Save Time Using Word's Dictation Tool

Use the Dictate Feature on Word and Save Time

Unless you do it every day, writing anything longer than a paragraph or two can be a time-consuming chore. Still, there are times that you can’t avoid it as a business owner. Whether it’s crafting a delicate email to a client, generating a blog for your website, or writing instructions for your employees, it can seem like it takes forever to complete.

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How to Track Your Company’s Online Presence

How to Track Your Company’s Online Presence

Image courtesy of :D via Flickr
Image courtesy of :D via Flickr

These days, it's critical to your business to know what is being said about you online. With all the social media that's out there, people are more and more leaving reviews and comments on outlets like Facebook, Yelp, Instagram, and others. And not all of it is real. Some unscrupulous companies make a habit of leaving negative reviews about their competitors online.

So how do you keep track of all this? Simple. Fortunately, Google provides a way to set up alerts so that anytime your company is mentioned, you'll know about it.  This will give you the opportunity to address, for example, a negative review. After all, if you do enough business, eventually somebody will have something negative to say. So, the best thing you can do when that happens is to respond to the review in a positive way by apologizing that they had a negative experience and thanking them for letting you know.

To set up a Google alert, go to www.google.com/alerts and you’ll see a box that reads, “Create an alert about.” Simply enter the name of your business, and put quotation marks around it. That will ensure that Google only searches for the full business name and not just the words in it. It’s important to note that, in order to receive alerts, you’ll need a working Gmail account.

By the way, Google alerts are good for much more than tracking how often your company’s name is mentioned. You can set up an alert for any topic you’d like to be better informed about. For example, if you are a real estate agent and a new development is in the planning stages in your area, you can set up an alert for the name of the new community. And there are no limits to how many alerts you can set up.

 

At One Stop Consulting Shop, we’re experts at working with businesses and providing all of their accounting needs, including taxes. For more information, please call us at
407-922-0918.

The Power of the To-Do List

The Power of the To-Do List

You can probably relate to the following scenario. You get a phone call or an email, or bump into somebody at your office, and the brief conversation you have means there's a task you need to complete. It could be as simple as sending someone's contact info or a specific file to a colleague. Or it could be something more complicated, like the deadline for a report you're working on has been pushed up a day.
Regardless, there is something
important you need to do.

As a business owner, information comes at you from every direction throughout the day. If you don't capture the tasks you need to do in a list, your only alternative is to remember it in your mind. And while you may have a great memory, keeping track of that in your head is still using up space and taking mental energy. That's why many successful people are diligent about keeping lists.

Once you capture that information in a list, it frees that part of your brain up to focus on other things. By making it a habit that you stick to every day, you subconsciously start to have confidence in your discipline, which means you can forget about the task until it's time for it to be done. So a good rule of thumb is, unless the task takes less than 2 minutes, don't try to do it right away. Instead, enter it as an item in your list.

If you're comfortable keeping your lists on your computer, here's a suggestion… create a spreadsheet with columns for priority, date added, the task to be done, and the deadline. When you need to add a new item, enter it at the bottom no matter what the priority is. Later when you have a few minutes, you can set the priority by adjusting the number in the priority column.

This also allows you to change priority with ease. Referring to the sample list shown here, let’s say you got a call that the project in the last item has been made a higher priority and you want to move it up to the third spot. All you need to do is change the 7 to a 2.5 and then reorder the list. It will automatically move up to the third position.

It may take a week or two to get used to this new process, but it will be worth the effort. You’ll be better able to focus on the important things you have on your plate and it will save you time as well!

 

At One Stop Consulting Shop, we’re experts at working with businesses and providing all of their accounting needs, including taxes. For more information, please call us at
407-922-0918.

Year-End Reminders!

Wishing everyone a happy holiday season and prosperous New Year ahead!  Here are some year-end reminders and tips for our local business owners:

 

  1. If you claim a mileage reimbursement, take a picture on New Year’s Day of your odometer.  It will give you the year-end reading for 2018 and the beginning reading for 2019 (so you have it documented for next year). It also documents the odometer should you ever need proof of the reading.
  2. Make sure any year-end adjustments are made to your books!  If you made any year-end retirement contributions with a company paid portion or did some year end spending, make sure the end of your 2018 is accurate for a smooth tax preparation season.
  3. If you have open invoices in December and are cash basis, remember to not include these amounts in your Profit and Loss Statement!
  4. 1099s are due by January 31st and to be considered on time, many software companies may require an earlier submittal.  Make sure you know the cut-off day and time to submit your 1099s so that they are considered timely to the IRS and you will not face a late penalty fee.  This is also a good time to make sure you have a w9 on file for every contractor and that their information is up to date.  Accurate information will avoid needing to request amended 1099 forms.
  5. W2s are due to your employees by the 31st as well!  Should you have any payroll adjustments, make sure to discuss your questions and changes with your payroll provider prior to year end.  December is also a good time to make sure your employee contact information is up to date so W2s can be mailed to correct addresses.
  6. Estimated taxes are due January 15th for individuals and this applies to business owners with a “flow-through” entity like an s-corp, partnership of single member LLC.  If you did not make estimated tax payments in 2018 but know that you have a tax liability due to the IRS, this is a great time to make a payment to help reduce any underpayment penalties.  As a reminder, if you request an extension of time to file your 2018 taxes, that extension only applies to the tax return itself and does not apply to any taxes that you may owe.  If your tax liability is not paid in full by April 15th (or through estimated payments throughout 2018), then you may be assessed underpayment penalties and interest. 

 

 

Make sure to speak with your Tax Professional if you have questions about closing out 2018 and starting a fresh 2019!  Happy New Year! 

Check your W4 Now to avoid year-end surprises!

In late 2017 Congress passed a major tax bill called the TCJA, which resulted in lower total Federal income taxes for many Americans. Most Americans pay their Federal income tax through withholding taxes taken out of your check every pay period, and at the end of the year many people find that they have overpaid and receive a nice Federal tax refund.

 

The law change this year will result in less total tax, but the way it is structured most people will see less tax withheld every pay period rather than through a refund check at the end of the year. We are quite concerned about this effect and the surprise you may see at tax filing time next spring. Without a review of your tax situation, you may go from a history of receiving refund checks to a balance due to the government at tax time. The good news is that we still have time to change the year-end result if we act soon.

 

We very, very strongly suggest that every client with withholding, whether from a W-2 job, retirement or Social Security, contact us to set up a time to meet (or to drop off your information and let us calculate and call you) for us to calculate your 2018 tax situation and withholding, and to make changes if needed. We will need a copy of your most recent paystubs and some information about any changes in your family or tax status, and we will then calculate our estimates. We will determine where you will be without a change, and how to change your withholding, if needed, to obtain a refund. If you need to change withholding we will even fill out a new W-4 to provide to your employer to change and “catch up”. Because of the time and knowledge necessary to recalculate your 2018 tax withholding, we will charge a small discounted flat fee for this service, without regard to the time it takes to recalculate your 2018 tax estimates, but we strongly urge you to contact us immediately to determine where you will stand, tax-wise, at the end of 2018. We don’t want any surprises either!