Monday, November 30, 2009

What I did for vacation

Now that the Thanksgiving holiday is behind us, many people are focused back on work and getting the best deals for the upcoming holiday season. Just before the start of the Thanksgiving holidays’ I had the pleasure of receiving a rather nice gift from Sage, the company that makes the Peachtree Accounting product. I would like to take time out to thank Gia Robinson over at Peachtree for sending me a copy of their Quantum Accountants’ software so that I could make the transition to their product from Microsoft’s Office Accounting. The Peachtree Quantum Accountants Edition is one of the most robust accounting software packages on the market so I was excited about loading it and learning my way around it.

My excitement was quickly changed into frustration since it took me all last week to get the software loaded (finally completed early this am). There were quite a few things that I had to do before I got the software to load and here are some of the problems (with error codes) and solutions that were provided by the Peachtree Users Group on LinkedIn, Peachtree Community, and Microsoft Support.

Error 1628 – This error is caused when the install is interrupted and does not complete. This was the easiest error to fix since the only solution was patience. The installation of Quantum took almost four hours for me so when it appears that the installation is hung, be patient and let it continue to run.

Error 1639 – This error was caused by an invalid command line argument that dealt with a Microsoft Installer problem. The fix for this error was to go to the Microsoft site and download the most recent version of Microsoft Windows Installer. Be sure to download the right version for your operating system.

Operating system issues seemed to have been causing the most problems. My computer was initially updated with Windows Vista SP2 and that proved to be a problem so I downgraded back to Vista SP1. I also had problems with deleting the prior partial installs so I also used Windows Installer Cleanup utility and Revo Uninstaller to clean up the leftover files and registry. There was also a particular file that Revo and Cleanup did not delete and that was an INI file located in C:/Windows that had to be deleted before another install could be completed. After all this was done and I was patient with the clean install, Quantum was finally loaded.

Now I guess I can spend the rest of the day going thru the training CD.

Thanks to all the help I received from Microsoft (Thinesh and Pressanna) and everyone on the LinkedIn Peachtree users group, and Peachtree Community for all your assistance even during the holidays.

B. N. S.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

You Can’t Say That

This morning a friend and business associate of mine sent me an e-mail asking me “have I heard about this”. There was a link attached and it took me to a blog that contained information that many internet marketers really need to know about. According to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), there are some new guidelines that will be going into affect beginning December 1st that will shake up how advertisers use testimonials, blogs, and celebrity endorsements for the advertising efforts. I did get a chance to do a little research on the FTC site and I read the blog about the switch, and it appears that the new guidelines will make it tough for most advertisers to use any kind of testimonials (or anything else) in their marketing efforts without doing statistical research. Research will be cost intensive for the small business marketer thus many ads will have to pull the testimonials. I am really interested to see how the FTC will enforce the new guidelines and there were already comments on the blog I read of ways to get around the new guidelines.

I would really like to hear some of your thoughts out there in blog land, so be sure to read the new FTC guidelines, and the blog and come to your own conclusions.

B. N. S.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Balance Coverage

Recently I have posted a great deal about the versatility of the iPhone and how it can make running a small business easier. Well I came across this new article on the LinkedIn iPhone users group that states that the main feature of the iPhone (the phone) is flawed. I do find it odd that the article is from Cnet UK and not the states. I would greatly like to hear from some of you out there in blog land with iPhones that are having “phone” problems. There have also been some discussions on the LinkedIn group that many have been having problems with dropped calls on their phones. Check out the article and see if you can relate. Personally no problems here (knocking on wood).

B. N. S.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Get more miles out this app

Small business owners that use an iPhone and are looking for a more tech savvy way to keep track of their mileage may get a kick out of this new app. Tap2Track by Intuit was recently updated on Nov. 5th and can calculate your mileage from starting point to destination using GPS. Once the trip is complete, the app will also e-mail you a copy of the mileage details for your IRS records. Pretty cool huh?

When the app was recently introduced on one of the accounting discussion lists that I belong to, there was a great deal of skepticism from some of the “tech challenged” members citing various IRS rules and Tax Court decisions regarding the use of technology to maintain mileage records. The IRS typically requests that taxpayers maintain a written mileage log for trips and Tap2Track is not written. I personally think that the app will pass the IRS’s test since technology is the way of the future. Just recently the Congress requested that tax preparers who file more than 10 returns must file those returns electronically, so I think small business owners will have no problem using this app for their mileage tracking.

B. N. S.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Wish List for Home Offices

Are you a small business that operates out of your home? Or maybe you are thinking about starting a small business from your home. If you fall into any of the previous categories, then the article I came across yesterday is for you. Get a little bit of additional insight into what technology tools you will need to make your home office operate efficiently. Personally I was a bit surprised to see that the article did give a little bit or coverage to the new way of working (that I really love)….cloud computing. Be sure to take a look at the technology that is out there now to make your home office operate like a big corporation, but with a smaller budget. Put these on your Christmas lists home business owners.

B. N. S.

Monday, November 09, 2009

A new tech toy

As many know, I am always looking for technology that can help small business owners and individuals work smarter and not harder and this weekend I came across another remote access tool that may prove to be a jewel for some. The software is called Laplink and it allows secure remote access to your PC’s from anywhere with an internet connection. Another great feature of the software is that the software can be used with any device including smartphones (you know I love that), laptops, and even gaming consoles (Nintendo Wii). Be sure to stop by the Laplink website and check out the screenshots and the interactive tour. Although Laplink does not advertise like the other remote access programs (Gotomypc and Logmein), it may be a viable competitor to the others.

B. N. S.

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Tax updates this week

Last week I had the pleasure to sitting on a panel for the Atlanta Professional Business Network and the topic was taxes and small business. The discussion at one point moved toward the current tax laws and how they will affect the upcoming tax season. Many tax laws were set to expire and as we spoke, Congress was thinking of extending and few. Well the Senate has spoken and here are some of the results:

• The home buyer tax credit was extended and open to additional taxpayers
• Unemployment benefits have been extended
• Net operating losses can be carried back 5 years for 2008 -2009 tax years and,
• Failure to file penalties for S-Corps and partnerships have been increased

Here are just a few of the major tax updates that many taxpayers can use (once the President signs into law on Friday) for the rest of this year and next. Be sure to stop by the IRS site or speak to your tax advisor for more details.

B. N. S.