Beyond a Man: A Mensch, Anthony Kritt, Esq.

Beyond a Man: A Mensch, Anthony Kritt, Esq.

It’s seldom you know when a good friend’s time is coming near. Unfortunately, a friend and an uncle of mine has passed away. Anthony Kritt, was a man who had sewn and supported my father through a dream of his for many years. And, unfortunately on April 2nd, 2017, could no longer see it in person.

An advisor, a lawyer, an accountant, a friend, and a brother; Tony gave more than time; he become a part of our bloodline. He supported my father and never expected compensation beyond the chance to see a friend succeed. He was there through thick and thin. He actively supported and gave counsel. I’m so grateful for the patience he gave and the time he took to teach me the tools I needed to support the business. He was tough. But like any good teacher, he knew that to challenge meant to push someone to excel.

He had the chutzpah to be a Jew with an Italian name! Beyond brilliance, charisma, and confidence; he embodied love. He was love. Tony, I hope we make you proud. I hope through all the stupid mistakes I made, that you corrected, that we prevail. Most of all, I hope that possibly the most selfless soul I know, is at peace. You deserve peace; and may it extend to your beloved wife Sharon and your incredible children Erica and Jordan.

P.S. I still want to write you e-mails about my successful tax deposits and call you about new changes in tax laws. I always trusted you like an uncle. Your legacy lives on and I hope your children reap what love you’ve sewn.

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Payroll for Employers Who Remedial Math Was Enuf

Payroll for Employers Who Remedial Math Was Enuf

Admittedly, I skirted taking the more challenging mathematics courses throughout high school, undergrad, and grad school. I think I shot myself in the foot because basic math gets me feeling like “the big one is coming”.  (#FredSanford) It becomes a whole ordeal and I become moody and dramatic. It’s just stressful as hell! 

So, when we hired our first employee, and then a contractor, and then another employee, and so on, I found myself having mini panic attacks when it came time to filing taxes and payroll. It got to the point where our tax lawyer had to break things down like I never learned how to count beyond ten. We currently use QuickBooks, but when you’ve got only a couple employees (or yourself), that can be expensive. And, honestly, not necessary. I got away with not using QB for years using some free tools and maintaining a diligent schedule that allowed for me to check, re-check, then check the numbers one last time.

This website came in pretty hand, and free: http://www.paycheckcity.com/calculator/salary/

QB has their own free tool, as well.

See attached for an excel sheet that our tax lawyer provided to calculate payroll. It’ll also help with tax filing as well. This spreadsheet is not specific to Maryland, as it only has the current rates for Social Security (6.2%) & Medicare (1.45%). So you will need to have the numbers for Federal & State taxes. That’s where the above links will come in handy.

Always make sure that you are maintaining the most current exemptions for your employees, as these can change (by their request) at any time. I keep my state’s (MW507) & the Federal (W4) forms handy. It’s not uncommon for a person to change their filing. It’s also not uncommon to make mistakes, so I often reference those documents to confirm if someone is filing married, single, and the number of exemptions or allowances. And, depending on your State, income tax may not be collected. Do confirm your State’s guidelines to avoid any filing mistakes. 

All of this changes if you have hired a contractor or freelancer. They file as a 1099, so while you don’t have to worry about calculations for each pay period, the headache will come at the end of the year. This is a good option for hiring those who don’t necessarily keep hours and have a bit of autonomy with their schedule and day-to-day tasks. For an example, when hiring a salesperson, you may offer payment per referral or sale. It may not necessarily be feasible to maintain an hourly or salaried rate, especially if their work isn’t best quantified by hours put in.

For keeping record of contractor payments, a simple spreadsheet with the date paid, amount, and check number should be sufficient.

Even if you are not involved with payroll, it’s incredibly helpful to have some cognizance of calculations and method as your employer may make mistakes on calculations that could result in owing taxes. Ultimately it is your responsibility to pay the government what it is due, and while your employer is liable, they won’t be helping you pay the IRS for a few miscalculations.

I may make this a two part post because monthly federal, quarterly withholding, sales & use, unemployment, etc all give me hypertension and I felt so incompetent (and still do) filing them all. I should also warn that I’m not an expert, so do check and double check with an accountant, any methodology you employ for payroll and tax preparation.  

I’ll leave you with a bit of word (Matthew 22:19-2, NIV):

“Show me the coin used for paying the tax.” They brought him a denarius, and he asked them, “Whose image is this? And whose inscription?”

“Caesar’s,” they replied.

Then he said to them, “So give back to Caesar what is Caesar’s, and to God what is God’s.”

My point is even Jesus said to pay the Man what’s his, so do it right and stay encouraged!

Petty Manager Rant

I really have to say I never knew how much work it took to be a “good manager”. (I may not even be one myself.) But, I think anyone who has been in the workforce for years can say they’ve experienced several bad managers. But I understand them now. I really do. Because human beings are terrible to manage. I think all bad managers were good at some point and then either decided they could not expend the type of energy required to deal or couldn’t find the delicate balance between involvement and the ability to check out.

Do you know how exhausting it is to have to either read or hear a 30 minute story on why someone is 30 minutes late? I actually don’t care why you’re late. You just are. You’re alive? You’re here? You’re okay? Right, so either you have learned how to avoid that situation so it doesn’t happen again or you will make the same mistake or one similar some time in the near future. Either way, I don’t care. Just be here, on time, be productive, and leave. Thank you.

And it’s not the one-timers. The people who are usually on time, never call out, always dependable. Those people, yes. What is going on? Because you are always here and reliable. I’m genuinely concerned. But you habitual perps?

I’m considering a relativist approach to persistent tardiness and call outs. Maybe you think it’s okay, so me too. Me too!  

“You know that one relative I never interact with? They are in the hospital. That has nothing to do with payroll…but I may not get to it anyway.I hope you understand.”

“I had a long week and just couldn’t get around to confirming our account balance before direct deposits hit. I will get on it first thing on Monday morning…if I don’t have car trouble.”

“Up for review? Gosh, you know I think I’ve come down with something. Can we discuss your raise at another time?”

Just a thought.

Happy Monday!

 

In the Parable of the Talents (Matthew 25:14-30) a master leaves his three servants for a journey; and with them he entrusts his wealth. He leaves one with five talents, the second with two, and the last with one. A talent was an ancient Greek unit of measure used for gold. Upon the master’s return he asks each servant what they have each done with the talents given to them.  

The servant given five talents, doubles his money. The servant who was given two talents, also doubles his to four talents. When the master asks the servant given one talent what he has done with it, he tells him that he was too scared to do anything so hid the talent. He presents him with the same talent that was left with him. The master chastises him for not in the very least leaving the talent in a bank to collect interest.

It’s no coincidence the word talent comes from this unit of currency. This parable, even beyond its biblical facets begs the question: what are you doing with your talent? Whether God-given, genetic, or by chance; what are you doing with what only you have? In the story, the master was not more excited by the servant who was able to make the larger profit, because he knew what he gave to each and each held their own measure. The only one who was a disappointment was the one who hid the talent and did nothing with it.

In around 2011 my father started to explore a talent of his own, that he had dreamed of exploring easily almost two decades prior. He has been a practicing respiratory therapist for about as long as I’ve been alive; and always working for someone else. He loved it, though, because he enjoyed helping and treating people. He hated working for them, too. So he decided to finally pursue building his own durable medical equipment company; one where he’d continue to practice care but also be his own boss. By 2013 he was fully operational, but business grew at a glacial speed. So he continued to work full-time as an RT at a local hospital, while simultaneously trying to build his business.

By this time I had moved back home to Baltimore from a stint at NBC in New York City, and faced an inquiry of what I was doing with my talents. My father needed help, and I had the capacity to do it. I had worked doing sleep studies back in undergrad and grad school; so I had the clinical understanding of respiratory care. I decided to pray about whether this was a talent within my capacity to grow and so for the last three years or so  I’ve sown, and sown, and sown. And things are growing. Through my own mistakes, pitfalls, and stumbles; business has more than quadrupled, we’ve hired staff, and are looking to move to a bigger office. Business is good.       

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My father and I at a Ravens game.

Are there times where I wish I had hid my talents like that third servant? Yes. Every day. In fact, there are some days where it happens several times within a single hour. I’ve cried at my desk and have been very tempted to quit often. But through this process, I continue to grow and I believe I have some talents to show for it.         

And so here is a space to grow talents; both for our small, family business and for my own ambitions. A POTT (see what I did there?) with which to share stories of other small businesses, lessons, and information on entrepreneurship.

Here’s to prosperity and the growth of many, many talents.