You’ve heard Candy mention numerous times the importance of having a strong team supporting you. You never know when something will happen and you’ll need to pass the reins off to handle what life throws at you. Candy and her family had an unexpected death in the family this week. She and I have worked together for years and have been diligent about learning what each does so we can step in at a moment's notice with as little disruption to our clients as possible. Within minutes of Candy getting this news I was able to say “go, I got this”.
If you don’t have an emergency plan in place I strongly urge you to do so. It’s hard to let go and trust someone else to handle your business. It’s also something that is important. Who do you have that will monitor your email and handle what comes in? Does your team know all your processes so someone can cover for you if you are suddenly unavailable? You owe it to yourself, your clients and your team to have procedures in place so everyone knows what to do. Candy’s lucky, she has a really strong team that all stepped up and said they’d do whatever needed to help her get through this time.
Hope you’re enjoying a nice spring. I got to enjoy some lovely snow the second day of spring because, yeah, that’s Idaho. But, I am really looking forward to spring, specifically the end of April when things will (hopefully) slow down.
We all have tasks we find difficult, unrewarding, or just plain distasteful and we usually have the tendency to put them off until "tomorrow."
Over the years, I have discovered an important trick that I used to help me overcome that distasteful task: it is that if you are going to do something, be happy while doing it. Always set a simple standard for yourself; resolve to muster enthusiasm for projects, meetings, and tasks that you do not enjoy but that are crucial to your business.
Sometimes, you may not want to initiate actions due to pre-conceived ideas of embarrassment, disappointment or fear of failure. But the truth is, the worst that could happen is someone says 'no'. Of course, being happy while you do something unpleasant is much easier said than done but think of the negative results of not doing those things.
Do you know one other useful technique that you can implement in order to succeed at whatever you set out to do? If you think I am talking about phone calls, then you are right. I counsel you to make less calls; and you'll be amazed how much good you can achieve within a short time.
Now, look into the mirror and talk to yourself; tell yourself that you can do it. Looking into the mirror when having serious discussions with yourself is beneficial for two reasons.
1. You acknowledge the one person who can solve this problem: YOU - the person in the mirror.
2. Once you start talking about your goals to your reflection, you'll be more likely to remember who is going to benefit from this successful outcome: YOU - the person in the mirror. (This always motivates me.)
I know you've heard it said before that it is imperative you set goals if you truly want to achieve; and that is the truth. Goals help you get things done in a time-efficient manner so that you can keep on track - every day, every time.
Once a week, review your goals list and the tasks you've assigned yourself. Underline any project that you have put off because it is difficult, unpleasant or boring. Make that task easy to find on your planner. Now, write down a date and time that you will make that call, start that project, or schedule that meeting.
Promise yourself a specific reward for overcoming your apprehensions and completing the task; then take action. JUST DO IT!
Once you understand that the individual in the mirror (YOU) is the only one who can initiate action and overcome procrastination, you can become the most successful person.
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4/18/2016 Last Day to set up and fund IRAs and Roth IRAs for previous year
4/18/2016 Individual Personal Returns due
4/18/2016 Personal Returns due - Nonresident, US income, etc.
4/18/2016 Personal Returns due - Easy Form Return
4/18/2016 Personal Returns due - Not Itemizing Return Form
4/18/2016 Personal Return - Extensions due
4/18/2016 US Gift and Generation-Skipping Transfer Tax Return
4/18/2016 US Gift and Generation-Skipping Transfer Tax Return Extension Due
4/18/2016 Partnership Returns due
4/18/2016 Issue K-1's with Partnership Returns
4/18/2016 Electing Large Partnership Returns due
4/18/2016 Estate & Trusts Returns are due; Bankruptcy fillings use the same form
4/18/2016 Partnership, Estate & Trusts Returns - Extensions due
4/18/2016 Individuals, Farmers & Fishermen Pay 1st Quarter Estimated Tax Payment
4/18/2016 Corporations - 1st Quarter Estimate Tax payment Due
4/18/2016 Estates & Trusts 1st Estimated Tax Payment
4/18/2016 Employers Make Monthly Payroll tax deposit on the 15th of each month
4/29/2016 1st Quarter Federal Excise Tax Return & Payment Voucher - Form 720
Accrual vs Cash Reporting
You may have heard the terms accrual reporting and cash reporting but many people don’t know what they mean.
Accrual Reporting shows your income and expenses on the day they are earned or incurred. Cash reporting shows your income and expenses the day you receive or spend the cash. Makes a lot of sense, right? Here’s an example:
Income: March 23rd you provide a service to a customer and create an invoice, they pay you on April 5th. If you are looking at accrual reports, you would see the income on March 23rd. If you are looking at cash reports, you will see the income on April 5th.
Expenses: you hire someone to create a website for you and they send you their invoice on March 23rd, you write a check on April 5th to pay them. On accrual reports you will see the expense on March 23rd, for cash reporting you will see the expense on April 5th.
The next question is always “which is best”. The answer is really a personal decision but when I consult with business owners on operational matters I always suggest looking at reports on accrual basis. This is really showing you what your business is doing. Assuming your customers are paying timely and you pay your bills on time this is a good way to evaluate how your business is doing. However, if you are not tracking receivables and payables or if you are only tracking one then cash basis might be better to give you a more realistic picture. (Disclaimer:, other business consultants may give a different opinion, this is my recommendation.)
For business owners that are really monitoring their finances and how their business is operating I actually suggest reviewing both your accrual and cash statements. There is a lot you can learn from looking at both.
Another common question I get is “my CPA files my taxes on cash basis, don’t I have to look at my reports on cash basis?”. The answer there is no. How you file taxes and how you evaluate your business financials are two different matters.
You may be asking “should I file taxes on accrual or cash basis” that’s a question for your CPA, a good CPA will discuss the pros and cons of each and will help you determine which is best for your individual situation.
Some special notes for OffAssist clients, if you’re not sure if your reports are cash or accrual contact your account manager. If you are receiving one and would like to see the other let us know and we will change what you are being sent. If you want to see both we can do that as well. If you would like to discuss your financials in more detail or would like some assistance in understanding what they mean contact us.
Upgrading your technology can improve your online marketing results. If your online marketing strategy isn’t paying off, then you might need to upgrade the technology on your website. If your current marketing promotions are going well, then you might be able to improve them even more with some updated technology. Fancy bells and whistles on a website just for fun aren’t the type of technology that will help you increase sales and grow your business. All they really do is slow down your site and drive potential clients away. But technology designed to do very specific things can make quite a difference.
If you sell products, there are some image enhancements you’ll want to consider in your online marketing strategy. Of course, you must have clear pictures of your products, with more than one picture per product, ideally. You’ll want the customer to be able to click the picture and enlarge it to see the product even more clearly. There’s no real technology involved with that. But to give the customer the closest experience possible to actually being able to pick up and examine the product, look into the software that allows you to show 3D images on your website. The customer can click on the image or on a slider bar and drag to turn the image completely around so they can get a better feel for the object. This online marketing strategy is becoming more popular as companies realize how effective it is.
You could also look into the software that allows a customer to hold the mouse pointer over an image and zoom into it. This usually also allows the customer to move the mouse and see various parts of the object incredibly up close. Remember in your online marketing strategy that everything you do to bring the customer closer to the item they want to purchase will increase the likelihood of a sale. You’ll also want to ensure that your shopping cart and checkout system is as absolutely simple and easy as you can make it. Any slight hang-up, delay or problem is just one more reason for the customer not to buy from you.
If you sell services or information instead of products, you can still benefit from the addition of pictures to your website. Screen shots are particularly helpful when selling software. While adding pictures doesn’t require much technology, you’ll want to give your website more appeal by adding sound and video. When you’re selling a service, a video of someone explaining the service in a friendly, casual tone can go a long way toward giving a customer a positive impression. Even audio clips the customer can listen to that break down concepts into simple steps can be an important part of your online marketing strategy.
Video that shows screenshots and still shots as well as a person speaking or demonstrating something can be particularly effective. Get the software necessary to make these recording. I use Snag-it and Wondershare for video and image capture. Don’t forget how annoying it can be to have something suddenly start playing, though, so give the customer the option. Then add them to your website as part of your technology online marketing strategy.
This year the Austin Food & Wine Festival has packed your itinerary with more grill flares and top-shelf pairs, including up-close and personal access to culinary, wine and spirit talent at dozens of cooking demos, wine and cocktail seminars. Indulge in The Grand Taste Pavilion, showcasing over 50 of the finest beverages from across the nation, and 40 food artisans from Austin and beyond. Plus, pick up copies of inspiring cookbooks and get them signed by your favorite chefs in the Autograph Tent.
In honor of the quickly approaching swimsuit season:
While shopping for vacation clothes, my husband and I passed a display of bathing suits. It had been at least 10 years and 20 pounds since I had even considered buying a bathing suit, so I sought my husband's advice. "What do you think?" I asked. "Should I get a bikini or an all-in-one?"
Better get a bikini," he replied. "You'd never get it all in one."
The OffAssist newsletter is made possible by the the coding talents of Next Level Digital Solutions.
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.