Stock Icons For Business And Financial Software

Business and accounting products up until now used to have Spartan, purposely minimalistic GUI. This approach worked in the early days of text-based text processors and monochrome trading terminals. However, the latest tendencies in operating system development require a better, more usable and more visually appealing approach to user interface design. Is your software team prepared for the challenge?

Putting clear text messages, intuitive layout is only one side of a problem. It is still easy to spoil a good user interface with badly designed, rushed graphics, with alternatives being spending more on graphics or postponing the release. There is a third, less talked about alternative: using readily available stock graphics to empower your financial project.
What’s so great about stock icons? Stock icons are a perfect way to make your product stand out with professional, balanced design and strikingly good looks. Stock icons are readily available, meaning that you see exactly what you get. Stock images are sold as matching sets, ensuring the integrity of color and style in your product. At last, stock icons are a much less expensive alternative to developing icons even in-house, let alone outsourcing them to a third party.

Working specifically on designing a good product for business-oriented audience, you need stock icons designed with that in mind. While there are many common sets of stock images on the market, there are only a few made for business developers. Business Toolbar Icons by Perfect Icon are hand-crafted by professional software designers for the purpose of integration with business and financial software.

Business Toolbar Icons depict many objects, actions and symbols that are widely used in financial products. Currencies such as Dollar and Euro, accounting terms such as Credit and Loss, actions such as Up, Back, Pick and Transfer, and human-related icons such as Boss, User and Book-keeper are supplied among over two hundred other images.

Technically speaking, your order delivers more than two hundred images in all standard sizes, color depths and file formats. Translucent True Color images for Windows XP and Vista systems with hi-res monitors are complemented with 8-bit, 256-color images. Each image comes in all resolutions of 16×16, 20×20, 24×24, 32×32, and 48×48 pixels, and is supplied in three unique states: normal, disabled, and highlighted. All images are available in Windows Icon (ICO), Bitmap (BMP), GIF, and PNG formats.

Business Toolbar Icons include all the graphics you need to empower a business or financial product, and represent a great value at just $99.95. Visit Business Toolbar Icons page to see the icons and decide if you are ready for the savings going the stock way.

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Year-end Tax Planning Tips You May Want To Avoid

It’s that time of year when we get bombarded with year-end tax planning tips. You’ll see them on the web, in the newspaper, on television, and just about everywhere you look. I read a top 10 list this morning that made me cringe! Why? Because the tips given didn’t consider the potential conflict with other personal and financial goals.

Here are the top 2 I see in just about every list:

#1 Buy Something This is the tip I hear most often that quite possibly has the most harmful consequences. I’ve heard too many business owners tell me they have to buy something before the end of the year for the tax write-off.

In the list I read this morning, it was recommended to buy equipment, a car or a house. I had to cringe! Is this list really about savings? While there may be tax savings available in all of these purchases, making a purchase of this size should never be based solely on the tax benefits.

Many business owners are given the advice to buy equipment before the end of the year because the equipment can be expensed under the Section 179 deduction.

Yes, the Section 179 deduction is a fantastic deduction but buying equipment for the sole reason of getting a tax deduction can result in bad tax planning that conflicts with business and financial goals.

It never makes sense to buy something for the sole purpose of getting a tax deduction!

Let’s say Pierre is in a 40% tax bracket. Pierre buys business equipment for $10,000 because he wants to lower his taxes. Indeed, Pierre saves $4,000 in taxes. But, remember, Pierre spent $10,000 to get this $4,000 savings.

If Pierre really didn’t need the equipment and purchased it solely for the tax savings, this is a terrible financial situation for Pierre. He would have been better off paying the taxes of $4,000 and not spending $10,000.

Now, there is a place for this type of planning. For example, if Pierre is planning on buying equipment in January, then moving his purchase up to December makes sense because he can enjoy his tax savings sooner.

Too many taxpayers hear the advice to buy equipment (or a car or a house) before the end of the year, get caught up in the tax savings and forget to consider if it makes sense in their big picture tax and wealth planning.

#2 Boost Your 401(k) Contributions Now, if you’ve been receiving my weekly report for awhile or have ever heard me speak, you know I am not a big fan of 401(k) contributions.

Taking my personal opinion of 401(k)s out of it, this advice still makes me cringe. What is most bothersome to me about this advice is that, once again, the tax savings are emphasized without a focus on the long-term financial implications.

Let’s say Pierre is able to put $10,000 in his 401(k) before the end of the year and it saves him $4,000. What is Pierre going to do with that money in his 401(k)? What kind of return will his money make? How does that return compare to what Pierre would have done with the money if he didn’t put it in his 401(k) and paid more in taxes?

Now, if Pierre has already decided that maximizing his 401(k) contribution each year is something that works in his big picture strategy, then this year-end reminder is very helpful.

Too many taxpayers get caught up in the year-end hype to maximize their 401(k) contributions (or other retirement plan contributions) without thinking through the impact on their overall financial goals. I know this because I talk to prospects on a regular basis who tell me they wish they would have done something different with their money rather than put it into their 401(k) – that in the long run, the tax savings were simply not worth it.

Year Round Tax Planning The best plan of attack is to identify tax saving strategies that work with your personal goals, your business goals and your financial goals for the long-term. This is the purpose of a tax strategy – it’s working all year-around, over several years, to continually reduce your taxes. Year-end tax planning is just one part of effective and efficient year round tax planning.

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Sears Promo Codes – What Can I Buy With Them?

A lot of people are looking for ways they can save money. Whether they are buying food, clothing, household items, and necessities, it is the innate nature of an individual to look for a discount. If they cannot find a discount, they will look for a cheaper option. This though, does not apply with Sears promo codes.

The beauty about having a code is that you can get to save some items on your shopping venture. Since you have gotten a promo code for Sears, you can make use of the discount only with the brand. But you should not worry on what you can use it with as Sears has a complete line of everything that you can possibly need or want. The only thing they lack is food.

You can use your promo code if you will buy appliances, automotive/tires, beauty, baby, bed, bath, home, books, clothing, electrical gadgets, gifts, fitness, sports, health, jewelry, and a lot of other products. With Sears, you can easily have choose what you want to buy as they have such an extensive array of available products that you can choose from. You can even buy gifts for your friends.

The list of items that you can buy with your Sears promo codes seems to be endless. Your needed items can simply be bought at Sears. Because of this, you do not need to go to another retail store so you can complete what’s on your list. Truly, this fact alone can already save you some money on transportation costs that you would have otherwise needed to spend.

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Top Brand Professional Automotive Tools Reviewed – Know Your Budget

The tool market is well serviced in terms of brands, design, quality and price. The key consideration is to evaluate your needs. For example, it is pointless buying a laptop capable driving sophisticated 3G games when really all that is required from the unit is basic desktop and internet work. This kind of example also applies to buying tools. For instance, why waste one’s budget on buying the most expensive tools when their application is for occasional hobby type tasks.

Lets start with an overview comparison. It is widely agreed that the best quality and designed tools are manufactured by the Snap-on company. This brand of tools is designed for the professional market. No tool brand is perfect and infallible to failure. However, the Snap-on lifetime warranty means that when a tool breaks, it is replaced or repaired by the service representatives. Snap-on tools can be bought from their distribution trucks and vans that visit automotive workshops. Alternatively, their online catalog allows purchasing via the internet. Second-hand and recycled Snap-on tools are also eagerly traded through websites like eBay and eBay Partner sites.

As noted above, Snap-on automotive tools are at the upper price range. However, there is no shortage of professional grade tool brands at price points below that of the Snap-on brand. For example the brands: Matco, MAC and Cornwell are equally respected in the professional automotive sector. Matco, MAC and Cornwell off a range of professional tools that deliver quality and reliability while carrying sound lifetime warranties and professional after sales service. And are less expensive than the Snap-on brand for the budget minded professional automotive technician. The availability of these brands for sale is similar to Snap-on tools. Trucks visit and distribute tools at automotive workshops. Also, online catalogs and auction type websites offer buy opportunities.

For those budget sensitive buyers, the next set of tool brands is SK and Craftsman. The manufacturing quality of these brands meet USA standards and carry similar lifetime warranties like those brands mentioned above. So, for the semi-professional or hobbyist application these tool brands are an ideal choice. Some may argue that the SK brand, although not as popular, is a little superior to the Craftsman brand. But this opinion is subjective. Craftsmanship and SK brand tools are a more accessible to the buying market. For example, Craftsmanship brand tools are stocked at Sears stores, while the SK brand is found in automotive parts stores and outlets.

In summary, if price is no restraint, then tools from the Snap-on range are considered to be the best quality. Where quality and service is still a priority, then brands such as: matco, MAC and Cornwell offer offer quality profession lines of tools as less expensive price points. Finally, the brands SK and Craftsmanship serve the semi-professional market with tools that are not subject to the high demands of daily professional usage. The advice for any buyer is assess the task application of the tool, and allocate your budget to buy the right tool for the right job.

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Automotive Dynamic Guide – How to Be Ready to Drive in a Foreign Land

If you are going to be behind the wheel of a new rented car, and in a strange foreign land where you have never driven before, what should you do in preparing to drive?

Just not so long ago, I was in Kuala Lumpur, the capital city of Malaysia, located just north of Singapore. As those of you who have traveled widely to Asia would know, the traffic on the roads in most of the Asian countries is heavy throughout the day, and many times driving habits take precedence over traffic rules and regulations, especially when the searing tropical heat bears down on cool heads, and raise tempers!

Before me was a small locally produced Malaysian car – the Perodua Kancil- named after the tiny deer that can run swiftly through the Malaysian jungles.

And I need to use that car, to brave the heavy traffic of the day to move to the next nearest city of Shah Alam to attend to a business meeting.

Alien to the area, alien to the car- what should I do?

Indeed, when you are confronted with such a situation, what should you do?

Keep cool – and PLAN your journey, and use the car intelligently.

For instance, perform the very, very basic inspection on your car before you even use it. This means:

1. check the tires and their pressure

2. check the engine oil and their brake fluid

3. check the battery

4. ensure the brakes are functioning ( there’s nothing like to take it for a short slow ride to put it to the test! )

Plan your journey- for instance, do not be afraid to ask directions and record them down so that you can always refer to the notes. Plan the timing of your journey – so that you can always drive during the slower traffic periods, away from the maddening crowds in the rush hour traffic. Protect yourself especially your eyes from the glaring tropical sun by wearing light sunglasses. Be properly attired. And wear shoes! The last tip on wearing shoes may seem funny, but when it is perennial summer in the tropics, many visitors, especially those who come from the cooler temperate countries would be tempted to wear only sandals!

And when you go on the roads, observe the speed limits. Do not push your vehicle to the maximum speed limits especially where you are driving along strange highways and where traffic jams are a norm.

In my personal case, I was astonished to see cars doubled parked along busy suburb shopping areas and feeder roads while I cruised my way to my destination. I wasn’t sure whether that was allowable, as the double parking of cars in two rows converted the road into a narrow one way path, leading to congestion at many parts. It sure was a “revelation”!

But in a strange land, where you are not the expert in local traffic rules, it is best to play it save. Drive defensively and plan your travel to ease your journey, and you will enjoy that ride.

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Unique Oil Change Concepts Research

In the mobile oil change business there is no standard system, many folks simply build what works or buy a biz-op unit that makes since to them. For years we have studies these various types of units in the market place. If you are in the oil change business you realize how serious it is to stay efficient. In our company like anyone else in this industry, we are out to bring new innovation to the market. We have been looking at ways to better our services.

We have been to in Elkhart, Indiana, we have viewed there unit in another state. We have discussed these and other concepts with other engineers and thinkers. What we have decided is that all ideas are worthy of exploration in our quest to find the most efficient and most environmentally sensitive units. Why are we so driven to build a better mouse-trap? Why are we un deterred with the exploitations of Box Stores changing oil, such as Wal-Mart on what appears to be a below cost endeavor at $12.99. Why do we believe that it is possible to stay efficient enough to compete? Because we see the new innovations out on the street and see entrepreneurs everywhere are rising to the occasion.

Well this year in San Diego, Jiffy Lube is announcing a new program for franchisees with extended bays and adding everything from brake jobs, and engine repair including complete R and R rebuilding of motors. It makes sense for them due to the increased competition in the market place. Midas Muffler has also gone to changing brakes and oil changes. Tilden Franchise is also looking to co-partner with other services and to bundle services to compete. Jiffy Lube’s largest franchisee with well over 150 stores; was de-listed by NASDAQ; are we witnessing a new era in automotive repair and oil changes? We think so.

We watched recently as Roger Penske left Kmart as they closed the doors on 500 stores nationwide and now are merging with Sears in their re-organization plan and closing another 150 stores. In Tucson, AZ for instance we see Kmart on the North West side of town pulling out of the market and then we see a new awesome Valvoline Oil Change Facility on the same property with a 2 million dollar carwash and Detailing Center? Why, well as Lance Fisher the proprietor sees it, he can bundle services, get a no interest loan deal from Valvoline, give the customers what they want and his incredible facility will draw three different services to the same property. Is this the answer to the price wars, bundling, like Microsoft? Well Lance Fisher bets with real money in Tucson, is that a good bet? We think it is, you should see this place, WOW, one of the nicest carwashes in the country, ranks up there with Auto-Wash East and Danny’s Family Carwashes in Phoenix.

These are just a few of the latest interesting changes in the Industry. Some would say this Industry is stagnant. We disagree. We are watching Kendall battle for the latest changes in oil change interval extension and the war against traditional thinking with AMSOIL, Mobile One and others. Lots of new innovations and claims to come; who will lead? Well as we approach the pack and have our sights on the Yellow Jersey, we believe that the team who can service the customer and bring the value will be team yellow. We know this is an up hill grind and we will pursue the race with open eyes and an open mind. If you are in the Oil Change Business Think on this.

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Caring for Leather Car Interiors

Leather consists of thousands and thousands of intertwined fibers, with penetrable pores throughout–just like skin. Proper maintenance starts with cleaning the fibers. Cleaning removes fiber-severing abrasives and pore clogging dirt and dust, both of which will breakdown the leather over time and give it a less than pleasing texture and appearance.

If you have pets, then you may want to invest in pet pads or pet seat covers for your interior. You will also want to look into a good reflective sun shield.

With regular cleaning and conditioning, a leather interior will last for the life of the vehicle. Leather is tough and abuse resistant. The main concern is to determine is what type of leather interior you have, then choose cleaners and conditioners designed specifically for the task. Traditional leather interiors are made of 100% leather, where as some modern interiors are leather coated with a supple vinyl.

A quick test to determine which type you have is to use a small amount of cool clean water. Traditional leather will absorb water, where vinyl coated leather will repel it. Either way, a few drops of water won’t harm your interior.

The next step is to determine the right cleaners and conditioners for your leather. Saddle soap and conditioners, while good for your baseball glove or go-go boots, are not to be used on automotive leather of any kind. The soap contains alkalis, which can permanently damage the material in your seats. Household detergents and cleaners can damage leather as well. Always use only a product designed for the type of leather your vehicle has.

Removing harmful oil and dirt deposits is the crucial first step. Always use clean soft cloths to prevent damage to, or inadvertent removal of the leather dye. Stubborn dirt lodged into crevices may require the use of an upholstery brush. Removal of gunk and grime must be done before conditioning the leather, as you don’t want to permanently push these contaminants into the pores.

The next step, probably even more important, is conditioning. This nourishes and moisturizes to lubricate individual fibers, keeping them from becoming brittle and dry. It replaces essential, natural oils that evaporate. How can you tell a good conditioner? A good conditioner will offer UV protection. Like human skin, ultra-violet rays will quickly cause deterioration of the leather and shorten its lifespan significantly. A good conditioner will be absorbed into the leather, not sit atop the surface or leave residue behind. The surface should not be oily after application. The very best conditioners are pH balanced, have stain repellants, waterproofing agents to protect from accidents.

While cleaning and conditioning your interior be sure not to leave any tools or sharp objects in your pockets that could put a hole in your seats and your good time. As with any cleaner, conditioner or chemical that involves the potential for ruining something really expensive, always test first in a small, inconspicuous area.

Inexpensive leather cleaners and conditioners will contain petroleum distillates, silicon or silicon oils, and gloss agents that deliver an inferior, greasy finish that does nothing for the leather, and transfers to anything that the leather comes in contact with. These chemicals are harmful to your leather.

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