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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…

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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…

Attention Amazon sellers: This tax amnesty program could save your business thousands

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(This post originally appeared on Fox Business)

If you’re an Amazon merchant, you could be facing an unexpectedly large tax bill, unless you take action fast.

For years, states have been complaining that online merchants were not disclosing and paying sales taxed owed for products shipped from within their borders. They want their money. Read More…

Obamacare? Trumpcare? What business owners need to know

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(This post originally appeared on Fox Business)

One of the biggest myths of the Affordable Care Act is that the law doesn’t affect small businesses. It does. Significantly.

Sure, businesses with less than 50 full time equivalent employees are exempted from the corporate mandates requiring that we provide affordable health insurance to our full timers. Yes, some very small businesses are potentially entitled to a tax credit. But the fact is that most businesses – big and small – do provide healthcare to our employees. And the ones that don’t provide healthcare find themselves at a significant disadvantage to their larger competitors who do.

In survey after survey, healthcare consistently ranks as one of the top benefits desired by employees. Not offering this benefit prohibits companies from attracting good people.

Unfortunately, Washington has now made things more difficult. Read More…

Google’s $2.7B EU fine: Why Main St. in America ‘gets it’

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(This post originally appeared on Fox Business)

The European Union came down hard this week on Alphabet-owned Google (GOOGL), fining the tech giant about $2.7 billion for “[abusing] its market dominance as a search engine by promoting its own comparison shopping service in its search results, and demoting those of competitors,” said EU antitrust chief Margrethe Vestager. Google said it “respectfully disagreed” with the ruling.

The backlash, particularly in the American online business community, was swift. The EU’s actions were “anti-American” some commenters said, citing other recent actions against U.S. tech companies like Apple (AAPL) and Facebook (FB). Others accused the EU of “shaking down” rich companies for money to make up for their community’s own lack of innovation. Read More…