Monday, February 25, 2013

80th anniversary fun facts (1982)

In the year, 1982 (fifty years after our founding):

  • The following people are born: LeAnn Rimes, Kirsten Dunst, Tara Lipinski.
  • President Ronald Reagan declares War on Drugs.
  • Barney Clark becomes the first artificial heart transplant recipient.
  • The first issue of USA Today is published.
  • The first episode of Late night with David Letterman airs.
  • IBM releases the PC – DOS version 1.1.
  • AT&T is broken up, spinning off the “Baby Bells”.
  • Herschel Walker wins the Heisman.
  • The average cost of a new car is $7,983, a house costs $82,500, and annual income is $21,073
  • Hit songs are “I Love Rock ‘n Roll” (Joan Jett) and “Eye of the Tiger” (Survivor)
  • “Ghandi” is an Academy Award winner
  •  Also in the theaters: “E.T”, “Tootsie”, ”Poltergeist”

Meanwhile, back in Columbus, Ross Robinson and Keith Grimes are two years into the merger of the two largest accounting practices in Columbus. Employees are getting comfortable with their new offices on Whitesville Road. With 10 partners and 40 employees, it is the largest and most diversified firm in the region. 

Four of today’s partners (Lev Norman, Charlie Johnson, Scott Voynich and Jay Pease) helped establish the foundation of practice philosophy and firm culture 30 years ago, and that still carries on today.

More to come – hope you enjoy!!

Jay Pease - Audit Partner and Firm Historian

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Tech Tip: Keyboard shortcuts and Mouse Keys

Have you ever been at home (or even at work) and had your mouse quit working?  For most folks this would result in an eventual “hard power off” of the computer because they aren't able to navigate at all without the mouse!  Admittedly, it’s a challenge in Windows to live without it.

Shortcut keys are handy to know – they can save time in your everyday computer use and can also help in case your mouse ever stops working.  The most important shortcut in the case of a non-functioning mouse is Alt+F4.  This is the universal “Exit” or “Close” shortcut, and you can use it (and any other keyboard shortcut) even if your mouse is working.  Just press Alt+F4 and the current program will behave as if you had clicked the “X” or selected File | Exit.  If your file hasn't been saved, you’ll get the standard prompt to save your work before exiting.  In the situation where your mouse quits working and you want to try restarting your computer, start pressing Alt+F4 to close your programs one by one.  Eventually you’ll get to your Windows desktop, and when you press Alt+F4 Windows will get the message that you want to close, and you’ll then see the prompts about shutting down the computer!

One feature to know in the event of a non-functional mouse is called Mouse Keys.  It’s not something you’d want to use to do all your work, but in a pinch (like when your mouse stops working after you've typed three pages of your best writing but haven’t saved the file yet) it can be a lifesaver.  Once activated you’ll use your numeric keypad to move the mouse cursor around the screen.  It can be slow and tedious, but remember that the alternative is losing your work!  On a full-size keyboard’s numeric keypad*, the “8” button moves the mouse cursor up, the “4” moves it left, the “6” moves it right, and the “2” moves it down.  Once you've positioned your cursor use the “5” button for a mouse click.

To activate the Mouse Keys feature, press Alt+LeftShift+NumLock*. This action will produce a prompt asking you to confirm that you want to turn on this feature.  You can press Enter to accept the default “Yes” answer, or press Alt+Y (since the “Y” in “Yes” is underlined).  Now you've activated Mouse Keys.  To navigate using Mouse Keys as described above, press NumLock and then begin using the keys on your numeric keypad*!  To turn off mouse keys (if your mouse suddenly begins working again) you can press Alt+LeftShift+NumLock again.  You won’t see a prompt this time, but Mouse Keys will be turned off.

*On a laptop, this can be a little tricky, because just pressing NumLock can be a bit of a challenge.  It usually involves pressing a “Function” key and the NumLock key (which doubles as a different key when the Function key isn’t pressed) simultaneously.  Also, since there isn't a numeric keypad on most laptop keyboards, you’ll have to look for the arrow buttons as alternate labels on “regular” keys.

Craig Rhinehart, Director of IT Services

Monday, February 11, 2013

80th anniversary fun facts (1972)

In the year 1972 (forty years after our founding):
  1. The following people were born: Shaquille O’Neal, Jennie Garth
  2. Richard Nixon defeated George McGovern for President
  3. George Wallace was shot by Arthur Bremer
  4. Federal Express was started
  5. Summer Olympics in Munich was marred by terrorists
  6. Bobby Fisher won the world chess championship
  7. First major league baseball strike occurred
  8. The average cost of a new car was $3,853, a house was $27,600, and annual income was $11,859
  9. Hit songs were “American Pie” (Don McLean), “Lean on Me” (Bill Withers), and “Ben” ( Michael Jackson)
  10. “The Godfather” was an Academy Award winner.  Also at the theatres were “Deliverance” and “The Poseidon Adventure”.

Meanwhile, back in Columbus… Otis LeMay and Sam Wellborn’s successors, Ross Robinson and Keith Grimes, have grown their accounting practices with the addition of partners Mims Oliver, Lev Norman, Ken Deaton and David Snipes. We are eight years away from a merger that will change the landscape of public accounting in Columbus.

More to come – hope you enjoy!!

Jay Pease - Audit Partner and Firm Historian

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Wash Sales – A Clean Explanation

More and more people are trying their hand at trading securities through online websites.  If you are one of those people, the wash sale rule is something you may want to be aware of.

A wash sale occurs when a taxpayer sells a stock or security for a realized loss, and within 30 days before or after the day of the sale (a 61-day period), the taxpayer purchases “substantially identical” stocks or securities.  For example, let’s say I am a stockholder of a popular retail chain named Small-Mart. Small-Mart has had a slow year and their stock is down, so I decide to dump it.  A few weeks later I read they are acquiring a competitor named Jay-Mart.  Jay-Mart is a large, well-managed competitor, so I think the future of the new consolidated company is bright and I decide to look into adding the stock back into my portfolio.  If I repurchase the stock within 30 days of previously selling it at a loss, a wash sale has occurred.

When a wash sale occurs the loss on the original sale is disallowed.  Rather, the amount of the would-be “loss” is added to the basis of the newly purchased stock – essentially deferring it for future recognition.  The acquisition date for the subsequent purchase is adjusted back to the acquisition date of the original stock purchase.   It’s as if the sale and repurchase of the stock never even occurred!

In order for the sale to be considered a wash sale the stock or securities must be substantially the same, which usually means from the same corporation.  Therefore selling off a stock of one computer manufacturer for a loss and subsequently purchasing the stock of another computer manufacturer within 30 days does not result in a wash sale.  However, in cases such as acquisitions or reorganizations (as in the example above) the stocks may be considered substantially identical, depending on the facts and circumstances.  Usually bonds or preferred stock are not considered substantially identical to the common stock of the same corporation – unless the bond or preferred stock is convertible into common stock of that same corporation.

There are some exceptions to the rule that you should be mindful of.  Specifically, stock or securities acquired as a result of a nontaxable exchange, like-kind exchange, inheritance, or divorce settlement do not fall under wash sale rules.

Brad Williamson