Software and the Taxman
By Jeffrey A. Levenstam, Partner, Ernst & Young LLP—International Tax Services
used with permission from the Microsoft Small Business website


What do you consider when you're buying new business software? How well the product addresses the needs of your organization? Naturally. The cost per seat? Sure. The ease of administration and maintenance? Of course. The tax implications of the purchase?

If you're not thinking about taxes, you should be. The green-eyeshade gang in your finance department will thank you for it, and heaven knows we could all use a friend or two in finance. So, sharpen your pencil and grab your abacus, and let's take a look at some of the tax implications of software licensing.

Two Strategies, Different Tax Treatments. The first thing to consider, tax-wise, is the different way in which subscriptions and purchases are treated. If you acquire your software through a subscription, such as Microsoft Enterprise Agreement subscription for Office or Windows, the subscription costs are considered an operating expense. If you pay the entire subscription fee upfront, the payment is capitalized as a prepaid asset and amortized over the subscription term for financial accounting purposes. For income tax purposes, if the subscription payment is by the month, the fees will be expensed as they are paid. How about software from the cloud—that is, software such as Microsoft Exchange hosted by Microsoft? This arrangement is considered a subscription and thus is treated as an operating expense and subject to the same income tax treatment as was stated above.

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4 Ways Social Media Can Improve Sales Performance
used with permission from the Microsoft Small Business website

Every salesperson knows that information is power. The more you know about your prospect, the more insight you have into what makes them buy.

The Internet has made researching your customers easier than ever. You can visit company websites to research products, read press releases, and get a feel for a prospect's organization. Taking your research one step further, subscription-based research tools allow you to easily gather information on key executives, company size, number of employees and other quantifiable information.

But if you're limiting your pre-call sales prep to company websites and subscription-based research tools, you're just scratching the surface. Here are four ways to expand your research with Web 2.0 tools.

1. Social Networks

One of the best-known professional social networks is LinkedIn. In addition, there are numerous social networks that cater to specific industries. You should consider joining these specialized networks if you sell into a particular market.

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Learning to Actively Listen Will Close The “Gap”
By Craig Kitch

There is nothing more fruitful for your business or career than the art of active listening. Unfortunately, most people would rather talk than listen and that’s why most people live lives of mediocrity. You learn nothing when your mouth is moving but you can acquire vast amounts of knowledge by simply listening attentively. How many sales people have you dealt with that put so much effort into telling you about their product or service that they never even asked what your needs were? Whether you are selling a product, managing people or simply trying to understand your coworkers, there is no skill more valuable to have in your bailiwick than that of being a good listener.

The good news is that you can learn to be a good listener; the bad news is that your own physiology is working against you. Research I have seen indicates that the average person can listen at a rate of up to 600 words per minute, but the average human being only speaks at about 125 words per minute. That is a pretty substantial difference, so what happens is that you are speaking at about one fifth of my brain’s capacity to understand. I compensate by thinking about my response while I am waiting for you to finish. We call this the “Response Gap”. The net effect is that while I am formulating my response, I almost invariably miss some important piece of information that you were trying to convey and everything rolls down hill from there.

In his book “The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People”, Dr. Stephen Covey urged us to “first seek to understand, then to be understood”.

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March 2011
In this issue:

Software and the Taxman
Improve Sales Performance
Learning to Actively Listen
Top-notch Password Security
Business Continuity Tip
Cartoon & Quote
5 Tips for Top-notch Password Security
by Kim Komando
used with permission from the
Microsoft Small Business website


Whether it's a few PCs or hundreds on your network, there's one thing that can separate your system from being compromised: a great password.

Why? Hackers want access to anything and everything. If they can guess your user name and password, you might as well have given them your wallet and the keys to your building.

Before we talk about what makes a good password, let's begin with the first of five things to know and practice in using passwords.

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Business Continuity Tip
It's Not Me. It's You.

Risk assessment is a critical element in any business continuity plan. When assessing risk, most companies instinctively think of the large scale disasters: Hurricanes, Floods, Terrorism, Ice Storms. But in most cases, the real risks surround us.

Ask yourself, who else occupies your building? Is there an office above you? Who is below you? Is your office near a government building? Is your building secure, or can anyone walk in off the street?

These seem like obvious questions, but in many cases, disasters that directly affect a fellow tenant can indirectly cripple your business.


Quote of the Month

A pessimist is one who feels bad
when he feels good for fear he'll feel worse when he feels better.

Just for Laughs

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