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A Week's Worth: Quick takes on the world of work and money

Where the in-demand jobs are now, why tax preparers may not be up tospeed, and who needs PowerPoint when paper and stick figures workbetter?

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Another down week for the Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped it below 12000 for the first time since late January. The index has fallen 3 percent since its close on Friday, Feb. 29.

Even if the economy continues to slow, employees should find themselves in high demand if they're skilled in such fields as software development, sales, accounting, intelligence, and nursing, according to the website Jobfox.com. "These are thriving and will continue to ... for the foreseeable future," says company chief Rob McGovern. Others in that category: administrative assistants, systems administrators, and tech support and corporate finance specialists.

Expecting a tax preparer to be up to speed on every new change in the federal code is a mistake, according to financial advisers Ken and Daria Dolan. There are at least 10 this year that could cost you money if not taken advantage of. And that, they say, is your responsibility because professional preparers are taught how to fill out forms, not how to ease the bite for their clients. "And, needless to say," the Dolans add, "the IRS won't pipe up on your behalf."

Drawing on the back of a napkin (or other paper) turns out to be just as effective a business technique now as it ever was. Or so says international management consultant Dan Roam. At meetings, he disdains such tools as Excel and PowerPoint because he has found that others' "cognitive processes are doubled" when he executes even the simplest illustrations – say, stick figures – on paper rather than engaging in a strictly oral presentation.


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