Today’s first speaker was Kay Cruson, our accounting and tax professional in Lakewood, Colorado. Kay’s talk today was not the average talk but show the diverse nature of our group. In 1939, Alfred Hitchcock produced the fil “The 39 Steps” and introduced the term “the MacGuffin”, a term coined by the English screenwriter, Agnus McPhail. The MacGuffin is an object or device in a movie or a book that serves merely as a trigger for the plot.
According to Hitchcock, whose films Kay adores, MacGuffins are “Films in fact were not what they appear to be on the surface.”
Some movie MacGuffins:
“Rosebud” in Citizen Kane
“Heart of the Ocean Necklace” in Titanic
“Unopened Briefcase” in Pulp Fiction
That is a pretty wide range of movies over the years.
While recently rereading Joshilyn Jackson’s novel “Someone Else’s Love Story” all Kay could think about was the term “MacGuffin”.
Central characters to the story:
Shandi – single mother
Nathan aka “Natty Bumpo” Shandi’s 3 year old son, very smart and forms complete sentences
Walcott – Shandi’s best friend FOREVER
William – “CircleK Savior”, also very smart, but socially awkward
Bridget – William’s Wife
Paula – William’s best friend
Each of these characters are greatly flawed, but thoroughly lovable in their own way.
The MacGuffin’s in this story:
You think Shandi falls in love with William
You think William falls in love with Shandi
They all live happily ever after since William and Nathan are like “two peas in a pod”
In “Someone Else’s Love Story”, William refers to a children’s book from his childhood to relate and recognize facial expressions, that he is challenged to understand and how to respond. This is an actual book that Kay also has in her collection called “How Are You Peeling” by Joost Elffers and Paxton Freeman, which uses pictures of produce to express human emotion.
Some emotions quoted in “Someone Else’s Love Story” are:
The radish is happy
The eggplant is sad
The potato is surprised
Bringing this back around to business – what human characteristics of a vegetable or fruit can you associate with your business?
Being a self-employed public accountant specializing in individual and small business along with tax preparation, Kay’s destiny has been to utilize math, English, business and interpersonal skills to run her business. It didn’t hurt that her father was a math teacher or that her mother taught English. While Kay was not an A student in these subjects, she has a better understanding in these subjects.
The love story in her profession is that Kay does love her clients, some more than others, as we may all feel. As she contemplated changing professions these last two brutal tax seasons, she realized that she may end up giving up these client relationships as well.
Lastly, Kay sees her profession like an artichoke heart. By peeling through the spiny leaves, dipping them into melted butter with garlic (yum), continuing through the fuzzies, which aren’t edible and getting to the “artichoke heart” of the matter, the best part, which you cut up and, again, dip in the melted butter, there are different layers in accounting and tax preparation.
By working with a client, through first time “shoebox” clients, one who reminded her last week that was how their first meeting went – years ago; to the long time client that has all their records organized, ready with questions for me and ready to answer my questions – this is the artichoke heart of her profession.
If you are looking for an accountant or tax preparer that will work through the many layers of your current systems and help you to find the artichoke heart of matter, give Kay Cruson a call.
Kay Cruson * Accounting and Tax * 303.937.3468 * firstname.lastname@example.org
Our second speaker today was Susan O’Kelley, owner of Avanti Insurance Services in Golden, Colorado. Today Susan spoke today about commercial auto insurance and whether or not it is needed.
Do I need Commercial Auto Insurance????
Personal vs Commercial Auto Insurance:
Personal auto insurance policies can often provide enough auto insurance coverage for some businesses, especially if you’re also driving your vehicle for personal use. However, if you require specific commercial auto insurance coverages, high Liability insurance limits, operate an unusual vehicle, haul special equipment, transport goods or people, or have other special needs, then you’ll need commercial auto insurance.
Who, when, where and why might you need a commercial auto policy? It’s a thin line… what side of the chart below are you on?
Personal auto insurance
Grabbing morning doughnuts for co-workers
Driving friends to a concert
Taking weekend road trips
Commuting to the construction site where you work
Commercial auto insurance
Delivering pizzas to paying customers
Transporting people to a concert as an Uber driver
Regularly driving long distances to meet work clients or visit job sites
Hauling tools and equipment to the construction site where you work
First, who owns and drives the vehicle?
If your vehicle is specifically owned by the business (i.e. titled with the DMV in the name of the business), you’ll need a commercial auto insurance policy. If you’re a sole proprietor, you might be able to keep your personal auto insurance policy however you may want to check to be sure there is adequate liability limits. You should also consider how the vehicle is used in the business and the frequency that the vehicle is used by the business.
Individual/Sole Proprietor with a DBA (Doing Business As)
Corporation (S-Corp, C-Corp, LLC)
Next, how is the vehicle used?
If you use your vehicle only for business purposes, you will need a commercial auto insurance policy. If you’re a sole proprietor who only travels to 1 or 2 job sites a day, or just use your vehicle for commuting, you might be able to keep your personal auto insurance policy; however, again, you should check that you have enough liability coverage should the unexpected occur. Note, many commercial policies will offer commercial protection and still allow you to use the vehicle for personal use.
What is your main business, what kind of vehicle do you own, how much does it weigh?
Depending on the type of business you own, you may need to have a commercial auto policy. Obvious examples include contractor trucks, dump trucks, tow-trucks, moving trucks, delivery services etc. But other examples include Food Trucks, Mobile Groomers, Courier Services or even church vans. Vehicles that are heavier than a normal size pickup or SUV (greater the 2500 pounds), like a dump truck, tow truck, or semi-truck and commercial trailer will usually require a commercial auto insurance policy. Heavy duty vehicles can cause more damage if they’re involved in an accident and sometimes require special insurance coverages.
Do you need State Filings?
In general terms, commercial auto policies offer higher liability limits than a traditional personal auto policy. If your business vehicle requires higher liability limits, you will need a commercial auto insurance policy. For state or federal filings such as the PUC (Public Utility Commission) or DOT (Department of Transportation), there are minimum required liability limits and any filings need to be submitted by your carrier – not you, not your agent. Most of the regulatory agencies, depending upon your business have minimum liability limits that must be kept in place in order to maintain valid filings to continue operating. Be sure you know what your filings are, who they are with, and what are the minimum liability requirements.
Transporting People – Uber vs Taxi
The general definition of a commercial auto policy that transports people is considered Livery Services. In all cases, regardless of the service provider (Uber, Lyft, Yellow Cab, Limousine, Party Van…) transporting people has its own unique set of liability issues, filings, and risks. One of the biggest concerns for consumers when using any car service is safety. And with the media coverage of safety incidents over the years, it’s a valid question. If you are considering the option of driving for one of the ride-sharing services such as Uber or Lyft, many personal auto policies offer a ride-sharing endorsement. However, be aware that the ride-sharing endorsement usually ONLY provides coverage when you do NOT have a client in your car. This means you will need to purchase the ride-sharing company’s coverage for the period of time that you have a rider in your vehicle. If you specifically own a town car, black car service, party van, or limousine – even if it’s only one vehicle – you likely will need filings to operate which means you will indeed need a commercial policy.
If you are looking for an insurance agent that can offer you many lines of insurance and will work with you to find the best company for your needs, give Susan O’Kelley and her team a call.
Susan O’Kelley * Avanti Insurance Services * 303.278.2278 * email@example.com * myavantiservices.com