Outsourcing Payroll: What are the Major Benefits?

In the past small businesses didn’t have to worry about the increasing complexity of government tax regulations. Tax rules were fairly simple and straight forward, but as time wore on the tax rules became more and more complicated. In the past bookkeepers remained with the same company or organization for many years. There was a sense of loyalty. In the past many organizations used paper processes to do their payroll. Today new technology has created time saving methods for processing payrolls.

SurePayroll, a PayChex® company suggests that there are 8 benefits to outsourcing payroll. The first benefit mentioned is time restraints. Small business owners specifically claim that bookkeeping tasks take time away from the business. It isn’t just time restraints that bog down businesses. It is also the mistakes that happen that no one catches that trip businesses up. The major benefits to outsourcing payroll are:

1. Accuracy and compliance
Payroll mistakes can cost both time and money. In a New York Times article, “Should You Keep Your Payroll In-House or outsource it?” the argument for outsourcing payroll is that having payroll automated by a third party eliminates the inaccuracies that occur when compliance issues are discovered. The main argument for outsourcing payroll is that small businesses haven’t the time or the information to keep up with the many government regulations out there.

2. Time Savings
The average time spent on payroll and administrative tasks vary from business to business. Small businesses cite that bookkeepers on average spend between 3 to 5 hours a month on in-house payroll. The burden of complying with complex regulations and compliance issues is what causes the most headaches.An Accounting Today article, states 26 percent of the small business owners polled by SCORE cited that time restraints and compliance issues were the worst part of running a business. Outsourcing payroll saves businesses time so they can concentrate on their core business.

3. Technology and Knowledge
This is an important key factor when considering outsourcing payroll. Third Party Payroll Companies have the latest technology to enhance your financial processes. Many of these vendors also have financial knowledge that could help your business grow financially. One of the drawbacks of having an in-house payroll is that fact that your bookkeeper or accountant may decide to leave the company and take his financial knowledge with him. With an outsourced payroll, there is no worry that your company will be left in the lurch.

4. Long term cost savings
Cost savings over time is what most small businesses need to think about when considering outsourcing payroll. The long term benefits of outsourcing payroll to an outside organization add up when you consider the expense of maintaining an in-house bookkeeper and the risk of paying for payroll mistakes.



Home Living: Simple Tricks that Can Transform Any Room

It doesn’t take a big remodel to transform the look and feel of a room. Changing certain features can make a dramatic difference. Here are a few things to consider when you want to transform any space.

Add a Decorative Mirror

A mirror instantly makes a room feel larger and alters the ambience. Use one beautifully framed mirror or hang several together to create a design focal point. If you do the latter, choose different mirror shapes for interest, but make sure the frames are the same or similar in color so that the design doesn’t lend a feeling of chaos to the space.

Change the Wall Color

Change the wall color to create warmth or add coolness, to complement decor and to make the room feel larger or more intimate. Color has an immediate effect on mood, so choose carefully with this in mind. Use darker hues when you want to add more drama and weight to the space, and choose lighter hues when you want to evoke peace and an airy feeling. If you want to bring the focus to a specific area of the room, paint only that wall in the new color.

Add Large Plants

Placing one or two large potted plants in the room will give it a breath of life. Greenery has a calming effect and makes any space feel more welcoming. Consider potted Areca palm trees, rubber trees or similar types of plants. Many types of plants also help purify the air, and this means the transformation won’t be limited to the visual change – even the air will be transformed.

Use Creative Lighting

Light is used to brighten a space, but it can also be used to create effects. Down lighting or up lighting directed towards a painting or wall sculpture pulls the attention towards that decorative feature. Back lighting bookcase shelves adds unique drama while contributing to the overall lighting of the room. Supplementing your overhead lighting with other types of lighting around the room adds a warm, welcoming touch to the room

Change the Window Dressing

Get rid of old boring blinds and replace them with a window dressing that adds subtle charm, such as soft, flowing drapes. Choose the colors and patterns that harmonize with the room’s decor style. For example, woven or canvas curtains in marine blue and white add an appropriate touch to a beach house design. If the room is done in neutrals and you need some color, add colorful window dressings.

Add a Throw Rug

A throw rug adds instant visual interest to a room and, as long as the pattern or colors complement the rest of the room, these can bring a cohesiveness to the whole design. Use bold patterns if you want the rug to play a large design role. Otherwise, stick with subtle patterns and textures and let it simply enhance your other decor.

Small changes and additions such as these are often all a room needs to go from bland and outdated to aesthetically stunning. If you are concerned about committing yourself to a particular transformation, remember that minor changes allow you to experiment a bit more freely with different colors, textures and features.

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What Makes a Difference in Headset Quality?

If owning a quality headset is important to you, you should look for factors that distinguish the best headsets from the average product. Narrow down your search to headset models that offer the features and quality you need. Make your final decision after considering the price of several shortlisted brands. Also, keep your personal preference in mind at this stage of the buying process.

Here are some important things to look for in a quality headset.


Headphones come in many different styles and forms. Consider how you intend to use the headset to determine a form that’s suitable for you.

Earbuds are small headphones that sit inside the ear. Earbuds vary from cheap Chinese versions to branded pairs from a number of leading manufacturers. Earbuds are portable devices most suitable for people with a lot of traveling needs. They offer some degree of noise isolation and are commonly used in buses and airplanes. Earbuds are also the right choice for people who wear glasses.

Headphones are another form of headsets that offer greater noise cancelation owing to the pads around the ear. Some versions require separate batteries for powering the device.

Noise Isolation

Noise isolation headsets block outside noise using a physical seal inside or around the ear, directing the sound of headset speaker into the ear while keeping ambient noise out.


Wireless capability in headsets gives you the freedom to listen to music wirelessly. Basic functions, such as play, pause and stop can also be performed wirelessly. Wireless headsets require separate batteries to power the wireless devices.


You should also find out if the headset is comfortable to use. Some seemingly attractive headsets are known to be quite uncomfortable and cannot be worn for more than a few hours at a stretch. Look for a headset that fits the ear properly and is made using premium material for increased comfort.


Most importantly, you should compare the sound quality of the headsets you’re considering. It can be difficult to choose headset that offers the best audio quality. If you are unable to make a decision, feel free to consult headset reviews of the products you’re considering. This will offer you a more professional comparison of the sound quality and overall performance of different devices.


Price is also an important factor to consider when shopping for a quality headset. Headsets can vary in price from a few dollars up to hundreds of dollars. A good option is to set a specific budget and look for headsets that meet other requirements in that range.


Converting a Van into a Cargo Van: The Step by Step Process

For small businesses just starting out, a cargo van can be an invaluable resource. On the other hand, they can also be very expensive and difficult to acquire. Finding a used passenger van is much cheaper. Luckily for many small business owners, converting a passenger van into a cargo van isn’t a very difficult task. Here’s how to do it.

1. Disconnect the battery.

While performing the conversion, you may need to remove electrical components. By disconnecting the battery you eliminate the risk of electrical shock to yourself. This may not be necessary in all vans, however.

2. Remove the back seats.

In vans that have second and third row seating, you’ll want to remove all of the seats. Try to ask a friend for help with this part; the seats tend to be very heavy. To reduce your risk of injury, it’s better to not attempt this on your own.

3. Take out the carpeting.

The majority of vans will have carpeting lining the back. Using a standard carpeting tool or even a household knife, cut around the edges and remove the carpeting from the vehicle. While this is an optional step, carpet is difficult to clean and dirties easily. Cut a line between the back and front seats, and then secure the carpet to the ground. This will allow you to leave carpeting under the front seats.

4. Lay a floor lining in the rear of the van.

Vehicle floor linings can be purchased at most automotive stores. Rubber floor mats can be used, as well as pieces of wood or metal. You want to create a solid, secure surface in the rear of the van. Secure it to the vehicle with screws, taking care not to damage the vehicle when you do.

5. Remove the windows.


This step may require professional help. Remove the side and rear windows and replace them with metal. You’ll want to ensure the replacement metal is flush with the side of the van to reduce the amount of drag produced while going down the highway. If the area doesn’t feel secure, place metal bars across the area where the window once was. This will keep the metal in place more thoroughly.

By removing the internal components of the van, you open it up to hold cargo in the back. You may want to build and secure a partition between the front seats and the rear to prevent equipment from sliding forward when you have to slam on brakes. While it is better to get professional help while constructing this sort of van, it can be done as a DIY project.



Real Estate Reality: A Current Take on the Real Estate Industry

As is always the case, the strength of the real estate market is often dependent on where in the country people are looking and what their individual experience happens to be. Since it is still considered by many to be a buyer’s market, many sellers may feel that the housing slump that was triggered by the recession may not have quite ended. However, there are numerous signs that the market is improving- for everyone. There are also a few cautions for anyone who is interested in real estate investment.


The signs of improvements includes fewer short sales and foreclosures, suggesting a more healthy overall economy than a decade ago. In addition, the rise in single family home sales has been ongoing since 2012, and has shown no obvious signs of dropping off. Many in the group known as Generation Y, or Millennials, are now beginning to consider becoming homeowners. In fact, they make up slightly more than 60 percent of the first time buyers currently home shopping. This is an enormous group of potential home owners, and when coupled with the steadily downsizing baby boomers, it means there is plenty of potential activity within the market.

The increased interest in purchasing homes and fewer new foreclosures have helped to increase sale prices as well. The average home price is now approximately 7 percent higher than it was last year and much of the growth was seen at the end of the summer in August, 2015. Nationally, these increases have not recovered all of the losses from the housing bubble, but areas like Los Angeles and Las Vegas, are seeing a great demand for homes. So much so, that individual buyers are finding it a challenge to compete with investors in these areas.

As for concerns about the market, many point to the all-cash foreign buyers and investors who have scooped up many properties. This has made it difficult for single-family buyers to compete, leaving many homes in once popular neighborhoods as vacation rentals, something that only helps the local economies during the travel season. Luckily, the largest fear that most real estate experts have had may already be resolved. The artificially low interest rates have been a concern to many, but recent hints from the Federal Reserve suggest that by the end of 2015, interest rates will be raised. Perhaps this will help to speed up the somewhat slow and sluggish recovery, the biggest complaint of some who had expected to already be at this point in the recovery a couple of years ago.




4 Ways to Increase Work Productivity and Efficiency

Productivity at work is an important component of the sustainability and survival of a business. It ensures that an enterprise is maximizing its returns and that employees are making the most of out of their work time. Productivity does not come cheap and may be a challenge to give the best either at home or work. It requires smart and focused strategies. These tactics need to be implemented on a regular basis so that they become routine. The following are some effective methods of increasing productivity and efficiency at work while increasing output.


Technology has revolutionized how we do work in the office. They are excellent tools that can be used to increase productivity, efficiency, make life easier and save valuable time at work. Evernote and GoogleDocs are some applications that one can use to collaborate with colleagues on documents. One can sync weekly schedules with colleagues using calendar planning tools. Instead of traveling for meetings, video conferencing tools can be used saving time and money. Web based Time Tracking Software can to track employees’ attendance and leave time to ensure that every staff member gets paid the amount of time they work.


Every business has standards that need to be meet. Every employee knows what is expected regarding what they should do, allocated roles and clear consequences. Members of staff who lack accountability eventually make excuses when they miss targets, slack off and postpone work. Therefore, responsibility should be set up from the beginning to ensure a high-quality work output.


Distractions are sources of massive waste of time. These distractions can be emails, social media websites, texting or a colleague wanting to make a rapport. Minimal distractions affect the work pattern leading to a drop in productivity. Setting office hours, installing firewalls to keep surfing hours in check and working from a home office on sensitive projects are some ways to minimize interruptions. It is important for one to resist temptations of destructions and make a conscious decision to use breaks efficiently.


Effective communication is a valuable component in the way a business functions. It ensures achievement of targets and goals, and employees and customers’ needs, are satisfied professionally. It is about using appropriate channels of communication to attain the necessities of an enterprise. Members of staff should know how to reach the management about their concerns as well as the management knowing how to communicate duties and information with employees. Enhancing communication can be through the use of enterprise social platforms like Yammer that makes it easier and quicker for employees to get in touch, contribute to the business and help new colleagues with onboarding.




When Should I Have My Trees Trimmed?

Trimming your trees is a delicate science because each species and regional weather plays a role in overall plant health. Cutting most of a tree’s branches off from the leader could invigorate some species while killing off another. Before you hire tree trimmers for your property, take a look at some critical factors that must be evaluated.

Readying Trees for Fall and Winter

Depending on the region, you might have a severe cold season ahead. If your trees have many limbs that are weak or cracking already, prune these plants in the summer. Most species have completed their major growth and flowering periods by late summer so trimming at this point doesn’t compromise the trees’ health. Remove questionable branches and prune for overall shape. Don’t strip the trees of many branches, however. They still need enough leaves to photosynthesize and remain strong through the winter.

Encouraging Vigorous Spring Growth

Another trimming strategy is pruning in the late winter. Ideally, you want to cut away branches that don’t contribute to spring growth. By removing the branches in the late winter, you reduce the time that the tree is exposed to the weathering elements. New growth is almost instantaneous at that point, so that the tree recovers from the trimming stress. With fewer branches to support, the tree can concentrate on flowering and fruiting in the near future.

Avoiding Tree Diseases

One of the worst times of the year to prune your trees is fall. During this time period, spores and other particles float freely through the air. They’re essentially looking for any organic surface to latch onto and reproduce. It’s the last reproductive effort of the season for many fungi and other microorganisms. If you prune your trees in the fall and leave those cut sections exposed, they can succumb to fungi and bacterial growths.

Considering Tree Species

One of the major reasons why it’s important to consult with an expert for tree trimming is particular species care. In fact, some trees should be pruned at certain times of year for the best overall growth. Apple trees, for example, are best pruned in the late winter. Magnolia trees, in contrast, should be trimmed after their blooming period ends. Professional tree trimmers can easily create a plant care schedule that works for your property and specific tree species.

If you have a tree that’s just been established in your yard, it’s best to use a hands-off approach to its trimming. Freshly planted trees need time to work their roots into the ground. If you trim the branches and leaves too soon, the tree doesn’t have the strength to grow vigorously afterward. Ideally, allow this tree to grow another season before pruning it.


Organization Operations: How to maximize your Donor Support

According to the National Philanthropic Trust, charitable donations are at an all-time high. For example, American individuals gave almost 360 billion dollars in 2014, which is a seven percent increase from 2013. On the other hand, corporations donated almost 20 billion dollars in 2014, which is a 14 percent increase from the year 2013.

Know Donor Targets
Non-profit organizations must be familiar with donation trends and preferences. For example, research by the National Philanthropic Trust also shows that over 30 percent of donations went to religious organizations while 15 percent went to educational organizations. Moreover, 12 percent went to human service organizations and eight percent went to health organizations. Clearly, donors have clear preferences when it comes to giving away their money. For that reason, donor organizations should associate themselves with the above mentioned groups. If possible, form a collaborate partnership that will allow you to use the organizations’ symbol on your donor literature and website. Gently remind donors that both your organization and the well-known organization are equally committed to your shared cause. For example, joining forces with a well-known organ donation program will help your non-profit health care organization.

Advice for Online Non-Profits
Online non-profit organizations have their own unique challenges, such as lack of brand awareness or market penetration. However, online donation platforms are convenient for potential donors to give money because they simply have to log in online and sign a simple pledge. Still, eliciting online donations will depend on the attractiveness and user-friendliness of the website. First, be sure to follow standard e-commerce security protocols, such as requiring multi-layered sign-in authorizations and displaying well-known security certifications. Be sure to inform online donors of the high level of security protection and use Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) encryption to safeguard your donor’s personal and financial information. Second, ensure that the website is neat in appearance, easy to navigate and visually appealing. Avoid multiple banners, vague headlines and confusing color schemes. Be sure to clearly illustrate the donation process, ideally through an embedded video tutorial.

Be Driven by Results and Relationships
Many non-profit organizations fail because they flounder in marketing and administrative processes. As a result, the non-profit promises much more than they actually deliver. Be sure to have objective goals that are regularly measured and shared with donors. On the other hand, think of a donor as a lifelong customer, instead of just a one-time financial transaction. Focus on cultivating positive and long-lasting relationships with donors. In order to accomplish this, be sure to offer multiple interaction opportunities for donors. Ideally, offer creative multiple ways for donors to engage your organization. Be sure to offer identical online, telephone, in-person and social media opportunities.

In review, donor support can be maximized through partnering with major donor organizations and improving your website’s security and appearance. Be sure to nurture both results and relationships.

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Five Questions You Should Ask After An Accident

You’ve been in a motor vehicle collision, and you never even saw it coming. The other driver went through a red light and broadsided you at 35 miles per hour. Even though you’re shocked and hurt, you need to ask these five questions as soon as possible.

Is everybody alright?
If you have passengers, check on their physical conditions. When you call 911, the operator is going to want to know how many people were hurt. That tells them how many ambulances and paramedics to send to the scene. Find out what hospital they’ll be taking you to. Then you can let your family know where you’ll be.

Does the other party have insurance?
If the accident was their fault, you’ll be making your insurance claim against them and their insurance company. You’ll want the name of the insurer, the name of the policyholder and the policy number. That information should be on their insurance card, and the investigating police officer can get it for you. If they didn’t have insurance, hopefully you’re covered by uninsured motorist insurance.

If they do have insurance, how much coverage do they have?
If they do have insurance, they might only have minimum liability coverage. That might not be enough to compensate you or a family member if there were serious injuries. If you have uninsured motorist coverage, it’s highly likely that you also have underinsured motorist insurance. You’ll probably want to make a claim on your underinsured coverageif the at fault driver’s coverage isn’t sufficient.

When and where can I get a copy of the accident report?
Unless you’re in a really large city, you can usually get a copy of the accident report at the police department of the city where you were in the accident after about four days. There will probably be a nominal charge. Both your insurance company and your attorney will want copies.

Do I have to give a statement to the insurer of the person at fault?
The insurer of the person who caused the crash might call or write you wanting a written or recorded statement from you. Never give any kind of a statement to the opposing insurer without your attorney present. One way or another, that statement will be used against you in the future to try to shift at least some of the blame for the accident onto you. If your own insurer wants a statement from you, that’s fine.

As soon as practicable after an accident, contact your insurer and attorney. Your job is to recover from your injuries.

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Five Strategies to Sell Your Beach Front Property Faster

Many people dream of owning a beachfront property, but when it comes to finding buyers for a beachfront home, the process becomes more difficult than it seems it should be. The keys to success when selling beachfront homes are proper pricing and great negotiation skills. The target buyers of beachfront properties may be retirees, water lovers or just investors looking for properties to turn into rentals. Selling a beachfront property requires you to demonstrate its lifestyle and investment potential.

1. Listing the Beach Condo
Hire a professional real estate agent to help you make the sale. Look for a realtor who specializes in selling beachfront properties and has knowledge of the local market. Work with your agent to ensure there is adequate exposure for the property. Advertise the property both in print and online media. Include nice photos of the property and use the beach as a selling point.

2. Staging
This refers to the process of preparing the beachfront property before it goes on the market. This process helps to make your property appealing to potential buyers. An important staging strategy involves advertising the property and fixing obvious defects or flaws in both the interior and exterior of the property. Make sure the landscaping is appealing and the home’s interior is fresh and relaxing. Help the potential buyer envision the property as his own. Staging may take some time but it can help you sell your beachfront home faster even in challenging property markets.

3. Professional Assistance
Some property owners feel they can save more by selling their beachfront properties on their own. The fact is, properties sell faster when you enlist the services of a real estate agent. Moreover, you are likely to get a better price when you use a real estate agent.

4. Showing the Beach Condo
Make sure your beachfront property is neat and appealing to prospective buyers. Buyers prefer to see a property that is move-in ready. Provide additional information about the beachfront rental market in the locality for investors who might prefer renting the beachfront home out. If you rented your property out, provide statistics of its performance. Show prospective buyers the amenities available with the property.

5. Negotiating
Disclose the total bill for the property including additional charges such as association fees and other expenses. The buyer will have to budget for these expenses in addition to insurance, taxes, and mortgage. Price the property appropriately. A higher price can work in your favor if the demand is high and supply is low. However, if there are many beachfront properties on the market, consider starting a lower price point.

Many people find it challenging to obtain financing for purchasing beachfront homes. Consider negotiating with cash buyers to avoid funding contingencies associated with prospective buyers looking for mortgages.