Accounting and FinTech, Does it matter to you?

Accounting and Fintech are different industries in the world that hit each other.  But what are the difference of the two?  Accountants are the first to call of business owners in terms of financial advice and has an obligation to know about fintech lending to get significant opportunity on the competition.

Fintech Investment Financial Internet Technology Concept

Fintech Investment Financial Internet Technology Concept

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Your idea, Your brand, Protect it!

Trademarks are often some of the most valuable assets of a business – legend has it that Coke® is the second most well known word in the world after “hello.” The Google® brand is estimated to be worth more than $20 billion. A trademark is a brand name, logo, or slogan that distinguishes your business’ products or services from those of competitors. Regardless of how big or small the business, the value and protection of brands is critical, particularly in the online word of today where domain names and user names such as Facebook® and Twitter® can be key to connecting with customers.

brandHere are five ways to strengthening your trademark protection:

1. Choose Your Brand Name Wisely
The more creative your brand name is, the greater the odds that it is unique. A more distinctive and create name or slogan is generally more capable of standing out among the competition and becoming a brand with real value. Which sounds like a more exciting brand, a more valuable brand: “Jim’s Gym” or “Vantage Fitness“? “Cincinnati Frozen Yogurt” or “fraîche”? “Joe’s Pizza” or “Pie-tanza”? “Search.com” or “Google”? Read more

Entrepreneurs never stop learning

The most successful entrepreneurs and executives are savvy business people first, and experts in their field second. This may seem counter-intuitive to technologists, especially in an era when technology seems to be driving the world. Yet the sad truth is that a technology not focused on a real problem is not a business, and will probably fail in the marketplace.

It still amazes me how many entrepreneurs can sustain a moderate market shares in their respective industry, but fail to comprehend the big picture requirements for positive cash flow and profit. 0d4d06d4-39b7-420f-a976-1ebb913eb9da

A new book by Kevin Cope, “Seeing the Big Picture”, does a great job of outlining the basics of business acumen for executives, and helped me assimilate some practical ideas on building the essential elements:

1. Reserve time daily to research the market, as well as technology. Learning is a never-ending requirement for every entrepreneur. At best, all they teach you in school is how to learn. In these days of rapid change, most experts believe that the facts college students learn as a sophomore is obsolete before they exit their senior year. Read more

Staff-hire or Contract

Employees or Contractors

Do you have more work than you can handle?  Are you thinking of bringing someone on to help out?  Should you hire them as an employee, or make them a contractor?   Here are some points to consider:

To help determine the degree of control and/or independence and thus the proper classification of an individual – Behavioral, Financial and Relational.

07ef48e0-0a09-486f-8e34-5ee15bf185b0Behaviorally,

–       if the details of the work performed are the key to evaluation, then the individual should probably be made an employee,

–        if the end result alone is the key to evaluation, then the individual should probably be considered a contractor.

–        if the employer controls the schedule and resources, then the individual should probably be made an employee,

–        if there is no set schedule and the resources are owned by the individual, then the individual should probably be considered a contractor.

Financially, the greater the potential for the individual to lose money as a result of the work performed (for non-reimbursed expenses such as tools), the greater the likelihood that they should be considered a contractor.In 

In relation, if you hire the individual with the expectation that the relationship will continue indefinitely (rather than for a specific project or period), the individual should probably be considered an employee.

How to lower risk of being tax audited by the Inland Revenue

The basis of selecting a tax audit are totally random, and there’s nothing that the individual taxpayer can do about them, many audits are actually instigated by the taxpayers themselves.  To that end, below is a list of indicators that can cause your return to be selected by the Inland Revenue Board (IRB) for audit.

  1. over claiming Personnel Deduction/Relief Amounts

Personnel reliefs are claimable by taxpayers if they meet the conditions as stipulated by the relief claimed. Unfortunately many, if not most, taxpayers either aren’t aware of this, or simply choose to ignore this fact and claim reliefs beyond reasonable level.

  1. Math Errors

While this may sound simple, many returns are selected for audit due to basic math errors. Make sure that the columns add up. Also make sure that the total value of gains and/or losses are properly calculated. Even a small error can raise eyebrows.

  1. Failure to Sign the Return

Don’t be a part of that number! Failure to sign the return will almost guarantee that it will receive additional scrutiny. Read more

Good Trademark Tips

Not all trademarks are created equal. There are five categories of trademark strength, and the category that your company’s name fits into impacts how well you can protect your trademark against infringes.Good Trademark Tips

If you do end up going to court, all jurisdictions apply a multi-part test to assess the likelihood of a consumer confusing two companies’ trademarks. The first test gauges the similarity in sight, sound and meaning, between the two marks, while the second one considers the similarity of the goods or services being sold. 
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How to lower risk of being tax audited by the Inland Revenue

The basis of selecting a tax audit are totally random, and there’s nothing that the individual taxpayer can do about them, many audits are actually instigated by the taxpayers themselves.  To that end, below is a list of indicators that can cause your return to be selected by the Inland Revenue Board (IRB) for audit.How to lower risk of being tax audited by the Inland Revenue

  1. over claiming Personnel Deduction/Relief Amounts

Personnel reliefs are claimable by taxpayers if they meet the conditions as stipulated by the relief claimed. Unfortunately many, if not most, taxpayers either aren’t aware of this, or simply choose to ignore this fact and claim reliefs beyond reasonable level. Read more

Firing Clients

 

Clients come in many varieties. Some are thoughtful, professional, and cooperative and always pay on time. Then there are the other ones. When a client goes beyond “difficult,” to being such a burden on your resources and other client suffer.

Every small business has this kind of clients: The problem child. The screamer. Mr. or Ms. Picky. The micro scope scanner. The late payer. Risk taker.

Maybe your client never returns your calls, or, on the flip side, needs to instant-message you at all hours. Their flaws may differ, but the bottom line is the same: They’re your worst client.

This client is way more work to deal with than the rest of your client list, pays way less or way slower, or all of the above. Perhaps the best thing you can do is get rid of them.

Why would you do such a thing — especially in this awful economic climate? Difficult clients cost you energy, waste your resources which include time cost of your staff. It’s exhausting and possibly even annoying to deal with them. Your workplace becomes less desirable, too — making it harder to keep good employees on the payroll. Then, you may simply lose the drive to find new business as you run around trying to meet your hell-client’s impossible demands.

You may think you need the business, but the reality is as soon as you give a nightmare client the goodbye kiss, you’ll probably find twice as much work elsewhere. The negativity a bad client puts into your life tends to keep you from finding quality clients.

29da5769-440e-43ec-86c1-9a2176ac47a6 If 3 of the following 6 signs are present in  any of your working relationships, I  strongly suggest you fire that client.  Chances are, they are impacting your      bottom line and your personal sanity.

 1. They Stop Respecting You

 Do you remember when you landed them  as customer? Did everything out of your  mouth seem like gold to them, like words  of wisdom from some guru high on a  mountain top? We all knew this  honeymoon won’t last forever. There will  come a time when your words no longer  carry the same weight and, in fact don’t  carry any weight at all. Instead of looking  at how to implement your ideas, or  merely asking for some clarification and  justification for them, the clients starts  demanding more. You’re met with  responses like, “Well I checked with my  wife’s brother’s friend’s son who took a  course on it last year and he said we  shouldn’t be doing it that way. Why do  you think we should?”

They are now valuing the opinions of strangers who don’t know the ins and outs of their business more than you do. There is nothing ever wrong with your clients getting a second opinion, but when they put more value in the opinion of strangers, you know you have a relationship problem.

2. They Don’t Value Your Time

Many business owners forget that time is money especially those traders who is not services orientated and you can’t waste time making the client happy. Just think how many times you’ve shown up on time for meetings, and they make you wait, and they keep postponed meeting date last minute.

Along these lines if your client is within a reasonable commute, how often do they insist you come into their offices for a physical meeting when a telephone meeting would have sufficed? Start adding up all the travel time plus the meeting time and you’ll quickly see that a 1 hour meeting is actually eating upwards to a ½ day of your time. Is the client getting invoice for a ½ day consultation? (See point 3)

3. Questioning Your Time

When generating client invoices always make sure to invoice for all the travelling, meetings, emails and phone calls. Do they question these times even you did not put into such detail? I had clients once who kept saying, “When I call you, you have the answer I want in generally less than 30 seconds how come you’re billing so much?“ ‘’Your report is just 2 piece of paper how come you’re billing so much?’’ These are not an unreasonable question, but how they respond to your answer is an indicator that it might be time to think about “firing the client”.

My typical answer is, when you call or email, I have to stop what I’m doing, respond to you, then remember where I was and start up again. All this takes time. The fact that I know the answer off-top of my head is because I work at keeping up to date. I read about the field all day long and apply what I learn to your needs and therefore I need to charge for that effort. I would able to summaries your solution or analysis in just 2 pages is because I have the know-how skill to save your time go into the detail works.

4. You Are Working for Pennies!

In the world of consulting and project base services, we are frequently required to do our best efforts at estimating how much time something is going to take and provide a fixed quote for it. If you estimated wrong that’s your fault and not the clients. Yet there are many clients who will try to take advantage of the fixed price and try to squeeze additional deliverables and then play the helpless game (“We need this little thing done as well, but I don’t have budget. I know you can help us”), which works extremely well if the client’s reprehensive is an extremely good looking person of the opposite sex.

I don’t advocate saying no to everything, but start keeping track. All those little things add up very quickly and you might see what you thought was a decent hourly rate start dropping to a level you wouldn’t have never taken on the job for. Remember time is money and time not spent on the needy (and unwilling to pay client) is time not spent finding a more profitable clients.

5. High rate of job risk and complexity

Rates 1 to 10 of your client risk and the potential liability a client brings to the business. Whether it is an audit client in a high-risk industry, management attitude or lack of controls, or a tax client that constantly pushes the limit on deductions and income reporting, or legal service client that may drag you into potential lawsuit, some clients pose a higher risk to the your business than other clients.

The pressure you sustained for rate of 7 and above is a long term health killer to your personal life and as well for the business. Even though the reward is handsome or fees you billed is profitable, it still might pose a great risk to your business. Most of your time end up handling their lawsuit when risk outburst, probably include you. The least bad scenario would happen is extra energy needed to counter finger-pointing and blaming game.

6. Where Did the ROI Go?

Think about how you felt when you landed the client or project. Did you see RM signs jumping up and down? Make sure to keep track of everything related to the project. On a monthly basis, add up all your costs and compare them against your billable. Now calculate your ROI. Is this the kind of return on your investment you were planning on at the start? If not, you need to talk to your client about fees increases or other forms of compensation for your time. Do this according to the terms of your contract as the contract comes up for renewal. Is the client willing to work with you on a new rate of fees? Are they inflexible? How does the ROI compare to your other clients? Can you easily replace this client with higher ROI clients if you had more time to do so?

Ultimately all parties have to make a reasonable profit (ROI), and if the client doesn’t think your ROI is worth it from their perspective, most likely they’re not the client for you. Rest assured your client is thinking the same thing about you with every invoice they pay. Did I get my money’s worth from this guy? Remember, if you’re not delivering you know they will fire or drop you as soon as they can.

Scam alert for home base business

mmexport1434239346694Home-based business and work-at-home opportunity scams rank very high on the list of the top types of Internet fraud.

There are two basic types of scams involved here. Scammers using both types are aiming at public who want to make money from home, either by:

  1. Having you work from home, doing envelope stuffing, craft assembly, or other tasks where you are (supposedly) paid by a company as an employee. There are certainly some legitimate telecommuting jobs, but work-from-home jobs are often just big scams.
  1. “Helping” you start your own home-based business, as a mystery shopper, network marketer, or other businesses where the only money anyone sees is the money the scammer pockets.

Certainly, there are LOTS of legitimate businesses that can help you start your own home business.

 

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