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When the COVID-19 pandemic first began, Jason Chong and his IT team were on the frontlines of establishing cybersecurity protocols for the firm and ensuring everyone could work from home in the new remote environment. The smoothness of the remote transition, and the IT team’s high-quality service year-round in helping our professionals handle unforeseen technical issues, resulted in them winning the Clark Nuber Values Award in 2020.

We recently sat down to talk with Jason about what the last couple years have been like for him and his team, how they worked together to overcome remote hurdles, and how he helped lead Clark Nuber through the global crisis.

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“Failure is simply the opportunity to begin again, this time more intelligently.” – Henry Ford

Failure gets a bad rap. To many, it’s a loaded word, packed with a negative connotation. Failure means something we wanted to happen didn’t, and all we’re left with are feelings of disappointment and self-doubt.

However, if we stop processing failure at that point, we do ourselves a disservice. Beyond the disappointment and doubt, there is an opportunity for reflection, learning, and growth. History has incredible examples of growth from failure, and yet the default negativity stubbornly remains.

Clark Nuber has many successes to celebrate over our nearly 70 years in business,

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Leadership today is being redefined by the forces present in a fast-paced market. Changes brought on by unexpected economic trends, rapid technological adaptions, increased security threats, and a global pandemic have made us all rethink modern leadership models. This is especially true for leaders catalyzing rapid growth.

We (the authors) have had extensive opportunities to observe successful start-up leaders for many years. We have helped advise technology start-ups through fast paced funding cycles, complex exit events, and assisted them in navigating through periods of rapid growth.

Naturally, we have observed a broad range of leadership styles and habits. To be sure,

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For most of my adult life, I’ve committed myself to continuous improvement, whether that is personally, professionally, or in my relationships. I believe there is always an opportunity for growth or learning. And, I’m fortunate that I work in a supportive environment and have a strong social network where I can be myself and try new things. Part of this confidence comes from developing a healthy understanding of failure. I know my mistakes are part of the learning process and not punitive by leadership or my colleagues.

How do continuous improvement and growth relate to leading with purpose? For me, they are the central principles that empower me to lead with confidence and focus,

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Leading with Data

Things were simpler in times of old. Back in the pre-industrial era, the only data you needed for a profitable harvest was a ledger of your past sales and maybe a farmer’s almanac.

Today, data is everywhere. The problem isn’t how we get the information we need to make decisions, it’s how we get the right information we need, in the right format, and how to see through the clutter and white noise that surrounds everything we do.

Every day, our systems accumulate vast amounts of data without any intentional action by us. As I write this article,

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Washington cities and counties are permitted to establish parking and business improvement areas (PBIAs) and levy assessments on the businesses that are benefitted by PBIA activities. Seattle has one such PBIA known as the Seattle Tourism Improvement Area. Lodging businesses within the PBIA collect a charge from guests to fund improvement area assessments.

In 2019, the Department of Revenue audited a Seattle hotel and concluded that the assessments billed to guests should be included in the amount subject to sales and business and occupation (B&O) taxes. In response, members of the Washington Hospitality Association approached legislators seeking a legislative fix to make clear that the amounts charged by lodging businesses for the assessments are not subject to sales or B&O tax.

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More so than any time in recent history, the COVID-19 pandemic has enabled company leaders to reflect on the notion of becoming compassionate leaders.

Sara Elizabeth Hyre, head of Clark Nuber’s Tax Department, and Tom Sulewski, head of our Audit Department, are two leaders who have overseen their service groups during a time of unprecedented change in the industry – walking a tightrope of meeting client expectations and ensuring their employees are cared for.

Here’s what these shareholders had to say about the enduring strength of compassionate leadership:

Thank you both for sitting down to talk with us today.  » Read more

Last year, following the passage of the federal CARES Act, the Washington State Department of Revenue (DOR) published guidance regarding its view on whether federal COVID-19 related financial assistance is subject to the Business & Occupation (B&O) tax (including loan forgiveness under the Paycheck Protection Program [PPP]).

At that time, the DOR indicated its belief that the financial assistance should not be reportable for B&O tax purposes. Since then, the Legislature has enacted a specific exemption from the B&O tax for qualifying grants received on or after February 29, 2020 (the date the Governor issued a COVID-19 emergency proclamation).

The new law (SHB 1095),

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The chances of an IRS examination of a tax-exempt entity is one in 742, reported the Treasury Inspector General For Tax Administration (TIGTA) in February. For-profit businesses are five times as likely to be examined (one in 156) and individuals are three times as likely to be examined (one in 226). The rate for churches is about one in 5,000.

To better show you how many this is, during FY 2019, there were almost 1.5 million Form 990 series returns and notices filed; however, the EO function examined approximately 2,000 (0.13 percent) Form 990 series returns during the same year.

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3/29/2021 Update: The Internal Revenue Service and the Treasury Department have provided additional details around the tax deadline extension.

As reported earlier, the April 15 deadline for filing and paying individual income tax has been extended until May 17, 2021. This week, the IRS announced they are also automatically extending the deadline for individuals to make 2020 contributions to their individual retirement accounts and health savings accounts. The deadline for doing so is automatically postponed until May 17.

In the press release, the IRS also doubled down on the condition that 2021 Q1 payments are still due on April 15,

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Media Contact

Melissa Takade
Director of Marketing
Clark Nuber
Phone: 425-454-4919
Contact Melissa

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