Author: Barb

If you are looking for a printer that is capable of printing everything from documents, email and web pages to photos and can copy and scan too, the HP Envy 4520 Wireless All-in-One Photo Printer will fit the bill without breaking the bank.

I have this printer in my office and love it.  It’s nothing fancy but it is a little workhorse and suites my needs just fine.

The HP Envy 4520 is a multifunction inkjet printer.  I say multifunction instead of all in one because it does not have fax capabilities.  Of course with online fax services available that’s not really a big issue.  But what it does do, it does very well.



The main thing you need a printer to do is print.  And depending on what you want to print determines whether or not you’ll like this printer.  It does great with documents.  Printing at a rate of 9.5 ppm for black and white is pretty good for me.  I’m using it to print basic documents most of the time and that usually works out just fine.

It prints color documents at a rate of 6.8 ppm.  Color documents print well.  It can do borderless pictures too.  I have noticed lines in the colors when printing photos on the default setting so make sure you adjust the settings to best quality when printing images.

It prints several sizes and weights of paper; I have a medium sized happy planner which is 7”x9 ¼” (not a default choice for the printer) and I like to print my own planner pages on cover stock paper.  With the proper settings adjusted it prints those pages even in duplex just fine.


Copying & Scanning

The HP Envy 4520 doesn’t have an auto document feeder for scanning.  You’ll have to scan pages one at a time by lifting the lid and placing the paper on the glass.  If you don’t have a lot of copying/scanning to do it’s not a problem.  On the plus side, that makes the printer a little bit smaller which is great for a home office.

The copies come out clear.  You can read the small letters on the page and lines appear smooth.  But if you compare your copy to the original you can see a small difference in the clarity.

Scanned images on the computer are clear as well, in fact, my OCR software can detect the text easily.  If you run OCR on your scanned documents before you save them they will be searchable on your computer, and with pdf software you can edit them and create different versions.


Ink Cartridges

It uses HP 63 Black and HP 63 Tri-Color ink cartridges.  These cartridges are comparably priced with other ink cartridges.  Print yield for the average size cartridges are 190 pages for black and 165 pages for tri-color.  The HP 63 XL versions yield 480 black and 330 tri-color.  So which should you choose?  That depends on how often you print.  The ink in inkjet printers have a tendency to dry up if you don’t use them often. So if you don’t print on at least a weekly basis, you’re probably not going to get the full page yield from your ink cartridges.  So your best choice would be the average cartridges vs the XL because you’ll be losing less page yield.

HP Instant Ink

HP now offers a service with some of their printers that will send you ink as needed for a monthly fee.  The printer connects with HP wirelessly and alerts them when ink is getting to a certain level and they automatically mail you out replacement cartridges.

I’ve heard different opinions on this service.  Some like it, some don’t.  As for me, I like it.  I’m notorious for realizing I need ink right in the middle of a project.  In theory, I should have a backup cartridge all the time, but like I said, in theory.  Reality is that it usually doesn’t happen.  So letting HP do that for me has saved me time and unnecessary trips to the office supply store.

Price wise it works out better for me too.  I don’t know that it’s actually 50% like they say it can be but I know that can vary based on usage. There are different plans to choose.  I went with the lowest one and haven’t had any problems with it.



The Envy 4520 connects wirelessly with an 802.11b/g/n connection to your router.  Mobile printing capabilities allow you to connect and print from basically any wireless device.  I have printed from my phone, my laptop, and my desktop computer all with ease.  This is also how HP keeps the printer’s software up to date and detects ink usage if you opted for the HP Instant Ink service.

Setup is a breeze.  Just follow the included quick start guide and you’ll be good to go.



The HP Envy 4520 measures roughly 5 inches high by 17 ½ inches wide by 15 inches deep which fits neatly on most any shelf or desk with room to easily open the copy lid. It only weighs about 14 pounds.

The 100-sheet input tray pulls out from the bottom of the printer and has adjustable sliders to feed different sizes of paper through straight.  It has guidelines for some of the popular media sizes like letter, A4, and envelopes.

When you print, a little bar extends above the input tray to hold your printed pages.  After you’re done you can just tuck it back in while not in use.

Consumer Ratings

It’s got pretty good reviews rating an impressive 4 out of 5 stars.


On the plus side, people who own this printer have commented that it is ENERGY STAR power saving, easy to set up, has very good print quality, and the monitoring it does of itself is very customizable.


On the negative side, people who own this printer have commented that the software comes with a lot of bloat ware, that the monitoring can be intrusive if you don’t adjust the settings, and that it tends to jam particularly when printing envelopes.



The HP ENVY 4520 All-in-One Printer is a reasonably priced printer.  With a little smart shopping you can pick one up for under $75.  Not bad for a little workhorse like this.

Check the current price on Amazon or at Walmart.



The HP ENVY 4520 All-in-One Printer is a good choice for a small office, home office, or personal use.  Here’s a quick recap of some of the most appealing features:

  • Print, copy, scan, photo, wireless
  • Print speed ISO: Up to 9.5 ppm (black), up to 6.8 ppm (color)
  • Auto duplex printing; Scan to email; Borderless printing
  • Comes with HP Instant Ink Ready Cartridges


These are some nice features for such a reasonably priced and compact printer.  Just as a reminder when you buy any printer, it will include the power cord of course but they usually don’t come with the USB connection cable so if you don’t already have one you can pick one up here.

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,




Coaster Fine Furniture 800800 Executive Desk with Computer Storage

One of the first things to come to mind when you think about furnishing your home office is a desk.  A word of advice, take your time choosing one.  It should be functional, aesthetically pleasing, and suited to the space it will occupy.  Prices will vary depending on what you need/want.  But remember, this is a long term investment in your business and it will have a direct effect on your ability to work efficiently.

Let’s go over some of the things you’ll want to consider to make the best decision for you and your office space.


Aesthetics –

All though function and price are important, you’ll be spending a good bit of your time at this desk.  Studies show that you will be more efficient working in an environment that you find comfortable in.   Your desk should coordinate with the décor of the room it lives in.

There’s no one right answer for everyone here.  What is the vibe you want your office to put off?  If you have a modern more elegant style, a desk with a tempered glass top would fit in nicely, maybe even with shiny metal finishings.   But if you’re more drawn to a classic sophisticated atmosphere go for a wooden executive style desk.

Will you be meeting with clients in your office?  Just imagine their reaction when they walk in your office and see that rich mahogany desk front and center in the room.  They’ll see you as the successful professional you are (who happens to be fortunate enough to work from the comfort of your own home).


Price –

I know there are a lot of expenses involved in setting up your home office space, and furniture can be a whopper.  Just keep in mind that your desk is a long term investment in your business (not to mention deductible).   It is something you won’t have to replace often (if ever) especially if you go with a quality one in the first place.

Whether you decide on a built in unit, an L-shaped desk, or an executive style stand-alone desk, consider the quality of the materials it is made with.   If you choose a sturdy piece of furniture, it will last a very long time.

Oh and don’t be afraid to check out some second hand options.  A good desk can last for many many years. Look into auctions, second hand stores, or classified ads.  You just may find a gem at a very reasonable price.  Lucky you!


Function  –

The type of work you will be doing and the tools you need to do it with will be a key consideration when choosing a desk.  Consider these areas when picking out your desk.

Ergonimics –

Like I said earlier, you’ll spend a lot of your time at this desk.  So make sure it’s comfortable to sit at.  You’ll want a quality chair too but that’s a whole other post (coming soon). A good ergonomic desk will keep your joints at right angles. Some desks come with adjustable legs, if yours doesn’t you can get them separate if needed.


Desktop space –

Make sure the top of your desk is long enough and deep enough to suit your needs.  I know a lot of people have gone digital with everything and that’s great if that works for you.  I’m not quite there yet, not sure if I ever will be.   I like working with physical documents.  It makes things seem more real to me if that makes any sense.  There’s something about the tactical experience with paper and pencil that tends to keep me more focused and productive.  Anybody else feel this way?  Also, I find that I retain information better when I write them down on paper vs type them on a computer.


Cord Management –

Inevitably you will have things on your desk that need plugged in.  Monitor, light, printer, etc.  Cord ports are awesome!  You can just feed the cords through that little whole in your desk and keep them out of your way.


If you don’t have cord ports, I saw a little trick that works out great to control the cord monsters.  I ran across a YouTube video that showed several uses for binder clips and one of them was cord management.  You feed the cords through the handles on a binder clip and attach it to the back of your desk.  Boom! Make shift cord port!  I love little tips like this.

Keyboard/Mouse Tray –
You might want a keyboard tray.  Having a space to tuck away the keyboard when it’s not in use is so handy.  Besides, it’s more comfortable to type with the keyboard at a slightly lower level than the desktop.  Make sure it’s big enough to hold the mouse too.

Monitor Mount –
Some desks are designed with a little shelf for the monitor to sit on.  My advice, get an articulating monitor arm or wall mount.  Your monitor doesn’t have to take up precious desktop surface area.  Have dual monitors? Get one that is designed to hold two monitors, yep they make them.

Storage –
If you keep physical files at all you’ll want a drawer for them in or at least near your desk.  I know some people like the sleek look of a tabletop style desk with no drawers and that’s fine if that’s what you prefer.  Just remember that you need a place to keep all of your office supplies.  I like to have my supplies within arm’s reach but out of site when not in use. So a desk with at least a couple drawers would be my first choice.  I love it when everything has a place it belongs, don’t you?

Drawers –
And while we’re talking about drawers, a quality desk will usually have deep drawers mounted on rails that slide in and out on ball bearings. If yours doesn’t, you can rub a little paraffin wax on the bottom of the drawer and in the slot where the drawer goes to make it slide in and out smoother.  Don’t worry, it won’t hurt your wooden desk.

I hope this helps guide you to find the perfect desk for your home office.  Look around a little before picking one out, it will be the hub of your home office and should suit you to a tee.

Have a picture in your mind of the perfect home office desk?  I’d love to hear about it in the comments below.

To Your Continued Success,


Hi Guys,

This will be a short post.  Just wanted to share something positive with you.

As you may already know, I’m a member of a wonderful online community called Wealthy Affiliate. (you can see my review of it here). Anyway one of the things I mention is how supportive the community there is of each other.  Here is a perfect example.

I posted a question on the forum about finding quality images for a website, and boom!  In less than 15 minutes one of the wonderful members responded with a very helpful post.

You can see my post and his speedy and helpful response here.

Have a great day all!



Wealthy Affiliate is the online community for Affiliate Marketers.  It’s full of training, tools, and a bunch of supportive like-minded people.




So what is affiliate marketing? Here’s my definition of it.


Practically every company that sells things has an affiliate program.   When you join that affiliate program they provide you a link to promote their products or services.  You then place that link in places online (typically your own website) and market it to attract potential customers.  When someone clicks on your link it leads them to that company. Then when they make a purchase from that company, you get a commission on the sale.


Some affiliate programs will pay a commission for simply providing a lead.  For example, someone signs up for their email list or fills out a survey.


It sounds affiliate-marketing-imagepretty straight forward right?  But how do you find and join these programs? And how do you market the links?  There are so many answers to these questions.  I couldn’t begin to explain it all or teach you how.  But I know who can.


Yes, there are several websites and programs devoted to this subject.  So why did I say “the online community for affiliate marketers”? Because it is a one of a kind all-inclusive place for affiliate marketers.  It’s a training program, a community, a whole set of tools, and more.  When you join, you won’t need to look anywhere else for training or support.


But is it really everything you’ll ever need?  You’ll have to decide that for yourself.  In this review I’ll explain why I believe it’s an absolute must if you want to succeed in the field of affiliate marketing.


The Training


The training is what lead me to Wealthy Affiliate in the first place.  It’s almost overwhelming what they have to offer.


The Classrooms


There are at least 12 training classrooms.  Each classroom is chock full of tutorials, videos, and courses all wrapped around one basic area of marketing.

For example; Keyword, Niche, and Market Research is one classroom which contains over 40 tutorials, 20 videos, 4 courses, and a huge question & answer section. All of which are about research.


The Certification Program & Affiliate Bootcamp


These are sets of lessons and tasks that start you from the very beginning and teach you about all the aspects you need to know in order to build an online affiliate business.  Each lesson has tasks to complete and a dedicated discussion for that particular lesson.


This would be my suggestion to get you going.  The beauty of it is that you are building as you learn rather than reading about something then being left to put it into action on your own.


The discussions are tremendously helpful.  If you struggle with a particular concept, check the discussion and see if someone has answered your question already.  If not, post your question there and I guarantee you will get a response.



The main difference I see between the Certification Program and the Affiliate Bootcamp is that you choose your niche for the Certification Program and the Affiliate Bootcamp is geared towards promoting Wealthy Affiliate.  You still choose your niche but one that relates at least somewhat to affiliate marketing.


While we’re talking about their affiliate program, take the time to look at it.  It’s probably the best paying program you’ll ever find.   Not to mention the fact that they teach you how to do it.




Website Building Tools

Wealthy Affiliate has its own robust website building and hosting plan called SiteRubix.  You’ll build your site using the widely used website platform, WordPress.  There is an excellent website security package and site backup included.

WordPress has literally thousands of plugins and themes available to enhance and change the look and functionality of your website. No two websites ever need look alike.  It’s not like a cookie cutter website template that everyone uses that all look basically the same. If you know anything about SEO (search engine optimization) you know that it’s important to be unique.

The free membership comes with two websites hosted on their system and not for a limited time either.  They’re yours as long as you like.  Even if you don’t upgrade to a premium (paid) membership.


Keyword Tool

A keyword is the word or words someone types into a search engine to find what they are looking for.  A keyword tool will use your topic to find the most common keywords used to find it.  The keyword tool at Wealthy Affiliate will give you plenty of detail about each one.  This is how you discover what information to share on your website to attract the people who are looking for your topic.


The Community


The training and the tools are excellent features but it’s the community that sets them so far above anything else.


This is what I consider to be the best feature of Wealthy Affiliate.  There is a live chat available 24/7/365 (which is available for the first 7 days of the free membership).  You’ll have your own blog page to share your story and experiences.  And an extremely active forum.


You’ll find a helpful thread on anything Affiliate Marketing related.   Being a member of Wealthy Affiliate means you are part of the most supportive community I have ever experienced.  I have never, not once, seen a snarky remark or unnecessarily harsh criticism there.



Everyone is SO helpful and SO supportive of each other.  I’m usually not very comfortable putting myself out there online.  I’m fairly quiet on social media and more of a lurker in forums, except for this one.  I’m comfortable asking questions and offering assistance.  We love to cheer each other on through are successes and help each other out with learning and questions.


The owners Kyle and Carson are very active in this community.  It’s not at all uncommon to hear from one of them in the forum.  Offering help and encouragement whenever possible.


There are thousands of members here.  You’re peers range from newbie’s to millionaires (yes, I said millionaires).  People don’t leave this community once they are successful.  They stick around and help others along the way and continue to learn.  To be successful is to know that there is always more to learn and ways to improve.  A career in affiliate marketing is not a destination.  It’s a journey.   There is always something new to learn in the ever-changing internet world. And once you join this community you’ll never have to look beyond it to keep your skills up to date.

Pros & Cons

green checkmarkPros


The benefits of joining Wealthy Affiliate include training, tools, support, and an active online community of like-minded people.


Affiliate Marketing can be a very lucrative career.  If you’re going into this field, joining Wealthy Affiliate gives you the opportunity to align yourself with those that can help you succeed.


Red XCons


You will have to work at it.


You won’t be rolling in the dough the minute you put up your first link. People won’t flock to your site automatically as soon as it’s launched. But with consistency and perseverance you can make a full time living. And it may happen quicker than you think.


There is a wide spread and huge misconception online and offline about Affiliate Marketing.  A lot of people will tell you it’s a scam, that there’s too much competition, or that the market is too saturated to actually make a living at it.  I’m here to tell you that none of that is true.  Affiliate Marketing is a very viable career choice and there are ample opportunities for you to succeed.




Wealthy Affiliate offers two types of memberships.  A free one and a paid one.


The free one is not a trial offer.  You’ll never be forced to become a premium member.  They won’t take down your two free websites just because you don’t upgrade.


But obviously there are more benefits if you choose to upgrade to a premium (paid) membership.

Check out this chart of what’s available to you with each membership option.


To Summarize


Wealthy Affiliate is the place for Affiliate Marketers.  If you want to succeed in this field, you want to join Wealthy Affiliate.


There are state of the art tools and training at your disposal and the community is extremely active and supportive.


With the option of a free membership that comes with two free websites it’s a great place to get started even if you have a $0 budget.

Check out Wealthy Affiliate for yourself here.

If you have any questions about Wealthy Affiliate that I haven’t covered or you’d like to share your experience with Wealthy Affiliate after you join, please share with us in the comments below.


To Your Continued Success,










fujitsu scansnap closed For my first review I chose a product that I have in my office and absolutely love!  The Fujitsu ScanSnap Document Scanner is one of my favorite pieces of office equipment.  If I haven’t mentioned it before, I’m a bit of an office supply/equipment junkie.  So of course, I looked at several before I chose Fujitsu.  And I am definitely happy with my choice.

As a side note, you can actually make money with this little beauty.  As a matter of fact, I have done just that.  More on that later.


The document feeder

If you’ve ever used a flatbed scanner you’ll appreciate the ease and speed of the ScanSnap’s automatic document feeder.  No more scanning one side, flipping the page to scan the other.  It automatically detects both sides of the page. If the back of the page is blank, it’ll ignore it. fujitsu scanner 1

Load up 50 sheets of paper, push the one button, and watch it snap thru them at 25 page per minutes in color or monochrome.  It recognizes the paper size automatically so it doesn’t matter if it’s A4, A5, A6, B5, B6, Business Card, Post Card, Letter, Legal or Custom Size.

It has an ultrasonic sensor that can recognize if more than one page goes thru at a time. But there is an interactive interface that allows you to bypass intentional double-feed like a receipt taped on an expense report.

It has a built-in, dual-core ‘GI’ image processing engine that offers the speed of a much more expensive high-speed, high-volume scanner thru the use of USB 3.0 support.


The software

The Fujitsu ScanSnap has productivity software for Windows and Mac. The ScanSnap Quick Menu pops up when you scan a page giving you the options of what to do with it.

And oh the options you have! 

  • ScanSnap iX500 comes bundled with searchable PDF creation software which lets you not only  see and print the generated data but you can edit generated PDF files
  • Easily scan and extract information from receipts, and export the data into CSV. Imagine this feature at tax time.
  •  Scan and Organize Business Card Information and you could even send them to Excel, Outlook Express, Salesforce, and other databases
  • Scan photos.  I scanned all of the photos in my parent’s photo albums to create a slideshow for their anniversary.  The detail is incredible.  And now my sisters and I all have copies of these precious memories as well.  Mom saved them to her digital picture frame which continually plays a slideshow of family memories.

·         It generates password and digital ID attached PDF files that are ideal for safeguarding personal information and other confidential information that needs to be protected.

Not to pick on NeatDesk, but I have used one of their scanners as well, and it uses proprietary software to file everything, making it difficult to get the information scanned where you actually need it.  This drives me nuts. 

With the ScanSnap you can send the data to Word, Excel, e-mail, and SharePoint or practically anywhere else you want.  It’s so flexible.



Wireless or USB connectivity

fujitsu wifi 3

With the ScanSnap you can scan to and view across a range of popular cloud services, or wirelessly scan to your PC, Mac, iPad/iPhone, or Android device.

The newly-developed GI processing engine means that users can now wirelessly operate the scanner via their smart device and use the ScanSnap Connect App to create high quality scanned images that can be saved to the device, manipulated, and are easily available when and where you need them.

You have the option to synchronize your scanned documents between ScanSnap Organizer on your computer and the ScanSnap Connect App on your mobile device using Dropbox, Google Drive or OneDrive.



The Fujitsu ScanSnap has a pretty small footprint (15.5 x 10.9 x 9.8 inches).fujitsu scanner 2

It takes up very little space in your office for such a powerful tool.  And because its wireless, it doesn’t have to take up valuable desktop real estate.



Here’s a list of some of my favorite features about the Fujitsu ScanSnap,

  • One button scan
  • Searchable and securable pdfs
  • Multiple output options including jpg
  • Scan to software – word, excel, …
  • Wi-Fi or USB connectivity to a computer
  • Scan Directly to Mobile Devices
  • ScanSnap Cloud
  • Fast Double-Sided Scanning
  • Advanced Paper Feeding System

What’s In The Box

The ScanSnap comes with an AC cable, AC adapter, USB cable (USB 3.0 supported), Safety Precautions, Setup DVD-ROM, and a ScanSnap Carrier Sheet.  So you’re ready to go right off the bat.


Pros & Cons

green checkmarkPros

The ScanSnap feeds the paper thru fast and processes them fast too.  Wi-Fi connectivity and the app make it available for more of your devices.  The software is easy to use and understand.  The scans are good quality and can be searchable and securable.

Red XCons

Pay attention to the default settings when you install the software.  Some of them may not be what you want.  For example, the default for OCR (optical character recognition) is to only process the first page.  Why would you want only the first page searchable?

Photo scanning is fine for online use but you’ll have to use photo editing software to clean up some of the noise if you want them to print crystal clear.


Consumer Ratings

The average consumer rating on Amazon is 4.7 out of 5 stars


Check the current price on Amazon

fujitsu scanner 2





As I said in the beginning, this is one of my favorite pieces of office equipment.  It’s a solid devise from a reputable manufacturer.  You won’t regret having this little gem at your disposal. 

Oh and if you’re wondering how I earned money with this scanner.   I created digital filing systems for some of my clients from their physical files.  I made the documents searchable with the OCR software and organized them just like their physical files where.  Saving them space in their office and time in finding the files when they needed them. 











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

5 Things To Consider When Designing Your Home Office

home-office-569359_1920Having a home office area of some sort is a necessity for most of us. Since it’s going to be in your home, it should suit your own style as well as be functional.

You’ll be more inclined to spend time in a space that feels personalized and comfortable. Planning out what you need and what you have to work with before you start will make this process so much easier, not to mention more enjoyable. Let’s get started!

5 things to consider to when designing your home office

  • Who will be using it?
  • What type of work will be done in it?
  • How much time will be spent in it?
  • How much space do you need?
  • What area of your home will it be in?

Who will be using it?

So who is going to be working the most in this home office? A parent with small children? A student? A retiree earning a little extra money from home? Each of these people will have different needs.


A parent of small children, for example, may only need a place to pay bills and keep track of papers (legal documents, medical records, schedules,). You wouldn’t need a lot of space and you wouldn’t spend a ton of time in it. But you’d probably still want to be in the line of sight of the kiddos. So a small cabinet in the kitchen or a table and file drawer in the living room may work just fine.

If you’re a student, at any age, you’re going to need a place to study and a computer. That could be as simple as a small desk in your room with a cup to keep pens and pencils in.

Or picture a retiree, someone who has their own house, the kids are grown and moved out. So here you are with extra space and some free time on your hands. You could dedicate a whole room to being your home office. Lucky You! I can see a desk, a filing cabinet, a printer shelf, whatever your little heart desires. Paint the walls a color that you like, pick up some coordinating accessories and you’re all set.

What type of work will be done in it?

Think about what you’re going to use it for. Running a full time business from home will likely take more space than just a spot corral the monthly bills would require. Do you need privacy for sensitive information? Do you need a quiet space to make conference calls? What type of work you want to do in your office will determine a lot

How much time will be spent in it?

If you’re just spending an hour or so a week to update the budget and plan the weekend, you probably don’t want to clockdevote a lot of real estate or capital into an “official place” to do that from. In fact, now that cell phones have evolved into mini hand held computers you can usually do those things on the fly from anywhere. Technology, ain’t it great?!

How much space do you need?

A lot of work from home jobs require nothing more than a computer and internet connection. But it really depends on your vocation of choice. As an independent bookkeeper, some clients prefer that I keep their files for them until the end of the year. Each of these needs its own secure space.

Think about the stuff you need in your office. How much equipment do you require? Will you be meeting with clients? Do you need a large filing cabinet? All of these things require square footage.

What area of your home will it be in?

What room you set up your home office in is completely up to you. For privacy or quiet, a corner of the bedroom might work well. Need to be able to keep an eye on the kiddos? Or if you just want a convenient spot to keep papers and pay bills, maybe the kitchen or living room is best. If you’re fortunate enough to have a whole room to dedicate as the office, this is gonna be fun!


Once you’ve decided where it’s going to be located, let’s look at how much room you have. Square footage will help narrow down your choices. How much space do you really need?

Now that you have a pretty good idea of what you need, we can move on to actually designing your home office. Have fun with it!

In upcoming articles we’ll go over some of the specifics such as space saving designs or incorporating into your available space without sticking out like a sore thumb.

To Your Success!


Set yourself up for success by creating a functional and comfortable place to work.  It can be a small corner in the kitchen or its own room but it needs to be a space dedicated to the purpose of your business activities.