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Oh Dear, Binders! For the Month End Close Process?

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Does low-tech essentially mean low-cost? Maybe not. A financial close Reconciliation software system is transparently cost-effective.

We like security. You prefer security. As CFO’s we tend to not to just prefer security, we tend to demand it. Our brains continuously store constant reminders of Compliance, Governance and of course Risk.

Storing all monthly close reports in binders might give that old style feel of security, however that feeling is deceptive.

the Sudden Audit Check

What if you’re suddenly audited? What happens when you have to go back and check a reconciliation statement? What happens if you’re a large company and its an internal auditor or your Risk Manager who needs to make sure fraud is kept at bay in the Month end close process? what is it going to take?

In all these situations, utilising binders to archive is eventually going to prove a lot more of a hindrance than a help:

– What binder is it in? The physical area needed to store the binders could be a growing inefficiency.

– Where is it? It generally is in a hefty binder to go through.

– Will the account reconciliation be understood easily enough? And all of the supporting documentation? It’s tough to trace who the financial reconciliation was originally performed by, particularly if there’s a reference to another account. Exploring through your archive binders is tedious.

– Even if impeccably filed, it still will still take a member of your finance team a while to uncover the precise piece of data required.

– Chartered Accountants costs. The in depth manual search time finding all the data that proves that your Month end close was correct, requires money. If you’re a group of corporations, they have to travel to your various offices which in turn requires money too.

With the some financial close software systems offered on the market all the month end close reconciliation work is mainlined in digital archives. The act of looking for and retrieving documents is typically needed at a moment’s notice… for any references. Or perhaps for searches on which reconciliation policy and what reconciliation procedure was used.

Checking documents from this perspective can result in a suggestion for improvement, which can be very valuable. Or how about the criteria for the supporting documentation, is it sensible enough? Or, how was this account reconciled within the previous period? Or, how will an equivalent reconciler reconcile different accounts?

Answering essential queries like these via electronic search compared to manual searching is really cost-effective, don’t you agree? The digital archive within the Cloud is additionally more “secure’ against fire or flood. The chartered accountant won’t even need to visit your offices, the audit is often done from their office.

High tech accounting software systems doesn’t always mean high-cost

High tech financial reconciliation software can even be comparatively affordable compared to low-tech solutions. Yes, it’s invariably going to cost a bit more compared to Excel, however still less compared to the work to make “Excel Reconciliation’ effectively complete the Month end close – in addition, it more importantly, addresses and satisfies the common issues listed above.

Some financial Reconciliation software systems available on the market feature…

• automated account reconciliation management

• an approval workflow scheduler

• a compliance checker

• a digital archive

• and more…

… to make your monthly close process quicker, easier and with less risks involved.

Enhanced account reconciliation software systems have been purposefully designed to satisfy all the challenges finance professionals expressed within the recent Adra Match financial close benchmark survey. Or if you would like a quick summary, get the infographic covering the financial close benchmark results. Some financial close reconciliation software’s, are often transparently cost-effective and offers you features only giant corporations were large enough to afford. That is until now.

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Collaborative Divorce or Cooperative Divorce?

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Introduction

“Collaborative divorce” is the new buzz word in family law practice. Its proponents enthuse about better and less costly settlements, greater client satisfaction, fewer accounts receivable, and less stress in the practice of law, than they can achieve through a conventional approach to family law disputes. How realistic are these claims? What are the down sides of “collaborative divorce”? Does the concept of “collaborative divorce” present ethical pitfalls and possible malpractice minefields for the unwary practitioner?

Lawyers who participate in the “collaborative divorce” movement use methods borrowed from more established alternative dispute resolution procedures to resolve family law disputes without litigation. However, unlike more accepted dispute resolution procedures, in “collaborative divorce” the lawyers and their clients agree that they will not engage in formal discovery, will voluntarily disclose information, and will settle the case without court intervention of any kind . They assume a duty to inform the attorney for the other party of errors they note in opposing counsel’s legal analysis or understanding of the facts. If they are unable to settle the case, both lawyers must withdraw from representing their respective clients and the estranged spouses must start over with new counsel.

Good Lawyers Routinely Practice Cooperatively

Even the most enthusiastic supporters of “collaborative divorce” concede that the concept of settling cases rather than litigating them is hardly novel. Capable family law practitioners have always directed their effort and creativity toward reaching agreement rather than duking it out in court. It isn’t news to anyone that litigation is expensive – sometimes prohibitively so – and that the most satisfactory settlements derive from skilled negotiation between capable counsel rather than a court-imposed resolution of disputed issues. How does the idea of “collaborative divorce” differ from what experienced practitioners do as a matter of course?

Courtesy. The commitment of lawyers and parties to treat each other courteously is not a new one. Capable attorneys consistently endeavor to work cooperatively with opposing counsel to identify and value assets, set and meet scheduling deadlines, and otherwise facilitate resolution of the case. They respect legitimate positions taken by the other party and encourage their clients to be realistic and respectful as well. They are willing and able to compromise, and they are creative in crafting acceptable resolutions of disputed issues. “Collaborative divorce” supporters intimate that their process is unique because lawyers commit that they will not “threaten, insult, intimidate, or demonize” other participants in the divorce process. Good lawyers don’t do that now. The American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, which historically has provided a model for good practice nationally, has promulgated “Bounds of Advocacy” that set a high standard for professional courtesy and cooperation.

Emotional cost. “Collaborative divorce” proponents say their process is designed for parties who don’t want to go to war and who don’t want “to hate each other for the rest of their lives.” This description fits the vast majority of family law clients, including most of those whose cases end up in court. Clients almost always care about the emotional cost of adversary proceedings, and about the impact of the divorce action on their children and other family members. To suggest that people who really care will give up the protections provided by court oversight is to do a vast disservice to most of our clients.

Financial cost. “Collaborative divorce” supporters want to reduce the costs of the process by streamlining the discovery process. This also is not a new idea. Good lawyers have always sought to keep formal discovery to a minimum, to share costs of appraisals, to stipulate to values, and to cooperate in other ways to keep costs down. Many experienced practitioners routinely utilize mutually agreed upon short-form interrogatories, four-way meetings, joint telephone or in person conferences with experts, and other such collegial arrangements.

As the above analysis indicates, the goals espoused by “collaborative divorce” lawyers do not differ in degree or in kind from the goal of the vast majority of the family law bar. Most lawyers try a cooperative approach first. Most lawyers agree – and most of their clients concur – that resolution of issues by settlement is preferable to litigation. And in most cases, lawyers and their clients resolve disputed issues by agreement and do not resort to the courts.

The Limits of Collaboration

Despite the most concerted efforts of capable counsel, we all know that not all cases settle, and those that do settle sometimes don’t settle easily. All of us have encountered the frustration of the last-minute, courthouse steps agreement, after completion of all the work and stress of trial preparation. Why is it that some cases don’t settle until the very last minute, and some cases don’t settle at all?

Unsettled Legal Issues. Legitimate reasons to resort to litigation are not always evident at the beginning of a case. Much appellate work involves issues the existence of which – or at least the seriousness of which – did not surface until significant discovery and negotiation had occurred. Where the law is unsettled or where counsel genuinely disagree about the appropriate interpretation and application of the law to the facts of their case, it is not only reasonable but necessary to ask the judge to intervene. Cooperative counsel can reduce the complexity and expense of litigation by limiting contested issues, stipulating facts where possible, agreeing in advance to the admission of exhibits, declining to engage in delaying tactics, and other behavior that is both practical and considerate. Lawyers can commit themselves to conduct the proceedings without animosity and can counsel their clients to be courteous to the other side. But the court has the last word on interpreting and applying the law.

Reality Testing. All clients say they want a “fair” result and many of them genuinely mean it. But they may have a very self-absorbed definition of “fair.” Many years ago Leonard Loeb, whose wisdom and example have greatly influenced the development of a civilized standard of practice for family law attorneys, pointed out an important truth: “Sometimes the hardest negotiation you have to engage in is the one with your own client.” A client who simply cannot see the broader picture despite counsel’s best efforts may require the reality therapy of a temporary order hearing, or a pretrial with the judge, or a deadline for responding to formal discovery, in order to be capable of backing down from an unreasonable stance so settlement negotiations can proceed.

Scheduling Orders. We have all represented a left-behind spouse who does everything possible to avoid or at least delay the divorce, or a party who is preoccupied with business affairs or other family problems and just can’t get around to dealing with the work and decision-making implicit in the divorce process. If one party would prefer that the marriage continue, or if completing the action is not a priority, the court may need to facilitate progress in the case by issuing a scheduling order and setting deadlines. Counsel can cooperate by being reasonable and courteous in setting initial deadlines and in agreeing to extensions where necessary. The process need not be – and usually is not – antagonistic.

Financial Disclosure. A client may, deliberately or inadvertently, fail to disclose assets without the rigorous attention to financial detail that formal discovery entails. Surely we have all had the experience of finding forgotten assets when a client produces the records necessary to back up his or her interrogatory answers. In other circumstances, the client and/or counsel may need the assurance of due diligence in discovery in order to be comfortable with a proposed settlement, especially where the estate is complex or the assets are substantial.

Stability. Then there is the personal factor: divorce presents a significant life crisis for most of our clients, and we see them at their most vulnerable and most needy. The commencement of a divorce action is often accompanied by anxiety, guilt, an danger, and may throw a family into chaos. If one party’s antagonism toward the other is so overreaching that he or she is unable to proceed rationally and courteously, interim court orders may be the only way to achieve a level of stability that permits collaborative discussion of the long-term issues presented by the case.

In each of the above situations, the legal system provides structure and finality, and often sets the stage for the ultimate negotiated resolution of the matter. Court processes, rather than being an impediment to settlement, often facilitate it.

The Effectiveness of a “Collaborative Divorce” Approach

Do “collaborative divorce” techniques provide an effective response to the above limitations? Unfortunately, they do not.

Reality Testing. A client whose sense of “fair” is out of kilter with that of the other party and the lawyers will defeat the collaborative process, and both sides will have to incur the expense and delay of starting over with new counsel. Reality testing through a temporary order hearing or a pretrial with the judge is not an option in “collaborative divorce.” The lawyer representing a difficult client must either advocate for the client’s unreasonable position or take a public position adverse to the client’s view. An attorney cannot ethically make either of these choices, The first is at least arguably frivolous; the second violates the requirement that we advocate diligently for our clients. Proponents of “collaborative divorce” have not provided a solution to this ethical dilemma.

Delay, Expense, and New Counsel. A client who wants to stall progress in a “collaborative divorce” can do so indefinitely, until the court threatens to dismiss the action and the party wishing to proceed must then retain new counsel to request a pretrial. Again, both sides incur the expense and delay of bringing a new attorney up to speed. The attorneys who know the facts and have established rapport with their clients cannot continue to be involved. How can this result benefit anyone?

Diligence. Lack of due diligence in discovery may subject the attorney to a malpractice claim [see Helmbrecht v. St. Paul Ins. Co., 122 Wis.2d 94, 362 N.W. 2d 118 (1985)], may violate the ethical requirement of diligent representation, and may make the client uneasy about signing on the dotted line. In complex cases and cases in which there is a disparity in the spouses’ respective familiarity with or involvement in financial affairs, the security of formal discovery is not available to help resolve “collaborative divorces.”

Timely and Efficient Court Intervention. If there is sufficient antagonism that experienced counsel are unable to negotiate an agreement, or if one party refuses to comply with an agreement, court intervention is necessary. Under the “collaborative divorce” approach, both lawyers must withdraw just at the time that an attorney who knows the case is most effective.

Malpractice Issues

In collaborative divorce, the parties and their respective lawyers sign a single contract, at least arguably creating obligations of each lawyer to the other attorney as well as to both clients. The collaborative law contract puts each lawyer in privity with both parties and with opposing counsel, creating a basis for contract claims to which an attorney is not exposed in standard practice. Moreover, the collaborative divorce contract assumes, though it does not specifically state, that each client completely waives his/her attorney’s obligations to maintain client confidentiality and not to inform the other party or lawyer of his/her legal, factual, or strategic errors. Yet, the contractual commitments required for “collaborative divorce” eliminate these obligations and substitute in their place obligations to disclose and to inform that are at least theoretically actionable either as contract claims or negligence (malpractice) claims.

Assume that Attorneys A and B and their clients have agreed to proceed with a “collaborative divorce.” Attorney A makes a mistake that disadvantages client A and benefits client B. If Attorney B fails (deliberately or negligently) to correct the error, can client A sue Attorney B for malpractice? If Attorney B corrects the error, to his/her own client’s detriment, can Client B sue Attorney B for malpractice? Does the existence of a “collaborative divorce” contract provide a defense to malpractice? Does it increase malpractice exposure by permitting each party to sue both lawyers?

If, unknown to Attorney A, Client A fails to provide full financial disclosure and thus disadvantages Client B, can Client B sue Attorney A for malpractice? Can Client B sue Attorney B for failing to take steps to discover the omission? Can Client A sue either or both of the attorneys for malpractice if the nondisclosure was inadvertent and would have been discovered through standard formal discovery, and if the effect of the error is that the judgment is vacated and litigated with new counsel with Client A held liable for Client B’s additional costs?

If Attorney A fails to spot an issue that would likely be resolved in Client A’s favor, does Attorney B have a duty to raise the issue? If Attorney B fails to do so, can Client A sue Attorney B for malpractice? If Attorney B raises the issue, can Client B sue Attorney B for malpractice?

Have you notified your insurance carrier? How will you pay for breach of contract litigation and possible judgments against you that your malpractice insurance does not cover?

“Collaborative Divorce” May Increase the Cost of Divorce

“Collaborative divorce” is marketed as a cost-saver for clients, but is it really? We all know that settlement is less costly than litigation. The issue is not whether “collaborative divorce” is less expensive than litigation, but whether it permits participants to spend less than they would if they employed more conventional settlement approaches. Most lawyers try informal discovery first and proceed to interrogatories or requests for document production or depositions only where informal attempts have failed or where the information provided is suspect. Most lawyers schedule contested trials only after repeated attempts to arrive at negotiated settlements. Most lawyers genuinely believe that better and more creative settlements can be achieved through negotiation and creative planning rather than through a court-imposed resolution. Virtually no good lawyer chooses litigation as the first and best option.

In a conventional divorce, the lawyer who has worked up the case, who knows the client and the facts, and who understands the interpersonal dynamics of the case, can use this knowledge base to proceed if necessary to a litigated conclusion. In “collaborative divorce,” if negotiations fail the clients have to begin again with new counsel and pay a new lawyer to learn the complexities of the case. If the clients have a relatively simple financial situation, they probably can’t afford to pay twice. If they have a complex situation, the time and expense necessary to duplicate or recreate the financial analysis and valuations will likely be outrageously high. In some cases, clients may save some money, though there is no evidence that “collaborative divorce” is less costly or less time-consuming than any cooperative settlement approach. In other cases, however, overall costs will skyrocket, and the time it takes to complete the process will be significantly extended because of the duplication of effort entailed by substitution of counsel. And while “collaborative divorce” proponents suggest that its practitioners will have fewer uncollected accounts, one may reasonably question whether clients who are forced to change lawyers will fully pay both sets of counsel.

Is “Collaborative Divorce” a Better Process?

Advocates of “collaborative divorce” say that clients are motivated to learn problem-solving strategies because there are no “court threats.” In some cases that may be true. Experienced attorneys know, however, that with many clients it is precisely the ability to schedule court dates and set deadlines that provides the impetus for settlement. Cases often settle only when delay is no longer possible and the time for gamesmanship is over. We’ve all had the experience – probably on both sides – of dealing with a client or opposing party who stubbornly sticks to a position until trial is imminent. Clients who employ more efficient problem-solving strategies do so in most cases because they understand that they will get the best results that way, and a contested trial date need not be scheduled in order to negotiate a settlement. There are no “court threats” because they are able to resolve their differences without the looming specter of a contested divorce. Moreover, where the bargaining positions of the respective clients are unequal – one is more financially experienced, or more legally knowledgeable, or simply more intimidating – the reality of “what the judge will likely do if we go to court” may be crucial to a fair settlement.

“Collaborative divorce” supporters also claim that clients are “more satisfied” with the results achieved with the collaborative approach. It’s not news that clients are more amenable to and more willing to comply with the terms of an agreed settlement than one that is court imposed. But what is the evidence that clients are “more satisfied” with a collaborative settlement than with a settlement reached through conventional cooperation and negotiation?

“Collaborative divorce” proponents contend that the process offers a way to practice law that is “more positive, more challenging, more rewarding, and more fun” than conventional practice. This is simply not the case for those of us who have historically settled most of our cases creatively, without having to give up the option to litigate if negotiations break down, or to dodge ethical issues, or to assume additional malpractice exposure..

Cooperative Divorce

The attorneys who are spearheading the “collaborative divorce” movement have adopted this idea with the best of intentions. They are looking in good faith for a more humane and less stressful way to deal with the sturm und drang of marital dissolution. They are legitimately frustrated with the waste of time and duplication of effort that goes into simultaneous settlement negotiations and trial preparation. They want to make a hard time easier for their clients and for themselves.

We can work toward these goals without running afoul of ethical rules, increasing malpractice exposure, and refusing to use the available resources of the court system appropriately to facilitate negotiated settlements wherever possible. Let’s call it “cooperative divorce.”

The “cooperative divorce” practitioner would:

Respect all parties and counsel and treat all participants courteously.

Respond promptly and in a straight-forward way to requests – both formal and informal – for information. (No paper bags full of unsorted documents, receipts, and junk mail in response to a request for production of documents; if you need an extension of time, explain why and ask for it rather than leave the opposing attorney to guess when he or she will hear from you, etc.)

Cooperate with rescheduling requests, requests for extensions, and the like as a matter of common courtesy. Everybody needs a break sometime.

Tailor information requests to the information needed for each specific case, rather than sending blanket, form discovery documents or routinely scheduling depositions without a specific purpose.

Educate his or her client about the other party’s rights and perspective, rather than simply supporting the client’s position regardless of its merits or the realities of the case.

Encourage the client to take a broad view and consider relationship issues. Help the client focus on the issues that can be resolved within the legal system and discourage justification of the client’s bad behavior on the basis of the estranged spouse’s total lack of redeeming qualities.

Prepare seriously for settlement negotiations; do the homework that is necessary to conclude the case. Run after-tax cash flow schedules and marital balance sheets; put together comprehensive parenting plans, update financial statements – as if the case were going to trial instead of a negotiation session. Too often we contribute to delays by being unprepared to negotiate effectively.

Keep his or her word. If a cooperative lawyer commits to provide information or a document draft by a certain date, he or she does so or makes a courtesy call to explain an unavoidable delay. If a cooperative lawyer makes a proposal in negotiation, he or she does not renege on the proposal on the table and retreat to a more favorable position for his or her client.

Use the legal system as a resource to help settle the case if appropriate.

Understand the rich menu of alternative dispute resolution resources and recommend their use as appropriate.

Maintain a civil and courteous approach. If litigation is necessary, stipulate where possible, cooperate with the admission of exhibits, accommodate the other side’s expert witnesses, and advocate for his or her client without becoming antagonistic.

Most good lawyers do most of these things most of the time. But we all slip up on occasion. Committing to “cooperative divorce” avoids the problems of “collaborative divorce” and improves the practice of family law.

Thanks to Gary Young, Allan Koritzinsky, Linda Balisle, and Margo Melli for their input and support of the “cooperative divorce” concept.

This articles provides general information only and is not intended as a substitute for legal advice. Nor does this article imply any attorney client relationship. This article is for informative purposes only and may not apply in your state, please consult an attorney in your area.

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Internet Business Secrets – The Power Of An Automated Money-Making System

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I was reading an email by a pretty high-profile marketer recently and he brought across what I thought was an excellent point. The truth is, I’ve been an advocate of having an automated business system online, as that is the best way to fully make use of the Internet to generate a stable income.

Having a sales system (or marketing funnel or whatever it is you call it) ensures that your business is powerful and reliable. Moreover, this system goes out to work for you.

A sales system, for those of you are not sure what it is, is the funnel your customers go through when they experience your business. This includes your website, your order form, your download page or order confirmation page, your bonus products, your email follow-up system, your customer support, and everything else your customer experiences.

On the Internet, unlike in offline sales, it’s not you yourself that’s generating the sales, it’s your machines! It’s your autoresponder, it’s your merchant account, it’s your web page.

Once you set it up and put your input into (say creating a web page), the ‘thing’ goes out to work for you and generates sales for you.

When you combine these factors, it comprises a system. And that system is powerful leverage.

Marketing and traffic is important, but so is your marketing system! So before you even start marketing and advertising your business, ensure that you have a marketing system in place, that will ensure your business gets off on a very strong footing that almost guarantees your future profits.

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How to Make Money Online by Proven Methods of Successful Internet Marketers

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Technology is changing daily at a very fast pace. Business is using this changing technology to improve their sales. Online Businesses and internet entrepreneurs can incorporate different techniques to use the internet to make money online; These techniques are not limited to but include; (1) Affiliate Marketing; (2) Surveys; (3) Software/Game Testing; (4) LinkShare Applications; (5) High-Powered Sales Promotions; (6) Multi-Level Marketing (MLM); (7) Gambling.

I have researched for years which online businesses have become and continue to be successful. Some businesses can be successful with very little thought but get lucky and are at the right place at the right time. They are what I call “fly by night” ventures in which someone has an idea and is able to get people to buy in to them and the founder makes a lot of money. They don’t last. Many of these are associated with the late night TV show promotionals in which you will see an authority figure such as a Doctor or PhD who says their product will help you become smarter, physically more attractive or lose weight to be glamorous. They all have web sites that continue the hard sell and you as a buyer must be astute not to be taken advantage of. These can be high-powered sales promotions or multi-level marketing (MLM) programs that sound great on the surface but underneath are pretty shacky. You might say these methods are not very ethical but many start-ups are not regulated and the result can be “let the buyer beware”.

Some are established, well founded organizations that have structure, purpose and missions with logical business plans. Those include Affiliate Marketing, Software/Game Testing and many LinkShare Applications. These are the ones that have well thought out business plans and will be around for the long term. I recommend you investigate these techniques if you have a desire to sell or test products.

Other online businesses are as simple as having you, as a consumer take surveys for money, click-on-links to make money or you can also find gambling opportunities for you to hopefully win money. Remember that gambling is money that is risked for possible monetary gain (“Great souls have wills; feeble ones only have wishes.”) and these internet business techniques, although well established and in many cases lucrative, utilize hooks to suck you in and make you believe you can beat the odds to make money online.

I have been successful at Affiliate Marketing and recommend this approach. All techniques can be investigated and you can make money doing them. But there are no free lunches in this world and you will need to work very hard and persistently to find the right technique for you.

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Things To Know When Selecting An Online Casino

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Online casinos are nothing but the online version of the conventional casinos. The popularity of online casinos is increasing tremendously in recent times. Online casinos enable the gamblers to play their favorite casinos games from the confines of their home. If your a casino enthusiast and want to play online then these tips would help you find the right US casino sites online.

1. While choosing an online casino the foremost thing to do is to check whether the casino has a good registration process. The registration process should be such that it should do a complete identity check and it must keep all your personal details secured. Some online casinos require you to give your own user name and the casino provides (administrator defined) password. It is advisable to not join such casino because the administrator defined password can be easily cracked and they can be easily manipulated.

2. While choosing a casino you must also consider the money security factor. You must choose a casino that offers you fund security. You must choose an online casino that uses reliable and authentic tools for money transfer.

3. To avoid any problems you should carefully read the contract details before joining. You can easily distinguish authentic casinos from others by their contract itself. These legitimate casinos have a detailed specification of their contracts. You should not join a site that refrains from giving its terms and conditions as chances are high that they can be fake.

4. Once all your security concerns are sorted out you can choose a casino that offers the best gaming experience and offer a high quality user interface.

5. You must choose a casino web site that provides a good payout scheme. You can also check an online casino directory for sites that provide good online casino bonuses.

6. Last, make sure the casino site accepts players from the country you live in. Not all casinos accept US Casino players for example so make sure the site accepts players from your country.

Once you have selected an online casino you will want to earn money and be successful at it. The key lies in learning the casino basics. The following tips would help you to be great gambler:

1. Before you start gambling on online you must pre-determine the amount with which you would play. Effective money management is the most basic tip to be a competitive gambler. If you set a limit for yourself you will lose less money and only what you can afford.

2. To start winning you should be very patient and be aware of other players moves. You can take advantage if you see other players are on a roll and you can increase your bet and increase your chances of winning.

3. If you are a beginner you must always start with games that require only limited experience. Though these games usually do not pay big winnings, they will help you to become a good player and allow you the opportunity to gain experience. You should not play complex games until you are ready and experienced enough. Once you have gained confidence of winning in these games you can go on to bet on games which requires higher skills and knowledge.

4. A very important tip to be successful while gambling on online is to know exactly when to stop playing. If you are reckless and continue to bet even when you are losing continuously then you can lose a lot of money. You must immediately stop betting when you are on a losing streak.

You must be aware of these facts and you must utilize the above mentioned while you gamble on online casinos.

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UL 2050 Certification – What it is and How to Get It

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Developing a UL 2050 Room

Anyone already in the security business knows that getting a certificate from Underwriters Laboratories is no small task. On the contrary, getting a facility “certificated” is a lengthy and labyrinthine process that requires achieving a host of the highest standards and ongoing inspections to maintain them.

That said, it is far from impossible. Hundreds of security companies are certificated nation-wide and thousands of UL 2050 certificated facilities are in operation.

This article is primarily meant to assist those businesses looking to develop a UL 2050 room by compiling all of the necessary information in a single place. However, those who already own and operate these secure facilities, but are looking to change their security company, can also benefit.

A Brief History of UL 2050

In 1993, the United States Department of Defense developed a set of standards and guidelines for securing its classified material, information, and equipment to be developed, stored, or maintained by a government contractor. Specifically, these standards were laid out in something called the National Industrial Security Program Operating Manual or NISPOM. This meant that in order to do work for the DOD, every contractor’s facility needed to meet these particular standards and procedures.

Around the same time, an independent organization called Underwriters Laboratories developed a set of standards that would meet and often surpass the standards laid out in the NISPOM. The result was Underwriters Laboratories 2050 or UL 2050.

2050 has no particular meaning except it’s how UL refers to this specific level of security. The DOD recognizes UL’s meticulous standards and UL, in turn, is authorized to certify security companies to create, monitor, and inspect Sensitive Compartmented Information Facilities or SCIFs.

SCIFs and Who Uses Them

At it’s core, a SCIF is any room or facility that will be used to research, manufacture, store, or support any projects, information, equipment, or personnel for any branch of the Armed Services or other agencies. Usually they imply classified information or materials, but while this may conjure images straight out of James Bond, these can be anything from a computer or chemical lab to warehouses and woodshops.

These SCIFs are almost always used by government contractors or those hoping to become one by bidding on military and government projects. Indeed, UL 2050 is the standard for the Department of Defense. Any company looking to work with the DOD, the Armed Services, or any of the other twenty-two government agencies must have a UL 2050 certified SCIF. Since these contracts are far-reaching and often insulated by a national budget, the demand for UL 2050 certified SCIFs typically remains fairly constant even in times of economic downturn.

Getting a Business UL 2050 Certified

Firstly, it isn’t a business or company that gets UL 2050 certified, but rather a specific room or facility. UL 2050 means that the SCIF has been constructed and inspected to meet UL specifications that take as their basis the DOD’s NISPOM. Whether it’s one or one hundred, this must be done separately for each SCIF.

However, and this is key, it is not UL that issues the certificate. Underwriters Laboratories deals directly with specific security companies. Each security company goes through a rigorous process of validation and certification to achieve what UL calls “CRZH” certification. CRZH doesn’t stand for anything, but refers only to the code UL assigns to this type of certificate.

The security company, by virtue of its CRZH certification, is authorized to consult, construct, inspect, monitor and certify a SCIF within a specified radius of about a four-hour response time, or 200 miles. It is the security company that sponsors a facility for certification and issues the UL 2050 certificate.

The First Step

The very first step toward UL 2050 certification is to contact a CRZH certified security company. UL maintains a directory of such companies on their website. Simply, type in your location information and “CRZH” into the “UL Category Code” and you will be given a list of all certified companies in your area. Keep the scope of the search broad by using only state or country information. This will return more results that may apply to you in a 200-mile radius.

Once you contact the security company, negotiations begin for the kind of SCIF you need for what you’re looking to do. Typically, this will start with an inspection of the proposed site and then proceed to what systems and changes will need to be implemented.

It is impossible to overestimate the importance of this security company. A SCIF must be constructed according to precise standards. Each step of construction, programming, electronics, and monitoring must be done by companies with their own particular levels of certification and quality. A CRZH security company is an invaluable resource for finding trusted companies from builders to alarm monitors.

Consulting a CRZH certificated security company as early as possible allows a business to develop realistic budgets and determine competitive bids for government contracts.

Cloud of Mystery

Anyone looking to develop their first SCIF may be put off by how unclear the public information is. Cost, for example, is rarely discussed in any finite terms until well into the process. The reason, simply, is that the cost must be determined on a case-by-case basis according to what changes need to be made to meet UL 2050 standards.

Similarly, the standards themselves, described in a single UL publication, are one of the most highly controlled documents in the nation. Due to the level of security concerned, a copy can only be issued when a security company registers with UL. Even then it will only be given to a designated employee that is verified by address and contact information and the copy he or she receives is individually numbered and cataloged. Needless to say, the consequences of duplicating or leaking the security standards of every DOD and Armed Services project in the country are dire indeed.

After Online and Long-Term

Once the room is developed, the security company is responsible for inspecting and monitoring the facility to ensure it meets and maintains UL 2050 standards. Underwriters Laboratories will execute their own inspection of each aspect of the facility. After the facility has been approved, the security company is authorized to issue an official UL 2050 certificate.

This certificate is a kind of bond ensuring that the facility will operate by UL 2050 standards and that the security company issuing the certificate will facilitate and ensure that level of operation. To do so, the security company will perform periodic inspections of the facility, as will Underwriters Laboratories. These inspections are often unannounced and will occur at least once a year by both organizations.

Consequently, it is critical to have a security company you trust. Not unlike other services, a good security company should have an extraordinary commitment to quality in installation, service, and response. The stakes, after all, rank into the millions of dollars in government contracts.

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Car Modification – Modifying Your Car – A Global Trend

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Modifying your car has been a popular pastime for many years. By modifying your car you are able to put your own unique personal touches on the vehicle to make it stand out from the rest. There are many cosmetic modifications that don’t make the car run any different, but then that’s not the point 90 percent of the time! More often car modification is done just to make your car look better or give it a more aggressive race like appearance. These types of modification are simple and will make your car stand out from the rest with very little work. As for the cost of car modifications, that is an altogether different story. Parts are freely available off the shelf from companies such as Spareco, Koni and Spax. For example you can buy Spax suspension, Janspeed exhausts, Momo rims and steering wheels, body kits, light alloy pedals, leather or led lit gear knobs, Corbeau race seats and even race harnesses.

Getting a new set of wheels for your vehicle is a popular choice. There are many alloy wheel styles to choose from. Another popular modification is having your windows tinted. Tinted windows can help keep the glare from the sun out and also makes it harder for others to see into the car. I.C.E or In Car Entertainment is vital to any car modification project. Enhancing your cars audio is extremely popular and the range of products and options available provide DIY car modifiers with a world of choices. Products to choose from include the popular iPod Car Adapter kits, USB, CD & MP3 Stereos and, multi CD changers, front and rear parking sensors (some have video), plus the leads, tv screens and tools required to fit everything. Leading brands include: JVC, Dension, Panasonic, Connects2, Dashmount, Parrot, Alpine, Autoleads, Kenwood, Pioneer & Sony.

Today car navigation systems such as Motevo, TomTom, Garmin and Pioneer navigation systems are key ingredients when modifying a car. Even satellite or GPS Navigation systems come in hundreds of shapes and sizes. The main types of in-car navigation systems are in-dash mounted navigation systems, portable GPS systems, hand held systems, motorcycle and marine systems and finally the remote navigation systems where the GPS system is plugged in to your car radio for instance. When buying a new GPS system its often better to opt for higher resolution screens as they make the map information easier to see. Large memory and a decent control chip make for smooth and efficient operating, the last thing you need is slow loading and in accurate positioning. Most GPS systems have large touch screens, working with a stylus can be tricky so it does help and lastly pay particular attention to how visible and mobile you wish your model to be. If it’s a permanent fixture in your car then bigger models are great, but if you need to take it in doors after use, a smaller model may be the answer. Car security is a factor not only when modifying your vehicle but also when insuring a car with lots of expensive audio equipment in it. Phone you current car insurance company and find out what you can do before your insurance starts costing you more. They will no doubt also require an upgrade to your car security system and there are simply so many companies out there the likes of Viper, Tracker and Clifford. They all sell various systems such as standard car alarms, remote car start systems and GPS tracking systems. GPS stands for Global Positioning Systems. Professional fitment is recommended and car security shoppers should always insist on a certificate of fitment from the dealer fitting the car security system.

If you want to give your car a sporty look without spending a fortune you can have racing mesh fitted for the front bumper of your car. This looks good and can also improve the airflow around the engine compartment. “Eyebrow extensions” is another way to customise your car. These extensions are usually plastic and are fitted to your car’s head lamps. You can get these in a variety of colours and are relatively inexpensive. Car engine mapping is also relatively cheap to have done and performance gains can be substantial. It is recommended that you have engine mapping performed by competent, well known companies as they are best able to advise you of other crucial safety features you should improve when doing so. Up-rated brakes being one of them and more expensive tyres make for better high speed performance and traction to handle the additional engine power. Consider upgrading the oil you use in your engine when you have this done and use an high quality performance air filter, fuel filter and also replace all perished water and oil hoses frequently, if you haven’t already done so. Engine mapping or chipping is basically re-programming your cars CPU and it is given new instructions on how to fuel your engine. The more power you ask for the more gas / petrol your mapping will request along with other parameters such as increasing the airflow to the engine by tricking the motor into thinking the air is colder, this produces more power. All this power comes at a cost though. Most cars that have upgraded their engine management systems do so for more power, not efficiency and in doing so use more fuel and rev higher too. Cam belts should be replaced more frequently and if you plan any engine modifications have a word with the manufacturers about what you plan to do.

There are many things that can be done to modify a car. An entire industry has been created by the need for body styling, engine tuning, lowered suspension and big bore exhausts. Any part of a car can be modified and making modifications is a statement of individuality and personal style. The most popular cars for modifying are usually small, low insurance group hatches. Always update your car insurance company with the latest modifications to ensure your cover is not withdrawn due to something you thought may be OK which they do not. Other insurances like car breakdown cover and gap insurance cover should not be affected by modifying your car, unlike your car warranty policy which will almost certainly be affected. Give your car warranty company a call and make sure your cover will still be provided before you make any changes.

Popular Cars to Modify

Peugeot

All of the cars from Peugeot are popular cars to modify. You can even modify the 106, 206, and 306 pugs. The Peugeot 306 GTi is one of the most popular hatches to modify and tune. You can find a wide range of 306 body kits and tuning parts. Second hand Peugeot vehicles are reasonable and can be found almost everywhere. The insurance group starts off low so it makes it affordable for most. These cars have the potential to make a street racer that you can be proud of.

Citroen Saxo

The Citroen Saxo is one of the most modified cars because there is loads of modifying parts available. You can find everything from body kits to suspension. A popular choice for modifying is the Saxo VTR because it can go from 0 to 60 in less than ten seconds. It also is very fuel efficient and takes corners well. There are plenty of places to get parts and garages that work on them. You can modify a Citroen Saxo to be a real head turner.

Vauxhall Corsa

The Vauxhall Corsa is one of the cheapest and easiest cars to modify. They are also very cheap to insure even when they have been modified. Parts are readily available and they are reasonably priced. The Corsa B is a definite favourite for modifying.

Honda Civic

The Honda Civic has always been a popular car to modify. It has grown in popularity due to the film, “The Fast and The Furious.” The Honda Civic EK is one of the more popular hatches to modify. You can find a wide variety of Honda Civic body kits and tuning parts.

VW Golf

The VW Golf can be modified to look cool and there are plenty of parts available for the later Golf’s. Volkswagen Golf VR6 is a poplar car to modify and there are plenty of body kits and tuning parts available.

Famous Cars

Some modified cars have become popular because of being in a film or on a TV show. Some are noted for their superior performance and some are known for the celebrity driving them. Below are a few of the cars that are considered icons today.

1967 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500 Fastback was the star of the 2000 film “Gone in 60 Seconds.” In this film the car does some unbelievable stunts, including jumping over 15 feet of cars.

1963 Volkswagen Beetle became famous in the “Herbie” series films. Herbie was a little Beetle with a Porsche 356 engine who gave the big boys a run for their money.

1969 Dodge Charger became a muscle car icon through the television series, “The Dukes of Hazzard.” It had a confederate flag painted on the roof and the doors were welded shut. The modified Charger R/T, called the General Lee seemed to be always airborn.

1982 Pontiac Firebird Trans Am was made popular by the television series, “Knight Rider.” The modified Trans Am known as KITT was a hyper intelligent crime fighting automobile. This car could do everything including, see, hear and smell.

1974 Ford Gran Torino was made famous in the television series, “Starsky and Hutch.” It was a powerful muscle car with a 351 Cleveland and 4 barrel Holley carburetor. It was driven hard by two California detectives in the series.

1977 Pontiac Firebird Trans Am was made famous in the series of “Smokey and the Bandit” films. It was a powerful 6.6 liter 200hp muscle car that everyone wants to own.

1970 Dodge Charger was just one of the many fast modified cars in the film, “The Fast and The Furious.” This is a classic move that all gear heads love to watch over and over.

2003 Mini Cooper S-R53 was made famous in the 2003 film, “The Italian Job.” This little mite packed a supercharged 1.6L Tritect engines and was involved in some intense chase scenes.

1979 Ferrari 308 GTS was made into an icon by the television series, “Magnum PI.” The mid-engine V8Ferrari was featured in the original series. The show and the amazing performance of the 255hp GTS made people flock to the nearest dealer to buy one in the 1980’s.

There is a downside to modifying your car. If you don’t have a specialist or someone experienced in modifying your particular make and model of car, you may be wasting your money. You need to select the right combination of modification to gain the most out of your car. If you select the wrong combination you will have spent a lot of money for nothing. Another thing you should remember is modifications to your car may affect the warranty. It will also make your insurance premiums higher. You also have to be aware that some engine modifications can violate regulations and emission laws. You have to make sure that any modifications to your car are safe and won’t disrupt the reliability and stability of the vehicle. Sometimes modified engines are often touchy and require premium fuel.

It is easy to get caught up in the whole modification process and end up modifying the car too much. The rule of thumb should be; less is more. Otherwise you will spend huge amounts of money, which could add up to more than the car is worth. Also, if it is over modified it can be hard to sell and most dealers won’t offer a deal to do a trade in for the car. Just keep these factors in mind when you are going to modify your car to express your style and personality.

Enjoy your new car!

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