2011 year-end tax planning

Ho ho ho…the last month of the year is coming up!  Time for our annual year-end appeal to our small business clients to take a look at your technology acquisition plans.  Depending on your tax status, there might be an opportunity to save some real tax dollars by making a purchase in December 2011 rather than waiting till January 2012 or later.  In 2011, there is a bonus depreciation provision written into the tax code.  You might qualify for a 100% bonus depreciation deduction for purchases of new equipment for your business of up to $500,000.

As our friends in the car business say…”your mileage may vary”, so PLEASE contact your accountant or tax advisor to see how these rules may affect your business.   We can give great advice about which technology to purchase and how best to integrate it into your business, but we are NOT tax advisors and no one at The Computing Center plays one on TV that we’re aware of.  So, talk to the experts about your company’s situation. Then speak with us about which technology will best fit your needs.

Kirk's chair

Editor's Note - We have known Laura for over 10 years as a computer systems integration business owner, entrepreneur, and prolific writer.

I never thought that just sitting in a chair had the power to change a mood.  That changed for me when I sat in Captain Kirk’s command chair from the Starship Enterprise and I instantly bubbled up with joy and laughter.  All the blah feelings that had been hovering around me all morning instantly disappeared the moment I saw the chair and the command bridge set across the room.

I guess you now know my secret.  I am a Trekkie.  I’ve been one since the late 60′s and the passion for the idealism of Star Trek has never really left me.  Yes, I wanted to be an astronaut.  Yes, I believe that there are incredible things in the universe to explore and yes, my mood completely changed as soon as I sat in the chair!  My husband took me to Kennedy Space Center to see the Star Trek exhibit and I was having one of those days where I could not seem to shift into a happy place.  I wanted to but I could not seem to switch it on.  This seemed very strange for me since I really wanted to go to the exhibit plus I love going to the Space Center because you get to meet astronauts!

[More]

Printing Tips To Save Money And Energy

reprinted with permission from the HP Small Business Center
It's a common sight in many offices:

Wastebaskets filled to the brim with paper. Look next to any desk or printer, and you're likely to find a stack of misprints, extra copies and other discarded paper waste.

Even with recycling, here are a few things to keep in mind before you send that next job to the printer - and a few tips to keep costs down when you do need to print.

Do you really want to print that?
You should always consider whether what you're about to print really needs to be printed. For example, if you have to share a document with a number of people at a meeting, are there other ways to display it without printing out a copy for everyone? If it's a large meeting, maybe use a projector to display the information, or just display it on a notebook screen at a smaller meeting. You could also save the document to a shared folder and provide everyone with a link, or send it as an email attachment.

Conservation: waste not, want not
If you've decided you absolutely must print a document, there are some ways to reduce the cost and environmental impact. If it's just for casual use, you can print in 'draft' mode and by reusing misprints by printing on the "clean" side of the page. Most important, when you print on both the front and back of each page, that cuts paper usage by 50 percent. You can make this easy by purchasing a printer with a built-in duplexer, and setting the default settings in your driver to "print on both sides".

[More]

Stretch your IT budget with these tips

For small- and medium-sized companies, the difference between a successful year and a dismal one often comes down to how well they can stick to the b-word: BUDGET.

Stretch you money!Luckily, the recipe for budgeting success is simple: Spend less, while making more. But there's a virulent SMB myth that - especially in a weak economy - the only way to save money is to forgo buying the new computers, servers, and printers that your employees need. Not true.

Below are some simple reasons why investing in technology can actually save you money over the long term.

  1. Understand the total cost of ownership (TCO)
    Many SMB owners suffer from sticker shock when contemplating the upfront costs of buying new equipment. Unfortunately, they don't see how much higher the overall price tag is for holding onto old, outdated machines when you factor in maintenance, lower productivity and energy consumption. And, don't think that buying cheaper equipment is necessarily better for your wallet. While consumer PCs and printers may take a smaller initial bite out of your budget, they don't offer the same robustness or security standards that make business equipment worth every extra penny.

    [More]