Archive for the ‘Culture’ Category

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The Lost Art of Writing:

In Accounting & Finances,Business,Culture,Education on August 9, 2013 by Sufen Wang Tagged: , , , , , , ,

It’s Not Too Late to Learn How to Communicate!

MH900439943Texting, tweeting, e-mailing – writing is a part of our everyday lives, right? But the question is, is it good writing? NO!

We’re rapidly losing the art of composition in this digital world. What happened to our thought process?  Specifically, what happened to knowing by heart the basic guidelines of the APA writing style?  Here’s a refresher course in case you can’t seem to remember…

MH900089202The APA (American Psychological Association) style is most commonly used to cite sources within the social sciences. APA formatted essays always include four major sections: the Title Page, Abstract, Main Body, and References. When formatting a paper in APA style, you’ll need to pay attention to mechanical details such as typeface, line spacing, margins, and page headers. Another major part of APA style is reducing bias in language. The goal is to provide scientific info that’s unbiased, specific, and sensitive to group labels.

MH900445122APA writing guidelines are like DMV driving guidelines.  We have to learn the DMV rules in order to drive, just as we must learn APA guidelines to write. APA rules help drive our thoughts into well-written text on a piece of paper. Unfortunately, not everybody is aware of the importance of the APA writing style (and DMV rules too, but that’s another story for another day).  

MH900357981Recently I posed a final project to my accounting class. It was about a business man manufacturing bird cages, dog houses, and cat castles. The focus was on products, not the actual animals. You can see where this is heading. After three weeks of analysis of the profit margin, the break-even point, and the difference between variable and fixed cost, the final question was:

“What do you see as the role of accounting in managerial decision-making? Defend the use of cost-related accounting for planning and decision-making purposes.”

Below is the answer I got from one of my students:

 “I think that John should invest  in taken care of birds because they are less messy and not much to do with  them to maintain them and feed them and is able to let them out to fly around they will not make a mess, like the dog or a cat would by tearing the couches up and eating  on the shoes”

Did I mention this was a college class? And that this is a direct quote? My student could not even place a final period to finish the “thought.”

MH900212041The carelessness of thought and the uninspired minds of our society are overwhelmingly frustrating to me. I think it’s time we think just a little harder – it’s not that hard, really, everyone should give it try. Obviously, you don’t have to write an essay every time you send an e-mail or text, but these are good places to learn how to be even a bit more eloquent. College writing is just a test of how well you can articulate yourself in the real world, and it pays off to be conscious of how you communicate. If we stop being so sloppy in our writing, we’ll be able to understand each other better, and have more meaningful, more productive conversations.  

Sufen Wang, M.S. Accountancy
Wang Solutions, Long Beach, CA
(562) 856-0793
Editor: Hannah Huff, M.F.A. Creative Writing: Poetry, (626) 806-5805

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Save Your Skin this Summer:

In Culture,Education,Family on July 22, 2013 by Sufen Wang Tagged: , , , , , , ,

MH900021669Reduce Your Risk for Skin Cancer

Well, summer is upon us and that means the hot sun is also upon us. Before you don that bikini for a long day at the beach, think about the skin you’re in – it’s the only one you have! Skin cancer is the most common cancer in the United States, but here are some ways to lower your risk.

MH900389354You can never get enough sun – is a lie. The top risk factor for skin cancer is exposure to sunlight (UV radiation) and those UV rays can damage your skin in less than 15 minutes. And if you’ve spent years in the sun, and/or had at least one severe sunburn – one where even wearing clothes is painful –  your risk of skin cancer is even higher.

MH900362048That being said, you’re obviously going to have to go outside sometimes. The worst time for UV exposure is between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., so if you’re running errands around midday, stick to the shade. You can also create your own shade: carry an umbrella or wear a wide-brimmed hat to protect your head and neck. Although it might be sweltering hot, you should wear proper clothes to keep your bare skin from getting burnt. Loose-fitting long-sleeved shirts and long pants made from tightly woven fabric work best, even if they sound incredibly uncomfortable. For a finishing touch of sun-safe style, wear wrap-around sunglasses that block both UVA and UVB.

MH900440540Don’t think it’s safe to go skinny dipping just because there’s cloud cover. UV rays can still reach you on hazy days and they reflect off surfaces like water and sand. You’re not even safe in your own car: the sun’s rays can penetrate windshields and windows. Also, a wet T-shirt offers less UV protection than a dry one, but a dry T-shirt still only has less than a 15 SPF rating – which won’t save your skin. That means if you think you’re going to be in the sun, you should take two whole minutes to put on a thick layer of minimum 15 SPF sunscreen. Reapply the sunscreen every two hours or if you get wet.

Finally, everyone should know by now that indoor tanning is NOT any safer than being out in the sun. Sunlamps and tanning booths expose you to UV radiation, which causes skin damage and skin cancer, and getting fake tans is more dangerous before age 30. Don’t believe it? The NCI reports that women who use tanning beds more than once a month are 55 percent more likely to develop melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer. Why do you want to look orange anyways?


MH900360724Perhaps most importantly, you should get to know yourself. A regular self-exam of your whole body will let you see what’s normal on your skin, so you know when something abnormal shows up. That could be anything from a new mole to an old mole changing size to a sore that doesn’t heal. If you do notice anything, visit your doctor. Take a little extra time to pamper your skin this summer so you can enjoy the sun for years to come!

A Word on your Summer Safety! 

Sufen Wang, M.S.Accountancy,

Wang Solutions, Long Beach, CA (562) 856-0793.

Editor: Hannah Huff, M.F.A. Creative Writing: Poetry, (562) 806-5805

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Summer Lightning….

In Culture,Education,Family on July 8, 2013 by Sufen Wang Tagged: , , , , , , ,

MH900371018Avoid Dark Clouds on the Horizon: Lightning Safety Tips

Believe it or not, Summer is the peak season for lightning-related deaths and injuries. Actually, make sure you believe that: if you think you know more than Mother Nature, the results aren’t going to be good for you. There is enough energy in a typical flash of lightning to light a 100-watt  fluorescent bulb for about a year. Except humans aren’t light bulbs, so the National Weather Service wants you to know that when thunder roars, go indoors!

MH900252665That’s because no outdoor area is safe when you hear that boom nearby in the sky. Your first instinct might be to run towards that one tree over there. Don’t!!! Being underneath a tree is the second leading cause of lightning casualties. And stopping, dropping, and rolling isn’t too smart either. You could get hit with a deadly ground current when lying flat. Your best bet is to keep moving towards a safe, indoor shelter. If your only option is your car, make sure all the windows are up, or you could get struck down. If you can’t get indoors at all, at least try to avoid elevated areas, immediately get out and away from all bodies of water, and stay away from objects that conduct electricity, such as wire fences.

MH900417386Once you’re safe inside during a thunderstorm, you’re safe inside, right? Nope. Lightning can travel through any metal wires or bars in concrete walls or flooring or pretty much anything that conducts electricity. So stay off corded phones, computers, and other electrical equipment. Yes, you read that right: lightning can electrocute you while you’re ordering pizza in your living room. Water also conducts electricity, so avoid baths and faucets. Finally, it might be tempting to stand at the window to watch the storm, but lightning can come through cracks in the sides of windows and doors. That wouldn’t be a very pleasant surprise. Oh, and please don’t forget the dog. Dog houses are not safe shelters and dogs that are chained to trees or on metal runners are particularly vulnerable to lightning strikes.

MH900278850Remember, if you’re outside in a thunderstorm, the only completely safe action is to get inside a safe building or vehicle. An even better idea is to not get caught outside in a thunderstorm at all. Pay attention to the weather. If the weatherman says there’s a chance of thunderstorms, don’t take the chance of getting struck by lightning – stay inside until the coast is clear. 

A word on your Summer Safety!

Sufen Wang, M.S.Accountancy
Wang Solutions, Long Beach, CA (562) 856-0793
Editor: Hannah Huff, M.F.A. Creative Writing: Poetry, (562) 806-5805

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Student Chefs Cooking Up Change:

In Culture,Education,Entertainment on June 25, 2013 by Sufen Wang Tagged: , , , ,

MH900212101A New Recipe for Cafeteria Lunches

Who better to make cafeteria food better than those who know it best? High school students recently proved that they can teach us a thing or two about the culinary arts. On June 10th, the U.S. Department of Education hosted student chefs from eight high school culinary programs as part of Cooking up Change, presented by the Healthy Schools Campaign. On the menu: create a savory lunch that meets nutrition standards while on a shoestring budget.

The results revealed that today’s youth know how to think outside the milk carton box. For example, Team Los Angeles, hailing from West Adams Preparatory High School, produced a Tex-Mex Corn Bread and Black Bean Mountain, Cucumber Salad, and Warm Pear and Raisin Delight. And Team Denver conjured up a Chicken Panini Wrap, Coleslaw with Dijon Vinaigrette, and Jalapeño-Infused Peach Crumble. Keep in mind that these dishes were made by teenagers.

MH900229019More impressive is that these delicious masterpieces were produced based on strict guidelines of only 10 ingredients. The teens also didn’t have a lot of dough to work with: they had to stick to a budget with the same constraints schools currently face. And when all the cooking was said and done, each team had to serve up an explanation about the challenges of the process and the inspiration for their meal – many cited their regional culture as the main ingredient for their dish.

Every team did well, but the top chefs were Cesar Amezcua, Cecilia Magana, and Carlos Ortiz from Team Orange County. These Valley High School culinary students took home the bacon for their healthy and scrumptious “Pita Packs a Punch,” with Hot and Sweet Slaw and Delicious Apple Crepes.

MH900349109This was so important to us because we want to make a difference in our school,” said Amezcua. And indeed, these grade-A student meals are gracing school lunch menus across the country, including the teams’ very own cafeterias. The fact that these teens dished out such nutritional and tasty cafeteria lunches should give schools continued food for thought.

Sufen Wang, M.S. Accountancy, Wang Solutions, Long Beach, CA (562) 856-0793

Editor: Hannah Huff, M.F.A. Creative Writing: Poetry, (626) 806-5805

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Man Up and Manage Your Health:

In Culture,Education,Family on June 15, 2013 by Sufen Wang Tagged: , , , , ,

MH900326848June 10-16 is National Men’s Health Week

Father’s Day is Sunday but men should already be celebrating themselves. This week is Men’s Health Week, a time for males to learn to take control of their health. They certainly need the extra encouragement: men were 24% less likely than women to see a doctor last year.

That’s a shame considering that 1) heart disease, 2) cancer, and 3) accidents (unintentional injuries) are the top causes of death for men. Obviously you can’t predict an accident, but you can prevent and treat things like colon cancer and heart disease with earlier diagnosis. That’s why men need to man up and begin having regular checkups and screenings.

MH900442289Health screenings vary based on age, so if you want to find out more about what you’re in for before you check-in, check this out:

Screenings for men, ages 18-39
Screenings for men, ages 40-64
Screenings for men, ages 65 and older
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And here are five more steps every man can take to clean up his bill of health:
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MH9002344781)  Be physically active and make healthy food choices. Take more than a bathroom break from your basketball video game to go outside and shoot hoops at the local park. And instead of ordering takeout as a reward for exercising, take yourself out to the market and buy an apple or two a day.  

MH9002176082)  Get to your healthy weight and stay there. You don’t have to be as bulky as the Hulk. First find out which weight best suits your body and then figure out how to maintain x amount of pounds. It won’t happen in a day, but pretty soon your suit size won’t change. 

MH900290958

3)  Become tobacco free. This one should be self-explanatory, but just to clarify, don’t smoke, don’t smoke, don’t smoke. Avoid everything tobacco-related like it’s the plague – because it actually is as deadly as the plague.

MH9000230264)  Drink only in moderation. There’s nothing more unattractive than a handsome man who reeks of liquor everyday. Not only is alcohol bad for your body, it causes even the best of us to make stupid decisions, which often results in accidents (see above for the #3 cause of death). If you drink, drink responsibly and save your dignity, your liver, and your life.

MH9004276305)  Manage stress. People who say they never stress out are lying. Stress is inevitable, but the key is to not let anxiety get the best of you. Don’t wait until the last minute to combat a panic attack: take control of your own reactions in general, and focus on what makes you feel calm, cool, and collected. Mental and physical exercise are effective stress relievers, so pick up a book or go for a run – or if you’re really ambitious, try reading while running. 

Men’s health week is the perfect time to learn how to be a man – and that means managing your health before you end up as a man down.

MH900213415Sufen Wang, M.S. Accountancy

Wang Solutions, Long Beach, CA (562) 856-0793

Editor: Hannah Huff, M.F.A. Creative Writing: Poetry, (626) 806-5805

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IRS Hasn’t Been Pennywise:

In Accounting & Finances,Business,Culture,Entertainment,Taxes on June 11, 2013 by Sufen Wang Tagged: , ,

MH900185740Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) Audit Identifies Excessive Spending at IRS Conference

The IRS might need to brush up on its coupon clipping skills after TIGTA’s recent audit of the agency’s spending at conferences from 2010 to 2012. Let’s just say that although every penny counts, the Internal Revenue Service hasn’t been counting every penny when it comes to planning out-of-office events.

TIGTA’s audit focused on a certain very expensive Small Business/Self-Employed (SB/SE) Division’s All Managers Conference in Anaheim, California in August 2010. Held at the Marriott, Hilton, and Sheraton hotels, this event was attended by 2,609 SB/SE Division executives and managers and reportedly cost $4.1 million – yikes! Because IRS management didn’t have to track and report actual conference costs at the time, there’s no way to double-check that number. It doesn’t matter though – TIGTA found plenty of splurging anyways.

MH900310838First of all, the IRS didn’t use available internal personnel to find the best deal in town. Instead, SB/SE management hired two non‑governmental event planners to choose a location for the conference. This non-IRS pair obviously wasn’t looking out for the IRS’ (and the taxpayer’s) pocket book, they were looking to get paid. And – what do you know – the event planners received an estimated $133,000 commission from the three hotels based on the cost of rooms paid for by the IRS.

MH900023026It’s safe to assume those planners didn’t do much hotel room bargain hunting online. Still, some bargaining did occur. They made sure to negotiate a bunch of concessions for the managers and executives at the conference. Attendees got daily continental breakfast. And a welcome reception with two drink coupons. And there were lots and lots of suite upgrades.

And that’s not all folks – TIGTA also found other very fishy expenses like“planning trips” held before the conference, the production of a Star Trek parody and “SB/SE Shuffle” video, a keynote speaker who painted portraits of Michael Jordan and Abraham Lincoln, an information corridor that raffled off baseball tickets, and various promotional gifts given to IRS employees.

Sure, brief bags and hard-covered spiral journals replete with imprinted logos are nice souvenirs to bring home, but they’re definitely not necessary costs. The IRS could have got a much lower lodging rate for the conference by using governmental event planners and eliminating those extra hotel amenities.

MH900363294Accordingly, TIGTA had more than a few budgeting tips for the IRS, which the IRS agreed to follow: verify that conference-costs and attendance are being tracked, use IRS personnel to plan future conferences, evaluate whether there should be hotel upgrades, ensure that taxable travel is identified and that Forms W-2 are issued to applicable employees, etc. Excessive Federal spending is a hot topic right now, so the IRS is going to have to start saving money if it wants to save face.

Sufen Wang, M.S. Accountancy

Wang Solutions, Long Beach, CA (562) 856-0793

Editor: Hannah Huff, M.F.A. Creative Writing: Poetry, (626) 806-5805

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Determining Your Correct Filing Status

In Accounting & Finances,Business,Culture,Taxes on April 27, 2013 by Sufen Wang Tagged: , , , , , , ,

MH900151049Single, Married, or Head of Household?

Okay, seriously, now that the tax deadline, April 15, had passed, and tax extension had filed; you really need to start working on your returns!

What’s your status? No, not your Facebook status, your income tax return filing status. Filing status can impact the tax benefits you receive, the amount of your standard deduction, and the amount of taxes you pay. It can even – drum roll please – affect whether you have to file a federal income tax return.

MH900019119Classifying your relationship as “It’s Complicated” will only annoy the overworked IRS Agent. You must choose from five filing statuses on a federal tax return, with the three most common being “Single,” “Married Filing Jointly,” and “Head of Household.”

MH900237191Your marital status on the last day of the year is your marital status for the entire year. So even if you had a New Year’s Eve wedding, in tax return terms, you were married for all of 2012. A married couple can either file together using the Married Filing Jointly status, or separately, in which case each person’s filing status would be Married Filing Separately. Pretty self-explanatory.

If your spouse died during 2012, you usually can still file a joint return for that year. Qualifying Widow(er) with Dependent Child status applies only ifyour spouse died during 2010 or 2011, you have a dependent child, and you meet certain other conditions.

MH900237195If you aren’t married, divorced, or legally separated, in general your filing status will be Single. However, you might be able to file as Head of Household, which has a higher standard deduction and lower tax rates than the Single filing status. To claim Head of Household, you can’t be married and you must have paid more than half the cost of maintaining a home for yourself and a qualifying person. Head of Household is the status most often claimed in error, so make sure you meet all of the requirements.

You can and should shop around for the best income tax deal. If more than one filing status fits you, choose the one that allows you to pay the lowest taxes. IRS e-file will help you determine the correct filing status, and you can also use the Interactive Tax Assistant at IRS.gov.

Sufen Wang, M.S. Accountancy

Wang Solutions, Long Beach, CA (562) 856-0793

Editor: Hannah Huff, M.F.A. Creative Writing: Poetry, (626) 806-5805