Preparing to Meet Your Accountant by Toni Earls

A meeting with your accountant, whether it is an annual occurrence or the first time, will not be productive or helpful if you do not go to it fully prepared. Making sure that you have your documents in order will make the process go more smoothly and allow your accountant to do his or her job more efficiently. Doing as much work as possible before your meeting will help lessen the workload later and potentially negate the need for repeated meetings.

Accountingmatch.com recommends going into your meeting with clear expectations for yourself and your accountant. They assert: “…your accountant [should] have a clear understanding of what you expect to get and when you expect to get it. Just as important is for you to understand what your accountant needs and expects from you in the relationship.” This will work to your mutual benefit.

 Make yourself aware of your responsibilities as a client and what is reasonable to expect from your accountant. Spartina suggests that you: “…make a list of items that you want to discuss with your accountant. The fuzzy or complicated areas can include education expenses, membership dues, taxes you have paid, and Internet expenses.” Making yourself aware of potential problem areas will allow you to deal with them more effectively later in the process.

 This video prepared by AG Tax, encourages prospective clients to do the work ahead of time in order to streamline the process. Determine if your accountant or firm has templates or spreadsheets to guide you in preparing the necessary receipts and documents and take advantage of it. Asking for a checklist from your accountant or firm can ease stress and limit confusion when trying to gather the pertinent paperwork for a meeting.

 You don’t have to prepare completely on your own. Utilizing the tools available to you, including computer programs or apps which help you organize your financial documents, receipts, and statements, is an excellent way to begin.

Spartina recommends: “…using your accounting software (Quickbooks, Quicken, or other), print out a detailed P&L, and review all the expenses in the various categories. Make any changes now for items that may have been miscategorized.” You can avoid confusion when meeting with your accountant by catching mistakes before you hand over your information.

 Simple preparation before meeting with an accountant can streamline the process. Using software, guidelines from the accounting firm, or both will maximize your efficiency and minimize confusion. Don’t waste your time or your accountant’s. Go to your meeting confident that you have prepared thoroughly and expect meticulousness in return.

 SOURCES: http://www.accountingmatch.com/preparemeetaccountant.htm

 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9b_J3-DbvPo

 http://www.spartina.com/items/15895-tax-time-prepare-for-your-accountant

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Clear Clutter and Streamline Your Thinking by Toni Earls

When running your own small business from an office or from your home, organization, both physical and mental, is always an important factor in your success. Not surprisingly, clutter has been found to be a significant factor contributing to stress and anxiety in your work environment.

According to Mikael Cho’s article, clutter can affect your productivity adversely. He mentions a study undertaken at Princeton University which gave participants the same task in an organized and a disorganized environment: “The results of the study showed that physical clutter in your surroundings competes for your attention, resulting in decreased performance and increased stress.”

Psychology Today echoes these findings with Sherrie Bourg Carter’s piece. She points out that although clutter poses a considerable threat to efficiency at home and productivity in a business environment, this fact often goes unacknowledged. “Messy homes and work spaces leave us feeling anxious, helpless, and overwhelmed. Yet, rarely is clutter recognized as a significant source of stress in our lives.”

 Carter suggests a day-to-day approach to cut down on clutter at your desk and increase productivity. She says that giving yourself a fresh start each day will be beneficial: “De-clutter your primary work space before you leave it… make a habit of cleaning off your work space before you go. Not only will this give you a sense of closure when you leave, it will also make you feel good when you return to a nice, clean space.”

One more point to consider is mentioned by Cho. He stresses that in our virtually connected business culture, clutter is not simply a pile of manila folders and un-filed papers on your desk. Electronic clutter can be just as debilitating: “Files on your computer, notifications from your Twitter and Facebook accounts, and anything that goes “ping” in the night competes for your attention. This creates a digital form of clutter that erodes your ability to focus and perform creative tasks.”

Scheduling time into your work day to devote to clearing out your digital clutter can help with this. By designating a particular time or multiple times every day to devote to dealing with business related emails and social media, you can train yourself not to jump every time a new message beeps, distracting you from the task at hand.

 SOURCES:

http://lifehacker.com/how-clutter-affects-your-brain-and-what-you-can-do-abo-662647035

http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/high-octane-women/201203/why-mess-causes-stress-8-reasons-8-remedies

The Evolution of Communication

In a time, before cellphones existed, ancient civilizations used to dispatch messengers on horseback to relay information from afar.  Through the ages, ancient society found ways to develop new and much faster ways to communicate. Piggy-backing a horse across country in an attempt to send a message just wasn’t an effective way of doing things. Eventually, there would be ambitious pioneers all throughout history creating inventions to simplify the way with which people communicated

In 1775, the invention of the first postal service mailing system, changed the way people viewed communication. Revolutionizing the way information was shared, the postal service created a new way for an entire nation to conduct business. Back then, the postal service was modernized technology. This allowed messages to reach their destination faster than before.

After Benjamin Franklin made the illuminating discovery of electricity, came the invention of the telephone. The telephone made communicating long distances an instantaneous process. Changing the way business was done, the telephone led our society into new worlds of technology, unknown to mankind. As the telephone advanced and became more efficient, interest in the telephone soared throughout the nation. Many years later, and still immobilized by the cords and original setup of the telephone, patents were soon past down on a new kind of phone device- “The Cell Phone”.

With the invention of cellular technology, most of the communicative obstacles still plaguing society, ceased to exist. Even after the invention of electricity and the telephone, many felt information still wasn’t being passed fast enough. Telephones were often awkward and bulky, with cords attached to the base, leaving you homebound or stuck at the office. Through the invention of the cellphone, this dilemma was erased, leaving the possibilities limitless. Now, at the press of a button, people possessed the power to talk to anyone, anywhere, at anytime.

Ever since cellphones swept the nation, its been a race against time, as multiple industries search endlessly for new innovations to release to the public. By this era, newspapers, television, and public media are all common, everyday platforms used to advertise products, including the hip new cellphone. As a result of these media advancements, word of the cell phone spread like wildfire and everyone had to have one. Within a few years, the benefits of being able to carry a phone in your pocket was known worldwide, making cell phones the new dominant force in the world of communication. Every household had a cellphone and people were happy. Not until “smart phones” waltzed onto the scene did cellphones change forever.

Smart phones have become the new staple in today’s society. With them, people can do just about anything. Not only is communicating anytime or anyplace more possible than ever, but now its even feasible to perform a research assignment via the web, on the phone while talking to anyone anywhere, on that same phone, at the same time. The explanation itself can tie your tongue. The smartphone is capable of surfing the internet, playing games, taking pictures, sending pictures, and texting messages. The smartphone even has the capabilities of running a small business. Now the power to manage a company is available at the press of a button throughout every household in America. How we will share information 10 years from now?

June 2013 Client of the Month

Congratulations to our June Client of the Month   Alicia L. Williams founder and CEO of Aliste Internet Marketing.   Aliste Internet Marketing is  an international marketing firm that motivates both clients and audiences around the world. Williams has spoken for professional groups such as national chambers of commerce, higher education institutions, national conferences and business talk radio.

Alicia  has many accomplishments including being honored by the Worcester Business Journal as 2012’s Top 40 Entrepreneurial Leaders Under 40, The Keynote speaker for Women Empowered By Business Annual Conference and Featured Entrepreneur at Nichols College and No Boundaries Business Radio Show.  As a published author Alicia has provided valuable insight on topics from leadership to philanthropy, business growth and internet marketing.

In addition to her many accomplishments, she believes in giving back to the community.  Alicia is an active member of the Center for Women & Enterprise, The Breast Cancer Fund, Susan G. Komen For the Cure and The March of Dimes.

To contact Alicia email her at Alicia@AlisteInternetMarketing.com | 508-393-2228 | http://www.AlisteInternetMarketing.com
http://www.Facebook.com/AlisteEvents | http://www.Twitter.com/AlisteEvents | http://www.LinkedIn.com/in/Alis

Are LinkedIn Endorsements Taken Seriously? By: Britney Balg

LinkedIn introduced the endorsement feature last year as a way to appeal to people who use their site on a mobile device and have limited time. It offers a recommendation feature, but this can take 10-15 minutes to complete and requires real knowledge of the skills you are validating for your connection. On the other hand, the endorsement of a skill takes one click of a mouse and you can even add skills that your connection doesn’t list on their own profile. So what does this say about the value of this feature? Opinions vary as to the value of endorsements. Those who don’t like this feature object to how mindless it is to endorse someone. It doesn’t require any thought or real knowledge of a person’s skills. Another reason people don’t like this feature is because they may get bombarded with notifications about being endorsed by someone. When you go to see what they endorsed you for you are then prompted to endorse them back. On the other hand, some people think this feature is wonderful and a great solution to making the site more on-the –go friendly.

Everyone is busy these days, and more and more people are using their smartphones to do their social media. These are the people who think the endorsements are a great idea and really convenient. And they are right, they are very convenient because it only takes two seconds. LinkedIn users just need to realize that there is a right and wrong way to use endorsements, so follow these guidelines when using the endorsement feature.
• Hide endorsements from people who have no real knowledge of your skills.
• Only endorse people for skills that you have witnessed first hand
• Don’t have too many endorsements for skills that don’t pertain to your current goals.
• Remember that just because someone endorses you for something, doesn’t mean you have to endorse them back, it makes it less meaningful.

IMAGE: LinkedIn Logo ( Published on 01-07-2010 0:00 a.m. )

Why Should You be Using LinkedIn Groups? by Britney Balg

Many business professionals have started tapping into the resources that LinkedIn has to offer. Unlike Facebook and Twitter, you can use LinkedIn to make direct connections with potential customers. Whether you are an Open Networker (you connect with anyone) or a Trusted Partner Networker (only connect with people you actually know), LinkedIn groups are a very good way to create quality connections with real potential clients.

You may already be involved in a LinkedIn group and find yourself contributing more than a lot of other members. If this happens you should think about starting your own group. LinkedIn groups are the most powerful aspect of the whole site if used correctly. If you start your own group you can actually direct people to your company blog or other website. Being the group leader makes you a very desirable connection, someone with proven knowledge of whatever your group is about. The more valuable connections you can make, the more your business will grow.

Just like every other aspect of social media/networking, there are rules to how to use groups professionally. You don’t connect with groups to bombard the group connections with advertisements or spam, that’s not what the groups are meant for. Groups are about community contributions, relative information to the group subject, and general knowledge or tips to help others grow their business. The idea is that everyone contributes valuable and appropriate content, which adds to the group’s credibility as being a group of real professionals. So unlock the potential and get your group started, it could do wonders for your business.

Linkedin

Virtual Assistant: The Busy Realtor’s New Best Friend

Realtors are one of the groups of professionals that are starting to really take advantage of the virtual assistant market. As a Realtor you have a lot of things to do all day long, every day. You are obviously already good at time management, but imagine if you could just take a couple of tasks off your plate, all the time that you would free up to work on other things, or maybe even relax a little bit. There are monotonous tasks that you have to get done to keep your business running smoothly, like database maintenance, telemarketing, mailing thank you cards, gathering information via internet research and much more. These things all sound easy, but when think about how much time you actually spend doing these things it adds up.

 Let your VA take over things like social media, blogging, and posting listings on various sites. Those are simple tasks that can take up a lot of your valuable time. When you look for your VA find a company or person who has people who specialize in real estate VA work. Then you can use them to be your listing coordinator, open house coordinator, or direct marketer. Imagine if you never had to make an uncomfortable cold call again. Wouldn’t that be nice? If you do speaking events, conferences or other hosted events your VA can help you with speech writing and even planning the event. There are just so many things that you could get help with without having to have an office.

 How do you find your virtual assistant?  Ask around your community of realtor contacts. There is a boom right now of Realtors using virtual assistants, so ask someone you know if they have used one, if they haven’t chances are they know someone who has. Don’t jump right in either. Once you find a VA you think you would like to use, give them a small task. See how well you like the results, how fast the turn around time is, and whether you had good communication. If it works out then you can use that person to do other things for you. If it doesn’t work out, you just find another one and try again. That is the beauty of a VA if you don’t like the result you don’t have to fire anyone you just don’t use them again. Check out your VA’s website, read their blog, and check out their social media accounts, it will be helpful in finding a legitimate VA with a record of good work.

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