How overstuffed is your inbox? Is it easy to find that all-important email with the crucial reminder about your end-of-year tax dates on it? If you’re struggling to organise your Outlook Express files, then setting up email alerts is a good way to ensure you don’t forget important dates, priority work or urgent correspondence. It’s easy to take control of your Outlook system – it’s time to introduce yourself to the wonders of Outlook Rules!
Rules is a great function that can really help you to organise your correspondence by shifting emails into designated folders. But it can also give you a very useful ‘head’s up’ for important emails, for example, from your accountant to remind you that your tax returns are due. Using the Rules system you can get Outlook to play a particular sound to alert you of an incoming message, or it can flag it for actioning, which makes it much easier to spot in amongst all the other ordinary emails. This also moves it over to your ‘To Do’ list in your tasks, and works as an excellent reminder. Best of all, you can set a pop-up reminder at a predetermined time to alert you of an urgent and actionable event, and this is the best way of staying on top of your important tax dates.
How to do it
The easiest way to start is to find a system that is most likely to remind you. Ensure that the subject line you create for your reminder email gives you the information you need and a call to action, such as ‘Tax return dates – action now’.
The function you need to check is your Rules. Select your email (such as the reminder of tax return dates from your accountant) and right click on it. Choose ‘Rules’ from the menu and open up the Rules Wizard.
The first box allows you to decide whether you want to display it in the ‘New Item Alert’ window or move it to a particular folder. If you want to specify with more accuracy what action to take, then click on ‘Advanced’ for more options. This allows you to flag any emails that contain particular text or words, such as ‘year-end accounts’, for example. Once you’ve defined exactly what criteria you want to use as a filter, you can then tell the system what kind of alert you want, including attaching an alert message to any email within the specified criteria.
After clicking Next, you will be taken to a box that allows you to make exceptions to your new rule. If you are happy with the set-up (which can be changed at any time as your circumstances change), then the final box will allow you to name the new Rule. Click Finish and you’re done! Your important emails will now be much easier to locate.
You can also incorporate your accounting software such as QuickBooks into the system. It’s also wise to sign up to alerts from the Revenue service to ensure that you never miss an important date in the financial calendar. A list of all the key business dates can be found at ATO’s website .