May 10, 2021

Anders Selected for World’s Greatest in Accounting TV Show

Anders was approached and selected by the producers of the television show “World’s Greatest!…” to be featured on a segment for the accounting industry.

Anders is honored to be recognized on the World’s Greatest! TV Show, an award-winning National Television Series airing on the ION Network. The segment gives a glimpse into the collaborative and transparent culture at the firm and how they empower clients, staff and the community to achieve their highest potential. “We think their story will be meaningful as well as educational to our viewers” said Gordon Freeman, Executive Producer of the show.

As part of the show, How2Media sent a film crew to spend time at the company’s facilities in St. Louis, Missouri to find out the story behind the story with this great and growing firm, and to show the World’s Greatest! viewers why Anders was selected as the best in the accounting category.

The Anders segment of World’s Greatest! will air on Saturday, May 15, May 22 and May 29, 2021 at 2:30pm CT on Bloomberg TV. After airing, the episode can be viewed on the World’s Greatest! website: https://www.worldsgreatesttelevision.com.

About World’s Greatest

World’s Greatest! TV Show is an award-winning National Television Series aired on the ION Network. World’s Greatest! brings people, places, and companies into the spotlight! Brought to you by the award-winning researchers and spotlight producers at How2Media Productions in Boynton Beach, Florida, World’s Greatest! is currently in its 15th season and continues to surprise audiences with quality “edutainment” that entertains while it educates. Learn more about How2Media Productions: https://www.How2MediaProductions.com.

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May 4, 2021

Hoops for Hope Raises $11,500 for The Child Center

The 33rd annual Hoops for Hope tournament attracted 681 colleagues, clients and friends of the firm to support the 2021 Anders Charity of Choice, The Child Center. Heather Kemper of The Child Center joined Anders for a celebration lunch where a check for $11,500 was presented. “With the pandemic especially, it’s amazing the amount of support people give when they have one common mission,” said Kemper.

About Hoops for Hope

Hoops for Hope, the annual Anders NCAA basketball pool draws participation from Anders clients, colleagues, referral sources and friends of the firm from all over the U.S. Anders tax partner Craig Campbell started the pool and remains the organizer. He is assisted by a large contingent of Anders staff who set up the online pool, market it and count the proceeds.

This year, the top 29 participants received prizes ranging from an Apple Watch to a weekend getaway at Live! by Loews and gift cards to local restaurants and breweries. Check out the 2021 Hoops for Hope prize winners.

About the Charity of Choice Program

Each January, members of the firm vote on a Charity of Choice and work throughout the year to support the organization through Pick Me Up Carts, volunteer days, a shuffleboard tournament and other fundraising events. Hoops for Hope is the largest of those efforts. Read more about the Anders Charity of Choice program.

About The Child Center

Dan Mudd, a tax partner at Anders, serves on the board and as treasurer for The Child Center and nominated the organization for our 2021 Charity of Choice. The Child Center is a child advocacy center (CAC) serving children and families in Northeast Missouri. A comprehensive, coordinated approach is taken in response to allegations of child sexual and physical abuse occurring in a 14 county service area. Learn more about The Child Center.

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May 3, 2021

Anders Named to Best Accounting Firms List by St. Louis Small Business Monthly

Anders was named to St. Louis Small Business Monthly’s list of Best Accounting Firms for 2021. The Best Accounting Firms were nominated by St. Louis area businesses and voted to have the top accountants in St. Louis as part of Small Business Monthly’s Best in Business awards.

The 2021 Best Accounting Firms will be recognized at the Best in Business Awards on October 26, 2021 at the St. Charles Convention Center.

A full list of Best Accounting Firms can be found in the May 2021 issue of St. Louis Small Business Monthly.

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April 27, 2021

Data Security for Banks and Financial Institutions: Top 4 Myths About Moving to the Cloud

Many small-to-midsize banks and financial institutions are still running on-premise Microsoft Exchange email servers, whether in their own walls, or in the walls of their technology service provider. Microsoft recently announced that multiple hacking groups were targeting Microsoft Exchange servers in coordinated attacks, which could cause a damaging data breach for these organizations. With all of the security threats to Microsoft Exchange servers and the amount of sensitive data that banks and financial institutions hold, why haven’t these organizations moved their workloads to Exchange Online? Here are a few common myths we hear and feedback to clear up the misconceptions.

Myth #1: “Exchange servers better protect sensitive customer data.”

Many financial institutions still have Outlook Web Access without multi-factor authentication enabled, which is an easy in for a hacker to access a mailbox and any personal or financial information found in emails. Microsoft recognizes the issue that their older platform is in use and not adequately configured to curb modern security threats on its own. The most recent vulnerabilities on Microsoft Exchange servers that are making national headlines are good evidence for organizations to migrate from an email server to a mail service like Office 365. 

The Capital One data breach of 2019 may have scared away any intentions of financial institutions moving workloads to the cloud. In reality, the cloud-based platform was not actually at fault, as it was a configuration issue on their firewall that caused the breach. That breach may have added a level of untrustworthiness to cloud servers, when the responsibility actually fell on the professionals deploying the firewall. In contrast, no one points out that mega-bank competitor, Bank of America, has never had a breach near the size of Capital One and has been using Microsoft cloud-based products for several years.

Myth #2: “Moving to the cloud is too expensive.”

Some may hear that moving to the cloud is too expensive, but in reality, it can be more cost-effective. Let’s look at the breakdown of server costs according to our Systems Engineer, Joe Szoke. A new Exchange Server might cost $10,000 just for the hardware. If you’re running on-prem Exchange, you’ll also need at least 2 Domain Controllers at another $10,000 each. You’ll need licensing for each server – that’s around $1000 for Windows Server 2019, $780 for Exchange Server, plus about $97 in CAL licensing for EVERY user who wants to access the server. Then, you’ll still need to buy Outlook for your users – Office 2019 Professional Plus is $439.00 today. Once all of that’s done, you’ll still have to pay to maintain the systems – if your server goes down, you pay to fix it.

In contrast, a Microsoft 365 Business Premium license costs just $20/user per month. The entire environment is baked into that license – the administrative dashboards, the servers, the storage space the Office Professional licensing. You don’t have to buy hardware and patching happens automatically. Administration is much less labor intensive – in fact, Anders Technology advisors can handle this for you for a small monthly fee. In this model, your 100 users would cost just $24,000 for the entire first year. Your software would remain perpetually up to date, not just for the year, but for as long as you pay for the license. And, following best practices, your user accounts and data would be secure right out of the box.

Myth #3: “Our technology vendor doesn’t believe we should move to Exchange Online.”

Sadly, most organizations we meet with that have an Exchange server have not even been approached about moving to Microsoft 365. Major technology vendors have invested a lot in providing hosted Exchange services and they are lucrative for them but might not be the best solution for your business’s needs. Make sure to work with a technology partner that has the cybersecurity expertise you need and your best interests and goals in mind.

Myth #4: “We don’t need to move to the cloud because regulatory entities aren’t enforcing it.”

It’s true that even the largest agencies, such as the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), cannot tell you to pick one platform over another yet, but they did recently make the statement: “Regulated entities should immediately assess the risk to their systems and consumers, and take steps necessary steps to address vulnerabilities and customer impact.” This rises above which platform you are using and focuses on the important part: protecting your data.

While there are clearly a lot of myths and misconceptions out there around if, when and why to move to the cloud, it’s important to know the facts. As a Microsoft Gold Partner, Anders Technology advisors can make the migration seamless so your business can be better protected from a costly data breach. Contact an Anders advisor below to discuss your company’s unique migration situation.

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April 20, 2021

RECORDED WEBINAR – A Positive Shift in the Economic Outlook: What’s Next?

As the world begins to recover from 2020 and the economic detriment, what is next on the horizon? Download our recorded webinar discussing the current economic state and the positive uptick in the market. You’ll learn about:

  • Economic impact on business post-pandemic
  • Best practices for moving your business forward
  • How to plan for the remaining fiscal year

Special guest Dr. Christopher Kuehl, Managing Director of Armada Corporate Intelligence, returns to partner with Anders for an insightful discussion on the matter. Chris is a frequent speaker and educator for the Missouri Society of Certified Public Accountants (MOCPA).

Download the webinar recording below:

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April 20, 2021

Buying or Selling a Company: Stock or Asset Deal?

Whether you’re looking to sell your business, or buy an existing company, there are many factors that go into the deal. Agreeing on a purchase price isn’t the only negotiated outcome of a business transaction. In fact, it’s usually not the first or last item of agreement. When a buyer is purchasing 100% of a target company, they can either purchase (1) the assets of the target or (2) the equity of the target. The deal structure can influence the eventual agreed-upon purchase price. Both scenarios have their advantages and disadvantages.

What Goes into a Stock Deal?

The purchase of a company’s equity is usually the most efficient deal structure for both parties. In these deals, the buyer is assigned the stock of the target in exchange for cash or future payments of cash. By purchasing the equity of a company, the buyer is purchasing all of the target company’s recorded and unrecorded assets as well as any liabilities, including contingent liabilities. In essence, the buyer may be buying assets they’re not aware of, or assuming liabilities they didn’t know were in existence. This is one of the reasons sellers generally desire the structure of a stock deal; they don’t walk away with unwanted assets or liabilities. Obviously, the legal language within a stock purchase agreement could influence some of these items, but in general these are the advantages and disadvantages.

What Goes into an Asset Deal?

Buying a company’s assets can be advantageous because they can target only desired assets and assume only certain liabilities of their choosing. These assets could encompass all of the company’s known assets, including the fixed assets and real estate, or they could include only certain intangible assets such as company name, trademarks, trade names and/or customer lists or contracts. In essence, the buyer can choose what they want to purchase from the seller. The buyer would need to be sure that any contracts and/or agreements are assignable since it is likely the target company was the one that originally executed them.

The buyer and seller also have to agree on who will “assume” or pay for the company’s liabilities after the deal is final. By assuming the seller’s liabilities, the buyer is essentially paying the seller additional consideration since they will be paying the future obligations of the loans assumed. If no liabilities are assumed, the buyer simply pays an agreed-upon price for the desired assets.

Stock vs. Asset Deal Example

As an example, assume the target company has appraised assets worth $3,000,000, including working capital, inventory, real estate and intangible assets, and $2,000,000 in recorded liabilities. The equity of the company would be worth $1,000,000. A buyer could pay $3,000,000 if they desire to own all of these identified assets, or less if they want to exclude some assets. If a stock deal is preferred, then the value would be closer to the $1,000,000 figure. The final agreed-upon price may be somewhere in between depending on the individual motivations and desires of the buyer and the seller.

Bridging the gap between an asset purchase price ($3,000,000) and a stock purchase price ($1,000,000) may sometimes be necessary. This is especially true if there has been an appraisal of target’s stockholders’ equity, but an asset deal was eventually consummated. This may not always be a clean exercise. The eventual deal price may have been influenced by motivations for each party that were not quantified in the valuation of the equity of the target company. However, if properly done with knowledge of each party’s relevant motivations, this exercise can be accomplished.

There are many factors that go into structuring a business deal, and Anders has Forensic and Litigation advisors to help understand the true value of the business and Business Transition Planning advisors to help maximize value and exit your business. Contact an Anders advisor below to learn more.

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April 13, 2021

How to Report PPP Loans on Financial Statements

A key part of the Coronavirus Aid Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act, the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) authorized banks to provide low interest rate loans to businesses with a guarantee from the Small Business Administration. Best of all, PPP loans may be eligible for tax-free forgiveness if the proceeds are used for certain approved expenditures. This raises questions about how to present PPP loans in year-end financial statements and how to treat a loan that was forgiven. While U.S. GAAP does not provide specific guidance for PPP loans, there are a couple of options available for reporting the PPP loan on financial statements.

Option 1: FASB ASC 470: Debt

Under this option, entities record the loan as a liability on the balance sheet and interest is recorded as it would be with any other financing arrangement. After the company has applied for loan forgiveness and has been legally released from the debt, the company will record a gain on extinguishment of debt. This gain should be recorded as an extraordinary item and excluded from operating income.

Option 2: FASB ASC 450-30: Gain Contingency

Under ASC 450-30, the earnings impact is recognized when all contingencies have been met and the gain related to the forgiveness of the PPP loan is realized or realizable for nongovernmental entities. The proceeds from the loan are initially recorded as a liability until the proceeds are realized or realizable. Once they are realized or realizable, the earnings impact is recorded. There is less specific on guidance on this method than ASC 470, and it is generally not preferred.

Financial Statement Disclosures

Disclosures under ASC 470 will be similar to traditional debt disclosures. Under ASC 450-30, there are no specific disclosure requirements. It’s important to note that material PPP loans should adequately disclose all key terms of the loan in the notes to the financial statements.

Which guidance to follow on presentation of the loan is ultimately up to management of the company. The PPP loan should be presented on the company’s balance sheet and after it is forgiven, it will need to be recognized outside of operations as other income or as a gain on loan forgiveness. Contact an Anders advisor below to discuss financial statement presentation or recovery options,

Our advisors are closely following COVID-19 relief efforts and will continue to publish insights to keep you informed on our COVID-19 Resource Center. Tune in to our video series PPP with Paul and Dan to learn more about the Paycheck Protection Program.

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April 6, 2021

Alex Grosse Wins 33rd Annual Hoops for Hope Tournament

After an intense NCAA tournament, Alex Grosse crafted the winning bracket in the 33rd annual Anders Hoops for Hope tournament! Alex, an IT Manager of Infrastructure and Security at Anders, beat the odds to come in first place this year out of 681 total brackets. Thank you to our sponsors and everybody that participated to make this year such a success!

All participant and sponsor donations benefitted the 2021 Charity of Choice, The Child Center. The top 29 participants will receive prizes ranging from an Apple Watch to a weekend getaway at Live! by Loews and gift cards to local restaurants and breweries.

Watch our website for more information on exactly how much was raised for our 2021 Charity of Choice.

Click here to see the final standings!

Check out the Top 29 Prize Winners:

  1. Alex Grosse
  2. Michel Chopp
  3. Jim (Henry) Loft
  4. Chuck Cioffi
  5. Michael De Moya
  6. Trey Meier
  7. Tyler Skeeters
  8. Jen Patterson
  9. David LaGrand
  10. Dave Dressel
  11. Dave Verseman
  12. Tom Domian
  13. Mike Chopp
  14. Brooke Johnson
  15. Bryan Dimmick
  16. Alex Grosse
  17. Kirk Boeger
  18. Susie Lowe
  19. Scott Sinak
  20. Alexandra Mabley
  21. Mark Uthe
  22. Kyle Hallermann
  23. Scott Iverson
  24. Robert Minkler, Jr.
  25. Bradford Goette
  26. Michael Ksobiech
  27. Donna Bellows
  28. Don Shafer
  29. Johnny Lawson
Hoops for Hope Sponsor
Hoops for Hope Sponsors
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April 2, 2021

Ubiquiti Data Breach: How to Protect Your Business

It’s hard to go a week, or even a day sometimes, without hearing news of a data breach. In January, I received a notification from Ubiquiti that there may have been unauthorized access to their customer data. I didn’t think much of it and followed their instructions for addressing the issue. Fast forward to March 31, the problems were compounding for Ubiquiti. Ubiquiti stock is down 10% and there is currently an investigation into securities fraud.

What You Should Do

If you have a Ubiquiti account, your data may have been accessed. If you have not done so already, you should change your password and enable two-factor authentication. We also recommend considering secure alternatives to keep your data protected.

Background on Ubiquiti

Over the years, Ubiquiti has had a peculiar place in the networking market. They have wireless routers, access points, security gateways, security camera systems and more. Then, they have some really neat equipment, such as Nanobeam. Nanobeams have the ability to transmit network connectivity points over long distances wirelessly. This is especially useful for some smaller internet service providers that don’t have AT&T, Charter or Comcast in their name or have cable running underground from place to place.  

Consider Secure Alternatives

When the networking market meets business needs, the choice becomes less clear about use cases and if Ubiquity is an option. Most often, Ubiquiti is going to be less expensive to implement because the hardware costs less and they do not have support contracts to maintain. However, the decision is not that simple. Focusing in on support, there isn’t a streamlined support system like other networking vendors. There is email and chat support but there is not accountability on if or when you will receive a response.

But not every business has mission-critical network deployment where Ubiquiti equipment might fit nicely. Think guest networks, free wi-fi, stadiums, restaurants, etc. Ubiquiti is significantly less likely to be the strategy at a hospital, major financial institution, or anywhere with a major dependency on networking functions in reference to the need for support alone.

The performance of the equipment in comparison to cost is always going to be arguable. For example, in a new wireless deployment that requires 20 Ubiquiti access points, may only require 16 Cisco Meraki access points based off a heat mapping software. But the Meraki strategy is still more expensive even after running cable to four fewer locations where access points are needed. Then the fact that there will be a renewal for the Cisco equipment in a few years makes the cost gap even wider. However, Cisco is a recognized vendor and one of the most used, most stable networking platforms.

If you have any security concerns around your network or technology platforms, Anders Technology advisors are here to help. We can work with you to evaluate options and determine the best fit for your security needs and business goals. Contact an Anders advisor below to discuss your situation.

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April 1, 2021

How to Make Your Tech Stack More Secure and Cost-Effective by Moving to the Cloud

Microsoft recently announced that multiple hacking groups affiliated with nation-states were targeting Microsoft Exchange servers in coordinated attacks. These attacks utilized multiple zero-day exploits, and allowed hackers to not only read email, but also install additional malware to ensure long-term access to compromised servers. Over 60,000 servers may have been affected. An interesting note is that only on-premises Exchange servers are vulnerable, while Microsoft’s cloud-based Exchange Online service is not.

Zero-day exploits are so serious because they utilize a method of attack that was completely unknown before it was used. This means that no systems are patched against the exploit until the developer has time to build and test patches. Then, once the builder has released patches, IT departments worldwide must scramble to apply patches while also dealing with fallout from the attack.

What does this mean for my business?

If your business uses on-premises Exchange servers, this means that your IT department has been very busy. It might mean that you have compromised servers that need to be addressed.  It certainly means that you’ll be worried about data exfiltration. However, if your business uses Office 365 and Exchange Online for mail, it means that you don’t have to worry about this attack – not just because Exchange Online wasn’t vulnerable in the first place, but because Exchange Online is inherently more secure against these types of attacks.

Legacy Systems: A Security Patchwork

In a traditional enterprise environment, a company might employ a dedicated staff to maintain hundreds of servers. Despite the best efforts of IT Staff, this type of environment often falls out of standard over time. Patches get deferred on servers for a variety of reasons:  Maybe the organization can’t accept the downtime. Maybe the staff doesn’t have the bandwidth to do it.  Maybe the staff doesn’t see it as a priority. Some servers get patched, but others don’t. No mechanism exists to ensure that patches are applied in a standardized and timely manner. This is a huge problem because current patches often rely on the existence of previous patches that might be missing. Even in organizations with sufficient resources and very strict patching regimens, staff must take the time to patch machines. All of this leads to a patchwork security posture where the most important machines are critically behind on updates.

Server Cost Example

Another issue: servers are expensive. A new Exchange Server might cost $10,000 just for the hardware. If you’re running on-prem Exchange, you’ll also need at least 2 Domain Controllers at another $10,000 each. You’ll need licensing for each server – that’s around $1000 for Windows Server 2019, $780 for Exchange Server, plus about $97 in CAL licensing for EVERY user who wants to access the server. Then, you’ll still need to buy Outlook for your users – Office 2019 Professional Plus is $439.00 today. Once all of that’s done, you’ll still have to pay to maintain the systems – if your server goes down, you pay to fix it.

Cloud Systems: A Standardized Security Posture

In a modern Microsoft cloud environment, everything is standardized and centrally managed, with very high availability and very low downtime. In fact, Microsoft touts a worldwide uptime average of 99.98% over the past four years. You never have to worry about a server being outdated or unpatched because you never have to worry about a server at all. Hardware problems and patching are things of the past. In Microsoft’s Cloud, you never actually have to deal with an OS, or see a server. Instead, you see a unified dashboard for your entire environment. All you need is a connection to the internet. In the Microsoft Cloud, it’s literally impossible to be un-patched. In fact, patching is irrelevant because Microsoft handles it for you, silently and unobtrusively, all the time. While a zero-day exploit is still technically possible, the risk is greatly reduced because attackers know that any exploit will be patched immediately, automatically, worldwide.

Are Cloud Systems Cost-Effective?

Above, I discussed the cost of servers. In that example, we were looking at $33,000 for servers, and $536 of licensing per user just to get started. You would also require an IT employee to manage those servers, make sure they’re secure and patched, and handle outages – we’ll call that $100,000 including salary and benefits. In an organization with 100 users, you’ve already spent $187,380, your environment is still vulnerable, and you’ll still have to spend money every year to upgrade outdated software.

In contrast, a Microsoft 365 Business Premium license costs just $20/user per month. The entire environment is baked into that license – the administrative dashboards, the servers, the storage space the Office Professional licensing. You don’t have to buy hardware and patching happens automatically. Administration is much less labor intensive – in fact, Anders Technology advisors can handle this for you for a small monthly fee. In this model, your 100 users would cost just $24,000 for the entire first year. Your software would remain perpetually up to date, not just for the year, but for as long as you pay for the license. And, following best practices, your user accounts and data would be secure right out of the box.

How Microsoft 365 Can Replace Other Costly Tools

So far, we’ve been talking about Exchange servers, but your $20/user Microsoft 365 Business Premium license gets you far more than just email. After all, your Active Directory (AD) Domain is a lot more than just email. You have Domain Controllers and file shares, all running on server hardware. Maybe you have a System Center Config Manager (SCCM) Server.  Maybe you’re also paying for a collaboration service like Zoom. Amazingly, all of those features can be replaced by a $20 Microsoft 365 license. 

Microsoft 365 contains many products beyond just email, and each of them has the potential to sunset an on-premises service. Azure AD replaces the need for on-premises AD and Domain Controllers. OneDrive and SharePoint Online replace the need for on-premises file servers.  Microsoft InTune replaces the need for SCCM. Microsoft Teams replaces the need for Webex, Slack, or Zoom. All of these technologies are included in the $20 Microsoft 365 Business Premium license. Post-migration, you could potentially shut down all of your servers, permanently. In fact, many of our clients do exactly that.

Cost of Migration

The initial investment of migrating to the cloud might be less than you think. For a simple on-premises to cloud email and file migration, Anders averages right around $100 labor per user. Of course, each organization is different, and cost depends on several factors. Anders Technology advisors have performed hundreds of on-premises to Microsoft Cloud migrations and have the expertise to design a custom migration plan that works for your business and your budget. Contact an Anders advisor below to discuss your company’s unique migration situation.

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