Cindy Brugge

A Public Relations Student

Category: Bookkeeper Girl Blog

Money for Nothing and College for Free: Applying for the Scholarships Today that will Keep Your Family Out of Debt Later

Here at Bookkeeper Girl, we believe in higher education. Because we so deeply believe in college, we try to find ways to help fund the education of students.  We are constantly encouraging students to get out there and find creative ways to pay for college.

Each semester, Bookkeeper Girl provides a scholarship to a previous Bookkeeper Girl intern. Kim, our president, is also very involved with a local scholarship foundation, called What’s Your Plan Be, which gives scholarships to Denton High School senior girls.

Although we cannot personally fund the education of every student, there are many more scholarships available to students that are willing to apply. Many organizations offer money to young students and there are thousands of scholarships for every conceivable topic and hardship. Most scholarship deadlines are approaching and it’s time to apply, before it’s too late. Here are a few recommendations to find the scholarship that is right for you:

  1. First fill out the FAFSA. It will seem intimidating, but make yourself sit down and get it done. Most organizations ask for it when you fill out the application anyways, so you might as well get it knocked out. And remember: Federal grants are first come, first served—so don’t let too much time slip by before you complete it.
  2. Go to the scholarship office at your university or prospective university. Every school has alumni and school maintained programs that support scholarships for students. They can help direct you to some of the best scholarships according to your needs.
  3. Make a list. Write down every quality that makes you unique. Are you from another country? A member of a specific religious denomination? A dancer or athlete? Related to a founding father? A huge Taco Bell fan? Think of every possible little quirk or quality. Then start researching scholarships for those attributes. You will be surprised to find scholarships for the most random reasons, for example the Tall Clubs International offers a $1,000 scholarship to women over 5’10”.

In the end, it will all come down to your determination. Look at this process as a job. You wouldn’t expect your boss to pay you for work that wasn’t earned. Applying for scholarships is not easy, but you will reap the rewards later, when you aren’t in debt after you graduate. Keep looking for the money and you will find it, but it may take some hard work. Put in the hours now and school will be smooth sailing later.

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Working Weekends: What Technology has Done to Our Free Time

For generations before us, people survived the workweek just to get to 5 p.m. on Friday, so that they could come home, flop onto the couch and not move until Monday morning. In today’s world, the work environment has provided a “more flexible” environment that allows us the freedom to take our work home with us. Technology has opened numerous doors to make our work more portable and employers are integrating these techniques to the best of their ability, but at what cost?

With this new adaptable work atmosphere, it can lead to a lot of new territory that employees may not have initially anticipated. Questions start to arise. Do I have to be available just because I have a company cell phone? If I receive an email at 11:30 p.m. am I expected to answer it before morning? Am I allowed to say that no one can contact me on the weekends or will I be fired for drawing that line?

These questions have gone unanswered for many individuals and then their 40-hour workweek quickly expands to accommodate the numerous virtual tasks that they take home. Weekends were created to allow individuals the opportunity to spend time with family and studies have shown that time away from work is beneficial to mental health. We need time to relax with friends and family. However with online file systems and smart phones that can complete nearly any task, an entire office can fit in the back pocket of a pair of jeans and it can make that relaxing close to impossible.

How can you help your employees set boundaries that make for a fair working environment when they leave the office? Ask them these questions and make some decisions based on their answers.

  1. Would you be available to work from home occasionally?
  2. When is it a good time to contact you? (If they say “anytime,” that is a red flag. Encourage them to take time with family and have “off hours.” Even if it’s a little inconvenient for you, they will respect you for valuing their free time.)
  3. What is the best way to reach you?
  4. How quick of a turnaround should I expect on your communication?

After you receive this information, store it in their company paperwork and respect their answers. After all, the best way to earn respect is to give it and the best way to respect someone is to recognize that their time is valuable and not something that they choose to waste. These answers are a surefire way to reinstate stability in the virtual workplace.

Finding a Place to Stuff Those Extra Files

I like to consider myself an organized person, but let’s face it – I’m not really. Most of the time, my life is a bit of a mess. I do try to keep the chaos to a mild level, but there’s really no getting around it. When people come over, I do what all American women do, I start shoving things in drawers, especially that one drawer that we all have, the “This is a random object that literally has no place in my house so I will dump it here for now” drawer. As they walk through my home, they see me as a polished, organized individual and as I follow them I pray that they never get a look in my drawers for fear that they may never speak to me again.

As a Bookkeeper Girl employee, I would like to say that my finances have shaped up quite a bit and my office drawers are the least scary of the bunch, but for many people, the most disorganized place in their life is their desk drawer. With receipts crinkled and bank statements tossed in along with the rest, it can become somewhat of a mess. Then, by the end of the year they’re not really sure what anything is or how to file it. In the beginning of this new year, try something new. Spend the time and decide on an electronic filing system that can help you organize the various files in your life.

Filing important documents online has numerous benefits!

  1. In the hazardous environment that files float through today, documents are lost, destroyed or stolen if they aren’t stored properly, but technology can help ensure that even if your office burns down, you won’t lose your documents.
  2. With many online filing systems, your files will save not only online and on your work computer but can be automatically saved to every computer and smartphone you own. With that handy feature, you can have access to your files from anywhere.
  3. By moving everything to an electronic filing system, it will make it that much easier to share your documents with your accountant.
  4. Make sure to recycle your paper, because by integrating technology you are saving trees, as well.

With our taxes looming ahead, many of us make the commitment, yet again, to take the time to better organize our expenses this year. However few people actually have the guts to take back their desk drawers. Modern technology allows you to shred those receipts and better utilize that drawer space. I’ve listed a few different types of file storage systems below. Check them out and decide which is best for you and your files.

The Box:

Space: 1 2 3 4 5

Style: 1 2 3 4 5

Sharing: 1 2 3 4 5

Syncing: 1 2 3 4 5

Overall Storage: 1 2 3 4 5

This system was a personal favorite of mine. While it offers 5 GB to its first time users, it was also very user friendly. The sharing seemed to be the most intuitive and the iPhone app was very easy to use with many different options. However, it lacks in the file syncing qualities that Dropbox offers.

Dropbox:

Space: 1 2 3 4 5

Style: 1 2 3 4 5

Sharing: 1 2 3 4 5

Syncing: 1 2 3 4 5

Overall Storage: 1 2 3 4 5

Although this is the most popular online storage system, by far, I think it is the least efficient. Giving its users only 2 GB up front, it provides far less storage than other platforms. Dropbox does excel in its ability to keep your files updated on multiple devices. For example, if you save something in a file on your laptop, it is automatically updated on your desktop PC and your phone, while also available online. Its iPhone app leaves something to be desired with the smallest amount of options and the least attractive interface. However, Dropbox is easily the most popular and has a huge fan base that raves about its consistent strengths, so it shouldn’t be overlooked as a vital option.

SugarSync:

Space: 1 2 3 4 5

Style: 1 2 3 4 5

Sharing: 1 2 3 4 5

Syncing: 1 2 3 4 5

Overall Storage: 1 2 3 4 5

After researching countless file storage systems, this one is my favorite. Giving their users 5 GB up front, they compete with Box, but they are also just as easy to use as Dropbox, if not easier.  Their app was strong but didn’t beat the Box’s app. All around this is a great option.

 

If you invest the time now, you won’t regret switching to an online storage system. Good luck storing!

iPhone Apps that Your Small Business Can’t Live Without

Every small business owner knows that living without a smartphone is next to impossible. Many of them are constantly on the go and occasionally running their business out of their car. Equipping a phone with the necessary apps is imperative in today’s small business community. The apps listed below are the best apps to manage a small business in our fast paced, technology dependent work environment.

Money Apps

Quickbooks: Manage your expenses, create invoices, keep up with receipts and send estimates… all with your iPhone. Quickbooks allows you to keep a handle on your expenses for your personal life and your business.

Square Register: This app allows its users to turn their iPhone into a mini-register that can give businesses the option to receive payments with a credit card.

Bank App: Most banks have an app for the iPhone to manage your online banking. Download your bank’s app to allow you to have on the go money management.

iTip: Tipping can always be an awkward moment, if you don’t know what certain services call for in the term of gratuity. This app can help you with the tipping process when the bill comes.

TimeSheet: Keep track of your hours with this easy-to-use clock-in service that lets you send your time sheet via email.

 

Communications Apps

Email: Sync your many email accounts with the iPhone email system and receive all of your emails in one place.

LinkedIn: Manage your business profile from anywhere with the LinkedIn app. Also, consider using other social media apps, such as Facebook, TweetDeck and Pinterest.

Plaxo: This contact syncing application allows its users to maintain their many contacts on an online browser. It also will update outdated contact information and send reminder alerts for birthdays.

CamCard: Tired of keeping up with hundreds of business cards? CamCard is an easy way to organize the information found on business cards, by taking a picture of the card and storing the pictures in alphabetical order by last name.

 

Travel Apps

Trip Cubby: Track your mileage for deduction or reimbursement with easy to use data entry and excel compatible reports that can be sent via email.

Flight track: This simple app allows you to keep an eye on real-time status updates for gates, delays and cancellations on your business flights.

Google Maps: Download this intuitive travel map app. It excels in navigation and kicks the new iPhone maps app’s butt.

 

Document Apps

Scanner Pro: Scan in documents using your iPhone camera and leave the bulky scanner at the office.

Adobe Reader: Every business owner needs a good PDF reader on their phone. Adobe has created a basic, but useful app for this purpose.

DropBox: Keep track of all of your documents in one place and rest assured knowing that any change you make will be saved online and to all of your computers/devices.

Docusign: Need a client to sign a contract? Update to e-signing technology and download Docusign so that you can manage your contracts from your smartphone.

 

These apps should help make your life easier and help your company run smoother. Make sure to organize them on your phone to further streamline your experience. Also, feel free to comment below and share how these apps made your on-the-go business interactions better.

 

Bookkeeper Girl Attends Women of Faith Conference

Several connections were advanced, team camaraderie was developed and faith was stirred. All in all, the Women of Faith Conference was a success and the start of some beautiful partnerships for Bookkeeper Girl.

“You gotta have faith” is a core belief of Kim Pollard, found of Bookkeeper Girl. She has consistently made strides toward integrating this conviction into her business sense.

After hearing about the annual conference held in Dallas, Pollard resolved to sponsor the attendance of three lucky employees. She coordinated their travel and covered the ticket and hotel expenses.

Throughout the weekend, the Bookkeeper Girl team listened to numerous speakers and connected with businesswomen of faith from all over the nation.

“I especially loved seeing my old friend, Phyllis. I’m so excited to reconnect in business with her” said Pollard, about the highlights of the conference.

Phyllis Pittman owns Cookies by Design, with multiple locations throughout the Dallas area. “We were texting all weekend. I’m really excited to partner with her in the future” said Pollard.

Rachael Ruyle, bookkeeper at Bookkeeper Girl, also deeply enjoyed her time over the weekend.

“All of the speakers had the magic to make me feel like they were talking right to me” said Ruyle. “It would be super hard to pick which one I liked the best, but I particularly liked Lisa Harper.”

Harper, author of Stumbling Upon Grace and a women’s ministry speaker at the Women of Faith Conference, touched many of the Bookkeeper Girl employees over the weekend. In fact, Pollard has high hopes to partner with her in the future, by supporting her ministries.

Bookkeeper Girl is also in the process of partnering with the Women of Faith Conference for 2013, with the intention to sponsor the event annually.