The Best Shredders For a Tax Time Paper Purge

tax time paper purge

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A year end paper purge is the perfect time to think about getting a new shredder. If you allowed that slush pile of old and irrelevant files to become a monumental heap, then your current paper shredder may not be up to the daunting task.

Four Shredder Upgrades That Will Make a Happier New Year

  1. Greater Run Time Shredder

Your smaller, occasional use personal shredder is designed for shredding the daily junk mail, not three years of obsolete records. Your old shredder may overheat and frequent breaks will be required for cooldowns. Shredding could take days!

longer run time shredder

Get a shredder with longer run time so you can shred more and shred longer. This one runs for 30 minutes!

2. Go Automatic

So little time, so much to shred. Standing over your old shredder feeding papers into it seems like a waste of a day.

automatic shredder for home office

Get an automatic shredder and save time. Simply load the drawer, push the button and walk away.

 

3.  A Quieter Paper Shredder

If you’re intent on a major de-clutter of your home office, you may be shredding into the wee hours of the night. That old shredder isn’t getting any quieter.

 

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Get a shredder with silent performance features so you can shred all night without waking the family.

   4A Safer Paper Shredder

Weekends, snow days and kids home sick means your home office may be over run with little ones. You may have to delay your shredding tasks as your old shredder simply isn’t safe to operate around the kids.

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Get a shredder with safety features so you can keep shredding with  peace of mind.

Twelve Flexible File Storage Categories for Your Small Business

 

Categories for File Organization

Records storage may seem an incidental part of your small business operation. But flexibility in records management plays an important role in the scale of your business.  Just think of the smaller space of your offices and how a sudden surge in business means more paper records and the need to fill up your limited space with bulky filing cabinets. File boxes offer a more flexible option, as they can be stacked, stored and transported quickly and easily as your business needs change. Providing a box for each category of your business paperwork also creates a self-contained and highly organized file that can moved to a back office or to off-site storage with ease.

Here are twelve box categories to keep your business nimbly organized.

Accounting

Create and fill this box with sales and expense info including balance sheets and cash flow statements.

Banking

This box contains cancelled checks, bank statements, deposit slips and loan documents

Contracts

Keep all of your business contracts in this box including those for equipment leases and purchase agreements. You may also include work-for-hire contacts joint venture agreements.

Corporate Documents

If your business is incorporated you will need a box for articles of incorporation, bylaws and shareholder records such as minutes and consents.

Business Forms

This box is specially essential for accountants and attorneys who use standards forms daily. You may want to include sales agreements, tax forms, purchase order forms and employee applications here.

IPO

If you work with intellectual property, even on a small scale, you need to stay organized. A box containing trademark applications, patents,  licenses and non-disclosure agreements go in this file.

Marketing and Advertising

If you are promoting your business, you will need to keep records of your marketing brochures, past ads for print and web, press releases and other materials.  You may need to refer back to this file as you continue to market your company to see what produced the best ROI.

Permits and Licenses

The documentation to operate your business needs its own file. Use this box to keep operating permits, business licenses and other documents that you may need quick and easy access to for legal verification.

Last Minute Deductions for Your Business

 

office tax deductions

As the new year approaches, it’s a good time to review any office needs so you can add those deductions as business expenses. Here are some suggestions to improve productivity for your workplace while saving money during tax season.

Upgrading Your Office Shredder

Have you noticed that you can’t make a phone call while shredding because it’s so noisy, or perhaps you are constantly tearing jammed paper from the shredder’s jaws. Or when emptying the shredder bin, you notice that the paper isn’t quite shredded, more half-eaten? These are all signs that it is time for a new office shredder.  Upgrade to an office shredder that is jam proof, quiet and sure to turn documents to dust before 2017 starts. Shredder tax deductions.

best size paper shredder

 

Adding New Business Machines to the Office

Every time there is an important presentation and you need fifty bound PowerPoints, your first thought is usually that this is an occasional need so you might as well just take the project to your local print shop for binding. If you find yourself saying this often, then you may be throwing money away on expensive outsourced binding costs when you can do it quickly and easily yourself.

Pick out a reasonably priced binding machine and create impressive presentations for every big meeting. Plus, it’s an easy business write-off. Binding Machine tax deductions.

comb binding for business

The same goes for those pesky laminating tasks you sometimes need. If you calculated all the costs accrued every time when you needed laminated handouts for an event or laminated badges for a trade show, you would realize how much you would save with the minor cost of an office laminating machine, which is tax deductible. Laminating Machine tax deductions.

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Flexible Storage Solutions

Bankers Box tax deduction

As your business grows, so does the amount of paper records you may have to store. Your initial consideration may be metal filing cabinets, which are bulky and take up a lot of space. But more importantly steel cabinets aren’t flexible, offering solid but rigid records storage.

With Bankers Box file boxes, you can easily add more boxes as your business grows, move them to back rooms or easily take them to outside storage units without a lot of fuss. As some of your files get outdated, you can easily discard unneeded boxes. The perfect storage solution for any small business and an ideal deductible business cost: Bankers Box Tax Deductions.

Why Some Small Businesses Use Big Shredders

best size paper shredder

 

When we think of commercial shredders we typically think of large offices, lots of employees and lots of shredding. Small businesses have their own size shredders of course, smaller deskside versions that are more suitable for smaller work environments. However, in a recent survey conducted by Fellowes to better understand customer needs, it was discovered that many smaller business customers with less than ten employees were upsizing to the larger commercial machines. Here are some reasons why.

Long-Term Productivity Over Short Term Savings

Though commercial shredders cost more, they make up for their expense with enhancements to productivity.

Smaller shredders require more frequent emptying. The larger bin capacity of a commercial machine means less time spent disposing of shredded paper.

Larger machines have higher sheet capacities and longer run times, making shredding more efficient overall. If shredding is a consistent part of a business day such as a law office or mortgage company. even for a small office, this makes a commercial shredder a worthy investment.

More Prominent Reminder of Document Destruction Policies

Many small businesses who handle confidential customer information have found it necessary to establish a formal document destruction policy to prevent liability, a measure typically taken  by large corporate offices. Small deskside shredders tucked away under desks, make it easier for employees to neglect the policy. The presence of a large commercial shredder with a document destruction policy posted on the wall above offers a continuous reminder to employees to shred sensitive documents.

More Efficient During Document Purges

Some businesses may not shred constantly day in and day out, but may destroy documents on designated days of the week or during key periods of their business cycle. In these instances, even though it is used less, a larger commercial shredder is more efficient at destroying large quantities of documents during a purge. In some instances selecting automatic shredders makes this purge process even easier.

Three Easy Steps to Year End Records Organization

bankers box year end organizing

As the new year approaches, tax time may be the only thing on your mind, but taking the chance to reorganize can help you feel more in control and ready to take on your taxes. Here are three steps  you can take to get yourself organized and ready for 2017.

Review the complete line of year end storage solutions: Storage Boxes for Year End Organization

Purge

Files becomes disorganized mostly because we are afraid to throw things away. To make this step easier, make two piles-definitely throw away and maybe throw away. Any files 7 years or older can be thrown. If you are not sure about a particular document, keep it in the maybe file for now.

Restructure

The structure of any file system is not set in stone. We all have special areas of our business that need files and no set template is going to be completely satisfactory. After the purging stage, your current filing structure may be just fine. However if you do need to rethink your system here are some questions to ask yourself:

 Are Current File Categories Growing too Big?

For example you may have started a file entitled employees, only to find that current employees and past employee records were making the file too massive. Breaking down a single category into sub files can take the burden out of one file.

The same question can be asked in reverse. Are there some sub-category files that you thought would grow, but may only contain a few documents. You may want to merge this file with another smaller category to keep things  from getting too complex.

Remember that maybe throw file? Go through it now to reconsider the documents you may want to keep. In light of a new file structure, some might get filed in new categories or simply tossed once see with more organized insight.

Archive

Finally, it’s time to archive your files from around two years ago. Clearly label your boxes or drawers with the date.  Leave out last year’s documents to get ready for tax time. You will feel a sense of relief knowing you are not only ahead of the tax season, but also completely organized before the first Christmas party invitation.

 

Holiday Home Office Buying Guide: Four Unique Gifts

For those on your gift list who take their home office seriously, here are some great ideas to provide comfort and productivity.

Home office

Upgrade to an Automatic Shredder

automatic shredder for home office

Enhance productivity in the home office by automating  everyday shredding needs. The AutoMax 200C Auto Feed Shredder gives that special someone on your gift list  versatile shredding performance with 200 sheet automatic shredding and 10 sheet manual shredding. The AccuFeed Technology lets them shred hands free with a 12 minute run time. They can also shred paper clips, staples, credit cards and junk mail. A great gift for anyone who needs a better shredder.

Add Professionalism and Save Money with Personal Laminating

versatile home office laminator

End the days of expensive laminated projects at the local office center. The Saturn 3i 125 Laminator is a simple DIY laminating machine that makes durable handouts, laminated business cards and dry erase charts that bring productivity to the home office for less money. This home office laminator is the ideal gift for someone who needs occasional laminating projects and also needs to save money for their home business. The Saturn 3i 125 provides rapid one minute warm-up and  a 12/1/2″ entry for versatile document size, as well as a supply kit to get them started.

 

Improve the Air of the Home Office

home-office-air-purifier

With the winter months, the home office can get stuffy and with cold and flu season, germs circulate throughout the heating system. Time spent in the home office can make anyone sick, even when they try to sanitize surfaces and wash hands. After all, cold and flu germs linger in the air for a long time, making a home office air purifier a thoughtful gift. The AeraMax DX95 Air Purifier provides hospital type filtration, effectively cleaning the air in large rooms 300-600 square feet. Also the AeraSmart™ Sensor monitors the air quality and automatically adjusts the fan speed to keep air purified all the time. Look for the certified asthma and allergy friendly™ by the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America stamp of approval if someone on your Christmas list needs extra protection from allergies and asthma.

 

Toast Toes in a Chilly Home Office

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Sometimes a home office can be too warm or too cold, or both depending on the weather. If you have someone on your Christmas list with complaints of cold feet, this Climate Control Footrest will be deeply appreciated. This comfy footrest fits easily under the desk and features three temperature settings: cool fan, low heat, and high heat-so it also works great on sultry summer afternoons. The fan lets you adjust workspace airflow to suit your preference and the auto-off feature prevents overheating. They will also enjoy the surface massage bumps to help soothe their feet while they work.

BYOD: The Risks and Rewards of Personal Digital Devices in the Workplace

using privacy filters in public

As the lines between personal life and work life blur, so too do the usage of our digital devices for both.  Many companies are embracing the BYOD trend (Bring Your Own Device) for its many benefits, including the reduction of inefficiencies that come with juggling corporate and personal devices.  Digital technology supplied by employers mean doubling the number of devices an employee may have to carry with them, along with the inconvenience of having to switch from corporate devices to personal as needed. Employees using their desktop or laptop computers  on work-from-home days to check emails and follow up on assignments improves productivity. And business travelers using their personal phones and tablets to conduct business on the road improves the efficiency of communication between on-the-go employees and the home office.

BYOD Policy Basics for Business

  • Implement cloud platforms for remote business operations so lost or stolen devices do not compromise important data
  • Provide privacy filters to help prevent visual security breaches
  • Provide and train employees on remote data management applications, including software that allows for remote wiping of data, scanning for malware and data leakage and archiving company information

Studies including Harris Interactive, Osterman Research and  Gartner Research have revealed key details to the BYOD trend.  In a study by Harris Interactive, it was revealed that nearly two-thirds of companies have no policies regarding the use of personal mobile devices at work, and 33% tolerate personal devices for business. In a Osterman Research white paper, the majority of both iPhones and Android phones used for corporate business were owned personally rather than by the corporation.  And Gartner research estimated that almost half of the world’s companies will no longer provide computer devices to employees in the near future, 40% will offer a choice between corporate or personal devices and only 15% will remain outside the BYOD model.

Why Companies and Employees Like BYOD

Companies save when employees use their personal devices. The average cost of supplying mobile computing devices is estimated to be $600 annually per employee. Also employees are more likely to upgrade their personal devices to the latest and greatest technology, offering faster performance and greater security.

Employee prefer their personal devices. A Unisys report found that 44% of employees find a job offer more attractive if they can use their personal devices on the job.

Risks to the BYOD Trend

With rewards come risks. When defining their BYOD policies, companies need to take in account the potential hazards of personal devices. The Harris survey revealed the following:

  • 31% of employees connect to their company’s network from an unsecured free or public Wi-Fi
  • 46% share their personal devices with others
  • 25% have been victims of hacking or malware on their personal devices
  • 52% of laptop users are simply ignoring the problem of shoulder surfing, potentially exposing sensitive, corporate information when accessing their devices in public

As it appears that BYOD may become a business practice more than a trend, companies need to review and implement policies that both protect sensitive company information while still offering the flexibility of the modern work/life balance.

Sources

http://www.welivesecurity.com/2012/04/04/byod-infographic-for-security-not-a-pretty-picture/
http://www.pcworld.com/article/2036980/half-of-companies-will-require-byod-by-2017-gartner-says.html

 

When A Laptop is Too Hot To Handle

hot laptops

All laptops get hot while you are working on them. But when is your laptop too hot? Have you been noticing unexpected self shutdowns? This may indicate a bigger problem. Laptops are designed with preventive sensors to stop overheating from causing damage. Frequent shutdowns may indicate technical problems.

Check Your Laptop Fan.

All laptops have a ventilating fan to release the excess heat they produce. Find the fan and place your hand near it. You should feel warm hot coming out. This means your heat management system is working properly. If the air coming out doesn’t seem that warm, this may mean a buildup of dust is limiting the fan’s capacity. If you are okay with opening up your laptop, you can find the fan inside. Blow on it  or use compressed air to get it clean. If you are not comfortable with this maintanence, find a reputable computer repair service to take care of the problem. (Make sure you let them know you think it just needs a thorough cleaning).

A LapDesk Can Help Your Lap Stay Cool & Comfortable.

Because working laptops can still be uncomfortably hot, use lap desks to help manage the heat and keep you comfortable. Portable laptop desks are good for business travelers as they make working in airports and in hotels easier. The GoRiser also has cooling vents to help ventilate the laptop, as well as SoftShock technology which provides a softer cushion for your lap.

Laptop Lap Desk

GoRiser Laptop Lap Desk

 

Other designs like I Spire Series Laptop Desk are ideal for home users with features like bumpers to keep the laptop securely in place making them more comfortable for those who use laptops while on the couch or in reclining positions.

Comfortable Laptop Lap Desk

I-Spire Laptop Lap Desk

Micro Cut Shredder Recommended by Former Con Man

 

99ms-microcutshredderFamed former con man Frank Abagnale, as depicted by Leonardo DiCaprio in the film Catch Me If You Can now offers his talents for good, helping others avoid becoming victims of identity theft. Abagnale states that he shreds everything with a micro-cut shredder, “even if it’s worthless.”

Why Micro-Cut Shredders Are Important

  • Micro Cut Shredders take shredding to the next level, basically turning documents to dust with 10x smaller shreds.
  • Smaller shreds also means less frequent emptying of the waste bin. A micro cut shredder bin holds 80% more Micro-Cut particles per gallon than standard Cross-Cut.

Selecting A Micro-Cut Shredder for the Office

The best micro-cut shredder for a small office or home office can shred 14 sheets per pass into 5/64”x 9/16” micro-cut particles (Security Level P-5)

The best micro-cut shredder for larger offices shreds 14 sheets per pass into 5/64” x 15/32” Micro-Cut particles (Security Level P-5) and features continuous duty motor offers non-stop shredding.

Learn more about what Abagnale says about shredders: paper shredding advice from Abagnale

“Every FBI office in the US uses a micro-cut shredder.”

 

Create an Emergency Evacuation Map for Your Business

In the event of an emergency, a map to lead employees to safety is critical. It may be the most unnoticed sign in your office building on a day-to-day basis, but when catastrophe strikes it will become the most important. Here are some tips for creating an effective laminated map. Use general office laminators for creating evacuation maps and diagrams.

laminated evacuation map

  1. Sketch a basic layout of the office including walls and doors. You can use the drawing features on your Microsoft Office program to create a clear, illustrated document
  2. Identify a starting point. This is the “You Are Here” mark that helps the person reading the map know their bearings. The starting point is the one detail that will change, depending on how many maps you will need to post throughout the building. Every map should indicate the exact location where the person reading the map is standing.
  3. Add a compass. Show somewhere in the corner of the diagram a clearly marked four-point compass with North, South, West and East defined by bold initials.
  4. Define exit points. Emphasize the primary exits of the building in bold letters on the layout. When a person is unfamiliar with the building layout or is simply panicking in a crisis, confirming exit locations helps determine their next move.
  5. Defining a marshal area. A marshal area is a designated location well away from the building where all occupants can gather safely. This allows a head count to ensure everyone is out of the building. As not everyone will be familiar with the term “marshal area” you can simply draw a circle a distance from the diagram with the caption “safe area, go here when exiting.”
  6. Other designations. Also on your map, indicate the location of fire extinguishers using a fire extinguisher icon and first aid stations using a blue cross icon.

Laminate your map with quality laminating pouches for durability and display in heavily trafficked areas throughout the building.