Depositphotos 52262339 xs 300x200 Harness Technology to Simplify Your Business BookkeepingDid you know there are ways to simplify bookkeeping by utilizing cloud services?

Imagine the satisfaction and relief you’ll experience by having all of your business bookkeeping up to date. You won’t have to set aside multiple nights and weekends as tax time creeps near to get your records sorted out while praying and hoping you have everything on hand.

Most virtual assistants offer Paypal as a client payment option but cringe at the ~3% Paypal keeps. Merchant service (credit card processing) accounts for small businesses can be cost-prohibitive once you factor in monthly fees, annual compliance charges, etc. Additionally, if you’d like the ability to process American Express there are typically even more hoops to jump through.  There are incredibly cost-effective and easy ways to accept credit cards and to receive payments through Paypal for only $.50.

I will be speaking at IVAA’s Virtual Summit on Friday, October 17, 2014. My session will focus on five different tools you can implement in your business  to save both time and money (or even for bookkeeping clients you service).

Execute these solutions and you will experience the following benefits:

  • Reduce your admin time maintaining your business bookkeeping.
  • Easily keep up your bookkeeping on a monthly basis so you can regularly run financial reports to monitor the health of your business.
  • Utilize cloud services to automate bookkeeping tasks. The more you automate the less time you need to spend!
  • Offer your clients multiple online payment options by accepting all major credit cards, including AMEX. Best of all there are no monthly service fees and no annual compliance fee. (You will still have to pay processing fees)

NOTE: By offering multiple easy online payment options you can often reduce your Accounts Receivable turnaround time.

  • Receive Paypal payments for a mere $.50 – no matter how large your invoice is.
  • If you bill by the minute/hour you will be able to effortlessly and accurately track billable time and simply invoice from time records.
  • Have a team and need to bill for their billable time too? Easy peasy whether you have a team of one or thirty!

Two of the services are free to use and the other three will cost between $47.90 – $71.90 per month (total). Think that’s too high? Look at the savings I’ve personally experienced from January 1, 2014 through August 31, 2014.

  • $48,656.21 collected via Paypal payments
  • The normal ~ 3% Paypal fees would have resulted in $1,459.69 being kept by Paypal
  • My Paypal fees were only $103.96 – that’s a savings of $1,355.73!
  • I’ve paid $456.76 for the services – deduct this from the $1,355.73 and that leaves me with a net savings of $898.97.

Not factored in are the countless hours of my own time I’ve saved with invoicing and bookkeeping. Whatever time I save on my own business tasks is time I can be working, and billing, a client.

Join me on Friday, October 17, 2014 to learn how you can set up and utilize these services for yourself. (Registration link here)

Your time is valuable. Invest in yourself!


Have you been wondering "How Do I Start A Virtual Assistant Business? or "How To Find Virtual Assistant Jobs?".


Sony Xperia Z2 Tablet 300x168 Sonys New Xperia Z2 Tablet Takes Tech To A New Level #VZWbuzzI’ve never been much of a tablet girl because I feel I am much faster and efficient when I’m working from my laptop. Because I charge most of my clients for actual time spent I do my best to work from the devices best suited for the “job” and where I am most efficient. Therefore my tablet use is primarily for enjoyment only (web browsing, reading, social media, etc.).

Up until June 2014 my tablet exposure was with the first generation iPad that I got when they first came out. (Apple fans: Am I allowed to call the iPad a tablet?) The iPad was becoming increasingly less useful to me as many of the apps were no longer compatible with first generation and as a result I wasn’t entirely devastated when my iPad met an untimely demise this April when the screen was badly cracked as a result of my stupidity (not having the case closed before putting it into my luggage). I replaced the iPad with a Kindle Fire since it gave me what I needed for my leisurely needs.

I should have held out for a bit longer.

I was over the moon excited to receive a Sony Xperia Z2 tablet from Verizon last month. I’ve been using it quite a bit (primarily for enjoyment purposes) and this post won’t go into detail on all of the features.

NOTE: at the end of this post I have some other Xperia Z2 posts you may enjoy reading.

These are just some of the reasons why I’m loving this tablet:

  • Android based (Yes, I am partial to Android devices)
  • The lightest and thinnest tablet currently on the market (less than 16 oz.)
  • Military spec encryption (you do need to set this feature up as it’s not on by default)
  • Various screen unlock options including facial recognition (You DO have your devices secured, right?!)
  • If you lose your device you can remotely wipe all data using myXperia (for some reason mine isn’t working so I need to go into a Verizon store to have them help me figure out what’s wrong so I can’t tell you from personal experience how accurate the location service is)
  • They have over 18 million games, songs and movies in their library.  Set up a Sony Entertainment Network account and you receive six free pre-selected movies (I’ve finally watched a movie during a flight).
  • If you take a lot of photos you will enjoy the selection of Smart Social photo apps (My niece had a blast playing with AR Effects and adding dinosaurs and sea creatures to the photos she was taking)
  • Waterproof.  As in submersible in water! You can have this tablet in up to six feet of water for up to 30 minutes! Since I live on Florida’s Gulf Coast I did ask if it could use it in saltwater. You can but they do advise that you rinse it with fresh water to avoid having the salt corrode connection points. (I did record some pool videos and it was unsettling to knowingly walk into the water holding a device in my hand)

Accessories: Shell stand case with auto wake/sleep (a mere $8.95!) and screen protector shields

Although I rarely record videos I was anxious to use the tablet for recording so I could familiarize myself with it.

  • The quality is fantastic (though if you upload directly from the tablet to Facebook you will experience some quality loss – but that’s a Facebook thing)
  • It was super easy to trim the video so I could upload just the portion I wanted to Facebook (I’m all about easy, I rarely have the patience to muddle through trying to figure things out)
  • I purchased tablet mount and tripod from Amazon so I could record one of my dance lessons (video below). What surprised me most? The tablet clearly picked up nearly all of my chit chat with my instructor despite the fact the recording was taking place directly next to the music which I assumed would drown out the chit chat.

Bottom line: I love the Sony Xperia Z2 tablet! The one feature that particularly wowed me is the encryption. With it I’d be comfortable doing client bookkeeping on the tablet.

Enjoy my Salsa dance lesson video!


As member of a pretty cool team of influencers, I received the tablet (with a line of service) from Verizon. No additional compensation was provided nor did I promise positive feedback. All opinions are my own.

Other Sony Xperia Z2 posts you may enjoy:



Have you been wondering "How Do I Start A Virtual Assistant Business? or "How To Find Virtual Assistant Jobs?".


Depositphotos 5877664 xs 300x210 Device Tips and Apps to Be Better Prepared for Hurricanes #VZWbuzzWhen I first decided I was moving from Wisconsin to Florida many friends said something along the lines of, “Oh my gosh, aren’t you worried about hurricanes?” I told them I’d actually prefer hurricanes over tornados, which are pretty common in Wisconsin. I went on to explain that at least with hurricanes we typically have plenty of advance warning whereas with a tornado there is often not much time to react (or worse, it touches down when you’re sleeping).

It wasn’t until South Florida was watching Hurricane Isaac (2012) that I decided I better get an emergency kit and communication plan put together. Not only would I want to let my family know what was happening but I also needed to factor in how I was going to communicate to my clients. (As virtual assistants we want to be reliable and proactive when it comes to our clients.)

Our devices can play an important role in preparation, staying abreast of new developments and keeping our family and friends up to date with what’s happening. Here are just a few useful apps to check out.

Emergency Apps for Your Smartphone and Other Devices

  • FEMA’s mobile app has checklists, safety tips and lists of open shelters
  • Red Cross Hurricane Tracker offers many features including personalized location alerts, one touch “I’m safe” messaging, and preloaded content which can be accessed without a connection
  • NOAA Weather Free – this app has useful weather information and broadcasts but does not have severe weather alerts
  • Your local TV station may also have an app that has severe weather alerts

Device Tips for Hurricane Preparedness

  • Set up your device to receive WEA (Wireless Emergency Alerts). Verizon has a list of enabled devices and instructions on how to set them up.
  • Design a call tree with family, friends, and clients – this will help you shares status updates more efficiently and hopefully will help your device stay charged longer .
  • Purchase external power chargers/battery packs such as the Mophie Juice PackPower Pack Slim 4000 or the Anker Dual USB Portable Charger. NOTE: I have both the Power Pack Slim and the Anker – they are both fantastic and the Power Pack Slim is great for everyday use due to it’s small size (it fits easily into a purse).
  • A solar charger will come in useful as well if you’re without power for an extended time. This particular one also has an emergency flashlight.

There are a number of useful checklists available from organizations such as Red Cross, FEMA, and the National Weather Service but I found there wasn’t a comprehensive list available and so I downloaded all I could find and made up my own list. You’ll want to spend some time reviewing numerous sites and resources so you can be fully prepared.

Emergency Checklists and Resources

Have your emergency kit ready and consider these additional tips as part of your plan:

  • Be sure to have plenty of cash on hand – power is often out for an extended period of time after a hurricane and you’ll need a non-plastic method of payment for purchases you’ll need to make
  • If you lose power be sure to turn off your central air unit and fridge – this helps protect them from unexpected surges when the power is restored
  • Store your emergency kit items in an easy-to-carry plastic tote
  • A weather radio (preferably a hand crank model such as this one)

The last two hurricane seasons have been rather quiet but it’s never too soon to be ready. What other apps and resources have you used to prepare for severe weather?

As member of a pretty cool team of influencers, I have received devices from Verizon. No additional compensation was provided nor did I promise positive feedback. All opinions are my own.


Have you been wondering "How Do I Start A Virtual Assistant Business? or "How To Find Virtual Assistant Jobs?".


Touring Motorola’s HQ with Midwest Verizon Influencers #VZWbuzz

by Michelle MangenJuly 22, 2014 Verizon Lifestyle

The past four weeks have been packed with travel, two business trips and one personal, and I have two more personal trips coming up in the six weeks. One of the recent business trips was to Chicago with other Midwest Area Verizon Lifestyle members. It was a whirlwind and information packed day and a half! [...]

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Featured Virtual Assistant | Suzanna Kiraly of Abundant Ideas

by Michelle MangenJuly 10, 2014 Virtual Assistants

Introducing our featured virtual assistant: Suzanna Kiraly of Abundant Ideas How long have you been in business?  1 1/2 years What’s YOUR Story. How did you get started?  Our business began with a desire to share our knowledge and experience through our blog and to provide assistance to businesses in the areas we are passionate [...]

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