• For small business owners, the U.S. holiday  shopping season is a perfect opportunity to refresh inventory and acquire new business equipment on a budget.  Read
  • Facts & Figures. Read
  • Matters of Interest. Read
  • College students have crunched the numbers, and a career in accounting is no longer adding up. Read
  • Diving Forces. Read

Bet On Black

Have you been planning to invest in some new tools for your business but just couldn’t bring yourself to pay full price, especially in this economy? Good news! The best time to buy is now. For small business owners, the U.S. holiday  shopping season is a perfect opportunity to refresh inventory and acquire new business equipment on a budget. 

It starts with Black Friday and Cyber Monday, but really… deals can be found all season long. But what, exactly, are the best opportunities for small businesses this year? What are the major sales you don’t want to miss? And which purchases do you need to move your business forward in the year ahead?

Before you start hunting
for deals, you should have a solid idea of what you need and why you need it
in the first place. 

The truth is… the best Black Friday deal is whatever your business needs most. Do you need to level up your skills or clock some continuing education hours? Educators, influencers and even professional development courses can all be scored at a fraction of their usual cost. If you have your eye on something specific, sign up for emails now so you get notified of any and all upcoming sales. 

Need new tech or software? Ditto. Many retailers (both in-store and online) offer laptops and desktop computers bundled with software you’d have to pay more for if you purchased them separately. If you don’t use a VPN (virtual private network) and antivirus software yet, you should look for deals in this department.

Before you roll up your sleeves and start hunting for deals, you should have a solid idea of what you need and why you need it in the first place. Give your inventory an honest review and decide where to best allocate your money.

Many online retailers (like Amazon, Best Buy, or eBay) allow registered users to create wishlists where they can add the items they’re planning to buy. You’ll be notified via email or mobile app whenever an item from your list gets discounted. And once you have a wishlist in place, you can use tools like Google Shopping to compare prices across several vendors and see where you can get the best bang for your buck. Price comparison platforms come with product reviews, spec sheets, and filtering options, so you get a complete overview of the items you’re looking for.

You should also monitor your favorite retailers’ social media posts. Often, sharing deals on social media is part of their marketing strategy — and monitoring these services’ social media presence can help you snag the best deals and lowest prices. And again, sign up for emails. Many retailers will offer early savings or stackable savings to their email subscribers.

Q4 is the perfect opportunity to beef up your business resources and reinvest some of that hard-earned cash. And now that you know how to make the most of the holiday shopping season, all that’s left to do? Get out there and shop in a way that benefits you and your business.

Facts & Figures

Global consumer online spending during the Holiday Season in 2022. 

Black Friday was the biggest day for in-store shopping in the U.S. in 2022, reaching 72.9 million consumers, up almost 15% YoY. 

The amount of U.S. consumers expected to shop during Cyber Week 2023, up from 71% in 2021.

The average amount spent on holiday purchases over the course of Cyber Week, up 8% from 2021.

of in-store shoppers indicated they shopped specifically for Small Business Saturday. 

Before you start hunting
for deals, you should have a solid idea of what you need and why you need it
in the first place. 

“Creativity in art is a beautiful thing, but aggressive creativity in art donation deductions can paint a bad picture for people pulled into these schemes.”

Matters of Interest

Beginning October 1, interest rates are rising! For individuals, the rate for overpayments and underpayments will be 8% per year, compounded daily. The rate of interest is determined quarterly. For taxpayers other than corporations, the overpayment and underpayment rates are the federal short-term rate plus 3 percentage points.

for overpayments (exceeding the amount owed). 

for corporations, 5.5% for the portion of the corporate overpayment exceeding $10,000.

for underpayments. 

for large corporate underpayments.

So begins a warning from IRS Commissioner Danny Werfel cautioning taxpayers against claiming exaggerated deductions for donations of artwork, as it sees a rise in groups promoting such schemes, especially for wealthy taxpayers looking to reduce their tax bills.

According to the IRS, promoters entice taxpayers to purchase different kinds of artwork, claiming it’s at a “discounted” price. The promoter often promises that the artwork is worth far more than the purchase price, and so they advise purchasers to donate the artwork after waiting at least one year and to claim a tax deduction for an inflated fair market value, often far more than they originally paid. They may recommend that taxpayers donate art on an annual basis and enable them to purchase a quantity of art that guarantees a specific deductible amount. 

The IRS has been investigating such schemes, and audits have led to over $5 million in additional taxes being imposed. “There are legitimate ways to claim an art donation, but taxpayers should be careful to understand the rules and watch out for inflated values or questionable appraisals,” says Werfel. “Beauty is not always in the eye of the beholder when it comes to tax deductions of art.”

Class Dismissed

According to the most recent data from the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, the number of US students graduating with either a bachelor’s or master’s degree in accounting dropped 7.4% during the 2021–22 academic year from the year before, the largest one-year decline since at least 1994–95. Why have these degrees become so much less popular?

Pay has stagnated. According to the WSJ, the average starting salary for recent accounting graduates is $56,000, a number that has not budged since 2008 when adjusting for inflation. It’s also well below starting salaries in tech or finance.

Steeper education requirements. Accountants require a fifth year at a college, an expense that is proving prohibitive for many considering a profession that was once seen as a path to the upper middle-class for poorer Americans.

With more than 300,000 accountants and auditors leaving the field over the past two years and the pipeline drying up, large and small American firms are writing off the idea of finding help at home. PwC has outsourced to Malaysia, Argentina, China, India, Mexico, and the Philippines, while Deloitte’s US business employs almost as many people outside the US as it does overseas.

Driving Forces

On the Road Again

Reading this on the ride to work? You’re not alone: Work-from-home rates are the lowest they’ve been since the start of the pandemic. Last week, fewer than 26% of US households had someone WFH for even one day, down from 37% of households in early 2021, surveys by the Census Bureau show. As employers push to get workers out of their yoga pants and back at their desks, only seven states now have a remote work rate above 33%, compared to 31 states while the pandemic was raging, according to Bloomberg.

Flight of Fancy 

California-based startup Alef Aeronautics won regulatory approval from the FAA to begin testing the first flight-capable car, which can take off and land vertically, and drive on the road as a low speed vehicle.

The “Model A” is a fully electric vehicle with a driving range of 200 miles and flight range of 110 miles. As a low-speed vehicle, by regulation it weighs less than 3,000 lbs and can drive no faster than 25mph. The vehicle can seat two people. Pre-orders are open for the $300,000 car which is set to be released by the end of 2025, according to CNBC.

Go Figure Accounting