December 21, 2020

HR Reality Check: Case Study #20

Scenario: Meyer-Landis Funeral & Cremation Service has been serving families in the northern United States since the late 1800s. Currently the business is owned by Brian and Jackie Landis. They pride themselves on excellent service to their families and train all their employees to adhere to their credo, “Our community and the families we serve are our first priority and deserve to be treated as we would treat a member of our own family.” As COVID-19 became a reality earlier this year, this motto became a talisman for Brian and Jackie as they have experienced a fair number of COVID cases. At the request of their more vulnerable employees, they have limited those individuals’ exposure by adjusting their schedules or responsibilities. In fact, one of their senior licensed funeral directors elected to retire, and they have not yet been able […]
December 21, 2020

To Pet or Not to Pet

 The Changing Landscape of the Deathcare Industry My first entry into the funeral business came through the pet business, at about age 5! One of my friends had a bird die, and we kids wanted to have a funeral. We used a shoe box as a casket. My mother had just dug a garden with rose bushes, so we placed the shoebox beneath one of the rose bushes. A few days later, a kid had a turtle die and we went at it again. We were enjoying ourselves while my mother could not figure out what or who was digging up her garden. Then Herby’s gerbil got sick. We got another shoe box and prepared to bury that gerbil. But when my mother came to investigate, the gerbil escaped; and I was never allowed in her garden again! The pet […]
December 21, 2020

Industry Spotlight: Taxes

In this industry spotlight, we bring you key insights into tax planning. In planning for your tax year to end, if your business or businesses are a calendar year end, there are some things for you to do.  Keep in mind, regardless of the fiscal year end of your business, you as an individual are a calendar year taxpayer. With the election of President Biden, it is well understood there is a strong likelihood for a change in the income tax rates including the capital gains rates.  Therefore, there is a benefit to capture income this year at the presumptive lower tax rates. Here are my top 10 things to do to close out the 2020 Calendar Year: Make sure any bonuses that you want to be paid are paid out, especially to anyone that has an ownership in the […]
December 21, 2020

Technology Adoption Is A Must Nowadays…But Not A Silver Bullet

“Science and technology revolutionize our lives, but memory, tradition, and myth frame our response.” – Arthur M. Schlesinger (Historian) As always, I like to begin with a quote…firstly, to hopefully whet the brain’s appetite a little for the reader, and secondly, to provide somewhat of a theme for what I am about to write. In our recent Foresight Focus White Paper entitled Five Ways Technology Is Changing The Profession, we highlighted certain findings from our 2020 Foresight Funeral & Cemetery Consumer Behavior (FFCCB) Study on how the pandemic had changed consumer behaviors and forced our profession to adopt technology in order to continue serving families.  Those five highlights included the following: Investing in and embracing technology. Becoming comfortable with virtual communication. Being transparent with online information. Making it simple for consumers to interact with you. Failure is an option. For […]
December 21, 2020

Charting Your Course

The late Winston Churchill said it best when he said, “Fear is a reaction; Courage is a decision.” As we usher in a new year and what appears to be a new administration in power at the federal level, there is one certainty on the horizon…change!  Some changes many hope to see include the eradication of the COVID-19 virus, elimination of masks and other restrictions, and the return of freedoms we all enjoy.  Other changes bring worry and anxiety over the strong likelihood of increased income tax rates, including capital gain hikes, the effects of the rising minimum wage, and the potential for sweeping legislative changes that may negatively impact your business.  Although we may not be able to alter the course of history moving forward, we do have the ability to choose whether to react with fear or to […]
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