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EEOC keeps up pace, size of business fines

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(This post originally appeared on Fox Business)

It’s the Trump era, and corporate executives are seeing the effects of the administration’s pro-business attitude, fewer regulations, less government interference, fewer taxes and less red tape.

But there is one bureaucratic exception to all this, the five-member Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) that oversees the behavior of corporate executives with their employees and monitors signs of discrimination.

A review of the EEOC’s press releases through the first three months of this year reveals that 23 companies paid more than $2.6 million for violations ranging from sexual harassment to racial discrimination. Read More…

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How a volatile stock market affects my small tech business

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(This post originally appeared on Fox Business)

Earlier this month, a sale that I was expecting to happen didn’t happen.

It was a customer relationship management (CRM) system – that’s what we sell – to a prospect of ours with about fifty employees. Their total investment was going to be about $35,000, including the software and the related services. This is a pretty typical deal for us, but for a company the size of my prospect, the amount was not insignificant.

What makes our products challenging to sell is that CRM is intangible. The software – if implemented properly – should help our prospective client increase their sales. It should help them improve their productivity. It should help them gather better marketing data and step up their customer service operations. Should, should, should. Read More…

How tax reform bonus payments can save your business a ton of money

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(This post originally appeared on Fox Business)

This week FedEx (FDX), Walt Disney (DIS) and Verizon (VZ) joined the growing list of big companies, such as AT&T (T) and Wells Fargo (WFC), that have announced plans to financially reward employees with either one-time bonus payments, broad salary increases or other financial perks. So far, over 260 companies have dished out benefits and more are expected to do so. It’s been good PR for them and of course for the president and the Republican Congress that passed the legislation.

But did you notice something? Some companies were able to make this announcement almost immediately after the bill passed and before the year ended. But quite a few didn’t, including the nation’s largest employer, Walmart (WMT). The mega-retailer announced on Jan. 11 that it would be giving out bonuses of up to $1,000 to some of its employees.  Read More…

Hey small business owners: Stop whining about your tax cut

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(This post originally appeared on Fox Business)

The Republicans released the details of their tax reform plan yesterday and – amazingly – many small business owners aren’t happy about it.

“It doesn’t go far enough,” one client complained to me. “The big companies are getting more of an advantage,” said another.

Their sentiment was summed up by a statement from the National Federation of Independent Businesses, an association representing 325,000 small businesses around the country. The organization lamented that it is “unable to support” the plan in its current form. Read More…

Why Amazon’s HQ2 search is PR for the 21st century

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(This post originally appeared on Fox Business)

Amazon’s HQ2 story is a masterful public relations campaign, aimed at generating a conversation.

You know what’s great about Amazon? It’s not just the zillions of items that you can buy in a few clicks. Or the magical way they get stuff delivered to your door on the same day you ordered. It’s not Transparent or The Man in the High Castle or Manchester by The Sea. Or the Kindle. Or the Echo. OK…all those things are great.

But what’s truly great about Amazon is the way the company promotes itself. Sure, Amazon runs the occasional TV campaign and the company invests millions in online advertising. But its true genius is keeping a positive image of its brand frequently in the public’s mind. It does this through PR. Read More…

Could Trump’s tax reform plan (and robots) put accountants out of work?

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(This post originally appeared on Fox Business)

“Sorry. H&R Block will not be supporting Donald Trump, I can tell you.”

Those words were said by the president recently during a rally where he promised tax reform that, at its center, would be “fair, simple and easy to understand.”

The inference is that large tax preparation services like H&R Block and Jackson Hewitt would lose business. It seems that Wall Street agrees. H&R Block’s stock has dropped more than 8 percent after releasing its earning last month, with some of that decline being attributed to tax reform. Depending on what legislation ultimately gets signed by the president, as I see it tax services like H&R Block could indeed suffer in the future.

But what about accountants? I’m a Certified Public Accountant. Is my job in potential jeopardy? Quite literally, yes.  Read More…

How the Equifax breach could hurt Google, Amazon … and my small firm

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(This post originally appeared on Fox Business)

My firm provides information technology services to more than 600 small and medium-sized businesses. Most of the work we do is implementing cloud based customer relationship management, sales and marketing systems. We are a Microsoft partner. We also partner with many other great information technology firms that help our clients host, back up and secure our systems using Microsoft’s Azure, Amazon’s Web Services and Google’s cloud services, among others.

I once thought my client base would resist migrating their in-house systems to cloud based systems. But it’s happening…in a big way. According to many research reports, including this one from technology firm IDC in 2016 Opens a New Window., SMBs have been adopting the cloud at a record clip, with almost two-thirds using cloud based applications for sales growth and productivity and 78 percent planning to use software-as-a-service applications within the next three years. It makes sense. A company using cloud based applications and services can be more productive, flexible, data-driven, mobile and secure than the old way of managing our internal networks. Or so I have been preaching. Read More…