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Guest articles

The Brand Called You: Manage Your Reputation

by Steven Van YoderEvery company has a reputation. Everyone you meet will form an opinion about your company, even if they have not done business with you yet. The challenge is to manage your reputation so that the opinion that people have of you is positive.
Practice Management

Agility Displaces Flexibility According to New Leadership Survey

Forget flexibility.
Practice Management

Don't Fire Your 'C' Clients, What Were You Thinking?

By Gale Crosley, CPA and ConsultantOnce in a while I cannot help playing contrarian. But I only do so when going against the grain is my conviction, not just for the sake of taking the other side! In my consulting practice, clients' frequently express a desire to "fire their C clients." I, on the contrary, suggest another approach. Fundamentally, I agree with the premise that "up leveling" the quality of a firm's clients "up levels" overall margin. I question, however, whether getting rid of lesser performing clients is a means to that end.
Tax

Sham Site's a Scam: There Is No 'National Do Not E-mail Registry'

Have you submitted your e-mail address to a "National Do Not E-mail Registry" that promises to reduce the amount of spam (unsolicited e-mail) you receive? If so, you are the victim of a scam, according to the Federal Trade Commission, the nation’s consumer protection agency.The Web site at "unsub.us" mimics the language, look, and navigation of the Web site for the National Do Not Call Registry, a legitimate free service of the federal government. The unsub.us site is not run or authorized by the FTC.
Technology

Excel Tip: Save Customized Excel Chart Styles

If you create charts in Excel, chances are good that you adjust the formatting of the standard chart style each time you create a new chart. You may change the size of the font, perhaps you add some background color, you might include your company logo on the chart, you may prefer the currency format for your numbers, or you may prefer a line graph to the default column style.
Tax

Most Companies Get an 'F' in Fraud Prevention

Enron had a code of conduct. Enron had a hotline. And in the end, Enron had fraud. Today, companies operate with a false sense of security because they either don't have a fraud prevention program or the program they have is a legal, yet ineffective "fig leaf." "One key to fraud prevention is to create an atmosphere where employees feel confident in reporting wrongdoing without being victimized, even if executives appear to be involved," explains Toby Bishop, president & CEO of the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners (ACFE), the largest anti-fraud association in the world.
A&A

Free Report: FAQ’s On The Family And Medical Leave Act

This free report gives employers practical and legal advice on how to help employees handle work and family demands, while balancing the bottom line with retention and morale efforts. You also get a state-by-state look at which states require school visitation or parental leave. When employees are faced with conflicts between their work duties and obligations to their family, their employers are often faced with a dilemma also.
Tax

Tax Law Changes for Individuals

Taxpayers should make sure that they are aware of important changes to the tax law before they complete their 2003 federal income tax forms.
Tax

Tax Law Changes for Businesses

Taxpayers should make sure that they are aware of important changes to the tax law before they complete their 2003 federal income tax forms.

Companies Finding SOX Compliance Expensive Speak Out

Accountability is expensive.
Technology

View Outlook Inbox and Your Calendar at the Same Time

Would it be useful for you to be able to view both your Outlook calendar and inbox at the same time? Instead of clicking back and forth between the two, you can open them side-by-side for easier access and viewing. To enable this tip follow the four steps below:Close all other programs. Click Inbox on the Outlook Folder List to display the Inbox. (If the Folder List is not displayed, choose Folder List from the View menu.) Right-click Calendar on the Folder List, and then click Open in New Window on the shortcut menu.
A&A

Businessmen Specialize in Catching Tax Preparers’ Mistakes

Tax clients often worry that their preparers may have missed something, or that they’re not getting the full refund they deserve.Capitalizing on those worries are two Colorado Springs, Colo. businessmen who are building a booming business by specializing in filing amended tax returns. Entrepreneur Brace Barber and Darren Oliver, a former securities and insurance broker, claim they are recovering up to $700,000 a month for their clients, who are mainly small to mid-sized businesses.
Tax

Tax Protester’s Defense: I’m Delusional

A convicted tax evader is using an unusual defense in a government lawsuit that seeks $2.5 million in unpaid income taxes, penalties and interest — he says he’s delusional.In court papers filed in federal court in Las Vegas, Irwin Schiff says his delusions include the fantasy that only he can properly interpret tax laws, the New York Times reported. Schiff claims no law requires the payment of income taxes, and he writes books and lectures extensively on the subject, instructing taxpayers to report zero income.Schiff cited the opinion of his psychiatrist, Dr.

How to Take Charge of Overwhelming Projects

You know you need to tackle that high-priority project, but you make a few phone calls, sort through yesterday's mail, and before you know it, it's lunchtime. Even the most focused people tend to put off getting to work on overwhelming projects - maybe because of the size of the project, the complexity, difficulty - or all three. Get a clear picture of the entire project and prepare a step-by-step plan for completing it. When you think about doing something on the project, don't focus on the entire project, instead, focus on a quick five-minute task or a small work session.
Technology

Companies Offer Sarbanes-Oxley Compliance ‘Kits’

Five North Carolina companies have joined together to create software "tool kits" to help companies comply with the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002."The (Sarbanes-Oxley) Act will obviously have a substantial impact on public companies," said Glen Conway, a partner with Visage, a Raleigh-based consulting firm that is leading the effort.

Inserting Fields to Calculate Percentage in Excel with Pivot Tables

With a PivotTable, you can insert additional data fields that you have already used and change the calculation function by which you create new calculated columns.Insert an additional data field, Quantity field as an example.Stage 1 – Add field to Data area. Select any cell in Pivot Table area. Right-click, and from the shortcut menu, select Wizard, Layout (in Excel 97, there is no need to select Layout). Drag the Quantity field to the data area.
Tax

CPAs Predict More Audits of Small Businesses

Accountants say a recent restructuring announced by the IRS could mean more audits of small companies and their owners.The IRS is adding 2,200 new positions to its audit operations in 2005, reversing declines over the last several years. IRS audit personnel decreased by more than 25 percent between 1996 and 2002, the Associated Press reported."The feeling out there is that they have lost money over the years and they're trying to regroup," said Theodore Kravitz, CPA, with New York-based accounting firm ERE LLPP.
Practice

Leveraging Tax Season Discussions to Nurture Relationships

By: Terri M. Sommella, President, Sommella Market StrategiesThis time of year, partners spend many hours a day talking to clients, prospects and referral sources. Did you know that busy season discussions can be leveraged to enhance your effectiveness as an advisor and nurture existing relationships? By incorporating a few open-ended questions into busy season conversations, you can elevate the value of the dialog. Open-ended questions usually begin with newspaper reporter's questions: Who, what, when, where, and why.
Education & Careers

Selling on the Inside: Attitude and Aptitude

By, Troy WaughBecoming an insider and selling to owners, board members and top management takes a unique combination of both attitude and aptitude. An attitude that you, as a businessperson, have the expertise and stature to converse with these top officers is crucial. But attitude is not enough. With a proper sense of self-worth you can start the conversation, but it takes real know-how to hold the attention of top officers.Attitude
Education & Careers

Study Reveals Financial Performance Higher for Companies with Women at the Top

A new study released today by Catalyst demonstrates that companies with a higher representation of women in senior management positions financially outperform companies with proportionally fewer women at the top. These findings support the business case for diversity, which asserts companies that recruit, retain, and advance women will have a competitive advantage in the global marketplace.

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