Legal & Accounting Information Online – Beware of ‘Accurate Misinformation’

Small offline businesses often operate on a shoestring budget, relying on getting by on personal credit cards and the like during slow times and trying to get them paid back down during the better times. Since almost every industry is cyclic in nature, this happens time and time again. As a result, small offline businesses often rely on the Internet for much of their legal, accounting and other needed information.
The risk these small offline business owners take is that they’ll often fall victim to ‘accurate misinformation’, a new phenomenon that has resulted from the world-wide scope of information online. The term accurate misinformation refers to information that is true and valid in the jurisdiction where it’s written, but is not necessarily applicable elsewhere. Hence it’s accurate in that locale and misinformation elsewhere.
Small offline businesses usually recognize that they can’t use the information from another country in their legal and accounting issues, but may well be misled by information applicable to only a part of the country they operate in. For example, rules pertaining to taxes, laws and by-laws can vary from state to state, province to province, department to department, and often even differ in each municipality.
Remember, small offline business owners and solo entrepreneurs are fairly savvy, or they wouldn’t be in business long in today’s challenging economic times. So most know to disregard the financial and legal information posted by non-professionals and that they should only follow the advice of licensed and accredited professionals. But they do run the risk of falling victim to accurate misinformation when it’s published by a legitimate professional, especially if the web page they’re reading doesn’t list the exact location of the firm or individual offering up that info.
As a small business owner you know you have to exercise caution and prudence in all aspects of legal and accounting practices – just be sure that prudence extends to avoiding accurate misinformation. No matter how tight the budget, find a way to get solid business, accounting and legal advice from licensed professionals in your own community – it’s the only way to be sure you’re operating in full compliance with the rules and regulations in place where your small business operates.

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