Data Protection

Data Protection:
Here are two questions you need to ask yourself…..

If your computer “crashed” right now, would you still be able to operate your business effectively?

If your computer “crashed” right now, how soon can you have a replacement up and running?

Makes you think right?  I don’t think anyone wants to go through restoring files and reinstalling software. Following these tips will make your life easier,  should Murphy’s Law kick in decide to take out your computer.

1.  Keep all your data files in one central location: Knowing ahead of time where are your important files are located will ensure that what ever back up process you are using is actually backing up all the files that need to be backed up.

2. Back up your files:  Speaking of backing up…Make sure you have in place a back up system for your files.

Offline backup- using software to create a daily back up of your files

  • Make sure you actually back up your files to a separate “media” location.  You would be surprised how many times I have come across clients that are backing up their important files on to the SAME harddrive as the files are all ready on.
  • End of month create a back up on a DVD or CD ( depending on the size of all the files you back up) and bring to another location.
  • Determine a manageable amount of back up versions to keep before overwriting (5 days, 2 weeks, 30 days)
  • TEST!! test your restore functions to make sure you know how to restore a file(s)

Online Back Up – Many online sites are available for automatic back up

  • Carbonite.com : Annual fee of $59.00 is extremely reasonable for the amount of time you save knowing your files are backed up constantly through out the day.
  • There are others out there, for example Mozy.com as well as many others.  Here is a link to a site that lists 10 of the top online back up sites
  • My tip for Carbonite – make sure you choose all the folders  you need backed up.  For example I make sure my desktop is backed up so that if you are “lazy” and just save files to your desktop before “filing them” you can be sure they will be backed up.

3. Keep a running list of the software you install along with any CD keys, passwords etc.  This way when you need to re-install your software you won’t have to dig around for the software and keys needed to re-installed or register the product.  Keep a hard copy of this list in a secure location, because saving it on your computer does no good if that file was not backed up.

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Barter Transactions – Four Facts About Bartering :

Barter

In today’s economy, small business owners sometimes look to the oldest form of commerce – the exchange of goods and services, or bartering. The IRS wants to remind small business owners that the fair market value of property or services received through barter is taxable income.

Bartering is the trading of one product or service for another. Usually there is no exchange of cash. However, the fair market value of the goods and services exchanged must be reported as income by both parties.

Here are four facts about bartering that the IRS wants small business owners to be aware of:

  1. Barter Exchange A barter exchange functions primarily as the organizer of a marketplace where members buy and sell products and services among themselves. Whether this activity operates out of a physical office or is internet based, a barter exchange is generally required to issue Form 1099-B, Proceeds from Broker and Barter Exchange Transactions, annually to their clients or members and to the IRS.
  2. Barter Income Barter dollars or trade dollars are identical to real dollars for tax reporting. If you conduct any direct barter – barter for another’s products or services – you will have to report the fair market value of the products or services you received on your tax return.
  3. Taxes Income from bartering is taxable in the year it is performed. Bartering may result in liabilities for income tax, self-employment tax, employment tax, or excise tax. Your barter activities may result in ordinary business income, capital gains or capital losses, or you may have a nondeductible personal loss.
  4. Reporting The rules for reporting barter transactions may vary depending on which form of bartering takes place. Generally, you report this type of business income on Form 1040, Schedule C Profit or Loss from Business, or other business returns such as Form 1065 for Partnerships, Form 1120 for Corporations, or Form 1120-S for Small Business Corporations.

For more information see the Bartering Tax Center in the Business section at http://www.irs.gov.

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QuickBooks Time Keeping | It’s About Time : Mobile App for Quickbooks Time Keeping

For those small business owners that a struggling with keeping accurate track of their billable and non-billable time you can now take your time on the road with you with this simple app.

Quickbooks Time Keeping

Here is a link to

http://www.appbrain.com/app/its-about-time/com.rds.itsabouttime

This app comes in handy when you are on the road, or are looking to have a timer while you are performing services.  Its About Time uses your lists from QuickBooks ( it walks you thru importing them) so you choose your client, your item/service, employee name, and a section to detail out what services you are performing.  You can also choose to manually enter your start and stop times, or force a time length, or lastly it offers a timer feature.

The only downside I can see for this app is it is currently only available for Android.

By far this is one of my most used apps on my phone (you guessed it, I have an android phone!!)

 

 

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Free Picture in Picture Software

Check out my latest video on using a picture in picture picture for your youtube videos.  I show you where I found this free software, that I use in conjunction with TechSmiths Jing software… to record a picture in picture for more personal youtube or training videos.

In this video I used Jing software to record the screen, but I have since found Snagit to be a better software and totally worth the investment in purchasing this software.  Snagit allows you to do screen captures as well and video, and come with a really easy to use editor for editing and adding finishing touches to your screen captures.

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Can You Deduct Donated Services?

charitable-donations-jarCan I deduct time spent volunteering?

Can I deduct time donated to charity?

I get these questions several times every tax season from small business owners that are in the service industry and decide to donate their time to a worthy cause.

One would think that if I donate my time I should be able to deduct my normal per hour rate that I would have made if this work would have been done for a “true client”.  Most business owners look at the situation as that I “would have” made $1000 if I billed a client for that 10 hours of my time, and since I am losing out on that revenue, shouldn’t I be able to get a tax deduction for it? Unfortunately you are probably not going to like my answer to the question.

The answer to this question is NO for the time and services part of the donation, and YES for any out of pocket expenses incurred or mileage driven for the charitable purpose.

Let me explain:

While your time is valuable in your business, when you donate your time, you have not reported the “income earned” from those services / time therefore you can not take a deduction for them.  So in the above example, because the $1000 of income was not earned, received as a payment on and deposited into your business checking account, you would not be able to deduct the “loss of income”.   Even if you did decide to some how report this income thru a journal entry, the out come would be a wash and therefor not necessary for the added bookkeeping.

However, if you incurred any out of pocket costs (for example any supplies etc) you can deduct those costs as long as you have a receipt for them and you have documented what charitable organization it was purchased for. In addition you can also deduct 14 cents per mile for any charitable miles your drove as part of your volunteering. This rate is for the 2012 and 2013 tax years.

Final note > Please remember that the organization your are volunteering for MUST be a registered charitable organization under IRS code section 501(3)c in order for you to be able to deduct your out of pocket cost and your mileage.

Most importantly should you have any questions or concerns you should reach out to your tax professional.  They are there to assist you with your questions and concerns.

Do you have any tax or accounting questions?  Please comment below and I may use your question in a future blog post!!

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Here is a video I did walking you thru how to fix the annoying QuickBooks Invoice Sequence issue.  If you have ever had an issue with not being able to go into invoicing and have the correct “next” invoice number.. this is your answer!!!

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List of Social Media Sites & Directories

twitter.com

linkedin.com

facebook.com

youtube.com

slideshare.net

blogger.com

wordpress.com

43things.com

foursquare.com

digg.com

friendfeed.com

friendster.com

plaxo.com

spoke.com

zigg.com

zoominfo.com

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Dependent

Six Important Facts about Dependents and Exemptions

Some tax rules affect every person who may have to file a federal income tax return – these rules include dependents and exemptions. Here are six important facts the IRS wants you to know about dependents and exemptions that will help you file your 2010 tax return.
  1. Exemptions reduce your taxable income. There are two types of exemptions: personal exemptions and exemptions for dependents. For each exemption you can deduct $3,650 on your 2010 tax return.
  2. Your spouse is never considered your dependent. On a joint return, you may claim one exemption for yourself and one for your spouse. If you’re filing a separate return, you may claim the exemption for your spouse only if they had no gross income, are not filing a joint return, and were not the dependent of another taxpayer.
  3. Exemptions for dependents. You generally can take an exemption for each of your dependents. A dependent is your qualifying child or qualifying relative. You must list the social security number of any dependent for whom you claim an exemption.
  4. If someone else claims you as a dependent, you may still be required to file your own tax return. Whether you must file a return depends on several factors including the amount of your unearned, earned or gross income, your marital status, any special taxes you owe and any advance Earned Income Tax Credit payments you received.
  5. If you are a dependent, you may not claim an exemption. If someone else – such as your parent – claims you as a dependent, you may not claim your personal exemption on your own tax return.
  6. Some people cannot be claimed as your dependent. Generally, you may not claim a married person as a dependent if they file a joint return with their spouse. Also, to claim someone as a dependent, that person must be a U.S. citizen, U.S. resident alien, U.S. national or resident of Canada or Mexico for some part of the year. There is an exception to this rule for certain adopted children. See IRS Publication 501, Exemptions, Standard Deduction, and Filing Information for additional tests to determine who can be claimed as a dependent.

For more information on exemptions, dependents and whether you or your dependent needs to file a tax return, see IRS Publication 501. The publication is available at http://www.irs.gov/ or can be ordered by calling 800-TAX-FORM (800-829-3676). You can also use the Interactive Tax Assistant at http://www.irs.gov/ to determine who you can claim as a dependent and how much you can deduct for each exemption you claim. The ITA tool is a tax law resource on the IRS website that takes you through a series of questions and provides you with responses to tax law questions.

Publications:
IRS Publication 501, Exemptions, Standard Deduction, and Filing Information

Original posting by IRS Tax Tip 2011-07

 

 

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Social Media Website links

Here is a listing of great websites to assist you with your social media strategies:

Foursquare.com Twitter.com linkedin.com facebook.com youtube.com

Slideshare.net

Twellow.com Twitter yellow Pages

Twellowhood for Syracuse NY!!

Advanced Twitter Search

Justunfollow.com

Twitter Resources

Twitter for Dummies

Linkedin for Dummies

Create a facebook fanpage

Tools for Managing Social Media:

Hootsuite.com

How to set up Hootsuite

Hootsuite get started and FAQ

Tweetdeck.com

Tweetchat.com

Tweetgrid.com

Tools for Analyzing Social Media

Twitter friend follower ratio

Klout.com

twittergrader.com

Hootsuite has built in analysis

Any others you like to use.. please post a comment!!

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Free Press Release sites on Internet

Use these sites to spread the word on your current and future press releases:

www.free-press-release.com

www.prlog.org

www.1888pressrelease.com

www.pr-inside.com

WWW.webnewswire.com

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