Category: Run Your Own Home Based Business

Virtual office space can offer the perfect solution to working from home and having a professional presence in the business world.  So what exactly is virtual office space?  And what are the benefits?

Let’s take a look at some of the different terms floating around out there and what they mean.

Virtual Office

A virtual office is a collection of online tools and software that allow someone to conduct business at any location and still have some of the advantages that come with a dedicated physical location.  Things like cloud storage, online versions of software, and video calling allow users from all over the world to work together practically the same as if they were in the same building.

Cloud storage allows you to save files, documents, pictures, etc. on a server that you can login to from anywhere with an internet connection.

My favorite cloud storage solution is Google Drive.  If you have a Gmail account, you already have it available to you for free.  They do offer a paid version that gives you more storage and other services (more on that later).

Online software is also available to you from anywhere.  Some of the major players in business software are definitely on this band wagon.  Microsoft Office, Adobe Creative Cloud, and Intuit’s QuickBooks all have online versions available.  Each of these companies offer subscriptions, so you will always have the most current version at your disposal.   That feature is nice.  Don’t you just hate when you shell out your hard earned money for software only to find out there is a new version available by the time you get used to using it?  I know I do.

You’ve probably heard of Skype, but today there are lots of video call or video conference apps and services available now.  You can meet with clients “virtually” anytime anywhere.

Virtual Office Space

Virtual Office Space offers a physical address and some of the advantages that go with that to a business that operates mainly online.

You can have a mailing address practically anywhere you want it.  You can rent PO boxes or Suites for your physical mail and to list as your business address.  When you work from home this is a great alternative if you don’t want to put your personal address out there for anyone and everyone.  Some people will not respect your personal time and space.  This allows you to keep your business and personal mail separate.  Some services will even (at your request) open your mail, scan it, and upload it to cloud storage and then shred the actual paper copy for you.

Think about this.  If you were to look at two different businesses that offer the exact same service in the exact same area for the exact same price, but only one of them lists a physical address on their website, which would you choose?

An answering service gives you separation between your personal phone number and your business.  You could get just a separate number that forwards to your phone or one that provides a receptionist to answer your calls and take messages.

Executive Suite

Executive suites are physical offices or conference rooms available for use.  You can rent space for long term use or on an as needed basis.  This can come in handy if you need somewhere to setup your office other than home or if you need somewhere to meet your clients besides the local coffee shop.  There is a level of trust and professionalism that people associate with having a dedicated physical location.  These can come with onsite amenities, like office equipment, a receptionist, a waiting room, etc.

No doubt that working from home can drastically reduce your overhead.    And a virtual office space may be just the ticket to move your business to the next level without taking on a lot of extra expenses.

Hopefully you found this helpful and maybe I even showed you some options that you didn’t know were available.  So do you use any of these virtual office tools or services? Or maybe know of some that I didn’t mention?  I’d love to hear about it.  Please share in the comments below.

To Your Continued Success,




Monthly Bookkeeping Checklist

Congratulations! You’ve decided to work from home and run your own business. It can be a very rewarding and challenging experience. More on that later. But for now let’s talk about how you’re going to keep track of all that money you’ll be making (might as well think positive from the start, right?!).

previewEvery business, regardless of size or type, will need to have some sort of bookkeeping routine. We need to know how much money we’re making and how much we’re spending on a regular basis. If you don’t have a bookkeeper hired to handle all the accounting stuff for you (which I highly recommend), it’ll be up to you to do it. A bookkeeping checklist can help keep you on track and up to date. This is how you know whether your business is making money or losing it. Not to mention that every year you’ll need this information to file your taxes with.

So what do you need to keep track of? And how often? Let’s create a monthly bookkeeping checklist to get you started.

Each month, you’ll need to track your income and expenses. I’ll be referring to a service based business today. Let’s get started!


Sort Your Information

FileStack_retouchedGather up all of your financial documents, such as receipts, invoices, and bank statements. Basically if it has to do with your business’ money, include it. All your information may not be in paper form. So much of our financial information is digital anymore. Don’t forget to check your email and bank websites.

Sort it into three sections.

  • Income – Money coming in
  • Expenses – Money going out
  • Bank Statements


Post All Income

typing on laptopI like to start with income because nobody likes to see negative numbers while they work. By starting out with income you get to see the money come in before you have to watch it go out.  

If you’re using QuickBooks, you’re going to enter your income as either invoices or receipts. In this example we’re using receipts. You’ll enter the date, the amount, what it was for and if it is taxable.

If your service or item is taxable in your state, QuickBooks can figure the tax for you. It’s a pretty handy feature.


Post All Expenses

Now post all of your expenses. Include all of your checks written, debit card receipts, and paid bills. When posting transactions in QuickBooks my rule of thumb is better too much information than not enough. Trust me, moving forward you’ll appreciate that you took the time to do this now.

Quick tip, before you post them, check them against the bank statement to see if they are listed there. You can usually download transactions from the bank directly into QuickBooks saving you time with data entry. Then go ahead and post any receipts that weren’t included on a statement.

Include the date, who was paid (the vendor), how much, and what for. If the expense you’re paying is not in the list you can always add it. Also if there is an account number or certain details that you need to know about this expense later, go ahead and jot that down in the memo section. Like I said, you won’t regret it.


Reconcile Statements

Some of you may be wondering why I didn’t just post the income from the statement like I did the expenses. Good question! I’m glad you asked.

My reason is because they may have been deposited in groups rather than individual. If you deposit your checks once a week for instance, the deposit amount is the total of all of the checks deposited together, not the individual payments.

In QuickBooks, you receive the money from your customer and deposit it in two separate steps. Just like it actually happens in real life. Your customer pays you and then you take the money to the bank to deposit. Two separate steps. When I post deposits in QuickBooks, it will show me a list of all the payments received that have not yet been deposited. I will then post the deposits in QuickBooks as I actually made them, including all of the separate payments.


I love when I can import bank statements directly into QuickBooks. It pulls in all of the transaction information associated with that particular statement. All of the information you need is not always included in the downloaded transactions so take the time to look at them and make sure you have everything you need. If not, edit the transaction to include all necessary information. QuickBooks has this handy little feature that will match the transactions it imports with the ones already posted in QuickBooks. So you get to go through and just accept those transactions as is. Then the only ones you’ll need to enter are the ones that weren’t matched.

Once all the transactions are posted, you can reconcile the account in a snap!


Review reports

After all the income, expenses, and statements have been posted. Run a Profit and Loss report, and a Balance Sheet report in QuickBooks for the month. Why these two? Because of the information they give you.

Profit & Loss Reports – A profit & loss report shows you a picture of your financial activity within a given period of time. (The whole month)

Balance Sheets – A balance sheet basically shows you a picture of where you are financially at one given point. (The last day of the month)


Look these over carefully. Is everything included? Are they all showing up in the right places? These reports tell you how your business is doing financially. There are many other reports you can look at in QuickBooks but as the business owner, these two reports will give you a good overall view.


Backup QuickBooks Company File

It’s always a good idea to backup your company file at the end of each month. Then if by chance your computer crashes or you make a mistake the next month you can just restore the backup.



File all of your paperwork and/or digital files. The IRS likes documentation. Keep a copy of all of your receipts, invoices, statements, etc. on file.


So to recap, your monthly bookkeeping checklist would look like this:


monthly bookkeeping checklist








Best of luck to you and your new business,


What is the best accounting software for small business?


Well it’s January. Time to compile all of your business financial information needed to prepare your tax return. Most business owners are not exactly jumping for joy at the thought of adding up all those numbers.

hours at the computer


And how do you arrange all of that information to look at the big picture of the past year? If you don’t have a bookkeeper who puts it all together and hands you a Profit & Loss statement then it’s up to you as the business owner to get those numbers.


Accounting software is designed to track all of that information and give you reports based on those numbers. There are a lot of choices out there. So what is the best accounting software for small business?

0001091_quickbooks-pro-2016-3-user-download_300Hands down, the best accounting software for small business is QuickBooks


My opinion is based on 10 years of running my own bookkeeping business. I have done bookkeeping for a number of different types of business over the years. From caterers to farmers, QuickBooks works well for all of them.


Although most of my clients have me do their bookkeeping for them. Some business owners prefer to do their own bookkeeping and hire me to show them how. One of the very first things I have them do is purchase software. And the software I always recommend is QuickBooks.


Specifically QuickBooks Pro because it offers all of the features they would need without getting into anything to technical.


QuickBooks was designed with the “non-accountant” in mind. The home page shows you icons arranged in a way that makes it easier to see what you need to do.


Before you see this home screen you’ll set up a company in QuickBooks. It will take you through a question and answer interview which will set your company file up based on your specific information such as name, address, EIN, and so on. Then based on the type of company you are in and what information you want to track.

Bookkeeping in a nutshell, is tracking all of the money that comes into and goes out of your business. You’ll be entering all of that information in in a way that is familiar to you such as writing checks and creating invoices. QuickBooks will take that information and keep it in the accounts you tell it to. Then with a few clicks of the mouse you can retrieve it all arranged neatly into professional looking financial reports.

There are many other features you’ll come to appreciate and depend on including

  • Create invoices or sales receipts with as little or as much detail as you want. You can even email them to the customer without ever leaving QuickBooks
  • Show payments on those invoices
  • Post your bills along with the due date and let QuickBooks remind you when they are due
  • Keep contact and account information for all of your customers and vendors
  • Reconcile your checking and credit card accounts
  • Track your assets
  • Optional add on payroll means you can process all of your payroll and print paychecks or send direct deposit right from within the software

One of my favorite features is the ability to download information from financial institutions right into the software saving you tons of time keying in multiple transactions.

Intuit does have an online version as well and although I don’t use that service myself I know a lot of business do. It’s set up a little different than the desktop software and it’s important to note the two do not play well together. You’ll need to pick one or the other.

QuickBooks Pro is software that you download on your computer and all of your data is kept there as well. You pay for it once and you own it.

QuickBooks Online is cloud based software. Nothing to download, always up to date, and available from anywhere you can get online. This is a subscription service that you will renew yearly.

Whether you prefer a cloud based subscription or a software you own, QuickBooks is the best accounting software for small business.

Keep watching for more information about QuickBooks to come as I’ll be posting how-to’s, tips, and tricks using QuickBooks software.

Got something specific you want to know how to do? Leave a comment below and I’ll do my best to help you!

Thanks for your time,

Barb Kessler