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Workplace Toolkit

A workplace toolkit refers to a collection of resources, tools, and techniques employees use to enhance their productivity, efficiency, and effectiveness. It may include physical items such as software applications, computer hardware, stationery, and equipment, and non-physical things such as training programs, knowledge bases, and communication channels.

A workplace toolkit helps employees perform their duties effectively, streamline workflow processes, and achieve optimal results. It can meet the specific needs of different industries, job roles, and work environments.

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Following are the ten essentials you need to succeed, which are your effective workplace toolkit: 1. Self-Awareness as a Workplace Toolkit

You are employed and are working hard, that’s good, but if you don’t have any aim in life, your hard work will land you nowhere. As Louis Pasteur says, “Chance favors the perfect mind”. Chance only favors the person who knows what he is doing and where he wants to go, which means he is of the right mind. In the same way, if you know and are aware of your weaknesses, you can easily manage and rectify them, which can help build your productivity and increase your efficiency.

SWOT analysis is a most productive and useful workplace toolkit technique. It can help you uncover the opportunities you might not have been able to discover. Whether at the personal level or professional, SWOT would work for you. And once you know what your weaknesses are, you can easily manage and remove the threats and bottlenecks posing hindrances in your ultimate career goals.

And secondly, if you look at yourself through the SWOT framework, you can start thinking out of the box and find yourself different from your peers, learn new skills, and be innovative and creative.

2. Discipline as a Workplace Toolkit

To discipline yourself, adopt time management skills, be a strategic thinker, and devoid yourself of activities that might distract you from your goals. You can create an impressive Workplace Toolkit by showing your capability to maintain discipline. Ask yourself: Can you beat distractions and concentrate on the task before you? If yes, no one can beat you. You will see yourself above the crowd delivering their time less productive, like spending much of your office hours gossiping on social media sites and causing negative feelings in the environment.

Maintain punctuality/time chart

Organize your work schedule

Keep your workstation clutter-free

Make the optimum use of the resources available.

Maintaining discipline is the second best tool in your life incorporated in the complete persona for a successful and healthy life.

3. Technology as a Workplace Toolkit

Learn the new and latest technologies and make yourself comfortable with them. The more you are acquainted with the current technologies, the more your productivity doubles. Technologies can be in the form of software or machines. With the pace at which technologies stand invented, created, and used, the time is not far when we all see our whole personality reflects technology. However, it depends on you how you are utilizing the same. As an Automobile Trade Consultant suggests, “Today, a typical automotive design cycle is approximately 24 to 36 months, which is much faster than the 60-month life cycle from five years ago.” (Source Rita McGarth). Feel and live technology if you want to survive in the battle of your professional life.

Generally, adopting technology is a process that starts with getting acquainted with a particular technology and then moving toward making effective use of it. We would look at technology as a five-step process:

Aware of yourself: Users get acquainted with the technology.

Making an assessment – Users make the workplace toolkit assessment of the technology for its efficiency and efficacy.

Acceptance: Users decide to incorporate the technology and how to use it.

Learning: Users learn how to use the technology effectively by gaining the requisite skill.

Using it: Users finally start using IT to increase efficiency and productivity.

4. Attitude as a Workplace Toolkit

Learn to control your attitude, effectively using it in your work and professional relationships. General people are not aware of how to handle it. And that’s the biggest mistake, as this attitude could make you stand apart. Attitude is a self-perception you generally consider ego, but it is self-love. It governs how you perceive the world and the way the world assumes about you. You know how good you are. It is self-encouragement and self-motivation. The main point is not what is happening to you but how you choose what matters. You can program or reprogram your mind well, which can become an effective tool for generating great ideas. Listen to your inner voice and think about it logically.

5. Visualization as a Workplace Toolkit

Studies have found that great athletes, surgeons, engineers, and even artisans consciously or subconsciously use visualization and affirmations. Nelson Mandela has written about how visualization has helped him retain a positive attitude even in prison for 27 years, “I thought continually of the day when I would walk free. I fantasized about what I would like to do,” he wrote in his autobiography. Visualizing the future keeps the fire of success burning in you.

Focus on the positive side: If you are working on something, focus on the rewards you might get.

Be very particular: Be very specific about what you want, don’t be vague.

Think about your real aim: Think about what you want in your life and keep thinking as if what you want is already with you.

Be very practical and consistent in your approach: Do not do any work which you feel is unachievable. Be realistic and goal-oriented.

Visualization is the best tool for people who carefully visualize the things around them and adopt a critical approach; they begin to analyze the things and gain the ability to form their perceptions and idea.

6. Soft Skills as a Workplace Toolkit

Hard skills are what employers see in you, but these are the soft skills that get you noticed. The following are skills that you should adopt:

Be Flexible


Ability to handle stress and pressure

Develop strong organizational skills

Capability to work in a team

Be Dependable


Adopt great work ethics

Attain a Positive attitude.

These soft skills are the best tools to acquire as they make the best attire of your personality and add to your productivity and efficiency. Besides, they:

Increase your communication skills

Help to display your leadership traits

Develop Lateral Thinking

Empower you to become a key influencer

Built problem-solving capabilities

Judging the most important workplace toolkit soft skill isn’t easy, but this is what employers mean when they talk about the skills. These skills allow you to build co-worker relationships with others and be constructive and productive in your approach and work.

7. Adaptability as a Workplace Toolkit

All the skills apart, adaptability and flexibility are an endowment you need to adapt and add to your toolkit. With the market conditions changing, CEOs must be ready to learn fast. The idea is to form the capacity to adjust rather than stake out your goals and drive through them. As a CEO or an employee, the toughest part is understanding what should be changed and what things are left unaltered without negative consequences.

“Adaptability is a very complicated process. You’re making hard choices, including sometimes giving up values or beliefs, or ways of doing business that may even have been crucial to earlier success.” (Source: Carol Tice, Entrepreneur India).

Sometimes leaders have to redesign the complete concept of what the company stands for only to meet adaptability conditions. An environment where you can express your ideas and viewpoint, come up with tough issues, and emphasize learning from mistakes.

8. Action-Oriented as a Workplace Toolkit

Follow these ways to be action-oriented:

Start your day by prioritizing everyday tasks, and write down your aim for the day and what you want to achieve. Once you have organized and planned everything, it will become easy for you to take action.

Once you have taken action, you will find you have automatically entered into a flow. We have experienced it on one occasion when now, without much effort, we are automatically flowing in the stream.

Be always alert, attentive, and aware of everything that is going around. Your alertness will automatically stimulate you to make a quick decision.

You need to achieve the skill to gain a sense of urgency. Your urgency could motivate you to cut through the competition and reach your goal.

9. Social Networking as a Workplace Toolkit

Networking is not only needed for looking for jobs or clients, but it is a complete platform, or we can also call it a mini world of ideas and creations. It is a world where people are open to each other for the spontaneous float of new ideas. When articulately cultivated and used, a large network ties many like-minded people, build relationships, and opens up many avenues. It is the best tool utilized, if not every day, once or twice weekly.

10. Research Tools as a Workplace Toolkit

Even though you are very intelligent and know everything, chances are there may be many things you are unaware of and do not know about. In this situation, research tools will come to your aid. The online world has many research tools to utilize and get information about anything or everything you want. You can use search engines, online libraries, social networking sites, ebooks, and many more resources. This means you should have the ability to utilize the research tools.

All ideas listed above are simple everyday use ideas, but we generally forget to use them in our hectic daily schedule. But by placing all these ideas and action-oriented plans in our workplace toolkit and using the same, we will see success will be at our fingertips.


In the economical parameters of our corporate endeavors, self-analysis makes us think, “are we standing where we want to be”? And this predicament is obvious as today we must keep moving despite bottlenecks and perplexing situations. Experts suggest we should change ourselves, articulately manage and maintain our workplace toolkit and overcome our predicaments.

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3 Data Skill Sets You Need To Succeed In Data Seo

Data SEO is a scientific approach to search optimization that relies on the analysis and activation of data to make decisions.

But that’s not all it entails.

If you want your organization to succeed in data SEO, there are three distinct specializations you need to develop in addition to SEO knowledge and experience.

These are the skill sets of the data scientist, data analyst, and data engineer.

Whatever your budget, it is possible to improve your SEO with a data-backed approach. In fact, the concepts used by data scientists are becoming increasingly accessible.

Here are the skill sets you need to make data SEO a part of your repertoire.

1. The Data Engineer

Data engineers are the professionals who prepare the company’s foundational big data infrastructure.

They are often software engineers who design, build, integrate data from various resources and manage large amounts of data.

Their main goal is to optimize performance where it comes to the company’s access to its own data.

In large companies, data engineers work with a legal manager for GDPR or CCPA compliance, and often with a security manager.

They frequently use ETL (Extract, Transform and Load) to centralize data, creating large data warehouses that can be used for reporting or analysis.

The main skills and tools can be summarized in the following list:





Data streaming.




Why Should You Centralize Your Data?

First of all, you don’t have infinite time available. Not only is it a waste of time to juggle between tools, but it is also a waste of information not to be able to combine data from different sources.

Often, you have to combine your data with business data (CRM), finance data, and many other types of data that always come with access and security concerns.

Therefore, it is wise to build your SEO data warehouse by ensuring that your SEO tools allow you to export the data properly.

However, there are many difficulties.

The first difficulty concerns the volume of information.

If you have more than 100,000 pages on your website and a lot of web traffic, weekly crawls and daily logs will quickly take up a lot of space.

This becomes even more complex if you add your CRM data and data on your competitors.

And if the system is not based on the right technologies you can have incomplete, missing, or false data.

There are many traps in addition to the volume of data.

These include currency concerns if you work internationally, where you will have to deal with the exchange rates issued each day by the authoritative financial institution in your country.

They might also include time differences. If you calculate a turnover per day in France and that a part of the turnover takes place in Canada, for example, you have to launch the calculation when it is midnight in Canada and not midnight in France.

These are just a couple of examples, but every business is full of traps.

Next, you have to keep a close eye on the veracity of the data because data can be corrupted quickly:

A JavaScript script for GA disappears and your traffic data becomes erroneous.

An API changes its return parameters and several fields no longer obtain a value.

A database is no longer updated because the hard disk is full.

No matter what the case, you must quickly detect this type of anomaly and correct it as soon as possible.

Otherwise, the dashboards produced by this data will be erroneous. It’s tedious and time-consuming to launch retroactive scripts to recalculate everything.

If you don’t have a data engineer on your team, you must at least have a manager who verifies the consistency of the data you retrieve from the different SEO tools.

SEO tools now allow you to easily pull the following data, which you need to monitor for variations up or down:

Analytics data: lost script, tracking error.

Crawl data: crawl too long, crawl canceled.

Server log data: missing periods.

Keyword tools data: adding new keywords.

Communication is key. With good incident management, the whole data chain becomes coherent for use by SEO experts, data analysts, and SEO consultants.

2. The Data Scientist

The data scientist will enrich the data with statistical models, machine learning, or analytical approaches.

Their main mission is to help the company transform the data made available by the data engineers into valuable and exploitable information.

Compared to data analysts (see below), data scientists must have strong programming skills to design new algorithms, as well as good business knowledge.

They must be able to explain, justify and communicate results to non-scientists.

Which Languages Should Be Used & Which Methodology?

The most popular technologies in 2023 for data science are, in the order of popularity:

If you can’t decide on a programming language, I can give you some tips.

First of all, use the most popular language in your company.

If the majority of the developers are using Python, there’s no need to push for R because trying to maintain code in R will double the maintenance cost. This way, you show your ability to adapt.

Then, let the technologies on which you want to deploy your applications guide your choice.

For example, if your team produces its dashboards with Shiny, then R will become your best friend.

After that, note that R and Python are relatively similar if you compare them to C or to Scala. If you’re building your CV, it is ideal to master both.

As far as methodology is concerned, the scientific method prevails and leaves no room for empiricism.

You want to clearly define the context and objectives, then explain the different methods identified and present reproducible results.

Finally, it’s entirely possible that you don’t have the time or the vocation to do data science yourself. In this case, I recommend using a service provider.

Regardless of the agency, the deliverables and criteria for success must be clearly defined with the chosen agency so that there are no unpleasant surprises when using the solution.

Additionally, you may also need to consider data science platforms. The options available to you will vary widely depending on your budget.

3. The Data Analyst

Data analysts are business-oriented data professionals who can query and process data, provide reports, summarize and visualize data.

They know how to leverage existing tools and methods to solve a problem and help people across the company understand specific queries through ad hoc reporting and graphics.

They base their work on the data warehouses of data engineers and the results of the algorithms of data scientists.

Their skills are diverse and can include statistics, data mining, and data visualization.

What Software Should Be Used?

Data Studio is well known in the field of SEO but in business, the market is dominated by Tableau Software, SAP, Microsoft, and IBM.

The recent acquisition of Looker by Google positions it to be among the leaders in the years to come, as well.

Be careful in choosing a data visualization solution.

Data analysts’ ability to quickly adapt to tools brings us back to a “Make or Buy” issue. If you have the budget, proprietary solutions will save you a lot of time.

How to Create Perfect Dashboards

There are many methods but here is the SMART goals framework is easy to remember and can apply here, as well:

Keep charts specific and simple, as too much information kills the information.

The y-axis and x-axis must illustrate measurable data.

A graph should focus on achievable metrics, as there is no point in monitoring metrics that will have no influence on your business. Weather is an excellent example: it has a crucial role on some sites and none on others.

Dashboards should always have relevant summaries in order to be read quickly and understood. If it takes more than three seconds to understand them, you can improve the end result. First, users may be satisfied with an overview, but then they may need a more granular view of the data by juggling filters.

The most important data is time, so be sure to track time-based data comparing each day, month, year, etc.

Of course, keep in mind that if data analysts master SQL, they can turn to open source solutions like Metabase or Superset.

Finally, analysts with programming skills will want to look at Shiny for R or Dash for Python.

Data SEO Projects

The world of data SEO has certainly become less obscure.

As for any project, you will either need to surround yourself with the right people to succeed in large-scale data projects or be well-trained in the professional skillsets we covered in this article: data engineering, data analysis, data science.

At this point, you have probably identified weaknesses or strengths within your company while reading this article.

Don’t hesitate to build out on your weak points by recruiting, outsourcing or training.

More Resources:

Image Credits

All screenshots taken by author, May 2023

Windows 10 And Your Privacy: What You Need To Know

In my last article, I gave you a list of reasons why you should wait for Windows 10. Among those reasons, I mentioned privacy, and I gave a quick overview of all the information that Cortana collects on you, the user.

Some could argue that Cortana’s collection of information is reasonable. After all, it’s a personal assistant; of course it needs a lot of information. But even with these apparent rationalizations, Windows 10 has a lot of shady data collection going on that you should be aware of.

This is all from Microsoft’s own Privacy Statement, by the way.

1. Input Personalization Is Essentially a Keylogger

A “keylogger” is software that records keystrokes you make on your keyboard. It’s considered one of the most dangerous kinds of malware, especially for business users, as a keylogger can capture all kinds of important personal information from your passwords to your credit card numbers to literally everything you say.

Microsoft uses Input Personalization to provide functionalities like auto-correct and personalized user dictionaries. While some would say “fair enough” – and, after all, this can be disabled if you’re uncomfortable – this is the default setting on Windows 10 and something that many users will unknowingly have enabled without knowing the full implications of it.

Just some food for thought.

2. Device Encryption Stores Your Key Online

BitLocker is a Windows feature introduced in the old days of Windows Vista, allowing users to encrypt their computer’s hard drives. This feature came in Enterprise, Server and Ultimate Windows editions and were mostly left out of the common home user’s hands.

Using Windows 10’s integrated device encryption, Windows will generate a recovery key that is backed up online in your Microsoft account. This means that if that account is compromised, this data (and therefore your computer’s data) can be accessed, whether by malicious third parties, Microsoft themselves or federal authorities.

If you really want to keep your drive secure, don’t use BitLocker.

3. Cortana Knows Everything About You

Here’s a simplified list of everything Cortana collects.

Device location

Calendar data

App usage, including time used and how often you use them

Data from emails and texts

Contact information- who you call and how often you interact with them

Music library, what you look at and buy, your browsing history, etc.

Now, make no mistake: Cortana uses all of these features to carry out its purpose. Collecting Email and text data, for instance, is so that you can set calendar events with Cortana, or she can automatically remind you to set certain reminders.

However, there’s still the fact that all of this information is being collected by Microsoft. This would be the Microsoft that sends everything they have on you to the NSA, even if you aren’t in the United States. It’s more food for thought, especially as we proceed to the following.

4. Telemetry Is Terrifying (And Can’t Be Disabled)

What’s telemetry, you may be asking, I’ve never heard of it.

Telemetry is a new feature integrated into Windows 10. Nobody actually knows for sure what it collects, but here’s a speculated list of what it’s grabbing from your computer and sending to Microsoft at all times:

Device information: model, processor info, display info, etc.

All software and drivers installed on the device, plus all hardware connected to it

Performance data: if apps have issues, how well they run, etc.

App data: how long apps are used, how often they’re used, what you use the most, etc.

Network data: this includes your IP address, the connections you’re using and information about the networks you’re using, whether Wi-Fi, wired or mobile

Telemetry is supposedly used to collect usage info and statistics. You’ve probably seen something like it whenever previous versions of Windows have crashed programs on you. An option to send it to Microsoft is given, keeping the choice in your hands.

This removes that choice from you. Windows 10 Home and Pro users can’t disable Telemetry at all, only reduce it. Only Windows 10 Enterprise users can disable Telemetry entirely, which makes sense, because what business in their right mind would have this running?

Those are the main privacy concerns for Windows 10. I didn’t include some concerns other people raised that had to do with Microsoft Edge, as the data collection from Microsoft’s new browser is pretty much the same amount Chrome users get.

Even if you aren’t alarmed by this, I hope you’re at least somewhat more educated by it. It’s always important to know what information you’re giving to those big companies in Silicon Valley, even if you don’t fear the Orwellian worst. They call this the Information Age for a reason.

Christopher Harper

I’m a longtime gamer, computer nerd, and general tech enthusiast.

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Fully Integrated Marketing The Path For Brands To Succeed

Every day of the week, it seems, someone asks me if I can guarantee sales if they hire my public relations agency. Of course if I knew that PR could guarantee sales, then we wouldn’t need any clients – and I’d simply start more businesses and work only for companies I own.  Sales success isn’t that simple, as any smart marketer knows.

Hello! Can You Hear My Brand?

Communicating these days brings to my mind something legendary professional baseball player and manager Yogi Berra once quipped: “It’s impossible to get a conversation going, everybody’s talking too much.” And today, the noise everyone is making is deafening – making it impossible for brands to focus on only one medium to succeed at having their message heard.

Trying to build a brand these days is a lot like giving a speech in a concert hall while the New York Philharmonic is playing Beethoven. A couple of people on the sidelines might notice you if you wave your arms long enough, but can they actually hear what you’re saying? Winning in marketing today is more difficult than it has ever been – creating an exciting, yet scary state of affairs for anyone who works in marketing or communications. The world of marketing for those of us who do it for a living is and always has been about managing conversations, and managing conversations today simply cannot be seen as a one trick pony.

The Cube Root of Radio

The term “integrated” is often overused, but not in a communicative sense, and what were the four Ps or marketing: price, product, promotion, and place, has now been effectively replaced by the four Cs theories of gurus such as Professor Koichi Shimizu [commodity, cost, communication, channel], for an instance.

As an illustration of how fast and far we are moving, even these marketing equations are constantly in flux. Shimizu’s original 4 Cs having now been expanded to 7, to reflect the expanded understanding we all need to comply here – and this theory is 3 years old. Very soon we may be looking at something akin to Radio, TV, and the web magnified by the power of 10.

To succeed today, brands need to operate like an octopus with multiple arms working simultaneously to combine many different marketing elements to reach goals. Good old fashioned public relations matters as it always has – and PR is more important than ever before with the new search engine optimization rules being enforced and introduced. The “compass” shown above should be but one indicator more “arms” are needed, not less. While elements of the so called “four Ps” supply side model (product, price, place, promotion) still bear fruit, clearly much of what we once perceived about “selling” has transformed.

Search Engines, and Everything, Optimized

Naturally Google is more important than any one individual media outlet can ever be – and if you aren’t ranking for key terms on the most dominant search tool you are missing a key element (and no, one can’t “SEO” a website after it’s done.) SEO is a necessity – as is online reputation management, PPC, mobile marketing, and yes direct mail still works when done correctly. Now, factor in the growing mobile marketing dynamic (we may see more Cs), and it’s easy to see all of us have a lot of work to do. I can tell you that 5WPR – and any growing company in the marketing services space – is burning the midnight oil hammering out plans and strategies before implementing – that is crucial for us.

I continually meet with brand decision makers who ask what they need to increase sales – and so few are willing to face the facts of a communicative world where consumers are busier and more distracted than ever before. As in each discipline, the marketer reading this understands how resistant industries are to change.

To Summarize

A fully integrated, strategic communications and marketing approach is key to business success for any brand today. With constant text messages, TIVO, and who knows how many marketing messages pounding at consumers daily, how else can brands to succeed without at least thinking of and operating on these channels. This applies to ALL brands, corporate or SME.

I am reminded of the saying: “A story to me means a plot where there is some surprise. Because that is how life is – full of surprises.” Isaac Bashevis Singer

Brands today need to understand the world is moving faster than ever before – and to succeed, to bend to the near constant surprise, diverse integrated marketing is the only path to growth. And for the marketer, PR, or Ad type still in the dark about the importance of “the other”, I said; “All channels.”

Everything You Need To Know About The Fica Tax

Small business owners are required to collect, report and remit FICA taxes to the IRS. If they don’t, the business owner may face penalties and fines.

The FICA tax comprises Social Security, Medicare and unemployment benefits.

Outside of increases due to inflation, FICA taxes don’t change much, which means small business owners can set it and forget it.

This article is for small business owners wanting to learn more about the FICA tax and how to calculate it.

Paying taxes is a key responsibility of owning a business. While business owners need to be aware of several types of taxes, the biggest one is the Federal Insurance Contributions Act (FICA) tax. FICA taxes are paid by both employers and employees to cover Social Security and Medicare. Since this is such an important payroll tax, business owners need to know what exactly these taxes entail, how to calculate them and when to pay them.

What is FICA?

FICA is the federal income tax that business owners are required to pay on their employees’ behalf. They do that by withholding 10% to 37% of pay from workers’ paychecks. The employee’s income and filing status will determine how much the IRS gets in federal income taxes. In addition to the money they withhold from employee paychecks, employers are responsible for paying their own share of the tax.

FICA comprises three taxes: Social Security tax, Medicare tax (with an additional tax for high-income employees), and Federal Unemployment Tax Act (FUTA) tax.

Social Security tax: The Social Security tax, which is 12.4% of income, is split between the employee and employer. Business owners are required to withhold 6.2% from employees’ paychecks and match the remaining 6.2%. As of 2023, a maximum of $142,800 can be taxed to cover Social Security. This means that those who make more than that are only taxed for Social Security on the initial $142,800, not on anything more than that.

Medicare tax: The Medicare tax is 2.9%, which is also split between the employee and employer. The employer withholds 1.45% of their employees’ wages and pays 1.45%. There is no limit on the income that can be taxed for Medicare.

Additional Medicare tax: There is an additional 0.9% tax for high-income earners – those who make over $200,000 as a single filer, $250,000 as a married person filing jointly, or $125,000 as a married person filing separately. There is no employer match for this added tax.

FUTA: The Federal Unemployment Tax Act was created to fund the nation’s unemployment benefit programs. Employers are required to pay 6% of the first $7,000 of workers’ wages. Businesses that pay this tax fully and on time receive a 5.4% credit, which lowers their FUTA tax responsibility to 0.6%.

Breakdown of FICA taxes

Type of taxSocial Security taxMedicare taxAdditional Medicare taxFUTA taxPercentage of income12.4%2.9%0.9%6% of the first $7,000 of workers’ wagesWho pays?Employee and employerEmployee and employer

Married employees who make over $125,000 and are filing separately

Single employees who make over $200,000

Married employees who make over $250,000 and are filing jointly

EmployerRequired withholding from employees’ paychecks6.2%1.45%N/AN/ARequired employer match6.2%1.45%N/AN/AMaximum taxable income$142,800No limitNo limit$7,000

Key Takeaway

FICA’s three components are Social Security, Medicare and FUTA taxes. Employers and employees split the bill for the Social Security and Medicare portion of FICA, and high-income employees pay an additional Medicare tax.

What payments are not subject to FICA taxes, and who is exempt?

FICA doesn’t apply to all wages. These are some types of compensation that are not subject to FICA taxes:

Wages paid after an employee dies

Wages paid to disabled employees after they begin collecting Social Security disability insurance benefits

Expense reimbursements on mileage

Employer retirement contributions

Did You Know?

While most employees must pay FICA taxes, there are some exceptions. Employees who have worked for the government since 1984, as well as some state workers, may not have to pay FICA taxes.

How is FICA calculated?

Calculating FICA tax contributions of an employee and employer is straightforward. You multiply the employee’s gross pay by the tax rates for Social Security and Medicare. If your employee earned $1,000 this week and is required to contribute 6.2% to Social Security and 1.45% to Medicare, it would amount to $76.50. The employer would pay the other half plus FUTA. 

Calculating the FICA tax can get cumbersome if you have tens or hundreds of employees. The good news is that the best payroll software, CPAs, and payroll services calculate it for you.

“Once you establish a payroll policy and have it up and running, it’s rare for a small business to run into trouble with FICA taxes,” said Mike Slack, manager of The Tax Institute at H&R Block. “The only thing that changes yearly with FICA is the maximum wage limit for Social Security.” 

How do self-employed people calculate FICA taxes?

Those who are self-employed or independent contractors are required to pay both the employer and employee Social Security, Medicare, and Medicare surtax, which is known as the self-employed tax. For 2023, self-employed workers and independent contractors pay a total of 15.3% in FICA taxes.

The Medicare surtax applies to single filers earning more than $200,000 per year and married couples earning at least $250,000 who are filing jointly. Small business owners pay this tax at the end of the year when they file their income tax returns. The IRS allows self-employed workers to claim 50% of the self-employment taxes paid as a deduction on their federal income taxes for the year.

Individuals registered as a sole proprietorship, LLC or partnership are on the hook for the self-employment tax. If you report your business taxes on Schedule C when filing your personal tax returns, you have to pay the self-employment tax.

Key Takeaway

Self-employed people have federal income taxes too, but it’s called the self-employed tax. It covers Social Security, Medicare, and the Medicare surtax if it applies.

Are FICA withholdings mandatory?

The Federal Insurance Contributions Act is the federal law that requires employers to withhold Social Security, Medicare and FUTA taxes from employees’ wages. It is mandatory and ultimately the employer’s responsibility. Small business owners who fail to collect, report, or remit payroll taxes to the IRS face penalties and interest on the money they owe.

Small business owners may also face penalties if they misclassify workers as independent contractors. Under FICA rules, you don’t have to pay taxes on independent contractors, but if the IRS finds that your “independent contractors” should be treated as full-time workers, you could be in trouble.

“The employer is the ultimate party responsible for FICA taxes,” Slack said. “Let’s say the corporation does not deposit those taxes over a certain period of time – the IRS can fine the owner.”

What You Need To Know About The “Rosetta” Flash Exploit

Flash? What’s That?

Everyone who’s tech-savvy already knows that Flash isn’t exactly the safest piece of software to use. It’s written in stone: Avoid opening non-trustworthy pages with Flash. While the vast majority of the public is not aware of this, what is perhaps even worse is that they’re not aware that Flash has an exploit that can really ruin their day. This is why you’re about to find out what this new exploit, known informally as the “Rosetta” exploit, is and what you can do about it.

For those of you who don’t understand what Flash is, it’s the software you sometimes use to view animated content online. Websites like YouTube operated largely on Flash until recently. In case you’re curious, it’s developed and maintained by Adobe after an acquisition from Macromedia.

OK, So What Is The Rosetta Exploit?

An engineer at Google discovered something awry in Flash’s software. It was basically a security hole that allowed anyone who exploited it to gain access to things like cookies and any other additional data that the browser provides in a request. The engineer, Michele Spagnuolo, developed a tool called “Rosetta Flash” that showed how malicious SWF (Flash content) files can be used to do the things he claimed could happen. For years, the exploit has been out in the open and no one bothered to fix it until now. That fact alone should make you a bit wary of using Flash in the first place.

How to Protect Yourself

Luckily for you, Adobe has come up with a fix and it’s already available. The best way to protect yourself at this moment is to update Flash. It’s that simple.  Of course, you should also keep your browser up to date!

If you’re using Chrome, Flash will automatically update if you update your browser. The same goes for Internet Explorer versions 10 and 11.

However, if you’re using Firefox, you will need to manually update Flash using the link I provided above. In case you’re curious, the latest version number is

How to Prevent Any Future Exploits But How do I Watch Videos Without Flash?

Don’t panic! There’s a little thing called hypertext markup language (HTML). For several years, it’s been the language that people used to display whatever you see in websites. Until recently, the only thing it did was allow you to create static content. Without helpers like Flash and other media languages and software, you’d just see websites as they were in the 90s.

This is not the case anymore, though. HTML5, the latest revision of HTML, allows for dynamic multimedia content to be implemented into web pages directly without needing extra layers of software running on top of it. This means you can see videos directly without having to use Flash. Most of the largest websites already support this, so you don’t need to do anything. Just stop using Flash!

All you need to use HTML5 is the latest version of either Chrome, Firefox, Internet Explorer, Opera, or Safari. Using this link, you can see how compatible each one is with the new language. Oh, and don’t worry about your smartphone or tablet. They already support this as long as you’re using one of the mainstream browsers.

The important thing is to leave Flash behind and learn to live without it. Its outdated technology and security risks it presents make it more of a hassle to have around. It’s time for Flash to retire!

To disable flash, follow the proper procedure for your browser:

Internet Explorer – Follow this guide.

Goodbye, Flash! Or Not?

While most prominent multimedia websites already support HTML5, it’s not always going to be a Flash-free world out there. In the event that Flash is absolutely crucial for you to view content, ensure that the website you’re visiting is trustworthy first. If you’ve never used it, assume hostility on first contact. Safer browsing breeds healthier computers!

Miguel Leiva-Gomez

Miguel has been a business growth and technology expert for more than a decade and has written software for even longer. From his little castle in Romania, he presents cold and analytical perspectives to things that affect the tech world.

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