OffAssist

A Note from Candy

April  2015
Volume 12, Issue #1

It always seems the first few months of the year flies by at a faster pace, I look forward to May when things seem to settle down. I also just made the last payment on a house that we are renting for two weeks this Summer. We ARE going back to Orlando, but there’s no way we’re staying on site at Disney for two weeks. Eight days was okay, but by the time we were done, all of us were really sick of the mouse. It’s everywhere! So, we’re renting a big house and my mother and sisters and their family is coming. It should be a great time.
 

My challenge this year has been to unplug. I’ve been doing that a lot more often. Don’t look at the cell phone, leaving it off, etc. When I’m working, I ignore the phone and texts so that I’m not trying to do twenty things at once. A few clients have gotten upset when I don’t answer right away, but once they realize that I give their work just as much attention, it makes it a little easier on them. It really has helped with my productivity, but also it’s helped the quality.

 

Sorry for the lack of newsletter last month, we had a busy one with my 40th birthday, Tom and I’s 22nd anniversary and Jake’s 16th birthday! Lots of celebrating, for sure. My editor finally gave up that I was going to respond with the okay to push it out. Ooops!

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In this issue...

ArticleLeading From a Distance: Practical Tips for Engaging Remote Workers

Bookkeeping TipInsurance Accruals Rates

Tax Deadlines: April 15, 2015 through May 15, 2015

Spotlight April

Tech Talk: Tools That Get Your Computer Running Smoothly

Humor: 1040EZ-ALL

Article: Leading From a Distance

Leading From a Distance: Practical Tips for Engaging Remot Workers

More than 3.3 million Americans work from home at least half the time, not counting those who are self-employed, according to the latest figures from American Community Survey data. Many more-an estimated 25 million-work at home at least occasionally.

While technology and changing workplace policies have granted employees more flexibility, it has also made them more isolated. Workers who are more removed from the physical workplace have fewer opportunities for casual interaction with their managers and coworkers. They may be overlooked when impromptu meetings or brainstorming sessions occur among employees who are co-located.

Over time, this can lead remote workers to feel less valued and less satisfied with their jobs. Fortunately there are some simple things you can do as a virtual leader or employer to help remote workers stay connected. Here are three practical tips for engaging remote workers.

Build in Frequent Communication

Think of all the casual interactions you have during a typical day at the office. There's a coffee break, a lunchtime conversation and several times a day when you might stop by just to chat.

When you have virtual employees, you need to find ways to replicate those interactions online. Using chat tools, such as Google Hangouts, HipChat or Campfire, allows virtual workers to ask questions and have casual conversations more easily, similar to tapping someone on the shoulder.

In addition, don't forget to set regular meetings for team discussions and one-on-one conversations. This builds relationships with your remote workers, which is one of the foundations of a high-performing virtual team.

Make Time for Face-To-Face Meetings

Even virtual teams where none of the members are co-located should make an effort to meet in person when time and budgets allow. We recommend a face-to-face meeting with new team members within the first 90 days if possible to help establish a connection.

If that isn't possible, the virtual leader should schedule a series of short, one-on-one meetings or team icebreakers using collaborative software to help facilitate the kind of conversation that forms lasting bonds.

Recognize Team Member Contributions

Acknowledgement and recognition is an important part of motivating your employees, but it tends to happen less frequently when employers don't see their workers in person. Make an effort to periodically send e-cards, online certificates or social media shout-outs to team members who have made significant accomplishments. You can also implement a rewards program that allows employees to select a gift online when they reach a certain milestone, such as a birthday or work anniversary.

Take time to recognize individual successes during team meetings, or mention them in weekly team emails or newsletters.

When your employees feel their accomplishments matter, they'll be motivated to keep up the great work.

To allow teams to succeed in a workplace that is increasingly remote, employers need to take extra care to do the things that come more naturally in a face-to-face environment.

The RAMP model-Relationships, Accountability, Motivation, Purpose and Process-is a good way to think about the fundamental elements needed to keep virtual employees engaged. That includes taking the time to build strong bonds among team members, providing them with meaningful results-oriented goals and coaching them along the way. It means taking the time to motivate them with rewards and establishing a shared purpose and processes so everyone is moving toward the same objectives.

For more best practices on leading a virtual team, download our free guide, 5 Trends Impacting Virtual Leaders. http://www.onpointconsultingllc.com/guides

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Richard_Lepsinger

Bookkeeping Tip: Insurance Accruals

Most companies pay for insurance once or twice a year.  In order to get a better picture of your monthly expenses it is common practice to enter the insurance payment as prepaid insurance on the balance sheet then make a monthly entry for that month’s portion of the expense.  Here are the steps to accomplish this:

 

1.       Create a Current Asset account on the Balance Sheet called Prepaid Insurance

2.       Code your payment to Prepaid Insurance

3.       Divide the payment amount by the number of months the policy covers (usually six or twelve months)

4.       Create a recurring journal entry for the monthly expense.

 

Let’s assume you’re paying $1,200 for a 12-month General Liability policy.

 

Write the check coding it to Prepaid Insurance.

Your monthly expenses is $100 so create a recurring journal entry as follows

 

Debit General Liability Insurance (expense account)        $100.00
Credit Prepaid Insurance (current asset account)                $100.00

 

To simplify the process, set this up as an automatic monthly memorized transaction.

 

Tax Deadlines

April 15, 2015

            Last Day to set up and fund IRAs and Roth IRAs for previous year                       Individual Personal Returns due
            Personal Returns due - Nonresident, US income, etc.
            Personal Returns due - Easy Form Return            
            Personal Returns due - Not Itemizing Return Form            
            Personal Return - Extensions due            
            US Gift and Generation-Skipping Transfer Tax Return            
            US Gift and Generation-Skipping Transfer Tax Return Extension Due                                   Partnership Returns due            
            Issue K-1's with Partnership Returns            
            Electing Large Partnership Returns due            
            Estate & Trusts Returns are due; Bankruptcy fillings use the same form            
            Partnership, Estate & Trusts Returns - Extensions due
            Individuals, Farmers & Fishermen Pay 1st Quarter Estimated Tax Payment
            Corporations - 1st Quarter Estimate Tax payment Due
            Estates & Trusts 1st Estimated Tax Payment
            Employers Make Monthly Payroll tax deposit on the 15th of each month

4/30/2015       

            Deposit FUTA tax if more than $500 was paid through March 31st
            1st Quarter Payroll Tax Returns Due
            1st Quarter Federal Excise Tax Return & Payment Voucher - Form 720

5/15/2015       

            Employers Make Monthly Payroll tax deposit on the 15th of each month

 Spotlight: April

Let’s look at at the April 2015 Daily Holidays and Special and Wacky Days!

1 April Fool's Day

1 International Fun at Work Day

1 International Tatting Day

2 Children's Book Day

2 National Peanut Butter and Jelly Day

2 Reconciliation Day

3 Don't Go to Work Unless it's Fun Day - we know your decision

3 Tweed Day

4 Hug a Newsman Day

3 National Walk to Work Day - first Friday of month

4 Walk Around Things Day

4 School Librarian Day

4 Tell a Lie Day

5 Easter Date varies

5 Go for Broke Day  

6 Dyngus Day always the Monday after Easter

6 Plan Your Epitaph Day - a little morbid if you ask me

6 Sorry Charlie Day

7 Caramel Popcorn Day - Most likely created by a popcorn maker, or an Ecard company.

7 No Housework Day

7 World Health Day

8 All is Ours Day

8 Draw a Picture of a Bird Day

9 Name Yourself Day

9 Winston Churchill Day

10 Golfer's Day

10 National Siblings Day

11 Eight Track Tape Day - do you remember those?

11 Barbershop Quartet Day

11 National Submarine Day

12 Big Wind Day - this day blows me away!

12 Russian Cosmonaut Day

13 Scrabble Day

14 Ex Spouse Day

14 International Moment of Laughter Day

14 Look up at the Sky Day - don't you have anything better to do?

14 National Pecan Day

14 Reach as High as You Can Day

15 Rubber Eraser Day

15 Titanic Remembrance Day

16 National Eggs Benedict Day

16 National Librarian Day

16 National Stress Awareness Day

17 Bat Appreciation Day

17 Blah, Blah, Blah Day

17 National Cheeseball Day     

16 National High Five Day third Thursday

17 Pet Owners Independence Day

18 International Juggler's Day - also applies to multi tasking office workers

18 Newspaper Columnists Day

19 National Garlic Day

20 Look Alike Day

20 Patriot's Day - third Monday of the month

20 Volunteer Recognition Day

21 Kindergarten Day

22 Administrative Professionals Day (Executive Admin's Day, Secretary's Day) -  date varies

22 Girl Scout Leader Day

22 National Jelly Bean Day

23 Lover's Day

23 National Zucchini Bread Day - they hold this at a time when you are not sick of all that zucchini.

23 Take a Chance Day

23 World Laboratory Day

24 Pig in a Blanket Day

23 Take Your Daughter to Work 4th Thursday

25 East meets West Day

25 World Penguin Day  

26 Hug an Australian Day

26 National Pretzel Day

26 Richter Scale Day

27 Babe Ruth Day

27 National Prime Rib Day

27 Tell a Story Day

28 International Astronomy Day

28 Great Poetry Reading Day

28 Kiss Your Mate Day - guys, do not forget this one. Kiss her, then read her some poetry.

29 Greenery Day

29 National Shrimp Scampi Day

30 Hairstyle Appreciation Day

30 National Honesty Day

 

If you would like to be featured in the OffAssist spotlight column, and have not been featured in the past twelve months, contact Carol@OffAssist.com and we’ll see if we can put you in the limelight!

Tech Talk: Taking a Screenshot

Tom BeauchampBy Tom Beauchamp

Everything gets older: cars, people, even you, your computer. When your car gets older you take it in for a tune up. As people get older, they got in for regular checkups with their doctor. What do you do for your computer?


Here are a few tools to help get your sluggish computer running smoothly again:


SlimCleaner: www.slimwareutilities.com (Free)

SlimCleaner is my favorite, largely because it does the job, and it does the job for free. No

licensing and no limitations. You can download, install, and run it on any computer.


Norton Utilities: us.norton.com/Norton-utilities ($29.99 for 3 PCs)
While lacking some of the features of other software, Norton is a tried and true staple of many

desktop computers. You may even have it already installed and just need to purchase a new

license.


AVG PC TuneUp: www.avg.com ($39.99, free trial available)

This is Candy’s personal favorite. While more expensive than Norton, it also includes very

feature rich. If you like to be in control of how your computer starts up, shutsdown, and

everthing in between, PC TuneUp is for you.


Those are just 3 of the many tools available for keeping your PC running in tip-tip shape. None

of those meet your requirements? Do a google search for “PC tuneup software” and you’ll find a

broad selection of software that can perform and amazing array of cleanup tasks on your PC.


Unfortunately, none will get the dust bunnies out of your PC case. For that, tune in next month!

Tom Beauchamp is the marketing and tech expert behind OffAssist. He can be reached at tom@offassist.com.

 

Humor: 1040EZ-ALL

Tax day is getting close. Just use this form to get done quickly:

 

 

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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.


The OffAssist newsletter is made possible by the coding talents of Next Level Digital Solutions.

This newsletter is published monthly by Candy Beauchamp of OffAssist. © 2015

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.