The World Is Changing … Fast

I had the pleasure of attending another incredible tech conference this week. Sponsored by XERO, a cloud accounting solution provider, the event was held in San Francisco on Pier 27.  First, can I just say how fortunate I feel every day to live in such a gorgeous part of the country? Wow.

I don’t think I will ever get used to the variety of  experiences (not to mention changes in temperatures) that exist within a short radius of Napa.  The event was beautifully situated in one of the most scenic areas …

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Outsourced not “Out… Sorry”

There are certain tasks that no one in your winery wants to do.  Okay, maybe there is someone who gets a real thrill out of filing Form 5120.17 in your winery. But they are the exception and please, please, be kind to those people.

But for most people dealing with high volume, highly regulated or low reward transactions, automation is the answer. Sometimes you  automate  the transactional stuff (sales tax), but you just can’t stay on top of the rules (compliance), or the payment deadlines, or the darn form changes (payroll).  In other cases, there …

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Calendar Confusion

Note: this post originally appeared on LinkedIn

Calendar courtesy of Frye's Printing, Napa, CA

Calendar courtesy of Frye’s Printing, Napa, CA

Do you suffer from tax season deadline confusion? Let me help you gain some perspective.

While it gets confusing at times figuring out which United States income tax return is due when, it is far easier than figuring out the date of many springtime religious holidays, festivals, or celebrations. Here are just a few events to consider:

For those who celebrate Easter, a complex bit of calculus is necessary. I was raised Catholic …

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Applied DISC – how to write for different audiences

Our firm uses the DISC behavioral approach in almost everything we do. We teach teams to understand their own natural communication styles and to adapt when they are communicating with those who have different observable styles. We use DISC in sales training classes, in selecting our own team members, and in helping others resolve conflicts. It is a tool (which regularly involves exercises with crayons) that aids us every time we attempt to share or explain financial statements or tax returns.

DISC Colors

But DISC is also a valuable aid for writing. Once …

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Bright skies, cool weather and balloons floating overhead. And that’s just my morning commute in the Napa Valley.

Balloons in paradise Nov 2015







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Changing the View

It is amazing how much you can take for granted. Over time, as you go about your daily chores, driving hither and yon, rushing to work and back again, you stop noticing.

The first time I drove up highway 29, my heart skipped a beat. I was bursting with joy. I could barely believe my good fortune at having a chance to work in a magical place like this. But that was 8 years ago. I have traveled thousands of miles since then, met hundreds of people, consumed loads of grits, tasted some incredible wine, and learned to pronounce Gewurztraminer (sort …

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When it comes to software, design matters.

Automated business solutions are readily available for the wine industry.  They range from Accounting software to CRM, Point of Sale, Wine Club, Production, Harvest Management, and eCommerce solutions. Some are focused on ease of use while others are focused on depth of features and customization capabilities.  Depending on the business problem you are out to solve, you might be swayed by one aspect of the software more than others. For example, no matter how well designed,  a difficult to use Point of Sale solution would not be a wise choice for a winery tasting room. The choices get more complicated …

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Project Accountant?

Currently, I do not watch a lot of television.  With 100 channels available, I frequently cannot find a single thing interesting to watch.  However, I have found a guilty pleasure — a sequin among the remnants, if you will — in the so-called “Reality TV” category of entertainment.  I confess here and now that I like to watch Project Runway.


No, I don’t look like anything Heidi Klum (I am way too short and have long since lost my …

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Winning with Team Chemistry

Congratulations to the San Francisco Giants baseball team for winning the 2012 World Series!  It’s a special accomplishment that requires much more than luck. Winning at a team sport depends on a number of factors:  great players, successful execution, and teamwork to make it all come together.
The success of …

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Apples and grapes

Recently, one of my friends posted a comment on a popular social media site lamenting the impending removal of an orchard of aging Gravenstein apple trees that was adjacent to her property.  Her comment expressed her sadness that the orchard was being removed to make way for “yet another vineyard”.  While I, too, have a sense of loss every time I see a Gravenstein orchard being removed, I do not feel that a vineyard is a bad result. 

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