Is Your Training Strategy Preparing Employees & Your Company for Future Success?

Is Your Training Strategy Preparing Employees & Your Company for Future Success?

Did you ever think your organization would be competing with Silicon Valley, startups, and major tech companies for talent? As Industry 4.0 (or is it 5.0, now?), AI, robotics, the Internet of Things, smart manufacturing, and more move full steam ahead, ensure your training strategy keeps pace and helps your company and employees secure the skills needed for future success.

We realize there’s no need to preach to the choir about current and pending staffing challenges in manufacturing – you get it. Taking a cue from buy versus build acquisition and growth strategies, have you explored investing in your current employees to build their skillsets and complement your recruiting, retention, and engagement initiatives? It can be a win-win for employees and your business.

As reported by Exploding Topics, “McKinsey predicts the demand for physical and manual skills in repeatable tasks will decline by 30% over the next decade. At the same time, the demand for technological skills will increase more than 50%, and the demand for leadership and high-level social/emotional skills is expected to rise 30%.”

What’s more, The Manufacturing Institute’s 2020 Manufacturing Engagement and Retention Study found two-thirds of those under age 25 feel training and skill development motivate them to stay with their current employers.

Armed with this knowledge, consider enhancing your training strategy and toolkit:

  • Create a reskilling strategy for your workforce. Check out Manufacturing X Digital’s free Hiring Guide, which reviews how to upskill almost 250 different roles.
  • Build relationships with local colleges and let them know the skills you seek in today’s worker and tomorrow’s. See if a college representative will visit your operation and speak with current employees about the classes, certifications, and degrees that can help them reskill for the future. While you’re at it, reach out to their internship/co-op program directors to enhance your talent pipeline.
  • Offer or enhance tuition reimbursement benefits. Nothing tells employees you believe in them and value what they bring to the table than an investment in their future. Tuition reimbursement can open doors to opportunities previously unattainable, while ensuring you’ll have the talent and skills to keep driving your company forward.
  • Explore free, online training opportunities. The Institute for Advanced Composites Manufacturing Innovation (IACMI) America’s Cutting Edge free online program teaches machinists CNC machining skills.

For more ideas, check out The Manufacturing Institute’s 2022 Manufacturing Perception Study results report.

While you focus on enhancing your company’s training strategy for the future, let RBT CPAs help free you up by taking on your tax, audit and accounting needs. We’ve been providing professional, ethical services to clients in the Hudson Valley for over 50 years. Give us a call.

Transitioning to the New York State Pension Plan Reporting Requirements by Year End

Transitioning to the New York State Pension Plan Reporting Requirements by Year End

After December 31 of this year, New York State & Local Retirement System (NYSLRS) legacy reporting will be phased out and replaced by Retirement Online for enhanced reporting. Over 900 employers have already made the switch. Since initial discussions about the change started over four years ago, we figured it’s a good time to review everything and remind you of the many resources available to help ensure a smooth transition for your office and your employees.

As noted on the Office of New York State Comptroller, Thomas P Dinapoli’s website, “When it comes to using Retirement Online, state agencies will primarily use it to enroll optional employees in the Retirement System. However, Retirement Online offers you much more than just easy enrollment.”

Retirement Online is faster and easier than the legacy system. Municipality users are commenting on how simple it is to use, which is especially valuable for smaller offices where staff wear many hats.

With the new system, government employers can easily enroll new members; generate reports; get instantaneous access to information about days worked, earnings, and job information; process and change deductions accurately and in a timely manner, and receive timely notifications about potential issues.

In addition, Retirement Online allows users to view new hire information and contribution rates, as well as historical reporting data and financial transactions; update information about your organization; manage and assign security access; request events; and submit the Statement of Accrued Payments and Leave Credits form for retiring employees.

There are numerous resources available to support the transition:

While you’re focusing on making the transition, remember, RBT CPAs is here to focus on all of your accounting, tax, and auditing needs. We’ve been supporting municipal clients in the Hudson Valley and beyond for over 75 years, and we’re committed to upholding the highest levels of professional, ethical service. Give us a call today.

Examining 179D Deductions through the Eyes of the IRS

Examining 179D Deductions through the Eyes of the IRS

If you are looking to take a 179D Deduction as the official designer of a government-owned property or a commercial property owner, take note! Recently, the IRS Large Business and International (LB&I) Division released an updated its training with guidelines for IRS staff to perform examinations for 179D deductions. While this serves as a job aid for IRS staff, it also provides important insights to architects, engineers, and contractors looking to take advantage of 179D deductions.

179D tax deductions took effect in January of 2006 and became permanent as part of the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021 (signed into law December 27, 2020). Basically, 179D deductions enable eligible building owners to claim a tax deduction for installing qualifying systems that reduce energy and power costs by 50% or more. Qualifying systems include interior lighting; building envelope; heating, cooling, ventilation, or hot water systems.

This year, the deduction can equal up to $1.88 a square foot. So, if the qualified building is 100,000 square feet, that could mean up to a $188,000 tax deduction for the work completed.

Commercial building owners and designers of government-owned buildings are eligible for 179D tax deductions; however, the updated IRS training places more emphasis on what to watch for during government-owned building examinations.

Since government buildings are non-taxable, government building owners can allocate 179D tax deductions to the building designer, namely the person who created the technical specifications for a new building or an energy-efficient commercial building property addition. This may include an architect, engineer, contractor, environmental consultant, or energy services provider; it does not include a person who installs, repairs, or maintains a system. However, it is the IRS examination – not the building owner – that determines whether a taxpayer meets the definition of designer.

An allocation letter from a government building owner alone is not enough to establish a taxpayer as a designer eligible for the 179D deduction. Examiners determine eligibility by reviewing who contracts designate as responsible for design. To establish designer status, a designer must provide the contract along with technical specifications, stamped or sealed drawings, and any other relevant documentation.

Government building owners that do provide an allocation letter may be interviewed by agents to ensure they have the authority to make the allocation. Also, to claim the deduction, certification by properly licensed individuals is required.

IRS examiners are encouraged to determine the Designer of Record by reviewing stamped or sealed drawings; however, this excludes shop drawings used to make sure a building conforms to an architect’s or engineer’s design requirements. Technical specifications created by the architects and engineers take precedence over shop drawings, increasing the likelihood that architects and engineers will qualify as project designer(s). While not explicitly addressed in the IRS training, it seems likely that contractors engaged to provide both design and construction services can also meet designer status requirements.

In addition to these efforts to clarify who is considered an eligible designer, the IRS training emphasizes tax-exempt and non-profit organizations cannot allocate 179D deductions to designers. For example, a state university that places some buildings under a private foundation cannot allocate 179D deductions.

The examination’s final step focuses on whether penalties for taxpayers are warranted based on adjustments. If an adjustment results in underpayment or an excessive refund or credit, agents will consider accuracy-related penalties (i.e., for negligence or substantial underpayment or an erroneous claim for refund).

For 2023, the Inflation Reduction Act significantly increases certain reimbursements and enhances flexibility to take advantage of 179D deductions. Watch for more information in the weeks ahead. In the meantime, if you need help understanding, securing, and certifying 179D deductions, RBT CPAs – a leading accounting firm in the Hudson Valley and beyond – can help. Visit or contact the office closest to you:

  • Hudson 518-828-4616
  • Lake Katrine 845-336-7183
  • Newburgh 845-205-7482; 845-567-9228
  • Poughkeepsie 845-262-4338; 845-485-5547
  • Wurtsboro 845-260-6138; 845-888-2789

(Source: Aberin, CJ. “IRS updates guidance on tax deductions for energy efficient buildings.” AccountingToday, July 15, 2022,

Cyber Criminals Outsmart Higher Ed Institutions: Beware!

Cyber Criminals Outsmart Higher Ed Institutions: Beware!

$3 million. That was the asking price from cyber criminals to provide a decryption key to release the University of California, San Francisco’s data in 2020. The university paid $1.14 million. Since then, the problem has only gotten worse.

In a survey commissioned at the start of 2022 by Sophos, a global cybersecurity leader, 75% of ransomware attacks on higher education institutions succeed.  Recovery from an attack is slow, with 9% of higher ed institutions indicating it took 3 to 6 months; 31% took 1 to 3 months; and 40% took a month. It cost $1.42 million more for remediation than in other sectors.

Two-thirds of higher ed institutions that responded to the Sophos survey indicated they had been the target of an attack. Half paid ransoms to get their data back – 61% got some of their encrypted data back; only 2% got all of it back. 97% said the attack impacted their ability to operate and 96% indicated the attack caused a loss of revenue/business. Some were victims multiple times.

Cyber criminals have a higher success rate attacking higher ed than business, financial institutions, and healthcare. As reported in Forbes, the average ransom paid is around $112,000; but the total cost of recovery actually reaches around $2.7 million.

The barrage of successful attacks on higher education institutions have impacted cybersecurity insurance. Insurance companies have raised the bar on what is required to secure coverage. There are fewer insurers offering coverage. The time to secure a policy is longer; policies are more complex; and coverage is more expensive. While insurance provides some peace of mind, higher education still falls behind most other industries in shoring up their defenses.

In May, the FBI issued a warning to higher education institutions. As reported by, on the dark web there was an increase in in offers to sell VPN login credentials, usernames and passwords, and more. Not only did this put higher ed institutions at risk, but also the individuals who use their systems could find their bank accounts drained or credit cards stolen.

In September, the FBI, the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), and the Multi-State Information Sharing and Analysis Center (MS-ISAC) issued another alert targeting education (with a special emphasis on K-12 schools): “The FBI and CISA recommend organizations, particularly the education sector, establish and maintain strong liaison relationships with the FBI Field Office in their region and their regional CISA Cybersecurity Advisor. The location and contact information for FBI Field Offices and CISA Regional Offices can be located at and, respectively. Through these partnerships, the FBI and CISA can assist with identifying vulnerabilities to academia and mitigating potential threat activity. The FBI and CISA further recommend that academic entities review and, if needed, update incident response and communication plans that list actions an organization will take if impacted by a cyber incident.”

While higher education institutions may be competing for students, the war on cybercrime has brought them together in cyberspace. As reported in, over 50 higher education institutions have come together “with the goal of creating a forum for educators, experts and IT security advocates to network with and share cybersecurity insights with each other.”

To free up your resources to focus on cybersecurity and other priorities for higher education, why not entrust RBT CPAs to handle all your accounting, audit, and tax requirements? We’re the largest CPA firm serving the Hudson Valley and beyond for over 50 years. We believe we succeed when we help our clients succeed. So, give us a call and let’s see what we can do for you.