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Ben Johnson of Tech Dump worked to disassemble old electronic adding machines at the Golden Valley company’s facility earlier this year. Tech Dump will refurbish and recycle more than 4 million pounds of consumer electronics, and aims to employ more than 40 by year-end.

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Provost

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Convey Compliance benefits from growing IRS reporting requirements

  • Article by: NEAL ST. ANTHONY
  • Star Tribune
  • April 12, 2014 - 2:00 PM

It’s nearly April 15. And the continued growth of federal tax reporting requirements and the health care insurance overhaul have been good for Convey Compliance Systems Inc., which provides tax-compliance software and services to a growing list of employers.

“Our employee growth has evolved from 130 globally at the beginning of 2013 to 190 today, and we are projecting 250 by the end of next year’s tax season,” said CEO Brian Provost. “The complexity of the tax code is ever-increasing and companies cannot keep pace and they need to add IT and legal or [use a firm like Convey]. We see a lot of companies of 100 to 200 employees [as customers].’’

Provost added that under the new Foreign Accounts Tax Compliance Act “U.S. citizens with dollars invested overseas need to report that to the U.S. government. And there’s trillions invested overseas. With the health care law, people need to prove they are insured by insurance companies and employers need to show it was offered. And there are timelines … and penalties for noncompliance. We just hosted a webinar for about 300 companies about what the Affordable Care Act means in terms of reporting obligations.”

The value proposition of Convey:  economically keeping corporate clients in compliance with growing corporate reporting requirements through its “software as a service model.”

“These forms need to be completed accurately, on time and sent to the right agencies,” Provost said. “And if they don’t do that, there are penalties and potential risks to their [reputation] and franchise.”

The government also has required more third-party reporting on wages and investment earnings to help close the $400 billion-plus estimated “tax gap” between what is owed and collected from taxpayers.

“We’re looking for bright people who fit our culture,” Provost said of the privately held company that is nearly 30 years old.

Provost, who once ran the former Gelco’s expense-management business, said Minnetonka-based Convey will have revenue of about $45 million this year.

Student nerds will get real-world experience

Stakeholders involved in increasing the number of Web and app developers in Minnesota have launched Fusion, a new collaboration of Advance IT Minnesota, Metropolitan State University, Minnesota State University, Mankato, and local employers.

Fusion seeks to bridge the gap between business needs and student learning by pairing local companies, start-ups and government agencies with computer science students in their third year of college for a two-year “residency.”

“Through Fusion, students will get relevant, real-world experience as part of the curriculum and be paid for it,” said John Fairbanks, a third-year computer science student at Metro State. “It answers a complaint I always had about school: you go through all this theory but you don’t really apply it.”

There are an initial 40 residency spots available through employers. The steering committee members include Blue Earth Interactive, Maverick Software Consulting, Minnesota Headhunter and The Nerdery. More information at www.AdvanceITMN.org/fusion.

SHORT TAKES

• Tech Dump is hiring and on target to generate more than $4 million in revenue from refurbishing consumer electronics and harvesting valuable material from the stuff that can’t be reused.

The Golden Valley-based social enterprise that I wrote about last month (www.tinyurl.com/l3jgd6e) was started by two successful online retail entrepreneurs who wanted a way to give back and also to hire ex-offenders who have a tough time getting that first job.

Tech Dump should employ more than 40 by year-end and keep more than 4 million pounds of electronics out of landfills and incinerators. It’s better for all of us if this material is refurbished or recycled properly and reused in the next generation of products. More info: www.techdump.org.

• Yes, that is a logo for Country Inns & Suites by Carlson worn at the Masters golf tournament this weekend by Zach Johnson, one of the PGA’s top players and a 2007 Masters champion. Johnson and the Minnetonka-based hospitality chain signed a three-year sponsorship agreement earlier this month that puts the Country Inn logo on Johnson’s golfing attire.

Johnson is regarded as a rock-solid member of the PGA known for his calm demeanor on and off the course, which fits with the mid-scale brand that Country Inns & Suites represents.

“Our values and brands align very well, and we are optimistic about the long-term future of our partnership with Zach,” said Scott Meyer, a vice president of Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group, parent of Country Inns & Suites.

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