Jen: This is the PKF Texas Entrepreneur’s Playbook. I’m Jen Lemanski, and I’m back again with Marty Lindle, one of our audit directors and one of the faces of PKF Texas’s Broker-Dealer team. Marty, welcome back to the playbook.

Marty: Great to be here.

Jen: What are some typical findings you see when you’re auditing the broker-dealers?

Continue Reading Deficiencies Auditors Find with Broker-Dealers

International Fraud Awareness Week is nearly over, but that doesn’t mean the conversations and actions stop. Do you have all the information you need to take the steps for fraud prevention? The Association of Certified Fraud Examiners (ACFE) has an abundance of free resources for you to learn what you can do.

International Fraud Awareness Week 2019 logo; a blue crescent moon-shape with the words "international fraud awareness week" in the top right cornerBecause fraud has a high cost – estimated at $3.7 trillion each year – the ACFE has provided content that focuses on providing insight and cost-effective tips for businesses and organizations to prevent fraud from happening. Some of the resources ACFE has available on their website include:

  • Fraud Prevention Checklist
  • “5 Fraud Tips Every Business Leader Should Act On”
  • Fraud Prevention Check-Up
  • Anti-Fraud Technology Benchmarking Report

For more information and resources from ACFE, visit www.fraudweek.com and www.acfeinsights.squarespace.com.

PKF Texas is a strong supporter of anti-fraud efforts and education and continues to work in the fraud and forensics sector with two Certified Fraud Examiners on our team:

To learn more about our services and how our team can help co-create and co-develop solutions with you, visit www.PKFTexas.com/Forensics.

Credit card misuse or fraud is more common in not-for-profits than you may think.

A hypothetical scenario: not-for-profit staffer named Britney had maxed out her personal credit cards. So when her car needed repairs, she reached for her employer’s card. She reasoned that she would come up with the money to pay the bill before her boss ever saw a statement. Britney didn’t come up with the money. But lucky for her, her boss didn’t review the card statement that month. When Britney needed to buy holiday gifts, she reached for her work card again — and again. By the time her boss finally noticed the illicit charges, Britney had spent more than $5,000.

a gold American Express Business credit card sitting behind a master lock; used for a blog about avoiding credit card misuse for not-for-profit organizations

If you write and enforce a strong card use policy at your organization, you can help prevent Britney’s and her boss’s mistakes.

Continue Reading How to Avoid Misuse of Your Not-for-Profit’s Credit Cards

Jen: This is the PKF Texas Entrepreneur’s Playbook. I’m Jen Lemanski, and I’m back again with Marty Lindle, one of our audit directors and one of the faces of our PKF Texas broker-dealer team. Marty, welcome back to the playbook.

Marty: Nice to be here.

Jen: So, where we left off last time we spoke was you were going to share some trends that you’re seeing in the broker-dealer space. What do we need to know?

Marty: This is the eighth annual inspection report, so since the first one, you’ve seen a decrease in the number of broker-dealers and even a decreasing number of broker-dealer auditors. I think just the heightened regulatory scrutiny has caused some people to exit the field.

Jen: Interesting.

Marty: It’s also been increasing a lot of costs, because it’s just more work the auditors have to do. In general, the firms that do multiple broker-dealer audits tend to perform better, and the firms that have issuer clients tend to do better. Issuer clients is what you would commonly think of as a public company. So, they’ve been through the inspection process before.

Jen: Perfect. And broker-dealers, as we mentioned with one of Nicole’s pieces, they’re similar but they’re not the same as a public company.

Marty: Yes, broker-dealers are required to be registered with the SEC, but the vast majority of them are really small private entities.

Jen: Well, perfect. Well, I know there’s some in’s and out’s that we definitely need to get into with different things the broker-dealer should be looking for. Can we get you back to talk a little bit about that?

Marty: Sure.

Jen: Perfect. This has been another Thought Leader production brought to you by PKF Texas The Entrepreneur’s Playbook. For more information about broker-dealers, visit www.PKFTexas.com. Tune in next week for another chapter.

We hosted our third not-for-profit seminar of 2019, “Nonprofit Governance & Risk Management,” on November 6th. It was a compelling topic to close the year! Our speaker was attorney Nicola Fuentes Toubia, whose work is dedicated to legal and tax issues facing nonprofits.

three rows of people sitting in chairs in an open room, facing towards two speakers and project screens for the seminar "nonprofit governance & risk management"

In her discussion, Toubia provided tips on better governance best practices and offered insight on various areas where organizations are susceptible to risk.

Continue Reading Recap: Nonprofit Governance & Risk Management Seminar

You can reduce taxes and save for retirement by contributing to a tax-advantaged retirement plan. If your employer offers a 401(k) or Roth 401(k) plan, contributing to it is a taxwise way to build a nest egg.

If you’re not already contributing the maximum allowed, consider increasing your contribution rate between now and year end. Because of tax-deferred compounding (tax-free in the case of Roth accounts), boosting contributions sooner rather than later can have a significant impact on the size of your nest egg at retirement.

pennies, dimes, nickels and quarters spilling out of a clear glass jar; used for a blog post about saving on taxes with a 401(k) plan

With a 401(k), an employee elects to have a certain amount of pay deferred and contributed by an employer on his or her behalf to the plan. The contribution limit for 2019 is $19,000. Employees age 50 or older by year end are also permitted to make additional “catch-up” contributions of $6,000, for a total limit of $25,000 in 2019.

The IRS just announced that the 401(k) contribution limit for 2020 will increase to $19,500 (plus the $6,500 catch-up contribution).

Continue Reading Save on Taxes with Your 401(k) Plan

Jen: This is the PKF Texas Entrepreneur’s Playbook. I’m Jen Lemanski, and I’m back again with Nicole Riley, an audit senior manager and one of the faces of the PKF Texas Broker-Dealer team. Nicole, welcome back to the Playbook.

Nicole: Great to be back.

Jen: So, the last time you were here we discussed FINRA and the SEC in relation to broker-dealers. Are there common issues that FINRA tends to find when they’re looking at broker-dealers?

Nicole: One of the more common things that we continue to see coming out of these audits that they’re doing, even though the rules have been around since 2003, are issues with expense sharing agreements.

Continue Reading What FINRA Finds in Your Expense Sharing Agreements

We are proud to sponsor the next Greater Houston Women’s Chamber of Commerce Energy Corridor luncheon, hosted at Hotel ZaZa Memorial City on November 13, 2019. The keynote speaker for the upcoming luncheon is Dave Ward, Houston’s iconic Eyewitness News anchor.

Ward will discuss and share memories from his best-selling book, Good Evening, Friends: A Broadcaster Shares His Life. Following the program, Ward will be signing copies of his book.

The PKF Texas team members are excited to attend and hear some of the stories from Dave Ward’s book, as well as network and meet with fellow guests.

For more information and to register for this event, visit www.ghwcc.chambermaster.com.

One of the most laborious tasks for small businesses is managing payroll. It’s critical you not only withhold the right amount of taxes from employees’ paychecks, but also that you pay them over to the federal government on time.

a teal sticky note with the words "sign here" on top of a tax withholding document; for a blog post about payroll tax penalty for small businesses

If you willfully fail to do so, you could personally be hit with the Trust Fund Recovery Penalty, also known as the 100% penalty. The penalty applies to the Social Security and income taxes required to be withheld by a business from its employees’ wages. Since the taxes are considered property of the government, the employer holds them in “trust” on the government’s behalf until they’re paid over.

The reason the penalty is sometimes called the “100% penalty” is because the person liable for the taxes (called the “responsible person”) can be personally penalized 100% of the taxes due. Accordingly, the amounts the IRS seeks when the penalty is applied are usually substantial, and the IRS is aggressive in enforcing it.

Continue Reading What Small Businesses Need to Know About Payroll Tax Penalty