Monthly Archives: February 2013

Geoffrey Richards on Job Preservation

Geoff Richards, Principal at William Blair & Co., was listed amongst the 40 Under 40 honorees in 2009. In an interview with Chicago Business News, Richards explained what motivates him, and why he dedicates so much of his time to job preservation.

William Blair & Co. is a financial services company focused primarily on money management, middle-market corporate finance and M&A. Richards is greatly involved in the firm’s newest project, which provides consulting for special situations and restructuring.

Small Business Advice for Natural Disasters

This year has seen its fair share of natural disasters, including the two storms Sandy and Nemo. Now, the United States are preparing for winter storm ‘Q’, which is expected to hit at the end of the week.

These incidents have a direct impact on business throughout the country. Small businesses are especially affected. According to the Red Cross, nearly 40% of small businesses are permanently closed after these major events. Even more troubling are the results of a survey from Alibaba, Vendio and Auctiva, which reveal that 74% of small business owners have yet to create a disaster discovery plan, despite the quite tangible risks.

FOXBusiness discussed disaster plans with three emergency-preparedness experts. Agility Recovery marketing director Scott Teel stressed the importance of analyzing risks.

“If you’re located in the Gulf Coast or the East Coast, take a look at how to prepare for hurricanes. In California? Fault lines are a major risk,” he said.

Carol Chang, spokesperson for the Small Business Administration, suggested: “Create a list of people you do business with- including vendors and suppliers- as well as a list of phone numbers, cell numbers and email addresses of your employees. Phone trees are old-fashioned, but they work!”

She added, “Assign one person the task of spokesperson, and have them be responsible for updating customers on social media or via email. Lack of communication with customers during emergency situations can undermine a business’s recovery.”

The experts added that it is extremely important to back up data on the cloud, as well as document your business furniture, equipment and technology.

It is imperative to ensure that a business’s employees are prepared. Teel stated: “Small business owners will often say that their employees are their greatest assets. If your employees are impacted or underprepared at home- say a family member or even a pet is injured during a storm- then that employee will not be coming into work.”

Other advice included checking your insurance coverage, preparing for power outages, and preparing emergency kits.


Zarsha Leo Launches Texas Venue

Zarsha Leo, a new restaurant-bar franchise, recently opened a branch in Texas. The chain features a traditional American ambience, complete with a classic grill-themed menu, live sports broadcasts, great music and great beer. According to CEO Evan Burschkopf, the company plans to expand significantly during 2013.

“I have always envisioned launching such a venue, and its success thus far has encouraged me to expand Zarsha Leo’s reach internationally. We already have popular branches in Europe and Asia, and plan to expand in South Africa as well.”

Focus on Companies: Anchin, Block & Anchin

Anchin, Block & Anchin LLP is the largest single-office accounting firm in the United States, with 52 partners and principals and a staff of 350.  Anchin has been named as a top firm in several categories, including:

•    “Best of the Best” Top 25 Firms in the U.S. (by Inside Public Accounting)
•    “Best Place to Work” in New York State (Society for Human Resources Management, 2008-2011)
•    “Best Place to Work” in New York City (Crain’s, 2009-2011)
•    “Best Accounting Firm to Work For” (Accounting Today, 2009-2011)

First established in 1923, Anchin Block has grown over the years into one of the most respected accounting and advisory companies in the Northeast, if not the entire United States. Their services range from audits, reviews and compilations of financial statements.

In a recent on-line article executive partner at Anchin, Block & Anchin, Clarence Kehoe, discussed an issue which is relevant to many people today: whether credit card cashback rewards and frequent flyer miles are taxable. As Kehoe explains, the IRS considers cashback rewards more as a “purchase price reduction” than a form of income. However, in some cases the IRS might indeed categorize a cashback reward as income.

As for frequent flyer miles, generally these are also tax-free, says Kehoe. If, however an employee accepts frequent flyer miles as a bonus or other award, then the IRS does look at this transaction as a source of income and therefore taxable.

Useful advice like this is the nuts and bolts of what makes Anchin, Block & Anchin the successful accounting firm that it has become.

The iWatch: Apple’s Newest Project

According to Nick Bilton of the New York Times, Apple is currently working on a new project: an iWatch.

Utilizing curved glass the perfectly fit a person’s wrist, these “smart watches” may not yet be in actual development. Bilton explains:

“In its headquarters in Cupertino, California, Apple is experimenting with wristwatch0like devices made of curved glass, according to people familiar with the company’s explorations, who spoke on the condition that they not be named because they are not allowed to publicly discuss unreleased products.

“Such a watch would operate Apple’s iOS platform, two people said, and stand apart from competitors based on the company’s understanding of how such glass can curve around the human body.”

The iWatch is a rather experimental project for Apple. Though not as earth-shattering as an Apple television or car, the iWatch would be a wearable form of computer; something that will greatly appeal to customers who are already devoted to the Apple brand.

Liberty Global to Buy Virgin Media for $16 Billion

Joe Malone’s Liberty Global Inc. announced that it will be acquiring Virgin Media Inc. in a $16 billion deal.

According to the cable TV operator, it will be paying $5.9 billion in cash. The rest of the payment will be in stock for Virgin Media. The development will up the competition between Malone and fellow billionaire Rupert Murdoch. The new deal will hinder BSkyB, the British satellite TV provider in which Murdoch’s company owns a 40 percent stake.

Michael Fries, chief executive at Liberty, said: “Liberty Global together with Virgin Media ia s powerful combination. In fact, it hits the mark on just about every strategic and operating criteria we have established for our company and provides significant benefits to Virgin Media subscribers and investors.”

According to Fries, approximately 80 percent of Liberty Global’s revenue will come from Britain, Germany, Belgium, Switzerland and the Netherlands once the deal is put in motion.

Why You Should Buy the New Office 365 Home Premium Edition

Microsoft has just released its newest version of Office; Office 365 Home Premium Edition. After using it for several days, Business Insider discussed the seven reasons everyone should purchase it.

The first is that it is a good value. “Office 365 includes Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Access, Publisher, OneNote and Outlook. The Home Premium version costs $99 a year and this covers up to five PCs and/or Macs in your house,” writes Julie Bort.

Second, software upgrades die with this subscription plan. “Microsoft promises that new features will come to Office 365 users faster, and download automatically, as Microsoft upgrades the suite, compared to buying the software the old fashioned way.”

Third, the subscription need not be a lifelong commitment. “If you cancel your subscription, all your files will be fine, Microsoft says. You can view them and print them, but you’ll have to use Microsoft’s free service, SkyDrive.”

Fourth, real-time collaboration is simple. Documents can be worked on together even if co-workers don’t have this version of Office installed, thanks to SkyDrive.

Fifth, the software can be shared without sharing cloud storage. “Everyone logs onto their own SkyDrive accounts. So your files don’t need to mix with your kid’s files. You can also store your files on the PC and not send them to the cloud.”

Sixth, no internet required. Word documents and other files will be synced to the cloud as soon as there is available internet access.

And last, “You get 60 minutes of Skype time a month, too. This covers long distance or using Skype with regular phone numbers.”