March 2011  
Real Bookkeeping. Virtual Assistance.
Volume 8 Issue 3  www.offassist.com

Lucky Lady

March is my lucky month. For starters, I was born in March (pretty lucky for me, eh?).

This March, Tom and I celebrate our 18th wedding anniversary, and, well, I think that's pretty lucky, too. Those of you that have met him or heard me talk about him know that he's simply amazing. When I first started OffAssist, he never once asked me if I was insane; he's 100% behind me and always has been. When people ask me how I made this little bookkeeping firm work, I always point to him first.

And, for no reason I can determine, I love St. Patrick's Day. After all, it's a celebration of luck and I consider myself one of the luckiest people around. I'm lucky I get to do what I love and make a living at it. I'm lucky enough to work with a dedicated team and vision-filled clients.

2011 has been lucky for OffAssist, too. We've signed at least one new client every week for several weeks running. Sure, we work hard to ensure the success of the business, but with a run like I've had lately I can't help but think there's some luck involved...

PS -- Don't forget Daylight Savings Time starts extra (insanely!) early this month at 2:00 a.m. on Sunday, March 13th!

In this issue...


The below seems like simple common sense, but the larger and busier a business becomes, the easier it is for scenarios like the one the author describes to occur.

Accounts Receivable Can Kill Your Business Success
By Linda Hancock


A few years ago my assistant told me that there wasn't any money in the business checking account. I couldn't believe it because I knew how much I was charging per hour. It just didn't make sense.

One of the first things that I did was start to educate myself. I watched the training videos for the bookkeeping software and then began using the knowledge to review the figures that had been entered into the program. How shocked I was to find that my Accounts Receivables were over $25,000.00 and that much of it was from blue stock companies who had outstanding balances for several months.

It didn't take long to realize that I had an Accounts Receivable problem.

You see, when people or companies haven't paid their accounts, it is like lending them money out of your pocket!

I made a decision right then and there that from that day on I would focus on collecting the balances and never allow this situation to occur again.

The next step was to print out a listing of the outstanding balances so that I could see which ones had been overdue for the longest period of time. I began calling the organizations and found that most had not received invoices or statements but all were very open to making payment once they received duplicates.

Next, I printed and mailed, emailed or FAXed the necessary documentation.

Check by check the payments began arriving and the Accounts Receivable balance went down.

I still have Accounts Receivables in the business but I have never again allowed things to become so out of control. At the end of each month I print the listing and begin the process of contacting those who have outstanding accounts with a request for the time frame regarding when payment will be made.

It is very interesting (and not at all scary) to print the list each month as I now only view a couple of accounts that are more than sixty days overdue and these are likely because of a special arrangement that I have made in advance with the client.

Letting your Accounts Receivables grow will kill your business success and jeopardize your own personal financial situation. Your staff likely doesn't have the same motivation for collecting money as you have so it will likely fall to you to take on that role. One of the keys for doing this is to not let the problem get ahead of you again.

By the way, do you want to learn more about increasing your business profits fast? If so, download my brand new mini-book "DISCOVER THE SECRETS TO INCREASING YOUR PROFIT BY OPENING YOUR BUSINESS FOR SUCCESS" here: http://openforbusinesssuccess.com/

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

QuickBooks Tip

How do I delete vendors that are duplicates?

Q: I'm looking through my vendor list and notice that I have a couple of vendors entered more than once. Can I get rid of one of them? Also, I have a vendor that I never use any longer, can I delete him off my list?

A: Yes and no. I know, lovely answer, right? For your duplicate vendor names, the best thing to do is merge them. They are showing on your list because there is a difference in the spelling of the name (maybe an “s” added or a “the” or a misspelling of the name). To merge the names in the vendor list, select “edit vendor” and change the name so it matches the one you want to keep. When you select “OK” it will ask you if you want to merge the names. Choose yes.

For the vendors that you no longer use and want to remove from your vendor list, choose the name from the list and right click, then choose “Make Vendor Inactive.” This will make it disappear. If you ever need to reactivate the vendor or view something related to them, change the vendor list view to “All Vendors.” The vendors you have made inactive will have an “X” next to their name. Remove the “X” and it will become active again. Note: If you make a vendor (you can do the same process with old customers as well) inactive, you can not use them for anything until you make them active again.

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

Humor

Lemon Squeezer

The local bar was so sure that its bartender was the strongest man around that they offered a standing $1000 bet. The bartender would squeeze a lemon until all the juice ran into a glass, and hand the lemon to a patron. Anyone who could squeeze one more drop of juice out would win the money. Many people tried to squeeze those lemons, weight-lifters, longshoremen, etc., but no one could do it.

One day, a scrawny little man came into the bar wearing thick glasses and a polyester suit. He said, in a tiny, squeaky voice, "I'd like to try the bet." After the laughter died down, the bartender said OK, grabbed a lemon, and squeezed away. Then he handed the wrinkled remains of the rind to the little man.

But the crowd's laughter turned to total silence as the man clenched his fist around the lemon and six drops fell into the glass. As the crowd cheered, the bartender paid the $1000 and asked the small man, "What do you do for a living? Are you a lumberjack, a weight-lifter, what?"

The man replied "I work for the IRS."

 
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Tax Deadlines

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
- Foreign Persons US Income subject to withholdings
- 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...

Renaming Your Drives

I never realized that there were so many people having problems with drive letters - the letter name the computer assigns to a hard disk on your computer. People add external drives and their letters conflict with an internal drive. Or maybe they are connecting to a network share at the office. CONFLICT!

Luckily, Microsoft saw this coming. They made it very simple to change the drive letter of any physical drive (except for C:) on your computer.

To re-name a physical drive:

  • Right-Click "My Computer" > Select "Manage"
  • Under "Storage" > Select "Disk Management"
  • Right-Click the drive you wish to change > Select "Change Drive Letter and Paths"
  • Click "Change"
  • In the drop-down box, select the new drive letter

And that's it! No more conflict.

Unfortunately, changing network drive letters is a little more intensive. Please make sure you have the username and password for each drive before disconnecting!

To re-name a networked drive:

  • Write down the path for each drive (Usually something like \\11.22.33.444\Remote Drive)
  • Right-Click each drive > Select "Disconnect" for each drive
  • Select "Tools" > Select "Map Network Drive"
  • Remap each drive

If you are at all uncomfortable with re-mapping your network drives yourself, I recommend having a professional do it for you.

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

Spotlight On...

Spotlight: A Very Special Mom

Julie McAllister is one of bravest women we know. When Julie found out her sons have special needs; one has Asperger's Syndrome and the other lives with a long list of food intolerances with potentially hazardous consequences; she dug in and got to work. She learned all she could and, with the support of friends and family, has gone on to become an advocate for her boys and others.

In looking around the Special Needs community, one thing Julie noticed is how little anyone talked about how much work goes into parenting a special kid. She has support from a sympathetic local group of moms, but very few of them could fully comprehend what life was like for her. Many special needs mothers don't even have that. Out of a desire to both give and receive support, Julie started Special Moms, Special Healing -- a website with resources for the mothers of special needs kids.

The website was good, but Julie wanted to do more hands on (she's a Reiki practitioner and we couldn't resist the pun) work to help others. After talking with others in the Austin area, Julie put together the Special Moms, Special Healing Conference and Retreat. The retreat is exclusively for mothers of special needs kids and is focused around the idea that, "Loving Yourself=Loving Your Special Needs Children,"with workshops on fitness, nutrition, international speakers and more.

As her friends we are in awe of Julie and the work she does for others. If you want to learn more, check out her website or the conference website for more information--we hear there are a few spots left if you're interested or know someone who might be.

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 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.


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.

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