Team Mara Update: After the Walk

Team Mara WalksLast month, we wrote about Team Mara: a group led by our own Peggy Layton in support of her daughter, Mara, and the Cincinnatus Foundation for Research and Education on Turner Syndrome. Team Mara was collecting donations and participating in the annual Cincinnati Walks for Kids charity event.

Thanks to a broad range of generous support — including anyone who purchased a ComputerEase add-on in September — we’re happy to announce that Team Mara exceeded their fundraising goal by over $1,000, collecting over $6,000 for the Cincinnatus Foundation! We’re proud to have taken part in supporting such a good cause, and we’re especially proud that members of the ComputerEase staff participated in the event!

If you’d like to learn more about Turner Syndrome and what can be done to help those affected by it, visit the Turner Syndrome Society.

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Support Team Mara in the Walk for Kids!

Mara LaytonOne of the youngest members of the ComputerEase family, Mara Layton, was diagnosed with Turner Syndrome when her mother, Director of Operations Peggy Layton, was 20 weeks pregnant. Turner Syndrome is a chromosomal abnormality that occurs in women that can cause serious health problems like congenital heart disease, hypothyroidism, diabetes and more.

Mara is now three years old, overcoming every expectation, and benefiting from excellent treatment at the Turners Syndrome Clinic in Cincinnati. Her bright smile and joyful attitude inspires everyone at ComputerEase, and every year we come together to support the Cincinnatus Foundation for Research and Education on Turner Syndrome at the local Cincinnati Walks for Kids event. The Cincinnatus foundation uses funds raised at this event to support research and education for the Turner Syndrome Clinic.

This year, we want to aim high. Team Mara’s goal for fund raising is $5,000. We believe that we can exceed that. From now until the Walk, we’ll be donating a portion of our profits to Team Mara!

Visit Team Mara’s page to learn more. To find out more about Turner Syndrome, you can visit the Turner Syndrome Society’s website.

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Building New Relationships at CICPAC Chicago!

CICPAC Chicago BoothCPAs across the nation who specialize in the construction industry have turned out for the annual CICPAC conference in Chicago this week, and ComputerEase is there with them.

CICPAC, the Construction Industry CPAs/Consultants Association, has been serving construction-focused CPAs for 25 years with educational webinars, industry news and other resources to help CPAs share information and strategies that benefit their clients.

The relationship between ComputerEase and CICPAC is born of a shared interest in helping construction-focused CPAs to help their contractor clients. With the ComputerEase CPA Partnership Program, CPAs can get all the resources they need to support their clients.

If you’re in Chicago for CICPAC, find out more by visiting our booth at the conference! If not, you can learn more about our CPA Partner Program from our website.

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CE Payroll Service Unveils New Website

CE Payroll Service, the sister company of ComputerEase Software, has announced a brand new website that will make it easier than ever to learn the difference between payroll experts and construction payroll experts. CE Payroll Service is rapidly expanding, and with that expansion has come the need for a streamlined, simplified and elegantly designed platform to share information with clients both current and prospective.

CE Payroll Service was launched in 2012 and has since become a premier source of payroll processing for the construction industry. Staffed by experts familiar with the intricacies of payroll for a contractors office, they provide a reliable, accurate and cost-effective way for construction businesses to handle their payroll.

Along with the new website, CE Payroll service has released a brief demo video to help spell out exactly how their payroll processing solution works. The new videos is embedded below.

To see the new website, visit

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Press Release: ComputerEase Software Announces Wellness Program for Employees

Farrell Fit

CINCINNATI, Ohio, January 19, 2016: ComputerEase Software, Inc., The national leading provider of construction accounting, project management and field-to-office software for the construction industry, today announces it is expanding its focus on employee well-being and preventative health care. ComputerEase Software, headquartered in Cincinnati, was recently voted one of the top places to work in that city for its employee-focused structure and benefits.

Now ComputerEase employees can look forward to a great new perk – a new wellness program through the Cincinnati-based fitness company Farrell Fit. “We feel it’s important to enable our employees to manage their health and fitness so that we can promote a healthier overall life.” Says John Meibers, President of ComputerEase. “It’s great for our employees, it’s great for our health care plan – it’s a win-win overall.”

As in the software industry, ComputerEase strives to be ahead of the curve where healthcare benefits are concerned. This new partnership is a bold step toward that direction.

About Farrell Fit
Farrell Fit is a Cincinnati-based fitness company that focuses on meeting each client wherever they are in life. They offer years of experience in the industry and believe in educating, motivating and connecting with each client to impact their lives and help them establish or maintain a healthy, happy lifestyle. For more information, visit

About ComputerEase Software
Founded in 1983, ComputerEase develops integrated construction accounting and project management software that helps contractors solve problems and increase profits. The scalable, modular structure of ComputerEase makes it the ideal fit for companies of all sizes and specialties. In addition to accounting and job costing, ComputerEase offers robust equipment, purchasing, service and document management solutions. ComputerEase takes great pride in providing a matchless level of customer support by employing a team of experts with experience in the construction industry. For more information, visit:

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Year-End Tax Planning for Business

While the fate of several business-related tax extenders such as Research & Development tax credits, bonus depreciation, and Section 179 expensing that expired at the end of 2014 is uncertain, there are still a number of end of year tax planning strategies businesses can use to reduce their tax burden for 2015.

Deferring Income
Businesses using the cash method of accounting can defer income into 2016 by delaying end-of-year invoices so payment is not received until 2016. Businesses using the accrual method can defer income by postponing delivery of goods or services until January 2016.

Section 179 Expensing.
Business should still take advantage of Section 179 expensing this year for a couple of reasons.  In 2015 businesses can elect to expense (deduct immediately) the entire cost of most new equipment up to a maximum of $25,000 for the first $200,000 of property placed in service by December 31, 2015. Keep in mind that the Section 179 deduction cannot exceed net taxable business income. In addition, unless Congress reauthorizes it, the bonus depreciation expired at the end of 2014 and is not available for 2015.

While most businesses follow a calendar year, for those that don’t there is an exception to the $25,000 cap that allows those businesses to take advantage of the $500,000 Section 179 benefit. However, only businesses whose calendar year begins in 2014 and ends in 2015 can take advantage of this.

Qualified property is defined as property that you placed in service during the tax year and used predominantly (more than 50 percent) in your trade or business. Property that is placed in service and then disposed of in that same tax year does not qualify, nor does property converted to personal use in the same tax year it is acquired.

Note-blue-stickyNote: Many states have not matched these amounts and, therefore, state tax may not allow for the maximum federal deduction. In this case, two sets of depreciation records will be needed to track the federal and state tax impact.


Small Business Health Care Tax Credit.
Small business employers with 25 or fewer full-time-equivalent employees (average annual wages of $51,600 in 2015) may qualify for a tax credit to help pay for employees’ health insurance. The credit is 50 percent (35 percent for non-profits).

Business Energy Investment Tax Credit.
Business energy investment tax credits are still available for eligible systems placed in service on or before December 31, 2016, and businesses that want to take advantage of these tax credits can still do so.

Business energy credits include solar energy systems (passive solar and solar pool-heating systems excluded), fuel cells and microturbines, and an increased credit amount for fuel cells. The extended tax provision also established new credits for small wind-energy systems, geothermal heat pumps, and combined heat and power (CHP) systems. Utilities are allowed to use the credits as well.

Repair Regulations.
Where possible, end of year repairs and expenses should be deducted immediately, rather than capitalized and depreciated. Small businesses lacking applicable financial statements (AFS) are able to take advantage of de minimis safe harbor by electing to deduct smaller purchases ($500 or less per purchase or per invoice). Businesses with applicable financial statements are able to deduct $5,000. Small business with gross receipts of $10 million or less can also take advantage of safe harbor for repairs, maintenance, and improvements to eligible buildings. Please call if you would like more information on this topic.

Section 199 Deduction.
Businesses with manufacturing activities could qualify for a Section 199 domestic production activities deduction. By accelerating salaries or bonuses attributable to domestic production gross receipts in the last quarter of 2015, businesses can increase the amount of this deduction.

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Small Business Investment Company Program

There are a variety of alternatives to bank financing for small businesses, especially business start-ups. The Small Business Investment Company Program fills the gap between the availability of venture capital and the needs of small businesses that are either starting or growing. Licensed and regulated by the SBA, SBICs are privately owned and managed investment firms that make capital available to small businesses through investments or loans. They use their own funds plus funds obtained at favorable rates with SBA guaranties and/or by selling their preferred stock to the SBA.

SBICs are for-profit firms whose incentive is to share in the success of a small business. Laptop on Desk office and Graph analysis spreadsheet, Business financeIn addition to equity capital and long-term loans, SBICs provide debt-equity investments and management assistance.

The SBIC Program provides funding to all types of manufacturing and service industries. Some investment companies specialize in certain fields, while others seek out small businesses with new products or services because of the strong growth potential. Most, however, consider a wide variety of investment opportunities.

Surety Bond Programs
By law, prime contractors to the federal government must post surety bonds on federal construction projects valued at $100,000 or more. Many state, county, city and private-sector projects require bonding as well. The SBA can guarantee bid, performance and payment bonds for contracts up to $1.25 million for small businesses that cannot obtain bonds through regular commercial channels.

Bonds may be obtained in two ways:
Prior Approval. Contractors apply through a surety bonding agent. The guaranty goes to the surety.

Preferred Sureties. Preferred sureties are authorized by the SBA to issue, monitor and service bonds without prior SBA approval.

The SBA has offices located throughout the United States. For the one nearest you, look under “U.S. Government” in your telephone directory, or call the SBA Answer Desk at (800) 827-5722. To send a fax to the SBA, dial (202) 205-7064. For the hearing impaired, the TDD number is (704) 344-6640.

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Business Record Keeping Essentials

What kind of Records Do I Need to Keep in My Business?200811-img3
Complete and accurate financial record keeping is crucial to your business success. Good records provide the financial data that help you operate more efficiently. Accurate and complete records enable you to identify all your business assets, liabilities, income and expenses. That information helps you pinpoint both the strong and weak phases of your business operations.

Moreover, good records are essential for the preparation of current financial statements, such as the income statement (profit and loss) and cash-flow projection. These statements, in turn, are critical for maintaining good relations with your banker. Finally, good records help you avoid underpaying or overpaying your taxes. In addition, good records are essential during an Internal Revenue Service audit, if you hope to answer questions accurately and to the satisfaction of the IRS.

To assure your success, your financial records should show how much income you are generating now and project how much income you can expect to generate in the future. They should inform you of the amount of cash tied up in accounts receivable. Records also need to indicate what you owe for merchandise, rent, utilities, and equipment, as well as such expenses as payroll, payroll taxes, advertising, equipment and facilities maintenance, and benefit plans for yourself and employees. Records will tell you how much cash is on hand and how much is tied-up in inventory. They should reveal which of your departments or services are making a profit, as well as your gross and net profit.

The Basic Recordkeeping System
A basic record-keeping system needs a basic journal to record transactions, accounts receivable records, accounts payable records, payroll records, petty cash records, and inventory records. These records will form the basis of your financial statements and tax returns.

Business Applications Performed by Computers
A computer’s multiple capabilities can solve many business problems from keeping transaction records and preparing statements and reports to maintaining customer and lead lists, and paying your staff. A complete computer system can organize and store many similarly structured pieces of information, perform complicated mathematical computations quickly and accurately, print information quickly and accurately, facilitate communications among individuals, departments and branches, and link the office to many sources of data available through larger networks. A computer can also streamline such manual business operations as accounts receivable, inventory, payroll, and planning. With all of these operations, the computer increases efficiency, reduces errors, and cuts costs.

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The 7(m) and the (504) Loan Programs for Business

The 7(m) MicroLoan Program
The 7(m) MicroLoan Program provides small loans ranging from under $100 to $25,000. Under this program, the SBA makes funds available to nonprofit intermediaries; these, in turn, make the loans. The average loan size is $10,000. Completed applications usually are processed by the intermediary in less than one week. This is a pilot program available at a limited number of locations.

Use of Proceeds.
Microloans may be used to finance machinery, equipment, fixtures and leasehold improvements. They may also be used to finance receivables and for working capital. They may not be used to pay existing debts.

Terms Interest Rates and Fees.
Depending on the earnings of your business, you may take up to six years to repay a microloan. Rates are pegged at no more than 4% over the prime rate. There is no guaranty fee.

Each nonprofit lending organization will have its own requirements, but must take as collateral any assets purchased with the microloan. In most cases, the personal guaranties of the business owners are also required.

Virtually all types of for-profit businesses that meet SBA eligibility requirements qualify.

The Certified Development Company (504) Loan Program
The Certified Development Company (504) Loan Program enables growing businesses to secure long-term, fixed-rate financing for major fixed assets, such as land and buildings. A certified development company is a nonprofit corporation set up to contribute to the economic development of its community or region. CDCs work with the SBA and private-sector lenders to provide financing to small businesses. There are about 290 CDCs nationwide.

The program is designed to enable small businesses to create and retain jobs; the CDC’s portfolio must create or retain one job for every $35,000 of debenture proceeds provided by the SBA. Typically, a 504 project includes:
A loan secured with a senior lien from a private-sector lender covering up to 50% of the project cost, A second loan secured with a junior lien from the CDC (a 100% SBA-guaranteed debenture) covering up to 40% of the project cost
A contribution of at least 10% equity by the borrower.
The maximum SBA debenture generally is $750,000 (up to $1 million in some cases).

Use of Proceeds.
Proceeds from 504 loans must be used for fixed-asset projects such as:
Purchasing land and improvements, including existing buildings, grading, street improvements, utilities, parking lots and landscaping, Construction, modernizing, renovating or converting existing facilities, Purchasing machinery and equipment.
The 504 Program cannot be used for working capital or inventory, consolidating or repaying debt, or most refinancing.

Terms, Interest Rates and Fees.
Interest rates on 504 loans are based on the current market rate for five-year and 10-year U.S. Treasury issues plus an increment above the Treasury rate, based on market conditions. Only maturates of 10 and 20 years are available. Fees total approximately 3% of the debenture and may be financed with the loan.

Generally the project assets being financed are used as collateral. Personal guaranties of the principal owners are also required.

To be eligible, the business generally must be operated for profit and fall within the size standards set by the SBA. Under the 504 Program, a business qualifies as small if it does not have a tangible net worth in excess of $6 million and does not have an average net income in excess of $2 million after taxes for the preceding two years, or if it meets standard 7(a) criteria. Loans cannot be made to businesses engaged in speculation or investment.

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Minority and Women’s Pre-qualification Programs for SBA Loans

If you are a woman or minority who owns or wants to start a business, The Minority and Women’s Pre-qualification Programs can help. Intermediaries assist you in developing a viable loan application package and securing a loan. On approval the SBA provides a letter of pre-qualification you can take to a lender. The women’s program uses only nonprofit organizations as intermediaries; the minority program uses for-profit intermediaries as well.

200602image2Once your loan package is assembled, the intermediary submits it to the SBA for
expedited consideration; a decision usually is made within three days. If your application is
approved, the SBA issues a letter of pre-qualification stating the agency’s intent to guarantee the loan. The intermediary will then help you locate a lender offering the most competitive rates.

Maximum Loan Amount
The maximum amount for loans under the women’s program is $250,000; under the minority program, it is generally the same, although some district offices set other limits. With both programs, the SBA will guarantee up to 75% (80% on loans of $100,000 or less).

Here are the eligibility rules for these programs.
Businesses at least 51% owned, operated and managed by people of ethnic or racial minorities, or by women.
Businesses with average annual sales for the preceding three years that do not exceed $5 million.
Businesses that employ fewer than 100, including affiliates.
Businesses that are not engaged in speculation or investment.

Intermediaries may charge a reasonable fee for loan packaging. These programs are available through a number of SBA district offices nationwide. To find out if these programs are available in your area, contact your nearest SBA district office.


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