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Smith Office Solutions Newsletter
Easy savings and better control for your business.
July 2012
In This Issue
Important Dates
Save Your Business
In the Spotlight - The Alternative Board
Protecting Information - Final
Tip of the Month
Important Dates
July 4 Independence Day
July 16  P/R Tax Dep Due
July 31  2nd Qtr 941/OQ Due 

Aug 15 P/R Tax Dep Due
Sept 3  Labor Day
Sept 17 P/R Tax Dep Due

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logo - The Alternative Board
The Business Owner's Strategic Advantage

Spotlight Company
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We hope you enjoyed your Fourth of July this year.  It felt a little strange to celebrate with a day off in the middle of the week, but it was a nice break in the routine.


Smith Office Solutions is sharing an incredible new program from Intuit designed to save you money on things you already use for your business. Intuit's EasySaver program allows small business to receive discount pricing on supplies from major vendors; with no shipping or minimum purchase required.   We strongly recommend checking it out; you can easily save a few hundred dollars on your company's expenses.


July's Spotlight Company is an organization providing a unique approach to business consulting for small business. Membership with The Alternative Board gives local small business owners access to an advisory board made up of their peers and personalized business coaching services. Read our article and find out how their services can help you.


This month's newsletter marks the end of our series on protecting against identity theft. In this final guideline, we share some tips on developing a plan to respond to future threats. We have also provided links to additional resources for information and assistance with making your company's sensitive data more secure.  Next month there will tips on how your QuickBooks can help you on the fraud side on protecting your company.


Let us know if there are any ways that we can better meet your company's needs.  Smith Office Solutions is focused on helping your business succeed.




Save Your Business


Last month we defined Internal control.  This month I would like to show you some charts that might really be interested in.


The first one shows frequency of fraud in small companies (less than 100 employees.)  The reason that companies with over 10,000 employees have less fraud is because they have more employees to split the duties and they also implement strong internal controls. 

The next chart shows the median loss.  (To find the Median, place the numbers you are given in value order and find the middle number.)  CEOs and owners of smaller companies don't take the time to run down all the possibilities of fraud.  The internal control in a small company needs to be easy and inexpensive to setup & maintain.  Many people let everyone sign on the their accounting software with one password.  Checks in this day & age aren't returned with bank statements.  Even when they were how many owners review the checks? 

The next chart shows the type & percent of the cases.  If you don't think you have any fraud read on to the next chart to see example of how fraud is perpetrated.  If you are really interested I can send you a very detailed chart with fraud types really broken down.

One thing to remember is even if you get audited yearly by a CPA they are not looking for fraud,  That is a separate audit called a "Fraud Audit" and it is very extensive. 


In August I will show you some of the things that QuickBooks provides for you to help against the threats.




Intuit EasySaver



In October of 2011 Intuit began to roll out a new program to help save you money, called EasySaver.   Although this program was initially offered to only a select group, it is now available to all 2012 QuickBooks users (it was included with the R3 update.)   Created to allow small business to get volume discount prices for their supplies without having to buy in large quantities, Intuit negotiated discounts with select vendors (see the list), by using the combined purchasing power of millions of QuickBooks customers.


Ordering using the program is easy. Clicking on the icon in your QuickBooks file takes you to an Intuit website where you can order from multiple vendors at the same time. There is no charge for standard shipping and no minimum quantity required to order. Your items are shipped right from the vendor, not an Intuit warehouse location, so your order can arrive promptly.


There is a variety of categories of products (see the current list), covering items from your regular office supplies such as paper, ink and toner, or pens, small tools or construction supplies, even restaurant supplies.


Different vendors have varying degrees of discount. In one example, one client was able to receive a discount of about $400 using EasySaver over the previous method of ordering through the vendor directly. However, on another item ordered on a regular basis, ordering direct from the vendor gave better terms and discount. It only takes a minute or two to compare your current order pricing with the EasySaver price. Just click on the icon on the Home page or under the Vendors tab, and type an item description or product number in the search box. The few minutes it takes to compare could end up saving you quite a bit on your expenses.


Intuit looks at the items you have listed in QuickBooks to find specific recommendations that could save you money. This is not the best part of this new program. The less generic or common items will usually not show relevant recommendations. QuickBooks (Intuit) will try to match the item name, part or lot numbers that are part of the item name can cause Intuit to come up with some odd ideas of possible matches. QuickBooks will show these recommendations in the Edit Item window, not as a pop-up or extra window, to minimize interruption to your work flow.



What some customers are saying about EasySaver...


"The Easy Saver program makes it save!" - Gayle A.


"Our organization needed to place a supply order which included a large number of scissors, rulers, and tape.  The Easy Saver program saved us hundreds of dollars on our first order and we look forward to using it again" - Eric W.



In the Spotlight...The Alternative Board



An Alternative to Traditional Business Associations


Small-to-medium sized businesses remain the heart of economic growth. Successful business leaders and entrepreneurs are continually striving to meet their critical goals. They know that they must focus their time and resources on the vital business elements that will enable them rise to the top.

The Alternative Board® (TAB) is a key resource for business owners, presidents, CEOs and partners to achieve the personal level of success and the freedom they seek. Reaching these desired levels can be made considerably easier through expanded communication and relationships with those who understand them best.

Our combination of peer advisory board services and business coaching will give you the strategic edge you need to improve your business so you can better enjoy your life. If you are ready to succeed, explore the local business organization that can help you get there.


Find your local TAB of The Greater Portland Area for Facilitation and Business Coaching


With The Alternative Board®, you will achieve greater success.

That's because The Alternative Board is a coaching and peer advisory group made up of CEOs, presidents, business owners, and partners from across the globe who are committed to improving their business, and yours.

TAB members are dedicated, realistic and work together to create strategic solutions for the business challenges they face. These driven members, who collectively have hundreds of years of business experience, are carefully selected for TAB Boards® consisting of up to 10 non-competing companies.

It's this dynamic, along with the realistic and professional infrastructure of TAB international that enables business leaders such as yourself to change perspective, improve business, and enjoy life.


Our Advantage for Small Business Owners

As the leader / owner of a privately owned company, TAB connects you with other non-competing business leaders in your community as well as others in all industries across the country and internationally. They, like you, are committed to distinguishing and growing their companies while improving their personal wellbeing.

Together, you and your "board" accomplish the critical tasks of creating, implementing and adjusting plans that are necessary for your success. Members help each other stay informed, disciplined, aligned and focused to achieve their personal and professional goals.


To learn more about The Alternative Board, or to get in touch with a local TAB facilitator, click here.



If you are interested in having your company logo and website featured, let us know.  You can send an e-mail  to with your website address, short description of your service or product, and your logo, as a JPG. 


If you have a suggestion for a Spotlight Company we would love to hear it.  Just give us a short description of the company and why you think they deserve the "spotlight."

Protecting the information that you keep -Create a plan for responding to security incidents. 


The final guideline for protecting your company's sensitive information is simple, but very important to protect against future threats to the information you keep. Taking steps now to protect the sensitive data your company keeps can go a long way toward preventing a security breach. Security breaches can still happen, even with increased awareness of possible weak points in your protections.

You can reduce the impact on your company, employees, and customers. Here are a few ways to do this:

  • Make sure you have a plan in place to respond to any security incidents. Have a manager or supervisor coordinate and put the response plan in place.
  • Make sure your staff knows that if a computer is compromised, to disconnect it immediately from your network and let your IT department or personnel know.
  • Immediately investigate security incidents and take action to reduce existing vulnerabilities or threats to stored personal information.
  • Think about who should be notified in the event of an incident, both inside and outside your company. It may be necessary to notify law enforcement, customers, credit bureaus, or other businesses that may be affected by the breach. Also, many states and the federal bank regulatory agencies have laws or guidelines relating to breaches in data security. Consult your attorney for the specific steps you may need to take for your company.


Smith Office Solutions can help you develop and implement an appropriate data security plan for your business. Regardless of the size, or nature, of your business, the guidelines we have provided over the last several months will go a long way toward helping you keep sensitive data secure. Call us today at 503-579-8059 to get a comprehensive review of your current security procedures, ways to increase security, and reduce threats and data breaches.


If you missed any of the previous guidelines or would like to review them again, they can all be found in our newsletter archive.


Adapted from "Protecting Personal Information: A Guide for Business," Federal Trade Commission, 2011


For more information on this subject, to download a copy of the guide, or to find out about scheduling an internal controls audit, call 503-579-8059 or e-mail us at  





These websites and publications have more information on securing sensitive data:

  • National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)
    Computer Security Resource Center
  • SANS (Sys Admin, Audit, Network, Security) Institute
    The Top Cyber Security Risks
  • United States Computer Emergency Readiness Team (US-CERT)
  • OnGuard Online


The FTC works to prevent fraudulent, deceptive and unfair business practices in the marketplace and to provide information to help consumers spot, stop and avoid them. To file a complaint or get free information on consumer issues, visit or call toll-free, 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357); TTY: 1-866-653-4261.




QuickBooks Tips
QuickBooks Logo 

As we are all looking for more customers in this economic climate we need to be able to track our progress.  Some companies use CRM software but it can move across the gambit of cheap to very expensive.  If you are not sure which one to use you might just look inside QuickBooks.  There is a lead center in the program.  It is in the customer menu about 1/2 down.  It track potential leads and allows you turn them into customers when they eventually become your  customers.  Take a look at it.  It doesn't show up in your customer list unless you want it to show up.  There are "to do lists", notes, any number of contacts and status.  Check it out.

Our main services are to help small to medium size business' become more successful in the accounting needs whatever that means to them.
Meredith & Amanda
Smith Office Solutions