A simple step can hinder thieves

Last year, 2.5 million Californians were victims of security breaches that revealed their personal information to unauthorized people, according to the state Attorney General.

More dramatic than the number of people victimized is the conclusion that 1.4 million of those people would have been protected if merchants and businesses had taken the simple step to encrypt the data, inserting a digital key that locks access to information as it is transmitted.

Jul 1, 2013 Bill Sessa

We Are the 96%

What affordable care really means for your business

In just nine months, the bulk of the federal Affordable Care Act will go into effect. Many of its provisions will have a real impact on the majority of small-business owners. Still, less than 1 percent of America’s small businesses are currently in a position to face penalties under the law. Here’s what you need to know:

May 1, 2013 John Arensmeyer
Robert Rivinius, executive director, Family Business Association

Family Advocate

A new family-business crusader emerges

California’s seven family business centers (including two in the Capital Region) are committed to addressing the needs and challenges of family-owned companies.

However, all are registered as 501(c)3 organizations, and as such are precluded from lobbying activities.

May 1, 2013 Douglas Curley

Energy-Efficient Opportunities

Making lemonade out of greenhouse gas mandates

Late last year, California held the nation’s inaugural cap-and-trade auction, where greenhouse gas emission permits were sold in an effort to monetize and reduce carbon pollution. And just last month, new cap-and-trade regulations on large power and industrial plants officially went into effect.

Feb 13, 2013 John Arensmeyer
Certified Public Accountant John Sterling looks at damaged boxes of records removed from his Crisfield, Md. office after superstorm Sandy

(Photo by AP Photo / Alex Brandon)

All Wet

Would your vital documents be safe in the face of disaster?

On the Staten Island waterfront, long-time beloved Italian eatery Puglia by the Sea rises from the waves with floor to ceiling windows offering dramatic ocean views. White tablecloths sit foreground to a grand cherry-and-brass bar, and patrons regale over stately plated mussels, antipasto and filet mignon. Or, they did. Until Hurricane Sandy.

Jan 1, 2013 Andrea Kennedy
Griselda Barajas (left) provides health care insurance to her 10 employees at Griselda's Catering in Sacramento. Her small business is in the minority of those that can offer such benefits.

Health Care Heads-Up

Insurance clarity is on the way

The U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in June to uphold the Affordable Care Act briefly tempered some of the political brouhaha surrounding the new health care law. But partisan rhetoric flared again during election season, creating more confusion about the law than clarity.

Nov 1, 2012 John Arensmeyer

The Truck Stops Here

18-wheelers sacked by clean air cops

There is a squad of clean air cops in Sacramento with a strong-arm approach that squashes the stereotype that environmentalists are wimps. These officials make up the enforcement branch of the California Air Resources Board, and they face off against truckers still fuming over
emission-control rules they fear will put them out of business.

Oct 1, 2012 Allen Young

Urine Trouble

Workplace drug screening is worth debating

A staffer in the office of Bonney Plumbing, Heating, Air & Rooter Service grew concerned after smelling alcohol on an employee headed out to a job site. The staffer immediately notified management, who met the man at the site and also detected the scent. This was enough reasonable suspicion to demand a drug test, which showed the employee had been intoxicated while driving a company vehicle.

May 1, 2012 Samantha Bronson

Family Planning

Strategies for a prosperous succession

When Albert and Frances Lundberg fled the Dust Bowl-ravaged cornfields of Nebraska in 1937 to settle in the greener pastures of the northern Sacramento Valley, they did so with hope for the future.

May 1, 2012 Anne Gonzalez

The Tax Man Cometh

Navigating a criminal investigation from the IRS

Perry Ghilarducci holds a vivid memory from the day the Internal Revenue Service showed up unannounced at his office. Nobody wants a surprise visit from the IRS, and it’s even more nerve-wracking when the agents are from the criminal investigation division and when, like Ghilarducci, you’re an accountant.

Apr 1, 2012 Robert Celaschi

Tenant Tactics

How to plan for tenant improvements

Tightening belts may be the overall theme in commercial real estate these days, but a little planning can turn into big savings. Business owners looking for a home and landlords seeking tenant upgrades can trim expenses without shredding the wish list.

Feb 1, 2012 Carol Crenshaw

Compensation Boomerang

An overcorrected workers' comp system seeks balance

In 2003, California’s workers’ compensation rates led the nation, setting off a debate about the cost of doing business here. Enter former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and his sweeping 2004 reforms to the system — everything from disability payments to medical care guidelines to return-to-work benefits got an overhaul.

Jan 1, 2012 Samantha Bronson