Corrections or additions?
These articles by Peter J. Mladineo and Barbara Fox were published
in U.S. 1 Newspaper on April 15, 1998. All rights reserved.
If you are reading this article on April 15 and haven’t
yet filed your Federal income tax, don’t fret — there’s still
plenty of time. No forms? No problem: forms can be acquired via TaxFax,
703-368-9694, or from the IRS website, http://www.IRS.ustreas.gov.
(You can file from the website, but you must have special filing software
already installed in your computer.)
No time today? You can do it tonight. The Carnegie Center post office
is open until midnight this Wednesday, April 15, and several other
post offices in the state have IRS representatives on hand to assist
For most people, however, the biggest worry now is not about getting
the forms filed on time, but rather what happens once they arrive
at the infamous Internal Revenue Service processing facility in Holtsville,
New York. This 500,000 square feet facility, with 4,900 employees
at tax time, processes all of the New Jersey’s tax forms. It’s also
where a selected few returns will be plucked out for a dreaded audit.
Priscila Amor, an IRS revenue agent, tells the Institute of
Management Accountants how to prepare for an IRS audit on Thursday,
April 16, at 6 p.m. at McAteer’s in Somerset. Call 609-840-0700 for
Bottom line — if you’re audited, don’t ignore it, Amor says. It
won’t go away. After receiving the letter, call the revenue agent
to confirm or reschedule the appointment. Amor recommends asking the
examiner what issues are going to be covered at the audit and what
is the basis of that selection. "It helps to know what triggered
the examiner to make that determination and to know if the taxpayer
has correct support documentation to support that examination,"
Then get a list of items to bring to the audit, and bring as many
of those items as possible. The more prepared the taxpayer comes,
the quicker and more painless the interview will be. If a business
is being audited, the revenue agent will make a visit to the business.
The next step is a general interview, where the examiner tries to
get "an idea of what is surrounding the financial world of this
taxpayer," says Amor. Then examiner then asks more specific questions
and requests to see the specified documents. Sometimes a determination
will be made on the spot.
The taxpayer should never procrastinate giving information or documents
to the examiner. "Credibility is very important and it is established
throughout the audit," says Amor. "If you give a prompt answer
throughout the examination it establishes credibility." If you
are having trouble getting the requested information, call the auditor.
And remember, written testimony carries more weight than oral testimony.
"Nothing is better than a written document that is generated the
year that is being examined by an unrelated party," says Amor.
"Of course it has to be a real document. We’ve encountered fraudulent
documents and that carries criminal penalties." Also it’s up to
the taxpayer to realize when to seek professional advice.
Once a determination is made, the taxpayer has a right to agree or
disagree. If there is a disagreement, the case is sent to appeals,
and if it still unresolved, it ends up in tax court. Just a reminder
— the taxpayer no longer assumes the burden of guilt in tax court.
Also, taxpayers shouldn’t sign a determination if it is not understood
completely. The IRS is not automatically right.
Meanwhile, one group in particular is taking aim against the IRS.
The National Federation of Independent Business is gathering signatures
for a campaign to abolish the tax code. The NFIB is calling on Bill
Clinton on Congress to "sunset the current tax code by December
31, 2000" in favor of a "simpler, fairer tax code that rewards
work and savings," says a press release.
So far, NFIB New Jersey has signed on 136 volunteers to canvass the
state with petitions. For more information about the NFIB or about
this effort, call 888-668-4477, or visit the website, http://www.not4irs.org.
The New Jersey chapter is based at 156 West State Street in Trenton.
For some, buying an existing business may be a better
route to entrepreneurship than starting a business anew, says Ronald
Cook. Existing businesses already have track records and customers.
They already have ongoing relationships and operations. Start-ups
don’t. What start-ups typically have is risk, Cook reports. "This
ties into the overall failure rates of business in the economy and
the riskiest period of time is within the first two years of a business’s
life," he says.
Cook, a management professor at Rider University, is part of a panel
that discusses buying a business at Rider University on Thursday,
April 16, 6:30 p.m. at Sweigart Hall auditorium. Call 609-896-5522.
The other panelists are Rachel Stark, an attorney with Stark
& Stark, and Howard Scribner, a partner at Arthur Andersen.
While bargains abound, many come with well-hidden problems. "The
business might be in trouble," says Cook. "Anybody buying
a business better be doing their due diligence. Why is this business
being sold? I make an analogy to buying a used car."
The need for due diligence can actually work against buying a smaller
business because of the cost of doing due diligence, Cook reports.
Proportionally speaking, there’s not that much difference in investigating
a smaller company or a much larger company. For example, a company
priced at $75,000 might cost $25,000 to investigate, while due diligence
for a company worth $750,000 might only cost $40,000.
Another possible sticking point is that an entrepreneur buying a business
doesn’t get the initiative to build the business from scratch. "You
can’t necessarily customize exactly the way you want it," says
Cook. "There may be some undesirable assets and you may not be
able to move the location."
A healthy economy might seem conducive to buying and selling businesses,
but Cook reports that differences in perception between buyer and
seller could actually create obstacles to coming up with an agreeable
sale price. The buyers, he reports, have the mind set that "buying
this business is riskier than the stock market so I want to get a
better rate of return than I would get on the stock market." Meanwhile,
sellers assume that good economic conditions should yield a higher
price for the business.
Also business owners often add the company’s intangible assets to
its sale price. This could heighten the perception that the price
is inflated. "They’re going to estimate what potential future
earnings are going to be, then you’re paying something for the reputation
that the business has, and the value they attach to that may be more
than you’d be paying if you were starting your own business."
Finally, if the business is changing owners there is likely to be
turnover of employees. Unfortunately, this usually doesn’t work in
the new owner’s favor. "The rule of thumb is the most valuable
ones are the most mobile," says Cook. "You potentially could
be left with the less-than-stellar employees and having all the good
ones leave. You keep the good ones and cull off the bad ones but more
importantly you have to decide which ones are which."
Cook, 39, has taught at Rider for five years. Prior to that he was
involved in two business ventures in central New York. One was a mobile
DJ company, that he sold in 1990, and the second was a family-owned
snowmobile business, which is still alive, he reports.
You’re in the middle of a conversation with somebody
important, you open your mouth to address them personally, but you
can’t seem to recall their name. Technically speaking, you haven’t
forgotten their name, says Michael Epstein, psychology department
chair at Rider University. You never went through the trouble to remember
it in the first place.
Memory, he explains, is an innate capacity that is different for everyone.
The act of not remembering something is not evidence of a "short
memory," he explains, but a failure to perform the act of remembering.
"I often say just because you can’t remember doesn’t mean you
have forgotten," he says. "You can very often have a failure
to access information that is theoretically available."
Epstein lectures about mnemonics at Rider on Wednesday, April 22,
at noon at the Student Center. Call 609-896-5033. "Mnemonics are
all about putting things away in a way that is organized or having
retrieval cues that help you to get the information that you have
stored," he says.
Making associations is the easiest way to offset a temporary bout
with amnesia. "It turns out that you do have a certain capacity
limit in your immediate memory," says Epstein. "You’re conscious
of about five to nine chunks of information. If you use associations
it increases the size of the chunks." Here are some ways to make
"HOMES" — Huron, Ontario, Michigan, Erie, Superior.
(746), Epstein uses this couplet: "Columbus sailed the ocean blue
in 14 hundred and 92/ Divide the son of a bitch in two."
correct (it’s pronounced ep-stine, although most say ep-steen): "You
don’t drink beer out of a `steen,’ you drink it out of a stein,"
he says. "My ears protrude out from my head. If you pictured my
ears as a beer stein, turned upside down, you suddenly see an `up-stein.’"
If you needed to remember a horse and apple, he instructs, don’t picture
the horse and then the apple, picture the horse eating the apple.
Or, better yet, picture the apple eating the horse. "Make your
image very elaborate," he says. "Bizarre and obscene images
are more fun."
Want to remember the capital of Kentucky? "Think of Ken-turkey,"
says Epstein, "and then think of turkey frankfurter." (The
capital is Frankfort, not Louisville.) The capital of Oregon? Use
the rhyming method: Where is the ore all gone? They put it on sale.
Epstein, 54, probably wouldn’t have needed any tricks to remember
that one — Oregon is his home state. He got his undergraduate
and graduate degrees from the University of Washington. ("The
capital is Olympia — you can imagine washing your hair with Olympia
beer," he says.) He got both a BA and a BS (Class of 1966), and
then got his Ph.D in psychology in 1970. After teaching for a few
years at the University of Washington, he came to Rider in 1971 and
became chair of the department in 1987.
Perhaps the most overlooked key to developing good recall is to trust
your memory. "The single best thing you can do for recall is pay
attention," Epstein says. "You can’t forget what you never
— Peter J. Mladineo
For speechmakers, the way a speech is presented, and
the environment in which the speech is presented, is as important
as the content. So believes Karen Lawson, a training consultant
who frequently gives presentations and has written numerous books
about the art. "You have to give people a reason for being there,"
she says. "They just don’t want to listen to ideas and concepts,
they want real world stuff that they can take away and use in their
lives or on the job. Although there has to be a lot of meat and content
I think there has to be a real entertainment factor. People have to
enjoy the process."
Lawson tells the Association for Women in Science how to create popular
meetings on Wednesday, April 22, at 5:45 p.m. at American Cyanamid.
Her 12-year-old company, Lawson Consulting Group, is based in Lansdale,
Pennsylvania. Lawson, 50, has degrees from Mount Union College and
the University of Akron, and a Ph.D in adult and organizational development
from Temple University. She has published four books and has a new
title, "Involving Your Audience, Making it Active," due out
shortly from Allyn & Bacon. She spends a lot of time training corporations
on how to facilitate team meetings.
Her advice for organizing meetings: "Tap into what people are
really interested in," she says. "I don’t think a lot of people
really sit down and assess their audience and membership and find
out what people want." Lawson urges speakers to get the audience
involved throughout the entire presentation, which is not an easy
task. "People are very poor listeners in the first place and we
have very short attention spans," she says. "People have been
working all day. I get them involved right from the beginning with
some kind of an activity, whether it’s interacting or networking.
I personally like a lot of roundtable kinds of arrangements because
it facilitates interaction."
She also brings people up on stage and tells a lot of anecdotes, often
about people in the audience. "People like speakers who tell stories
to illustrate their points," she says. "If you can refer to
some of the audience members, people like that too because they can
identify with one of their own."
The trick to this is by attending the pre-meeting reception. "It’s
really important that you get in there and meet and greet them so
they know you as a person before you get up in front of them,"
For organization leaders and top-notch management, being there should
be a priority. "I’ve been to meetings where the head honchos never
really interacted with the members," she says. "My opinion
is that sends out the wrong message. When people come to a meeting
in our association I look it as those people are a guest of my home."
Other tips from Lawson:
their clickers often appear like talking heads giving canned presentations,
she warns. "Your visual aids don’t have to be limited to transparencies
or slides." She suggests using costumes and other props. "When
I talk about motivating employees I come in a with a whip, a carrot
on a stick, and a flowering plant, and I use those to illustrate the
different approaches to motivation."
Lawson also recommends decorating the room with posters or quotations
that relate to the topic. Or music. And don’t forget to offer give-aways.
(The emphasis here is on give, not away.) "It has to be something
that people are not going to throw away," she says.
— Peter J. Mladineo
Last year when Eric Berg came to town he touted
network computers and the impending merger between computers and the
Internet (U.S. 1, April 2, 1997). This year, Berg, the director of
technology analysis at Price Waterhouse’s World Technology Center
in Menlo Park, California, is talking about electronic commerce. He
comes back to the New Jersey Technology Council to discuss this Tuesday,
April 21, at 4:30 p.m. at the Marriott. Call 609-452-1010.
Berg’s first call: "Business-to-business electronic commerce is
really quantitatively a lot bigger, as much as 20 times bigger than
business-to-consumer," he says. "It’s a way of reengineering
the procurement process." On the business-to-consumer side, many
of the electronic security hazards have been cleared because most
browsers use secure socket layers. This means that online transactions
should increase, which could require many businesses not online yet
to establish Web presences.
He also sees a trend where the information technology industry will
become increasingly interested in giving the communications industry
"a kick in the pants" to deploy higher bandwidth solutions
like cable modems and digital subscriber lines. "The computer
industry sees that as essential to expansion of the Web and one of
the key drivers of the ongoing success of the computing industry,"
The telecom industry is now being shaped by packet switching, the
digital alternative to circuit switching. "It provides more effective
use of shared resources," says Berg.
In a circuit switching environment, he explains, if you are silent
it still uses space on the line. "In a packet switching environment
if you’re not saying anything then your call is not generating any
traffic on the network," he says. "We think that in the telecom
world there are already a number of new carriers using this as opposed
to circuit switching." This shift will occur gradually, over the
next 10 years, Berg predicts.
Anyone taking Nancy Kieling’s "Community Works"
workshop on Thursday, April 16, will want a copy of the New Jersey
Grants Guide. The workshop is part of a volunteer development "Community
Works" program, sponsored by the Rotary Club of Princeton, on
Thursday, April 16, from 5:15 to 9:15 p.m., at Princeton University’s
Woodrow Wilson School. For late registration call Marge Smith at
You’ve heard of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Bonner
Foundation, and maybe even the Curtis W. McGraw Foundation,
but did you know that Princeton is also the home of the William
A. & Joan L. Schreyer Foundation (for the former CEO of Merrill
Lynch), the Mary Owen Borden Memorial Foundation, and the Harold
and Adeline Kramer Family Foundation?
The Center for NonProfit Corporations is marketing New Jersey’s edition
of this fascinating, fat book with information on foundations, corporate
giving programs, state funding programs, religious funders — and
a complete nuts and bolts guide on grant seeking.
"This was a quality project and we wanted to be involved with
it," says Linda Czipo, vice president of the Center for
Non-Profit Corporations, which has just expanded from 13 Roszel Road
to 1501 Livingston Avenue, North Brunswick 08902; 732-227-0800; fax,
732-227-0087. The center is a 600-member nonprofit umbrella providing
advocacy, membership services, technical assistance, research, public
information, and cost-saving benefits to nonprofits in New Jersey.
Information for the grant guide was obtained from the foundations’
annual income reporting return filed with the Internal Revenue Service.
All the foundations were sent this information and asked to confirm
it, she says. The availability of the book is supposed to boost the
quality of proposals sent to the foundations and save time for everyone
Written by Richard I. Male, who started doing these guides in
his home state of Colorado, the guide tells that New Jersey charities
received nearly $70 million from 25 foundations, only some of which
were based in New Jersey. Even more surprising is that these top 25
foundations devoted 20 percent of all their grants to New Jersey causes.
If you work for a nonprofit organization, you need details. You need
to know that if your cause is aging related, don’t go to the Schreyers.
Their fund supports educational and human service organizations and
does not accept unsolicited proposals. Sample grants were $402,000
to various Penn State causes and $2,000 to the Institute of Advanced
Indexes include "fields of interest" section and check for
"aging/senior citizens" and you will find a slew of possibilities,
including the Bristol-Myers Squibb and Sovereign Bank. A "type
of support" index will show that Summit Bancorporation has money
to encourage employee volunteers, but Johnson & Johnson Corporate
Giving Program will pay for equipment purchases. Check the county
index for where foundations are located, or where grants are made.
Finally check the list of grantmakers who did not respond to information
requests. You will find that the Harbourton Foundation at 33 Witherspoon
Street, for example, gave away $284,200 in 1994 but provided no additional
information to this book.
The book comes with a grants guide deadline calendar plus a quarterly
newsletter. The guide is $149 ($120 for members of the Center) plus
$6.95 handling, and the calendar is free. The newsletter is $29 if
ordered with the guide. Call 888-247-2689, http://www.grantseeker.com.
— Barbara Fox
Mention the M word, for Menopause, and you get two reactions,
says Joan C. Rose, either enthusiasm or denial. "Menopause
is a political issue, an economic issue, a lifestyles issue, a health
issue, and a psychological issue," says Rose.
She and her firm, the Newtown-based Rose Group, are staging "Menopause:
Challenges & Choices: a breakthrough conference offering solutions
in the workplace" on Saturday, April 25, from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.,
at the JFK Conference Center in Edison. Gloria Steinem is
the keynoter. For $125 registration or information call 215-968-6328
It’s not just for women of a certain age, says Rose, noting that 44
million women will enter menopause by the year 2000, and 60 percent
of them are in the workforce. The conference is for decision makers
who want to maximize the potential of their employees, for health
professionals and educators, as well as for any woman who needs accurate,
Helene B. Leonetti, an gynecologist and obstetrician with a
holistic approach, opens the day by outlining a positive and integrative
approach to menopause. Attendees can choose two workshops from an
array that includes such workplace-based sessions as creating work/life
balance by Karol Rose, a principal of Coopers & Lybrand, and
coping strategies and potential legal implications for menopause in
the workplace by consultant Barbara Adolf and attorney David
E. Beckett of Szaferman, Lakind, Blumstein, Water & Blader.
Also available are sessions on the pharmacological aspects of dealing
with menopause (taking progesterone, preventing and treating osteoporosis,
or using plant nutrients — phytoestrogens — as an alternative),
with Leonetti, rheumatologist Bessie M. Sullivan, and Tori
Hudson, founder of a Woman’s Time. Authors Judith Sachs and
Vivian Greenberg talk about sexuality and caregiving, respectively,
and gynecologist Jeffery I. Scharf offers the male perspective.
In some cultures, post-menopausal women are revered for their wisdom
and experience. Even in the United States, Rose says some find they
acquire what anthropologist Margaret Mead terms "menopausal zest."
For others, the apparent loss of sexuality and the real loss of their
ability to choose to bear children causes them to go through a grieving
An alumna of the University of Miami, Class of ’67, she started out
in social work but moved to marketing. She has a master’s degree in
counseling psychology from Loyola and did career management for an
international outplacement firm. With her firm she specializes in
"issues of change."
"We need to ask questions of ourselves and our doctors," says
Rose, "to find the solutions that are best for us, and to make
this a topic we can discuss at work so we can all go through this
process and know we are making the best decisions for ourselves."
Rose relates how she worked with a client to help her present a more
realistic and useful way to deal with menopause in the workplace.
The woman was in the middle of a presentation to a small group when
she got terrible hot flashes and started to perspire. She didn’t say
anything about it, but she took off her jacket and then her vest and
kept on going. Afterwards, someone came to her and asked if she were
having a heart attack.
"How could that have been handled differently? In a small group,
she could have made a joke about it. If someone were aware of it,
she could have said `Let’s open a window" or `Let’s take a five
minute break.’ But it wasn’t out in the open. There was an embarrassment,
an awkwardness on both parts, and no one knew what to say."
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