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The Decorator's Inn, Inc. staff (and Jason who doesn't know anything about drapes)

The Decorator's Inn, Inc. staff (and Jason who doesn't know anything about drapes)

Legend tells of legendary clients whose knowledge of the world of business is the stuff of Legend

It’s time for another post about our [legendary] clients and their awesome abilities to thrive in these bleak business times.  The Decorator’s Inn, Inc. has been designing high-end homes, medical offices, churches and corporations for over 25 years!  Their love for the client and the warmth of the staff make them truly a different kind of design firm.

Kathy Campbell leads this innovative group and has over 30 years of experience in design, construction and project management.  Their firm is truly unique in that they can not only manage the beauty of your project, they manage a full team of subcontractors and construction firms as well.  Kathy reads the blueprints of a construction project as a second language and knows how to apply the right hue to her client’s view (that’s a rhyme!).  

Visit their site and look through some of the awesome projects they have accomplished over their many years in business.

The Designers: Standing, Jamie Rikoff, Jodie Vicars and Kelly Arthur, Sitting is Kathy Campbell

The Designers: Standing, Jamie Rikoff, Jodie Vicars and Kelly Arthur, Sitting is Kathy Campbell

 Here are the four questions we ask every Client Highlight Participant to answer:

1.  What have you or your organization done to remain competitive and successful?

One thing we have done is carved out a niche designing for a lot of Medical facilities over the past several years.  We have partnered with local architects and general contractors over the past couple years and feel that we offer a specialized service to these clients that is unmatched by our competition. The experience we have gained working on these projects gives us a leg up on the competition when it comes time to interview for these big projects. Beyond that, we always strive to give each client a level of service that cannot be matched by big box retailers/corporate chains.

2.  What do you or your organization foresee as the greatest business obstacle in the near future?

Well, we are tied in closely with the construction industry, which has to be one of the hardest hit during this economic disaster.  Acquiring new business will definitely be a challenge based on the lack of construction going on. Also, it will be a challenge to seek repeat business from clients just based on personal priorities. I am sure clients are taking a good look at their spending and determining what expenses are necessary.

3.  What do you enjoy most about your work?

I guess I’d have to say the versatility of being able to use your creative abilities as well as learn as much as you possibly can about the business aspect of your company.  Staying abreast of the latest trends and technology involved in a product and how to portray that to the end user, your client. There are so many aspects to running a successful company that there is definitely never a dull moment. Things are constantly changing and you have to be able to keep up with those changes or you will find yourself lagging behind your competition.  Last of all, I am a service-oriented, nurturing sort of person so this is a win–win situation for our clients and us.

4.  What has the Blumer firm done to assist you in furthering your business and its operations?

Jason and Marc have both been instrumental in the success of The Decorator’s Inn. Beyond the normal tax issues that need to be addressed, the Blumer firm goes above and beyond when it comes to helping us with financial planning, which ensures that we are maximizing our profits. Although not always what you want to hear, Jason and crew will always level with you and always give sound business advice, and for that we are most thankful. 

"There is no charge for awesomeness... or attractiveness!"

"There is no charge for awesomeness... or attractiveness!"

Jason M. Blumer, CPA providing business planning to the Campbells (from l to r: Jim, Wes and Kathy)

Jason M. Blumer, CPA providing business planning to the Campbells (from l to r: Jim, Wes and Kathy)

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Enron brought to light a “trend” in business across the world.  The new reality was that fraud became a big part of daily operations.  But was this a new trend?

The real reality is that fraud has always been a problem in business… and it always will be (in fact, we’re all sinners and love money and power).  In fact, fraud is happening right now, and will be divulged and discovered in the news at a later time.  And when it’s discovered, we may come to the incorrect conclusion that “fraud is on the rise.”

In my work with attorneys assisting them in litigating white collar crime, I find a lot of the prevention that could have been implemented in the business included the basic common-sense steps below.

You need to implement these very basic procedures in your business to make sure fraud is not happening right in front of you (if you can think of more leave them in the comments):

1.  When hiring the financial manager in your business, perform a simple background check and have the state law enforcement agency in your state (it’s the SLED in South Carolina) check that individual out for a record of financial mistrust.  This could go a long way to prevent hiring the wrong person.

2.  As the owner of your business, delegate as much as you can, but try to keep the bank signature authority in your hands, and make it a policy to review the cash leaving the door by signing all checks.

3.  Similar to #2 above, if you don’t have time to reconcile the bank accounts in your business (which you should), then at least have the bank statement delivered to your home, or some other safe delivery location.  That way, you can at least look through the cleared checks to see if the payee in QuickBooks matches who really received the check, and ultimately got the cash.

4.  Keep important financial records and passwords locked up and secret: your online bank log in information should be kept to yourself, lock up your blank check stock, and keep your paid bills safely from employees’ view.

5.  Another popular method thieves use to steal cash from your business is through payroll.  Outsource this important function to have an outside independent party calculate and pay your employees.   This will also take the burden of a compliance-driven nightmare off of your shoulders, and allow you to focus on running your business.

6.  Keep your accounting records organized and in some type of electronic system (e.g. QuickBooks).  Many business owners fail to focus on this area because it’s boring and doesn’t involve the fun stuff.  But if you know what you should have, things will jump out more when things don’t look as they should.

7.  Hire professionals.  There are tax, accounting and forensically-trained experts that can assist you in developing internal control systems and ways to prevent fraud in your business.  They are worth their money, and their fees seem small AFTER you’ve been robbed.

8.  Build relationships.  Prevention is the best deterrent to fraud.  Prevention can happen daily by maintaining relationships with your employees, bankers, accountants, vendors, customers, etc.  People are less likely to steal from someone, and more likely to assist you, when they trust you and know that you are there to serve them.

There are so many more.  Don’t become a statistic, and say, “that will never happen to me.”  Put simple operational efficiencies and protections in your business so you can avoid difficult and costly fraud.  Read more about it here.

Thanks, Jason M. Blumer, CPA, CFE, FCPA

irsINFORMATION REPORTING ON THE RISE

As the tax code continues to add to it’s complexity, the IRS has to make enforcement changes to keep up with the cheaters.  They can’t audit everyone, so they’ll have to rely on you and me (…and our businesses and the charities we give money to) to rat out the cheats for them.

Information Reporting for businesses, nonprofits, and potentially individuals is on the rise.  Moving into the future, information reporting, such as 1099s, will be required by those paying lump sum payments to other businesses and individuals in an ever expanding way.  Here are some ways you may see these changes take place:

1.  Investment Houses will be required to start reporting the basis details of clients’ security sales by 2010 (then the IRS will not only know what you sold the security for, they will now know what you bought it for).

2.  Credit and Debit Card Issuers will have to start reporting how much they’ve paid to merchants starting in 2011.  Example: You do business using PayPal?  Then you’ll be on their list, and the IRS will know if you’ve done more than 200 transactions and received more than $20k a year through PayPal.

3.  Businesses Making Payments to Other Corporations is on the hit list to change.  Currently, your business doesn’t need to send 1099s to other corporations that are paid more than $600 per year.  This will be changing in the near future.  There is no date set yet, but the change is coming.

4.  Landlords Paying Painters, Landscapers and Repairmen will have to start sending 1099s to their subcontractors if Obama gets his way.  He’ll be making this request soon so the IRS can make sure those subcontractors aren’t under reporting their income AND so the landlords will stop over reporting their deductions.

5.  Nonprofits Receiving Donations may have to send the IRS that information when they receive $250 or more in donations!  This is not approved yet, but this and other intense information reporting measures are sure to make the cut in the next few years.

Thanks, Jason M. Blumer, CPA

IRS Circular 230 Disclosure: To ensure compliance with requirements imposed by the IRS, we inform you that (i) any U.S. tax advice contained in this communication (including any attachments) is not intended or written to be used, and cannot be used, for the purpose of avoiding penalties under the Internal Revenue Code; (ii) any such tax advice is written in connection with the promotion or marketing of the matters addressed; and (iii) if you are not the original addressee of this communication, you should seek advice based on your particular circumstances from an independent advisor.

“I would say that it’s always the economy.  People always vote their pocketbooks and if they’re hurting they’re going to want a change.”

Governor Make Sanford

1.  Our firm is focused on the changing demographics of our business society.  Huh?  That just means we are focused on serving the new generations taking over the service-oriented business world, and studying how they want to be served, dang it!  This article sums up what we already know – GoSee

2.  Similar to #1, Generation F (the Facebook Generation) defines a new style of management.  I follow Gary Hamel (the writer at this link) on my Google Reader feeds and his stuff often punches you in the nose.  Here is a freakin’ excerpt:       –       (GoSee)

8. Power comes from sharing information, not hoarding it.
The Web is also a gift economy. To gain influence and status, you have to give away your expertise and content. And you must do it quickly; if you don’t, someone else will beat you to the punch—and garner the credit that might have been yours. Online, there are a lot of incentives to share, and few incentives to hoard.

3.  GE’s innovative “smart grid” site (VERY cool to play with) – GoSee

Thanks, Jason M. Blumer

Just Tweeted by @JasonBlumer…

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