Business Planning

Cruising in Style

Cruising the high seas has become an increasingly popular way to travel, with over 14 million Americans cruising in 2010. Cruise fans love the convenience of unpacking just once and letting a floating resort take them from one glamorous destination to another. Cruise critics cringe at the stereotypical cheesy Vegas-style shows, 'round-the-clock buffets, and abbreviated shore excursions to the same chain retailers they can visit at their local mall. But all of us were thoroughly disgusted by this month's sordid tale of the Carnival Triumph, the mega-ship that lost power in the middle of the Gulf of Mexico. Four-hour waits for onion sandwiches sound bad enough from a ship that prides itself on a reputation for all you can eat. But just imagine 4,200 passengers and crew lining up to use 12 working toilets, and you'll immediately understand why observers dubbed the ship a "floating petri dish."

Carnival's spinmeisters clearly recognize a PR disaster when they see a towboat dragging it past them at 5 knots. They've agreed to give passengers a full refund for cruise and transportation costs, plus

Healthcare Reform To Cause Real Life Headaches

As all of use hurtle down the road toward the implementation of the 2010 health care legislation it sure does appear that the health care legislation will certainly create its own health problems... especially for your tax adviser! There is a lot to know about the 2010 health care legislation in order to take advantage of favorable provisions and to avoid or minimize penalties. 

The health care legislation enacted in March 2010—the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), P.L. 111-148, as amended by the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act, P.L.111-152—is almost 1,000 pages long. It involves numerous rules on employer-provided health care, insurance exchanges, insured rights, and the health care delivery system. There are numerous tax provisions. Guidance from the IRS and other government agencies has been emerging since 2010, and much of it is quite lengthy.

The Affordable Care Act includes a variety of measures specifically for small businesses that help lower premium cost growth and increase access to quality, affordable health insurance. Depending on whether

Online sales taxes back on the Senate's plate

Time for everyone to 'fess up. Who has ordered goods via the Internet and not paid your state sales tax? As suspected, most everyone is raising their hand. 

Under current law, states can only collect sales taxes from retailers that have a physical presence in their state. While most states do require individuals to report their online purchases when they file their annual tax returns not everyone does.

Shopping online and avoiding sales taxes has indeed saved consumers a lot of money. But it has also created an uneven playing field for brick and mortar retailers versus Internet-based retailers.

Laissez Les Bons Temps Roulez. And Pay Up!

Last week's Super Bowl in New Orleans was a week-long "fais do do" featuring world-class food, drinks, and music. Advertisers rolled out their newest, shiniest campaigns and newest, shiniest products (Apparently, Anheuser-Busch thinks they need to remind viewers to drink something called "beer"). Sharp-eyed fans even saw a football game between the AFC champion Baltimore Ravens and NFC champion San Francisco 49ers.

The NFL estimated that the game would bring $434 million to the city. While some economists scoff that the real impact is just a fraction of the official estimate, there's no doubt that the Big Easy was thrilled to host their tenth "Big Game." Most of that revenue goes to the hotels, restaurants, and souvenir vendors who open their cash registers to affluent visitors. (While face value for game tickets was "just" $1,015, the average fan paid $3,000 for his seat.) Millions more goes to the bartenders, waiters, cabbies, and hotel staff that take care of those fans. But some of that money actually goes to the players, too. The NFL gave each of the winning Ravens a ring worth $20,000

For the Record

Behind every successful small business story there’s a lot of hard work and administrative effort. If, however, you want your business to really flourish your brilliant ideas are only part of the equation. You first need to be sure your company’s administrative foundation is built solid from the ground up.

A cornerstone you should lay when building your business foundation is great record keeping. While this may not be the most glamorous aspect of running a successful business, it is nonetheless a prerequisite to consistently good results.

What are the advantages of good record keeping?

Accurate and consistent records help you keep track of your business progress. Good records accurately show whether your sales are up or down,

Flue Season Arrives Early: 7 Steps You Can Take to Prepare Your Business & Employees

The 2012-2013 flu season arrived earlier than usual. As the nation braces for increased flu activity, now is the time to prepare yourself, your business, and your employees. Not only is prevention important for physical health, it may impact your bottom line if your or you team are out sick. While action steps to take now will vary by the size and nature of your business, here are some tips to help you and your teams avoid illness and maintain your business continuity.