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31 Mar
Ways to be happy…

Make Happiness your own…

March 20th was the United Nations’ International Day of Happiness.  For several weeks I have been reading articles in various publications about ways to be happy.    I’ve recapped below some of the things that are most attainable for any of us…

Happy people get busy doing things that make them happy. They want fun experiences, not stuff They do good things for others, anonymously or directly Happy people don’t sit around.  They strive for something personally meaningful, whether it’s learning a new language, retraining in their careers or raising good kids. Find a happy person, and you will find a project.

1. Practice kindness. Do something nice for someone else, whether it’s someone you know or a stranger.

2. Keep a gratitude journal. Keep this daily about things that you are truly thankful for or something that has really pleased you.

3. Get spiritual. Research shows people who participate in their local church, synagogue, temple or other preferred spiritual community are happier. Not religious? There are ethical societies and movements that get people thinking beyond themselves.

4. Buy experiences, not stuff. A vacation with loved ones or buying tickets to a show or concert will make you happier than buying another gadget. These experiences help you feel closer to others, so instead of buying the jersey of your favorite baseball player buy a pair of tickets to a game that will allow you to spend time with a friend or a loved one.

5. Buy things that create experiences. Buy items that allow you to have experiences in your areas of interest, such as sports, games or music.

6. Slow down on social media usage. People who spend a significant amount of time on Facebook and other social media sites usually have lower self-esteem, less connection to others, and fewer positive emotions than those who spend less time.  Social media also evokes social comparison, often leaving us feeling worse about ourselves.

7. Stop checking your email. People who constantly check their email are more stressed than people who check their email just three times daily, according to a recent study. It’s hard to resist the temptation but sticking to a schedule can reduce your stress significantly.

8. Focus on time, not money. Although people typically focus on money, it’s been found that focusing on time often helps people realize that time is a precious resource. This knowledge helps people be more deliberate in how they spend it. It can lead to greater fulfillment and make them happier, like connecting with the people in their lives.

Everyone is different in terms of what makes them happy.  So however you achieve it, make happiness your own!

By Anne Capps
Executive Vice President – American Receivable

19 Mar
Common Bookkeeping Mistakes Made by Small Business…

Mistakes Can Cost You…

Small businesses face many challenges; competition, an uncertain economy, and unexpected expenses among others. When owning and running a small business, the last thing you want to do is create problems with poor bookkeeping practices. Here are some common mistakes made by small business and how to avoid them.

Not Saving Receipts

Everyone dreads tax time.  Being prepared is the key to successfully maintaining small business finances and this means keeping everything, even the smallest receipt for purchases and expenses.  The proper documentation will give you valuable backup for the deductions you claim.

Create a folder specifically for such expenses and be diligent about filing them regularly.  You can also scan your receipts into a file on your computer so you still have a record of them even if something happens to the hard copies.

Improperly Classifying Employees

Independent contractors, consultants, and regular employees aren’t all the same.  Making sure each is assigned the correct classification has a tremendous impact on your taxes and what you pay.  When in doubt consult with your accountant for advice.

Poor Communication

Your accountant is your most valuable weapon when it comes to business finances.  Make sure they stay up-to-date on everything.  Forgetting to provide receipts, not reporting employee bonuses or other vital information can create huge discrepancies in the numbers. Small mistakes your accountant may have to waste precious time tracking down.

Skipping an Accounting System

Even small businesses need accounting software to properly prepare a financial statement, projections and run things day to day. Don’t skip this important management tool.  There are off-the-shelf products readily available that fit almost any budget.  Ask your accountant what they recommend and what would work best for your business.

Getting Behind

Small business owners wear many hats and it’s understandable that there may not always be time to enter transactions into your accounting software immediately. It is important, however, that you keep your records up to date. Establish a schedule to input information be it once a month or more often.

Owning and running a small business is a daily challenge.  Arming yourself with the knowledge and proper tools can help make the journey easier for you and your employees. Avoid common bookkeeping mistakes like the ones above to ensure your business runs smoothly.

By Anne Capps
Executive Vice President – American Receivable

04 Mar
The Woes of Winter

Is your business suffering from the winter blues?

Has the unusual winter weather given you and your business a case of the blues?  You’re not alone.  While we expect giant storms on the east coast and in the mid-western states who knew literally every state would at some point be affected with the polar vortex. Read More “The Woes of Winter”

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