OffAssist

 

March 2013
Volume 10, Issue #3

March Madness

March is one of my favorite months. Well, if I ignore all the tax professionals whining at me for the client's books. March 2nd is my birthday, but March 3rd is my anniversary. This year is a very special year though.

Candy and Tom's 20th Anniversary20 years ago I said, "I do," to my other half, Tom. For those of you who haven’t been lucky enough to meet him, he is an amazing human being. Not only does he put up with me each and every day--an impressive feat in and of itself--but he also teaches elementary full-time AND helps us with our tech needs here at OffAssist. He the single most supportive person in my life. He didn't bat an eye when I told him I wanted to start this crazy business 11 years ago and he's been there for me 100% during my very personal weight loss journey and the traumatic neck fusion surgery last year. And that's just in the last few years--he’s been equally awesome all the others, too.

I'm lucky. There's not many people that can say they have an amazing partner and they still really like each other after 20 years. He still celebrates our first date; which I almost always forget. He makes me laugh every day.

Make sure you thank those that support you this month. And, Tom, thanks for being my rock. Thanks for making the past 20 years better than I ever imagined they could be.

Candy

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In this issue...

Article: Monthly To-Do List for LinkedIn Users

Bookkeeping Tip: Date Fields in QuickBooks

Tax Deadlines March 2013 / April 2013

Spotlight on SCORE - For the Life of Your Business

Tech Talk: When does 1+1=1?

Humor: Differences Between You And Your Boss (aka Why I work for myself!)

7 Advanced LinkedIn Tips: Monthly To Do List

Confession time: I’m one of the people she mentions in the opening paragraph, who don’t utilize LinkedIn as well as I could. Maybe this will help give me a jumpstart in that direction, too.

By Carol Anderson Smith

Businesses which use LinkedIn to grow are deliberate about planning for success.

The other day, I was approached by a businessman who said he hadn't yet seen any economic results from his LinkedIn profile. When asked how often he reviewed his plan and engaged with others on LinkedIn, he said "I don't have a plan but I visit the site every six months". Unfortunately this is a common scenario.

Many businesses don't know how to effectively use LinkedIn as a lead generation tool. To help solve this problem, I've compiled a listing of LinkedIn best practices to help you accelerate revenue growth this year.

1. Make a list of 10 Thought Leaders
Identify 10 thought leaders in your industry who share high quality content which is valuable to your clients. Include friends and partners who will help you by cross promoting. Connect with them on LinkedIn, follow them on Twitter, join their Google or Triberr groups. Set up a process to review their content and re-post to your network.

2. Refresh Your Monthly LinkedIn Goals
What are your LinkedIn lead generation goals for this month? How did you do last month? Now is a great time to review goals, and fine tune strategies and metrics. What gets measured gets done.

3. Identify 3 Industry Leaders
Create a list of the top 3 leaders in your industry that you would like to meet. If you're in sales, these could be prospects. If you're looking for a job, it could be employers. If you're a business consultant think about non-competitive joint venture partners. Make a list, and then go learn about them. LinkedIn and Google are great places to get started.

4. Review Social Dashboards
Evaluate the effectiveness of your current social dashboards. Are you using them effectively? Do you need to refresh settings, or adjust posting criteria? Is the expense a worthwhile investment? If you are not yet using a social dashboard consider signing up for one. My favorite is Hootsuite. It's easy to use, will post to a multitude of accounts and is less than the cost of a cup of designer coffee every month.

5. Download LinkedIn Connections
Do it now. It only takes two minutes. Go to your LinkedIn contacts list and at the bottom of the page, you'll see "Export Connections". Export to outlook and save as a .CSV file. It can be opened in Excel. Why is this important? Connections are a business asset. LinkedIn has closed profiles without notice so protect your asset. While this is unlikely, disasters are equally unlikely yet you still buy insurance. Think of this as free insurance: set up a reminder to download your list.

6. Protect Your LinkedIn Asset
Download your LinkedIn profile. You've worked hard to craft just the right message, and gathered details from the past like years graduated, papers published, and accomplishments. Log into LinkedIn and go to your profile view. Just to the bottom right side of your profile photo is an edit drop down menu. Look for the 'export to PDF' choice. Click on it and it will save to your machine.

7. Update Your Profile Summary
Go to your profile summary and read it from a client's view point. Is it compelling? Does it inspire you to reach out and connect? Is it memorable? Do you feel like it's written exactly for you the reader? Is it written in first person? Can you easily find their contact information? Update based on information you learned during the last month about your industry, or clients. Did you lead a webinar? Teach or take a class? Help a client achieve an amazing goal?

About The Author: Carol Smith is CEO of Revenue Attraction and advises clients on how to increase revenue through marketing, branding, customer alignment and best practices. Carol is also author of Advanced LinkedIn Tips and managing partner for Integrated Alliances an international online and LinkedIn training company dedicated to helping sales, marketing and HR professionals leverage LinkedIn for profit. To learn more about Carol's consulting and mentorship programs. http://www.RevenueAttraction.com

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com

Bookkeeping Tip: Date Fields in QuickBooks

If business owners decide to keep their own books or help out their bookkeeper by entering data during the month, they usually want to spend as little time as possible doing this. A lot of time can be wasted typing out the date for each transaction. In the date field on any QB form, it is not necessary to type out entire date, 10/03/2012. Typing 100312 yields same results. There are other faster ways to enter date as well. Highlight the default date and use the + and - keys to increase or decrease the date by a day. Click on calendar icon and choose date. Again while highlighting the default date, type T for today's date. Type M for first day of month and H for last day of month. Type Y for first day of year and R for last day of year. These shortcuts work in the online version, too. Start using these shortcuts and they will become automatic and save you lots of time.

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

Susan Kovalesky is the owner of Balanced Bookkeeping Solutions and is a Certified QuickBooks ProAdvisor, a certification updated annually. She is also a team member of OffAssist. Follow her on Facebook.

Tax Deadlines

March 6
- Deposit payroll tax for payments on Feb 27 - Mar 1 if the semiweekly deposit rule applies.

March 8
- Deposit payroll tax for payments on Mar 2-5 if the semiweekly deposit rule applies.

March 11
- Employers: Employees are required to report to you tips of $20 or more earned during February.

March 13
- Deposit payroll tax for payments on Mar 6-8 if the semiweekly deposit rule applies.

March 15
- Corporations: File Form 1120 for calendar year and pay any tax due. For automatic 6-month extension, file Form 7004 and deposit estimated tax.
- Employers: Deposit payroll tax for Feb. if the monthly deposit rule applies.
- S Corporations: File Form 1120S for calendar year and pay any tax due. Furnish a copy of Sch. K-1 to each shareholder. File Form 2553 to elect S Corporation status beginning with calendar year 2013.
- Electing Large Partnerships: Furnish Sch. K-1 (Form 1065-B) to each partner.
- Deposit payroll tax for payments on Mar 9-12 if the semiweekly deposit rule applies.

March 20
- Deposit payroll tax for payments on Mar 13-15 if the semiweekly deposit rule applies.

March 22
- Deposit payroll tax for payments on Mar 16-19 if the semiweekly deposit rule applies.

March 27
- Deposit payroll tax for payments on Mar 20-22 if the semiweekly deposit rule applies.

March 29
- Deposit payroll tax for payments on Mar 23-26 if the semiweekly deposit rule applies.

April 1
- Electronically file Forms W-2, W-2G, 1098, 1099, and 8027.
- File Form 2290 and pay the tax for vehicles first used in February.
- File Form 730 and pay the tax on wagers accepted during February.

April 3
- Deposit payroll tax for payments on Mar 27-29 if the semiweekly deposit rule applies.

April 5
- Deposit payroll tax for payments on Mar 30 - Apr 2 if the semiweekly deposit rule applies.

April 10
- Employers: Employees are required to report to you tips of $20 or more earned during March.
- Deposit payroll tax for payments on Apr 3-5 if the semiweekly deposit rule applies.

April 12
- Deposit payroll tax for payments on Apr 6-9 if the semiweekly deposit rule applies.

April 15
- Individuals: File Form 1040, 1040A, or 1040EZ. For automatic 6-month extension file Form 4868 and deposit estimated tax. Pay the first installment of 2013 estimated tax.
- Partnerships: File Form 1065 and furnish a copy of Sch. K-1 to each partner.
- Electing Large Partnerships: File Form 1065 calendar year return.
- Household Employers: File Sch. H with Form 1040 if you paid $1,800 or more to a household employee.
- Corporations: Deposit the first installment of your 2013 estimated tax.
- Employers: Deposit payroll tax for Mar. if the monthly deposit rule applies.

April 17
- Deposit payroll tax for payments on Apr 10-12 if the semiweekly deposit rule applies.

April 19
- Deposit payroll tax for payments on Apr 13-16 if the semiweekly deposit rule applies.

April 24
- Deposit payroll tax for payments on Apr 17-19 if the semiweekly deposit rule applies.

April 26
- Deposit payroll tax for payments on Apr 20-23 if the semiweekly deposit rule applies.

April 30
- File Form 720 for the first quarter.
- File Form 730 and pay the tax on wagers accepted during March.
- File Form 2290 and pay the tax on vehicles first used in March.
- Employers: File Form 941 for the first quarter.
- Deposit FUTA tax owed through Mar if more than $500.

Spotlight: SCORE

Spotlight: SCORE - For the Life of Your Business

SCOREDo you know SCORE? The Florida-based organization’s mission is to grow, “...successful small businesses across America, one business at a time.” It looks a lot like a non-profit private version of the Small Business Administration from the outside, with one major difference.

Success. SCORE offers free mentoring to small business owners, but the volunteer mentors involved are all successful business people. The organization offers both face-to-face and email mentoring, with confidentiality assured, and even allows mentees to specify an industry when looking for assistance.

In addition to the mentoring program, SCORE offers online workshops and local events through their local chapters all over the country. They also maintain a (granted, somewhat limited) business form template library. Their website boasts a huge tips section covering all aspects of business ownership from starting up (including special tips for entrepreneurs over 50) to creating an exit strategy and everything in between.

There is no such thing as too much help for small businesses, especially in a challenging economy, and SCORE offers options not found elsewhere.

Disclaimer: We have not worked with or spoken with anyone at SCORE. We saw an article on the organization in the Houston paper last month and thought they sounded pretty cool. YMMV


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: When does 1+1=1?

Tom BeauchampBy Tom Beauchamp

I recently went to look for some old files on my son’s computer. It had been mine in the past and I had left some old pictures on it that I wanted to save for a future project. Well, that projects name was now upon us!

As I looked through the directories, I realized that we had upgraded the computer a few times since he took ownership. He had one main hard drive that he actually used, but three others that were just sitting there. Did I mention he was complaining about lack of space?

Here is a quick and easy way to turn four small hard drives into one large one:

  1. Go to “Control Panel”
  2. Go to “System and Security”
  3. Under “Administrative Tools” click “Create and Format Hard Drive Partitions”
  4. Find what it is you want to combine and right-click on of them
  5. Click “New Spanned Volume”
  6. Follow the Wizard and add the drives you want to combine
  7. Assign a drive letter and you’re done!

So, in the end, I got my files, he got more space, and we put off having to buy a fifth hard drive simply by making the most of what we already had. Sometimes 1+1 really can still equal 1. It’s just a bigger one that you started with.

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 (aka Why I work for myself!)

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

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

When you make a mistake, you're an idiot.
When your boss makes a mistake, he'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, he's being firm.

When you please your boss, you're sucking up.
When your boss pleases his boss, he's being a team player.

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

When you apply for leave, you must be going for an interview.
When your boss applies for leave, it's because he's overworked.

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.

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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.