Free Marketing Budget Template


    What’s the “All-In” cost of a marketing campaign?

    Which marketing projects have the highest ROI?

If your clients are like mine, they jump into the latest and greatest marketing idea without much planning…often too much time and money is invested with little return.  Here is a simple template to get them started down the path of using data and planning to help drive their marketing projects…

Free to download.  Click here (excel format): 

Marketing Budget with Graph

Some Consulting Opportunities for CPAs:  1. Help your clients by adding to this template and include costs such as in-house employee time per project; 2. Set up tracking correlations between marketing initiatives and changes in sales; 3. Advise on processes for computing sales projections.

Reasonable Compensation Deal

Here’s a metaphor from the book The Charisma Myth “If you don’t bring your clients into compliance, it’s as if they’re innocently paddling along a river, and you know there’s a waterfall coming, yet you do nothing to stop them from going over the waterfall, watching as they crash down on the rocks below, their bodies mangled, blood spilling through the water”.

Thats a graphic image but it helps to get across the importance of planning and being proactive with clients even if they don’t want to hear it.  For those tax professionals that want to be proactive and address the hot area of salary with clients this summer, we’re offering a promotion:

Buy 10 opinion credits and get five more for free ($340 savings).  Email or call to secure this offer by Monday 8/4/2014.  We will email you an invoice and upon receipt of payment, will send you a code for the 15 opinions as well as some suggested dates/times for training.

Start a campaign today – protect your clients while earning additional income.

Reasonable Compensation Workpaper Summary

The process for determining a reasonable compensation amount for IRS purposes is not easy.  It is the age old issue in tax of fairness vs. simplicity.  A simple system could result in better compliance however, it might be an unfair tax burden on some.  On the flipside, a complicated system might be fair tax wise but could result in poor compliance because of a lack of understanding and financial resources.

The IRS provides general guidelines which are a starting point.  Court cases on the subject have resulted in more information around which variables are important and how we should weigh them.  Despite this however, there are still several factors which make the process difficult for practioners such as…

  • Many different approaches that can conflict such as Investor Model, Ratio Analysis, etc.
  • Findings from C-Corps court cases that have been miss applied to S-Corps cases.
  • Cases that have focused in on less important variables such as compensation of the highest paid non-shareholder employee causing confusion.


The employee of an S-Corporation who is also a shareholder provides a unique problem for tax purposes.  The shareholder-employee wears two hats which are obviously that of an employee requiring a salary for work and that of an investor, requiring a return on investment.   Both forms of compensation have different sets of tax issues.  The largest area of uncertainty is around the general concept of company performance and how that effects salary.  If a company does well, is that the result of the employee role and therefore payable as bonus compensation or is it the normal return on an investment and therefore payable as distributions to the investor?  The correct answer is usually somewhere in between.

We use a “funnel” type of approach to zero in on what we believe is a fair amount for reasonable compensation.  We start by setting the outer limits which are plainly rooted in case law.  We then go step by step moving from certainty in tax law to discretionary areas until we come up with our conclusion on the amount.

We rely on the latest data and when guidance is missing, we will make a conservative reasonable assumption based on accounting and tax rules that are common in related areas.  Our goal is to provide a strong set of defendable workpapers in an efficient manner.