Harrington Group Blog

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As you may have seen in some of our recent social media posts, construction is well underway at our Pasadena location. We are extremely excited to share some of Conspec’s developments with our readers, clients, and team updated on this process!

Some recent developments include the following….

Drywall is up and now the separate offices have officially taken form.



They are in the process of selecting the best possible interior colors for the space.



Electrical work is being completed, including all ethernet and alarm wiring for the best office experience. In these last few weeks alone, there’s been over 5 miles of cables installed.





The team works to complete the stairs by skim coating the sides.



Externally, the Conspec Team is also working to find the best color palette.



Additionally, the team troubleshoots the framing of the all glass entrance and works to waterproof it.




A main component of this process is restoring dated construction and bringing it up to code in 2022.



Continue on this journey with us through our social media platforms and blog where we will continue to update!







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Father’s Day is right around the corner, on June 19th! Today, we want to share some fun ways to celebrate the Father figure in your life. These ideas vary in price, length, etc. but are all a sure way to make someone feel special. We hope these ideas help you find the perfect way to spend some quality time with any Dad you love.

Spa Day: Pamper the man that works so hard. Spa services are customizable to any Father’s needs. This activity could be so much fun to do together or given as a gift in the form of a gift card or certificate. It is even possible to do a budget-friendly take on the spa day in your own home!

Eat dinner together: Whether you make Dad’s favorite dish or your own, a home cooked meal is always appreciated. If money and time allow, going out for dinner at Dad’s favorite spot can be a great option as well.

Go out to your favorite bar: This activity is a great way to get out, have some fun, and open the door to some great conversation. Picking a place that you really enjoy is

Watch and/or attend a sporting event: Take your old man out to the ball game, MLB teams are in season right now, with a few games on Father’s Day. In addition to this, Hockey, NASCAR, and the MLS can provide some epic entertainment this time of year! Need something more cost effective? Consider making time to watch Dad’s favorite team together at home and make a day out of it. Another fun way to watch might be at a great sports bar or restaurant.

Go to a car show: A car show is yet another ropportunity to bond over common interests and just have a great time together. This is perfect for the whole family.

Plan a camping trip: This can happen in the backyard, at a national park, in an RV, in a more glam setting, down the street, or hours away. Consider picking a sentimental place to really tug Dad’s heartstrings. The ride to a camping trip can be another great bonding opportunity as well.

Spark up some competition: Anything from chess to cornhole to golf will do. These types of activities are a sure way to make some memories with Dad.

Head to an amusement park: Amusement parks are always fun; a great place to feel like a kid again and forget all the cares in the world. This is sure to be a hit for the dad who seeks a good thrill or just really loves to have some fun. Local theme parks vary in size and attraction types, making it even easier to find the right place for Dad.

 Get Outdoors: A hike, walk in the park, or a bike ride can be a great way to get some good exercise, have some fun, and spend some quality time with loved ones. Not to mention most of these activities are free.

A good old fashioned gift: A gift of any price is bound to warm Dad’s heart. Any gift paired with a thoughtful card is a sure way to show appreciation. Unsure what to buy? Gift guides can be helpful resources in this case, we have some listed below:

https://www.uncommongoods.com/gifts/fathers-day-gifts/fathers-day-gifts?p=1&s=seven_day_sales%20desc&gclid=CjwKCAjwnZaVBhA6EiwAVVyv9Kvm-WUPwMRqa4gsPN95J7GpF9ZuK1MrhnSllSkCsZqcVXM65bKBMhoCZuoQAvD_BwE

https://www.macys.com/s/fathers-day-gift-guide/
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As a nonprofit CPA, we at Harrington Group love to highlight local nonprofits dedicated to serving our communities. This past month included National Rescue Dog Day (May 20th) aimed at bringing awareness to animal adoption. So why not take the opportunity to share some nonprofit organizations that are dedicated to this special cause. The following nonprofits are based in our home cities of Pasadena and Oakland, California, where our offices are located. We hope that you are able to contribute to them in some way, even if that's just by spreading awareness! If you aren't looking to adopt an animal, it's possible that someone you know is ready for this exciting prospect. Share the following organizations!

Pasadena:

Lifeline For Pets: This group focuses on making a positive impact on the life of service animals. Lifeline for Pets rescues these animals from neglectful situations, helps place them in carefully screened family’s homes, and assists pet owners struggling with veterinary bills.
https://www.lifelineforpets.org 


Pasadena Humane Society: This past year, this organization helped almost 40,000 animals find their forever home. Additionally, this branch of the Humane Society is helping the community care for and keep their pets by offering free and affordable spays, neuters, and vaccines. Their facility also features a pet food bank and an animal support call center.
https://pasadenahumane.org/about/who-we-are/#about-us-link


Mobility Service Dogs : This non-profit is dedicated to offering assistance to the mobility-impaired community. Mobility Service Dogs focuses on providing a user-friendly pathway for this community to find the right service dog for their lifestyle and needs.
https://mobilitydog.org/mission-vision-core-values

Oakland:

Muttville: This Oakland-based organization is dedicated to assisting older dogs in finding their forever homes. Muttville aims to show that many of these senior dogs have wonderful personalities, good health, and much love to share regardless of their age.
https://muttville.org


Berkeley Humane Society: This society is dedicated to helping provide care for dogs and cats in the East Bay. They engage the community through service opportunities.
https://berkeleyhumane.org


Rocket Dog Rescue: This rescue is dedicating their time to dog breeds often seen as aggressive that are commonly overlooked. Rocket Dog Rescue places non-aggressive dogs into temporary foster homes that focus on socialization, health needs, and improving behavioral conditions which would otherwise limit their adoptability. With their volunteer network, online adoption page, weekend adoption fairs, and neighborhood poster campaign they are able to seek permanent homes for these animals.
https://www.rocketdogrescue.org


Hopalong Animal Rescue: This Second Chance Animal Rescue has a mission to eliminate the euthanasia of adoptable animals throughout Northern California. Since the non-profit was founded in 1993, they have collectively saved over 24,000 animals by placing them in carefully selected, forever homes. In addition to providing care for the animals, they also advocate for the pets in local schools by educating students on spay/neuter services, animal advocacy, and humane education.
https://www.hopalong.org/about/


In the spirit of the season, maybe consider fostering or adopting pets within your community. Another great way to join the cause is by volunteering or donating to these wonderful non-profits.


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It’s that time of year again, summertime is making its way to center stage and many of us are gearing up for a vacay. We work hard all year and hard work deserves a reward – but what if we don’t want to blow so much of the money we’ve been working hard to earn? Although budget isn’t a concern for every individual or family looking to vacation, it is most certainly a concern for much of the population. Without strategic planning, vacations can be very expensive, and prices are only rising year by year.

So, how can you take a solo vacay, a couple’s trip or a family vacay this summer without breaking the bank? We have some ideas for you!

1. Camping or Backpacking Trip

I don’t know about you but when I was growing up my family couldn’t afford many elaborate or costly vacations. Our go-to was always camping. Campsites are cheap if you’re into tent sleeping but you can also rent an RV or a cabin (if you want to price up). You can extend the stay for a week or more since lodging is so reasonably priced and therefore get a longer break from reality. You can (and probably should) pack up a bunch of food for the week – saving you on expensive restaurant meals which tend to add up quickly. Depending on the location you choose to camp, there can be plenty of activities to entertain a range of ages: bicycling, hiking, lake activities, beach activities, sports, board games, reading and so much more.

2. Beach Vacation

Visiting the beach is a great way to take advantage of what nature has to offer. Whether you camp near a beach or stay at a reasonably priced Air Bnb or Hotel – the beach has plenty of activities to offer. You can pack up some food in a cooler, grab some umbrellas and chairs, grab some supplies and head out for the day. Between sun tanning, playing in the water, building sandcastles, playing beach volleyball, frisbee, surfing, boogie boarding, paddle boarding, reading or any other time passing activity that attracts your attention – who could be bored at the beach?! To avoid peak costs, you can choose a beach in a less popular area where lodging is more reasonably priced. You can also choose weekdays when less people are booking.

3. Stay-cation

This may not sound exciting at first thought, but a staycation can be a lot of fun and it can save you cost on lodging, in order to allow you to spend more of your budget on activities and experiences. Decide the dates that you would like your staycation to span between and block them off of your calendar. You can decide to stay at home for this time (free lodging) or you could see if a nearby friend or family member would let you stay with them.

Tour your own city in a way that you don’t normally do. Take advantage of surrounding museums, zoos, beaches, arcades, comedy shows, movie theaters, escape rooms, performances, unique experiences, restaurants and more! You can pack multiple experiences into one day – just like a vacation. If it’s an option in your area, consider catching the train to an area with several options for entertainment and spend the day experiencing different options in that area. Incorporate days that include more down time such as laying on the beach or reading at a park, going to the movie theater or having a picnic. Plan to eat the way you would on vacation, so that you aren’t worrying about getting groceries and cooking every meal (or plan meals in advance and have them prepped). Do whatever you need to do in order to fully immerse yourself in the staycation, ensuring that you still get to unplug and go into vacation mode even though you are so close to home or actually at home!

4. Mid-week Vacation

Taking a mid-week vacation is a pretty simple way to save money. Most people want to vacation during the weekend (or at least have a weekend included in their longer trip). That means prices for lodging and even experiences or performances are cheaper during the week. There will also be less crowds and for some of us that means more relaxation!

5. Get a last-minute deal

Last minute deals are a great way to snag a discount on a hotel stay. This may be a stressful option for someone who likes to plan ahead but if you can make it work, the discount will work in your favor. Online travel hubs like Groupon and Expedia pride themselves on offering great last-minute vacation deals, while HotelTonight allows you to score major deals on a room by booking the day of!

6. Home Swap

Do you know any other families who would be interested in a staycation? Or any families who live out of town and would be interested in swapping homes with you for the week? It’s a little out of the ordinary but a home swap would be another great option for saving on expensive lodging. Just make sure you leave their home as you found it or better!

7. Look For Free Events

Wherever you end up on your vacation, there are bound to be free events in the area. Do some research to see if you can find some entertainment, such as a free concert at a bar, a local food festival, a block party or even a bar that has karaoke. It’s important to have an open mind and remember that it’s not always what you’re doing but who you’re doing it with that matters, as well as your attitude. Take advantage of whatever you find.

8. Plan Meals and Snacks

You don’t need to do this for EVERY vacation meal but planning ahead and packing food can save you some major dollars when it comes to feeding yourself and/or your family. Purchasing every meal and snack on vacation really adds up. If you’re driving somewhere, bring a cooler filled with prepared food. Throw power bars, trail mix and any handheld snacks in your luggage. Take this tip to whatever length benefits you, whether it’s just a few snacks or enough food to span your entire trip (such as if you’re camping).

We hope these tips help you save some money this summer or on any future vacation. Just because you’re working within a budget, doesn’t mean you can’t take time off to enjoy yourself. It’s not always about how much money you have, it’s about how you manage it. Enjoy!
 
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About twenty two years ago, April was selected as National Financial Literacy month by the Jump$tart Coalition for Personal Financial Literacy. This group primarily focuses on promoting the financial curriculum to young people.

Financial literacy and knowledge is essential to comprehending  how to save, earn, borrow, invest, and protect your earnings effectively. As a parent or mentor, you should be teaching financial literacy at a young age. When children and young people are taught about finances, they are better equipped to avoid bankruptcy and financial debt in the future.

With the recent pandemic, young people need this guidance more than ever. Life is so clearly uncertain, and it's essential to be prepared for a rainy day. According to the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, 66% of Americans are financially illiterate. It's important to teach young people to be prepared for the long term and to work on their spending habits. Maybe you already have the intention to share such knowledge with loved ones, but feel overwhelmed by such a vast subject matter.

Regardless of how you feel, here are some great tips to share with young people in your life:

Create a budget: Try using an Excel sheet, Google sheet, an app, or old school paper and pen to track monthly expenses, both necessary and unnecessary, versus monthly income.

Pay yourself first: After choosing a savings goal, pay money toward this goal with every paycheck before spending money anywhere else. This strategy forces you to make sure bills and debts never get out of hand. Additionally, it holds you accountable on your goals.

Begin building credit: It's essential to help folks build credit, try helping those who are of age open a credit card. The third most crucial way to increase your credit score is the length of your credit history. This is why we see the majority of folks with near perfect or perfect credit scores being Gen X or Baby Boomers. In addition to this, a credit card is a great way for a young person to learn financial responsibility.

Get your credit report and score: Every year, consumers are able to seek a credit report, free of charge from Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion. This is a great way to monitor any inconsistencies and you can do it three times a year, once from each company.

Manage Debt: Minimize spending and maximize repayments. Consider doing this in a meticulous fashion, by paying off debts with the highest interest rates first. There is even debt-counseling for those struggling more than others.

Think Future forward: Take advantage of your employer’s 401(k) retirement savings account by inputting the maximum amount, especially if a match program is offered. Regardless of the situation, it is a great idea to open up an individual retirement account (IRA).  If possible, begin seeking advice from financial professionals about your future.

With these tips, some knowledge on common financial terminology, and whatever life experience you have to offer, the young people in your life are being set up for financial success. Have these conversations today to help the future of the young people in your life.

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April is speeding by and Earth Day is right around the corner! In addition to admiring the beauty that this world is, consider finding ways to further protect our Earth this year. In this blog we’ll give some simple ideas you can implement into your office and your home to celebrate Earth Day 2022.

In office:

How can you as a business owner or supervisor improve environmental initiatives in your office? Laying off the thermostat, going paperless with all office correspondence, making recycling easily accessible, and maximizing your use of natural light can all add up quickly to reduce your office’s carbon footprint.

While ‘National Walk to Work Day’ is generally observed on the first Friday of April, there is potential to incentivize commuting to work in a greener way all month long. Additionally, if there aren't a ton of local employees, maybe consider incentivizing carpooling to work. You can host a contest to see which team members walk or carpool to the office the most.

Keep these contests going all year long, challenging your team to reduce their use of plastic utensils, plastic cups, plastic bags, etc. Incentivize things like free coffee and gift cards. If this sounds like something you personally might not have time to keep track of, a sustainability team might be of some interest. Consider putting a group together to run monthly green challenges. This team can also initiate a power-down rule for the end of every shift, and anyone who doesn’t follow can either receive a note or put a dollar in a jar.

Source: https://www.techrepublic.com/article/going-green-10-ways-to-make-your-office-more-eco-friendly-and-efficient/

In home:

When shopping, bring out your bags and turn down the paper and plastic, look for products with less packaging, buy second hand, and only buy what you’ll actually use. Consider switching to a water filter and going away from plastic bottles when possible. Composting has also become more accessible, with pickup services all around the nation for affordable prices. Donating used goods is always appreciated and creates jobs as well.

Source:
https://www.usatoday.com/story/money/2019/06/17/climate-change-30-ways-to-make-your-life-more-environmentally-friendly/39366589/

Why is Earth Day important?

April 22nd, 1970 marks the start of the modern day environmental movement, what we now annually commemorate as Earth Day. This movement marks the consciousness of issues of consumption in the nation. The idea came to be a junior senator from Wisconsin, Gaylord Nelson. By 1990, Earth Day had gone global. The small, everyday choices you make in the office and at home can significantly help our planet. And can one day, help non-profits gain more credibility on a larger scale.
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It's about that time of year…the days are longer, it's getting warmer, and the flowers are blooming. With all this change and the completion of the first quarter of the year, it’s the perfect time to refresh and reset. This can be incorporated into both your work and home life.

Goals Check-In

Oftentimes, when folks set a New Years Resolution, they assume the excitement of the New Year will push them to meet their goals. The reality is, with any objective, it is most important to think of what it will take to actually complete the object. A great way to consider the likelihood of completion of an aspiration is through the S.M.A.R.T. method. This method pushes goals to be Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Timely. When setting intentions and tracking progress, the quarter marks of the year are your best friends.

Financial Reset

A financial reset can include taking a look at your personal investment, saving, and budgeting ambitions. Using the quarter mark of the year, you can take a look at your progress in the completion of your personal finance goals. If you aren’t where you’d like to be, maybe consider slightly altering the target or putting in a bit more time towards it. In the office this can mean looking at sales goals or any other intentions your team may be setting and applying the same method. For both work and personal life, consider treating those who have made significant progress toward their objectives.

Spring Cleaning

The primary purpose of a “Spring Cleaning” is to rid your home of the dust and allergens that build up during the winter, creating cleaner air for you to breathe during peak allergy season. Beyond this, research has shown that an organized space can help improve sleep quality, focus, and productivity. Additional studies have shown that those living in less organized spaces tend to be more stressed and have more anxiety overall (Goodnet.org). It's easy to see how clean spaces can improve both your work and home life. Maybe in the office, consider encouraging teams to clean their spaces. But, if things are crazy, offices may also consider hiring some cleaning assistance to come in during non-peak hours of operation. Either will improve the overall environment.

Spring cleaning, evaluating your goals, and financial resets are all great for your mental health. This will leave yourself or your team feeling refreshed, renewed, and ready to do some great work. And most of all, you and your team will be more likely to complete what you had intended to.
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Looking to get in the St. Patrick’s Day spirit but don’t have time to go out this year? We have the perfect recipe: easy to prepare, easy to clean, cooks while you’re sleeping or preoccupied, and can make for plenty of leftovers…Corned beef and cabbage, right from your Crockpot at home.

Here’s what you need:

-3 carrots , peeled and cut into 3-inch pieces
-1 yellow onion , peeled and quartered
-1/2 pound small potatoes , halved
-1 corned beef brisket (about 3-4 pounds), plus
a packet or 1 tablespoon of pickling spice
-2 8-12 ounce beers (Ales or lagers are recommended)
**If you aren’t a beer drinker, a cold beef broth will also do
-6 sprigs fresh thyme
-1/2 head cabbage , cut into 1 1/2-inch wedges
-1/2 cup sour cream
-3-4 tablespoons prepared horseradish, to taste

Ready to cook? Here’s all you need to do:

-Arrange the carrots, onion, potatoes, and corned beef in the slow cooker
-Pour the beers over the veggies
-Sprinkle with fresh thyme leaves.
-Cook on HIGH for 4-5 hours or until the corned beef is tender.
-Get some work done, get some sleep, etc  
-Place the cabbage on top of the beef and continue cooking for 1 more hour until the cabbage is tender

*Recipe courtesy of foodiecrush.com

This feeds a family of four heartily, or can be saved for leftovers. You can even take the meat and make some Beef Reuben sandwiches. Looking for more? We recommend adding a drop of green liquid food coloring into your beer glass before you pour. BOOM-green beer!! It is possible to be in spirit, have some fun, and not spend too much money doing it. And best of all, it can fit in your busy schedule.
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As we have mentioned in a previous blog post as well as social media, we have a new building! Well, almost. Construction has been underway since late 2021 and we are very excited about it. We want to keep our valued customers updated on the progress as we go along and when we finally get to call this new building our home.

Since we last put out a progress update, our contractor has been hard at work moving our project along. Some of the latest developments include demolition of the ceiling placement of the air conditioning units, inspection of the electrical panels by the city and a demolition of the walls. Current status of the building stands as a clean slate (without ceilings and walls), ready for a new layout. We are loving the opportunity to be so heavily involved in the creative process when it comes to design and ultimate lay out of our new office space. This allows us to really customize the building to fit our specific needs (and some of our additional wants).

Check out these pictures of where we are at and stay tuned for further updates! We hope you are as excited as we are.





































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As cheesy as it may seem, people love to see organizations get into the holiday spirit. Valentine’s Day may be one of the smaller holidays throughout the year, but it sure does pack a punch when it comes to having a strong theme. And what better theme to focus on when considering nonprofit fundraising than LOVE! This loved-themed day can be about more than chocolate and flowers (and many people are looking for a way to celebrate that doesn’t involve a significant other). Whether it be showing love to rescue pets, the homeless or needy children, Valentine’s Day can have a place in your nonprofit fundraising efforts.

If you want to leverage this holiday theme to your advantage but you aren’t quite sure how to do that, let’s explore some possibilities that will hopefully inspire you either directly or indirectly. First, it’s important to remember some key points about fundraising. Donors respond strongly to efforts that they can form an emotional connection with. Appealing to emotions is one of the most fool proof methods of fundraising. Valentine’s Day is perfect for this because who doesn’t want to give back in the form of love? In addition, donors want to recognize a clear connection to your central cause. They shouldn’t have to guess what they are donating money to or how it will benefit the cause or community at large. Make sure to highlight your cause within your fundraising efforts. Now, let’s take a look at some ideas to get your creative juices flowing…

 Flowers For A Cause

I know I said many people are looking for a way to celebrate without flowers and chocolate BUT hear me out…partnering with a local florist can be a great way to raise money for your cause on Valentine’s Day. People will always be buying flowers for this holiday, so why not buy flowers that also fund a nonprofits’ efforts to spread good in the world? You can design and print special cards to attach to bouquets that highlight your cause (whether its animals, domestic abuse, LGBTQ, homeless, etc.) as well as describe a dollar amount that will be going towards this cause after a donor purchase.

Love Letters To Donors

Donors do appreciate recognition and receiving letters or calls from organizations that they give back to helps them to feel more connected to both the organization and the cause. What better time to show love and appreciation for donors than Valentine’s Day? Send out special love letters, either via snail mail or email, both thanking donors and explaining your current efforts to better your community. You may receive a boost in donations.

Bake Sale

A classic and timeless fundraising avenue but with a Valentine’s theme! Red, pink, hearts and all things love mixed with cookies, chocolate, brownies and candy. I’m hungry just thinking about it. Everyone is looking for something to get their sweetheart on Valentine’s Day so aim to give them an option that kills two birds with one stone: a gift for their loved one and a donation to a good cause. Create custom labels that make your cause clear and get to baking!

Speed Dating Event

Appealing to all the singles on Valentine’s Day not only gives them a way to celebrate but also allows them to direct their feelings of love towards your organization and the subsequent cause behind it. Hold a little speed dating event and use the ticket costs to fund your cause. This event can even be paired with the bake sale idea or any other in-event items that can be sold (think custom greeting cards, handmade gifts, etc.).

Candy Grams At Schools

Partner with a local school and put out a campaign out that allows parents or loved ones to send their children candy grams at school. The school can select members of student council or an appropriate club/group to hand out the candy grams for a sweet surprise.

Galentine’s Day Party

As much as Valentine’s Day is about spreading love, let’s not forget about Galentine’s Day (February 13th). Many ladies will be looking for a way to celebrate without significant others and hosting a Galentine’s themed event that ALSO funds a good cause is something that would be a hard to pass up. Who doesn’t want to attend a party where you can have fun with your girlfriends and help animals shelters at the same time (or insert your cause here)?

Endless Possibilities

This is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to fundraising ideas for Valentine’s Day. So, get your creativity flowing and get out there to raise money for your organization!!
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