December 2007

Free Business Accounting Software

The expenses associated with starting a business can be overwhelming, so free is good, when you can find it. You can download Microsoft Office Accounting Express 2008 for free (there is also a pro version – more features, but it costs $$).

With the Express version you can:

  • Create quotes, invoices, and receipts
  • Write checks, track expenses, and reconcile online bank accounts
  • Track employee time
  • Processes credit card transactions
  • Create reports and export them to Office Excel for more detailed analysis
  • List items from your inventory, upload and manage pictures, and track activity in real time for eBay sales

See the SCL Biz Guide to Starting a Business for more help.

Local Business Materials Exchange

The State of California has developed a materials exchange program that “provides a resource which businesses, citizens, schools, nonprofits, and governmental entities can use to match those who have unwanted materials with others who may want those materials. Materials exchange promotes the reuse and recycling of items and materials that might otherwise be thrown away.” CalMAX is a “FREE, on-line materials exchange service designed to help businesses, organizations, local governments, industry, schools and individuals find markets for nonhazardous materials that may otherwise be discarded.”

We are fortunate to have SonoMax, which is a “free service designed to match the discards of businesses and other entities in Sonoma County with potential users. Any business, nonprofit group, or government agency can list materials they have available or would like to acquire. The program is operated through the County’s Eco-Desk Hotline. SonoMAX listings are published quarterly. Listings are updated regularly on the Web site.” For more information about SonoMax, please contact the Sonoma County Waste Management Agency at (707)565-3668 or email

Small Business Flexes Its Political Muscle

John Arensmeyer and Michael Russo co-authored an interesting article in the San Francisco Chronicle [11/9/07]. “California can’t wait for health care reform.” We all know that health care is not only an important issue for every person, it is also an issue for business.

John Arensmeyer is the founder and CEO of Small Business Majority – “Small Business Majority is a national nonprofit organization of business entrepreneurs working to ensure prosperity in the 21st century economy by building a politically aware and active community of small business leaders….5 million small businesses make up 52% of private sector workforce. Small business creates 75% of all new jobs and anchors our communities. It’s time that we recognize our importance to America’s future and exercise our majority status.”

Check out their website for information about health care, taxes and regulation, access to capitol, and innovation and technology and how these vital issues effect small business. Thank you to Ann Stroberger for sending this info to SCL Biz.

Does Your Business Need Brenda Johnson, aka The Closer?

Essential Guide to Workplace Invesitgations by GuerinAccording to a recent study “employee theft was estimated to be responsible for 47% of store inventory shrinkage. That represents an estimated employee theft price tag of about 17.6-billion dollars per year” and that is only one of the workplace problems owners and managers face – others include violence, discrimination, and harassment. If you are facing one of these risks, Lisa Guerin’s new book, The Essential Guide to Workplace Investigations: How to Handle Employee Complaints & Problems, [Nolo Press, 2006] can help you decide if an investigation is warranted, how to plan and document it, and how to take immediate action, if necessary. The book includes a CD-ROM with all of the forms, as well as audio interviews and scenarios.

Stay on the Right Side of the Law

Started in Berkeley in 1971, Nolo Press is a publisher with a mission: “To make America’s legal system accessible to everyone.” They not only publish excellent books on every aspect of the law, written for the average person, they offer online resource centers and there is one for Business & Human Resources, with articles on starting a business, buying and selling a business, ownership structures, tax deductions for the self-employed, how to determine how much space you need and understanding commercial leases, collecting business debts, and so much more.

The Library has a standing order for all Nolo Press print publications so that we can offer you the latest editions; many include a CD-Rom with forms. Check our catalog for the availability of all Nolo Press publications.

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