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January 3, 2022 Industry Outlook: Accounting

Tax policy changes, hybrid workforce model key focus areas in 2022

As we enter into what (we hope) is the first new year of the post-COVID-19 era, small- and medium-sized businesses may gain an advantage by setting their sights on three particular areas: changes in tax policy, the hybrid workforce model, and the ever-present issue of cybersecurity awareness and prevention.

Tax policy

Small- and mid-size businesses have navigated extraordinary change — from extended deadlines to an influx of government assistance — attempting to combat the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Though 2022 may still bring uncertainty, planning for the future is critical.

Michael Pelletier

Encouragingly, as the IRS publishes further guidance relating to past legislation, businesses may have unforeseen opportunities to act retroactively and capitalize on numerous taxpayer-friendly assistance programs.

Additionally, possible focus areas for future planning include:

• The expansion of the 3.8% net investment income tax (NIIT) expected to be applicable to business income for pass-through firms.

• Implications of the potential reduction in the deduction for foreign-derived intangible income (FDII) to 21.875%.

Hybrid workforce

2021 was the year businesses had to reassess what “normal” looked like and how to work their way back to some semblance of it.

After evaluating where the actual work itself was done — at home, in the office, or with some combination of the two — the hybrid model will likely be the answer for many organizations.

Keeping remote colleagues involved and engaged, as if they were in the room with you, is essential. Use tools such as virtual whiteboards, content cameras, and breakout rooms to get everyone on the same page.

And remember: share information carefully, as having multiple worksites opens more doors to potential security breaches.

Beyond meetings, consider the broader aspects of employee well-being, training, development and advancement. While offering a hybrid or full-remote option may be an effective way to entice new employees to join a business, that business needs to be prepared to support the challenges a remote/hybrid employee brings.

Jeffrey Ziplow

Take deliberate actions to preserve the culture of your organization when preparing to enact this model.

Unlike 2020, businesses now have time to plan. But don’t wait long — the hybrid model has a better chance of working effectively the sooner you start.


Cyber criminals are becoming more sophisticated and savvy by the day, and the damage they can cause — both financially and reputationally — cannot be underestimated.

Hypervigilance to cybersecurity measures must remain a priority for businesses in the year to come, and not simply because of the challenges created by the hybrid environment.

Consider reinforcing these five tips for cyber hygiene:

Stop. Think. React. — Before opening any strange or unfamiliar email or attachment, have employees confirm it is from a reputable or familiar source.

Multi-factor authentication — Augment user IDs and passwords with a notification code that can be sent to an employee’s cell phone. This extra layer provides significantly more cybersecurity protection.

Incident response plan — Inevitably, a cybersecurity incident will occur. Enact a “What happens if …” plan that puts a clear process in place for everyone to follow, without exception.

Periodic risk assessments — Update risk assessments on a regular basis to have a better understanding of your at-risk areas and how to help mitigate these issues.

Cyber insurance — Look into whether a policy is right for your business.

Put a process in place now to prepare for these universal and largely unavoidable issues. Prioritizing them in a way that won’t impede growth and production can help make 2022 a successful year.

Michael Pelletier is managing principal of service and Jeff Ziplow is a principal at accounting and advisory firm CLA (CliftonLarsonAllen LLP) in West Hartford.

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