January brings a time of new beginnings and a focus on the annual audit and tax season. As you are thinking about  priorities for Q1, don’t forget  there are other areas that can help your company grow and thrive in the new year. In my job, I love advising clients on how to strengthen internal controls and fulfill their audit requirements, while my colleagues in the tax department are excited to help tax plan with clients. Though the tax return and annual audit are priorities as we turn the calendar to 2022, there are many other areas to focus on in your organization. Here are five priorities that can help propel your organization to a strong start to the new year.

1. Information Security

Cybercrime, which includes everything from theft or embezzlement to data hacking and destruction, is up 600% as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. With the increase in remote working, cyber criminals target those using insecure devices. It is important to partner with an advisor that can help fortify your company. The only way to combat these attacks and successfully defend your company’s data is with cybersecurity awareness and prevention. Whether you need a HIPAA risk assessment, penetration testing, or cyber incident responses, or are interested in shoring up the strength of your information security environment, be sure to look for firms that have solid credentials and are considered  top service providers.

2. Data Analytics

According to Gartner, Inc., global technology spending is expected to reach $4.5 trillion in 2022. McKinsey and Company estimated that big data initiatives led to over $300 billion in reduced healthcare spending in 2020. There is a lot of buzz around data science in the current business environment. When should it be used? How do you use the data? Is there a benefit to the bottom line? Many experts have experience extending across multiple on-premise and cloud data platforms, and can help craft solutions to questions surrounding any revenue cycle management, consolidated budgeting and forecast reports or supply chain management.

3. Staffing

In 2021, the overall turnover rate across all industries was 57.3%, 25% of which was voluntary turnover alone. Every client I have talked to in 2021 is experiencing staffing issues in the current environment. Consider working with a well-respected staffing or HR-Outsourcing firm.

LBMC Staffing Solutions focuses on five areas: accounting and financeexecutive administrationhuman resourcesinformation technology, and key skilled manufacturing roles. These positions can range from entry-level to c-suite executives and include temporary and contract-to-hire positions.

LBMC Employment Partners provides HR-related services that can be beneficial for companies struggling to fill these positions. Services include PEO, HR Outsourcing, payroll, payroll tax consulting, benefits brokering, and more.


4. Transaction Advisory

According to Reuters, in 2021 global merger and acquisition volumes topped $5 trillion for the first time ever. The overall value of merger and acquisition activity stood at $5.8 trillion in 2021, up 64% from a year earlier, according to Refinitiv. One tip for those looking to acquire is the ability to adapt in a changing environment. “Disruption in healthcare” continues to be a buzzword for companies looking to raise capital and gain traction in the market. While disruption can have long-term benefits, identifying companies and management teams who have demonstrated an ability to adapt in the ever-changing healthcare market may prove to be among the best investments a group can make. Whether you are thinking about buying or selling, be sure to work with a firm you trust to assess financial records, quantify tax structuring savings, and eliminate potential deal roadblocks.

5. Consulting Projects

The Financial Accounting Standards Board (“FASB”) Accounting Standards Codification (“ASC”) 842 will take effect for private companies with reporting periods beginning after December 15, 2021. Look for an advisor with a team of lease experts that can help with accounting for leases as a part of ASC 842. There are also tools available to maintain lease databases.

Another key accounting issue is the accounting for provider relief funds (“PRF”) that were distributed by United States Department of Health and Human Services (“HHS”). As of November 2021, $186.5 billion in payments to be distributed through PRF. In December 2021, HHS announced the distribution of an additional $9 billion in PRF payments. Many companies have developed internal teams to meet regularly to discuss policies, accounting and nuances of these PRF funds in order to appropriately assist clients. Work with a trusted advisor if you have questions on how to account for these funds or how to submit compliance information to the online portal.

While an accounting firm is  able to assist with an annual audit requirement or a tax return, be sure the one you choose has a plethora of experts available to help  outside of traditional audit and tax services. If you have any questions about the possibilities discussed above or other issues that you are encountering, LBMC is ready to provide guidance and help your business to thrive as we turn the calendar to the next year.

Content provided by LBMC Audit and Advisory professional, Kurt Zollner.