Posted In:Business and Finance Archives - Pligg

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Why Should Your Business Use Paperless Payroll?

September 22, 2017 - By 
paperless payroll

Are you trying to make your workplace more convenient?

If that’s the case, you might want to consider paperless payroll management. Thanks to cloud computing, businesses can manage payroll processing through web-based solutions.

Why are more businesses turning to a paperless payroll system? It can help save time, money, and even the environment. These systems can also be handled internally — eliminating the hassle of dealing with a third party’s convoluted process.

Are you considering making the switch to a paperless office? Read on to discover why your business should consider making the payroll switch.

Paper Costs

A web-based payroll solution might sound expensive. But rising paper costs have made paperless payroll a cost-effective option for businesses.

Paper costs have been on the rise thanks to increased supplier costs. These increased costs have had a domino effect on prices on everything from shipping to packaging.

The web’s accessibility makes these costs unnecessary to businesses. Paperless systems can eliminate the need for paper involved in checks, tax forms, government documents, and mailing documents.

Eco-Friendly

You’re not just helping your business when you switch to a paperless solution. You’re also helping the environment.

The average person in the United States uses more than 700 pounds of paper every year and paper use contributed to over 26 million tons of landfill waste in 2009.

Consider a large number of businesses still using paper systems. The employee paper usage adds up when you consider each individual pay stub and W-2 forms. Eliminating these paper documents could help to cut down on millions of tons of paper waste.

Convenience

Moving towards a new payroll system might sound like a tedious process. But it can save you a large chunk of time in the long run.

Paperless payroll offers unparalleled convenience for businesses. For one, employees have a central portal where they can access all of their payroll records and documents.

Online pay stubs have a number of convenient benefits. Employees no longer have to worry about losing their records, dealing with bank deposits, or picking up their paper checks.

Employees can also take advantage of a paystub generator. By simpling entering their salary information and company name, the generator will provide them with a snapshot of their payment history. This can be extremely useful for tax information, proof of income, and even salary breakdowns.

Mobile

Thanks to smartphones, it’s easy to access a wealth of information from the palm of your hand. Payroll systems are no different.

Employees can use their paperless system to access their paychecks directly via their smartphone. This allows them to access paperless stubs and deposit their checks at any time.

This helps to make sure payroll is always processed on time. Mobile continues to dominate the modern landscape and will only play a bigger role in payroll systems moving forward.

Your Paperless Payroll

Are you interested in moving your payroll system to a paperless platform? Doing so can make your modern workplace more convenient, cost-effective, and environmentally friendly.

Payroll is just the start. There are a number of other digital programs available that can help change your business. Read our blog about how digital downloads can help your company today.


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5 Reasons Why Your Business Needs an Online Booking System

September 12, 2017 - By 
online booking

With so many businesses moving towards virtual bookings, it’s critical for every business to consider this option.

After all, a whopping 57% of all travel bookings are made online.

Online booking offers tremendous benefits for both you and your customers, and we’re here to show you exactly why you don’t want to miss out on this phenomenon.

Let’s get into it!

24/7 Accessibility

Let’s be honest. The standard 9-5 Monday-Friday hours don’t cut it for everyone. In today’s fast-paced 24/7 society, people want unlimited availability. They don’t want to have to wait until the office is opened or a live human can answer the phone.

They don’t want to wait until the office is open or a live human can answer the phone to make an appointment.

Online booking works when you don’t. That means if someone decides she wants a haircut at midnight, she has the freedom to book her service. No midnight calls for you. No inconvenience to her.

Good Customer Service

Customers like options. Some will prefer booking appointments in-person or over the phone. However, some will undoubtedly love the option of doing it online.

Having options for everyone is the key to solid customer service. This keeps your business reputable and in good standing. After all, nothing is worse than mixing up appointment times or “forgetting a service.”

The technology of these programs takes care of that. You’re only responsible for providing your excellent service or product!

Online Booking Minimizes Workload

One of the best elements of professional online booking sites, such www.medicalspasoftware.com, is that they remove additional scheduling and planning work from you. These services provide automatic scheduling, checking availability, and sending out the necessary forms and emails. They work to notify both you and your customers of their upcoming appointments.

They work to notify both you and your customers of their upcoming appointments. Everyone is on the same page, which is essential for a successful business.

As humans, we’re prone to make mistakes. The online booking process streamlines these errors and reduces them from happening altogether.

Up Selling

Adding on extras is a great way to earn additional income for your company. Sometimes, it’s awkward to do it in-person. And, sometimes, you may train staff to do it- but you won’t know for sure if it’s getting done.

Fortunately, most programs have options where you can automatically set up the system to ask your customers if they want to add on an additional service or product.

They have the freedom to decide without feeling any sales pressure.

Online Payments and Renewal

Automatic payment systems are easy for both you and your customers.

Because most online booking sites take all major payment forms, this reaches the majority of your target population.

Final Thoughts

As top business technology solutions continue to evolve, it’s important to stay aware of trends and provide customers with what they need.

As you are on your journey towards building an online empire, remember that these booking options provide comprehensive services to both you and your customers. Win-win!


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Safety in the Workplace in a Digital Age

September 6, 2017 - By 
safety in the workplace

Are you one of the many Americans who work on a computer all day?

Or is your factory constantly being inundated with the latest technology?

There’s no way around it. Technology is creeping its way into all aspects of our lives.

It’s not only changing the way we work, but also the way we view safety in the workplace.

We must acknowledge how technology is affecting our safety both positively and negatively, and how we can work with it to improve our lives.

How Technology is Affecting Safety in the Workplace for Office Workers

Advances in technology are changing the safety of offices around the world.

With advanced security systems, businesses can reliably lock down their assets when they close for the night. Cyber security systems help businesses secure their intangible assets like computer files and data.

High-tech cameras positioned around workplaces can detect intruders and potential threats before they even enter the building.

Technology has given us high-tech metal detectors that can find weapons that anyone is trying to bring into the workplace.

How Technology is Affecting Industrial Job Safety

Another way technology is making workplaces safer is through improved PPE, or personal protective equipment.

Safety goggles, hard hats, and other forms of PPE are becoming more advanced and user-friendly thanks to technological improvements.

The Negative Effects of Technology in the Work Place

Of course, as with all good things, there are some negative side effects.

Technology has transitioned the work force away from more physical jobs to sedentary ones in front of a computer.

While sitting indoors at a desk may seem safer than doing physical work outside, it doesn’t end up that way as humans weren’t made to sit down for 8 hours a day.

Many American’s spend 40 hours a week sitting at a desk in front of a computer.

This sedentary lifestyle can lead to a slew of negative side effects such as obesity, diabetes, and heart disease.

A staggering 33% of the population in the US is predicted to have diabetes by the year 2050.

Technology has changed the way we work and made us slaves to our screens.

Staring at a screen all day can also have a negative effect on worker’s eyesight. Research shows that 50-90% of people who work on a computer screen all day show symptoms of computer vision syndrome.

How to Deal With Technological Changes

It is important that people learn to adapt to this swiftly changing technological age.

In industrial settings, employees should be well briefed on new technology before trying to work it themselves. Especially when dealing with new machinery that could be dangerous.

Employees can also go through online safety courses like online OSHA training.

There are safety programs available online for all industries that can help reduce liabilities and improve safety in the workplace.

Technology Marches On

While there is no stopping technology from innovating the way workplaces operate, we do have choices as to how gracefully we accept and adapt to those changes.

Like this article? Check out more of our content here!


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5 Digital Marketing Tactics Your Business Should Try

September 6, 2017 - By 
Digital marketing tactics

By now, you probably understand just how important digital marketing is for your business. In this day and age, no one can afford to slack on their digital strategy.

But even if you know it’s important, you might not know how to make sure you’re actually effective. Maybe you know you need to be on social media, but you don’t know what your brand voice is. Or you’ve heard about online video, but not how to make it work for you.

We’ve got five new digital marketing tactics for you to try — read on to learn what could work for your business.

1. Get Interactive

People like to feel like they’ve made a genuine connection with your business. They can’t do that if you don’t give them anything to interact with.

Even something as simple as a poll can help create interactions with your customers. Anything that invites them to participate — like a contest, an interactive graphic, or a quiz — will build connections and engagements.

2. Learn SEO

SEO, or search engine optimization, is an important aspect of digital marketing. Done correctly, it can help your business move up in search rankings so that people can find you easily.

Think of how often you click past the first page of Google results for something you searched for. It’s rare for people to spend a lot of time on search results, so you want to make sure your business pops up first.

Taking the time to learn SEO now will pay off in the long run.

3. Visual Digital Marketing Tactics

The saying “a picture is worth a thousand words” is a cliche, but it’s also true.

Humans are visual, and your brain processes an image sixty thousand times faster than text. That means your potential customers are way more likely to remember an image you created than a beautifully written paragraph.

That makes things like logos and branding even more important.

Don’t stress if you don’t have a graphic designer, though. Companies like Hive Digital Strategy specialize in helping businesses create logos that are both engaging and memorable.

4. Go Live

Live broadcasts aren’t just for cable television anymore. Now, even a small Mom and Pop business can go live on platforms like Facebook or Instagram.

Online video is on the rise, and live video is one of the digital marketing tactics you can’t afford to ignore.

Remember how we said people love feeling connected? Live video lets you interact with your customers in real time. You can even treat them to a behind-the-scenes look at your business.

5. Advertise On Social Media

You probably know that you need to have a presence on social media, but take it a step further by advertising there, too.

Social media advertising generates traffic almost immediately, and allows you to put ads right in front of your target population. Plus, most people spend a significant amount of time on their phones browsing social media. Meet them where they are with a well-placed ad.

Want more digital marketing inspiration? Check out our archive full of marketing advice.


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Credit Expert: Avoid These 5 Credit Card Mistakes

August 30, 2017 - By 
credit expert

Credit cards are a tool. They’re the type of tool that can allow you to travel for free or provide a large amount of cash back.

When used properly, a credit expert can actually make money. A low-income family can use them to lighten their financial burden. A new business owner can get the equipment he needs.

Using them improperly can be a nightmare.

The devil is in the details and today we’re giving you a heads up on 5 huge mistakes you need to avoid if you want to be successful.

From the Credit Expert: Avoid These Mistakes

1. Too Much of a Good Thing

Is a bad, bad thing. It may be tempting to open as many credit card accounts as you can. But don’t.

There are multiple reasons for this:

  • You lose track of your spending
  • Each account opening could dent your credit score
  • It will be hard to take advantage of rewards

If you’re new to the credit card hustle, start with one card. In six months, if you feel you can handle another, then ok.

2. Not Paying the Balance Every Month

Credit cards are a form of revolving credit. If you do not pay your balance in full every billing cycle, the charges you’ve accumulated revolve to the next billing cycle. In return for allowing you to do this, you are charged interest on the balance.

If you’re looking to utilize an excellent cash back or rewards program, not paying the balance in full every month will nullify any profit you’ve made off of the system.

Furthermore, once you get into this habit, you’re likely to continue until you’ve maxed the cards out. And that monster is a post for another time.

3. Closing the Account

Not using your card? Just close the account, right?

“Absolutely not,” says our credit expert.

If you’re carrying debt and you’re closing cards as you pay them off, you will hurt your credit score. Pay them off and keep them in a drawer or emergency box for safe keeping.

Having to open a new account to replace it will only dent your score even further.

4. Taking Out Cash Advances

Read the fine print. A cash advance is going to carry an interest rate of several points higher than your APR.

Not only that, you’ll be subject to a host of fees and interest begins accruing immediately, not at the end of your billing cycle.

By the time they’re done with you, you’ll be visiting WireLend to take out a loan to pay off your cards.

5. Not Taking Advantage of Services

The credit expert says the biggest mistake you can make is not taking full advantage of the services and perks of your cards. If you open an account that has a sign on bonus, make sure you follow the directions to get your bonus.

Throwing away free money is one of the top ridiculous things that new credit card users do.

Most credit card companies offer a free FICO or Vantage score. Use it.

The Takeaway

If you’re new to the game, our credit expert advises you to play it slow and smart. Stay away from cards with annual fees when you’re just getting started.

When used properly, credit cards can be one of your greatest financial assets. Don’t hesitate to use every resource they offer up.

If you enjoyed this article and would like to read more like it, check out this post on 5 suggestions for writers doing their own taxes.


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5 Reasons Why You Need to Hire an Accident Attorney

August 9, 2017 - By 
attorney

Accidents happen so fast, but in that moment, lives may be changed. Severe injuries can affect your ability to work and provide for yourself.

The demand for personal injury lawyers is growing – because an accident attorney can help you receive the compensation you’re due.

Here are 5 reasons why you need to hire an accident attorney as soon as possible after your accident.

1. A Good Accident Attorney Will Take Care of Everything

You need to focus on recovery, and having a good attorney is essential for that. You don’t have the time to research and file your case all by yourself.

Simply put, while you’re getting better, you don’t want to be stressing about a legal case.

A good accident attorney such as Stephen Babcock will take control of everything your case involves, so you can relax, knowing you’re well represented and your case is progressing smoothly.

2. Lawyers Will Investigate on Your Behalf

Lawyers will build your case from the ground up. They will collect witness statements for you, identify the cause of the accident and put together a strong collection of evidence which will back up your case.

They use a team of expert investigators to do this, who will make sure every aspect of the case is as well-researched and watertight as it can be.

3. You’re (Probably) Not an Expert Negotiator

Around 95% of personal injury cases are settled before they come in front of a judge. Settling a case involves negotiating with other parties involved in the accident, who may be counter-suing you at the same time your case is ongoing.

This can get very sticky, very quickly. For someone without experience, it can be very difficult to hold your own against aggressive lawyers representing the other side of the case.

Lawyers are trained negotiators, who will not bend to pressure and fight your corner every step of the way. They won’t give in to the other side’s demands and will get much better results than someone who lacks experience.

4. An Expert Will Avoid Common Errors

The legal system is notoriously complicated. There are complex procedures to follow, filing deadlines to meet, and many other difficulties.

Plus, you have to consider both state and federal law to fully understand how your case will be handled. A lack of understanding of the law could see your case thrown out of the court systems – wasting lots of time and money.

An experienced attorney will guide your case through these problems with ease.

5. Legal Strategy is Everything

Having a good legal strategy before heading to court or negotiation means that you have a strong hand.

Knowing exactly what to do and say in court, and how to respond to the other side’s arguments are an attorney’s specialties.

Picking Your Lawyer

Before you choose a lawyer, test your accident attorney’s knowledge with these 5 important questions before handing over your case.

We hope that this guide helps you find the right lawyer for you, and we wish you the best of luck with your compensation claim.


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5 Suggestions for Writers Doing Their Taxes

August 7, 2017 - By 
taxes

Welcome to the world of the independent contractor.

You have all the freedom to set your own hours, regulate the flow of work that you take in and be your own boss. But with this freedom comes additional responsibility.

As a writer, you’re now your own HR, payroll, accounting, marketing and IT department.

Writer’s taxes is a very important money management role to embrace as a freelancer.

Let’s explore what you need to know.

Self Employment Tax

As an employee, employers don’t just offer you benefits. They pay half of your medicare and social security tax.

The rest is withheld from your paycheck.

But when you’re self-employed, you’re your own employer. No one helps you pay part of the bill. Plus you’ll owe income tax.

This can catch some freelance writers off guard. Your taxes will be as much as 1/3 higher than your office-bound friends’.

But don’t dismay. You also have deductions, credits and depreciation that you can claim to offset this.

Irs.gov is the source of truth for understanding what you can claim. Additionally, professional tax software will guide you through the process.

The Hobby-Loss Rule

You work part time at as a grocery clerk. And you pick up articles to write from time to time. It helps you pay for the unexpected expenses. But most of the time, your grocery job pays the bills.

Is writing a job or a hobby?

It’s very important to know the difference.

A job is something that you do to try to make a living. Even if that income is very small at the start, if your goal is to make it a profitable business, then it’s a job.

If you don’t really need the money, work when it’s convenient or only do it because you love writing, it’s a hobby.

If it’s a hobby, then you can only deduct your business expenses from the income that you earned. If those expenses take the income down to 0, you can’t deduct anymore.

If it’s a job, then you can take a “loss”. That’s negative income. You spent more than you made.

Commonly Over-Looked Deductions For Writers

We can’t possibly cover all the deductions here, so here’s a list of commonly overlooked deductions that you need to know about:

  • Depreciation – The declining value of a large asset like a computer
  • Home office – The space in your home that you use exclusively for work
  • Depreciation of your home – You can also deduct a portion of the value of your home
  • Utilities
  • Internet
  • Insurance

If any item is used for both personal and business, you can only deduct a percentage based on the amount of business use.

Commonly Mis-Claimed Deductions

  1. You can only claim a phone for your business if you have two phones or lines.
  2. Travel & Food must be related to the business, like meeting with a client. Not your daily lunch.
  3. Lounge outside while working? That doesn’t mean you can claim landscaping,  pool chemicals or a new privacy fence. Sorry!
  4. You must subtract the value of your land before claiming home depreciation. Land, theoretically, doesn’t depreciate.

Quarterly Tax Payments

If you’re making money as a writer, then you need to pay quarterly payments to the IRS on April 15, June 15, Sept 15, and Jan 15.

They’ll give you a pass the first year if your income isn’t steady yet. But after that, expect penalties. You can pay the IRS online.

Doing Writer’s Taxes

Invest a little time to learn about taxes. It will help you pay what you owe and avoid surprises down the road.

Would you add any quick tips for writers doing taxes? Comment below.


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Do the Math: 4 Business Finance Solutions to Utilize Today

August 1, 2017 - By 
business

Whether you’re a startup, a small business, or a Fortune 500 company, finances can be tricky.

You need to keep revenue rolling in consistently to pay for the expenses that keep your company going.

If you don’t, you could end up joining the ranks of the 80 percent of companies that fail, many in only 18 months.

Want to ensure a different fate for your company? We’ve got you covered. Here are four actionable business finance solutions to utilize.

1. Budget, Budget, Budget

It doesn’t matter the size of your company. It doesn’t matter how much money you have coming in: budgeting is key.

Each week or month, sit down with a few employees for an hour or so. Discuss the amount of revenue coming in. Is this your goal income or could you be doing better?

Next, draw up your budget. Make sure to account for surprise expenses which could crop up at the last second.

Revenue can fluctuate from week to week or month to month. For that reason, it’s important your budget is flexible. You might have to tighten your spending for a period and then loosen it once more revenue comes in.

2. Use Merchant Services (and Other Tools!)

Merchant services and other tools can make your life easier. After all, your job responsibilities likely involve more than planning finances from day to day.

Merchant Connect is one such service you can use for your business financial planning.

Their services include travel agency and medical claims processing, virtual merchants, terminals and card readers, point-of-sale (POS), accounting software, and so much more.

Tools can combine processes, digitally manage your finances, and do complicated math without human error. Consider one or several of these tools for your day-to-day work life.

3. Have a Plan

At the start of each quarter, you need to create a financial plan for the next several months.

With analytics and other financial software, you can review the past year and use it as a barometer for the year to come. By predicting trends both positive and negative, you can adequately prepare.

If revenue is less than expected, for instance, you’ll know what to do because you planned for it. You might have to reduce spending, roll out a new product, or change marketing tactics, for instance.

Even when revenue is better than expected, you still need to have a plan. This prevents you from overspending and having to pinch pennies later in the quarter.

4. Outsource If Need Be

Managing the company’s finances can be a lot of work, and it’s probably a job too massive for any one individual. This becomes truer the more employees your company has.

That’s why it may be best to outsource certain job responsibilities, such as bookkeeping and accounting.

Yes, hiring third parties does cost money. That said, you’ll recoup that money back over time. These finance professionals will prevent costly mistakes you yourself may have made.

For that reason alone, it’s worth considering hiring them.

Looking to manage your company’s business finance solutions? Want to use some of the handy tools we mentioned above? Check out Pligg.

This digital download marketplace is a great resource for finance professionals. You can download documents and eBooks sure to make managing your finances easier.


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The Top Business Technology Solutions of the Present and Future

July 25, 2017 - By 

The world of technology continues to evolve at a rapid pace, transforming the way we do business.

Technologies such as the Internet of Things and artificial intelligence are shaping today’s business technology landscape.

Which of these business technology solutions are worth paying attention to? Here are some of our top picks for 2017.

The Growth of Virtual Reality

Both augmented reality (such as 2016’s insanely popular mobile game Pokemon Go) and virtual reality have taken off this year. At theme parks, thrill-seekers can strap on VR devices to enhance their ride. Gamers can also explore fictional worlds thanks to VR.

In business, VR has its place as well. VR devices can be used as a training tool, giving new hires realistic on-the-job experience.

You can also use VR to introduce new products, creating a type of digital demo. Customers could strap on a headset and try out a digital version of your product before it hits stores.

Drone Devices Become More Prevalent

“Drone” is already a common word in the average consumer’s vernacular. Many consumers may have bought the commercialized version of these flying robots, which can connect to a smartphone and fly.

While that’s fun, drones are handy in business technology, too. These can be used to deliver products right to a customer’s door, ala Amazon and even pizza chain Domino’s.

Working from Home Expands to More Job Sectors

It used to be that mostly freelancers had the luxury of working from home. Today, more and more employees in all sorts of fields can now do their job when away from the office.

With the breadth of tech tools that exist, such as video chat, live document editing, and project documentation, it’s no wonder more employers now trust their employees to get the job done from anywhere.

AI Expands Communication Options

When you think of artificial intelligence, your mind likely first goes to robots. That’s fair, but AI is about more than just that.

In business, AI can save time on jobs that busy employees don’t always have time for.

For instance: the chatbot. These bots are a lot smarter than they were in years past.

A customer that has a few questions may go on your website and use your chat function. With today’s AI, they can speak to a bot and never know it.

These bots are a win-win. The customer gets the information they need quickly and efficiently. Employees have time to take care of other work.

If you need yet more communications options for your office, try a voicemail service like American Voice Mail Inc.

And Our Favorite Business Technology Solutions Trend…Live Streaming Provides Inclusion

It used to be that if you wanted to do live streaming, you had to sign up for a service dedicated solely to streams.

These days, you can use many platforms, even social media like Facebook, for live streaming. You just hit the button and you’re rolling.

How can live streaming benefit your company?

The main benefit is inclusion. Say you’re hosting a product launch and all your customers can’t make it there physically. You can live stream the launch so everyone can see what your company is up to.

Need more programs and apps to follow some of the above-mentioned business technology solutions? Check out Pligg, the digital download marketplace. From code to software and music to eBooks, find what you need here.


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5 Accounting Steps Every Small Business Owner Should Take

June 13, 2017 - By 

Owning a small business is no easy task, especially when it comes to the finances and accounting.

Even great businesses can struggle if proper accounting steps are not taken.

Here are 5 accounting steps to set a small business up for success.

1. Record your expenses

It is extremely important to keep track of all of a small business’ expenses.

This will not only help track the business’ spending, but it is also crucial in order to claim certain tax deductions.

Keep track of receipts, travel expenses, bank statements, credit cards, tax returns, W2 forms, 1099 forms, and any other record of spending.

2. Stay organized

It’s not hard to see that keeping track of all of these forms will result in a lot of paper, documents, and records, which can result in clutter and confusion.

But there’s no point of keeping all of these documents if they aren’t properly organized and easy to sort through when needed.

Keep your documents neatly filed and organized in a specific area, whether that’s in a certain office of the business, scanned and stored digitally, or online.

3. Understand taxes (before they’re due!)

All of these records will come in handy when tax season rolls around.

Without these records, even a professional accountant would have a hard time helping to file.

It is also important to understand what taxes different small businesses will owe, as it varies depending on the type of organization.

Is the owner self-employed? The head of an LLC? How much do they earn? Or is the business a corporation? How much does the company earn?

It’s important to know the answers to these questions, as they will affect how the business will be taxed.

4. Separate the business from the personal

Many small businesses begin with one person’s personal idea and passion.

But as they start the business, it is important to separate their personal checking account from the business’.

This allows for a clear understanding of what is a business expense versus a personal expense, which was mentioned earlier to be important for taxes and money management.

Separating the accounts will save time and money in the long run.

When opening the business account, it is important to carefully consider which bank to go to: What fees might they charge? What type of account is best for the business? Is there a minimum balance?

5. Hire a professional

A lot of this can seem overwhelming and confusing. That’s why it can be helpful to hire a professional accountant.

A Chartered Professional Accountant (CPA) or a small business accountant with another similar certification can help with a myriad of things to keep your outfit running:

  • Cash and expense management
  • Leases
  • Taxes
  • Implementation of accounting organization or software
  • Provide guidance and advice
  • Help explain financial reports or statements.

Conclusion

Accounting is a crucial part of running a small business, no matter what type of business it is.

Continuously looking to improve the accounting of a small business and following these 5 accounting steps can help a small business be successful and organized.


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On the Rise: Why Emerging Markets Are Back

June 12, 2017 - By 
Anchor Text: small business loans http://sunwisecapital.com/business-loans/

The weakening U.S. dollar has long since been a crux in the side of the emerging markets. Those markets that shift from closed to open market economy.

Areas of the top 10 including:

  • Brazil
  • China
  • South Africa
  • Nigeria
  • Russia

Amongst a dozen others.

Yet, the 2.5% loss in the U.S. dollar (when compared to others) has presented a unique opportunity and benefit to emerging markets. The gap from 2011 to 2016 has not been kind to these regions but change is coming.

Why Emerging Markets are Back

Two interesting developments lead the new shift in attention for EM’s:

  1. A 17% gain (in 2017) for the iShares MSCI Emerging Markets ETF
  2. A 7% gain (also in 2017) for the SPDR S&P 500 ETF

These reports have influenced Zach Pandl, the co-head of global foreign exchange and emerging markets strategy, to reevaluate its foreign exchange forecast.

Alongside comes an extensive report from Scotiabank detailing global currency forecasts and trends.

Other influences include:

  • An increase in demand for commodity due to their leveling
  • An ongoing reduction of current account deficits
  • An active set of reforms and acceleration of Chinese economies

Politics play an important role. The impeachment of Park Geun-hye of South Korea and shift in ruling parties of India are two such examples.

Lest we forget the impact of trade and business.

An influx of global outreach has been seen on a peer-to-peer level with the popularity of social lending and small business loans.

Likewise, the IT sector has seen success in emerging markets through the introduction of Internet companies, online transactions, gaming, and access to hardware.

The anticipation of new consumers in these markets are expected to contribute more than 70% of the global GDP. Areas, previously restricted in Internet access, have tripled. Mobile consumption due to cheap devices and services like Alipay play an important role.

The biggest winner is likely to be oil companies. The growing demand for new products and higher oil prices creates demand for alternatives such as solar, wind, and shale.

Michael Hartnett, Bank of America Merril Lynch’s chief investment strategist had this to say in mid-2016:

“There’s one thing that emerging markets have that everyone wants right now and it’s not raw materials or cheap labor — it’s yield. When you have negative interest rates in Europe and Japan, and zero rates everywhere else, the politics and economics of these countries becomes irrelevant.”

There are investment woes despite the positive outlook.

Investment Risks in Emerging Markets

As with any investment — there come risks.

Politics while playing a positive role in some emerging markets are not always the case in others. Political development may lag behind the economic growth and globalization which could pose a backlash from its citizens.

A general lack of transparency from companies and markets within these countries could also play a role. Fewer requirements, reporting, and human rights may create a difficult judge in investment for foreign investors.

U.S. protectionism and tension between allies and trade in China could introduce instability. A shake found in a recent executive order to withdraw the United States from NAFTA.

Growth is not guaranteed though optimism and the markets show a shift. Emerging markets create a high-risk, high-reward scenario that will be a worthy consideration for all players involved.


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7 Life Insurance Myths That are Causing Trouble

March 29, 2017 - By 
life insurance

Myths surrounding life insurance often lead to a significant issue: procrastination. But can you afford to procrastinate when it comes to the safety and security of your family?

The truth is that 86% of Americans agree that people need life insurance.

Life insurance has several functions. Its most important function is replacing income that stops flowing after the death of the insured.

The impact death has on your family can be quite dramatic, especially if you have debts to pay. Life insurance helps protect your family in case of a tragic event.

If you are considering life insurance, read on to find out about our 7 life insurance myths that are causing trouble before making your decision.

1. Only the Family Member With the Highest Source of Income Needs Life Insurance

There is a grain of truth to this myth. Yes, making sure that the family member with the highest source of income has life insurance is a wise decision.

However, this can prove to be catastrophic if a homemaker passes away, especially if you have to hire someone full-time.

Childcare can be quite expensive, not to mention cleaning and cooking services.

2. Investing Is Better Than Paying for Life Insurance

Life insurance is all about providing a safety blanket for your family. Unfortunately, there is nothing safe about investing.

You take a calculated risk when investing your money. However, it doesn’t always end well. Many investors lose money.

You can put your family into a tough situation if your investing ventures don’t go well.

3. You Should Only Purchase Life Insurance In Person

Many people think the only legitimate way to purchase life insurance is in person. However, it’s fast and easy to research life insurance online. In fact, 21% of life insurance consumers purchase life insurance online.

Though some may still prefer a human element, there are many ways to interact with agents online. It can also make the process of finding an agent much easier.

4. I Don’t Need Life Insurance If I Am Single

Even if you’re single, many of your financial burdens will pass down to your family. Funeral expenses, mortgages, or any other type of expenses can put a lot of pressure on your loved ones.

Life insurance can also be a great way to donate to your favorite charity while gaining tax benefits.

5. I Am Too Young for Life Insurance

Unfortunately, nobody knows what tomorrow holds.

When you’re younger, life insurance is a lot cheaper—even the premiums. As you age, however, the price increases, especially if you develop a medical condition.

If you’re still paying a mortgage or have college loans, you should consider purchasing a life insurance.

6. You Need a Medical Exam to Get Life Insurance

Many people hold off on life insurance because they don’t feel like going through the hassle of a medical exam.

The truth is that you don’t need a medical exam to get life insurance. You can learn about no exam life insurance from the comfort of your own home.

7. The Life Insurance Offered by My Employer Is Enough

It depends on how much debt you have, or if you have codependents.

If your debt will not put a hole in your family’s pocket and you are single, the life insurance from work will suffice. But if you have codependents, it might not be enough.

Wrapping Up

Unless you are wealthy, life insurance is the surest way to protect your family from the unexpected.

Keep in mind that there are many options for you to choose from. Don’t let the myths such as the mandatory medical exam hold you back from purchasing life insurance.


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Want to Become a Chartered Accountant? Here’s How

March 27, 2017 - By 
accountant

If you are interested in embarking on a career path and are considering becoming a chartered accountant, you need to know exactly where to start.

Chartered accountants enjoy flexible hours, high-earnings, and the ability to make a difference.

If this seems like something you’d be interested in doing, follow these steps to ensure you’re on your way to a successful career path.

Education

On the path to any new career, it’s imperative that you have the right education and training before you dive in.

Specialities

In the chartered accountant field, there are different specialties you can focus on:

  • Accountant specializing in auditing
  • Chartered management accountant
  • Chartered public and finance accountant

Regardless of which specialty you’d like to focus on, your education and training should be specific to each specialty’s needs.

Bachelor’s vs Associates Degree

Both bachelor’s and associate degrees can land you a position in the chartered accounting industry.

Whichever you decide, make sure that you’re choosing to focus your studies in business, economics, or accounting.

If you already have a degree, regardless of the field of study, you can also take additional classes to hone your skills as an accountant.

Many local and online colleges offer classes that focus on business, accounting, auditing, and finance.

Training Programs

Once you’ve gained the education, you will need to enroll in a chartered accounting training course.

Offered either in person or online, these classes will help you gain the skills needed for your future career path.

Depending on your location, these classes prepare you for your chartered accounting exams, which are necessary to become a professional chartered accountant.

Professional Experience

Many chartered accounting programs ask that you have at least three years experience working in a professional setting.

Like an internship, you should reach out to your university or college, or even your local chartered accountant association, to see where you can land a position that will enable you to gain the needed experience.

Exams

Once you’ve completed your education and training, and gained experience in a professional setting, you’re now set to take your qualifying exams.

Depending on which country you’re located in, the testing can last up to three days.

You must attain a passing score in order to be a chartered accountant.

Find a Job

So you’ve completed all your tests and studies, now you’re ready to get out into the job market!

Chartered accountants can be found in several countries around the world, so the sky is truly the limit when on the job hunt.

Some ways you can find and land a chartered accounting job:

  • Become a member of your country’s professional accountant organization. You’ll be able to network and potentially meet someone who may know of job openings.
  • Send out your resume. Sending out a letter of introduction and your resume will get your name out into the industry.
  • Search job leads online. There are tons of websites, like LinkedIn, that allow you to network and find jobs in your industry.
  • Network. In almost any job field it’s great to network with other industry professionals. Networking can land you a mentor who can help you through your career path.

Conclusion

If you’re on the hunt for an exciting career as a chartered accountant following the above steps will get you well on your way to your successful career.

Remember to focus on your education and training, and make sure once you’ve completed your exams you’re networking and looking for jobs within your industry.

Like any job search or career journey, it will take time and dedication to succeed in your goals.


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The Step-By-Step Guide to Improving Your Credit Score

March 22, 2017 - By 
credit score

Your credit score is used to determine your worthiness of credit in the eyes of banks and credit lenders.

This can have a huge impact on your interest rates and ability to obtain a line of credit in the first place.

While there are some great options for short term loans for bad credit, for the most part, your credit is going to impact your ability to get a loan too. This could be a setback in anything from getting student loans to buying a car or house.

If your credit is less than perfect, don’t just wait around and hope that it gets better. Here are the steps you need to take to improve your credit score.

1. Know what a credit score is

There are a lot of misunderstandings surrounding credit.

More than half of adults think their credit score can be found on a standard credit report — it can’t, by the way.

According to Nasdaq, “Your credit report is a compilation of credit-related information; your credit score is a three-digit number distilled from the report data.”

Meaning that checking your credit score isn’t as simple as just looking over your credit card statement every month.

2. Know what your credit score is

It’s all too easy to put off looking at your credit score, especially if you know your spending habits are less than perfect.

There are lots of options for checking your credit score that range from free one time services to those that require you to pay a fee or sign up for an account.

While researching the best option for you takes time and a bit of patience, it’s worth it, in the end, to know where you stand.

3. Dispute any errors you find in credit reports

Your credit reports include important personal information about you, run-ins with the law, and fanatical stability. This information can be sold by credit reporting agencies and used to evaluate your worthiness for everything from employment to insurance.

If you find mistakes on your credit reports, they could potentially keep that dream house out of reach or make that new line of credit impossible to obtain.

Be sure to report any mistakes to the Federal Trade Commission so corrections can be made.

4. Focus on collection accounts first

Now it’s time to get the money rolling and start chipping away at those unpaid bills and debts.

First, focus your attention on any bills that are in collections.

If a bill makes it to collections, it’s going to have a negative impact on your credit score, but you can reverse this to a certain extent by paying it off.

5. Pay off debts closest to your credit limit

It’s a common misconception that simply paying on time is good enough to earn you a good credit score.

Unfortunately, it’s more complicated than that.

Having a balance that’s near your credit limit can negatively impact your credit score.

Whenever possible, keep your balance around 35% of your limit.

6. Set a budget and stick to it

Budgeting is key to getting yourself out of a bad credit slump and staying out.

Set a budget that accounts for all monthly expenses and allows you to make payments toward debts and credit balances on a regular basis and, if at all possible, ahead of schedule.

If you don’t know where to start, look at bank statements and credits card reports from the last few months to see where you’re spending your money and where you can cut back.


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5 Reasons Your Business Needs Fleet Management Software

March 8, 2017 - By 
Fleet Management Software

Are the challenges that come with running a fleet of vehicles getting on your nerves?

Sure, managing a fleet of cars, vans or trucks comes with a unique set of challenges and risks. Management costs can easily spiral out of control and tracking efforts can cause you unnecessary headaches.

But now all that is about to change!

By utilizing fleet management software, you can solve the various vehicle management problems your business is facing.

Keep reading to find out the important reasons your business needs fleet management software.

The Need to Keep Costs Low

Whether you own a small or large business, every mile logged on each vehicle will affect your bottom line.

A fleet management software can help to reduce your operational costs.

For example, it can be customized to alert you every time a vehicle stays idle for a longer period than expected. Since idling wastes fuel, you can take a necessary action to ensure your long-haul drivers don’t prolong idle times.

What’s more, the U.S. Department of Energy estimates that driver feedback devices can improve fuel economy by up to 10 percent!

The Need to Improve Efficiency

Without fleet management software, you have to call your drivers and dispatch them to various delivery sites.

This can be very inefficient, since some drivers may be out of reach. With the software, you’re able to make dispatches with a few clicks. You can even monitor the location of your vehicles on a single screen.

Route optimization is another fleet management software feature that helps to enhance business efficiency.

With built-in mapping information, you will be able to identify the shortest routes to various destinations before dispatching a vehicle.

Minimize Accidents

Accidents can stifle the growth of your business.

When an accident occurs, your risk losing your vehicle, personnel and the goods being delivered. Even if it’s a minor accident, delivery will be delayed and your clients may get impatient.

Although fleet management software can’t eradicate accidents, it will provide you with the information you need to minimize their occurrence.

You can monitor the performance of your drivers, detect those with erratic driving behaviors and take an appropriate corrective action.

The software also gives you the power to monitor the mechanical condition of your vehicles. You can take them in for maintenance before they develop major problems.

The Need to Comply with Regulations

The trucking industry is heavily regulated by the federal and state governments to ensure the safety of other road users.

Violating a regulation can result in lawsuits and hefty fines that can reduce your profit margins.

As a business owner or fleet manager, it’s your job to:

  • hire qualified drivers
  • develop and implement driver training programs
  • prevent overloading
  • ensure vehicles are well-maintained

Fleet management software helps you to maintain compliance and stay on top of new government regulations.

The Need to Stay Two Steps Ahead of Competitors

In today’s modern world, staying on top of technology trends can mean the difference between business success and failure.

If you want to gain an edge over other trucking businesses in the market, then you should acquire the best fleet management software for your needs.

Conclusion

Fleet management can be an incredibly easy task, or it can be much harder than it needs to be.

The good news is you have the freedom to choose which side of the coin you want to be!

If you want a hassle-free experience, you know what to do. Get fleet management software that can enable you to reduce fuel expenses, increase efficiency, and minimize accidents that can cost your business.


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Why You Should Invest in Office Team Building

February 3, 2017 - By 
team building activities

Fostering a healthy workplace is crucial to seeing long term success. Your team members need to form real bonds, not just superficial friendships.

It’s certainly not the easiest thing to accomplish, as many of you already know. Getting people to set aside personal differences and work together takes time and effort.

One great way to start building inter-office relationships is through office team building exercises.

All of those team meetings and roundtable discussions actually have an impact on your office moral.

Investing time in fun team building activities makes all the difference in the long run. Here’s why.

Competition = Motivation

Friendly competition can motivate your staff to strive for success. No one likes to lose, much less to another employee.

Split your office into small teams and set up office milestones. Whichever team sells the most product per month wins!

Not only will everyone stay motivated, but team members can work together to strategize how to improve their sales techniques.

Breaking Down The “Work Barrier”

Too often people come to the office, do their job, and leave. It’s not necessarily a bad thing, but it doesn’t foster any office friendships.

Take some time to hold open forums where people can talk about their personal lives.

If your workplace condones it, happy hours are actually a great way to break down the stuffy “office” personas many people develop.

A little social lubrication can get people out of their shell and discussing their likes, dislikes, hobbies, and more.

If happy hours aren’t your thing, keeping Friday’s casual also work. Encourage social hours at the end of the week when everyone is in a good mood.

Building Team Spirit

There’s a reason the saying goes “There is no I in team.” People tend to work better when they feel like they’re a part of something bigger.

It’s the same reason professional athletes are expected to form bonds with one another.

Work ethic, office pride, and productivity are all improved when your employees feel like they’re relying on each another to accomplish a goal.

Inclusiveness Breeds Ideas

People do their best work when they feel like their opinion matters. After all, no one’s going to speak up when everything they say is dismissed.

Fostering an inclusive intellectual environment ensures that your office is utilizing all of its resources.

Imagine if someone had a million dollar idea, but was afraid to speak up. That can happen if people aren’t welcoming.

Encourage all of your employees that there is no such things as a bad idea.

Everyone Need A Break

Team building exercises are the time when your employees get to unwind around the office and have fun.

Stressful work environments don’t help anyone focus at best, and at worst stifle creativity.

There’s a reason the Google’s and Apple’s of the world offer laid back work environments.

If you’re on the fence about starting a team building curriculum around the office, don’t wait. Investing in a cohesive office environment will pay for itself in the long run.


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When Does it Make Sense to Use a Payday Loan?

December 16, 2016 - By 
There are times we need cash – it happens. Payday loans can be controversial, but does it ever make sense to use one? We’re sharing answers here.

You’ve probably been told that you should avoid going into debt at all costs.

Except to buy a house, or a car, or…well, I guess people are contradictory.

But, it’s not a good idea to take out a loan on a whim. You need a good reason.

The same applies to payday loans. These loans can cost you if you aren’t in the right place to use them and pay them back. So we’re here to tell you how to make sure it’s the right time to take out a payday loan.

No Credit Check

One of the best things about payday loans is that they require no credit check. You could have the worst credit in the world and qualify for a loan.

If you’ve had your credit checked recently, you might not want it checked again. If you’ve had a hard inquiry into your credit, you will definitely want to avoid another credit check. These kinds of credit checks will remain on your record for two years.

Your Family Is The Mob

One piece of advice that often floats around is that you should approach your family first. But what if your family is the mob and you’re an outcast? You certainly can’t go to them.

Plus, if you go to your family, you might end up with damaged relations after if you can’t pay it back immediately.

Avoid that sticky situation by getting a payday loan. You will not have the weird emotional ties to your lender that you have with your family. At least, we hope you don’t.

It’s strictly business with lenders like LittleLoans and others, nothing else. You go in, you pay the fees, you come out with the money. No questions asked.

Weigh The Cost

Did you already make the mistake of taking a loan from your mob family? That’s probably why you’re estranged, isn’t it? You may even be having to make payment drops in the garbage downtown at the park every month. To avoid being late on your “garbage bill” you might want to consider taking out a payday loan.

Going back to the credit thing, on a more serious note. Have you been pretty faithful on your payments on other things? What about a mortgage or car payment? What would happen if you missed one of those payments?

Sometimes it’s worth taking out a short-term loan just to make your payment on time. Sometimes you can lose as much as 50 points on your credit score if you are late on one mortgage payment. You really want to protect your credit at all costs.

Inventions Can’t Wait

Are you a world-class inventor? But, you’re working at a factory while you try and get your work patented. The deadline for that patent doesn’t line up exactly with your next paycheck, huh?

Well, a payday loan might be perfect for you. If you’re trying to get your foot in the door when it comes to starting your own business, this kind of loan might be for you.

Besides, these loans are meant to be paid within a few weeks after you borrow anyway.

Conclusion:

There are many reasons why you might want a fast and immediate small loan. Don’t go without money today when your paycheck comes tomorrow. Get a payday loan now.