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         Tuesday Tips and Tricks
          September 30, 2014


There's an App for . . . us?

Microsoft Readies a Virtual Assistant for the Corporate World with an app that tries to anticipate the information needs of office.


Buried within an announcement of iPhone and iPad apps for Microsoft Office earlier this year was word of a new app that could put the company at the forefront of productivity software again.


It's called Microsoft Oslo, and it acts like a kind of virtual assistant. According to Microsoft, it draws on online content and a company's internal data to offer important information, context, and contacts when they are needed, before you even think to ask. Oslo, which is currently available only in a limited-release test, will be included in Office 365, Microsoft's subscription-based productivity software for PCs and mobile devices, by the end of this year.


Oslo examines what you're working on to curate a selection of articles to read, Web pages to visit, videos to view, and podcasts to hear, all presented on a Pinterest-like page of clickable tiles.


For instance, according to MIT Technology Review, if you're about to attend a meeting, your Oslo board might present a blog post written by the meeting's leader, an article on the topic of discussion, and relevant news about your company's competitors. The app also mines a few specific types of internal information, making it easy to discover, say, colleagues who have expertise in projects you're working on. That could be an attractive prospect for organizations too large for everyone to keep track of everyone else's activities.


Also, for business owners on the go and always out of the office, this tool can save some valuable time. As virtual office professionals, we will be carefully monitoring the rollout of this software.




Make Sure Payday is Rewarding For Everyone


Whether your company payroll is distributed bi-weekly or twice monthly, the last thing you want to hear is that payroll issues are causing your employees dissatisfaction. Payroll issues occur for a number of reasons, some of which cannot be resolved as quickly as others, but as a small business owner, monitor your business processes regularly to ensure your level of employee satisfaction remains high.


Holiday, Terminations And Other Delays

Bank closures on federal holidays can sneak up on you at the time when payroll processing needs to be completed. Plan ahead for delays caused by holiday closures. If you have a printed schedule for pay periods and payroll dates, indicate on what day payroll is distributed when there is a holiday.


Human Resources Information System

Technology is great for business, but there are the occasional glitches that cannot be attributed to human error. Perhaps the HRIS server failed and consequently delayed or even canceled payroll. It might be important to have a backup or to consider outsourcing your payroll if you feel your HRIS isn't sophisticated enough to handle payroll accurately and efficiently.


Time Records

In businesses where work hours are recorded by automatic readers, there exists the chance of error, misreading of a time card or maybe an employee forgets to time out at the end of her shift. In these cases, it may be a good investment to have time records verified and scanned for errors by the payroll clerk or an assistant in the department.


Leaves of Absence

When an employee is on a leave of absence due to health or family issues covered by the Family Medical Leave Act, calculating payroll may be difficult, particularly if the employee is using intermittent FMLA absences. The human resources benefits specialist typically coordinates employees leaves of absence. Ensure there is communication between your benefits specialist and payroll personnel about exceptions that must be reflected in the payroll records.


Compensation Disparity

When performance appraisals are complete, many employers reward their employees with a wage increase. Depending on when the appraisal is complete and how quickly information about the wage increase reaches the payroll department, there may be a delay in calculating the appropriate amount. In this case, it is simple enough to make the wage increase retroactive.

If your business is looking for payroll help, give Off-Site Business Services a call.


Need Some Additional "Help" For The Holidays?



Refer a new bookkeeping or payroll service client 
and receive a

 $50 VISA gift card

      (after $100 of paid services).   


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"App"proved for Use with QuickBooks


Method CRM is a totally customizable QuickBooks add-on that delivers more than just the traditional lead tracking and customer interaction features you see in the average CRM solution - Method is all about helping you achieve company-wide automation. Best of all, Method integrates with both QuickBooks and SmartVault, so you can store a document once, and access it from inside Method CRM, QuickBooks, your SmartVault portal, mobile apps, and more.


Off-Site Business Services, Inc.

Full-time Professional Office Management-Without the Full-time Cost.

Kimberly Shannon


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