Posts Tagged ‘business’

Articles

Not making the Grade in Your Business?

In Accounting & Finances,Business,Education,Taxes on November 21, 2011 by Sufen Wang Tagged: , , , , , , ,

Get Schooled by the IRS for Free
 
Wall Street isn’t the only place that’s been occupied lately. Proposed tuition increases have caused students on college campuses across the U.S. to stand up and say “NO” to raising the cost of higher education. If attending a university will break your bank, the IRS has a solution: the agency offers a variety of excellent educational training and learning tools for small businesses for FREE……
 

Those of you who consider yourselves tax pros should check out
IRS Live. A real-time webinar, IRS Live is a panel discussion among IRS experts and industry professionals aimed at educating tax professionals on current and complex tax issues affecting them and their clients. You can actually earn Continuing Professional Education credits for participating in the webinar! IRS Live is broadcast bimonthly and the next program airs on Dec. 14.
 
For small business owners who are too busy to hit the books can boost their knowledge by visiting the
Small Business/Self-Employed Virtual Small Business Tax Workshop. The curriculum caters to new owners and features lessons about how to set up and run your business so paying taxes isn’t a hassle, what you need to know about Federal Taxes and your new business, and much more. The best part is that you can go to recess whenever you get tired of listening to the teacher talk about retirement plans and tax obligations.
 
While you’re on the computer, you should print the handy-dandy
2012 tax calendar for small businesses and the self-employed, or set it as your desktop wallpaper. It reminds you about everything from the exact days you should deposit your payroll tax, to what forms you need to file and when. Or, if you’re an avid reader and don’t want to get too lost in that novel, just order a tax information bookmark – or even 100 if you want one for every book! You can go shopping for other business products here, and remember, everything is always free from the IRS.
 
Brochures are nice, but could you spot a
tax scammer walking down the street? The IRS even provides tools to help identify, avoid, and report different types of scams. Still can’t get enough? Whether you’re a teacher looking to freshen up those old lesson plans or just somebody who wants to become more proficient in the business world, Understanding Taxes is a gold mine of educational resources. It provides detailed lesson plans, interactive activities, simulations, and answers for the hows and whys of taxes. The only thing the IRS doesn’t give you is an apple for the teacher.
 
On the Money,
Sufen Wang
Wang Solutions
 

Articles

Free to Make Your Own Call:

In Accounting & Finances,Business,Taxes on September 25, 2011 by Sufen Wang Tagged: , , , , ,

Personal Use of Employer-Provided Cell Phones Not Taxable

 
Feeling guilty about using the company cell phone for personal calls?  Ever wonder if you should report this benefit to the IRS?  Well, worry no more… On September 14, the IRS announced in Notice 2011-72, that business and personal use of a cell phone, given by an employer primarily for non-compensatory business reasons, is nontaxable to the employee. Yup, that fancy Blackberry you received for work-related emergencies outside the office, or to talk to clients off the clock, is an excludable – and nontaxable – fringe benefit.

So, go ahead and answer your kids’ call and let them know what you are making for dinner tonight. Your employer is footing the bill, and you will not be taxed on the personal usage portion by the IRS.  Furthermore, you don’t need to keep track of whether you’re utilizing the phone strictly for business. The IRS won’t require recordkeeping of business use from taxpayers to receive tax-free treatment on their business assigned cell phones. Accordingly, any personal use of the cell phone also doesn’t have to be accounted for and is considered a “de minimis” fringe benefit.  However, this treatment does not apply to reimbursements of unusual or excessive expenses or to reimbursements made as a substitute for a portion of the employee’s regular wages.  Also, the guidance does not apply to the provision of cell phones or reimbursement for cell-phone use that is not primarily business related; as such arrangements are generally taxable. 
 

But what happens when your employer makes you use your own cell-phone for non-compensatory business purposes? In a related release, the IRS addressed employee cash allowances for work-related use of personally-owned cell phones. The cash reimbursements of employees’ expenses for reasonable cell phone service can be treated by employers as nontaxable items. 

 

Finally, remember that you can’t always keep your personal and professional lives separate. Having a company cell phone doesn’t help the matter — especially when your superiors believe you are on call 24/7.  Sometimes you just have to shut down your cell phone and enjoy your personal time off the clock.

 
 
On the Money,
Sufen Wang
Wang Solutions

 

Articles

JOB SEARCH SERIES: Job Interview….

In Business,Human Resources on August 6, 2011 by Sufen Wang Tagged: , , , , ,

 How to Get the Job Done Right When You Want to Get a Job…

 

JOB INTERVIEW….

 

Well, the good news is that you have been selected for an in-person interview with a prospective employer. But the bad news is that pre-interview symptoms, ranging from mild uneasiness to downright panic, are developing as you prepare for your job interview. However, there have been no reported cases of job seekers dying from nervousness due to a job interview, so RELAX!

No matter what type of job interview you encounter as a job seeker, the goal is always the same—you need to convince the interviewer that you are technically qualified for the job. You also need to show that you are sufficiently motivated to get the job done well, and that you will fit in with the company’s culture/organizational structure and the team in which you will work.

Make sure you prepare well before your interview: give yourself time to review information on both the organization and the position. You should be able to fluently explain how your assets relate to the company as a whole, and to the specific job position. Practice makes perfect and it also ensures that you won’t get caught off guard during the actual interview.

Be on time! Better yet, be early. First impressions set the stage for the entire interview and you will also want to dress for success. Dress according to the job position for which you are interviewing, and when in doubt, always overdress. Oh yes, keep the fragrance subtle – you want a job, not a date! As in the phone interview, vocal intonation is important, but now also remember to make direct eye contact and be aware of the non-verbal messages you send (i.e. body posture). Professional grooming, combined with a friendly and self-confident personality, will help you establish rapport with the interviewer.  

When you enter the interview, know what you wrote on your resume and be ready to talk about every point – extensively. Be honest with yourself and the interviewer, but never criticize your current and/or past employer(s) or work environment. Even if you are asked a negative question (e.g., what did you like least about your previous work), frame your answer positively. If you are interviewing with a firm from a different country, be sensitive to cultural differences. The end of the interview is your chance to ask the interviewer questions, so prepare some insightful ones beforehand.

DO NOT interview for a position you do not want. Don’t waste your time and the interviewer’s time. However, if you’ve made it this far and you’re serious about the job, and you take the time to prepare for the interview, then you are going to get the job! Now, all you have left to do is send a Thank You Letter / Note…

Posts in the Series: Resume ; Cover Letter; Phone Interview.

 

On the Job Search,
Sufen Wang
Wang Solutions

Articles

Checks and Balances: Keep ’em Honest

In Business on May 24, 2011 by Sufen Wang Tagged: , , , ,

money on the street

Everyone’s asked and been asked this age-old question: If you found money in the street, what would you do? Would you keep it? Try to find the owner? Give it away to somebody else? Burn it as a statement against “The Man?”

This question is supposed to show how honest you are (or aren’t). But even those who are adamant against keeping money found on the street may find themselves tempted when it comes to money found unguarded in the workplace. That’s why, as an employer, it’s a good idea to implement different checks and balances.

By segregating financial responsibilities, you can prevent theft and embezzlement in the workplace. If there’s only one person in charge of all of your accounting tasks, such as making bank deposits, receiving funds, issuing checks, and reconciling checkbooks, it can be easy and very tempting for that person to skim a little off the top for themselves. By assigning different people to different tasks, you ensure that they can keep one another accountable and honest.

krusty the klown

There's a better solution than this.

If you don’t have enough accounting resources to be able to segregate responsibilities, then you should, at the very least, check the books regularly and make sure that your accounting person knows that you’re doing it. Here are a few ways for you to keep an eye on your finances:

  • Maintain a small petty cash fund for the office and reconcile it every week.
  • Review your credit card and bank statements regularly.
  • Take advantages of online services to keep tabs on your business finances.
  • Implementing checks and balances in your business will not only protect your business from theft and embezzlement, but it will also protect your employees from the temptation to act against their better judgment. In the end, they’ll thank you for it.

    On the Money,
    Sufen Wang
    Wang Solutions