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Conquer your paper : The Paperless Office is not a Myth

Computers were meant to cut down on paper but it seems we feel some sense of security
by having piles of paper around or can it just be hard to break those old habits of printing
everything. Can a paperless office be in your future? Yes it can and here are a few steps that
can help get you on your way:

Step 1.

Switch to online bill pay and receiving paperless billing statements. Using your bank’s
online bill pay, you can process your vendor bills online – which will also save on postage
costs as well as check stock. What is great about online bill pay, you can schedule your bills
in advance, which is a huge time saver, and by scheduling your payments it will save you
those late fee penalties. You can also take it one step further and set up automatic payment
directly from your checking account through your vendors.

Step 2.

Download your monthly bank and credit card statements. At the end of the year, burn the
statements onto a CD and file with your tax returns. While you are downloading those
statements each month, you can email your virtual bookkeeper the statements for
reconciling your accounts.

Step 3.

Client invoices. Instead of printing and mailing invoices – pdf and email them. Also in
QuickBooks did you know you could email your invoices directly to the client? When
creating the invoice in QuickBooks, check mark at the bottom email invoice. Once you are
completed with the invoice, go to File – Send Forms, you can edit your message and then
click Send. For organizing these invoices, set up monthly folders on your computer and
save your client invoices in the respective monthly folder. At the end of the year, burn to a
CD and file with your tax returns.

Step 4.

Purchase a good shredder or a local shredding company, ONLY $7/box just drop it off, who
has time to shred. For sensitive files containing credit card information, bank account
numbers, old vendor invoices with account information or old client project files – safely
toss in the shredder. If you have a scanner, you can scan these files and toss and/or shred
the paper copies. Remember though if you are saving these files to your computer to be
sure to back up your computer.

Step 5.

Stop unwanted junk mail. Register with Contact DirectMail.com to be removed from
receiving junk mail. Put in the recycle bin the second you walk in the door.

Step 6. 

Business receipts. Travel receipts, credit card receipts or vendor invoices received in the
mail can be scanned and stored in your monthly financial folder set up on your computer.
If you do not have a scanner, NeatReceipts or Neat scanner is a mobile scanner and digital
filing system. You can scan receipts, business cards, and also documents. The software
included with the scanner identifies and extracts the important information from the
receipts and automatically organizes it for you.
If you implement just a few of these steps, you’ll soon gain control of your paper overload
plus gain some valuable desk and drawer space, yeah!

Spring Organizing Tips!

Now that spring has arrived it’s time to shed our winter “stuff” and lighten‐up for the
season ahead!  Follow these expert tips for a smooth transition:

1. Start with your closets. Dry clean or launder coats, sweaters, and any
items you plan to store over the summer. Toss or donate any items that
are worn, don’t fit you, or you just don’t like. Take your spring and
summer clothes out now so you can see what you have and make a list of
new items you need to purchase. Don’t forget storage containers, clothes
bags, and cedar blocks for storing winter clothes.

2. Clear your kitchen. Take a look in your kitchen cabinets, pantry,
refrigerator and freezer. Look for food items that are reaching their
expiration date and use them up. Toss old food items and start making a
grocery list of fresh, healthy foods that coincide with the new season.
Consider moving “winter cookware” (crock pot and pasta machine) to the
back of the cabinet or into storage and bringing forward your salad
spinner and ice tea maker.

3. Bathroom Makeover. Yes, the bath needs seasonal organizing too! In what
condition are your towels, rugs, shower curtain, and counter top
accessories? Perhaps they just need to be cleaned, but if you’re planning
to replace them start a list. Clear out your medicine cabinet and vanity
cabinets by tossing out anything that’s expired or items you don’t use
anymore. Don’t forget to add replacements to your shopping list.
Consider organizing products such as containers, racks, shelves, or
drawers for extra storage.

4. Bedroom Switch. Now is the time to dry clean or launder the heavy
comforter on your bed and replace it with a lighter blanket. Swap your
flannel bed sheets for lighter fabrics, store the rest.

About the Author:  Michelle Paxton,  The Organizer Gal

P.O. Box 320504
Los Gatos, CA   95032
P: (408) 354-3581
W: www.TheOrganizerGal.com

 

What is a Professional Organizer?

A Professional Organizer is someone that helps you to overcome clutter and disorganization to make your life, less stressful and your time more efficient!

 

Why hire a Professional Organizer?

A Professional Organizer not only helps you organize your clutter, but they also create an easy-to-follow system to help keep it that way. They are there to help you through the entire process, and to get down and dirty and do everything themselves. They are there to sit, sort, clean, file, de-clutter, and de-stress to help make your home a better place to live.

 

What are the benefits of getting organized?

EVERYTHING! You will find yourself having more time, less stress, you will know where everything is located (which saves time and huge headaches), and it will make your life easier and, more importantly, happier. Your environment plays a huge part on your attitude, outlook, and even blood pressure levels. When it’s in disarray, that will reflect and play an immediate part on your life. It makes life so much simpler when your environment is organized, clean, and it’s easy to find things!

 

Which areas do you service?

I will tackle anything from your children’s playroom to your kitchen pantry. Almost all areas of your home, office, garage, storage units and vehicles are covered.

 

Will you work with me or just coach me?

It’s entirely up to you. If you don’t want to touch a thing, you don’t have to. But, if you or anyone else wants to help, it’ll get the job done faster, and in the end, save you money.

 

How do I get started?

Simply contact me here and tell me what needs to be addressed, what areas you’d like organized, and any other details you’d like to include. I will then get back with you, and we can set up a time for our initial meeting/free consultation.

 

What takes place at the initial meeting?

I come and evaluate the space(s) as-is and formulate a plan of action. Then, we will discuss what problems you have with the space(s), what you would like to see change, and what is currently working for you.

 

Will you be flexible and able to work around my schedule?

I’m here to work with you and your schedule.

 

Will my sessions be confidential?

Absolutely! All meetings, conversations, and questions are between you and me, and no one else! Your dirty secret is kept private and confidential.

 

What are your rates and what kind of payment types is accepted?

She accepts all major credit card, cash and checks and is due at the end of each work session (each block day).

 

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Ways to Save Money When Starting a Small Business

When you’re starting a business, you try your best to keep costs down, including and especially your start-up expenses. If you can, you use space, supplies and assets you already own, and when looking for software, you look for the lowest-priced items that you need. For some of those items, you can find many basic tools for free if you know where to look, and free always fits the budget!

Office Documents

If you can’t afford the exorbitant price of Microsoft’s popular Office 2010 or any other yearly version, but you really need a word processor, a spreadsheet and other common document tools, fear not: You can download a free, open-source program called Open Office.

Open Office provides all the tools the Microsoft product does. Your default file extension is .odt, but you can save in Microsoft-compatible formats and a rich text format as well. Open Office even lets you export your document into .pdf format that allows you to secure the information, allow or prevent others to change the document, allow or prevent printing or copying. You can even require a separate password to open the .pdf.

Invoices, Quotes, Receipts

One of the easiest programs you can find is free for a business of less than five employees. You work within various templates to customize your invoices, quotes and receipts. Your invoices can even include a remittance slip if you’d like.

You can email or fax the invoice directly from the program, save drafts until itemization is complete, sort clients and maintain separation, apply payments and even export into .pdf format for your files or to send as email attachments.

The program is Express Invoice Invoicing Software by NCH Software. The Express version includes almost all the features the paid-version possesses, and again, it’s free. As you expand, you can purchase the full version for extra bells and whistles, but for a small business with one person, you get the records, invoicing and a good selection of additional tracking tools in Express Invoice.

Why the employee limit? Express Invoice can also act as a check-in/check-out clock for up to five people, allowing for hours and wage tracking and payment.

Maintain your invoice and payment records online or locally in the downloaded program files. Full adaptability allows multiple choices all down the line.

File Storage

Keep electronic files not only locally but secured online in free online storage sites. In case of catastrophic failure, don’t rely on just your back-up procedures to recover most of the data: Your computer could be hacked or a trojan infest the back-up. And those possibilities don’t approach physical theft or damage of the actual equipment.

There are several excellent, highly secure free storage sites on the Internet from which to choose. Look carefully at the Terms of Service and the security guarantees. Play it doubly safe and store your files on different sites—just in case.

Expenses

Know what you can and cannot note as a business expense. You may not get 100 percent of the cost allowed, but even 50 percent that qualifies as a tax deduction will certainly help: Consult a tax advisor or the IRS to make sure you’re not expecting a tax credit for non-deductible expenses or percentages.

Make sure you check back each January, for tax laws change, and don’t forget state tax exemptions and deductions. Often states have different standards and restrictions than the federal tax code allows.

Keep all your receipts! Scan all of them to duplicate your records between hard copies and electronic copies. Scanning them into electronic format is especially important with many register receipts: The ink fades after a short time, and if you can’t read it, you can’t claim it.

Summary

Save as much as you can as often as you can and in as many ways as you can. Save money, save data and save energy and worry. Good luck!

This post was contributed by John Walker (visit his site here).  John lives in London, UK where he works as a financial analyst.

 

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