OffAssist

 

September 2014
Volume 11, Issue #1

Sweet Silence

Do you hear that sound? Me either.

Why? Because there is nothing to hear except the sound of complete quiet. All of my kids are in school again. It took a little longer to get it all done this year, one started high school, one started middle school, with all the orientations and extra paperwork that entails. But all those signatures were me paying my dues for a little time to myself.

I built a home business to be able to be flexible, to be there for my family and not be tied to someone else’s demands. It means some days I work at midnight because Jake (my 15 year old nephew who is living with us for a while) needs his artwork, Jamie is running a fever and needs to be picked up and Cassie is staying late to join one of the new clubs that are open to her as a big ole 6th grader. And that’s okay. It also means I can have lunch with a friend and not worry if I’m gone more than an hour. It all gets done and I get to have a life. Does it get any better than this?

It also means I have some quiet to assess where I am and where I want my business to be in the coming year. As a bookkeeper I’m moving into a slowish season. That means now is the time to plan for next year. As a bookkeeper I also spend the first 3 and a half months of each year buried in paperwork, so I have to plan ahead in the quiet of the first month of school.

What will you be doing with your Autumn?

Candy

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In this issue...

Article: Do You Bill Your Clients the Right Way?

Bookkeeping Tip: Workplace Posters

Tax Deadlines: September 2014 - October 2014

Spotlight on Lanel Taylor

Tech Talk: One Device: Many Uses – Business Use Edition

Do You Bill Your Clients the Right Way?

By Hitesh Bubbar

Most small businesses think they're doing it right. Still, there are times when they don't have enough resources to keep up with the cash flow of their business. Of course, there is nothing as satisfying as getting paid on time, but the questions is - how frequently do you get paid on time?

The fact is - not more than 10% of the startups or small businesses have a systematic way to invoice clients. Rest do not have a proper way, yet. Small businesses often fancy their chances of getting more projects from clients at once and expecting the client to pay in lump sum. However, seldom does it happen. They are not able to influence their clients by not being able to send professional looking invoices.

Invoicing can sometimes give you nerves, especially when you're not doing it right. You may consider these things while you bill your clients -

How To Create an Invoice

Well, it all depends on the size of your business. However, it's recommended for every business to go for online invoicing, instead of working with paper invoices. And it doesn't have to do anything with the size of the business. Online invoicing not only saves money, but your time as well.

Personalized Invoices

When you're able to send customized/ personalized invoices to clients, you automatically make a mark. Doing it manually is again tedious. You may find several invoicing templates online to use and customize. A clear and concise invoice is what your clients look for, so they could understand the terms clearly and pay you on time.

Invoices - Complete and Structured

You must make sure that your invoice is complete and shouts every possible thing that both parties agreed on while signing the contract or finalizing the project. Minute details like tax details, late fee, interest charges, business name, service given, total amount, waiver, discount fee, etc are to be mentioned.

According to a study, a complete invoice is catered and paid 90% faster.

Invoice Timing Matters

The best time to send an invoice is probably when a service is rendered or the task has been completed by the vendor. For example - A freelancer can send an invoice when he's done with the project or the first level of the task in order to keep going with some cash in hand.

Else, the best thing to do is to observe the payment nature of the client and address him with an invoice just at the right moment.

About the author: Hitesh Bubbar is a Social Media Enthusiast who has been consulting and helping people excel in developing effective marketing strategies. He presently writes for Invoicera, an online billing and time tracking software that simplifies your billing and invoicing needs.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com

Bookkeeping Tip: Workplace Posters

Employers have a number of requirements to stay compliant, one that is often overlooked are the required workplace posters. The Department of Labor has a number of postings that describe various rights your employees may be entitled to. In addition, most states have postings they require as well. To find the required postings for your state search “Mandatory Employer Postings” then your state.

All of the posters are available for free on the federal and state websites. To make it easier there are many companies that sell pre-made posters. We use All-In-One Posters when we assist clients with obtaining posters, laminated, paper and electronic posters are available. They also have a page that lists any state updates so you can keep your posters up to date.

This is a simple task that can keep you out of trouble.

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

Tax Deadlines

9/30/2014
- Last day to establish SIMPLE plans for current year
- Time for businesses to consider setting up retirement plans

10/15/2014
- Personal Returns due - Nonresident, US income, etc. FINAL DEADLINE
- Personal Returns due - Easy - Final Deadline
- Personal Returns due - Not Itemizing - Final Deadline
- Deadline for Schedule C filer to fund SEP-IRAs for previous year.
- Net Operating Loss - Eligible Small Business carry back loss
- US Gift and Generation-Skipping Transfer Tax Return - Final Deadline
- Employers Make Monthly Payroll tax deposit on the 15th of each month
- Employers File Annual Return for Employee Benefits Plan 5500, if on extension
- Employers File Annual Return for Employee Benefits Plan 5500-EZ, , if on extension

10/31/2014
- 3rd Quarter Payroll Taxes Due
- Employer's Deposit Federal Unemployment Tax (FUTA) - if total due is more than $500 through Sept 30th.
- 3rd Quarter Federal Excise Tax Return & Payment Voucher - Form 720

Spotlight: Lanel Taylor

If you’ve been around OffAssist for a few years you probably remember Lanel Taylor. Lanel has worked with us since 2006 and has been an integral part of the company. A short time ago we, sadly, lost her when she went to work full-time for one of her former clients, a large construction company. While working her full-time job she continued assisting Candy in the background (she has been such an instrumental part of the company for so many years). In July, after much planning and begging, Lanel joined the OffAssist family once again but this time as a full-time employee.

Lanel brings to OffAssist over 20 years bookkeeping, payroll and tax experience mostly in the Real Estate investment and construction industries. She has over ten years experience as a business owner, bookkeeper and in management roles. With OffAssist she will focus on managing the team, assist Candy with the day-to-day operations, working on and overseeing financial reporting and account manager for a few of our clients. Lanel excels at the bigger picture items of a business, she enjoys working with owners to move their businesses ahead and has a passion for helping people learn to budget.

Lanel lives in Idaho with her two dogs (she loves to talk about them so be warned if you want to ask how they’re doing).


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: One Device: Many Uses – Business Use Edition

Tom BeauchampBy Tom Beauchamp

In the “Lord of the Rings” movies, there was “One Ring to Rule Them All.” I don’t know about you, but lately I’ve found that I have too many devices for very specific purposes. You can actually go buy “multipurpose” electronics or you can use the one that is already in your pocket: the Smartphone.

Here are three “new” tricks that you can easily teach your Smartphone:

  1. Fax and Scan: Need to quickly scan a document and get it to a client? Need to scan your receipts to send to your bookkeeper? Your Smartphone can scan to pdf and get them sent for you. My favorite app is “CamScanner” available on Google play. Other great apps are “TurboScan” and “JotNot”, both available through iTunes.
  2. Presentations: I recently saw a super cool remote presentation controller. It even acted like a touchpad. It also cost more at $100. These apps do the same thing (sometimes more) for a lot less: www.pptremotecontrol.com for most phones, or “Remote Presenter” available on Google Play.
  3. Use Your Computer: Smartphones are nice, but sometimes you need the power of or the files from your main computer. Take control of it remotely with a solution like www.teamviewer.com for both iPhone and Android or (if you are using a Windows computer) you can take advantage of the built in “Remote Desktop Protocol” and use any number of apps such as jumpdesktop.com.

The Smartphone really is a multi-purpose tool like no other. If I were stuck on a desert island, this would be my gadget of choice (as long as I could take a solar charger, of course!)

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

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. © 2014

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.