May/June 2011  
Real Bookkeeping. Virtual Assistance.
Volume 8 Issue 5


I just got back from the IVAA Summit in Portland--and took a few days on either side of the conference to spend time with our team member, Lanel, in Coeur d'Alene. Wow! What a great trip!

But now... What a mess I came back to. My desk is piled high with mail, my email is bursting at the seams and my project management software is actually laughing at me at this point. What's a body to do? Other than grabbing the margarita mix and hiding in a corner?

Oh wait, you thought I had the answer?

Not this time. I'm as overwhelmed as anyone else who has been out of office. Well, okay maybe a little more overwhelmed since half of the OffAssist team was out and at the Summit with me. I know, I know, we're supposed to the assistants, but right now I need a little help myself.

Tell me YOUR best tips for catching up after you've been away from the office. How do you sort everything out and get back on track? Email your best ideas to (please!) and we'll include them in a future article :-) Make sure you include your name, your company name and a link to your website so we can give you credit!

In this issue...

Time Management - Do Less, Get More Done!
By Mush Panjwani

We are all so busy. We have so many things to do and so little time. We can't get everything done. And even if we do and we don't always get the sense of fulfillment.

Most time management books try to teach you how to do more in less time. I think the secret to fulfillment is doing less, not more, but doing it with passion, attention and focus.

To do less and still get more done, and I use the 4 D's Principle.

Drop it - Some things don't need to be done at all. E.g what would happen if you don't take that call while having dinner with your family? What if you don't go to pick up that friend from the airport? What if you stopped washing the tub before and after every shower? What difference would it make?

Delay it - You notice your car is dirty. Do you have to wash it right now and or you can do it tomorrow? That email doesn't have to be answered right now; you can do it after completing the proposal you are working ON. You don't have to open all the mail as soon as it arrives. Are there things you do every day that can be done once a week? Or things you do every week that can be done once a month?

Delegate it - So, here's something that can't be dropped or delayed e.g. Your child needs to be taken to a doctor. The air conditioning needs to be fixed. The customer needs a product replacement or a refund. Ask yourself if you have to do it yourself and or whether you can get someone else to do it for you. You'll be surprised how many people are willing to do things for you, if you ask (nicely).

Do it - This one is obvious: Your daily exercise. Time with your kids - reading, talking, playing, helping them with their school work and or just listening to them. Being with your loved one - the dinner, movie and walk or just being together. That course you have been wanting to do. That customer you need to call. That paper you need to write. The books you want to read. The friend you want to call. The vacation that you need.

These are some of the things you won't have to drop, delay or delegate if you follow the 4 D's.

Look at all the stuff you do and see what can be dropped and delayed or delegated. How much more time you'll have to do the things that really matter - that are important and as well as urgent!

Mush Panjwani is a salesman, marketer, trainer, coach and publisher and living and working in Hong Kong.

Article Source:

QuickBooks Tip

Quickbooks Files & Tax Returns

Q: My accountant finished my tax return for last year, is there anything I need to do in my Quickbooks file?

A: There are a few things you should do to close out the previous years file now that the tax return has been completed. First, you should ask your accountant if there are any year-end adjustments that need to be made. She will probably give you a journal entry to adjust a few accounts and enter any missing expenses (usually depreciation). The journal entry may look confusing but it’s very easy to enter. Go to Company: Make Journal Entry, change the date to the end last year (12/31/10) and enter the accounts and amount that your accountant listed. I usually recommend putting “year-end adjustments per accountant” in the memo column so you know why you made these entries when you look back at them. After you have made the journal entry I would reprint the Profit & Loss Statement and Balance Sheet as back up.

Once the file is complete for the year it’s a good idea to set a closing date. Go to Company: Set Closing Date. Here you can close the file as of 12/31/10 with a password (be sure you remember the password). Closing the file is a good idea so you don’t accidentally enter anything in a prior year after everything is finalized.

Note: Check with your accounting professional before doing this to be sure that's how they'd like it done. YMMV!


You Know You Are Living 2011 When...

1. You have a list of 15 phone numbers to reach your family of three.

2. You haven’t played solitaire with real cards in years.

3. You accidentally enter your PIN on the microwave.

4. You e-mail the person who works at the desk next to you.

5. Your reason for not staying in touch with friends and family is that they don’t have e-mail addresses.

6. You pull up in your own driveway and use your cell phone to see if anyone is home to help you carry in the groceries.

7. Every commercial on television has a web site at the bottom of the screen.

8. Leaving the house without your cell phone, which you didn’t even have the first 20 or 30 (or 60) years of your life, is now a cause for panic and you turn around to go and get it.

10. You get up in the morning and go on line before getting your coffee!

11. You start tilting your head sideways to smile. : )

12. You learn about your lay-off on a Twitter feed.

13 You’re reading this and nodding and laughing.

14. Even worse, you know exactly to whom you are going to forward this message.

15. You are too busy to notice there was no #9 on this list.

16. You actually scrolled back up to check that there wasn’t a #9 on this list.

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Tax Deadlines

June 15

- Individuals, Farmers & Fishermen Pay 2nd Quarter Estimated Tax Payment
- Corporations - 2nd Quarter Estimate Tax payment Due
- Estates & Trusts 2nd Estimated Tax Payment
- Employers Make Monthly Payroll tax deposit on the 15th of each month
- US Taxpayers Overseas Individual Personal Returns due
- US Taxpayers Overseas Claim Foreign Earned Income
- US Individuals Overseas Personal Return Extensions due

June 30

- File Form TDF 90-22.1 - Report of Foreign Banks with $10,000 anytime during year

Tech Talk With Tom...

Take a byte out of your email!
by Dy Larson

Today we’re going to talk a bit--haha! That’s funny. You’ll get the joke in another couple of sentences--about file sizes and email niceties regarding them.

First, the computerese. What do all those numbers and letters mean next to a file name in the directory?

A bit is a single unit of data, either a one or zero—harkening back to the days when all programming was done in binary code. In fact, bits are so small in computing terms that most online tutorials about file sizes don’t mention them at all, but I want my readers to be informed.

A byte, pronounced “bite”, made up of 8 bits, is still pretty small. Roughly equivalent to a single character displayed on-screen, so a simple .txt file containing the word “byte” would be about 4 bytes in size.

The Kilobyte (KB/Kb) is where we start getting into usable measurements of size. A kilobyte is made up of 1024 bytes. For simplicity’s sake it is usually considered to be 1000 bytes, hence the name “kilo”. For all you non-metric fans, a kilo of anything in the metric system is a group of 1000 of the base measurement (kilometers, kilograms).

A Megabyte (MB/Mb) is 1024Kb or 1, 048, 576 bytes, again rounded down to 1000Kb for suimplicity. A MB sounds big because it is big. Old school 3 ½” floppy disks held barely more than one Megabyte, or meg, of data. The reason we no longer use floppies is clear when you realize a CD ROM holds about 600-750MB of information, hundreds of times more info than the old floppies.

A Gigabyte (GB or gig) is, you guessed it, equivalent to 1024Mb. This is big, really big. Like 700+ floppy disks worth of big.

Most email hosts have a maximum limit on the (file) size of attachments you can send. Even if you are lucky enough to have a host with a high threshold, do you know if the person you are sending the file to also has a large limit? If they don’t, you can send to your heart’s content but they will never be able to receive.

Okay, fine, say your email host has a 10Mb cap for file attachments. You decide, “Okay, I’ll send my pictures in batches, 5 at a time, to cut just under the limit.” That’s great for you, but, again, not so good for the recipient. Their email host will probably accept the files, but they may not get any other mail afterward.

What do I mean? E-mail servers still have pretty limited storage. If you send those little five packs of photos, they may get through, but end up all of the recipients’ email storage, meaning that any mail sent to them after the cap is returned to the sender as undeliverable until they download those large files and free up some server space. This can be deadly for a small business, especially an Internet-based one that relies heavily on email.

So how do you get around this thorny issue? The polite thing to do, when you need to send a large file, is to not send it through email. Then how, you say?

There are a few services that allow large file transfers via peer-to-peer technology (think Napster), but that method involves a lot of trust on the part of both parties.

Most file transfer services are variations on a theme:

  • Upload the large file to the service/site
  • The site emails the recipient a link to the file
  • The receiver goes to the site and downloads the file

There are both free and paid options out there. If you’ve been to my site, you’ll see my favorite is SendThisFile (

Some of the available free services are: (
Driveway (
BigFileBox (

Many of these sites offer additional services or file size capacity for a fee, but their basic service is free and they are secure sites.

Remember, when you want to make sure you’ll be able to get that important file, encourage the sender to send a link, not a bunch of inbox-clogging Megs J As a courtesy, do the same when you send big files to others. They’ll appreciate it, especially dial-up users!

Tom Beauchamp is the marketing and tech expert behind OffAssist. He can be reached at

Spotlight On...

Spotlight: Time is of the Es-Cents

Patty Dost decided to put 20+ years of experience in the corporate world to work for herself when she started her virtual assistant business, Time is of the Es-Cents, in 2006. Patty has an extensive background as an administrative assistant. She's also the power behind the throne around here. :-)

Ever wonder how Candy keeps track of everything and always seems so together (stop laughing -- it happens sometimes!)? Well, the answer is Patty.

Patty assists a number of multi-VA business owners and their clients. In fact, she's become known as, "The VA's VA." She even wrote a book telling others how be a VA's VA, too--check it out here.

Patty loves what she does and enjoys helping others. She also keeps the OffAssist team in line -- a task closely related to herding cats -- and on time.

If you want to learn more about Patty and/or are a VA needing an assistant, check out her website at

Have you nursed a secret longing to be in the spotlight, center-stage, all eyes on you?

If you would like to be featured in the OffAssist spotlight column, and have not been featured in the past twelve months, contact and we'll see if we can put you in the limelight.

Fine print: We do reserve the right not to feature anyone and a request is not a guarantee that you will make it into the newsletter. Also, if your news, announcement, etc. is time sensitive or tied to a specific date, please let Patty know in your email.

Have an article you'd like to write for our monthly newsletter or want to be spotlighted? Have a QuickBooks question or something you'd like to see in the Tech Tip?


The OffAssist newsletter is made possible by the copywriting/editing skills of Ink Think VA, and the coding talents of Time Is Of The Es-Cents.