Articles by Brook Avey

Planning for the Future

Monday, March 14th, 2011

Recently I had a conversation that made me think, “Wow, I didn’t know that and everyone should be aware of this.”

In talking with James Williams (associate attorney at Stevens & Associates), he made me aware that if you do not have a power of attorney on file no one can cease any treatment of medical services without a major court cost. So, if you get into an accident and are on life support no one will be able to make a decision to cease life support. They are only allowed to consent to medical options.

I usually think the only time you need to create wills or power of attorney is once you have children. However, the truth is that even if you are a single individual it is important to set up the what if. I would hate for my family to pay thousands of dollars to have the authority to make decisions when I could have just spent $150.

He also told me a few stories about how individuals weren’t really aware of whom they set as the beneficiary on various retirement and insurance plans. They ended up having their estate divided per the state. For a married couple, this meant that half goes to the spouse and half to the parents (or children).

He made me realize that even if you don’t have much, if your’e single, or even married with no children it is a good idea to determine who has the power of attorney and to articulate your will. Otherwise, you are at the mercy of the courts and a large cost for your loved ones.

Brook M. Avey, CPA
President
www.brooksideaccounting.com
888-317-4835

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Bringing People Honor and Dignity Through Unglorious Jobs

Wednesday, February 9th, 2011

A friend of mine has been extremely annoyed that everyone was telling her that she should leave her job. A consultant that travels all over the states helping large companies implement a human resource system. Her job is wrought with difficult problems, difficult people, and many hours away from home. Yet, she loves her job and doesn’t really want to leave.

I couldn’t understand what it was that she loved so much when she was tired of traveling and the difficult clients. Her answer surrounded a great enjoyment of solving difficult problems and bringing dignity to her clients. In most of the companies she consults with, an executive high in the company decided to implement a new system. The people who actually have to run the system usually had zero influence in that decision. Consultants simply determine the requirements and make sure the system is working. The employee is often stuck with a system they are forced to use and without much knowledge on how to use it. They start to feel incompetent, frustrated, and overwhelmed by it all.

She loves to take the time to think through the frustrations the user will have once implemented. Easy and clear manuals are created to meet the employees needs. Time is spent making sure that the client is trained and truly understands why things are set up in a specific manner. Resulting in an opportunity to watch the overwhelming expressions turn into expressions of relief and understanding. She loves helping people do their job better and in a manner that makes them feel competent, needed, and valued.

I was truly amazed. If she simply tells me what she does in a technical manner, it sounds so boring and draining. Traveling to implement a human resource system in tight time lines with demanding requirements. However, she has found a way to move past the cold system and to see the people. They are worthy to be heard and valued enough to truly see their frustrations and either train or create tools that will help them reach their potential. It is beautiful.

I think that picture could be brought into accounting, social media, computer repair, any job or occupation. We all deal with people and as we perform our duties do we slow down enough to understand how our clients might be feeling. Do we take time to honor them and bring them dignity?

Brook M. Avey, CPA
President
www.brooksideaccounting.com
888-317-4835

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Want to be Productive?

Wednesday, January 12th, 2011

In an interview with Richard Branson (the 212th richest person and founder of the virgin group) , someone asked him “How do you become more productive?” Mr. Branson sat back and throught for a second. Then broke the silence with “Work Out”. He was serious and elaborated: working out gave him at least four additional hours of productive time every day.

Initially I was surprised when I read this. Can working out really increase productivity?

So, I tried it. For the past few weeks, I have been regularly working out for about 20 – 30 minutes. To my surprise, I have felt much more energized. I have also found that my overall attitude is much more positive.

I used to force myself to focus and accomplish tasks for the day. I feel a remarkable difference in how I engage in a day and I do believe that adding a 20 – 30 min workout each day has significantly added to my productivity.

Let me know things you have done to increase your productivity.

Brook M. Avey, CPA
President
www.brooksideaccounting.com
888-317-4835

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Consider starting a new venture sooner rather than later

Friday, December 10th, 2010

This year, the government passed the Small Business Jobs Act of 2010 which temporarily increases the amount of start-up expenditures entrepreneurs can deduct from their taxes for this year from $5,000 to $10,000 (with a phase-out threshold of $60,000 in expenditures), offering an immediate incentive for someone with a new business idea to invest in starting up a new small business today.

The act also includes a few other incentives for small businesses:

The extension of bonus depreciation;
Extension and expansion of expending capital improvements;
One hundred percent gain exclusion for qualified small business stock;
Holding period reduction for S corporation built-in gain recognition rules;
Simplification for cell phone deductions;
Increase of the deduction for start-up expenses;
Retroactive relief from Code Section 6707A penalty;
Allowance of a deduction for healthcare insurance costs from self employment income subject to Federal Insurance Contributions Act (FICA) tax;
Extension of the carry-back period for eligible small business credits to five years; and the use of all general business credits to offset both regular and alternative minimum tax liability.
As you prepare for 2010 taxes, be sure to consider any tax savings you could get with your small business.

Summary of the Small Business Jobs Act

Brook M. Avey, CPA
President
www.brooksideaccounting.com
888-317-4835

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