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Disposable Thinking

02/05/13 10:52 am | Comments (0) | Posted By:

 

They just don’t make them like they used to. Have you ever said or thought these words?

Products were not designed to last. Purchase of replacement products contribute to the profits of the manufacturers. Software programs, for instance, are constantly changing and must be replaced if you want support. The software still works but is no longer supported because the manufacturers want you to buy the new one.

We are replacing perfectly good usable electronics such as the cell phone for the latest and greatest. You’re considered out of style if you don’t. Fairly new furniture is replaced because it no longer matches our decor. Cars get replaced because the newer models have more bells and whistles. All kinds of stuff gets thrown away including kitchen equipment, dishwashers, stoves, hot water heaters and refrigerators. One of the reasons we buy new kitchen equipment, dishwashers, stoves, etc. is because they have stopped working and it’s cheaper to replace them rather than repairing them. This “out with the old, in with the new” thinking is good for the manufacturers but not so good for the environment. Is this how we spend our hard earned “disposable income”?

Plastic bottles, plastic bags or anything plastic take a long time to decompose, which is why we should recycle them. We should use less plastic products in addition to recycling them. Think of the plastic stirrers and the coffee cup lids thrown away every day at your favorite coffee shop. And don’t forget the plastic containers used for your treat to go with your coffee or tea. We should bring our own reusable shopping bags when we go to the store. At least 45 cities and counties in California have bag reduction ordinances. A minimum 10 cent charge for each bag is required in the city and county of San Francisco. In San Francisco, disposable bags used have been reduced by 70-90 percent since the checkout bag charge became effective on October 1, 2012.

Think before you dispose.

 

Dining Out For Life – TODAY, April 25, 2013

25/04/13 8:25 am | Comments (0) | Posted By:

While reading the newspaper this morning, I came across a fundraising event that allows you to make a big difference and will fit right into your busy schedule. This event is called “Dining Out For Life” and it’s happening TODAY, April 25, 2013.

All you have to do to help is go have a great meal at one of the many participating restaurants! Restaurants located all across Reno are giving a portion of their sales to Northern Nevada HOPES, Reno’s local community health center, to help individuals in our community affected by HIV & Aids. HOPES is a non-profit health center which offers a wide range of health care services. This is the 3rd annual Dining Out For Life fundraiser held by Northern Nevada HOPES, but the event has been held for many years in cities all over the nation.

Depending on the restaurant you choose, the amount donated by each restaurant will range from 10-100% of the total proceeds. To see a full list of the participating restaurants and the amount that they will be donating go to Dining Out for Life 2013. Remember, this event is only happening today, but if you do miss it you can still donate to Northern Nevada HOPES by going to their website.

There are many opportunities to get involved and help out our community. Many of them are as easy as going to get dinner at a local restaurant, so keep your eyes open for the next opportunity to get involved!

 

Company Culture – Why Is It Important?

18/04/13 8:00 am | Comments (0) | Posted By:

 

Would you normally wake up and want to go to work? Most people would probably answer NO to this question, especially during tax season.

Tax season is a stressful time for employees of CPA firms. Does it make a difference if there is a good company culture to help alleviate some of the stress? The workplace should not be something an employee dreads. While work may be difficult, the culture should not. On the contrary, a positive and fulfilling work culture should be designed to alleviate stress not increase it.

How do you create a positive and fulfilling company culture? The most important and first step in the process, starts by hiring people who fit your company’s goals and vision. Tony Hsieh, CEO of Zappos, one of the strongest advocates of company culture, states “when you hire people, they represent your company even outside of work, and if you have a positive opinion about this person most likely you’ll view their company in a positive light.”

It’s key to be flexible to change. These days employees are looking for more flexibility in the workplace than ever before. More companies are recognizing how important the work+life issue is for everyone, not just women and parents. Studies have shown that flexible schedules decreased employee “burn out” and have helped retain valuable employees that may otherwise leave.

Most importantly, build a culture where everyone is part of a team. This is a big one! If you feel valued and part of a team, you contribute to the overall success of the company. You may have a specific job function; however, you are joined with other members of the company to accomplish the overall goals of the company.

When you’re part of a company that has achieved a good culture, you may just wake up and answer that question, YES I do want to go to work!

 

It’s Tax Season – Be on the Lookout for “The Dirty Dozen”

04/04/13 12:06 pm | Comments (0) | Posted By:

 

As tax season begins to draw to an end, the Internal Revenue Service is issuing its annual “The Dirty Dozen” warning to consumers about fraud on and by taxpayers.
This year’s list is little changed from 2012, and is again headed up by identity theft. A growing problem every year worldwide, the IRS is stepping up its vigilance in this area, from establishing an Identity Protection Web Portal, and increased prosecution of offenders. Last year over $20 billion in fraudulent refunds were prevented, up from $14 billion in 2011.

Another scam is “phishing”, where taxpayers are sent fake e-mails asking them to provide the IRS with sensitive personal information such as social security numbers. A good rule of thumb to remember is that the IRS never will attempt to contact you by e-mail, text message or social media.

Tax fraud is not just committed by outsiders, however. Unscrupulous tax preparers are also lurking. The amount of fraud committed (or attempting to be committed) by taxpayers rises every year as well.

Beware of any tax preparer that offers to get you “free money” by claiming tax credits that you do not in reality qualify for. Some preparers have also been known to exaggerate wages or self-employment income to inflate refundable credits.

Taxpayers have also been known to try to avoid taxes with hiding income offshore. While offshore income was always reportable income, only in recent years did it come to light that many people were not in fact reporting it. In 2009 the IRS implemented an Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Program that to date has 38,000 participants. In 2012, the program was extended indefinitely. Penalties for not reporting this income can be steep.

So whether it’s a scam artist, an unscrupulous tax preparer or just you, remember that the IRS is watching out for you AND over you.

 

The CPA…Your Trusted Advisor…And Congressional Representative

28/03/13 10:29 am | Comments (0) | Posted By:

 

It is bewildering to witness the “goings-on” in Washington DC these days…partisan bickering, gridlock, inability to meet critical deadlines…the list goes on and on. It is definitely a time for a change. Sweeping change? Not highly likely, nor possible. But how about a slight change that is happening gradually as we speak. CPA’s are gaining a presence in Congress. After last November’s election, the CPA profession can claim to have twelve members roaming the halls of Congress. In the November 2012 election, our profession added two members to the House of Representatives, Tom Rice (R-South Carolina) and Patrick Murphy (D-Florida). They join eight Representatives who were re-elected to serve additional terms in their districts in Texas, Kansas, Mississippi, Minnesota, California and Ohio. In addition, there are two CPA’s serving terms in the Senate, Mike Enzi (R-Wyoming) and Ron Johnson (R-Wisconsin).

CPA’s are known for their ability to advocate for their clients, address difficult situations with solutions and compromise where needed with poise and dignity. These sound like traits that could be useful in Washington DC these days. Let us hope that our CPA Congressmen can brings those characteristics to the halls of Congress and infiltrate the toxic atmosphere that seems to reside on the Hill over the past few years.

Newly-elected Democratic Rep. Patrick Murphy displayed an act of bi-partisanship recently when preparing to attend the President’s State of the Union address in February. He chose to sit with his newly-elected Republican colleague and fellow CPA Rep Tom Rice during the President’s speech. Having run on a pledge of bi-partisanship, he felt it important to stay true to his word and reach out to his friends across the aisle for the occasion. Additionally, many of his first votes have been in support of Republican bills that have advanced important budgetary and fiscal measures while also supporting common-sense Democratic amendments to take a balanced, bi-partisan approach to deficit reduction that would protect seniors, veterans, troops, and middle class families from devastating cuts.

Let us all hope that CPA’s can help make a difference in Washington DC.

 

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