• COSO adds learning program for internal control certificates

    The Committee of Sponsoring Organizations of the Treadway Commission (COSO) said it is offering a self-study, on-demand learning program for its COSO Internal Control Certificate. The program complements the committee’s certificate program for internal controls, and both programs teach the design, implementation, and monitoring of financial reporting controls according to COSO’s Internal Control—Integrated Framework.
  • Determining what is a lease may be first challenge for new standard

    The FASB’s new lease accounting standard goes into effect for public companies in 2019 and will require businesses to record on their balance sheets assets and liabilities associated with renting office space, heavy equipment, and fleets of vehicles. While most contracts considered leases today will be considered leases when the new standard comes into force, businesses will have to assess whether service contracts and other arrangements contain provisions that will meet the new definition of a lease.
  • Technical corrections clarify several areas of U.S. GAAP

    The FASB published a slate of minor technical corrections and clarifications to U.S. GAAP. The changes stem from a proposal floated in April and are part of the accounting board’s periodic review of the Accounting Standards Codification to find areas that require correction or revision. The changes include a minor correction to the board’s new not-for-profit accounting standard that was proposed for public comment separately from the other amendments.
  • No rush to review SME standard

    The IASB decided to wait until 2019 before it begins its next review of IFRS for Small and Medium-Sized Entities. Board members felt that they, their staff, and the financial professionals or organizations that use the SME standard do not have the resources to undertake a review of the standard before then.
  • OCC standards require strict oversight of third-party relationships

    It’s no longer enough for banks and other financial institutions to simply have good working relationships with the third parties that provide IT and other services. New, stricter standards and increased scrutiny by the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), as well as the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) and the Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council (FFIEC), mean financial institutions now have the same responsibilities for in-house and out-of-house services.
  • Auto dealer M&A update - Fourth quarter 2015

    The US auto dealer merger and acquisition market has ramped up significantly over the past two years, as 2015 dealer acquisitions increased 40 percent over 2014, which followed a 60 percent increase in 2014 over 2013.
  • Significant changes to Form 3115

    The IRS’s new Form 3115 and instructions contain revisions that incorporate modifications and additions from two revenue procedures issued in early 2015.
  • IRS issues regulation prohibiting lump sum payments from defined benefit pension plans

    On July 9, 2015, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) issued Notice 2015-49, Use of Lump Sum Payments to Replace Lifetime Income Being Received By Retirees Under Defined Benefit Pension Plans, amending the required minimum distribution regulations under section 401(a)(9) of the Internal Revenue Code (IRC). The regulation, as amended, no longer permits qualified defined benefit plans to replace any joint and survivor, single life, or other annuity currently being paid with a lump sum payment or other accelerated form of distribution.
  • Bill affects 5500 filing date and summary annual report distribution date

    On July 31, 2015, President Obama signed the Surface Transportation and Veterans Health Care Choice Improvement Act of 2015, often referred to as the highway funding bill. The bill modifies the filing due dates for partnerships, C corporations, certain tax-exempt entities, and Form 5500 filers with the intention to create a more logical flow of information.
  • Revenue recognition requirements delayed one year

    On July 9, 2015, the FASB approved its April 2015 proposal to defer the effective date of ASU No. 2014-09, Revenue from Contracts with Customers, for all entities for one year. Entities will, however, be allowed to apply the new standard as of the original effective dates set out in the standard. This article examines the revenue recognition standard and explains why the FASB granted an extension.
  • DOL report finds major deficiencies in employee benefit plan audits

    The US Department of Labor (DOL) issued a report on its inspection of 2011 employee benefit plan audits, Assessing the Quality of Employee Benefit Plan Audits. The report is quite troubling as the DOL found a deficiency rate that is too high for such an important element of the system to protect participants in employee benefit plans.
  • Six best practices for hiring a non-family CEO

    Sometimes family business owners need to hire non-family CEOs to lead their companies. While the reasons for this type of change vary, these best practices are helpful for selecting a non-family CEO.
  • 2014 W-2 compliance with the Affordable Care Act and 2015 reporting

    2014 was a transition year for determining who was subject to the Affordable Care Act employer mandate, but companies still may have some obligations to fulfill before 2014 W-2s are issued. A new year also means employers need to ramp up preparations for ACA-related reporting requirements.
  • Year-end tax planning ideas for dealerships

    Baker Tilly’s dealership services team of tax professionals compiled a list of dealer-specific tax considerations below. Please keep in mind that your goal should be to maximize your long-term wealth and profitability; decisions on tax policy are secondary considerations to this goal.
  • Baker Tilly automotive dealership benchmark survey – 3rd quarter 2014

    On a quarterly basis, Baker Tilly conducts a benchmarking study of auto dealerships. Respondents to the most recent study were primarily dealerships located in the Upper Midwest. This whitepaper summarizes key data as of and for the three quarters ended September 30, 2014, with comparisons to the same period in 2013 and to the quarter ended June 30, 2014.
  • Break down your 2014 financial performance to get a fix on next year

    Do you feel uncertain about forecasting your dealership’s financial performance for the coming year and setting a budget? With unknown factors in the mix, having misgivings is understandable. But there’s a way to lay solid groundwork for your 2015 financial planning, and it involves analyzing your financial performance in 2014.
  • Are you ready for your audit?

    Dealers who flinch each year before their annual audit, or who think of the process as something that will significantly interfere with their work for days at a time, should think again. An audit doesn’t have to be a time-draining or stressful experience for those who are prepared. This article discusses how to anticipate auditors’ requests and learn from the management points they present at the end of an engagement. It also provides tips for preparing for the auditors’ physical inspection of inventory, and why it’s important to discuss with them the best inventory method to use.
  • Choosing the right vehicle sales model

    This article discusses the real meaning of transparency and whether the one-price model in auto retailing is a better way to sell vehicles than the traditional sales model of negotiating the vehicle price with customers. The pros and cons of each approach are explored.
  • Now is the time for a year-end financial snapshot

    One job that should be at the top of a dealership’s year end priority list is conducting a recap of 2014 financial performance with their accountant. The review will provide a comprehensive snapshot of the dealership’s financial position toward the end of the year. It also will lay the groundwork for the 2015 financial forecast and budget. This article discusses some of the financial ratios that demand especially close attention, including gross and net profit margins, fixed costs, inventory turnover and current ratio.
  • What’s the future of “green” vehicles in the US?

    It has been nearly two decades since the first vehicle powered by a hybrid gas-electric engine, the Toyota Prius, was introduced. The other major car manufacturers soon followed with their own hybrids and alternative fuel vehicles. This led some to predict that sales of vehicles powered by electricity, natural gas, hydrogen and other alternative fuels would soon overtake sales of traditional gasoline-powered vehicles. But so far, sales of green vehicles have yet to take off in the United States. This article discusses why this may be so, but looks at a number of factors indicating that green vehicles will become more, not less, common in the years to come.
  • Year-end tax planning strategies abound

    This article looks at three strategic tax moves dealers might want to make before the end of the year: timing income and expenses, planning inventory carefully, and reviewing repair and maintenance expenses in light of recent IRS regulations. It also lists three main tasks a salesperson should accomplish during the critical first hour they work with a customer.
  • It’s a family affair — How to dodge the pitfalls of family-owned dealerships

    Family-owned businesses, including auto dealerships, have always been an integral part of the American dream. Successful dealer-owners use the pluses of a family-owned business to their advantage while overcoming the hurdles that come with running one. This article discusses those hurdles, such as potentially difficult relationships among family members and between family and nonfamily employees. Compensation and succession are two issues in particular that need to be addressed.
  • Growing sales in small and declining markets

    While automobile sales have rebounded nicely in many areas of the country since the depths of the recession, there are still some regions where the market of car buyers is shrinking or small. For dealerships located in these markets, success often comes down to the ability to diversify. This article discusses a few creative ways that some dealerships have diversified in order to increase sales, revenue and profits. A sidebar notes several ways to grow market share.
  • How to approach a sales tax audit

    As state governments continue to deal with budget shortfalls, revenue agencies continue stepping up their efforts in raising revenue through sales tax audits. States have increased the size of their audit staff and are employing new technologies in their discovery efforts. Auto dealerships are not immune to selection and should know what to expect and how to prepare for an audit.
  • An effective office manager is an integral part of the dealership

    The effectiveness of dealership management contributes to the overall profitability of the store. A key player in the management team is the office manager. In addition to having the responsibility of preparing a monthly financial statement by the tenth of the month, there are several other areas where a well-trained office manager can enhance your bottom line.
  • Baker Tilly automotive dealership benchmark survey – 2nd quarter 2014

    On a quarterly basis, Baker Tilly conducts a benchmarking study of auto dealerships. Respondents to the most recent study were primarily dealerships located in the Upper Midwest. This whitepaper summarizes key data as of and for the two quarters ended June 30, 2014, with comparisons to the same period in 2013 and to the quarter ended March 31, 2014.
  • Adapting to today’s Internet-savvy car buyers

    Thanks to the Internet, today’s car buyers are far more informed when they walk through the door than they once were. More preparatory online research has resulted in fewer dealership visits — while greater knowledge of a given car, including the cost to the dealership, creates reduced negotiating leverage for the dealer, who may find it harder to maintain the same profit levels as in the past. This article notes that adapting to these changes may result in changes to sales tactics, compensation models and marketing strategies. A sidebar offers a few statistics about today’s car buyer.
  • 7 ways to boost service area profits and efficiency

    With gross profits on new automobile sales declining for the first time in five years, many dealerships are looking for ways to recapture some of these lost profits. The service department is one of the first places to look. The technological sophistication of today’s new vehicles gives dealerships an added advantage in the service area, since many independent mechanics lack the skills or diagnostic equipment to work on them. But the department must run smoothly. This article offers seven ways to boost service department efficiency and profits.
  • Internal controls — How can you deter fraud effectively?

    Dealers who have a strong internal control system in place might sleep more soundly. A strong system begins with detailed and accurate financial information and a systematic means of frequently monitoring such data. This article offers a number of tips to help dealers achieve this and nip fraud in the bud.
  • GAAP alternative now available

    This article discusses new guidance that allows private dealerships following Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP) to elect not to consolidate the financial reporting from variable interest entities that lease property to them. It also notes two new taxes under the Affordable Care Act that affect high earners, and a prediction that worldwide new vehicle sales will stop increasing sometime within the next decade.
  • What’s new in the Affordable Care Act

    Since the healthcare law was passed, the number of changes to its implementation and rules has created confusion for not only employers, but also employees. Our recent webinar discusses the latest modifications and what they mean to you. Specifically, they address the employer mandate (pay-or-play rules), the impact of temporary employees on large employers, and disclosures and reporting requirements.
  • Floor plan interest reimbursement on recalled units

    With almost twenty million vehicles already recalled in 2014 from more than ten manufacturers, dealers are raising concerns as they are work with both the manufacturer and the customer. What is it truly costing the dealership?
  • Cash is king – An overview of dealership cash management

    Anyone who paid attention to the financial crisis that struck in 2008 has certainly heard of the phrase “cash is king.” While many define "Cash is King" to mean that a solid cash position in business represents a strong financial position, others believe it has a broader definition.
  • How social media can jumpstart car sales

    While almost everyone is aware of social media’s impact on our daily lives, only some are aware of its impact on the business world—more specifically, how social media can act as a catalyst to increase business and revenues.
  • New accounting guidance likely to change your revenue recognition practices

    The bodies that establish US and international accounting standards have released new guidance on the timing of companies’ revenue recognition. The new guidance from FASB and the IASB have been in development for more than a decade and are intended to enhance comparability of revenue recognition practices across companies, industries, jurisdictions, and capital markets. FASB’s version of the guidance was published in ASU No. 2014-09, Revenue from Contracts with Customers. This article provides an overview of the converged guidance, along with a brief look at the potential impact on certain industries.
  • Baker Tilly automotive dealership benchmark survey – 1st quarter 2014

    On a quarterly basis, Baker Tilly conducts a benchmarking study of auto dealerships. Respondents to the most recent study were primarily dealerships located in the Upper Midwest. This whitepaper summarizes key data as of and for the quarter ended March 31, 2014, with comparisons to the same period in 2013 and to the four quarters ended December 31, 2013.
  • A badge of honor - Monitor online sites to defend your dealership’s reputation

    For dealers who don’t know what’s being said about them on online dealership review sites — or don’t have a strategy in place to quickly combat unfair reviews or appease disgruntled customers who have a legitimate beef — this article should serve as a wake-up call. It explains the threat from negative reviews, whether fair or unfair, and how a dealership should respond.
  • Applying the latest regulations on repairs and maintenance

    There has long been confusion among dealerships about the tax treatment of tangible property improvements on things such as buildings, machinery, equipment and vehicles. Specifically, should these costs be capitalized and depreciated, or can they be deducted immediately? The IRS recently issued final regulations addressing repairs and maintenance and providing guidance to help dealerships make this determination.
  • What’s the current state of the dealership M&A market?

    After several slow years in the aftermath of the financial crisis, auto dealership merger and acquisition (M&A) activity picked up substantially in the United States in 2013 — and one industry source indicates that dealerships are currently priced at all-time highs. This article lists a number of factors driving this trend and discusses the different types of buyers and their motivations. While this is currently an opportune time for sellers, a sidebar points out that, in today’s low-yield investment environment, many automotive dealership buyers see acquisitions as an opportunity for high return on investment.
  • Dealer Digest — Is the future of dealer reserve auto financing at risk?

    In this issue, “Dealer Digest” takes a look at the uncertain future of dealer reserve auto financing. It also discusses why, at least in the near term, driverless driving will not likely be the main benefit of driverless cars, and why, with more young buyers entering the automobile market, it might be time for dealerships to overhaul their showrooms — and the way they sell vehicles.
  • 2013 year-end tax planning for dealerships

    Baker Tilly’s dealership services team of tax professionals has compiled a list of dealer-specific tax considerations. Please keep in mind that your goal should be to maximize your long-term wealth and profitability; decisions on tax policy are secondary considerations to this goal.
  • Six traits of successful retail dealers

    Despite the tremendous number of dealers, and the push by manufacturers to achieve uniformity among their franchises, no two dealers have exactly the same management style. Yet profitable dealers usually possess some common characteristics.
  • Dealerships save green by going green

    Dealerships are energy-intensive operations, however many cost-saving, energy efficient upgrades exist. As energy costs continue to rise, dealers should evaluate these opportunities for substantial savings while showcasing the dealership’s concern for the environment. Additionally, savings opportunities increase when a new construction or renovation takes place.