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GJM COVID-19 Update & Resources

GJM COVID-19 Update and ResourcesAs our country faces the COVID-19 crisis we want to take a moment to bring you up to date on some of the steps Gilmore Jasion Mahler is taking as a result. We would also like to share some information on some resources for businesses, should you need them.

Ohio Governor Mike DeWine has announced a loan program to provide economic assistance to companies due to the slowing down of business in Ohio. It may be available to help your business provide funding for payroll, past due accounts payable and other working capital needs. Typically, such a loan program will have a very low interest rate and up to 30 years repayment schedule. Also, in the unfortunate event that furloughs or layoffs are necessary during these challenging times, impacted employees should qualify for immediate unemployment compensation relief.

Here are some helpful links for businesses seeking information in both Ohio and Michigan.

http://jfs.ohio.gov/ouio/CoronavirusAndUI.stm

https://www.sba.gov/page/guidance-businesses-employers-plan-respond-coronavirus-disease-2019-covid-19

https://www.michigan.gov/coronavirus/0,9753,7-406-98178_98179---,00.html

While there has been talk of the IRS possibly moving back the April 15 tax deadline, as of now there is no official word on if that may happen so GJM is currently working under the assumption there is no delay in the tax deadline. We expect to receive further guidance from the US Department of the Treasury this week and will promptly let everyone know.

As we are writing this, our offices remain open, though we have encouraged our staff to work from home if possible for the next three weeks. Should you need to drop off tax documents, GJM offices will be open during our normal business hours for you to do so.

We will continue to monitor COVID-19 developments here in Northwest Ohio and around the nation and share further information with our clients and partners as needed. Please feel free to reach out to your GJM team with any questions or concerns.

Established in 1996, Gilmore Jasion Mahler, LTD (GJM) is the largest public accounting firm in Northwest Ohio, with offices in Maumee and Findlay. Locally owned, GJM offers cloud-based accounting services and provides comprehensive services including assurance, business advisory, tax, risk advisory and healthcare management. The firm's professionals specialize in industries including construction & real estate, healthcare, manufacturing & distribution and utilities.

How to Defend Your Business Against Iranian Cyberattacks

Protect Your Business From Iranian Cyberattacks GJMOn January 3, 2020, Iranian General Qasem Soleimani died in a Reaper drone attack carried out by American military forces. The American government cited a growing threat against US national security and the interests of the US as predication for the strike. There have been reports that Iranian cyberattacks against American businesses and government agencies are sure to intensify in retaliation.

While this may seem like an issue for the United States government to handle, American companies should recognize the fact that Iranian cyberterrorists and their allies are likely to target US civilian companies in an effort to destabilize as much of the country as possible.

The Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) has issued several warnings to American companies to explain the breadth and depth of the looming threat of cyberterrorism. It is essential for all US companies across all industries to take appropriate measures to defend their interests and digital assets, especially those pertaining to sensitive private data of US citizens.

Defending Your Business Interests and Data from Iranian Cyberterrorism

Ultimately, it’s important for all American business leaders to know that it is virtually impossible for the average company to protect itself from an all-out cyberattack staged by Iranian agents and Iranian allies.

The best a potentially vulnerable company can do is to make the company as hard of a target as possible in the hopes that any attacks against it will appear to be more trouble than they’re worth. It’s also essential to have protections in place in the event your company needs to recover after a cyberattack from Iranian operatives or any other cyberattack.

The CISA recommends American companies take the following steps to minimize their chances of becoming targets and to streamline recovery processes after successful attacks:

  • Enable port monitoring and disable all nonessential ports. Companies should know which ports are necessary for business-critical operations and which are vulnerable. For the ports that must remain open, enable port monitoring to track all traffic through those ports.
  • Configure advanced email and communications monitoring. Companies should carefully track phishing trends and consider implementing phishing protection measures to prevent employees from inadvertently granted access to cyberterrorists.
  • Patch all externally facing equipment immediately. “Day zero” vulnerabilities exist on all types of equipment, so you don’t want to run the risk of letting several patch cycles pass while your systems remain unprotected.
  • Limit and restrict PowerShell usage. Log all use of PowerShell within your company and cut off access for any employees who do not require access for day-to-day job duties.
     
  • Configure a reliable data backup system. A good rule of thumb is to have at least three copies of your critical data in at least two different locations, one of which should be offsite.
  • Conduct response and recovery simulations. It’s a good idea to put your defensive measure to the test and run simulations to see how your team responds to an active threat simulation, including data backup and other recovery processes.

If Iranian agents decide to attack American businesses digitally, experts predict it will be done with the intent of causing chaos and disruption rather than to extort. Businesses that take appropriate precautions will be harder targets and will therefore be more likely to be overlooked by Iranian cyberterrorists.

If you are unsure about your organization’s data security environment, contact Gilmore Jasion Mahler, LTD (GJM) to learn how we can help you defend your interests and protect your data against cyberattacks. GJM’s experts can help to uncover the vulnerabilities of your business and assist with data governance.   

Established in 1996, Gilmore Jasion Mahler, LTD (GJM) is the largest public accounting firm in Northwest Ohio, with offices in Maumee and Findlay. Locally owned, GJM offers cloud-based accounting and provides comprehensive services including assurance, business advisory, tax, risk advisory, healthcare management and outsourced accounting. The Firm’s professionals specialize in industries including construction & real estate, healthcare, manufacturing & distribution and utilities.

Technology Impact on Business Valuation

Just as with so many industries, technology is transforming the accounting industry. Gilmore Jasion Mahler CPA Jeff Denning works with many different business owners to determine the value of their businesses. He says there’s no question technology and artificial intelligence, or AI, are changing things. The real question, he says, is whether or not those changes are a good thing when it comes to trying to figure out what your business is worth.

Jeff Denning has over three decades experience as a CPA. His expertise is business valuation and forensic accounting.

Established in 1996, Gilmore Jasion Mahler, LTD (GJM) is the largest public accounting firm in Northwest Ohio, with offices in Maumee and Findlay. Locally owned, GJM offers cloud-based accounting and provides comprehensive services including assurance, business advisory, tax, risk advisory, healthcare management and outsourced accounting. The Firm’s professionals specialize in industries including construction & real estate, healthcare, manufacturing & distribution and utilities.  

What the New NAFTA Means for Small Business

New NAFTA small business USMCAOn September 30, 2018, the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) was established after 13 months of negotiations. While the agreement is not currently ratified, the USMCA intends to replace the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), which has been in place since 1994. Ratification is expected to take place in early 2019.

The USMCA brings several changes to the economic relationship between the three North American countries. These include greater market access, inter-governmental cooperation mechanisms, and higher duty-free limits.

Everyone will feel these changes, not just major government agencies. Three provisions in the USMCA will particularly impact small businesses:

  1. The establishment of the Committee on Small and Medium Enterprise (SME) Issues
  2. The increase of the de minimis threshold
  3. Changes to the automobile industry

The Committee on SME Issues

Chapter 25 of the USMCA will establish a Committee on SME Issues. This committee will assemble within one year of ratification and will be comprised of government officials from the U.S., Canada, and Mexico.

The committee will assist SMEs in their transition to the USMCA, identifying strategies to boost their economic success and increase cooperation between markets. The committee will host an annual SME Dialogue, inviting experts, academics, employers, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), and other stakeholders to engage in conversation on SME issues.

Small business owners may benefit from the representation this committee will provide. However, this committee will only be comprised of government officials. Not implementing the committee effectively may cause the voices of small business owners to drown within a messy bureaucratic system.

The Increase of the De Minimis Threshold

The de minimis threshold refers to the quantity of product you can purchase online and import duty-free. The USMCA raises the de minimis threshold to $800 USD for United States products, $150 CAD for Canadian products, and $100 USD for Mexican products.

This increase can lead to significant benefits for small businesses, which often do not have the resources to pay customs duties and fees. This will increase sales volume, providing greater profits for small business owners.

The 75% Tariff-Free Threshold for Automobile Manufacturers

Under the USMCA, 75% of an automobile must be manufactured within North America to be exempt from tariffs. This is a significant increase from the 62.5% requirement under NAFTA.

This provides an incentive for automakers to decrease operations overseas. The new threshold holds the potential to provide more income for small, local auto parts manufacturers and to increase jobs for North American workers.

If you're interested in staying up on issues impacting the manufacturing world, consider signing up for Gilmore Jasion Mahler's free quarterly e-newsletter The Manufacturer. It addresses a broad range of financial topics impacting the world of manufacturing. Just click here for quick and easy sign up.

Established in 1996, Gilmore Jasion Mahler, LTD (GJM) is the largest public accounting firm in Northwest Ohio, with offices in Maumee and Findlay. Locally owned, GJM offers cloud-based accounting services and provides comprehensive services including assurance, business advisory, tax, risk advisory, healthcare management and outsourced accounting. The Firm’s professionals specialize in industries including construction & real estate, healthcare, manufacturing & distribution and utilities.  

What to Expect When New Tariffs Are Imposed

Tariffs impact Gilmore Jasion MahlerThere's been a lot of upheaval and uncertainty in global markets recently, and, for the United States, part of that is the new imposition—by both America and China—of tariffs. Beyond any financial arguments about whether or not trade wars are good and easy to win, there's no doubt whatsoever that trade wars, specifically in the form of tariffs, will change the market. And though it may take a while for these effects to be felt by the public, the impact of tariffs will be felt first and most deeply by manufacturing.

Big Industries Get Hit

Tariffs can have a huge impact on manufacturing and many other American businesses in unexpected—but understandable—ways. The U.S. has recently gone after the industrial sector with tariffs specifically targeting steel and aluminum.

Any steel or aluminum coming into the U.S. from specified nations now has an additional percentage cost added to the existing price. In other words, tariff impact on manufacturing means foreign steel and aluminum providers now have to pay an additional 25% and 10%, respectively, before they can cross the border into the U.S. and be used by American businesses.

Of course, steel and aluminum are pretty commonly used materials in a wide variety of industries, businesses, and applications. So, that extra cost will affect more than just the materials industries that are importing them into the country.

Tariffs Generate a Widespread Ripple Effect

As steel and aluminum import taxes increase, many businesses feel a ripple effect. Not only do tariffs impact the manufacturers of these metals affected, but also a manufacturer’s clients who turn steel and aluminum into consumable products.

For example, cookware and plumbing manufacturers will pay premiums for the materials needed to produce their goods. Further down the line, bakeries, restaurants, hardware stores, plumbers, and many other tradespeople will see increases in the cost of steel-based and aluminum-based products that are necessary to their professions. In turn, those bakers and plumbers must now decide whether to absorb the loss or raise the prices of goods and services to their customers in order to offset the price increase on metals.

Every link in the chain is affected by tariffs: the first-level producers, manufacturers, small and mid-sized businesses reliant on those products, and finally the everyday consumer.

What to Do About Tariffs

Governments know that tariffs are going to have a huge impact on the economy of the other countries involved a trade war. That’s why they are effective means of negotiating market conditions. However, many businesses and consumers get caught in the middle. So what can a small or mid-sized business do as tariffs are on slapped on the products they need?

While it may not be the solution for every manufacturer, one effective way to mitigate tariffs on manufacturing is to source materials from unaffected nations. Steel and aluminum, for example, are receiving tariffs from many nations, but Australia and Argentina are exempt. Sourcing metals from these countries means business can go on as usual.

For businesses using metal-based products, it may be best to arrange your affairs before tariffs begin to affect you. For example, if you need new tech equipment, with aluminum and steel parts, purchase that equipment soon or second-hand. You can also make more strategic business moves when scaling up. Say you're looking to expand your restaurant business to new cities, consider purchasing a space that's already outfitted with most or all of the features you'll need, so you can reduce the costs associated with acquiring new, and often imported, materials.

If you'd like to know more about tariff impact on manufacturers or which tariffs may affect you, reach out to your GJM team. Let us guide you through a complex, ever-shifting market and global trade climate.

Established in 1996, Gilmore Jasion Mahler, LTD (GJM) is the largest public accounting firm in Northwest Ohio, with offices in Maumee and Findlay. Locally owned, GJM offers cloud-based accounting services and provides comprehensive services including assurance, business advisory, tax, risk advisory and healthcare management. The Firm’s professionals specialize in industries including construction & real estate, healthcare, manufacturing & distribution and utilities.