MKS&H Articles

Are you Missing Out on the Extra Money in your Pre-Need Trust?

[fa icon="calendar'] Nov 29, 2016 1:36:12 PM / by Jamie Iseminger posted in Death Care Industry

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If you own a cemetery that sells pre-need contracts, you are familiar with the regulations that require you to place the funds into a trust. But did you know that several states allow you to distribute any surplus from the trust to your business? The regulations, which differ by state, refer to this situation as “excess income within the trust.”

Proper accounting of pre-need contracts for financial reporting often clouds the picture of the operations of a cemetery. Typically, management needs to review other metrics, such as cash flow, pre-need, sales volume, and call volume, to assess the true health of the business. An excess income audit could let you know if an excess income distribution is an option to alleviate your cash flow constraints. Or, it could be useful if you have plans to expand by acquiring another property or building a new mausoleum, by letting you know if you have the funds for these investments.

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Doing 2017 Budgets the Right Way

[fa icon="calendar'] Nov 16, 2016 12:16:26 PM / by admin posted in Advisory

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Operating a successful business is hard work. It takes sweat and planning and involves much more than making, marketing and selling your product or service. Have you and your executive team mapped out what success means to you in 2017, both operationally and financially? How does that picture differ from what you’ve experienced or planned for in 2016?

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The Secret Sauce to Construction Billing

[fa icon="calendar'] Nov 8, 2016 1:17:50 PM / by Jennifer Barrett posted in Construction Industry

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Proper billing is an important aspect of both job management and cash flow management. Without proper billing, and by that term I mean billing that is sent out on time and is correct and complete, how can you expect to receive proper payment for all of your work?

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Boosting your Bottom Line by Increasing Trust

[fa icon="calendar'] Nov 1, 2016 12:32:37 PM / by admin posted in Advisory

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A 2014 survey by the American Psychological Association delivered some pretty startling statistics around employees and trust:

  • 25 percent of those surveyed (employed adults over 18) didn’t trust their employers; and
  • Only about 50 percent believed their employers were open and upfront with them.

All employers should take notice of these numbers, even those companies that believe they are open and honest with their employees. Lack of trust, real or perceived, affects employees in a variety of ways, and employers often see it in their employees’ increased use of their sick time, poor performance and higher than expected turnover.  

Increasing your company’s transparency can positively affect your customers and prospects, as well as your vendors.

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How Managing Profit Margins can Decrease your Company's Risk Levels

[fa icon="calendar'] Oct 25, 2016 1:23:31 PM / by Megan Baker posted in Manufacturing and Distribution, Manufacturing

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As a company owner, you probably spend a lot of time managing the various risks within your company. You do it by looking at price levels, reviewing fixed costs, and understanding current market changes. But, by focusing on the methods you’ve always followed, you might not get a true picture of your current level of risk and how you need to adjust it to stay competitive.

Have you ever considered managing risk by managing your margins?

The world of manufacturing accounting is full of volatility. Margin management is one way to manage that uncertainty, by looking at costs and revenues together, instead of seeing them in independent silos.

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Are you Ready to have “That” Work Conversation? Handling Conflict Effectively.

[fa icon="calendar'] Oct 18, 2016 12:50:31 PM / by admin posted in Advisory

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On a world-wide scale, unresolved conflicts exist all around us, from the current US election to the struggles between nations and the disagreements between large, public companies. Conflicts also show themselves to us on smaller, more personal scales, and those may be more important because they tend to affect us personally. These can range from the disagreements we have with our spouses and children, to the difficulties that arise between us and clients, co-workers, supervisors and employees.

Although the larger conflicts do affect us to some degree, it’s the more personal conflicts that, if not resolved completely and in a timely manner, impact us at a much more intimate level. That said, conflict isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Bringing it into the open can allow for innovation and improvement, in addition to airing grievances, resolving problems and improving relationships. That is, if those involved take the time to have those conversations on the deep level at which they need to occur.

How do you handle those tough conversations in the workplace? Do you think you do a good job?

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Shifting your Company to "True Accountability"

[fa icon="calendar'] Oct 12, 2016 1:17:31 PM / by admin posted in Advisory

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“Accountability.” It’s everywhere we turn, in all aspects of our lives. Kids are accountable to their teachers for getting their homework done, and we’re all accountable to our doctors (and our families) to get and stay healthy. In our work lives, we’re accountable to our bosses and co-workers to do our jobs in a way that makes the company money and helps it meet its goals.

At the same time we’re being held accountable, it’s as necessary for our teachers, doctors, co-workers and bosses to be accountable to us. To give us the structure, skills and support we need to complete these tasks successfully.

So what exactly does it mean to be truly accountable, for all involved? We’ve pulled together a quick primer. Here, you’ll learn what it really means and get a chance to think about how/if your leadership is accountable to your employees and vice-versa. We’ll also give you a few ideas for turning things around, if your company isn’t quite there yet.

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What you Need to Know about Preneed Trusts:  A Primer

[fa icon="calendar'] Oct 5, 2016 5:47:40 PM / by Jessica Sipple posted in Death Care Industry

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Individuals can purchase, in advance, some or all of their funeral and cemetery merchandise and services through what’s called a preneed contract. Some people choose to only pre-arrange and pre-purchase their cemetery property (interment rights), such as a plot, crypt, mausoleum or niche, while others choose their burial services and merchandise.

A preneed contract allows the consumer to purchase future services and merchandise at current prices. Services available for purchase on a preneed contract include grave openings and closings, marker and vault installations, and other services sold in advance of need. Merchandise available for purchase on a preneed contract include, but are not limited, to items such as caskets, burial vaults, granite bases, markers, benches, vaults, vases, and urns.

When someone enters into a preneed contract with a funeral home or cemetery, they agree to pay for the funeral and cemetery goods and services in advance of their need. This leaves many wondering how they can be sure that the money will be there upon their death to cover these expenses. This is where preneed trusts come into play.


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Performance Review Anxiety? Maybe the Process Needs an Overhaul.

[fa icon="calendar'] Sep 27, 2016 5:54:48 PM / by admin posted in Advisory

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Performance reviews (also called performance appraisals) are an essential part of career advancement and pay increases for most organizations. They’re normally conducted once a year, and occasionally they include a mid-year touch base. At the end of the review cycle, employees and their managers assess how well the employee has met the goals they set the year before. Managers then use this information to determine how much of a raise the employee will receive. It’s often also used to determine whether they should be promoted.

It’s a good premise, but rarely do these programs perform as intended.

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Attracting Millennials to Meet the Needs of Maryland’s Manufacturing Sector

[fa icon="calendar'] Sep 21, 2016 11:26:30 AM / by Kathy Davis posted in Manufacturing and Distribution, Manufacturing

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Manufacturing Day was established six years ago, in part to help manufacturers showcase their organizations as economic drivers of the future to a new generation of workers – millennials!


This year, Manufacturing Day will be celebrated across the country on or around October 7th. It was initially founded by four organizations – Fabricators and Manufacturers Association International, National Association of Manufacturers, Manufacturing Extension Partnership and Manufacturing Institute –and has grown to 1,047 events across the country.


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