October 2005

All of your business needs. One easy solution.

10/18/2005       Vol 2 Issue 10


Milestones & Memories

I'm going to ask you to indulge me a little bit. My oldest child, my son, turned 5 yesterday.

It’s a big deal around here, not just for him but for me as well.  His birthday also marks the start of my planning to go into business for myself; it took a good 2 years of planning, but I made it happen.

I thought I could start a small part-time bookkeeping practice, be a great mom--you know, do it all.

My practice has grown by leaps and bounds since that time. I had a dream and I followed it and have never looked back. Yes, I’ve ended up working full-time, some weeks more than full-time, but I also have the joy of being my own boss, of helping business owners realize their own dreams, and still get to be a great mom to my kids! It’s not always perfect. I’m lucky, my husband works predominantly on the weekend and is available for “kid duty” during the week so I can slave away in my office.

My point? I see people every day that tell me that they’ve always wanted to do XYZ, but can’t because they’re too scared, or worried, or don’t know how. If you never take risks, you’ll never have the opportunity to fail – or succeed!

My advice this month? Do one thing that scares you. Whether it’s interviewing for that high level opening or sky-diving, you’ll never know the answer to “what if” if you never try.


Happy 5th Birthday, Jamie!

You’ve brought more into my life

than I ever dreamed possible.

In this issue:

  • "Tom's Tech Tip" talks about Task Manager
  • Learn a classes in the QuickBooks tips 
  • Our spotlight this month is on Pray for the Soul of Betty, a band used to the limelight.
  • 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


If you need accounting to prove it, it was probably not true in the first place.



Image Is Important


I talk to new business owners all the time; at networking events, via email, and just by bumping into them at odd places. The most frequent thing I see is that they haven’t properly thought through their company identity. In my opinion, aside from a business plan, this is the most important step in opening up any type of business. Without an identity, you can find yourself treading water, or worse, back-pedaling in your business.


What do I mean by an identity? I mean your branding, your logo, your colors, your tagline, the things that make your business “feel” like your business. This is not an overnight processes and should be something you spend a good deal of time on. Think 10 years from now – where do you want to be? Always plan your identity to support you through those years. Choose colors that work well together on websites, business cards, brochures, product labels, promotional materials, etc. You might really like neon orange, but is it feasible? Look into what you want to be in 10 years and ask yourself if it will work long term.


When thinking of a company name, make sure it represents you and your business. Don’t call yourself Wickets-R-Good if you sell more than wickets. Think long term. Think about how it will flow on letterhead, a website, etc. Think big picture here. A lot of people skip this part and use their own name. While I’m not against that, I will tell you that most businesses do better when they incorporate under a different name or get a DBA (doing business as).


Get a good logo made. You want it to have your company name in it and you want it to represent your business well. Keep in mind that a logo doesn’t have to look fancy with curly-Q’s and stars on it to be memorable – but if your business is preparing custom astrological charts then that may be appropriate.


There are several excellent companies offering logo services. For someone looking for a complete identity package I’ve heard good things about Danielle over at http://www.therelief.com .  If you've already done the basic brainstorming yourself then  I highly recommend Ann Stretton of http://www.ann-s-thesia.com - I’ve used her several times with great results.


Make certain that your logo is created in a high resolution format so that you can use it in printing. Again, you are laying  the foundation for the future of your business. You may not need a huge trade show banner this year, but who knows what will happen 5 years from now. A good logo company will give you your logo in several formats for a myriad of uses.  If they don't mention this when giving you a proposal be sure to ask before you buy.


Pull all of this together when creating, or paying someone else to create, any type of marketing material for your business. Professionalism and consistency are the key to a long-lasting image your customers will remember and you can be proud of.

Quickie QuickBooks Q & A 

WK from Utah asks:

Q: Can I track income and expenses for different departments without creating a separate account for each?


A: Yes, by using the Classes feature.  Make sure that you have activated the classes feature in your preferences.


Create a different class for each department or division you want to track; Accounting, Marketing,  Sales, etc.


Every time you enter a bill or deposit make sure you assign a class to the entry.  At the end of your accounting period you can create a report to track profit and loss for each class.


This feature can also be used by a business with multiple offices or outlets to track P&L information for each location.

Important Tax Deadlines

October 17 - IRS Monthly payroll tax deposits due for September

October 17 - Final Deadline for Personal and Partnership tax returns

November 1 - 3rd quarter payroll taxes due

November 1 - 3rd quarter sales tax due

November 16 - IRS Monthly payroll tax deposits due for October


What do accountants suffer from that ordinary people don't?


Spotlight On... Pray for the Soul of Betty 

The spotlight is nothing new to New York rock band Pray for the Soul of Betty. 


The band got together in 2003 when drummer Hamboussi found himself between bands.  He’d worked with bassist Taylor, C.R., and guitarist Joao Joya on other projects and called them up to ‘jam a little’. 


They knew they had something good and the threesome began to search for a voice, someone to sing the songs they’d been writing.  After auditioning over 150 vocalists they met Boston Conservatory graduate Constantine Maroulis.  Maroulis was the only singer they bothered to call back and a band was born.


While “Pray for the Soul of Betty” (PFTSOB) is a mouthful, the band says it was the best by far out of the over 300 names they tossed
around before it.   The original Betty was a girl they knew and the name was suggested by something said at her memorial service.  Out of respect for Betty and her family the band is mum on the details other than saying she died tragically.  The band hopes their music can reach out to others who might be dealing with life’s hardships and help them to see they are not alone.


The band is proud of the fact that none of the songs on their self-titled debut CD sound alike and credit their international cast for their diversity. 


Drummer Hamboussi was born in Cairo, Egypt and graduated from New York’s school of Art and Design before moving on to play with Band of Thieves, Cohiba, Clyde, and others. 


Brazilian guitarist Joao Joya received widespread critical acclaim as a member of Supla Zoo Style and their album, Bossa Furiosa, was featured in the movie “Bossa Nova”.  He went on to play with Hamboussi in Cohiba.


New York native Taylor’s credits include Lollapalooza ’96 with band Gumption Trap and the Rolling Rock Town Fair in 2001 with Clyde--the band where he met Hamboussi.


Another New Yorker, Constantine Maroulis brought the band a voice proven on stage with title roles in “Jesus Christ Superstar” and “Hedwig and the Angry Inch” plus major roles in “Rent” (Roger) and “West Side Story” (Tony).  Constantine is best known for placing 6th in the 2005 season of reality show “American Idol” but ‘Betty’ came first.


The group developed their first major following by piggybacking local shows in cities Maroulis toured with “Rent”.  Constantine has been the bait that hooked fans on this band. 


“They’re fans of Constantine,” Hamboussi said.  “Then they see the band, and they’re converted.”


Taylor and Joao have been busy all summer working on new music while Maroulis finished his Idol tour and the band is gearing up to make some brand new music.  They also plan to tour later this year.


For more information on the band, its members, and their upcoming tour dates, check them out on the web at www.prayforthesoulofbetty.com

Tech Talk with Tom... Windows Task Manager 

You're sitting at your computer trying to load the latest version of "Monkey Snow Ball Fight", but it just won't start up.  You sit there staring at your screen for a while.  You get up and get some coffee.  You return.  Still you are met with a very cryptic and uninformative "Loading" screen.  To make matters worse, you hear your boss walking down the hall and no matter how many times you hit the "X", nothing happens.

Ok, so maybe "Monkey Snow Ball Fight" isn't your thing.  The bad news is this can happen with any application on your computer. 


The good news?  If an application hangs in Windows XP, you may be able to stop it manually by opening up Task Manager.


Note: You should only do this if you have tried everything else to restart the software in question. Be aware closing software using Task Manager may erase all unsaved data in the program in question.

To open the Task Manager, try one or more of the following:

1) Right-click on an empty area of the Windows XP toolbar and choose "Task Manager".
2) If that fails, press CONTROL-SHIFT-ESC.
3) If all else fails, try CONTROL-ALT-DEL (only once, twice will re-boot your system)

When the Task Manager opens click on the "Applications" tab. Right-click on the program that is not responding and choose "End Task". Follow the instructions if prompted. You may have to force an application to stop two or three times.

Task Manager is a last resort, but if your system or a software program hangs it may be the only way to restore access to your computer without a reboot.  It'll also stop your boss from walking in while you're "working" on getting that high score.


That's it for October.  If you have any questions, please feel free to shoot me an e-mail at daystar@lansedge.com .

Tom 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 daystar@lansedge.com. Visit http://www.lansedge.com for more information.  

Have 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 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.


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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..