Monday, September 28, 2015

KOS Participated in IL CPA Day of Service

On Friday, September 25th, KOS employees participated in the Illinois CPA Day of Service.  Employees packed food boxes at the Feed My Starving Children facility located at 742 East Park Avenue in Libertyville, IL. Everyone had a great time working together outside of the office and being a part of this rewarding day. KOS was honored to help out and give back to the community.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

5 Ways to Pay Off Your Student Loans Faster

Reprint from "Homeroom," the official blog of the U.S. Department of Education

Nicole Callahan is a Digital Engagement Strategist at The U.S. Department of Education’s office of Federal Student Aid. She is scheduled to finish repaying her student loans in 2021, but is hoping that by taking her own advice, she will finish much faster.

The first thing people say when they find out where I work: “Can you delete my student loans for me?”

If only I had that power. Just like many of you, I am a student loan borrower. Each month, my federal student loan servicer, withdraws my $381.35 student loan payment from my bank account and I still cringe every time. (Do you know how many pairs of shoes I could buy with that money?) Point is, I understand what you’re going through.

That said, there are manageable ways to pay off your student loans faster than you had planned and save yourself money by doing so!

Here are some ideas:
  1. Pay Right Away Even though you’re usually not required to, consider making student loan payments during your grace period or while you’re still in school. If you’re short on cash, consider at least paying enough each month to cover the amount of interest you’re accruing. That way your interest doesn’t capitalize and get added to your principal balance. Not doing this was one of the biggest mistakes I made with my student loans.
  2. Sign up for Automatic Debit If you sign up for automatic debit, your student loan servicer will automatically deduct your student loan payment from your bank account each month. Not only does this help ensure that you make payments on time, but you may also be able to get an interest rate deduction for enrolling. Contact your loan servicer to see if your loan is eligible for this benefit.
  3. Pay More than Your Minimum Payment Even if it’s $5 a month!  Paying a little extra each month can reduce the interest you pay and reduce your total cost of your loan over time. If you want to ensure that your loan is paid off faster, make sure you tell your loan servicer that the extra amount you’re paying is not intended to be put toward future payments. If given the option, ask your servicer if the additional payment amount can be allocated to your higher interest loans first.
  4. Use Your Tax Refund One easy way to pay off your loan faster is to dedicate your tax refund to paying off some of your student loan debt. Part of the reason you may have gotten a refund in the first place is because you get a tax deduction for paying student loan interest. Might as well be smart about the way you spend it.
  5. Seek Out Forgiveness and Repayment Options There are a number of situations under which you can have your federal student loan balance forgiven. There are forgiveness and repayment programs for teachers, public servants, members of the United States Armed Forces, and more. Most of these programs have very specific eligibility requirements, but if you think you might qualify, you should definitely do some research. Also, research whether your employer offers repayment assistance for employees with student loans. There are many who do!

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

KOS to Participate in the Illinois CPA Society's 6th Annual CPA Day of Service

 CPA DOS 2015

Governor Rauner has officially proclaimed September 25, 2015 to be CPA Day of Service throughout Illinois

KOS is proud to be part of this wonderful day.  Employees from the firm will be traveling to the Feed My Starving Children (FMSC) facility in Libertyville, IL for an afternoon of helping others.

KOS chose to work with FMSC because of their emphasis on small group involvement and outcome-focused participation. This volunteer experience offers a wonderful way for KOS to engage, motivate and foster employee collaboration with the selfless benefit of feeding the world’s starving children.

Founded in 1987, Feed My Starving Children is a non-profit organization committed to feeding children hungry in body and spirit. The approach is simple: children and adults hand-pack meals specifically formulated for malnourished children, and these meals are shipped to nearly 70 countries around the world.

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

How confident are you that you’re ACA compliant?

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) affects every employer in the United States – administratively, financially, and otherwise – more than many realize. In particular, it influences how you aggregate disparate data for reporting and management.

It’s important that you understand the implications; especially the financial risks involved. After all, failure to comply with the ACA could result in heavy penalties reaching into the millions of dollars, unless you start properly planning right now.

A recent Research Institute study indicated that more than half of midsized business owners are either extremely concerned or very concerned about the impacts of the ACA and government regulations. More serious still, many are unprepared to document and report data with sufficient accuracy to avoid or minimize the penalties that can be incurred. Make no mistake: this threat is real.

We want to help ensure that you know all of the options available to you – not only how to do right by your employees and save money, but also achieve compliance with the Shared Responsibility provisions of the law. In short, it’s important you understand what the law says, what it means to you, and – most importantly – what actions you need to take. Contact your KOS Advisor if you have any concerns or if we can be of any assistance to you on this matter.