PSFK Conference New York: March 27

I am on the planning committee for the PSFK conference, and I highly recommend attending. It is March 27 at the Art Director’s Club. The PSFK conference is a convergence of creative ideas, trends, social media and online ephemera. Chef Eric Ripert, Graham Hill from Treehugger, and Josh Spear are among the speakers/panelists.  I will be there volunteering in a purple shirt, so stop by and hello.  In the meantime, check out for daily bits of trends and news.

Run Quick Reports To Keep Expenses In Check

Lately, the world financial news has been grim, and the “R” word, recession, has been whispered or mumbled about. There is no need to panic, but it the right time to be proactive. The U.S. Congress is  reviewing a economic stimulus package that may provide tax payers a rebate of $300-$1200, depending on one’s tax bracket and claimed dependents. The stimulus package is not immediate, so work now to reduce expenses. Even if business slows down, you can still meet profit goals and/or minimum loss but watching your expenses. If you are using Quickbooks, you can run “QuickReports” on each of the expense accounts listed in your Chart of Accounts. Review these reports to see if they are out of sync with what the business can afford or over budget.

In addition, if you have preferred vendors, then maybe you can negotiate discounts which will be a win-win since your vendor would appreciate your regular business.  Another way to save is to become a member of a retailer’s rewards club.  Staples and Barnes and Noble are two retailers that come to mind, but there are plenty others.

Web 2 Point Dough: Confess, Freelance, Estimate

Confess: Geezeo has a Twitter group, Money Confession, where people can anonymously confess their money woes. It is kinda like debtor’s anonymous on Web 2.0 crack.

Freelance: Freelance Switch is a great blog with tips for freelance including setting your rates. (via Shifting Careers blog)

Estimate: Start now to figure out to get a free estimate of your tax bill/refund by using H&R Block’s tax calculator.

Got Independent Contractors? Issue 1099 Forms By January 31

1099-MISC (Miscellaneous Income) form needs to be issued by your business when you pay  independent contractors $600 or more for services.

You can purchase the forms cheaply at Staples.  Make sure to purchase 1099-MISC forms. I was in a rush the other day and picked up 1099-INT forms.  To complete the forms, you need a list of all the independent contractors, their current address and social security number.  If you are using Quickbooks, you can run a 1099 vendor report to get a list of the total amount paid to vendors.  If you don’t use Quickbooks or another accounting system, then just review your check register and add up all payments made to each independent contractors.

The deadline for issuing 1099 forms is in two weeks, so get the forms now!

Will Keep Nickels For Treats

Butterscotch Pecan Brownie

Yesterday, I worked at one of my clients, Kim Ima of the Treats Truck. She gave me a delicious butterscotch pecan brownie. Sometimes bookkeeping is sweet.

The cool thing about Quickbooks Pro is that if you set up your Charts Of Accounts properly, you can do cost analysis of your materials like sugar, butter, flour, and run “Quick Reports” on the accounts. If your business has many elements to create a final product or final deliverable for a service, then it is essential to break each of the elements and categorize them as Cost of Goods Sold. Then you can review a “Quick Report” on each element and see if these costs are proper and how they affect your profit margin. Review your costs may cause to raise your prices/fees or seek out new vendors that are less expensive.

Buxfer: Track Your Money

Buxfer: Track Your Money

Buxfer is another new personal finance application.  It has many of the same features of Wesabe, Geezeo and Mint. The difference is that Buxfer facilitates budget management and payments to and from friends and roommates.
1) You can send money via Amazon Payments

2) Get updates via Twitter or SMS

3) Create a budget and monitor spending.

I signed up for a FREE account.  It will be interesting to see how Buxfer works.

Web 2 Point Dough

Here’s  a new regular bit where I feature links of stuff I find around the ‘nets.  Lately, personal finance is really getting buzz and it is not just the new year resolution stuff.

  • Givewell-Prepaid Healthcare cards.
  • SavvySugar-The latest blog in the Sugar network, which is about career and finance.
  • Spendview– Analyze your spending, with bells and whistles.
  • A $ Out Of 15 cents– Personal finance blog on, written by Cincinnati journalist Keith Reed.

The Quicky and Dirty on Quicken Online

Quicken Online launched today, and it is ready to compete with the Wesabes, Geezeos and Mints of the Web 2.0 personal finance world. The site offers tips on personal finances as will as a bill payment calendar.

Site Aesthetics: The cleanest and easiest to navigate of all the Intuit products.

Browser Compatibility: Thanks goodness that Quicken does NOT use Active-X, so it is compatible with Explorer, Firefox and Safari.

Fee: Let me say that $2.99/month is so negligible that that the service should be either free or it should promoted as a yearly fee like $36/year. Psychological Pricing still works in 2008.

Summary: If you already use Quicken desktop, this may a great solution for you, so take it for a spin since the first month is FREE. If you are in the market for a new personal finance app, then try one of the free (W, G, M) first and compare. If you are using an Excel Spreadsheet, please for the love of all that is money and holy, then grow up and get on a personal finance system. Your bookkeeper and CPA will thank you!

Related: Lifehacker’s post on Quicken Online.