Year-End Checklist for QuickBooks

The checklist certainly does not cover everything required to put 2010 to rest, but it's a good general start.

Weekly Ezine Logo Reconcile

Reconcile all of your bank and credit card accounts with your December statements to ensure all of the balances in your QuickBooks accounts are correct and ready for tax preparation. If you reconcile every month, this task is 99% done by the end of the year. When making loan payments, be sure to check that the amounts going to principal and interest are accurate when you enter the payment every month. The result is that at the end of the year it takes only a minor adjustment, if any, to get the principal balance to match your bank's loan statement balance.

Weekly Ezine Logo Report

Print and proof reports for your files: Profit & Loss and Balance Sheet reports are essential. In addition to your digital records, have file copies of your year-end business reports printed. These printed records are a good quick reference if you want to compare one year to another. Natural disasters, fires, and thefts of computer equipment, all of these things make our computer records vulnerable and having that printed information could be very important to you in the future. Giving your accountant copies is also a good backup plan.

Weekly Ezine Logo Backup

Make two backups of your QuickBooks company file. Store one copy off-site in a secure location. You should definitely have a backup procedure in place for all of your computer records. To determine how far you will want to go with your backup procedures, think about how painful it would be to lose all of your data and then backup accordingly. One method I recommend is to purchase multiple thumb drives and label them for different days of the week, to give you a series of "rolling backups" in the event one of your storage devices fail. Another method to use is an online backup service. I use Mozy.com to backup my computer files online. Each morning Mozy leaves me a screen open to confirm that my files were backed up to a website while I slept. Mozy also leaves a reassuring green checkmark next to every backed up file and folder. Using multiple storage devices and having some type of off-site storage are the main components of a good backup program.

Weekly Ezine Logo Taxes

Print and mail your W-2/W-3, 1099, 940/941 and 1096 tax forms. Go through your Vendor list and double-check that all of your vendors who require 1099s are set up with 1099 vendor status and that you have their social security numbers. QuickBooks will print all of your 1099s and the 1096 reporting form for you. You can purchase the government required forms for a nominal price from any office supply store. QuickBooks does an excellent job with all of your payroll reporting forms also.

Weekly Ezine Logo Data Integrity

Ensure your data integrity. As your data file gets large (in excess of 50 MB), you might encounter corruption. Problems are much easier to fix when they're caught early and still small, so follow these easy steps to check the integrity of your data. It's a great idea to do this when backing up your files. Close all windows, then use File > Utilities > Verify Data to verify your data integrity. If verification fails, it will give you instructions on the screen for how to proceed.

If you are instructed to run the Rebuild, go to File > Utilities > Rebuild (this will require you to make a back-up). After the rebuild finishes, run Verify again. Recently, we have had several customers have issues with some of their lists looking incomplete even after verifying their data. Running the Rebuild corrected the lists even though QuickBooks did not indicate their data was corrupted. I suggest running the Rebuild tool monthly after a backup just to keep your data in good shape.

Weekly Ezine Logo File

A complete printed set of file folder labels is available from your QuickBooks Company File. Simply click File > Print Forms > Mailing Labels to set up the specifications. I set up my file folders right away with these labels for the companies I know I will need and then store the rest in a folder at the front of my files for companies I am not sure I will be using that year. I keep two years of folders in my office for easy access. I have seven large plastic tubs in my attic for previous year's records. At the end of each year, I empty the oldest tub, retaining tax and payroll records, and put the most recently retired records in it and send it back to the attic.


Apple's Big Announcement ~ Come See our Latest Creation!

For those of you that love technology, like me, you will want to know what exciting announcement will be divulged during the press conference Apple has scheduled. The press conference will take place in San Francisco on Wednesday, January 27th at 10:00 a.m. Pacific time.

Rumors are running wild about the "new creation." I have read several forums and most seem to agree it will be some type of tablet pc, with the majority of news and forum speculators guessing it will be 10-inch tablet. Apple has been working on a tablet for years. In fact, the iPhone was created during the development of the tablet. For now, Apple is keeping the announcement very hush hush. Some of the techies on the forums think that whenever Apple launches a new product it should be considered a holiday. I had to chuckle at that one.

Check these websites out for more information:
  • Ubergizmo (Join them for live, up-to-the-minute blog postings with photos)
  • Techradar (the rumor round-up)
  • CNet (lots of comments)
Another rumor floating around is that Apple will announce that they will no longer be exclusive with AT&T and that Verizon could soon be selling the iPhone. Others disagree, saying that Apple will not want to dilute their exciting news about the tablet.

We can also look forward to a new release for the iPhone in the next couple of months. Who knows where Apple will take us in the future? One thing you can be sure of is that it will be exciting!


Netbook or Notebook ~ You Might Be Surprised!

In the past few months, we have received numerous calls regarding our thoughts on Netbook versus Notebook computers. Netbooks are similar to a notebook, only smaller and normally less expensive. As you know, anything that has to do with technology can undergo massive changes in a matter of months. I had not taken the time to re-investigate Netbooks until Sandy Cruz, a good friend and a Minutes Matter customer, purchased a "Dell Mini 10." I asked her to let me know how it performed after she had been using it for a couple of months. She installed programs such as Studio, Outlook, QuickBooks, Picture Manager, and Photoshop Elements. To sum up Sandy's thoughts regarding her Netbook, here is a direct quote from her "I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE my little "Mini 10," it is always with me."
Netbooks have become such a hot topic and they perform almost as well as a notebook. Notice the size of the Netbook in comparison to the coffee cup in the image above, they are small and super lightweight. I recommend purchasing a 10" screen if you are planning on using it as a portable computer for your business. You can surf the web, connect on your social networking sites and run almost any business or personal software. Also, many mobile phones allow you to tether your computer to your phone for Internet access, eliminating the need for the $60 per month fee for a mobile broadband card.

TIP: Processors are generally not as fast on Netbooks, which means you shouldn't have too many programs open at the same time.

My recommendations for a Netbook:
  • Windows 7 Operating System
  • Intel Atom Processor (533 MHz or higher)
  • 1GB memory or more (remember you're going to install Studio, Photoshop Elements, etc.)
  • 160GB hard drive
  • Always purchase an extended warranty for any portable computer
As I am writing this ezine, I realize that I would love a Netbook! I love the fact that it is so lightweight. They weight approximately 2.5 lbs. If you have been contemplating the purchase of a notebook, I definitely recommend researching specs on both a Notebook and a Netbook before making your purchase.


Talk Texting ~ is that possible?

I have found a new iPhone app that is a must have for all you iPhone users. Its Dragon Dictation by Nuance. This company is well known all over the world for its voice recognition software Dragon Naturally Speaking. I have to confess, Jerry and I are not the fastest texters, so this app is perfect for us. It kills me if something is taking too long and texting seems to be a bit inefficient for me. :( This app, however, puts me back in the game. (Now, I might be the fastest texter/talker in the South!) You can even use this app to Tweet and update your Facebook status. Best of all it is FREE! There are some rumors that there may be a fee in the future. So be sure to install this app right away.

It's amazing, and is almost 100% accurate even with our Southern accents. However, people's names seem to be a bit of a problem. Another similar app is AudioPeople for Facebook. It only works within Facebook, I use it to record a "Happy Birthday" wish to all my Facebook friends.

The screenshot above is the homepage of my iPhone, which displays my favorite and most frequently used apps. Check them all out! I have my iPhone organized with my favorite apps on my homepage; Minutes Matter you know. If you have any questions, please post in the comment section of the blog.


Socialnomics ~ How Will it Affect Your Business?

I recently returned from a two-day whirlwind trip to Atlanta's Merchandise Mart. We shopped and browsed showrooms for two full days. After 10 hours each day, we would drag ourselves back to the hotel room to rest and pray our feet would feel better the next day! I truly feel for the designers that own a retail storefront and have to do that marathon shopping for three to four days. Visit my Dandelion Blog for highlights, "Our Trip to Atlanta's Mart ~ Part 1 (Furniture.)"

During the market, I noticed several seminars were being offered and to my surprise several of them were discussing Social Networking. Even though I had very little time to attend seminars, one seminar really captured my interest. I decided to take the time to hear Erik Qualman the author of Socialnomics.
socialnomics book

I wasn't sure how many designers would take time out of their busy day to attend a seminar on Social Networking. However, as Erik began to speak, I turned around and was surprised to see all the seats were filled and many people were forced to stand. Hundreds of designers had decided to take time out to hear about this important topic and as a gift for attending each attendee received a free copy of his book, Socialnomics. Erik's speaking style was very enjoyable and he always had a smile on his face. If you ever have a chance to hear Erik, I highly recommend taking the time to listen to any seminar he presents.

Afterwards, Erik stayed to autograph his books. (I know I look really short in the photograph, but I am 5'5" and I am guessing Erik is around 6'10".)

Erik Qualman & Me

A little about Erik:
Erik Qualman is the Global Vice President of Online Marketing for EF Education, headquartered in Lucerne, Switzerland. EF Education is the world's largest private educator. Erik works out of the 850-person Cambridge, Massachusetts office. Prior to joining EF Education, Erik helped grow the marketing and eBusiness functions of Cadillac & Pontiac (1994-97), BellSouth (1998-2000), Yahoo (2000-03), EarthLink (2003-05) and Travelzoo (2005-08). Erik holds a BA from Michigan State University and an MBA from The University of Texas at Austin. A former basketball player at Michigan State University, Erik still finds time to follow his beloved Spartans.

Erik started out the seminar with his Socialnomics video on YouTube. Many business owners don't see the benefit or the ROI (Return on Investment) in Social Networking. Once you hear him speak, you know without a doubt that the rewards can be phenomenal. Watch his video on Social Media ROI where he shows example after example of how Social Networking is boosting revenues for businesses everywhere. Both of these videos will demonstrate how our clients are getting connected with businesses.

He played a third video that had the room in stitches. This video "United Breaks Guitars" demonstrates how Social Networking can expose bad customer service. Be sure to watch all of these videos, they are very short but get the point across. The future of your business may depend on what you decide to do with the information Erik shares. Erik stressed one major point ... when you are investigating a product or a company, do you trust what the company has to say regarding their product or service or do you trust what your friends say? The trust level is much higher based on what our peers and friends have to say about a product or company. As Social Networking continues to grow, you will soon be reviewing a product or company online and you'll notice several of the reviews are actually from someone you know. In addition, he emphasized that follow-ups must be done to provide a second layer of engagement. You have to be willing to take the extra step to respond to comments and questions to provide a deeper level of connection. How likely would you be to do business with that company when several of your peers or friends have given them great reviews?

One thing to remember, creating a powerful online presence doesn't happen overnight. It requires commitment and dedication. In other words, you cannot join Facebook or write one blog a year and expect to see results. Don't have a blog? Let Minutes Matter set up your blog!