Ethics Starts at the Top

“Tone at the top” sounds like a cliché. A comment that people make without thinking. But what does that phrase really mean? Whose tone are they talking about?

The “top” is leadership – the Board, CEO, CFO, and COO. The “tone” is the ethical culture of the organization. What actions and behaviors are rewarded? Is leadership committed to openness, honesty, integrity, and ethical behavior? The tone from the top sets an organization’s guiding values.

Continue reading “Ethics Starts at the Top”

Capacity Planning: Risks and Opportunities

What is the maximum capacity of your business? Do you invest so you can scale up to peak capacity as needed? What are the risks and opportunities of investing so you can scale up as needed? How do you decide?

These questions arose during a recent business presentation about opportunities and risks. The presenter made an excellent point about organizations’ tendency to react to recent events, rather than planning for a defined outcome. It’s very tempting to invest for what just happened. But does it make sense to always be prepared for an extraordinary event? Should organizations invest in more systems, personnel, training, and equipment, just in case that “largest demand ever” happens?

Continue reading “Capacity Planning: Risks and Opportunities”

Should You Make Estimated Tax Payments?

The year is flying by, and so is your chance to verify that your income tax payments are up-to-date and avoid a penalty when you file your return. We all like getting paid on time, and so do the IRS and state tax agencies.

If all your income comes from wages, chances are that your tax withholdings will cover your income tax liability. But if you are self-employed or receive other income, such as interest, dividends, capital gains, or rent, you might need to make estimated income tax payments.

Continue reading “Should You Make Estimated Tax Payments?”

Finally, They Caught One!

For months, the news and Twitter feeds have been filled with stories about threatening calls from scam artists posing as IRS agents to defraud taxpayers. IRS investigators report cases where taxpayers were intimidated into purchasing pre-loaded debit or gift cards, calling the imposters back, and providing the card number and PIN. Clearly, these scammers are pretty intimidating!

Hopefully, you have read and heard that the IRS does not call taxpayers and threaten them to collect taxes. Requests for payment are generally communicated in a letter that explains the amount and why the IRS believes it is due.

Continue reading “Finally, They Caught One!”