Category Archives: Uncategorized

Boss’ Day Etiquette

Today is Boss’ Day!   If you think you’re having a hard day, try to being the boss.

fell down

It’s funny the way things do and don’t progress.  When I started my career, we were called secretaries; now we’re called “Administrative Professionals.”  Your boss though, is still called a “Boss”.  Trying to find a good picture for this post was even a challenge; look up “boss” on Google images and what will you find?   Pictures of villains.   How sad.

For those of you unfamiliar how this day evolved, I found a quick synopsis below on Wikipedia:

Patricia Bays Haroski registered “National Boss’ Day” with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce in 1958. She was working as a secretary for State Farm Insurance Company in Deerfield, Illinois, at the time and chose October 16, which was her father’s birthday. She was working for her father at the time. Four years later, in 1962, Illinois Governor Otto Kerner backed Haroski’s registration and officially proclaimed the day.

Hallmark Cards did not offer a Boss’ Day card for sale until 1979. It increased the size of its National Boss’ Day line by 28 percent in 2007.

I believe it was around 2006 when I first heard of Admin/Secretary’s Day.  I found a handwritten note on legal paper that said “Happy Admin Day” in my chair when I arrived at work in the morning.    My boss said that he heard it was Admin’s Day on the radio on the way in to work, and did not have time to get me anything.    Now this may seem like slapdash to you, but I really did appreciate it.

If you’re a worker bee, like most of us, you might be wondering what is the appropriate response to this day.  Are you supposed to buy your boss a gift, or a card, or just acknowledge your boss for the income and opportunities that he/she has provided to you?

I believe proper etiquette as to how you acknowledge Boss’ Day really depends upon your relationship.  Because we had a strong relationship, I took the handwritten note as it was offered – acknowledgement for my work and dedication.  Being a secretary/admin, however, I did make sure to put in my calendar the date for Boss’ Day going forward, so I could actually go get a card!   But that was my job – making sure that everything got done when it was supposed to and planning ahead.

Bottom line – you should take the time to at least verbally thank the person who provides you with income and career opportunities.  In this economic and political environment it takes a LOT of hard work to keep everything going in a business.

To all the business owners out there who struggle each and every day to keep it all together and push forward, HAPPY BOSS’ DAY!

Lora Zibman |   Southeastern Admin

P.S. – If you’re wondering about the grammar controversy of the word Boss’ v. Boss’s, you can learn more here.

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Free Can Be Dangerous

It’s been a while since my last post.   Thank you to my clients who are keeping me busy!    I wanted to remind everyone to make sure that when you are downloading “free” software, that you need to make sure to always choose the Custom or Advanced installation.    99% of the time, when you choose the Typical or Recommended installation, you will be loading all sorts of other programs and there’s a huge risk of downloading malware.

Here’s a real life example.  I needed a color identifying program so 9-30-2013 12-02-44 PMthat I could match the colors from one of my client’s website to her new newsletter which I am creating.   Someone told me about ColorCop.net.   I started to download their software.  I immediately chose the “Advanced” download, and see that the first thing they want to install on my is a Delta Toolbar.   WARNING WILL ROBINSON – do not install this onto your PC – ever.  I had to hire someone to clean up my PC after I made this mistake.   So, was I safe in proceeding after I unchecked the boxes?   No.  It then proceeded to tell me that it would install several other programs, including TopArcade.  I had to quickly cancel the installation, and do a check of all the programs that were installed on my PC today.  I had to uninstall each of them and ensure that they were completely gone.

I still needed the program, so I went to CNet.com.   I love this site,9-30-2013 12-45-00 PM as they have a lot of shareware choices.   I found another program, “JustColorPicker” that is similar to ColorCop; it offers RGB, HEX and HTML color code identification.    I proceeded with the download, and again made sure to choose Custom Set Up.   Again, the site was going to download a toolbar if I did not uncheck those options.   Once I hit “next step” there were other programs that it would have installed, had I not clicked “Decline”.    At least this download offered me the choice to Decline these options.

I am now using Just Color Picker, and the program is working to my liking.   The morale of the story is to BE CAREFUL.   If your PC security comes up with a warning window, do not ignore it!  Even if you really, really want the program/functionality, try to find an alternative program.  Chances are, there’s one out there.

I am the queen of cheap, but I have learned my lesson in willy-nilly downloading.   Stay alert and have a good antivirus program.

Best wishes,  Lora Zibman

Southeastern Admin  |  www.SoutheasternAdmin.com  |  770-609-0904

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Hot Apps For Travel & More

Whether you’re traveling for business or pleasure, we’ve discoveredapps these great apps that will make your life easier while on the go. While most of the links below are for Android, you can also find these or similar apps at the Apple app Store.

  • TripAdvisor – This is one I use whenever traveling. TripAdvisor offers millions of traveler reviews and opinions by actual travelers, photos and maps so you can plan your perfect trip. You’ll also be able to discover cool and interesting things to do at any destination. You can use the “Near Me Now” feature to discover options near your current location. TripAdvisor makes it easy to find airfare deals, the best hotels, great restaurants, and fun things to do, wherever you go.  Free.
  •  Kayak – If you’re looking to find a good deal, Kayak’s the #1 Mobile Travel app. It compares hundreds of sites at once.   You can conduct flight and car searches, as well as hotel searches and booking right in the app. You’ll also be able to look up baggage fees and access airline numbers and airport information. Kayak also features Flight tracker and My Trips, so you have your itinerary at your fingertips. Free.
  •  Travelocity – Using your voice (English only), you can quickly search and book your next flight, hotel and rental car straight from the Travelocity app. Features include being able to check flight status, airport delays, TSA wait times, and view trip itineraries.   They also offer savings on “Top Secret hotels” using their new Mobile Exclusive Deals widget. Free.
  •  Hotel Tonight – If you’re looking for a last-minute deal on hotel rooms, this app allows you to save up to 70% in 12 countries, including the US, UK, Mexico, Canada, France, Germany, the Netherlands and Italy. They do limit the deal selection, but guarantee that this will allow you to get the best rates possible from their offerings.   There is also a real person that you can speak with 24/7 if you have any questions.   Free.
  •  Valet  – This is a terrific app if you frequently rent cars, or if you just happen to be absent-minded. Valet remembers where you park so you don’t have to.   Just open Valet and click on “Find My Car,” and the app will automatically find where your car is located. Users can also set meter time reminders to you save yourself from getting a ticket. ($3.99).
  •  Digital Receipts – If you’re always on the go, and not particularly organized, this is a great way to track your expenses, and you won’t have to worry about lost receipts.   You can either use your camera to take a quick snap of your receipt or, you can simply tap your phone at checkout on the counter of participating stores. You can then view your report and do your expenses when you’re ready. Free.
  •  CamCard – Used by 50m+ business professionals, CamCard takes a picture of business cards you collect and instantly saves them to your phone’s Contacts.   It syncs all your cards across smartphones, tablets and computers. Free and a Pay Versions.
  •  Heard – This is the coolest thing ever, but only iPhone users get to use this – for now. Ever wanted to record something you just heard? It’s now possible! Heard allows users to record sound from up to 5 minutes in the past. Once you open up the Heard app it will constantly record surround audio into a self-destruct buffer, saving moments that you find worthy. You can then share recorded audio through e-mail or Facebook. There is a free version that records up to 12 seconds in the past, or a $1.99 version that will record up to 5 minutes in the past.

Lora Zibman  |  Southeastern Admin

www.SoutheasternAdmin  |  770-609-0904

Common Deductions Taxpayers Overlook

This is a reposting of a Newsletter from Pat McArdle.  Thank you for the information Pat!

Patrick J. McArdle, Branch Office Manager
Transamerica Financial Advisors
patrick.mcardle@tfaconnect.com
770-418-0300 ext 106
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Common Deductions Taxpayers Overlook
Make sure you give them a look as you prepare your 1040.

Provided by Pat McArdle

Every year, taxpayers leave money on the table. They don’t mean to, but as a result of oversight, they miss some great chances for federal income tax deductions.

While the IRS has occasionally fixed taxpayer mistakes in the past for taxpayer benefit (as was the case when some filers ignored the Making Work Pay Credit), you can’t count on such benevolence. As a reminder, here are some potential tax breaks that often go unnoticed – and this is by no means the whole list.

Expenses related to a job search. Did you find a new job in the same line of work in 2012? If you itemize, you can deduct the job-hunting costs as miscellaneous expenses. The deductions can’t surpass 2% of your adjusted gross income. Even if you didn’t land a new job in 2012, you can still write off qualified job search expenses. Many expenses qualify: overnight lodging, mileage, cab fares, resume printing, headhunter fees and more. Didn’t keep track of these expenses? You and your CPA can estimate them. If your new job prompted you to relocate 50 or more miles from your previous residence in 2012, you can take a deduction for job-related moving expenses even if you don’t itemize.

Home office expenses. Do you work from home? If so, first figure out what percentage of the square footage in your house is used for work-related activities. (Bathrooms and other “break areas” can count in the calculation.) If you use 15% of your home’s square footage for business, then 15% of your homeowners insurance, home maintenance costs, utility bills, ISP bills, property tax and mortgage/rent may be deducted.

Health insurance & Medicare costs. About 7% of us pay health coverage costs out of pocket. If you are in that 7%, you may write off 100% of your premiums as an adjustment to your business income per the Small Business Jobs Act of 2010. That write-off privilege extends to you, your spouse and 100% of your dependents.

Some small business owners have qualified for Medicare. If you are one of them, and you and/or your spouse aren’t eligible for coverage under an employer-subsidized health plan, then you may deduct premiums paid for Medicare Part B, Medicare Part D and Medigap policies. You don’t have to itemize to get this deduction, and the 7.5%-of-AGI test for itemized medical costs isn’t relevant to this.

State sales taxes. If you live in a state that collects no income tax from its residents, you have the option to deduct state sales taxes paid in 2012 per the fiscal cliff bill passed into law.

Student loan interest paid by parents. Did you happen to make student loan payments on behalf of your son or daughter in 2012? If so (and if you can’t claim your son or daughter as a dependent), that child may be able to write off up to $2,500 of student-loan interest. Itemizing the deduction isn’t necessary.

Education & training expenses. Did you take any classes related to your career in 2012? How about courses that added value to your business or potentially increased your employability? You can deduct the tuition paid and the related textbook and travel costs. Even certain periodical subscriptions may qualify for such deductions.

Eating out on business. The cost of a business lunch, breakfast or dinner – or a lunch, breakfast or dinner associated with business development – qualifies for an itemized deduction.

Those small charitable contributions. We all seem to make out-of-pocket charitable donations, and we can fully deduct them (although few of us ask for receipts needed to itemize them). However, we can also itemize expenses incurred in the course of charitable work (i.e., volunteering at a toy drive, soup kitchen, relief effort, etc.) and mileage accumulated in such efforts ($0.14 per mile for 2012, and tolls and parking fees qualify as well).

Superstorm Sandy losses. The IRS allows filers living in federally declared disaster areas to file casualty claims for the year in which the disaster occurred, and the flexibility to amend the previous year’s return. This means that you can deduct 2012 casualty losses on either your 2011 or 2012 federal tax return.

Armed forces reserve travel expenses. Are you a reservist or a member of the National Guard? Did you travel more than 100 miles from home and spend one or more nights away from home to drill or attend meetings? If that is the case, you may write off 100% of related lodging costs and 50% of meal costs and take a 2012 mileage deduction ($0.555 per mile plus tolls and parking fees).

Estate tax on income in respect of a decedent. Have you inherited an IRA? Was the estate of the original IRA owner large enough to be subject to federal estate tax? If so, you have the option to claim a federal income tax write-off for the amount of the estate tax paid on those inherited IRA assets. If you inherited a $100,000 IRA that was part of the original IRA owner’s taxable estate and thereby hit with $35,000 in death taxes, you can deduct that $35,000 on Schedule A as you withdraw that $100,000 from the inherited IRA, $17,500 on Schedule A as you withdraw $50,000 from the inherited IRA, and so on. If you withdrew such inherited assets in 2012, you have the opportunity to claim the appropriate deduction for the 2012 tax year.

And now, some opportunities for quasi-deductions that often go overlooked…

The child care credit. If you paid for child care while you worked in 2012, you can qualify for a tax credit worth 20-35% of that amount. (The child, or children, must be no older than 12.) Tax credits are superior to tax deductions, as they cut your tax bill dollar-for-dollar.

Parents as dependents. If you have parents whose taxable incomes are underneath the $3,800 personal exemption for 2012 and you pay more than half of their support, they might qualify as dependents on your federal return even if they live at a different address.

Filing status shifts. Are you a single filer? Do you have a relative or one or more children who qualifies as a dependent? If so, you could change your filing status to head of household, which could save you some tax dollars.

Reinvested dividends. If your mutual fund dividends are routinely used to purchase further shares, don’t forget that this incrementally increases your tax basis in the fund. If you do forget to include the reinvested dividends in your basis, you leave yourself open for a double hit – your dividends will be taxed once at payout and immediate reinvestment, and then taxed again at some future point when they are counted as proceeds of sale. Remember that as your basis in the fund grows, the taxable capital gain when you redeem shares will be reduced. (Or if the fund is a loser, the tax-saving loss is increased.)

As a precaution, check with your tax professional before claiming the above deductions on your federal income tax return.

Tax and/or legal advice not offered by Transamerica Financial Advisor, Inc., Transamerica Financial Group Division or their affiliated companies. Please consult with your personal tax professional or legal advisor for further guidance on tax or legal matters.
This material was prepared by MarketingLibrary.Net Inc., and does not necessarily represent the views of the presenting party, nor their affiliates. All information is believed to be from reliable sources; however we make no representation as to its completeness or accuracy. Please note – investing involves risk, and past performance is no guarantee of future results. The publisher is not engaged in rendering legal, accounting or other professional services. If assistance is needed, the reader is advised to engage the services of a competent professional. This information should not be construed as investment, tax or legal advice and may not be relied on for the purpose of avoiding any Federal tax penalty. This is neither a solicitation nor recommendation to purchase or sell any investment or insurance product or service, and should not be relied upon as such. All indices are unmanaged and are not illustrative of any particular investment.

Citations.
1 – www.kiplinger.com/article/taxes/T054-C000-S001-the-most-overlooked-tax-deductions.html [1/3/13]
2 – money.msn.com/tax-tips/post.aspx?post=382d5150-a740-4f31-b091-4711dc07bafc [1/18/13]
3 – vaperforms.virginia.gov/indicators/healthfamily/healthInsurance.php [1/23/13]
4 – www.cnbc.com/id/100400925 [1/23/13]

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Long-Term Occupational Outlook For The Metro-Atlanta Area

Is your occupation projected to grow or shrink?

Find out more from the Georgia Department of Labor, by using this link: http://explorer.dol.state.ga.us/gsipub/index.asp?docid=389

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Real Estate Agents – You NEED a CRM System!

If you don’t have the advantage of Leadstreet or other in-house provided CRM system, you really should invest in one oCRMn your own.   While searching for a solution for a client of mine, I ran across iXact.   No, I don’t have an affiliate program with them – wish I did, but I was really impressed with the services offered through this single program.

It’s around $40/month, and includes:

  • Marketing campaigns: drip, no-touch monthly newsletters (content provided) and the ability for you to send your own email campaigns ad-hoc (no need for Constant Contact, Vertical Marketing, etc.).
  • Calendar and task lists
  • Retains profiles on all your prospects, referrals and clients
  • Tracks your sales
  • Account sharing for teams

It’s a web-based solution, so it’s accessible from any internet connection.  All of the data is easily synced smartphone, and the system is also Mac OS compatible, so it can also be used on your iPad.  More important, it’s designed to support REALTORS® and their specific needs.

You need to be tracking your sales throughout your career.  How powerful is it say that, “I helped over ### families, and closed over $$$ Million in Sales” to your next prospect.   If you don’t know these figures, you’re losing out.

You also need to be keeping in touch with your clients at least once a month.   Timing is everything, and if they can’t remember your name when they have a need you’re also losing out.

Happy Selling,

Lora Zibman, Southeastern Admin

http://www.SoutheasternAdmin.com | 770-609-0904

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Another Life

live like i typeToday I looked up at the hutch on my desk and saw this bookmark which I’ve kept with me through many moves over the years, and thought I’d share the story.

My very first office job was in Houston at the tail-end of the Oil and Gas industry boom.   The company was great, the money was flowing, and the work-environment was much different than it is today.  No one had ever heard of political correctness, when you left the office you left the office (no PC or cell phones), there was always a bottle of bourbon under the kitchen sink, and everyone smoked at their desks (and in the elevator and the kitchen and in the bathroom and at the copier).

All in all, it was really a great place to start for a 17 year old, just graduated from high school.  While I was more self-involved than career-minded, I did, and still do appreciate all the great people who surrounded me.

During my initial interview, I remember being asked if I was a good typist; this was important as we all still used carbon paper and Selectric typewriters.   I replied that I was not fast, but I was accurate – I had to hunt and peck for each letter.    A year after I was hired, my manager gave this bookmark, which I still have to this day.  It still makes me smile every time I see it.

Please feel free to share your first “real” job experiences.

Are You Boring Someone?

Great post from Gretchen Rubin.

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Like most people, I have several pet subjects – that may or may not be interesting to other people. Don’t get me started on happboring2iness, or habits, or children’s literature, or Winston Churchill, unless you really want to talk about it.

By noting how I behave when I’m trying to hide my own boredom, I came up with a list of indicators that I might be boring someone:

1. Repeated, perfunctory responses. A person who says, “Oh really? Oh really? That’s interesting. Oh really?” is probably not very engaged. Or a person who keeps saying, “That’s hilarious.”

2. Simple questions. People who are bored ask simple questions. “When did you move?” “Where did you go?” People who are interested ask more complicated questions that show curiosity, not mere politeness.

3. Interruption. Although it sounds rude, interruption is actually a good sign, I think. It means a person is bursting to say something, and that shows interest. Similarly…

4. Request for clarification. A person who is sincerely interested will need you to elaborate or explain. “What does that term mean?” “When exactly did that happen?”

5. Imbalance of talking time. I suspect that many people fondly suppose that they do eighty percent of the talking because people find them fascinating. Sometimes, it’s true, a discussion involves a huge download of information; that’s a very satisfying kind of conversation. In general, though, people want to add their own opinions, information, and experiences. If they aren’t doing that, they may just want the conversation to end faster.

6. Body position. People with a good connection generally turn fully to face each other. A person who is partially turned away isn’t fully embracing the conversation. I pay special attention to body position when I’m in a meeting and trying to show (or feign) interest: I sit forward in my chair, and keep my attention obviously focused on whoever is speaking, instead of looking down at papers, gazing into space, or checking my phone (!).

Along the same lines, if you’re a speaker trying to figure out if an audience is interested in what you’re saying:

7. Audience posture. Back in 1885, Sir Francis Galton wrote a paper in 1885 called “The Measurement of Fidget.” He determined that people slouch and lean when bored, so a speaker can measure the boredom of an audience by seeing how far from vertically upright they are. Also, attentive people fidget less; bored people fidget more. An audience that’s upright and still is interested, while an audience that’s horizontal and squirmy is bored.

I also remind myself of La Rochefoucauld’s observation: “We are always bored by those whom we bore.” If I’m bored, there’s a good chance the other person is bored, too. Time to find a different subject.

Have you figured out any ways to tell if you’re boring someone? Here are 7 topics to avoid if you don’t want to risk being a bore. What other strategies do you use?

Tips for Naming Your New Business

The following is a repost by Mosaic Hub, but I thought these were great tips!

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Whether your business is just starting out, or changing its name to signal a new business direction, merger, or other shift, there are some basic guidelines every savvy namer should know:

    • Easy on the eyes and ears. If no one cmy name isan say or spell your company or product name, what good is it to you? “Chthonic Chronicles” might be what your website devoted to Greek statuary sells, but who’ll remember that strange spelling, or know how to pronounce it?
    • Catchy. It might make more sense to call your Greek figurines site something simple to spell, such as, “It’s Greek To Me”, or “We Speak ‘Greek!'” Now that would be eye-catching on a Home page or web banner!
    • Room to grow. “Aloha Awnings” makes a great title for a company’s Hawaii headquarters, but a different moniker might play better on the mainland. Create your name with future expansion or relocation in mind: “North Bay Realty” gives you more room to expand using the same business name than does “Healdsburg Realty,” which is more localized.
    • Consider cross-cultural connotations. The sad tale of Chevy Nova south of the border may be apocryphal, but it’s nonetheless noteworthy: the car reportedly bombed in Mexico, because in Spanish, “No va” means “doesn’t go.”
    • Availability. There’s no point in coming up with a terrific name only to discover the domain is taken, or the name’s been trademarked. Check out your favorite ideas with a domain registrar.

Beyond these essentials, what’s the best way to come up with a killer and cool company name?

    • Get symbolic. Metaphor can be a powerful naming tool. Start with your business’s or product’s main function, and make a list of what else performs the same action. That’s how a software company, in considering what copied files besides a flash drive, came up with the product name, “Mime.” (Consider how much fun you could have with one of those dancing human directionals, pointing the way to “Mime”!)
    • Change the spelling. It worked for Netflix.
  • Visit your competition. It would be a shame to dream up a fantastic name only to find a competitor using one that’s achingly similar. By the same token, checking out what they’ve done can help you spin off in an entirely new direction.

Are You Ready For Cloud Computing

The following repost is by the courtesy of Bill Abroms, CEO of ABC U.S., Inc.

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The typical business executive needs to make sure that every one of their employees has a computer and the correct software on that computer to do their job proficiently. When new employees are hired, you have to make sure that each of the new employees has a computer to use with the correct software on it. Sometimes this means purchasing new software, and other times it means checking current software to make sure you can add more employees to it.

However, with recent technological changes there is a better way of doing this. Cloud computing has the capability of changing the computer industry as we know it. With cloud computing your computer or mobile device will no longer carry the primary workload of running applications. Much of the workload is shifted to a network of computers, which make up the cloud computing system.

The Benefits of using a Cloud Computing System

1.  Cloud comcloud pcputing reduces costs – When you purchase a cloud computing system you are allowed to pay in increments. This makes it more affordable and easier than paying for expensive software in one lump sum.

2.  Provides more storage – Businesses and organizations can transfer much of their computer and mobile data storage onto their cloud computing system. This helps reduce the amount of computer and mobile data storage, which is actually stored on your computer or mobile device itself. Having less computer and mobile data storage taking up space on your computers, phones, or tablets means that they will run faster and have less technical glitches.
3.  Extremely Automated – Cloud computing systems work almost completely on their own. This means that you IT department will not have to worry about updating software on a regular basis.
4.  Can be accessed anywhere – The information stored on a cloud computing system can be accessed anywhere. Just like your employees can access their personal emails from anywhere, that has an internet connection; any information that is stored on the cloud computing system can be easily accessed from anywhere with internet service. You and your employees will be able to access information from laptops, smart phones, personal computers etc.
5.  Shifts the focus of the company – One of the great benefits of using a cloud computing system is that your company and employees will have less server problems, server updates, and other technical issues. This allows employees to focus their attention on innovative new ideas, and ways to improve the company. Less time spent on technical issues and problems, also means employees can focus on doing their jobs.

Why Implement a Cloud Computing System?

The overall cost of a cloud computing system is far less expensive than the cost of computers and software. Government and healthcare organizations will see even more savings in the IT department, because there will no longer be a need for constant system updates.

With a cloud computing system, you can securely store important and confidential information in a way that is easy to access when it is needed. The system will free up much of your computer and mobile data storage space, because it data won’t be stored directly onto your computer or mobile devices. This is similar to how Gmail or Yahoo emails work. The information is not stored directly on your computer or phone, but rather it is stored online for you to access anytime you need it. While using a cloud computing system government and healthcare organizations can focus on the issues they are supposed to be working on, since you won’t have the technical issues such as server updates and errors that may have previously postponed work.

Another benefit of using a cloud computing system rather than traditional software, is that it frees up room on the hard drives of computers and mobile devices. When computer and mobile data storage space is reduced, they run better and have less technical issues.

Technology is taking a huge step forward and there is no doubt that government, medical organizations, and companies will benefit greatly from cloud computing systems.

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ABC-US is an independent reseller of custom-configurable and portable data security solutions, and was founded in 1987.

ABC-US, Inc.:   4989 Peachtree Parkway, Suite 200, Norcross, Georgia 30092

Voice: 800-275-1359 or  770.448.5667

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