Thursday, June 27, 2013

Customize Your QuickBooks® Icon Bar

Do you use the icon bar at the top of your QuickBooks screen?  Do the icons represent the tasks you perform most often in QuickBooks?  If you’re using the default icons, the answer is probably no. Did you know each user is able to customize their QuickBooks® icon bar to meet their needs. This makes navigating through QuickBooks® faster and more efficient. By putting icons for the things you do most often, directly on the icon bar, these functions will be just a click away.

There are several different ways to customize the icon bar:

  1. Right click anywhere on the icon bar and then click on “customize icon bar.”
  2. In the View menu you’ll also see “customize icon bar.”
  3. Make a window appear that you want to have on the icon bar like, "enter bills"  then go to the view menu and click on “add [window] to icon bar.”

To Delete an Icon, simply click the icon label once and click the Delete button.  

To Move an Icon, move your mouse over the diamond to the left of the icon label and drag it to the position you want.

To add a vertical line as a Separator (space) between groups of icons, click the icon label above where you want the separator, and click the Add Separator button. 

To assign a new icon Image, simply click the icon label once and click the Edit button. Choose an icon Image from the list at the left. 

To rename an icon, simply click the icon label once and click the Edit button change the label as you desire.

The Description field is what will appear as your screen tip if you hover your mouse pointer over the icon on the icon bar.

New for the 2013 editions, you can have a top Icon Bar or left icon bar. Try them both and see what works best for you.

Do you have any ideas for using the icon bar?  Please leave a comment below.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Creating A Budget - A Necessary Evil

Creating an effective budget can be challenging to say the least. Let's face it; budgets whether for personal or for business use can be exhausting, intimidating and they require a lot of attention. A budget is an essential component of any company or family's healthy financial plan. Don't give up on your budget. Reap the rewards:
  • Achieve your goals
  • Improve financial communication
  • Get control of your finances and tell your money where to go
Your budget is the rock upon which your financial life is built, think of it as your foundation. It's your plan for spontaneity and for the unplanned financial roller coaster life hands you. It's a process, there's no such thing as a failed budget, just failure to plan and follow it. This is your pathway to financial success.

  • Write down your financial goals
Having goals is essential to tracking your progress. Maybe your goals include debt freedom, building savings, or giving extravagantly. Whatever they are, take the time to think about your short term and long term goals. Write them down. These will be your financial motivators.

  • Record every single purchase you make, no exceptions
No dollar should escape accountability; underestimating your spending is one of the great budgeting blunders. Knowing your spending habits will put you on the right track. Those daily trips to Starbucks or Dunkin Donuts for coffee can really add up quickly and don't forget those dreaded bank fees for using another banks ATM.

  • Create your spending categories
Here's where you will give your dollars purpose. In addition to the apparent categories, list all larger non-monthly expenses (birthdays, car repairs, business trips). Think of those large expenditures that occur that you can plan for (property taxes, holidays, car insurance, and employee bonuses). Don't forget a "fun money" category or miscellaneous and giving yourself breathing room.

  • Hold a budget meeting
It doesn't matter if you're creating a personal or business budget, there should be a meeting of the minds. It's about healthy negotiation, compromise and respect. Here is where you will agree on how many dollars should be allocated to each of the spending categories.

  • Tweak your budget every month
Be adaptable and flexible. Budgeting should be a lifelong habit. Don't quit. Both individuals and companies need to live and work within their means. Finding financial peace of mind in your family and your business life will help create an environment that is more rewarding for everyone.

 Do you have any tips for our first time budgeteers? Share them with us in the comments!

25 Famous Inspirational Success Quotes

We’ve all had those moments when we are less than motivated and enthusiastic about our careers and what the future might hold. We all get burnt out from time to time. When you need that little pick me up, just read some of the quotes from the most inspiring men and women. And remember, Failure in Not an option…

  1. If you don’t build your dream, someone else will hire you to help them build theirs.”- Dhirubhai Ambani
  2. “The first step toward success is taken when you refuse to be a captive of the environment in which you first find yourself.”-Mark Caine 
  3.  “Success usually comes to those who are too busy to be looking for it.” -Henry David Thoreau
  4. “Believe in yourself! Have faith in your abilities! Without a humble but reasonable confidence in your own powers you cannot be successful or happy.” -Norman Vincent Peale
  5. “Some people dream of success…others stay awake to achieve it.” – Unknown
  6.  “Success is often achieved by those who don’t know that failure is inevitable.”–Coco Chanel
  7. “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.”-Thomas A. Edison
  8.  “Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people.”-Eleanor Roosevelt
  9.  “The difference between a successful person and others is not a lack of strength, not a lack of knowledge, but rather a lack of will.”-Vince Lombardi
  10.   “You have to learn the rules of the game. And then you have to play better than anyone else.”-Albert Einstein
  11.  “Develop success from failures. Discouragement and failure are two of the surest stepping stones to success.”-Dale Carnegie
  12.  “Every great dream begins with a dreamer. Always remember, you have within you the strength, the patience, and the passion to reach for the stars to change the world.”-Harriet Tubman
  13.  “The secret of success is to do the common things uncommonly well.”-John D. Rockefeller 
  14. “It is not the strongest of the species that survive, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change.” – Charles Darwin
  15.  “Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm.” -Winston Churchill  
  16. I have found no greater satisfaction than achieving success through honest dealing and strict adherence to the view that, for you to gain, those you deal with should gain as well. – Alan Greenspan  
  17. “Let’s be honest. There’s not a business anywhere that is without problems. Business is complicated and imperfect. Every business everywhere is staffed with imperfect human beings and exists by providing a product or service to other imperfect human beings.” –Bob Parsons 
  18. “You must be the change you wish to see in the world.” – Mahatma Gandhi 
  19. “Really it comes down to your philosophy. Do you want to play it safe and be good or do you want to take a chance and be great?”-Jimmy J
  20. “You only have to do a very few things right in your life so long as you don’t do too many things wrong.” – Warren Buffett
  21. Change almost never fails because it’s too early. It almost always fails because it’s too late.”- Seth Godin
  22. “You must either modify your dreams or magnify your skills.”– Jim Rohn
  23.  ”Leadership is the art of getting someone else to do something you want done because he wants to do it. – Dwight Eisenhower
  24. “To be successful, you have to have your heart in your business, and your business in your heart.”– Sr. Thomas Watson
  25.  “Once you have established the goals you want and the price you’re willing to pay, you can ignore the minor hurts, the opponent’s pressure and the temporary failures.”- Vince Lombardi

 We hope you enjoyed this collection of Famous Business & Success Quotes. Do you have a favorite that we missed out on this list? Please leave it in the comment of this post. Thanks

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Procedures, Does Your Office Have Them?

Employees come and go, but business must go on and go on efficiently. Each department needs to have written procedures. This is not so much an employee handbook, but more of a detailed step by step explanation of specific tasks within departments. 

In most companies when there is more than one person in a department, each employee will have tasks and responsibilities that are assigned to them. If that employee is out sick, on vacation or leaves, other staff members from the department will need to be able to complete their work so production doesn't lag. There is nothing worse than for an employee to quit and no one else has a clue how to do that employees work.

Keep a list by department what the job responsibilities are, then write out a step by step process for each task that workers within the department are responsible for. Take for example; in the accounting department, the person who processes credit reference requests. What forms are sent out? How are they sent?  How do you keep track of the credit reference requests sent; so you know who's answered and who you need to follow up with? Who gets the completed forms to make the final credit decision?

If the company is uniform in how things are completed and workers within the departments are cross-trained; when someone is on vacation, out sick or quits, the company won't suffer.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Telecommuniting- Does It Work For Everyone?

While the idea of working from home may seem like dream job to some, is it right for everyone?
Are you someone who is easily distracted by things going on around you? Or are you able to focus no matter what the environment.

Some jobs are easier than others to do from the comfort of your home, but if you rely on others from your office to contribute to your productivity, then working from home may not be ideal for you or them. There will be added stress and work for the person that's in the office and they will be overburdened and more than likely will become resentful.  

10 Work from home jobs:
  1. Accountant/Virtual Bookkeeper
  2. Medical transcriptionist
  3. Recruiter
  4. Web developer/designer
  5. Call center representative
  6. Tech support specialist
  7. Travel agent.
  8. Teacher
  9. Writer/Editor
  10. Public Relations

The Upside:

Less Time in the Car: You can save time, gas, wear and tear on your car and aggravation when you don't have the hectic commute.

Fewer Interruptions: You don't have co-workers interrupting your work flow with idle conversations and non work related chit-chat.

Less Eating Out: You can cut down on lunch expenses when you're not going out every day for a bite to eat, that will help your waist line too.

More Flexible Schedule: When you're working from home you can start your day sooner, when you don't have the hassle of the morning commute. You are able to pick up your sick child from school.

The Downside:

Social Interaction: You don't have the daily banter with of co-workers and may find yourself out of the loop with what's going on and not as much part of the "team".

Loss of Regimen: You don't necessarily have the 9-5 hours anymore, your boss or co-workers may rely on you to be available or work on things when the "normal" office hours are over.

Distractions: We all tend to let our mind wander as it is; when you're working from home you need to have self-discipline to focus on your work and not what needs to be done around your house. You could have a loud neighbor that may interfere with your concentration too.

Family Stresses: Let's face it; if you have a toddler at home to take care of, working from home is next to impossible. Toddlers need your constant attention and other family members may rely on you to do more around the house, since you are "home" all day. If you are fortunate enough to have the work from home option, you will need to set boundaries.

You need to set your hours and keep them. You must treat your workplace at home as if you're in the office. You have to maintain a level of self-discipline that often doesn’t come naturally; but it's vital to your success!

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Happy Father's Day

Wishing all those awesome dads, a very Happy Father's Day.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Time Theft, Are Your Employees Stealing From You?

It's called, "Time Theft," and it's becoming a colossal issue.
There have been all kinds of antics by lazy employees throughout the history of business. The idea of "time theft" includes everything from having someone else punch a time-card on your behalf to falsifying your attendance. It's an enormous issue. It's a disparaging issue, but is this the same as when an employee is caught spending too much time online doing things that have nothing to do with work? Are they, in fact, stealing time from the company? It pains me to even think about this. Does this really happen, of course it does. Are people so pensive with their jobs and their day-to-day lives that they spend their day browsing around online instead of doing everything possible to make their work lives better?

Internet Usage

Internet surfing is a frequent time-waster for employees. If your office needs the Internet for business purposes, it might not be practical to entirely eliminate Internet usage by employees, but you can curb personal usage by blocking select sites, especially social media sites. Point out to employees what the company policy is as it pertains to personal Internet usage and inform them that Internet usage is being monitored.

Socializing with Co-Workers
Chit Chatting with co-workers might seem harmless, but if your employees spend more time talking than working, performance and your business can suffer. Socializing plays a vital role in maintaining a team atmosphere and shouldn’t be eliminated completely. Managers can reduce the amount of socializing without affecting morale by bringing conversations back on topic during meetings, encouraging staff members to socialize during lunch and other breaks.

Employees who frequently arrive late to work or take long lunches are costing your company valuable time. While occasional lateness may not be a problem, employees who are habitually late will affect your department's productivity and morale. Chronic offenders may have difficulty completing tasks on time and may create animosity among co-workers who are on time. Discussing tardiness with your staff may help you determine whether there is anything you can do to help your employee avoid being late. Offering a delayed start time to an employee whose personal obligations or commute make it difficult to arrive on time may be a solution for both of you. Emphasize to your staff the company policies and an employee who consistently violates policy will be written up.

Personal Telephone Calls

We all have a personal life, but some employees have more trouble than others separating work time from personal time and are abusing company time. Cell phones make it notably easy to make personal calls and text message without anyone knowing. Asking employees to limit personal calls to lunch hours and breaks, except in case of emergency, may help mitigate the problem. If an employee must deal with a time-consuming personal issue, suggest that he/she take personal or vacation time to handle the problem. 

 The key is to be aware of the situation and let your employees know how much you are willing to tolerate. Specify the ramifications should they fail to modify their activities, and consistently enforce the penalty you have set.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

9 Tips for Organizing Your Workspace

It’s almost like your paperwork is multiplying right before your eyes. You take papers off of your desk, but by noon, there are more. Imagine how much more work you could get done if you could find a way to stay organized?

1. Get into a Routine

It’s easy to say, “I’ll just clean my desk on Fridays before I leave work,” but how often does that really happen? Make it a daily objective to work through your papers by the day’s end.

2. Decide What to Do With It

 You can break it down into items:
  • What can be handled in a couple of minutes
  • What needs more time to work on
  • What needs to be filed
Separate your paperwork based on how quickly you can complete them. Organize your email into folders that you give higher priority to and then sort emails in this fashion.

3. Invest in Storage

Buy file folders, shelves, book cases…whatever it takes to help you get papers and books off your desk and out of sight. Use pencil holders and file trays for things you need daily, and keep them within reach. Everything else you can put out of sight. 

4. Get into Your Computer

It’s really easy to save files wherever your computer sets as the default, but how much time do you waste trying to find things. Set up files for each project or client you have, then add more folders as necessary. The format might look like this:
  • Client ABC
    • Contracts
    • Project plans
    • Images
    • Completed projects
If you save to the relevant folder, you will find things more easily.

5. Do A Spring Cleaning…Monthly

You collect pens at trade shows and conferences, as well as those silly desk toys that are hanging around gathering dust. Designate one day a month as Desk Cleaning Day and spend a half hour getting rid of anything that doesn’t make you more productive. Haven’t used it in a month? Throw it away, give it away or put it into a drawer.

6. Keep Cords Out of Sight

I love my wireless keyboard and mouse! It stresses me out to see cords and wires strewn across my desk. Untangle your cords and make sure they all have a place to plug into your power strip.

7. Go Paperless

Paper is the chief cause of most clutter, so why not eliminate it? Scan important documents and save them using your new computer filing system. You can shred and toss the documents once they’re scanned. Make sure to keep any legal documents that require the originals as proof.

8. Plan Your Day

Before you leave the office, check your calendar to see what tomorrow may bring. I like to prepare what I will need for the start of the day and get out any paperwork or files.

9. Look at Your Desk With New Eyes

Sometimes we honestly can’t see all the clutter because we’re so used to it. When you approach your desk, really look at it and see what’s there. What’s contributing to your productivity and what's taking away from it? It’s essential to notice the things that are out of place and put them away before they affect your proficiency.

Friday, June 7, 2013

Step Away From The Electronics

Are we too controlled by our electronic devices? We have a computer in the office, an I-pad or laptop at home, and a smartphone of some kind for when we’re not at home or in the office. Are these devices running our lives? Do you panic if you leave the house without your smartphone?  Yes, we are all busy and probably have way too much on our plate, but we need to take a reality check and step away from the texts, emails, and social media. The world will not come crashing down around us, really it won’t.  We are losing our interpersonal skills and the ability to actually talk with our family and friends. Is it easier to send a text, of course it is. But we need to bring back the “personal” in communication.  Take time in the evening to spend with your kids and or your spouse without the internet and go for a walk together. You’ll be amazed at what a difference it will make. 

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Overcoming Negativity in the Workplace

At one time or another we’ve all faced a negative attitude or work environment. Maybe your experience was short-lived, or perhaps it seems to be the standard M.O. for you. Are you are the culprit of the negativity or are you the victim?

Whatever your experiences have been, I’m sure you will agree that negative surroundings don’t help productivity, job enjoyment or success.
While there are some specific things you can do to overcome negativity, yours or those around you, there are three key essentials for success. Without them, you’ll never victoriously overcome negativity.

1. Recognize it is an issue: If you’re still reading, you probably agree with this piece. Negativity zaps our energy and enthusiasm. Negativity takes focus away from our work and prevents work from being enjoyable. The effects of negativity are real, and when you understand this, you have made it over the first hurdle to overpowering its effects.

2. Recognize that you can conquer it: Whether negativity is the norm or makes an occasional visit, you must believe that it can be conquered. If you’re thinking that isn’t possible, you’ve already given into the negativity far too much!

3. Recognize that it is about you: Yes, you read that correctly, it is about you. Whether you are the instigator or the intended target, you have a responsibility to overcome negative attitudes. There are things you can do and there are things in your control.

Five Things You Can Do

Make Their Day: When you know the source of the negativity, you can go out of your way to make their day. It won’t necessarily take a big effort or a lot of time. Acknowledge their feelings but without joining their pity party. Offer them a piece of candy, go to lunch with them. Be notably kind, listen and smile. Have any of these things or a dozen other similar things ever improved your attitude? I’m sure they have. And these things can make a difference for those around you as well. Make their day!

Turn the Tide: Is the glass half full or half empty? Most situations can be seen from more than one perspective. If your surroundings are negative, you know which perspective people will be seeing things from. If that is what people are seeing, and how they are responding, you can turn the tide. Ask questions that help people see things from a new point of view. It might take you awhile to build the habit of finding new, more positive outlooks, especially if your environment or co-workers are unceasingly negative or cynical. Being the voice of a new positive viewpoint can help turn the tide.

Don’t be a Host: Some people are hosts of a virus, even though they don’t have the symptoms themselves. Are you a host of the negativity, even if you aren’t especially negative yourself? Hosts sympathize with the instigators of negativity. Even if they don’t agree, they don’t disagree. By being vocal or taking action, you stop being a host, stop being a victim, and are taking action to conquer, reduce the impact of, or eliminate the negativity.

Be a Duck: Just because someone is being negative, doesn’t mean it has to impact you. You have a choice of how the attitudes of others will impact you. Water runs off a duck’s back – even when there is water all around them. They have been outfitted with the ability to feel the rain without getting wet. Think of negativity like rain, and just be a duck!

Learn Something New: Negativity often stems from stagnation and dullness. When we are growing we overall have a more positive view of things. If you’re feeling the effects of negativity; start learning something new. Try learning about a new procedure that another organization uses that might alleviate some of the frustration in your work group. Maybe it means learning more about the big picture goals of your organization so that you can see how your work fits in. Or maybe you choose to learn something new that is totally unrelated to the source of the negativity.

“There is very little difference in people, but that little difference makes a big difference. The little difference is attitude. The big difference is whether it’s positive or negative.”- Napolean Hill

These five steps make it sound pretty easy, but it’s not easy and you won’t change the negativity around in one or even two days. Don’t let that dissuade you. These things take time and patience. But trust me; it will be worth the effort

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

QuickBooks 2013 R7 Update Released

Intuit has released the QuickBooks 2013 R7 update for the U.S. version of QuickBooks. Presently this is available as a manual update from the Intuit support web site.
There are many fixes in this release, so if you are using an earlier version of QuickBooks 2013, you may want to consider this update. However, if you’re like me, you may want to wait to see what other people think of the release after they have tried it.

I have heard from CCRSoftware that this new update will “break” the many add-on products that work with QuickBooks. This affects, as far as they can tell, all CCRSoftware products. It also affects many other add-on products. CCR is speaking with other developers about this, and trying to get a response from Intuit.
When you run a CCRSoftware product and select a menu option that asks for data from your QuickBooks file, QuickBooks will display an unrecoverable error window like the following, and then most likely QuickBooks will close.
The CCRSoftware product will “freeze” until you close this QuickBooks error window, then it will display its own error window (essentially saying that it can no longer see your QB data).

I will post  more updates on the 2013 R7 as they are available, in the meantime I would advise against this Update unless you don’t use add on software…

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Inspirational Quotes

 Looking for an inspirational quote for your newsletter, business presentation, here are a few of my favorite...

"Some people dream of success...others stay awake to achieve it." - Unknown

"Success usually comes to those who are too busy to be looking for it." -Henry David Thoreau

"Many of life's failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up." -Thomas A. Edison

"I owe my success to having listened respectfully to the very best advice, and then going away and doing the exact opposite." -G. K. Chesterton

"Believe in yourself! Have faith in your abilities! Without a humble but reasonable confidence in your own powers you cannot be successful or happy." -Norman Vincent Peale

"Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm." -Winston Churchill

 "The difference between a successful person and others is not a lack of strength, not a lack of knowledge, but rather a lack of will."-Vince Lombardi

"The secret of success is to do the common things uncommonly well."-John D. Rockefeller

"Success is often achieved by those who don’t know that failure is inevitable."–Coco Chanel

"Your most unhappy customers are your greatest source of learning." –Bill 

"Leadership is a potent combination of strategy and character. But if you must be without one, be without the strategy." – Norman Schwarzkopf

"Efficiency is doing things right; effectiveness is doing the right things." -Peter Drucker