutic optometry. Seidenberg Protzko Eye Associates has offices in Bel Air, Havre de Grace, Elkton and Chestertown, Md. Seidenberg Protzko Eye Associates regularly provides lectures, screenings and onsite education and is involved in many community activities. Q: […]

Ask the Expert
August 2016
Q: How can I protect my eyes at work? A: Here are 10 tidbits to maintain your 20/20 for one of the most underappreciated body parts: • Apply the 20/20 rule! Give your eyes a break from the computer screen or close-up work every 20 minutes by taking 20 seconds to look 20 feet into […]

Are You Prepared for the Upcoming Changes in Overtime Pay?
August 2016
The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) dictates federal minimum wage and overtime requirements. On May 18, 2016 the Department of Labor (DOL) issued final regulations, resulting in the first significant change to minimum wage and overtime rules in the past 12 years. The FLSA requires that employees who work more than 40 hours per week […]

Your Firewall and Anti-Virus Isn’t a Risk Management Program
August 2016
The recent rise of publicized security breaches and ransomware attacks has many financial organizations worrying themselves with questions like: “How long can our organization hold out against hackers and cybercriminals?” “How would we respond to a breach?” “What can we do to minimize – or even prevent – such an attack?” Or, at least, that’s […]

Keep On Working …. We Promise to Pay
June 2016
In the world of construction as it relates to State construction contracts, change orders can potentially determine whether a job ends profitably or at a loss. The contracted work can run for years. As a result, the contracted work can change as the job progresses due to modifications in job performance and job conditions that […]

Making the Right Choice
April 2016
When consulting with clients who are purchasing a new business or setting up one from scratch, the decision has to be made regarding a choice of entity. Doctors have to be aware of the classification Personal Service Corporation (PSC) that follows the entity choice of a C Corporation. A PSC is a corporation that performs […]

PATH Act: A Quick Guide to What’s Permanent and Extended
February 2016
In December of each year tax professionals await the news that Congress has agreed to, and extended expiring tax provisions. This year the news was received mid-December, but with a more favorable outcome. Not only had certain tax provisions been extended, there are some that have been made permanent. This is extremely good news and […]

Fraud: Red Flags and When to Bring in a Forensic Accounting Expert
December 2015
According to the 2014 Report to the Nations on Occupational Fraud and Abuse, completed by the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners, the typical organization loses 5 percent of revenues each year to fraud. This equates to an estimated annual loss due to fraud of almost $3.7 trillion. The median loss caused by fraud totaled $145,000 […]

Your “Family Love Letter” Can Be Your Greatest Legacy
October 2015
Q: What is the Family Love Letter? A: It is a powerful tool for helping to prepare your family for your death or disability. For obvious reasons most people do not like to address such possibilities, often leaving their families woefully unprepared, exposing them to confusion, disorder and conflict. Of course, executing the standard estate […]

The Cost of a Data Breach Incident
October 2015
Whether it be stolen private business data, a ransomware incident or a Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) data breach, if your business is unfortunate enough to have one of these happen, you can expect to incur significant expenses – $36,000 on average for small businesses and can far exceed $50,000. Your exact […]

Protect Your Company Name
October 2015
Q: I registered the name of my business with the state when I formed my company. Should I do anything else to protect my company name? A: YES. By forming a company with the state, you do not automatically obtain exclusive rights to use the name of the business as a trademark. If you promote […]

Changes on the Horizon for Non-Profit Organizations
October 2015
For over 20 years, the rules employed in preparing non-profit financial statements have remained fairly consistent. In 2011, at the recommendation of the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB)’s Not-For-Profit Advisory Committee, the FASB undertook a project to review the standards related to non-profit accounting. In April 2015, the FASB released a proposed Accounting Standards Update […]

Preparing for a Data Breach Incident
August 2015
1. Make a disaster recovery plan that details very specific steps for what to do and what each employee’s exact responsibilities are if a data breach occurs. From an IT perspective, ascertain what type of breach it is (virus related, private data accessed or other malicious activity) and develop very concise steps to take to […]

Frequently Asked Social Security Questions
August 2015
Q: If you continue working while taking Social Security benefits, do you continue paying the SS tax? A: Everyone employed in a Social Security-covered job pays FICA taxes, and yes, even if they are already receiving benefits. However, the good news is that some people who keep working after collecting SS benefits continue to update […]

Choosing a Quality Auditor
August 2015
In May 2015, the Department of Labor’s (DOL) Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA) published a report on its study of the quality of audits of employee benefit plans. The results of this study showed a high degree of deficiency in employee benefit plan audits. In the study, the EBSA selected a statistically valid sample of […]

How to Finance Your Small Business or Franchise
August 2015
Q: What types of loan products are available for a small business or franchise? A: There are various lending solutions available for your small business. The type of loan lenders recommend depends on your specific needs, like what is being purchased, repayment terms, repayment period and liquidity of funds. Typical business loans include: • TERM […]

Insuring Your Commercial Property
June 2015
Q: My commercial property will be undergoing renovations. Does my policy cover that? A: For buildings that are unoccupied during a renovation, we need to explore a Builders Risk policy. These policies are for three-, six-, nine or 12-month terms. Builders Risk policies include replacement cost of the building, renovations and vacant status. Upon project […]

Housing Options in Retirement
June 2015
Q: Where does housing fit into my retirement planning? A: One of the more overlooked areas of planning for one’s retirement is also one of the most important: Where are you going to live? The answer may change through your different stages of retirement. Financial and physical factors will come into play, as well as […]

Is Your Network Covered?
June 2015
Q: What is covered during an IT Security Assessment? A: There are many pieces of your business computer system, and you may not be aware of where security weaknesses may be hiding. IT often becomes an afterthought or something that a business owner does not want to think about, much less worry about. But, like […]

5 Things Your Financials Are Saying to You
June 2015
In the real estate industry, analyzing your financial statements is vital to the success of your company. It provides the picture of your company’s health and any areas needing special attention. Companies can manage liquidity, debt and profitability by focusing on what the numbers are saying. Companies can explore ratios and industry benchmarks as a […]

Never Too Early to Start Planning for Retirement
April 2015
Financial confidence has started bringing buyers and sellers together for practice transitions. Each call or inquiry from a doctor has a unique story, yet they all have similar concerns. There are various reasons that doctors start planning for retirement and think about selling their practice. Some of these reasons can be positive while others are […]

Health Care IT Security
April 2015
Q: Are medical practices now more vulnerable to data breaches and hacks than standard commercial businesses? A: Small to medium-sized health care practices are not used to being the target of such attacks. Until now, most data breaches have been against large commercial companies and were done in order to gain access to credit card […]

Planning for Medical Expenses
April 2015
Q: How much should I expect to pay in medical expenses throughout my retirement? A: We have seen estimates that an average couple can expect to spend more than $200,000 in out-of-pocket health care costs throughout retirement. Of course, everyone’s situation is different. Your medical situation, age you retire, life expectancy and quality of insurance […]

Health Care Services & Workers Compensation Insurance
April 2015
In layman’s terms, the purpose of a Workers Compensation (WC) Policy is to provide insurance coverage for job-related injuries to employees, and it provides disability benefits for that injured employee while they are away from work. With regard to WC, the goals for an employer should be to provide a safe work environment and to […]

Overhead Cost Management
February 2015
Q: My accountant is telling me that my overhead costs are too high. What constitutes “overhead?” A: Overhead costs are associated with running a business, not directly related to the costs of a product or service. These costs can either be fixed or variable. Fixed costs, such as rent, equipment maintenance contracts and advertising, are […]

Remote Employees and IT Security
February 2015
Q: What are some IT standard practices and procedures that we should implement when dealing with our field or remote employees? A: Depending on the technology needs of your remote employees you should implement the following as standard security practices: (a) You should have a plan in place where the technology in the field returns […]

Are There Any New ACA Reporting Requirements?
February 2015
Since its inception, the Affordable Care Act has raised many questions for employers who want to ensure that they are compliant with the law and that their business is protected. There are also many complex issues surrounding the Affordable Care Act, which is why relying on an expert in the field is crucial. For example, […]

It’s Time for An Insurance Check Up
February 2015
Q: What do you think is the most important thing for a business owner to know regarding insurance? A: Well, I’d have to say that it would be to review it every year prior to the renewal. Many things can change during the year that can affect your coverage. For example, purchasing a vehicle or […]

Hiring Talent and Company Culture
December 2014
Q: I need to hire additional staff, what steps should I take? A: First, you need to assess the real need. Are current employees working overtime? Are deadlines being missed? Is the business continuing to grow? What’s the company’s culture and direction? Many questions should be asked before you pick up the phone to reach […]

Workers Compensation
December 2014
For most businesses, employees are an essential element in the delivery of products and services to customers. Aside from overhead such as payroll and benefits, Workers Compensation is a necessary evil when it comes to employing people. Workers Compensation insurance is intended to be the sole solution for employee injuries, incurred during the course of […]

Disaster Recovery
December 2014
Q: I am worried about the ever increasing IT threats to my business. What can I do as insurance in the event that my primary security fails? A: There are a number of things that businesses can do to prepare for a significant IT security event. Multiple data backup/restoration options: Having multiple data restoration options […]

SMB IT Security
October 2014
Q: Hackers are not looking for my small business. A: FALSE. On the Internet, your computer systems are just a number (IP addresses) and Internet “bad guys” are not just sophisticated hackers. Anyone can easily download a set of hacker tools from any number of easy-to-find websites. They then scan a range of IP addresses […]

Technology and Innovation Reduce Client Risk
October 2014
Historically, risk management has been an afterthought for many investors. For decades, investors have believed that pure buy and hold investing within a well-diversified portfolio provides adequate risk management. For most, investing has always been about achieving maximum returns with little or no consideration to the amount of risk they are taking to achieve those […]

Health Insurance in Maryland
October 2014
Q: What changes have been made to the Maryland Health Insurance market for the coming cycle? A: There have been major changes affecting most policies in Maryland with the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Large Group plans, groups of 51+ employees, are far more competitive this year than in previous years. Carriers are more aggressive in […]

Identity Theft
October 2014
Q: I hear so much about identity theft, what does that really mean? A: Identity theft is when your personal information (social security number, date of birth, bank account information, credit card information, etc) is taken and is falsely used for others’ personal gains. Q: How will I know if I am a victim? What […]

Data Breach
October 2014
Recently, data breach has dominated the headlines and has impacted big business and large organizations. However, should it be a concern for smaller local businesses? Thirty-one percent of investigated data breaches impact businesses with less than 100 employees (Verizon 2013 Data Breach Investigations Report). With a data breach situation, your General Liability Insurance, alone, will […]

Health Care Reform
August 2014
Q: What is an Exchange? A: The American Health Benefits Exchange is a primarily online marketplace for purchasing health insurance. It is run by the state or federal government (depending on which state you live in) with consumer assistance from other entities. Maryland is a state-based exchange. It offers plans for individuals and small employers […]

Business Protection with EPLI
August 2014
Q: Do you know about Employment Practices Liability Insurance or EPLI? A: EPLI provides coverage for employment-related claims in: Wrongful Termination; Discrimination (racial, gender, age, disability, pregnancy-based, religion-based); Harassment (sexual and bullying); Employer Retaliation; Wage & Hour Related. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission reported $371.2 million in monetary benefits – sums paid as a result […]

Choosing a CPA
August 2014
Q: I own a small business, what should I look for in a CPA? A: Great question! Most CPAs have technical skills necessary to perform tax return preparation and financial statements. The most critical component for any small business is their ability to talk to their advisors. Being accessible and informative are two criteria that […]

Borrowing Advice
June 2014
Whether Residential or Commercial, Be Prepared Q: When considering borrowing for the purchase of a home, or to expand/improve a business, what should I expect from a community bank vs. a large regional or national bank? A: The one item that is common for all banks is our money; it is all the same. The […]

Managing Cash Flow
June 2014
How to Manage Cash Flow Effectively Q: My cash flow always seems so tight – why is this happening? A: Cash flow for your business can be one of the most difficult items to manage. Having a budget and knowing your expenses is the first step in helping to manage the cash drain. The biggest […]

I’m tired of working for other people. I want to work for myself!
April 2014
Q: I have always wanted to run my own business, be my own boss, set my own hours and reap all the benefits of that. What should I know about starting my own business? A: Starting a business takes a well thought-out idea, a solid business plan and a tremendous amount of discipline. Q: What […]

S Corporations
February 2014
Q: My company is organized as an S Corporation – is that the right structure for me?

Healthy Soldiers
October 2013
Since its opening in 2004, Total Urgent Care has provided services and expertise to Aberdeen Proving Ground and some of its defense contractors. Here Bruce Lewis answers some key questions: Q: Total Urgent Care specializes in Occupational Medicine – what type of services do you offer to APG and its Defense Contractors? A: APG and […]

Employers Deal with Drugs and Alcohol
April 2013
Dr. Miriam Alexander, Total Urgent Care, provides insight for employers facing this critical issue. Q: Why are more employers using drug and alcohol screening programs? A: Employers who require drug and alcohol testing want fast, accurate and reliable services so that they efficiently and effectively ensure that their workforce is safe. Total Urgent Care staff, […]