OffAssist

 

July 2013
Volume 10, Issue #7

Chilling and Changing

Ah, midsummer. We've all been home together long enough now that things have gone from, "Thank goodness school is out!" to, "When does school start again?" If that wasn’t enough fun, here in Central Texas we’ve moved from, "Oh, it's so nice and warm outside," to, "OMG, we're all going to melt!" And the kids... I know they grow all year long, but somehow they always seem to grow up faster over the Summer and seem decidedly older.

For businesses where Summer is not their key season, it's also a time of transition. Hunkering down in air-conditioned offices while it’s a little slow seems to inspire folks to pull out that list of resolutions they made in January. You’d be surprised how often, “Contact a bookkeeper," is on that list. So while Summer is a little slower ‘round here, it’s also the season of new clients -- yay!

For me? Well, I guess it's a good thing that I transitioned the way my team works last Summer. My neck is fine, it healed well. Unfortunately, the back pain that I've lived with for years reached a pretty bad place this Spring. I'm preparing for a double spinal fusion later this month. I'm so glad that I can be out of commission for a few weeks to recover and and not worry about my business falling apart; my team can handle it.

What unexpected things has this Summer brought you?

Candy

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In this issue...

Article: 10 Reasons to Avoid Writing Top 10 Lists

Bookkeeping Tip: How To Add a Logo and Customize Your Forms

Tax Deadlines July 2013 / August 2013

Spotlight on Keeping On-Task

Tech Talk: Presentation Software

Humor

10 Reasons to Avoid Writing Top 10 Lists

Top ten lists do have their place, and can help save a business blog when you need content in a hurry, but they are a little overused these days. Plus the title made us laugh :-)

By Donald L. Heymann

When was the last time you actually remembered a top ten list?

  1. Basically, enough already. We're saturated with top 10 (or top 5) reasons to do something. I don't know about you, but I'm inundated, and I hardly bother to look at them anymore, unless the headline is unavoidably compelling, which is rare.
  2. They've become the literary equivalent of fast food. Enticing at first but soon completely forgettable. Most are just repurposed aphorisms that have been around, in one form or another, for years. At least say something!
  3. I understand the need for shortcuts. I know that people have little time to read and digest information and are looking for a simple way "to get it." But we can still write short and engrossing paragraphs with headlines and other devices to guide the reader and still convey more nuance and depth.
  4. People remember and respond more deeply to stories. Nothing is better for conveying ideas or key messages than through human-to-human experiences with a beginning, middle and end.
  5. We remember beautiful and powerfully written quotes more than lists. I bet you can recite a line from Shakespeare or Martin Luther King. But when was the last time you remembered, let alone recited, even half of a top-10 list?
  6. Many top-10 lists in business try to communicate "best practices" - describing the best techniques or methods used in a company, field or industry. But these "practices" are often just the latest or trendiest, and the best practices of one era can soon be replaced by fads of the next. Even one management change can do the trick. Did someone say, “JC Penney?”
  7. Bandwidth. Leverage. Actionable. Business model. Deliverables. Drivers. Ecosystems. Synergies. Best of breed. Granularity. Mission-critical. Critical path. Core competencies. Buy-in. Drill down. Going forward. Matrix. This is the kind of soul-stripping, management-speak often used in top-10 lists. "Only if you have the core competencies will you be able to action the deliverables." Is this really helpful?
  8. So, if you just follow the wisdom of the list, you'll find success, right? Come on! Really? Is anything that simple?
  9. Do we really need more lists? I can barely get through my to-do list. Oh yeah, pick up the dry cleaning.
  10. Hmmm. What now? Where's David Letterman when I need him. Clearly, I need to drill-down on the centers of excellence and the c-suite to leverage best-of-breed thinking and level-set learnings going forward.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com

Bookkeeping Tip: How To Add a Logo and Customize Your Forms

By Nancy Smyth, http://blog.sunburstsoftwaresolutions.com

So you use QuickBooks for your all of you bookkeeping and accounting functions, including creating Estimates, Invoices, Purchase Orders, etc. Good for you! It sounds like you are using many of the built-in features and functions. But do the “forms” you send your clients/customers, vendors/subcontractors scream QuickBooks when they are opened?

Just because you use QuickBooks doesn’t mean that you can’t send out professional looking forms. Spend some time working with your Form Templates and go from drab to WOW!

Where do I find the Form Templates?

You’ll find the Form Templates from the QuickBooks List menu -> Templates. Once there if you look in the Type column you’ll see that there are many pre-configured Invoice, Credit Memo, Sales Receipt, Purchase Order, Statement, Estimate and Sales Order Templates.

How to customize a form.

The first piece of customizing form, is deciding which type of form you want to work with. So for example, let’s say you wanted to create a more professional looking Estimate form to send to your customers.

  1. Start by clicking on the Custom Estimate in the list (this selects it)
  2. Next, click the Templates button at the bottom of the window and choose Duplicate, another window pops up and hit the Ok button
  3. Now, in the list you’ll see a template named - Copy of: Custom Estimate. Double-click on this template to open it up. This opens the Basic Customization window

7 Steps to Customizing a Form

Use the graphic below to follow 7 steps for customizing a form.

Customizing Form

  1. Click on the Manage Templates button to rename the form template
  2. Check the Use Logo option and then click the Select Logo button when it becomes active. Browse to and select your logo file.
  3. Select a Color Scheme and then click the Apply Color Scheme button
  4. Change the font style and color for specific items on the form
  5. Select specific company information – such as Phone Number, Web Site Address, etc. to appear on the final form
  6. Click the Additional Customization button to choose what item you see on the form when you view it in QuickBooks vs. what items are printed on the final form
  7. Click the Layout Designer button to check the layout and arrange the placement of the various elements on your form

Here’s your QuickBooks Estimate template, which has gone from drab and boring to a much more professional looking design that just says WOW!

Quickbooks Template

 

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

Tax Deadlines

07/16/13
- Employers Make Monthly Payroll tax deposit on the 15th of each month

07/31/13
- 2nd Quarter Payroll Taxes Due
- Deposit FUTA tax if more than $500 was paid through June 30th
- Employer's Deposit Federal Unemployment (FUTA)
- Employers File Annual Return for Employee Benefits Plan 5500
- Employers File Annual Return for Employee Benefits Plan 5500-EZ
- Employers File request for Extension filing Employee Benefits Plan Return
- 2nd Quarter Federal Excise Tax Return & Payment Voucher

8/15/13
- Employers Make Monthly Payroll tax deposit on the 15th of each month

8/30/13
- Time for businesses to consider setting up retirement plans

Spotlight: Keeping On-Task

Time on Task VA ServicesKathy Colaiacovo is the owner of Time on Task and offers professional services as a Social Media Consultant, Trainer and Virtual Assistant. Kathy and her team of 8 virtual assistants provide social media and online marketing as well as a variety of other business and website and blog support services for businesses.

With her speciality in online and social media marketing, Kathy works one on one with clients to put a strategic marketing plan in place that encompasses all aspects of their business – both off and online. She also speaks to groups and organizations helping them learn more about using social media for business.

The Time on Task team is very virtual! Working from their own locations in Nova Scotia, to Florida, Indiana, Oregon, Minnesota, California and all the way to British Columbia. From email marketing, newsletters, websites and blogs to managing your online and social media presence, Time on Task’s team of VAs can solve your time crunch and get the work done – all without the added expense of on-site staff and equipment.

To learn more about Kathy and her team, check them out online at TimeOnTaskVA.com.


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.

Tech Talk: Presentation Software

Tom BeauchampBy Tom Beauchamp

Have you ever given a presentation and had someone ask for a copy to review later? This is usually a good sign that they are really interested in your topic! However, it is a double edged sword. Did you include good notes for each slide? Will the presentation stand on its without you there doing the presenting?

In the past, presentation and presenter went hand-in-hand. You really could not have one without the other. But here are three resources to help you make a presentation that…well…presents!

Prezi: Online and sharable, Prezi is totally different from start presentation tools. Visual and interactive, Prezi can take some getting used to, but is easy once you get the hang of it.

GoAnimate: GoAnimate allows you to build custom animations to do the presenting for you. Drag and drop backgrounds, characters, and props and you are ready to go.

Sliderocket: Sliderocket is much more like Power Point than the other two offerings. However, it is all online and easy editable and sharable with others. One cool feature is “real time updates” where the online version is instantly synced with a document on your computer keeping your shared presentation up-to-date.

I have used all three of these and I will say that Prezi plays a great middle line between being a standalone presenter and be a presentation. GoAnimate is best as a standalone. Sliderocket is best used with a live presenter. However each helps meet the requirements of having a good presentation and a presentation that is a good source of information itself.

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

Humor

Differences Between You And Your Boss

  • When you take a long time, you're slow.
  • When your boss takes a long time, she's thorough.

  • When you don't do it, you're lazy.
  • When your boss doesn't do it, she's too busy.

  • When you make a mistake, you're an idiot.
  • When your boss makes a mistake, she's only human.

  • When doing something without being told, you're overstepping your authority.
  • When your boss does the same thing, that's initiative.

  • When you take a stand, you're being pig-headed.
  • When your boss does it, she's being firm.

  • When you're out of the office, you're wandering around.
  • When your boss is out of the office, she's on business.

  • When you're on a day off sick, you're always sick.
  • When your boss has a day off sick, she must be very ill.

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.

Ink Think       Time Is Of The Es-Cents

This newsletter is published monthly by Candy Beauchamp of OffAssist. © 2013

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.