Monthly Archives: January 2018

The Benefits of Big Data

There has never been more data available to business owners, but without proper analysis, that data is mostly noise. Simply collecting data will do your business no good. If you want to cut through the noise and find the proper signal, you need to understand the value of data analysis.

The field of data analytics has come a long way in a short period, and the repercussions for marketing, product selection, and supply chain logistics are both profound and far-reaching. If your business is not yet taking advantage of data analytics, you are missing out on a golden opportunity. Here are just some of the benefits of data analytics for businesses of all sizes.

Lower Turnover

It can be hard to tell if the people you employ are fairly paid, and without the right analytics, you may never know. You could simply ask your employees, but chances are the answer will be a resounding no. If you want to assess your compensation strategy, you need to analyze the data carefully, and quality analytics can be a big help.

By making sure your payment plan is sound, you can lower costly employee turnover, retain your best employees and verify that the work gets done. The more you know, the easier it will be to run your business profitably.

Better Decision Making

As Jason Kulpa, CEO of the San Diego based technology company states, “If you fail to make the right choices for your company, you will not be in business very long. The corporate landscape is littered with the corpses of businesses that were once leaders in their field and are now struggling just to stay afloat.

Data analytics can make the decision-making process both easier and more efficient. Instead of relying on intuition or guessing which way to go, you can use hard data to guide your decisions. The result will be better decision making — and a more profitable business.”

A More Effective Product Mix

If you want your business to be successful, you need to deliver quality goods and services to your customers consistently, but knowing what buyers want can be extremely difficult. You can survey your customers, but there is often a difference between what shoppers say they want and what they purchase.

Data analytics allows you to break through the noise of misinformation to find out what your buyers want. By analyzing buying patterns, store traffic, and website data, you can hone in on the most important issues, fine tune your product mix and give your customers what they want.

Greater Efficiency

All else being equal, the most efficient business is bound to be the most profitable. If your company is not running at peak efficiency, you could be wasting money and missing out on a prime opportunity to make more money and move more products.

By utilizing data analytics, business owners can improve their efficiency, lower their costs and ultimately make more money. From the very beginning, data analytics has been a primary driver of business efficiency, and greater efficiency remains one of its biggest benefits.

Whether the business you own is brand new or decades old, analyzing your data can have profound benefits for you, your employees and your investors. If you are not yet taking advantage of the power of analytics, you are selling yourself, and your business, short.

Tips for Getting Out of Traffic Violations

No matter how careful of a driver you are, you’re bound to make a violation from time to time. Sometimes, all that it takes to get pulled over by the police is going just several miles over the speed limit in order to keep up with the rest of the traffic. Many people think that they simply have to pay the fine when they get a traffic ticket. However, there’s a good chance that you’ll be able to get some tickets dismissed. Although the process fighting a ticket can be stressful and time-consuming, the effort will definitely pay off.

When you simply pay the fine, you’re basically admitting guilt. This can result in the automatic revocation of your license advices lawyer Max Keller. Remember that you have 90 days to decide whether you’re going to pay it or enter a plea. During these three months, you will have plenty of time to explore different options, so you shouldn’t rush into things. If you decide to fight a ticket, you will essentially be going to court and will plead your case in front of a judge and district attorney. In some cases, you may never end up going to trial, especially if it’s your first violation in the jurisdiction. Chances are that the district attorney will automatically offer you a reduced fine.

Nevertheless, if you get a court date, then you will need to show up and contest the ticket. The first thing that you should do is remain respectful and calm. Although the trial may be a stressful event for you, it’s very important that you answer every question the prosecutor asks you in a respectful tone advises lawyer.

If you want to get the ticket dismissed, then you will need to organize all of your facts and format that in a way that makes it easy to reference them. If you’re organized and are armed with a lot of information, it will be easier for you to fight the case. Some of the information that you should have includes your current registration and insurance information, time of the day of the violation, the exact date of the violation, the radar readings, and the weather conditions when the ticket was issued to you. Before your trial starts, make sure to go through the information once again in order to be prepared and look professional.

You should also check whether the officer that issued your ticket has checked in with the court clerk. Police officers often don’t show up for court dates because they don’t have the time. Keep in mind that they issue a lot of tickets. If the officer is not present at the trial, he or she won’t be able to tell his or her side of the story. When this occurs, the ticket often gets dismissed.

It shouldn’t discourage you if the officer does show up, since you’ll still have a chance to present your case and challenge the officer’s subjective conclusion. For instance, when an officer issues you a ticket for making an unsafe right, you can challenge this conclusion and say that your actions were safe due to the traffic conditions at the time of the violation. Again, it’s extremely important to have as many facts and good arguments as possible.

If you’re unsure what to do during a trial and feel like the whole process is too stressful, then you should consider hiring a lawyer. This will help you get a professional second opinion. A lawyer will help answer any questions you have about the trial and will help you be prepared for your court date.

It’s important to note that there is a huge difference between presenting a good defense and simply making up an excuse for making a traffic violation. You should never use petty excuses for breaking the law.

Getting Started With Cryptocurrency Trading

Cryptocurrencies are considered by many economists to be the most significant financial development of the 21st centuries. Not a day goes by without headlines about Bitcoin and other digital currencies being mentioned on major news media outlets. In 2018, CNBC and the Wall Street Journal are hardly the only news platforms following the cryptocurrency world; the BBC, New York Times and even the Daily Mail are also engaged in this reporting.

Even with all the aforementioned attention that cryptocurrencies are getting these days, quite a few people are not clear on how they work; what they do know, based on news reports, is that trading these digital currencies can be a lucrative activity. When considering that the total market capitalization of cryptocurrencies was valued at more than $200 billion in late 2017, it is easy to see why so many people wish to get into cryptocurrency trading.

Introduction to Cryptocurrencies

When talking about Bitcoin, Ethereum and other major cryptocurrencies, it is important to remember that they serve three purposes:

* Monetary transactions

* Store of value

* Distributed ledger

Cryptocurrencies are financial instruments that can be used to settle transactions. Similar to fiat currencies such as the United States dollar, the pound sterling and the euro, cryptocurrencies can be used to make purchases, make payments and transfer funds; as long as two parties agree to accept settlement by means of cryptocurrency, the transaction will be forever recorded in a distributed ledger that is powered by the blockchain, an open source software platform that also serves as a network.

One of the most notable characteristics of cryptocurrencies is that they are decentralized, which means that they are not tied to a standard or to values imposed by central banks. This explains why Bitcoin, for example, has reached such high currency exchange values when compared to the dollar; individuals who buy and sell this cryptocurrency are the ones assigning value to it, and this is a perfect explanation of Bitcoin as a store of value. Just like the value of gold is determined by market traders, Bitcoin holders determine how much it is worth in dollars.

Cryptocurrency Trading Platforms

Those who are familiar with the foreign exchange (forex) markets will easily understand cryptocurrency trading. Whereas forex trading platforms are mostly managed by online retail brokerages, cryptocurrency trading takes place on exchange platforms. Similar to forex currency pairs such as EUR/USD, which puts the value of the euro against the dollar, cryptocurrency exchanges offer traders the opportunity to take market positions on pairs such as BTC/USD, which puts the value of Bitcoin against the dollar.

Getting started with cryptocurrency trading requires setting up a digital currency wallet plus an account at an established exchange. Most newcomers should be able to get both a cryptocurrency wallet plus a trading account for free at reputable exchange; the next step would be to acquire cryptocurrencies to deposit into the wallet, and this can be accomplished in different ways. Some people post an item for sale in an online marketplace and ask for payment to be made in cryptocurrency while others will try their hand at mining, but these are cumbersome methods; it is better to simply acquire cryptocurrency from the exchanges, this involves depositing regular currency such as dollars and requesting an exchange transaction.

Choosing the Cryptocurrency to Trade

Bitcoin is hardly the only cryptocurrency that can be traded for profit; in fact, most beginners will be better off getting started with alternative cryptocurrencies, also known as alt-coins; the main advantage of these currencies over Bitcoin is that they are not as volatile, and many of them seem to be more promising because their blockchain development is superior.

A good rule of thumb for novice traders is to select a cryptocurrency launched by the exchange itself. The advantage in this regard is that the underlying server platform that supports the exchange is also being used to support the blockchain of its cryptocurrency, which makes it more robust. Whereas Bitcoin transactions are taking some time to clear due to the high trading volume and complexity of the network, this is not the case with alt-coins launched by cryptocurrency exchanges.

Spotting Investment Scams and How to Protect Yourself

You should never let your guard down and hand over your money to someone without doing some proper research to see if you’re the target of an investment scam. It’s completely normal to be intrigued when someone comes to you with an opportunity that involves an incredibly high return with a minimal risk. However, just because someone knows how to grab your attention doesn’t mean that they should be trusted.

It’s completely normal to lose money in an investment. Sometimes your intuition will be wrong or you will decide with your emotions instead of doing proper research. There will be times when your analysis will be faulty or you won’t have too much luck when it comes to timing. When you make a bad investment, you will feel some regret. But if you lose money to an investment scam, then that regret will be huge.

In order to avoid becoming the target of investment scams, you will need to know how to spot them. Although you can get approached with various different types of investment scams, there will always be some signs that you’ll be able to look for. “The best thing you can do to protect yourself from investment fraud is to be aware of the common fraud tactics and to watch out for the recognized red flags of stockbroker abuse and misconduct,” advises investment lawyer David Meyer.

First of all, you should never trust people you don’t know if they approach you with an opportunity to bring you in on an inside deal. There is no reason why a complete stranger would get in contact with you and promise to make you rich. What would be in it for them?

Secondly, whenever you are offered a trading system that will make you rich, you can bet your bottom dollar that it’s a scam. Just think about it – why would someone be willing to sell this type of trading system. Finally, you should never give money to anyone promising to provide you with secrets to earning a fortune. Another thing to remember is that you should never give money to someone who guarantees a high return. Every good investor knows that nothing is guaranteed in the world of investments.

You should never make an investment just because someone told you to do it. If you think that there’s even the slightest possibility that you may be the target of an investment scam, then you should trust your instincts. Make sure to ask a lot of questions. Fraudsters will always try to avoid answering them properly, since they want people to invest right away.

Of course, simply asking more questions isn’t enough. You’ll also need to do your own independent research. However, know that you should never base your investment on company news releases and unsolicited emails. Make sure to find out everything you can about the company’s business and the services or products they provide. This will help you figure out whether it’s worth investing in the company or not. It’s also a good idea to look at their financial statements. You can do this on the SEC’s EDGAR (Electronic Data Gathering, Analysis and Retrieval) database.

You should also get to know the salesperson that presented you with this investment opportunity. Even if you know the salesperson socially, you’ll still need to learn more about their professional background. You can always check the disciplinary history of financial advisors and brokers for free by using FINRA’s and SEC’s online databases.

A common investment scam would be to get an unsolicited pitch to invest in a new tech company that has a product with a game-changing technology. Sometimes you will even see the company being praised online. However, if you can’t find any current financial information about it, then you can be sure that it’s just a scam.

Home Ownership Tax Deductions

One of the reasons people decide to buy their very own home is because of the tax breaks. You will be able to deduct different expenses associated with owning a home, such as private mortgage insurance, real estate taxes, and mortgage interest. If you’re a first time homeowner, you need to learn more about tax deductions, as it will greatly reduce your tax bill.

Mortgage Interest

Deducting mortgage interest is probably the biggest tax break most homeowners can take an advantage of. If you took out a loan of up to $1 million in order to buy or improve your home, you will be able to deduct interest on it. You should also know that even if you take another mortgage for a second home, it will also count towards the million dollar limit. In January, you will receive Form 1098 that will contain how much interest you paid during the previous year, which is exactly the amount that you can deduct on Schedule A.

Real Estate Taxes

Property taxes are used by your local government in order to fund functions like emergency services, parks, schools. Most homeowners consider this to be a big expense. However, the good news is that the local property taxes that you pay every year are deductible.

If you pay taxes through an escrow account, then you will see the amount that’s deductible on a form you receive from your lender. In case you pay taxes to the municipality directly then you will need to check your records. In most cases, homebuyers reimburse the sellers for real estate taxes that they have paid in advance for the time you owned the home. If that was the case when you bought your home, then you will see the deductible amount on your settlement sheet.

Prepaid Interest Deduction

Chances are that you had to pay “points” to your lender in order to get a mortgage for your house. In other words, you basically paid the lender a percentage of the loan amount when you took out your mortgage. However, the good news is that these points are 100% deductible in the year that you paid them.

If you paid three points (3%) on a $250,000 mortgage (3% of a $250,000 mortgage equals $7,500), then you are able to deduct the points but only if you put at least $7,500 of your own money into the deal. What’s even more interesting is that you’re able to deduct the points even if the seller paid them for you as part of your agreement. You will see how many points you paid on Form 1098 that you will receive from your lender. Points (prepaid interest) are reported on Schedule A.

Vacation Home Tax Deductions

Although vacation home tax deductions may seem a bit complicated, you won’t have a problem with deducting them as long as you keep good records of when and how your vacation home is used. For example, if you’re the only one that uses your vacation home (in other words, you don’t rent it out for 14 or more days a year), then you will be able to deduct both property taxes and mortgage interest on Schedule A.

However, if you decide to rent your vacation home for more than two weeks a year (and personally use it less than 15 days a year), then it’s treated like a rental property and you will have to deduct your expenses on Schedule E.

Home Improvements

Although you won’t be able to deduct expenses on your home improvements now, you will be able to include the cost of the improvements in the purchase price of your home when you decide to sell it. This is why you should save all records and receipts for all improvements that you’ve made to your home. This will help determine the cost basis in your property for tax purposes. Even though home-sale profit is now usually tax-free, IRS can sometimes demand part of the profit when you sell it, so if you keep track of your basis it will definitely help in limiting the potential tax bill.

The false claims act and its impact on medical practices

The federal False Claims Act (FCA) is designed to prevent a wide variety of misconduct when it comes to submitting claims for payment to the government for medical services. It provides serious consequences for a medical practice improperly receiving government funds due to intentional fraudulent activities.


The FCA was originally signed into law in 1863. It was considered a way to deal with the dishonest behavior perpetrated by military contractors who defrauded the Union Army. The most common use for the FCA in recent times has been to fight the fraud surrounding payments from Medicaid, Medicare and other healthcare programs funded by the federal government. The FCA has recently been amended by Congress to improve its ability to fight fraud in all the government healthcare systems.


Any violation of the FCA can require a medical practice to pay for damages as well as civil penalties. Each individual violation could be as much as $11,000. Liability for any violation is placed on any medical practice having individuals who acted with reckless disregard for their circumstances and did so knowingly. The Act has a whistleblower provision. A whistleblower who meets the requirements can file suit to enforce the terms of the FCA. If their lawsuit is successful, they will be able to get a significant percentage of funds the government recovers from any violations.

Medical Practices

In the case of United States v. Neifert-White company, the United States Supreme Court ruled the FCA was designed to identify all forms of fraud without qualification. The type of fraud that would cause a loss to the government. When a practice violates the FCA, it is legal for it to experience serious financial damage. This applies to any and all medical practices which are billing any type of Government program for services. It is designed to eliminate practices defrauding the government. This is the case if a practice is billing for services not rendered or upcoding where they provide a service, but bill for a more expensive service. A practice could also be in violation of the FCA if they intentionally withhold medically necessary services provided under the government plan. “The type of fraud covered by the FCA does harm people. If you have been impacted by these types of fraudulent activities, contact legal help immediately” says attorney Howard Ankin.

Financial Recoveries

Financial incentives for whistleblowers in the FCA has resulted in significant recoveries. Rewards being provided to competitors, employees and other whistleblowers have been in the tens of millions of dollars. The FCA’s whistleblower provision has proven to be a very effective law enforcement tool. It has caused medical practices who violate the FCA to become targets. Anyone who discovers their fraud is now a bounty hunter.

Initiating FCA Case

A case for the FCA can begin when the Department of Justice (DOJ) uses its authority to file a case as described in the FCA. When this happens, the DOJ will file a complaint against the offending party with the federal court of proper jurisdiction. They will describe in the complaint what violations of the FCA the healthcare providers are alleged to have committed. A defendant is then required to file a response in writing within two months after receiving a copy of the complaint. It then proceeds like a common lawsuit in federal court.

Qui Tam Lawsuit

The most common method for an FCA case to be started is by a private citizen. They will file a lawsuit known as qui tam. This is not the same as other types of legal proceedings. The private citizen will file a complaint under seal. This means it is done secretly and there is no public record of it with the federal district court where it is filed. The private citizen is not permitted to notify anyone their complaint has been filed. This includes the defendant. A copy of the complaint must be provided by the DOJ. This copy must include a written statement. It should explain the material evidence, as well as information the private citizen is providing in connection with what they are accusing a medical practice to have committed.

 The FCA has been designed to uncover a broad range of fraudulent conduct in the healthcare industry. Penalties for any violation are intended to be severe. The financial incentives provided by the FCA to competitors, employers and other whistleblowers have been successful in discovering and punishing fraud. The FCA is a set of statutes that all individuals involved in the healthcare industry should be aware are in place.