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5 Ways to Avoid Making Mistakes With Strategic Business Planning

5 Ways to Avoid Making Mistakes With Strategic Business Planning

Implementing processes to advance your organization’s long-term goals is one aspect of business management. However, one of the more critical components to running a profitable company involves strategic planning, or documenting and establishing a direction for your business, including assessing where you are and the direction it’s trending. 

Strategic planning is not only an opportunity to record your organization’s mission, vision, and values, but to also lay out your business’ goals and to develop an action plan to achieve them. A well-prepared strategic plan will play a pivotal role in the growth and success of your business, and will offer leadership and support staff the means to respond to opportunities and challenges that arise. 

Notwithstanding, the best-laid plans can sometimes go awry. When developing and implementing a strategic plan for your organization, there are ways to avoid making mistakes as you move forward.

Making the Right Decisions: Avoiding Mistakes in Your Strategic Business Plan

1. Employ an internal facilitator with experience leading planning sessions. An outside qualified consultant may offer the best way to run any planning sessions. An additional benefit of hiring an outside consultant is that they bring in an objective (and outside) perspective, while encouraging others to participate and offer their own opinion. 

2. State your objectives clearly. Exercise a measure of structure and lay out objectives to avoid the session going off track. Clear objectives help guide sessions and offer a way for people to remain on task. 

3. Establish an environment that invites trust and openness. Brainstorming as a group is critical, and it’s important to do so in an atmosphere free of judgment. On occasion, the most out-of-box ideas create meaningful change. Not offering an environment where participants are able to freely speak their minds may stifle great ideas. 

4. Engage in follow-up for ideas from your strategy session. Strategic planning sessions involve taking leadership away from their busy schedules, so it’s important to utilize that time wisely and to implement action items that emerge from the session. Lack of execution is a common way to remain stagnant and miss out on opportunities to advance toward greater success. 

5. Invite the right people to the planning session. Small group sessions offer opportunities to get things done more swiftly and with greater ease, whereas larger groups with more participants offer improved opportunities for great ideas. 

The larger the group, the more responsibility a facilitator must undertake. Including individuals from different disciplines and levels of expertise who offer broader perspectives is a surefire way to develop strategies that are innovative and effective. 

In summary, strategic planning sessions can help ensure your business advances in the direction you expect for success, but adopting the right framework and working with the right people are critical to a positive outcome. 

Gonzalez & Arrambide, Inc., Offers Their CPA Services to Help Your Business Succeed

With 25 years as one of the most trusted and respected accounting firms in the Rio Grande Valley, Gonzalez & Arrambide, Inc., has guided individuals and businesses in addressing their financial and accounting needs.

Call us today at (956) 447-9009 and learn how we can help you grow your business! 

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IRS Announces Cyber Risks Come with Tax Preparation

IRS Announces Cyber Risks Come with Tax Preparation

As originally announced on The Wall Street Journal website, 6 out of 13 IRS-approved tax preparers failed cybersecurity tests in an audit commissioned by the nonprofit organization Online Trust Alliance (OTA).

Utilizing OTA’s 2016 Online Trust Audit methodology, alongside the IRS’s security mandates, the report revealed that nearly half of all online tax-preparation and filing services, whom had contractual agreements with the Internal Revenue Service, were unable to properly provide protection of customers’ privacy and security.  Several of the larger corporations that failed to provide appropriate customer protection were Jackson Hewitt and Free1040TaxReturn.com.  While TurboTax, H&R Block, and several others were named to an “Honor Roll” by the nonprofit.

Customer privacy and protection should naturally be at the top of every tax preparers list, and it is indeed a shocking revelation that so many IRS sanctioned companies were inadequately prepared for this responsibility.

But here at Gonzalez & Arrambide, Inc. customer protection is sought 100% of the time.  Our highly experienced CPA’s recognize that the security of your financial documentation and information is a reasonable customer expectancy, and so our offices utilize the best practices to safeguard from hackers.

By keeping up-to-date on all vital national accounting information, our office is better prepared to serve you.

This includes following the effects of the OTA audit.

On July 6th, the IRS initiated its newest campaign intent on making tax-preparers more aware of the security risks that can lead to identity theft and tax fraud.

This public awareness campaign comes at the heels of June’s IRS Security Summit, in which IRS leaders met with representatives of leading tax preparation chains, software companies, and state tax authorities.  During the assembly, the IRS released a fact sheet that set about some standards and methodologies by which to improve data security.

The “Protect Your Clients; Protect Yourself” campaign implored businesses and firms to follow a number of critical steps to safeguard taxpayer data including, but not limited to:

  • Requiring stronger passwords on all tax software programs
  • Storage of taxpayer data in secure systems and data encryption
  • Improving security requirements for personnel working with taxpayer data
  • Creating a plan about the required steps when notifying of a breach
  • Completing risk assessments to identify potential system weaknesses

This attempt to simultaneously warn and help tax preparers is an essential element to curb the efforts of cyber criminals, as even the IRS themselves have been victims of hackers in the past.  By improving their own cyber defenses and tax refund filters, the federal agency hopes to further enhance the security measures that tax preparation companies and software agencies should have in place for the 2017 tax season – essentially doubling up against cyber criminals.

Alongside this campaign, Gonzalez & Arrambide, Inc. urges all taxpayers to remain vigilant with their personal information and tax data as well.

A few tips include:

  • Using security software with firewall and antivirus protection
  • Encrypting sensitive personal and tax files on your computer
  • Learning to recognize and avoid phishing emails
  • Not carrying your Social Security card on you
  • Being aware of thieves calling and posing as the IRS
  • Remembering that the IRS does not initiate contact with you through email, text messages, or social media

At Gonzalez & Arrambide, Inc. the security of our clients’ personal data is of utmost importance.  By keeping track of current trends and remaining guarded against cyber attacks, we aim to continue to provide the stress-free tax services that we are highly recognized for.  Whether during tax season, or for any other financial purpose, our CPAs can offer you quality support and protection.

Give us a call today at (956) 447-9009 and let Gonzalez & Arrambide, Inc. serve you.

 

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