August Journal

Tuesday, August 3, 2021

August 2021 Financial Update

To work from home or not to work from home? Work-from-home seems to be a question on everyone’s minds. It’s a big question, because 42% of the U.S. workforce was working from home during the pandemic. Shifting that dynamic back would be a big task, but one that looks like it’s in process. Still, work won’t entirely going back to business as usual. A recent survey indicated that nearly 30% of working professionals would quit their jobs if they were forced to return to the office. This may be why so many companies have announced a switch to a hybrid or flexible model that doesn’t require a full-time return, or a return at all. People are also inventing new styles of working that are more flexible and less centralized.

Overall though, there seems to be a lot of uncertainty about what will work and how. Many employers are attempting to assert that work-from-home is a privilege and not a right, while employees demand concessions. Some worry that having some employees working from and some not will create two classes of employees that aren’t equal. Some companies are suggesting that where you work should be reflected in your pay–but that’s quite understandably an enraging idea to some. Ggetting paid more to be in an office definitely sends a message about what the employer prefers. Companies’ opinions about work-from-home aren’t carrying the day, however, because it appears job seekers have a fair bit of negotiating power in the current market. According to Indeed, demand for workers has increased, words like “urgent” are more common in hiring posts, and that hiring incentives are common.

So who’s going back to the office and who isn’t?

Here at Happy Bookkeeping we’ve always been remote, but it appears that we are the minority in accounting–contrary to some WFH enthusiasm during the pandemic, accountants generally expect to return to the office. So what about other fields? It very much depends on what field you’re in, according to many surveys, but across the board as of June work-from-home was a declining phenomenon.

So what’s the bottom line on work-from home? Despite all the media coverage and employer concessions, as of June 2021 work-from-home has dropped by half across the United States.

2021 Financial Calendar – August:

Now that you’ve filed your taxes, contemplated your retirement savings, and completed a mid-year review, what’s next to consider this year to keep your finances healthy? Your credit score! August is a good time to get all your credit reports from the major credit agencies (Experian, Equifax and TransUnion each provide a free report annually) and look for any errors or problems on them. Keeping your credit score healthy is an important part of financial health.

Businesses also have credit scores and should mind their credit. The SBA has information on how to establish and keep up your business credit score. A variety of business credit reporting agencies exist, which may or may not have information on your business.

2021 Tax Updates and Dates

August 2 has a variety of tax deadlines. For a full list including payroll tax deposit dates, see the IRS Tax Calendar.

  • August 2: Quarterly excise tax reports are due, Form 720;
  • August 2: Quarterly payroll tax reports are due, Form 941;
  • August 2: FUTA for January through June is due if more than $500 is owed;
  • August 2: 2020 calendar year employee benefit plan filings are due, Form 5550 series.

Government Aid in Coronatimes

Many Americans received a letter about the American Rescue Plan individual and family payments from President Biden. Hopefully they also received the funds. The IRS reports that more than 2.2 million additional disbursements under the plan have been made as of July 21. HHS reports that many are eligible to receive health insurance lowered costs as a result of the plan as well. In addition, this fall the Advance Child Tax Credit will pay out half the credit to American in advance, with the final half claimed on an individual’s tax return.

The Paycheck Protection Plan ended on May 31, 2021, a huge program from the federal government to support small businesses. “From April 2020 through May 2021, the program provided approximately 12 million loans totaling nearly $800 million that helped businesses keep their workforce employed during the COVID-19 crisis.” (Source JD Supra) Many businesses continue to use the funds and apply for forgiveness. The Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis offers this post-mortem on the program.

For the last time, the Usual PPP Application and Forgiveness Resources

What’s Happening, in Charts

To continue the WFH theme, from Insider, the share of total employed who worked from home by job. This chart is taken from Bureau of Labor Statistics data.

The U.S. Department of Labor blog has statistics about the June job report, including the disparities in job recovery among different sectors of employees. One other thing to pull out from their report is this: “Workers are seeing strong growth in their wages, with an increase of 1.4% in average hourly earnings over the past three months. This is the biggest three-month increase we’ve seen during any pre-pandemic period since 2006. This is great news for workers, especially those who have suffered stagnant wages for years.”

June Jobs report, U.S. Department of Labor

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