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Your employees have set up a pool for a sports event, and you look the other way--or maybe even chip in a few bucks. After all, the betting pool isn't affecting anyone's job performance.
But if you think this is harmless fun, think again. Sports betting is illegal in the United States. The only way you can place a legal bet is to do so with a licensed agent in the state of Nevada, says Paul Bresson of the FBI.
Of course, tossing a few dollars into a weekly football pool
won't put you on the FBI's Most Wanted List. Gambling law
violations are handled by local authorities, who typically
don't pay much attention to office
But just because you aren't likely to be arrested doesn't mean it's a good idea for any business owner to condone breaking the law. Set a good example by establishing and enforcing an anti-gambling policy. And Bresson points out one more thing: All income, from sources that are legal or otherwise, must be reported to the IRS.
Jacquelyn Lynn is a business writer in Winter Park, Florida.
Online consulting service provides quick answers.
As the owner of a fast-growing company, when you need to know something, you don't have time to wait. With this in mind, Ernst & Young LLP has developed Ernie, an online consulting service that provides subscribers with a direct electronic link to Ernst & Young professionals. Subscribers can post questions on a variety of topics. The queries are routed to the appropriate consultant, who delivers a prompt, personal answer. Subscribers can also search Ernie's Previously Asked Questions database.
Other Ernie services include MediaWatch, which provides articles from trade publications; TrendWatch, which provides an overview of trends and issues for different industries and job titles; and SuperTools, a variety of self-service business improvement tools.
Subscription fees range from $3,500 to $18,000 per year. Visit the Ernie Web site at http://ernie.ey.com
Stop The Presses
Money-saving tips straight from the printer's mouth.
For most companies, printing is an unavoidable, ongoing expense. But there are ways to reduce costs while maintaining quality. Keith Harris, president and owner of Guaranteed Forms, Labels, Commercial Printing in San Diego, offers these tips:
- Proof, proof and reproof. It may seem like a time-consuming nuisance, but that's better than having the job come off the press with mistakes. Also, never sign the proof without checking it thoroughly. If a mistake slips through and you've approved it, you'll have to pay the reprinting costs.
- Evaluate your forms. Make sure they're as functional and efficient as possible. Are you using a six-part form when a four-part one will do? Could two or three different forms be combined to save costs?
- Print only what you'll use in a reasonable time. Ordering enough brochures or forms to last a few months rather than a year or more means less money tied up in printing expenses, more storage space and a reduced risk of the materials becoming obsolete.
- Ask your printer what you can do to reduce costs. Sometimes something as simple as providing the artwork in a different format can make a substantial price difference.
- Don't make your printing decision based solely on price. "You can always find a better price," says Harris. You should also consider quality, consistency, service and support.
- Match your needs to the printer. Learn about its capabilities: If your projects are varied, you may need more than one printer.
Guaranteed Forms, Labels, Commercial Printing, 8145 Ronson Rd., San Diego, CA 92111, (619) 571-1620