Sunday, December 31, 2006

Jumpstarting Your New Year

As the year 2006 comes to an end let’s take this time to review the year in regards to small businesses. In an earlier post, we looked at the outlook for small businesses and for the most part the outlook looks rather promising. In the recent weeks, I have reviewed a few “offerings” for small businesses that can save you money, and increase your reach and profits for 2007.

New Phone Tax Formula

The IRS has finally announced the formula allowing businesses to estimate their federal excise tax refund. To request a refund, businesses must fill out Form 8913. The actual amount of the refund is determined either by the actual amount (from March 2003 thru July 2006) of excise taxes paid or by the formula the IRS provided. For more information regarding the tax formula, check the IRS website and or speak to your tax advisor.

Increase Your Profits

Here is a FREE 18 page report for those interested in generating more leads, maximizing your marketing opportunities and build on last year’s profits. Simply go to the following link to get the report.

Wish everyone a Happy New Year keeping your Business N Synergy

Brian N. Stovall

Sunday, December 24, 2006

QuickBooks and Windows Vista

The new Microsoft Windows Vista software is available for small businesses to use, but before you do, you may want to know that QuickBooks 2006 and earlier versions will not be supported by the new Vista operating system. Due to the Windows Vista compatibility “shims”, QB 2006 versions will however run many functions normally but the users will be alerted that they are running an unsupported configuration with the following wording:

“When running QuickBooks 2006 or earlier versions on Windows Vista, you will likely experience instability and unreliable behavior, even though these problems may not appear right away.”

Other softwares that are used in conjunction with your QB 2006 software may also experience problems. If your small business falls within this category, be sure that you upgrade your QuickBooks software to version 2007 if you plan to use Windows Vista. Another “thought” is to switch to Microsoft Office Accounting Express or Professional. Office Accounting Express is FREE so there is no expense incurred to switch. I can’t help but wonder if these incompatibility issues are simply part of Microsoft’s strategy to bring their small business accounting package to the forefront of the small business industry. Can’t wait to see what happens in 2007 and beyond.

Keeping your Business N Synergy

Happy Holidays Everyone!!!

Brian N. Stovall

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Tax and Technology Updates

Now that Congress has closed out the year and gone home for the holidays, it is good that they were able to pass and extend many of the much needed tax breaks for taxpayers. Just to recap, check out my previous blog post “Tax Breaks Still Looming” for details of the bills that were on the table. Now that these measures have been passed, this is still a good time to add the tax breaks into your tax planning for this year. Be sure to speak with your tax advisor regarding these changes and how they may affect your tax return.

In technology news, I have been able to take a look at the new Microsoft Office Accounting Express and must say that it is quite impressive. Files from “other” small business accounting software import seamlessly into the software and the ability to merge with other Microsoft products makes it all the more easier to run your business. I can’t wait to get the Professional version of the product. To top it off, the Express version is available FREE right now. Check out my previous blog “Microsoft Office Accounting 2007 is Here” for details on how to download the Express version for free.

Those are the updates this week people. Just some ideas to get you on the right track for tax season and keep your business N synergy.

Brian N. Stovall

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Tax Breaks Still Looming?!?!

Well Congress is suppose to wrap up business for the 2006 year next week and there still are some tax measures that expire at year end. There are a few bills in the session that would benefit the small business owner and individuals, but this is only if they are extended. The major bills for “the little guy” are:

Research and Development Credit
reward for employers who hire former welfare recipients,
a personal deduction for state and local sales taxes paid by people who live in states without income taxes,
and a personal deduction for elementary and high school teachers who spend at least $250 of their own money on classroom supplies

Look out for the results for these changes may have an effect on your tax liability in April. Keeping you and your Business N Synergy.

Brian N. Stovall

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Health Reimbursement Agreements (HRA) Revisited

The other week I posted some information on how S-Corp owners could provide health insurance for their owner/employees (see S-Corp Owners and Health Insurance post). Well here is more detail on how this can be done.

If you are looking for a way to reduce your employee benefit costs, you may wish to consider using a health reimbursement arrangement (HRA). An HRA is an employer-funded health benefit account for individual employees, which may be used to pay their medical expenses and health insurance premiums. This type of plan is generally more economical, more flexible, and has additional features that a traditional health benefit plan does not have and at the same time provides favorable treatment for federal income tax purposes.

Under an HRA, the contributions you make and the amounts received by your employees are generally excluded from the employee's income. In addition, any excess amounts to the end of the year can be carried over to future years without being lost.

In order to receive favorable tax treatment, an HRA must meet the following requirements:
1. The plan is paid for only by you and is not provided by an employee salary reduction election or under an employee benefit cafeteria plan;
2. The plan reimburses the covered person for medical care expenses of the person, the person's spouse and the person's dependents; and
The plan reimburses a covered person up to a maximum dollar amount for any period of coverage and any unused portion of the maximum dollar amount at the end of that period is carried forward to increase the maximum reimbursement amount in subsequent coverage periods.

Ask your financial advisor if an HRA will work for your small business.

As always…tips to keep your Business N Synergy.

Brian N. Stovall

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Claiming the Child for 2007? Which taxpayer WILL?

With my “Get Sharp as a Tack on Taxes” seminar coming up this week, I thought that I would post a comment regarding tax basics for the 2007 season. This tip is in regards to who can claim a qualifying child when two taxpayers are trying to claim the dependency exemption.

The IRS has issued guidance for taxpayers that may have a "qualifying child" in common with another taxpayer for purposes of claiming certain tax benefits. A conflict arises when two or more taxpayers wish to claim a dependency exemption, the child care credit, earned income credit, or child tax credit based on the same child. Similarly, a single, divorced, or separated parent may wish to claim the head of household filing status based on providing a home for a qualifying child, or taxpayers may seek to exclude dependent care assistance payments for a qualifying child from their income.

The IRS considers that the determination of who is allowed to claim the qualifying child in each of the above situations applies to all of these situations as a group. Two or more taxpayers may not claim the same child for different purposes on their respective tax returns, with one exception. This exception allows the non-custodial parent to claim the child for purposes of the dependency exemption and the child tax credit only, and permits the custodial parent to claim the child for all other purposes listed above.

For more tips like these and if you are also in the Atlanta area this up coming Wednesday November 29th, stop by the College Park Library for the seminar. Start time is 6PM.

Be there to get more information on keeping your Business N Synergy!

Brian N. Stovall

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Microsoft Office Accounting 2007 is Here

New for 2007 Microsoft has updated their small business accounting software to make a run at the industry leader QuickBooks. The name has changed from “Small Business Accounting” to just “Office Accounting 2007”. There will be two versions offered to the public to meet all the needs of small business owners. The two versions are:

Microsoft® Office Accounting Express 2007 – immediately available as a FREE download. Visit to download a free license.
Microsoft® Office Accounting Professional 2007 – available for purchase through retail or online early next year.

Microsoft Office Accounting Express is similar to QuickBooks Simple Start software in that it is designed for small businesses with one owner and home based businesses. It allows these users to immediately get up and running with a computerized accounting system to replace their shoebox system.

Microsoft Office Accounting Professional 2007 offers additional features to small business owners that will allow them to work more efficiently. Some advancements are the ability to work with different currencies, integration with PayPal/Ebay, and payroll services for those with employees. It also has additional features that allow accountants faster more accurate accounting.

Microsoft Office Accounting Express will be offered as part of the Microsoft Office Professional 2007 suite, and Microsoft Office Accounting Professional 2007 will be offered with Microsoft Office Small Business and Office Ultimate 2007 suites.

For more information on how these two new accounting offerings can make your business work smarter visit these websites:

Keeping Your Business N Synergy

Brian N. Stovall

Sunday, November 12, 2006

S-Corp Owners and Health Insurance

For the majority of business formations, the IRS has provisions that allow the business owner to acquire health insurance in their own name and treat that health insurance as a business expense (Internal Revenue Code 162[1]). But what if the business is operating as an S-Corporation? There is a different tax consequence if the individual is the sole shareholder and sole employee and purchases health insurance in their own name.

According to Internal Revenue Code 1372(a) an S-Corp that pays for health insurance and other fringe benefits for an owner who owns more than 2% of the corporation’s stock (2% shareholder) will be treated as a partnership. Now that the S-Corp is considered a partnership, the rules can get a little tricky. In a partnership health insurance is consider a guaranteed payment (IRC 707(c)) and those payments are deductible and included in the partner’s gross income.

With an S-Corp however, insurance paid by the S-Corp would NOT be deductible by the S-Corporation as a fringe benefit but would be deductible by the S-Corp as compensation to the 2% shareholder. The insurance amounts would be included on the shareholder’s W-2. Certain conditions must be met by the S-Corp for this deduction to be allowed. If the shareholder is eligible to participate in any other health plan whether from another employer and/or spouse’s employer, the deduction is not allowed.

With that said, the S-Corp would have to purchase the health insurance for any deductions to be allowed. But what if the shareholder purchases a health plan in their own name? Since some states do not allow corporations to purchase group health plans with only one participant, many S-Corp owners must purchase health plans on their own. If this occurs, everything stated above does not apply to the situation. The shareholder however, is still able to deduct the health insurance as an itemized deduction which will be subject to the 7.5% AGI (adjusted gross income) limitation.

Next time we will look at additional strategies for S-Corp owners to use to provide themselves with health insurance in particular Health Reimbursement Arrangements (HRA). Until next time keep your Business N Synergy.

Brian N. Stovall

Sunday, November 05, 2006

2007 Small Business Outlook Results Are In!!!

Adminstaff, the nations leading professional employer organization has conducted another survey in late October regarding small business owner’s confidence for the future. Again the year 2007 looks pretty optimistic for small business owners with 70% saying they expect their companies to exceed this year’s growth levels in 2007. The breakdown of small business growth will be reflected in the following ways:

70% plan to add employees
5% expected a drop-off in their workforce
59% expect to see an increase in employee compensation
33% plan to maintain their current compensation levels
64% expect to pay employees overtime
44% plan to increase capital spending

There were also a few challenges noted in the survey that small business owners will have to overcome. The majority of these challenges are the same ones that our larger counterparts must overcome in 2007, including:

Controlling costs
Retaining their best employees
The economic outlook
Increased business competition

As a whole, the small business outlook looks pretty good for the small business owner. It will take a collaborative effort by small business owners, employees, and their advisors to ensure that 2007 is a prosperous year for all. With effective planning now, the small business owner will be able to keep their Business N Synergy in 2007.

Brian N. Stovall

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Let New Technology Help Your Small Business in 2007

Recently I was able to sit in on a webinar regarding technology and how it affects the accounting profession. Although it was directed to the accounting profession, the core values and principals of the webinar could be applied to any business. The topic was OCR or Optical Character Recognition a way of producing readable files from hard copies and /or scanned documents. I have had an opportunity to use this technology and must say that it can really streamline the process of data tracking, data warehousing, audit and compliance.

There are quite a few low cost vendors out there for a small business owner to use for OCR and other document management services. One I came across was where their web based document management system for $35 a month. Microsoft’s Office software also has a document image writer (Microsoft Document Imaging) that allows users to review documents and edit text from documents. Other low cost ideas are to use a company intranet/extranets to store documents instead of paper files. Either way “thinking outside the box” may be the way to make your business run more efficiently.

As the year 2007 approaches, try to think of ways to streamline your small business processes and make your business more efficient. A small monthly investment can make your internal processes much more efficient and bring more dollars to your bottom line.

Use these tips to keep your Business N Synergy

Brian N. Stovall

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Final Baby Boomer Tax Tips

Here are some additional baby boomer tax tips for portfolio income in your retirement years. These tips are regarding IRA’s and how to withdraw money from them in the most tax advantage manner.


Boomers that have a substantial amount of appreciated securities should withdraw money from their IRA’s before taking the gains from those securities in taxable accounts. As long as the stocks produce small dividends, the tax burden will be minimal. The exception to this rule is when taxable accounts consist of mutual funds that generate capital gains distributions. When this occurs, the mutual funds need to be sold before withdrawing money from the IRA.

Typically a boomer should take IRA distributions after the age of 70 (70 and one half to be exact). The benefits of waiting are:

The IRA will continue to compound on a tax-deferred basis
There will be no change in the clients AGI (adjusted gross income)
The boomer can leave greater amounts of the IRA to heirs

IRA’s a great way to save money for retirement and tapping into them at the right time will produce benefits that won’t strain your budget at tax time. As always check with your financial advisor to see if these tips can work for you.

Until next time, keep your Business N Synergy.

Brian N. Stovall

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Baby Boomer Tips Continued

As tax season approaches, here are more tips for baby boomers to enjoy their retirement years at the same time minimizing their tax bill. This week’s tips deal with how to take income in those retirement years from CD’s and savings bonds.

Using CD’s for income

Using income producing assets such as CD’s is a great way to produce income in retirement years. Boomers can reduce their tax bill from the interest income that the CD’s generate at the same time allowing other tax advantaged investments to remain.

Savings Bonds

Boomers redeeming their savings bonds set off all the deferred income tax due on the bonds at redemption. Boomers should wait to redeem savings bonds as long as possible to benefit from the continuous tax-deferred interest accumulation.

More tips to come next week until then as always keep your Business N Synergy.

Brian N.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Interesting Statistics Regarding Small Businesses

Here is some interesting news regarding the state of small businesses in the U.S. SurePayroll, the nation’s largest online payroll processing provider for small businesses recently conducted a survey asking small business owners what are some of the top challenges of owing a small business. Here are some of the results:

Around 19% said finding and keeping qualified employees
Around 18% said balancing business development and current workload
Over 14% said managing work time and priorities
Almost 12% said managing employees
Another 12% said generating expected revenues
Almost 12 % said cresting a work/life balance
7% said meeting income goals
Almost 6% said acquiring capital for growth

Another survey by SurePayroll revealed that the accountant is the most trusted advisor for small business owners contributing more to the success of the business than an attorney or banker.

With the threat of rising interest rates, health care costs, and inflation, it is rather difficult for a small business to operate in the current economy. By partnering with a small business accountant, small business owners can alleviate some of the challenges mention above; at the same time have someone by their side to ensure the success of their business.

Use a small business accountant to keep your Business N Synergy

Brian N. Stovall

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Tax Tips for Baby Boomers

As many of our baby boomers get ready for the “good life” of retirement, many will begin to start drawing income from their retirement plans that they have spent years building. There are a few tax implications that may affect many boomers when they begin to withdraw funds from retirement plans and/or cash out of stocks. In the next few weeks, I will post a tip for boomers to ensure that their retirement years are spent enjoying life instead of paying a bundle in taxes.

Early Retirees

Many retirees will elect to receive Social Security benefits at age 62 (the earliest possible age to receive benefits) at the same time they may have stocks and other securities in their portfolios. If this is this case these retiree should not sell any stocks that have appreciated in value in any of their taxable accounts. This will ensure that any capital gains are avoided thus lowering the AGI (adjusted gross income) and the taxes owed on Social Security benefits. Additionally if the boomer passes away, the heirs will not have to pay any income tax on the investments appreciation during the boomer’s lifetime.

For more information on these tax savings strategies, review Internal Revenue Code Section 1022 (d) (2) or stop by our tax seminar coming later this fall. See our website for more information.

More tax tips to come…in the meantime keep your Business N Synergy!!!

Brian N.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Branding Your Small Business Niche

Many small businesses are started to fill a particular need that larger organizations either feel are not profitable or have not devised a viable strategy to penetrate that market. It is very important for a small business to “brand” their service or goods to ensure that the market knows what particular niche they fill. This way a small business can create a lasting impression in the marketplace that can increase their reach and possibly profits.

Following are a few questions a small business owner needs to address to ensure that their goods or services are branded effectively in the marketplace:

What are your clients buying and who are your competitors? Know what your brand means to your clients and customers and who in the marketplace have similar products.

What is your short phrase sentence? This is your one sentence description that describes completely what your firm does.

What is your catch phrase? This is basically your tagline that supports your brand.

Has your brand been in the news lately? This is important for getting your brand out to the public. Make sure the publicity is not negative though.

Do you have a strategy for building your brand up? Brand building should be an integral part of a small businesses overall strategy. Always make this a part of your business and operational plans.

For more on branding your small business check out our free small business seminars at the College Park Library in the Atlanta area. New schedule can be found on our “Firm Notes” page of our website

As always keep your Business N Synergy

Brian N. Stovall

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Small Business Planning Assistance

With the upcoming fall Small Business Seminars that I will be doing, I thought this would be a good time to provide viewers with some resources. If you are out there in cyberland and are thinking about starting a business or if you have started a business in the past year the site may assist you in constructing a concise business plan for SBA funding or bank loan. is part of Palo Alto Software who also developed the Business Plan Pro software. Their website is a one-click stop for information on how to write a business plan, start and grow a business, and manage your advertising/marketing campaigns.

Specifically the business plan website has calculators for cash flow, currency conversion rates, starting costs estimators, and investments. The site also has industry reports and FREE business plans for the budding entrepreneur. This is a great way to gain valuable insight and prepare a business plan that will get results and keep you new business in synergy from the start.

Brian N.

Sunday, September 03, 2006


In the September 2006 issue of Accounting Technology (a Source Media publication), the article “Living with =SUM” presents an interesting take on how Microsoft Excel has become the norm for integration with accounting and financial software for businesses and accountants. Many software vendors are embracing MS Excel to provide their end users with more flexible modeling capabilities, but at the same time putting a hurdle in front of the end user that may hinder expanding. Although MS Excel is good for the smaller operations, as a company grows it is imperative to have a more controlled accounting system in place to track the companies operations.

This is food for thought for the MS Excel only users (accountants included) that want to stick only with MS Excel for their business. The majority of the software vendors have some kind of interface within their software that gives the end user the feel of MS Excel. Another point made in the article is that Google is experimenting with a free service on Google Labs for spreadsheet users, all the more reason to consider Excel and additional software for your operations.

Look for more information regarding integrating your business with MS Excel at the next small business seminar brought to you by The Brico Group, Inc. Free seminars at your local library in the Atlanta area. Check our website for more details.

Brian N. Stovall

Sunday, August 20, 2006

IRS/SSA Summer Updates for Small Businesses

The IRS/SSA has a few updates for small businesses in the summer edition of The Reporter. Three new resources for small businesses are now available in electronic format to assist small businesses with understanding how taxes work. The three resources are:

The 2006 Small Business Resource Guide – an interactive CD that provides small business owners with valuable skills they need to manage their business. Included in the CD is information on starting a new business to choosing a retirement plan options.

A Virtual Small Business Tax Workshop (Publication 1066C) – a DVD that helps small business owners meet their federal tax obligations. It is a ten lesson workshop that presents tax subjects and also has a text only help lesson with links to the latest information on the IRS website.

The Tax Calendar for Small Business and Self Employed (Publication 1518) – consists of information on general business, SSA customer service, important tax dates, retirement plans, and more.

Order copies of these resources at,,id=101169,00.html

Keeping Your Business N Synergy

Brian N. Stovall

The Brico Group, Inc.

Monday, July 03, 2006

A Tax Gift to Our Troops

I am sure that everyone is thinking about their plans for the holiday tomorrow and what way they will celebrate our independence. Let’s not forget about all the troops that have made sacrifices for that independence. Which brings me to this weeks post regarding how the government is saying thanks to our troops. On May 29th our president signed into law the “Heroes Earned Retirement Opportunities Act” which allows combat pay that is typically excluded to be treated as compensation for IRA contribution rules. This will allow our troops to save more for their retirement and those earnings can grow tax free.

The change retroactively applies to taxable years beginning after December 31st 2003. Members of our armed forces have three years after the enactment to make a contribution for prior qualified years. Additionally any other credits or refunds that were not allowed because of a contribution are now allowed under the Act if a claim is filed before the close of the one-year period beginning on the date the contribution is actually made.

If you are in the armed services, be sure to check with your accountant regarding this change and your tax status.

Until next week…..Enjoy your Fourth of July

Keeping Your Business N Synergy

Brian N. Stovall

Monday, June 26, 2006

How the New Tax Law Affects You

May seems to be the traditional month in Washington for tax cuts and May 2006 is no different from past years. Congress has just passed a $70 billion tax cut package, the Tax Increase Prevention and Reconciliation Act, which impacts you.

Although one tax incentive - extending the dividend and capital gains tax rate cuts for two more years - has received the most press coverage, the new law includes many other important tax breaks that could help reduce your tax liability this year and in future years. Every time Congress changes the Tax Code there are exciting new opportunities for strategic tax planning. This letter highlights some of the important incentives in the new tax law. We encourage you to contact our office so we can take a detailed look at how the new tax law can save you money.

Dividends and capital gains. Three years ago, Congress lowered the tax rate on certain dividends and capital gains. The rate reductions were temporary and were scheduled to expire after 2008. The new law extends the lower rates for two more years.

The maximum tax rate on qualifying dividends and capital gains through December 31, 2010 is 15 percent. Not all dividends and capital gains qualify for the 15 percent rate. For example, the maximum capital gains rate on collectibles is 28 percent. Taxpayers in the 15 and 10 percent rate brackets can take advantage of even more generous tax treatment. Our office can help you create a tax strategy that maximizes the benefits of the lower tax rates on qualifying dividends and capital gains.

Roth IRAs. Until Congress passed this new tax law, higher-income individuals could not convert traditional IRAs to Roth IRAs. Only individuals earning less than $100,000 could convert traditional IRAs to Roth IRAs. The new law removes this limitation starting in 2010. Even though 2010 seems a long way off, it's important to start planning now to maximize this opportunity.

AMT relief. Taxpayers who are liable for the alternative minimum tax (AMT) know that its bite can be painful. Congress has talked for years about reforming the AMT so it doesn't impact as many middle-income taxpayers but so far hasn't made any substantial changes to the AMT rules. Instead, the new law extends some temporary measures designed to reduce the burden of the AMT. Through 2006, AMT taxpayers can take advantage of higher exemption amounts and use the nonrefundable personal tax credits to offset regular and AMT liability.

Kiddie tax. The"kiddie" tax rules require that a child's unearned income, such as dividends and interest, be taxed at the tax rate of the parents. In most cases, the child's parents will be in a higher tax bracket. Currently, the "kiddie" tax applies if the child is under age 14 and some other criteria are met. The new law raises the age limit from 14 to 18 and this change is effective immediately. Taxpayers who had envisioned the lower age limit being effective for 2006 now have to revisit their tax plans.

Small business expensing. Over the past several years, small businesses have been able to expense rather than capitalize more purchases because of higher expensing thresholds. The new law extends the more generous expensing thresholds for two more years.

More tax cuts. In addition to all of these tax breaks, the new law also:
· Changes the offer-in-compromise rules;
· Modifies the foreign earned income and employer-provided housing exclusion rules for U.S. citizens living abroad;
· Extends and creates a new exception to Subpart F, which taxes foreign subsidiaries of U.S. companies;
· Gives tax breaks to some environmental clean-up funds;
· Simplifies the active trade or business test for certain corporate distributions;
· Allows musical artists and publishers to elect special tax treatment;
· Tightens earnings stripping rules to prevent abuses;
· Requires withholding on payments made by some government agencies;
· Repeals the FSC/ETI grandfather provisions;
· Accelerates increased limits for industrial development bonds;
· Cracks down on exempt organizations engaging in tax shelters;
· Expands information reporting requirements for some tax-exempt bonds;
· Lengthens the amortization period for certain expenditures by oil and gas companies;
· Tightens the rules under the Foreign Investment in Real Property Tax Act ;
· Restricts the tax-free treatment for certain corporate cash-rich spin-off transactions;
· Imposes loan and redemption requirements on pooled financing bonds;
· Changes the timing of some estimated tax payments by large corporations;
· Clarifies the domestic production deduction; and
· Revises the tax treatment of loans to continuing care facilities.

The new tax law impacts taxpayers across-the-board. Many of the new incentives build on tax breaks enacted in past years. Careful and efficient tax planning requires attention to the details and nuances in the new and extended incentives

Be sure to check with your accountant to see if you can benefit from any of the changes listed and as always keep your Business N Synergy.

Brian N. Stovall

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Personal Financial Planning Mistakes Don't Make These

While reading the May – June issue of the “Clients Tax and Financial Update” I came across an article regarding the ten most common failures people make when planning their personal finances. Try not to make these mistakes with your personal finances and there is a slim chance that you will have problems managing your small business finances (especially during start-up). Many feel that the two are not related, but your personal finances can hinder your business in certain situations where personal guarantees must be made.

Failure to have a family budget
Failure to involve other family members in financial decisions
Failure to insure personal property at replacement value
Failure to use employee benefits properly
Failure to diversify your investments
Failure to use proper attorney
Failure to have excess liability insurance
Failure to have enough cash for emergencies
Failure to project taxes
Failure to establish financial goals

Be sure to consult with you financial consultant, attorney, and accountant, if you have failed to accomplish any of these personal financial tasks. This will ensure you and your family’s future is bright and on track.

For more information regarding “Clients Tax and Financial Update” they can be reached at:
51 Upper Jefferson Boulevard
Warrick, RI 02888

Brian N. Stovall

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Your Time is of Essence in Your Small Business

Every small business owner knows that timing is very important to grow a small business. Whether it is delivering your product and or service on time, being at the right place to discover new business opportunities at the right time, or submitting paper for additional funding before the deadline, timing plays an important role in many areas of your small business.

Here are two great time management tools I was able to sample this past week. The first for all the “Main Street Accountants” like my self is the “Efficiency Quotient” analysis on the site. This analysis tool, although designed for accountants is very effective at assessing how well a business uses their time to generate revenue. It took about 25 minutes to complete and the scores will come in the mail. I am interested to see the results that should arrive soon.

The second tool was a software package by KMT Software call OfficeReady Professional 3.0. This software is used in conjunction with Microsoft Office to improve your productivity. With the software a user can convert MS Office documents to PDF documents and e-mail them instantly. OfficeReady Pro also has a photo editor that can be used with your camera or scanner. Additional templates can be added to the browser for a small fee. For more information go to

Check these out to improve your small businesses’ timing. Until next time keep your Business N Synergy.

Brian N. Stovall

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Microsoft’s Small Business Accounting 2006 Update

I was reading recently in Accounting Technology about be experiences of my fellow colleagues regarding their experiences with clients inquiring about MS Small Business Accounting (MSSBA) and just like myself many have not received the inquiries that Microsoft was probably hoping for. Most of the comments from their clients were “Microsoft makes a small business software package!?!?” I am here to say I receive the same responses when I notify people of their software offering. When doing a recent seminar for small businesses, I noticed that the attendees all looked at me with blank amazement that there was something else out there for small businesses. With further research into the product, I believe many small businesses may find a benefit in MSSBA.

For the small business owner that requires an accounting software package that seamlessly integrates into all their other Microsoft programs, MSSBA will be a great fit. It also will help the small business owner that is moving from “shoebox” recordkeeping to a more secure technological simple process.

For the accounting professional new to MSSBA, Microsoft is now offering CPE credits for certification on MSSBA, in an effort to get more accountants to become familiar with the software. I recently received information regarding this new update via Microsoft’s Professional Accountants Network (MPAN). These initiatives may allow Microsoft to take a piece of the small business market away from Intuit (QuickBooks, Quicken) and I am eager to see how this plays out.

For information check out:

Keep Your Business In Synergy

Brian N. Stovall
The Brico Group, Inc.

Monday, May 15, 2006

Found Your Refund Yet???

With this year's tax season over for most taxpayers, many are shifting focus from gathering their tax information to locating that elusive refund from the IRS. If you fall into this category, the IRS has a link on their site for you. Simply click on the "Where's My Refund" link on the IRS website ( Information that you will need is your SSN, your amount of your tax refund, the date that your return was sent and how it was sent (paper or electronically).

The IRS does not give definite time frame for your refund, but typically it can take about two weeks for processing if you e-filed and up to a month if the return was paper filed. For more information regarding how long it takes for your refund to arrive you can also take a look at the IRS Tax Topic 152 - "Refunds -How long they should take at the following link.

Until next time........keep your business in synergy

Brian N. Stovall
The Brico Group, Inc.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

More Woes for America’s Tax Preparation Firms????

Here is a little information for all of you out there that have used or plan to use a tax preparation firm like H&R Block, Jackson Hewitt, or Liberty Tax that may make you want to question the accuracy of their services. In my NSA Special Alert e-mail I just received, it appears that the Senate Finance Committee chairman Charles Grassley (R-IA) is inquiring into the business models, training, and compensation of the major tax preparation firms. This is due to the recent release of the General Accounting Office’s (GAO) report that uncovered dishonesty, inaccurate information, and poor service provided by tax preparation firms.

This is all in the midst of the potential passing of the current legislation, the Taxpayer Protection and Assistance Act (S.832) which would require the registration of all non Circular 230 paid tax preparers (Non CPA’s, EA’s and public accountants). This is something that the average consumer must keep in mind when relying on a tax preparation firm to prepare and file their taxes. Many times these tax franchises are owned and operated by CPA’s, EA’s, and other Circular 230 tax professionals, but sometimes the staffs are not as fully trained. Be sure to do your due diligence when selecting a tax preparation firm and remember that the tax responsibility ALWAYS falls upon the tax payer.

To your prosperity

Brian N. Stovall
The Brico Group, Inc.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Accounting Seminar Facts

Back from a long tax season folks and wanted to share some information from a seminar I did for small business owners this past weekend. The topic was how to make your accounting function more innovative and productive. Most small businesses break down into one of three categories for assessing accounting needs:

Pen and Paper businesses
Microsoft Excel businesses
Accounting Software businesses

Pen and paper businesses have may have the largest challenge but also have an opportunity to build a customized accounting system that can grow with their business. Businesses using Microsoftsof Excel can also benefit by having a smooth transfer to an existing accounting software. Small businesses using accounting software presently can build on their existing software by integrating their human resources, sales, and lead generation systems with their accounting software.

Always remember that your small business must stay agile so that you can stay competitive in the markets that you serve. Changes to your business structure may mean changes to your software infrastructure. Be sure that you are prepared.

For a copy of the Innovative Accounting Presentation send an e-mail to:

Brian N. Stovall
Consultant - Accounting and Business Advisory
The Brico Group, Inc.

Monday, March 27, 2006

Commerical Software vs. Open Source...Is There a Clear Winner?

As I casually flipped through one of the IT Trade magazines I recieve I came across a statement by an executive of a software company. His statement was a bold one indeed as he said, "...the days of commerical software are numbered as Open Source is truly taking over."

First off, Open Source software is usually free software that companies give out. Now as a commericial software developer myself that statement truly made me wonder. Is this gentleman right?

It depends. First off, Open Source software is a good thing. Alot of times the code of the software is written using a non-Microsoft software language (i.e. Java, RealBasic, etc.). Also the label "Open Source" software comes from the fact that these software applications are often developed by a community. That is a group of individuals start writing the software application and then share the code so others can contribute. Thus there is a "community" that develops from all the contributors of the software development and the subsequent users of the software.

The most popular Open Source software on the internet today is from the Mozilla foundation. They developed Mozilla, Firefox and Thunderbird (web browsers and email clients). Anyone can go to their site and download the software...and millions of individuals across the world have.

Ok so now let's get into a debate - which is source or commerical software? I believe that their is no distinct winner. For example, the open source browser Firefox is a tremendous piece of software. Often times it is thought of better than Internet Explorer. Since it is a community developed software there are hundreds of add-ins such as having customized weather reports, password checkers, and the list goes on and on. AVG Free (a free anti-virus program) from GriSoft is another excellent piece of open source software. I often recommend that program to my clients as it is extremely reliable for home users.

So at this point your saying..."looks as if Open Source software is the better choice!". Well not necessairily. A good deal of open source software is more technically advanced than the traditional commercial software. Sometimes just installing the software is enough to drive users crazy! Also, the technical support for the software may be somewhat limited due to the lack of a centralized development team. Perhaps the most important fact is that alot of the open source software items on the internet that are indeed free are the basic versions of the software. For example, AVG Free is the free anti-virus software for home users but for business use GriSoft only has commerical versions. Some companies are bringing open source into the enterprise but for the most part that's the trend. You get a free basic version but for professional versions you have to pay.

Now for most folks (i.e. home users) that is fine. However for business use, the small business owner should take a minute and closely evaluate each piece of software (open source vs. commericial) before deciding.

For questions or comments please reply to this post or email me directly at

Blog On.

Brian J. Winston

Sunday, March 05, 2006

Block Goofs on Their Own Taxes!?!?

Another weekend in tax season (of course I’m working the weekend) and my business partner forwarded me an e-mail regarding the tax bill that H&R Block just had to shell out. Found this to be rather interesting that a firm that prides them selves on preparing taxes for individuals and businesses would make a mistake on their own taxes. The company underestimated their own tax liability by 32 million last year, which kind of makes you wonder if they are passing these “strategies” on to their customers. People who use these “tax boutiques” to prepare their taxes must also know that the responsibility ultimately falls on the tax payer so tread with caution when going to a tax prep company to get your taxes done. I guess it all comes down to buyer beware.

Brian N. Stovall
Consultant - Accounting & Business Advisory
The Brico Group, Inc.

Friday, February 17, 2006

Entrepreneurs in Your Small Business

While checking my e-mail this week, I came across one from the GrowThink team regarding hiring like minded entrepreneurs in your small business and would it would it work. On one had an entrepreneur type came bring about new creative was to do business or develop new product lines. On the other hand however, this same person could pose a risk, by learning your model and taking it to start their own. Typically a small business is comprised of three types of people the technician, the manager and the visionary with the entrepreneur holding the visionary title. Technicians perform the work, manager direct the work and the world is suppose to go around…right? Here are some of the reasons this style can and can not work according to the eMyth book writer Michael Gerber and GrowThink:

Gerber's analysis sheds light on the question of whether an entrepreneur should hire an entrepreneur. In some respects, entrepreneurs should only hire technicians and managers. These people will enable the organization to perform the necessary tasks effectively and provide value to customers and shareholders. However, if the employees are not entrepreneurial, will they be able to come up with new ideas and better ways of doing business?

Conversely, entrepreneurs within an organization can be a threat. They may constantly come up with new ideas that prevent them from expertly completing the tasks at hand. These ideas may also cause other employees to lose focus on the current execution strategy. Likewise, the entrepreneur-employee may be prone to start a competing business in the future.

Seems to me that there is really no right or wrong way to operate your small business based on these situations. I guess the key would be to treat everyone (clients, vendors, employees, etc.) with respect and make sure that there is group cohesiveness between you and your employees.

Let me know your thoughts

Brian N. Stovall
Consultant – Accounting & Business Advisory
The Brico Group, Inc.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006


The IRS has recently published their tally of the most notorious tax scams for 2006. Individuals should watch out for these schemes to evade income taxes. There are many individuals and firms out there that say they can gurantee you a larger refund, but BEWARE. They may be using one of the schemes below and it is the taxpayer's responsibility to ensure that their tax return is filed correctly. Now on to the list:

1. Zero Wages. In this scam, new to the Dirty Dozen, a taxpayer attaches to his or her return either a Form 4852 (Substitute Form W-2) or a “corrected” Form 1099 that shows zero or little wages or other income. The taxpayer may include a statement indicating the taxpayer is rebutting information submitted to the IRS by the payer.An explanation on the Form 4852 may cite "statutory language behind IRC 3401 and 3121" or may include some reference to the paying company refusing to issue a corrected Form W-2 for fear of IRS retaliation. The Form 4852 or 1099 is usually attached to a “Zero Return.” (See number four below.)

2. Form 843 Tax Abatement. This scam, also new to the Dirty Dozen, rests on faulty interpretation of the Internal Revenue Code. It involves the filer requesting abatement of previously assessed tax using Form 843. Many using this scam have not previously filed tax returns and the tax they are trying to have abated has been assessed by the IRS through the Substitute for Return Program. The filer uses the Form 843 to list reasons for the request. Often, one of the reasons is: "Failed to properly compute and/or calculate IRC Sec 83––Property Transferred in Connection with Performance of Service."

3. Phishing. Phishing is a technique used by identity thieves to acquire personal financial data in order to gain access to the financial accounts of unsuspecting consumers, run up charges on their credit cards or apply for new loans in their names. These Internet-based criminals pose as representatives of a financial institution and send out fictitious e-mail correspondence in an attempt to trick consumers into disclosing private information. Sometimes scammers pose as the IRS itself. In recent months, some taxpayers have received e-mails that appear to come from the IRS. A typical e-mail notifies a taxpayer of an outstanding refund and urges the taxpayer to click on a hyperlink and visit an official-looking Web site. The Web site then solicits a social security and credit card number. In a variation of this scheme, criminals have used e-mail to announce to unsuspecting taxpayers they are “under audit” and could make things right by divulging selected private financial information. Taxpayers should take note: The IRS does not use e-mail to initiate contact with taxpayers about issues related to their accounts. If a taxpayer has any doubt whether a contact from the IRS is authentic, the taxpayer should call 1-800-829-1040 to confirm it.

4. Zero Return. Promoters instruct taxpayers to enter all zeros on their federal income tax filings. In a twist on this scheme, filers enter zero income, report their withholding and then write “nunc pro tunc”–– Latin for “now for then”––on the return. They often also do this with amended returns in the hope the IRS will disregard the original return in which they reported wages and other income.

5. Trust Misuse. For years unscrupulous promoters have urged taxpayers to transfer assets into trusts. They promise reduction of income subject to tax, deductions for personal expenses and reduced estate or gift taxes. However, some trusts do not deliver the promised tax benefits, and the IRS is actively examining these arrangements. There are currently more than 200 active investigations underway and three dozen injunctions have been obtained against promoters since 2001. As with other arrangements, taxpayers should seek the advice of a trusted professional before entering into a trust.

6. Frivolous Arguments. Promoters have been known to make the following outlandish claims: the Sixteenth Amendment concerning congressional power to lay and collect income taxes was never ratified; wages are not income; filing a return and paying taxes are merely voluntary; and being required to file Form 1040 violates the Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination or the Fourth Amendment right to privacy. Don’t believe these or other similar claims. These arguments are false and have been thrown out of court. While taxpayers have the right to contest their tax liabilities in court, no one has the right to disobey the law.

7. Return Preparer Fraud. Dishonest return preparers can cause many headaches for taxpayers who fall victim to their schemes. Such preparers derive financial gain by skimming a portion of their clients’ refunds and charging inflated fees for return preparation services. They attract new clients by promising large refunds. Taxpayers should choose carefully when hiring a tax preparer. As the old saying goes, “If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.” And remember, no matter who prepares the return, the taxpayer is ultimately responsible for its accuracy. Since 2002, the courts have issued injunctions ordering dozens of individuals to cease preparing returns, and the Department of Justice has filed complaints against dozens of others. During fiscal year 2005, more than 110 tax return preparers were convicted of tax crimes.

8. Credit Counseling Agencies. Taxpayers should be careful with credit counseling organizations that claim they can fix credit ratings, push debt payment plans or impose high set-up fees or monthly service charges that may add to existing debt. The IRS Tax Exempt and Government Entities Division is in the process of revoking the tax-exempt status of numerous credit counseling organizations that operated under the guise of educating financially distressed consumers with debt problems while charging debtors large fees and providing little or no counseling.

9. Abuse of Charitable Organizations and Deductions. The IRS has observed increased use of tax-exempt organizations to improperly shield income or assets from taxation. This can occur, for example, when a taxpayer moves assets or income to a tax-exempt supporting organization or donor-advised fund but maintains control over the assets or income, thereby obtaining a tax deduction without transferring a commensurate benefit to charity. A “contribution” of a historic facade easement to a tax-exempt conservation organization is another example. In many cases, local historic preservation laws already prohibit alteration of the home’s facade, making the contributed easement superfluous. Even if the facade could be altered, the deduction claimed for the easement contribution may far exceed the easement’s impact on the value of the property.

10. Offshore Transactions. Despite a crackdown by the IRS and state tax agencies, individuals continue to try to avoid U.S. taxes by illegally hiding income in offshore bank and brokerage accounts or using offshore credit cards, wire transfers, foreign trusts, employee leasing schemes, private annuities or life insurance to do so. The IRS and the tax agencies of U.S. states and possessions continue to aggressively pursue taxpayers and promoters involved in such abusive transactions. During fiscal 2005, 68 individuals were convicted on charges of promotion and use of abusive tax schemes designed to evade taxes.

11. Employment Tax Evasion. The IRS has seen a number of illegal schemes that instruct employers not to withhold federal income tax or other employment taxes from wages paid to their employees. Such advice is based on an incorrect interpretation of Section 861 and other parts of the tax law and has been refuted in court. Lately, the IRS has seen an increase in activity in the area of “double-dip” parking and medical reimbursement issues. In recent years, the courts have issued injunctions against more than a dozen persons ordering them to stop promoting the scheme. During fiscal 2005, more than 50 individuals were sentenced to an average of 30 months in prison for employment tax evasion. Employer participants can also be held responsible for back payments of employment taxes, plus penalties and interest. It is worth noting that employees who have nothing withheld from their wages are still responsible for payment of their personal taxes.

12. “No Gain” Deduction. Filers attempt to eliminate their entire adjusted gross income (AGI) by deducting it on Schedule A. The filer lists his or her AGI under the Schedule A section labeled “Other Miscellaneous Deductions” and attaches a statement to the return that refers to court documents and includes the words “No Gain Realized.”

Here's to a less stressful Tax Filing Season

Brian N. Stovall
Consultant - Accounting & Business Advisory
The Brico Group, Inc.

Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Google Growing??...At What Risk??

Google announced their earnings today and here is what the CEO had to say about 2005:

"We are very pleased with our results for the fourth quarter as we achieved excellent performance across our businesses," said Eric Schmidt, CEO of Google. "We generated significant revenue growth in our core search and advertising business, driven by continued strength in traffic and monetization. We will continue to invest significantly as we develop innovative new products and as we extend our core technologies to new user access points and to different channels."

Just prior to their earnings today I was fortunate to read about some of the company's strategies for growth and how the Wall Street analysts come up with their estimates. Here is a brief analysis I prepared of two articles about both issues. Have business ethics rules been forgotten? You be the judge.

The financial decision making process for an organization can get quite complicated at times. There are many different variables that managers must take into account and their decisions affect a great deal of stakeholders/stockholders in the organization. One major variable that managers must take into account are the ethical impacts of their actions. Presently Google struggles with ethical issues and how to satisfy stakeholders. In today’s print of Financial Times (01/30/06) two articles, “Google is putting its own freedoms at risk in China”, and “Google set to test forecasts’ accuracy again”, additional insight can be gained on the ethical dilemmas Google is facing.

John Gapper’s commentary regarding Google’s, expansion strategy into China provides a interesting view of what length top level executives will reach to increase their market share and profits. Google is providing a “censored” Google service in China in an effort to maximize their profits. Due to the restrain on by the government in China Google feels that by providing a speedy Google it is okay to censor their search services. Google’s financial objective is to maximize their profit and possibly do it by providing an inferior product knowingly? Google calls this the lesser of two evils due to the environment, ironically one of Google’s founding principles is “Don’t be Evil.” This is a rather unique way of making a capital budgeting decision.

Google’s capital structure and investment issues can be examined in Richard Water’s article regarding their stock price and the earnings report that will be presented tomorrow. Google’s earnings have been beating the “street” estimates by 6-15% each quarter. However, these estimates are from analysts that are known for understating popular stocks. Analysts are already speculating that the earnings report will beat their estimates and this speculation can affect the stock and derivatives markets. By providing these low estimates analysts feel they are being “cautiously aggressive” with their approach with one analyst saying they don’t want to be too aggressive ….predicting that they will outperform. This stage is similar to what was seen in during the dotcom boom of the 90’s when analyst’s unethical estimates cause many individuals to loose their nest eggs.

Google and many companies like them have a great deal of ethical decisions to consider when making decisions that affect many. One the one hand should they provide an inferior product just to make a quick buck. Should the “street” analysts give understated numbers in an effort to “prop” up a stock? In the financial world we live in today, the answer is yes.


Gapper, John. (2006, January 30). Google is putting its own freedoms at risk in China. Financial Times, pp.15.

Waters, Richard. (2006, January 30). Google set to test forecasts’ accuracy again. Financial Times, pp.18.

Brian N. Stovall
Consultant - Accounting & Business Advisory
The Brico Group, Inc.

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Corporative Housing Corporations and Tax Tip

If you are an owner/stockholder of a cooperative housing corporation, you own shares of stock in a corporation that leases or owns housing facilities. Typically you can deduct your share of the corporation’s deductible real estate taxes just like a standard home owner. To qualify as a cooperative housing corporation, the business must meet the following conditions:

There is only one class of outstanding stock for the business
Each stockholder, solely because of ownership of stock can live in the dwelling owned by the corporation
No stockholder can receive any distribution out of capital, except when the corporation is partially or completely liquidated
Tenant-stockholders pay at least 80% of the corporation’s gross income for the tax year (income received during the entire year even if the corporation was not a cooperative housing corporation for the whole year)

To figure your share of real estate taxes (1) divide the number of shares of stock by the total outstanding (including shares owned by the corporation). (2) Then multiply the corporation’s deductible real estate taxes by the number you figured in one.

If the corporation received a refund of real estate taxes paid in a prior year, it must reduce the amount of real estate taxes paid this year when it allocates the taxes to each stockholder. Your deduction for real estate taxes paid this year will be reduced by your share of the refund the corporation received. For more information see IRS Publication 530.

Brian N. Stovall
Consultant - Accounting & Business Advisory
The Brico Group, Inc.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Mid-Range Accounting Software for Your Growing Business

Alas 2006 is upon us! Time for your businesses to spring out of the blocks with your best foot forward and turn those creative ideas into new product and/or service offerings. The New Year brings about a time of change for the small business owner and this may be a good time to see if you are getting the most out of your small business accounting software investments. Your accounting software plays an integral role in your profitability and in the growth of your business as a whole. This is why it may be a good time to see if you have outgrown your small business software and need to move to the next level – “Mid Range Accounting” software.

Entry level packages provide the small business owner with all the necessary tools they may need to track expenses and invoice clients. They also give the small business owner insightful reports to make business decisions. These systems are good for small business owners that typically enter the data themselves or have a part-time bookkeeper to assist them. However what if your small business has recently experienced unprecedented growth and there is more information to enter. The small business owner may need to hire additional staff and the number of transactions within your existing small business software may be too much for the software to handle. This is where mid-range accounting software may make your operations more efficient.

Mid-range accounting software is typically for small businesses that have 25 or more users that need simultaneous access to financial information. It also provides the small business owner with more detailed analysis features, dashboard snapshots, and continuous updates as changes are made within the system. Most mid-range accounting systems are “modular” in nature meaning that they are purchased in parts or modules. The most basic modular system typically includes a company manager, general ledger, accounts payable, account receivable, and payroll. The more robust modules will include inventory tracking, CRM, and web capability. Mid-range accounting software does not require a total technology overhaul either. Many software packages can be run on your existing client/server configurations and this will definitely be a relief to your IT department or IT consultant.

Take a look at the following options if you are in the market for a mid-range accounting software platform:

Cougar Mountain Accounting 10

Quickbooks Enterprise Solutions 6.0

Turning Point 4.0

Sage Business Vision V. 7 & Sage BusinessWorks 6

To Your Prosperity

Brian N. Stovall
Consultant – Accounting & Business Advisory
The Brico Group, Inc.

Friday, January 06, 2006

Windows One Care Live...Beta

The software giant Microsoft is at it again. They are starting off the new year with more goodies for us techies. Some are truly useful and some are bad for small business owners. I am going to evaluate Windows One Care in today's blog.

First of all what is One Care Live? The folks at Microsoft describe One Care as this:
"Windows OneCare is a comprehensive PC health service that goes beyond security to take an integrated approach to help protect and care for your computer." Bascially, its a complete pc protection program. Its a pretty novel idea. Most companies focus in on providing security for your computer. Some focus on the diagnostics of your pc. With OneCare Live they deliver the whole package all in one.

Hmmm...sounds pretty interesting. Opps did I forget to mention that this software is in beta right now. With that in mind one would expect some flaws. I downloaded and installed the beta on my machine a couple of weeks back. The install process was fairly simple. Just following the steps in the setup wizard is all that is necessary. After install the software loads.
Once in the software you can adjust the anti-virus settings, firewall settings and additional security features. It also provides you the ability to "tune-up" your pc. You also have the ability to backup your files (serves as a backup program also).

Those are some pretty good features in a one-stop software suite. Of course the features are more detailed but for this blog's purposes I just wanted to highlight them. After I setup all my One Care settings I powered my machine off. The next day and subsequent day thereafter I noticed "slowness" in my browser. Pages that would normally take a second to load would now take over 30 seconds to a minute. Frustrating. Another frustrating thing is that you have to use Internet Explorer 6.0 as your default browser. At the time Firefox was my default browser. One Care had major problems trying to access the internet for updates via Firefox. Frustrating once again.

Now I am a patient guy but after 4 days of being frustrated I said enough. Yes I uninstalled Windows One Care beta. During uninstallation I filled out a survey from Microsoft. I basically told them my frustrations with using the product...I truly hope they listen. The good things about all this is that again this software is in beta so they have time to get all the bugs out before the final release. Truth be told all the features of One Care live can be peformed via the control panel. However, the key concept of One Care is to perform those actions for 1)people who do not know how to do them or 2)for people who do not have time to do them.
I'm not giving up on One Care totally. The final version should be released sometime this winter. I'll check it out again then and see if my frustrations will continue.

Brian J. Winston
Consultant - Sofware & Web Development Services
The Brico Group, Inc.