expense fraud
expense fraud
Once upon a time I worked for a company that had the top executives constantly on the road, traveling, flying to conferences and meetings with clients. These folks struggled to keep up with their expenses, and really suffered when it came time to filing company travel expenses. I often heard these executives complaining, and one time I hear one executive explain to another on how to pad his expenses, and make a nice stipend that padded his wallet. This was fraud, and eventually it caught up with him, and he got fired and had to reimburse the company for his expense fraud.

My friends over at Tallie know about expense fraud since they are in the business of building software for filing and managing business expenses. Read their take on Expense Fraud.

Moles, Voles, Gophers are not your friends if you have a garden of vegetables and fruit you wish to serve to your family.

Something had been digging in my backyard, coming up under my raised beds, and around the fruit trees, and behind the rock retaining walls.

Yesterday my wife came in a rather grumpy mood as something had eaten the roots off her remaining winter greens. She said, “kill em” and I’ll reward you. Well, I said okey dokey.

I’d already emailed Steve Albano and Trapline Products and sent him images of the dirt mounds and damage in the garden. He thought my pest was the Pocket Mole. So I ordered up four of his Gophinator Gopher Traps and set them in a couple of tunnels I dug into. Left them overnight, and this morning with three traps set, two not sprung, I got this:

Pocket Gopher
Pocket Gopher
Pocket Gopher Caught in Gophinator
Pocket Gopher Caught in Gophinator

We live close to open grasslands, and as a result can have a rather unsettling rodent population. The Owls and Hawks do their part to control mice and rats, but sometimes the birds of prey make themselves scarce. Over the years we’ve had mice, and the occasional rat get into the garage, or in the crawl space under the house or in the attic. I run around and fill holes that they use to access the house, but I think the rodents are more tenacious than I am.

A couple years ago I bought a Victor Electronic Rat trap, and more recently I bought a Rat Zapper. Both have killed their share of rats and mice, and both have missed their share of rats and mice. I’ve yet to come to any conclusion why they sometimes fail. Right now the Victor seems to be killing 2:1 ratio vs the Rat Zapper. Again, I’m not sure.

Typically one of the cats or the yappy dog warns us that there’s a critter in the house, by sitting in the general area, and intensely focusing on a cabinet or space behind the fridge or stove. I take out the traps make sure the batteries are charged, and then bait them.

For bait peanut butter, crackers, a chunk of salami, or smoked fish, or a slice of apple, or some cat or dog food seem to do the trick. Turn the traps on, and place them before going to bed. I always place the traps along a wall or appliance where the rodents will tend to travel. They smell the bait, can’t help themselves, and crawl inside, where, the are ZAPPED by electricity.

Just last week I got a mouse, and few weeks before another mouse.

And now I see the cat sitting in front of the stove, waiting patiently.

More to come…

I run a small business, and can barely afford to pay myself most of the time. I make a little money, put it back in the business, and so it goes.

Years ago I talked to an accountant and he said it was time for me to get serious, make money in the business instead of always operating at a loss, so I could start to do things like deduct business travel, take clients out for lunch or drinks and be able to deduct these expenses. Great I thought. But reading an article over blog.tallie.com I see that the rules can be quite a bit different for small businesses versus big businesses. In short, according to the IRS, if you are entertaining some big wig public figurehead you can deduct a $500 bottle of wine for a business expense, but if you are entertaining a Joe Schmo, you might be able to get away with a $100 bottle of wine. Either bottle is mighty rich for my pocket book.

So the IRS rules on expensing alcohol (and other things) are different depending on who you are, and who you are entertaining, and how dare you think you can get away with following the same rules as a big corporation.

Hrrrmph.

Read the article and weep. Then go on over to the IRS and read the rules yourself. Good luck on comprehension.

A good friend recently asked for a recommendation for a Hayward Electrical Contractor to do some wiring in his house and garage. Seems he had old aluminum wiring that was undersized for the outlets. I suggested he give Bob Talai of Talai Electric a call and get an inspection.

Bob Talai Electric came over and thoroughly inspected the wiring, outlets and main breaker and fuse panel coming into the house. Bob made some very specific recommendations on upgrading the wire, outlets and breaker panel finally making the house wiring safe and able to handle much larger loads on the circuits with no danger of overloading.

My friend is a happy camper, and Bob Talai did an outstanding job and under the cost that my friend had budgeted for.