Last month I attended the annual
IVAA Summit. It was so nice to talk with my
peers, fellow VAs, in person and I got a ton of ideas and information about my
industry from the experts. I do believe I’ll make this a priority next year. Not
wanting to gush, it was truly a wonderful experience and I encourage anyone in
business to attend a trade show or other type of conference in your field. I
wouldn’t trade those few days for anything.
My biggest piece of advice if you attend something like this? Don’t bother to
bring any work with you. I left the laptop and paperwork at the office and it
was the perfect thing to do. I was free to spend those days networking and
talking with others, not hurrying back to my hotel room to work.
Thanksgiving is coming up fast – remember to thank your employees,
subcontractors, and clients. A simple “thank you for all you do,” goes a long
way. If you feel generous, goodies go even further! I want to give a shout out
to Fairytale Brownies and
– I send these out randomly to thank clients and subcontractors and always get
- "Tom's Tech Tip" talks spam
and how to get rid of certain types
- Learn a little about customization in
the QuickBooks tips section
- Our spotlight this month is on Elegant Map
Designs--the name really says it all.
- My usual collection of quirky office and accounting humor.
- ... and those ever important upcoming tax deadlines
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
Oh, yes, I’m going to do it. I’m
going to start bothering you about taxes--already.
I promise I can make it less painful
this year – no, really, I can!
First – take a deep breath.
Uncle Sam is, contrary to popular
belief, not really out to get you. Yes, he requires a mountain of paperwork and
constantly wants money, but, well, he’s a relative, so we have to keep him
If you are a subcontractor you can make your clients' lives a lot easier by
going ahead and mailing them a W-9 Form. Just fill it out, sign it, and drop it
in the mail. Their accountant will thank you! If a client pays you more than
$599 in any given calendar year, they will need this information to send you a
If you have employees you should already have a W-4 and I-9 form. If you don’t
have these, get them immediately. It’s also a good idea to go ahead and have
your employees verify their mailing address and social security number. Most
accounting programs have a little employee report you can print out that will
have this information. I generally put this information in their last paycheck
of November with a little note asking them to verify their information. This
information is used when you generate payroll checks but it’s also useful when
you fill out their W-2s.
If you have subcontractors you should already have a W-9 Form from them. If you
don’t, now is the time to ask them to complete one for you. In my experience, it
is always better to get this information as you pay the subcontractor. Some are
reluctant to give it out and I have a “Substitute W-9 Form” that I’ve used for
years with good results. It lays out the regulations and rules as to WHY this
information is required – drop me a note if you want a copy of it. Again, most
accounting programs have a standard report you can print and give to your
subcontractors with their next payment asking them to verify their information.
Note: If you use Quickbooks, make certain that the “Vendor Eligible For 1099”
box is checked in the Additional Information tab of the Edit Vendor window.
There once was an expert accountant.
He finds out that his intelligent five-year old niece always takes the
nickel when asked to choose between a nickel and a dime.
He explains to her, "You must understand, a dime is twice as valuable as
a nickel, so always choose a dime."
The niece tells him, "Uncle, but then people will not offer me any
QuickBooks Q & A
Now is the time to start thinking
about your 1099 accounts.
You have to tell Quickbooks which
accounts are eligible for 1099s. For example, you don’t want to print 1099s for
the Office Supplies category, but you do for the Contract Labor category. You
can easily set this up:
1. On the top menu, click on Edit and then Preferences.
2. On the left hand side of the window, scroll down and click Tax: 1099.
3. Click on the Company Preferences tab. From here, you can change each box.
Most of you reading this will probably only need to worry about Box 1 and Box 7.
Please verify with your accountant before making too many changes to this data.
I will use Box 7 as an example here and use Professional Services and Contract
Labor as our 1099 accounts.
4. Click on the drop down arrow in the “Account” column of the “Box” row.
5. Click on Selected Accounts.
6. In the box that pops up, click on Professional Services and Contract Labor. A
check mark will appear to let you know you have selected those accounts.
7. Click OK.
Don’t forget, if you’ve paid a 1099-er under Advertising make sure you check
You may want to run your set up
by your accountant to make sure you have it correctly.
|Important Tax Deadlines|
November 15 - IRS Monthly payroll tax deposits due for October
November 20 - (Texas) Monthly sales tax filing due date
December 15 - IRS Monthly payroll tax deposits due for November
December 15 - (Corp) 4th Quarter 1120W is due
December 20 - (Texas) Monthly sales tax filing due date
December 31 - Last
day to set up a Keogh account for 2005.
|Spotlight On... Elegant Map Designs |
This month’s spotlight illuminates Elegant Map
Designs, a custom event map service based in Houston, Texas.
When Lora Bergeron sent out invitations for her wedding she was less than
thrilled with the stock maps offered by the reception venue and decided to
create her own custom map with directions, to make sure her guests knew where to
Later, when her sisters got married, they asked her
to do the same. Then a friend, then a friend of a friend; they all wanted
elegant maps that matched the tone set by their invitation stationary and didn’t
look like they’d been photocopied from a yellow pages ad.
In May of 2004, Lora, whose background is in desktop publishing and layout, got
together with a partner and Elegant Map Designs was born. They create custom
event maps for weddings, holiday parties, corporate events, premieres; pretty
much any event where the host wants to make sure their guests will know where to
go. These elegant little maps are designed specifically to fit within
For more information about Elegant Map Designs, visit
them on the web at http://www.elegantmapdesigns.com.
Talk with Tom...
Tired of Unwanted Spam?
Shoot the messenger.exe!
I had every intention of writing a "How-to" for
formatting a hard drive so that no information can be retrieved off of it. It's
really nice to give a computer to charity, but
you never really know just where it will end up. Wouldn't it be nice if
you knew for certain that none of your financial information or passwords could
However, you're going to have to wait a month for that tip. Thank you very much
You see, as I sat down a message window popped up on my screen. It looked like
standard windows message box. However, the text in the message was definitely
a standard Microsoft-style message. Unless Mr. Bill changed his
Tina and now has a web cam in his/her college dorm room.
Windows XP has a very nifty messaging tool built into it simply called Windows Messenger.
lot of people mistake it for MSN Messenger which is a completely different
Messenger was designed as a tool for system and network administrators. It
to broadcast a message across the network or to a specific IP address. Wouldn't
to know if you computer was being backed up that night, or if you were getting a
in the next week and needed to make sure you copy your files to the network hard drive?
is a very simple yet extremely useful piece of software.
Unfortunately the Internet acts as one big network. The administrative end of
allows you to put in a huge amount of IP addresses or you can just give it a
range and tell it to broadcast your message to anyone, anywhere in that range. Lucky for us,
almost no one uses Messenger for anything meaningful these days so it is totally
harmless, and very easy, for
us to turn it off.
To remove the ability for anyone in the world to pop up messages on your
follow these steps to disable the Windows Messenger service.
Click Start->Settings ->Control Panel
Click Performance and Maintenance
Click Administrative Tools
Double click Services
Scroll down and highlight "Messenger"
Right-click the highlighted line and choose Properties
Click the STOP button
Select Disable or Manual in the Startup Type scroll bar
It's that simple. No more unwanted spam from these type of pop up windows. If you ever need to
turn it back on just follow these same steps and select Enable in the
Thank you all for reading. I hope this tip helps, since this type
spam seems to be making the rounds once again. Tune in next month for
instructions for a full and unrecoverable wipe of your hard drive.
Now what was
Tina's web site again?
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
Visit http://www.lansedge.com for more
an article you’d 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
A special thank you to our copyeditor and
all-around-language-geek, Dyanna Larson of
Think - visit her website for more information about her services.