February 2012  
Real Bookkeeping. Virtual Assistance.
Volume 9 Issue 2  www.offassist.com

Lovin' It!

Ah, love... sweet love! This February really is the sweetest of them all.

Why? Well first, and most importantly, my sweet little girl is turning 9 years old (crazy!). Cassie is an amazing, happy and very conscientious young lady and I'm super proud to be her mom. She goes out of her way to not upset her friends and is almost always ready with a smile and a hug. Tom and I are very lucky - she really is the best little girl we know.

I must admit that I miss my babies sometimes, but it's weekends like the one pictured here that make all the late nights and screaming worth it. They are so much FUN now. Cassie and I participated in The Color Run 5k here in Austin together--Tom and Jamie were there on the course somewhere too! It was muddy (not expected, but we made the best of it) and we had an amazing time sliding around and being sucked in by the ankle deep mud.

Second? This particular February marks a huge milestone in my life. It was ten (yes, 10!) years ago this month that I took on my first bookkeeping client!  I went into their office some days, did their books at my kitchen table others; and thus began this whole OffAssist thing. The wisdom of the crowd says that if a small business makes it past the seven year mark, they've officially "made it." It's scary and exciting and I can't wait to see what the NEXT decade has in store for my little bookkeeping business.

Happy Birthday to Cassie, AND to OffAssist!

In this issue...

3 Simple Ways to Upgrade Your Business Network
By Lois Raats

Are your networking efforts netting new business? Owners often mistakenly assume that if they attend enough networking events, their business will magically grow. Job seekers tend to make the same mistake when seeking a new career situation.

There is only one way for networking to produce business growth: by connecting in a natural way with your ideal clients during your various activities. If you notice that you're not meeting many of these folks at your current networking events, it's time to re-evaluate where you're hanging out. Socializing is fun - but let's face it - it doesn't pay the bills.

I was talking about this issue last week with one of my clients. "Robert" has been seeking to increase sales at his marketing organization. Rob's been networking a lot, but finding it hard to meet high-value connections - the ones that actually have the potential to boost his revenue.

So we spent our coaching session rethinking Rob's networking strategy. As we listed the characteristics of his ideal clients, we decided that it would make sense to target CEOs and VPs of Marketing in specific industries. These individuals would understand the strategic marketing value his organization can provide - and would also have the power to make a buying decision.

Now, think about it. Are CEO's and VP's of Marketing likely to attend leads groups, networking breakfasts etc.? Only somewhat likely. So, paradoxically, it will be important for Rob to extend his networking efforts past groups whose main purpose is networking.

Where is Rob going to find these people? Here are a few ideas:

1. Conferences. Business leaders think strategically, and value the input from issue-related conferences. For a list of conferences related to a specific industry, start with a simple Google search such as "professional associations Canada" and you'll find a variety of lists. Pretty well every association has some kind of annual conference. Choose a few key ones and allot part of your marketing budget toward attending them.

While you're there, figure out how your business or skills can contribute to this particular community and start working toward becoming a speaker. Think outside the box. For example, I've been invited to speak to hard-nosed engineers, project managers, and logistics people about the soft-skills topic of "Dealing with Difficult People". So while you're at the conference, make connections and map out how you can become a speaker at their next event.

2. High-end Networking Events. This includes charity balls, galas, golf tournaments, that sort of thing. Of course these tend to be expensive - that's why you need to go. Executives can afford them. Always regard these events as an investment, never an expense.

3. Professional Associations. While you're checking out conferences, remember that most professional groups have a local monthly or bi-monthly meeting. This is a great place to make helpful connections at the local level. Focus on providing value and building relationships, NOT selling your services. Save your sales process for one-to-one meetings after you've developed solid connections through effective networking.

About The Author: Lois Raats MEd CCC BCC,Certified Coach and Counsellor, t: 519.883-8838 lois@ready2grow.com http://www.ready2grow.com

Source: Free Articles from EzineArticles

QuickBooks Tip

Merging Information

Q: I am reconciling my account and I would like to see more information on the items I’m reconciling so I’m sure I’m choosing the correct items. Is there a way to do this?

A: Within the reconcile screen choose “Columns to Display” at the bottom. There are five options to display. QuickBooks has a default but you can change this as needed. The available columns are: Check#/Ref#,  Date, Payee, Memo, Type. Choose the columns that will make it easiest for you to reconcile and choose OK.

Note: Check with your accounting professional before doing this to be sure that's how they'd like it done. YMMV!


Two accountants are in line at a bank when a group of armed robbers bursts in.

While several of the thieves take the money from the tellers, others line the customers up against a wall and proceed to take their wallets, watches, etc.

While this is going on the first accountant number jams a piece of linen paper into the second accountant's hand. Accountant number two sees a crumpled $50 bill in his hand and whispers, "What is this?" The first accountant replies, "It's that $50 I owe you."

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Tax Deadlines

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

February 29
- File W-3, W-2's with Social Security Admin
- File US transmittal of US information Returns
- Mortgage Interest file Form 1098s with IRS

March 15
- S-Corp Election Decision Due (if Applicable)
- S Corporate Returns Due / Calendar Year
- Issue K-1's S Corporate Returns / Calendar Year
- Corporate Returns Due / Calendar Year
- Corporate Returns/S Corp Extensions Due / Calendar Year
- Form 1042S - Foreign Persons US Income subject to withholdings
- Form 1042 - Annual Tax Return of US Income subject to withholdings of Foreign Persons
- Employers Make Monthly Payroll tax deposit on the 15th of each month
- Electing Large Partnerships - Issue K-1s to partners - even if you're on extension

March 31
- Electronic filing of W-3's with Social Security Admin including issued W-2's
- Electronic filing of US transmittal of US information Returns

Tech Talk With Tom...

Can Electronics Be Recycled?
By Mark Middleton

A lot of people have old broken pieces of electronic equipment that they aren't using just stored up in their house somewhere because they don't know what to do with them. They might even think that one day they will have them fixed and be able to use them again. That is usually not the case because now it is easier, quicker and cheaper to just go out and buy a new piece of electronic equipment rather than repairing the old broken one.

The thing is, people don't realize that it is popular, common and smart to recycle old electronics now. There are special companies specifically designed to come and pick up your old items for you to take them off your hands and dispose of them the proper way.

Recycling companies will come and get your recycling items from you and take them to their recycling plant. At the plant they will separate them into categories according to what they are because each different type of electronic equipment is made with different materials. Different metals go in different categories.

Mercury, for example, is poison. If that is disposed of improperly then it can pollute water, animals and even us. It is harmful to touch and even more harmful to swallow. Mercury poisoning can cause death in animals and in humans.

Lead is a big problem too. It is used in computer monitors to block the radiation. Lead can cause brain damage in humans and if breathed in can cause cancer and even can be fatal. It is used in many things as a helpful tool to make them last longer, like house paint for example, but can be more harmful.

Plastics obviously are harmful to the environment. They can be melted down at a recycling factory and used in new electronics or other things rather than making new plastics that will only worsen the condition of the earth.

Calling a recycling company isn't difficult. All you have to do is find one in your area and have them come and pick up your items. There is no pick up that is too large or too small for them to come and pick up. They are happy that you are contributing to the process of making the planet cleaner.

Recycling is a good way to do your part on the planet to make it a better place for yourself and for everyone else. It is important to contribute however you can to preserve the earth's state. Whether you have a giant flat screen T.V. or a tiny cell phone, any little bit helps.

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

Source: Free Articles from EzineArticles

Spotlight On...

Spotlight: Peering Behind the Curtain

Hi!  I'm Dy Larson, the usually silent editor that handles word nerdiness for Candy and OffAssist.  First, a disclaimer: Candy and I were friends before I started writing for her. We are each others' emergency contacts if a kid gets sick at school. I'm not impartial.

How much do you know about your bookkeeper and her ten year journey to get where she is today? Probably not as much as I do (heh), so let's change that!

I can't think of anyone I know personally (and am not related to) that I admire more than Candy.  When we met, OffAssist was about 2 1/2 years old and run from a desk in the corner of her living room. She worked whenever the kids were asleep, which usually meant the middle of the night; she functions better on less sleep than anyone I know.

Now, it's been almost eight years and I've watched the phenomenal growth of what she still calls her, "little bookkeeping firm," from the outside.  I've seen her overcome her fear of public speaking by attending networking events and conferences.  I've watched her give back to the virtual assistant community, first as a volunteer (and now former President) of IVAA, and, more recently, as a co-founder of VA League.

I've watched her help other people, me included, grow their own dreams through mentorship and the occasional (necessary) harsh word. I was there when she overcame her fear of the camera and started 2minuteswithava.com.

I saw her grow OffAssist from one determined woman with a desk to a team that helps businesses of all sizes and stripes all over the country. I watched her move out of an apartment and buy a house thanks to this little bookkeeping business. OffAssist is ten years old this month and has been self-supporting for most of those years.

Want to know more about the amazing woman who brought us all here and helps us all be better people, professionally and personally? Check out CandyBeauchamp.com to learn more. I can pretty much guarantee you'll end up admiring her as much as I do.

Have you nursed a secret longing to be in the spotlight, center-stage, all eyes on you?

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

Fine print: We do reserve the right not to feature anyone and a request is not a guarantee that you will make it into the newsletter. Also, if your news, announcement, etc. is time sensitive or tied to a specific date, please let Patty know in your email.

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 copywriting/editing skills of Ink Think VA, and the coding talents of Time Is Of The Es-Cents.