October 2006  
All of your business needs. One easy solution.
10/01/2006           Volume 3 Issue 10   www.offassist.com
Very Frightening!


Who's There?


Boo Who?

Awww, don't cry-it's not too late!

It takes a lot to scare an accounting nerd like me. Many times a new client will tell me several times before handing off their books that they are a mess, they'll never be fixed, and they're embarrassed to even let me see them, etc.

I always find this a little amusing because my chosen profession is cleaning up messy financial records and maintaining them correctly afterward. I don't call a plumber and say, "No really, it's a bad kitchen leak, but I'm embarrassed to have you come..." I usually say something like, "Ack! Help! Come Quick!"

Remember, if you are outsourcing a part of your business you're doing it so you have an expert working on it and in order to free you up to do the things you do best.

Let us worry about the mess – we aren't afraid of a little pile of receipts :-)

In this issue...
Tried and Filed

- By Candy Beauchamp

Filing. Everyone hates it and everyone has to do it anyway. I'm asked fairly frequently what I consider to be the best way to file accounting records, and, no, just throwing them in a box really isn't the best way to do it!

The best filing method to use really depends on the size of your company and the nature of your business. I've got a few filing tips for small, medium, and project-based companies. Keep in mind these are general tips and that you'll need to tailor them to your own needs.

Small business filing needs usually aren't too heavy. I suggest making a set of file folders labeled with the year and the major categories that you use--things like office supplies, postage, utilities, etc. For example, your "Telephone – 2006" folder may include both office and cellular phone bills since neither alone is significant enough to have its own file. Make sure you write the date you pay a bill and method of payment used on the bill itself, or attach the check stub if you print checks. At the end of the year, pack those files up in a storage box and keep them – most CPAs recommend 7 years.

With a medium-sized business those folders are going to get too thick too fast, so I recommend filing by vendor. Make a file folder for each vendor you use on a regular basis. For instance, rather than just a single "Office Supplies" folder you may one for Office Depot, another for OfficeMax, etc. Again, make sure you are keeping good records of how and when you pay a bill and pack them up in storage boxes at the end of the year.

Project-based industries, thing like construction companies, are a whole other dimension. What do you do with all these material invoices? What if your project manager wants copies of all the invoices in the project folder?

For many years, I worked with a contractor and I still have several construction companies as clients. For the vast majority of them we filed by vendor—otherwise there are just too many receipts! Gas receipts got their own folder and we just did those quarterly (Seriously, no one wants to make a new folder for each gas station!). Project managers always want copies of bills, so we would make a copy of each one and put that duplicate with the project folder.

A tip for project folders, too! You can buy Classification Folders that will let you segment files for large projects.

No matter what system you use, use a system. Even if it isn't perfect, when it comes to filing your financial information, something is always better than nothing.
Quickie QuickBooks Q & A
FJ from IA asks:

Q: I have several invoices entered in accounts payable. I only want to partially pay one of them. Is there a way to only pay a portion of a bill in the "Pay Bills" function of QuickBooks?

A: Yes, there is.

When you check off the invoices to pay, there is a column titled "Amount To Pay". Type in the amount you want to pay for that bill and proceed as usual. The next time you pay bills, the remaining amount will show as due.

Triple Entry
A young man applied for the job of bookkeeper. He was asked, "Can you do double-entry?"

"No problem," he replied. "I can do triple-entry, too."


"Sure. One for the working partner showing the true profits, another for the sleeping partner showing small profits, and a third for the tax authorities showing a loss."
An accountant visited the Natural History museum.

Standing in front of the dinosaur, he said to the person next to him: "This dinosaur is two billion years and ten months old".

The woman was astounded, "Where did you get such exact information?"

"I was here ten months ago, and the guide told me that the dinosaur is two billion years old."
Important Tax Deadlines
October 16 - Final Deadline for extended Individual, Partnership, Estate and Trust Tax Returns

October 16 - IRS Monthly payroll tax deposits due for September issued payroll

October 20 - Texas Sales & Use Tax Return due for monthly filers

October 31 - Employer's Quarterly Payroll Tax Report(s) Form 941 and TWC (Texas Workforce Commission)

November 15 - IRS Monthly payroll tax deposit due for October issued payroll

November 15 - Deadline for extended Texas Franchise Tax Report

November 21 - Texas Sales & Use Tax Return due for monthly filers

Spotlight On...

Meet Austin web development firm d2p – Development 2 Production - the brainchild of Richard Navarrete, Kirk Brown, and Tim Ziegler.
The principals have all held positions in the tech sector and, if asked to describe their work prior to forming d2p, claim to have, "...a sordid past of being code prostitutes".

d2p prides themselves on their innovation and refusal to be bound by a particular methodology. Every project is approached without preconceptions, purpose and wants are identified with no concept of the how. Nothing is too far out for them during the concept stage.

The developers at d2p are dedicated to operating across numerous platforms and utilizing a variety of programming languages. According to them, "If all you know is one language, then you think in one language. When the medium doesn't matter you're free to solve problems regardless of the technology."

If you're looking for innovative web solutions from programmers with a passion for elegant functionality, visit d2p on the web at www.d2p.us or give them a call at 512-535-6201.

Tech Talk With Tom...
Wireless Networks: The Risks and How to Protect Yourself
Part 1 of 2

If you have a wireless network then you know they're a great way to share files, printers, and your Internet connection across the different computers in your home. A wireless network card installed on your laptop computer means you are no longer tied to your desk. You can communicate, read the news, surf the Web, and do all of your online tasks from anywhere you can receive a wireless network signal.

The Risks
Wireless networks are not stopped by the walls of your home. In fact, wireless networks can extend more than 300 feet from your wireless router or access point. If you live in an apartment or a dorm, you may have dozens of neighbors who can gain access to your wireless network. Even if you live in a house your neighbors, and even people on the street, may be able to connect to your network.

Sure, it's nice to lend things to your neighbor, but do you really want to let them access your home network? There are several good reasons not to--a person who can connect to your wireless network may be also able to:
  • Slow down your network and Internet speeds
  • Access files on your computers or spread dangerous software
  • Gain access to your personal information by monitoring the Web sites you visit, read your e-mail and instant messages as they travel across the network, and copy your usernames and passwords
  • Perform illegal activities or send Spam with your Internet connection
Luckily setting up the security features of your wireless network can make it very difficult for uninvited guests to connect.

How to protect your wireless network
Wireless networks are usually completely unprotected out of the box. However, you can protect your wireless network by using the same method banks use to protect your password when you log on to their Web sites: encryption.

Encryption works by scrambling data on your wireless network. Only computers that have the encryption key can access your network and your information. Although one type of encryption may be better than another, the use of any type will dramatically improve your network's security by making you a more difficult target.

Next month I'll go over the different types of encryption that are available and describe the ups and downs of each type. For now, activate the default encryption that comes on your router and use a long phrase to generate the key.

Remember any encryption is much better than none at all!

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

Backpack: Get Organized and Collaborate

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.