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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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Santa’s Workshop Increases Productivity for 2012 Holiday

 As the Christmas season grows more demanding each year, Santa’s Workshop strives to continually improve efficiency and productivity. New products have been introduced to minimize fatigue and injury in the workshop, as well as streamline the operation overall.

 Elves suffer from ailments and lost productivity associated with long hours spent at a computer workstation.

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“With a lot of toys, comes a lot of data,” says Santa. “All that information has to be processed.”  In the administrative offices of the workshop, elves complained of back and wrist pain, and neck strain, leading to lost productivity and days out of the workshop recovering.  Santa implemented company-wide back supports for all admin elves along with keyboard managers to reduce incidents of wrist pain.  New monitor risers put screens at the proper height to prevent neck strain.

 Archiving Past Holidays-Storing Records On-Site at North Pole

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As a global one-night only distributor, Santa found reviewing past performance crucial for future productivity. Storing all past archives off-site lead to long delays in records retrieval, “especially when you are headquartered at the North Pole,” indicates Santa. “It got to the point where we were just stuffing records in stockings and toy chests. That’s no good.” Converting to on-site archiving reduced costs and made records readily available for review.

Naughty List Record Destruction

79ci

Santa’s Naughty & Nice spreadsheet is an ever-changing dynamic.  “Those who were once naughty and now are nice don’t deserve that bad record following them around.” Santa explains.  “We keep cross-cut shredders at every list review station for maximum identity theft protection. They are jam proof, so time is not lost dealing with paper jams, which increases productivity.”


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Holiday Gifts for the Home Office

Completing that perfect home office can mean finding the one thing that you really need, but never got around to buying.  Add these home office perks to your holiday wish list, or consider someone who needs that one office item they have been talking about buying for months.

Fundamental Identity Theft Protection

From unwanted credit card applications to old tax returns, your identity on paper is vulnerable to theft and fraud. Keeping a shredder in your home office is one of the simplest measures you can take for ID theft prevention.

The 79Ci cross-cut shredder features the 100% Jam Proof System to eliminate paper jams and power through tough jobs. The SilentShred feature ensures quiet performance. Especially important for the home office where kids and pets are present, SafeSense shuts down the shredder when hands touch the paper opening, preventing accidents and injury.

Must Have for Home & School Projects

Many times the home office becomes the place to finish projects for the classroom. When kids need help, usually its where you keep the computer and office supplies that they end up heading. To create great projects for class, a Cosmic 2 laminator comes in handy.  Laminating creates an impressive and protected finish for maps, artwork and dry erase diagrams.

There is even an idea center where you can download free templates for lamianting projects for home, school and office uses.

The Gift of Comfort

Even in the home office, long hours at the computer can lead to pains and aches. For those suffering in the home office chair, comfort gifts such as a climate control footrest can keep feet toasty warm or cool during the summertime. The footrest also  adjusts as needed to keep feet comfortably elevated. This unique gift will be appreciated long after the holidays!

 

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Cutting Costs Without Cutting Corners

Oftentimes, modifying business budgets means making sacrifices for the sake of saving. But in cases of eliminating outside document managing services and converting to on-site services you can save money and improve the security and convienience of your document handling.

Many businesses are discovering this already. In a recent survey, 65% of business decision makers at small, medium and large sized businesses cited high costs, associated with their off-site document management, as the No. 1 reason organizations decided to leave their off-site provider and perform these functions in-house.

To help businesses better understand their on-site needs and the savings it can provide, Fellowes developed the Cost-Savings Analyzer. Using specific data by the user, this online tool helps create an estimated savings that would result from a conversion to on-site record storage, shredding or document finishing. The switch to on-site services not only provides  a savings, but also offers greater document security and in some cases improved efficiency with document handling and finishing.

On-Site Records Storage

Off-site records management services may seem like a convenience, but they are charging excessive fees just to store and retrieve your files. There are also other costs built into your invoice such as administrative fees, handling charges and re-boxing fees that can go overlooked as the cost of doing business.

 With on-site storage you buy the storage system you need—and that’s it. The rest is savings to the company. You can save up to 68% over off-site storage. Not only that, but now your records are more accessible and you eliminate any potential for a security breach or lost or damaged files—all of which can occur when records are in transit from off-site services.

 On-Site Shredding

Off-site shredding services are less conspicuous. The costs at first glance are incremental. But a projected view of overall spending on off-site document destruction can reveal an excessive and unnecessary long-term cost.

 Investment in shredders on-site is a nominal and one-time cost that eliminates the perpetual invoicing of off-site services. You get instant guaranteed document destruction for your peace of mind, you control who handles your confidential information, and shredding on-site only takes minutes a day.

 On-Site Binding & Laminating

Consider the same scenario for binding and laminating. How many laminated and bound documents do you produce monthly? If you are not performing these tasks on-site, you are probably spending a lot at the copy shop.

 By creating an in-office binding and laminating station you can save between 45 and 75% on these services. Keeping professional grade binding and laminating machines available not only saves money, but allows you to generate those needed documents quickly. You have complete control of your output, which means avoiding errors and missed deadlines. In addition, you are not risking exposing confidential information from presentations and reports to copy shop staff.

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