Demystify An Error Message


Q. Every time I get an esoteric error message in Excel, I puzzle over its meaning—let alone what, if anything, I can do about it. I realize that often Windows will correct itself when I reboot the computer, but I would like to know what went wrong. Can you help?

A. Windows error messages have provoked much irritation—and humor—because they are so mysterious. They often sound very Zen—providing little information. If you really do want to know the meaning behind an error message—and possibly even uncover a fix if Windows fails to fix itself—consider downloading and running a Microsoft file, extralert.exe . It installs Microsoft Office 2000 Customizable Alerts, a program that offers to find more information via the Internet. To get the file, go to .

Once it is installed, Word, Excel, Access or PowerPoint sometimes will display a Web Help button along with the normal error message. Clicking on the button will take you to a Microsoft Web page that will provide more information.


Year-end tax planning and what’s new for 2016

Practitioners need to consider several tax planning opportunities to review with their clients before the end of the year. This report offers strategies for individuals and businesses, as well as recent federal tax law changes affecting this year’s tax returns.


News quiz: Retirement planning, tax practice, and fraud risk

Recent reports focused on a survey that gauges the worries about retirement among CPA financial planners’ clients, a suit that affects tax practitioners, and a guide that offers advice on fraud risk. See how much you know with this short quiz.


Bolster your data defenses

As you weather the dog days of summer, it’s a good time to make sure your cybersecurity structure can stand up to the heat of external and internal threats. Here are six steps to help shore up your systems.