1-800Accountant Collaborates with Sam’s Club to Offer Innovative Mobile Accounting Services

1-800Accountant, the nation’s leading tax and accounting firm specializing in small-business, has formed a collaboration with Sam’s Club, a leading membership warehouse club. This joint effort is designed to offer a full array of innovative accounting services to Sam’s Club members that are accessible from a mobile device. Now available at SamsClub.com/services, 1-800Accountant provides member-exclusive savings on business accounting and tax services for a low monthly fee.

A growing number of small-business owners are managing many aspects of their businesses right from their phones and other mobile devices. 1-800Accountant is providing them innovative mobile applications to simplify their tax and accounting needs with accessibility on any device. Services include tax preparation, tax consulting, bookkeeping, and audit support. 1-800Accountant is at the forefront of this mobile revolution. All accounting services come with a dedicated accountant who can be contacted with the simple push of a button, ensuring that members’ important questions always get an answer in a timely manner.

In addition, small-business owners no longer need to fret about keeping receipts that continually pile up. Instead, they can simply take a picture of the receipt with their phone, and the information is automatically uploaded to 1-800Accountant’s secure, web-based bookkeeping portal. Sam’s Club members will never have to drive across-town to their accountant’s office again to deliver their accounting documents. The new service requires only a simple scan of tax documents and business records to make all of this information available to dedicated accountants almost immediately for review and processing purposes.

“We are excited to bring innovative mobile applications to small-business owners. The desktop is so yesterday. Here at 1-800Accountant, we are creating technology for the future as more and more SMBs go mobile. 1-800Accountant will be their accounting and tax provider of choice, providing them accessibility anywhere, coupled with unparalleled customer support from their dedicated accountant,” said Brendon Pack, Vice President at 1-800Accountant.

To learn more about how 1-800Accountant can help your small-business from a tax and accounting standpoint, call 1-800-222-6868 or visit www.1800accountant.com.

Ergonomic Lighting for a Brighter & Healthier Office

light bulbWhen we think of office ergonomics, we may think about adjustable task chairs, gel wrist pads, or keyboards that look like they were cut in half and duct taped back together. A truly enlightened small business also assesses the environment’s lighting to achieve an ergonomic space that works for the people who occupy it.

In office spaces and home office situations, lighting that is subpar (either because it is insufficient or because it is too invasive) can alter our emotional outlook and our health as well as our productivity and efficiency. On the flipside, optimal ergonomic lighting creates an environment of creativity and well-being.

When our eyes have insufficient lighting, we unknowingly adjust our bodies to compensate, often in ways that are harmful to our bodies. Many offices are equipped with overhead fluorescent lighting, and many office workers may be unaware that a single source of lighting can be unhealthy, especially for those over 40, whose eyes require more contrast and more light.

Shared workspaces often share lighting sources. Like one chair cannot be set up to be perfect for more than one person, the same goes for lighting. Different people doing different types of tasks have different needs, and “one-size-fits-all” overhead lighting typically does not offer that option. Most of its light is wasted above eye level, and it may cause eye strain, as well as neck and back problems from shifting our bodies to accommodate the poor – or harsh – lighting. Overlighting can cause reflection in offices using white desk tops. This can cause glare, resulting in headaches and tense body postures. .

While natural light from large windows can be great for the soul, according to Arizona State University, “Direct sunlight can increase light levels higher than needed for office work.  In contrast, overcast days may not supply enough light for office work.”

Ergonomic Lighting Tips

The following practical tips will help you create a workspace that isn’t too harsh or too dim.

Optimizing Windows

If your work space includes bright windows, position your computer monitor perpendicular to the window for best ergonomic effect. Setting up your computer in front of a window to capture light can weaken your vision as your eyes continuously need to adjust from the bright daylight to your monitor screen.

Ergonomic Task Lighting

Adding ergonomic task lighting focuses the light on the task at hand, reduces glare, and lessens eye strain. When multi-tasking between computer work and paper documents, the required lighting varies. When we focus on paper documents, which reflect light, we need 4-5 times more light than when we focus on the monitor, which creates light. Adding an adjustable desk lamp that sweeps light on our work surface easily solves this problem.

The task lighting you choose should be fully adjustable, with multiple pivot points and have the right footprint for your desk. Angle the lamp away from the eyes to minimize glare. Place your lamp opposite your writing hand (on the left for righties and on the right for lefties). This minimizes the shadows on the work surface. The lamp you choose should also have adjustable intensity.

Eliminate Glare

To make sure there is minimal glare on computer screens, position lights so that they are not directly in front of monitors. Adjust the window blinds to minimize glare during the day and with seasonal sunlight patterns. Consider glare filters for monitors as an option

Reducing Fluorescent Lighting

If the fluorescent lighting in the office is too harsh, it could wash out images on computer screens and cause employees to strain their eyes. The easy solution is to remove a few bulbs to reduce the intensity of the light. Some departments have opted to turn off the overhead lighting and use only task lighting.

Colorful Light

Opt for lighting with a soft yellow color. It is easier on the eyes than its bright white counterparts. The best selection for your eyes is full spectrum lighting. While it’s a little more costly, the bulbs last a long time, and it’s referred to as the happy light because it supports the production of serotonin and can help to eliminate depression. Who wouldn’t opt for an office of happier, healthier people?

Good Lighting for Great Health

An ergonomic office environment is one in which all elements – ergonomic furniture, appliances, and electronics – work together with people to achieve efficiency. When all of these elements are aligned, productivity rises, moods lighten, error rates fall, and mental acuity and alertness skyrocket. Proper lighting, combined with ergonomic furniture, color schemes, and devices, create an environment for productivity and creativity.

 

About the Author

Karen Burke is the founder and president ofKare Products, specializing in active ergonomic solutions. She has 30 years of experience in ergonomic product design and consulting.

5 Ways to Reduce Stress & Burnout as a Small Business Owner

Feeling stressed in your business? Consider these tips to reduce stress as a small business owner.

Feeling stressed in your business? Consider these tips to reduce stress as a small business owner.

Certain things we do in life can cause lots of stress, headaches, exhaustion, and even burnout. Being a small business owner can put you in this category at times if you aren’t careful. To recognize National Stress Awareness Day, consider these 5 tips to reduce stress as a small business owner so that you can maximize your enjoyment to self-employment:

1) Make organization a top priority in your business life.

By being organized in your business, you will have everything you need in the right places. This makes it quick and easy to find the things you need when you need them. Whether it’s a computer file, a sticky note, or a receipt you’ll need to claim the meals and entertainment deduction, being organized can greatly reduce the stress of looking for something at crunch time. Create folders on your desktop, and put appropriate files in each folder. Make contact lists in your smartphone for your partners, employees, and even clients. A smoothly run business is an organized one, so always keep organization in mind.

2) Learn to be a better delegator.

Delegating certain tasks to those around you takes pressure off your shoulders and, in turn, helps reduce stress for small business owners. CEOs of large corporations and owners of single-member LLCs or sole proprietorships can all relate when it comes to the benefits of delegating. There is nothing better than paying someone to handle things for you, especially if they have more experience doing what you don’t have time or the desire to do each day. You’ll know that any of your ancillary tasks are in good hands. Whether you need help filing your business taxes with the IRS, creating a website, or responding to phone calls or e-mails, there are potential employees, contractors, and business service providers out there that are all available to assist you – and help reduce your stress level.

3) Take breaks – and some vacation time.

The suggestion that being a small business owner is a 24/7/365 endeavor is not far off. With so much to do each day, you can’t let business ownership eat you alive because it can. Take breaks throughout the day. Go for a walk, do some stretches, or eat lunch out of your office for a change of scenery. In addition, don’t hesitate to take a day off when you need one. Long stretches of vacation time are often hard to take off when you’re running your own business, but there are ways of doing so. Think creatively and lean on your confidantes for assistance. You’ll probably be more refreshed and in a better mood when you take time away from your hectic enterprise.

4) Be in control.

To minimize stress, you must be in complete control of your small business at all times. Having this control can reduce your stress level by ridding your mind of lingering questions or an uncertain future. As a business owner, you should be very confident in your shoes. You should also have a full grasp on every minor detail involved in the workings of a venture, but get help when you need it.

5) Exercise and improve your diet.

It’s not always top-of-mind for small business owners, but diet and exercise are so incredibly important for entrepreneurs in all professions. It’s easy to grab unhealthy fast food on the go. It’s easy to sit behind a desk all day on conference calls. In the end, it’s easy to forget about eating healthy food and getting proper exercise each day. These activities can be a big stress-reducer for both individuals and small business owners, so don’t put them on the back burner.

Image credit: The image included in this blog post is used with permission via the Flickr Creative Commons license.

5 Ways for Small Business Owners to Buy More Time

Small business owners can use some simple strategies to buy more time throughout their hectic workdays.

Small business owners can use some simple strategies to buy more time throughout their hectic workdays.

Small business owners who have taken the leap of faith into pursuing their passions are constantly on the lookout for more time. Managing your time as a business owner is often the most daunting challenge you’ll face – often on a daily basis – because of how long your to-do list probably is.

So to help you buy more time to do what you love and generate more revenue in your enterprise, here are some quick tips:

1. Find an old egg timer in your kitchen to use.

Those old but neat egg timers you probably used to use in the kitchen to avoid burning your dinner can be quite handy in a small business today. Make a list of tasks that take up lots of time on your schedule every day. Then pull out your egg timer and set it to find out how long each task actually takes for you to complete from start to finish. This could be an eye-opener to determine what is consuming your time and how to reduce the amount of time you spend on certain activities. (Of course, in the 21st century, we now have timer apps on our smartphones that work just as well if you can’t find your egg timer!)

2. Utilize templates or preformatted documents/processes.

If your work involves any type of repetition, consider using templates or preformatted documents on your computer to expedite similar processes in the future. Perhaps you send out documents with information about your business on them. Include a letterhead and save this document as a template so you can use it many times without having to create a new letterhead each time. A non-computer example of this would be to record a voicemail that you leave for multiple leads whom you contact via phone about your products or services. There’s no reason to do anything over and over again if you can do it once and use this process as a template. Doing so can save you a good amount of time every workday.

3. Turn your personal smartphone on silent.

Everyone is so attached to their smartphones, tablets, and Bluetooth-enabled devices. It’s hard to live without these items, but when you’re working on your business, you have to put them aside. The best thing to do is to turn them on silent so that no ringers or notifications for text messages and e-mails distract you. If you can muster up the courage, consider turning them off completely. It’s so easy to respond to personal text messages or calls when you should be working, and this is a huge timewaster. On a related note, block out any other distractions you can, whether you work in a home office, maintain a brick-and-mortar retail store, or rent out office space.

4. Set feasible goals for yourself.

Lofty goals are quite tempting, but they’re often unrealistic. So set reasonable goals for yourself as a business owner. By using this practice, you can avoid spending a ton of time trying to accomplish tasks that are simply not feasible within a short timeframe. Take large projects and segment them into smaller goals. Doing so can help you manage your time more efficiently. It can give you additional time to work on projects and start them off on the right foot from the get-go.

5. Delegate tasks to others.

With all the hats small business owners wear, there’s absolutely no way they can handle everything on their own. So it’s highly recommended that you outsource a few – or many – of your responsibilities. There are countless business service providers on the market, many of which specialize in assisting small business owners and startups. You could certainly hire contractors to work for you as well, or maybe even bring a part-time or full-time employee onboard if you have the budget for it.

For more tips on managing your time as a business owner, and to ensure you stay compliant with your IRS business tax filings, contact 1-800Accountant today. Call 1-800-222-6868 or click over to www.1800accountant.com.

Image credit: The image included in this blog post is used with permission via the Creative Commons license through Flickr.