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Technology

ERP software webinar announced

Technology Group International (TGI) and Panorama Consulting Group have announced a joint educational Webinar offering tips and techniques for successfully organizing and managing ERP software selection projects in the small to medium business (SMB) market. This free Webinar titled, "ERP Software: Failing to Plan Means Planning to Fail," will be held on Thursday, September 18, 2008 at 2:00 p.m. EDT. You can register in advance for the free online Webinar.
A&A

IRS publishes fact sheet on for-profit hobby deduction rules

The Internal Revenue Service would like to remind taxpayers to follow appropriate guidelines when determining whether an activity is engaged in for profit, such as a business or investment activity, or is engaged in as a hobby.Internal Revenue Code Section 183 (Activities Not Engaged in for Profit) limits deductions that can be claimed when an activity is not engaged in for profit. IRC 183 is sometimes referred to as the hobby loss rule.
A&A

PCAOB announces forum for small public company execs

The Public Company Accounting Oversight Board has announced the agenda for its upcoming forums for directors and financial executives of small and mid-sized public companies – part of the Forum on Auditing in the Small Business Environment series.The first forum, hosted by Board Member Dan Goelzer, is Wednesday, Oct. 1, at the Sofitel Hotel in Chicago, IL. The second, hosted by Board Member Bill Gradison, is Thursday, Oct. 30, at The Rittenhouse Hotel in Philadelphia, PA.
A&A

New IRS analysis shows only half of Schedule C income is reported

New data based on analysis of the Internal Revenue Service's (IRS) National Research Program Individual Reporting Compliance Study of 2001, on which the agency's estimate of the "Tax Gap" is based, show that only one-half of Schedule C income and only 88 percent of capital gains are reported, David Cay Johnston, writing for Tax Notes says. Johnston obtained the data ahead of IRS publication.
A&A

Energy costs hitting middle market on the bottom line

RSM McGladrey has released data gathered in the last ten days that shows global competition for raw materials and rising energy costs are driving up costs and substantially reducing the bottom line of middle market manufacturers and distributors more than they were just three months ago.
A&A

SEC charges microcap companies with harming investors

The Securities and Exchange Commission has charged six microcap companies, four company officers, and several market professionals for their roles in a scheme to raise millions of dollars in capital through improperly registered stocks to fund the companies' struggling businesses.
A&A

FASB looking for feedback on proposed earnings per share revision

The Financial Accounting Standards Board has issued a revised Exposure Draft (ED) of a proposed Statement of Financial Accounting Standards, Earnings per Share — an amendment of FASB Statement No. 128. The proposed Statement seeks to improve financial reporting by clarifying and simplifying the method of calculating earnings per share (EPS), while promoting the international convergence of accounting standards by eliminating major differences that currently exist between FASB Statement No. 128, Earnings per Share, and International Accounting Standard (IAS) 33, Earnings per Share.
Tax

Has the IRS overreached in audits of small businesses?

The National Small Business Association (NSBA), a small business advocacy group, has launched a new Web site, PreventIRSAbuse.org, designed to uncover potentially abusive Internal Revenue Service (IRS) audit tactics and inform its members about efforts by the IRS and Congress to use small business audits to enhance revenue. The NSBA site asks members to contribute their own experience with audits and challenges the fairness of the IRS characterization of the "Tax Gap."
A&A

Buy before you buy: Getting paid for lead generation

By Mike Schultz and John DoerrFree is fine, but can I pay instead?Marketing is expensive. Especially when you sell complex products and services, your investments in brochures, Web sites, ads, direct mail, and PR can be steep. After all, you need to educate your prospects and seduce them with your solution and its benefits. This is a bit more involved than grabbing people's attention with a free sample for an impulse product like a cube of bubble gum with a gooey surprise in the middle.
A&A

Government reports faulty oversight at SBA

Troubles are mounting at the Small Business Administration (SBA). In the latest of a series of reports of poor oversight at the SBA, federal investigators published an internal memo last week that asks how the agency concluded that an affiliate of the security firm Blackwater fell within size limits for small business. The Blackwater affiliate has received more than $100 million in contracts reserved for small business.
A&A

Effective rules for successful mentoring

Mentoring in general isn't a new concept, but for many firms, setting up a mentoring program is far down on the list of to-do's. Studies have shown that mentoring can be an effective workplace tool. Here are some tips for making the mentoring process a success.
A&A

Marketing core services and niche practices after Sarbanes-Oxley

The Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 turned six years old on July 30. One result of the many far-reaching effects of the legislation has been the growth of specialized practices in small and mid-sized accounting firms that auditors are prohibited from providing by the Securities and Exchange Commission's post-Sarbanes rules. The specialized services, called the niche practices, are designed to meet the needs of clients audited by larger firms, and have become an important focus for marketing in the smaller firms, in addition to their ongoing marketing of core audit and tax services.
A&A

Business Intelligence on the rise among small businesses

More SMBs (small and medium businesses, or companies with up to 999 employees) in the United States are seriously considering using BI (business intelligence) software tools to help them better understand market drivers for sales and forecasting, and for increasing their profit margins. There are about 6.3 million SMBs in the U.S., with about 98 percent of them being SBs (small businesses, or companies with up to 99 staff).
A&A

E-mail newsletters grow in popularity & help small businesses gain visibility

More and more small business owners are turning to the Internet for cost-effective ways to market to target audiences, using e-mail newsletters that allow them to connect with customers and potential customers."They're an effective, inexpensive, and relatively easy way for small companies to regularly stay in touch with customers and prospects," said Rhonda Abrams in a column for Gannett News Service.
A&A

Do you know what your clients really need?

By John DoerrRay Kinsella: So what do you want?Terence Mann: I want them to stop looking to me for answers, begging me to speak again, write again, be a leader. I want them to start thinking for themselves. I want my privacy.Ray Kinsella: No, I mean, what do you WANT? [Gestures to the concession stand they're in front of]Terence Mann: Oh. Dog and a beer.- From the movie Field of Dreams, 1989
A&A

Small business owners dissatisfied with Washington leaders

Small business owners are not pleased with the inaction of the federal government, according to a poll released last week by small business organization American Management Services. The poll was conducted by Suffolk University. Poll results showed that 63 percent of respondents said the federal government is "doing nothing" to help small businesses while 23 percent said it is doing "little." Over three-quarters of those polled, 78 percent, said this summer's economic stimulus checks did nothing to help their business.
A&A

Is it time for your company to add a sales team?

Your business is growing and you have less time on your hands. It might be worthwhile to employ your own dedicated sales team. Louise Druce from our sister site, BusinessZone.co.uk takes a look at how to choose the right candidates.
A&A

Election Watch: Obama unveils $6 billion small business health plan

Democratic presidential hopeful Senator Barack Obama (D-IL) has presented his plan for a $6 billion per year health plan that would provide tax credits for small businesses that health insurance to employees.The Obama plan requires businesses to provide coverage or pay a fine, but it exempts small businesses from the mandate, The Wall Street Journal reports.The Obama camp reports that less than half of small firms offer heaLth insurance to employees, down from 57% in 2000.
A&A

Ramp up your brand - sledgehammers and service brand preference

By Mike Schultz and John DoerrSwing the HammerImagine the strongman game at the carnival. You lift the sledgehammer over your head and swing it down onto the platform. When it strikes the target, a metal cylinder rises up and up - 20 feet up the pole until it rings the bell. On its way down the pole the cylinder passes the same words it passed on the way up: strongman, tough guy, athlete, junior, and weakling.In a way, establishing a services brand follows a similar process.
A&A

Getting started with social media: Real life examples

Anita Campbell, executive editor of Small Business Trends, recently attended an event in Houston entitled Women in Business. She collected several comments from attendees about their experiences in using social media Web sites and online Web 2.0 tools. Here is what she found.When speaking at events, I get the best response from talking less and asking more - in other words, encouraging the audience to share their examples and ideas. It's more interactive that way. It's more interesting.

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