Run Smoother Tax Audits with Outsourcing

Run Smoother Tax Audits with Outsourcing

With the coming deadline for tax season, you need to consider how you are going to go about fulfilling your business’ tax requirements. A lot of companies find it much easier to run a tax audit with third-party assistance. 

A tax audit is essential to make sure that all of your reporting obligations are adhered to and your business is running tax-efficiently. But, why does it make sense to outsource this part of business instead of handling in-house IT? Let’s take a look at some of the different reasons why it is recommended to outsource tax audits, and how the right IT help can prepare you.

Why Outsourcing Helps

One of the main reasons why it makes sense to outsource this part of your business is because you can benefit from an expert service. If you do not have any experience in finances, you may not be able to guarantee that you are dealing with your tax audit in the most effective and beneficial manner. 

This is why it makes sense to use the services of experienced tax accountants who know exactly what is needed, and have run many different tax audits before. You can make the most of their expertise to ensure that you are not missing out on any tax breaks available to you.

Another reason to consider outsourcing your tax audits, is that it can save your business money; many people do not consider outsourcing because they fear it is going to be more expensive, but this is often not the case. (Don’t forget to file your insurance as well to get 

The reason tax outsourcing is typically cheaper is that you are better guaranteed to receive all of the tax breaks available to you, so you are not missing out by paying more tax than you should be! Not only this but handling tax audits in-house can be more expensive, especially if you are going to need to invest in training your employees. 

Outsourcing Provides Peace of Mind

Not only is outsourcing helpful for your tax break, but it really helps bolster your IT. When you outsource your IT, you welcome a competent team of IT professionals who can help you with data storage to ensure you have all your tax files organized, on hand, and safely stored for future reference.

By outsourcing tax audits, you free up the time you would have spent to delegate towards your own business. You can focus on your core activities, which will ultimately boost your bottom line, and instead, you can let the accounting experts handle your tax returns for you. This works the same for your IT, as you can have confidence that any problem you might come across in taxes won’t be caused by IT, since you have the best care you can have.

If you work with an IT consultant, they can help you know what issues might be slowing down your productivity and what you can do to improve in order to run your business efficiently as technically possible.

The Importance of Workplace Security

The Importance of Workplace Security

All businesses are going to have assets that they can’t afford to lose. However, if the asset is valuable to the business, you can assume it will have value to those who might steal it, as well. Digital equipment, machinery, and even data can all be stolen.

Workplace security is the means by which we combat that very real threat of theft and unauthorized access. Today, workplace security works in a few different ways. Here are some of the ways you can neutralize potential and existing threats to the business.

Preventing unauthorized access

Not every individual who visits the workplace may need to have access to the assets that you have. For things like the inventory in the stockroom and highly valuable equipment, access should be controlled physically, such as with the use of ID-based restrictions. 

For digital assets, such as valuable and sensitive data, you should ensure that you use systems with two-step authentication and passwords, as well as access control to make sure that every user has to verify their identity and that each individual user account has access to only the data that’s relevant to them.

Surveillance and alerts

Anticipation of security threats in the workplace is crucial. For physical assets, this can mean using things like wireless surveillance systems, alongside security alarm systems so that you are alerted to the unauthorized presence in the property as soon as possible. 

For digital systems, this might mean working with a managed cybersecurity team who can monitor logs from a range of digital access points that can raise the alarm as soon as there is any suspicious activity. From there, they can lock down certain parts of the system, stopping the spread of any threats until it is resolved.

Creating a strong security policy

The security systems in place are only going to be as effective as the team that is operating them. As such, frequent training on workplace security threats and the creation and maintenance of a comprehensive security policy is key. 

Your team needs to know what steps to follow in the event of a potential breach. Rather than leaving it entirely up to their discretion, security and crisis management policies can help direct them to productively dealing with them as soon as they can.

Determining and preparing for threats

In order to make sure that you are putting strong security policies in place, you should start with an evaluation of the security needs of the workplace. A risk assessment will help you figure out what you need to protect and how it is currently unprotected. From there, you can work with the right physical security and cybersecurity management teams to find the best options to correct those threats.

With the help of strong security policies, the right equipment, and the help of a cybersecurity management team, you can make sure that your business is protected from the threat that criminals pose. Take the time to identify the assets that you value, the security threats that exist around them, and what you can do to close those gaps.

How to Make Your Dorm Your Own

How to Make Your Dorm Your Own

College is an exciting time for many people, and one of the best parts is getting to decorate your room to your liking. Read below to learn how to make your dorm room your own. 

1. Get inspired Online 

Pinterest is an incredible place to start. Not only can you save and pin other photos but you can refer through to websites that sell these items. You should also consider setting up boards that inspire you for your dorm. 

2. Figure out your “theme” or inspiration 

Once you have a theme in mind, shopping becomes much easier. If you prefer a botanical theme, you may want to look at where and how you can obtain some plants.

If you want a neoclassical theme, you may want to look at certain marble stickers for your sideboards, or cream emulsion for the walls to add light.

3. Save up for decor 

If you have a specific style in mind, you will need to adequately budget for your new dorm. In this case, you should consider having a set budget that can’t be compromised and look to save up in advance so you don’t have to tap into your current savings.

This way you can look at what will work best and where you can afford to add a little extra. 

If you are considering buying a new bed for example, that certainly requires a good amount of cash to ensure that it is suitable for your back and will be a long-lasting item that you can take with you.

If you want new wallpaper, you can cut back on costs depending on when and where you look for your item.


4. Look for Sales

Plenty of vintage and second hand stores have incredible finds that are not only unique but can cater to most budgets. Research exactly what you need. Shop around and be sure to compare prices as you would anywhere else. 

Sales don’t always just appear in second hand stores, but also online. Many companies run offers and the possibility to use vouchers, so signing up to mailing lists could be helpful for you. 

5. Make it easy to clean

You can look to keep the space free from junk and clutter by reaching out to a self storage company who can take things off your hands, and allow you to have the free space you need in a smaller dorm.

When you look at decluttering, you can utilize the space for what is really needed without having to compromise. 


With a little savviness and planning, you can create a space that not only inspires but is also functional and aesthetically pleasing. You can look for inspiration for interior designs on a budget as well as shopping around sensibly and implementing a strategy that allows you to keep your dorm tidy and organized. 

Upgrade These Appliances Before 2021

Upgrade These Appliances Before 2021

There has been extraordinary advancement in technologies in the last few years, and 2020 has been no different. These innovations have improved the lives of many. However, the pandemic has called for individuals to be socially distant and stay home. This resulted in a rise in unexpected issues with home appliances. 

Suddenly your dryer needs to run twice as often to get your clothes dry, and your dishwasher is in use two or three times a day instead of once daily. All this coupled with already high energy bills makes the situation pretty dire financially. 

So have you noticed any signs of your appliance malfunctioning or about to break down? Before you replace them, carry out good research to ensure your new appliance is a genuine and sufficient upgrade of your old appliance. Here is a list of appliances you should upgrade before 2021.

Fridge

There are numerous factors you should consider when upgrading your fridge. Besides your budget, other features like shape, style, and unique features will come to mind when purchasing a new fridge. However, just as the insides are essential, so is the interior. 

Consider features such as the number of shelves in the refrigerator, doors, freezer drawer, and fridge containers. Crisper humidity control, meat keeper, easy-to-use manual controls are among the overall features you should keep in mind when upgrading your fridge. If you prefer a more tech-savvy fridge, then consider the auto assist functioning and smart fridges. 

Water Heater

Although a water heater breakdown is inevitable, it can be entirely unexpected. Imagine coming home after a long stressful day, looking forward to a nice calming warm bath, only to be welcomed when a broken water heater! 

Well, it’s time you avoid that by getting a new heater before 2021.  Buying a new heater can be a little overwhelming.You find yourself surrounded by so many options. 

Water heaters come in various styles; electric or gas, demand or storage, stand-alone, or you can have it integrated with your home heating system. For the latter, you can call your local water heater company or for a recommendation on which type of heater will be most suited to your home settings. 

Air Conditioner/ Heater

What’s better than having an air conditioner in the middle of a heatwave? The summer heat can make your home uncomfortable if you don’t have the right air cooling system. Upgrading the cooling or heating system in your home with a mini-split air conditioning system is a good buy, especially due to unexpected weather conditions. 

You don’t need to damage any part of your room interior with the mini-split, making space for or installing them. The best part is, you are equipped with an air conditioner, fan, and a heater, all in a single unit switchable with one button control and smart solutions such as controlling your air conditioner with your phone. 

Toilet

You don’t have to sacrifice style and functionality because you have a small bathroom. A small bathroom will require more thought and creativity, unlike one with a larger space. An efficient toilet should be easy to assembly, less prone to cracks, and have an excellent flushing system. 

This will save you from losing money from wasting several gallons of water on flashing. The bowl shape, height, and noise level should be high on your consideration list before settling on a choice.  

Showerhead

Showers are an essential part of any bathroom. The most common showerhead types are the swiveling nozzle, connected with a pipe, or the complex showerhead, which comes with a movable showerhead. Although showers help in water conservation, the type of showerhead plays a significant role. 

You can upgrade your showerhead with an AquaDance High-pressure 3-way head, the Sparkpod high-pressure rain, or the Wassa 3-inch anti-leak premium show head. A regular bath typically requires 150 liters of water, unlike a shower, which requires just 80 liters of water. 

Home Security Systems

Your home is never complete without a sound home security system. According to statistics, over 4,500 homes are broken into each day in the US. This isn’t reassuring, especially when your home is supposed to be your sanctuary to relax with your family and loved ones. 

Protecting your property shouldn’t be a one-off exercise. As technology advances, criminals do too, so it is essential to upgrade your security system regularly. There are new home security systems with smart innovations to monitor and control your cameras, lights, and alarm system with your phone. You can also install motion-sensitive lighting or upgrade your door locks with a keyless entry.  

Before buying a new appliance, you must check for its energy efficiency, product reliability, and reviews. Also, look out for the product warranty to guarantee your investment should the appliance break down in its early months.  

7 Easy Ways to Declutter

7 Easy Ways to Declutter

Decluttering is all the rage right now, with TV shows on Netflix such as ‘Tidying Up With Marie Kondo’ and  ‘Get Organized With The Home Edit’ people cannot get enough. But did you know that there is more to decluttering than just making room in your house? Decluttering actually has many other benefits too. 

For example, it is said to reduce stress and anxiety, help you sleep better and you’ll find that you become more creative and productive, not to mention your house will look beautiful with more space. Decluttering your home will also free up space in your mind too. 

However, decluttering doesn’t mean that you have to throw all your things away. If you follow these seven tips then you can have the best of both worlds and keep your stuff as well as enjoying the benefits of decluttering. 

1. Take It an Object, Room, or Drawer at a Time

Decluttering your home can feel like an overwhelming task, but not if you take your time. Don’t think of it as emptying the whole house, start small by decluttering a drawer and then once you have done that, choose another drawer. Take it step by step, drawer by drawer and room by room until eventually, you’ll have a clutter-free home. 

2. Use Self-Storage

Decluttering and minimalism have helped people in lots of ways; it makes people happier, saves you time, gives you more freedom in your home and in your mind and it helps you to appreciate the things that matter most. But as mentioned it doesn’t mean you need to lose everything. 

If you want a minimalist home, you can still have it by simply putting your things in a local self-storage unit. This way, your things are safe, secure, and there for you when you need them.  However, you don’t need to throw everything away in order to declutter. Use a local storage unit to store your things and declutter your home.

3. Take Pictures of Things You Might Miss

If you’re not sure whether to part with something just yet, then again you can put it in self-storage to see if you miss it and this will help you to determine how often you use it. Also try taking photos of the things you might miss and then if you do, you can always look at them if you’re feeling down. 

4. Keep the Things that Bring You Joy

It’s a really good exercise to go through your things and to see what you use and what you don’t and what you really love and what you’re not so bothered about. Going through your things helps you to find things you love that you might have forgotten about and will give you a new appreciation for things. Surrounding yourself with the things you love will also make you feel happier. 

5. Make It into a Party

Decluttering your home doesn’t have to be a chore, in fact, it can be really fun. Get a few friends round, pour a few drinks, put some music on and have a party. Go through your things and ask everyone to help you put things into piles: things you definitely want to keep, things you’re not sure about; things that definitely need to go and things you can sell or donate. 

All your friends need to do is hold things up and take your first answer. Also, it means that if you don’t want something and they do, it automatically goes to a good home. 

6. Donate

Decluttering can not only benefit you, but it can also benefit those in need if you donate your items. There are plenty of different charities you could donate to, so do your research and decide on what you think is a worthy cause and where you can help the most. 

7. Sell Your Old Items

Finally, decluttering your home can make you some money if you choose to sell the things you don’t want anymore. You’ll be surprised at the things that sell, as they say, one man’s trash is another man’s treasure. 

So if you have something you’re not sure if anyone will buy, check online first and you’ll probably find that others are selling similar items and there’s someone out there who wants it. 

Just remember you can enjoy the best of both worlds and have a minimalist home without losing your things. You can also use self-storage as a place for those things you’re not sure if you’re ready to part with yet and it will help you to declutter and to love and appreciate your things again. 

How to Keep Your Home Safe Over the Holidays

How to Keep Your Home Safe Over the Holidays

For many people, the best part of the holiday season is spending quality time with friends and family. If you live in another state or city, that might involve packing up, locking up your house, and heading out of town for a few days or weeks.

However, before you leave home, it is important to make sure your property is protected while you are away, particularly if you’re taking an extended vacation.

Let’s look at some of the things you need to do to ensure that your safe haven stays exactly that: safe.

Lock Up

It sounds obvious, doesn’t it? This most basic step is so obvious that many people overlook it. Ensure that you lock every door and window in your house and double-check them before you go. If you don’t have one already, you may want to consider fitting deadbolts to your doors for an extra layer of protection. 

Set Your Lights on a Timer

If you have Christmas lights, put them on an automatic timer while you are out of town. You can set the timer so that your lights come on at a specific time every night, making it seem like you are at home to anyone who may be watching your house. Smart technology makes this step much easier today, allowing you to give the illusion of being home while not using too much electricity.

With all that being said, you should take a close look at any stretches of Christmas lights before putting them on a timer. Frayed cables are a possible fire risk, so if you find signs of significant wear in your decorations, it is time to throw them away and buy in some new ones.

Think about putting a few indoor lights on timers as well to help make your home look full of life even though you are not there. (Just ask Kevin from Home Alone—it can do the trick to keep burglars away!)

Set Your Water Heater to Vacation Mode

Many people would automatically turn their water off if they left their house unattended for an extended period, as this seems the most logical thing to do, right? WRONG! If there is a sudden drop in temperatures and the pipes freeze up, not having any water running through them can cause them to burst from frozen standing water inside them.

This is going to generate significant amounts of damage and hassle for you to come home to (especially once the pipes thaw and you have water damage to deal with). Although a reliable plumbing company could provide water heater repairs in Altadena, it’s best to avoid that route altogether.

Instead, switch your water heater to vacation mode. This will decrease the water’s temperature running through the pipes, saving you money but keeping the water’s temperature at a steady 55–60 degrees Fahrenheit to prevent the pipes from freezing.

If you choose to lower your home’s heating, you should also leave it at at least a temperature of 55 degrees.

Put Your Mail on Hold

Piles of newspapers and correspondence on the doorstep or hanging out of the mailbox are surefire signs that no one is at home and a big flag for burglars during the holidays. You should be able to put your mail on hold by calling your local post office and requesting that they hold your mail until the specified date of your return.

If you’re friendly with your neighbors, alternatively, you could simply ask a neighbor to watch out for mail or packages as they come and keep them safe until you arrive. A good neighbor could also keep an eye on your house for other suspicious activities.

The last thing anyone wants after a relaxing location is to come home to find your home has been damaged or robbed. These steps will help you to decrease a few of those risks.

How Leadership and Workplace Safety Correlate

How Leadership and Workplace Safety Correlate

You can implement communication and safety strategies and technology, but if the people are not effectively using them, their purpose can be undermined. Here, we are going to look at how effective leadership is necessary for cementing workplace safety standards, through both effective communication and the implementation of tools like smart manufacturing communication systems.

The Role of the Decision-Makers

Leaders are, by definition, those who set the direction of the workplace, meaning that they make the majority of decisions that impact their workers. As such, strong correlations have been found between workplace safety and how much focus the leaders put on it. As such, stakeholders and leaders should be made aware of safety matters, as well as involved and invested in the management of safety processes.

Failing to understand the workplace realities and risks associated with them can result in leaders who implement poorly thought through and dangerous policies, either failing to address the major workplace safety concerns, or addressing them in an ineffective and counterproductive way. In order to make sure that leaders address safety concerns correctly, they must be more involved with the regular management of risks.

How Leaders Can Tip the Scales

It’s not just the active decision making of leaders that can influence how workplace safety is handled in the workplace. There are ways to passively undermine or support the work of safety officers, protocols, and standards in the workplace, as well. 

For instance, if a leader gives an order that runs contrary to a safety protocol, it can lead to not only the immediate endangerment of an employee, but also the undermining of more than that single safety protocol, affecting worker attitude to workplace safety much more widely.

Similarly, failing to understand how employees interface with safety concerns is a risk, too. If you make it part of your safety protocol that employees must report safety concerns that they are personally involved with to a direct superior or assigned safety officer, the leaders can get a better idea of what kinds of hazards the workers deal with.

Establishing the Right Standards

Leaders play the biggest role in controlling how much investment goes into workplace safety, and how much of a focus is placed on implementing any solutions effectively. For instance, manufacturing communication systems can help implement emergency notifications and other key methods of reacting to and mitigating emergencies that employees could rely on. 

However, this is only likely to happen if the leadership invests in the installation and training necessary to make it a core tool for the workforce. Without that leadership, these technologies are more likely to go unused than not. Leaders must ensure that there is an emphasis on the systemization of safety solutions.

Leaders Must Take More Responsibility in Establishing a Safe Workplace Culture

Your team does have a large role to play when it comes to establishing effective workplace safety. However, it is your leadership, in setting and maintaining safety standards, adopting new technologies, and enforcing the rules, that sets the precedent for safer protocol. You cannot underestimate the impact of the leaders in regards to implementing a healthy culture of safety.

5 Ways to Get Your Home Prepped for Guests Post-Quarantine

5 Ways to Get Your Home Prepped for Guests Post-Quarantine

Having guests stay over can be a stressful experience, especially when you feel unprepared. If it’s been a long time since you’ve had guests because of quarantine, you may feel overwhelmed when the time comes to prep your home again. If you’re looking to get ahead of the stress, these 5 steps are a great start.

Clear Out Some Drawers and Shelves

Unused guest rooms often become temporary storage facilities. If it’s been a while since the room has been used, chances are the empty spaces have been filled with items from the rest of the house. Clearing out some drawers and shelves allows your guests to feel more at home when they have space for clothes or suitcases. 

It’s a good idea to try to create some space for hanging clothes as well. If you don’t have an available closet, try looking into a garment rack or portable closet. Both can easily be brought into the room when needed and then fold down to take up less space when not in use.

Make Sure that Your Outlets are Accessible

In setting up a room, keep in mind that guests will want to plug in and charge their phones soon after they arrive at your home. Plan to dedicate several outlets for their use, so they won’t have to unplug their tablet to use their blow dryer. Evaluate how many sockets you have open, and see if they’re in convenient locations. 

If you’ve moved furniture around since your last guest, you may be blocking easy outlet access with a nightstand or dresser. Putting a little thought into how to arrange the room now can make it easier for guests to settle in when they visit.

Check Out Your Water Heater

If there’s anything that puts a damper on a vacation, it’s trying to take a hot shower and finding it cold instead. With more guests in your home, your water heater will be used more often. Get it checked out now to make sure it can keep up with increased demand. 

This water heater company in San Fernando can give you all of the advice you need to make sure your heater is reliable and ready when it needs to be. A little advance check can ensure that no matter how many extra dishes you’ll need to wash or laundry loads you may run, your guests will have access to hot water whenever they want.

Set Out Blankets and Towels

It’s important to have some blankets and fresh towels ready for your guests to use. Before you’re back to welcoming visitors, take a look at your supply and see if you need to get additional ones. Having fresh matching towels and washcloths to set out is a particularly nice touch to make your home feel like a hotel. 

When it comes to sleeping temperature, it’s hard to predict how your guests will feel. You never know if people will be too hot or too cold in the bedroom, so providing plenty of extra blankets is a smart way to make sure your guests can sleep comfortably.

Add Some Nice Touches

Think of the little things that make you feel welcome when you’re a guest, and see what you can add to your own guest room. A neatly made bed can make a big difference in making guests ready for a good night’s sleep after traveling. Put a little extra time into fluffing the pillows, and add important necessities on the nightstand, such as a bottled water and tissue box. 

Having a basket of basic amenities, such as floss, toothpaste, and little bottles of shampoo and conditioner, can save your guests the trouble of bringing their own things with them. If you really want to spruce up the room, consider putting robes or disposable slippers in the closet. Little touches can help your guests feel more comfortable and more welcome in your home.

While there are many things that you can do to prepare your home for guests to stay over after quarantine, following this guide is a great way to focus on the essentials. Your guests will most look forward to being able to visit with you again, so doing a few things now will relieve stress and ensure that you can simply enjoy their company when they arrive. 

These steps can go a long way to making sure your guests feel right at home and show them you’re excited, and ready, to welcome them over after quarantine.

3 Signs That Your Southern California Business Needs a Risk Assessment Now

3 Signs That Your Southern California Business Needs a Risk Assessment Now

Small businesses, especially in big business areas like Southern California, may think that they are less likely to experience hacking or data theft because they aren’t as well known as other businesses.

However, they actually face an increased risk of a cyber attack because they generally have fewer security measures in place. 

In fact, more than half of all small businesses that suffer a data breach will go out of business within six months. A data breach can have serious long-term effects on a small business.

Your business reputation could be damaged and you could lose customers. Successful hacking can also dramatically increase expenses in damage control and decrease revenue.

Fortunately, you can protect your business by understanding the security risks you face. Here are 3 signs that your Southern California business needs a risk assessment as soon as possible:

1. You’re Working Remotely

Remote working is more popular than ever due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Although there are many benefits to working at home such as a better work-life balance, no more commuting, and savings on office space, it’s important to be aware of the downsides and threats to your business that remote work can bring. 

As companies increasingly turn to remote working solutions, it’s important for them to keep their employees and data safe from cyber attacks. 

Without proper procedures and security measures in place, your company may unintentionally expose sensitive information, or data may be stolen as it crosses networks and platforms. 

There are several ways to secure your business data, even while everyone is working remotely. First, consider investing in cloud solutions, which allow your employees to access company data wherever they are. 

Second, create a training course for your remote workers which teaches them about how to avoid phishing attempts, how to create secure passwords, and how to keep business data secure. 

Third, if you are working remote and connecting to your business systems onsite, at your company location, then have the proper security technologies in place that assist in mitigating your risk posture. If you are not sure, we can review and help tighten up any vulnerable areas.  

2. You Don’t Have a Managed Service Provider

There are endless ways for your data to become vulnerable to attacks, so it’s important to stay up-to-date on red flags and preventative measures in order to keep data secure. This level of protection is a full-time job that requires specialized knowledge and experience. 

Since your business may not have the resources to hire an in-house IT department, it is worthwhile to explore other trusted IT management systems such as a Managed Service Provider (MSP). 

An MSP manages all technology risks and implements preventative measures for a business. A Managed Service Provider will monitor your systems day and night so that your data is never left vulnerable.

They also make sure that your company is secure from even the most advanced  cyber threats. 

In addition, they perform regular risk assessments for your business. A risk assessment includes an analysis of your current protection methods to detect any weaknesses. 

Examining your current system helps an MSP to know where to increase security. Finding these weak points before they turn into leaks can help your business avoid a costly breach. 

3. You Don’t Have a VPN

If your business normally relies on in-house servers to secure its data, a VPN or Virtual Private Network is key. VPNs allow your employees to connect to your onsite servers securely over the Internet. 

A VPN also ensures all data traveling over the connection remains encrypted, ensuring unauthorized users are unable to view it. If you do not have VPN, your business data is at risk for potential exposure. 

With so much data being stored and sent between coworkers and customers, there are many opportunities for that information to be lost or stolen. Protecting your Southern California business with the help of a risk assessment from a trusted IT company in Ventura will help protect sensitive material from being intercepted by those with malicious intent.