Wasting the Days of Our Lives

 

Does the monthly close seem like a never-ending soap opera, filled with drama and a whole stack of unanswered questions?  Does transaction matching make you feel shackled to spreadsheets?

If you answered “yes” to the above, you are not alone (there are millions just like you) and there is help.

You’ll find the answers to your accounting prayers in this exceptional e-book, Wasting the Days of Our Lives. As every page explains, there’s an efficient, automated method for fixing your monthly madness with Blackline software.

No manual labor, just a simple yet highly sophisticated system to solve your accounting woes. Read the book and discover how everyone in your office can be on the same page, without all the paper.

The monthly close—that “last mile of finance”—will no longer be a sprint to the finish line. With this automated system, you’ll match hundreds, even millions, of transactions in minutes.  No more slumping over spreadsheets, ticking and tying your days away.

Just think what life could be minus all the hours you spend manually entering data, double-checking that data, emailing, saving and filing spreadsheets. This rote work makes it virtually impossible to do the “real” work—providing strategy, insight, and analysis. All the stuff you want to do.

Really, how can you meet the accelerated need for accurate, quality reporting when you spend 10 to 15 days of every month in financial close mode?  Doesn’t aggregating hundreds of files and the disjointed workflow make closing an uphill battle? Wouldn’t it be nice not to take all that work home at night?  Think about it.

Hard to believe, but the final reporting process, especially for businesses with high-volume reconciliations, can run quickly and competently without chaos and confusion.

In this quick-to-read e-book, you’ll learn how Blackline software:

  • Matches anything from two or a multitude of data sources.
  • Supports and is compatible with virtually all ERP and other financial systems.
  • Quickly identifies exceptions so you can solve problems faster.
  • Provides real-time data daily.
  • Reduces the potential for human error and Excel mistakes.
  • Simplifies employee benefits management by streamlining “one to many and many to one” matches.
  • Reconciles intercompany transactions, pulling data from multiple divisions, changing inventory and global supply chains.
  • Manages and carries forward open items.
  • Makes life tons easier for a host of industries—credit cards, property management, subscription services, manufacturing, sales and more.

Read this e-book, and you’ll want to send Excel, with all its limitations, on its way.  You’ll forgive and do your best to forget its complex formulas and hidden cells that seem to pop out from nowhere.  Most of all, you’ll realize there’s no need to be “wasting the days of our lives!”

It’s All Systems Go—Totally R.A.D.

In finance departments, the world seems to spin faster these days.  Rest assured, it’s the same number of rotations—just more needs to be processed, analyzed and reported in a single day.

So, as the sun rises in the east, accountants—you super qualified men and women who are naturally nimble with numbers—suit up and brace for impact.

If you’re the “skipper” of substantial corporate holdings, you see how each day can end with the proverbial black hole where things go in but don’t come out as they should.  How rogue redundancies mean hours of re-running reports and running, yourself ragged. How fraud and compliance issues hang over your head like a dark cloud.

You wonder, “Can I steer the ship when just thinking about audits causes agita and angst?”

In your heart, you know that even if every planet aligned perfectly, every financial close would feel the same—like the Big Bang.  Streams of Excel spreadsheets and unreconciled business crashing all about.   And, while things are spinning off their axis, you put up with Excel’s cumbersome and confusing practices and reluctantly accept it.  You have to work with what you have, right?

The problem is, it’s never “all systems go.”  And, some days seem like there’s no system at all.

Suppose your universe could change.  That something out there could empower you to:

  • Meet deadlines without swearing or sweating.
  • Say good-bye to the end-of-month madness by matching transactions and singling out exceptions in mere minutes, in real time. Bank statements and general ledgers or point-of-sale systems and inventory systems are reconciled instantly.
  • Check compliance, detect scams and schemers and pinpoint unusual balance fluctuations all at once, all the time.
  • Crank out comprehensive reports highlighting trends and patterns seamlessly.
  • Simplify, streamline and speed up the audit process with complete accuracy.
  • Get the big picture—every angle, every exposure–of how your company functions financially.

You might think you fell into the future.

But, this is the present—the here and now—and why BLACKLINE, software in a cloud, is driving accounting departments everywhere to become totally R.A.D. (Robotic Accounting Departments).

With R.A.D, you’ll finally leave the menial behind and move on to creative work where you can innovate and enact concepts and long-term strategies for lasting growth.  Where your company role is trusted financial advisor, not chief troubleshooter.

Find out how BLACKLINE’s fully automated, round-the-clock, process-centric software can help you and your business take off!

How to Profit from the Past

Do you know what your stuff is worth?

Is your family heirloom just a vase or could it also net you a nice sum?  Who knew that Art Deco travel posters featuring historic sites are all the rage?

Not everyone can make it to the Antiques Roadshow, so here’s a quick primer on how to assess your decorative assets.

Condition

Condition affects value dramatically.  An item in mint condition demands more dollars than an item in below average or poor condition.  Be sure to look for:

  • Cracks
  • Defects
  • Finish Condition
  • Missing Parts or Pieces
  • Stains
  • Tears or Rips

Watch the Trends
Antiques and other collectibles can be affected by market trends.  Prices go up and down depending on the fickle tastes of collectors at any given moment. If you’re using a price guide, the prices reflect those at the time the guide was issued.

  • Kovels’ is a reliable source. It’s 2017 price guide, includes 25,000 listings, more than 2,500 full-color photographs and up-to-the-minute information to aid your research.

Age Does Not Equal Dollars
If you think your aunt’s tomahawk is worth a lot simply because it’s old, you might be out of luck. There are thousands upon thousands of items that qualify as antique (100 years+) and are worth about as much as people paid for them a 100 years ago—which is to say, very little.

Marks
Marks or insignias can be the first signs of some real cash.  In fact, they are the first things an appraiser looks for and they say a lot about the piece.  Here’s what they can tell you:

  • Fake or Real
  • Date Item was Created–Many makers changed their insignias frequently and knowing your symbols can help to determine the age and authenticity of a piece.
  • Who Really Made the Item – Value is determined not just by the company or where the item was made but by which artist or maker created it. For example, not every Tiffany lamp was personally designed by the legendary Lewis Comfort Tiffany.
  • Pattern & Design – Specific patterns or designs influence value. Some are more popular than others.

Rarity
The harder to find items are worth more as rarity plays a significant role in the value of any antique or collectible.  Often, extremely rare items with damage demand more in the marketplace than more commonplace pieces in perfect condition.

Authenticity
The pressing question—genuine, fake or reproduction?  Always remember, the most popular “original” antiques were reproduced for the masses so lots of phonies prevail in the market.  Here are some things to look out for:

  • Signs of Wear and Tear–Are the wear marks in places you’d expect them? Take a chair, for example. The wear marks should be on the seat and back where someone would grab it.
  • Difference in the Signatures or Marks – Do your research and see if you can find any discrepancies.
  • Proper Construction Techniques—Does it appear the piece was constructed in keeping with the methods and techniques used during the period it was made? Can you tell if modern tools were used?

Ask the Experts
Taking all these things into consideration gives you a glimpse of what your belongings might be worth.  Next step is to ask an expert.

  • Auctions Houses–If you have a hunch your antique is high-end and praise-worthy, (no chipped saucers, thank you) contact one of the major auction houses – bonhams.com or www.christies.com
  • Chat Online–Talk with an antiques expert at justanswerantiques.com and receive a free estimate.
  • Don’t Ask Your Local Antiques Shop; Seek-Out a Certified Appraiser–The going rate for this service is either a flat fee or $200 to $400 an hour. You’ll receive a written report including a full description of your item and the procedure used to estimate the current value.

To find an appraiser just ask The Society of Appraisers at www.appraiser.org

The Talk: How “Older” Moms Speak to Young Children About Their Health

“Older” moms love to compare resumes.  How their years—past or present—in law, marketing, what have you, give them an edge when it comes to raising children.  Yes, at work dealing with some adults can be compared to dealing with children.

Though, it’s hard to say if any day job prepares you for the most difficult presentation you’ll ever make—talking to your child about your own health issues.

Across the country, so many older moms—those of us who had our first child at 40+—struggle with this overwhelming, “how-to explain-it” task.

We’re Getting Older

Let’s face it, by the time our child was born, we had lived about half our life span. And, things happen as we age. Sore hips, knee replacements and the fact that 1 in 43 women in their 50s is diagnosed with breast cancer each year.  Not to mention, an assortment of other ailments.

As a two-time early-stage breast cancer (let’s not forget thyroid cancer) survivor, I can tell you my 10-year old daughter thinks bumpy sutured breasts are the norm. Because my surgeries occurred before she was born and before she turned 5, the “Mommy has a boo-boo, but I’m fine” explanation seemed to fit and has stuck, so far.

The Conversation

I know, though, the day is approaching where a deeper conversation, not just a quick, glossy explanation, between mother and daughter will occur.   I’m trying to mark my calendar with thoughtfulness and understanding for who she is as the child I know and love.

Most experts seem to agree, what you say depends on the age of your child.  This subject requires time and lots of research, but here are a few things I’ve learned:

Talking to Your Child: Preschool to 5

  • At this age, a child’s understanding of illness is vague at best.
  • Simple explanations of the body, illness and treatment are best.
  • For example, “I have to take medicine to stay strong.”

Talking to Your Child: 6 to 11

  • At this age, children are developing logical reasoning skills. They can understand external causes and are more interested in the body. And they require more specific information.
  • For example, “My heart needs to be fixed, and I’ll be going to the hospital soon to make it better.”
  • And, they understand the links between illness and needing treatment. They can understand something like, “Blood tests help us to see if the medicine is working.”

Every child is different, so before approaching the subject, you should consider consulting with a pediatrician or child psychologist.

And, remember, however you choose to tell your story, tell it from your heart.

2017 Top 10 NYC Food Trucks – Serving Tasty Mobile Treats

Growing up in New York City in the 1970s, the only food trucks I ever knew were Good Humor and Mister Softee.  Both of which I highly recommend to this day.

There were always steamy food carts that sold the old standards—hot dogs, pretzels, and chestnuts.  Even back in the day, they peddled falafel.

A Truck for Every Taste

Today, as we know, there is a different approach to meals on wheels—the culinary food truck.  Provisions abound in parking spots across the city for every diet and appetite.  For those of you who like to travel, you can eat your way around the world in just a few short blocks.

Interestingly, the people manning the wheel/meal range from home cooks who took their passion on the road to formally trained chefs who left professional kitchens for tar-paved pastures.

While some say the food truck bubble has burst, long lines at lunchtime throughout the city suggest people still love their tasty mobile options.

Top 10 Trucks 

Everyone has a favorite truck, but according to nyc.com these trucks rev up and dish out the best.

#1  Schnitzel & Things

These schnitzel servers offer varieties available as sandwiches or platters.  Sides like Austrian potato salad and roasted beets cost extra.

Financial District, between Broad St. and Pearl St.

#2  Milk Truck

Perfect for breakfast or lunch, Milk Truck serves up grilled cheese, soups, salads and their infamous macaroni & cheese.

Midtown, 46th St. & Sixth Avenue

#3  Eddie’s Pizza

This is no pizza from your average parlor.  Eddie slices delicate thin-crusted pies topped with the richest, yummy-for-your-tummy ricotta.

West Village, Houston St.

#4  Urban Lobster Shack

As if the shore pulled up in a truck, Urban Lobster Shack offers good quality lobster meat—all tail, claw, and knuckle.

Upper West Side, 75th St. & Amsterdam Ave.

#5  Luke’s Lobster Nauti Shack

Luke’s recently expanded from a storefront to truck stops throughout the city.  Every Nauti truck offers the restaurant’s Maine-style lobster rolls.

Financial District, Trinity Place

#6  Taim Mobile

Gluten-free falafel fried in 0% trans-fat vegetable oil makes Taim a health-conscious choice.  Prepared fresh daily, Taim offers cuisine layered with Middle Easter flavors.

Midtown, 45th St. & Sixth Ave.

#7  Big Gay Ice Cream Truck

Ever try artisanal ice cream with wasabi pea dust or olive oil and salt? This could be your culinary chance.  Sounds strange, but everyone says it tastes delicious.

Various locations throughout the City

#8  Van Leeuwen Ice Cream Truck

If ever there was a heathy spin on ice cream, this is it.  Leeuwen scoops homemade ice cream made with hormone-free milk and serves it on organic cones.

Upper East Side, 86th St. & Lexington Ave.

#9  Go Burger Truck

This burger is a true winner.  Every bite tickles the taste buds with toppings like blue cheese, balsamic caramelized onions, and double-smoked bacon.

Midtown, 45th Street & Fifth Ave.

#10  Souvlaki GR Truck

Winner of the 2015 Vendy Award for Rookie of the Year, Souvlaki GR heralds itself as the only authentic Greek on the street.

Midtown, 55th St. & 6th Avenue