March 2009  
All of your business needs. One easy solution.
Volume 6 Issue 3

The Way We Were
February marked OffAssist's 7th year in business - a nice, heady milestone. Congrats to my little company!

March, however, marks an even bigger milestone for me - not my birthday, though I am celebrating another anniversary of my 29th this month. No, this month Tom and I celebrate 16 years of marriage.

I consider myself lucky that after over a decade and a half this is still something we truly celebrate. He and I have grown as a couple, grown a great business together, and, we have two pretty amazing kids (no, I'm not even a little bit biased, lol!)

I hear people say all the time, "Oh, I could never work with my husband! How do you do it?" It is the easiest - and hardest - thing we've ever done, that's for sure! At the end of the day, though, we just seem to make it work. I'm glad we have the opportunity to work together. It definitely makes life interesting!

In non-personal news, I was asked to step in for the web team director over at IVAA for the next 14 months. Yes, I accepted. I think volunteering with an all-volunteer association like IVAA and childbirth have a lot of in common. You only do it again because the trauma-induced amnesia makes you forget how hard it was last time!

No, really, it's always an honor to serve, and serve with, my fellow virtual assistants - especially for IVAA, a group I hold in high regard (they did make me their president a while back after all!) I enjoyed my time as President, but I'll enjoy NOT being in charge even more.

As another part of my pledge to give back this year, I've started a new project that has just launched in February. Check it out at

Have a great March everyone...Spring will be here before we know it!

In this issue...

Hand Out Warm Glows
Alan Fairweather

Do you remember how you felt after your last interaction with another person either on the phone or face to face? That person - it could have been a customer, a colleague, a salesperson, a friend or even a member of your family. Did they make you feel good, uplifted and more positive, did they leave you feeling neutral or did they make you feel down and more negative.

Unfortunately, most of us have grown up in a negative culture where it's much easier to tell people what they did wrong rather than praising them when they succeed. Research in the United States found that 65% of employees received no recognition for good work in the past year. Similar research in other countries of the world shows comparable results.

Other research has shown that the number one reason people leave their job and customers take their business elsewhere is that they don't feel appreciated. (And if you think about it - many people leave their partners for the very same reason.)

If customers leave an interaction with you or one of your team feeling better than they did before, then they're much more likely to come back, recommend you to other people and spend more with you.

If one of your team feels better after an interaction with you then they're much more likely to pass that feeling onto a customer. "The way you treat your staff is the way they'll treat your customers." states Karl Albrecht.

Give five positive comments to one negative comment to the other people in your life and you'll have - more happy customers - a workplace that's more productive and more fun - more friends - better relationships and a healthier, happier and longer life.

Remember - "Hand out warm glows, not dampeners."

Discover how you can generate more business without having to cold call! Alan Fairweather is the author of "How to get More Sales without Selling" This book is packed with practical things that you can do to - get customers to come to you.,

Article Source:

QuickBooks Tip
Barter Bookkeeping
I love this question because, with the economic situation being what it is, I think this is going to become a more and more viable option, especially for small businesses.

Q: I sometimes donate or barter my products/goods. How would I recognize this in my books? ?

A: You'll need to do a journal entry to adjust the cost of the produce to the proper account.

For instance, if you are donating goods to charity, you will debt charitable expense and credit inventory/COGS for the COST of the item(s). If you are bartering for bookkeeping services, you will debit professional fees and credit sales income for the VALUE.

Note: Check with your accounting professional before doing this to be sure that's how they'd like it done. YMMV!
With tax season on everyone's minds, I thought we could use a tax joke or two!

Please drive carefully. Uncle Sam needs every taxpayer he can get.

And, of course, my personal fave (especially during Spring Break!)...

Children may be deductible, but they are still taxing.
Tax Deadlines
March 16*
- IRS Monthly payroll tax deposits due for February issued payroll
- US Corporate Income Tax Return , Form 1120
- US S-Corporation Income Tax Return, Form 1120S
March 20 - State Sales & Use Tax Return due for monthly filers

April 15
- US Individual Income Tax Return, Form 1040
- US Fiduciary Income Tax Return, Form 1041
- US Partnership Return of Income, Form 1065
- IRS Monthly payroll tax deposits due for March issued payroll

April 20 - State Sales & Use Tax Return due for monthly and quarterly filers

April 30
- Employer's Quarterly Payroll Tax Report(s) Form 941
- Employer's Quarterly TWC (Texas Workforce Commission)

*Due on March 15, but since that is a Sunday, deadline this year is March 16. Enjoy the weekend!
Tech Talk With Tom...
Seeing Double

You took the plunge and now you have 2 (or more!) monitors sitting side-by-side on your desk. You've probably gotten used to mousing back and forth between them by now. You have all your icons right where YOU want them.

Now what? Here are 3 ideas to keep your multi-monitor set up from getting boring:

Tired of having the same background on both monitors?
  • Open Paint (or other graphics editing program).
  • Create a new picture. Set the canvas size at 2x the width of your resolution setting and for the height value of your resolution. (example: 1024x768 resolution = 2048x768 canvas size).
  • Add your pictures, screenshots, etc. to the canvas. Save it when you are done.
  • Now right click your background and select "Properties".
  • Click on the Background tab and then browse for your newly created background.
  • Select "Tile" and your background should now be stretched across both monitors.
Grow a second Taskbar
  • Download MM Taskbar Free 2.1
  • Install and enjoy
Understand Cloning, Extending, & Spanning
  • Cloning: Shows the same screen on all monitors. Useful for presentations
  • Extending: Allows different work spaces on the monitors. Most people use this mode
  • Spanning: Treats all monitors as one screen. Some features (such as multi-task bar) not available in spanning mode
Consult your graphics card manufacturer website for information on how to change modes.

There is a lot that you can do with multiple monitors. Even some games now have multi-monitor support (Supreme Commander, anyone?). But for now, dual monitors are mostly at home in the workplace.

Tom Beauchamp is the marketing and tech expert behind OffAssist. He can be reached at
Spotlight On...
Making Conflict a Little Easier

No matter how much we might theoretically all want to get along, we know it doesn't always work that way in real life - especially at work. People disagree; if they didn't, "The Stepford Wives," wouldn't be a horror story. Many times we disagree over something silly, or sometimes it's with regard to a specific issue or a particular project.

Do you know how to handle things if the animosity goes deeper? What if your team members have serious personality conflicts or really struggle with accepted workplace policy and procedure? You want to keep your employees and you want them to get along.

Enter Pattie Porter's Conflict Connections, based in San Antonio, Texas and serving clients all over the country.

Pattie is a licensed clinical social worker (LCSW) who specializes in mediation and conflict resolution. When not working with individual clients or preparing to launch her new newsletter and blog, Pattie frequently works with corporations and government agencies. She teaches managers successful conflict management strategies and helps them create a standard policy to handle dispute resolution that is tailored to each company or agency.

To find out more about Pattie and how she helps people get along and get over it, check out her website at If you're more into social media, you can find Conflict Connections professionally on LinkedIn, or more casually, as Pattie Porter on Facebook.
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 and we'll see if we can put you in the limelight.

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?


The OffAssist newsletter is made possible by the copywriting/editing skills of Ink Think VA, and the coding talents of VA Lab Designs.