Gary Cooper on Houston Real Estate Radio

Posted on September 30, 2012 by in Blog

Forward Results own Gary Cooper was featured in two segments of Houston Real Estate Radio with Shannon Register this afternoon on AM 700 KSEV. They talked about taxes and how to minimize your tax burden by maximizing your deductions.

Here is the first segment:

Here is the second:

Presentation to CPA Society

Posted on September 28, 2012 by in Blog

Tax Record Retention

Posted on September 25, 2012 by in Blog

Original article: 

Tax Record Retention

2012 Tax Planning

Posted on September 21, 2012 by in Blog, Media, Planning

Taken from:

2012 Tax Planning

Eight Small Business IRS Audit Areas

Posted on September 19, 2012 by in Blog

Original article:  

Eight Small Business IRS Audit Areas

Changes in the Competitive Landscape – Part Two

Posted on September 13, 2012 by in Blog

Eight Important Trends To Follow

I recently described four of the eight trends that will and have affected the way we do business. In this post I will discuss the other four trends along with their challenges and advantages.

Mobility

Mobile communication and computing devices are making their way into almost every facet of our lives, including healthcare, transportation, business, and entertainment. With the success of the iPhone and iPad, many other companies are coming out with their versions of notebook computers, super-smart phones, and portable touchpads. WiFi wireless is available practically anywhere now, including many commercial flights.

Mobile devices, combined with cloud computing and social network technologies, will change where and how we do business. For their products to be competitive, companies will need to ensure that they incorporate these technologies or integrate with these devices.

Global Talent Shortage

The competition for global talent is really heating up. In the technical fields for example, two trends are occurring. First, China is now graduating more engineering undergraduates than the U.S. In the U.S., many of the degrees are awarded to foreign nationals, who now chose to return to jobs overseas rather than getting residency or citizenship here. Exasperating the problem, U.S. public schools are ranking lower and lower worldwide in science and math education.

As U.S. firms become more and more global, with offices set up worldwide, they must compete for native talent as well. The economy is still down, but global competition for talent could be a real barrier to growth in the coming years.

Smart Infrastructures

Another very exciting technology is intelligent infrastructures. Anything that is connected to a power source may soon have built-in sensors and smarts. At the micro level, this might mean a “green” office building or home with a lot of built-in smarts for energy efficiency, climate control, and optimal water use. This “smarts” will consist of networked sensors and communication devices through the building and interconnected into all the systems within the building.

On a macro level, an important application of intelligent infrastructure includes the use of smart grids for efficiently and reliably distributing power. Many buildings will likely be generating their own solar power to augment their use of the power grid, while at the same time the grid keeps them continually informed of their total power consumption.

Sustainability

Sustainability can mean a couple of things. First, there’s sustainability of the business. Several Asian countries, such as China, Korea, and Singapore, are spending significant capital on upgrading their manufacturing infrastructure. This investment allows products to be produced at lower and lower costs. Firms that don’t invest in keeping their infrastructure competitive will get edged out.

The second sustainability issue involves the competition for raw goods and energy. For example, “rare earth” minerals are a group of 17 minerals that have valuable properties, such as conductivity. The cost of these minerals has risen dramatically in the last ten years, as demand has increased. China provides much of these minerals, and there has been significant concern about the effect their mining techniques have on the environment. Access to affordable rare earth minerals may become more challenging over the next decade.

Challenging Times Ahead

It will be interesting and exciting to see how these trends continue. No matter what, we’re sure to see quite a bit of change as a result of these technologies!

9-11 Band Jam

Posted on September 12, 2012 by in Blog

We had a great turn out at the Band Jam. Don’t miss the next one! Find our next band jam or lunch and learn at ForwardResults.com/events

Changes in the Competitive Landscape

Posted on September 11, 2012 by in Blog

Eight Important Trends To Follow

There are a number of very intersting trends that have the potential for significantly impacting the way we do business. The book Jumping the S-Curve (by Nunes and Breene) offers a look at a number of these potentially disruptive trends. In this paper, I’ll take a look at these same trends, but I’ll expand the discussion and I’ll update you on where they’re headed now.

The Trends

All in all, I’m going to take a look at eight trends. Almost all of these will likely impact your organization, in some form or another, in the coming years. So here we go!

Business Analytics

The trend in collecting business analytics really started decades ago. But there are several important changes happening in this field right now. In the early days of collecting business metrics, the focus was primarily on financial performance. In the mid-1990s, with the introduction of the Balanced Scorecard (Kapland, Havard University), other facets of the business (customers, internal processes, employee skills and performance) also began to be tracked. So what’s different today? There are four important changes in this field: automation, near-real-time performance reporting, processing of volumes of data, and predictive reporting.

Up until the last ten years or so, performance measures were tracked on spreadsheets or using spreadsheet software. Today, firms have moved to automated data collection and display software. Most of these packages use some sort of “dashboard” to provide a quick summary of key performance metrics, while still being able to “drill down” to look at trouble areas.

These tools are enabling near-real-time performance monitoring. No longer do firms look at data at the end of the month or quarter. With these automated systems, the performance measures are almost continually kept up to date.

In some cases, this near-real-time reporting involves the processing of very large amounts of data, which is rolled up and summarized for the executive team. This volume of data is obviously not necessary in many organizations, but is very important to some.

Finally, the current state of business analytics is allowing for predictive analysis. Financial data, for example, often points out how successful the organization has been over the last month or quarter (i.e. in the past). Predictive analysis attempts to predict how performance might be in the future, or what challenges might surface in the near term. Quite a different way to think, which often involves looking at leading rather than lagging performance measures.

Digital Marketing

The transformation from analog to digital marketing has been profound. For many companies, this has had a significant impact on the way they advertise, create marketing material, spread the word about their product, and keep in contact with current and potential customers. For example, most traditional print shops have completely switched to digital printing, and have had to add other services (website design, web-based marketing) just to survive.

Even with digital marketing, things are changing very fast. LinkedIn.com, for example, is becoming the hot spot for keeping your resume current and for professional social networking. Most HR departments use Monster.com for at least one of their sources, if not their main source, for finding job candidates.

Customer relationship management (CRM) has gone completely digital for most firms, often using cloud-based packages like SalesForce.

Cloud Computing

Speaking of SalesForce, it was one of the first companies to really push the use of cloud-based computing, or cloud computing for short. Cloud computing, in some ways, is like coming back full circle from the “mainframe” days of the 1960s and 1970s. In those days, companies often had a central computer (mainframe) with “dummy” terminals in each office. The software would primarily reside on the mainframe with the dummy terminals accessing it as needed.

Over the last twenty years, the move was to everyone having their own desktop or laptop, with all of the software residing on that desktop or laptop. With cloud computing, we’re back to the mainframe days (sort of!), but this time the mainframe is “in the cloud” (offsite at some server farm).

Cloud computing has some distinct advantages, but it comes with a few drawbacks as well. The advantages are that the heavy work of maintaining the data and the software is all done at the server (in the cloud) location now, with less maintenance required at each user device. Also, these user devices can now be much simpler, like just an iPad or very simple notebook device.

The potential disadvantages of cloud computing are that a dedicated link (wired or wireless) is always required. Should this link be interrupted, communication “to the cloud” is lost. Another potential drawback is that, at times, the software may run slower due to either link delays or if multiple users are trying to access the same software. Over time, though, smart programmers and network engineers will figure out innovative means for minimizing these bottlenecks. In fact, I suspect that within two years, most (if not all) business users will have switched from using laptops to using iPad-like devices.

Consumers in Emerging Markets

Over the past fifty years, Western countries were the models for growth. Now its the developing countries, such as China and India. I just attended a meeting where an executive had just returned from China. He said that when he travels to Japan and Singapore, and looks out his high-rise hotel window, he sees very few construction cranes. Yet in China, he just counted over 200 cranes from his hotel window.

These developing countries offer tremendous opportunities for products and services, but in many cases they will be quite different than typical Western products. Developing countries will seek less expensive (rather than high-end) products, and companies will need to think of innovative ways to cut costs and to distribute these products.

Other Trends

To read more about the other four trends impacting businesses today, check out Part Two of this article.