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Why You Should Not “Cheap Out” On Business Laptops

Why You Should Not “Cheap Out” On Business Laptops. Security Considerations, Utility In Your Day-To-Day Operations, Resources To Help Choice

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Many Factors Define Business Laptops Efficiency

Many Factors Define Laptop Efficiency

You can find a Lenovo or a Dell laptop in the $150 to 250 range brand new on sale. That laptop will do word-processing, it will have internet access, and come preprogrammed with a few games. It’ll likely have adware as well, which is a pain. The cheaper the device, the higher the likelihood annoying pop-ups will define startup and be hard to get rid of.

That said, for many, this kind of thing is all that’s necessary. However, for laptops that are repositories for important information, this is not enough. Two primary things are deciding factors. For one, consider security. The cheaper the computer, the more vulnerable it is to cybercrime.

Why You Should Not “Cheap Out” On Business Laptops

You’re generally not going to find exceptionally cheap Apple devices unless they’re used and old. Good luck finding anything that’ll run modern software under $500 in the MacBook refurbishment camp. It’s there, but it’s quite essential. Meanwhile, Windows devices are international and common.

1. Security Considerations

For cybercriminals, the majority of hack attacks have to do with a sort of spray-and-pray technique. They’ll send out varying hack attacks en masse. Instead of sending one email to a specific target, they’ll send a thousand emails aimed at average users who aren’t savvy to the new scam and hope they catch a few.

That’s not to say there isn’t directed hacking, either. This is sometimes called “spear-phishing”, and there’s also “whaling”, where management personnel at the top of corporate infrastructure are targeted for cybercriminal data theft.

Ransomware is targeted at such individuals. Also, hackers seek to get network access information to steal vital data like bank accounts and passwords.

2. Utility In Your Day-To-Day Operations

Beyond security, you need to think about utility. Cheap laptops have unresponsive trackpads, meaning you’ll likely need to get a wireless mouse. Their keyboards are also suspect. On the Lenovo Ideapad 110-15ACL, the “Shift” key is smaller than on virtually all other American devices, and it’s located right above the “Right Arrow” key.

If you type like most people—right-handed—you’re going to have quite a difficult time capitalizing certain things. It ends up being quite an impediment to your daily grind, and, as with the wireless mouse, you end up having to buy a wireless keyboard as well. That’s in addition to all the adware and pop-up.

Plus, as you use cheap laptops, they become increasingly slower with notifications, adware, user error, and other issues. Lastly, the cheaper the computer, the faster its battery gets used up.

On that Lenovo mentioned earlier, expect battery life to last about two hours before a recharge is needed once you’ve had it a few months. Now the Ideapad 110-15ACL is explicitly a few years old, but the same features tend to define other cheap options as well.

3. Resources To Help Inform Your Choice

To more efficiently inform your business laptop acquisition, here’s a list of some of the best laptops out there. To condense it all, you’ll want something that’s mid-range and up for essential battery, speed, storage, processing capability, security, and overall user-friendliness. Look for models that specifically feature vital customer service.

The stronger the customer service, the less difficulty you’ll have troubleshooting when issues develop. Even if you can farm such troubleshooting off to on-site IT personnel, they’ll thank you if customer service for the device in question is qualitative, as they’ll likely have to deal with those departments at some point.

The thing is, there’s a cost-benefit analysis to run here. If the device you choose is cheap, but it’s hard to operate, its battery always runs down, it doesn’t effectively safeguard proprietary data, and it’s a pain to use, then what you save in money directly you’ll lose on the back-end.

However, a device that’s four times more expensive than peers, but which runs fast, is reliable, secure, easy to use, has friendly customer service, incorporates long battery life, and is exceptionally portable will collaterally be more valuable to your business overall.

Workers can get things done faster and with less mental fatigue, and the device can be trusted. You’ll make back the extra money you spend.

4. Diverse Factors Determine Balance: The $750 Rule Of Thumb.

The balance for many businesses where employees aren’t doing processing-intensive work on their laptops tends to be between about $500 and $1,000.

If you are actually on a budget, you can find models in the $1,200 to $2,000 range in the $300 to $700 range if you buy them refurbished after a few years. As a rule of thumb, expect about $750 per unit for best results overall regardless of brand.

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Business

13 Tips for Getting on Top of Your Taxes

It’s tax season! Whether you have only a personal return to worry about or that plus a business return, there are a few helpful tips to keep in mind while getting your tax forms completed.

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13 Tips for Getting Top of Your Taxes

It’s tax season! Whether you have only a personal return to worry about or that plus a business return, there are a few helpful tips to keep in mind while getting your tax forms completed.

Here are some of those pointers to keep in mind.

1. Decide whether you need help.

For many people, completing one’s taxes may seem pretty straightforward. For others, it may look like a daunting process. If an individual has an incorporated business, such as an S corporation or partnership, and multiple qualified deductions on their return, then a professional’s help is probably best.

2. Don’t forget to fund your retirement fund.

There are multiple financial vehicles available to save for retirement, whether it is a Traditional IRA, SEP-IRA, or Keogh Plan, to name a few. In most instances, money contributed towards retirement is a legitimate way to reduce one’s taxable income on paper.

3. Stay organized.

If you have deductions to keep track of, or if your income is cash, you should stay on top of it. This is possible to do manually, and if your situation is more complicated, you can sign up for programs to help you automate it.

4. Keep in mind the tax deadline.

Tax season typically begins on January 15th, with the IRS beginning to accept personal returns through April 15th. Business returns, particularly with S corporation and partnership returns, are due on March 15th. It’s important to file on time to avoid late penalties and fees.

5. Decide whether you want to itemize or take the standard deduction.

An individual is eligible to take a $12,400 standard deduction off their taxes. However, itemizing expenses, which entail taking deductions for qualified personal expenses, such as mortgage interest and charitable deductions, may yield greater tax savings.

Keep in mind the tax deadline

6. Consider the home office deduction.

Those who have a dedicated office area in their home for work might be worth considering the operating expense of that area for a tax deduction.

7. Remember to include any dependents on your tax return.

If one has any children or adult dependents, it’s important to remember to note this on one’s tax return. Doing so allows for certain tax credits to reduce one’s taxable income.

8. Consider setting up a taxpayer account and filing online.

If one uses self-help tax software, such as TurboTax or TaxAct, tax filing, payment, or refunds are automated online. If one is employing a professional to complete their return, then electronic filing may be set up by that professional on one’s behalf. Otherwise, one can create an account online directly with the IRS for quicker and more efficient filing.

9. Make sure you are filing all the appropriate forms.

If one uses self-help software to file a personal return, all the necessary documents should be included as part of the paid package. If one is filing directly with the IRS, with no middle party to help facilitate the process, it’s important to be careful to point the proper forms and double-check that all necessary documents are filed. For business returns and more complicated personal returns, it’s best to consult a professional to ensure that all the appropriate paperwork is filed.

10. Consider hiring your children (and paying them).

If one has a business, no matter how formal or informal it is, hiring a family is advantageous for both you and them. Any salaries paid to the family are tax-deductible. Retirement contributions and health benefits are also tax-deductible expenses for the family that is the employer.

11. Keep healthy.

If you are self-employed, the entirety of your health insurance is tax-deductible, as is even your dental insurance. If you are employed and purchase health insurance with a high deductible, opening a health savings account or a flexible savings account and using it can help you offset some of the monies spent on taxes.

12. Buy supplies for work.

If you are employed and purchase supplies relevant to your work, this may be deductible. If you are self-employed and make large purchases pertinent to your work, the cost may be deductible in full.

13. Make timely payments, if needs be.

Though many individuals may expect a tax refund from the IRS, some may wish to pay additional monies with their tax filing. Whether it be via an unincorporated status as a 1099 contractor, an LLC, or a corporation, those who are self–employed are expected to make quarterly payments throughout the year by the IRS. Suppose you are wondering when LLC Taxes are due in 2020. In that case, the IRS enables one to register on their website for quarterly estimated tax payments: January 15th, April 15th, June 17th, and September 16th.

Conclusion

Taxes are an unpleasant obligation for all of us who live in the United States. Even those of us who live outside of the United States and are citizens of the United States, staying abreast of tax filing with the IRS is an indisputable legal obligation. To make this obligation run smoother, there are a few pointers to consider. Though it’s not exhaustive, the above list is pretty thorough and a good start.

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