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Tax Time Solutions for Tax Preparers and Do-It Yourselfers

Tax pros and amateurs face some of the same barriers: handling confidential documents and staying organized throughout the whole taxing process. There are some solutions to make the process easy and safe.

Tax Pros

Even though many returns are submitted electronically, paper documents still play a role in the tax office. Paper based ID theft breaches for the first half of 2012 accounted for nearly 15% of known breaches. As you handle scores of tax returns with social security numbers and bank account numbers, having a consistently performing shredder available ensures the ID security of your clients.  In addition, a commerical paper shredder that is visible  to your clients and in use while you are preparing their taxes gives them a higher level of trust and confidence in you and the practice you run.

Do It Yourselfers

Tax time may also be a purging period of old returns–something id thieves are fully aware of. You make feel your current return is perfectly safe because you filed electronically, but those old returns carry the same confidential information that can fall into the wrong hands when you are disposing of them. A reliable household shredder can make cleaning out your tax records a lot easier. If you do a lot of shredding in your home office, consider a home office shredder for longer run times and shred capacities.

Tax Pros

Helping your clients get their documents done may not be the only way you can help. Consider offering them methods for long-term tax organization. Suggest a Tax Organization Kit.  It can help your clients keep records clearly organized throughout the year for easier processing during tax time–making their life and your job a lot easier.

Do it Yourselfers

Sometimes the worst part of the tax process if you do it yourself is remembering where you put this form or that receipt from eight months ago. A tax organization kit with flip top boxes and color coded reference labels can really help staying organized throughout the year. Without guidance from a tax professional, do- it-yourself organizational help can reduce the stress of the tax time process.


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Hot Desking: The Wave of the Future, or Just a Positive Spin on Downsizing

Hot desking essentially means creating one central office workstation for multiple employees, or in some cases an open plan office-no cubes or private closed door offices; instead a  cluster of communal workstations becomes the hub. This kind of an arrangement works well with alternating shifts and limited office space. Hot-desking also saves money by minimizing the work footprint and maximizing the output of a few workstations.

For entrepreneurs and many startups, hot-desking is the future of office work. Creating a hot desk location helps many small business owners get their businesses up and running when there are limited funds for office space and when operating costs need to stay low. If they have employees, they distribute the workload between home office, mobile technology and hot desk locations.

For any hot desk, the needs are simple:

  1. Maintain office supplies at the workstation and keep it organized.
  2. Make sure the station is comfortable for everyone who needs to use it. That means including well-being and ergonomic features that are adjustable and flexible to fit the needs of multiple computer users on a single computer.
  3.  Aside from a PC, copier, fax and printer, equip the hot desk workstation with other essential business machines including a shredder, binding machine for presentations, and a laminator.

As exciting as hot desking may seem for some, others see the trend as nothing more than an opportunity to downsize the office environment: limiting the comfort of the workplace, while expecting the same productivity.  Though there are no hard numbers on the trend, there are consistent complaints. The “odd couple” syndrome is by far the most common: a highly organized, very tidy individual sharing a desk with the complete opposite. For those situations, good management skills come in handy, matching the right workers at the same workstations.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Hot Desking

What’s Good                                                                  

1. Saves money                                                             

2. Better work/life balance                                       

3. More interactive work environment               

What’s Not So Good

1. Nothing personal about your workspace

2. No sense of permanence

3. One workstation+ multiple workers=lots of germs


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Bound for Success: A Post-New Year’s Resolution Journal

If you haven’t already, you may soon-that is, breaking your New Year’s resolution. The typical resolution lasts roughly one to two months, leading to 60% in unused annual gym memberships. The reason for this phenomenon is that very few people can change their habits overnight. That doesn’t mean change is impossible. Taking small steps with realistic goals is attainable with a conscious, regulated modification of behavior.

A Bound Resolution Journal Records Gradual Change

Creating a resolution journal helps you be aware of gradual change. Record daily successes. Reinforce positive emotions that come with maintaining success, and if you slip, don’t beat yourself up. Forgive yourself and record in your journal how you will get back on track the following day.

Customizing Your Journal

The advantage of creating a customized journal you bind yourself, is that you can add personal comments that work specifically for you. Having a “Slip-Ups” Section on every page of your journal reminds you when you didn’t have any slip-ups, and compels you to record what feelings or events caused you to fall back on bad habits when you do.

Your Custom Journal Binding Machine

Your Custom Journal Binding Machine

A Rewards Page

Only with a customized bound journal can you create a rewards page for yourself. Every 14th page of your journal (every two weeks) you don’t have to record an entry. It’s a day-off to reward yourself for your long-term success. Of course, the reward shouldn’t relate to the habits you are trying to break, rather an alternative, healthy choice that helps remind you it’s not all about sacrifice.

Whether it’s weight loss or the desire to quit smoking, change shouldn’t come once a year. Your everyday resolution journal takes the pressure from overnight change and helps you gradually and effectively make improvements in your life.

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