June 2005

All of your business needs. One easy solution.

06/07/2005       Vol 2 Issue 6

http://www.offassist.com


Do It Today, Do It Now!
Okay, we all have it, that one stack of papers sitting on the far corner of the desk that gets glanced at, and quickly looked away from, every day. It taunts us and calls our name in our dreams... You know the one. It's usually a task that we don't want to do, something we convince ourselves we don't have time to do right now or that "can wait a while". So today, right now, go to that stack and choose ONE thing from it to complete in the next 24 hours, then do it! My task? To get this newsletter out in the next 24 hours :)

In this issue:

  • "Tom's Tech Tip" talks about Purchasing a New Computer
  • Learn all about date shortcuts in the Quickbooks tips section
  • Our spotlight this month is on Concrete Evolution, a company that provides beautiful flooring at an affordable price
  • My usual collection of quirky office and accounting humor.
  • ... and those ever important upcoming tax deadlines

I hope you enjoy this month's issue! I am always looking for articles. If you have an article you would like to write, please feel free to email me at candy@offassist.com

So You're Building Your Website... Now What?
I don't profess to be an expert on websites, in fact I only offer clients very moderate website design inside of FrontPage, but I have learned a few things along the way...

Do:

  • Stay true to your branding. Your color scheme, your fonts, the "feel" of your logo and business cards.

  • Make sure the keywords you want the search engines to pick up on are on the first page of your website. I am told that using META tags aren't enough anymore. So, think it through when writing your text and page titles.

  • Take a look at your website on different browsers.  Internet Explorer, Netscape, and FireFox are the big three. Just because it looks great in Internet Explorer does not mean that it looks groovy in FireFox.

  • Hire a professional if you aren't 100% sure you can do it yourself, including a SEO (Search Engine Optimization) Specialist.

  • Check out CopyScape every couple of months to make sure no one is plagiarizing your original text.

  • Keep the content fresh. You don't have to update the entire site often, but have a monthly newsletter, a joke-of-the-week, a tip-of-the-month or something else that will keep visitors coming back for more.

Don't:

  • Use MS Publisher or Word to make your website. These are not true HTML editors. Publisher is known to make fancy blocks of text into graphics which result in a long loading time for the viewer

  • Use too many colors or flash objects. These frequently detract from the important text you are conveying to the viewer.

  • Make simple grammar and spelling errors. Hire someone if need be to read through your site for errors.

  • Use a non-standard font. Stick to the stand-bys such as Arial, Times New Roman, etc.

  • Make your visitors spend precious time trying to find your contact information. Have a navigational link on every page to your contact page or include it on the bottom of each page.

These are just a few tips for your website. Keep it fresh, on-topic, and, most of all, professional.

An accountant is having a hard time sleeping and goes to see his doctor. "Doctor, I just can't get to sleep at night." "Have you tried counting sheep?" 

"That's the problem - I make a mistake and then spend three hours trying to find it"

Quickie QuickBooks Q & A 
If you've ever spent some time entering in multiple journal entries you know one of the most tedious tasks is changing the dates continuously. Ah, but Quickbooks has some nifty built-in shortcuts just for the date field that may help save you a bit of time. Try these out, you'll love the result! 

Just type the first letter/symbol in the date field to get the desired result.

+ (plus key) = Tomorrow's Date

- (minus key) = Yesterday's Date

T = Today's Date

W = First day of the Week

K = Last date of the weeK

M = First day of the Month

H = Last day of the montH

Y =  First day of the Year

R = Last day of the yeaR

Bonus: Press and hold the Alt key and the down arrow at the same time to bring up a date calendar.

 
There are three kinds of accountants in the world.

Those who can count and those who can't.

 

 


Have an article youíd like to write for our monthly newsletter or want to be spotlighted? Have a QuickBooks question or something you'd like to see in the Tech Tip?
Email candy@offassist.com.

 


A special thank you to our copyeditor and all-around-language-geek, Dyanna Larson of Ink Think - visit her website for more information about her services.

 

 

A nervous taxpayer was unhappily conversing with the IRS Tax auditor who had come to review his records.

At one point the auditor exclaimed, "Mr. Carelton, we feel it is a great privilege to be allowed to live and work in the USA. As a citizen you have an obligation to pay taxes, and we expect you to eagerly pay them with a smile."

"Thank goodness," returned Mr. Carelton, with a giant grin on his face, "I thought you were going to want me to pay with cash."

 

 
Important Tax Deadlines

June 15 - IRS Monthly payroll tax deposits due for May

June 15 - 2nd quarter 2005 estimated tax payments due

June 15 - US citizens overseas 2004 tax returns due (or file 4868)

July 15 - IRS Monthly payroll tax deposits due for June

July 15 - Partnership Returns due for 2004

July 31 - Quarterly IRS 941s are due for quarter ending June 30

 

 

Spotlight On... Concrete Evolution 
In the limelight this month is Round Rock, Texas-based Concrete Evolution, "The Next Evolution of Decorative Concrete".

Concrete Evolution's revolutionary decorative concrete overlayment is sold nationwide to residential, commercial, and architectural sites through their network of specially trained and licensed distributors and contractors.

Concrete Evolution's polymer-modified overlay is available in a wide array of colors and can also be used to mimic the appearance of natural stone, brick, granite, marble, tile, or stucco. Their product is virtually maintenance-free and can be applied to floors, walls, patios, driveways, or countertops, indoors or out.

Concrete Evolution offers customer care before, during, and after the sale via their 24/7 customer service (via email, phone, fax, or traditional mail), plus a proprietary software package that utilizes the latest in digital imaging technology to allow their customers and contractors to see exactly how a new Concrete Evolution surface will look before any Work is ever done.

Co-Founder and CEO Ben Jordan, formerly of Fortune 500 companies Aon and Cendant, is proud to run "The Company You'll Swear By, Not At!"

For more information about Concrete Evolution, visit them on the web at http://www.concreteevolution.com or call 24 hours a day at 1-800-99-EVOLUTION.


Tech Talk with Tom... New Computer? 

Once upon a time, in a galaxy far, far away the computer you bought two years ago would still handle all of your office needs today.

Unfortunately, those days have been over for a while. With the rapid pace of today's software improvements, upgrades, and, yes, even sloppy programming practices, the computer you bought last MONTH may be out of date and the computer you bought several years ago definitely is.

So, how do you know to buy new, used, or upgrade what you have? That is what I am going to talk about.

Used Computers
If a friend gives you a computer that is better than the one you are currently using, I say give it a try. Free is free. HOWEVER, be forewarned that this is most probably a temporary fix. There was a reason that the computer was free. Within a year you'll probably be back at this point, trying to decide what to do. 

With that in mind, BUYING a used computer is almost never a good idea. You don't know where its been, what has been done to it, and if you're  not a computer expert, what it has on the inside. I've seen several good deals go bad when it comes to buying a used computer, and my recommendation is to stay away from this option.

New Computer
This is always a great choice. I mean, who DOESN'T get a warm, tingly feeling pulling a shiny new computer out of the box and setting it up for the first time. You know the wonderful sense of fulfillment you get knowing that you are moving all of your files over to the new machine and that everything will be OK.

What? You've never set up a computer? You don't know HOW to move your files to the new box? You're not alone and these are definitely downsides of buying a new computer. On the plus side, you usually get at least a 90-day warranty so if anything goes wrong you can get it fixed.

If you have the money, buying a new computer is a great way to go. You can get a great deal on a machine almost anywhere these days and the prices just keep coming down. Just remember the extra, hidden cost of getting all of your information up and running on the new system.

Upgrading
This is most often the least expensive as well as the easiest and fastest method to get your computer back on track with today's hardware requirements. If you don't know how to do it yourself you can drop you computer off at a local computer store, come back a few hours later, and WOW!!! Almost like new. That is the catch, its ALMOST like new. You'll soon find yourself upgrading another component as you get caught in a constant upgrade struggle. But for those on a budget, who are able to budget  upgrade costs easier than one big cost for a new computer, upgrading is the way to go. 

Next month we'll talk about UPGRADES:

When, What, and How!

Tom Beauchamp is the owner of LANís Edge in Austin, TX. LANís Edge is a computer gaming center that offers PC and Xbox gaming as well as a high-speed internet connections, and PC sales and repair.  He can be reached at daystar@lansedge.com. Visit http://www.lansedge.com for more information.  

 

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This newsletter is published monthly by Candy Beauchamp of OffAssist. (c) 2005
Much of the advice in this newsletter is based upon the research, professional and personal experiences of the authors. If the reader has any questions concerning any material or procedure mentioned, the publisher and authors strongly suggest seeking the advice of a qualified CPA or other professional..