Does your Social Media profile meet the Ethics test?

Both the Florida and New York bar associations are addressing how attorney profiles should appear on social media in order to comply with bar association rules.  The two areas of concern are “specialties” and “expertise”.   LinkedIn now allows attorneys to modify those headings on their profiles.

Review this article for more information.   http://legalethicsinmotion.com/category/social-media/linkedin/

Make QuickBooks Yours in 2016: Customize

 

QuickBooks can be used as is (with some exceptions), but you can customize many elements to improve your workflow, your form output and your business insight.

While many of the things you purchase and use in your daily work and professional lives don’t come with options, many do. Think about the last time you bought a car, for example. Did you request additional features for safety or convenience or aesthetic value?

You can’t buy “extras” with your copy of QuickBooks. You can select from the different versions (Pro, Premier, etc.) and extend the software’s functionality by installing integrated add-ons from the Intuit App Center. But if you install QuickBooks on two machines from the same DVD or download, they’ll look and work the same.

 

 

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Figure 1: Need more functionality in areas like CRM or receivables? Talk to us about adding an integrated app.

That is, until you start customizing the product, which you should do. The customization options in QuickBooks let you:

  • Change the appearance of your desktop
  • Modify forms to include only needed content and to make them look professional and uniform, and
  • Drill down deeply on your company data to isolate only the information that you want.

The benefits of customization are obvious. You’ll accelerate your workflow, polish your image and get insight that helps you make critical business decisions.

Your Desktop View

QuickBooks has always made your most commonly-used tools available on the home page. Intuit revamped this screen very skillfully starting with the 2013 versions, so it’s much cleaner and less cramped. But if you don’t use all of the functions represented by icons, you don’t have to even see them.

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Figure 2: You can remove icons from the home page, but not if related features are enabled.

You can remove icons like Estimates and Time Tracking if you’re not planning to use those functions, but some icons must remain if specific features are active. For example, if sales orders and estimates are enabled, invoices are automatically turned on. Likewise, if you’re enabled Inventory, Enter Bills and Pay Bills are locked in, too.

There’s an option to either limit the QuickBooks display to one window or let multiple windows open simultaneously. When you open QuickBooks, you can choose to have a specific set of windows open, the window or windows that were open when you shut down, or no windows.

Your Forms

QuickBooks comes with pre-defined forms for transactions like purchase orders, invoices and sales receipts. If you don’t like the look of one of these default templates, you can download one from the dozens of alternatives that QuickBooks supplies. You can alter these to better meet your needs – even creating multiple versions of the same type of form to use in different situations.

Columns and fields can be added, deleted, renamed and repositioned so that your forms contain only the information that your business requires. You can add your logo and change fonts and colors. Once you’ve settled on a design, you can apply it to multiple forms to present a unified image to your customers and vendors.

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Figure 3: You can specify which fields will appear – both onscreen and in print — in your templates’ headers, footers and columns.

QuickBooks provides the tools to do all of this, but let us help you if you plan to do much modification. It can be challenging, especially if you have to use the Layout Designer.

Your Reports

You already know that you can do simple modification of your reports, like changing the date range. You may even have clicked on Customize Report and altered the column structure of a report and its sort order.

But do you regularly click on the Filters tab in the Modify Report dialog box? If you’re often frustrated because your reports cover too much ground or an inadequate, unfocused level of detail, you should be exploring the options offered here regularly. Filters restrict the data in a given report to a smaller, more targeted group of records or transactions, based on your needs.

For example, you might want to find out which customers in your New Construction class have outstanding balances (based on invoices) of more than $500 that are more than 60 days old. You’d set up Filters to create this screen:

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Figure 4: You’ll learn far more about your company’s financial status if you use Filters in reports. We can help you set up the most effective ones for your business.

Why not resolve to make your copy of QuickBooks your own in 2014? Some customization processes will require some upfront time, but once you get going, you’ll wish you’d done this sooner.

Do You Need a More Robust Version of QuickBooks?

 

Do You Need a More Robust Version of QuickBooks?

 
Maybe you just need to study your current version thoroughly. But it might be time to move up.
 

If QuickBooks were just one product, its appeal would be more limited than it is. Because there’s an entire family of Windows desktop software applications (as well as five online versions and a Mac edition), the QuickBooks family has found a home in millions of small businesses, and it remains the market leader.

Though QuickBooks versions themselves are not scalable (able to expand as your business grows), you can move up to a more sophisticated edition when you outgrow your current version.

  

But how do you know whether it’s time to upgrade or whether you’re just not stretching your current version to its fullest capabilities? We can help you determine that, and we’ll help you move into a more appropriate edition when/if that occurs.

  

Desktop Differences

  

There are three Windows-based versions of QuickBooks: Pro, Premier and Enterprise Solutions. They all let you:

  • Import and export data

  

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Figure 1: All desktop versions of QuickBooks let you import and export data.

  • Track income and expenses
  • Build and maintain records for customers, vendors, employees and items
  • Create and send transaction forms like invoices, estimates and purchase orders
  • Download bank and credit card transactions, and pay bills online
  • Customize and run dozens of reports
  • Keep track of your inventory of items, and 
  • Add a payroll-processing service.

All three versions share a similar user interface and navigational scheme, so when you move up to the next level, you only need to learn the new features. The 2013 offerings make it even easier to learn and use QuickBooks, since Intuit completely revamped the look and feel for those most current editions.

  

QuickBooks Pro is the base desktop product, offering everything in the above list and more. But would you rather have access to 150+ reports instead of 100, including some that are industry-specific? QuickBooks Premier can provide that, in addition to charts of accounts, sample files and menus tailored to your company’s industry. It also offers a business plan builder and the ability to forecast sales and expenses. 

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Figure 2: QuickBooks Premier helps you create a business plan.

 

 

The biggest jump in functionality, though, occurs when you move up to QuickBooks Enterprise Solutions. You may want to consider this upgrade when you find that, for example:

 

  • Your system keeps slowing down and experiencing errors because your customer, vendor, item and employee databases have grown too large
  • You need to have more than five people accessing QuickBooks simultaneously
  • You’ve launched a second company, and/or
  • Your item catalog has grown to the point where you’re having trouble managing your multi-location inventory.

Robust Accounting

QuickBooks Enterprise Solutions is well-suited to complex small businesses, and sometimes even larger companies, depending on their structure and needs. It solves the data management problems that Pro and Premier users can experience, thanks to its 100,000+ record and account capacity. 

 

Up to 30 individuals can use the software at the same time, and they have more flexibility than is offered in Pro and Premier. Multiple users can be on the system and still complete tasks like adjusting inventory and changing sales tax rates.

 

You can manage more than one business using QuickBooks Enterprise Solutions, even working in two company files at the same time and combining reports. Reporting capabilities themselves are much more sophisticated: The Intuit Statement Writer helps you create professional financial statements, and you have much more control over customization of your output.

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Figure 3: QuickBooks Enterprise Solutions offers more sophisticated inventory management tools than Pro or Premier.

Inventory management goes many steps further in this sophisticated software. It supports management of multiple warehouse and trucks, and allows transfers among them. Finding specific items is much easier because you can track down to the bin level. FIFO costing is offered as an alternative to average costing, and you can scan items and serial numbers directly into QuickBooks Enterprise Solutions, which tracks both serial and lot numbers.

 

More Power, More Support

 

There are many smaller features that make this application far more powerful than QuickBooks Pro and Premier – and also a little more difficult to master. When you think the time is right, we can help you move your current data file into QuickBooks Enterprise Solutions and provide training. 

 

It’s important that you have the right fit when it comes to your accounting software. So consider your current setup carefully before you decide to move up.

Sneak Peek: QuickBooks® Online Harmony

Woody Adams, RadioFreeQB, reviews features of the new QuickBooks® Online Harmony.

 

QuickBooks® Custom Fields: An Overview

Part of QuickBooks’ popularity comes from its flexibility. Here’s a look at how custom fields contribute to that element.

The beauty of QuickBooks is that it can be used for so many different kinds of businesses. Its smart design lets realtors and retail shops, plumbers and plastic surgeons use it to track income and expenses, pay bills and invoice customers, and to run those all-important reports.

But Intuit knows that QuickBooks can’t – and shouldn’t – tailor itself to individual business types (except in the industry-specific versions). So its structure and tools are somewhat generic and as universal as possible.

That’s where custom fields come in. You can simply use them for your own informational purposes, but QuickBooks also lets you create and add fields to your existing customer, vendor, employee and item records and forms, and use them as filters in reports.

A Common Application

Let’s say you want to search for your best customers to create a targeted marketing mailing.

Start by opening the Customer Center and opening any customer’s record there. Click on the Additional Info tab. In the lower right corner of this dialog box, click on Define Fields. This box (with some fields already defined in this example) opens:

August Fig.1 Figure 1: You can create custom fields for your lists of names in this dialog box.

You want to send mailings to customers who order frequently, or who regularly purchase big-ticket items. You can call them your “High-Value Customers.” Click in the first field that’s available in the Label column and type that phrase, then tab over to the Cust column and click in it to enter a checkmark. Click OK. The Edit Customer dialog box opens with the new custom field included.

This field will now appear in all of your existing customer records as well as any new ones you create. You’ll need to open the record for each High-Value Customer, click on the Additional Info tab and enter “Yes” on the corresponding line.

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Figure 2: Custom fields appear in this box in your customer records.

Using Custom Fields in Items

If you sell physical inventory, custom fields will probably be needed in your item records. You might want to use them for t-shirt colors or sizes, for example, or to store serial or model numbers. They can be employed for all items types except subtotals, sales tax items and sales tax group items.

The process is similar to the one you used to define custom fields in your contact records. Open the Lists menu and select Item List (or Fixed Asset Item List where appropriate). Click Custom Fields in the dialog box that opens.

Tip: The Custom Fields tool is also available in the New Item dialog box. So you can move directly to that step as you create an item record if you’d like.

Click Define Fields and add your field(s). Be sure to put a checkmark in the Use column, and click OK.

Aug Fig 3

Figure 3: QuickBooks also lets you define and use custom fields in your item records.

Reports and Forms

Custom fields can be invaluable when it comes to using them in forms and reports. Your fields will automatically appear at the bottom of the Filter list within your reports’ customization tools, but you’ll have to add them manually to any forms where they should appear.

Warning: You should probably enlist our help before you customize forms. QuickBooks provides tools to help you through this process, but you will encounter some potentially confusing messages as you add fields to forms, and you may have to use the Layout Designer, which can present quite a challenge.

Let’s say you wanted to find out how many blue coffee mugs Suzanne Jenkins sold in November. You’d proceed like you normally do when you’re customizing a report, but you’d have to scroll down to the end of the Filter list to find the Color custom field that you created. You’d enter the word “Blue” in the field supplied. Your Sales by Item Summary report setup would look something like this:

Aug. fig 4

Figure 4: Filtering a report using a custom field.

This report will only run properly if you’ve added your Color field to your sales forms. Again, we’d be happy to help you with this, and to explore other uses for QuickBooks custom fields.

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

 

Courtrooms enter the digital age in force

While the wheels of justice still turn slowly, the move to a 21st Century digital courtroom is proceeding along at a rapid clip. The transition to tech-laden courtrooms has been gathering steam for the last several years. One reason for the rapid shift? It saves taxpayer dollars, and that’s a winning card to play when election time rolls around.

Back in 2011, Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman of the New York State Court of Appeals sought to implement mandatory electronic filings in New York State in order to save the state a cool $100 million.

One journalist noted the transition to digital isn’t without hiccups. Kevin P. O’Connor, a staff reporter for the Herald News in Fall River, Mass., described the conundrum well in his article, ‘Transition to increased use of technology in courtrooms not always smooth.’

He recounted watching prosecutors reach that grand finale moment — when they ask the jury to view compelling evidence — only to see a static-filled screen force a recess. And some judges seek to ban the use of mobile devices in the courtroom altogether. A judge in Olmstead County objected to the clamor of mobile devices going off in his courtroom, said Chuck Kjos, a County Court Administrator in Rochester, Minn.

Yet, despite the reservations of court officials, many attorneys find the allure of cloud computing and 24-7 access to case information impossible to resist. The legal community by and large is willing to endure the occasional bump in the road on the way to a completely digital courtroom and law office.

Perhaps the most compelling argument in the transition to a digital courtroom will arise from among those legions of tech-savvy attorneys who are ready to embrace the power of cloud computing. The day may not be far off when those dusty file bins and archaic overhead projectors are no longer seen in courtrooms across America.

But we’ll likely continue to hear those mobile gadgets pinging alerts. After all, few of us can resist checking our email, even if it lands us in hot water with the court sometimes. It’s just more evidence that tech is totally irresistible and the legal community is no exception.  PWR Resources brings together the best resources in time management, accounting software, and information technologies.

Cloud technology provides safeguard for legal documents

When it comes to the practice of law, the devil really is in the details. Years ago when word processors first arrived in law firms, it must have seemed a godsend to those tasked with redacting legal documents and correcting errors in the text.

For law professionals today, technological acumen has proven its worth many times over in managing both workflow and the storage and retrieval of documents. But there’s a fly in the ointment.

Managing that voluminous amount of data and ensuring it is secure and readily available at all times is no small feat. Redundancy in a law firm’s operations is now absolutely essential.

There’s still a bit of a mystique that surrounds cloud technology, and some clients may not know exactly what it is and what it can do. Yet, attorneys readily comprehend the need to safeguard documents and records. That’s why they are embracing cloud technology in ever-greater numbers.

Tell an office of a dozen attorneys that the Internet service is down and the groans begin to arise in concert. It’s costly, too, as billable hours go by the wayside while an office waits for the Geek Squad or a similar vendor to arrive.

Then there are those real humdingers, such as when a frog-drenching, tree-downing storm blows in and the power goes out. Thankfully, cloud technology is now a solution to these disruptive events. And that leads to another question: How do you implement a cloud backup strategy in a busy law practice — one that’s not up to speed on the finer technical points of choosing among those various out-of-the-box software solutions? It’s simple. You bring in a consultant with the requisite expertise to roll out this essential technology in your law practice.

With better technology comes rising expectations for performance when handling legal cases. Cloud technology enables attorneys to securely share data as well as to protect it, regardless of unexpected events like storms or power outages.

Business continuity: Whether your disaster includes zombies or not

Need a reason to think about business continuity? Zombies. Then again, you probably won’t be seeing World War Z coming to a neighborhood theater near you, but there are plenty of other disasters to think about.

Think about Hurricane Sandy and the damage it caused along the East Coast. Or think about the Oklahoma twister that destroyed an entire community. Or think about smaller disasters, such as a broken water main that swamps your servers? Are you prepared for those scenarios? Even if zombies aren’t pressing in on you, maybe you should take a closer look at your company’s risk exposure and surmise the consequences should a major power outage occur in the wake of a violent storm.

Few people in today’s Google-it-with-a-mouse-click culture realize the potential disaster waiting in the wings should a power failure knock a business offline. Even a few hours of downtime is unthinkable in today’s rapid-paced business environment.

If you manage a small business, consider what you would do if your clients were forced to use a canoe to visit your office. Let’s say you have a full agenda for the next two weeks and business is roaring along at a fast clip. What if, come tomorrow morning, a natural disaster hits a neighborhood near you?

And it needn’t be an earthquake, just an unexpected off-season snowstorm that downs power lines, wreaks havoc on municipal services and floods the streets, overwhelming municipal pumping stations.

Sure, you have insurance, but do you have assurance of business continuity no matter what comes down the pike? Consider what a complete cessation of your professional practice for a week or two would do to your bottom line.

Operating a thriving professional practice or business these days entails both an online presence as well as a reliable backup for your data. Take a moment to picture those idling staff members who would need to wait for three hours for the lights to come back on; they’d eventually give up and go home for the day. That’s money down the drain.

If you operate a bustling business, an outage adds up to one very big ‘ouch’ when it comes to your bottom line. That’s why we always recommend a hybrid system, utilizing both onsite and cloud solutions, or two Internet providers with redundant backups to minimize loss.

Ten years ago, busy professionals had few ways to circumvent the fickleness of severe weather, catastrophic failures in electrical substations or vulnerable gas lines ruptured by earthquakes. Today, migration to the cloud stores your data safely away from the specter of calamity, automatically updating stored work at regular intervals. Don’t wait. Investigate your options before those hoards of zombies come around the next bend. PWR Resources/Rozsa Consulting can help.

Is the cloud trustworthy?

Do you trust the cloud? Millennials do. Maybe they’re onto something…

What to do when the cloud falls

Not to challenge Chicken Little, but maybe he had it all wrong. It’s not the sky we should worry about falling on our heads. It’s the cloud — that brain in the proverbial sky that stores all your data 24-7.

We don’t think much about that possibility. Why? Because 99.9 percent of the time, cloud technology works like a dream. Yet, just when you’re walking on cloud nine, that slim margin of failure could pick today to form a thunderhead. When a sudden downpour ensues, surprisingly you’re the one singing in the rain. Why? You had the foresight to ensure redundancy for the cloud is already in place.

Cloud technology is here to stay because it offers a business or professional firm accessibility, portability and security. Of course, every nifty techno gadget is never complete without software. Just as with desktop applications, there’s a sky full of software applications for the cloud, but a company may not be sure how to vet the various commercial solutions that are out there.

For example, a law practice and a dental office will use very different proprietary applications for working in the cloud. Attorneys simply cannot afford to waste time, as they must adhere to an often packed docket. So how do you choose from among a cacophony of cloud technology vendors those specific software solutions that will provide you with the best cloud functionality? That’s where expertise comes in. It’s not a vendor you need but a consultant who will steer you to the right mix of cloud software applications to lift your company to the next level.

If your head feels like it’s stuck in a cloud, tap the expertise of PWR Resources/Rozsa Consulting. You’ll be floating on cloud nine in no time.