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QuickBooks Training Workshop (Raleigh, NC) – Tues, May 8th 2012

http://qbworkshopmay2012.eventbrite.com/

Brush up on your QuickBooks skills or learn new ones! Join our Certified QuickBooks ProAdvisor for this interactive and informative QuickBooks training class. This will be a four hour “crash course” that will cover the basics and provide live working demonstrations so you can  quickly learn to use QuickBooks to manage your accounting data.

Topics to be covered will include:

  • Setting up your Company File and Chart of Accounts
  • Working with Lists, Items, and Classes
  • Customer Transactions: Sales Receipts, Invoicing, and Receiving Payments
  • Vendor Transactions: Writing Checks, Entering and Paying Bills
  • Recording Bank Deposits and Credit Card Transactions
  • Preparing and Understanding Reports

Additional content may be covered if time permits.  Every participant will receive a free training packet that will include step-by-step student lessons and other useful information for future reference and support.  Bringing your own laptop to follow along is optional but not required. Light Refreshments will be available.

Time: 1:00-5:00PM.  

Ticket Price: $99.00

Hurry, seating is limited!

Venue Info: Team Nimbus Center – 3801 Computer Dr.  Suite 101  Raleigh, NC 27609

Presented by: netWorth Bookkeeping & Payroll Services of Cary, NC – www.netWorthBookkeeping.com

216 E Chatham St, Suite 102, Cary, NC 27511

For more information: 919-249-6200 or info@netWorthBookkeeping.com

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How Remote Services Can Help Save You Time and Money

Now more than ever, businesses are looking for ways to cut costs and operate more efficiently.  Some contracted services, such as bookkeeping and accounting, are outsourced to local professional firms or independent contractors in order to save the company the hassle and expense of hiring an internal employee.

Traditionally, these services have been provided “onsite” or at the place of business which requires additional time and/or mileage to be paid to the professional. Today, there are various resources and business applications that will allow services like these and even internal functions to be provided remotely from anywhere. With the cost of fuel rising once again, let’s explore some of the ways your business can have “remote” or “offsite” workers to help you grow your business while saving you time and money.

     

  • Online Banking Sign up with your bank to access your accounts, transfer funds, and pay your bills online from anywhere.  You can even link your QuickBooks accounting file to your banking account and download all of your transactions onto your ledger with the touch of a button.  Even those paper statements are becoming a thing of the past and your accountant can download them as needed to work on your books from anywhere.

  • QuickBooks Online Payments In addition to being able to download all of your daily transactions into your accounting software right from your bank account, you can now also accept customer payments via EFT every time you email an invoice. Simply register for this feature and your customers can click the link provided with the invoice and enter their routing and account information.  You receive your payment as an electronic deposit in a few days and only pay a small transaction fee of $0.50 each.  No more running to the bank to make deposits or tracking what payments apply to which invoice.  It’s VERY easy to use, free and convenient for the customer.  My clients love it!
  • Log Me In This service allows you to securely access any computer from anywhere.  Access files, work remotely, or transfer documents on your work computer when you’re not there.  Great for offsite workers and for peace of mind because you can always access your office computer.  For more info:  www.logmein.com
  • ShareFile A secure file transfer system that allows you and your customers to transfer files back and forth that are too large to email (like some QuickBooks files).  They even design the interface to match your website and color scheme.  Customer service is top notch and they are based right here in the Triangle area of NC!  www.ShareFile.com
  • Virtual Phone Number Not in the office? No Problem! Just get a “virtual phone number” to have one main number that is as mobile as you are. Each employee or contractor can have a unique extension that forwards to their cell phone or individual voice mail box.  The system can also forward your voice mails as an MP3 file to your email or transcribe it as a text message right to your phone. The best part? The cost for one business extension starts around $6 per month.  www.phone.com
  • CutePDF Your computer recognizes this nifty little FREE program the same as any other printer. Instead of printing your documents on paper, simply save as a PDF and archive it digitally.  It’s quick, easy to use, and you get to save trees and help our environment, too. www.cutePDF.com
  • Instant Messenger There are various free instant messenger programs out there such as Yahoo, AIM, Windows Live, and even Gmail.  Save on phone charges and stay in touch with remote employees and workers by instantly being able to communicate with them.  You can even set your status if you are busy, away from your desk, or on the phone.  A life saver when you just need information in a pinch!
  • Cloud Computing I’m sure you’ve heard this is all the rage as of late.  Actually, it’s been around for years just not with such a trendy name.  The “Cloud” is actually nothing more than “internet based applications” that allow you to store and access your data and software at an affordable price.  Instead of buying your own server which can cost thousands, you can simply “rent” server space and access your data and software applications over the web.
  • Online Payroll Services Payroll is one of those areas that causes a great deal of stress and forces a lot of business owners to be tied down to their payroll schedule. Enter the online payroll service! These simple to use, convenient web-based services allow you to process your payroll over the internet from anywhere.  Some of them (like the payroll service we offer) even pay your taxes and file all your Federal and State forms electronically so you don’t have to.  It doesn’t get any easier than that!
  • Online Accounting and Billing Software If you need to access your accounting data or bill your clients while you are on the go, consider moving to an online accounting or billing service.  There are many out there to choose from so do some research to see which meets your needs best. Some of the more popular ones are QuickBooks Online, FreshBooks, Outright, and Kashoo.

These are all tools that you, your employees, and contractors can utilize to help save money, time, office space (save on rent!), paper, mileage, and our environment.  What are some ways your business uses to stay green, fast, and efficient?

Are NC Unemployment Insurance Policies Preventing New Hiring?

Recently, a client of mine was considering hiring a temporary employee to help out on a big job they had coming up.  They found the right person and were all set to move forward and hire the worker.  Everything was going well… until they realized that the worker was currently collecting unemployment benefits from being previously laid off from their last job.

What does that matter?  In the state of NC, there is a six month period that a person has to be employed in order to qualify for new unemployment benefits.  However, if a worker has an already established or open claim, and they are hired by a new company, there is no minimum time required before they are eligible to receive unemployment benefits from their “last employer” (even if it is a temp job).   That would mean that if my client were to hire this person temporarily, even for a week, when that job ended, that person could reopen their claim and it would be collected on THEIR unemployment insurance fund, not the employer they were originally collecting from before that.

Because my client is a new business, and has a small payroll that they just started, they have little money accrued in their unemployment insurance fund.  This situation would would have raised their rates and they would have had to keep paying that higher rate into the system to pay off the claim from this temporary worker for years.  Instead of being able to put an unemployed person to work, even if just for a few months, they were unable to hire this person, who is now just  still collecting benefits from their original unemployment claim.

This is a very unfortunate policy because there are millions of people that would love an opportunity to work, even a temporary job, which can lead to permanent employment in some situations.  Additionally, there is always the possibility a new employee won’t work out, even if they are hired permanently.  Employers are aware of the burden they take on when they hire someone who is currently collecting unemployment benefits and may be deterred from doing so.  The system that is designed to help unemployed workers is actually hurting their chances of being rehired by small businesses.  No wonder our state unemployment rate remains so high.

An individual who has established a claim, returned to work and become unemployed again during that one year period, may reopen an existing claim. For reopened claim purposes, the last employer is the one for whom the claimant most recently worked prior to reopening an existing claim, regardless of the duration of the job.

via ESC NC Business Services: UI Information – Claims.

Are You Ready to Turn Your Skill into a New Business?

Are you GREAT at what you do?  Do you have years of experience in a particular trade or field and are now an expert?  Maybe now you are thinking “Hey, I might start a business and make a living out of this.”  Your expertise and hard work are only half the battle.  Now comes the hard part.

Entrepreneurship can be a great source of income, pride and accomplishment.  It can also be quite challenging to run and maintain “the business side” of a business.  This is a common source of confusion and frustration for many new business owners, even for small, single owner operations and they often become sad statistics of startup failure.   It’s important to take steps to make sure you set yourself up to succeed from the beginning.

Here are some common snafu areas for many business owners which can make or break your new venture:

1.  The Business Plan – I know, I know.  You’ve heard it a million times but it’s all written down in your head.  Not only do you need one, you need to revisit it once a year and make sure that is consistent with helping you meet your objectives and goals.  I also recommend writing a “Vision Statement”, which is where you see yourself in 5 years, written in present tense.  For example:  We are the largest supplier of buttons in our metro area of _____ with revenues of_____ per year.  You get the idea. Only a concrete, well thought out goal can be obtained and be able to withstand any challenges.

2.  Taxes and Legal Compliance – Understanding your tax obligations and making sure you are in legal compliance is crucial.   From Federal to State level, there are income taxes, annual filings and reports (if you are incorporated), state Sales and Use Taxes, and Payroll Taxes just to name a few.  Even simple mistakes in any of these areas can lead to stiff penalties and fines, in some cases enough to force you to close your doors.  Even something seemingly as innocent as misclassifying an employee or contractor can have expensive consequences. Don’t get caught off-guard!  Consult an Accountant and/or an Attorney to plan your business, pick the right legal structure and get off to a good start.  You can also start with this FREE Virtual IRS Small business tax workshop available online, anytime.  Oh, and don’t forget about protecting yourself with good insurance!

2.  Accounting and Record Keeping – Not knowing where you stand financially is not only a common cause of business failure but frustration in general.   Having your data organized and keeping track of income and expenses can give you the tools you need to make decisions to steer your business in the right direction.  This will also help save you money at tax time by making sure you don’t miss any allowable deductions.  A good bookkeeping system can also help you with fraud detection and monitoring for theft (if you carry inventory).  This is definitely an area that you will want to hire a professional to help you with from the beginning.  If you weren’t an accountant before you started your business, you won’t be one after.  “Flying blind” will cost you far more in the long run than you’ll pay your bookkeeper.

4.  Marketing – Okay, so you’re awesome at what you do but who else knows it?  How will you reach new customers and let them know how awesome you are?  Have you taken into consideration an advertising budget to get your brand off the ground?  This is also an area where you may need to hire a marketing expert to help you.  With so many new online media streams to promote yourself, it’s important to have a brand or “image” and a consistent marketing message.  This could include everything from your business cards to your website (don’t even THINK about not having one), your social media campaigns on Twitter and Facebook, etc.,  and your blog (like this one I am writing).  There are also many free and inexpensive ways to get customers which are time consuming but necessary.  Word of mouth referrals and good old face-to-face networking are tried and true methods to meet potential clients and build relationships.  Remember, business is personal and these contacts will be key to your long-term growth and success in surprising and unexpected ways.

5.  Pricing Services or Products Correctly – This is a tricky one because so many variables come into play.  Your costs, your volume, and your competition should all be considered when trying to get to that “sweet spot.”  A break-even analysis will be an invaluable tool in helping you understand what you need to charge for each item or service and how many you need to sell just to cover your costs.  You need to know if your pricing structure is both viable and sustainable.

6.  Don’t Reinvent the Wheel – Chances are that whatever your business model is, someone else is already out there doing it and doing it well.  Take some time to talk to some folks who are already in the field and learn from them.  If their business is successful, it’s because they are doing something right.  You can always add your own uniqueness or improve upon “tried and true” formulas to make it your own.  It’s also equally important to use this learning opportunity to figure out what NOT to do and avoid costly mistakes.

Hopefully, you  have been doing research about starting your own business and haven’t been scared off or deterred so far.  Don’t be afraid to ask for help! If you are willing to accept that your dream of business ownership may come with some serious (but manageable) responsibilities, then you are on your way to having a successful future filled with unlimited possibilities.