How to Mess Up Your Personal Statement for Graduate Or Professional School Applications

When you applied as an undergraduate, your personal statement probably didn’t make much of a difference, because undergraduate admissions are heavily based on numbers (GPAs, test scores, etc). Graduate and professional school admissions are different! Your competitors will have grades and test scores similar to yours, because most people who have the motivation to pursue an advanced degree did well as undergraduate students. As the number of applicants rises and academic budgets are cut, every year there’s more competition for fewer admissions openings.

How does the committee determine that you have what it takes to succeed in advanced studies? You guessed it. Your personal statement will play a determining role in whether or not your application is successful.

So you know you need to write the strongest, most persuasive personal statement you can. But here are two facts you may not know. First, most reviewers will spend only a couple minutes skimming your personal statement. Second, because their job is to weed out the majority of applications, reviewers are looking for reasons not to recommend you for admission.

Avoid common mistakes that will get your application put in the reject pile. Read on for 10 simple ways you can mess up your personal statement:

1. Say thank you

Your parents and elementary school teachers taught you to be polite in writing, and you know it’s a good rule to follow. But don’t waste words thanking the committee for reading your application. It’s not the same situation as applying for a job, because you’re paying the school to review your application so that, hopefully, you can pay them to educate and train you. Starting or ending your statement with phrases like ‘Thank you for reviewing this application’ or ‘I appreciate your consideration’ can make you come across as immature, obsequious, or ignorant of academic culture.

2. Make excuses

Lots of applicants have weaknesses in their application files, especially in their transcripts. Maybe you got low grades your freshman year. Maybe you had to leave school and work for a while. Maybe you got an F in that statistics class and had to retake it. Or maybe you got a degree in one field and are applying to grad school in a different field; or you didn’t pass your medical residency exams the first time.

Whatever your weakness is, do not offer excuses and do not bad-mouth anyone. So it wasn’t your fault that the professor lost your final exam and flunked you, or jobs dried up in your original field of study, or you had the flu when you took the GRE. Don’t say anything that sounds like an excuse or sounds like you are blaming someone else for you failing to achieve a goal. Even when it is true, it may make you seem whiny and unable to accept responsibility for your actions. Instead, address the weakness at the end of your statement, and explain how you have overcome it, learned from it, and are a better candidate now because of it.

3. Summarize your resume and transcripts

Many applicants try to summarize their professional resume and academic transcripts in the personal statement. All of this information is requested in the application itself and the reviewers will see it. Personal statements are too short to waste space explaining that you got straight A’s your senior year. Instead, describe the experiences and achievements that are relevant to your development as a potential professional in your chosen field

4. Be cute or funny

Maturity is one of the most common adjectives admissions committees use to describe the ideal graduate or professional school student. You are applying to eventually become their colleague, a fellow professional. Show them you take their time, their program, your future, and yourself seriously by maintaining a positive and professional tone. Unless the application directs you to submit a creative writing sample, leave the stand-up routine for the comedy club.

5. Suggest that the program can right a wrong by admitting you

Remember that the committee members are busy professionals who are taking only a couple minutes to skim your statement. On the one hand, asserting that you will make a unique contribution to your program and bring a new perspective by adding to the diversity of their student body is a smart move and shows you as a positive, professional team player. On the other hand, asking for admission on the grounds that it will correct a previous injustice runs the risk of making you appear unqualified and/or confrontational.

6. Be sarcastic

This one doesn’t need much explanation. Your ironic commentaries and sarcastic quips make your Facebook friends laugh, because they know you. The admissions committee does not. They can easily misinterpret sarcastic comments, or decide you’re flippant, cynical, pessimistic, or a know-it-all.

7. Say something potentially offensive

Again, not much explanation needed on this one. You do not know anything about the people who are reading your personal statement. Assume they are very sensitive on all issues and write accordingly. Do not assume they agree with any of your political, social, or religious views.

8. Show your inferiority complex or your superiority complex

Many applicants have trouble striking the balance between promoting themselves and not coming off as arrogant in their personal statement. A personal statement is a marketing document and has to showcase your strengths. Yet many applicants err on the side of humility, such as using self-deprecating language; or describing weaknesses and previous failings without explaining how they’ve worked to turn those weaknesses into strengths. Admissions committees do not admit candidates out of pity!

Other applicants err on the side of conceit, giving the impression that they don’t really need any advanced training because they know so much about the field and have so much experience. They fail to describe what they expect to gain from a specialized course of education. You want to walk the line between these extremes. Assert that you are very well-qualified to begin this course of study, and that you have the preparation, motivation, maturity and focus they seek. Then stress your planned specialization, what you will gain from attending their program, and how you need the training they offer to succeed as a professional.

9. Plagiarize your statement, or submit content you paid someone to write

Most grad and professional school applicants have not read hundreds of personal statements and are unaware of how unique each person’s writing style is. It really doesn’t take much for admissions committees to note that the language and style of a candidate’s personal statement is different from the writing found in other parts of the applications. There are also a few dozen so-called sample personal statements on the internet that are frequently copied and submitted as the applicant’s own essay. Committees are well aware of this! You can also hire someone to write a personal statement for you. It may sound great to you, but you should realize that such essays are based on a template that they just customize for you, using the same paragraph organization and phrases. It’s a smart move to get an expert to help you revise and polish your words into a persuasive statement. It’s risky to plagiarize a statement from the internet, or hire someone to write the whole statement for you.

10. Use poor spelling or poor grammar

This one should be pretty obvious. Academics on admissions committees are generally high achievers with high standards who won’t disregard even simple typos. If your personal statement is not technically perfect, it can make you seem sloppy, lazy, or inattentive, which are not qualities anyone wants in a future colleague. Remember that the people skimming your essay are seeking a reason to reject your application and make the pile of possible admits smaller. Always get someone with strong writing skills to review your essay.

Source by Laura York

What To Expect From a Financial Course

Thanks to the influx of technology and the Internet what once was only available to a privileged few is now available to a wide array of people from all walks of life. Thanks to online financial courses, students who once would have been unable to attend prestigious schools of finance or tertiary education colleges are now able to pursue the degrees in finance they desire.

Simply put, finance education and financial courses are available with the click of a mouse.

A finance course consists of studies relevant to global finances. Courses vary from one-time seminars, to certificate and diploma programs, to undergraduate and post-graduate degrees.

While “Finance” may seem to be a simple topic, it is actually a complex and diverse course of study. The basic area of study covers everything from finance theory to the application of statistical and mathematical principles. From the basics, students of finance would pursue specialized education in areas of banking, accounting, business management, and law.

The quantities of available finance courses are bountiful. These courses focus on areas like corporate finance, investments, banking, fixed income and financial management, financial engineering, derivatives, interest rates, risk management, personal finance, computer applications of financial management, international finances, financial institutions and banking, as well as insurance and risk management. Specialized financial courses are available to help analysts and advisors build additional skills in the areas of education finance and budgeting, health care finance, global finance and managerial finance.

College finance courses take the simple finance courses outlined above and provide more details, address more issues and give undergraduate and graduate students the advantage. These college finance courses cover aspects like in-depth corporate finance, monetary economics and its position in the global economy, business economics at microeconomic level, investment management, corporate valuation, international corporate finance, analysis and financing of real estate investment, international financial markets, international banking, urban fiscal policy, fixed income securities, behavioral finance, finance of buyouts and acquisitions, among many others.

Once an advanced degree of finance study is being pursued, a student will encounter the progressive courses of econometrics, principles of micro and macro economics, statistical practice, accounting, and international trade.

It’s best to understand financial courses as much as possible so you can make an informed decision and take the best steps possible to reach your objective. Our time is our so precious and despite cell phones and other conveniences we seem to never have enough of it. See below for more information on Finance Course.

Source by Charley Hwang

Window to Door Conversion

Have you ever wondered what your living room would be like with french doors instead of your bay window? Do you want a comfortable indoor/outdoor space that is perfect for entertaining? Converting your window into a new door opening is easier than you might think and it can be more economical than knocking a hole in your exterior wall. However, there are several things homeowners often overlook and do not consider when budgeting a window to door conversion.

1. Extra Light & Extra Heat.

If you are replacing your window with french doors or glass paneled sliders, your essentially creating a larger opening for light to enter. Where there is more light, there is generally going to be more heat. This can be especially bad during the summer months and can cause your utility bills to increase. If this is going to be an issue, it’s important to price out doors with energy efficient glass panels. These will typically cost more than your standard windows.

2. Change in Your Furniture Layout.

Your favorite couch might be right in front of a window and located in the perfect. But if that window turns into a door, it’s probably going to be moved. Before construction begins, try arranging your furniture in a way that would make sense if that window was a door. You may be surprised how things to turn out!

3. Doors Need Covering.

Ever notice there’s usually a porch at the front door entrance, and a patio in the backyard for sliding doors? That’s to protect your home form the outdoor elements. Doors are typically not sealed as tightly as windows. You may notice there is a small opening at the bottom of your doors. Although it may seem air tight, it’s very easy for water to seep underneath the doorway during a rainstorm. If where you’re planning to add a door does not currently have a covering, you may want to seriously consider adding one. This can definitely increase unwanted costs to your window replacement project.

4. Floor Transitions.

If you are in love with your new wooden floors, hopefully you have some spare located in the garage or attic. Since there will be construction near the floor, there is a high probability that your floor may incur some damage. Also, you may want some T strips for a natural looking transition.

5. You Need Light Switches.

There’s no way around this one. According to code, every doorway needs a light switch within 6-10 inches from the door jamb. If you don’t have one, this is a cost you will have to include into your budget.

Source by Rob Pankow

How To Get Approved For Bad Credit Motorcycle Financing

For motorcycle buyers with bad credit it can seem impossible to get approved for a loan. Many lenders view motorcycles as a luxury purchase and as a result make it much more difficult to get approved for a bike, then a standard car loan. But as a motorcycle buyer with past credit problems, you should not let what seems to be an impossible situation destroy your freedom of the open road.

Time and time again motorcycle buyers with poor credit histories make the same mistakes when trying to get approved for a loan. This article provides tips for finding a loan even if you have a bad credit history with a bankruptcy.

1. Do not Rely On Dealership Financing Only

Yes it is true that motorcycle dealerships have a variety of financing sources to offer you. But those financing sources are nowhere near the number of available lenders nationally. Most motorcycle buyers with bad credit head to the dealership submit an application, and after getting declined assume it is impossible to get approved. This is the wrong approach.

The fact is a dealership normally only submits your application to the lenders that have specifically setup a relationship with the dealership. There are many other lenders that have never approached the dealership that most motorcycle buyers completely ignore. This includes credit unions, local banks, and many specialized lenders that focus strictly on bad credit applicants.

2. Do not Give Up Too Soon

Most motorcycle buyers give up way too soon after getting declined for a loan. Sure you might feel a sense of rejection, but do not let declines deter you. With a self defeating attitude you'll never be successful with getting approved with bad credit.

A more wise method might be to approach the whole motorcycle financing process like a game. Just because one lender turns you down, does not mean you give up trying to win the game, you keep seeking out other lenders. Do not give up until you are successful!

3. Focus on Lenders That Specialize In Bad Credit

In every market there are lenders available that focus on poor credit applicants. It is important that you do your research and seek out these lenders.

MotorCycle and the ATVs For there are On a variety of lenders That offer bad credit MotorCycle financing . But without the motivation to seek out these lenders, you'll end up never finding a loan like many motorcycle buyers with poor credit.

4. Show Lenders A Down Payment

If you have bad credit, many lenders like to see you have some "skin in the game" before giving you a loan. Most cycle buyers completely ignore this fact.

Showing a lender that you can put a little money down, implies to the lender you are serious about your purchase. Even if you can only put down $ 500 as a down payment, this can help the lender view your loan differently.

Obviously the more money you can afford to put as a down payment the better chances you have of getting approved. Many times showing a small down payment can make a huge difference. So when you fill out your application make sure you do not leave the down payment section as zero. Always try to show a little even if it is $ 300.

5. Do not Skimp on Insurance

By nature insurance protects the bank or lender in the event of theft, or a collision. Many motorcycle lenders might tell you full coverage insurance is not required. But if you have a poor credit history, showing the lender you will cover your motorcycle with full coverage insurance can make an impact.

In addition to standard insurance, products like GAP insurance and extended warranties can also show lenders you are serious about protecting your investment. Communicating your intent to purchase these products can help lenders minimize risk and approve more loans.

Source by Jay Fran

Flip Checklist Budget – What You Need to Include on Your Budget for House Flipping

Many people are enticed into house flipping by television images of people ripping materials out of a dilapidated house, refurbishing it, and selling it for a substantial profit. The profit realized from each flip can be modest or substantial – or the investor could lose everything depending on decisions made before or during the process.

My house flipping budget checklist

Before you go shopping for the perfect rehab-to-flip property, you need to create a budget for the entire project, not just the purchase and rehab expenses.

The first item on your check list does not have direct monetary value and cannot be added into the expenses column. However, it is an important “ingredient” to your budget: an excellent credit score. Unless you are funding a flip entirely with cash or through private means, an excellent credit score works in your favor with the banks – especially when the loan is for a high-risk project like a house flip.

Now, let’s look at the specifics of your budget:

• The After Repair Value (ARV): determining the ARV of your potential flip is the starting point on which you can base your expected return on investment (ROI) when the house is put on the market. A trusted realtor can help you estimate the ARV of the property.

• Rehab costs: these will vary widely depending on how much rehab work needs to be done. A budget repair form can be handy for tracking all the repairs needed.

• Financing/carrying costs: these include not only the loan but also the costs of carrying the house until it is sold:

o Financing loan(s)

o Property taxes

o Utilities (gas, water, electric)

o Property insurance

o HOA/Condo fees

An important point to note here is that the longer the rehab work takes and/or the longer the post-rehab house stays on the market, the greater your carrying costs and the lesser profit you may realize.

• Realtor’s fees: you can sell your flipped house yourself (FSOB – For Sale by Owner) but if you are looking for the fastest turnaround on your investment – and profit – relying on a good real estate agent is worth the commission fee (and actually helps you save money on your flip project in the long run).

• Forgotten costs: these are additional expenses of house flipping that are often overlooked, including:

o Inspection fees

o Interest on loans

o Contingencies

o Closing costs

One experienced house flipper’s average budget was broken into these cost percentages:

• 53.25% = Purchase Price

• 20% = Labor

• 6.5% = Materials

• 8% = Carrying costs, utilities, commissions, etc.

• 12.25% = Profit

Realistic budgeting = reduced risk

There is nothing that can completely eliminate the risks inherent in house flipping but creating a realistic budget is one of the key ways to mitigate some of that risk. Another way to “manage” some of the risk is to become as thoroughly knowledgeable about house flipping before you make your first investment. And a final way to manage risk is to follow the old adage and never invest more than you can afford to lose.

Best wishes for your house flipping success!

Source by Bill Len

Causes and Effects of Deficit Financing

As we know, the major sources of public revenue are taxes, fees, prices, special assessments, rates, gifts etc., etc. If during a given period of time, the government expenditure exceeds government revenue and the deficit is met by borrowing, it is called deficit financing or income creating finance. In order to have a significant expansion effects therefore, a program of public investment should be financed by borrowing rather than by taxation. This kind of borrowing or loan expenditure is popularly called deficit financing.

Deficit financing is said to have been practiced if state adopts any one or all the methods mentioned below:

(a) The government draws upon the cash balances of the past.

(b) The government borrows from the central bank against government securities.

(c) The government creates money by printing of paper currency and thus meets the expenditure over receipts.

(d) The government borrows externally.

Deficit financing was considered to be a very dangerous weapon by the classical economists. The modern economists are, however, leaning towards it and recommend it to be used for accelerating economic development and achieving high level employment in the country.

The problem to be solved here is:

(i) Whether income creating finance should be adopted for increasing total effective demand.

(ii) If deficit financing is desirable for ensuring high level of employment, then to what extent should it be carried out.

(iii) What are its good and bad effects?

Deficit financing is being practiced by advanced as well as underdeveloped countries. The advanced countries use it as an instrument of increasing effective demand whereas the underdeveloped countries employ it for increasing the rate of capital formation.

The scope of deficit financing for accelerating economic growth in backward economy is very bright as they are caught in a vicious circle of underdevelopment. They use funds for investment when the resources of the country are not adequate to initiate the processes of take off. So arises the need for deficit financing.

The underdeveloped countries are confronted with the following problems:

(i) The rate of growth of population is faster than the rate of economic development.

(ii) The state revenue received through taxes, fees, etc., is not sufficient to provide full employment to the labor force.

(iii) The per capita income is extremely low and so is the capacity to save.

(iv) Foreign loans for development purposes are not without strings and are also not available in desired quantity.

(v) There is a dearth of stock of capital in the country.

(vi) People lack initiative and entrepreneurial ability.

(vii) People are mostly extravagant and there is less voluntary savings.

(viii) A greater portion of the population lives in villages and are contended with their lot.

(ix) The government cannot incur the displeasure of the people by enhancing the tax rates beyond a certain limit. It cannot also impose additional taxes for the same reason.

(x) Thus there is too much evasion of taxes.

Under the conditions stated above, the reader can easily visualize the state of affairs with which a government of the backward country is confronted. Still no government would like to be a silent spectator and would desire that the standard of living of the people should go up in the shortest possible period of time. It will try to find money from the blue if necessary for spreading economic development of the country. Here deficit financing comes to its rescue. The state uses this instrument for lifting the economy out of depression and for accelerating economic development in the country. If, however, the state can increase the volume of resources by increasing the tax rates, imposing additional taxes or mobilizing enlarged saving, then it is not desirous to adopt deficit financing as it is a very delicate instrument.

Source by Arfan Ul Haq

How to Get Great Car Financing Plans

The thrill of getting a new car, especially if it is your first one, is definitely incomparable and inexplicable. But the burden of paying for the car is not. This is why many people rely on car financing. Car financing or car loans are perhaps the most common kind of loan today. But despite this, many people still do not know how to shop for these types of loan plans. Here are some ways to get great auto financing plans to help you enjoy your car even more, knowing that you bought your car getting the best deal available.

Know where to shop:

In order to get the lowest interest rates, you need a good credit history. But what if you do not have the best credit history? Worse, what if your credit history is actually bad? Fortunately, there are car financing plans for people with bad credit or no credit history at all. The interest rates may be higher than the standard plans, and the financing plan may require a down payment, but it is definitely better than nothing. Of course, not all dealers allow people with bad credit to get this type of car finance plan, so it is best to look around. The best place to shop for bad credit car financing plans is on the Internet, where you can easily compare prices. Even if your car dealer has an in-house financing department that can accommodate your needs, it is best to search before you settle.

Foresee future cost

Many buyers choose cheap car financing plans upfront, without checking if the plan is indeed cheap. This is because the total cost of the plan may be more than the actual worth of the car, even if you consider interest rates. When shopping for auto financing plans, it is best to go for loans that may not seem so cheap now but can actually help you save money in the long run.

Know your limits

Of course, since we are talking about car financing plans you are not going to pay for the car in full. However, are you sure you can really pay for the car in the long run? It is always best to know your limits financially. Track your budget to see if how much your car finance plan payments would be for the car you would purchase. In a way, this tip compliments the previous one. You should know your financial limits for the long run, possibly until you are done paying for the car loan.

Avoid penalties

Some car financing plans have penalties, but they are often not called "penalties" in the fine print. To understand the contract better, employ the help of a legal expert. Also, choose plans that give you the option to pay extra payments, or pay the entire loan without any penalties of any sort. When choosing a car financing deal, go for the most flexible plans. Your budget is not static, and your financial status can change, for better or worse. You need the flexibility to keep up with your payments.

Source by Robert Worley

How to Start a Home Photography Business in North Carolina

After years of pursuing photography as an avid amateur photographer, I decided to finally take the plunge and become a professional. I already owned all the necessary camera bodies, lenses, flashes and other assorted equipment, and having my own business meant future photography purchases would be tax-deductible. A smart decision, right?

The short answer, for me at least, was "yes." The long answer, however, was, "It depends on how much time you want to spend running around and researching the requirements."

Fortunately for you, I've done it already in North Carolina and am willing to share the results (for this state, at least!).

For the purposes of this article, I'm assuming the following things are true:

1. You will be operating this business in the state of North Carolina.
2. You already have the photography expertise to qualify as a professional photographer (that's another article all by itself).
3. You've done the necessary research to determine whether you have the time, energy, potential customer base, and business plan to ensure your new venture succeeds (again, this topic is another article on its own).

The first step was determining what kind of business entity to be. After doing much research online, I was a bit confused, until a CPA explained it to me: there is a difference between your LEGAL status and your TAX status. She recommended that my photography business be an LLC (limited liability company), but file taxes as a sole proprietor.

As with all the different options, there are positives and negatives to each option. LLC status would protect me from personal liability in the event of a lawsuit, which was important to me. The paperwork is very easy to prepare and submit, which is also good because I wanted to take care of everything myself.

Filing taxes as a sole proprietor would be very simple: just attach a Schedule C to my personal tax return each year. Although this filing status is easy enough, sole proprietors pay a slightly higher tax rate than S-Corporations.

Filing as an S-Corp, however, means more paperwork and filing quarterly taxes instead of a Schedule C with my annual return. I was not interested in that much paperwork, so sole proprietor status is fine with me. If and when my business starts making so much money that I'm interested in a lower tax rate, I can always change my status to an S-Corp.

Now that I've determined my legal status and tax status, I had to file for my LLC with the state of North Carolina. This involves sending a check for $ 125 to the Secretary of State, along with Articles of Organization, which can be downloaded and filled out from their web page.

It takes about 7-10 days for your status to come back confirmed, although if you include a note and your e-mail address, they will e-mail it to you which will save a few days.

The state of North Carolina considers photographers to be one of those lucky professions that require a State Privilege License. This is an annual license granted to the person, not the business, so if you end up working for a different photography business in the future, you do not need to get a second license that year. A privilege license is $ 200, from the North Carolina Revenue Office. This must be done in person, but the Revenue Department has offices all over the state, so there's probably one in a city near you.

While I was there, I also received a State Tax ID. This is (fortunately) free, and it will come in handy because armed with this important number, I will no longer need to pay sales tax when purchasing items for my business (assuming I'm purchasing from a North Carolina vendor; obviously you don 't pay sales tax at all when purchasing from an out-of-state vendor, such as when I buy lenses online).

The friendly and helpful NC revenue employee explained to me that two forms will need to be mailed into the NC Revenue Office each quarter. One is a form explaining what your revenues for the quarter were and how much tax you charged your clients. You will need to include a check for the tax amount. The other form shows what equipment you purchased for your business that quarter and did not pay tax on. You will need to include a check for 1% of the total (hey, at least it's lower than paying the full retail tax on your purchases). This includes everything from cameras and lenses to printers, computers, paper, ink cartridges, etc.

Charging my clients sales tax is a bit confusing in North Carolina. The law is not clear, and lawsuits that have been argued in state court have conflicting results. It appears that you do not need to charge sales tax on services such as session fees, UNLESS the client ends up purchasing prints from the session. Of course you always hope and assume the client will purchase prints, but you never know for sure. To be safe, you should go ahead and charge them sales tax on the session fees up front, assuming they will buy prints.

You always need to charge sales tax for tangible goods sold. So any prints, albums, or other products that you sell to your clients must always include sales tax.

The tax rate that applies depends on where the client took possession of the goods. If the client lives in Gaston County and asks me to mail her the prints, the Gaston County rate applies. If the bride decides to swing by my house in Charlotte to pick them up personally, the Mecklenburg County rate applies.

Tax was by far the most complicated part of the business-formation process. Fortunately the employees at the NC revenue office were very helpful, and gave me several "cheat sheets," sample forms, and (best of all) their phone numbers for me to call with questions.

If you want your NC State Tax ID to be in your business' name, instead of your own name, you will need a Employer Identification Number from the IRS. I was initially confused by this, because I was not planning on employing anyone other than myself, but as it turns out, the Employer Identification Number has nothing to do with employing anyone. Luckily it was free and handled easily over the phone while I waited in the lobby of the state revenue office.

Now there's the matter of where you live. I'm a resident of Charlotte, so I'm in Mecklenburg County. Fortunately, Mecklenburg County recognizes the State Privilege License, so I was not required to get an additional County business license.

I was, however, required to get a Customary Home Occupation Permit from the Zoning Office. This is a one-time permit that allows me to work from home. This is a lifetime permit; however, it only applies to this particular address. If I decided to move to a different house in a few years, I will have to get a new permit. It cost $ 125.

Next, I needed a business checking account. I went straight to Wachovia, since they already handle our personal bank accounts and I wanted everything in one place for convenience. Wachovia needed copies of my privilege license, my EIN, and my state tax ID, as well as the normal documents for a new account like my driver's license. In about a week, I had received my check card and checks for the account. This is highly recommended by the CPA I visited, in order to keep business and personal expenses separate.

The final thing I needed was business insurance. This is recommended in addition to any homeowner or umbrella liability coverage you may already have. It's not too expensive (less than $ 200 per year) so go ahead and get it. Any insurance agent will be able to go over the options with you. Business insurance will not only cover your equipment in the event any of those expensive lenses or cameras get damaged, but will also help in case a guest trips over one of your lightstands at a wedding, for example.

A few side notes: if your business is an LLC, you are legally required to have the initials "LLC" or the words "Limited Liability Company" in your business name. This makes it clear to all customers and potential customers that you are an LLC. Also, if you do not keep your business and personal expenses separate, you lose the protection of an LLC (meaning your personal assets are vulnerable in the event of a lawsuit). DO NOT RISK THIS – keep everything well documented and separate!

Best of luck with your new business venture! I recommend visiting the North Carolina State business development website and calling their hotline; they gave me a lot of tips the CPA did not mention, and it was free to boot! Fortunately there is a lot of support out there for people starting their own businesses. It's free, and these people know what they're talking about – please take advantage of it!

Source by Elizabeth Morrison

Treasury Single Account (TSA): What Every Nigerian Must Know


The Nigerian Government has decided to engage banking procedures that constitute a significant feature for a well-organized management and control of government’s financial resources. To this end, the need to design banking procedures that minimize the cost of ‘government-borrowing’ and maximize the opportunity cost of cash resources has become most paramount to ensure that all cash received is available for timely settlement of government’s expenditures and payments. Before TSA, the Nigerian Government operated a disjointed system of receipts and payments which, naturally, would make it extremely difficult to ascertain an amalgamated position of the nation’s financial resources. As a result of these, the government lacks a central financial control of its financial resources as well as lacks the ability to execute its budget without borrowing even while huge government financial resources lay idle in accounts of spending Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) in various deposit money banks.

TSA is an indispensable tool for consolidating and managing government’s cash resources in order to minimize borrowing costs associated with fragmented government banking procedures. The institution of TSA is currently the preferred option of public financial management reform agenda globally.

TSA is an amalgamated structure of government bank accounts that ensures a consolidated view of government cash resources through a set of principles. The principles of ‘unity of cash’ and ‘unity of treasury’ are the most basic foundation a good TSA must have. TSA is a set of linked bank accounts through which all government receipt and payment transactions are made, allowing for complete and timely information on government cash resources. The Government Integrated Financial Management Information System (GIFMIS) is expected to facilitate a real-time daily balance update. A government unable to effectively control its cash resources will be faced with the multiple problems of its institutional deficiencies.

The Benefits of TSA

The main object of operating a TSA is monetary and budgetary and this is to ensure an efficient and effective collection, consolidation and control of government cash resources. The consolidation of cash resources through a TSA arrangement makes possible government cash management by eliminating unnecessary borrowing costs. In the presence of TSA, idle cash resources are easily aggregated and utilized to the benefit of the Government’s developmental goals. Asides from monetary and budgetary management benefits of the TSA, there are other objectives for setting up TSA which include:

1. Minimizing operations costs during budget execution:

a. especially by controlling the delay in the remittance of all government revenues by the collecting agents

b. making prompt payments of government expenses

2. Easing reconciliation of Government financial data and records

3. Efficient control and monitoring of Government funds allocated to various MDAs

4. Providing superior coordination and implementation of Government monetary policy

Because the Central Bank is the Banker to Government, the custody of the TSA must therefore be with the Central Bank. With especial regards to revenue collections, the government banking procedures may consist of several bank accounts which can be maintained with commercial banks but the cash balances in all such government accounts should be cleared daily and swept to the TSA which is the main treasury account at the Central Bank. Locating the TSA at the Central Bank offers advantages including:

1. With the Central Bank acting as clearing house for government operations, the segregated obligations and responsibilities of all participating banks (the Central Bank of Nigeria and various Commercial Banks) serve as clear-cut policies for banking procedures

2. Limitation of government credit risk exposure and providing safety for government cash deposits

3. Government liquidity is efficiently management through the Central Bank’s coordination of government’s cash profile alongside governments debt obligations

4. Government banking procedures become more prompt and cost-effective

Features of a well structured TSA

Draining surplus cash liquidity from Commercial Banks through the open market operations in order to prevent reckless advance of credits by Commercial Banks imposes costs on the Central Bank. To prevent this and several other problems, a good TSA must have the following features:

1. A unified structure for government banking procedures that improves Government’s ability to monitor cash flows (in and out of the main-TSA and sub-TSAs)

2. An electronic Banking platform that ensures real-time fungibility of all cash irrespective of the end use by distinguishing individual cash transactions for control and reporting purposes, yet allow for interchangeability with other funds of the same type through the accounting system thereby creating a system of cash management alongside a transaction level control

3. The consolidation of government cash resources becomes comprehensive and encompasses all government cash

4. Accessing and operating the TSA mainly dependent upon institutional structures and payment settlement systems


Should there be need to engage Commercial Banks in the operation of the TSA in Nigeria, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) playing the lead role while maintaining the TSA must ensure that government’s retail banking transactions are performed effectively and efficiently by the commercial banks that shall in turn guarantee all federal government entities (MDAs) and their transactions are well captured. Autonomous government entities, social security funds, trust funds, extra-budgetary funds, loans from donor agencies and multilateral organisations must also be encompassed by the TSA. It is important to extend the operations of the TSA to the other levels of government (State and Local) through the use of sub-TSAs and where this is not possible, every State or Local government must be compelled to institute TSA at their own level of government.

Source by Mahmood Omeiza Adeiza

Your Tax Return – How the Tax Return Process Works

So its nearing April 15th. That dreadful of all days. The Tax Deadline. You know you have a ton on your mind. This is the last thing you want. Well, you are a brave soul You have done this in the past. Many times in the past actually.

So, with a mighty resolution, you decide to get started on your Tax Return this very weekend. You pack your spouse off to a picnic and roll up your sleeves and get ready. You are not afraid of paper, not a bit. You run off to the post office and get all the latest forms and worksheets and sit down at your desk.

So painted below in words is a hypothetical scenario of what would transpire as you head down the glorious path of preparing your Tax Return.


  1. You go to the post office and pick up the paper booklet with the tax form. Now if you are smart you would have gotten every tax form you know – but you did'nt, so you had to make 2 trips to get all the forms you need.
  2. Next … You have to go through the meticulous process of having to fill one box at a time, make sure your entries are okay, make sure you at least copied down everything from your W2 into your. Because each calculation is connected to the next, each box ties to the next. At the end of this painstaking process you arrive at the final number – your refund or the tax you owe.
  3. Next step – Find the right address to mail to. Do you know where to mail your tax return. Well its there, its probably in the instructions to the form. Again scan every word until you get the address. Oh Well Eureka !! You just found it .. congratulations. Now put that in an envelope.
  4. Walk to the post-office make it before midnight on April 15th and make sure you catch the last snail mail train. Because if it leaves, you are in trouble .. BIG trouble!
  5. Well you made it. You rub your hands with joy and pat yourself on the back. Your Tax RETURN IS FINALLY DONE !! Well you just hit the starter to the engine. You just set in motion for the next series of events that will ultimately get you that coveted refund check!

  6. Assuming no postal delays – your tax return will get to the IRS in about 2 business days.
  7. Next your little piece of work, your tax return, will enter a queue until its routed to the correct department. lets give his a day for making this arduous journey.
  8. Next, It gets picked up to be scanned using sophisticated machines called optical scanners which converts your handwritten tax return into a readable computer file.
  9. Hiccup 1: If you hand filled your return with pen and paper, if the scanner can not recognize your handwriting – then the scanning process will reject – and then it would get put into another queue to be manually processed by a human – lets give 4 to 5 days for this to happen.
  10. Someone will actually read your tax return and then type the contents manually into a computer. At this point your tax return is now a what is called a raw data file.
  11. Now the raw data file will get run through an editing program which will verify the basic details – like did you put in a valid SSN, did you punch in too many zeros in your income eg. you wrote $ 50000 instead of $ 5000 in a box on the form.
  12. If everything is okay, Your return which is now computer file will then get put into a database along with millions of other tax payers. Your tax return will join thousands of others who e-filed their tax return at this point.
  13. From this point on – the process should work like greased lightning.

  14. Next a series of computer programs will be run on the database to validate the tax returns. It will compare the data on your file against what your employers filed. So if you incorrectly entered $ 15200 on your income but the employer sent in $ 20,000 the process will pull out your tax return for 'special' processing.
  15. Also your tax return gets pulled up in a random audit checks. The most brilliant minds in the IRS ought to be designing these computer programs to determine which tax return needs to be pulled up for auditing. Perhaps the holy grail of IRS secrets!
  16. If you pass step 9, and you have a refund, you will be routed to a program that prints your refund check – give another 1-2 days for this process to complete.
  17. If you elected direct deposit, a pay request will be sent to deposit the money into your bank account (1 day)
  18. If you did not elect direct deposit, your refund check will go for printing (1 day). Then your refund will go to the mailing department to be sent to you (1-2days). After about (2-3 days) of spending time in the USPS, the check should get to you – again via snail mail, the same way you mailed out your tax return.

This was just one tax filing scenario – the one with a happy ending! Did you glean any information from this? Did you learn how you can do this process more efficiently, or how you can cut your tax preparation costs. Out more about the find the tax filing process and the tools and tax preparation tips That will surely save you a lot of grief 's and save you money!

Source by Ronald Robson