March 2012  
Real Bookkeeping. Virtual Assistance.
Volume 9 Issue 3

Leaps of Faith

Wow, it's March already! 2012 seems to be screaming by at a break-neck pace. But here we are...

I mentioned last month that I just celebrated 10 years in business. Crazy, right?

This month, Tom and I celebrate 19 years of marriage. Crazier, right?

I'm also celebrating my own birthday this year and this year's birthday is pretty special. Oh, I'm just turning 37, no huge milestone, but I am roughly 125 pounds lighter than I was on my 36th birthday! I've been amazed by the outpouring of love and support as I go through this journey. Everyone that has noticed either from my changing photo, video blogs, regular blog or my updates in social media has been amazingly supportive. I was terrified of the reaction I would get when people knew how much I lost or how much I have to go, but my friends, clients and acquaintances are just amazing.  I honestly think that has been the biggest piece of this journey - all of the people that surround me. I'm humbled and strengthened by it and very glad I took a chance and was open about it.

Now - this March I challenge you to do something that terrifies you. Leave your comfort zone (if only for a few minutes - it's okay to start small) in business and in your personal life. Don't worry, I'm challenging myself, too.  This month I'll be attending a new networking event. These are always hard for me to drop in when I don't know anyone -- I tend to be a little shy. On the personal front, I'm gearing up to complete The Great Urban Race with a group of friends. It's like The Amazing Race, but all of it is in Austin. :)

What risks will you take this month?

Happy 19th Anniversary, Tom. Here's to 90 more.

In this issue...

Speak for Yourself
By Donna Toothaker

There are many ways to market your business – email marketing, social media, press releases, attending networking events. But to really “kick it up a notch,” you have to put yourself out there, in person, in front of people.

The very thought of standing behind a podium may be terrifying for some, or just uncomfortable enough for others to have avoided it up until now. This is a hurdle worth jumping. Brushing up your speaking skills and taking advantage of opportunities to present will bring your profile, and your business, to an exciting new realm of possibility.

Here are just a few reasons why you need to put yourself out there:

Building Your Brand…

When you stand up in front of a group – whether it’s at a local chamber of commerce meeting, a networking event or even a teleclass – you stand out as a leader. When you put yourself in front of others have the chance to get a feel for who you are and sense your passion for your work. No website, advertisement or any other marketing can compare to the power of personal contact in building your brand. If you are nervous about speaking in front of large groups, start small – introducing yourself at a local business networking event, or speaking as part of an industry panel may be good ways to start. Hosting a teleclass is also a good way for people to get a real feel for you. Though you aren’t meeting them face-to-face, you’re still presenting to a group – great practices to build the confidence you need to give a speech or presentation at an industry event.

Becoming the “Go To” Person…

The more you present within your industry, the more you will assert yourself as an expert in your field. Look for opportunities to speak on cutting edge techniques, technology, marketing methods – whatever is trending currently. Present on a timely topic at industry events, and look for media opportunities to comment as an expert.

Promoting Your Business…

Make the most of every personal and group interaction by promoting your website, upcoming teleclasses, and new offerings. Choose speaking topics that are related to those offerings, so that your talk becomes an introduction to the wealth of information they can find on your website, by downloading an e-book, or joining a teleclass. You’ll increase your web traffic and your marketing list substantially.

Promoting Your Industry…

As you promote your business through public speaking, you are also bringing greater awareness to the VA industry – a win on two fronts! The more folks who are aware of the benefits of hiring a VA, and just what VAs can do to grow their businesses, the bigger the client pool (and industry) gets. The more visible you make yourself to these potential clients, the more your business grows!

Public speaking may not be on your list of favorite things to do, but becoming a confident speaker, and jumping on opportunities to do so, can put you at the head of the pack. So get out there and say something!

About The Author: Donna Toothaker is CEO, founder and coach of Step It UP VA Coaching and the creator of the 6 Steps to 6-Figure VA Success System. These highly sought-after VA coaching programs have been created for established, successful VAs who wish to now create the 6-figure business of their dreams. Visit for a free report, The Top 3 Mistakes to Avoid in Creating a 6-Figure VA Business.

QuickBooks Tip

How do I find my transactions?

Q: I have a lot of transactions in my check register this month and am trying to do my reconciliation and it’s difficult to find my transactions in the long list. Is there something I can do?

A: QuickBooks 2009 and newer allows you to sort the various columns in your reconciliation screen. To sort by date, check #, payee, or amount you can click on the column header and it will resort your list. Clicking on it will toggle between ascending and descending order. You can do the same in the deposit section. QuickBooks defaults to sorting by date.

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


Isn't it appropriate that the month when the taxes are due begins with April Fool's Day and ends with cries of "May Day!"?

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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
- 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

April 17
- Last Day to set up and fund IRAs and Roth IRAs for previous year
- Individual Personal Returns due
- Personal Returns due - Nonresident, US income, etc.
- Personal Returns due - Easy Form Return
- Personal Returns due - Not Itemizing Return Form
- Personal Return - Extensions due
- US Gift and Generation-Skipping Transfer Tax Return
- US Gift and Generation-Skipping Transfer Tax Return Extension Due
- Partnership Returns due
- Issue K-1's with Partnership Returns
- Electing Large Partnership Returns due
- Estate & Trusts Returns are due; Bankruptcy fillings use the same form
- Partnership, Estate & Trusts Returns - Extensions due
- Individuals, Farmers & Fishermen Pay 1st Quarter Estimated Tax Payment
- Corporations - 1st Quarter Estimate Tax payment Due
- Estates & Trusts 1st Estimated Tax Payment
- Employers Make Monthly Payroll tax deposit on the 15th of each month

April 30
- Deposit FUTA tax if more than $500 was paid through March 31st
- 1st Quarter Payroll Tax Returns Due
- 1st Quarter Federal Excise Tax Return & Payment Voucher - Form 720

Tech Talk With Tom...

Computer Cleaning, Step-by Step

Ah winter! Most of us are smack dab in the middle of it. If it’s frosty and wet outside maybe you have a fire going in the fireplace.  Perhaps you have one of those small electric heaters under your desk to keep your feet cozy and warm?

One thing to keep in mind this time of year: your computer would prefer you kept it nice and chilly inside. Fireplaces produce smoke and dust. Space heaters can heat up your computer a lot faster than they can your feet.

The best way to prevent damage to your computer is to keep it clean. This allows maximum airflow through the case and gets the heat away from temperature sensitive components. Follow these steps to help your computer keep its cool while you stay nice and warm.


Step 1: Check the manual. Some manufacturers will give you step by step instructions. If yours did: follow them.

Step 2: Gather your weapons: a can of compressed air, Endust for Electronics, a soft paint brush, and an anti-static rag.

Step 3: Shutdown and turn off the computer. Do not unplug the computer.

Step 4: Disconnect all peripherals. This includes: printers, keyboard, mouse, monitor, etc.

Step 5: Remove computer cover. Your computers manual should provide instructions on this.

Step 6: Ground yourself to the computer with a professional grounding strap if possible. If you do not have one available, always keep one hand in contact with the metal case of the computer.

Step 7: Spray fans, power supply chassis, drive bays, and circuit boards with compressed air.

Step 8: Brush remaining dust out of the case.

Step 9: Spray Endust for Electronics onto the anti-static rag. Wipe the inside and outside of the cover.

Step 10: Replace cover and reconnect all peripherals.

WARNING: Never use a vacuum cleaner in a computer. Even if it says it is for computer or electronics.

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

Source: Free Articles from EzineArticles

Spotlight On...

Spotlight: PinqSheets

We all know that social media has become a vital part of a good marketing plan. So, you've decided to start a Twitter campaign to promote your new product. You've got some tweets planned, you have a list of people to follow who are influential among purchasers of your product, but how do you know if you got their attention?

Enter PinqSheets. PS is a tool that uses Twitter's streaming API to track keywords you choose, whether they have a hash tag or not.  The tool gives you pretty much all the tweets that include your keyword AND it offers a simple one-click option to turn all that raw data into spiffy charts to show the marketing director.  One of the best features is that while PinqSheets can be used for ongoing monitoring, it's also great for specific campaigns since it's a pay-as-you go tool. Only need to track a month or two?  They can do that.

And it's fun! The crew behind PS is very active in social media and a bit irreverent. No fussy tools here.

Want to learn more? Check out PinqSheets online at Feeling social? Follow the PinqSheets gang on Twitter at @PinqSheets.

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.

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?


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.