Category Archives: bookkeeping

Are You Working on All the Wrong Things?

Are You Working on All the Wrong Things?

Have you ever gone through your list of things to do and looked for the easiest thing to knock out first? Have you ever been moody when you’ve looked through your tasks and said to yourself, “I don’t feel like doing that one, that one, or that one?” Do you have some items on your to do list that have been there for a while (like months)?

If so, you’re not alone. Maybe we’ve been working on all the wrong things first! Check out the time management idea below that I recently read about.

One of the top time management secrets that smart business owners implement is to prioritize their tasks in a very special way: by the highest payback, and not the biggest sense of urgency.Time-is-money-29387-300px (1)

 

 

 

The truth is we may not be able to get to every single thing we want to do, especially those of us who are creative business owners who have an idea every minute! You may have a lot of them captured on your to do list, and some may still be swimming around in your head. Keeping you awake even!

One of the ways that you can choose your opportunities and slim down that ever-growing to do list is to understand the concept of return on investment. For each task, how much money could it bring you if you did it? Some of the items that are not urgent but incredibly profitable are often the items we’re too exhausted to do once we complete all the required client and compliance work we need to do.

The successful business owner will make time for those profitable but not urgent activities. In fact, they will do them first thing in the morning before checking their email or returning calls.

Here’s an exercise to try on your own to-do list. Assign a dollar value to each task on your list in terms of revenue potential or cost savings. If you got to that task, how much could it save you or make you?

Then the fun starts. Sort your to-do list by this new dollar value column you just added. Sort the highest payback tasks to the top and the lowest payback tasks on bottom.

What’s jumping out at you on the top of your list that you’re not getting to? Can you find a time on your calendar to do it this week?

When we step back, become more proactive about insisting that we get a return on our time for what we’re doing, we can make a really huge difference in our bottom line. It’s as simple as assigning some values to the tasks on our to-do list, and then re-sorting them by that value.

However you identify them, the goal is to bring to our attention our highest potential revenue opportunities so we can act on them. Even if you only get to one more per week than you are currently doing, you’ve made wonderful progress.

It may take some discipline to resist tackling the urgent tasks. When we accomplish our urgent tasks, we feel needed. We love rushing to the rescue of clients that need us. When we attempt our high-dollar tasks, it may be a little uncomfortable, even scary. So that’s why we avoid them.

Prioritizing is something we all have to do, since we live in a world that competes for our limited time. Prioritizing by highest dollar return on investment is something the most successful business owners do, even if it means stepping out of your comfort zone.

When we do the serious work of choosing what is really going to move our business forward, we will see the changes in our revenue.

Let me know if there’s anything I can help you with. Thanks for reading and have a great day!

Do I keep it forever or can I shred it?

Your desk is cluttered and your file cabinets are overflowing with paper. You can’t even close the drawers anymore, and your hard drive is screaming at you to delete some files and create some free space.

Guess what it’s time to do! That’s right, it’s time to go through all those files and pieces of papers and get rid of the stuff you don’t need any more.  Before you get started, make a plan, it might take a couple days or even weeks (depending on how long you’ve been hanging on to stuff) to get through it all.. Decide if you’re going to start with the file cabinets or the computer files and then spend a couple of hours each day until the task is completed.  Of course if you like this type of thing, the organizing and cleaning, and want to spend entire full days on it, then go for it, and let me know when you’re done, you can come do mine!

However you can’t just start shredding and deleting, you need to know what documents and receipts are important to keep and for how long.  So below you’ll find a list of some personal and business items and a recommendation for how long they should be kept.  If you really want to get organized and maybe even go paper free, take everything you want to save and scan it in to files on your computer. File them in individual folders for each year.

Tax Returns and related tax documents:

The IRS has three years from your filing date to audit your tax return; you also have three years from your filing date to amend your return if you make a mistake. However because tax laws are always changing and the IRS actually keeps your information a lot longer than this I would keep your returns and all documents relating to them indefinitely.  The best way to file them would be to scan everything, and save as a pdf document.

Credit card receipts and statements:

Every month you should be reconciling your credit card statement.  If everything matches up you can shred the receipts that are not related to taxes. I would also suggest that you keep the receipts for any large purchases.  You only need to keep the statements for a few months unless they are tax related.

Bank Records, check registers, voided checks and check stubs:

Any banking related documents that are personal can be discarded after a year. If Business related I would suggest up to 10 years and of course if tax related keep them forever.

Personal Bills:

Phone bills, utilities and other personal bills only need to be kept for a year or shred them after you’ve seen the payment clear the bank. Most of us do our banking online these days, and even receive the bills electronically so you might not have anything to keep.

Medical records and insurance paperwork:

It’s suggested that you keep your medical insurance records like bills, copies of prescriptions and premium statements for five years after treatments ends. If you’ve claimed the medical expense on your taxes file them with the tax return and keep indefinitely.

Business Reports:

Business Tax Returns and related documents – as discussed above, indefinitely!

Monthly Financial Statements3 years

Annual Financial Statements – indefinitely

Sales Invoice and payment slips (cash or credit) – 7 years

Expense Reports – 5 years

W2’s and reports to IRS for employer taxes – 7 years

Vendor payments, invoices and purchase orders – 7 years

Please keep in mind that the time frames I suggested are just that, suggestions and recommendations. Your accountant or business advisor might have different time frames they’d like you to use, and the government might have specific time frames that need to be adhered to for different types of businesses. If you don’t see a document listed here that you have a question on please either leave a question in the comments or send me an email. I’d be happy to research it for you.

This article was originally written and shared by me on Business Darlings. The blog has since closed it’s virtual doors, so I’m reprinting some of my favorite articles here for you.

Thanks for reading and have a great day!

Should I Void or Delete a check in Quickbooks?

Should I Void the check or just delete it, what difference does it make?

If you delete a check you’re basically saying the transaction never happened. Transactions should only be deleted when you’ve made a simple mistake.

Let’s say you wrote the check for the wrong dollar amount but haven’t printed it yet. In this case its OK to delete the transaction and re-enter it because the transaction hasn’t actually happened and won’t until you actually print the check.

To delete a check in Quickbooks:

While in the check writing screen, go to edit and select delete check.

If a transaction has already occurred, meaning you’ve printed the check you will need to void it. For example, you issued a check to a vendor to pay for all the supplies you bought only to realize you paid them to much. You need to void the wrong check and then re-issue a check for the correct amount. If the check had been used to pay an invoice, then voiding that check will also reverse the payment for that invoice, returning it to an unpaid status.

When you use the void function in QuickBooks its keeps the check number, name of the vendor, and date for you. The check shows a zero dollar amount in the register and you can use the memo field to note the reason you voided the check.

To void a check in QuickBooks:

While in the check writing screen, go to edit and select void check. If you’re in the check register, select the check, go to edit and select void bill payment-check.

By voiding instead of deleting you are removing the financial effect of the transaction, but keeping a record of the transaction. In other words you won’t have gaps of missing check numbers in your check register. It’s a good practice to be able to account for all your check numbers for control purposes.

Thanks for reading and if you have any questions shoot me an email!

Budgeting for Business & Pleasure


A few weeks ago on Business Darlings I wrote about how important it is to have a budget. I think it’s important for both your business and your own personal finances.

According to an article I read recently a good rule of thumb for where you should be spending your money is as follows:

25-30 percent on housing

15-18 percent on transportation

16 percent on food

The remainder to be divided between discretionary spending and savings

Do you know if your spending is in sync with this breakdown? Have you ever prepared a budget to see where your money goes to? Creating a budget helps you spend responsibly and achieve your goals. It also helps eliminate stress. Wouldn’t it be nice not to have to stress over money! You’d also be able to avoid that “money” argument because you’d always have the answers!

If you’d like to read the rest of the article, hop over to Business Darlings and read it here.

Have a great day and remember to smile, life isn’t so bad :)

Tips for working with QuickBooks

If you’ve been wondering where I’ve been? I apologize; I’ve been doing all my blogging over in the financial section of Business Darlings. Which is great, I love the site, but I also know that I should be posting over here on my own blog too. I should be at least sharing with you what I’ve been writing about over there.

So with that said, here’s a bunch of links to all the different articles I’ve been writing about QuickBooks.  I’m sure you’ll find them helpful for setting up or working with QuickBooks in your own business.

Getting Started with QuickBooks

Paying Bills with QuickBooks

Invoicing with QuickBooks

Customer Payments and Deposits with QuickBooks

Past Due Reminders with QuickBooks

Reconciling your Bank Accounts with QuickBooks

Customize your QuickBooks Invoices, make them your own!

If you have any questions or comments on any of the articles please leave a comment or contact me at deb@gemsvirtualoffice.com  Thanks for reading and have a great day.

Organize your bills! A few simple suggestions.

Does the thought of organizing and paying your bills make you cringe. You might have receipts everywhere, in the car, crumbled in your purse or wallet, and the invoices that need paying are probably buried in the papers on your desk or email box. Does this sound like you? Here are some suggestions in how to organize all that paperwork and handle the accounts payable side of your bookkeeping.

1. When you receive invoices that need to be paid, immediately place them in a folder, either in a file drawer or the in-box on top of your desk, labeled invoices or bills to be entered . Set aside some time at least once a week to enter them into your bookkeeping software. After you’ve entered the invoices, file them in a to-be paid folder. Depending on how many invoices you have, you can file them all in one folder or alphabetically by vendor. If you are going paperless, scan the invoices into your computer and file them the same way, in a file folder for Vendor invoices to be paid on your desktop.

2. Before you can enter any of these invoices and bills you’ll need to create a chart of accounts. Keep your chart of accounts simple. The chart of accounts is a listing of all your balance sheet accounts(assets and liabilites) and your income statement accounts(income and expenses). You’ll use these accounts when entering your transactions. Most accounting software packages will suggest a basic chart of accounts for you to start with. You can then add or delete accounts as you see fit.

3. At the same time your entering invoices to be paid, briefly look at any unpaid invoices you’ve already entered to make sure they aren’t due to be paid this week. Instead of looking at the invoices manually, run a quick unpaid bills report. You can then either print any checks needed using your software or pay them using on-line banking. On-line banking is a free service with most major banks, and you can enter the amount of the invoice and schedule it for payment before the due date. And with many accounting software packages you can accomplish this right within the software itself. The benefits of online bill pay is that it saves on postage and also by scheduling before the due dates you’ll avoid any late fees. Just remember if you pay the bills directly from your bank website, you will also need to enter those payments in your accounting software.

4. Reconcile your bank statements monthly. Try setting up time on your calendar the week the statement is received. You don’t want to put this task off because the longer your accounts stay unreconciled the harder it will be to find errors. If you have been disciplined in entering your transactions each week, it shouldn’t be a time consuming process and can easily be accomplished using your software’s reconciliation function.

5. Don’t forget your credit card purchases. If you’ve set up your credit cards as accounts they will need to be reconciled on a monthly basis the same way you reconcile your checking account. So be sure that you’ve been entering the charges daily or weekly. Credit cards statements can also be treated as regular bills, where you enter the bill for payment just like the rest of your monthly bills. If done this way you obviously won’t have an account to be reconciled every month.

6. If you use PayPal, you also need to set up this account similar to how your checking account is setup. And it will also need to be reconciled each month. With PayPal you can download the monthly reports for reconciling. To keep yourself current though I would also recommend doing this on a weekly basis to record any deposits and payments, and then reconcile on a monthly basis.

We’ll talk about handling your accounts receivable another time. We don’t want to forget that. You have to be invoicing customers and making deposits to pay all those bills we just talked about. Are you feeling frustrated and flustered with the thought of bookkeeping? Don’t worry, your not the only one. I think most business owners consider bookkeeping a dreaded task and put it off as long as possible. Unfortunately it’s not something that can be put off altogether unless you decide to outsource to someone that actually enjoys bookkeeping. Even then you shouldn’t ignore it completely, to effectively run a business you need to know what’s going on in every corner of it.

How do you stay organized? I’d love to hear your suggestions.

Are you clueless when talking to your accountant?

This week on Business Darlings I talk about Bookkeeping terms that every business owner should be familiar with. I know you’re thinking boring!! But it’s really important that you understand them (or at least have heard the words before), so that when your talking with your bookkeeper or accountant you’ll have a vague idea of what the hell they’re talking about.

In future posts, either here or on Business Darlings we’ll discuss all of them in more detail. Before you know it you’ll be wondering why you didn’t bother to pay attention sooner (or not).  Anyway I know some business owners are really clueless when it comes to Bookkeeping, and that’s really not the smartest way to run a business. Its fine to delegate (what most consider) the boring data entry and number crunching to the bookkeeper,  but I hope that you’re looking at reports at least on a weekly basis.

OK, enough of my preaching on why you should be reading it,  just go read it! You’ll find the post here.

Introducing Business Darlings!!

Are you thinking of starting a Virtual Business or looking for some new strategies to help build and grow your current business? Then be sure to check out Business Darlings. A new business magazine focusing on Virtual Businesses. There are sections with tips and tricks dedicated to Marketing, Social Media, Software, Technology, Business Coaching, Finance and more!

Business Darlings is set to launch tomorrow, February 14th, and I’m very excited and honored to have been asked to offer my advice, opinions and idea’s in the Finance section.

Here’s what Christina Nelson, owner of VOS Team and Vital Office Solutions, and the creator of Business Darlings has to say about the launch.

I am so excited to be able to give back to the industry that has been so good to me. Business Darlings is a labor of love and I am very proud of what we have accomplished so far.

Business Darlings is an online magazine/blog focused on providing tips, inspiration, direction and motivation for YOU to start and build a Virtual Business.The Virtual Industry is BOOMING and it’s time you got your piece of the Internet. Having a Virtual Business has some unique challenges and we want to help you get the answers you need to face, and overcome, them (or beat them into submission, whatever works lol).Business Darlings has been blessed with (so far) 8 wonderful experts (7 Darlings & a Dude) who have agreed to volunteer their time each week to bring you the information you need to be successful. Plus, we are always looking for more experts to add (email me to see if we need someone with your skills contact@businessdarlings.com). Pop over to http://businessdarlings.com and bookmark us for the launch on FEBRUARY 14th (yep Valentine’s Day)


How to Network With Other Business People

By Scott Cardinal

There is no doubt that throughout your life you have heard the phrase, “It’s not what you know, it’s whom you know.” The simple fact of the matter is, no matter how talents or gifted you are, and how many fantastic ideas you have, how much hard work, and energy, and ambition, and drive you have bubbling inside of you, it does not and will not matter if no one knows you exist. The times have not changed. It has always been like this. You need to get your name out there. You need to meet people. You need to network.

A lot of people consider networking to be a “dirty” business because they feel it seems insincere, or manipulative, or that people come across as self-centered, but you should not approach networking with that mindset, and if you have well-developed social skills you should be able to spot those who have the same motives that you do. Networking is about building genuine, mutually beneficial relationships.

The best excuse in the world for people not to network is their claim that they are shy or introverted. The easiest way to overcome this is to network with people who share the same common interests as you do. After all, what brings you out of your shell, and to life, and fills you with adrenaline more than talking about something you are interested in? So start off going to networking events where you are certain there will be others that share your interests. This should not be difficult to do. Of course another piece of advice to give that is easier said than done is, “get over it. Be bold. You have ambition. You want to succeed. You need to overcome obstacles in your path. If being shy and introverted are two obstacles, than tackle them right away.

Networking is an ongoing process. It is not something you can do once or twice and then never do ever again. It will take you a lot of time and effort to build a network of people you can call, count on, depend on, and reach out to if you want or need something. At the same time, you want to be able to let as many people as possible know about you so they can do the same. After all, networking is a reciprocal game. It takes two to tango. Put on your dancing shoes.

Be interested in other people. If you want other people to be interested in what you are doing then it would certainly help if express interest in what they are doing. To warm up your engines you should begin by contacting distant relatives and old friends and let them know what you are up to. They may be interested in what you are doing, and may know others who are interested, too.

Always remember that networking is an investment in you, your business or organization, and in other people. Think about how much time you can and will save in the future if you know the right people to call when you need advice or need to hire someone, as opposed to tracking down the information you need cold.

Whenever you network, find out what your new friends and acquaintances do for a living and for fun, and, if possible, find out the same about their spouses or significant others.

Invite people out. Don’t just limit your networking to events, conferences, trade shows, etc. if you really hit it off with someone then meet them socially, perhaps for coffee. Establish a bond. Connect. Be a friend. Everyone could use another friend. Be a good listener. Be as generous as you can with your time and any constructive advice you can offer.

One of the best things about Face Book is it allows people to stay connected all the time, and not lose touch. You can see when their birthday is and touch base then. You can send them private messages concerning a topic they may be interested in.

As you meet people, focus on spending your valuable time with those who are the best fit for you. There is no doubt that you have a lot of ideas and a lot of potential and a lot to offer. Network as often as you can, but choose quality events and quality people because your time is valuable, and so is theirs.

Remember to make networking fun. Meeting other people and finding out what they do for a living and fun can be incredibly interesting. And if they can help you or you can help them in the future, well that makes networking an extra benefit for all.

The Earth Savers Institute is the Official Training Affiliate of Green Earth Corporate Kindness Organization (GECKO), which is a 501(C) 3 (tax-exempt) non-profit corporation dedicated to helping businesses & non-profits become better stewards of the environment. GECKO is perhaps the only Non-Profit organization in the United States with the sole mandate of helping companies & non-profits improve their environmental practices. Their collective MISSION is to help companies & non-profits improve their environmental practices and address the remarkable need for affordable environmental education & change assistance. For more information, visit Earth Savers Institute.com or GreenBusinessUniversity.com.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Scott_Cardinal

http://EzineArticles.com/?How-to-Network-With-Other-Business-People&id=4338152