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Smith Office Solutions, Inc.

March 2012


In this issue
Important Dates
Feature: Part-Time Controller - Part Two
Preventing Fraud and Identity Theft - Part Two
Social Security rates for Employees
Cloud Accounting
QuickBooks Tip of the Month


Spring, could it be coming?  One of our collegues is going skiing tomorrow.  It will be cold but sunny on Mt. Hood.  You are probably used to seeing the important dates that we have every month.  We are featuring more about the part-time controller and safe guarding your information from fraud this month. 
We are adding a very special activity for you in this month's newsletter.  We hope you enjoy it, so be sure & let us know what you think.  See below for more details.

People keep asking "What is this Cloud thing you are offering all about?"  Click the link to our website to find out more...

Important Dates:


3/1     Property Tax Deadline

3/11   Daylight Savings

3/15   Payroll Tax Deposit due for Monthly Depositors

3/17   St. Patrick's Day


May 2012  QuickBooks 2009 Payroll Services are no longer supported by Intuit and you will be required to move to 2012.  If you are using Online Payroll Services you do not have to move up to 2012.  Online Payroll is not recomended for Job Cosing companies by Smith Office Solutions.


Feature Article: Part-Time Controller 
Now that you have had time to think about the article do you think you are ready to sign up?
You might ask:
  • How much time is it going to take out of my very valuable time?  What have you accomplished trying to do it all on your own?
  • How long will it take?  Probably something like 2 months to get most of it implemented.  That depends on you & your staff.
  • When can I get started?  That is your choice pretty much but each client needs to have our attention so it will depend on who is in line ahead of you.
  • What is my biggest obstacle to success?  Probably you are; we constantly get in our own way in life.  You need to decide what success needs to be for you.  Do you want it bad enough?
  • What will it cost?  That depends but you will have a pretty good idea before anything really starts happening.

These are all very good questions but the one you are missing is "what happens to my company if I don't do it?"

  • Will my company continue to grow on its own?  Maybe?
  • Will I weather the storm if the economy goes down even more, or again?  Maybe?
  • Will I have enough money or time to do what I want to do? Maybe?
  • What is success to me???  This a very important question, it may change but you really need to know.


Preventing Fraud and Identity Theft - Part Two


A sound data security plan to prevent fraud and identity theft is built on 5 key guidelines.  Last month, we started this series with the first guideline and steps to analyze what types of information you recieve and where you store that information.  This month, we present the next guideline you need for ensuring the security of your client's and employee's information. Smith Office Solutions wants you and your customers to be protected from these costly issues.



Guideline two: Keeping only the information you need to run your business.


If there isn't a legitimate business need for sensitive or personally identifying information, don't keep it; even better, don't even collect it. If you do have a legitimate business need for the information, keep it only as long as it is actually necessary.


Social Security numbers:

Don't use Social Security numbers just because you've always done it or as an employee or customer identification number. Only use Social Security numbers for required and lawful purposes, such as reporting employee taxes or for filing a Form 1099.


Credit card numbers:

The law requires shortened or truncated credit and debit card receipts that you give your customers. No more than the last five digits of the card number can be printed, and you must remove the expiration date. Don't keep customer credit card account numbers and expiration dates unless you have a legitimate business need to do so. Keeping this information, or keeping it longer than you need it, increases the risk that the information could be used fraudulently or to commit identity theft. It is a good idea to check the settings on the software you use to process credit card transactions. The default settings may be preset to keep information permanently. If necessary, change your default settings to make sure that you are not keeping information you don't need.


If you must keep sensitive or personally identifying information for business reasons, or in order to comply with the law, you should develop a written policy to identify the following:

  1. What information does your company must keep?
  2. How does your company secure the information kept?
  3. How long do you keep the information?
  4. How does your company securely dispose of the information it is no longer needed?


Next issue we will present:

Guideline three: Protect the information that you keep.  



The great Social Security question has been decided.


The 4.2% will last through 2012.  If you are using one of QuicBooks payroll systems you need to have update your payroll suscription.  In the desktop version update go to the Employees menu in QuickBooks and go down to the Get Payroll Updates.  If you are using the Online Payroll it will automatically updated.  If you have questions contact us at 503-579-8059.

Do you have the "luck of the Irish?"
A friendly, but absent-minded, leprechaun dropped by our website to say hello, and forgot where he set his pot of gold.  Help out our friend by letting us know which page of our website has his misplaced pot of gold.  He is offering a reward to the first three people to give the correct answer.  It isn't gold, but the three lucky winners will each recieve a $5 gift card to Starbucks! 
Cloud accounting is the thing of the future.
We have been using the cloud accounting with QuickBooks for over a year now.  What is it?  It allows more than one person to access a file from anywhere that has a internet connection.  You are in Hawaii on a new customer consultation, your office is in Portland, OR.  There is a file that is in the Cloud that just seems to a little off what do you do.  You get on the internet & log into a hosted site, fix it & print it in the business center of you hotel.  Maybe you just want to show them a presentation that you use in your office, get on the internet and there you go.  No more having to get people off a file & no more worrying because your laptop just died.  Maybe you want to give the presentation at lunch on some beach and your team has been working on it in Portland last night.  Login in to the internet & off you go.  The files are hosted and maintained by software engineers so you don't have to and everything get backed up several places all day long.  You just messed up an Excel report that was okay 1 hour ago.  You call them up & it is restored to that time.  I know I have had this done before & it is great.



QuickBooks Tip of the Month


Sometimes when you are frustrated with the information on a report it is because you may have selected the wrong report, sometimes it isn't, it just needs a bit of tweaking.  Accounts receivable for example.  I don't really like the A/R Aging Detail because it is done like what most people want to see.  I like the Open Invoices report but it shows all invoices that are not paid yet no matter what you do with the date.  If I only want to show the ones that are 60 day past due I usually use the A/R Aging Summary report and double click on the total of that column.  That report will just show the ones that are past due for 60 days to 89 days past due. 





Last month:  "What do you get if you cross a chicken with a cement mixer?"
Brick Layer

This month's Question:    Where was Jimi Hendrix born?


See ya next month!
Answers given next month


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