Merchant cash advances are increasingly popular among business owners

As small business owners scramble to secure the working capital they need to maintain smooth business operations and banks continue to reject more lending applications than ever, business owners are choosing new alternative financing options. Among the most popular of these options are merchant cash advances, also known as MCAs. A simple concept, merchant cash advances are cash advances based on a percentage of future credit card receivables which provide immediate working cash for businesses. Upon approval, the merchant cash advance is electronically wired to the recipient's bank account.

IRS shifting audit focus to small corporations from largest corporations

The number of Internal Revenue Service (IRS) field audits of the nation's largest corporations, companies with more than $250 million in assets, declined from 4,693 in 2005 to 3,308 in 2007, while the IRS has told Congress that the number of audits of all corporations has increased, according to the latest report from the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC).

Tips on how to conduct an effective meeting

When members of a company gather at a meeting, their purpose is to conduct business - to collect information and discuss issues and to make decisions on how these issues will be resolved or addressed.The methods businesses choose to carry out these functions will frequently depend on the type and size of the meeting. Careful planning and preparation are essential to conducting effective meetings, regardless of type or size.Below are a few ideas and tips to help you prepare for a successful meeting.First, determine if the meeting is truly necessary.

PCAOB announces small business audit forums

The Public Company Accounting Oversight Board has announced the 2008 series of its Forums on Auditing in the Small Business Environment. These forums are designed to help share important information with registered public accounting firms and public companies operating in the small business community. The 2008 agenda will include a discussion of practical quality control policies and procedures and evolving accounting and auditing issues. The discussions also will address the application of certain auditing standards and observations from the Board's disciplinary orders.

Is your language blocking your success?

By Dr. Pam Brill - "I'm burned out," "I've lost my drive," "I'm not interested," - these are words and images that sales pros have used to describe their falling motivation that accompanied their failing numbers. A sales pro in financial services, Chris had lost the passion and the spark that fueled him for making chilly cold calls and energy for the heated sprint to close the deal. With numbers down and still falling, Chris blamed the competition, the internal competitors, including the other sales pros in his division and the new kids on the block.

Software tool helps companies meet requirements of new identity theft rule

Under a new Federal regulation, by November 1, 2008, banks, credit unions, mortgage lenders, auto dealers, credit card lenders, payday lenders, landlords, utility companies, phone companies, and any business that extends credit, must perform a risk assessment to identify "red flag" weaknesses in their systems and procedures that could lead to identity theft. The companies should then take steps to develop a written Identity Theft Prevention Program.

Secure interest-free loans for company shareholders

Banks recently lowered their interest rates nationwide. Now it won't be as painful for clients to borrow funds if a family needs cash for an unexpected home repair or some other emergency. But business owners might do even better than a low-interest loan from the bank.Strategy: Arrange a no-interest loan from a client's company to the owner. This fringe benefit is perfectly legal, but some drawbacks exist:1. The business owner is subject to tax on this benefit.2.

Seven ways to avoid becoming a bad boss

By Bruce L. Katcher, Ph.D. President, Discovery Surveys, Inc.Most employees experience a bad boss at least once in their career. Many feel they have never really had a good boss. Insensitivity, failure to communicate, and a lack of fairness are the hallmarks of poor supervision.Why is it that good supervisors are hard to find?Supervising is Not Easy Handling the complex issues of motivating employees and solving job and people-related problems is very difficult. Few are capable of handling these responsibilities well.

Managing the sales negotiation process

By, Michael SchatzkiHow many times have you heard:
Practice Management

Giving your business clients things they need

By Brian Hamilton, CEO, ProfitCentsWhen you go out to dinner, you are usually hungry. When you buy water, you are thirsty. When you buy a winter jacket, you want to stay warm. In these individual cases, the value exchange between buyer and seller is clear and there is a definite need and solution set. In accounting, it’s less certain that we are giving clients what they need. Sometimes, we don’t know what they need, which is born of the fact that we either don’t ask them or they don’t tell us.

Entrepreneurial positive thinking: Six ways to give yourself the greatest chance for success

The business world is a scary place, no doubt about it. As an entrepreneur you are going to encounter all kinds of obstacles as you carve out your career—it's just the nature of the craft. No one is going to part the sea for you or make your way smooth and easy, so, inevitably, problems will arise. You can count on it. That's why now is the time to acquire the unlikely skill that will actually create a profound impact on your success in business . . . Positive Thinking.

Home office deduction makes Top Ten list for government reform

The U.S. Small Business Administration's Office of Advocacy has announced its 2008 Top 10 Rules for Review and Reform. The Top 10 are drawn from over 80 rules nominated by small business owners and their representatives as part of the Regulatory Review and Reform (r3) initiative. The recommendations have been transmitted to the appropriate federal agencies for their action.“The strongest and most compelling cases made our Top 10 list of rules,” said Thomas M. Sullivan, Chief Counsel for Advocacy.

NFIB to launch national healthcare campaign

For more than 20 years, small businesses have said healthcare costs are their No. 1 issue. Premium increases are placing an overwhelming burden on small business owners while their employees struggle with large deductibles and diminished access to care. The small business community needs comprehensive healthcare reform to address its unique concerns. In 1994, a healthcare reform package was introduced that did not sufficiently address the needs of all Americans.

How to increase your online visibility using is a new resource for entrepreneurs and small business owners, an online small business community on the Web created to help small business decision-makers solve their most pressing business problems and realize their most compelling opportunities. Our featured guest in this episode of Small Business Trends Radio is Shara Karasic, Community Manager of Shara will provide the inside view on how to use as a valuable source of insight for your business - and also the ins and outs of how to use the site to increase visibility for your own business online.
Practice Management

Keeping a lid on compliance costs

by Bob Mahan CFO, of Ajilon Finance The positive aspects of the raft of new accounting and financial reporting regulations are numerous. In a recent Deloitte survey, companies report they have a far better understanding of their chief risks and associated control mechanisms than just a few years ago. In addition, companies say internal controls are now far stronger, with the likelihood of material misstatements moving forward greatly reduced.

Bracing a business for recession

Economic indicators may point toward difficult times, but effective asset management can help strengthen a business quickly. By Marcus Scholes Economic forecasts are increasingly pointing toward recession, a prospect not missed by executive management teams and the boards of many private and public entities who are exploring ways to proactively strengthen their financial positions so that their businesses may ride out the economic downturn. As a part of a broader fiscal strategy, the move to more accurate and effective asset management can be invigorating to a bu

Microsoft announces worldwide availability of Office Live Workspace

Microsoft Corporation has announced the public availability of Microsoft Office Live Workspace beta, the new Web-based extension of Microsoft Office that lets people access their documents online and share their work with others. Office Live Workspace was among the first entries in the new wave of online services in Microsoft's software plus services vision previewed last fall.Office Live Workspace is now available worldwide in English.

Financial Accounting Foundation announces major changes to FAF, FASB, and GASB

On February 28, 2008, the Board of Trustees of the Financial Accounting Foundation (FAF) announced that, following a public due process period in which 59 comments were received from accounting and financial organizations and others interested in standard setting, it has voted to approve major changes to the oversight, structure, and operations of the FAF and its two standard-setting Boards, the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) and the Governmental Accounting Standards Board (GASB).

FASB issues FAS 117-a regarding endowments held by not-for-profits

The Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) has issued proposed FASB Staff Position (FSP) FAS 117-a, Endowments of Not-for-Profit Organizations: Net Asset Classification of Funds Subject to an Enacted Version of the Uniform Prudent Management of Institutional Funds Act, and Enhanced Disclosures.

Small business travelers need to leave some "baggage" at home

Although many small business owners take "working" vacations, the American Small Business Travelers Alliance has five simple rules small businesses can follow to achieve an effective work-vacation balance. The American Small Business Travelers Alliance (ASBTA) is a national alliance that provides valuable services and functions focused specifically on the travel needs and interests of small business owners."Working vacations are a grudging reality, if not an absolute necessity, for most small business owners," said Chuck Sharp, ASBTA President.


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