May 2007  
All of your business needs. One easy solution.
5/7/2007           Volume 4 Issue 5   www.offassist.com
Facing Our Fears

When I attended my first IVAA VA Summit in October 2005, Beth Quick-Andrews asked, in her presentation, "What would you do if you were brave?" Before I left for San Francisco for this year's Summit, I looked over my notes from then and found my answer to her question: I would grow OffAssist beyond just myself.

Whoa. Until I sat down and thought about it, I never realized I had taken that thought away from the Summit. Now, just 18 months later, I realize I was brave after all. OffAssist is five years old, a benchmark most new businesses don't make in this country, and has, since my last Summit, grown into a team of professionals with a wide variety of skills and service offerings.

At this year's Summit, Sue Kramer, of Peace of Mind Virtual Assistance, drove home another point. We are business owners and executives in our businesses, and we are worth it. We have worked hard to get where we are, we work even harder to stay here and keep growing, and it is worth spending money on ourselves, personally and as VAs. I, for example, am worth the monthly pedicure I treat myself to!

This year's Summit was a rich and valuable experience, far richer than what it cost me to attend. I learned a lot about business. I faced my fear of public speaking--it wasn't a total disaster, I did manage to do it. I came home with a ton of new ideas, knowledge, and tools to help me manage both my life and my business.

Next time you hear about a professional development opportunity, a conference or workshop, any chance to learn more about your industry or doing business, remember you are worth the investment!

In this issue...
Present Like A Pro
by Andrea Cannavina

In honor of my recent foray into public speaking, here are a few words on the topic from this month's spotlight business, LegalTypist's Andrea Cannavina.

Being a professional and speaking like a professional are two very different things.

Before you can speak like a professional, you need to be certain that you believe that you are a professional. This may sound like an odd statement to some readers, however, many small businesses are successfully started and run by those who are more accustomed to working behind the scenes than in front of the microphone and camera. The fact is, no one is born with an innate ability to speak well before large groups and it is a skill best learned through experience and practice.

If you have confidence issues, stammer or are at a loss for words when someone asks you what you do, don't ignore the problem! Immediately after reading this post, visit www.toastmasters.org and search for a ToastMasters Club near you. This not for profit was started in the 1920's with the mission to assist anyone to learn better communication and leadership skills.

Learning to speak publicly is an emotional journey for most. Statistics rate public speaking as the second most common fear - surpassed only by death! Therefore, it helps to feel comfortable with those in the room. That is why ToastMasters encourages guests to sit in on an actual meeting or two - with no pressure to join or fee of any kind.

Each ToastMaster Club is run by volunteers and each Club has a different meeting schedule and for lack of a better term, style. All Toastmasters Clubs, however, have the same goal and that's to help each of their members become better communicators.

For those of you who are fully capable of standing before a live audience and comfortably presenting your topic for 45 minutes, bravo! Now keep your hands up if you have actually spoken before a live audience within the last year. Bet that one got a few of you! ;)

You would be surprised how many experienced speakers fall back on umms, ahhs and other filler sounds. Even if you can present like a pro, you should still join ToastMasters as each Club is made up a willing audience of at least 20 ears - all there to help you improve your presentation by supplying constructive feedback as part of ToastMasters' positive learning experience.

There is no cost to visit a ToastMasters Club and if you do join, there is a one time fee of about $20.00 for the manual and semi-annual (every six months) dues of around $30.00 (Club costs vary).

For your $20.00 you will receive a manual developed by ToastMasters International which is used by each of its 10,500+ Clubs worldwide. This manual contains ten (10) speech projects, each with a different objective and time requirement. For instance, the first Speech is known as the "Ice Breaker" and it is 4-6 minutes presentation about yourself. Other objectives include information organization, vocal variety, use of visual aids and so on. Upon completion of the 10th speech, you are awarded your Competent Speaker pin and are then able to move on to more specialized Advanced Courses.

Truly, if you wish a positive learning experience while you develop or hone your presentation skills, look not further than your closest ToastMasters Club!

Andrea Cannavina, Master Virtual Assistant and President/CEO of LegalTypist, Inc., helps sole practitioners, law firms and companies which service the legal industry upgrade their dictation processes to digital in order to get more done with less (less employees, less equipment and less stress)!
QuickBooks Q&A
Q: We have a debit/ATM card for the convenience of our company. There are many times when the ATM withdrawal is discovered when I am working on the bank reconciliation but do not have any support or detail for the expenditures. Do I have to wait to complete the bank reconciliation until after I make the entries for the cash withdrawals?

A: No, you can create a bank account, call it "ATM Withdrawal", and record to that account. On the "ATM Withdrawal" bank account, it will be reflected as a deposit.

At a later date, when you have the expense reports or the receipts, you would open the "ATM Withdrawal" bank register, and record each expense item as a check transaction.
 
Important Tax Deadlines
May 15 - Texas Franchise Tax Return

May 15 - IRS Monthly payroll tax deposits due for April issued payroll

May 15 - Form 990, Return of Organization Exempt from Income Tax (if tax year end is 12/31)

May 20 - Texas Sales & Use Tax Return due for monthly

June 15 - IRS Monthly payroll tax deposits due for May issued payroll

June 15 - 1040ES Estimated Taxes due for 2nd Quarter 2007

June 20 - Texas Sales & Use Tax Return due for monthly filers
Spotlight On...
Getting Keyed-Up with LegalTypist

Andrea Cannavina is the CEO and founder of LegalTypist, Inc. a legal transcription and secretarial outsourcing service for attorneys and law firms. As a certified Master Virtual Assistant who has the added distinction of being EthicsChecked™ through the International Virtual Assistant Association, Ms. Cannavina is a driving force for the correct utilization of technology, especially within the legal industry.

Ms. Cannavina has more than 15 years brick and mortar experience working with law firms of all sizes. Over the past six years as a VA, Ms. Cannavina has thoughtfully developed, thoroughly tested and implemented specific technology so that sole practitioners and law firm administrators can get more done with less - less time, less resources and less stress! For more information on LeglTypist's services, or to sign up for a FREE 15 minute phone consolation with Andrea, visit www.legaltypist.com and fill in the form to set up your call. You can also read some of Andrea's articles on life and law in the digital age at ezinearticles.com.

Along with helping any business or VA practice upgrade to a digital workflow, Ms. Cannavina contributes her time and talents to several on and off line organizations, including the OIVAC, Syosset ToastMasters and Technolaywer.
 
Have you nursed a secret longing to be in the spotlight, center-stage, all eyes on you?

Let us help you fulfill that dream! OffAssist is currently seeking businesses who would like to be featured in our monthly spotlight column. A number of our past spotlight subjects have told us their business increased after the newsletter came out and their web rankings got a boost from the increased traffic.

If you would like to be featured in the OffAssist spotlight column, and have not been featured in the past twelve months, contact Candy@OffAssist.com and we'll see if we can put you in the spotlight in 2007.

Lining Up
What is so special about this number? 8,549,176,320

Give Up? Here's the solution

Tech Talk With Tom...
Benefits of VoIP

Lately I've noticed an interesting trend - Voice Over IP (VoIP) is becoming much more accepted in homes and small businesses across the country. What is Voice Over IP? Basically it is a service that replaces, or supplements, your existing land phone line. It allows you to use your computer and your Internet connection to make telephone calls, to local numbers or anywhere in the world.

So, is VoIP a solution for you and your business? Every household and every business has different needs. VoIP can be a good solution for many of them:

- Reduce your home phone bill. Even if you keep your calls to a minimum and make few long distance calls, a VoIP solution could make your phone bills even lower. VoIP providers usually have flat-rate fees that are lower than regular phone service charges.

- Do you make lots of long distance calls? Many VoIP providers offer plans with unlimited long distance. If someone in the family travels a lot, VoIP can reduce or eliminate the need to worry about large long distance bills.

- Do you make lots of international calls? A lot of VoIP solution providers offer packages that include unlimited international calls in the monthly fee. If not, they usually have per minute fees that are significantly lower than those of traditional phone services.

- You own a small business. VoIP solutions offer small businesses many of the services that have traditionally only been available to larger customers. You get a lot of perks for a single fee.

- You work with or operate a large company. VoIP solutions for large businesses can be tailored to meet their specific needs the same way conventional phone service is. Pricing will depend on what each individual company requires, but will generally be much lower than standard phone service.

VoIP solutions have come a long way over the last few years. Individuals, families, and businesses can all manage to save money switching to this type of phone service. If you are looking to cut your budget for phone service, VoIP is definitely worth looking at.

Next month we will take a look at the pitfalls associated with VoIP and what to look out for when adopting this technology.

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

Living Long

A patient visits her doctor with worrying symptoms. After he examines her and runs some tests, he tells her, "I'm sorry, but it's bad news. You only have six months to live."

She says, "Doctor that's terrible! What can I do?"

The doctor tells her to marry a CPA. When the woman asks how that will help her live longer, the doctor replies, "Oh, it won't - but it will seem longer."

Solution:

Solution: The digits are arranged in alphabetical order: eight, five, four, nine, one, seven, six, three, two, zero.

 
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.