I had to talk to a CSR with Quickbooks recently after reinstalling the application and needing to register again. I don't like calling any CSR and was quickly reminded why avoid. While waiting to get the validation code was forced to listen to a script that now is the time to purchase their payroll service. Give me a break. Who believes these scripts.First didn't really have to wait for a

Migrating Business To The Web

Every business has similar, fundamental business problems to solve. In most cases, the business applies technology (computers and software) to facilitate the solution. The fundamentals that each and every business must address include: keeping score, accounting for their business operations; producing information, for internal and for external use; and communicating, with co-workers, team members, clients, and vendors.

Once you get beyond those fundamentals, however, every business has something unique to address in terms of how they actually operate. Supporting the operational aspects of the business - managing people, resources, information, processes, etc. - is the next step in enabling the business.

Within each business there are different kinds of processes to facilitate, creating the demand for software developers to build systems to address specific processes or to deliver specific functionality to the many and varied businesses in the world. Even within an industry domain or realm, there are likely numerous solutions available for any given business problem. For most organizations, selecting the right applications for the business often requires that those applications integrate, or work together in some manner.

But here's the issue: not everyone programmer develops software the same way or using the same tools. What ends up happening is that each software product has its own "footprint", and behaves differently. Some packages are written well and offer flexibility in how they are implemented; and some not. Disparity in application design and operating platform requirements can significantly increase the complexity of not only integrating the solutions, but managing the software and platforms to keep those integrations running. For these (and other) reasons, application integration (or data integration) is not always easily accomplished in a small business.

At an ever-increasing level, users are also now demanding remote and mobile capability from their software. The market has generally accepted the value of remote/mobile access, and businesses need to offer their workers the flexibility to work from a variety of locations (at the office, from a remote office, from home). Now the enterprise has to figure out a way to fit that square peg (the software they currently use) into a round hole (mobility!) It really starts to matter if the software products in use are all designed to run differently. Can the organization's selected applications be oriented towards remote or mobile access? Generally, the answer is "YES" (but with caveats).

The Application Service Provider model, or hosted application model, was developed to provide remote access capability to applications that traditionally don't work in that capacity. Additionally, the ASP model was designed to improve application management and administration for the subscriber, reducing or eliminating the complexities of handling multiple integrated solutions. Allowing a business to "migrate" to the web gives that business new capability and, potentially, a new working model that could easily include remote offices and mobile users. Migrating with the existing in-use applications allows the business to benefit from the new working model, but avoids the difficulties of transitioning to and learning new software.

Application hosting isn't a new concept at all, it's just gaining in popularity for several key reasons:

  • Broadband is plentiful. You can get high-speed internet service now just about anywhere. That wasn't the case just a few short years ago.
  • Localized IT solutions are getting more complex. Bundled solutions (like a Microsoft Small Business Server) make it easier to purchase an array of technology solutions for your business, but there's nothing in the package that makes it easier to set up and manage over time.
  • Remote and mobile access is critical. More businesses operate with a home-based workforce ("home sourcing"), or with multiple business locations. The Internet has made it a global economy, and remote and mobile access is what helps a distributed enterprise work as a collective or unit.
  • SaaS solutions, such as online banking, have raised awareness of the possibility of secure Internet-based computing. So, as new SaaS solutions emerge, the market is beginning to recognize the value of hosting and is building trust in the model.
Once the business has adopted the new working model and has gained trust in Internet-delivered solutions, then the business is poised to take advantage of new Web-based solutions that might become available. Breaking the adoption into two parts - managed service first, Web-based or SaaS conversion second - allows the business to move forward with a minimum of disruption to systems and processes.

Joanie Mann

Equine Accounting: Franchises-The more we get together, the happier we'll be

Don't have $150,000 for a Grand Prix horse capable of competing on a national level? Just find 14 friends each with $10,000 to spare and create a syndicate. Is it that easy? No, not really. But syndicates, which have been popular for some time for race horses and breeding, are becoming a useful way to finance the purchase of a competition horse. Several friends of mine who were all students of a well-known dressage trainer combined funds and expertise with other interested parties and created a syndicate to allow the trainer to purchase a very talented horse that he had in training. One of my friends jokingly says that she "owns the tail".
What is a syndicate? A syndicate is a division of ownership. Each shareholder or member contributes a portion of the cost to purchase and/or maintain a horse or horses. Generally, the syndicate's legal form of organization is either a partnership or an LLC (Limited Liability Corporation). What does the Syndicate Agreement include? Generally, the agreement should include:1. the rights, interests, obligation and privilege of each member.2. identification of the animal(s) and where it will be held.3. warrants as to the health and title of the animal(s).4. conditions for transferability of shares.5. designation of syndicate manager and explanation of his/her duties and compensation.6. provision for the tax treatment of the syndicate.7. establishment of liability insurance coverage and in the case of stallion/mare, any warranties of fertility.8. any timelines for when the horse will be sold or the syndicate will terminate.9. explanation of procedure to modify current agreement, if necessary. What is the cost to purchase a share in a syndicate? The biggest variable in determining the cost of a share is the cost of the horse. Another variable is the issue of who bears the cost of future expenses. Many syndicates require that members make an annual contribution for the cost of maintaining the horse - feed, board, vet bills, farrier as well as costs for competition and shipping. However, some syndicates offer their shares at a one-time fee. This is more often the case if the current owner of the horse cannot afford the future costs of training and competing and creates a syndicate to obtain funding to campaign the horse further. In this case, there is no actual purchase of a horse. The revenues from sales of shares are used to fund future endeavors. What are the benefits of syndication? For members, the risk of ownership is significantly decreased. If the horse is not a successful performer or in injured, the loss is only a fraction of the purchase price. It is a relatively safe and inexpensive way to get involved in racing, breeding or competing and provides the opportunity to participate on a much higher level than individual ownership. Some syndicates offer perks such as the opportunity for members to attend select competitions with access to VIP hospitality or to obtain lessons on their own horses at discounted rates. For the trainer/rider, it provides funds to purchase a horse that may otherwise have been unobtainable. Because a syndicate is composed of many members and designation of the trainer has been included in the syndicate agreement, it provides a much more stable relationship for the trainer with the owners and the likelihood of a horse being moved from trainer to trainer is considerably diminished. What about taxes? An attorney, knowledgeable in this subject, is essential. A syndicate is treated under tax laws as either a joint ownership of property or as a partnership. The activities of the syndicate determine how it is treated for tax purposes. When the syndicate is treated as a joint ownership of property, each member files their tax return as a sole proprietor. They report their share of income and expense of the syndicate with no computation of the income and expense of the syndicate included with their return. They can choose the method of depreciation that is most beneficial to their tax situation. If the syndicate is treated as a partnership for tax purposes, Form 1065 K-1 (IRS filing on partnership informational return) must be included with each member's personal return and the method of depreciation is determined by the syndicate. Depending on the activities of the syndicate and the structure of the syndicate agreement, there is the possibility that syndicate shares may be treated as a security would be subject to specific requirements by the SEC (U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission). There are also murky tax issues such as "at-risk rules" and possible tax shelter status. So be sure to have an attorney that represents you look over the syndicate agreement.
Happening again...Further insult to our intelligence, and trying to fool usSee the PSAs about a proposed tv tax ? 2 ads back to back every hour on every network. First from cable companies then from tv networks. Each wanting public opinion on their side. Each pointing a finger for who is to blame for a lack of funding for local programming, and why networks are struggling.You know I am no fan
Concentrate on your product or serviceRunning a business is difficult especially when you are wearing many hats. Office Manager, Sales and Marketing, Receptionist, Accountant, Bookkeeper. You are doing all that and more on top of providing the product or service for your business.How much time are you actually spending on the product or service ? I am willing to bet not as much as you would