Our Blog

Don’t Fall Back—Use These Tips to Get Ahead Financially Before the Year Ends

With the official start of the fall season almost here, it’s the perfect time to get your finances in shape before year-end, so you’ll be well-prepared when 2015 begins.

Increase your retirement contributions. If you’re not already saving for retirement, start now! If you know you need to save more, up the contribution you are making to your...

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Re-energize Your Business by Getting into a Back-to-School Mindset

August 14, 2014

The back-to-school season is always an exciting time. You can feel it in the air…a time of new beginnings and opportunities. And while the kids are enjoying reconnecting with friends and teachers and the thrill of new school clothes, business owners can adopt their own form of back-to-school spirit to revitalize excitement around their business. Here are a few tips to help you get into...

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Delegation: The Ultimate Productivity Enhancer for Business Owners

July 31, 2014

As a business owner, one of the hardest—yet most beneficial skills to learn—is delegation. Many people who run businesses and have staff often find delegation of duties difficult for a number of reasons—two of the most common being a perceived lack of time (the “It’s faster to do it myself” excuse) or because they have a hard time letting go of their...

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Why “Set It and Forget It” is Not a Winning Website Strategy

July 15, 2014

So, you have a nice website for your business—you can check “web strategy” off the to-do list, right? Not so fast! While creating a website that is easy to navigate, visible to search engines, and true to your company’s brand is no small feat, it should be just the first step in your website strategy. To maximize your organization’s web presence, you can’t...

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Don’t Neglect Your Own Finances When Caring for Aging Relatives

July 1, 2014

As the number of seniors in the U.S. population continues to increase, so does the number of people taking care of an aging parent. In 2011, an estimated 10 million adult children over the age of 50 were caring for an aging parent. Having to take on this type of responsibility, especially during your prime earning years, can take a toll—not only emotionally and physically, but financially...

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Don’t Neglect Your Own Finances When Caring for Aging Relatives

Mark Clark

As the number of seniors in the U.S. population continues to increase, so does the number of people taking care of an aging parent. In 2011, an estimated 10 million adult children over the age of 50 were caring for an aging parent. Having to take on this type of responsibility, especially during your prime earning years, can take a toll—not only emotionally and physically, but...

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Is Your Company Ready to Take on the Telecommuting Trend?

June 16, 2014

Allowing employees to telecommute, also known as working remotely, is a major trend destined to reshape the way that companies recruit and manage employees in just about every industry. According to a 2013 survey conducted by the Society for Human Resource Management, more companies were planning to offer telecommuting in 2014 than any other new benefit. And, research by Global Workplace...

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Are Summer Vacations a Thing of the Past? Don’t Let It Hurt the Productivity of Your Business

May 29, 2014

While we’ve just celebrated the first official summer holiday weekend, studies show that almost 75 percent of employees do not take all of their allotted vacation time. In fact, many employees hesitate to take a break from work, and those that do often check in at least daily while on vacation, returning emails or taking calls. This may seem like true dedication to a job, but experts say...

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Employer-Owned Life Insurance Policy Holders—Take Note of this Potential Tax Implication

May 15, 2014

Many business owners are unaware of the Pension Protection Act passed in 2006 and its potentially costly tax implications for beneficiaries of employer-owned life insurance (EOLI) policies. This legislation enforces a tax rate of up to 50 percent on the death benefits of EOLI policies purchased after August 17, 2006. Normally, these benefits would be tax exempt—and they still can be if the...

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An Ounce of Prevention – Protect Yourself Against Identify Theft

May 1, 2014

According to the most recent U.S. Department of Justice data, approximately 7 percent of U.S. residents age 16 or older are victims of identity theft each year. While the overall percentage of Americans affected by identity theft has held steady since 2008, identity theft related to tax information is increasing rapidly. In fact, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) recently released statistics...

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Don’t Spend Your Tax Refund Unless You’ve Considered These Tips!

April 14, 2014

Hopefully you have already filed your tax return and are anticipating at least a modest refund. But, before you get too excited about splurging with your IRS check, stop for a moment and remember that you earned that money! While many people view a tax refund as ‘bonus’ cash—it isn’t. It is simply a return of the funds that you earned and paid as tax beyond what your actual obligation...

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Does Your Business Need a Post-Tax Season Tune-Up?

March 31, 2014

With the business tax return deadline behind us, this is an ideal time to think about giving your business a little post-tax season tune-up with the intention of making next tax year easier and improving your financial situation. Here are a few key areas to consider analyzing now that your business taxes are filed:

Day-to-day accounting. With the rush of preparing...

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The Child Tax Credit Can Give Parents Some Relief

March 17, 2014

There’s no disputing the fact that raising children today is a costly endeavor. However, the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012 (ATRA) has eased parents’ tax burden and put a few dollars back in their pockets with the Child Tax Credit, which ATRA made permanent. This tax credit can be worth as much as $1,000 per qualifying child depending upon a parent’s income.

Because it...

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Is the New Simplified Home Office Deduction Right For You?

March 4, 2014

A nice home office is often one of the biggest perks of being a freelancer, and it can also provide you with a significant tax deduction if you qualify for it. Up until this tax year, the calculations needed to claim the home office deduction were complex and required meticulous record keeping and a separate form (Form 8829). However, starting with your 2013 tax return, the IRS has introduced...

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Take Advantage of the Invaluable Learning Opportunity Your Tax Return Provides

February 14, 2014

With tax season in full swing, you are likely busy compiling all of your tax documents and expense receipts to support the preparation of your return. When you think about it, there is a lot you can learn from preparing to file your tax return. It provides the perfect snapshot of where you stand financially, which can offer important insights into your money management habits. While there are...

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Business Owners, Be IRS Audit Savvy this Tax Season

February 1, 2014

With tax season here, you might be wondering just how likely you are to hear from the IRS after you file by means of an audit notice. While the chances you will be audited are relatively low if you file a straightforward personal tax return, the more complex your tax situation becomes (reporting business income or graduating to a high-income tax bracket, for example), the more likely it is...

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Does Your Business Need to File 1099s? The Initial Deadline of January 31 is Fast Approaching!

January 17, 2014

If your business spends $600 or more for services from another business or an individual contractor during the tax year, you may have to report the amount on a Form 1099. The requirement to file 1099s applies to all types of businesses, C-Corporations, S-Corporations, LLCs, all partnerships, and sole proprietorships. Forms 1099 are normally issued to unincorporated...

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This Tax Year Includes a Baker’s Dozen of Changes to Digest

January 3, 2014

Happy New Year! Now that the holidays are over, it’s time to get serious about reviewing where you stand from a tax perspective. As you may recall, in 2013 Congress and President Obama made a budget deal to avoid the fiscal cliff which resulted in seven tax increases. In addition to these increases, the introduction of the Affordable Care Act (also known as Obamacare) also included six...

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IRS Eases the “Use-it-or-Lose-it” Rule for Flexible Spending Plans

December 17, 2013

With the end of the year on the horizon, many individuals with flexible spending accounts (FSAs) are scurrying to spend residual funds to avoid “losing” them, in accordance with IRS regulations. However, the regulations have now changed with the IRS easing the “use-it-or-lose-it” rule for health flexible spending plans. Individuals with FSAs can now carry over a maximum of $500 to...

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Should You Apply for Social Security When You Apply for Medicare?

November 27, 2013

If you’re nearing the customary retirement age of 65, you may be considering when to apply for Medicare and Social Security benefits. This is an important decision that can have significant impact on your financial situation down the road, so it is important to understand how these benefit programs work. In particular, if you are not planning to retire at the full retirement age (FRA) of 65...

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Don’t Let the Delayed Tax Season Stop You from Being Prepared

November 14, 2013

The IRS recently announced that, for the second year in a row, it will delay the start of tax season. However, the April 15 filing deadline, which is set by statute, remains in place. Last year it was the fiscal cliff negotiations that pushed back the start of the tax filing period. This year, of course, it is the 16-day government shutdown that put the IRS approximately one to two weeks...

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LLC Owners and Participants: Be Aware of IRS PAL Regulations

October 30, 2013

If you own a Limited Liability Company (LLC) that you are not actively managing, but you claim tax deductions, this blog post will be of interest to you. Close to 30 years ago, the IRS passive activity loss (PAL) rules (I.R.C. Section 469) were enacted to limit the degree to which money-losing LLCs could be used as tax shelters by their owners claiming losses—such as depreciation, interest,...

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You Get What You Give: Tips for Motivating Your Employees Through the Holidays

October 17, 2013

Halloween is just around the corner and in a few short weeks the calendar will flip to November 1—the unofficial beginning to the winter holiday season that can seriously reduce employee productivity. After all, who has time to put in a solid eight hours a day at the office when there is seasonal shopping, schmoozing, and socializing to be done?

Many business owners have a...

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The Medicare D Notification Deadline is Oct. 15 for Employers Providing Prescription Drug Coverage

October 4, 2013

Employers providing healthcare insurance that includes prescription drug benefits are required to notify Medicare-eligible employees by October 15 of each year whether their drug benefit is "creditable coverage," meaning that it is expected to cover, on average, as much as the standard Medicare Part D prescription drug plan.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS)...

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Get a Head Start on Tax Season in Four Simple Steps

September 30, 2013

While the end of the year may seem like it’s a long time from now, it’s only three short months away. When you factor in the hectic weeks of the coming holiday season, that really only leaves a few weeks to pull your tax information together to avoid the stress that being unprepared for tax season can bring.

Now is the time to think about what information you will need for the...

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Employers Must Provide Notification of Health Insurance Options to Employees by October 1, 2013

September 13, 2013

The opening of the government’s Health Insurance Marketplace (HIM) on October 1 is fast approaching and with it comes a new requirement to Section 18B of the Fair Labor Standards Act that all businesses should be aware of. By October 1, 2013 employers must provide written notices about health insurance options, including notification of the new health insurance marketplace, to their...

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College Tuition and Taxation 101

September 4, 2013

The beginning of September is synonymous with the back-to-school season. If you have a child attending college, or if you are a student yourself, September is also likely to be synonymous with the beginning of annual tuition payments. While attending and paying for college may be taxing in many ways, there is some good news when it comes to tax deductions and credits related to college...

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Employee Theft: 4 Tips for Protecting Your Business

August 16, 2013

Given the tough economy over the past few years, it has been particularly difficult for business owners and the individuals they employee to thrive financially. Couple the poor economic climate with the fact that many businesses, especially small ones, have few controls in place to prevent employee theft and you get statistics like these reported by the National Federation of Independent...

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Stress Reduction For The Business Owner Through Better Time Management

June 18, 2013

Any fool can see there's a huge difference between activity and progress -- just walk into a typical Burger King at lunchtime to see what I mean.
So consider this: How much time do you (and your staff) waste in meetings?
A recent survey of Fortune 500...

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Trusted Somerset Area Small Business Advisor Weighs In On The Clamor To Lower Prices

December 11, 2012

I'm still digesting holiday cookies this morning, you? Sometimes I wonder if all of the sweets which go around this time of year are a mass conspiracy established for the continued financial health of the health care and fitness industries.

Or, it could just be that we all like to eat those things.

But...



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A Somerset Area Accountant Discusses Bad Business Debt

December 4, 2012

We got a bunch of response to last week's posting, re: how a Somerset Area small business should best plan for 2013, both from a tax and business perspective ... and things around our little Somerset Area small business accountant office are certainly heating up -- and tax season hasn't even yet begun.

...

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A Somerset Small Business Accountant Suggests You Take A New Look at Your Business in 2013

November 27, 2012

Scattershooting through my Somerset Area tax service office tasks today, still digesting all of that turkey -- and preparing for what will prove to be one of the busiest tax seasons in recent memory, around here.

That's not just because of the word-of-mouth growing around our business here at Team Clark -- for...

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Thank You

November 20, 2012

It's a slow week around here in Clark World and in our Somerset Area small business accountant office. And I have some thoughts, which are perhaps a bit more meditative than normal because of how this holiday works for tax and accounting professionals.

The December holidays are wonderful of course, but they are a...

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A Question From Your Friendly Expert Small Business Accountant: What Business Are You Actually In?

November 13, 2012

Here we are after the election, with the status quo being upheld. Billions were spent (probably making some "consultants" do quite well in the process), and we were all very distractedhere in Somerset Area ... but not much has changed, even for our tax accounting office. Many are happy about it, an ever-so-slight number less...

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Your Somerset Area Small Business Accountant Explains: Networking Done Right

November 6, 2012

First, a bit of a warning for you:

You wonder why I have nothing to say about the election results? Well, the reason is this: I write these blogposts on Monday. Yes, on weeks such as this, it's quite inconvenient, and even makes me look a little bad -- but I also must say that I would make...

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Your Very Own Local Business Accounting Expert, On Truly Identifying Your Targets

October 30, 2012

Autumn is in full swing now, and it's truly feeling and looking like it here in Somerset Area.

Which makes it the ideal time to liven up your business by taking a "cold" look at how you're actually finding new customers.

I've been burned a few times by not following the advice which I've put together...



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Somerset Area's Own Small Business Accounting Expert Explains More Non-Panicky Cost-Cutting Strategies, Part Deux

October 23, 2012

I've received nice feedback from last week's note about simple and overlooked ways any small business can cut some costs, at least temporarily.

It can be lonely as a business owner, whether here in Somerset Area or beyond, and I'm continually grateful for the coaches and mentors in *my* business. So I'm just glad I...

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Your Somerset Area Small Business Accountant Explains Non-Panicky Cost-Cutting (Part 1 of 2)

October 16, 2012

The government figures are still telling us that we are in a recovery. The recently-released unemployment figures (where it officially went down to 7.8%) have caused great controversy, however -- mostly for the reason that the economy doesn't seem like it's recovering. And that's true, here in Somerset Area, at least...

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A Non-Marketer (and Somerset Area Small Business Accountant)'s Guide To PPC Marketing

October 9, 2012

We're thick in the middle of doing extension work for our Somerset Area clients (and beyond, of course), but I wanted to get this out to you -- because my small business accounting clients are extremely important to me (for obvious reasons -- we wouldn't be here without you!) ... and this information is something which I simply...

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Newsflash From Your Somerset Area Small Business Accountant: Your Business Isn't a Charity!

October 2, 2012

Unemployment holds steady above 8%, mostly on the rise of "discouraged workers" -- i.e. those who gave up looking for jobs. Even here, leading up to the election, there's little that the government can do to massage those numbers. And as a small business accountant here in Somerset Area -- I've had to massage some numbers...

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A Sensible Formula For Calculating Your Value, From Your Somerset Area Business Accounting Expert

September 24, 2012

Have you ever actually calculated how much your time is worth? Well, leave it to a qualified Somerset Area-area small business accountant like yours truly, to provide you with a handy formula for doing just that! This is an eye-opening exercise...it can help you in guiding almost every kind of decision you make as a business...

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Applying My Accounting Strategy To Your Somerset Area Business: Results-Based Marketing

September 18, 2012

Do you, like me, sometimes get a little bit tired of the empty platitudes from experts weighing in on how you should make a goal for this, or that, etc., etc., ad nauseum. You wouldn't believe how many articles I see, in the course of my work as your trusted Somerset Area small business accountant, which spout all kinds of this...

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Somerset Small Business Accountant Asks: Is THIS the Best Marketing Tool Out There?

September 11, 2012

I'd like to start today's Note by admitting from the get-go that I'm somewhat biased about this, since I employ it here at Somerset Area's best accounting service ;).

And there are so MANY different ways to get your message out there, it's dizzying.

But this one is truly the best. And even nerdy tax...



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A Perspective from a Somerset Accounting Service About Who Your Competition Is – Really

September 4, 2012

Yes, it was a long weekend for most of the wage-earners among us, but we Somerset Area-area business owners have a tough time with the concept of "federal holidays". I know that, as your friendly Somerset Area accounting service provider, I was working, getting ready for tax season and some of the new requirements which the IRS...

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A Somerset Area Small Business Accountant Thinks This Might Take Some Guts

August 28, 2012

This economy still seems to have some businesses running scared (yes, here in Somerset Area) -- and, in this tax professional's opinion, owners and marketers are grasping at the wrong straws.

I wrote last week about the real way to connect in the midst of seeming negative noise (well, I pulled it from my archives,...

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Back to School

August 21, 2012

Can you believe that the school season is already starting in some areas? This summer has absolutely FLOWN by, here in Somerset Area -- and we're eagerly eyeing the resolution of the upcoming elections, and Congressional action on a whole slew of tax-related items.

Because if they don't do...

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Somerset Area Accountant Cautions How to Avoid Letting the Easiest Sales Slip Right Through Your Business' Fingers

August 13, 2012

It's the dog days of summer, and the Olympics are now behind us. Sports fans have the football season to look forward to, of course, and we politics-watchers are being "treated" to quite an election season, here in Somerset Area, and across the country.

With the selection of Paul Ryan as Romney's running mate, it...

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Somerset Area Accountant Explains A Quick (and Easy) Revenue Booster Strategy for Local Businesses

August 7, 2012

I'm sure that you, like me, have been watching the Olympics. So many life and business lessons playing out right now in London, applicable to us as Somerset Area-area business owners.

Firstly, I was amazed at how quickly they were able to transform the arena at the Opening Ceremonies, from one section of the show...

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Somerset Area Small Business Accountant Laments Misplaced Academic Groupthink

July 31, 2012

I don't know about you, but here at Team Clark, we vastly prefer to find effective, under-the-radar growth tactics (which have a proven track record), and use those. That's how we approach tax work, other accounting work, and running our Somerset Area tax accounting offices -- and frankly, I've learned not to...

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Somerset Small Business Accountant Shows How Fastidiousness Can Work

July 24, 2012

I'm not sure what a Somerset Area small business accountant could thoughtfully add to the commentary surrounding the atrocity which happened in Aurora. I'm glad to see that the media types are groping around for how to handle all of it with class (i.e., not using the psychopath's name, *trying* not to politicize it, etc.).

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Somerset-area Small Business Accountant Provides Some Profitable, Specific Ideas for Direct Mail

July 17, 2012

I wrote last week about direct mail, and after posting it, I realized I didn't quite give you actionable ideas for what to *do* with that direct mail.

So, this week's Strategy note is a simple strategy for it, and to keep your best customers coming throughout the year -- even during the dog days of summer here in...

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Somerset-area Small Business Accountant Reveals How Not To Get Burned By Direct Mail

July 9, 2012

Last week, I posted some information about Obamacare (aka "ACA"), and how it affects business owners. Well ... there's more to come for small businesses here in Somerset Area -- and as local accountant, it's my job to warn you.

I may not have made this as clear as I possibly could have -- but there is a...

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Your Friendly Somerset Area Accountant Explains: Dealing With Client Disaster

July 3, 2012

Yikes! What a week and weekend. Natural disasters, Obamacare ... there is almost too much to write about, even for a redoubtable Somerset Area tax professional like myself. (And by the way, the subject line relates to my main article below ... not to you!)

But before I get to what I want to discuss, I...

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Your Somerset Area Accountant Digs Into Your Customers' Behavior

June 14, 2012

The Dow turned negative (for the year) for the first time last Friday. The European Monetary Union is rapidly turning into a circular firing squad. Hopefully, you've insulated yourself from the gloom which seems to be setting in to the national conversation. (Even in our Somerset Area accounting business, I have to push my staff to keep their heads out of this stuff!) Right? (I did write...

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Your Somerset Area Accountant Reminds You Of An Easy Group To Go Back To -- If You Can Stomach It

June 14, 2012

How was your long weekend? Did you even take one? (Many Somerset Area-area business owners can't -- or don't.) Burgers, pools, picnics -- set against the solemn backdrop of remembrance for the sacrifice of so many thousands who have laid down their lives so we can have those freedoms. However, when you talk to veterans (as I get the chance to do in the course of our tax preparation ...

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A Somerset Area Small Business Accountant Wonders: Are You Set Up To Fail?

June 14, 2012

When a company like Facebook falls on its face with their IPO, it can have a tendency to cast a bit of a gloom over the marketplace (even here in Somerset Area). And then, of course, we have the Eurozone falling apart with what looks like a run on banks in Greece, and Spain seeming as if it may not be very far behind. But again -- may I remind you that participation in this gloom is...

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Somerset Accountant asks: 'What Are Your Expectations For Our Relationship?'

June 14, 2012

One of the great tasks of a business owner, as I see it from my perch as a Somerset-area accountant who deals with many local business owners, is to be the one who sets a direction for the communication of your business' message. It's become quite a task with so many consumers and clients having their own "bullhorn" (if you will) on social media, blogs, etc. Achieving CLARITY in...

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“It May Be More Than a Recession ...” Says Somerset Accountant

June 14, 2012

Not a great media backdrop for the President's campaign launch last week -- we have the new jobs numbers. Interestingly, the "official" unemployment rate went down to 8.1%, but even more interestingly, the media (for once) acknowledges the hidden stories behind these numbers. Specifically, that the vast majority of this drop can be explained by huge numbers of former job-seekers...

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Somerset Accountant Says: “No, Thanks”

June 14, 2012

In my business doing accounting for small businesses here in the Somerset Area area, I’ve recently realized there are parts of it in which it's critical to be a naysayer. We had some things happen during tax season in which I had to use this muscle -- and I'm glad I did. Our results (which we don't just measure by "sales" figures, but also by accuracy, savings amounts on behalf of...

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Buzz Around Your Business “ Says Somerset Accountant

April 24, 2012

I think this week's blogpost can really help every one of my business owner clients and contacts, both here in the Somerset Area area, and beyond. I'm excited for you to read it -- because it's not something which most think through, when it comes to building momentum around their own client experience. But as I write, it's the day before tax day (which is Tuesday the 17th), and we...

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Somerset Accountant Says: “Don't Just Be a Provider”

April 24, 2012

Yes, this is the last week of tax season (though, as you should know, the deadline is actually Tuesday, the 17th) -- so why am I taking this time to write to you about your marketing and business strategy? Simple -- I've taken what I'm about to write to you to heart. After all, as my clients (both here in Somerset Area and beyond) should know by now, I'm not a normal accountant! Running...

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Good News and Bad News From Somerset Accountant

April 24, 2012

As usual, I'm taking a Monday here in Somerset Area to write to you about ways to grow your business. Yes, we're in the middle of our final crunch during tax season, but it's NOW that I wanted to continue to provide this information to you, so that you know how important your success really is to me. As you've probably gathered, I'm not a "normal" accountant, because one of my great...

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Somerset Accountant Is ”Buried Under Paperwork”

April 24, 2012

I find it amazing how quickly people get lost in the details of the day-to-day operations of their Somerset Area small businesses and lose sight of what's most important. And this is not just about your staff or team members ... this is for principals and business owners, too!How do I know this? Well, here at Team Mark, we're looking at about 20 days left during our most intense time of...

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“Time To Switch Entities” Says Somerset Accountant

April 24, 2012

Last week was deadline week for corporations, and as my Somerset Area small business accounting staff and I were slogging through these corporate returns, I knew that this morning I would be writing to you about this topic.A Somerset Area Small Business Accountant Asks: Is It Time To Explore A New Business Structure?Many Somerset Area business owners are currently asking me the question, which I...

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Somerset Accountant: You Might Need To See This Again”

April 24, 2012

I mentioned this last week, but as I write this (Monday morning), we're working HARD to get our corporate status clients here in Somerset Area completed by the deadline on March 15th. We've been prepared for this though, so fortunately, our scrambling is de minimus. Now, moving on ... I've realized that I'm going through a little de-facto series on sales in these Notes recently, so I decided to...

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Somerset Accounant On:

April 24, 2012

Firstly -- a quick reminder for those of you working under a corporate status: we gotta file those returns for you by March 15th -- so help us help you! Send us anything we've been asking for ... today? :) Secondly, I've received some questions from local small business owner clients here in the Somerset Area area about why a tax professional would write so much about sales and marketing, when...

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Morally-Obliged To Sell? Somerset Accountant Asks

April 24, 2012

So, even though we're knee-deep in tax season here in Somerset Area, I still like to keep my saw sharp. Which is why, as I work through certain tasks, I like to listen to business teleconferences and audios as I do it. And I was on a teleconference recently, and the presenter was speaking about marketing and sales. There was a ton of great content, and I was thinking that I'd like to learn...

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Can You Raise Your Prices? Somerset Accountant Asks

April 24, 2012

I take a look around the Somerset Area-area small business world sometimes, and I get a little sad. Because it's heartbreaking to watch so many small businesses go out of business or not bring home enough bacon simply because they get trapped into thinking about their pricing in the wrong way. When you differentiate yourself based on price, you simply cannot provide value. You end up competing...

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Somerset Accountant On: A Smart Collections Strategy For Your Business

April 24, 2012

How are things going for you? Is there something we can do to help your business fight off the February doldrums? Do let me know. One nice way to fight them off is to get an infusion of cash. But too many businesses rely on poorly-conceived collections practices, and end up with having to jeopardize relationships in order to actually be paid for their work. Well, even though we're pretty busy...

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Somerset Accountant On: Two Smart Businesses I Thought You Should Examine

April 24, 2012

Now that we're in February, how are you doing with those resolutions and goals you set a couple weeks back? Well, I'm right there with you -- this week, I'm re-committing to some of the actions I need to take to get back to where I planned to be!One of the things I wanted to do was pay closer attention to well-run companies. There's that old saw: "Don't work hard, work smart!" To me, working...

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Seriously Crazy Clients

April 24, 2012

"If you can learn from hard knocks, you can also learn from soft touches." -Carolyn Kenmore "The customer is always right" ... right? Well, what happens when your customer is stone cold, Jack-Nicholson-in-the-sanitarium CRAZY? I wrote a couple weeks ago about when customers are difficult, but this is a whole different animal. I'll address it in a moment, but before I do, a couple quick tax...

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What Is Your Business Worth? Somerset Accountant Asks

April 24, 2012

"Never underestimate the power of passion." - Eve Sawyer I've heard from many of my contacts over these last few months, thanking me for the notes, sending thoughts and questions--and letting me know that they've sent their friends to see us for their business and family tax needs.THANK YOU! As you probably have gathered, I write you these weekly notes because I sincerely desire to offer my...

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Did You Know About This? Somerset Accountant Asks

April 24, 2012

"I have learned that success is to be measured not so much by the position that one has reached in life as by the obstacles which he has overcome while trying to succeed." - Booker T. Washington This one slid under the radar. Many business owners who accept credit card payments are about to get a mysterious form in the mail over the next few weeks. It's called the "1099-K" and it looks like...

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Somerset Accountant Asks: May I Remind You About The Experts?

April 24, 2012

"There is no such thing as a long piece of work, except one that you dare not start." -Charles Baudelaire Well, now that the first week of 2012 is behind us, how are you progressing with your business goals? Too early to tell, perhaps? Obviously, the first part of the calendar year is a very common time to be setting goals, attaching specific action steps, etc.But my question: How can we serve...

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Beginning Your 2012 With A Mindset Shift

April 24, 2012

"Most of the stress people experience comes from inappropriately managed commitments they make or accept." - David AllenAre you "resolution-ed out"? Jimminy Cricket! I've received so many emails about New Year's Resolutions, that I hereby resolve to ignore other people's resolutions!But that doesn't mean that it's not a good idea to make a shift. In fact, now's as good a time as any -- probably...

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Somerset Accountant: Ending The Year With Wisdom

April 24, 2012

"It's the little things you do that make the big things happen." - Mike Dooley I hope you're recovering from all that rest over the weekend! Well, last week, I sent you a series of blunders made by business owners -- well, I'm back at it, but this time with a series of WISE moves you can make this week which will prove to return a true ROI. You see, I just finished polishing off a missive to...

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Ending The Year With Blunders

April 24, 2012

"A daily routine built on good habits and disciplines separates the most successful among us from everyone else. The routine is exceptionally powerful." -Darren Hardy I know it's holiday week, but unlike employees, I know that business owners are constantly looking to "sharpen their saw", and you're probably working this week--like me. So, like the people who work for me, I WILL be taking...

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Somerset Accountant On: Handling Crazy Customers

April 24, 2012

"Winners take imperfect action while losers are still perfecting the plan." -Tony Robbins There's this new book from Richard Paul Evans (he of The Christmas Box fame), called Lost December and it's a re-telling of the story of the prodigal son. [By the way, did you know that "prodigal" is usually misunderstood to mean "lost", when it actually means "wastefully extravagant"?] It's a...

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Somerset Accountant Asks About: Marketing On A Shoestring?

April 24, 2012

"People will try to rain on your parade because they have no parade of their own." - Jeffrey Gitomer First of all, if you have NOT contacted us about your year-end moves for your business tax situation, it's likely that you will be leaving some savings on the table. That's fine if you choose to do so, but if you'd prefer to explore your tax planning options while you still can, call us at...

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Don't Be a Bank (Unless You Are)

April 24, 2012

"The sweetest two words are 'next time.' The sourest word is 'if.'" -Chi Chi Rodriguez How are the holidays going for you so far? Drop me a note, and let me know if I can help you in any way. Apparently, sales from Black Friday were up a whopping 16% from last year, which, as I write this on Monday morning, is driving the stock markets  way up. Of course, this may not quite be the...

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Is This Too Crazy For The Often-Stuffy B2B World?

April 24, 2012

"Just as appetite comes by eating, so work brings inspiration, if inspiration is not discernible at the beginning." -Igor Stravinsky First off, I hope you've had the chance to respond to last week's email with questions about your business taxes -- and thanks to the many who took the time to help US help YOU before tax season strikes. (If you would like another copy of the email, let me know,...

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Questions Which Might Affect Your Business' 2011 Tax Bill

April 24, 2012

"Let me tell you the secret that has led me to my goal. My strength lies solely in my tenacity." -Louis Pasteur I hope you took my advice from last week to heart, and you're preparing for a holiday sales surge. Now, let's talk about what to do with all your revenue from this year, shall we? You see, I'm doing something a little different here this week. As you know, I love to write about...

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Somerset Accountant Alerts: Time To Prepare Those Holiday Offers

April 24, 2012

"Before you can learn a new way of doing things, you have to unlearn the old way. So beginnings depend on endings." - Rick Maurer Can you believe that November is already here? Yikes. Well, I'm touching base again with my referral partners, business owner clients and friends with some friendly advice about growing your business in this environment. Because believe it or not -- November means...

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Somerset Accountant Explains: Your Business Taxes

April 24, 2012

"As you slide down the banister of life, may the splinters never point in the wrong direction." - Irish blessing I often write about marketing, sales and management strategies when I reach out to my business clients and contacts. That's because the simple fact is that most of them prefer that "we handle it all for them" when it comes to books and taxes. So, we do what we can to push you in a...

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Somerset Accountant Reports On: Remember the Purpose of the Task

April 24, 2012

"I've always believed no matter how many shots I miss, I'm going to make the next one."  - Jonathan Swift With just about two months left in 2011, I want to start by reminding you that if you haven't yet made plans to finalize your capital purchasing for this year, some big Section 179 deductions will be phased out in 2012, and it's a good idea to make plans to purchase necessary equipment...

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Somerset Tax Professional Explores: The Loneliest Road

April 24, 2012

"Failing to plan is planning to fail." - Effie Jones Maybe that old quote above wasn't *really* by the civil rights leader, Effie Jones, but hey -- Google says it's true. And today -- as I write, it's October 17th -- we're knee-deep in extension paperwork (the deadline is today). But that doesn't mean I won't take the time to whip something together for you, and my business owner clients and...

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Somerset Accountant Defines: Marketing Narcissism

April 24, 2012

"I think if you do something and it turns out pretty good, then you should go do something else wonderful, not dwell on it for too long. Just figure out what's next." - Steve Jobs (1955-2011) I suppose Mr. Jobs has moved on to his next wonderful project. I do hope that he is at peace there. The business world has lost a great innovator and leader, and we're all the poorer for it. Speaking of...

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Somerset Accountant Reports On: I'm Trying to Do This Myself

April 24, 2012

"The men who succeed are the efficient few. They are the few who have the ambition and will power to develop themselves." - Robert Burton Now that I've written about how NOT to "get your name out there" (see the last few weeks), I thought I'd at least take this week to talk about how I've seen some of my business clients do well in getting welcomed in by prospects. Would love your...

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Somerset Accountant Advises: Don't Get Your Name Out There

April 24, 2012

"If what you did yesterday seems big, you haven't done anything today." - Lou Holtz Last week, I sent you this quiz, and in case you didn't see it ... take another look:How many "Yeses" can you answer? 1) I have a financial statement for my business that is no more than 30 days old. 2) I reviewed my financial statement with my bookkeeper or accountant within the last month to pinpoint the...

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Somerset Accountant Asks: How's Your Accounting System?

April 24, 2012

"Any man can win when things go his way; it's the man who overcomes adversity that is the true champion." - Jock Ewing There's a coming tax cliff in 2013, and it's scary for business owners. (Here's the WSJ article about it: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424053111904353504576567460396287134.html ) It's a very good idea to ensure that you have a PLAN moving forward to deal with these...

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Don't Just Dial for Dollars

April 24, 2012

"There is nothing like a challenge to bring out the best in man." - Sean ConneryIt seems like this continued recession has some of my business clients grasping at straws, when it comes to sales."If I can just get in front of even MORE people today, then maybe the fact that it's costing me so much to do so will go away."Er ... no. Throwing gasoline on a bad sales process just makes it, well,...

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Somerset Accountant Reports On: Making Your Ad Reps Sweat a Little

April 24, 2012

"You must accept that you might fail; then, if you do your best and still don't win, at least you can be satisfied that you've tried. If you don't accept failure as a possibility, you don't set high goals, you don't branch out, you don't try - you don't take the risk."  - Rosalynn Carter Labor Day weekend is past...but no rest for the business owner, right? Sure...you may have taken some...

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Can Sales Be ... Ethical?

April 24, 2012

"People often say that motivation doesn't last. Well, neither does bathing -- that's why we recommend it daily."  - Zig Ziglar Last week I wrote about sales scripts to my business clients and friends, and I got a few questions: "Mark, is that really an ethical way to pursue sales?" Yes, I know that attaching an "automated" process to your marketing can feel a little ... icky. It all...

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Somerset CPA Reveals: How to Refresh Your Approach to Prospects

April 24, 2012

"A slender acquaintance with the world must convince every man that actions, not words, are the true criterion for the attachment of friends." - George Washington How's business? Is there anything we can do to help you this week? I hope you realize--we *exist* to help YOUR business thrive in the midst of this environment. That's why we invest in so many layers of verification and analysis for...

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About Your Team

April 24, 2012

"Great achievement is usually born of great sacrifice, and is never the result of selfishness." - Napoleon Hill I've come to realize that WE are our own worst enemy, when it comes to running our businesses ... not external factors, not market forces. It comes down to looking in the mirror, and taking responsibility for the results we're currently experiencing. So, if things are down right now:...

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Will Your Business Get Downgraded Too?

April 24, 2012

"You have to decide if you're going to wilt like a daisy or if you're just going to go forward and live the life that you've been granted." - Kevin CostnerWhat a messy weekend. Heartbreaking news from Afghanistan, the S&P downgrade --  and now all of the resultant (and gruesomely predictable) political posturing. Oh, and as I write this, it's no surprise that the stock market is...

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John Paul Getty

April 24, 2012

"When a resolute young fellow steps up to the great bully, the world, and takes him boldly by the beard, he is often surprised to find it comes off in his hand, and that it was only tied on to scare away the timid adventurers." - Ralph Waldo Emerson Time to put the coach hat back on. Now that that congressional debt deal debacle seems to be behind us, let's lift our vision together shall...

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Our New Website!

April 24, 2012

We are excited to announce the recent launch of our firm's new website! We've been working very hard to enhance our site and give our firm a major facelift. We've also continued to research and identify the latest and greatest technologies to improve the services we provide and ensure we continue to meet your needs.Take a moment to look around our new website and review some of our advanced...

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