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Blog Tax and Financial News

Key Deadlines and Changes for the 2023 Tax Season

Every year, typically right after the new year starts, the IRS formally announces key dates and deadlines for the current tax season. Recently, the IRS made the announcements for the current 2023 tax season.

To make sure the process goes as smoothly as possible, it’s best if you are aware of this tax season’s deadlines and key dates so you don’t miss a beat in working with your CPA.

Tax Season in Perspective

More than 168 million individual tax returns are expected to be submitted to the IRS in 2023, covering the 2022 tax year. The last three years saw delays and snafus, largely impacted by the pandemic. This year, the IRS assures taxpayers it is taking measures to streamline filings.

Under the recently passed Inflation Reduction Act, the IRS hired thousands of customer service representatives. They will be on call to assist with answering questions via the IRA taxpayer helpline. The helpline number is: 1-800-829-1040; additionally, online tools and resources can be found on the IRS website.

The IRS also provides other free assistance services, such as its Volunteer Income Tax Assistance and Tax Counseling for the Elderly for qualified individuals.

Important Dates for the 2023 Tax Filing Season

  • IRS Free Filing Opens for the season – Jan. 13

    Opening 10 days earlier than the regular official start of the season, the IRS free file program offers taxpayers making less than $73,000 in 2022 to file free of charge using online tax software.

  • Estimated Tax Payments for the 2022 tax year 4th quarter – Jan. 17
  • First day the IRS starts accepting and processing 2023 tax season (2022 fiscal year) individual tax returns – Jan. 23
  • Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) Awareness Day – Jan. 27

    This day is designed to raise awareness of the EITC availability to low- and moderate-income workers and families who may qualify but are unaware.       

  • Due date for 2022 tax returns to be filed or extension requested, tax due to be paid – April 18

    This deadline is an additional three days beyond the typical deadline of April 15, granted due to the Emancipation Day holiday in Washington, D.C., and the way the weekend falls.         

    Note that refunds are expected to be issued in 21 days or less (if using the direct deposit option and filing electronically).

  • Due date for 2022 individual tax returns put on extension – Oct. 16     

Gather Your Important Documents 

Keeping these dates and deadlines in mind, make sure you organize and gather all your tax records and documents as you receive them electronically or in the mail. This will make it faster and easier to work with your tax professional.

Conclusion

Keep in mind the above dates as you organize and prepare for the 2023 tax season. Doing so will make your life much easier and less stressful when it comes to taxes.

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Blog General Business News

Defining an Impaired Asset

When it comes to defining an impaired asset, its fair market value is worth less than the original cost of the asset – or, more formally, its carrying value. As a company re-evaluates its assets’ value, and when it determines there’s a discrepancy between the book or original value and the current market value, impaired assets that are lower in value are written down on the balance sheet. The business’ income statement shows a loss for the negative difference in value. Impaired assets can be Property, Plant, and Equipment (PP&E), goodwill, or fixed assets.

Making a Judgment on Asset Impairment  

One more consideration to get an accurate calculation, according to generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP), is to ensure that accumulated depreciation is subtracted from the asset’s historical or original cost before assessing the difference between the fair market and carrying values. Equally as important is the GAAP recommendation for businesses to perform impairment tests annually.

Assets could be damaged physically, consumer demand may change, or legal factors could reduce its fair market value. These reasons may cause lowered projected future cash flows – lower than an asset’s current carrying value. It, therefore, requires an impairment assessment.  

Illustrating With a Real-World Example

Take a business that bought a piece of equipment 24 months ago worth $500,000 and depreciates it $25,000 annually. Using these two figures, we can determine the equipment’s carrying value is as follows for the present year:

[($500,000 – ($25,000 x 2 years)] = $450,000

If the same type of asset (same age, usage, etc.) can be purchased on the open market but is able to be purchased for $400,000 (market value), the asset the business owns would be considered an impaired asset.

The difference between the current market value and the carrying value is: $450,000 – $400,000 = $50,000. The $50,000 would be written down.

It’s important to note that once an asset is impaired, depreciation going forward must be recalculated based upon the new valuation figure.

Criteria to Establish Impairment

According to GAAP, businesses must begin with a recoverability test. If the initial cost of an asset (minus any depreciation or amortization) is more than the non-discount rate adjusted cash flows it’s projected to produce, the asset is considered impaired.

Assuming the asset is deemed impaired, the second part determines how much impairment exists, which is the gap between the original and market value of the asset in question. If the fair value is unspecified, the total of the discount rate adjusted future cash flows is acceptable.

Assuming the total of non-discount rate adjusted future cash flows is $90,000 – the projected undiscounted cash flows through the next 36 months, which is lower than the estimated carry amount (or book value) of $115,000. The recoverability test is passed, so the asset should be impaired. Based on the second step, the impairment loss will be $25,000 ($115,000 – $90,000). If, however, the fair market value is unknown, the projected cash flows of $30,000 per year for the next 36 months should be discounted to present value. This example can assume a 5 percent discount rate:

Year 1 – $30,000 / (1+0.05) = $30,000 / 1.05 = ($28,571.43)

Year 2 – $30,000 / (1+0.05)^2 = $30,000 / (1.1025) = ($27,210.88)

Year 3 – $30,000 / (1+0.05)^3 = $30,000 / (1.1576) = ($25,915.69)

To calculate the impairment loss with an unknown fair market value: $115,000 – ($28,571.43 + $27,210.88 + $25,915.69) = $115,000 – $81,698.00 = $33,302.00

Whether it’s a time of economic uncertainty or the economy is firing on full cylinders, assets can change value. Businesses that effectively navigate changing conditions are able to increase their chances of surviving or thriving amid the challenges they might face.

Categories
Blog Financial Planning

401(k) Options After You Leave an Employer

Apart from the spike in inflation, 2023 ended the year with a relatively strong economy, boasting an unemployment rate of 3.5 percent (below the market forecast of 3.7 percent) with increases in wages, corporate profits, and economic growth over the past two quarters. Despite the positive data, a slate of companies, including Microsoft, Google, Amazon, Goldman Sachs, and Bed Bath & Beyond, have all announced significant layoffs planned for this year.

Whether the result of a layoff, a new job, or retirement, the reality is that over the course of a career, most people will change jobs several times. The good news is that 401(k) plan assets are portable – meaning you can take them with you. However, it is important to be aware of all your options so that you choose the most advantageous one each time you change employers.

You Don’t Have to do Anything Right Away

The first thing to note is that the income deferrals you contributed to your employer’s retirement plan are yours to keep. However, an employer match may be subject to a vesting schedule. If you do not work at the company long enough to satisfy the vesting schedule, you might lose all or a portion of the unvested assets in your account.

It is not necessary to roll over your 401(k) assets right away; in many cases, you can leave them where they are indefinitely. However, you will no longer be able to make contributions to the plan, receive matching funds, or tap that money for a loan. If the plan has a wide range of investment options, low fees, and expenses and has performed well, then leaving assets where they are may be your best choice.

On the other hand, you should investigate to ensure your plan does not change once you no longer work for a former employer, as some plans charge higher fees for inactive employees. Also, some employers may require you to cash out of your account balance – usually if it is below $1,000. If your balance is above $1,000, that employer must offer you the option to roll those assets into a personal IRA.

Take the Money

If you opt to withdraw the cash value of your account, you will be subject to an immediate tax impact. Your company may cut you a check for the amount withdrawn, but it is required to withhold 20 percent of the amount to prepay the tax you’ll owe. If you have not yet reached age 59½, the IRA will classify the distribution as an early withdrawal. This means you might owe a 10 percent penalty in addition to the federal tax withholding. The balance also may be subject to state and local taxes. All told, you could lose up to 50 percent of the account value if you take an early distribution.

For young adults in particular, it can be tempting to withdraw their 401(k) balance when they leave an employer. They may not have acquired much in assets, not met vesting requirements for the employer match, and figure they have more need for the money now than in 50 years when they retire. However, bear in mind that investments made early as an adult often purchase good, dependable stocks at low prices, with decades for those stocks to appreciate. Holding onto those assets over the long term allows for maximum growth opportunity, whereas withdrawing them means you’ll have to start all over again.

Roll Over Assets to Your New Employer’s 401(k)

Some employer plans will accept transfers from a former retirement plan, but not all of them do. You will have to inquire. If this is an option, recognize that there is no need to roll over right away. You may want to work there for awhile to ensure you’re happy, the company is viable, and you plan to stay there a while. Furthermore, you may have to wait until the next enrollment period to request a rollover, and some employers may require that you work a specific period of time (e.g., one full year) before you can transfer old 401(k) assets to your new plan.

Open a Personal IRA

A third option is to transfer your old employer’s 401(k) assets to a personal individual retirement account (IRA) that you open through a brokerage of your choice. The new brokerage custodian will give you the forms needed to request the formal rollover, and your former 401(k) plan administrator might have forms to complete as well. It is best to have the two custodians conduct the transfer directly so that you never take possession of the funds yourself, which could result in tax penalties if not conducted correctly.

You’ll need to select new investment options (e.g., mutual funds, exchange-traded funds, individual stocks or bonds) for the IRA, and be sure to compare its fees with your old account. By rolling over to an IRA that you manage yourself, you will have a wider range of investment options and can shop for plans with lower fees.

Bear in mind that, moving forward, any additional contributions you make to this IRA will be subject to lower annual contribution limits (in 2023: $6,500 if under age 50; $7,500 for 50 and older) than 401(k) plans as well as the income limitations applicable to a Roth IRA (2023: less than $153,000 Modified Adjusted Gross Income (MAGI) if you are single; less than $228,000 if you’re married and file jointly).

There are three IRA rollover options for 401(k) plan assets:

  • Roll over to a new or existing traditional IRA – No taxes are due on the assets you transfer, and earnings continue to accumulate tax deferred until withdrawn. It’s best to directly roll-over the funds from one custodian to another.
  • Roll over to a new or existing Roth IRA – This option requires that you pay taxes on the rollover amount in the tax filing year they are transferred. You may use money from the 401(k) plan or pay the tax separately using other assets (the latter is preferable so that your equity continues to appreciate). Once the IRA has been open for at least five years, and you are at least age 59½, contributions and earnings can be withdrawn free of all taxes and penalties. Furthermore, unlike the traditional IRA, you are not required to take minimum distributions (RMDs) from a Roth.
  • Roll over a Roth 401(k) to a new or existing Roth IRA – No taxes are due when the money is transferred, and new earnings accumulate tax deferred. Contributions and earnings are eligible for tax-free withdrawals once the IRA has been open at least five years and you are at least age 59½.

Do Something

Leaving your 401(k) with a former employer is a perfectly acceptable option, but you should consider consolidating your 401(k) plans at some point. More and more people are working for multiple employers throughout their careers, and they may lose track of where they hold 401(k) assets. In fact, at the end of 2021, there was a nationwide total of $1.35 trillion sitting in forgotten 401(k) plans.

Don’t let that happen to you.

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Blog Tip of the Month

Why You Might Not Need a New Budget for the New Year

So, we’re a month into 2023, and the sheen might’ve dulled from all your shiny New Year’s resolutions. Though diet and exercise are the top things you might want to change, there’s one you might not need to touch – your budget. Here’s a discussion about who does and doesn’t need to revamp their finances.

Who Needs a New Budget?

Budgets are always a good idea. They help you save money and pay off debt. But only a few folks need to create a new one. According to Annette Harris, founder of Harris Financial Coaching, you need a new budget if you are:

  • Unable to keep up with expenses
  • Falling behind on debt payments
  • Borrowing money from others
  • Relying on credit cards
  • Using payday lenders

But on the flipside, some positive life events may also call for a fresh look at your budget:

  • Buying a house
  • Planning home improvements
  • Sending a child to college

Now, if you’re debt-free, saving, and investing, then a new budget probably won’t provide much value. Further, Harris says that if you don’t have children that you’re putting through college, don’t have any upcoming big purchases, continue to spend wisely and build your net worth, don’t bother changing what you’re already doing. In other words, of it’s not broke, don’t fix it.

The Stigma Around the ‘B’ Word

That would be “budget.” Jesse Mecham, founder of the app You Need a Budget aka YNAB, has a good explanation about why this is so. He says that this very term (budget) is among the reasons that people don’t follow through with setting one – and sticking with it. He says that generally, people think it means restriction, deprivation, or diet. What you need, he says, is a shift in perspective. If you think about a budget being a plan for intentional spending, no matter what year it is, you always want to be intentional. Makes good sense, right?

Some Budgets Might Even Cause Harm

Dana Miranda, founder of the “budget-free” financial ed website Healthy Rich, believes that budgets can do more harm than good. She says that people inevitably feel like they’re failing and aim for a fresh start at the beginning of the year, but no amount of recommitting to budgeting can make the realities of your life fit into the unrealistic restriction of a budget. Miranda says when people are stressed about money, they budget. When they succeed, it’s great. But when they fail, they feel like a failure and, consequently, are even more stressed, much like dieting.

Alternatives to Budgeting

Here are three other ways to get a handle on your finances in the New Year.

Track Your Goals

We’re not talking about counting every dollar but focusing on goals. Instead of not overspending, eating out less, or avoiding online shopping, find areas in your budget that can help you accomplish your goals – one at a time. For instance, if you want to save for college for your kids, buy an investment property, or create a vacation fund, set up a tracker with a defined timeline and work toward that. It’s easier to narrowly focus on one important goal than on everything all at once.

Create an Annual Budget

This is in contrast to a monthly budget. This helps you accommodate for variables – life stuff – that inevitably come your way and knock you off course. According to Harris, take time to map out monthly costs, travel plans, and home renovations, along with any one-time and variable recurring costs. The bills you pay regularly are easy to anticipate; it’s the ones you don’t that will throw you a curveball.

Look at Your Relationship With Money

Ask yourself things like:

  • Do I find joy in the way I make money?
  • Are the commitments I made (like a monthly savings amount) still working for me?
  • Am I achieving what I want?
  • Am I at peace with the way I spend?

Harris says self-awareness found through journaling, meditation, yoga, and prayer are great ways to harness conscious spending. They contribute, she says, to helping you become more intentional with the way you spend.

No one is perfect. Everyone makes mistakes. However, with a few helpful hints like these, you can get better and better every day.

Sources

https://www.forbes.com/advisor/personal-finance/new-budget-new-years-resolution/

2022 Consumer Saving & Spending Behaviors (bankofamerica.com)

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Blog What's New in Technology

How To Use Natural Language Processing To Improve The Efficiency Of Accounting Processes

Natural language processing (NLP) is a technology that allows computers to understand and process human language. Processing of natural language is necessary when you want an intelligent device to follow your instructions. NPL is an artificial intelligence (AI) component with many real-life applications.

As technology advances, business leaders have to figure out how to tap into the new trends to remain relevant, stay ahead of competition, and meet consumer expectations and needs.

How NLP Works in Brief

NLP involves making computers perform tasks with the natural language humans use. The input and output can be spoken or written text. NLP combines computational linguistics – rule-based modeling of human language – with statistical, machine learning, and deep learning models.

NLP aims to build machines that understand and react to text or voice data and then respond with text or speech in a similar manner as humans do. Examples of NLP in real life include voice-operated GPS systems, personal assistant apps, speech-to-text dictation software, and customer service chatbots.

As businesses seek better ways to improve efficiency, NLP is one technology promising huge rewards for enterprises dealing with vast quantities of unstructured text. In accounting, unstructured data include transaction descriptions, invoices, written communication, etc.

The use of NLP is growing significantly in enterprise solutions designed to help streamline business operations. Large companies such as Deloitte, Ernst & Young (EY), and PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) have implemented various NLP solutions. A good example is Deloitte, which incorporated NLP into its Audit Command Language to improve contract compliance.

How NLP Can Improve the Efficiency of Accounting Processes

Areas in which NLP helps improve efficiency include:

  1. Forensic Investigations
    When CPAs want to perform forensic investigations, they have to deal with significant amounts of data from documents such as bank statements, transaction data tables, and data found in emails or deposition transcripts. Analyzing all the data as they try to look for specific patterns or gain insights is challenging. However, the application of NLP can be helpful in the investigative analysis process. NLP using algorithms can identify patterns automatically and reduce the time it would have taken to analyze the documents.
  2. Accounting and Auditing
    Auditing is challenging due to the process of reviewing financial statements and ensuring they match regulations and legal standards. Auditors must have excellent analytical and decision-making skills to spot inaccuracies in financial statements. However, NLP helps to optimize the auditing process.
  3. Financial Analysis and Automated Generation of Financial Reports
    NLP can automatically extract financial data from balance sheets, income statements, and cash flow statements. This can cut down on time and error-prone work. At the same time, it can obtain insights from massive financial data sets and financial reports. This enables accountants to make data-driven decisions and quickly identify trends and patterns in the data, hence, making it easy to provide guidance to clients on investments and household finances.
  4. Automated Data Entry
    NLP can be used to extract data automatically from unstructured text documents, including bills and receipts. It also can be used to automate the entry of data from tax documents and input it into accounting systems. This can cut down on time and error-prone work.
  5. Improve Centralized Data Management Solutions
    Incorporating NLP in accounting and procurement helps improve the ability of a centralized data management system to collect and integrate data from different sources. This enables standardization and collaboration. Additionally, the data provided has higher-quality insights. As a result, there is better financial planning and improved risk assessment and management.
  6. Customer Interaction
    NLP can be used to enhance the effectiveness of customer interaction. This is done by automating the procedure for responding to client inquiries, such as concerning invoices, payments, and account balances.

Conclusion

Natural language processing is proving to be a powerful technology that can help improve the efficiency and effectiveness of accounting processes. As it continues to evolve, it will likely become an increasingly important tool for accountants and other financial professionals. Most importantly, these advanced technologies take care of manually reviewing unstructured data. This helps businesses scale and – at the same time – reduce costs.

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Blog Congress at Work

Overhauling the National Tax System, Eliminating Oil Sales to China, and Criminalizing Late Abortion Attempts

To rescind certain balances made available to the Internal Revenue Service (HR 23) – Introduced by Rep. Adrian Smith (R-NE) on Jan. 9, this bill would rescind funds allocated to the Internal Revenue Service by the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022. The bill is designed to “defund” specific enforcement activities, operational support, enhancement to the e-file tax return system, and allocations to the U.S. Tax Court and other Department of the Treasury tax agencies. The bill passed in the House on Jan. 9 and has moved to the Senate, 

Protecting America’s Strategic Petroleum Reserve from China Act (HR 22) – This bill would prohibit the Department of Energy (DOE) from selling crude oil to any entity under the ownership, control, or influence of the Chinese Communist Party. The bill was introduced on Jan. 9 by Rep. Cathy Anne McMorris Rogers (R-WA). It passed in the House on Jan. 12 and is currently under consideration in the Senate.

Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act (HR 26) – An example of one of many abortion-related bills introduced by the House in the new 118th Congressional Session, this Act would require healthcare practitioners to exercise the proper degree of care in cases where a fetus survives an attempted abortion – including ensuring the neonate is immediately admitted to a hospital. Failure to provide such care or failure of others to report the crime would be subject to a fine and/or up to five years in prison. Furthermore, anyone who intentionally kills the neonate would be subject to prosecution for murder. However, this bill would bar criminal prosecution of the birth mother in these circumstances and permit her to bring civil action for these violations if perpetrated by others. The bill was introduced by Rep. Ann Wagner (R-MO) on Jan. 9 and is under assignment in a House committee.

Fair Tax Act of 2023 (HR 25) – This legislation was introduced in the House by Rep. Buddy Carter (R-GA) on Jan. 9. It is currently assigned to committee for consideration.  The purpose of the bill is to replace the current income tax system (including payroll, estate, and gift taxes) with a national consumption sales tax on goods and services. Instead of paying the current 10 percent to 37 percent tax rates based on income bracket, as well as eliminating all deductions and credits, U.S. residents would pay a minimum 23 percent federal tax (in addition to state and local taxes) on all purchases, regardless of income bracket. Exemptions would include property or services purchased for business, export, investment, or state government functions. The flat rate would essentially tax a higher percentage of income from low earners while high-income earners would have more assets available for savings and investment that would not be taxable. Each state would bear the responsibility for collecting and remitting this federal sales tax to the Treasury.

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Blog Tax and Financial News

The IRS Versus the Taxpayer

According to the IRS, not only is your ignorance no excuse, but so is that of your tax preparer. In other words, the fact that your tax preparer made a mistake is no excuse and will not absolve you from compliance penalties.

Unfortunately, the penalty for making what could be deemed an innocent mistake can cost a taxpayer a significant sum. What is worse yet is that defending yourself against the IRS is a costly endeavor in terms of both time and money. Part of the problem is that taxpayers often do not have the option of making an appeal directly to the tax court and, instead, must first pay the IRS and then challenge it in either District Court or the Court of Claims. Stated plainly, the average taxpayer simply cannot afford to fight the IRS in tax court.

In the remainder of this article, we will look at two main areas that tend to be problematic for taxpayers: first, assorted penalties for misfilings and mistakes; second, obscure international forms.

Miscellaneous Mishaps and Mistakes

Taxpayers can get caught up in “gotcha” type situations where they inadvertently make a mistake in the type, accuracy or timing of the filings. Here is a checklist of some of most common issues in which taxpayers typically make unintentional errors that will not be forgiven by the IRS.

  • Filing late and paying short: Filing a return late and underpaying the tax owed each carry separate penalties. Together, these penalties can add up to 47.5 percent of the original tax owed in a worst-case scenario.
  • Careless Filing Details: If you make a mistake in filing your return and it results in tax liability in your favor, you can owe a penalty of 20 percent of the under-reported taxes. In the case of faulty appraisals for items such as donated property, the penalty can double up to 40 percent.
  • Writing Bad Checks: Technically it does not matter if it is a physical check or another payment method, but if a taxpayer’s payment to the IRS is declined, the IRS will change an additional 2 percent penalty.
  • Missing Checklists: Failure to file the two-page “due diligence” checklist before claiming certain credits, such as the earned-income or college credits, can result in a fine of $545 per credit.

Obscure International Forms

Many compliance-related rules related to international investments and banking activities were originally created to put a stop to drug dealers, terrorists and flagrant tax cheats. Unfortunately, the regulations are still in force, but apply to increasingly more taxpayers as the threshold amounts have not increased yet more U.S. citizens are working, living or retiring abroad. Moreover, the penalties can be severe. In this section, we will look at some of the most obscure and serious foreign tax compliance issues.

  • Passive Foreign Investments: If you own mutual fund shares incorporated abroad you must file Form 8621.
  • Personal Holding Companies: If you create a corporation to hold a foreign property, you will need to file Form 5471, for a Controlled Foreign Corporation.
  • FBAR: If you have $10,000 or more in any combination of international bank and brokerage accounts, at any single point in the year, you need to file the FBAR form electronically. Note, the trigger here is that the bank or brokerage is outside the United States. If you hold securities of foreign companies or foreign currencies with a U.S. institution, the reporting is not required.
  • Fatca Disclosures: Facta disclosures were created to combat money laundering, covering all manner of foreign financial assets, including insurance and retirement assets. It can overlap with the FBAR requirements, but the additional reporting here is triggered by higher thresholds starting at $50,000 in assets for single U.S. residents and up to $400,000 for couples residing abroad and filing joint returns.

Conclusion

Remember that ignorance of the tax law is no excuse, especially in the eyes of the IRS. It does not matter if a mistake you make is truly innocent; there is still a good chance that you will end up paying unpleasant fines and penalties and, in the worst case, a big mess. It is best to be timely and diligent in your filings.

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Blog General Business News

Understanding the Weighted Average Cost (WAC) Method for Inventory Valuation

When it comes to businesses and their inventory and accounting methods for managing it, there are a few different ways to approach the task. The three different options to value inventory/implement cost flow assumptions, include: Last In, First Out (LIFO); First In, First Out (FIFO); and Weighted Average Cost Accounting (WAC). This article will focus only on the WAC method.

Weighted Average Cost (WAC) Method

WAC is a way to value inventory based on how much each tranche contributes to the overall valuation of its cost of goods sold (COGS) and inventory. Recognized by both GAAP and IFRS, it’s determined by taking the cost of goods available for sale and dividing it by the quantity of inventory ready to be sold. It’s important to note that while WAC is a generally accepted accounting principle, it’s not as precise as FIFO or LIFO; however, it is effective at assigning average cost of production to a given product.

It’s done primarily for types of inventories where parts are so intertwined that it makes it problematic to attribute clear-cut expenditures to a particular part. This often happens when stockpiles of parts are indistinguishable from each other. It also accounts for businesses offering their inventory for sale all at once. Here’s a visual representation of the formula: 

Weighted Average Cost (WAC) Method Formula

WAC per unit = Cost of goods available for sale / Units available for sale

Costs of goods available for sale is determined by adding new purchases of inventory to the value of what the business already had in its existing stock. Units available for sale is how many saleable items the company possesses. Its value is assessed per item and encompasses starting inventory and additional purchases.

When it comes to calculating WAC, there are two different types of inventory analysis systems: periodic and perpetual.

Periodic Inventory System

In this system, the business tallies its inventory at the end of the accounting period – be it a quarter, half or fiscal year – and analyzes how much the inventory costs. This then determines the value of the remaining inventory. The COGS is then calculated by adding how much starting, final, and additional inventory within the accounting period cost.

Perpetual Inventory System

This system puts a bigger emphasis on more real-time management of its stock levels. The trade-off for such real-time tracking of inventory requires more company financial resources. Looking at an example of how a company began its fiscal year with the following inventory can illustrate how it works.

At the beginning of the year, a company had 1,000 units, costing $50 per unit. It also made three additional inventory purchases going forward.

Jan 20: 75 units costing $100 = $7,500

Feb 17: 150 units costing $150 = $22,500

March 18: 300 units costing $200 = $60,000

During the fiscal year, the business sold:

235 units sold during the last week of February

325 units sold during the last week of March

Looking at the Periodic Inventory System, for the first three months of its fiscal year, the company can determine its COGS and the number of items ready to be sold over the first three months of its fiscal year.

WAC per item – ($50,000 + $7,500 + $22,500 + $60,000) / 1,525 = $91.80

Based on this method, the WAC per unit would be multiplied by the number of units sold during the accounting period, therefore:

560 units x $91.80 = $51,408 (inventory sold)

To calculate the final inventory value, we take the entire purchase cost and subtract the remaining inventory to arrive at the valuation:

$140,000 – $51,408 = $88,592

Perpetual Inventory System

Unlike the periodic inventory system, this looks at determining the mean prior to the transaction of items:

This would calculate the average before the 235 units were sold during the last week of February:

WAC for each item: ($50,000 + $7,500 + $22,500) / 1,225 = $65.31

Looking at the 235 units sold during the last week of February, it’s calculated as follows:

235 x $65.31 = $15,347.85 (inventory sold)

$80,000 – $15,347.85 = $64,652.15 (remaining inventory value)

Before calculating for the 325 units sold the last week of March, the unit valuation per WAC is: ($64,652.15 + $60,000) / (1225 – 235 + 300) = 1290 = $96.63

Looking at the 325 units sold during the last week of March is calculated as follows:

325 x $96.63 = $31,404.75 (inventory sold)

$124,652.15 – $31,404.75 = $93,247.40 (remaining inventory)

Based on these options, businesses have the choice, along with LIFO and FIFO, to decide how they want to vary it based on their own business needs.

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Blog Financial Planning

No-Heir Estate Planning

Even if you have no heirs, you should have an estate plan. Otherwise, the state will determine the fate of your worldly possessions. In fact, if you pass away “intestate” (without a will), the state can even keep all of your assets for itself – if no heirs are found.

The most basic tenet of no-heir estate planning is to write a will. Every state has different rules about what constitutes a legally enforceable will, so be sure to check out your state’s guidelines. If you move, you’ll need to update your will according to the state you live in when you pass away.

In yourwill, direct who receives which of your assets. There is no edict that says you must leave possessions to a relative. You can choose a friend, a group of people or even one or more charitable organizations. You also should choose an executor of your will: someone you trust to carry out your wishes. This person can be an attorney or bank custodian of your assets. You should speak with whomever you choose to make sure they are willing to take on the role of executor. It is generally no small task, and might entail distributing and even selling your possessions in order to make cash distributions to the beneficiaries.

If you have any pets, be sure to figure out during the planning process who is willing to take care of your animals after you pass, or direct their care to a specific shelter.

Also, consider the beneficiaries you will designate for bank and investment accounts, as well as any insurance policies you own. Note that beneficiary designations you assign on these accounts will supersede your will instructions, even if they precede when you wrote your will. For example, your employer might pay for a life insurance policy in your name that pays out proceeds equaling two to three times your salary. You might not even remember that you completed this paperwork years ago, naming your girl/boyfriend at the time as your beneficiary. If you don’t keep those designations up to date, you may end up leaving a substantial sum to a woman/man who broke your heart, instead of the person who embraces it now.

It is also a good idea to name a “Transfer on Death” (TOD) designation on other types of accounts, such as your bank checking and savings accounts. This designation also supersedes will instructions and allows your money to be distributed once the beneficiary presents your death certificate and proper ID. It’s actually advisable to name the executor of your will as TOD, as he may need to access your funds quickly to pay for funeral and burial expenses. Other assets can take longer to distribute, so a TOD designation is a quicker way for your beneficiary to access cash.

Be aware that even if you have prepared a will, your estate will still be subject to probate, in which a judge makes the final determination of your assets. If you wish to avoid this step, you can fold all or a portion of your assets under one or more trusts, which will distribute them according to the trust directionsand avoid probate altogether. A trust is particularly beneficial if you have a large estate or wish to leave a substantial donation to one or more charities.

Another estate planning consideration is what to do if, instead of dying, you become incapacitated and cannot make decisions for yourself. As part of the estate planning process, you should name a power of attorney to make financial decisions for you. This can be anyone – a friend or close neighbor, or the person you name as executor of your will.

You should also establish a living will, advanced care directive, and/or healthcare proxy. A living will is a directive that states your wishes regarding medical care should you become incapacitated (e.g., permanently unconscious). An advanced care directive can be more specific, such as establishing a “do not resuscitate” (DNR) order if your breathing or heartbeat stops, and if you would like to donate tissues or organs after you pass.

A healthcare proxy, which may be referred to as a medical or durable power of attorney, is the assignment of a person who will make all of your healthcare decisions when you no longer can. Note that with medical instructions as well, states have varying guidelines. It’s important to be familiar with your state’s requirements and update your medical care directives if you relocate to another state.

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Blog Tip of the Month

5 Financial Resolutions You Can Live With

For the most part, New Year’s resolutions are hard to keep because many times you either list too many things or ones that aren’t manageable for the long haul – especially those that involve money. Here are a few simple tricks to help you make changes that are bite-sized, easy to implement, and more likely to stick.

Do a five-minute daily money check-in. Life is so busy that sometimes it’s easy to just spend money, then move on to the next task at hand. You might think, “I’ll check my bank balance later,” and then you never do. But if you’re serious about getting a handle on your finances, you might want to try this one thing: give yourself a “money minute.” Select a time of day, maybe after dinner, to log into your bank account. Take stock of what you spent money on. Did you really need that bottled water? That designer coffee? This way, you can nip those small (perhaps unnecessary) expenditures in the bud and make smarter choices in the coming days.

Get a money-saving app. One of the best ones to help you achieve financial goals is Ibotta. Let’s say you want to buy a new pair of running shoes; a good brand that’ll really last. With this app, you’ll save on everyday purchases and when you’ve earned enough cash back, you can cash it in for a gift card from your selected store and get what you really want.

Consider micro savings goals. This technique is actually about rewarding yourself financially for changing your behavior. For instance, every time you go to yoga or Pilates, stash away $5. Or if you wake up early or finish a difficult task, stash away $10. When you’ve saved enough money to buy whatever it is you’ve decided on beforehand, you’ve not only avoided the trap of putting your goodie on credit (and paying interest), but also most likely started a new, healthy habit.

Set up an automatic savings plan. After you’ve paid taxes, insurance premiums and perhaps even your retirement account, you might consider tucking away money for yourself that you’ll never miss. Every. Single. Paycheck. That’s right. When you automatically have a set amount deducted every time you get paid, over time you’ll accumulate a bucket of money to use in whatever way you deem important – it could be saving for a vacation or a new car. It could also be a fund for emergencies. The point is, it’s an easy, failsafe way to save and achieve your goals.

Do one frugal thing a day. This is all about a little bit of forethought and then just taking action. And when you adapt this mindset, you’ll be working daily toward your financial goals like paying off debt, saving money to quit a job you hate, or even having enough extra cash to invest in real estate or whatever strikes your fancy. Here are a few things to consider: drink more water than soda. Eat at home. Use public transportation instead of driving when you can. But this just scratches the surface. For more smart ways to start living frugally, check out this super helpful article. You’ll be surprised at all the ways you can cut back and save.

All of these tricks are easy and, in some cases, no-brainers. When you take a few minutes, set your mind on what you want, anything’s possible. Here’s to fulfilling your dreams in the New Year!

Sources

11 Financial Resolutions That Will Stick in 2023