Originally created 04/14/02

Pocket change



EMPLOYER SPOTLIGHT

PLANT VOGTLE

PRODUCT: Electric power

OWNER: Jointly owned by Georgia Power, Oglethorpe Power Corp., the Municipal Electric Authority of Georgia and the City of Dalton.

OPERATOR: Southern Nuclear Operating Co. of Birmingham, Ala., a subsidiary of Atlanta-based Southern Co.

EMPLOYEES: 856

HISTORY: Construction of the Alvin W. Vogtle Electric Generating Plant in Waynesboro, one of three nuclear facilities in the Southern Co. system, began in the mid-1970s. The plant's Unit 1 began operation in 1987, Unit 2 went on line two years later. Each unit can generate 1,215 megawatts.

RECENT NEWS: Plant Vogtle employees earned 3rd place in Southern Co.'s Leaders in Environmental Action for the Future contest. The plant was recognized for several initiatives ranging from recycling programs to hands-on job training for Augusta Technical College students.

BUSINESS 101

Quirky accounting can alert IRS

When companies get audited by the Internal Revenue Service, it's usually because of something questionable on their returns.

The IRS looks for discrepancies such as payroll tax and compensation amounts that don't jibe, or cash-balance figures that seem out of kilter. Large amounts of entertainment and miscellaneous expenses also trip the alarms.

CPAs say the agency is paying closer attention to Subchapter S corporations (named for an IRS provision) which, unlike regular corporations, are not taxed on their income. Some S corporations have been caught paying their owners, who are also officers, an unreasonably low salary to avoid payroll taxes.

BIZ BITES

Retail industry needs good workers

Totalbrand Integration Inc., a Largo, Fla., consulting company, says the retail industry is rife with millions of workers who simply aren't a good fit. Totalbrand said its survey of 4,000 retail workers nationwide shows that 64 percent don't share the values, behavior or personality traits of the top achievers.

Among other findings: 92 percent of retail workers say their employers do not identify or deal with poor performers, and 81 percent of retail managers and executives say leadership jobs are based more on politics than competence.

Employee theft is more common

At one time or another, nearly every small business experiences some type of employee theft or fraud. Whether it's theft of money, incoming business, inventory or intellectual property, small businesses are especially vulnerable to being swindled.

According to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, employee theft costs U.S. employers between $20 billion and $40 billion annually. Nearly 90 percent of all businesses report that they have experienced employee theft of some kind. Unfortunately, 75 percent of employee-related crimes go unnoticed.

Parents request money skills

Many consumers have a hard time juggling their finances, so it's not surprising that a majority of parents advocate teaching children practical money skills in school.

According to a national survey conducted by Visa USA, 92 percent of parents think kids should be taught about money matters including the responsible use of credit.

The survey of 1,000 people also found that when adults were asked to rate which skills were most important to a student's future, 82 percent rated practical money skills very important. History and algebra, however, scored only 58 percent and 52 percent, respectively.

The survey also found that most adults learned their financial skills the hard way - mistakes and missteps. Of the adults surveyed, 64 percent said they learned their money management skills in the "school of hard knocks."

Most tax refunds are already spent

Most Americans who expect to receive a tax refund already know what they're going to do with the money: use it for groceries, clothing and other odds and ends.

In a nationwide survey of 1,000 households, Cambridge Consumer Credit Index found that nearly two-thirds polled plan to spend their refunds. But the money isn't likely to go toward a vacation or new car - 62 percent plan to pay bills and buy everyday items. That, said Jordan Goodman, a spokesman for the Islandia, N.Y.-based Cambridge, means the economy could see a slight boost during April and May.

Just 23 percent said they'd save their refund, and only 5 percent plan to sock the extra money into stocks, bonds or mutual funds.