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Hannah Mankowski Joins GJM

Hannah Mankowski GJMHannah Mankowski recently came on board with GJM as an Audit Associate. Here's a chance to get to know her a bit as she settles into her new role. Welcome, Hannah!

When did you join GJM? November 2019

What do you like best about accounting? I like that everything fits together and can be figured out. Working through a problem and being able to deliver what you said you were going to deliver and add value is very satisfying.  

Are you from the Toledo area originally? If not, where are you from? I am originally from Plainwell, Michigan (near Kalamazoo). Went to BGSU for college and decided to stay in the area.

What do you like about living in Northwest Ohio? I like living close to BG and Cedar Point

Anything you’d like to share about your past professional experience? I spent two years with one of the big four accounting firms and I got to learn and experience a lot in that time with them.

Do you have any pets, hobbies, family? I am from a family with 6 other siblings, so that has taught me to deal with and thrive under chaos. My current family includes my husband, Reid (who also works at GJM), my two dogs (Bogey and Ace) and myself. I played golf through high school and then in college at BGSU so I enjoy golfing and I am lucky that Reid does as well. I also love to spend time with our families.

Favorite book or movie? One of my favorite books is Pride and Prejudice, but I also have read the Harry Potter series multiple times.

What is something people may be surprised to find out about you? I loved running in college and ran two half marathons. I do not run as much anymore. Ha, Ha.

Interested in pursuing a career with Gilmore Jasion Mahler? Please visit our careers page to get a feel for life at GJM.

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.

4 Steps Contractors Should Take to Prepare for 2020

Contractors 2020 GJMConstruction companies must continually monitor the industry outlook to prepare for the year ahead. Since the construction industry is so closely married to the economy, including consumer spending habits, a close inspection of the current climate is required when planning for the next year.

Below, we break down the steps that every contractor should take when planning projects for the coming year.

Understand Your Niche Market

Overall, conditions for industrial construction in 2020 look good. Consumer spending was up 2.5% in 2019. Compared to the previous year, the economy grew 1.8% in 2019 and is expected to grow an additional 1.5% in 2020. Employment is strong; wage gains have been modest across the board. This kind of boost in the economy is good for industries across the board.

It is still important to understand the exact conditions within your niche market, however. When there’s more growth in commercial businesses, industrial businesses organically expand, creating more opportunities for commercial contractors. Understanding the exact factors that affect your niche market can help your 2020 plans.

Plan for New Technology

Those who can leverage new technology will stay ahead of the game, and the same goes for the construction industry. Automation, for example, can eliminate or at least reduce redundancies in your work operations.

Plan for Your Workforce

The industry outlook for construction is generally positive, but the voluntary quit rate is the highest it has been in over a decade. Unemployment is low, which means there are more available jobs than there are people to fill them. As such, it is important for employers to assure workplace satisfaction and promote engagement within their workforce. Offering attractive benefits, such as a competitive retirement package, can help promote employee retention.

“Prequalification of subcontractors is also a crucial step that can help ensure contractors have the workforce necessary to complete all aspects of any project they are taking on,” says Bob Bobek, CPA, who leads GJM’s Construction Specialist Team and works closely with many contractors.

Finally, leveraging technology to find quality employees will be an essential aspect of recruitment in 2020 and beyond.  

Consider, too, holding your profit margins steady with controlled growth. With all the available work and a limited workforce, you want to grow at a pace you can staff. Rapid growth resulting in large receivables and retainage at lower profits can starve a company of its cash.

Stay On Top of Industry News

Contractors will be continually subject to evolving federal regulations, both with regard to employment, construction of projects, and purchase of raw materials. It is essential to stay abreast of industry news and legislation that may affect practice. A commitment to technology, employee retention, and understanding external factors that affect business will help drive your company forward in the New Year.

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.

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.

Emily Beebe Comes On Board with GJM

Emily Beebe GJMEmily Beebe has joined the GJM audit team as an associate. Here’s an introduction in the form of a Q&A. Welcome, Emily!

Describe your role at GJM: So far, I’ve spent my time at GJM learning auditing basics and the common tasks I’ll be completing. I’m looking forward to working with clients directly in the future.

When did you start working at GJM? September 16, 2019.

Why did you choose the accounting industry? I was originally majoring in psychology and found myself taking a required accounting course – it “clicked” so much better for me and I changed my major. The rest fell into place!

Why did you specifically decide that GJM was a good fit for you? I knew I wanted to get involved with auditing but didn’t have an interest in the Big 4 firms. GJM, being a smaller but still reputable firm, is perfect for me.

Are you from the Toledo area originally? If not, where are you from? I’m not from the Toledo area – I’m from mid-Ohio, near Bucyrus/New Washington.

What do you like about living in Northwest Ohio? I like living in Northwest Ohio because I can stay close to my family while also pursuing opportunities that aren’t available in rural mid-Ohio.

Where did you go to school? I went to school at Heidelberg University in Tiffin for my undergrad, and BGSU for my Master of Accountancy.   

How do you like to spend your free time? I like to spend my free time outdoors and enjoy hiking and spending time with pets. I’m not very athletic and am not involved in sports but like to stay active anyway.

Are you involved in any community organizations, do any volunteer work? Is there a particular cause you feel strongly about? If so, why? I’m passionate about pets and animals and am interested in volunteering for local shelters. My family has adopted almost exclusively shelter pets in the past, and they are always such wonderful animals that deserve a loving home.

Favorite song or music? I’m a fan of country music – it seems I’m not alone at GJM!

Favorite book or movie? I’m pretty open with books and movies and will enjoy almost anything, except scary/horror movies which I can’t handle!

What is something people may be surprised to find out about you? Someone might be surprised to learn that I’ve done some website design in the past and know a bit of coding.