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Monday, November 24, 2014

17 Top Executives Share Their Favorite Interview Question

Interview questions like, "What's your biggest strength?" and, "What's you biggest weakness?" aren't as telling as they seem.
That's probably why most savvy CEOs and executives steer clear of these cliché queries and instead ask more meaningful ones.
In fact, many top execs have their one favorite go-to question that reveals everything they need to know about a job candidate.
Some prefer to ask more serious questions, while others believe that silly queries about costumes and the zombie apocalypse, for instance, best uncover an applicant's creativity....

To read all 17 questions, click here.
Source: Jacquelyn Smith (www.businessinsider.com)

Thursday, November 20, 2014

These 12 Meeting Mistakes Cost Companies $37 Billion A Year In Lost Productivity

Of the approximately 11 million meetings that take place every day in the US, a third are unproductive.
It comes at a cost. An estimated $37 billion is lost every year to unproductive meetings, which suggests that while we have tons of meetings, we're not that great at them. 
Organizational psychologists have looked into why. Find the most common meeting mistakes below. 

1. You have too many of them.

Since a third of meetings "simply aren't productive," according to the research, you should consider having fewer.

2. You don't have a facilitator.

"Advanced Facilitation Strategies" author Ingrid Bens defines a facilitator as "one who contributes structure and process to interactions so groups are able to function effectively and make high-quality decisions." 
Every meeting should have one: a person who brings the discussion back to the topic when people go on tangents, creates the space for people, and helps dig into topics when they reveal themselves to be more complex than originally thought. In the same way an expert accompanist helps a singer hit the high notes, an expert facilitator helps bring the best out of a team....

To read full article, click here.
Source: Drake Baer (www.businessinsider.com)

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

NSA Provides Year-End Tax Tips for Businesses

The National Society of Accountants is suggesting some year-end tax tips to help businesses save money on taxes for this year and beyond, courtesy of Wolters Kluwer CCH.
Expensing and Bonus Depreciation
As a business owner, you may already know the benefits of Tax Code Section 179 expensing and bonus depreciation, which allows you to deduct the cost of certain types of property on your income tax return as an expense. Uncertainty over the ultimate fate of enhanced Code Sec. 179 expensing and bonus depreciation affects 2014 year-end planning, particularly as business owners contemplate purchases of equipment and supplies.
For tax years beginning in 2012 and 2013, the Sec. 179 dollar limitation was $500,000, and the investment limitation was $2 million (both indexed for inflation). These and other enhanced amounts expired after 2013; Congress will likely extend them, though exactly when in the last weeks of this midterm election year is uncertain.....

To read full article, click here.
Source: Michael Cohn (www.accountingtoday.com)

Monday, November 17, 2014

10 Powerful Lessons From Some Of The Best Business Books Of 2014

Leadership is not about who you know, or why you know it, or how much you are paid to lead. It's often about what you know and how you apply that knowledge.
That's why I've decided to scour the best books on leadership that were published this year and distill the information down to the most useful tip with a quote from the book.

1. Resilience is critical to success in leadership.

"A few years ago, two former business school professors of mine, Professor Jeffrey Pfeffer, author of 'Power,' and Jim Collins, author of 'Good to Great,' did an informal study of my Stanford MBA classmates to discern what factors were the most influential in determining which students would 'make it' and which would not. (As I recall, they were not looking for those who had made it as measured by dollars earned, but those who are most successful all around in achieving their goals and dreams.)
"After eliminating many different factors, they landed on resilience as the one defining skill and behavior that allowed some to stand out from the rest. After all it wasn't that none of us face that adversity — we all did. But some were able to pick themselves up and brush themselves off and move on, while others were not."....

To read full article, click here.

Source: John Brandon, Inc. (www.businessinsider.com)

Friday, November 14, 2014

7 Steps to Understanding the Affordable Care Act This Tax Season

The Affordable Care Act has brought monumental change to the U.S. healthcare system, and its impact on taxpayers and accountants continues to be no small matter either. Daniel G. Mazzola, CPA, an investment advisory representative with American Portfolio Advisors, specializes in ACA issues. He offers the following tips and advice about the law and its requirements, as we head into tax season.
  1. The medical expense deduction threshold rose from 7.5 percent of adjusted gross income (AGI) to 10 percent. That's not applicable if the taxpayer or spouse is 65. The age-based waiver expires in 2016. What that has meant for your clients with AGIs of $100,000 and $10,500 in medical expenses is that they could have claimed a $3,000 deduction in 2012, but only $500 last year. The increased threshold doesn't apply if either the taxpayer or spouse turns 65 before the end of years 2013 to 2016. The exemption is rescinded in 2017. For purposes of the Alternative Minimum Tax, medical expenses are deductible only if costs exceed 10 percent of AGI. The healthcare act doesn't change treatment of the alternative minimum tax (AMT).....

To read full article, click here.

Source: Terry Sheridan (www.accountingweb.com)

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

10 Ways Accountants Can Help Themselves When Their Business Is Slow

When business is slow, don't blame the economy. While effects of the Great Recession still hang over us, slow spells can happen any time for a variety of reasons. Don't take a vacation. Don't think you'll just wait it out. And don't get into bed with a quart of ice cream. If you're serious about business development, there are things you have to get yourself to do:
  1. Get yourself in a positive frame of mind. Things will be as bad as you may think they are if you are not in a positive frame of mind. You will convey whatever your state of mind is, so work on yourself first.
  1. On a slow day, make a list of people—clients, prospects, referral sources—and start calling as many as you can. Do this even if it's around holiday time. Other people may be facing slow times too and have time to talk. Get together in person if possible. Convey an upbeat impression and the sense that business is good. Inquire about their business and needs. See if there is a way you can help (billable or not). Give some examples of what you have done for others. Say you always appreciate referrals or introductions....

To read full article, click here

Source: Phyllis Weiss Haserot (www.accountingweb.com)

Monday, November 10, 2014

The Occupations With The Strongest Growth This Month

Job seekers concerned with limited hiring as the end of the year approaches will be heartened to learn that job postings in the vast majority of occupational categories have actually increased over the past month, heading into the fourth quarter.
According to SimplyHired‘s November 2014 U.S. Employment Outlook, job openings increased in 42 of the 54 listed occupation categories, with some occupations seeing greater than 10% gains in posted positions. To determine the occupations with the strongest growth this month, SimplyHired reviewed the month over month change in job postings in each occupational category.

Topping the list of occupations seeing the biggest increase in hiring is Firefighters, including Fire Investigators. Job postings in this category increased a healthy 13.55% over the past month. Nurses follow close behind, with a month over month increase in job postings just over 13%...
...Further down the list, Financial Specialists, including Accountants and Tax Professionals, as well as Mathematicians, including Actuaries and Statisticians also make the list. Martindi attributes this to the coming tax season, saying that while most people won’t begin preparing their taxes until early 2015, these professionals are being onboarded now in anticipation of the increased demand....

To read full article, click here
Source: Kathryn Dill (www.forbes.com)