passed! ... and other ramblings...
passed the CVA (Certified Virtual Assistant) exam with high marks! I'm
so proud of myself for finally getting this done. It has been on my
"to do" list for longer than I care to admit. I now hold my
CVA as well as having passed the EthicsCheck exam. I've been debating
going for the IVAA CRESS (Certified Real Estate Support Specialist)
designation, but have decided to take the summer off from exams. I've
accomplished more than I thought I would over the past couple of months and
deserve a bit of a break from all the testing.
- "Tom's Tech Tip" talks about backup options for your computer
- I've started a new section for QuickBooks tips (please feel free to
submit a question)
- Our spotlight this month is on Castle Hill Investments
- My usual collection of quirky office and accounting humor.
I am also including an article I wrote for the March 2005 IVAACast
newsletter about my PDA, Morris. Poor Morris was recently retired and has been
replaced with a brand new shiny Treo 650 PDA Phone. He doesn't have a name yet
and I'm taking suggestions :) I miss Morris, but this upgrade has really made
me much more productive - I can even check my email and browse the web on this
thing. Technology truly amazes me.
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 email@example.com
For This VA, Freedom is
Walking into my office this morning, I wondered
aloud, “Do I have time to run out for a pedicure today?” Morris tells me
that I have a lunch appointment with a client and a report due by 5:00 PM. So
much for that idea, right? Oh wait, Morris pipes in that I have a hair
appointment on Wednesday, why don’t I just do both at the same time. Good
old Morris, he never misses a beat. I often wonder what kind of shambles my
life would be in without him. He never forgets, he never loses that important
piece of information in the pile on my desk, in fact, he has never let me
Let Me Introduce
Morris is my PDA. He’s goes everywhere with me: to my office, to the grocery
store, to my kid’s school and he’s even been known to show up to family
gatherings. My PDA may be the single most important tool in my business. It
holds the schedule of my life, everything from the grocery list to deadlines
for clients to reminders to pick up my child from preschool. In fact, he’s
become such an integral part of my life, I even gave him a name. Morris. Just
sounds dependable, doesn’t it? What better instrument to help keep me on
My Life Was Chaos
When I first opened my business, it was next to impossible to tell where my
business life left off and my family life started. It was complete chaos in my
home office. I would spend at least 30 minutes every day just trying to find
scraps of paper I had written things on. I would find out I had
double-scheduled something and have to reschedule with a client. That wasn’t
fair to them or to me. I tried a calendar, but when I was out of my office
that was no help. Then the fateful day arrived … I found Morris. The chaos
has been greatly diminished ever since.
No More Missed
The best part of organizing your life in this way is that you never wonder
about deadlines, you never miss a task and you always have a quick way to
check your schedule while standing in line at the grocery store. I’ve never
had to say “let me check my schedule and call you back.” More importantly,
I feel like I have a plan every day. Morris is set up to sync with “My
Yahoo.” They sync together my calendar, my address book, my task list, etc.
Every morning when I open my browser, it’s set to open at my calendar so I
know I will spend five minutes just reviewing what my day is going to be like.
Morris even beeps 15 minutes before a scheduled event to remind me throughout
The Answer To My
Morris may not be the answer to your business, but something similar might be.
If you are like me, you’ve spent entirely too much time each day just
digging through slips of paper and trying to remember deadlines. There is a
better way. But it won’t happen overnight. It took me a good two months to
get used to using my PDA Pilot and a lot of discipline, but the feeling of
control and organization is worth it. My life is so much easier with Morris. I
think I’ll keep him.
Q: What is the
definition of an accountant?
A: Someone who solves a problem, you didn't know you had, in a way you don't
QuickBooks Q & A
I am a sole proprietor and have a separate account for my small business. I
recently paid $500 for a new printer from my personal account. I don't want to
reimburse myself from the company account, but I do need it to show in my
business books. What do I do?
This is actually one of the most common questions I get from people. It's
important to make sure all of your business assets (in this case, a printer) is
accounted for in your business financial reports. The simplest way to do this is
to make what is called a General Journal entry to turn that printer into an
owner's investment to the company.
your QuickBooks company file, go to File and then Make General Journal
the date of the purchase for the entry date and let the program choose an
the first grid line, you want the account to be Owner's Investments (this is
usually a sub-account of Owner's Equity). You will want to put 500.00 in the
credit column and a descriptive memo.
the second grid line, you want the account to be "Printer - Description
of Printer" - It will prompt you to create a new account (make sure it
is listed as a fixed asset). You will want to put 500.00 in the debit column
and a descriptive memo.
it! Just save it and run a Balance Sheet from the reports menu to make sure
it all looks correct.
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.
Q: What is the definition of a good tax accountant?|
A: Someone who has a loophole named after him.
|Important Tax Deadlines|
|May 16 - IRS Monthly payroll tax
May 16 - IRS Form 990 due for exempt
June 15 - RS Monthly payroll tax deposits due
June 15 - 2nd quarter 2005 estimated tax
June 15 - US citizens overseas 2004 tax returns
due (or file 4868)
|Spotlight On... Castle Hill Investments |
Center stage this month is Castle Hill Investments.
Robert Grunnah, Jr. was a passionate real estate
investor whose day job was building software products for a number of Austin
area high tech companies. When the dot-com companies began to go bust he decided
it was time to make his passion his profession.
After completing his MBA at the University of
Texas at Austin, Robert began building Castle Hill Investments. They are now in
their seventh year and one of Central Texas' premiere firms, assisting investors
with every step of the real estate investment process. They specialize in
commercial investment property and duplexes/fourplexes in Austin and the
Castle Hill Investments provides seller
assistance for current investment property owners, including 1031 exchanges,
turnkey services for buyers at all levels of involvement, and an affiliated
property management service-a boon for the 40% of their customers who have never
even set foot in Texas.
When asked why he named his company Castle Hill
Robert says, "I just like the name, I guess…It's a classy name… and
symbolizes a person's 'castle' (dwelling) and 'hill', which is often associated
with affluence… Plus the domain name castlehillinvestments.com was still
For more information about Castle Hill
Investments, please visit their website at http://www.castlehillinvestments.com
Talk with Tom... backing up |
there is another type of threat that no matter how hard you scan, or filter, or
defrag you just can't prevent. That is the threat of damage, PHYSICAL damage, to
your computer or hard drive. In this tech tip, I'm going to go over a few
different methods of ensuring your information stays safe and available, even if
your computer does not.
The only way to ensure that your data stays safe in the case of computer
failure, fire, flood, or other physical danger is to regularly backup your data.
There are three main methods of accomplishing this in use today: 1.) CD/DVD, 2.)
External Hard drive, 3.) Online storage. We will go over the pro's and con's of
these three different methods. Whichever method you choose, please
remember that it is important that backups always be stored off site from where
your computer is located. It doesn't do any good if the backup is destroyed
along with the computer it came from.
Most people today have some type of recordable drive in their PC's, often
referred to as a "burner". Using special recordable media, you can
often simply just drag and drop files that you would like to save onto a CD,
then, when ready to write the files, simply click a button and off you go. The
major benefit of this method of back up is that it is relatively inexpensive on
the hardware side of the equation. The downside is that you either 1.) Have to
buy a new disk every time you want to back up, or 2.) Have a special re-writable
drive that allows you to delete or replace data on the disk. I recommend CD/DVD
backup for those that have only a few files that they need to store or, only
make minor changes to their files.
External Hard drive
This is probably the EASIEST method of backing up your data, as most external
hard drives come with a back up utility or two in the box with them. These
drives simply plug into an existing USB port on your computer. You install
the software, are asked a series of questions about your computer usage, and you
are done. This is my personal backup of choice since you can easily and fairly
rapidly back up and entire hard drive. The main benefit of this method is the
ease of use, however the downside is that there may be more upfront cost for new
hardware than you are ready to pay. I recommend external hard drive backup for
those with a LOT of files, or who feel more secure knowing that their entire
hard drive is copied and ready-to-go should something happen to their main
computer. This method is also the best for those that are less "computer
savvy" than others.
Maybe you travel a lot, or maybe you just like to share data online
with others. Maybe you just have one or two really important files that you feel
MUST be saved at all costs. Whatever your reasons, some people have a definite
need for online file storage. These services usually have two costs: 1.) How
much data you can store and 2.) How often you transfer those files. This method
can easily end up being the most costly, as well as one of the hardest methods
to master. But if you have one of the needs listed above, then this might just
be the method of choice for you. The major benefit of this method is that your
files are IMMEDIATELY available off-site, but for some, the cost and difficulty
may prove too much.
Well, folks, those are the three major methods of backing up your computer. If
you are interested in any of them, or would like more information on this topic,
please feel free to e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Beauchamp is the owner of LAN’s Edge in Austin, TX. LAN’s 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 email@example.com.
Visit http://www.lansedge.com for more
an article you’d like to write for our monthly newsletter or want to be
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