OffAssist

A Note from Candy

January  2015
Volume 10, Issue #1

It’s January and here at OffAssist we are snowed in with forms. 1099s and W-9s abound!

And that’s okay - after all, if it wasn’t us, it would be you and none of you want that.
 

My secret to getting through the most labor-intensive month of the year for bookkeepers?

 

Florida.

 

For the third year in a row, I will be heading off to South Florida for the VA League’s planning retreat as soon as January is over. Knowing that makes January a good deal more bearable for me. Lanel, too, since she and I co-host the retreat every year. This is also a heads-up to everyone that Lanel and I will be out of the office February 1st through the 8th, so try not to have any emergencies while we’re gone ;-)

 

To be fair, though, some of the credit for getting me through January goes to this month’s birthday boy - Tom! I honestly don’t know how I got through January all these years, and I am so glad that I’ve lived longer with him than I did without him <3  Happy Birthday, Babe -- Love you!

 

I’ve built something to look forward to after my busiest month of the year into my business life to avoid burnout. What do you do to recover from the occasional crazy periods you have at work?

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In this issue...

Article: Checklists Improve Quality and Productivity

Bookkeeping Tip: 2015 Mileage Rates

Tax Deadlines: February 2nd, 2015 through March 17, 2015

Spotlight Bookbub

Tech Talk: Taking a Screenshot

Humor: Tax Fact

Checklists Improve Quality and Productivity

by Kevin Dee

 

"Never memorise something that you can look up" Albert Einstein.

 

Pilots use them to make sure they go through every step in their routine, every time... even though they might have been doing it every day for years!

 

You can create checklists to make sure that you remember to do everything you should do!

 

Checklists allow your brain to focus on the more creative aspects of selling because you don't even need to think about the mundane process steps that need to happen, you just follow the list.

 

If you forget one step in a process it might not mean a crashed plane, but it could mean an unhappy client, an angry boss or even a lost sale.

 

Here are a few examples a salesperson might consider (Note: these would be customized and expanded over time to suit the individual):

 

The Monday morning checklist.

 

   Make sure calendar is up to date and you know where you are going and when this week. (You can try to schedule more meetings in the same general location on those days when you are travelling somewhere).

   Make sure you did not miss any "To Do" items last week.

   Update your "To Do" list with items for this week.

   Schedule time to make important outbound calls/return messages.

   Add to your "new leads" list and research people to call.

   Update your distribution lists to ensure you are staying in contact with all the people you should.

 

The Friday Evening Checklist

 

   Add any new contacts into the CRM. Add them to newsletter/contact lists.

   Update systems with any information that might have been missed... notes from meetings, updates on sales funnel, new leads etc.

   Make sure no important items were missed from "To Do" list.

   Add items to next weeks "To Do" list.

   Add weekly activities to your ales report so that by month end you don't miss anything.

   Add new tasks to "check lists"... routine things you might do.

   Send interesting article to clients using distribution lists.

   Review your distribution lists to identify contacts that you should be meeting in the next month.

 

The Closed Business Checklist

 

   Complete ALL appropriate internal paperwork/system updates (list it out so you don't miss anything)

   Schedule client follow-ups to ensure client satisfaction.

   Send thank you cards to client, to internal people who helped with sale, to anyone who may have helped with referrals etc.

 

You can have checklists for anything, whether personal or work related. You might have a checklist for business travel, to make sure you remember everything; you could have a checklist for going to the cottage etc.

 

Checklists just make it easy to ensure you don't miss anything. Salespeople are notoriously bad at the administrative side of the job and checklists can help to keep them on the straight and narrow. It's not much use selling something and not getting paid because the salesperson forgot to enter the right information in the system!

 

Kevin Dee is CEO of Eagle, one of Canada's largest professional staffing companies. You can read more of his writing at the Eagle Blog http://www.eagleonline.com/blog/

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/8580848

Bookkeeping Tip: 2015 Mileage Rates

In late December the IRS released the 2015 mileage reimbursement rates.  For 2015, the business mileage standard rate is $0.575 per mile.  We are often asked about paying more or less than the IRS rates, so here’s a quick answer:

 

What if I want to pay more than the standard rate?  Employers can reimburse employees any amount they choose however, only $0.575 per mile can be a tax-free reimbursement.  Anything above the standard rate is taxable income to the employee and subject to all employment taxes.

 

Do I have to pay the standard rate to my employees?  No, you can reimburse any amount you choose, the only restriction is the max that can be reimbursed tax-free.

 

Tax Deadlines

2/2/2015
FileForm 2290 Heavy Highway Vehicles
Furnish W-2s recipients
Furnish 1099 MISC to recipients
Furnish 1099 Interest to recipients
Furnish 1099 Dividends to recipients
4th Quarter Payroll Reports
File Annual Payroll for Agricultural employees
4th Quarter Federal Excise Tas Return & Payment Voucher

2/17/2015
Employers Make Monthly Payroll tax deposit on the 15th of each month

3/2/2015

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

3/17/2015

Foreign Persons US Income subject to withholding
Employers Make Monthly Payroll tax deposit on the 15th of each month

 Spotlight: You?

Here at OffAssist we like books.  Not the accounting kind -- although we like those, too -- the kind you read to relax.  FIction, memoirs, history; between me and the members of my team there’s not much we won’t read.  Personally, I have a Kindle problem. My whole family does, actually -- I’m a bit of an ebook evangelist. Which is why I love BookBub.

The only thing better, for me, than instant access to the next book in a series right after I finish one, is being able to get it for less. That’s where BookBub comes in.  There are a lot of free and low-cost ebook sites online. BookBub curates them for you. Sign up with your email address and tell the site what you like to read and you’re done.  You’ll get a daily email with links to free and low cost (all under $5, most under $3) ebooks tailored to your interests and device. Pretty cool. You can check it out for yourself at www.bookbub.com.
 

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

 

Tech Talk: Taking a Screenshot

Tom BeauchampBy Tom Beauchamp

I was giving a presentation the other day on using some new software. Afterward, one of the attendees came up to me. “I loved your presentation”, she said. “Which screenshot software do you use?”
 
The truth is, I don’t use any screenshot software. I use a button that has been on keyboards for as long as I can remember. All you need is the PrtScr button.
 
“PrtScr” stands for Print Screen and is a holdover from the days when you would want to actually just print what is on your screen. These days we like to manipulate the images a little more than just printing them. Here is how you do it on any Windows computer:
 
1.) Have the image you want fully visible on your computer.
 
2.) Press Control and PrtScr at the same time.
 
Note: You will not see anything happen. Not flash, no message, nothing.
 
3.) Open Paint or another image editing software.
 
4.) Once open, go to Edit and Paste.
 
5.) Your full screen will be pasted into the image.
 
Note: If you have multiple monitors, they will all be pasted into the image.
 
6.) Select the area you need and hit “Crop” in your editing software.
 
7.) Save your image and you can use it however you would like.
 
So there you have it. No fancy software required. All you need is already on your computer.
 
Now if only I had a use for “SysRq”.

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

Humor: Tax Fact

The Gettysburg address is 269 words.

The Declaration of Independence is 1,337 words.

The Bible is only 773,000 words.
 

The Federal tax law has grown from 11,400 words in 1913 to over 7 million words today.

 

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 Next Level Digital Solutions.

 

Ink Think       
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.