Smart Stops on the Web


By the Numbers
Could your small office/home office clients use four tips for taking the terror out of giving presentations or the seven secrets of Internet marketing? Could you? Go to this e-stop to get the lowdown, plus eight ways to market your home business and four reasons why small businesses sink or swim. Find guidance on how to write and maintain business plans, choose a business name that sells or register for the business know-how newsletter.

SOHO Know-How
CPAs with sole-proprietor clients can get a free home business success kit or request a complimentary CD on how to separate from an employer or a 30-day trial membership to the American Home Business Association here. Read ideas for cutting business expenses, e-mail marketing tips and four steps to boost profits or articles on how to keep spyware from hijacking your business.

Homeward Bound
This small office/home office Web stop geared toward new home office professionals offers a free newsletter and articles in five categories: finance, legal, marketing, start-up and technology. Read the 10 ways to attract clients and 10 tips for small business owners, and find advice on how to lower business costs and shop for the best telephone service. Research the tax advantages of running a home business and how to rank high in search engine lists.

Uncle Sam’s Small Biz Tips
Whether you’re starting your own small firm or advising clients on how to do that, you can find guidance and resources at the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) Web site. Each of the four sections—starting, financing and managing your small business, opportunities and disaster recovery—has links to useful resources such as daily tips from entrepreneurs, steps to starting a business, glossaries, and marketing and sales advice.

Tips, Tools and Templates
Need start-up advice to share with your more entrepreneurial clients? Turn to this Smart Stop for business plan templates and sample marketing plans, five ways to avoid driving business away and some management skills they’ll need before they hire their first employee. Get information on how to hold effective meetings with real agendas, form successful strategic plans and improve profitability. The Tools section has financial calculators and links to free shareware.

Comply and Keep Covered
This government Web stop has advice for business owners on compliance issues and links in its Finance section to Sarbanes-Oxley and Occupational Safety and Health Administration resources. Find links to to help you set up employee ID numbers and to for information on payroll taxes. The Business Law section offers bankruptcy forms, best practices for business mergers and a how-to guide on patents and trademarks. Get emergency and disaster planning resources such as a business recovery checklist.

For Better or for Worse
For clients contemplating marriage, this family law blog has financial advice on asset protection, joint bank accounts and retirement benefits. Or, if they’re going through a breakup, get guidance on finding hidden assets, equitably dividing assets and debts, and keeping jointly owned businesses running. There’s even financial advice for couples who remarry.

Grow Your Career
Milwaukee-based executive coach Joan Lloyd has archived articles here from her syndicated column, “The Changing Workplace,” on human resources issues, managing an office, people skills and job hunting. There’s advice on navigating a career during family-leave transitions, and tips on in-office politics and how to diplomatically quiet a chatty coworker. Read how to confront unprofessional behavior and use participative leadership skills.

Interested in Interest?
CPAs can find helpful discussions on IRC sections 72(t) and 72(q) and substantially equal periodic payments at this site. To help your clients use this payment alternative, the site has calculators on estate taxes, compound interest, payment alternatives, reverse distributions and last payment dates.

Never Say Die
Looking to fill your free time during retirement with a part-time, full-time or temporary job? Register for free at this Web site to post your resume (or search them if you’re an employer). Take a personality test and get resume writing help.

—Vince Nolan


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.