We are excited to share two of PKF Texas’ Directors have been recognized within the Houston community and the accounting profession.

Chief Culture Officer and Audit Director, Sonia Freeman, CPA, was named as one of the Houston Business Journal’s “Women Who Mean Business.” She will be honored with the award on October 18, 2018 at the Hilton Americas-Houston, followed by a special edition of the HBJ weekly edition on October 19.

In addition, Entrepreneurial Advisory Services (EAS) Director, Danielle Supkis Cheek, CPA, CFE, CVA, was recognized by CPA Practice Advisor, as well as Accounting Today. CPA Practice Advisor named Supkis Cheek as a “40 Under 40” honoree, and Accounting Today named her as a “Top 100 People: Ones to Watch,” which landed her a featured spot at the top of the website’s home page.

As Sonia and Danielle continue to see success in their careers, they’re paving a prosperous career path for fellow team members at PKF Texas.

“Darn. I need that document, but I’m not at the office.”

That’s a phrase that is slowly phasing out.

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Over the years, the cloud has been on the rise with many people, as well as companies, making the transition to store physical content digitally. In addition to efforts of going paperless, the main appeal of cloud-based software is accessibility any- and everywhere.

Continue Reading Get Ahead in the Cloud

Most charitable not-for-profits have a never-ending need for volunteers. But finding new ones can be time-consuming — and volunteer searches aren’t always successful. Here are recruitment ideas that can help your not-for-profit.

Look Nearby
Is your not-for-profit familiar to businesses, residents and schools in the surrounding community? People often are drawn to volunteer because they learn of a worthwhile organization that’s located close to where they live or work.

Start to get to know your neighbors by performing an inventory of the surrounding area. Perhaps there’s a large apartment building you’ve never paid much attention to. Consider the people who live there to be potential volunteers. Likewise, if there’s an office building nearby, learn about the businesses that occupy it. Their employees might have skills, such as website design or bookkeeping experience, that perfectly match your volunteer opportunities.

Once you’ve identified some good outreach targets, mail or hand-deliver literature introducing your not-for-profit as a neighbor and describing your needs. Consider inviting your neighbors to a celebration or informational open house at your offices.

Fine-tune Your Pitch
By making your pitches as informative and compelling as possible, you’re more likely to inspire potential volunteers to action. Specifically, explain the:

  • Types of volunteer jobs currently available,
  • Skills most in demand,
  • Times when volunteers are needed, and
  • Rewards and challenges your volunteers might experience.

When possible, incorporate photographs of volunteers at work — along with their testimonials. And make it easy for people to take the next step by including your contact information or directing them to your website for an application.

Reach Out to Your Network
Develop a system for keeping those closest to your organization — major donors, board members and active volunteers — informed of your volunteer needs. These individuals often are influential in their communities, so a request from them is more likely to get people’s attention. They may even frame a request for assistance in the form of a challenge, with the solicitor being the first to volunteer their time or funds, of course.

Remain in Pursuit
No matter how precise or thorough your initial recruiting efforts, remember that one-time or sporadic efforts are insufficient to attract a steady supply of volunteers. To get the resources you need, make volunteer recruitment a continuous process that draws on several strategies.

In order to allow families and businesses to heal and recover after Hurricane Harvey, the 2017 Soiree is postponed until October 12, 2017.

 

Greater Houston Partnership’s premiere event of the season, the Soiree, is just around the corner. With the theme this year being “Houston and Beyond”, this event is sure to be out of this world. It will celebrate Houston’s interstellar legacy, the diversity of our global industries, and our future status as an innovative city propelling beyond barriers with advanced technology.

At this event, you will have the chance to mingle with Houston’s top business professionals in an upscale setting with food, drink, and conversation at the Hotel ZaZa.

Do you want to get involved? We don’t blame you! There are plenty of ways to access this VIP event while getting your company’s name out there. As the Menu Underwriter, PKF Texas knows the value of being involved in the Soiree! Take a look at the Soiree sponsorship opportunities or donate goods to the silent auction.

In the wake of Hurricane Harvey’s destruction in Houston and surrounding southeast Texas areas, we’ve had several nationwide clients and friends of the firm reach out and ask how they can assist. We are overwhelmed and humbled by their willingness to help our community. We want to suggest a few notable and trustworthy resources for Harvey relief, please consider donating to them using the links below.

Harvey Relief Fund – http://ghcf.org/hurricane-relief/

Houston Food Bank – http://www.houstonfoodbank.org/

Houston SPCA – http://www.houstonspca.org/

Thank you,

PKF Texas Team

The generosity of spirit is never more prevalent than during a disaster event. The Texas Gulf Coast has experienced widespread devastation as a result of Hurricane Harvey. In its aftermath, there are now hundreds of relief funds being set up and promoted to aid those impacted by the storm.

You clearly want to help, so how do you ensure that your generous donation will not only benefit those in need but also be tax deductible?  Here are a few things to consider to ensure you make tax deductible donations.

  • Verify tax exempt status: ensure your recipient organizations have been granted 501(c )(3) tax exempt status by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). These organizations have been established for charitable purposes and donations to them are tax deductible as allowed by law. You can confirm an organization’s exempt status by conducting a search on the IRS EO Select Check
  • Get a receipt: Organizations eligible to receive tax deductible donations are required to provide a receipt to donors for any gift of $250 or more. The receipt acknowledges the donation amount, date of donation, the organization’s tax exempt status and tax ID number. You should obtain and keep the receipt as additional support of your tax-deductible donation.
  • Be wary of crowdfunding: Crowdfunding sites such as GoFundMe or YouCaring are popular ways to raise money for various types of causes on social media. Since crowdfunding websites are open for use by anyone, many of the funding pages are not established by qualifying charitable organizations. Before giving through such sites, do your homework to ensure that your support is going to a charitable organization with qualifying tax-exempt status.
  • Appreciated securities: Consider donating appreciated stocks, bonds or mutual funds to a charity or donor advised fund. When you donate appreciated securities you are able to claim the fair market value of the security as a charitable contribution deduction. This also avoids capital gains tax since the appreciated security is being donated instead of sold.

When a qualifying tax deduction is expected, donors should exercise care when making gifts of cash or property to ensure the gift benefits those truly in need but also achieves the expected tax reduction impact.

As the Texas Gulf Coast moves forward in its recovery in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey, we recommend donors keep these tips in mind.

The PKF Texas team is safe and accounted for and we appreciate those who checked in on us! We are closing our office for the remainder of the week and will plan to reopen after the Labor Day holiday weekend while we allow our team members to reconnect as they are able due to power outages and damages.

Here you will find important tax/accounting updates surrounding Hurricane Harvey. Please continue to check back. As we receive more information, we will update this page. Last updated: August 31, 2017.

IRS Gives Tax Relief to Victims of Hurricane Harvey – The IRS has issued IR-2017-135 on August 28, 2017, stating taxpayers and tax preparers affected by Hurricane Harvey will have until January 31, 2018, to file certain individual and business tax returns and make certain tax payments. This includes individual and business taxpayers with filing extensions until September 15, 2017, or October 16, 2017, as applicable. Posted on August 28, 2017. For more information or if you have questions, please contact Martin Euson, Tax Director, at meuson@pkftexas.com.

Tax Relief for Victims of Hurricane Harvey in Texas – In addition to the counties listed in the above link, the IRS has added 11 Texas counties to the list of affected counties where businesses can receive tax relief. Posted on August 30, 2017. For more information or if you have questions, please contact Martin Euson, Tax Director, at meuson@pkftexas.com.

Retirement Plans Can Make Loans, Hardship Distributions to Victims of Hurricane Harvey – The Internal Revenue Service today announced that 401(k)s and similar employer-sponsored retirement plans can make loans and hardship distributions to victims of Hurricane Harvey and members of their families. Posted on August 30, 2017. For more information or if you have questions, please contact Shelly Hayes, Audit Senior Manager, at shayes@pkftexas.com.

You’ve seen them in Houston, now experience the Friendship Factor, presented by Karen Love and Leisa Holland-Nelson, in San Antonio for the first time. In this evergreen conversation, these best friends share real-life examples of how they built their networks to grow their companies and expand their personal brands.

The second annual Trinity University Women and Girls’ Leadership Summit happens this Friday, April 28 and Saturday, April 29. It is a truly exciting opportunity to connect with and empower talented women and girls in a unique setting and to engage with superstar women leaders. For more information, please visit www.trinitywomensleadership.com or view the event flyer below:

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PKF Texas recently sat down with one of its clients, Randy Gilde, CEO and president of Delray Plants. Located in Venus, Fla., the company may seem somewhat off the grid, but Delray Plants represents the 13th largest grower with 300 acres of production space in the United States, according to Greenhouse Grower. The company ships millions of plants to people across the country and even to Canada.

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PKF Texas: Tell us a bit about Delray Plants. What makes it unique?

Randy Gilde: We’re a national supplier to chain stores, and third generation in the Florida family business that grows high quality indoor plants. Our Christian values define our actions and behavior toward our employees and customers. This includes honesty, and fair and ethical business practices, as well as integrity; doing the right thing even when it hurts, as well as accountability, and we own our own actions.

Our people make us unique and innovation helps separate Delray Plants from other similar companies. With our scale, we grow millions of plants, and when you’re shipping millions of plants, quality is the key. Anybody can produce a plant and even a lot of plants, but do they all look good?

Today, people want trust, feel, smell and being healthy. When we put different programs together, we keep this in mind. For example, with our program, “Plants with Benefits,” we use the same plants, but when people go see them on display, they realize that plants clean the air.
PKF Texas: Your late father-in-law, Jacob “Jake” Koornneef, started Delray Plants with the philosophy, “Fewer, bigger, better.” Can you describe what this means?

Randy Gilde: Jake always believed that there would be consolidation in everything. We’ve seen that over the years, with all the mergers and acquisitions happening every day. Where 10 small nurseries used to provide plants for 500 stores, now it’s one big nursery that provides for those 500 stores. Delray was built with that in mind; we’re sized to scale to deal with big box retailers.

 

PKF Texas: Delray Plants started on 14 acres in 1968 and has grown to over 300 acres of production space, serving 33 states and even Canada. What has helped you grow, and how have industry changes affected the way you do business and the way you’ve grown?

Randy Gilde: We grew with the big box stores. The volume of plants over the years shifted from retail garden centers that used to be more than 70% of the business, to retail box stores that now does about the same amount of business.

We believe in stewardship. We share with our customers because we recycle 100 tons of cardboard every year. Also, we practice water conservation. Our drip irrigation in water practices that others don’t use set us apart. Nobody wants to hurt the environment today and our customers see that.

In addition to the big box stores, we’re on Facebook, where the consumer can see our name and website so they can see our plants. Also, Pinterest is good for us. For example, you can see a plant and you can find it right away at an online retailer.
PKF Texas: What are the biggest financial challenges and hurdles you have faced, and how do you deal with, and overcome, those?

Randy Gilde: Labor is always a challenge in this industry. To overcome that, we pay a fair competitive wage and maintain a safe, friendly work environment. Also, government programs are always a factor in business. A good example is the Affordable Health Care Act, which is an ongoing challenge.

 

PKF Texas: Tell us about your role in the organization, as well as the company’s community work.

Randy Gilde: I married into it 38 years ago and started at the bottom, working for my father-in-law. I’ve taken in every aspect of the job, and after my father-in-law passed away, my brother-in-law, Ed, and I co-led the company. We decided to become board-run and governed because large customers wanted to know our succession plan, and you must share it with them. My father-in-law’s succession plan was myself and Ed; he and I talked about it, and decided that I’d be the CEO and president. Even though I was already acting in that role, now it’s official.

Personally and corporately, we give back lots to the community. We are a Christian-based company and support AgVenture, which teaches the community about plants. We also support the 4-H Foundation, United Way and many other organizations.

 

PKF Texas: When it comes to your customers, what do you hope they take away from their Delray Plants experience?

Randy Gilde: We want to have a plant in every home in America. That may seem farfetched, but look at what Bill Gates said. He wanted a computer in every home in America, which is now the case, so what’s the difference?

When you get to see a consumer that’s buying your product, that makes you feel good. We want to make a significant contribution to our customers’ success. By doing that, it guarantees our success.

Today on the CPA Desk, we are reflecting on the annual Aggie 100 event. As the event’s official accountants, we look forward to attending each year and learning about successful Aggies in Texas and around the globe.

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A local company, Lone Star Bloom, LLC, took the top spot this year with a growth rate of 229.55 percent over the past three years. More than a third of companies ranked in the Aggie 100 are based in Houston. You can see the full list of winners here.

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Businesses ranked in the coveted list cover a wide variety of industries and are mostly headquartered in Texas. At PKF Texas, we are proud to support an event that honors the successes of fellow Aggies and our “Ag-Squad” looks forward to visiting their old stomping grounds for the event each year.

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