Ball State Renames Accounting Department for Beloved Professor

Paul Parkison (left) prepares for the celebration when Ball State honored the former professor. Joining Parkison in the Miller College of Business were Anthony W. Smith, ’68 (center), and Terry King (right), then interim president of the university. (Photo by Don Rogers)

Ball State University has renamed its accounting department as the Paul W. Parkison Department of Accounting within its Miller College of Business. The name change honors the former chair and professor who championed student-centered education and built relationships with accountants around the nation. The naming is part of a $3 million legacy campaign. Ball State Magazine reports:

Alumni, friends, former faculty and professional colleagues have always been loyal and compassionate when it comes to Parkison, said Jennifer Bott, the Bryan Dean of the Miller College of Business.

“One of the goals of this campaign was to create a legacy fund that would honor a professor who has touched the lives of thousands of people,” she said. “Whenever I would talk to someone about honoring Dr. Parkison, they would immediately smile and simply ask what they could do. We had more than 300 people give because of their gratitude and love for this man who transformed the department of accounting and Ball State.”

Mentor to several generations
From 1966 to 2001, Parkison, ’58 MA ’61, taught accounting to students who went on to become business and community leaders, entrepreneurs and certified public accountants.

“They put my name on the wall out there, but I had a lot of help over the years,” Parkison said during the dedication ceremony in Whitinger Business Building. “We have developed an excellent program, and it has been growing for years. I think our efforts will help it continue to grow, providing alumni with a lot of pride.”

Paul and Nancy Parkison were the honored guests in early May when alumni, friends, former faculty and professional colleagues gathered to celebrate the dedication of the Paul W. Parkison Department of Accounting.

During his tenure, the number of accounting faculty tripled, Ball State became the first public university in Indiana to achieve separate AACSB (Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business) accreditation for its accounting program and the department was ranked in the top 12 percent in the nation.

CPA Study Highlights Hoosier ‘Brain Drain’ Problem

I was born and raised right here in Indiana. I love living here. Okay, sometimes I would do anything to be able to run down to the beach on my days off, but truly, I wouldn’t think about living anywhere else.

There are so many positives to being a Hoosier, including the cost of living – I’m actually able to save money instead of throwing it away every month on rent that is way too high. Our state government is doing pretty well, meaning our taxes are lower than many other states. People are welcoming and friendly. We have wonderful small towns and a beautiful landscape all around us.

That’s why I’ve never truly understood the reasoning behind Indiana’s so-called “brain drain,” where native Hoosiers, or those who come to study here, move away as soon as they’re done with school. I recognize that one reason they’re so apt to abandon Indiana is because of the lack of job opportunities in the past, but it seems that we’re making great strides in attracting and retaining businesses and jobs.

But, a recent study by the Indiana CPA Society shows yet another increase in the percentage of accounting students who are planning to leave the state following graduation. In 2010, the percentage of students who were planning to stay was around 44%. In 2011, that decreased to just over 37%. Those who said they would stay and work for one to five years decreased from 34.5% in 2010 to over 28% in 2011. However, the percentage of students who are planning to stay in Indiana for five to 10 years doubled from the previous year.

The survey offered some other findings as well, such as the fact that public accounting is the top career choice for students, even though that percentage has declined over the past three years. Compensation is also a key for CPA students, as it was ranked the most important consideration for students as they choose a potential employer.

That study doesn’t account for all students across the state, just a small portion, but it gives us a good glimpse into the fact that retaining top talent is still something that needs to be a No. 1 priority.

Do You Know About These Tax Write-Offs?

‘Tis the season to file your taxes. Even though Vice President Joe Biden says it should make you feel "patriotic," it’s possible you may feel a little like something else when you see how much you owe. Entrepreneur.com has at least a few useful tips for business owners that may help you get a little back.

Entrepreneurs might find tax time a bit less taxing this year and next due to some new write-offs covering a range of common expenses for growing businesses.

Here’s a quick look at five breaks aimed at certain businesses that you’ll want to know about:

1. New-job creators
A new-hires tax credit can give employers a break on their payroll tax if they hired new workers into new job slots between Feb. 3, and Dec. 31, 2010. These workers can’t have replaced people who left. They have to add to your headcount. And they have to have been unemployed for 60 or more days prior to you hiring them.

If your business qualified for this deduction, which amounts to 6.2% of your payroll tax, you should have taken from your quarterly payroll tax estimates during 2010. But if you missed it, it’s worth going back and amending those quarterly payments to account for the credit, says Jeff Anderson, a partner who works with entrepreneurs at Padgett Stratemann, an accounting firm based in Austin, Texas.

What’s more, an additional $1,000 general business tax credit may be available in 2011 if you keep these new employees for 52 weeks or longer. So if you qualified for the first credit, make sure you qualify for the second one as well, says Stan Ginsberg, a partner in New York with the accounting firm Metis Group.

2. Cell-phone users
Mobile phones used to be counted among items the Internal Revenue Service refers to as "listed property," such as laptops or cars that might be purchased for work or provided by an employer but that lend themselves to personal use. Users had to keep track of their business and personal use for these items and write off the former proportionally.

The IRS has removed cell phones from this onerous list, which means that if you provide employees with cell phones or use one for business yourself, "Your business can write it off directly," says Anderson.

3. Large sport-utility vehicle buyers
This is a great break for entrepreneurs who need an SUV that’s heavier than 6,000 pounds for their business, such as a Chevy Tahoe or Ford Explorer. If you bought or plan to buy a new one between Sept. 8, 2010, and Dec., 31, 2011, you may be able write off the full value in a single tax year, rather than having to depreciate it over a few years, as has been the case previously.

"This is a loophole for a lot of taxpayers," says Anderson.

If you really do need this kind of horsepower, this credit could go a long way toward defraying the cost of owning one of these gas guzzlers.

4. New-equipment buyers
In a bid to get business owners to open the till and spend a little, the IRS is offering "bonus depreciation," which is the temporary ability to write off more equipment in a bigger way.

If a business bought or buys new equipment between Sept. 8, 2010, and Dec. 31, 2011, it may be able to write off 100% of the cost all at once. We’re talking big items like computers, office furniture and manufacturing equipment. "This was enacted to help manufacturers and help to spark the economy," Anderson says. For this reason, the items have to be purchased new, not used, and put into use during that same period.

Better still, the write-off has no limits on how much you spend and isn’t capped by your taxable income, as is the case with the write-off rule this one temporarily supersedes, says Anderson.

5. Employee health-insurance buyers
The small employer health-care credit lets very small businesses write off 35% of the premiums you pay for employees’ health insurance. It sounds great, and it is, if you qualify, but there are limits, says Anderson.

To qualify, a business must have fewer than the equivalent of 25 full-time workers. So, for example, you could have 50 part-time workers. The average annual salary across your employees can’t top $50,000, and you must be covering more than half of your workers’ health-care costs.

The credit will rise to 50% in 2014, but it will also phase out for employers who pay an average annual employee wage between $25,000 and $50,000. "It’s meant to give a tax credit to business owners who provide health insurance to lower-wage workers," says Ginsburg, "But it’s too onerous to qualify for it. It isn’t going to get a lot of play [in places where wages are high]."

Even so, with the number of new tax breaks this year, many entrepreneurs are likely to find at least one that could come in handy this spring.