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11/09/15 Small Business Sustainability

At a recent meeting of The Presidents Forum, the discussion of sustainability came up, and whether this concept had importance for small businesses. The Dow Jones Sustainability™ Indices rate large companies based on three sustainability criteria; economic, environmental and social and measures factors such as innovation, risk management, code of conduct, climate strategy and talent attraction and retention.  The members around the table believed it was easier for larger companies to focus on “purpose versus product” while still devoting resources to each.  However, the members agreed in the long term consumers will reward those companies with a high “sustainability index” and penalize those with low scores. Even those in the small business arena. The dynamic discussion that ensued was how small business accomplishes this – creating overall value at an acceptable cost.

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What’s the Worst that can Happen?

10/15/15 Risk Management begins with the question “Is there some event that can shut down our company?” Volkswagen seems to have missed the answer to that question. We wonder if someone at VW asked “what’s the worst that can happen if we manipulate emissions test results?”   Today, VW is finding out the answer to that question, with potentially the largest claims ever on a company. There is a lesson here for all companies to seriously consider “what’s the worst that can happen?”

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Global Summit

10/01/15 Last week, at Withum Smith & Brown’s 2015 Global Summit in NYC, we heard Arnold Chr. Stange, an international tax and legal partner with HLB Stückmann in Germany talk about the driver of the German Export Market (2nd largest in the world). The driving force is not the large international companies but the SME’s. Those Small and Medium Enterprises with sales ranging between EUR 20 and 200M, are generally family owned, which means management and majority shareholder are the same. These same size companies in the US are not actively exporting but sell primarily in North America. Perhaps this is an area for growth that American SME’s should consider. And looking at the SME’s success in Germany is a good place to start.

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Revenue Recognition

10/09/15 Revenue Recognition is a very hot topic in business today. The need for contracts with case-specific enforceability provisions has taken on increased importance. Christopher E. Hartmann, Esq. spoke before The Presidents Forum on contract pitfalls. Identifying performance obligations, collectability provisions, implied warranties, indemnity rights and reciprocal rights to terminate are contract provisions that Hartmann believes should be well crafted in every contract. “One size does not fit all.”  Companies should regularly review their customer and vendor contracts; otherwise they risk being at a competitive disadvantage in the future.

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Global Summit

10/01/15 Last week, at Withum Smith & Brown’s 2015 Global Summit in NYC, we heard Arnold Chr. Stange, an international tax and legal partner with HLB Stückmann in Germany talk about the driver of the German Export Market (2nd largest in the world). The driving force is not the large international companies but the SME’s. Those Small and Medium Enterprises with sales ranging between EUR 20 and 200M, are generally family owned, which means management and majority shareholder are the same. These same size companies in the US are not actively exporting but sell primarily in North America. Perhaps this is an area for growth that American SME’s should consider. And looking at the SME’s success in Germany is a good place to start.

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Global Summit

9/24/15 Today, I was at Withum Smith & Brown’s 2015 Global Summit in NYC. A great opportunity to hear more about doing business globally. A recurring message was the complexity of global business and the necessity of planning, especially for tax issues. Of course, risk management was actively discussed and some creative ways to mitigate risk. Another point is that talent now moves freely between jurisdictions which creates opportunities and challenges. Overall, an impressive Summit.

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