All posts by QuickBooks Advantage

Customer Statements: When, Why, and How

 If your business relies on invoices to get paid, there may be times when you need to create and send customer statements.

When you send an invoice, you enter into an informal contract with a customer. You expect that you will receive payment in a timely fashion for goods or services you’ve sold.

That probably works most of the time. But what happens when it doesn’t, when you’ve sent a reminder and are still waiting? And what do you do when a customer orders frequently, and is confused about what’s been paid and what hasn’t?

If you’re using QuickBooks Online, you can easily send a statement, a list of sales transactions, credits, and payments. There are three kinds of statements:

  • Balance Forward. This document emphasizes what’s currently owed by displaying it at the top. Below that is a list of sales transactions that occurred between two dates that you specify.
  • Open Item. You select a date, and the statement shows all transactions that were completed before it.
  • Transaction Statement. There’s no total balance here, just the amounts billed and received for every transaction.

 

Setting Up Statements

Balance Forward statements cover a period of transactions that you define.

There are three way to create statements. You can:

  • Click the Plus (+) icon at the top of the screen.
  • Dispatch one while you’re in a customer record.
  • Launch a batch action from the Customer

Before you create your first statement, though, make sure QuickBooks Online is set up the way you want it to be. Click the gear icon in the upper right of the screen and select Your Company  Account and Settings. Select the Sales tab and scroll down to Statements. Click Statements to open the options there.

You can List each transaction as a single line or List each transaction including all detail lines. Click the button in front of the one you prefer. If you want to Show aging table at bottom of statement, click in the box. This will show customers how many days each transaction is overdue.

Click Save when you’re done.

 

Creating Statements

 If you’ve already started entering transactions so there’s some data in QuickBooks Online, click the Plus (+) icon in the upper right corner of the screen.

Tip: If you don’t see the plus (+) icon, you’re in an active screen. Click the X in the upper right to close it, saving it first if necessary.

Click Statement, which is located under Other on the far right. Under Statement Type, select Balance Forward. Below that is the Customer Balance Status field. Do you want to see customers with open balances, those who have overdue invoices, or all customers? The third option will include credit memos.

Select a Start Date and End Date. In this example, these were 04/09/2018 and 09/09/2018, and the statement date was 09/10/2018.  Click Apply. QuickBooks Online will display a list of matching customers. Click Print or Preview at the bottom of the screen to see your statements.

In this preview, the customer’s balance forward on 04/09/2018 was $8,245.05. A catch-up payment was made on 08/09/2018 and another invoice sent on 09/01/2018, which accounts for the TOTAL DUE at the top.

From this screen, you can either Print the statements or Close to go back to the previous page, where you can Save and Send.

 

Two Other Options

As we stated earlier, there are two other ways to create statements. Click Sales in the left vertical toolbar and highlight the Customers tab by clicking on it. Hover your cursor over a customer and click the down arrow at the very end of that line. From the list that opens, select Create statement.

You can also hand-pick multiple customers to receive statements. With the Customers window open, click in the box in front of your choices, and then click the down arrow next to Batch actions at the top of the list. Select Create statements.

Creating statements in QuickBooks is fairly simple, but you don’t want to send an inaccurate one to a customer. Make sure your transactions are up to date before you generate any customer statements, and choose your date ranges carefully. As always, we at Squire are available to help with this task – or any other area of QuickBooks Online that might be confusing to you. We’re here to help you be proactive to avoid problems in the long run. Contact one of our certified Quickbooks ProAdvisors at (801) 225-6900.

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How to Enter Bills in Quickbooks

This month we’ll be talking about how to enter bills in QuickBooks. It’s not as much fun as creating invoices, but the bills must be paid. Here’s how QuickBooks helps.

We’re in a bit of a transitional period with business bill-paying. Some paper bills still come via the U.S. Mail, but you may also be getting some through email. Others don’t come at all: you might get a reminder email, but you have to go to the vendor’s site to make a payment.

How do you keep track of it all so you don’t miss any due dates? You could record them on a calendar, but you’d still have to go back to the actual bill to retrieve the amount. But where is it? Is it online, in your email inbox, in a file folder, or hanging on the wall?

QuickBooks can organize this unpleasant process, saving time and helping you avoid confusion. Here’s how it works.

A 2-Step Process

QuickBooks divides your accounts payable tasks into two separate processes: entering bills and paying them. It requires some extra time upfront as you complete the first step, but streamlines the second so that the actual bill-paying only takes a few seconds.

To get started, click Enter Bills on QuickBooks’ home page to open a window like this:

Before you can pay a bill in Quickbooks, you need to create a record for it.

The toolbar for the Enter Bills window is not pictured in the image above, but you don’t need it yet. Rather, you start by clicking the down arrow in the field next to VENDOR and selecting the biller’s name from your list (or clicking <Add New> if you haven’t yet created a record for that entity). The ADDRESS should fill in automatically, as should the date.

If you set up default payment TERMS in that vendor’s record, your preference should show in that field and the BILL DUE date should be correct. Enter the AMOUNT DUE and complete any of the optional fields that the transaction requires (REF. NO., DISCOUNT DATE, and MEMO).

Since this is a utility bill, the Expenses tab should be highlighted, and the amount you entered above should appear in it. Below that is the ACCOUNT field; open that list and choose the right one. Don’t worry about the CUSTOMER:JOB and BILLABLE fields. These will only be completed when you’re charging a customer for an expense or item.

Warning: If you’re not familiar with the concept of assigning accounts to transactions, please schedule some time with us by calling Squire at (801) 225-6900. This concept is a critical designation that affects so many other areas of QuickBooks.

Saving Your Work

The toolbar from the Enter Bills window

The Memorize Transaction window will open with your vendor already entered in the Name field. You’ll have three options here:

  • Add to my Reminders list. QuickBooks can add this bill to its list of Reminders. To ensure that you’ll see this every time you open the software and can make any changes necessary, open the Edit menu and click Preferences | Reminders| My Preferences. Click in the box in front of Show Reminders List when opening a Company file. Then click the Company Preferences tab (if you’re the administrator) and find the Bills to Pay row. Click the appropriate button to indicate whether you want QuickBooks to Show Summary or Show List, and enter the number of days before due date.
  • Do Not Remind Me. Just what it sounds like.
  • Automate Transaction Entry. You can only select this if the transaction will be exactly the same every time (except for the date). If the number of transactions will be limited, enter the Number Remaining. And tell QuickBooks how many Days in Advance To Enter.

If you choose the third option here, be very careful when you define the automation. You should really only do this if you’re an advanced user.

When you’re done, click OK to close the box, and save the bill.

Next month, we’ll talk about the second step: the actual paying of bills. In the meantime, let us know if you want to schedule a session to go over any aspect of your accounts payable – or anything else in QuickBooks. Please call Squire at (801) 225-6900 to schedule an appointment with one of our ProAdvisors.

Sending QuickBooks Info to Accountants

Written By: Jennifer Amos 

 

QuickBooks allows you to easily send your QuickBooks information regardless of whether you are using the online or desktop version. Below are some helpful instructions below.

 

QuickBooks Online:

QuickBooks Online allows you to invite an accountant to view your QuickBooks Online file through email:

Click the Gear icon on the top left of your screen

Click Manage Users

At the very bottom of the screen you will see Accounting Firms – select Send Invitation

As a note – please check with your accountant before sending the invite to them. They may have a special email that those invitations should go to.

And you’re done! They will receive a notification that they have access and can view your QuickBooks Online file.

 

QuickBooks Desktop:

QuickBooks Desktop has several options for sending information over to your accountant including accountant’s copy and backup copy options.

 

An accountant’s copy allows your accountant to adjust and clean data for the tax return without preventing you from continuing to work in your QuickBooks file. The greatest benefit of an accountant’s copy is that once the tax return is complete, the accountant can return that copy back to you with all the changes and they will be put into your QuickBooks.

 

To create an accountant’s copy:

Go to File > Send Company File > Accountant’s Copy > Client Activities

Here you will have two options:

Save File – this allows you to save it to a flash drive or your computer for sending through whichever way is most secure for you

Send to Accountant – this uses the Intuit Accountant File Transfer Service to securely email the file over to your accountant

As a note – please speak with the accountant about password settings so they can access the file once received

 

A backup with a date after the end of the year can be used as well, but it does not allow the accountant to make changes that will convert back into your QuickBooks file. In this case, you will want to work with your accountant regarding how to get any adjusting entries from the tax returns entered into your QuickBooks file.

 

To create a backup:

Go to File > Back Up Company >  Create a Local Backup

Save the file

Speak with your accountant about a secure way to send the file to them or if you will be delivering a flash drive to their office.

 

QuickBooks Advantage

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Polish Your Image: Customize QuickBooks’ Forms

The invoices and other forms you send to customers and vendors should reflect your company’s attention to detail, accuracy, and consistency.

 

Every opportunity you have to interact with your customers and vendors is critical. Whether it’s a phone call, an in-person connection, or an email, how you present yourself reveals a lot about you. Are you efficient? Friendly? Do you handle orders and problems and payment issues quickly and carefully?

Your accounting forms can also contribute to your image. They should always be:

  • Neat and attractive.
  • Easy to read, with the most important information displayed prominently.
  • Consistent with any graphics you use on other company materials.
  • Accurate, above all.

You might be able to use at least some of QuickBooks’ form templates as is, without any modifications. But couldn’t they be better? More visually appealing? Formatted to include only the fields that your business most often needs? QuickBooks contains the customization tools you need to make them so.

Improving What Exists

You can personalize your QuickBooks forms and make them consistent with any design themes your brand may use.

We’ll look at the modification options for an invoice, though, depending on what version of QuickBooks you’re using, you can also work with sales receipts, purchase orders, statements, estimates, sales orders, and credit memos. Start by opening the Lists menu and selecting Templates. Highlight Intuit Product Invoice in the list. Click the down arrow next to Templates in the lower left corner and choose Edit Template.

The above image displays part of the window that opens. Here, you can add a logo, change the color scheme, and change fonts for your company’s contact information and the labels that identify each field (like Bill ToTerms, and Quantity). The right pane of this window shows you what the form will look like as you make changes.

Nothing you’ve done so far will prevent you from using Intuit’s pre-printed forms. But when you click Additional Customization at the bottom of the screen, you’ll be warned that if you make modifications beyond this point, the forms may not print correctly. To be safe, click Make a Copy. You’ll be able to print this new version on plain paper.

Deeper Customization

The image below shows you part of the window that opens when you click on Additional Customization. The first two columns here are the most important; they let you specify the labeled fields that will appear on your invoices. When Header is the active column, you’ll be able to choose the content that will go at the top of your form, like DateInvoice Number, and Terms.

Next to each default label, you’ll see boxes for Screen and Print. Click in these boxes to create or delete checkmarks; this will indicate whether each label will appear in the software itself and which will be printed for your customers to see. If you’d like to change the language QuickBooks uses to describe each, enter your preferred word or phrase in the Title column.

With the Header column highlighted, you can shape the appearance of the top section of your invoices.

Warning: As you’re checking and unchecking boxes, a dialog box may open telling you that your changes will cause some fields to overlap on your form. If you click the Default Layout button, QuickBooks will make automatic adjustments to fix this. Clicking Continue means you’ll have to use the software’s Layout Designer to make your own adjustmentsThis tool is not particularly intuitive, and it requires some design skills. If you must work with the Layout Designer, let us help.

When you click the Columns tab, you’ll see a list of the fields available for the main body of your invoices, like DescriptionQuantity, and Rate. This works similarly to how you just modified the Header, with one exception: You’ll be able to enter numbers in the Order column to specify the placement of each field. Here again, you’ll be able to watch a preview of your form change in the right pane.

If you want to start over, click the Default button to revert the form to its original state. When you’re done, click OK.

Neatness Counts

Whether you print and mail your forms or simply dispatch them electronically, we strongly encourage you to make them as professional and polished as you possibly can. Their appearance will enhance or detract from the image your customers and vendors have of your business. Let us know if we can help here. We’d be happy to help you learn about and implement the customization options that QuickBooks offers.

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Creating Product and Service Records in QuickBooks Online

QuickBooks Online is good at managing and tracking inventory – as long as you’ve created thorough records.

 

When you first started your business, you might have been able to keep track of your merchandise by counting manually. But as you and your product list grew, this became impractical. You might have recorded it all in a spreadsheet, or even a box full of notecards.

QuickBooks Online has a much better way. Whether you sell products or services or both, you need records of specific items to use in transactions and reports. Those records are especially important if you have physical inventory; they can store details that help you know, for example, when it’s time to reorder.

Building a database of your inventory is time-consuming work that requires a lot of detail. But the information it supplies will be of great significance as you make critical buying decisions.

Detailed Templates

It’s easy enough to create your individual records. To get started, click the gear icon in the upper right corner of QuickBooks Online and select Products and Services under Lists. A table will open that will eventually contain a comprehensive list of what you sell. Click New in the upper right corner, and the Product/Service information pane slides out. You’ll see your four options here:

  • Inventory: Products you buy and/or sell
  • Non-inventory: Products you buy and/or sell that don’t require tracking
  • Services: Services you sell
  • Bundle: Products and/or services that you sell together

We’ll focus on the first option. Click Inventory. Enter the product’s Name and SKU (if there is one) and click the pencil icon to upload a photo if you’d like. If this item is going to be a sub-product or service of another, you’d click the box in front of that option and select the “parent” product or service from the drop-down list.

 

 

To create an Inventory item record in QuickBooks Online, you’ll have to fill in several fields. 

How many do you currently have of that item? Enter the number in the field to the right of Initial quantity on hand, and then enter the As of date in the next box. When your stock level hits a certain number, you’ll want to reorder more. Enter that number in the box to the right of Reorder point.

Your item needs to be assigned to an Inventory asset account for tracking and reporting purposes. This field should default to Inventory Asset. If it doesn’t, or if you want a more thorough explanation of this element of accounting, contact us.

Enter a description of the item in the Sales information box; this will appear on sales forms. What will your customers be charged for it? This is the Sales price/rate. The Income account should automatically display Sales of Product Income, and you should click in the box in front of Is taxable if that’s the case.

If you buy the item to resell, enter a description in the Purchasing information box, and provide your Cost, the price you pay when you buy the item from another source. The Expense account should default to Cost of Goods Sold.

When you’re done, save the record.

Viewing Your Records 

 

Once you create a record for an item or service, it will appear in this table.

You don’t have to create records for absolutely every product or service you sell before you start using them. When you create an invoice, for example, and you open the drop-down list under Product/Service, the option at the top of the list will be + Add new. Select that, and the Product/Service information pane opens. You can create a record on the fly.

To get to the list of the product and service records you’ve created, click the gear icon in the upper right and select Products and Services, like we did early on here. You’ll see a screen similar to the one pictured above. You’ll also notice that you can link to several action screens from each entry.

If you maintain careful item records, you’ll be able to create a number of reports that can advise you on the state of your inventory. Click on Reports in the toolbar, and then All Reports | Manage Products and Inventory. These reports are fairly self-explanatory, but by customizing them, you can get even more focused insight. We can help you with this. We’d also be happy to go over any other aspect of inventory-tracking and management that’s confusing. Just let us know when you want to get started.

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Get Paid Faster Using QuickBooks

Are your customers slow about paying their invoices? QuickBooks can help accelerate your receivables.

 

Your company’s cash flow depends largely on how quickly your customers pay the invoices you’ve sent. And if you’re like most small businesses, those checks tend to dribble in close to—and after—the due date. If you operate on a slim margin, this often means that you’re late at paying your own bills.

It’s essential, then, that you do what you can to get incoming revenue moving as quickly as possible. QuickBooks offers numerous ways to help you accomplish that critical goal.

Simplify the Payment Process

 The single most effective step you can take to speed up customer remittances is to allow payment by credit card or electronic check. If you’re currently only accepting paper checks, you already know what problems that option can create, like mailing time, trips to the bank, and insufficient funds.

To establish this capability, you’ll have to sign up for a merchant account that will connect your bank to the financial institutions used by your customers. There are fees associated with this, and the initial setup will be unfamiliar to you. We can help with this.

Once you sign up for a merchant account, you’ll be able to accept payments from customers by credit card and bank transfer.

 Having a merchant account will accelerate your receivables and improve your company’s cash flow, but it has other benefits, too. For example:

  • Your customers will appreciate the convenience, and may even be more likely to make a purchase.
  • In 2018, customers and prospects expect to be able to pay for items and services electronically. Not allowing this affects their perception of you as a forward-thinking, progressive business.
  • You’ll save time, which translates to money. Instead of chasing payments, you can be working on ways to meet your goals and help your company grow.

 Always Know Where You Stand

 If you’re conscientious about keeping your records and transactions updated, you’ll always have access to the most current data about your company’s financial status. You’ll be able to answer questions from customers and vendors quickly and accurately, and your daily accounting tasks will be much easier to accomplish.

There’s another benefit, though: reports. One of the five best things about QuickBooks is its ability to create dozens of reports using pre-formatted templates. You only have to choose the one you want to see, and the software will display it using your company’s data. You also have the option to customize these reports extensively, so they contain the exact cross section of data that you want to see.

 

QuickBooks contains dozens of templates for pre-formatted reports that you can customize and create very quickly.

 You can see in the image above that several of QuickBooks’ reports are focused specifically on the status of your customers’ invoices and payments. We strongly recommend that you run these reports regularly. The more you know about who is behind and by how much, the more targeted your collections efforts will be.

You’ll also notice that there’s a category of reports called Accountant and Taxes. You can certainly create these yourself, but some, like Trial Balance, will be unfamiliar to you. There are others listed under Company & Financial that are quite complex, but quite important. We’d be happy to analyze these for you on a regular basis (monthly or quarterly) and provide insight that will help you make better business decisions.

Remind Late Payers

 There are all kinds of reasons why customers pay invoices late. Their bills may have been lost in the mail. They may have ordered so much that they’re confused about which invoices haven’t been paid. And they may just be low on funds.

You can’t do much about the latter reason, but QuickBooks provides a way for you to update customers about their past due payments: statements.

Sometimes, customers just need a full accounting of what they owe in the form of a statement.

 It’s not difficult to follow QuickBooks’ customization options for statements, but we’re here to help if you run into difficulties. In fact, we’d be happy to sit down with you and talk about these as well as other options for improving your company’s cash flow. It’s a multi-faceted problem with many solutions; we can go over the options with you. Contact us now to work on making the rest of 2018 more profitable.

 

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Getting Ready for Payroll in QuickBooks Online

Taking on your company’s payroll with QuickBooks Online? Knowing what you’re up against ahead of time will make your setup tasks much easier.

Payroll is probably the most complex element of small business accounting. Not only are you directly responsible to your employees, but you also have to make sure you’re handling everything related to benefits and payroll taxes correctly.

Whether you’re switching from a manual system to QuickBooks Online, or you’ve just hired your first employee, you’ll soon discover that the site can make your payroll-related tasks much more organized and accurate – speeding up the process tremendously.

But before you start getting ready for your first payroll run, you have a lot of setup work to be done. Be sure to leave yourself time before those first paychecks are expected.

Our Purpose Here

We’ll provide some step-by-step instruction, but initially, we just want you to see what information you’ll need to have available and how QuickBooks Online handles it. This is not meant to be a payroll setup tutorial.

Building a Backbone

There’s no particular order set in stone for your payroll preparation tasks, although you will need to provide some background information about your company and its policies before you can start creating employee records.

QuickBooks Online doesn’t walk you through the steps required. It does though display a page with links to all of the data you’ll have to enter. Click the gear icon in the upper right, and then click Payroll Settings. You’ll see this screen:

QuickBooks Online’s Payroll Settings screen displays links to the pages where you’ll manage your setup tasks.

You would have entered information about your Contact Information and Work Locations (under the Business Information heading) when you first signed on to QuickBooks Online. At the same time, you would have been exposed to the Chart of Accounts, which already has accounts designated for payroll. You can see them by clicking Preferences | Accounting, but please do not customize these. If modifications are needed, we’ll do them for you.

Payroll Policies

How often will you pay your employees? Go up to the Payroll heading in the upper left and click on Pay Schedules. Click Create and open the drop-down list next to Pay Period to select the frequency desired. Then enter the date for the first payroll you’ll run in QuickBooks Online and the end date for the period that it covers. Click the box below if you want this to be the default setting for all employees. Then click OK to return to the previous page.

Open the Vacation and Sick Leave Policies window. If you don’t yet have accrual rules for these paid days off, let us help you here. It’s complicated. When you’re done, click the back arrow to return to the Pay Policies window and select Deductions/Contributions. Are you offering benefits like health insurance? You’ll need to have your paperwork and information handy before you start completing this section.

Before you can pay employees, you’ll need to have entered information about the benefits you offer so you can withhold dollars for them.

Click the plus sign (+) in front of Add a New Deduction/Contribution and complete the fields here, then click OK. You’ll assign these deductions to employees on their individual records in QuickBooks Online. If there are any Employee Garnishments needed (like child support), click the down arrow next to Add Garnishment for and select the worker from the list. You’ll provide details for these in the window that opens. This information was most likely provided to you by the agency requesting it. When you’re done, click OK.

Taxes and More

If you’re new to payroll and have never dealt with payroll taxes before, you’re going to need our help getting this complicated element set up correctly. Even if you have, we’d recommend that you let us work with you. QuickBooks Online does a good job of providing guidance here, but failure to submit payroll taxes (or pay them incorrectly) can lead to penalties and fines – or worse.

There are other setup tasks you’ll need to complete, like:

  • Connecting your payroll bank account to QuickBooks Online.
  • Creating employee records.
  • Setting payroll production preferences.

Setup is by far the most challenging part of processing payroll in QuickBooks Online. Once that’s done, you’ll just be entering hours and making modifications. Please do connect with us if you’re planning to take this on, and we’ll make sure you get a good start.

  • Are you using a payroll service or doing payroll manually? Consider letting QuickBooks Online taking over this task.
  • QuickBooks Online contains links to your payroll setup tasks, but it doesn’t walk you through the process. Let us.
  • Hiring your first employee? Talk to us about managing your payroll in QuickBooks Online.
  • Are you offering vacation and sick time leave to your employees for the first time? We can help you set up accrual rules.
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Tracking Time in QuickBooks, Part 2

We’ll be continuing the two-part series we started last month.

Last month, we learned about getting QuickBooks ready for time-tracking by activating it in Preferences. We also created a record for a service item. This month, we’ll actually use that record in the two ways you’ll be using it in QuickBooks: to pay employees for their hourly work and to bill customers for services.

Recording Employee Hours

There are two ways to enter hours for your employees who provide services to customers and are paid by the hour. The first is to create a work ticket for a single activity. Click Enter Time on the home page, and then Time/Enter Single Activity to open this window:

Single-activity work tickets for employee hours are especially useful if you need to set a timer.

First, check the date to make sure it displays the day when the work was actually done, not recorded. Click the arrow in the field next to Name and select the employee’s name from the drop-down list that opens, then do the same in the Customer:Job field below. The Service Item field needs to display the name of the service performed by the employee.

If you want to time a period of activity, use the Start, Stop, and Pause buttons under Duration. You can also replace the 0:00 that appears by default with the number of hours and minutes that were worked.

In the middle column, you’ll select the correct Payroll Item from the drop-down list. You can add a new employee if necessary without completing his or her entire record, but be sure to go back and complete it before your next payroll.

Hidden behind the drop-down menu is a field titled WC Code, which stands for Workers’ Compensation Code. It will only appear if you’re using QuickBooks Enhanced Payroll and have that feature turned on.

Tip: If these two fields do not appear, you’ve selected an employee who isn’t timesheet-based.

In the upper right hand corner, you’ll see a field labeled Billable. Be sure you click in the box to create a checkmark if you’ll be invoicing a customer for the work done.

Save the activity record when you’ve completed it.

Using Timesheets

You can enter employees’ hours directly on a timesheet instead of creating a single activity record.

QuickBooks offers a second option for entering employee hours: timesheets. You’ll notice that there’s a Timesheet icon in the toolbar of the Time/Enter Single Activity window. If you click on it with a completed record open, a new window opens containing a graphical representation of a paper timesheet.

If you enter employee hours in a single activity record, they will appear on a timesheet, and vice versa. There are two advantages to entering hours directly on the timesheet, though. The first is that it’s faster. And secondly, you can click the Copy Last Sheet icon if you’re just going to duplicate an employee’s previous pay period’s hours. If you want to go there straight from the home page, click Enter Time | Use Weekly Timesheet.

Billing Customers for Time

QuickBooks makes it very easy to transfer billable hours worked by employees to the corresponding customers’ invoices. After you’ve entered blocks of time spent on services, open an invoice form and select the customer. This window will open:

Once you’ve entered billable hours worked by an employee, simply open an invoice form and select that customer to open this window.

By default, Select the outstanding billable time and costs to add to this invoice? is checked. When you click OK, a new window opens displaying a grid that contains all of that customer’s billable time. You can Select All or click in front of each entry you want to include. You’ll notice here that there are also tabs on the grid for Expenses, Mileage, and Items that can be billed back to the customer.

If you choose not to carry billable hours over to the invoice at the present time, you can always add them by clicking Add Time/Costs in the invoice’s toolbar.

Questions? We’re always available to help ensure that you’re billing customers for all costs they incur – and to talk about any other element of accounting that affects your cash flow.

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Customize QuickBooks Online Using Settings

You can start using QuickBooks Online the first time you sign in. However, your tasks will be easier and faster, if you customize it for your company.

QuickBooks Online was designed to be used by a variety of business types; that’s one reason why it’s such a popular small business accounting website. It was built to be versatile. That is, whether you sell hard drives or you service HVAC systems, you can customize it to “fit’ your company.

This is why your first order of business when you start using QuickBooks Online should be to click on the small gear icon in the upper right corner. The window that opens displays links to all of the site’s options – a collection of choices that’s called “Preferences” in desktop QuickBooks.

When you click on the small gear icon in the upper right corner of QuickBooks Online, this window containing the site’s many options will open.

Global Settings

The first screen you should visit is Account and Settings. This page is divided into five sections, accessible by clicking on one of the tabs below:

Company – Your company’s name and contact information appears here, as well as identifying details like the tax form you file, as well as your industry.

Sales – You can do a lot of customizing here that will affect your company’s selling activities. For example, you can specify preferred invoice terms and delivery method, and indicate whether to turn on features like:

  • Shipping
  • Custom fields and transaction numbers
  • Discounts
  • Quantity and price/rate
  • Inventory quantity on hand

You can also access the site’s tools for customizing the design and layout of your sales forms (invoices, receipts, etc.).

Expenses – You’ll toggle expense-related tools on and off here. You can choose to, for example, track expenses and items by customer and make them billable. Will you be using purchase orders? What will your default bill payment terms be?

Payments – Here, you’ll be able to set up a merchant account so you can accept credit cards and bank transfers from customers through QuickBooks Online. If you already have a merchant account, you can connect it here.

Advanced – There’s a good reason why this section is named “Advanced.” You may not be familiar with some of the concepts here, like “closing books” and specifying default accounts for items like Markup. We can go over these things with you and help you make decisions.

Other entries in this list are easier to complete, though you may still want some guidance. Will you support multiple currencies? Automatically apply credits and invoice unbilled activity? Make individually-tracked time activities billable to customers?

Other Preferences

There are many other areas in this window that you’ll want to explore before you start processing a lot of transactions in QuickBooks Online. If more than one person will have access to the site (we’ll assume you’re the Administrator), you must click on Manage Users. Here, you can set limits of what other employees can access. Click New on the screen that opens to launch this mini-interview, and follow its instructions:

 

You can restrict users to specific areas of QuickBooks Online.

Other preferences you should look at include:

  • Chart of Accounts – only to familiarize yourself with the accounts that make up the backbone of your accounting data. You’ll use these in transactions. Please do not make any changes here without talking to us.
  • All Lists – to see what’s available here, like ClassesRecurring Transactions, and Payment Methods.
  • Products and Services – to start building records for the items and services you sell. If you carry inventory and have never worked with a website that helps you manage it, please let us go over these concepts with you.
  • Budgeting – if you plan to create a budget. QuickBooks Online contains a tool that will accommodate this critical task.
  • Audit Log – if multiple people will be using QuickBooks Online. It tracks all activity by date and user.

QuickBooks Online is easy to use, but there’s a lot to learn upfront about customizing it to meet your company’s accounting needs. It’s natural to feel a bit overwhelmed at first. Let us help you get through those early days of use.  Connect with us, so we can walk you through the basics.

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Tracking Time in QuickBooks, Part 1

If your company sells services, you can track the time spent providing them in QuickBooks.

 

When you sell a product to a customer, you know it. It goes away, and your inventory count in QuickBooks is reduced by one. This tracking helps you know what’s selling and what’s not, and it signals when a reorder is due.

If your business provides services to customers, though, you’re selling your employees’ time and skills. There’s no inventory count; you can sell as many hours as you have workers to fill them. Tracking time accurately and comprehensively, though, is as important as knowing how many hard drives or tote bags you’ve sold.

QuickBooks contains tools to help you record the hours employees spend doing work for customers, so you can bill them for services rendered. You can also use these same features to enter employee time for payroll purposes. The software offers two options here: single-activity records and timesheets.

Building the Foundation

We’ve discussed QuickBooks’ Preferences many times before. The software was designed to support small businesses with a wide variety of structures and needs, so it needs to be flexible. For that reason, we always recommend that you check in with your “Preference” options before you explore new features.

To get there, open the Edit menu and select Preferences. In the left vertical pane, click on Time & Expenses, then on the Company Preferences tab at the top. Here is a look at the top part of the window that opens:

The Company Preferences window for Time & Expenses displays multiple options.

To make sure that QuickBooks’ time-tracking features are turned on before you start, click the button next to Yes under Do you track time? Specify the First Day of Work Week by opening that drop-down list. If you know that all your time entries will be billable, click in the box in front of that statement.

There are other options in that window; we’ll talk about them next month.

Creating Service Items

Before you can start tracking billable time, you have to create a record for each service offered – just like you would for a physical product. Click the Items & Services icon on the home page or open the Lists menu and select Item List. The window that opens will eventually display a table containing all the items and services you’ve created.

To define a service item, click Item in the lower left corner, then New, to open a window like this:

You can create numerous types of items in QuickBooks; Service is one of them.

Click the down arrow in the field under Type to see your options here. There are many, ranging from Service to Inventory Part to Sales Tax Group. Select Service. In the field under Item Name/Number, enter a word or phrase and/or number that describes the service, and that won’t get confused with another.

If you had already created an item like “New Construction Services” and you wanted “Carpet Installation” to appear as a subitem of it, you’d click in the box in front of Subitem of to create a checkmark, then open the drop-down list below it and select “New Construction Services.”

Ignore the Unit of Measure section. If this designation is important to your business, talk to us about upgrading your version of QuickBooks. Connect with us, too, if the service you’re defining is used in assemblies or is performed by a subcontractor or partner, as these are more advanced situations.

Enter a brief Description in that box and your hourly charge—to the customer—in the field to the right of Rate. Click the down arrow in the field next to Tax Code to select the item’s taxable status.

It’s very important that you get the next field right. QuickBooks wants to know which account in your company’s Chart of Accounts should be assigned to this item. In this case, it would be “Construction Income.” If you’re not yet familiar with the concept of assigning accounts, let’s set up a session to deal with this and other basic knowledge you should have.

When you’re done, click OK.

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QuickBooks Advantage
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Using QuickBooks Online’s Customer Records

Your customers are your company’s lifeblood. Are you managing those relationships carefully? Here’s how QuickBooks Online can help.

 

If you’ve been in business long enough to remember tracking your customers manually, you probably remember what a nightmare it was. Maybe you had a card file and paper folders – and lots of sticky notes and calendar notations.

Unless you had an unusually effective organization system, it was probably difficult to find historical transactions when customers called with questions, for example, and you may have experienced cash flow problems because it was hard to keep up with invoices and statements and payments.

If you’re already using QuickBooks Online, you know those days are over. But have you explored all the customer relationship management tools available to you on the site?

Thorough Records

The core of any good customer-tracking system is a comprehensive set of individual profiles. QuickBooks Online offers thorough, flexible record templates for just that purpose. Click Sales in the main toolbar, then the Customers tab at the top of the screen. To create a new customer record, click New Customer off to the right to open the Customer Information window.

Note: If you have your customer database in an existing Excel or .CSV file, you should be able to import it. QuickBooks Online provides instructions for this.

You can create a profile for each customer in the Customer Information window.

You’ll need to enter a lot of the information yourself here, mostly contact details. A down arrow next to a field indicates that there’s a drop-down list of options available.

The lower left quadrant of the screen contains a series of tabbed information windows. Click on each to enter what you can about each customer’s:

  • Address – both billing and shipping
  • Notes – any that you’d like to enter
  • Tax info – exemption details and default tax code (if taxable)
  • Payment and billing – preferred payment and delivery method, payment terms, and opening balance
  • Attachments – any files pertaining to this customer that you want to include

When you’re done, click Save. Your new record will appear in your list of customers. You’ll be able to toggle back and forth between the details you just entered and a list of their transactions.

Working with Customers

You can always add new customers as you go along, but it’s a good idea to enter records for all of them before you start creating transactions. It will save time down the road, and their accessibility will help with other accounting tasks.

When you click on Sales | Customers now, you’ll see something like this:

Your Customers page contains a list of customers with links to related activities. It also provides a color-coded row of bars that represent the status of invoices and estimates.

The Customers page consists of many elements. The main section displays a table of your customers. Click on one to open the page containing the Transaction List and Customer Details.

On this screen, though, you’ll only see columns for Customer/CompanyPhoneOpen Balance, and Action by default; click the gear icon in the upper right if you want to include more columns here. When you click on the down arrow next to a field in the Action column, a drop-down list will display the options available for that customer, like Receive paymentSend reminder, and Create Statement.

A series of colored bars runs across the top of the screen. Each represents the current status of a specific transaction type: EstimatesUnbilled ActivityOverdueOpen Invoices, and Paid Last 30 Days. Click on any of these to open a list of pertinent transactions.

You can do all of these activities elsewhere in QuickBooks Online, but it’s convenient to be able to work directly from the Customers screen, too. The fewer clicks, the better.

Call on Us

Did you make a resolution to start using QuickBooks Online this year? The site was built for use by business managers, not accountants, but it can still be a little daunting at first. We’re always available to take your questions and help you with setup and/or daily implementation. Connect with us if you need assistance.

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Are You Using QuickBooks’ Reminders?

We can’t emphasize this enough: QuickBooks’ Reminders can prevent countless problems with your finances.

How do you know when it’s time to pay a bill or follow up on overdue customer payments or print payroll checks? If you’re still using a paper calendar and sticky notes and file folders, there’s a good chance you’re missing some important deadlines on occasion. Manual methods aren’t effective enough when you’re dealing with your business finances. You might experience:

  • Credit problems.
  • Overextended customers.
  • Unhappy vendors and employees.

If you’re missing the mark frequently, you won’t be able to get a true picture of your financial status, and your cash flow will suffer.

Use QuickBooks’ built-in reminders to avoid this unnecessary drama. Here’s how they work.

Totally Customizable                                  

To start setting up Reminders, open the Edit menu and select Preferences. Click Reminders in the left vertical pane. With the My Preferences tab highlighted, click in the box in front of Show Reminders List when opening a Company file to create a checkmark. Then click on the Company Preferences tab to open this window:

When you’re setting up your Preferences for QuickBooks’ Reminders, you can customize each type in multiple ways.

As you can see in the above image, QuickBooks lets you create reminders for a wide variety of actions. For each, you can indicate whether the Reminders window will display a summary or a list, or whether that particular activity will not be included. For those that are time-sensitive, like Checks to Print, you’ll also be able to specify how much warning you’ll get – how many days in advance each item will appear in the Reminders list.

My Preferences vs Company Preferences

If you haven’t worked much with QuickBooks’ Preferences, you may not understand the difference between the two tabs that appear in each window. Only the QuickBooks Administrator can make changes on the Company Preferences page, since these affect company-wide settings. All users, though, can change any options that appear in the My Preferences window.

Here’s an example of a Preference (General) where all employees can indicate how they want QuickBooks to work for them specifically:

Open the Edit menu and select Preferences, then General to open this window. Everyone who uses QuickBooks can set up their Preferences here, but only the administrator can modify Company Preferences.

Using Reminders

If you indicated in My Preferences that you want the Reminders window to open every time you open your company file in QuickBooks, it should appear on top of your desktop. If you didn’t, or if you need to see it after you’ve closed it, open the Company menu and select Reminders. A link should also be available in the toolbar.

Using the Reminders tool is like using any other interactive to-do list.

QuickBooks’ Reminders window displays the tasks you need to do today and in the near future. You can click the arrows to the left of each boldfaced category to expand or collapse the list.

The left pane of the window displays tasks that must be done today, while the right shows upcoming tasks. Small arrows to the left of each task category expand and collapse each section when you click on them. Double-click a task (not the category label), and the relevant form or other document opens. When you’ve completed the chore, it will disappear from the list.

There are two icons in the upper right of the window (not pictured here). Click the plus (+) sign, and the Add To Do window opens. You can create six types of to-do items here: call, fax, e-mail, meeting, appointment, and task. Each can be assigned to a customer, vendor, or employee, or earmarked as a lead. You can designate a priority (low, medium, high) and a status (active, inactive, done) to each. You can also assign a time and date due, and enter descriptive details. Each to-do then appears in the appropriate place in QuickBooks.

The other icon, a small gear, opens your Preferences for Reminders.

The mechanics of setting up your Reminders window are not difficult. What can be a challenge is watching your cash flow as all these transactions occur. If you’re struggling with that, let’s sit down together and develop a plan for keeping your cash flow positive while meeting your financial obligations.

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Settings Up Sales Tax in QuickBooks Online

Sales tax is one of the more complicated concepts supported by QuickBooks Online.

QuickBooks Online was designed for you, the small businessperson. You’ve probably discovered that many of its features are fairly easy to use from the start.

But just because QuickBooks Online can do something doesn’t mean you should attempt it on your own. Sales tax is one of those things. Depending on your geographical location, you may have to charge not only state sales tax, but also county and city/municipality taxes (and sometimes special taxes). If you’re selling products or services to customers in other states, your situation can get very complicated.

We’ll show you some of the mechanics involved, but we strongly recommend that you let us help you with this.

Setting Up Sales Tax

We’ll describe the process of setting up sales tax rates so you can see how it will work. Click the Taxes link in the toolbar. The new screen should open to the Sales Tax Center; if it doesn’t, click its link in the toolbar above. In the right vertical pane, under Related Tasks, click Add/edit tax rates and agencies. Then click New to open this window:

You can define either a Single tax rate or Combined tax rate in this window.

You’d enter the Tax nameAgency name, and Rate in the designated fields if you’re just creating a Single tax rate. In some cases, you may have to enter a Combined tax rate. If so, click the button in front of that label. The window that opens contains fields that are similar to the ones in the above image, except that Tax name is replaced by Component name. You’ll choose this option when you have to record individual elements of the tax separately. For example, Ft. Myers | Lee County| Florida State.

To muddy things up even more, some items in some situations are exempt from sales tax.

When you’re done, click Save. You’ll see the tax you just created in a table in the window that opens. To define a New tax, Edit an existing one, or Deactivate one in the list, click the appropriate button. If you’ve entered all you’ll need for now, click Return to Sales Tax Owed and Recent Payments.

Your Responsibilities

Once you’ve set up all the sales tax rates required for you, QuickBooks Online will calculate them for you in transactions where they need to be collected. You can see the running tally in the Sales Tax Center, but it’s up to you to create and record payments on the prescribed schedule. You can also run related reports here.

The site bases its calculations on three things:

  • The state(s) where you have obtained a sales tax permit(s),
  • Your company’s physical location, and,
  • The customer address on the sales form.

But QuickBooks Online can’t know the exact tax situation for all its users. You have to do some detective work before you even approach us for help setting up sales taxes. You’ll need to know, for example, whether your state taxes the products or services you sell. Also, what’s the sales tax rate(s) for the affected states? What agency collects it? When are the payments you’ve collected from your customers due?

Your state government’s website should cover all of this.

Sales Tax Settings

Before you start working with sales tax, you’ll also need to make sure your settings are correct. Go back to the Sales Tax Center and click Edit tax settings on the right side of the screen to open this window:

To save time, QuickBooks Online lets you set some default sales tax actions.

Click the button in front of Yes after Do you charge sales tax? if it’s not already selected. If most of your transactions will use the same sales tax, you can set it as the default (but change it during transactions if necessary). If the majority of customers, products, and services will be subject to sales tax, you can check the boxes in front of the Mark all…statements (these designations, too can be edited in individual transactions).

You can see that using QuickBooks Online’s sales tax tools requires research, decisions, and extreme accuracy (state revenue departments run occasional audits). We have to stress again the importance of consulting with us if you need to take this on. It’s an exceptionally complex element of accounting, and we want to make it work for you.

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Working with QuickBooks’ Vendor Records

It’s important to maintain good relationships with your vendors and suppliers. QuickBooks helps you track your interaction with them.

QuickBooks never forgets. That’s one of the reasons you use it. You create a record or transaction, enter a note about a customer, or write a check, for example, and the information gets stored in your QuickBooks file. If you don’t remember exactly where it is, you can search for it. No more flipping through a card file or folder, or digging in drawers.

QuickBooks makes it possible—easy, even—to maintain thorough records of your vendors, the individuals and companies who provide you with office supplies, product parts, computer equipment – everything you need to keep your business operating. Once you’ve started building a vendor record, you’ll be able to use it in transactions and reports, and to simply refer to it when you need some information.

If you’re just starting to use QuickBooks, part of your setup will involve entering vendor details in the record template the software supplies. If you’ve been a QuickBooks user for a while but you’ve only suppled enough information about vendors to create transactions, consider fleshing out those elements of your accounting file as you have time.

Filling in Fields

To create a vendor record, open the Vendors menu and select Vendor Center. Above the tabbed table, there’s a small toolbar. Open the New Vendor menu and click on New Vendor. A window like this will open:

You can store an enormous amount of detailed information about your vendors in these record templates.

At the top of the screen (not pictured here) is a box labeled Vendor Name. Enter it, then move on to the Opening Balance field and supply the amount and date. If you don’t understand the concept of opening balances, we can go over this with you.

Fill in as many of these fields as you can, then click on the Payment Settings tab in the toolbar on the left. The fields in this window—Payment TermsCredit Limit, etc.—are optional, but complete what you’re able to. The more you can fill out now, the less work you’ll have to do later, since much of the information here automatically comes up when you create transactions.

The other tabs here open windows where you can specify:

  • Tax Settings. Vendor Tax ID and 1099 eligibility.
  • Account Settings. Here, you can select the default account that should be automatically selected when you enter a bill or expense for this vendor (for example, phone bills=Utilities:Telephone). Talk to us if you don’t understand this. It’s OK to leave it blank for now.
  • Additional Info. Vendor Type (subcontractors, for example) and Custom Fields (fields you can define for your own use).

When you’re done, click OK.

Viewing Your Records

Once you’ve created one or more vendor records, the Vendor Center will display a list of them in its left pane. Click on one to highlight it, and you’ll see something like this in the right pane:

The Vendor Information window displays contact information in the top pane (not pictured here), and additional details below.Here’s where your conscientious work creating records starts to pay off. Click on any of the five tabs in the top toolbar to display that vendor’s Transactions, the Contacts from that company, any related To Do’sNotes you’ve taken, and Sent Email. Once your lists grow unwieldy, you can search by a variety of filters.

Using Records in Transactions

There are numerous transaction types that require vendor information, like purchase orders, bills, checks, and sales tax payments. When you open one of these transaction forms and click the down arrow in the Vendor field, your list will drop down. Select one, and related details that you’ve already entered will automatically appear in the correct fields.

QuickBooks provides numerous paths to creating vendor-related transactions.

You can create vendor transactions from either the home page or the menus. You can also do so from the Vendor Center. With either the Vendors or Transactions tab active, you’d click on the New Transactions link in the upper toolbar and select the one you want to launch.

 

The mechanics of filling in the fields in vendor records and using that information in transactions are not overly complicated. But as we’ve noted here, you may run across unfamiliar concepts. We’d be happy to spend some time with you exploring this whole topic, to ensure that your relationships with vendors remain positive.

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QuickBooks Advantage
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Are You Using QuickBooks Online’s Mobile App?

Even if you don’t travel for work (but especially if you do), you should explore what QuickBooks Online’s mobile app has to offer.

You already know how convenient it is to be able to access your company’s financial data from any desktop or laptop computer that has an internet connection. Still, there are times when you’d like to be able to complete some of your accounting tasks without firing up a full-blown browser and logging on to QuickBooks Online.

If you haven’t yet tried out the site’s companion mobile app, you might be surprised at how much you can actually accomplish on your smartphone. Take a look at the app’s main menu (with a partial view of the Activity screen to the right):

You can’t do everything on QuickBooks Online’s smartphone app that you can do in the browser-based version, but there’s a surprising amount of functionality here.

 

Once you’ve downloaded the app and signed in with your QuickBooks Online user name and password, you’ll see a home page divided into two vertical sections; you can toggle back and forth between them. One is your Dashboard, which displays current account balances and a graph showing an abbreviated version of your Profit and Loss report, as well as a graphical summary of paid and unpaid invoices. Click on Activity to see a list of your most recent actions and transactions.

Click on the three horizontal lines in the upper left of the screen, and the app’s main menu slides out. As pictured in the image above, this interactive list also serves as the app’s primary navigation tool. Any data that you’ve entered in the browser-based version (as well as anything you add here) will appear in list form when you click on an entry here. To add customers, invoices, sales receipts, etc., click on the + (plus) sign. You can also enter new transactions from each individual list screen.

Adding Transactions

If you’ve worked with mobile apps at all, you know that the user interface is different from what you see in full versions of applications accessed through a browser. QuickBooks Online’s app, though, is exceptionally easy to understand and use – perhaps even easier than the browser-based QBO.

Take the app’s New Expense screen, for example. At the top of the page is a camera icon. Click it to take a picture of a receipt. You can also enter the total manually in a field to the right. Below that are three buttons representing Credit, Check, and Other, so you can indicate how you paid for the purchase.

You’ll describe the expense by clicking on links that contain labels like:

  • Who did you pay?
  • What kind of expense is this?
  • Who was it for?

When you click on one, the app opens your list of related data. So, Who did you pay? opens your list of Payees. You can select one or add a new one. Click on the Billable button if the expense can be charged to a customer, and click Add a Split if you need to separate some of the items. There’s also room to add a Ref # and Memo. When you’re done, click Save to add it to your main QuickBooks Online file.

Viewing Existing Information

Besides entering data in the QuickBooks Online app, you can look up existing information.

 

You can just as easily find records and transactions you’ve entered either in the browser-based version of QuickBooks Online or on the app. You can follow the journey of an invoice as pictured in the screen shot above. QBO even prompts you to complete steps you haven’t taken. Click on the pencil icon in the upper right, and you can edit the data that appears on that screen.

Warning! Editing transactions that have been processed is risky. If you’re making errors that need correcting, we can help you determine when this is safe.

The QuickBooks Online app can also provide quick overviews of customer activity, with links to actions.

 

You may never need to access your QuickBooks Online data remotely on your smartphone. If you do, though, we can help you get set up with the site’s companion app so you’ll learn how they work together.

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Creating Customer Statements in QuickBooks

Invoices not being paid promptly? Customers questioning their payment history? Create statements.

 

Let’s say you have a regular customer who used to pay on time, but he’s been hit-and-miss lately. How do you get him caught up?

Or, one of your customers thinks she’s paid you more than she owes. How do you straighten out this account?

Both of these situations have a similar solution. QuickBooks’ statements provide an overview of every transaction that has occurred between you and individual customers during a specified period of time. They’re easy to create, easy to understand, and can be effective at resolving payment disputes.

 

A Simple Process

Here’s how they work. Click Statements on the home page, or open the Customers menu and select Create Statements. A window like this will open:

QuickBooks provides multiple options on this screen so you create the statement(s) you need.

First, make sure the Statement Date is correct, so your statement captures the precise set of transactions you want. Next, you have to tell QuickBooks what that set is. Should the statement(s) include transactions only within a specific date range? If so, click the button in front of Statement Period From, and enter that period’s beginning and ending dates by clicking on the calendar graphic. If you’d rather, you can include all open transactions by clicking on the button in front of that option. As you can see in the screen shot above, you can choose to Include only transactions over a specified number of days past due date.

 

Choosing Customers

Now you have to tell QuickBooks which customers you want to include in this statement run. Your options here are:

  • All Customers.
  • Multiple Customers. When you click on this choice, QuickBooks displays a ChooseClick on it, and your customer list opens in a new window. Click on your selections there to create a check mark. Click OK to return to the previous window.
  • One Customer. QuickBooks displays a drop-down menu. Click the arrow on the right side of the box, and choose the correct one from the list that opens.
  • Customers of Type. Again, a drop-down list appears, but this one contains a list of the Customer Types you created to filter your customer list, like Commercial and Residential. You would have assigned one of these to customers when you were entering data in their QuickBooks records (click the Additional Info tab in a record to view).
  • Preferred Send MethodE-mail or Mail?

 

Miscellaneous Options

At the top of the right column, you can select a different Template if you’d like, or Customize an existing one. Not familiar with the options you have to change the layout and content of forms in QuickBooks? We can introduce you to the possibilities.

Below that, you can opt to Create One Statement either Per Customer or Per Job. The rest of the choices here are pretty self-explanatory – except for Assess Finance Charges. If you’ve never done this, we strongly recommend that you let us work with you on this complex process.

When you’re satisfied with the options you’ve selected in this window, click the Preview button in the lower left corner of the window (not pictured here). QuickBooks will prepare all the statements in the background, then display the first one. You can click Next to view them one by one. At the bottom of each, you’ll see a summary of how much is due in each aging period, like this:

It’s easy to see how much each customer is past due within each aging period. This summary appears at the bottom of statements.After you’ve checked all the statements, click the Print or E-mail button at the bottom of the window.

 

Other Avenues

Your company’s cash flow depends on the timely payment of invoices. Sending statements is only one way to encourage your customers to catch up on their past due accounts. There are many others, like opening a merchant account so customers can pay you online with a bank card or electronic check. If poor cash flow is threatening the health of your business, give us a call. We can work together to identify the trouble spots and get you on the road to recovery.

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What Is a Vendor Credit, and How Do You Record One?

Whether you’re getting a vendor credit for a refund or a return, you can record it in QuickBooks Online.

When you’re dealing with your company’s vendors, you’re probably accustomed to money flowing in one direction: theirs. Maybe you send them purchase orders and they send you invoices. Or they send you bills and you pay them. Or you walk into a store and buy something your business needs.

Sometimes, though, vendors owe you money. Probably the most common scenario is a return of merchandise, products that you’ve sent back to the supplier for any of a variety of reasons. You may be issued a credit of some kind simply because you’ve been a loyal customer, and a vendor wants to reward you. You might also get a rebate for an item you bought.

In these cases, you’ll enter a Vendor Credit in QuickBooks Online, which you can apply the next time you buy something from that supplier. Usually, the process is pretty straightforward, but sometimes situations arise that may make it hard for you to know how to record a vendor credit accurately. We can help if this happens.

Simple Steps

Let’s start with a simple example. Let’s say you received a shipment of pens that you’d planned to use as promotional items for your salespeople. The ink on some of the pens had gotten smudged, so your company email address printed on them was illegible. The supplier issued you a credit of $50.00 for future purchases, and sent you a reference number to use.

 

It’s easy to complete a Vendor Credit form in QuickBooks Online for a simple credit. But other situations are more complicated.

 

 Here’s how it would work. Click the + (plus) sign in the upper right corner of the screen and select Vendors | Vendor Credit. A screen like the partial one pictured above would appear. These are the fields you would need to complete:

 

Vendor – Click the down arrow in the field in the upper left corner and select the correct vendor, or + Add New.

Payment date – Change the default date if it’s not correct.

Ref no. – Enter a reference number if applicable.

 

Under Account details, click in the field under Account, and open the drop-down list by clicking the down arrow on the right. Select the account you used when you created the original expense. Enter a Description and the Amount of the credit.

You can add a Memo in the box at the bottom of the screen if you’d like, and select any Attachments to include from your file directories. Otherwise, click Save and close or Save and new.

Additional Input

There’s much more to the Vendor Credit screen that you didn’t need to consider for this example. The row where you entered AccountDescription, and Amount contains several additional fields that you may need to complete in some cases. They are BillableMarkup %TaxCustomer, and Class. If you’re not sure when these fields are required, ask us to go over these concepts with you.

There’s also another section under Account Details you may need to address: Item Details(click the arrow to open if necessary). You would only enter information here if you’re returning items to a vendor. Fields displayed there include Product/ServiceQty (quantity), Rate, and Sales Amt (amount). We don’t recommend that you do this the first time on your own; let us help.

Using Your Credit

How do you redeem this credit? QuickBooks Online reminds you to use it.

 

QuickBooks Online records your Vendor Credits and reminds you that they’re there when you go to pay that vendor again.

 

The next time you enter a transaction that involves—or will involve—sending that vendor some money, you’ll see a record of that credit to the right of the Check or Expense screen, for example. In the image above, a small box has opened as soon as the vendor’s name was selected. You can Add that credit to the current transaction or Open it if you want to see the original screen.

Not everyone uses Vendor Credits. Some businesses find workarounds. But we recommend you at least understand when and how they’re used so your bookkeeping is accurate and precise. We’d be happy to spend some time with you going over your financial relationship with vendors, and how QuickBooks Online helps you document it.

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2017 Mid-Year Sales Tax Changes

Dealing with change is standard operating procedure for many companies: employees leave and are hired; new products are introduced and old ones phased out; there are booms, and there are busts. On top of all that, companies need to account for sales and use tax changes. Significant changes in rates, regulations, and product taxability often take effect July 1, which is the start of a new fiscal year in all but a few states.

 

At the end of 2016, we shared many of the sales tax changes set to occur January 1, 2017. These included state sales tax rate changes in California and New Jersey, the expansion of sales tax to certain services in North Carolina, the prohibition of taxing more services in Missouri, and a bevy of recently enacted soda taxes and tampon tax exemptions. At mid-year, we’re seeing a few propositions that signify a dramatic shift in online sales tax revenue.

 

States want to collect more tax revenue from remote sales

Perhaps the most notable trend of 2017 is states’ push to obtain tax revenue from remote sales. This isn’t new. States have been working to tax out-of-state sellers for years, but their efforts have been hampered by Quill Corp. v. North Dakota, 504 U.S. 298 (1992) — the landmark Supreme Court ruling that a state can only tax businesses physically located within its borders.

 

In recent years, states have found creative ways to work around the physical presence precedent upheld by Quill. They’re taxing businesses with ties to in-state affiliates and those that generate a certain amount of business through links on in-state websites (commonly known as click-through nexus). Increasingly, they’re also taxing companies with a certain amount of economic activity in the state (economic nexus). Unfortunately for states in need of additional sales tax revenue, these affiliate, click-through, and economic nexus laws are difficult for states to enforce.

 

Therefore, many states are looking to different and more aggressive approaches. Two methods in particular have been gaining steam this year: use tax notification and reporting requirements, and taxes on online marketplace providers such as Amazon and eBay.

 

Use tax notification and reporting requirements

Colorado paved the way for states to impose use tax notification and reporting requirements on non-collecting out-of-state sellers. After spending years stuck in court, its policy takes effect July 1 — the same date a similar policy starts in Puerto Rico. Vermont recently passed one and made it effective retroactively, on January 1, 2017. Other states, including Pennsylvania and Texas, are considering use tax notification and reporting measures.

 

Sending annual reports of consumer purchase activity to consumers and state tax authorities is more work for remote retailers, and Colorado and the other states could be using their policies as a back-door approach to getting out-of-state companies to register and collect. Even if companies choose to not take that route, use tax reporting should help states increase their use tax collections.

 

Taxing online marketplaces

Minnesota is the first state to enact a tax on marketplace providers. HF 1 will take effect at the earlier of July 1, 2019, or when the Supreme Court modifies its decision in Quill — though the effective date could change if Congress passes legislation allowing states to tax remote sales.

 

North Carolina, Texas, Washington, and a number of other states are also interested in taxing marketplace providers, and their efforts are likely to continue or resume as 2017 wanes. But not all agree it’s a good idea: New York lawmakers blocked Governor Andrew Cuomo’s attempt to tax them earlier this year.

 

Congress could tackle online sales tax

Federal lawmakers are much preoccupied with tax reform and repealing or revamping the Affordable Care Act. Allowing states to tax remote sales transactions, or definitively preventing them from doing so, seems to be low on their list of priorities. However, we’ve learned to expect the unexpected from Washington, so a federal solution to the problem of untaxed remote sales should not be entirely ruled out.

 

Two bills have been introduced that would authorize states to tax certain interstate sales: the Marketplace Fairness Act of 2017 and the Remote Transactions Parity Act of 2017.

 

A bill that would codify the physical presence standard set by Quill and further limit states’ ability to tax interstate sales has also been introduced: the No Representation Without Representation Act of 2017.

 

Other sales tax changes

Many of the trends seen at the start of the year are continuing as 2017 progresses. Florida has enacted a tampon tax exemption, Seattle a soda tax. Tennessee is lowering the state sales tax rate on food and food ingredients, there are calls to add a statewide sales tax in Alaska, and although he failed to achieve it this session, Governor Jim Justice has been pushing to raise the state sales tax rate in West Virginia. The taxation of services — including online music and movie streaming services — remains a hot and hotly contested topic. And, as always, a plethora of local sales tax rate changes take effect at the start of each new quarter.

 

Don’t be lulled into complacency during the dog days of summer: There’s a lot happening in the world of sales tax right now. Staying on top of these and other changes will allow you to prepare for them. Download Avalara’s 2017 Sales Tax Changes Mid-Year Update to learn more.

 

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Working with Checks in QuickBooks

Online banking may get all the headlines, but a lot of small businesses still prefer paper checks. QuickBooks can accommodate them.

“I don’t write checks anymore,” you hear a lot of people say these days. Debit cards, smartphone payment apps, and online banking have replaced the old paper checkbook for a lot of consumers.

That’s fine if you’re at Starbucks or the grocery store, but many small businesses still prefer to issue paper checks to pay bills, cover expenses, and make product and service purchases. QuickBooks provides tools that help you create, print, and track checks.

But you don’t just head to the Write Checks window every time something needs to be paid. There are numerous times when you would record a payment in a different area of the program. For example, if you’ve already created a bill in Enter Bills, you’d go to the Pay Bills screen to dispatch a check.

Once you’ve recorded a bill in Enter Bills, you need to visit the Pay Bills screen to dispatch a check. The image above shows the bottom of that screen.

Other examples here include:

  • Issuing paychecks (click the Pay Employees icon),
  • Submitting payroll taxes and liabilities (Pay Liabilities icon), and
  • Paying sales taxes (Manage sales tax icon).

 

Simple Steps

Let’s say you asked an employee to go to an office supply store to pick up some copy paper because you ran short before your normal shipment came in. If you knew the exact amount it would cost, you could write a check directly to the shop. But the employee agrees to pay for it and be reimbursed.

Click the Write Checks icon on the home page. If the BANK ACCOUNT that’s showing isn’t the correct one, click the arrow to the right of that field and select the right one. Unless you’ve written a check to that employee before, he won’t be in the Vendor list that opens when you click the arrow to the right of PAY TO THE ORDER OF. Enter his name in that field.

The Name Not Found window opens. If this was a new vendor that you would be working with again, you’d click Set Up and follow the instructions in the step-by-step wizard that opened. Since this isn’t the case, click Quick Add. In the window that opens, click the button next to Vendor.

Note: If you’re using a payroll application, you already have an employee record for that individual, which would have filled in automatically when you started typing the name. Since this is a Non-Payroll Transaction, it won’t get mixed up with his payroll records as long as you assign the correct account.

If you don’t want to create an entire record for the payee of a check, you can just click Quick Add.

QuickBooks will then return you to the check-writing screen, where you can verify the check number and date, and enter the amount. Fill in the MEMO field so you’ll remember the reason for the payment.

At the bottom of the screen, you’ll see a tabbed register. The Expenses tab should be highlighted and the amount of your check entered. Click the down arrow in the field under ACCOUNT to open the list, and select Office Supplies. The AMOUNT should fill in automatically. Not sure which account to select, and what the remaining three columns mean? Ask us.

Note: You would only enter the expense under the Items tab if you were buying inventory items or paying job-related costs.

Warning: If you’re planning to print the check, be sure to check the Print Later box in the horizontal toolbar at the top of the screen.

When you’re finished, save the transaction. Since you want to pay the employee right away, click the Print Checks icon and click in the field in front of the correct check to select it, then click OK.

 

Easy, But Tricky

QuickBooks makes the mechanics of writing checks easy. Simple as it is, though, a lot can go wrong if you, for example:

  • Issue a check from the wrong screen,
  • Classify a check incorrectly, or,
  • Skip a step.

We encourage you to set up a learning session with us if you’re new to check-writing in QuickBooks or are confused about any of its attributes. We’ll be happy to help ensure that your accounts payable activities will result in accurate record keeping.

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Receiving Payments in QuickBooks Online

It’s perhaps one of your favorite activities in QuickBooks Online: recording money that comes in. Are you doing it right?

 

Your days of matching paper checks to paper invoices are over. QuickBooks Online excels at keeping your accounts receivable organized. No more digging through piles of forms and hand-stamping PAID on your customer bills and statements. No more trying to write small enough in your register so you can identify the origins of deposits.

You do, though, need to know how to get to payment screens—there are multiple ways—and which form to complete for each remittance. Here are the three types you’ll deal with most often.

 

Receive payment on an invoice

When payment comes in on an invoice, you can get to the right screens in any of several ways.

Click the (plus) sign in the upper right corner. Under Customers, select Receive Payment. In the upper left of the window that opens, select the correct customer by clicking the down arrow at the end of that field to open the list

Make sure the Payment date is correct. Open the Payment method list and select from CashCheckCredit card, etc. If there’s a Reference no., like a check number, enter it in that field. The default value for Deposit to is Undeposited Funds. Leave that active, and enter the Amount received in that field.

When you select a customer’s name in the Receive Payment window, a list of unpaid invoices will appear at the bottom.

If the customer has multiple outstanding invoices, QuickBooks Online will put a check mark in front of the oldest one(s). You can change this if you need to by clicking to uncheck the box and clicking in the box in front of the correct one.

Tip: If you want to isolate invoices from a specific date range, click the arrow next to Filter.

When you’ve specified where the payment(s) will go, add a memo and/or attachment if you’d like and select either Save and close or Save and new in the lower right corner.

You can also record payments on invoices from other screens in QuickBooks Online. For example, click Transactions in the left vertical navigation bar and select Sales to open the list of sales transactions. At the far right end of every line that contains an unpaid invoice, you’ll see a link to Receive payment. Click it, and the payment screen will open with the name and amount already filled in. Another option: With an invoice open, click Receive payment in the upper right corner.

 

Receive payment at the time of the sale

When a customer pays you immediately for products and/or services, there’s no need to create an invoice. You’d instead use a sales receipt. Click the sign in the upper right and select Sales Receipt under Customers.

Tip: If you click the small diagonal arrow when it appears next to an option, the site will open the screen in a separate window.

Fill in the fields at the top like you did on the Receive Payments screen.

Use a sales receipt in QuickBooks Online if you receive payment at the same time you provide a product or service.

Complete the lower half of the sales receipt by selecting the products and/or services sold from the drop-down lists. Then click the links at the bottom of the screen to print or email the receipt.

 

Receive a down payment or retainer

If a customer gives you money as part of a down payment or a retainer for work to be done or products to be delivered, you can enter it on the Receive Payment screen without connecting it to an invoice. If you’re prepared to create a record of the specific charges, though, you can use an invoice form and categorize the payment as a deposit.

There are other ways to receive payments from customers in QuickBooks Online, like creating credit memos or using a mobile payment device. However you do it, your bookkeeping needs to be precise, or you’ll run into problems down the road. If this is a topic that creates some uncertainty, we can go over the whole concept with you and outline your options. You work too hard for your money to risk applying it incorrectly –or worse, losing it to an accounting error.

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How to Keep Your QuickBooks Data Safe

You work hard to make sure your QuickBooks data is accurate. Make sure it’s safe, too.

Your QuickBooks company file contains some of the most sensitive information on your computer. You may have customers’ credit card numbers and employees’ Social Security numbers. An intruder who captured all that data could create tremendous problems for you and a lot of other people.

That’s probably the worst-case scenario. But other situations could also spell disaster for your business, which  involve losing your company data through fraud, hacking, or simple technical failures.

We can’t overstate the vital importance of protecting your QuickBooks company file, especially your customer and payroll information. Whether someone steals it or it’s inaccessible for another reason, it’s gone. Keeping your business going after such a loss would be very difficult – maybe even impossible.

Here’s what we suggest to prevent that.

Internal Safeguards

No business owner wants to believe that his or her employees could use their QuickBooks access to commit fraud. But it happens. Your company file contains credit card and checking account data that could be used for nefarious purposes. As we discussed last spring, you can restrict user access to specific areas  and actions of QuickBooks.

You can limit your employees who have QuickBooks access to certain areas and activities.

To get started, open the Company menu and select Set Up Users and Passwords | Set Up Users. The User List window opens. It should have at least one entry there, for you (Admin). Click Add User and enter the employee’s name and password in the next window that opens, then click Next.

Tip: Your QuickBooks license limits you to a specified number of users. If you’re not sure how many you’re allowed, click F2 to open the Product Information page. The number of user licenses you’ve paid for appears in the upper left.

On the next page of this wizard, click the button in front of Selected Areas of QuickBooks. The following screens will let you define that employee’s access permissions in areas like Sales and Accounts Receivable, Inventory, and Payroll and Employees. When you’ve clicked through every screen and reviewed the summary displayed, click Finish. Your user will now be able to sign in and access the areas you specified.

You can—and should—take numerous other steps to keep your QuickBooks data safe. If your company is big enough to have a dedicated IT expert, he or she will handle most of this. But there’s a lot you can do on your own to prevent data loss and theft.

Keep Your Operating System and Applications Updated

Don’t ignore this dialog box.

Software companies’ occasional updates offer more than just adding new features and fixing bugs. They sometimes refresh your software to ensure greater security based on new threats. Don’t forget about those all-important antivirus and anti-malware applications, as well as QuickBooks itself.

Keep Your Networks Safe

Just as a cold virus spreads around your office, so, too, can unwanted intrusions like computer viruses. Don’t allow an electronic epidemic to get started; take steps ahead of time to prevent it:

  • Discourage employees from excessive web browsing. This can be a hard rule to enforce, as some employees probably need internet access for research, timecard entry, and other work-related tasks. Create a firm policy legislating what workers can and can’t do on company-issued equipment (including tablets and smartphones) or any personal devices that use your wireless network.
  • Ask employees to refrain from using public networks on work equipment. Enforce the rules vigorously, and make compliance an element of performance evaluations.
  • Minimize app installations on business smartphones. Employees should ask for approval. Viruses and malware get in that way, as well as through some websites and email attachments.
  • Use monitoring software. If you can’t afford to pay for “managed IT” (a la carte, third-party IT services), install an application that alerts you to problems.

Use Common Sense

You can fight data loss and theft by being cautious. Be diligent about backups, and if you create them on a local, portable device, don’t leave them in the office. Cloud-based solutions are better. Shred papers that have sensitive information on them. Log out of QuickBooks when you’re not using it or when you leave your office. Be aware of who may be around you, looking over your shoulder.

We take data security very seriously in our own office, and we strongly encourage you to do the same. Contact us if you’re at all concerned with your own data safety, and we’ll come up with a plan together.

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Concerned about the safety of your QuickBooks data? We can help you take security measures.

Lose your QuickBooks data, and you’ll face serious consequences. Make sure you keep backups in a safe place.

Do you issue smartphones to employees? Make sure they’re not used on public networks.

Even if you don’t have an IT specialist, you can protect your QuickBooks data from viruses and malware. Ask us how.

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Recording Simple Expenses in QuickBooks Online

Tracking even the little expenses is important.

How does most of the money you owe individuals and companies get disbursed? Do you print checks, or write them by hand? Use credit cards? Pay online through your bank’s website?

Keeping track of your outgoing funds can be challenging, since there are so many ways to complete those transactions. But it’s important that all expenses are recorded correctly and consistently, to keep your company file accurate. In addition, so many of your expenses are tax- deductible. You don’t want to miss any of them.

But when do you enter and pay bills using QuickBooks Online bill-paying screens? In what situations would you use a purchase order? Why would you record a purchase on the dedicated expense screen? These are all questions we can answer for you. If you’re new to QuickBooks Online or simply puzzled by your options here, we’d be happy to schedule some time to go over these purchase issues.

Setting Up the Site

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How you set up these preferences depends on your company’s individual structure and needs. We can help you determine the answers that are right for you.

Before you start recording expenses, you’ll need to make sure that your site settings match what you need. Click on the gear icon in the upper right, then Your Company |Account and Settings| Expenses to see what we mean. Most of these options will turn columns on the Expense screen off or on (though you can change them for individual transactions). As for the Track billable expenses and items as income preference, that’s something we can discuss when we go over this topic.

Billable or Not?

Let’s say you need to buy some landscaping tools for your business that you’ll use with multiple customers. One of your customers has asked you to purchase some additional tools for her own use. This is how you could record your purchases on that trip. You’d click the + sign in the upper right, then select Expense. Click the down arrow in the payee field and select the name of the store (or add it if it’s not there by clicking + Add new).

In the field to the right, you’ll select the source of the money you’ll be paying. Choose the name of the Checking account from the drop-down list.

Note: Even if you’re using a credit card for this purchase, the money will ultimately come out of your checking account. So be sure to choose the correct option here.

Make sure the date is correct, and choose the Payment method that you’re using to complete the purchase at the store.

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This is the portion of the Expense screen where you’ll enter the actual details of your purchase

Click in the field under ACCOUNT to display a list of categories and click the correct one. In the DESCRIPTION field, enter descriptive text about the item – enough that it will be recognizable when you see it later. Type in the AMOUNT of the item. Since you’re buying these tools for company use, you can’t bill them to an individual customer. Click in the TAX field if necessary.

However, you’re buying the second item for a specific customer. You’ll click in the BILLABLE field to create a checkmark and add your company’s MARKUP PERCENTAGE in that field. Open the drop-down list in the CUSTOMER column and select the correct one. Choose a CLASS if you use them and save the transaction.

When you look at that customer’s transaction list, you’ll see an entry for a Billable Expense Charge. You can click Start invoice if you want to bill for this one item. If not, you’ll see this charge in the vertical column to the right the next time you create an invoice for that customer.

Mobile Expenses

QuickBooks Online has a companion mobile app that lets you—among other things—track expenses when you’re away from your computer.

As you can see in the image above, you’ll be able to enter the details of your expenses manually. Click on the camera icon in the upper left, and you can take a picture of a receipt and attach it to the transaction. The next time you log into QuickBooks Online, you’ll see the expense with the photo file attached.

QuickBooks Online can simplify the entry and tracking of expense data, but as we said, it’s important to enter purchases in the right places – and to categorize them correctly. We’re ready to work with you on expenses when you are.

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QuickBooks Online mobile app

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Growth activities that can be life (and tax) changing

Growth isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach. In fact, companies expend a great deal of energy and resources deciding which pursuits will move the needle the furthest toward achieving specific goals, and where to prioritize their time and investment.

Oftentimes sales and use tax gets left out of this equation, especially when it doesn’t appear to directly correlate to the task at hand. Certain growth activities, like adding new locations, products, or sales channels, instinctively signal a need to alter sales and use tax compliance practices. With others like financing rounds, acquisitions, or technology platform changes, tax implications aren’t as obvious and therefore are more likely to be overlooked. Yet these are often the situations where compliance strategies can have the greatest and most lasting impact.

Below is a brief glimpse of how sales and use tax compliance can come into play for 3 business growth activities that can be life (and tax) changing: financing events, M&A, and technology platform integration projects.  Here’s what you should be aware of when going through these processes.

Financing events

For any financing event, public or private, investors look closely not only at how you plan to grow the business, but also how you are managing it now. Poor sales tax management practices or unfavorable audit outcomes can impact valuation, jeopardize funding, or even nullify deals. High visibility events like funding rounds and IPOs can also bring your business to the attention of state auditors looking to draw in more tax dollars.

Mergers and acquisitions

The meshing together of people, assets, systems, and processes is no simple feat. So, it’s not surprising that business integration issues following M&A transactions are one of the biggest things keeping company execs up at night.  Between due diligence, integration, accounting/financial reporting, and post-acquisition compliance, who has time for the minutia of sales tax? It can be easy to overlook tax obligations or liabilities, which can raise red flags with investors early in the process, or with auditors later.

Technology platform changes, consolidations or upgrades

During change events, it’s good practice to evaluate your financial systems and fill any gaps with new solutions or functionality that can advance your growth objectives. For example, tax automation software that unites critical transaction data from disparate systems and processes can alleviate compliance issues during post-merger integrations, reducing audit risk and avoiding delays in closing the books.

Download the complete whitepaper for further insights from leading industry leaders.

Permission to reprint or repost given by Avalara. Content previously published at www.avalara.com/blog. Post written by Kerry Alexander.

 

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Receiving Customer Payments: Your Options

It’s one of your more pleasant tasks as a QuickBooks user: receiving payments from customers. Here’s how it works.

QuickBooks was designed to make your daily accounting tasks easier, faster, and more accurate. If you’ve been using the software for a while, you’ve probably found that to be true. Some chores, of course, aren’t so enjoyable. Like paying bills. Reconciling your bank account. Or anything else that has the potential to reduce the balance in your checking accounts.

The process of receiving customer payments is one of your more enjoyable responsibilities. You supplied a product or service that someone liked and purchased, and you’re getting the money due you.

Depending on the situation, you’ll use one of multiple methods to record customer payments. Here’s a look at some of your options.

A Familiar Screen

If you’re like many businesses, you send invoices to customers to let them know what they owe and when their payment is due. So one of the most commonly used ways to record payments is by using the Receive Payments window. To open it, click the Receive Payments icon on the home page or click Customers | Receive Payments.

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You’ll use QuickBooks’ Receive Payments screen when you record a payment made in response to an invoice.

The first thing you’ll do, of course, is choose the correct customer by clicking the down arrow in the field to the right of RECEIVED FROM. The outstanding balance from that customer will appear in the upper right corner, and invoice information will be displayed in the table below. Enter the PAYMENT AMOUNT and make sure the DATE is correct. (The next field, REFERENCE #, changes to CHECK # only if the CHECK option is selected.)

Next, you’ll need to ensure that the payment is applied to the right invoices. If it covers the whole amount due, there will be a checkmark in every row in the first column of the table. If not, QuickBooks will use the money received to pay off the oldest invoices first. To change this, click Un-Apply Payment in the icon bar and click in front of the correct rows to create checkmarks.

Several Options

You’ll then want to tell QuickBooks what payment method the customer is using. Four options are displayed. The possibilities that are visible here are:

  • CASH
  • CHECK
  • CREDIT DEBIT (A specific card type may be shown here if you’ve indicated the customer’s preferred payment method in his or her record.)
  • e-CHECK

If the desired payment method isn’t included in those four, click the down arrow under MORE. If it’s still not there, click Add New Payment Method. This window will open:

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The New Payment Method window

Click OK. When you choose your new payment method from the list, a window opens containing fields for the card number and expiration date. Click Done after you’ve entered it, and you’ll be returned to the Receive Payments screen. If you’re satisfied with your work there, click Save & Close or Save & New.

Haven’t gotten set up to accept credit and debit cards yet? We can get you going with a merchant account to make this possible. You’re likely to find that some customers pay faster with this option. Your customers will be able to click a link in an emailed invoice and make their payments.

Instant Sales

Depending on the type of business you have and its physical location, there may be times when customers will come in and buy something on the spot. You’ll need to give them a Sales Receipt. Click Create Sales Receipts on the home page or open the Customers menu and select Enter Sales Receipts to open this window:

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The Enter Sales Receipts window

You’ll complete this form much like you entered data in the fields of the Receive Payments window. As you can see, you can print the mail for the customer and/or email it.

After all the hard work you’ve done to make your sales, the last thing you want to do is record a payment incorrectly so it isn’t processed and you don’t get paid. Though QuickBooks makes the mechanics of receiving payments simple enough, you still should understand the entire process involved in getting income into the correct accounts. We’re available to help with this and any other areas of QuickBooks.

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Getting to Know QuickBooks Online Reports

They’re one of the rewards you get for your conscientious accounting work: reports. Are you using them to make better business decisions?

What do you see when you log on to QuickBooks Online? Your most important business numbers represented by real-time charts. Profit and loss. Income and expenses. Sales. And all of your account balances.

This is a great way to start your workday. You know where you stand financially, and you know what areas of your company file need attention, fast.

But QuickBooks Online’s home page only tells part of the story. You also need more in-depth, customizable reports. In the short term, reports help you further determine any necessary accounting work. Long-term, they’ll provide insight to help you make smarter decisions as you plan for your company’s future.

Critical Overviews

Creating reports in QuickBooks Online is easy. Customizing them is a bit harder. And analyzing them, depending on their complexity, can be more of a challenge.

We’ll start with some of the simplest, most important ones: Accounts Receivable. Where do you stand with customer payments? Who isn’t paying on time? How much is outstanding? To find them, click Reports in the toolbar pane. Click All Reports (over to the right, near the top), and then Manage Accounts Receivable. The list of related reports will open.

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QuickBooks Online displays descriptions of each A/R report and links to the Run and Customize functions in its directory.

Click the Customize button under Open Invoices. The customization options will appear on the pane to the right of the screen. You can modify:

  • The Report period, Number format, and the appearance of Negative numbers
  • Columns (Transaction Type, Due Date, Open Balance, etc.)
  • Aging method (Current or Report Date)
  • Filter (Customer, Territory, Sales rep, etc.)
  • Header/footer (Show logo, Report title, Date prepared, Alignment, etc.)

QuickBooks Online comes with commonly used options already selected. Changing them helps you zero in on the precise cross-section of data you want to see.

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This is a partial list of the Column options in QuickBooks Online. You can also customize in multiple other ways.

When you’ve finished making changes, click Run report to see it displayed with your own data.

If you’d like to save that report (including the modifications you just made), click Save customization in the upper right corner of the screen. In the window that opens, create a new name for the report that you’ll recognize, and enter it in the Custom report name field.

Want to build a group of related custom reports? Click Add this report to a group and type its name into the New group name field. Click Add. That report will now appear in the list of reports you’ve created when you click the down arrow in the field below Add this report to a group.

Would you like to share the custom report with other QuickBooks Online users? Click the down arrow in the field under Share with, and select All or None. When you’re done here, click Save. You can click the icons in the upper right to email the report, print it, or export it to Excel or PDF format.

Reports in other categories—like Review Sales, Business Overview, and Review Expenses and Purchases—work similarly.

Note: There’s one category named Accountant Reports. If you’re very familiar with double-entry accounting, you might attempt to run and analyze these yourself. Most likely, you’ll need some help with these critical financial reports that should be created periodically. We’d be happy to assist with this.

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The Reports page toolbar

Saving Time

You can always go to the All Reports screen and drill down to the report you want to see. QuickBooks Online provides a better, faster way to access many of them. The toolbar pictured above appears when you’re browsing through lists of reports. Click Recommended to see what QuickBooks Online deems the most important data for you to see regularly.

Once you’ve started working with reports, the ones you access most often will appear when you click Frequently Run. Those reports that you modified and saved will be listed under My Custom Reports. Management Reports are geared toward company managers, of course.

We encourage you to familiarize yourself with QuickBooks Online’s reports and modification options. And as we said, we’re on hand to run and analyze the site’s more complex report options on a regular basis, or when you have a specific need, like when you apply for financing. Together, we can get the information you need to complete your daily work and do more long-term planning.

QuickBooks Advantage

QuickBooks Advantage
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Are You Memorizing Transactions? Should You Be?

You know that QuickBooks saves a lot of time. But have you explored how it does so by memorizing transactions?

Your accounting work involves a lot of repetition. You send invoices. Pay bills. Create purchase orders. Generate payroll checks and submit payroll taxes.

Some of the time, you only fill out those transaction forms once. You might be doing a one-time purchase, like paying for some new office furniture. Other times, though, you’re paying or charging the same companies or individuals on a regular basis.

QuickBooks contains a shortcut to those recurring tasks, called Memorized Transactions. You can save the details that remain the same every time, and use that template every time the bill or invoice is due, which can save a lot of time and improve accuracy. Here’s how it works.

Making Copies

To memorize a transaction, you first need to create a model for it. Let’s say you have a monthly bill for $450 that’s paid to Bruce’s Office Machines. You’d click Enter Bills on the home page or open the Vendors menu and select Enter Bills. Fill in the blanks and select from drop-down lists to create the bill. Then click Memorize in the horizontal toolbar at the top of the form.  This window will open.

Before you can Memorize a transaction, you first have to create a model (template) for it.

The vendor’s name will already be filled in on the Memorize Transaction screen. Look directly below that. There are three ways that QuickBooks can handle these Memorized Transactions when one of their due dates is approaching:

  • Add to my Reminders List. If you click the button in front of this option, the current transaction will appear on your Reminders List every time it’s due. You might request this for transactions that will change some every time they’re processed, like a utility bill that’s always expected on the same day, but which has a different amount every month.
  • Do Not Remind Me. Obviously, QuickBooks will not post a reminder if you click this button. This is best used for transactions that don’t recur on a regular basis. Maybe you have a snow-shoveling service that you pay only when there’s a storm. So the date is always different, but everything else is the same.
  • Automate Transaction Entry. Be very careful with this one. It’s reserved for transactions that are identical except for the issue date. They don’t need your approval – they’re just created and dispatched.

Click the down arrow in the field to the right of How Often and select the correct interval. Then click the calendar icon to pick a date for the next occurrence. If you have selected Automate Transaction Entry, the grayed-out lines below Next Date not shown here) contain fields for Number Remaining and Days in Advance to Enter.

How Does QuickBooks Know?

Obviously, you’ll want advance warning of transactions that will require processing. QuickBooks lets you specify how many days’ notice you want for each type. Open the Edit menu and select Preferences. Click Reminders in the left vertical pane, then the Company Preferences tab. You can tell QuickBooks whether you want to see a summary in each category or a list, or no Reminder. Then you can enter the number of days’ warning you want.

QuickBooks lets you specify the content and timing of your Reminders.

Working with Memorized Transactions

Once you’ve created some Memorized Transactions, you will undoubtedly need to review them at some point. QuickBooks makes this happen. Open the Lists menu and select Memorized Transaction List to see all the templates for recurring bills, invoices, etc., that you’ve defined. Right-click on one you want to work with, and this menu appears:

The Memorized Transaction List with the right-click window open

You have several options here. If your list is so long that it fills multiple screens, you can Find the transaction you’re looking for. If you’ve created multiple related transactions, you can save them as a New Group. You can also Edit, Delete, and Enter Memorized Transactions.

Anytime you’re letting QuickBooks do something on its own, it’s critical that you thoroughly understand the mechanics of setting the process up. We’d be happy to go over the whole topic of Memorized Transactions with you, or any other aspect of QuickBooks operations.

 

 

 

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QuickBooks Advantage
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Need to Set Up Users in QuickBooks Online?

Your employees probably don’t need access to every corner of QuickBooks Online. Here’s how to set limits.

One of the best attributes of QuickBooks Online is that multiple users can access it without having software installed on their PCs. No more paying up front for a boxed copy that you’ll store on your hard drive. You just pay a monthly subscription fee.

Unless you assign specific access rights to your users, though, they’ll be able to see and do everything that you see and do on the site. You undoubtedly trust your employees or you wouldn’t have hired them, but it’s just good business practice to restrict individuals to their specific work areas. You probably did the same thing if you ever ran a manual accounting system.

QuickBooks Online makes this easy. Once you’ve set up individuals for a specific set of screen permissions, that’s all they’ll see when they log in with their user names and passwords. Here’s how it works.

Several Levels

Click the gear icon in the upper right of the QuickBooks Online screen, then select Manage Users under Your Company, then click New. This mini-interview will open.

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QuickBooks Online’s mini-interview will walk you through the steps required to assign access rights to employees.

As you can see, four access levels are supported. You’ll probably select Regular or custom user most often because you can drill down and set permissions at the screen level. The Company administrator is you, of course, unless you’ve assigned this role to someone else. The user at this level has access to everything.

You can also let someone see Reports only, with the exception of payroll reports and those that contain contact information about customers, vendors, and employees. If you have employees who submit time sheets but don’t otherwise work in QuickBooks Online, you can let them in to do Time Tracking only.

Tip: There’s a fifth option here. You can grant us access to your QuickBooks Online company data, making it easier for us to monitor and troubleshoot your accounting information. Let us know if you want to take advantage of this.

Paring Down Access

Click the button in front of Regular or custom user if it’s not already highlighted, and then click Next. This third screen in the mini-interview deals with Customers and Sales and Vendors and Purchases Access Rights. Click All or None if appropriate.

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This screen in the mini-interview helps you restrict user access in Sales and Purchase areas.

If you’re allowing Limited access in these two areas, be sure to read the fine print explaining what is and isn’t allowed. When you’re satisfied with your selection, click Next. On the next screen, you’ll set administrative rights for that user by indicating whether he or she can manage other users’ access rights and work with your subscription status and other company information.

You’ll supply the individual’s email address and name on the following screen. This will be used to send an email inviting the user to sign in using an existing Intuit Business Services user name or one he or she creates. Click through the next screen and click Finish when you’re done. The mini-interview will close, and you’ll be back at the Manage Users page.

Your User Overview

The Manage Users page displays a list of all users who have been invited or are active.

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The Manage Users screen

The table here lists all users’ names, email addresses, access rights, billable standing, and status. If you haven’t received a response to an invitation (Invited), you can click the Resend button to issue another email. When he or she responds, Invited changes to Active. Click on a row to highlight an individual, and you can Edit or Delete him or her, and see an audit log of Activity.

You or your appointed Master Administrator should set up access rights before any new employee is admitted to QuickBooks Online. Let us know if you’re having trouble with this element of the site, and if you’d like us to join your list of active users. It’s a lot easier for you and us if we can get in there and see what problems you’re having — and resolve them.

QuickBooks Advantage

QuickBooks Advantage
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Setting Up Users in QuickBooks

If you plan to have multiple employees using QuickBooks, you can limit their access to specific areas.

Controlling access to your QuickBooks company file is easy when you’re a one-person accounting department. You simply use one password to protect your data.

But when you add new employees to the mix, do you want them to have access to absolutely everything in QuickBooks? Probably not. You have confidence in your employees or you wouldn’t have hired them. But this isn’t solely a matter of trust. It’s just good business practice to restrict individuals to specific areas and responsibilities, no matter what the application.

That’s why QuickBooks has built-in tools to help you limit activity. Here’s how it works.

Identifying Users

To get started, open the Company menu and scroll down the list to highlight Set Up User Names and Passwords. On the slide-out menu, select Set Up Users. The User List window will open, and you should see your own entry as Admin. Click Add User.

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To give an employee access to QuickBooks, enter a User Name for him or her here, then a password.

The Set up user password and access window will open. Fill in those fields and check the box in front of Add this user to my QuickBooks license. This will not be an option if you already have five users, since that’s the maximum number allowed by QuickBooks Pro and Premier. To buy more, open the Help menu and select Manage My License, then Buy Additional User License.

Tip: If you’re not sure how many user licenses you’ve purchased, hit your F2 key and look in the upper left corner. If you’ve maxed out and need more licenses, talk to us about upgrading to QuickBooks Enterprise Solutions.

Click Next. In the window that opens, you’ll define the access level for your new user. Your options here are:

  • All areas of QuickBooks,
  • Selected areas of QuickBooks, or,
  • External accountant (you can grant us access to all areas of the software except for those that contain sensitive customer data, like credit card numbers).

Click the button in front of the second option, then Next.

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You can specify the access rights for individual employees in numerous areas.

The image above shows the first screen of 10 that display the levels of access available in many individual areas of QuickBooks. Be sure to read the whole page carefully before assigning rights. Here, for example, you’re not just allowing the employee to enter sales and A/R transactions. You’re also deciding whether to grant him or her permission to view the Customer Center and A/R reports. As you can see, your options are No Access, Full Access, and Selective Access (three levels there). Check the box below this list if you want the employee to be able to View complete customer credit card numbers.

When you’re finished there, click Next to specify your similar preferences for Purchases and Accounts Receivable, Checking and Credit Cards, Inventory, Time Tracking, and Payroll and Employees. The next two screens contain more complex concepts, but you’ll follow the same process to express your wishes. They are:

  • Sensitive Accounting Activities, like funds transfers, general journal entries, and online banking tasks
  • Sensitive Financial Reporting, which allows access to all QuickBooks reports. The option you choose here overrides all other reporting restrictions that you’ve specified for the employee.

Finally, you’ll tell QuickBooks whether this person can change or delete transactions in designated areas, and whether he or she can do so to transactions that were recorded before the closing date (if this applies). The last screen displays a summary of the access and activity rights you’ve given the employee. Check them carefully, and if they’re correct, click Finish.

Housekeeping Options

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The User List window

QuickBooks then takes you back to the User List window, where you’ll see the employee’s name displayed. If you want to Add, Edit, Delete, or View a user, make sure the correct name is highlighted and click the button for the desired action.

If you’re just now looking to add your first employee to QuickBooks or if you’re starting to outgrow the five-user limit, give us a call. There are more issues to consider when you take on multi-user access. We’d be happy to discuss them with you.

QuickBooks Advantage

QuickBooks Advantage
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Your First Hour with QuickBooks Online

Whether you’re just launching a business or you’re going online with an existing company, take some time to get acquainted with QuickBooks Online.

Your first hour with any web-based application is probably spent exploring and clicking buttons, links, and other navigation tools to get the lay of the land.

QuickBooks Online should be no different. In fact, it’s even more important to take it slow when you’re using an accounting solution. If you start entering data without understanding how everything works together, you may make mistakes early on that will be difficult to undo down the road.

Simple Setup

If you’re not absolutely certain you’re going to stick with QuickBooks Online, you can sign up for a 30-day free trial (no credit card required). You’ll first create an account by entering a user name, password, etc., then be asked a few simple questions about your business and the features you plan to use (invoicing, inventory, bills, etc.).

If you have data in a desktop QuickBooks file, you can start the import process here, but we strongly recommend that you let us help with setup if you’re planning to do this.

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Once you start entering data, your QuickBooks Online Dashboard will give you an overview of your finances.

When you’ve completed your account setup, the main QuickBooks Online screen opens. You’ll see your Dashboard, a collection of data and charts that provides critical information like your bank balances, your outstanding invoices, and your current profit and loss.

You’ll eventually be using the vertical pane on the left for navigation. But you don’t need to click the links there yet – you have other setup tasks to do first.

Specifying Options

If you’ve used a desktop version of QuickBooks, you know about its many menus and its Preferences window. QuickBooks Online uses a different convention for choosing options and entering the information that will serve as the backbone for your company file. To get there, click the small gear icon in the upper right corner.

Tip: There are two other links next to the gear icon. You’ll be able to search for transactions by clicking the magnifying glass link. The plus (+) sign opens a window with links to screens where you can create transactions and initiate other activities.

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You’ll spend a lot of time working with the links in the Your Company window when you’re setting up QuickBooks Online. You can always refer back to it later on.

As you can see, you have access to a lot of data and activity in the Your Company window. You don’t have to go through absolutely every link before you start using QuickBooks Online, but two you should look at early are Account and Settings and Manage Users.

The Account and Settings page is divided into multiple areas that you can access from a navigation bar on the left. They include:

  • Company. Fill in contact details and upload your company logo for use on sales forms.
  • Sales. Customize sales form content (preferred terms, custom fields, discount field, etc.). Would you like to turn on inventory tracking?
  • Expenses. Do you use purchase orders? Track expenses and items by customer? Make expenses and items billable?
  • Payments. Do you want to subscribe to QuickBooks Payments so you can accept credit cards and/or bank payments through QuickBooks Online?
  • Advanced. You’ll have numerous decisions to make here. For example, what tax form will you use? Will you want to automate some activities, like applying bill payments? Do you need to support multiple currencies?
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The Advanced page of QuickBooks Online’s Account and Settings presents you with numerous options. You may want our help with this.

Multi-User Access

Will more than one person at your company be using QuickBooks Online? If so, you’ll most likely want to specify what areas they’re allowed to visit and what activities they can do. Click the gear icon in the upper right and then select Manage Users. QuickBooks Online displays a mini-interview in a window here that walks you through the process of assigning access rights to individuals (Custom User, Time Tracking Only, etc.).

We’ve probably taken up more than your first hour by now, but we wanted to stress the importance of thoroughly setting up QuickBooks Online before you start entering contact records and creating transactions. If this is your first experience with an accounting application, we highly recommend that you engage us in your first hours of using QuickBooks Online. We can come in at any time and troubleshoot problems, but it’ll be more economical and less time-consuming if we work with you from the start.

QuickBooks Advantage

QuickBooks Advantage
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Sink or Swim: A Guide to Surviving Sales Tax in 2017

Businesses may feel out of their depth as states look to test the waters on tax compliance in the coming year

Sales and use tax compliance can be a complex problem for many businesses. It almost feels like you need a Bowie knife to cut through the regulatory red tape, although knowledge may be a better weapon in this case. So stay sharp with Avalara’s 2017 Sales Tax Survival Guide.

Published every year to help businesses better understand the challenges they are up against when it comes to complying with sales and use tax regulations in the U.S., Avalara’s latest Survival Guide is refreshed for 2017 with insight into what’s new and what’s changed at the state and federal level, common challenges around sales tax compliance, and tips for staying on top of your tax obligations.

States are testing the waters in 2017

States are facing budget deficits and they need revenue from taxes. Sales and use tax is one of the largest generators of this revenue, but collecting it has become more difficult as how Americans buy, sell and consume goods and services has evolved beyond what’s defined by state tax laws. For example, Congress has yet to act on outdated federal internet sales legislation; services now outpace goods in consumer spending but aren’t taxed with the same consistency; and digital delivery of software, books and other media and streaming services have states perplexed when it comes to setting standards for taxability.

This has led many states to get aggressive – hiring more auditors, expanding nexus definitions (a connection with a state that triggers an obligation to collect and remit sales tax to that state) to target out of state sellers, implementing use tax reporting policies, increasing state and local sales tax rates, and extending sales tax to more products and services.

Survival of the fittest

While not every aspect of managing transactional tax causes pain for every business, it’s pretty certain that at least some areas will pose a challenge given how quickly the rules changes.

The 2017 Sales Tax Survival Guide walks you through 10 critical compliance challenges, from determining nexus to managing exempt sales to understanding the implications of drop shipping on your business and dealing with audits and lawsuits. Each section is also buoyed with best practices for overcoming these challenges, and links to addition information should you need to go more in depth on a topic.

It’s a must-read reference for anyone who is responsible for tax compliance in their business. And it’s available for download here.

Shore up compliance

As helpful as it is, no guide is a replacement for good practices. The most valuable takeaway from the Survival Guide is a greater awareness of just how burdensome tax compliance can be on a business – large or small. Trying to keep up with ever-changing state tax rates and rules puts a strain on accounting and finance teams in terms of the research and due diligence required.

You can remove that burden with tax automation software like Avalara AvaTax. Much of the work that goes into proving sales and use tax compliance – calculating tax rates, verifying customer information, updating taxability rules, applying exemptions, remitting sales tax and even filing tax returns – can be handled easily and efficiently in your accounting system with little to no manual work required. It’s easy to set up and use, guaranteed accurate, and budget friendly. Avalara is a preferred provider of tax software for more than 500 eCommerce, shopping cart, ERP and accounting systems and used by more than 20,000 companies worldwide. Talk to your system or application provider about using AvaTax to manage transactional tax, or contact Avalara directly for more information.

 

Permission to reprint or repost given by Avalara. Content previously published at www.avalara.com/blog.

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QuickBooks Advantage
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Establishing Preferences in QuickBooks

Before you start entering data, make sure QuickBooks is set up appropriately for your company.

QuickBooks was designed to serve the needs of millions of small businesses. To do that, it had to include the tools and processes suitable for a wide variety of companies. But Intuit recognized that every organization is unique, so your copy of QuickBooks can be customized in ways that make it work best for you.

You could just dive in and start adding records and transactions. But we recommend you do some setup first. If you don’t, you may run into some issues later, such as finding that some features you need haven’t been turned on, for example, or that QuickBooks is simply not doing some things the way you do. The good news is that you can change many of these.

Getting There

QuickBooks refers to these options as Preferences. You’ll find them by opening the Edit menu and selecting Preferences.

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To start customizing QuickBooks so it works best for you, open the Edit menu and choose Preferences.

As you can see, the left vertical pane contains a list of Preference types. Click on any of these to change the option screens to the right. Always click the tabs labeled My Preferences and Company Preferences to make sure you see everything that’s displayed for each type (sometimes one will have no choices).

Setting Up Reminders

Let’s look closely at one set of Preferences: Reminders. It’s very important that you visit these screens when you begin using QuickBooks. Depending on how big your company is and how complex your accounting processes are, there may be things you need to do every day, like pay bills and follow up on overdue invoices. It would be nearly impossible for you to do everything on time if you didn’t ask QuickBooks to keep track of critical dates and remind you of them.

Click Reminders in the left vertical tab. You’ll see one option under My Preferences. Do you want QuickBooks to show Reminders List when opening a Company file? If so—and this is a good idea—click the box in front of that line if there isn’t a checkmark there already.

Then click Company Preferences. Here’s where you’ll tell QuickBooks whether you want to see summaries or lists for each reminder, or neither. You can also specify how much advance notice you want for specific tasks by entering a number of days. QuickBooks comes with default settings, but you can easily change these.

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QuickBooks comes with default settings for Reminders, but you can enter your own Preferences here.

As you can see, it’s easy to specify your Company Preferences. Click the appropriate button under Show Summary, Show List, or Don’t Remind Me. If you’ve requested a reminder, delete any number that appears in the box in front of days before or days after and then enter your own.

Critical Areas

We recommend that you look through all of QuickBooks’ Preferences and change any that don’t fit your company. Some simply have to do with the way QuickBooks displays information and how it functions, but others have direct impact on your accounting work. As always, we’re available if you have questions here.

There are many that you will probably want to visit. They may have numerous options, but here’s some of what you can establish in each:

  • Accounting. Do you want to use account numbers and classes?
  • Checking. Which accounts should QuickBooks automatically use for tasks like Open the Pay Bills, Open the Make Deposits, and Open the Create Paychecks?
  • Finance Charge. Will you be assessing finance charges on late payments from customers? What’s the interest rate, minimum finance charge, and grace period?
  • Items & Inventory. Do you want inventory and purchase orders to be active?
  • Multiple Currencies. Does your company do business using other currencies?
  • Payments. Can customers pay you online? What methods can they use?
  • Payroll & Employees. Will you be processing payroll using QuickBooks?
  • Sales & Customers. Do you want to use sales orders? How should QuickBooks handle invoices when there are time and costs that need to be added?

You can see why it’s important to study QuickBooks’ Preferences early on. It’ll help you avoid unnecessary roadblocks and ensure that your company’s needs are reflected well in the software.

 

QuickBooks Advantage

QuickBooks Advantage
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Using Custom Fields and Classes in QuickBooks Online

QBO’s tools are generic enough that myriad businesses can use it. But custom fields and classes help you shape it to meet your specific needs.

Small business accounting is not a one-size-fits-all proposition. Your company is unique in that sense; you have your own customers and products, vendors and services. Your requirements for your accounting application—what it must do and how it does that—is unlike anyone else’s.

QuickBooks Online contains a standard set of features that can accommodate a broad cross-section of the millions of small businesses in the U.S. It also offers customization options that you can use to make it your own. Two of these are custom fields and classes.

Start from the Beginning with Custom Fields

You can start working with custom fields and classes at any time. They’re most effective, though, when you build them in as you’re just starting to use QuickBooks Online.

Let’s look at custom fields first. When we refer to “fields,” we simply mean the rectangular boxes in records and forms that either already contain data or that can be filled in by you, either by entering the correct word or phrase, or by selecting from drop-down lists. Most of these are already named. On an invoice, for example, there are fields for information like Invoice date and Due date.

But you can add up to three additional fields to sales forms. To do so, click the gear icon in the upper right corner of the screen and select Account and Settings, then click Sales in the vertical navigation bar on the left. The second block here contains Sales form content. Click Custom fields, and you’ll see something like this:

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You can define up to three custom fields on sales forms and make them visible internally and/or to your customers.

Click the word Off if it appears, and it will change to On and display three blank fields. Think carefully about what you would like to appear here, as this isn’t something you’ll want to change. If you haven’t yet met with us about how to set up QuickBooks Online, let’s schedule some sessions to go over all your setup procedures, including custom fields.

Enter the words or phrases you want displayed on sales forms in the three fields. Then decide whether you want them to be visible only to you and your accounting staff or to your customers, too. Click within the Internal and Public to create checkmarks. When you’re done, click Save.

Additional Categorization with Classes

QuickBooks Online’s classes provide another way to categorize transactions. You can use them to differentiate between, for example, departments or divisions. If you’re a construction company, you might have different classes for New Construction and Remodel. Unlike custom fields, you’re not limited to three classes.

You can filter many reports by class. QuickBooks Online contains report templates designed specifically for reporting by class, like Sales by Class Detail, Purchases by Class Detail, and Profit and Loss by Class.

Here’s how you create your own list. Click the gear icon in the upper right of the screen and select Account and Settings. Then click Advanced in the left vertical navigation toolbar. Under the fourth heading, Categories, you’ll see Track classes. If the word “Off” appears to the right, click in the box to turn this feature on. A box like this will appear:

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Class-tracking in QuickBooks Online helps you create more targeted reports.

Even if you’ve defined a number of classes, they’re not required on transactions. If you want to be reminded should you forget to classify one, click in the box in front of Warn me when a transaction isn’t assigned a class. You can also choose to assign one class to an entire transaction or to each individual row. Click the arrow to the right of One to entire transaction to drop the option box down and make your choice. When you’re done, click Save.

You can create classes as you’re entering transactions by clicking the arrow next to Class over to the right of the screen and selecting +Add new. We recommend, though, that you think this through ahead of time and make at least an initial list by clicking the gear icon in the upper right and choosing All Lists, then Classes, then New.

Great Flexibility

These are two of the customization tools that are built into QuickBooks Online. Whether you’re just getting started or you’ve been using the site for a while, we can introduce you to all the ways that you can make QuickBooks Online your own.

QuickBooks Advantage

QuickBooks Advantage
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Get Ready for New Changes to Sales and Use Tax in 2017

In 2017, when it comes to sales tax, states are taking stances on everything from soda to streaming content, tobacco to tampons. The New Year will also bring renewed efforts by states to implement internet sales taxes and continue the legal battle to overturn existing legislation.

Here is a summary of 2017’s most newsworthy federal and state sales and use tax changes:

The great nexus debate

The push by states for online sales tax revenue will likely continue in 2017. Oklahoma created new reporting obligations for remote sellers starting in November of this year and Tennessee implemented a new economic nexus policy that takes effect on July 1, 2017. A new use tax notification requirement for remote sellers is also set to take effect on July 1, 2017 in Louisiana.

States are also busy challenging existing precedent. Attorneys general in 11 states called for the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn Quill Corp. v. North Dakota — the 1992 decision that established that states cannot impose a tax collection obligation on businesses lacking a substantial physical presence in the state.

And four pieces of online sales tax legislation continue to languish on Capitol Hill; three look to impose tax on remote sellers: The Marketplace Fairness Act, the Remote Transactions Parity Act, the Online Sales Simplification Act, and one, the No Regulation without Representation Act, aims to prevent it.

Product and services tax changes

Soda tax

Several states, cities and counties and the Navajo Nation impose higher taxes on sugary drinks like soda, which have “minimal-to-no-nutritional value food.” Philadelphia joins the ranks on January 1, followed by Boulder, Colorado, Oakland, California, and Cook County, Illinois on July 1.

‘Tampon tax’ exemptions

A number of states enacted so-called “tampon tax” exemptions in 2016. More are likely to follow suit starting with Illinois where the exemption for feminine hygiene products takes effect on January 1, 2017. Connecticut’s exemption doesn’t take effect until July 2018.

Streaming services

Streaming services such as those provided by Netflix, Hulu, and HBO Go will be subject to sales tax in Pasadena, California beginning January 1. Other cities in California may follow suit. Chicago, Illinois imposes a similar tax.

Tobacco, e-cigarettes and vaping

California is extending cigarette and tobacco taxes to e-cigarettes and similar vaping products starting January 1. The tax rate on tobacco products will also increase significantly once Proposition 56 takes effect in early 2017.

State sales and use tax rate changes

California’s sales and use tax rate will drop from 7.5% to 7.25% under Proposition 30 (which temporarily increased the rate by 0.25% through December 1, 2016). The state rate decrease also affects certain partial state tax exemptions.

New Jersey’s sales and use tax rate in New Jersey will decrease from 7% to 6.875% on January 1, 2017 to offset a recent gas tax hike. It will drop further in 2018.

North Carolina use tax will apply to businesses storing tangible personal property or digital property in the state for any period of time. This expansion of use tax is due to the enactment of Senate Bill 729.

Missouri sales and use tax will not be expanded to any currently exempt services in 2017. On November 8, voters approved prohibiting the expansion of sales tax to any services not taxed as of January 1, 2015. It will be interesting to see if Missouri legislators attempt to capture additional sales tax revenue another way.

Tax exemption changes

Ohio will once again exempt investment bullion from sales and use tax beginning January 1.

Maine is expanding the sales tax exemption for products used in certain commercial activities as of January 1. Additional information will soon be available from the Maine Revenue Services.

North Carolina will exempt certain service contracts sold by or on behalf of motor vehicle dealers, in addition to certain sales of food, prepared food, soft drinks, candy, and other items of tangible personal property at school sponsored events. Certain sales of repair, maintenance, and installation services that are part of a real property contract will also be exempt.

Georgia terminated a temporary exemption for tangible personal property used for or in the renovation or expansion of qualifying aquariums in Georgia effective January 1, 2017.

North Carolina will no longer exempt retail sales of tangible personal property, certain digital property, and taxable services by certain nonprofits from sales and use tax as of January 1. Purchases by a manufacturer of fuel or piped natural gas used solely for comfort heating will also no longer be exempt.

Local sales tax changes.

Several states have announced local sales and use tax rate changes, effective January 1.

More details on all of these changes, including a state-by-state breakdown, can be found in Avalara’s newly released 2017 Sales Tax Changes report.

Automation can simplify sales tax

Understanding how these sales tax changes impact your business is important, but can also be overwhelming, especially if you are obligated to register, collect and report tax in several states. Automating sales and use tax compliance in your accounting system, ERP or ecommerce system can alleviate much of this strain. Avalara’s tax management software ensures accurate tax calculation (including current changes), proper management of tax exemptions and streamlines the remittance and filing process for sales tax returns in every U.S. jurisdiction.

Get a free copy of the 2017 Sales Tax Changes report

 

Permission to reprint or repost given by Avalara. Some content was previously published at www.avalara.com/blog.

 

QuickBooks Advantage

QuickBooks Advantage
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Anatomy of a QuickBooks Inventory Item

If you have an item-heavy business, you need tools to track your inventory. QuickBooks provides them.

When you started your business, maybe you were able to keep track of your inventory by peering in the closet or your garage. As you grew, that simply took too long. But you grew tired of running out of stock because you didn’t have time to constantly check its levels, and you forgot about items that didn’t sell and were tucked away in a corner.

You need inventory-tracking. QuickBooks can help you create thorough records for each product you sell. It keeps track of how much you have on hand and warns you when your stock is running low. And its reports tell you what’s selling and what’s not, so you can make better, smarter purchasing decisions.

Activating Inventory-Tracking

Before you get started creating item records and including them in transactions, you need to make sure that QuickBooks is set up to start tracking. Open the Edit menu and click Preferences. Click Items & Inventory in the left vertical pane and then select the Company Preferences tab. This window will open:

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QuickBooks needs to know what your intentions are when it comes to inventory-tracking.

First, of course, click in the box to the left of Inventory and purchase orders are active if it isn’t already checked. Click the next box down if applicable. The rest of this window deals with two concepts you need to understand. Quantity on Hand refers to the number of items that you actually have. Quantity Available subtracts items currently on Sales Orders. QuickBooks will warn you if you don’t have enough of a specific item to commit to a customer. You just have to decide which definition of Quantity you want to use.

When you’re done here, click OK.

Accuracy Matters

Now you can start entering records for the products you sell. Accuracy is absolutely essential here. You’ll see why as you explore QuickBooks’ tracking capabilities.

There are a few ways to open an item record window. You can click Items & Services in the upper right corner of the Home Page, or open the Lists menu and select Item List. Both will open a window displaying any item records that have been entered in a register-type view. Right-click anywhere and select New, or click the arrow next to Item in the lower left corner and select New.

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Double- and triple-check your work as you enter information in the QuickBooks item record window.

QuickBooks lets you create records for numerous types of items, including Service, Discount, and Inventory Assembly. To see how inventory-tracking works, select Inventory Part from the drop-down menu under TYPE. Next, enter an Item Name/Number in that field.

If you’ve already named a main category (like Hardware, in the example above) and want to place your product in a subcategory of it, click the Subitem of box and choose from the drop-down list. Manufacturer’s Part Number is optional. You can ignore UNIT OF MEASURE, if this isn’t an option in your version of QuickBooks.

Purchase Information

If you buy this item from a vendor, fill in this side of the window. Write the description that should appear on purchase transactions when you place an order. Enter the cost you pay for it, and select the COGS (Cost of Goods Sold) account if the default isn’t correct. Do you buy this product exclusively from one supplier? Select the name in the drop-down menu under Preferred Vendor.

Sales Information

Enter the description you’d like customers to see on invoices and the price you’ll charge. If you’re at all unsure of what to select for Tax Code or Income Account, we can go over your Chart of Accounts with you and explain how its accounts are used in records and transactions.

Inventory Information

Here’s where the software’s tracking capabilities come in. QuickBooks will probably default to your Inventory Asset account, which is fine. Enter the minimum number of items that should be in stock when you get a reminder to reorder, and the maximum you want to have at any one time. Fill in the On Hand field with the number you currently have. QuickBooks will automatically calculate the Total Value.

In the screen shot above, you see an example of what that last line looks like once you start using that item in transactions. You’ll see its Average Cost and the number that are currently on purchase orders and sales orders.

Creating records for every product you sell can be tedious, time-consuming work. But the payoff comes in the real-time knowledge you’ll have of your inventory that will lead to better, smarter purchasing decisions. As always, we stand ready to help.

QuickBooks Advantage

QuickBooks Advantage
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Ringing Out 2016 in QuickBooks

2017 is just around the corner. Now’s the time to do your end-of-year QuickBooks tasks.

Since early January of this year, you’ve been faithfully creating new records, entering transactions, and recording payments. You’ve run basic reports. You’ve done your collection duties. You may have paid employees and submitted payroll taxes.

Now the end of the year is rapidly approaching. In the midst of holiday get-togethers, gift shopping, and perhaps preparing for travel, you probably have a list of work tasks that must be completed by December 31.

Is your annual QuickBooks wrap-up on that list? It should be. Here are some of the things we suggest you fit into your busy schedule sometime this month.

Create and send year-end statements.

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As your customers wrap up 2016, too, it’s good to send statements to past-due accounts.

In an ideal world, all of the invoices that are currently due would be paid off by the end of the year. We all know that that’s not usually the reality. Two reports can help you here: the A/R Aging Summary and Open Invoices.

Give everyone a chance to clear their accounts before December 31 by sending statements. Click Statements on the Home page (or Customers | Create Statements) to open the window pictured above.

You have multiple options here that are fairly self-explanatory. The screen above is set up to create statements for all customers who have an open balance as of the date you select, but not for inactive customers or those with a zero balance or no account activity. That way, no one who’s paid in full to date will receive a statement. Of course, if you didn’t want statements created for anyone who’s less than 30 days past due, you’d click in the box in front of Include only transactions over and enter a “30” in the following field. Questions about all of this? Give us a call.

Tip: You can also find out who’s overdue by clicking on the Customers tab in the left vertical pane to open the Customer Information screen. Click on the down arrow to the right of the field just below Customers & Jobs. QuickBooks provides several filters for your list.

Reduce your inventory.

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Want to discount all or selected items in your inventory by the same percentage or amount? Open the Customers menu and click Change Item Prices. We can work with you on the whole item pricing process.

The week between Christmas and New Year’s Day might be a good time to sell excess inventory by having a sale. If you only sell a few products, you probably know what hasn’t sold well in 2016. If your stable of products is larger, you can run QuickBooks reports like Inventory Stock Status by Item and Sales by Item Detail to identify your slow-sellers and discount them. You may need to filter your reports to see the right data. Talk to us about customization options if you’re unsure of this.

Clean up your contact lists.

If you don’t maintain your customer and vendor lists, you’ll eventually start wasting time scrolling through them when you enter transactions. So this would be a good time to designate those contacts that you’ve not dealt with in 2016 as Inactive (you can delete their records entirely, but we advise against that). Simply open a Customer record, for example, and click the small pencil icon in the upper right to edit it. Click on the box in front of Customer is inactive.

Send holiday greetings to customers and vendors.

It’s getting a little late to send a holiday greeting/thanks-for-your-business note in December. Consider doing this in January (Best Wishes for a Successful 2017!) when your customers’ and vendors’ lives have slowed down a bit. You’re less likely to get lost in the crowd. If your lists are short enough, personalize these cards as much as possible. At least sign them by hand if you can.

Tip: You can print customer labels for your cards directly from QuickBooks. Open the File menu and then click Print Forms | Labels.

Run advanced reports.

Here’s where we come in. If we’re not already creating and analyzing QuickBooks’ advanced financial reports (found in the Accountant & Taxes submenu of Reports) monthly or quarterly, talk to us about it. They’re important, and they give you insight that you can’t get on your own. This is another activity that can spill into January.

We’d like to thank you for being a client this year, and to wish you a successful 2017!

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Stock image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net

 

QuickBooks Advantage

QuickBooks Advantage
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5 QuickBooks Online Add-On Apps You May Need in 2017

Not finding quite everything you need in QuickBooks Online? Here are some handy add-on apps available.

QuickBooks Online may work for you just fine as is. After all, it was designed to meet the needs of the millions of small businesses that want to manage and track their income and expenses, create records and transactions, and run reports to gauge their financial health.

QuickBooks Online was also designed to grow along with your business. But there’s no need for Intuit to add internal features to do so. In fact, that would make it too expensive and unwieldy for many companies.

Instead, Intuit has partnered with other small business websites to provides add-ons—applications that extend the usefulness of QuickBooks Online in one or more areas, like accounts receivable and payable, inventory, and expense-tracking. They integrate easily to share data and do the extra work you need. Here are some of them to consider.

Bill.com

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Bill.com automates your accounts receivable and payable processes. It supports electronic billing and payment, as well as multiple approval levels.

You can certainly enter and pay bills using QuickBooks Online. And you can send invoices to customers and receive payments. But adding a connection to Bill.com gives you more advanced options for accounts receivable and payable. Simply send your bills to Bill.com by scanning, emailing, faxing, or taking a picture with your smartphone. The site’s automation tools turn them into digital records and route them through your specified approvers. Once approved, they’re paid electronically or by paper check. Invoices are just as easy to process; customers can pay by using PayPal, credit card, or ACH. Bill.com’s mobile app makes it possible to keep up with invoices and bills while you’re out of the office.

Expensify

Are your employees still paper-clipping receipts to handwritten expense reports? This method is unnecessarily time-consuming – and often inaccurate. Expensify solves both problems. Your staff can take photos of receipts with their smartphones. Expensify then converts the expense information into coded digital records and submits them for approval based on your company’s policies. Credit card purchases can be automatically imported, too. All data is synchronized with QuickBooks Online in real-time and coded to reflect your preference of QBO’s expense accounts, customers/jobs, etc. Once you’ve approved a report, you can have the money deposited in the employee’s bank account the next day.

TSheets Time Tracking

TSheets employee scheduling software automates tasks that QuickBooks Online doesn’t do: scheduling and remote time-tracking for your hourly employees. Your staff no longer has to fill in paper timesheets. Instead, they can use their smartphones to track their hours and GPS location points. And while Excel is certainly better for creating schedules than paper, TSheets takes over that task, too. After you’ve approved timesheets, that information is sent over to QuickBooks, ready for use in your payroll processing.

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Your employees can easily “punch” in and out using their smartphones. TSheets also uses GPS technology so that your staff members’ locations are always known to you.

SOS Inventory

QuickBooks Online performs some basic inventory management tasks. You can create records for items and use them in transactions, and keep track of the number of items in stock so you know when to reorder (or have a sale). SOS Inventory goes well beyond those capabilities. You can create sales orders, track cost history and serial numbers, and document work-in-progress (WIP). SOS Inventory supports multiple locations and the entire pick/pack/ship process.

Insightly CRM

You can create thorough customer records in QuickBooks Online and document some of your interaction. But it doesn’t facilitate true Customer Relationship Management (CRM) nor project management. Insightly CRM does both. It lets you build exceptionally thorough customer profiles so that you can view social streams, email history, and any events, opportunities, or events related to them. Its project management features include the ability to track by pipelines or milestones, define contact roles and custom fields, and generate advanced project reporting.

QuickBooks Online Integration Key

All of these apps can work in standalone settings, but their integration with QuickBooks Online and their mobile capabilities create powerful partnerships that help you serve both your customers and your employees in ways that QuickBooks Online alone can’t.

We’re not trying to sell you applications here. Our concern is that you’re getting as much out of QuickBooks itself as you can. We can steer you toward add-on solutions if that seems necessary, but we’re always happy to work with you on getting to know QuickBooks Online better and matching its capabilities to your company’s needs.

 

QuickBooks Advantage

QuickBooks Advantage
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Paying Bills in QuickBooks Online

In a previous column, we talked about setting up bills in QuickBooks Online. Now it’s time to pay them.

We recently laid out the benefits of using QuickBooks Online for bill entry and payment. It’s faster than manual methods. It leaves an electronic record of your accounts payable. And it helps ensure that bills are paid accurately and on time.

As we discussed, QuickBooks Online employs a two-step process for bill payment. Once you’ve completed the first (setup), the hard part is done, and you can move on to fulfilling your financial obligations. Let’s take a look.

Warning: Because you may be “handling” a lot of your bills twice in QuickBooks Online, this system can take some getting used to. We’ll be happy to walk you through the process until you’re comfortable.

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Before you can pay a bill, you must create a template and enter its details. You can even set up payments to recur, as shown here.

To review quickly, we created a bill by clicking on the plus (+) sign at the top of the screen and selecting Bill under Vendors. Once you’ve created a bill, you can click on Make recurring at the bottom of the screen to establish periodic payments (as pictured above). You can choose to have payments that are always the same sent automatically, or you can request a reminder so that you can change the amount before emailing or printing. Those reminders appear when you first log into QuickBooks Online. You can access them by clicking on the corresponding link under Tasks.

Making Payments

QuickBooks Online makes it very easy to pay bills. You can do so from a handful of different screens on the site – sometimes in multiple places on the same page.

  • Click on the Vendors tab in the vertical toolbar on the left side of the screen. The page that opens displays a horizontal chain of bars near the top, color-coded to indicate what they represent: Purchase Order, Open Bills, Overdue, and Paid Last 30 Days. Each segment tells you how many transactions share that status as well as their total dollar amount. When you click on a segment, the table below changes to include a list of the actual transactions. At the right end of each line is a Make Payment link that you can click to get a payment screen. If you want to see the actual bill that was sent, click on the Vendor name itself.
  • You can click on the plus (+) sign at the top of any screen where it appears and go to Vendors | Pay Bills.
  • Open the bill itself and click on the Make Payment link in the upper right corner.
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A partial view of the Bill Payment screen

When you’ve opened a bill that you want to pay, double-check the information in the upper part of the screen. The Vendor details should, of course, be correct, but make sure the date reads as it should. And look in the box to the right of the vendor’s name. If it’s not displaying the correct account for the transaction, click on the double arrows and select the right one.

QuickBooks Online will follow its own numbering system for bill payments. If you want to assign your own by entering a reference number of some kind, delete what’s showing in the Ref no. field and add your own. The Bill Payment # in the upper left will change to reflect that.

If there are multiple bills in the list below, click in the box in front of the one(s) you want to pay to create a checkmark. Look at the end of each line, too. QuickBooks Online defaults to a full payment for bills. If for some reason you’re planning to make a partial payment, replace the dollar amount in the Payment box with your own. In the bottom left portion of the screen, you can enter a Memo if you’d like and add an Attachment. When you’ve checked everything for accuracy, click Save and close or Save and new in the lower right corner.

Automation Helps

Paying bills manually can be painful. Beyond the fact that you’re watching money leave your accounts, the mechanics of writing checks and/or dispatching electronic payments on time—and keeping everything organized—can be a constant challenge. QuickBooks Online’s bill-paying tools can help with that.

QuickBooks Advantage

QuickBooks Advantage
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Creating Reports in QuickBooks, Part 2

Last month, we discussed QuickBooks’ report Preferences and The Report Center. We’ll look at report customization this month.

QuickBooks makes your bookkeeping faster, safer, and more accurate than what you could do using a manual system. Still, you may occasionally tire of your daily tasks. You want to know what all of these forms and records mean in terms of your overall financial health. You want to see reports.

The actual mechanics of creating reports in QuickBooks are fairly straightforward. You can go to the Report Center, make a selection, maybe change the date range, and voila! Your company’s related data appears in neat rows and columns.

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You may be able to get some of the information you need by simply changing the date range on a QuickBooks report.

 

 

 

 

 

 

But perhaps you to see different columns than what QuickBooks’ report templates include. Further, you might like to filter your output for more meaningful, targeted analysis. And frankly, some of QuickBooks’ reports—particularly those included in the categories Company & Financial and Accountant & Taxes—can be a little advanced for the average small businessperson with little bookkeeping experience. They’re easy to run, but difficult to understand.

So we strongly encourage you to let us run these more complex reports, like the Balance Sheet, for you on a regular (monthly or quarterly) basis. They can provide valuable insight as you continue to make critical business decisions.

But we don’t want to discourage you from working with QuickBooks’ reports on your own. You could run A/R Aging Detail, for example, to keep an eye on past-due payments, or Unpaid Bills Detail to see where you stand with your own financial obligations.

Make Reports Your Own

Sometimes, QuickBooks’ own report output is a bit too broad for your needs. So the program provides sophisticated customization options. You can work with these to narrow down and shape the data that appears in your reports.

First, columns. Building reports from scratch would be too time-consuming and frustrating for you to do all of the time. And it’s unnecessary, since QuickBooks provides templates for its reports, sets of columns and data filters that would serve some businesses well, but which can be modified by each user.

Try this. Open the Profit & Loss Detail report and click on the Customize Report button in the upper left corner. The Modify Report window opens.

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QuickBooks lets you modify the columns that appear in reports.

The Display tab should be highlighted. Change the Report Date Range if necessary by clicking on the down arrow to the right of the Dates field. You can also create your own custom date range by deleting the dates in the From and To fields and entering new ones, or by clicking on the small calendar icons and clicking on the desired dates.

Warning: Do you understand the difference between running reports as either Accrual or Cash? This is important. If you don’t, let’s get together to go over some basic report concepts.

It’s easy to change the default columns that appear in reports. You can either enter a column label in the Search Columns box or scroll down the list of all possible labels. Click in the space in front of the ones you want to include, and click on existing checkmarks if you want to remove those labels. You can also designate a sort order, either Ascending or Descending.

If you want to work with the Advanced options, or if you come across a Display screen that puzzles you (depending on the report, you may have some complex choices), let us know.

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QuickBooks report Filters screen

When you’re done here, click on the Filters tab. This is a powerful element of QuickBooks report customization. You can limit your report output to data that meet certain criteria. In the image above, for example, you can tell QuickBooks which subset of Accounts should be included. Click on the Billing Status filter, and you can limit the results to Any, Not Billable, Unbilled, or Billed. You get the idea.

You can apply multiple filters to a report. Every one you select will appear in the list under Current Filter Choices.

We’ll skip the Header/Footer and Fonts & Numbers tabs, since these are primarily cosmetic options you can explore on your own. But you can see from this brief overview how you can use many QuickBooks reports as is or customize them extensively. And we do recommend that you work with reports regularly, both on your own and with us. The insight they provide can help your company grow and flourish instead of just getting by.

 

QuickBooks Advantage

QuickBooks Advantage
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Customizing QuickBooks Online Forms

Make a good impression on your customers by sending them well-designed sales forms. QuickBooks Online helps you create them.

Your company’s “brand” can be composed of many things (and has many definitions), but it’s really about what pops into your customers’ minds when they think of you. Key components include your logo, your color scheme, and any other identifying visual element that people associate with your business.

A good way to reinforce this image is by making sure that a unifying graphic theme runs through every piece of print or web-based customer content you create, like your website, brochures, blog, and ebooks. Your brand should also be visible on all sales forms you dispatch, like invoices and receipts.

QuickBooks Online comes with its own default sales form style; this is the layout and content that will automatically display when you start a new transaction. You can easily change this and have it apply to all transactions.

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Your logo is an important element of your company’s brand. QuickBooks Online lets you include it on sales forms.

Here’s how it works. Click on the gear icon in the upper right of the screen, next to your company name. Select Custom Form Styles to open the table of existing styles. There should be one labeled Standard, though there may be another labeled Classic. You can make either the default by clicking Make Default or Remove as default using the down arrows and links under ACTION at the far right of each row.

Click the Edit link for the default style. This screen contains many of QuickBooks Online’s customization tools. The Style tab in the left vertical toolbar is automatically highlighted. In the column to its right, click through the five design options available and leave the desired one selected. Then click the plus (+) sign in the upper right of the screen. Browse for your logo file when the directory opens and double-click on it to add it to the top of your sales forms. Choose the color scheme you want by clicking in the correct box displayed below.

When you’re done there, click on the Appearance tab to specify your logo’s placement and change any other settings.

Content Critical

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You can decide which fields should and shouldn’t appear on your sales forms by checking and unchecking boxes.

You won’t necessarily need to make every data field available on your sales forms. But you want to include every field you might possibly need without displaying extraneous content areas. QuickBooks Online lets you turn fields on and off and change their labels easily by checking and unchecking boxes.

Click the Header tab on the left to start this process. Among your options here are:

  • Form names. Do you want invoices to say “Invoice,” for example? Do you want to use form numbers and allow custom transaction numbers?
  • How much of your company’s contact information should appear?
  • Do you want fields for Terms, Due date, etc?
  • Do you need to define custom fields?

You’ll see more options when you click on the Activity Table tab in the left vertical pane (see image above). Not only can you choose what content appears and how its labels read, but you can also indicate what percentage of that line each entry should occupy. Under WIDTH%, click on the plus (+) and minus (-) buttons to the right of each number to size it (your numbers, of course, should total 100).

Warning: Many of the decisions you have to make when customizing sales forms are simple. Others take some consideration, like custom fields and the handling of billable time. We can help you with these.

Click on the final tab in the left navigation pane, Footer, to add or edit text that should be displayed at the bottom of your sales forms. Click Save in the lower right when you’re done.

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Some settings may need to be tweaked in Account and Settings.

Note: As you’re browsing through the content options available as described above, you may find that a field appears to be missing or needs a default setting changed. If this occurs, click on the gear icon in the upper right of the main screen, then on Your Company | Account and Settings. Click on the Sales tab in the left vertical pane to get to Sales form content.

Consistent, well-designed sales forms will help promote your brand and present a polished, professional image to your customers.

QuickBooks Advantage

QuickBooks Advantage
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Creating Reports in QuickBooks, Part 1

QuickBooks comes with dozens of report templates that can be run as is. This month and next, we’ll show you ways to make them “fit” your company.

Reports are your reward for all that hard work you put in entering records and transactions in QuickBooks. Sure, you can always find individual invoices, sales receipts, and customers by using the software’s search tools, but in order to make smart business decisions, you need to be able to see related subsets of the information you so carefully entered in neat rows and columns.

You’ve probably created at least some basic reports in QuickBooks. You may have, for example, wanted to see who’s late paying you, or whether you have unpaid bills. You might need to know your stock levels, or which purchase orders are still unfilled. You certainly want to keep a close eye on whether you’re making or losing money.

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The QuickBooks Report Center displays examples of reports you can create using your company’s own data.

QuickBooks makes it easy to get those answers in only a few seconds. But to get really meaningful, targeted views of your accounting information, you’ll  want to shape your reports so that they reveal precisely what you need to know. You can do some of this on your own, but you might want to enlist our help to drill down even further – and to create and analyze the more complex output that some reports can provide.

Configure Preliminary Settings

As we often do when we’re starting a tutorial on a specific QuickBooks feature, we’re going to send you to the Preferences window first thing. Open the Edit menu and select Preferences, then Reports & Graphs. With the My Preferences section open, you can instruct QuickBooks on some of the ways reports should be handled. You can choose to:

  • Have the Modify Report window open every time you create a report (to remind you to make any necessary changes first).
  • Set your Refresh If you always want to have the most current data displayed when you generate a report, you can tell QuickBooks to Prompt me to refresh or Refresh automatically by clicking on the button in front of the appropriate response. Choose Don’t refresh—the fastest method—if you don’t want to be interrupted when you’re working with a report. You can refresh when you’re done.
  • Draw graphs in 2D to make them run faster, and Use [black and white] patterns instead of colors to better differentiate between segments.

Each person who has access to QuickBooks can set these Preferences any way he or she wishes.

Setting Up Company Preferences

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You must be the QuickBooks Administrator to set Company Preferences.

You can decide on your own whether Aging Reports should start the aging process from the due date or the transaction date. Decide how you want Items and Accounts to appear in reports. And if you click the Format button located directly below Default formatting for reports, you can alter their appearance, for example, by changing fonts and indicating what information should appear in the header and footer.

For other preferences, you may need our help. Do you understand the difference between running Summary Reports as Accrual or Cash? And have you worked with a Statement of Cash Flows before so you can assign accounts to various sections? This is a report we should be generating and analyzing periodically for you, so don’t worry about dealing with it on your own.

Note: QuickBooks was designed for small businesspeople, not accountants. But if you really want to get the most out of it to make the best business decisions possible, let us help you with those concepts you don’t understand.

Navigating the Report Center

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The QuickBooks Reports menu

Unless you’re working with a very old version of QuickBooks, you have two options for accessing the software’s reporting functions. You can simply click on Reports in the left vertical pane to open the Report Center. Or you can get there by opening the Reports menu (which includes links to other areas, like the Transaction Journal, in addition to lists of QuickBooks’ reports divided by category).

Next month, we’ll look at some reports and their customization options in QuickBooks. In the meantime, as always, we’re available to work with you on enhancing your knowledge of QuickBooks reports and their setup.

QuickBooks Advantage

QuickBooks Advantage
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Introducing QuickBooks 2017

QuickBooks 2017 Introduction

QuickBooks 2017 was built with power users in mind.  These are users that spend hours everyday in QuickBooks Desktop and do certain tasks repeatedly.  These tasks include:

  • Creating and sending reports
  • looking up customer and vendor information
  • Dealing with bills and checks especially in Multi-User Mode
  • Coordinate working with multiple users in the same company file

QuickBooks 2017 is intended to help these customers in several  ways

  • Find information quickly with better search functionality
  • Up-leveling information within QuickBooks so it is easier to discover
  • Making reporting easier with enhanced reporting features
  • Improving the multi-user experience and requiring less switching to single-user mode

What’s New and Updated in QuickBooks 2017

  • Schedule reports
  • Find information quickly
  • Report customization improvements
  • Up-levelling information
  • Improved security
  • Compliant under the payment,
    payroll & taxation laws
  • Recurring payment improvements
  • Multi-User improvements
  • Enterprise quality improvements

Schedule Reports

  • Automate sending of reports via email

Find information quickly

  • Search as you type
  • In between amount search
  • Vendor/customer type

Reports Customization improvements

  • Show filters on reports
  • Enhanced selection of filter values

Up-levelling information

  • Remind users of un-deposited funds
  • Showing company file name in deposit summary
  • Cleared flag on CC charges

Miscellaneous

  • Show the deleted user in audit trail report
  • Copy Line/Paste Line in timesheets

High Resolution support

  • Make QB comfortable and delightful on higher resolution comp

Keeping Financial Data Safe and Secure

  • Improved Security ( Reinforced security features that were released for the previous versions, will also be available in QB2017.
  • QBDT Point of Sale EMV Compliance
  • IE11 will not be supported in QuickBooks 2017 (Only the most current version of Internet Explorer available for a supported operating system will receive technical support and security updates from MS since Beginning January 12, 2016
  • Multi-factor Authentication updates
  • Support .NET 4.6
  • Flash discontinued
  • Eliminated older OS (Vista, Windows Server 2003 and Windows Server 2011 which were not compatible with latest security standards).
  • Compliant under the payment, payroll & taxation laws

Keeping QuickBooks Stable and Bug Free

  • Recurring payment improvements
  • Multi-User improvements
  • Enterprise Quality Improvements
  • IDS Sunset

Specific QuickBooks 2017 Improvements

Multi-User Experience

A QuickBooks 2017 makes it easier than ever to work with multiple users. There are now fewer instances that require users to switch between Multi-User and Single-User mode. It also has a built in communication tool to make switching modes easier.  When you do need to switch modes, switching takes much less time.

Smart Search

Save time with faster searching.  Begin typing a name and QuickBooks automatically fills in the rest.  Memorizing account numbers can be a pain.  Now you won’t need to search the full chart of accounts to find that one client or memorize the exact name of every account or item.  Also, you can now search between values to find a transaction without having to remember the exact amount.

Report Filters

Now one click is all it takes to see which filters have been applied to a report.  Visible filters make it easy to reproduce memorized reports.  The new filter tool also provides you with an easy way to quickly toggle back and forth between reports.

Undeposited Funds Reminder

Clearly see what deposits require action. A new badge displays the number of pending deposits to be recorded.  Bringing this information to your home screen will help you avoid overstating income or making duplicate entries due to unrecorded deposits.

Deleted User Name Appear in Audit Trail

Track transactions by deleted users with better accuracy; show the name of the deleted user in the audit trail.  Now you can purge old employees from your company file without losing their transaction history.

Vendor and Customer Type Filter

QuickBooks now provides two more new filters in custom search – Customer Type/Vendor Type.  These filters will help you find the information you need faster and give you a new way to group and keep track of customers and vendors.

Cleared Flag on Credit Card Charges

QuickBooks Added a cleared flag to credit card charges to Easily see if a credit card charge is reconciled

Show Company File Name on Deposit Summaries

Print Company name on Deposit summary in consistent to other QuickBooks reports. Quickly see which company’s deposit summary you are looking at with the ability to print your company name on deposit summaries.

Copy & Paste in Time Sheets

Provide a menu item “Copy Line” to select the line and paste it into the another line. Save time when entering time sheet information by copying and pasting data from one line to the next

Automated Reports in Single User Mode

Save valuable time by having QuickBooks create and send reports to your team regularly.

QuickBooks Online

The ideal group for QuickBooks 2017 are customers who are on an older version of QuickBooks 2017 and looking to upgrade to a newer desktop software.  However, many customers – both new prospects and existing QBDT users – may actually be a better fit for QuickBooks Online. The benefits of QBO include:

  • Work from anywhere
  • Send invoices, receive payments, and run payroll right from your phone.
  • Capture receipts with your phone and attach them to QuickBooks transactions.
  • Your accountant can access your books remotely to answer questions, fix problems, and get you ready for tax time.
  • QuickBooks online does more work automatically
  • QuickBooks Online automatically downloads and categorizes bank and credit card  transactions.
  • Include a button in email invoices that allows your customers to pay you online with one click.
  • Customers may not be right for QBO if they need job costing, need progress invoicing, require customization for reports, invoices, and checks, or need multiple companies on one account.
QuickBooks Advantage

QuickBooks Advantage
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What Are Payroll Items in QuickBooks?

If you plan to process your own payroll using QuickBooks, you need to understand how payroll items work.

Considering processing your own payroll in QuickBooks? Whether you’re moving from a payroll service or getting ready to pay your first employee, you’re taking on a complex set of tasks that requires a great deal of setup and absolute precision. But the reward is complete control over your compensation records and transactions, and constant access to your payroll data.

If you have no experience dealing with paychecks, deductions, and payroll taxes, we strongly recommend that you let us help you get started. QuickBooks simplifies the actual mechanics of setting up and running payroll, but there’s still a lot you need to know.

It goes without saying that accuracy is critical here. You’re responsible for your employees’ livelihoods and for maintaining any benefits they’ll receive. Federal, state, and local taxing agencies will count on you to submit the proper payroll taxes and filings on time; failure to do so can result in stiff penalties and worse.

A Look Around Payroll Items

That said, we’ll give you a brief preview of how QuickBooks Payroll Items work. You must first make sure that payroll is turned on. Open the Edit menu and click Preferences, then click Payroll & Employees | Company Preferences.

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The Company Preferences screen in Payroll & Employees Preferences

Under QUICKBOOKS PAYROLL FEATURES, make sure the button in front of Full Payroll is filled in by clicking on it. If you’re interested in exploring Intuit’s online payroll service, we can tell you about that, as well as advise you on the other options displayed here.

This element of your accounting is complicated enough that QuickBooks has a separate setup tool to guide you through the myriad details you’ll need to provide. You find this tool by going to Employees | Payroll Setup. This is a multi-screen, wizard-like tool that walks you through the process of providing information about employees, compensation, benefits and other additions/deductions, and taxes. Each page poses questions, and you provide answers by entering data and selecting options from drop-down lists. In doing so, you’re creating Payroll Items.

This is a time- and labor-intensive process, one that will send you scrambling for all of the minutiae that make up your payroll system. Once you have your payroll framework established, though, as we said earlier, everything will be in one place and easily accessible.

A Useful List

The information you entered in Payroll Setup is likely to change and need modification. Maybe you forgot to account for something while you were working in the wizard, or perhaps you just want to look up a bit of payroll data. To do any of these, open the Lists menu and click on Payroll Item List.

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You can access this menu from the bottom of the Payroll Item List screen.

The window that opens contains a list of the Payroll Items you created. It looks like a checkbook register, with one line devoted to each item. You’ll be able to view, for example, its Type, any Limit imposed, the Payable To name, and Tax Tracking designations. At the bottom of this list, you’ll see three drop-down menus: Payroll Item, Activities, and Reports. When you click on the down arrow next to Payroll Item, you’ll see the menu displayed in the above image.

Warning: There are many options in this menu for altering Payroll Item definitions. QuickBooks allows you to do this, but we would caution you here. If it involves an action that we have not gone over with you, please ask us about it.

This is fairly self-explanatory. To Edit or Delete a Payroll Item or make it Inactive, highlight it in the list and click on the correct option. You can also Customize Columns in the table and perform other related tasks. When you click on New Item and select EZ Setup on the next page, this window opens:

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You can add Payroll Items by working your way through this wizard-like progression of screens.

QuickBooks will help you here by asking questions and building a Payroll Item based on your responses.

There’s much more to know about working with Payroll Items and assigning them to employees. We’re ready to help introduce you to payroll processing in QuickBooks – once you’re ready to take it on.

 

QuickBooks Advantage

QuickBooks Advantage
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Can’t Keep Up with Bills? QuickBooks Online Can Help

There are more pleasant accounting tasks than paying bills, but QuickBooks Online organizes and simplifies this critical chore.

How does your company keep track of its bills now? If you’re like a lot of small businesses, you’re still dealing with a lot of paper. You may have a paper or electronic calendar where you enter all of the due dates as bills come in. When you see one approaching, you either take out your checkbook or schedule an online payment. Then you store all of your paid paper bills in file folders in case you have to look back at them.

It’s probably pretty clear to you that this isn’t the best system. You occasionally miss payments because a bill was lost in transit or for some other reason didn’t make its way to you. Or you were out of the office for a few days and didn’t look back on deadlines you missed.

QuickBooks Online can help keep bill-payment running smoothly and your relationships with vendors on the up-and-up.

Two-Step Process

Before you can start paying bills, you have to enter them into QuickBooks Online. This will entail a bit of extra work the first time you deal with a particular vendor, but there are numerous benefits to handling your accounts payable in this fashion, like:

  • Speed. Once you’ve created a framework (template) for a bill, it will take minimal time to pay it in the future.
  • Documentation. All of your bill payments will be recorded in QuickBooks Online, so you won’t have to hunt through checkbook registers or file folders to see if a bill was paid.
  • Timeliness. QuickBooks Online will always remind you when a bill must be paid (if you’ve set it up correctly).

To enter a bill, click the plus (+) sign at the top of the screen and click on Vendors and then Bill. This screen opens:

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You’ll enter information about each bill on a screen like this. There are fields not pictured here that you’ll sometimes have to complete. So let’s start a conversation about the whole process.

Looks pretty simple, doesn’t it? It is – if you have a simple bill like the one you receive for gas and electric. You select the vendor by clicking on the arrow next to the blank field in the upper left and choosing from the list that opens. The Mailing Address and Terms should fill in automatically if you’ve done all of your initial QuickBooks Online setup. If not, you can add and edit this information.

Bill date refers to the date of the bill itself, not the day payment is due to the vendor. That goes in the Due date field. Select your Account from the list that opens when you click in that field, and enter a Description and Amount. If that’s all that’s required for that bill, you can save it and proceed to the next. It’s now recorded as a bill that needs to be paid.

Recurring Payments

Some of your bills are just one-offs,but others arrive on a regular basis. So QuickBooks Online has tools that will minimize the time required to process them after you’ve entered the basic information once. After you’ve completed a bill, click Make recurring at the bottom of the page to see this screen:

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QuickBooks Online lets you create templates for bills to use in future payments.

This screen is self-explanatory. You simply tell QuickBooks Online how much notice you want before a bill’s due date so you can process the payment. Take care with this screen to avoid paying bills too early, which affects your cash flow unnecessarily, or too late.

You have three options when you’re creating a Recurring Bill template. You’ll choose one from the list that opens when you click the arrow in the Type field:

  • Scheduled. This is best used when the details of a transaction don’t change, like rent or a loan payment. You don’t have to do anything for the payment to be dispatched; it’s done automatically for you at the interval you set. You can, however, ask to be notified every time this occurs.
  • Reminder. You could use this for periodic payments that will require editing before they’re sent. For example, you’ll probably need to change the amount on your utility bills every month. QuickBooks Online will place a reminder in your Activities list on the home page.
  • Unscheduled. If you have bills that contain a great deal of detail but aren’t due on a set schedule, you can save the template and call it up when you need it by clicking the gear icon in the upper right and selecting Recurring Transactions.

Next month, we’ll talk about the process of actually paying bills. If in the meantime you start entering bills and find that you’re having trouble completing the fields required for more complex bills, call us to schedule a session or two.

QuickBooks Advantage

QuickBooks Advantage
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Better Budgeting Using QuickBooks Online Plus

Everyone groans when budget time rolls around. QuickBooks Online Plus offers tools that simplify the process.

Budget. The word evokes a sense of dread in most small business managers’ minds. Large corporations have entire teams of accountants that work on this critical element of financial planning. You, on the other hand, must go it alone – or with the help of other staff if your company is big enough.

Why is this chore so difficult? Several reasons. The biggest stumbling block is probably the sense of uncertainty. How do you know what your income and expenses will be for the coming year?

QuickBooks Online Plus can’t tell you how to plan the next year in terms of numbers, but its tools can make the mechanics of building a budget easier.

Your Fiscal Year Start

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Finding the start of your fiscal year in QuickBooks Online Plus

Do you know exactly when your fiscal year starts? You’ll need this information before you can get started on your budget. Click the gear icon in the upper right next to your company name, and then select Account and Settings | Advanced. The first entry here tells you what the First month of fiscal year is.

Creating a Framework

To get started building your budget, click the gear icon again and select Tools | Budgeting. Click New Budget to open the mini-interview wizard (if it didn’t open automatically). QuickBooks Online Plus creates what are called Profit and Loss Budgets. This kind of budget tracks the numbers in your income and expense accounts.

There are three ways to create one, as you’ll see when you click Next on the first page of the interview. You can:

  • Work from historical amounts by copying last year’s data into the spreadsheet,
  • Start from scratch, or
  • Copy data from an existing budget.
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You can choose from these three options to create your budget in QuickBooks Online Plus.

Click in the button in front of No amounts. Create budget from scratch, and then click Next. QuickBooks Online Plus’s budgets consist of a table divided into months (columns) and accounts (rows). You can break this down into even greater detail by subdividing your budget and tracking accounts separated by Territories, Classes, or Customers if this kind of information is important to you. For now, click the button in front of Don’t subdivide.

When you click Next, you’ll be asked to select the fiscal year for your budget. Click the down arrow to the right of Select fiscal year and choose the appropriate year. Type an easy-to-remember name for your budget in the box below and click Finish. The mini-interview will close, and your budget spreadsheet will open.

Entering the Numbers

QuickBooks Online Plus defaults to a monthly view when you first open it, but you can change this at any time to Quarter or Year by clicking the arrow in the field next to View by in the upper right corner.

If you had copied income and expense data from the previous year, or from an existing budget, those numbers would appear in the corresponding cells and could be changed to create a new budget. You opted to start from scratch, so the table is empty. You can just start entering individual numbers – not within the spreadsheet cells themselves, though.

Look down to the bottom left corner of the screen. If you’ve highlighted Discounts given, for example, by clicking on that label in the spreadsheet column, you’ll see a line directly below that last row that reads Edit – Discounts given.

This area is where you’ll do your actual data entry. If the drop-down list to the right of Enter by is set to Month, you’ll see 12 boxes below labeled with the months of the year. If you anticipate that every month will contain a different figure, enter the numbers in the correct boxes and click Save & Next. QuickBooks Online Plus will copy your numbers into the actual budget spreadsheet.

If the number will remain the same for each month, you can enter it in the Jan box and click Copy Across, then Save & Next (click this button after every row change). Your cells for that account will be automatically populated.

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Entering quarterly budget data

If you think more in terms of quarterly income and expenses, you can highlight the correct account and select Quarter from the drop-down box next to Enter by (see above image). Fill in your quarterly totals, and QuickBooks Online Plus will divide those evenly between each set of three-month periods. The result would look like this:

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QuickBooks Online Plus can divide quarterly totals into monthly budget numbers.

And of course, if you select Enter by: Year, you’ll only enter one number that QuickBooks Online Plus will divide evenly into 12 months.

When you’re done with your budget, click Finish.

This is a lot of information to absorb all at once, and we imagine you may have some questions on budget projections and on the actual mechanics of creating a budget using QuickBooks Online Plus. As always, we’re happy to hear from you.

QuickBooks Advantage

QuickBooks Advantage
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Setting Up User Access in QuickBooks

Will multiple employees be working with your QuickBooks company file? You’ll need to define their permission levels.

If you ever did your bookkeeping manually, you probably didn’t allow every employee to see every sales form and account register and payroll stub. Most likely, you established a system that allowed staff to work only with information that related to their jobs. Even so, there may have been times when, for example, someone pulled the wrong file folder or was sent a report that he or she shouldn’t have seen.

QuickBooks helps prevent this by setting virtual boundaries. You can specify which features of the software can be accessed by employees who work with your accounting data. Each employee receives a unique user name and password that unlocks only the areas he or she should be visiting.

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To help minimize errors, maintain data integrity, and preserve confidentiality, QuickBooks lets you restrict users to designated areas in the software.

Here’s how you as the Administrator can define these roles. Open the Company menu and select Set Up Users and Passwords | Set Up Users. The User List window opens. You should see yourself signed up as the Admin. Click Add User and enter a User Name and Password for the employee you’re adding. Confirm the Password and check the box in front of Add this user to my QuickBooks license. Click Next.

Note: You can have as many as five people working in your QuickBooks company file at the same time, depending on how many user licenses you’ve purchased. Not sure? Press F2 and look in the upper left corner. If you need more than five user licenses, talk to us about upgrading to QuickBooks Enterprise Solutions.

In the next window that opens (see above screen), you’ll be given three options. Probably you’ll most often select the second option, which lets you specify the screens this user can see and what he or she can do there. The first—All areas of QuickBooks—would seldom be granted. And the third allows us to come in and do whatever tasks have been outlined in our work relationship (troubleshooting, monitoring, creating and analyzing reports, etc.).

Click the button in front of Selected areas of QuickBooks and then Next. You’ll see the first in a series of screens that deal with the software’s functional areas: Sales and Accounts Receivable, Purchases and Accounts Payable, Checking and Credit Cards, Inventory, Time Tracking, Payroll and Employees, Sensitive Accounting Activities (funds transfers, online banking, etc.), Sensitive Financial Reporting, and Changing or Deleting Transactions.

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When you give employees Selective Access in a particular area, you can further define their roles there.

The Sales and Accounts Receivable screen is a good example. You can see the options offered in the above image. By clicking on the buttons pictured, you’re giving this employee permission to both create and print transactions. Below these options, you’ll be able to keep him or her from seeing customers’ credit card numbers in their entirety by clicking in the small box. When you’re finished, click Next.

Keep clicking Next and proceed through the rest of the screens. Your choices will be similar on each. But be sure to read all of the descriptive text very carefully. Keep in mind the importance of confidentiality issues and security as you go along.

The ninth screen, Changing or Deleting Transactions, deserves special attention. First, should this employee be able to change or delete transactions in his or her assigned area(s)? Even though you trusted these employees to work with finances when you hired them, consider this question carefully. Depending on the volume of transactions processed every day, you may want to reserve this ability for yourself.

We may or may not have established and password-protected a Closing Date for your company file. This is the date when the books for a specific time frame have been “closed,” meaning that transactions should not be entered, added, or deleted prior to it. We can talk with you about the pros and cons of such an action.

A summary of user access rights

Here and on every other screen in this multi-step wizard, you can always click the Back button if you want to return to a previous window. When you’re finished, you’ll see a screen like the one in the above image that summarizes the choices you have just made.

If you’re feeling any uncertainty or confusion about the whole issue of access rights, we’ll be happy to go over your options with you. These are important decisions. You’ll want to stress to your employees that restricting their permissions does not signal a lack of your trust in them. Rather, QuickBooks provides these tools to protect everyone who uses the software as well as any external individuals and companies that might be affected.

QuickBooks Advantage

QuickBooks Advantage
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Charging for Time in QuickBooks Online, Part 2

Last month, we talked about time-tracking setup, single-activity data entry, and user permissions. This month, we’re exploring additional time-and-billing steps.

By now, you’ve set up QuickBooks Online for time tracking and entered your first timed activity. If you have employees who only need to get on the site to complete their timesheets, we showed you how to give them restricted access.

Let’s start here by looking at what’s involved in completing timesheets. We’ll assume for this example that you are entering your own billable time. You can see how this screen looks by clicking the plus sign (+) at the top of the screen, then Employees | Weekly Timesheet. The screen looks very similar to a paper timecard.

If you had entered a single activity for a billable time block already, all of that information would appear in your timesheet for that week, once you selected your name from the drop-down list in the upper left and set the work week to the correct one in the field to the right. It would look something like this:

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Time entries recorded as single activities automatically transfer over to that week’s timesheet.

If you’re going to enter your complete work week directly on the timesheet, you’d open a blank form (using the instructions above) and select your name and the time range. Next, you’d go down to the first field under DETAILS and select the appropriate Customer Name by clicking on the arrows to the right of the field to open the list. Next to that, do the same thing to choose the Service.

The fields below those two are earmarked for Class (if you assign classes) and Territory (or whatever Location Label you’ve chosen). If you haven’t used these and want to explore them, let’s schedule a session to go over QuickBooks Online Classes and Custom Fields.

Type a Description in the box below and click in the box in front of Billable. The hourly rate and tax status should fill in automatically. In the boxes below the correct dates (in the grid to the right), you’d enter the billable hours worked for that customer that week. If you are reporting billable time for more than one customer, or time that is not billable, you’ll of course have to place those entries on new lines.

Employee Timesheets

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This is part of what employees see when they log into QuickBooks Online using their Time Tracking only status.

Your employees can, of course, enter hours directly on their own timesheet screens. As we discussed last month, you can choose whether to let employees see the customer’s billing rate. In this example, the employee can only enter hours worked and indicate that they were billable. When you go to approve the timesheet, you will see the rate.

Getting Paid

As you start to create an invoice for a customer who needs to pay for services that have been included in a timesheet, look at the vertical pane to the right of the main working screen titled Add to invoice. Any estimate that hasn’t yet been accepted and any time that hasn’t been paid for should appear in the small blocks in that pane.

You have two options here: Add or Open. Clicking on the first adds that time block to the invoice, and clicking on the second opens the original form. You can also click on the Add all button at the top of the pane to include the details of every entry in the invoice.

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When you create an invoice for a customer who has outstanding billable time, that information will appear in the right vertical pane. You can open the original transaction or click to add it to the invoice.

Time Reports

As you can see, time billing can get a little complicated when you have employees entering their own timesheets. And QuickBooks Online wants to make sure that you’ve billed customers for every minute that you’ve worked for them. So there are two reports that you should be consulting regularly. Click on Reports in the left vertical pane, then All Reports and Review Sales. In this list, you’ll see:

  • Time Activities by Customer Detail, and
  • Unbilled Time.

The titles of these reports should be fairly self-explanatory. Be sure to set the correct date range before running them, though, to avoid missing anything.

Completing timesheets isn’t rocket science. Nor is earmarking time blocks as billable. But due to the setup and the options involved, as well as the complications that can occur when you add employee self-service to the mix, we highly recommend that you meet with us to go over the whole process. We want to make sure that your company’s time entry and timesheet configuration are right from the start.

QuickBooks Advantage

QuickBooks Advantage
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Make QuickBooks Your Own: Specify Your Preferences

Your business is unique. Make sure that QuickBooks knows how you operate.

QuickBooks was designed to be used by millions of businesses. In fact, it’s possible to install it, answer a few questions about your company, and start working right away.

However, we strongly suggest you take the time to specify your Preferences. QuickBooks devotes a whole screen to this customization process. You can find it by opening the Edit menu and selecting Preferences.

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Figure 1: This is the screen you’ll see when you go to Edit | Preferences in QuickBooks. You can turn features off and on, and customize the software in numerous other ways.

Let’s look at some examples of what you can do on this page. In the image above, Accounting is highlighted. You can see that QuickBooks makes it easy for you to specify your preferences. You simply click in boxes to check or uncheck them. Sometimes, you’ll click on the desired button in front of a list item. Other times, you’ll be asked to enter numbers and text.

Tip: When you click on a tab in the left navigation pane of the Preferences window, you’ll notice that there are two tabs in the larger pane on the right. If My Preferences is highlighted and there are no options on that screen, click on Company Preferences.

Some of the screens here, like Accounting, contain complex concepts. Do you know, for example, why you would or wouldn’t want to Use account numbers? What Retained Earnings are?

Warning: While the mechanics of this process are simple, there may be times when you don’t understand what’s being asked because you’re either not familiar with the terms  or you don’t know which option you should choose. Rather than guessing, please connect with us to set up a to go over all of the content in the Preferences window.

Some preferences are easier to define. Let’s look at one of these.

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The Time & Expenses window in QuickBooks’ Preferences

The image above is a partial snapshot of the screen that opens when you select Time & Expenses from the left vertical tab in the Preferences window.

Tip: If you start making changes and decide you’d like to return to the options selected before you started, click the Default tab in the upper right.

Your options here are very simple:

  • Do you want to use the time-tracking features in QuickBooks?
  • On what day does your work week start?
  • Does all of the employee time worked and recorded get billed back to the appropriate customer? (You can change this manually on each time entry by checking or unchecking the box in front of )
  • When you create an invoice for a customer who has outstanding time charges, do you want to be able to select those from a list?

If you check the box in front of Create invoices from a list of time and expenses, this box will appear when you open the Create Invoices window and select a customer who needs to be billed for time:

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If you are creating an invoice for a customer who has received services but who has not been billed for them yet, you can opt to have those charges added to the invoice.

You’ll notice that there’s a box in the lower left corner labeled Save this as a preference. While QuickBooks allows you to specify preferences in countless areas in the Preferences window, you will often have the opportunity to make an exception for a particular action as you’re working on transactions. Also, as shown here, you can sometimes turn on specific preferences once you’ve already started a task.

You’re not required to go through all of the entries in the Preferences window before you start working. You can always go there to see if there’s a setting you can change if an element of QuickBooks isn’t performing the way you expected.

But we think it’s a good idea to learn about all of your options in the software before you get started. If you let us go through this process with you, you’ll learn not only about the customization allowed, but you’ll also get a good introduction to all of the things that QuickBooks can do. You’ll also discover where your knowledge of accounting may be lacking. And we’ll learn more about your business and its needs. Contact us and we’ll help you get going.

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Charging for Time in QuickBooks Online Plus, Part 1

You could be losing revenue if you’re not tracking billable time carefully. QuickBooks Online Plus can help.

You can’t see time. Nor can you look at hours and minutes to see how many you have in inventory. But if you’re a service-based business, your income is derived from this invisible asset. Billable time needs to be entered and invoiced with absolute precision.

QuickBooks Online Plus has this covered. By using its time-tracking tools, you can:

  • Create records for single activities or for entire timesheets.
  • Give employees “Time-Tracking Only” access so they can complete their own timesheets.
  • Set up contractors as vendors.
  • Mark time as billable.
  • Invoice customers for time spent on work for them.

Here’s how to get started.

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The Time Tracking section under the Advanced tab in QuickBooks Online’s Accounting and Settings

Before you can start using QuickBooks Online’s time-tracking tools, you’ll need to make sure that this feature is turned on. Click on the gear icon in the upper right of the home page and select Account and Settings. Click on the Advanced tab. Both of the settings in the Time Tracking section should read On. If they don’t, click on the pencil icon to the right and click in the boxes to the left of both lines to make checkmarks.

You’ll have two additional options under Add Customer field to timesheets. You can choose whether employees will see the billing rate for their services. You can also change the first day of the work week by clicking on the up/down arrow.

Entering Time

By now, you should have created records for your employees and for your service items. If you haven’t, let’s get together and get you started on that. In order to start tracking time, you’ll need to have these thoroughly completed and ready to go.

You have two options here. One involves creating a record for just one work session. To do this, click on the plus sign (+) at the top of the home page. Under Employees, select Single Time Activity.

Tip: When you move the cursor over that line, you’ll see a small arrow in a box to the right. Click on the arrow instead of the phrase Single Time Activity, and the Time Activity window pops out separately. You can do this anywhere in QuickBooks Online where that same arrow appears.

You’ll see a blank version of this screen:

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You’ll use this QuickBooks Online screen when you want to record a single activity.

Complete the fields here by clicking on the up/down arrows to open lists of options or by entering data when no list is available. You’ll enter the Name of the employee that provided the service and the Date when it was performed. If you have created Territory and Class lists, select the correct ones here. Choose the Customer who will be charged for your employee’s time and the Service received.

Be sure that there’s a check-mark in box in front of Bill at… line. The hourly rate should have filled in automatically when you selected the Service. If you put a check-mark in the box in front of Enter Start and End Times, you can do so in the boxes provided. Otherwise, you’ll just supply the number of hours and minutes. Finally, an expanded Description is optional but recommended. Save the screen when you’ve finished.

Limited Access

You may want to control the data entry for billable time that gets entered in QuickBooks Online. Perhaps you’re asking employees and contractors to submit paper time-cards so that you can make sure that every billable increment of time gets billed back to the correct customer.

But you can also allow your staff members to enter their own time sheet data in QuickBooks Online. If that’s the case, you’ll need to set them up as Time Tracking only users. Click on the gear icon next to your company name in the upper right and select Manage Users under Your Company. Click New and follow the steps in the Mini Interview window that opens.

Note: If you haven’t gone through the process of assigning access rights to everyone who will be using QuickBooks Online, we can help you set this up so that individual staff members can work only in specific areas.

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Using QuickBooks Online’s Mini Interview as you set up users’ access permissions, you can limit employees to Time Tracking Only so they can fill in their own time sheets.

Next month, we’ll talk about completing time sheets. We’ll also explain how billable time records make their way to customer invoices, and we’ll look at the time tracking reports available.

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Using Sales Receipts: When? How?

Some types of businesses always use sales receipts. Some use them occasionally. Here’s what you need to know about them.

How do you let your customers know how much they owe you, and for what products or services? In these days of ecommerce and merchant accounts, your customers may provide a credit card number over the phone or on a website. Or perhaps you send invoices after a sale and receive checks or account numbers in the mail. QuickBooks can help you both create the invoices and record the payments.

There’s another type of sales document that you can use in certain situations: the sales receipt. You’d probably be most likely to use one of these when customers pay you in full for products or services at the same time they receive them.

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If you receive full payment for a product or service at the same time the customer receives it, you should use a sales receipt.

Completing a sales receipt is similar to filling out an invoice or purchase order. Click Create Sales Receipts on QuickBooks’ home page or open the Customers menu and select Enter Sales Receipts. A screen like the one above will open.

Choose a Customer from the drop-down list and a Class (if applicable). If you have created more than one Template (more on that later), make sure that the correct one appears in the field. Verify that the appropriate Date and Sale No. read as they should. Click on the type of payment you’re receiving, and enter the check or credit card number where necessary (a small window will open for the latter).

Note: If you are working with a type of payment that does not appear in the four icons, click on the arrow below More to add it.

Now you’re ready to select the products or services you sold by clicking on the arrow in the field under Item to open the available list (if you have not created a record for what you’re selling, select <Add New> and complete the fields in the New Item window that opens). Enter the quantity (Qty.). The Rate, Amount, and Tax fields should fill in automatically, based on the information you entered when you create the item’s record.

When you’ve entered all of the items that the customer is paying you for, you can choose which Customer Message will appear on the sales receipt (you can see your options in the drop-down list found in the lower left corner of the screen). Anything you enter in the Memo field will be for your internal use only; it will not appear on the printed or emailed sales receipt.

Click Save & Close or Save & New.

Customizing Sales Receipts

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QuickBooks provides tools for customizing forms, including sales receipts.

QuickBooks’ forms contain the fields most often used by small businesses. But you can alter them in numerous ways to meet your company’s needs. To customize a sales receipt, open the Sales Receipt window and click on the Formatting menu. Select Manage Templates.

You’ll want to make a copy of the original sales receipt so that the original will always be available. Click the Copy button in the lower left. “Copy of Custom Sales Receipt” appears in the list of templates. In the Preview pane on the right, click in the field next to Template Name and replace the existing name with a new, more descriptive one if you’d like. Click OK.

The Basic Customization window opens. Click on Additional Customization at the bottom of the screen. You’ll see a window like the one in the image above. Click the Columns tab.  The list on the left displays all of the columns that can be included in the body of your sales receipt.

Click in the boxes below Screen and Print to indicate which columns should display on your QuickBooks screen and which should appear on the customer’s copy. The numbers in the Order column can be changed to reflect which column will come first, second, etc.

Numerous Options

There’s a lot more you can do to customize your QuickBooks forms. And there are other situations where you might want to issue a sales receipt. We’ve only been able to touch on both topics here, but would be happy to schedule time with you to explore these elements of QuickBooks.

 

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Tracking Products and Services in QuickBooks Online, Part 2

Last month, we explored the process of creating a product record. Now we’ll look at where they’re used in QuickBooks Online.

Have you been able to create records for all of your products and services? If you have a large inventory, this can be quite a time-consuming process. But we highly recommend that you build complete records, even when you create them as you need them. This is critical if you plan to track inventory items.

You’ll use your product and service records in several areas of QuickBooks, including invoices and estimates, purchase orders, and sales receipts. There’s also an entire set of reports dedicated to products and inventory.

Important: If you’ve tried creating Inventory Items in QuickBooks Online but have only been allowed to set up Services or Non-Inventory Items, you missed a step when you were completing your Company Settings. Click on the small gear icon in the upper right (next to your company name), then on Settings | Company Settings. Click on Sales in the left vertical tab to see the Products and services section. If any of these three options is turned off, click in the box to turn it on.

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Figure 1: These three options in Company Settings must be labeled On in order to make use of all of QuickBooks Online’s inventory-tracking features.

This is one of the reasons we recommend that you let us help you set up QuickBooks Online, even if you’re making a transition from the desktop version of QuickBooks. If you don’t visit every area of Company Settings and designate your preferences, you may get frustrated as you start working, thinking that the site isn’t capable of doing everything you need.

Using Your Records

You’ll see why it was so important to build a thorough set of product and service records when you start to enter data in transaction forms. Assuming that you’ve also created records for your customers and vendors, filling out an invoice, for example, is mostly just a matter of selecting the correct options from drop-down lists.

Of course, even if you have a comprehensive set of records, you’ll certainly take on new customers and vendors, and start offering additional products and services down the road. When this occurs, or if you didn’t complete your setup work because you absolutely had to start entering transactions, you can add items as you need them.

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Figure 2: When you create transactions, you can choose products or services from a list of existing records or add new ones “on the fly.”

Once you’ve selected a customer and either accepted the default terms and dates or edited them to reflect your needs, you’ll click on the arrow to the right of the first field in the body of the invoice, as pictured in the example above. You can scroll down and find the item that the customer wants to purchase in the list that drops down or click on +Add New.

If you do the latter, the Product/Service information panel will slide out from the right. You can then create a record for the product or service, like we wrote about last month.

A Running Tally

Here is another reason why it’s so important to be conscientious about completing product records. When you enter that number in the Initial quantity on hand field, QuickBooks Online uses that as a starting point for tracking your inventory levels. Every time you process a form indicating that you’re selling x number of widgets, the site subtracts that from the most recent total.

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Figure 3: QuickBooks Online helps you keep a close eye on your stock levels in real time.

When you click in the Quantity field, a small cartoon bubble opens above it, telling you how many units are currently available. This keeps you from selling items that you don’t have. It also indicates when you may have too much of a product, and it’s not selling quickly.

Unless you have a very small product list, you may not recognize overstocks. So QuickBooks Online offers several reports that can help you track your inventory. Click on Reports in the left vertical tab, then All Reports, then Manage Products and Inventory to see what’s available.

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Figure 4: The Inventory Valuation Detail report

Setting up QuickBooks Online for a successful launch can be challenging. So can the concepts involved in tracking your inventory of products. We’re always happy to help with either process – or both.

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QuickBooks Advantage
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QuickBooks Desktop Security Notice

Intuit has identified, and is implementing an update to address a security vulnerability in QuickBooks desktop software. This has no impact on QuickBooks Online.

For supported versions of QuickBooks desktop, Intuit has begun the process of proactively notifying customers of the steps required to install an update, which is designed to address the security vulnerability. The update includes password controls to verify that the person attempting to access an account is authorized. Intuit expects all customers to install the necessary security updates.

As per industry best practices, non-supported versions of QuickBooks desktop do not receive updates (QuickBooks desktop 2012 and earlier are unsupported). Customers using non-supported products are encouraged to upgrade to QuickBooks desktop 2016, the most current version. Customers who continue to use older, unsupported versions of QuickBooks desktop, could be putting their data at risk.

Customers using QuickBooks desktop in multi-user mode will need to ensure that all users are on a supported version of QuickBooks desktop and have installed the security update in order to address the security vulnerability.

Intuit also wants to remind customers of precautions that they should always take to protect their accounts and data. These include:

  • All customers should set up a password for their QuickBooks desktop file, if they don’t already have one.
  • Customers should choose a strong user name and password. Use unique letters and numbers in a password, not basic words that can easily be found online or in the dictionary.
  • Customers should protect all personal information. Never give out a user name or password and make sure to use different passwords for each account.
  • We recommend that all customers upgrade to most resent version, QuickBooks desktop 2016.
  • We recommend that customers use secure methods, such as the Accountant’s Copy File Transfer (ACFT) service, when sharing QuickBooks files.
  • To protect yourself from phishing and other social engineering attacks, don’t open suspicious emails or email attachments.

At Intuit, we are committed to giving you the tools to protect your QuickBooks data. Thank you for taking action to apply the security fixes to your company file.

For more information, an in-product and KB article is posted here. 

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Are you Applying Finance Charges? Should You Be?

Assessing finance charges is a complicated process. But if you have a lot of late payments coming in, you may want to consider it.

There are many reasons why your customers send in payments past their due dates. Maybe they missed or misplaced your invoice, or they’re disputing the charges. They might not be very conscientious about bill-paying. Or they simply don’t have the money.

Sometimes they contact you about their oversight, but more often, you just see the overdue days pile up in your reports.

You could use stronger language in your customer messages. Send statements. Make phone calls if the delinquency goes on too long. Or you could start assessing finance charges to invoices that go unpaid past the due date. QuickBooks provides tools to accommodate this, but you’ll want to make absolutely sure you’re using them correctly – or you’ll risk angering customers and creating problems with your accounts receivable.

Setting the Rules

Before you can start, you’ll need to tell QuickBooks how you’d like your finance charges to work. It’s at this stage that we recommend you let us work with you. There’s nothing overly difficult about understanding finance charges in theory: you apply a percentage of the dollar amount that’s overdue to come up with a new total balance. But setting up your QuickBooks file with the finance charge rules you want to incorporate may require some assistance. If it’s done incorrectly, you will hear from your customers.

Here’s how it works. Open the Edit menu and select Preferences, then Finance Charge | Company Preferences.

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Figure 1: Before you can start adding finance charges to overdue invoices, you’ll need to establish your company preferences.

What Annual Interest Rate percentage do you want to tack onto late payments? This is an issue we can discuss with you. Too low, and it’s not worth your extra time and trouble. To, high, and your customers may stop patronizing your business. And do you want to set a Minimum Finance Charge? Will you allow a Grace Period? If so, how many days?

You’ll need to assign an account to the funds that come in from interest charges. This needs to be an income account. In our example, it’s Other Income.

The next decision, whether to Assess finance charges on overdue finance charges, needs consideration – and some research. This may not be an option depending on the lending laws in the jurisdiction where your business is located. So again, if you want to charge interest on unpaid and tardy finance charges themselves, let’s talk.

When do you want the finance charge “countdown” to begin? When QuickBooks identifies a transaction that has not been paid within the stated terms, do you want the added charge to be applied based on the due date or the invoice/billed date?

Note: If your business sends statements rather than invoices, leave the Mark finance charge invoices “To be printed” box at the bottom of this window unchecked.

Applying the Rules

QuickBooks does not automatically add finance charges to your customers’ invoices. You’ll need to administer these additions yourself, though QuickBooks will handle the actual calculations. Open the Customers menu and select Assess Finance Charges to open this window:

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Figure 2: You’ll determine who should have finance charge invoices created in the Assess Finance Charges window.

Make very sure that the Assessment Date is correct, as it has impact on QuickBooks’ calculations. Being even a day off makes a difference. Select the customers who should have finance charges applied by clicking next to their names in the Assess column. QuickBooks will display the Overdue Balance from the original invoice, as well as the Finance Charge it has calculated.

  • If you choose not to apply finances charges to a customer because he or she has provided a good reason for the late payment, be sure the box in the Assess column is unchecked.
  • If you want to change the finance charge due for a valid reason, you can type over the amount in the last column. This would be a rare occurrence and should be exercised only after consulting with us.

Important: If there is an asterisk next to a customer’s name, there are payments or credit memos that have not yet been applied to any invoice.

When everything is correct, click the Assess Charges button at the bottom. QuickBooks will create separate invoices for finance charges for each customer who owes them.

We can’t stress enough the importance of consulting with us before you start to work with finance charges enough. Keep your company file accurate and your customers happy by getting this complex accounting element right from the start.

 

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Tracking Products and Services in QuickBooks Online, Part 1

Inventory management requires precision, constant attention, and smart decisions. QuickBooks Online can help.

If you started small with your business, keeping track of your product inventory was probably pretty easy. Maybe you kept your stock in a few boxes or a closet, and it was easy to tell at a glance what needed replenishing.

As you grew, the process of inventory-tracking started to get unwieldy. You were selling too many products in too large a volume; a casual look at your inventory no longer sufficed. And  physical inventory counts took a lot of time. So you found yourself with too many of some items and not enough of others.

Keeping inventory items at financially-responsible levels is a delicate balance. If you have too much on hand, you tie up money. Too little in stock, and, well, you know what happens: you wind up with unfulfilled orders and unhappy customers. QuickBooks Online can help.

Building Inventory Records

QuickBooks Online’s inventory-management tools help you:

  • Create thorough records for each product and service that you sell.
  • Fill out sales and purchase forms — like invoices and purchase orders — quickly and accurately using these item records, and,
  • Generate reports that provide the real-time status of your inventory.
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Figure 1: You can build a database of product and service records using QuickBooks Online’s inventory management tools.

Here’s how to get started. Click on the gear icon in the upper right, next to your company name, and select Products and Services. Once you start adding records, this screen will display a table containing critical details about your inventory and non-inventory items as well as the services you sell.

Click New in the upper right corner. A vertical pane will slide out of the right side of the screen, asking you what type of item you want to describe. Select Inventory item, and the Product/Service information window opens. Enter the name of your item in the first field and its SKU (optional) in the next. You can upload an image if you’d like, too.

The line below this information reads Is sub-product or service. You should only click in the box in front of it if you have already created a parent product or service and want to put this item in a sub-category of it. In the example above, Writing tools is the parent category and 3 4×6 journals, multi-color is one member of that product category. (Questions? Ask us.)

As you can see, you can modify some options here without completely starting over. If this item should have been classified as a Non-inventory item, click Change type and select the correct one. You can also delete your image or replace it with another.

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Figure 2: You need to be absolutely sure that your Initial quantity on hand figure is correct in this window, since it will affect transactions and reports.

How many units of this item do you have right now? Enter that number in the field and then choose today’s date from the calendar that’s available in the As of date field. Your Inventory asset account should be pre-selected to Inventory Asset. Account designations must always be correct in QuickBooks Online.

Warning: If you are unfamiliar with assigning items to accounts, let us walk you through the early stages of setting up your inventory records. We can help you understand the Chart of Accounts and how it relates to various tasks you’ll be doing.

Enter the description you would like to appear on sales forms in the Sales information field. Then complete the Sales price/rate box. This is the price that you will charge customers for the item. If sales tax will be applied, click in the box in front of Is taxable to create a check mark. Sales of Product Income will probably already appear in the Income account field.

Go through similar steps in the Purchasing information fields, keeping in mind that the Cost field should reflect your cost to buy the items you sell, if indeed you do purchase and resell inventory. When you’re done, click Save and close or Save and new.

This is a lot of work, but it’s important work. You’re building the foundation for your inventory management system.

Next month, we’ll look at how you will be using your item information in transactions and reports.

 

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Use QuickBooks Custom Fields to Improve Insight

QuickBooks’ structure is universal enough to appeal to millions of small businesses. Custom fields help you shape it to meet your company’s unique needs.

If you’re using QuickBooks, you probably know that you’re complying with the rules of double-entry accounting. The software is designed such that you can be compliant with these requirements without even being aware of it. You’re dealing with invoices and purchase orders, bank account reconciliation and bill-paying and payroll, not debits and credits and journal entries. QuickBooks does the double-entry part in the background.

While every business that uses QuickBooks is following those same rules, each has its own unique structure and its own need to modify some elements of the program to do certain tasks, for example:

  • Store more specific information about customers, vendors, and employees in their records,
  • Differentiate between variations of similar inventory items, and,
  • Create more targeted reports.

This is where custom fields come in.

Defining Custom Fields

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Figure 1: QuickBooks comes with pre-designed form and record templates.

One of the ways that QuickBooks simplifies your life as your company’s accounting manager is by providing pre-designed record and form templates. Need to create an invoice? There’s a form that already contains the most commonly-used data fields; you just fill in the blanks or select from drop-down lists. Want to store information about your customers and about the items you sell? Ditto.

But if you need more fields than QuickBooks offers on a record or form, you can easily add your own. The software lets you add 15 fields total to customers and jobs, vendors, and employees, and you’re limited to seven for any one record type. (If you want to use the same field in two of these, it will only count as one.) And you’re allowed to define up to five fields for your item records.

This type of modification is easy to do, but it’s critical that you think carefully about what fields you should add. You don’t want to learn three or six months down the road that one isn’t really necessary and two more are needed, for example. This is especially important when you’re creating records for inventory items.

You may want to schedule some time with us to go over this (and to explore QuickBooks’ item-tracking features if you’re new to managing inventory). You can change custom field names, but you need to understand how this will affect your data if you do this.

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Figure 2: It’s easy to add custom fields to records, but be sure you give a lot of thought to what will be needed.

Let’s say you want to add some custom fields to your customer records. Open the Customer Center by clicking the tab in the left vertical pane or opening the Customers menu and clicking on Customer Center. Double-click on a customer or click on the small pencil icon in the upper right. The Edit Customer window opens.

Click on the Additional Info tab on the left and then on the Define Fields button in the lower right. The Set up Custom Fields for Names window opens, as pictured above.

Click in the first column, under Label. Enter the name of the field as you would like it to appear in records and reports. Then click in the box or boxes below Cust, Vend, or Empl. If you want to use the same field in more than one record type, enter a check mark in both. Continue to enter field names until you’re done, then click OK.

Now when you create a customer record, you can fill in the blanks. And your new fields will appear as filters in some reports.

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Figure 3: Custom fields can sometimes be used in reports.

You’ll follow a similar set of steps when you create custom fields for items in QuickBooks. Open the Lists menu and select Item List. Double-click on any item to open the Edit Item window. Click the Custom Fields bar on the right, then Custom Fields and Define Fields. If your company sells a lot of products with multiple variations, talk to us before you attempt this.

Personalizing your copy of QuickBooks by adding custom fields has a lot of benefits. But this major structural change requires a lot of thought and planning up front to make sure that this feature is a plus for your business.

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Setting Up Settings in QuickBooks Online

You’ll be visiting QuickBooks Online’s Settings screen regularly, so it’s good to know what’s there.

You can get into a rental car and just start driving to your destination. But you soon realize that you need to know where the temperature controls and the radio tuner are. If it starts raining, you must know where the wiper controls are. And when it gets dark, you’d better know how to turn on the headlights.

The same goes for QuickBooks Online. You can create bills and start paying them or begin to invoice customers or record expenses as soon as you set up an account (though you’ll be adding a lot of data on the fly). But you’ll soon discover that those tasks would be easier if you had established all of your Settings first.

If you have multiple employees using QuickBooks Online, for example, it has probably occurred to you that not everyone needs to have access to everything in your company file. You’ll want to connect the site to your financial accounts, build a budget, and specify payment terms and types.

So it’s a good idea to visit your Settings screen early in your QuickBooks Online journey. It’s easy to find: just click the gear icon next to your company name in the upper right corner of the screen.

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Figure 1: You’ll want to explore the Settings window early on in your use of QuickBooks Online, but you’ll often have occasion to revisit it.

Critical Functions

Some of the links in the Settings window take you to screens that you’ll have to pop into regularly in the course of your daily work. One that you’re likely to visit often is All Lists. Here, you’ll be able to complete tasks like:

  • Creating records for the products and/or services that you sell.
  • Setting up recurring transactions, regularly-scheduled invoices, bills, etc. that occur at periodic intervals. (Note: You can choose to either be reminded of these or let them be processed automatically. Please consult with us if you’re going to be using this feature, as it can create serious problems if it’s not set up exactly right.)
  • Adding or modifying customer payment terms.

Unless you went through the QuickBooks Online setup process on your own or with help from us, it’s important that you click on the link to Account and Settings under Your Company before you start entering live data. QuickBooks Online comes with its own default settings that many businesses would be likely to use; but you need to evaluate these and see if you need to change any of them to better fit your company.

Going through these settings one by one has another benefit: you will learn about things that QuickBooks Online can do that you may not have discovered.

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Figure 2: Work your way through the Account and Settings screens to see what QuickBooks Online can do – and to determine how you want to handle its many features for your company’s accounting.

It’s easy to specify your preferences on these screens. You just click on each tab on the left in succession and go through each setting, toggling between Off and On by clicking on the words and clicking on any buttons whose actions you want to explore.

During this process, you may have to make decisions that you’ve never before considered. For example, do you want to use custom fields or custom transaction numbers? We can schedule a time to go through this together if you’d like to make sure that you know what each option means and whether you should employ it.

Restricting Access

Will anyone besides you be using QuickBooks Online? If so, you’ll need to visit the Manage Users screen. Here, you can assign roles to users and specify what areas of the site they can access, as well as what they can do there. A simple wizard walks you through this critical process.

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Figure 3: What limitations do you want to put on additional QuickBooks Online users?

There are many other Settings that you’ll likely want to visit at some point, like when you’re ready to create a budget or do your first account reconciliation. But we can’t stress enough the importance of establishing your accounting settings and defining user roles. Get the most out of QuickBooks Online by customizing it to meet your company’s unique needs.

 

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Why You Should Use QuickBooks’ Snapshots

QuickBooks provides multiple ways to get information about your customers, and their payments, and your company itself. The software’s Snapshots provide quick, thorough overviews.

What do you do when you need to get information in QuickBooks about customers or about payments they’ve made in QuickBooks? You have several options. You could, for example:

  • Create a report
  • Go to their Customer pages
  • Click on Receive Payments on the Home Page and use the Find arrows (not very elegant or fast, but would be an easy way to find recent payments).

One of QuickBooks’ strengths is its flexibility. It helps you find the exact information you’re looking for in a variety of ways.  Which one you choose at any given time depends on what screen you’re working on at the moment and precisely what slice of data you need.

A Home Base

The desktop version of QuickBooks doesn’t have a “dashboard,” like web-based financial applications do. Dashboards are like home pages on steroids. Rather than just providing navigational tools and menus, Snapshots display charts and grids and lists representing the data that you’d most likely want to see when you first log on, like account balances, summaries of income and expenses, and high-priority tasks, with links to related activity screens. You can usually customize these.

QuickBooks’ Reminders tell you what needs to be done either today or very soon. But they don’t reveal anything about your financial status. Snapshots do. There are three versions: Company, Payments, and Customer.

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Figure 1: The QuickBooks Customer Snapshot sums up each customer’s activity and history in a one-page view.

Many Sections

Let’s look at the Customer Snapshot to see how these work. To find it, click on Snapshots in the left vertical navigation pane. When the window opens, make sure that the Customer tab is active; if not, click on it. Click on the arrow next to the CUSTOMER field in the center of the very top to select a customer.

You’ll see three columns of information here. The left pane displays some commonly sought numbers (like Total Sales) and some numbers that you might have trouble finding any other way (Average days to pay, etc.). In the middle, you’ll see Recent Invoices and Recent Payments. And the right section (not shown in the screen shot) includes two customizable graphs, Sales History and Best Selling Items.

This is the default layout, the information boxes you’ll see when you first open the Company Snapshot. To remove any of them, click on the X in the upper right corner. You can restore them at any time by clicking the arrow next to Add Content in the upper left and then clicking the +Add button next to the one you want.

You can also move the blocks into different positions on the page. Grab one by clicking on its header and holding it, dragging it to the preferred position, and releasing it.

Personalized Pages

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Figure 2: You can add, delete, and move blocks of data around in the Customer Snapshot.

Users who have been assigned access to the data that each Snapshot contains can customize their own views by adding or deleting sections and rearranging them. So each employee can have his or her own unique-looking Snapshots, though the real-time data in all of them will be the same.

Note: If you’ve given employees besides yourself access to QuickBooks, it’s important that you assign permission levels to them. You probably don’t want everyone to be able to see and modify everything in your file. We can help you set these up.

Other Snapshots

The other two Snapshots are more complex, containing more data options. They can, however, be customized in the same ways that you personalized the Customer screen. The Payments Snapshot can give you a quick update on things like Recent Transactions and A/R by Aging Period.

The Company Snapshot lets you display up to 12 lists and charts, including:

  • Account Balances,
  • Customers Who Owe Money,
  • Expense Breakdown, and,
  • Vendors to Pay.

This would be a good page to use as your dashboard (home page), especially since it can also show you your Reminders. With the Company Snapshot open, go to Edit | Preferences | Desktop View | My Preferences and click on the button in front of Save current desktop. Remove the checkmark in front of Show Home page when opening company file if one is there.

QuickBooks’ Snapshots can get you up to speed quickly on critical elements of your accounting file, but there are other reports that you should run regularly, including complex standard financials reports that require expert analysis. We can help you interpret these, which in turn will help you make smarter, more informed business decisions.

QuickBooks Advantage

QuickBooks Advantage
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What You Should Know About the QBO Mobile App

QuickBooks Online’s mobile app lacks some features found in the browser-based version, but it provides mobile access to tools you may want on the road.

First, it’s free (except for your mobile data plan costs). Second, it’s good. And QuickBooks Online’s mobile app offers more functionality than you might expect. Available for iOS and Android smartphones and tablets, it gives you remote access to the features that you probably use most frequently on your desktop or laptop.

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Figure 1: The navigational menu in QuickBooks Online’s mobile app slides out from the left side (iPhone 6+ version pictured here).

Why Mobile?

Since you can already access QBO on a laptop, why would you need an app that’s missing some of the main site’s functionality?

You don’t, necessarily. If your work doesn’t take you out of the office much and you don’t travel for the business, downloading the app may just create one more icon on your smartphone screen that you always see but never open.

But you may want to consider using it if you, for example:

  • Want to work at home or in a coffee shop on your off hours,
  • Regularly purchase items or services that you will submit as expenses to your company,
  • Sell something on the spot and want to create a sales receipt,
  • Need to nail down a sale by creating an invoice immediately,
  • Get a question from a customer or vendor about a past transaction, or,
  • Have to look up a price and description for a product or service.
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Figure 2: Using QuickBooks Online’s mobile app, you can create sales transactions wherever you are.

Many Limitations

QuickBooks Online’s mobile app is far from a replacement for the browser-based version. It has numerous limitations. For example, there’s no dashboard — no home page that gives you an overview of your finances and provides reminders about tasks that need to be done. Rather, the app opens to Company Activity, a list of the most recent transactions.

Customer and vendor records are not quite as detailed, and you can’t view or work with your Chart of Accounts. Some settings can be altered, but not nearly as many as on the main site. There are only two reports available, Profit & Loss and Balance Sheet, which is a tiny percentage of what’s offered online. You can’t enter and pay bills, create purchase orders, or work with payroll. And you can’t check inventory levels.

But the app isn’t designed to be a management or everyday tool. You wouldn’t begin your QuickBooks Online experience with the mobile version; setup and high-level functions like reports, bank reconciliation, and assignment of user roles would be done online by the administrator. There’s a separate application for Intuit’s online payroll, and activities like issuing credits and defining recurring transactions would more likely be done from the office.

While they’re laid out differently, the QuickBooks Online mobile app manages to pack a lot of detail in a small space. It includes the features that a remote worker would most likely need to use. And some of those are quite comprehensive. Forms in the app, for example, lack very little compared to those in the browser-based version, especially those that deal with expenses and payments, which are often done outside of the office.

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Figure 3: The QuickBooks Online mobile app looks different from the browser-based version, but it’s very easy to use, and some screens are quite detailed.

Examine Your Workflow

The ability to do accounting work on an app away from the office offers convenience and flexibility that browser-based QuickBooks Online doesn’t. First off, mobile applications show a degree of professionalism and responsiveness to customers and vendors you meet with outside the office. And it keeps you in touch with some of your financial data when you’re on the move.

But can using it create problems? Possibly. Data entered in the app shows up in the browser-based version as soon as it’s entered and saved. But you or your administrator wouldn’t necessarily know to look for an onslaught of expenses or invoices, and by the time they’re discovered, there could be some complications.

So if you’re planning to let employees loose on the QuickBooks Online mobile app and you expect that they’ll use it frequently, it’s best to establish policies ahead of time and make sure that the work that’s done remotely will mesh with the rest of your accounting activities. We can help you prepare well for your new mobile capabilities.

 

QuickBooks Advantage

QuickBooks Advantage
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What QuickBooks’ Calendar Can Do for You

Yet another calendar? Yes. It’s a good idea to use QuickBooks’ calendar to stay on top of your financial transactions.

These days, some of us find ourselves updating multiple calendars. There’s the Outlook calendar or other web-based solution for scheduling and task management. Maybe a smartphone app to track to-do’s on the road, and a paper calendar as backup.

But where do you keep track of your everyday financial tasks? Including these in your scheduling calendars and/or task lists will make for very crowded screens, not to mention how inconvenient it can be to keep switching between applications.

So consider adding one more tracking tool: the QuickBooks calendar. This graphical screen isn’t designed for data entry (except for to-do’s). Rather, it’s designed to give you a quick overview of your financial activity, both historically and in the future.

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Figure 1: The QuickBooks calendar consists of two parts. The graphical calendar itself displays one of three types of entries: Entered, Due, or To Do. The number in parentheses refers to the number of each type that occurred or will occur that day. Details of each entry appear below; double-clicking on one opens the original form.

Calendar Setup

Before you start using the QuickBooks calendar, you should designate your display and content options. Open the Edit menu and select Preferences | Calendar. Make sure that the My Preferences tab is active.

Click on the arrows to the right of every field to open the menu that displays your choices. The first of these are:

  • Calendar view. Daily? Weekly? Monthly? Or do you want QuickBooks to remember the last view that was open?
  • Weekly view. Should the calendar only display the primary workdays or all seven?
  • Show. What items would you like to have displayed on the calendar? It defaults to All Transactions, but you can filter it by transaction type.

You can also specify whether you want past due and upcoming entries to be included, and for how many days.

Tracking To-Do’s

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Figure 2: You can create to-do items and have them appear on the QuickBooks calendar.

The QuickBooks calendar also offers tools for creating to-do’s of several types (call, fax, email, meeting, appointment, or task).  These will appear on the calendar unless you filter them out.

Tip: The link that opens the to-do window is rather hard to find. It’s in the lower right corner of the graphical calendar.

Click on Add To Do to get started. The window pictured above opens. Click the arrow to the right of the field under TYPE and select the type of to-do that you want to define. You can also select a PRIORITY level if you’d like.

Below those two fields is a small box to the left of WITH. If you want to connect that activity to a customer, vendor, or employee, click in the box and select the type. Then click the arrow next to the field below it and choose the correct individual or company.

You aren’t required to create this link; you can simply designate your to-do type and enter a DATE, TIME, and DETAILS. The activity will still appear on your QuickBooks calendar. But if you do associate it with a specific entity, like a customer, it will appear in that customer’s record when you click on the To Do’s tab.

A Word About Reminders

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Figure 3: You can get advance notice of scheduled financial activities by setting up Reminders. Go to Edit | Preferences | Reminders | Company Preferences.

The QuickBooks calendar is not really a reminder tool. You’ll need to use QuickBooks’ Reminders to get help with advance notice of due dates.

But the calendar will display the actual due dates for transactions. If you’ve entered a bill that’s due on February 28, for example, the word Due will appear on that date in the graphical calendar; the number of transactions due will appear in parentheses after it. All entries for that day appear in a list below. To see the original form, you’d double-click on the one you want to see.

Using Reminders in conjunction with the QuickBooks calendar can help you stay current with sales and purchases – if you have you due dates established in a way that will be good for your cash flow. Let us know if you want some help scheduling incoming and outgoing payments in a way that will work to your advantage.

QuickBooks Advantage

QuickBooks Advantage
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Using QBO’s Accounts Receivable Reports

With the holidays and year-end over, you can turn your attention to catching up with your customers.

It would be nice if we could neatly wrap up every accounting month or quarter or year neatly, with all of our transactions completed. All current bills and invoices would be paid, physical inventory counts would match the quantities in our records, and all purchase orders would be fulfilled.

Unfortunately, it doesn’t usually work like that. Businesses and individuals get caught up in the flurry of activity that occurs every December, and work gets delayed.

So it’s a good idea to take stock of your accounts receivable in January. Most people are back in the office and ready to take on the new year’s tasks. QuickBooks Online makes this catch-up work easier with its group of related reports.

Numerous Templates

It’s likely that you at some point have run one of QuickBooks Online’s accounts receivable reports, A/R Aging Summary, to see a list of past due invoice payments. But there are many other reports. Familiarizing yourself with them can help you throughout the year, not just in January when you’re trying to put your financials back in order.

To see the whole list, click on Reports in the left vertical toolbar. If the All Reports link is not underlined, click on it. Then click Manage Accounts Receivable.

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Figure 1: This is a partial list of the accounts receivable reports offered in QuickBooks Online.

You probably don’t need to run every report in this group frequently, but there are some that can provide the insight you need when you’re trying to tie up loose ends and prepare for the rest of the year. They include:

  • A/R Aging Detail. The A/R Aging Summary only displays totals for each customer with a past due status. The report divides these into 30-day increments, so you can see how much each customer owes currently, 1-30 days overdue, 31-60 days overdue, etc. A/R Aging Detail divides the report into those same time periods, but it displays every corresponding invoice for every customer, its original due date, amount, and open balance.
  • Customer Balance Detail. This report doesn’t break out past-due invoices by 30-day increments. It groups outstanding balances by customer. By quickly scanning the Due Dates and Open Balances, you can get a quick snapshot of each customer’s status. Are any payments due soon? Is there a high balance that needs to be addressed?
  • Collections Report. You – or whoever handles collections for your company – should be running this report regularly. You can see which customers have past-due balances and by how many days, which individual invoices are represented, and the total amount owed.

Contacting customers in an attempt to collect past-due payments is probably not your favorite thing to do. Let us know if you want help customizing QuickBooks Online and using its other tools to minimize late remittances.

Seeing the Data You Need

QuickBooks Online’s report templates are constructed to display the data that most businesspeople want to see. You have tremendous control, though, over the columns that appear. Customization options on the site are quite generous.

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Figure 2: QuickBooks Online offers countless options for the data that is displayed in its reports. We can help you work with these if you’re new to report customization.

Open the Customer Balance Detail report and click the Customize button in the upper left. There’s very little that you can’t modify in QuickBooks Online reports. Click on each link in the left vertical navigation tool to get a sense of what’s possible.

If you alter the options in a report and think you’d like to run it again in the future with the same modifications but refreshed data, click Save Customizations in the upper left after you’ve finished making your changes. Type a new name for this modified report in the field provided in the small window that opens. When you want to generate it again, go to All Reports | My Custom Reports to find it.

We strongly encourage you to customize at least some of your reports. This kind of zeroing in on the exact set of data you want can help you evaluate your current financial status — and make better business decisions.

QuickBooks Advantage

QuickBooks Advantage
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How to Purchase and Download QuickBooks Software

2016-Pro  2016-Premier 2016-Enterprise

Squire and Company, PC. wants to help you with all your QuickBooks needs. Please follow the instructions below to purchase and download your QuickBooks software.

The links provided here only work for those who have purchased QuickBooks software.  A valid license number and product number are required to install the software. 

To purchase and download your QuickBooks software:

  1. Go to Quickbooksadvantage.com
  2. Select Products  from top menu
  3. Select Software from menu
  4. Choose the appropriate version of QuickBooks software*
  5. After the QuickBooks software is purchased you will receive an email confirming payment. Within 48 hours, you will receive an email with a license number and product number for download.
  6. Follow the links below to download your QuickBooks software. The following links will download a setup file which, when run, will download the most recent release of the selected software version and start the installation wizard to install QuickBooks.

*Squire and Company, PC has QuickBooks Pro Advisors that can help you decide which product is best suited for you and your business needs. 

QuickBooks Pro 2016

http://http-download.intuit.com/http.intuit/Downloads/2016/Latest/Setup_QuickBooksPro2016.exe

QuickBooks Premier 2016

http://http-download.intuit.com/http.intuit/Downloads/2016/Latest/Setup_QuickBooksPremier2016.exe

QuickBooks Enterprise 2016

http://http-download.intuit.com/http.intuit/Downloads/2016/Latest/Setup_QuickBooksEnterprise16.exe

QuickBooks Pro 2015

http://http-download.intuit.com/http.intuit/Downloads/2015/Latest/Setup_QuickBooksPro2015.exe

QuickBooks Premier 2015

http://http-download.intuit.com/http.intuit/Downloads/2015/Latest/Setup_QuickBooksPremier2015.exe

QuickBooks Enterprise 2015

http://http-download.intuit.com/http.intuit/Downloads/2015/Latest/Setup_QuickBooksEnterprise15.exe

QuickBooks Pro 2014

http://http-download.intuit.com/http.intuit/Downloads/2014/Latest/Setup_QuickBooksPro2014.exe

QuickBooks Premier 2014

http://http-download.intuit.com/http.intuit/Downloads/2014/Latest/Setup_QuickBooksPremier2014.exe

QuickBooks Enterprise 2014

http://http-download.intuit.com/http.intuit/Downloads/2014/Latest/Setup_QuickBooksEnterprise14.exe

QuickBooks Pro 2013

http://http-download.intuit.com/http.intuit/Downloads/2013/Latest/Setup_QuickBooksPro2013.exe

QuickBooks Premier 2013

http://http-download.intuit.com/http.intuit/Downloads/2013/Latest/Setup_QuickBooksPremier2013.exe

QuickBooks Enterprise 2013

http://http-download.intuit.com/http.intuit/Downloads/2013/Latest/Setup_QuickBooksPro2013.exe

QuickBooks Advantage

QuickBooks Advantage
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How to Add Documents in QuickBooks

Accounting is about more than just numbers. QuickBooks lets you make documents available from within the program itself.

You could call QuickBooks a “green” computer program. It can conserve reams of paper by storing customer and vendor records, for example, emailing transaction forms, and accepting online payments.

Most small businesses are a long way from being “paperless offices,” despite the predictions so many people made when PCs became commonplace. Even though you’re making an effort to be as digital as possible with your accounting files, not everyone else is yet. So you still have to deal with paper.

And you’re probably still consulting paper documents or stored computer files or scanned images that relate to your accounting data. QuickBooks makes it possible to keep this information close at hand, easily accessible from the software itself.

The Doc Center

QuickBooks provides a centralized area for managing the documents you want to keep close at hand. The Doc Center contains tools you’ll need to work with your documents. From here, you can:

  • Add them by locating them in your storage device or scanning them in directly,
  • See their details and add to them,
  • Search for them, and,
  • Either remove or detach them.
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Figure 1: You’ll use the tools in the QuickBooks Doc Center to work with the documents you want to have available from within the program.

There are probably times when you have supporting documentation for invoices or customer and item records, for example. In these cases, you can attach those background documents to the related QuickBooks forms.

Easy Operation

It’s not difficult to work with documents in QuickBooks. But if you don’t have much experience working with file attachments or scanning paper forms, we can walk you through the process.

To get started, click on the Docs tab in the left vertical pane or open the Company menu and select Documents | Doc Center. You’ll see a screen that looks like the one pictured above.

Let’s say you have a special price list you often need to consult. Click the Add icon. A window then opens that contains a directory of all of the folders and files on your PC and any external storage areas. Browse to the pricing document you created earlier and double-click it. QuickBooks will return you to the main Doc Center screen, and you’ll see the name of your file and the time added in the first row of the data table there.

Deeper Descriptions

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Figure 2: Once you’ve added files to the Doc Center, you can view and add details or open the original document.

Click in the box in front of the file name, and buttons in the lower right of the screen will light up. Click on View Details, and a small window opens. You can enter information in fields here to add a Title, Description, Keywords, and Comments. Click Save & Close when you’re done. Other buttons here let you Open the file or Remove it.

Note: To bring in documents, you can also drag and drop them from Outlook, folders, or your desktop. We can help you learn how to do this.

Scan a Document

You can also scan documents directly from your scanner into QuickBooks. Click Scan. The QuickBooks Scan Manager should open and locate your printer or scanner. After you’ve selected it and your other Scan Options, click the Scan button. If you’ve opted to see a preview, that page will appear for your approval.

Click Done, and you’ll have several options for working with the image. When you’ve finished, click Done Scanning and enter any desired descriptive details. Click OK, and the Doc Center will display again with your new scanned document in the list.

Attach to Forms

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Figure 3: Many QuickBooks forms display the Attach File icon.

If you have supporting documentation for an invoice, for example, you can easily make it available from the form itself. Click the Attach File icon and select your file using the Doc Center’s tools. Once you’ve added an attachment to a form, the icon will display the number of documents that are available there.

Your computer’s storage space may be well organized, but you can still waste time trying to hunt down the document you want right when you want it. QuickBooks’ Doc Center can minimize your search time and ensure that important documentation is at hand.

 

QuickBooks Advantage

QuickBooks Advantage
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An Introduction to the QuickBooks Online Customer Page

Your customers are the heartbeat of your business. QuickBooks Online helps you keep them happy.

Do you remember how you used to keep track of information about your customers before you started using a computer for your accounting? A file folder containing paper transaction forms and other communications? A card in your Rolodex? A list on paper?

It’s hard to imagine going back to those days once you start using QuickBooks Online. The site provides detailed record forms for your customers. It also offers multiple ways to get a snapshot of their current status with you. And there are numerous paths you can take to create sales forms for them.

Besides helping you complete the work you must do with each customer, all of these tools can help you achieve a key goal for your business: exceptional customer relationships. Here’s a look at what you can do to build those relationships.

A Central Clearinghouse

The easiest way to find these tools is to simply click the Customers tab in the navigation pane. This will take you to a comprehensive page that will eventually contain a list of your customers. To add a new customer, click New Customer in the upper right corner.

Note: If you already have a database of customers in an Excel or .csv format, you should be able to import it into QuickBooks Online. We can help you make this happen.

Dec 15 2.1

Figure 1: QuickBooks Online helps you create thorough profiles for each of your customers.

You’ll see an empty screen with predefined fields like the one above. Complete as many fields as possible can for your customer; you’ll be using this information later in transactions and reports.

When you’ve finished, look in the lower left corner, where you’ll see four tabs. You can use the blank screen that opens when you click Notes to enter miscellaneous information. Click on Tax info to supply a Tax Resale No. and select a Default Sales and Use Tax Rate. If you need to set up sales tax and haven’t yet, we can work with you on that.

Completing the fields in the screen under the fourth tab, Payment and billing, will save you a lot of time when you start creating transactions. Any of the customer’s current, unpaid obligations should be entered in the field labeled Opening balance…as of. You can also select default (preferred) Terms, payment method (cash? check? credit card?), and delivery method (print or send later).

If you haven’t yet signed up for a merchant account, which lets you accept credit/debit cards and bank transfers, let us tell you what’s involved. You’ll find that invoices are paid faster if a customer can do so electronically.

Viewing and Acting

Once you’ve entered information for one or more customers, their names and some additional details will appear in the list that’s displayed when you click on Customers. You’ll see a horizontal colored bar at the top of the screen; this updates you on the status of your sales transactions. Below that is your table of customers.

Dec 15 2.2

Figure 2: You can do more than simply access information about each customer from the master page; you can also launch activity and transaction forms.

Select a group of customers and click the arrow next to Batch actions, and you’ll be able to send emails or create statements for them. When you’ve created records for multiple customers, the search box will come in handy.

Your list can also contain columns for each customer’s email and address; you’d make this change by clicking on the gear icon in the upper right corner. And when you click on the arrow next to Receive payment in the far right column, a drop-down list will display the other activities you can do from there, like creating invoices and sending reminders.

Critical Care Required

Keep your customer records updated whenever there’s a change. You want every detail of your communications with your customers to be correct — down to the spelling of their street names. Seemingly little things like this can have impact on your customers’ perception of their value to you.

 

 

 

QuickBooks Advantage

QuickBooks Advantage
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Get Ready for 2016: QuickBooks Can Help

We’ll be ringing in the New Year soon. Will you have wrapped up your 2015 finances by then?

There’s something very satisfying about turning our calendars to January. It always feels like a fresh start. We resolve to develop new, better ways of using our work and leisure time. We reflect on what we accomplished in the last 12 months, and we look forward to achieving even more in the next 12.

But sometimes we have a nagging feeling that we forgot something. And it often has to do with our finances, both personal and professional.

You can take steps now to make New Year’s Day less worrisome. Doing some extra work in QuickBooks during December will ensure that you’ll start 2016 ready to move ahead, rather than scrambling to see what you missed on January 2.

Thinking Ahead

Where to start? Depending on how conscientiously you entered transactions and ran reports, you might need to set some extra time aside in the midst of your other year-end and holiday-related commitments.

For example, did you instruct QuickBooks to “close your books” at the end of the year? QuickBooks will automatically make year-end adjustments if you entered December 31 as a closing date in Preferences. However, it’s not required, and there are both advantages and disadvantages to doing so. We can help you decide if this is the best decision for your company.

Dec 15 1.1

Figure 1: If you set a closing date of December 31 in QuickBooks’ Preferences, you need to prepare your company file for this deadline in advance. We can help you get ready.

Prior to this, though, there’s another important task you should complete before the end of the year. It’s common sense, but not everyone thinks of it during the December rush: Make sure you’ve entered all transactions and payments that should be included in your QuickBooks file for 2015.

If anyone else on your staff works in QuickBooks, make sure they know that you’re trying to wrap up the year. If they’re holding anything back because of questions and comments, now’s the time to confer with you.

Taxes and Accounts

You may have already been working with us on tax planning for the 2015 tax year. If you haven’t, and you haven’t been doing so on your own, you need to look at your incoming and outgoing funds for the year before it’s over. Do you need to hold until 2016 some income and/or expenses that haven’t been recorded until 2016? This kind of question really needs to be resolved now.

Dec 15 1.2

Figure 2: Time is short, but we may be able to help you make some decisions about carrying some 2015 income and/or expenses over to 2016 if it will help reduce your tax obligation.

Talk to us about your tax situation if you think this may be necessary. We can’t prepare your taxes yet, of course, but we can create some reports and advise you on any situations where you might want to put off – or accelerate – some actions. Is your income running high and your offsetting expenses low? If so, this may be a good time to make a fairly major purchase you’ve been considering.

Odds and Ends

How do you back up your QuickBooks company file? On a local drive or in the cloud? How often do you do this? Archiving your data is critical. Think about what would happen if you lost your customer records or a month’s worth of transactions or multiple payments. This is an area where we can provide guidance. Is there a better, safer way to ensure data security? Are there special backup activities you should do at year’s end?

Some companies wait until January to do a physical inventory count. Rather than being surprised in January, you may want to consider doing this now if it’s feasible.

And when you think you’ve entered everything but payments or transactions that may come in at the last minute (unless you’re going to defer these until 2016), all accounts should be reconciled. QuickBooks makes it easy to do this regularly.

Dec 15 1.3

Figure 3: Before the end of December, you should do a final reconciliation of all accounts for 2015.

It will be painful to open QuickBooks on January 2 if you don’t feel like you paid extra attention to your finances in December. We can help you ring in the New Year on a more confident note.

 

QuickBooks Advantage

QuickBooks Advantage
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Working with Employee Records in QuickBooks Online

Payroll requires countless details about each employee. QuickBooks Online will walk you through the process of entering them.
If you’ve only been on the receiving end of a paycheck, you may not know just how much prep work went into your neatly-organized paystubs. Those official-looking columns of numbers that described how much you earned and how much was taken out – and for what purpose – were the result of a tremendous amount of data entry when you were hired.
Now it’s your turn to discover how complex that recordkeeping task is. QuickBooks Online was designed for small businesspeople who weren’t schooled in the intricacies of double-entry accounting, so it simplifies the process of preparing for payroll as much as possible. Still, it will probably be the most challenging element of your web-based bookkeeping.
We can help you navigate these sometimes-choppy waters so that you’ll be ready to run your payroll with confidence. Here’s an overview, though, of one of the most critical steps: creating employee records comprehensively and accurately.
Just the Facts
The left vertical toolbar in QuickBooks Online contains a link for Employees. This is where you’ll add and edit staff records. Once you’re set up and have begun running payrolls, the page that this link opens will display your current year’s payroll cost totals. There will also be a list of employees and their pay rates and payment methods; you’ll be able to click on their entries to view and edit their record details.
To get started, though, you’ll click on Add Employee. This opens a page that asks for the individual’s:
· Full name,
· Withholdings (you’ll enter W-4 information here),
· Pay frequency,
· Pay type and amount (multiple options are available here besides salary and hourly),
· Deductions (retirement, health care, etc.), and
· Pay method (check or direct deposit).

nov 15 2.1
Figure 1: QuickBooks Online and its payroll component contain many screens like this that employ common data entry conventions. The mechanics are easy, but 100 percent accuracy is required.
Some of these requests for information have a small pencil icon next to them. This means that there are additional screens where you can provide the needed details. In the example above, you’re defining pay types that will be available to the employee, like sick pay and vacation pay.
Depending on your company’s benefits, entering deduction information may be the most detailed and time-consuming task. QuickBooks Online first lets you choose between entering a deduction/contribution or garnishment. If it’s health insurance, for example, you’ll have to indicate how much money will be deducted from employees’ earnings each pay period (in dollars or a percentage) and what the company-paid contribution will be (if any). If there’s an annual maximum, you’ll also enter it here, and you’ll indicate whether the premium amount is taxable or pre-tax.
A sample check is displayed in the right column of this page. As you enter information, the check will be filled in with the correct amounts. If you don’t have a particular detail at hand, you can save what you’ve done and come back later to finish the record. And you can always return to edit data you’ve supplied.
When you’ve completed all of this and clicked Done, you’ll be back at the Employees screen. Click on the name of the staff person whose records you just created, and you’ll see something like this:
nov 15 2.2
Figure 2: Once you’ve created an employee’s record, you can view all of its details and edit it as needed.
There will undoubtedly be times when you’ll want to see your employee data in report form rather than clicking through numerous individual records. QuickBooks Online offers several report templates that accommodate this. You’ll click on Reports in the left vertical toolbar, and then All Reports | Manage Payroll. The most relevant here in terms of viewing employee-related information are:
· Vacation and Sick Leave,
· Employee Details,
· Payroll Deductions/Contributions,
· Workers’ Compensation, and
· Employee Directory.
Running your first payroll can be daunting. We hope you’ll let us help you prepare for it.

QuickBooks Advantage

QuickBooks Advantage
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QuickBooks Reminders Prevent Problems

Preserve your relationships with customers, vendors, and others by setting up reminders in QuickBooks.

How many calendars do you maintain? Many businesspeople have more than one. Maybe you use a web-based or desktop application like Google Calendar or Outlook for meetings, task deadlines, travel dates, etc. Your Customer Relationship Manager (CRM) might have another. Perhaps you still have a paper calendar as backup.

But where do you keep track of bills that need to be paid, invoices that have to be sent, inventory items that must be ordered, etc.? Do you include that information in your general business calendar(s) and hope they don’t get lost in the shuffle?

QuickBooks has a better solution. The software contains a dedicated set of tools that automates the process of setting up and displaying reminders. Once you’ve created them, they can be the first thing you see when you open QuickBooks in the morning.

Warning: If you do not launch QuickBooks frequently, consider tracking your critical accounting tasks using a different method.

Getting a Head Start

QuickBooks lets you specify exactly when you want to receive reminders of upcoming activities. To set this up, open the Edit menu, then click Preferences, and then Reminders | Company Preferences.

Note: If you want QuickBooks to display your reminders every time you launch the software, click on the My Preferences tab and make sure that the box in front of Show Reminders List when opening a Company file is checked. If it isn’t, click in the box.

nov 15 1.1

Figure 1: QuickBooks provides personalization tools for your reminders.

As you can see, QuickBooks offers three options for every activity type. It can either display a summary of the tasks that need to be completed, or it can actually list all of them in the Reminders window. And you’ll be able to tell QuickBooks how many days prior to the deadline your reminders should appear. You can also opt not to be reminded.

Making modifications in this window is easy. Just click in the appropriate circle next to each task to indicate your preference, and change any numbers in the Remind Me column to tell QuickBooks when it should start showing the reminder.

If you didn’t indicate that you wanted the Reminders window to open every time you launch QuickBooks, you can always access it by opening the Company menu and selecting Reminders.

Using the List

nov 15 1.2

Figure 2: Reminders in the left column are current, and those on the right are upcoming tasks.

The Reminders list displays items in two columns. Tasks that need to be done on the current day appear on the left (overdue tasks appear in red). The list in the right column consists of upcoming transactions that will need to be processed soon. Each type of activity has a number in parentheses after it; this tells you how many individual tasks are pending. Click on the arrow to see the list, and double-click on any entry to open the actual transaction form.

You can add generic to-do items to either column by clicking on the plus sign in the upper right. These will appear along with your other reminders. If you want to modify anything related to your reminders, click on the gear icon in the upper right. This opens the Preferences window again.

Recurring Reminders

Transactions that repeat on a regular basis (bills, invoices, etc.) can be memorized. If the amount is always the same, create the transaction and enter the amount; if not, just leave that field blank. Click Memorize to open the Memorize Transaction window and click on the button in front of Add to my Reminders List. Open the drop-down list to the right of How Often and select the desired frequency. Make sure that the Next Date is correct. Click OK.

Nov 15 1.3

Figure 3: QuickBooks can add memorized transactions to your reminders list.

Reminders can help prevent serious accounting problems such as cash flow irregularities. Let us know if you’re experiencing these. We can help you determine whether poor task management is contributing to your shortfall, or if there are deeper issues that we can work with you to resolve.

 

QuickBooks Advantage

QuickBooks Advantage
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Introducing the New QuickBooks Online for PC App

Like QuickBooks Online but miss some of the desktop version’s features? You can have both now.

QuickBooks Online has grown tremendously since its introduction more than a decade ago. It’s not quite as mature as the top-of-the-line desktop versions, but it’s not far behind anymore.

No matter which version of QuickBooks you first used, there may be elements of Windows functionality that you miss in the application, like:

  • The traditional file menus,
  • Keyboard shortcuts, and
  • The ability to open the software and let it stay open all day, minimizing it when you didn’t need it.

The recently released QuickBooks Online for PC (and Mac) App offers all of those features. It may also be faster than the browser-based version because it loads the whole application at once and keeps the pages cached. It’s free; here’s the download link.

A Hybrid Approach

Oct 15 1.1

Figure 1: The old Windows menus are back in the new QuickBooks app.

Getting started is easy. You click the download link and then install the app like you would any Windows or Mac software. When the download is complete, you’ll find a new shortcut icon on your desktop’s home screen. Click on it, and you can either sign into an existing account or register for a new one.

The first thing you’ll notice is that it still looks like QuickBooks Online – because it is. But if you look at the upper left of the screen, you’ll see what looks like a series of Windows desktop menus – because it is. But the menu options don’t match Windows desktop menus. Instead they’re designed to mirror the navigation tools in QuickBooks Online. You can use either or both.

Note: Windows that open when you click on one of these menu options can act in one of two ways. They can either replace the current window, which is the default in QuickBooks Online, or they can open in a new window. To change the current setting, open the Window drop-down menu and check or un-check Menu Items Open New Windows.

Multiple Updated Windows

It’s not difficult to switch screens in the browser-based version of QuickBooks Online. But it’s time consuming if you need to consult two or three different pages. You find yourself switching back and forth and probably having to make notes about what you learned from the other screen(s).

The new QuickBooks Online for Windows App makes this process easier and faster. Some navigation links now have a small arrow-in-a-box icon to their right, called a Detach icon. Click on one of those, and the item opens in a new window. Any changes you make in one window are automatically reflected in the other open windows.

Oct 15 1.2

Figure 2: Click on the new Detach icon wherever it appears to open the page in a new window.

This new functionality isn’t available everywhere in the app. You’ll see the Detach icons when you hover over transaction types by clicking on the + sign at the top of the screen, with the exception of Pay Checks, Single Time Activity, Weekly Timesheets, Pay Bills, and Statements. To open a transaction form in a new window, you must click directly on the icon. You can also open most reports in new windows; the new icons appear when you open a list of them.

So if you’re looking at a report that you don’t want to close and you want to enter a related transaction, you’d simply click on the + sign and select the transaction type by clicking directly on the Detach icon. The new window opens; you fill out the form and save it, and you’re back at your report, where you can see the new entry in the report.

If you have a transaction open and you want to consult a report, though, you’d need to select it from the Reports menu at the top, after making sure that the Menu Items Open New Windows entry in the Window menu was checked.

And if you’re still a fan of keyboard shortcuts and miss them in QBO, you’ll find them active in the app.

Oct 15 1.3

Figure 3: You can use dozens of keyboard shortcuts when you install the new QuickBooks app.

Only an Option

The QuickBooks Online for Windows App is totally optional; you can keep using the browser-based version if you prefer. The ability to keep the app running without signing in and out all day may appeal to you – if there’s no chance someone else could access your computer while you’re away from your desk.

You may or may not experience faster performance, depending on your system configuration. And the app’s other capabilities are a matter of personal preference. Let us know if you need help working with this new option – or if you have other questions about QuickBooks Online.

QuickBooks Advantage

QuickBooks Advantage
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QuickBooks Online’s Sales Tax Tools: The Basics

Are you paying the correct amount of sales tax to the proper agencies? QuickBooks Online can help.

It’s hard to imagine that small businesses used to have to manage sales tax manually. It was quite a time-intensive process, and it was so easy to make mistakes.

QuickBooks Online can handle the mechanics for you. Its sales tax tools are quite simple; they help set up both single and combined (up to five) rates. Then when you create invoices and other sales forms, you can select the appropriate rate(s). The site does the necessary calculations and includes sales tax in the totals. It also keeps a running tally of how much you owe to taxing agencies.

Bear in mind, though, that absolute accuracy is required for this often-confusing process. States have their own individual requirements, and in some geographical areas, you’ll have to charge county and/or municipal sales tax. So before you start entering rates and charging customers, we should sit down and go over issues like:

  • Whether you need a sales tax permit,
  • How to handle sales in other states,
  • What transactions are exempt from sales tax, and
  • How often – and to whom – you submit the money you’ve collected from customers.

sept 15 2.1

Figure 1: QuickBooks Online simplifies the mechanics of charging sales tax. But let us work with you before you start using them.

This element of accounting is so critical that QuickBooks Online includes a special section devoted to it. To get to the Sales Tax Center, you’d click on Sales Tax in the site’s toolbar. The page that opens will eventually display information about the sales tax you owe for a specific period and recent payments you’ve made.

It’s the Related Tasks over to the right that we’ll address first. The Edit sales tax settings link opens a small window that asks whether you charge sales tax. It also wants to know whether you want to specify one rate as your default – the rate that fills in automatically when you enter a taxable item on a sales form – and whether all customers, products, and services should be considered taxable.

Note: Even if you choose a default tax rate, you’ll be able to change it on individual forms as needed.

Sept 15 2.2

Figure 2: One of the things we’ll do as we help you get started with sales taxes is to make sure that your site settings are correct.

QuickBooks Online will now include a Tax column on sales forms like invoices. After you’ve entered all of your taxable items, you’d look below the line over to the right that says Taxable subtotal. Directly below that is a field where the sales tax rate should appear.

If you’ve created rates and they aren’t showing, you’d click the up-and-down arrow to display the list. Either select the appropriate one or click +Add new. QuickBooks Online would then multiply the taxable subtotal by your tax percentage and enter the result in the box to the right.

Sept 15 2.3

Figure 3: Once you’ve entered all of your items and/or services and you have a taxable subtotal, QuickBooks Online will calculate the sales tax payable based on the rate selected.

When you want to see where you stand with your sales tax obligation to date, you can run three reports designed to display this information:

  • Taxable Sales Summary shows a summary of all of the sales to which you’ve assigned a tax rate in your sales forms.
  • Sales Tax Liability Report tells you what you’ve collected in sales tax, as well as what you owe to taxing agencies.
  • Taxable Sales Detail is a more comprehensive version of the Taxable Sales Summary Its columns include Date, Transaction Type, Customer, Quantity, Rate, Amount, and Balance.

When sales taxes are due, you will pay them directly from the Sales Tax Center. Its Sales Tax Owed table will display the amounts you owe and to whom. If they’re recorded as a paid bill or a check, they won’t appear in the Recent Sales Tax Payments table.

We can’t emphasize strongly enough the importance of correctly setting up your sales taxes from the start or of meeting the deadlines that your local taxing agencies enforce. Let us know when you want to start implementing this element of QuickBooks Online.

QuickBooks Advantage

QuickBooks Advantage
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Customize QuickBooks Forms for a More Professional Image

Want an easy, free way to make your business look more professional and polished? Customize your forms. QuickBooks has the tools.

You probably don’t get as many paper forms in the U.S. Mail as you used to. But when you do, do you draw conclusions about the business that sent them based on what their forms look like?

Whether or not you think you do, most people make judgements on businesses based on collateral materials. You might notice that there’s no company logo, or that there are unnecessary blank fields. Maybe the print is very light or blurry, and there’s no message at the bottom thanking you for your business and your payment.

How you present yourself on paper does matter. There’s a lot of competition out there, and you need to use all of the tools available to you to stand out. QuickBooks provides one way to do so with its simple forms customization features.

Getting Started

To see what forms are available for customization, open the Lists menu and select Templates to open this window:

Sep 15 1.1

Figure 1: QuickBooks’ Templates window shows you what forms can be customized and provides tools for working with them.

Before you try your hand at customizing a form, make a copy to work with first. Highlight Intuit Product Invoice. Click the down arrow next to Templates in the lower left, and select Duplicate. A small window will open, displaying your options. Select Invoice and click OK.

QuickBooks will then take you back to the Templates window, and you’ll see a new entry labeled Copy of: Intuit Product Invoice. Right-click on it and select Edit Template from the menu that opens. This will open the Basic Customization window.

There are two parts to this screen. The editing options for the template you selected will appear on the left, and a preview of your invoice will display on the right. As you make modifications to the template, the preview will change to reflect them.

The best, most noticeable thing you can do to customize your invoice is to add a logo. Click the box in front of Use logo, and locate the file in the computer directory that opens. Double-click it. You logo will appear to the left of your company name and address in the upper left corner of the preview.

Sept 15 1.2

Figure 2: The Basic Customization window displays options for modifying your copy of the Intuit Product Invoice template.

You can make numerous changes to your template in this window, like:

  • Selecting a new color scheme,
  • Changing fonts,
  • Deciding how much of your contact information should appear, and
  • Indicating whether the Print Status Stamp (PAID, PENDING, etc.) should appear where appropriate on your invoices.

Note: You can choose to use the same modified design on multiple types of forms. This is a little complicated; let us help you.

More Customizing Options

The changes you just made were fairly superficial. However, QuickBooks offers tools that let you go much further, modifying the actual content of the invoice itself, its columns, and its fields. To get started on this, click the Additional Customization button at the bottom of the screen. The window that opens displays a preview of your invoice on the right side, just like in the previous window.

Your customization options appear on the left side, divided into five different sections. You’ll work primarily with three of them for your invoice:

Header. This includes all of the information that appears on about the top third of the form, like Bill To, Terms, Due Date, and Project/Job.

Columns. What are you billing the customer for? Item, Description, Quantity, Rate, etc.

Footer. What information will you want to enter after you’ve completed the invoice’s product or service content? You’ll likely want fields like Total, Balance Due, and Payments/Credits, perhaps a Message.

Sept 15 1.3

Figure 3: QuickBooks gives you tremendous control over the content in your forms.

As you can see in the above image, QuickBooks lets you choose whether specific fields and columns will appear on your invoices onscreen and/or in print. You can also change field labels if you’d like. And if you have overlapping fields or want to further modify the appearance of the invoice, you can use the Layout Designer. It’s a simple tool, but it requires some design skills.

Of course, you may not be printing many invoices at all if you’re set up to email them and accept payments online. But your customers, of course, will still see how carefully you’ve crafted your forms, which will feed into their overall perception of you. Let this impression be a good one.

QuickBooks Advantage

QuickBooks Advantage
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Managing Users in QuickBooks Online

A multi-user accounting application needs good tools for assigning access permissions. QuickBooks Online has it covered.

You trust your employees, or you wouldn’t have hired them. But you also have a grave responsibility to your customers and vendors: to keep their data safe, and to ensure that records and transactions remain accurate and unchanged throughout their lives.

For that reason, QuickBooks Online offers you the option of restricting users to specific areas of the site and to individual activities. Each time you invite a new user to work on your accounting information, you should go through the process of assigning these rights.

To get started, click on your company name in the upper right of the screen, and then click on Manage Users. Click New to open the mini-interview.

aug 15 2.1

Figure 1: You have four access level options when you’re setting up a new user in QuickBooks Online.

The first screen of the mini-interview explains the four user types available. They are:

Regular or custom user. You’d assign this to staff who will be working with accounts receivable and/or payable but don’t need access to anything else.

Company administrator. This will be you or a trusted employee. The individual with this role has access to the entire site and all actions.

Reports only. Just like the name says, users at this level can only view reports. They cannot, however, see payroll reports or any that contain contact information for customers, vendors, or employees.

Time Tracking only. You can give employees and vendors access to timesheets only, so that they can complete and edit their own.

Note: The latter two designations do not count toward the user limit you chose when you signed up for QuickBooks Online. In addition, you can invite up to two accounting or bookkeeping firms.

Select Regular or custom user, then Next. This is the only access level that allows you to set limits. Other levels are already established.

aug 15 2.2

Figure 2: If you’ve selected Regular or custom user for an employee, you have some control over the areas he or she can access.

  • If you click the button in front of Limited, then put a check mark in front of Customers and Sales, the employee will be able to access all add, edit, and delete QuickBooks Online records. In addition, he or she can work with some transactions and forms, as well as view reports and registers. There are many restricted areas and functions at this level, including check-printing, inventory adjustments, and payroll data access.
  • Employees who will be working with Vendors & Purchases have a similar role on the vendor side.
  • If you want an employee or vendor to be able to access his or her own timesheet but no other areas of QuickBooks Online, you would choose None.
  • The All designation is reserved for users who have all of the access rights described above. They can also, for example, do some payroll tasks, make deposits and transfer funds, and work with budgets.

Click Next after you’ve selected an access level. The next window will display the user’s administrative rights, unless he or she is an employee or vendor who will only have access to timesheets. In those cases, there will be an additional window first that contains a drop-down list consisting of employee and vendor names.

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Figure 3: Administrators should be very careful when assigning their users’ administrative rights.

Once you’ve assigned administrative rights, click Next to “invite” the individual to QuickBooks Online in the specified role. Enter the name and email, then click Next. The user will receive an email containing a link to a page where he or she can select a user ID (or enter an existing Intuit Business Services ID).

When your users have accepted the invitation and logged in, their status on your Manage Users page will change from Invited to Active.

You may want to discuss with us your assignment of access levels. It’s one thing to see a list of permissions, but it’s quite another to determine whether a specific role can put you at risk for critical errors – or worse.

QuickBooks Advantage

QuickBooks Advantage
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How QuickBooks Helps You Accelerate Receivables

Getting paid by your customers in a timely fashion is one of the biggest challenges of being a business owner. QuickBooks can help in several ways.

You’re meeting your sales goals. Keeping inventory balanced. Making sure that every billable hour gets invoiced. Taking advantage of vendor discounts. Basically, doing everything in your power to keep cash flow humming.

But you can’t control how quickly your customers pay you.

You can, though, use QuickBooks’ tools to:

  • Make it easier for customers to remit their payments,
  • Remind customers about unpaid balances, and
  • Keep a close eye on unpaid invoices.

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Figure 1: QuickBooks lets you accept payments from customers in multiple forms. Accepting credit cards and e-checks is likely to speed up your receivables.

Process Plastic

You can, of course, offer customers a discount for paying early. That may work in some cases. But accepting credit cards and e-checks is likely to be more effective. It also has other positive impacts on your business, including:

A more professional image. What do you think when you purchase goods or services from a business that doesn’t accept credit cards? In 2015, this is unusual. It may make customers wonder why. And you work too hard to preserve your reputation to give anyone reason to question your standing.

Time savings for you. How much time do you spend logging checks and running to the bank with deposits? It’s must faster to simply record a credit card payment.

Convenience and goodwill for customers.  Your customers will appreciate the time that they’ll save, which translates to a feather in your cap.

There are extra costs associated with setting up what’s called a “merchant account.” And you’ll have to learn how to set up an account and process payments. But once you’ve done so, you’ll be able to invoice customers in QuickBooks and let them pay immediately by credit card. If you ever have occasion to accept payments out of the office, you’ll be able to use your smartphone or tablet to accept them.

We’d like to see you take this positive step for your business, so let us know when you’re ready. We’ll help with setup and implementation.

Send Statements

aug 15 1.2

Figure 2: You have a lot of options to choose from when you create statements in QuickBooks.

This may be an area of QuickBooks you’ve never explored. Statements are just what they sound like: detailed summaries of what each customer owes over a period of time that you email or print and send by U.S. Mail.

QuickBooks makes this very easy. Start by either clicking the Statements icon on the home page or by opening the Customers menu and selecting Create Statements. The window above appears, laying out the three steps required:

  • SELECT STATEMENT OPTIONS. Be sure that the Statement Date is correct. Then indicate whether you want your statements to include transactions within a specified date range or all transactions are past due by more than a specified number of days.
  • SELECT CUSTOMERS. You can generate statements for one customer, all customers, or a designated group in between.
  • SELECT ADDITIONAL OPTIONS. You’ll have several decisions to make here about your statements’ content and appearance. Let us know if you have questions about any of these.

Track Outstanding Receivables

Aug 15 1.3

Figure 3: When you create the Open Invoices report, make sure that the Aging and Open Balance columns will display.

As a small business owner and/or manager, there are certain QuickBooks reports that you should be looking at frequently. One of them, Open Invoices, gives you an instant status update on your outstanding receivables. But it’s important that you set up the report to give you the exact information you need.

Open the Reports menu and select Customers & Receivables | Open Invoices. If you need to change the date range, click the down arrow to the right of the Dates field in the upper left to display your options and choose. Then click Customize Report above that. The window pictured above opens. Grab the scroll bar under COLUMNS and move it down until you see Aging and Open Balance. If there are no check marks in front of them, click in the column to create them.

There are other reports you’ll want to look at regularly as you try to accelerate incoming customer payments, like A/R Aging Summary and A/R Aging Detail. If we’re not already working with you on reports, creating and analyzing the critical financial reports that we should be generating monthly or quarterly, let’s set up a meeting. We can give your copy of QuickBooks a tune-up at the same time to ensure that you can keep accepting those payments accurately.

 

QuickBooks Advantage

QuickBooks Advantage
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Creating Reports in QuickBooks Online

Reports are the payoff for all of your hard work entering records and transactions. They can help you make better business decisions.

Now that you’ve been using QuickBooks Online for your company’s accounting, it’s probably unimaginable to think about going back to manual bookkeeping. Those file folders and paper forms and scribbles on notepads – all have been replaced with a neatly organized, everything-in-its-place website.

If you’ve been in business long enough to remember the old ledger books, you’re probably especially glad to be able to rely on QuickBooks Online to handle one critical accounting element in particular: reports. You know how important they are in your regular workflow, especially when it’s time to make critical business decisions.

The old debit-and-credit calculations still exist in QuickBooks Online, but there’s no reason for you to ever work with them, since the site handles them in the background.

july15 2.1

Figure 1: QuickBooks Online’s Journal report displays the double-entry accounting work going on in the background. There’s no need for you to ever work with debits and credits, thanks to the site’s friendly, familiar user interface.

Robust Reports

There are other cloud-based accounting websites, but nothing comes close to QuickBooks Online in terms of report templates. Click Reports in the left vertical tab to see what’s available. The site’s generous collection of reports is divided into five areas to make access simpler. Individual reports may appear in more than one of these areas:

  • Recommended: These reports have been hand-picked. Their data changes every time you or one of your employees work with QuickBooks Online, and they contain some of the key information you need to be tracking. The Company Snapshot, Expenses by Vendor Summary, A/R and A/P Aging Summaries should be consulted frequently by you and/or anyone else in financial management. Profit and Loss and Balance Sheet do not have to be generated as often. These are complex reports, and the information they provide needs to be analyzed for you to make sense of it. We can create these for you on a periodic basis.
  • Frequently Run. This list will be generated automatically, based on your own pattern of report activity.
  • My Custom Reports. QuickBooks Online offers tremendous report customization options. When you have crafted a report that you think you’ll probably run again (with refreshed data, of course), you can save that format.

july15 2.2

Figure 2: When you click on All Reports on this screen, you’ll see how QuickBooks Online divides its reports into related activities.

  • Management Reports. These are somewhat complicated, and we hope you’ll let us work with you on them. QuickBooks Online comes with three multi-part report templates that you can view and print as is: Sales Performance, Expenses Performance, and Company Overview. You can also edit and copy these. Management Reports are more polished and comprehensive than other reports, and could be used as part of a presentation.
  • All Reports. Click on this link to see everything, divided by type of activity.

Make Them Yours

Besides offering a generous number of report templates, QuickBooks Online offers exceptional customization tools. This means that you can carve out the exact subset of data that you want to see.

To see this in action, click on the Reports tab in the left vertical pane, then All Reports | Manage Accounts Receivable | Customer Balance Detail. Click the Customize button in the upper left. You’ll see this screen:

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Figure 3: Use QuickBooks Online’s customization tools to isolate and display the exact information that you need.

To the left is a list of navigation links that will take you to the section where you want to work. You can also just use the scroll bar on the right to browse through your options. Take some time to explore the possibilities so that when you need a specific subset of data in a report, you’ll know how you can use QuickBooks Online’s customization tools to shape it correctly.

Not every report in QuickBooks Online is as simple and self-explanatory as this one. In fact, there are some reports that we should be creating and analyzing for you on a regular basis; these fall under the Accountant Report heading. We encourage you to master QuickBooks Online’s customization tools for many reports, but do let us help you understand the more complex content that will help you make better business decisions.

 

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Receiving Payments in QuickBooks

It’s probably one of your favorite QuickBooks activities. Be sure you understand the mechanics of recording payments.

There are numerous ways to prioritize your workday. Do the most difficult things first. Get important phone calls out of the way. Respond to customer emails.

But it’s likely that one activity takes precedence when you see that it needs to be done: recording payments. While you’re probably very careful with this process, it’s critical that your actions here are accurate. If they’re not, you could either lose money that you’ve earned or anger customers by requesting payments they’ve already made.

QuickBooks comes with some helpful pre-defined payment types; however, you also have the flexibility to edit that list and add new types. To see your list, open the Lists menu and select Customer & Vendor Profile Lists, then Payment Method List. This window opens:

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Figure 1: QuickBooks lets you accept payments from customers in a variety of ways.

To make changes to this list, click the down arrow to the right of Payment Method. By selecting items from this menu, you can add, edit, and delete payment methods. You can also make one temporarily inactive if for some reason you’re not going to support that option right now but don’t want to delete it, either. Click in the box next to Include Inactive if you want it to remain on the list (an X will appear next to it). When you want to reinstate it, open the Payment Method menu again and select Make Payment Method Active.

To search for every transaction that used a specific payment method, highlight it in the list and select Find in Transactions. QuickBooks will open the Find window with that filter already applied.

When you’re done working with that window, click the x in the upper right to close it.

Applying the Funds

Ideally, you or someone on your staff will be working frequently with the Receive Payments screen frequently. To get there, open the Customers menu and select Receive Payments, or click Receive Payments on the home page. This is the screen you will work with if you’re recording a payment that is to be applied to an invoice that you sent.

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Figure 2: The Receive Payments screen in QuickBooks

First, select a customer by clicking on the down arrow in the field to the right of RECEIVED FROM. If there are outstanding invoices, they will appear in the table below. Enter the PAYMENT AMOUNT in the field below, and change the date if necessary. Click on the icon representing the payment method. If you don’t see it there, click the down arrow below MORE and add it or select it. Your chosen icon will turn green. Then:

  • For cash or e-checks: Just enter any REFERENCE #
  • For checks: Enter the CHECK #.
  • For credit/debit cards: If you’ve saved the customer’s preferred payment method in his or her record, the number will fill in automatically. If not, or you need to change it, enter it manually. As you know, you need a merchant account in order to accept credit/debit cards and e-checks. If you haven’t set one up and want to, let us help.

If the payment amount equals the total of all outstanding invoices, there will be a check mark in the first column of every line in the table. If the payment is for any less than the CUSTOMER BALANCE in the upper right, QuickBooks automatically pays the oldest invoice(s) first. You’ll also see an UNDERPAYMENT box in the lower left corner. Click the button in front of your preference here (leave as underpayment or write off the extra).

When you’re done, click one of the Save buttons.

Other Types of Payments

You’ll also use the Receive Payments window to record down payments and overpayments. And there are situations where you’ll have to complete other forms to document the incoming money. For example, if a customer makes a partial payment for products or services that haven’t yet been invoiced, you’d use a Payment Item. A customer who pays for a product at the time it is received would get a Sales Receipt.

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Figure 3: Sales receipts go to customers who pay for products or services at the time they are received.

This may all sound a little confusing. But it won’t be if you gain a thorough understanding of the right way to record different types of payments. We can go over all of this with you to ensure that your incoming money is documented correctly, which will take less time than trying to retrace your steps when a mistake has occurred.

QuickBooks Advantage

QuickBooks Advantage
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Working With Your Accounts in QuickBooks Online

“Account” can mean more than one thing in QuickBooks Online. Here’s a look at its multiple concepts.

Until you started doing your company’s accounting, the word “account” probably meant a checking or savings account at a bank or your identifying information at a place like a brokerage.

In QuickBooks Online, “account” can mean the same things. It can also refer to one entry in your Chart of Accounts or your Intuit payment account, a customer or vendor account, and more.

You’ll probably work with all of these in the course of your lifetime with QuickBooks Online, except one: the Chart of Accounts. Although the site allows you to modify the Chart of Accounts by adding, deleting, or renaming accounts, please talk to us if you feel a change is in order. The Chart of Accounts forms the framework of your QuickBooks Online company, and altering it could have adverse effects on your entire accounting operation.

Everyday Use

One of the first things you probably did when you created your company was to create at least one bank account, probably checking. You can set this up without connecting to a bank site; however, that defeats the purpose of QuickBooks Online, which is to have access to your web-based accounts.

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Figure 1: QuickBooks Online’s home page displays balances for all of the accounts you’ve connected.

Setting up a connection to your online bank, brokerage, credit card, or other online financial service like PayPal is easy. On the home page or the Transactions | Banking page, click the Add account button in the upper right. QuickBooks will display logos for some of the most popular financial institutions. If yours isn’t there, enter its name or URL in the box at the top.

QuickBooks Online will then create a link between itself and your account, and it will download the most recent transactions (usually 90 days’ worth). Now when you click on Transactions | Banking, you’ll see all of your activity in table form with columns labeled Date, Description, Payee, Category or Match, Spent, Received, and Action.

Most of these are self-explanatory; they just provide information about the transaction. You may be unfamiliar, though, with Category or Match and Action (Add). We recommend that you let us guide you the first time you launch and work with a transaction download. It’s very important that transactions are classified correctly.

The Chart of Accounts

The Chart of Accounts, which is a standard, required element of any double-entry accounting system, is a very different set of accounts. To display it, you’d click on your company name in the upper right corner, then Settings | Chart of Accounts. We see a mini-spreadsheet that lists all of your accounts. QuickBooks Online selected these based on the information you provided when you were first setting up your company on the site.

Each account is assigned a Type that describes its accounting function.

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Figure 2: Every transaction that represents money you spend on Advertising/Promotional  activities should be assigned to this Expense in the Chart of Accounts.

Category Types are used by all businesses for classification purposes. There are only a few of them, such as:

  • Expenses (Bad Debts, Bank Charges, Insurance, Job Materials, etc.)
  • Income (Billable Expense Income, Gross Receipts, Markup, etc.)
  • Cost of Goods Sold (Cost of Labor, Freight & Delivery, etc.)

You don’t have to do anything with your Chart of Accounts. In fact, we suggest you don’t try. As we’ve said, if we see a reason in your bookkeeping to add, edit, or delete an account, we’ll be happy to do it for you.

But you will encounter these accounts in numerous QuickBooks Online activities. Sometimes they’ll be pre-selected for you by the site, but other times you’ll need to make a choice. For example, when you create a Product or Service, there will be three account fields that will already be populated. They are:

Inventory Asset Account = Inventory Asset

Income Account = Sales of Product Income

Expense Account = Cost of Goods Sold

The word “account” is used in so many different ways that it can get confusing. For example, if you wrote a check at the UPS Store for some shipping charges, you’ll be asked for the Account when you enter this in QuickBooks Online. It’s an Expense, but one of its more specific sub-categories.

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Figure 3: QuickBooks Online provides the correct drop-down list in form and record fields.

QuickBooks Online takes care of a lot of the background work of double-entry accounting. But it necessarily exposes you to the concept of accounts. We’re here to help if this causes confusion in your daily bookkeeping.

QuickBooks Advantage

QuickBooks Advantage
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QuickBooks Quick Tip – Sample Company Files

Have you ever wanted to try out a new process or technique in QuickBooks, but don’t want to mess up your live file? Sample company files are a great option not only for testing, but also for learning best-practices in your industry. This is another Squire QuickBooks Quick Tip where we will show you where to find these sample company files for QuickBooks Desktop.

QuickBooks Advantage

QuickBooks Advantage
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Why You Should Be Using Mobile Apps with QuickBooks

Intuit discontinued its own QuickBooks mobile app a while back, but there’s still plenty of processing power available for your smartphone or tablet.

In days gone by, running a company was a 40 hour per week proposition. You might have taken work home some evenings or gone into the office on weekends.

Those days are over, thanks to the internet and mobile technology. This fundamental change in the way we do business means that it’s now hard to get away from work.  Your smartphone and tablet are usually within easy reach, and they’re always tempting you to check in.

On the flip side, that kind of 24/7/365 accessibility has numerous benefits. There are, for example, apps that can be integrated with your desktop QuickBooks company file, which enable you to:

  • Make sales wherever you are,
  • Document expenses as they’re incurred, and
  • Monitor employee time for payroll purposes.

Let’s take a look at these in more detail.

Mobile Sales

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Figure 1: One of the oldest apps that integrates with QuickBooks is GoPayment. You can process transactions on your smartphone or tablet from anywhere.

Payment-processing on smartphones has become commonplace these days. You’ve probably seen merchants accepting credit cards on mobile phones in one of two ways: by swiping the card on a small card reader that attach to their device or by entering bank cards numbers directly.

Intuit’s GoPayment lets you do either. You can download the free app and process a customer’s payment on your smartphone. However, you still have to download it into QuickBooks and either create a sales receipt or match it to an open invoice. This isn’t a difficult process once you understand it, but you must be sure to do it correctly from the start. We can do some practice runs with you.

Benefit: Improved sales that aren’t dependent on location

Travel Expenses On the Go

One of the smartest, most useful apps that has ever been created is the expense reporter – particularly when used by your road warriors for on-the-go expenses. There are a handful of these. Travelers can record expenses in two ways: they can either enter the information directly or snap a picture of a receipt with a smartphone. When your employees get back to the office, they’re able to prepare complete expense reports, whose approved data can be transferred into QuickBooks.

Concur is one of these apps. When you set it up, it imports Account Codes, Customers, Jobs and Classes, and Vendor and Employee Records from QuickBooks so that these can be assigned for each expense entry. Credit card transactions can be imported directly. When an expense report is completed, it can be sent to a manager for approval, and reimbursement is then deposited in the employee’s bank account.

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Figure 2: Intuit’s App Center is home to hundreds of add-on applications for QuickBooks.

Tallie works similarly. It can automatically categorize expenses and alert approvers to expense policy violations. Used in conjunction with Bill.com and SmartVault, it can accommodate a sophisticated, seamless accounting workflow. We’ll see more multi-app integration as cloud-based financial solutions mature, but if you’re going to attempt such a setup, let us help you with the initial mechanics.

Benefit: More accurate, policy-compliant expense reports

Time-Tracking and Timesheets

If all of your employees walk through the office door every morning and stay there, you don’t need a mobile app for time-tracking. But for businesses whose cash flow depends on recovering and recording every minute of billable time, a smartphone time-tracker is ideal.

TSheets Time Tracker can help improve your bottom line in numerous ways. This particular app:

  • Accommodates real-time mobile data entry,
  • Tracks employee locations using GPS, and
  • Creates timesheets that can be synchronized with QuickBooks, tracking billable time by customer, job, employee, etc.

Benefits: Employee accountability; recovery and correct classification of all billable hours; and less time required to create timesheets.

Moving Toward Integration

Given the size limitations of smartphones, some mobile apps contain only a subset of the features found in their desktop counterparts. But that subset is chosen based on the needs of mobile users.

Fewer features mean that your learning time for the mobile apps that integrate with QuickBooks will be minimal. But the steps to sync with QuickBooks must be followed to the letter, and you may not be familiar with such a process. We want you to experience the benefits that these smartphone solutions can offer without compromising the integrity of your QuickBooks company file. Let us introduce you to these forward-looking, beneficial tools.

QuickBooks Advantage

QuickBooks Advantage
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Preventing Data Theft in QuickBooks

Be proactive about the security of your QuickBooks company file, and you’ll be less likely to encounter data theft.

Thanks to the internet, privacy has been on the wane over the last few years. We assume that our addresses and phone numbers are public information, thanks to sites like Switchboard and 411.com. We hope that our dates of birth are private (though the number of birthday wishes on Facebook makes that doubtful), and we assume that our Social Security numbers are hard to get.

Your customers trust you enough to provide you with additional private information, like credit card numbers. And you’ve seen what an uproar occurs when major corporate entities like Target and Home Depot get hacked.

Your small business may not have hundreds of thousands of customer information files, but you can still be targeted by external hackers and even your own employees. Are you taking measures to ensure the security of that data stored on your hard drive and/or in the cloud?

 Your Inner Circle

The last thing you want to imagine is that one of your own employees has been tampering with your QuickBooks company data. It happens, though, and you need to protect yourself from potential internal attacks.

One of your internal controls, then, should include the establishment of boundaries for every employee who has access to QuickBooks. You can restrict each staff member to specific areas of the program instead of sharing a master password and giving everyone free rein. Go to Company | Set Up Users and Passwords | Set Up Users to do this.

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Figure 1: If you click on Selective Access in this window, you can restrict your employees’ activities to specific areas and actions.

The User List window opens, which will display all users who have been set up already, including you as the Admin. Click Add User and enter a name and password. Click the box in front of Add this user to my QuickBooks license, then click Next. Click on the button in front of Selected areas of QuickBooks. Click Next.

The next 10 screens break QuickBooks down into separate activities and activity areas, like Sales and Accounts Receivable, Checking and Credit Cards, and Sensitive Accounting Activities. On each screen, click on the button in front of the correct option:

  • No Access
  • Full Access
  • Selective Access (lets you specify what areas and actions will be allowed for that employee)

Other Internal Controls

QuickBooks’ Audit Trail is your friend. It records everything that is entered or changed in the software, by whom, and precisely when. To view it, open the Reports menu, then click on Accountant & Taxes, then Audit Trail. Like all QuickBooks reports, it can be customized to display the entries you need to see.

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Figure 2: QuickBooks’ Audit Trail provides a detailed history of all activity in the software.

There are other reports that you should review frequently, and some that we should create and analyze for you at least every quarter, if not monthly. We can suggest reports that would help you look for fraud, and tell you what to look for.

Common Sense Practices

  • It goes without saying that protecting your entire hardware/software/cloud configuration will help keep your QuickBooks company file safe from external marauders. You must employ state-of-the-art antivirus and anti-malware applications and keep them updated. Talk to us if you need recommendations and/or help implementing them.
  • If you’re a sole proprietor or you work from your home, restrict the computer where QuickBooks resides to business software and websites only. Never let anyone install applications, play interactive games, etc. on it.
  • Change your own QuickBooks password at least every 90 days, and do backups to secure drives or websites.
  • When you run into problems with QuickBooks’ functioning, please let us help. Even a computer troubleshooting specialist will not understand the program well enough to solve problems, and he or she may compromise your data file further.

As security software and systems get smarter, so do the hackers. Don’t let your company and its customers be victims of data theft.

QuickBooks Advantage

QuickBooks Advantage
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New to QuickBooks Online? Take a Tour Around the Home Page

Switching from QuickBooks desktop or starting fresh with QuickBooks Online? Here’s a quick overview of its home page.

Whether or not you’ve ever used accounting software, we think you’ll like using QuickBooks Online. It was designed for small businesses who have little or no accounting experience, and its user interface and navigation should be familiar to anyone who’s been around websites.

We do have to say, though, that if you’ve never used any accounting applications, some upfront training with us might be in order. Once you get used to how your Excel-and-paper accounting system translates to the web, you should do fine. But you’ll save a lot of time and avoid frustration if you learn the basics before you start entering your own company data. It’s easier to explain how things work before you attempt them than to try to untangle a tangled-up company file.

That said, let’s look at what you’ll see on the home page when you first sign into QuickBooks Online.

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Figure 1: QuickBooks Online presents a good overview of your company’s finances on its home page.

QuickBooks Online’s home page was designed to give you a quick look at what’s happening with your company’s money. By checking it first thing every morning, you’ll know whether something needs attention immediately. If it does, you can use the links provided here to take care of business.

Using graphs and numbers, the home page gives you the bottom line on your income, expenses, and profit and loss. You can click on practically anything here to see the detail behind the totals – and to do something about it if necessary.

The left vertical pane contains your main navigational toolbar. Click on any link here, and you’ll either go straight to that section – like Customers and Reports – or you’ll get to choose from a number of sub-pages (Taxes | Sales Tax or Payroll Tax, for example). Clicking on Home always takes you back to the home page.

In the upper right corner, you’ll find the Help icon, which gives you access to QuickBooks Online’s searchable help files. If you’re a new user and we haven’t done any training with you, you’re likely to find that these brief explanations don’t answer all of your questions or don’t answer them thoroughly enough. Let us help when that occurs.

Your company’s name appears to the left of Help. When you click on it, you’ll see this:

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Figure 2: Clicking on your business name in the upper right corner of QuickBooks Online opens a window containing numerous utilities and lists.

It’s a good idea to explore these options early in your QuickBooks Online life:

In Company Settings, you can make your preferences known about many aspects of the site. For example, you can establish the payment terms that will appear automatically on sales forms, and turn fields like Shipping and Discount on or off. You can set up an account with QuickBooks Payments so your company can accept credit cards, and you can choose whether or not to use Classes to categorize transactions (we can work with you on these in training).

Another important item here is Manage Users, which lets you set limits on what other staff can and can’t do in QuickBooks Online.

Directly below the two links in the upper right corner of the home page is a list of your bank accounts and their balances. Since QuickBooks Online can be connected to your online financial accounts, you may see two numbers here: your bank balance according to the bank and to QuickBooks Online.

The most recent Activities will be displayed below your account balances. You’ll see a list of all actions that have been taken by anyone with access to the site, like invoices created and/or sent, and bills paid.

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Figure 3: The Activities section of QuickBooks Online’s right vertical pane displays all actions take recently by you and your staff.

Finally, QuickBooks Online includes a handy navigational tool at the top of the screen that contains three icons. The magnifying glass gives you access to the site’s search tool. Clicking on the + sign opens shortcuts to transaction screens and other commonly-used features. And the third icon displays the most recent transactions processed.

That’s it. Your accounting workflow will make use of the countless other pages within the site, but QuickBooks Online’s home page does a good job of showing you the lay of the land.

QuickBooks Advantage

QuickBooks Advantage
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Memorizing Transactions in QuickBooks: Why? How?

QuickBooks saves time in countless ways, one of which is its ability to memorize transactions. Are you taking advantage of this feature?

One of the reasons you started using accounting software, among many others, was to save time. And QuickBooks has complied. Once you create a record for a customer, vendor, item, etc., you rarely – if ever – have to enter that information again; you simply choose it from a list.

You no longer waste time searching through endless piles of papers to find the one you need; you just do a search. And when you need a report on your monthly sales or inventory purchases or your payroll liabilities, you don’t have to wrestle with Excel or locate the right paper records; you just click a few times.

Memorized transactions can be another major time saver. You might use them when you, for example:

  • Provide the same service for a customer on a regular basis,
  • Charge a monthly fee for rentals, maintenance, membership, etc.,
  • Pay a bill to the same company regularly, or
  • Have a standing order with a vendor for a similar set of items.

It’s easy to create memorized transactions. QuickBooks provides an icon for them in the toolbar of every transaction form that’s supported, like invoices, bills, and purchase orders.

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Figure 1: When you see the Memorize icon in the toolbar of a transaction form, you know that you can create a template to use over and over.

To get started, create a transaction that you know will be repeated – even if the amount will be different every time (you’ll still save time because you won’t have to fill in or select absolutely every detail). Let’s say you’re doing some social media consulting for a customer, and you’ve contracted for eight hours every month. Create the invoice for that billing. Then click the Memorize icon. This window opens:

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Figure 2: In the Memorize Transaction window, you’ll tell QuickBooks how often the transaction will be created, in addition to providing other information.

Your customer will already appear in the Name field. You’ll have to choose from among three options so that QuickBooks knows how to handle this recurring form:

Add to my Reminders List. If you choose this by clicking on the button in front of the option, QuickBooks will add this transaction to your existing Reminders List.

Note: Confused about how you get QuickBooks to remind you about actions you have to take? We can walk you through the setup process.

Do Not Remind Me. We don’t recommend this option unless you have an exceptionally good memory, few memorized transactions, or a tickler file in another application. Even then, reminders are a good idea.

Automatic Transaction Entry. This absolutely saves the most time. It’s also the riskiest option. If you select this, QuickBooks will send the transaction through at the intervals you’ve defined. You’ll have to enter a number that indicates how many times you want the form sent and how many days in advance it should be entered. Please consult with us if you are planning to automate transactions. We don’t want you to have unhappy customers or vendors or an unpredictable cash flow.

Next, you’ll tell QuickBooks how often this transaction needs to be created by clicking on the down arrow to the right of How Often. Click on the calendar icon in the Next Date field to select the exact day this should occur next (you’ll have an opportunity when you work with the Reminders List to specify how much advance warning you want).

When you’re done, click OK.

Once you start memorizing transactions, QuickBooks will store them in a list. When you get a reminder that one is due soon, open the Lists menu and select Memorized Transaction List. You’ll see this screen, populated with your own work:

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Figure 3: You’ll open the Memorized Transaction List to enter one or to work with one you’ve already created.

Highlight a transaction in the list and click the down arrow next to Memorized Transaction in the lower left corner to see your options here. You can also click Enter Transaction, and your original form will appear. If you’ve saved it with a permanent amount, you can just save and dispatch it. Otherwise, enter the correct amount before you proceed.

If you’re fairly new to QuickBooks and don’t feel like you’re well acquainted with its time-saving features, give us a call and we’ll set up some training. Better to do that up front than to have to untangle a jumbled company file. We’re always happy to help.

QuickBooks Advantage

QuickBooks Advantage
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New Tangible Property Regulations – Will your business be affected?

The IRS recently finalized mandatory regulations to distinguish capital expenditures from supplies, repairs, maintenance, and other deductible expenses – commonly known as the Repair Regulations. Every business that acquires, produces, or improves tangible property will need to address these new rules on their 2014 U.S. federal tax filing. These new rules are complex. These rules employ an entirely new process in determining when expenses can be deducted vs. capitalized.

However, the new rules are “taxpayer friendly.” These rules could result in significant benefits in the form of current deductions, resulting in a lower tax burden. In general, this potential benefit is only available if claimed on the original 2014 tax return. In order to comply with these new rules, additional forms, elections, statements, and other documentation are required to be filed with the IRS.

The specifics:

  • Any business with tangible assets will need to formally adopt these regulations in 2014.
  • These new rules change how capitalization of expenses has happened in the past. Instead of a specific dollar limit for capitalization, each expense is run through a set of qualifications to determine whether it can be expensed or capitalized.  These rules generally allow for a more favorable result for taxpayers.
  • These new rules more clearly define the treatment of expense or capitalization in the following areas:
  • Materials and Supplies
  • Costs to acquire/produce tangible property
  • Costs to improve tangible property
  • Dispositions of tangible property
  • Specific exceptions are provided to allow for deducting expenditures immediately.
  • In 2014, the IRS requires the adoption of these rules through specific filings with the IRS. These filings are both prospective and retroactive:
  • Certain elections and forms need to be made to adopt the more liberal expensing rules for the current and future years. Certain small businesses have been allowed simplified methods to comply with the new regulations for 2014 and beyond.
  • Retroactive application of the new rules is allowed for the treatment of prior year capitalization, potentially resulting in current year deductions. Additional forms applying a change to prior years are required with the 2014 tax return. 

As a trusted partner, our experienced and knowledgeable team of experts is ready to navigate this law change for the best possible result.  The SQUIRE team can provide guidance, consultation, analysis and preparation of the mandatory filings required under these regulations.  Contact our Repair Regulation Experts today:

Brandon Allfrey, CPA, CGMA – Tax Partner

Charlotte Clark, CPA – Tax Manager

Joe Hillstead, CPA – Tax Manager

Beth Briggs, CPA – Tax Professional

Leslie Nielson, CPA – Tax Professional

Author: Brandon Allfrey, Squire Tax Partner VIEW BIO

QuickBooks Advantage

QuickBooks Advantage
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Make Your Preferences Known in QuickBooks

QuickBooks is ready to use when you install it. But you can change its settings to make it work the way your company needs it to.

There are some features that all small businesses need in their accounting software. Everyone needs a Chart of Accounts and a good set of report templates. There must be tools to bill customers and to document income and expenses. Some companies need payroll management, and some need the ability to create purchase orders. These days, many businesses want to accept payments online.

But what does your company need? It’s unlikely that you would use absolutely every feature that QuickBooks offers, but you need to make sure that every tool you want to use is set up properly.

If you’ve been using QuickBooks for a while, you may have been directed to the Preferences window already (accessible by clicking on Edit | Preferences). If you’re just starting out with the software, it’s a good idea to acquaint yourself with the most important elements contained there. Here are some of them.

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Figure 1: QuickBooks’ Preferences window. Some features are already turned on or off by default, but you can change their status.

Accounting

Click on the Accounting tab in the left vertical pane, then on the Company Preferences tab. Here, QuickBooks wants to know whether you plan to use account numbers. It also offers the option to turn on class tracking, which lets you define classes like company locations or divisions, or salespeople. Not sure what you should do here? Please ask us.

Desktop View

Options here involve usability and visibility issues. Getting them right can save you time and frustration. For example, under the My Preferences tab, you can choose between a VIEW that displays only One Window, or one that keeps Multiple Windows open. Click on the Company Preferences tab to turn specific features – like Payroll and Sales Tax — on and off.

Finance Charge

Should you decide to apply Finance Charges to late payments, for example, please let us go over this feature with you. We’ll explain how it is set up and how it works in day-to-day accounting.

Items & Inventory

This is critical: you must visit this screen if you will be buying and selling products. First, you need to make sure that the box in front of Inventory and purchase orders are active has a check mark in it. If not, click in the box. Also important here: QuickBooks can maintain a real-time inventory level for each item you sell so that you neither run short nor waste money by stockpiling. Check the box in front of Quantity on Sales Orders if you want the software to include items that appear on sales orders in the count. Also, do you want a warning when you don’t have enough inventory to sell (as you’re filling out an invoice, for example)? We can explain the difference between Quantity on Hand and Quantity Available; it’s rather complex.

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Figure 2: Some inventory concepts may be unfamiliar to you. If you’ll be buying and selling items, let us walk you through this section.

Payroll & Employees

Payroll is integrated with QuickBooks, but it’s so complex that it almost acts as another application. If you’re planning to take this on yourself, some training will be necessary.

Reminders

Unless you have a very simple business or an extraordinarily good memory, you’ll probably want Quickbooks to remind you when you need to complete certain tasks. Click Reminders | Company Preferences to see the lengthy list of events that QuickBooks supports, like Paychecks to Print, Inventory to Reorder, and Bills to Pay. You can have the software display either a summary or a list of what needs to be done, and you can specify how many days in advance you want to be alerted.

Sales & Customers, Sales Tax, and Time & Expenses

If your accounting workflow includes tasks in any of these areas, you’ll need to visit them to turn features on and make other preferences known.

You probably won’t need to have absolutely every feature turned on from the start. But as your business grows and changes – and we hope it does – you can always revisit the Preferences window to let QuickBooks know about your new needs. We hope you’ll let us know, too.

QuickBooks Advantage

QuickBooks Advantage
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Stretching QuickBooks Online: What You Can Do With Apps

QuickBooks Online has worked well for countless businesses as is. But if you need more than it offers in some areas, there’s likely to be an app for that.

You’d be hard-pressed to find two small businesses in the U.S. that have exactly the same needs when it comes to financial management. Fortunately, QuickBooks Online is powerful and flexible enough to please hundreds of thousands of small businesses.

As companies grow, they often find that the core features, user interface, and navigational tools that QuickBooks Online offers still suit them just fine. Still, they need to move beyond the tools offered in one or more areas.

That’s why QuickBooks Online has dozens of add-on applications – apps – that focus on one specific area of QuickBooks Online and extend what’s offered there. Since they’re all cloud-based, you have access to them anywhere, anytime, on a PC or mobile device, once you’ve set up an account.

To see what’s available, just click on the Apps link in the left vertical toolbar.

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Figure 1: You can choose from dozens of integrated applications built specifically to add features and flexibility to individual areas of QuickBooks Online.

Take a look around this page, and click on any of them to get more information. All of the apps listed were designed to fit QuickBooks Online, but if you’re new to integrated applications or wondering whether a specific one would be a good match for your business, we can help you decide – and get started with it.

QuickBooks Online’s apps cover a lot of ground. Each falls into one of several categories, including billing and collections, expense management, time tracking, and customer relationship management. We’ll look at three of them here.

Bill.com automates your accounts payable and receivable. It began its life as a billing app (hence the name), adding receivables a few years ago. Though you could use it as a sole proprietor, its features are more fully utilized in a team setting. You email, fax, or upload incoming bills to your Bill.com account, where they can be entered, routed to the appropriate staff person, approved, and processed (transmitted directly to a vendor bank account or remitted via paper check). The ability to store all related documents in the cloud and maintain a strict audit trail add to the site’s security. Automated invoices, reminders, and payments simplify your receivables workflow. Bill.com also provides a close, real-time look at your current cash flow and also projects future scenarios.

Concur Travel and Expense has very tight integration with QuickBooks Online; it shares, for example, customer, vendor, and employee records, as well as job data and expense types. Your employees can either enter expense data manually or use a smartphone to take pictures of receipts, which can then be uploaded directly into Concur and automatically attached to their expense reports, along with any credit card charges (which can also be sent directly). Once you’ve approved an expense report, Concur handles the background bookkeeping and transfers funds into your employees’ bank accounts.

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Figure 2: Your mobile employees can create and submit expense reports on the road using the mobile Concur app. iPhone, iPad, Android, and Blackberry are also supported.

Method CRM marries your QuickBooks Online data to your customer relationship management tasks. Lists of your customers, vendors, items, etc. and their associated records are available in the app, as are transactions like invoices, payments, and vendor bills. When prospects fill out forms on your website asking for product and/or service information, a new lead/sales opportunity is created in Method CRM. If a lead becomes a customer, that data is shared with QuickBooks. The app is exceptionally customizable, down to the actual design (should you decide to tackle this, though, let us work with you from the start).

There are many other types of apps that can be integrated with QuickBooks Online, including:

Constant Contact: Email marketing

TSheets Time Tracking: Timesheets and time tracking

Bigcommerce: Online shopping cart management

F|G Receivables Manager: Smart accounts receivable management

Shoeboxed: Scans and categorizes paper receipts

feb15 1.3

Figure 3: You can upload or drag and drop files, forward emails, or send paper receipts through U.S. Mail in a prepaid envelope to Shoeboxed.

These apps are easy to use for the most part, but whenever you’re moving data in and out of QuickBooks Online, you need to have a clear understanding of the source and destination. We’ll be happy to assist as you move beyond the boundaries of QuickBooks Online.

QuickBooks Advantage

QuickBooks Advantage
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Creating Item Records in QuickBooks

Accurate, thorough item records inform your customers and help you track inventory levels correctly.

Whether you’re selling one-of-a-kind items or stocking dozens of the same kinds of products, you need to create records for each. When it comes time to create invoices or sales receipts, your careful work defining each type of item will:

  • Ensure that your customers receive correct descriptions and pricing,
  • Provide the information you must know about your inventory levels, and,
  • Help you make smart decisions about reordering.

You’ll start this process by making sure that your QuickBooks file is set up to track inventory. Open the Edit menu and select Preferences, then Items & Inventory. Click the Company Preferences tab and click in the box in front of Inventory and purchase orders are activated if there isn’t a check in the box already. Here, too, you can ask that QuickBooks warn you when there isn’t enough inventory to sell. Click OK when you’re finished.

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Figure 1: You need to be sure that QuickBooks knows you’ll be tracking inventory before you start making sales.

To create your first item, open the Lists menu and select Item List. Click the down arrow next to Item in the lower left corner of the window that opens and select New. The New Item window opens.

Warning:You must be very precise when you’re creating item records in order to avoid confusing your customers and creating problems with your accounting down the road. Please call us if you want us to walk you through the first few items.

QuickBooks should display the list of options below TYPE. Since you’re going to be tracking inventory that you buy and sell, select Inventory Part. Enter a name and/or item number in the next field. This is not the text that will appear on transactions; it’s simply for you to be able to recognize each item in your own bookkeeping.

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Figure 2: Let us work with you if you have any doubts about the data that needs to be entered in the New Item window. It must be 100 percent accurate.

In the example above, the box next to Submit Item has a check mark in it because “Light Pine” is only one of the cabinet types you sell (you can check this box and select <Add New> if you want to create a new “parent” item on the fly). Leave the next field blank if your item doesn’t have a Part Number, and disregard UNIT OF MEASURE unless you’re using QuickBooks Premier or above.

Fill in the PURCHASE INFORMATION and SALES INFORMATION fields (or select from the lists of options). Keep in mind that the descriptive text you enter here will appear on transaction forms, though customers will never see what you’ve actually paid for items, of course (your Cost, as opposed to the Sales Price).

QuickBooks should have automatically selected the COGS Account (Cost of Goods Sold), but you’ll need to specify an Income Account. Please ask us if you’re not sure, as this is a critical designation. The Preferred Vendor and Tax Code fields will display lists if you’ve already set these up.

QuickBooks should have pre-selected your Asset Account. If you want to be alerted when your inventory level for this item has fallen to a specific number (Min) so you can reorder up to the point you specify in the Max field, enter those numbers there (the Inventory to Reorder option must be turned on in Edit | Preferences | Reminders).

If you already have this item in stock, enter the number under On Hand. QuickBooks will automatically calculate Average Cost and On P.O. (Purchase Order).

Click OK when you’ve completed all of the fields. This item will now appear in your Item List, and will be available to use in transactions. When you want to create, edit, delete, etc. any of your items, simply open the same menu you opened in the first step here (Lists | Item List | Item).

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Figure 3: The Item menu, found in the lower left corner of the Item List.

Precisely created Inventory Part records are critical to accurate sales and purchase transactions. So use exceptional care in building them.

QuickBooks Advantage

QuickBooks Advantage
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Did You Resolve to Start Using QuickBooks Online in 2015?

Here’s an overview of the home page and what you can access from there.

Many companies have been hesitant to trust their financial data – and that of their customers and vendors – to the internet, despite the fact that solution providers have built sophisticated security systems for this critical information. But you’ve decided that the benefits of online accounting far outweigh its slight risk, and you’re ready to start using QuickBooks Online in 2015. Whether you’re making the transition from a manual bookkeeping system or moving your operations over from desktop QuickBooks, you’ll likely be pleased with the site’s usability, rich feature set, and convenience – starting with a very effective, aesthetically-pleasing home page.

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Figure 1: QuickBooks Online’s home page provides an overview of your company’s finances, including income, as pictured above.

One of the benefits of using online accounting is that it saves time. This is evident when you first sign into QuickBooks Online. You can immediately get a sense of your financial status from looking over the home page. Its individual elements include:

  • A graphic that displays the total dollars that have been billed to customers, the amount that’s past due, and the total paid in the last 30 days.
  • A chart showing where your money has gone in a given time period (categories and total dollar figures are displayed).
  • Your profit and loss for a customizable date range.
  • Account balances, and
  • A list of your most recent activities on QuickBooks Online.

All of these data areas are interactive. That is, you can click on one to open a screen that displays details for each.

The left vertical pane of the home page is a navigational tool that takes you to the main screens of QuickBooks Online’s activity pages. Each has its own navigational tools that should be familiar if you’ve used any kind of software before.

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Figure 2: This navigational tool helps you move quickly to QuickBooks Online’s task areas. Besides those pictured here, you’ll see Reports, Taxes, and Apps.

QuickBooks Online offers a navigational tool on the home page that is also carried over to other screens on the site. At the top of each screen is a kind of mini-toolbar that contains three icons:

  • The magnifying glass opens the site’s Search Transactions tool and its Advanced Search.
  • The “+” sign displays the Create window, which contains links to the transactions you can process for Customers and Vendors; to activities related to Employees; and to miscellaneous tasks like Transfers and Statements.
  • The third icon, which looks something like a clock, opens a list of the most Recent Transactions.

Finally, in the upper right corner you’ll see a link to QuickBooks Online Help,and a small icon that looks like a gear. Clicking on the latter opens a window that displays your company name and links to four types of tools and data: Settings, Lists, Tools, and Your Company, as shown here:

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Figure 3: Much of your setup and maintenance tools are accessible by clicking on the small gear icon in the upper right corner of QuickBooks Online.

You’ll click some of these links as you’re readying QuickBooks Online for use, to perform setup tasks like:

  • Establishing your Company Settings. These used to be called Preferences, and they include specifying your accounting method, defining custom fields, and assigning accounts. The site is pre-populated with defaults, but you can change these.
  • Creating records for your Products and Services.
  • Working with your Payroll Settings, and
  • Assigning access limits as you set up and Manage Users. If you have multiple employees using QuickBooks Online, you’ll want to specify what they can and can’t do.

Once you’ve prepared QuickBooks Online to meet your company’s specific data and workflow needs, you’ll occasionally want to get to these links to, for example, set up Recurring Transactions and Reconcile accounts.

We truly hope you’ll include us in your QuickBooks Online setup process. Although we can come in and troubleshoot when you have a problem, it’s much wiser to customize QuickBooks Online from the start.

QuickBooks Advantage

QuickBooks Advantage
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AIA Contractor Billing with QuickBooks – Quantum Project Manager

If you are a contractor and have ever tried to get true AIA invoicing for your projects, no doubt you’ve been frustrated with what QuickBooks offers out of the box. If so, Quantum Project Manager may be a solution for you. In this video, Squire’s Construction Industry Technology Specialists will take you on a tour of Quantum Project Manager’s billing functions and show you how easy it can be to get AIA invoices for your QuickBooks jobs.

QuickBooks Advantage

QuickBooks Advantage
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Q&A: QuickBooks Payments

Accepting payments through Intuit is more than convenient and time-saving: It can improve your cash flow.

How did your cash flow fare during 2014? If you’re scrambling to end the year in the black, you should probably be thinking about changes you can make in 2015 to improve your bottom line.

One way is by starting to accept credit and debit card payments – and ACH bank transfers – through QuickBooks. Customers who might wait to pay your invoice until their own cash flow is better might be more likely to settle their debt by using a credit card.

Plus, it’s just simpler than digging out a checkbook, writing a check, putting a stamp and return address label on the envelope, and mailing it. Even if a customer’s cash flow is OK, they may choose the bank card option because it’s easier and faster.

There’s a certain amount of setup work involved in signing up for QuickBooks Payments, a brief application and some decisions to make. It’s not difficult, but if you’re new to merchant accounts, let’s sit down together and go over what’s involved.

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Figure 1: You’ll click on Edit | Preferences | Payments | Company Preferences to work with your QuickBooks Payments options.

Do I have to sign a contract?

No, there are no termination fees.

Can I use my regular bank?

All major banks and many smaller ones support merchant accounts. It shouldn’t be a problem.

Do I need a special version of QuickBooks to set up payments?

No. The tools you’ll need are built in.

How will my customers know that I’m beginning to accept credit cards?

They’ll follow the Pay Now link that comes with their invoice. This will take them to a secure site where they can enter their credit card numbers. If you’d like, you can send them an email ahead of time notifying them of the new service.

Do I have to have a card reader/swiper to accept credit cards?

No. You can purchase one and use it, which will reduce your service fees. But it’s not required.

What kinds of payments are accepted?

QuickBooks Payments will accept all major credit cards: Visa, Mastercard, Discover, and American Express. Your subscription also supports bank transfers.

What if I want all large payments to be made by bank transfer only?

You’ll have control over how each invoice is paid, which you can specify on the invoice.

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Figure 2: When your QuickBooks Payments account has been activated and you’ve done the setup necessary, you’ll be able to choose what type of payment will be accepted on each invoice.

Do I still have to enter these electronic payments into QuickBooks?

No. Your company file will be auto-updated with the payment information.

How soon do I have access to the money?

Funds are usually available within 2-3 days.

Can I accept payments on my mobile device?

Yes, using an Intuit app called GoPayment.

What does it cost to be able to accept credit/debit cards and bank transfers?

There are three options:

  • Standard Rates: No monthly fee. $2.40% + 25 cents per swiped transaction. 3.40% + 25 cents if card number is typed in
  • Reduced Rates: $19.95/month plus 1.75% + 25 cents per swiped transaction. 3.15% + 25 cents if card number is typed in.
  • Bank Transfers: 50 cents per transaction for both plans

QuickBooks Payments simplifies your bookkeeping and helps prevent errors and duplicate data entry. It saves you time and money because of this, and it reduces your trips to the bank.

There’s more you need to know about accepting credit/debit cards and bank transfers in QuickBooks, like how to use the Merchant Service Center. If you’re in a resolution-making mood, we recommend you consider adding this capability to your accounts receivable in 2015, and we’d welcome the opportunity to talk with you about it.

 

QuickBooks Advantage

QuickBooks Advantage
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Submitting Payroll Taxes in QuickBooks: The Basics

Once you’ve mastered payroll processing, you’ll have another procedure to learn: submitting payroll taxes.

If you’ve been processing payroll manually, you know what a chore it can be to calculate your payroll taxes and stay current with those payments and filings. You also know that if you don’t, you can face some major fines and penalties from taxing agencies.

Fortunately, QuickBooks and its add-on payroll services can simplify this grueling-but-necessary task.

We’ll go over the most basic elements here; but we’d like to help you through at least your first set of payroll tax payments. You’ll definitely want to get them right the first time – and every time.

Three Choices of Support

Intuit offers three levels of payroll support: Basic, Enhanced, and Full Service. All three integrate easily with QuickBooks (or can be used as standalones) and will calculate and generate paychecks (or orchestrate direct deposit) once you’ve entered the hours that W-2 employees worked. They also calculate your payroll taxes. The Basic version does not include forms, but you can print reports that we can use for filing.

The Enhanced service adds 1099 paychecks, printing and e-filing of W-2s, and federal and state tax forms. It also supports e-filing and e-payment of payroll taxes. Full Service subscribers additionally gain access to local tax information — and Inuit will automatically submit their payroll taxes.

Payroll Setup

Before you begin using payroll, you’ll need to complete QuickBooks’ Payroll Setup. This is a wizard-like, step-by-step tool that walks you through the process of entering all information required for payroll. (To get there, open the Employees menu and select Payroll Setup, which will open in its own set of windows.)

One section deals entirely with payroll taxes. Using a series of fill-in-the-blank fields and drop-down lists, you’ll supply QuickBooks with the information it needs to calculate federal and state taxes. You’ll be able to add, edit, and delete default data.

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Figure 1: One screen in the payroll tax portion of QuickBooks. Payroll Setup.

Here, too, you’ll be able to enter the names of the agencies that will receive payments, as well as specify the frequency that they’re due (quarterly, monthly, etc.).

An Easy Interface

If you are using the Enhanced version ($28/month plus $2/month/employee), you’ll have to manage the payroll tax workflow yourself. QuickBooks will send you email reminders in advance of filing and payment deadlines.

You can always check on the status of upcoming obligations, though. Open the Employees menu and select Payroll Center. You may already be familiar with this screen from doing payroll runs (accessed by clicking the Pay Employees tab in the image below).

Click the Pay Liabilities tab. QuickBooks opens a table that displays not only payroll taxes, but other required payments, too, like health insurance. When it’s time to submit your current payroll taxes, you’ll click in the first column next to the payments you want to process. This will put a check mark in that column. Then you’ll click the View/Pay button to the lower right and either print the checks or process them electronically.

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Figure 2: The QuickBooks Payroll add-on calculates the payroll taxes that you must pay.

QuickBooks also directs you through the process of determining which payroll-related tax forms need to be filed, in addition to the payments required.

Accuracy, Timeliness Are Critical

You probably remember – or will soon learn about — all of the paperwork that needed to be filed when you hired your first employee. Much of that had to do with payroll, and all of it had to be absolutely correct.

Between QuickBooks itself, your payroll add-on of choice, and related websites, you’ll have access to a good amount of support as you begin this arduous task. But we can’t emphasize this enough: It’s very important that you bring us into this process with you early on.

There are some areas of QuickBooks where you can add information as you go along or get by with less than an absolutely thorough setup. Payroll is not one of them. Before you process your first set of checks and/or direct deposits, all of the pieces must be in place. And they must be precise.

It’s bad enough to damage your relationship with customers and vendors through inaccurate bookkeeping. But you must absolutely avoid making mistakes in your dealings with taxing agencies or with your most important asset – your employees – and their income.

QuickBooks Advantage

QuickBooks Advantage
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Depositing Payments in QuickBooks: The Basics

Creating bank deposits manually can be a huge chore. QuickBooks simplifies this task.

Satisfying though it may be to enter all of those customer payments manually on a paper deposit slip, it can also be tedious and time-consuming. The more successful in business you are, the more time and care it takes.

Whether you accept cash, checks, or credit/debit cards, QuickBooks has tools that help you streamline the process of moving the funds into your physical bank accounts. In fact, part of your job is done when you enter the payments on the Receive Payments or Sales Receipt screens.

An Important Decision

When you record a payment in QuickBooks, you can enter it in one of two ways. Ask us if you’re not certain which one best suits your business. Payments can be deposited:

  • In a specific bank account. QuickBooks lets you specify an individual account for each transaction. If you select this option, a box labeled DEPOSIT TO will appear on the Sales Receipt and Receive Payment screens. Select an account from the drop-down list, and your payment will be automatically deposited into it.

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Figure 1: You can choose to deposit customer payments to specific accounts.

  • In Undeposited Funds. This is an asset account that can hold multiple payments, but they are not automatically deposited.

If you decide to have all payments sent to the Undeposited Funds account, you can establish that as your default. Open the Edit menu and select Preferences| Payments | Company Preferences. Then make sure that the box in front of Use Undeposited Funds as a default deposit to account is checked.

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Figure 2: Check the box on the right if you want payments sent to the Undeposited Funds asset account. You will make the actual deposits later. If this box is not checked, a DEPOSIT TO field will appear on the Sales Receipt and Receive Payments screens.

Other Deposits

What about money you receive that is neither payment on an invoice you sent or payment for an item or service received immediately? There are many situations where this might be the case, including:

  • Vendor refunds, rebates, etc.,
  • Unsolicited donations [for non-profits], or
  • An owner’s investment in the business.

To record incoming funds like these, open the Banking menu and select Make Deposits to open the Payments to Deposit window. Click OK to skip to the Make Deposits window.

Complete the Deposit To, Date, and Memo fields, then click in the table below them if you haven’t already used the Tab key to get there. Use the drop-down lists to select (or add) the individual or company who submitted the payment, the account where it should be tracked, the payment method, and the amount. Enter any additional information needed, fill in the optional Cash back goes to fields, and then save the transaction.

Note: While you’re working in the Make Deposits window, you can click the Payments button at any time to open a new window containing customer payments that need to be deposited if you want to process them simultaneously.

You may also want to use the Attach tool for miscellaneous payments to store related documentation.

Depositing Undeposited Funds

You should process your Undeposited Funds on a regular basis, whether every day, every few days, or weekly, depending on your banking needs. To do this, go to Banking | Make Deposits.

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Figure 3: You can either view all of the unprocessed payments in Undeposited Funds in a single list, or you can display them by type.

The Payments to Deposit window will open if you have pending payments in your Undeposited Funds account. Put a check mark in front of all of the payments you want to deposit by clicking in the column to the left of the DATE column.

Click OK, and the Make Deposits window will open, displaying the payments you just chose. As we instructed previously, select the account where you want the money deposited and the date, add a memo, and request cash back if desired. Save your work when you’re finished.

These are the steps you’ll take to deposit payments by cash and check. If you’re planning to open a merchant account so you can accept debit and credit cards, the process is similar, but there are additional steps you must take to ensure that your books balance.

We can show you the ropes and answer any other questions you have about depositing payments. You work hard for your money, so make sure you see it in your bank accounts.

 

 

QuickBooks Advantage

QuickBooks Advantage
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Fishbowl CEO to Keynote QuickBooks Conference – Re-Blog

This is a re-blog from Fishbowl’s blog announcement written by Robert Lockard

Fishbowl CEO to Keynote QuickBooks Conference

Fishbowl CEO David K. Williams will be the keynote speaker at the QuickBooks Unwrapped Conference on November 19, 2014.

Fishbowl Manufacturing and Fishbowl Warehouse are the No. 1 selling inventory management solutions for QuickBooks users. Plus, Fishbowl has been a QuickBooks Gold Developer since David became CEO in 2004. He is uniquely qualified to speak to a group of QuickBooks users about running a successful business.

Who Should Attend

This event is being organized by Squire & Company, which, on its website, says that the following people would get the most out of it:

  • Business owners
  • Managers
  • Bookkeepers
  • Office administrators
  • HR representatives
  • Any other QuickBooks users

David’s Speech

David’s speech is entitled “The 7 Non-Negotiables of Winning: Tying Soft Traits to Hard Results to Transform Your Personal and Professional Life.” This is, of course, in reference to his book, The 7 Non-Negotiables of Winning, which shares the secrets of his company’s growth over the years.

The QuickBooks Unwrapped Conference will be held at the Thanksgiving Point Gardens Visitor Center, located at 3900 N Garden Drive in Lehi, Utah.

Come meet Fishbowl’s CEO and see what makes Fishbowl the success story it is today.

QuickBooks Advantage

QuickBooks Advantage
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Importing into QuickBooks, Part 1: IIF Transaction Creator

In today’s technological world, it has become a business necessity to import data into QuickBooks from other sources such as your website, CRM software, or cash register. In this video, we explore one of the many tools available for importing into QuickBooks: The IIF Transaction Creator by Big Red Consulting. This tool is both powerful and affordable. Because of its unique method for importing transaction, it is both a fast and flexible option. In the next ten minutes, you will learn how to prepare and enter transaction into QuickBooks using the IIF Transaction Creator.

QuickBooks Advantage

QuickBooks Advantage
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Customize QuickBooks’ Reports, Make Better Business Decisions

QuickBooks simplifies and speeds up your daily accounting work, but youre missing out on valuable insight if you dont tailor your report data.

Do you remember why you started using QuickBooks? You may have simply wanted to produce sales forms and record payments electronically. Gradually, you expanded your use of the software, perhaps paying and tracking bills through it and keeping an eagle eye on your inventory levels. Certainly, you’ve run at least some of the pre-built report templates offered by all versions of QuickBooks since their inception.

QuickBooks’ automation of your daily bookkeeping tasks has undoubtedly served you well. But that’s merely limited use; now it’s time to take advantage of QuickBooks’ greatest strength: customizable reports.

One of the rewards for diligently entering all of your accounting information is a better grasp of your company’s financial performance to date. That insight ultimately leads to better business decisions that can contribute to your future growth and success.

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Figure 1: QuickBooksReport Center can help you learn about what each report is designed to tell you. But smart customization requires deeper insight.

Making Reports Meaningful

Like many other tasks in QuickBooks, report customization tools aren’t that difficult to master. What’s challenging is:

  • Understanding what each report is designed to tell you
  • Determining which reports are most relevant to your business information needs, and
  • Designing each to produce the critical insight you need in order to move forward.

The first of these is fairly clear. You can understand what many reports do by their titles, their content, and the descriptions QuickBooks offers. We recommend that you spend some time looking at the Report Center in QuickBooks to familiarize yourself with your options.

The second two challenges are a bit more formidable. It’s our job to assist you in establishing a workflow in QuickBooks to keep accurate records and produce necessary transactions. But we want you to do more than just maintain the status quo. When you analyze and interpret what your reports are telling you, you can make smart business decisions.

So if we haven’t gone over this with you already, we encourage you to schedule some time with us so you can get the maximum benefit from your QuickBooks reports.

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Figure 2: You cant miss QuickBookscustomization link when you open a report. But the trick is knowing how to best use its options for your business.

A Simple Set of Steps

Let’s take a look at a report you may already be generate: Sales by Customer Detail (Reports | Sales | Sales by Customer Detail). QuickBooks comes with a commonly-used set of default columns in its reports. This particular report contains column labels like Type (invoice, sales receipt, etc.), Item and Quantity, and Sales Price.

You can easily change the date range that’s offered as a default up below the toolbar. But to get to QuickBooks’ powerful customization tools, click Customize Report. A window with four tabs opens. They are:

Display. Options in this window help you specify the columns you want to appear in your report. In the lower left corner, there’s a list titled Columns that contains every possible column label for that report. If you scroll down, you’ll see a check mark in front of the default columns. Click on any of those to uncheck them, and click in front of any that you’d like to add.

Other options here include how your data should be totaled and sorted. Some reports let you choose between cash and accrual basis.

Filters. This is the difficult one – and the tool that will provide the most insight. Filters determine which subsets of related data you’ll see (accounts, items, customer types, zip codes, etc.) by including only those that meet certain conditions. Here’s where we can really help you answer critical business questions that will lead you to smart decisions.

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Figure 3: In this example, youve created a filter that will find all commercial drywall jobs that have been invoiced in the current fiscal quarter. You could narrow this report further by, for example, class, state, and paid status.

Header/Footer and Fonts & Numbers. You can tailor the design and layout of your reports here.

Well-formulated reports can help you spot cash flow problems, maintain the right inventory levels, see which jobs are the most profitable, and compare your estimates to actual costs. You’ll also be able to identify your best customers, your most sought-after items, and your most successful sales reps. Careful customization of your reports – and thorough analysis of their data – will make the answers to your constant questions about your company’s future direction much clearer. We can help you take full advantage of these powerful tools.

QuickBooks Advantage

QuickBooks Advantage
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Linking Bank Accounts and Credit Cards with QuickBooks Online

Many QuickBooks Online users spend hours every week manually inputting their bank and credit card transactions. There’s an easier and more efficient way to input transactions by linking your bank accounts and credit cards directly with QuickBooks Online. After your bank accounts and credit cards are linked to QuickBooks Online, all you need to do is assign an account for the transaction and the transaction is automatically entered into QuickBooks. This saves time, helps your bank reconciliations go smoother, and helps you keep your bank and credit card balances up to date on QuickBooks Online. Watch this short video to see how to link your bank accounts and credit cards with QuickBooks Online.

QuickBooks Advantage

QuickBooks Advantage
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24 QuickBooks Point of Sale Terms You Should Know

If youre new to QuickBooks Point of Sale, get ready to expand your vocabulary.

When you first start using QuickBooks, even if you’ve been doing manual accounting for your business, there’s a learning curve. You recognize some things, like check blanks and invoice forms, but you have to take on an unfamiliar workflow, deal with new words and phrases, and learn more about double-entry accounting concepts than you perhaps knew before.

The same is true as a novice QuickBooks Point of Sale user. Whether you’re opening your first retail location or you’ve been selling auto parts or craft supplies or bakery goods for a decade, there will undoubtedly be some education required of you.

Here’s a sampling of some of this new lingo that comes with the territory. You may look at the definition of a word or phrase and still be confused, but that’s where we come in. Seasoned shopkeeper or first-time seller, you will likely need our help when you first start using this complex piece of software.

Address Verification Service (AVS): In transactions where a credit or debit card is not physically present, AVS adds an extra layer of security

Assembly: Multiple products pre-assembled in a unit

Average Unit Cost: The average (not actual) cost of the items on hand in your inventory

Chargeback: A credit card charge disputed by a customer

Class: A categorization method used in creating reports; can, for example, run Profit and Loss reports by store

Committed Quantities: The number of inventory items that have been included on active customer orders

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Figure 1: QuickBooks Point of Sales Financial Exchange establishes an ongoing connection to QuickBooks for data-sharing.

Financial Exchange: QuickBooks POS tool that helps you share data with QuickBooks

Merchant Service Center: An Intuit website dedicated to helping you manage your merchant account

Non-Inventory Item: An item for which you do not keep track of on-hand quantities, like shipping or delivery fees

Payout: Funds taken from the cash drawer for any of a number of reasons, like a bank deposit, office party, or to make a necessary purchase

Physical Inventory (PI): The process of tallying the number of items physically present in inventory; used to correct quantities recorded in QuickBooks

Price Level: Price charged for items that differs from the regular price; can define up to four additional reduced prices in QuickBooks POS (employee cost, promotions, etc.)

Quick Add Item: Process by which you can quickly create a new inventory item while completing a transaction with a customer; doesn’t require as much immediate detail

Quick Find: Found on the QuickBooks POS Navigator; functions as a search tool for locating customers, items, receipts, etc.

Sept 3.2

Figure 2: You can enter a search word or phrase in the Quick Find box at the top of the Navigator page.

Quick Pick: A user-defined group of selected items that can be easily accessed during checkout

Quick Zoom: Lets you “drill down” on a line or value within a report; can see the origin of the selected item

Remote Store: Refers to every store other than Headquarters in a multi-store QuickBooks POS configuration

Simple View: An abbreviated version of a sales receipt that may be viewed via touchscreens and virtual keyboards

Split-Payment Sale: A transaction that is completed using two or more payment methods

Store Exchange: Data shared between Headquarters and remote stores via:

  • Desktop email
  • Web-based email
  • Removable media, or
  • Network file exchange

Transfer Slip: Documents transfer of merchandise between stores

X-Out Shift Report: Available throughout the sales day, monitors recent sales activity

Z-Out Drawer Count: End-of-shift or end-of-day cash drawer reconciliation

Z-Out Store Close Report: End-of-day sales and cash flow summary; assists in readying a bank deposit

You can see that there are a lot of new terms to understand when you begin managing your retail transactions using QuickBooks Point of Sale. We can help further your education by putting those words and phrases in context, so you can see where they fit in your workflow.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

QuickBooks Advantage

QuickBooks Advantage
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Make a Statement in QuickBooks Online

You’re not required to use statements in QuickBooks, but they help bring unpaid amounts to the attention of your customers.

Collecting outstanding payments is probably one of your least favorite tasks as an accounting manager. QuickBooks Online helps you keep track of these debts in many ways, like through the Income Tracker and Collections Report.

There’s another tool that isn’t used strictly for reminding customers of overdue invoices, but it can be effective in that endeavor: the QuickBooks Online statement. There are three types:

  • Balance Forward (lists all activity within a specified date range),
  • Open Item (only includes unpaid transactions), and
  • Transaction Statement (displays the receivables total and amount received within a stated period).

Sept 1.1

Figure 1: You can choose from among three different statement types in QuickBooks Online and select additional options.

QuickBooks Online’s Open Item statement would be most useful in collecting outstanding payments. There are two ways to get there. If you’re just sending one to a customer you know has past-due invoices, you can click on the Customers link in the left vertical pane and hover your cursor over that individual or company to highlight it. Then click the arrow next to the drop-down list in the ACTION column and select Send Statement.

If you’re sending multiple statements, click the “+” sign at the top of the screen; and then select Statements. Select Open Item, change the date if necessary, and check or uncheck the boxes below if needed. Click OK.

Note: QuickBooks Online gives you the option of creating and sending statements without looking at the list of selected customers. We do not recommend this. If your criteria have pulled in someone who shouldn’t receive a statement, your unnecessary mailing to them may be annoying.

The next screen will display a list of all customers who met your criteria. If you think you may have incorrectly defined your set of customers, click Change to return to the previous screen. You can also review QuickBooks Online’s Statement List (a report).

Note: If there are missing statements, check the original form’s date. Extra statements? Make sure you sent an invoice. In both cases, it’s possible that you’re trying to include a sub-customer. Still having problems? Let us help.

The right side of the screen gives you more information about each, Balance Due and Delivery Method (you can edit the latter if you want). Click the Preview button by each to see what the statement will look like.

sept 1.2

Figure 2: Before you print or email statements, you can get an advance look at their layout and content.

When you’re satisfied that everything is correct, click Create/Send Selected Statements. If you’re emailing some statements and haven’t yet specified your form delivery Preferences, a QuickBooks Online Mini-Interview window should open, letting you indicate whether you:

  • Want to be copied on outgoing sales forms,
  • Want invoices sent as PDFs or plain text in the message body, and/or
  • Want summary information or plain text included in the message body if you send PDFs.

sept 1.3

Figure 3: This Mini-Interview asks for your sales form delivery Preferences.

The next page will display a message telling you that statements are ready to print, if you’ve chosen that option for any of your customers. If there is a problem with any emails that were dispatched, you’ll be notified on the QuickBooks Online home page.

Note: Statements are not new transactions. They simply report on transactions that have already occurred. Talk to us if you have any questions about which form to use in a given situation.

If you don’t like the look of your statements, you can customize them. Click the small wheel icon in the upper right corner and select Company Settings| Form Delivery | Customize Forms. To see the Preferences that relate solely to statements, go to Form Delivery | Statements.

The timing and frequency of statements are both important. Send too many, and you might confuse customers. As we said before, you don’t have to send statements at all. The Open Item statement, though, can be an element of your ongoing efforts to get paid faster and improve your critical cash flow.

QuickBooks Advantage

QuickBooks Advantage
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4 Ways to Use Intuit Merchant Services

Don’t yet have a merchant account through Intuit? Here’s what you’re missing.

You undoubtedly know people who have stopped carrying cash and checkbooks. So much business is transacted today using credit and debit cards that paper money and check are on their way to becoming endangered species.

If your business doesn’t yet accept credit or debit cards, you can be sure you’re losing sales. A merchant account can contribute to your company’s success in a number of ways. For example, it can:

  • Improve your cash flow
  • Build better customer relations
  • Help you project a more sophisticated, professional image, and
  • Provide added convenience for your staff and customers.

August 2.1

Figure 1: Going the way of the dinosaur? Not yet. But your business should definitely accept credit and debit cards.

A New Way of Working

Credit cards are convenient for both you and your customers, but you can expect a learning curve when you start to accept them. You’ll need to learn how to record payments and deal with things like the Intuit Merchant Service Center, chargebacks, and service fees. We can walk you through signup, implementation, and the early stages until you’re comfortable working on your own.

  • If you sell products at a retail location, you know that plastic is handed back and forth more often than not these days. When you accept credit cards from your in-store shoppers, you’re making sales that you might not otherwise make if customers had to write out paper checks. Moreover, displaying credit car logos on your store’s windows and cash registers lets people know your store is plastic-friendly.
  • Do you sell products in a web store, or do you plan to? 10 years ago, you might have been able to squeak by without accepting plastic. Not anymore. There’s too much competition, especially from behemoths like Amazon that are big enough to offer their own branded credit cards, not to mention the discounts, free shipping, and other benefits they can afford to pass along.
  • You can use a merchant account is to accept credit and debit card payments for sales you record directly in QuickBooks, generally to satisfy a debt recorded in an invoice from you. You’ll be able to enter customers’ bank card numbers in their individual records and earmark them as preferred payment methods to save time when you’re filling out the Receive Payments screen.

AUgust 2.2

Figure 2: Bookkeeping can be much easier – and funds can move faster – when you accept credit card payments in QuickBooks. But they must be recorded thoroughly and accurately, and you’ll need to make sure that the box in front of Process [VISA, Mastercard, etc.] payment when saving is checked.

  • You probably have occasion to talk up your company’s products or services when you’re out of the office. You might direct prospects to your website or retail location. You could sell remotely (at a conference, art fair, etc.), taking a check or writing down a credit card number, then scratching out a paper receipt and re-entering all of the information when you get back to the office. However, an Intuit merchant account will allow you to actually process that payment using your mobile device and then email or print a receipt on the spot.

The relationship between your merchant account and your QuickBooks files varies depending on the way you’re receiving payments. You may have to move some funds over manually, and it’s critical that you do this right. As always, we’re available to help with this process, and with any other QuickBooks questions you might have. Dealing with a new merchant account is one of the trickier procedures you’ll encounter, but we think you’ll find that the benefits outweigh any temporary need for assistance.

QuickBooks Advantage

QuickBooks Advantage
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TSheets & QuickBooks

TSheets is a third party app, time tracking software that syncs with QuickBooks.   If you have additional questions on the app or would like to get it implemented after watching the video below, please feel free to give us a call. We would love to help.

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QuickBooks Advantage
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A Tour through QuickBooks’ Payroll Setup Tool

Getting QuickBooks ready to process payroll is a complex, time-consuming process. Here’s what you can expect

Payday. You look forward to it when you’re young and working at your first part-time job.

But as a grown-up who needs to start processing payroll for your employees, you probably anticipate it in a different way, perhaps even with a sense of dread. QuickBooks handles the real grunt work once you’ve done the initial setup, but those early hours you spend preparing to print your first paycheck can be challenging.

Fortunately, QuickBooks’ payroll setup tool can guide you through the process. Once you’ve signed up for payroll, open the Employees menu and select Payroll Setup.

august 1.1

Figure 1: The QuickBooks Payroll Setup tool tells you’ll what information you need to supply in order to start paying employees.

Easy Operations

The first screen you’ll see in this step-by-step, wizard-like setup guide contains a link to QuickBooks’ payroll setup checklist. You don’t have to assemble all of the information you’ll need about your company, your employees, and your payroll taxes, but we recommend that you gather as much as you can before you start.

You’ll advance through setup by completing the information requested and then clicking the Continue button in the lower right (or, sometimes, Next; there’s also a Previous button available often). If you don’t have a particular detail immediately at hand, you can continue on and come back later. You’ll be able to edit your work then.

To back out of the whole process and return at another time, click the Finish Later button in the lower left.

Building a Framework

QuickBooks first wants to know about the various types of compensation and employee benefits your company offers. To start adding your Compensation options, click Add New. Click in the box in front of any pay types you support (Salary, Hourly wage and overtime, Commission, etc.) to create a check mark. When you click Next, this window opens:

August 1.2

Figure 2: It’s easy to indicate the types of compensation your company offers.

Keep clicking Next after you’ve completed each screen until you come to a page that lists all of the compensation types you’ve defined. To make any changes, highlight the type and click Edit to modify or Delete to remove. Then click Continue when you’re finished.

The next section is probably the most difficult: Employee Benefits. Here, using similar interface conventions to enter information and navigate, you’ll provide information about your company’s:

  • Insurance benefits
  • Retirement benefits
  • Paid time off, and
  • Miscellaneous items (cash advance, wage garnishment, mileage reimbursement, etc.).

It’s absolutely critical that you set these up accurately, or you’ll have unhappy benefits providers – and employees. If you’re not absolutely confident of an answer, it’s better to leave an item unfinished and come back later. You may want to ask us to work with you as you complete this section.

People and Taxes

QuickBooks will then ask you about your employees. Have your W-4 forms handy for this section, as you’ll need to know Social Security numbers, birth dates, etc.

August 1.3

Figure 3: On this screen, you’ll tell QuickBooks what type(s) of compensation and their dollar amounts apply to the employee.

All of those details you entered earlier about company benefits comes into play here. Once you’ve defined an employee’s compensation types and amounts, the next screen will display the additions and deductions that your company supports. You will have set up defaults for some of these, but you can modify them for individual employees.

There are numerous other details that you’ll have to supply for your staff, like how vacation and sick hours accrue, what state will want to collect taxes from them, and what their filing status is.

Unless you’ve worked with payroll before, you’re going to want our help in completing the payroll tax section. Once it’s done correctly, QuickBooks will calculate taxes due and help you pay them.

Finally, QuickBooks helps you determine whether you’ll need to enter any previous payroll data from the current year before you start to process your payroll in the software.

Whether you’re switching from manual payroll or a payroll service, or simply getting ready to pay your first employee, QuickBooks payroll-processing tools can help you save time and foster accuracy – as long as you get the details from the start.

QuickBooks Advantage

QuickBooks Advantage
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Tallie & QuickBooks

Tallie is an automated expense tracking tool that works with QuickBooks.  No data entry required — It’s as simple as taking a picture of your receipt with your phone.  I was able to spend a good amount of time talking with Tallie at the Scaling New Heights Conference.  If you have any questions about Tallie or have an interest in getting it implemented with your Quickbooks, feel free to give us a call. 

QuickBooks Advantage

QuickBooks Advantage
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You’ve Subscribed to QuickBooks Payments: What Now?

You’ve just made QuickBooks portable and more flexible, and you’ll probably increase sales and get paid faster. Here’s why.

QuickBooks Pro and Premier are remarkable applications. You can create records and transactions, manage sales and purchases, process your payroll, and run reports right from your desktop.

But today’s successful companies have moved beyond the desktop. Business is transacted at conferences and in coffee shops and airports, and it relies heavily on the internet to do so.

That’s probably one of the reasons you decided to sign up for QuickBooks Payments: You need mobile access to your accounting data because you make sales away from the office. But you’re about to find out that your monthly fee can have even greater impact on your company’s profits.

Anytime/Anywhere Income

It’s the rare businessperson who doesn’t have opportunities to make sales away from the office or retail store. In the past, you might have accepted a check and penned a receipt on a piece of paper, which meant you had to record the payment once you returned. That also meant inconvenience, extra work, and a not-so-professional image.

Intuit GoPayment solves those problems. You – and up to 49 other users — simply download the app on your iOS or Android mobile device. You can then record payments wherever you are. Eithertype in your customer’s bank card information or swipe the card using the free reader. Your customers can choose to have receipts texted or emailed to them.

June 3.1

Figure 1: You’ll be able to manage your GoPayment account in the Merchant Service Center.

IMPORTANT!  GoPayment transactions do not automatically sync with QuickBooks; you’ll have to do this manually. We can help you learn how to do this.

Fast, Flexible Payments

Perhaps the biggest advantage to having a QuickBooks Payment account is the ability to accept credit card payments from within QuickBooks. Once you’ve been approved, you’ll need to make sure that QuickBooks is set up to support this activity. Go to Edit | Preferences and click on the Payments link, then Company Preferences.

Be sure that the box in front of Include online payment link on invoices is checked, and that all other preferences there are correct.

June 3.2

Figure 2: If you want your customers to be able to pay invoices with a credit card, you’ll need to make sure that you’ve established your preferences.

Your invoices will now include a link to a secure site where customers can make payments using credit cards. And unlike GoPayment, these funds move directly into QuickBooks for processing.

Individual Preferences

When you specified the above preference, you set up a company-wide default. This can be turned on or off for individual customers, as can other options. Open a customer record and click on Payment Settings to see this.

June 3.3

Figure 3: Saving your customers’ credit card numbers in Payment Settings will save you time later on. You can also indicate whether or not the online payment link should appear on specific customers’ invoices.

Do It Right

We talked about best practices for using QuickBooks Payments earlier this year, but a few of those bear repeating here:

  • Always password-protect your QuickBooks file, even if you’re a sole proprietor with few visitors. Change it at least every 90 days. QuickBooks is “live” now, so it’s able to manipulate funds in your bank account.
  • If you have multiple employees who help with the accounting workload, cross-train them. You don’t want payments waiting to be processed because someone is on vacation. We can help ensure that the training is comprehensive and accurate.
  • Learn about the payment-related reports in QuickBooks – like Online Received Payments and Open Authorizations – and run them regularly.

You and your employees work hard for your money. Make sure that you’ve established a workflow that doesn’t let payments slip through the cracks.

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QuickBooks Advantage
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Using Payroll Reports in QuickBooks

QuickBooks’ payroll reports can answer a lot of questions quickly.

If you process your own payroll, then you don’t need us to tell you that it’s a challenge. Pay rates and hours worked, benefits and other withholding, payroll taxes – they all must be absolutely accurate if you don’t want to face frustrated employees, unhappy benefits providers, or IRS penalties.

QuickBooks simplifies this process. The Payroll Center and Employee Center contain the information you entered during the setup procedure (employee records, taxes and other liabilities, etc.) as well as the tools you’ll need to orchestrate pay runs and pay taxes. You can always refer to the data stored here if you need to answer a question or otherwise resolve an issue.

A faster, smarter way, though, is to run one of QuickBooks’ many payroll reports. These summarize critical elements of your payroll and provide historical information.

July 2.1

Figure 1: You can find a lot of current and historical information about payroll and employees in QuickBooks’ Centers. Reports, though, are more comprehensive, convenient and customizable.

Multiple Templates

QuickBooks comes equipped with 17 pre-built but customizable payroll and employee report templates. You can also export QuickBooks data to Excel and create additional reports there, but you will probably need our help with this, especially if you don’t understand macros.

There are two ways to get to QuickBooks’ payroll report list. Either open the Reports menu and scroll down to Employees & Payroll or click on Reports | Report Center. If you’re new to accounting reports, we recommend the latter, since it provides some additional tools to help you understand each template.

Once you’re in the Report Center, click on the Employees & Payroll tab on the left side of the screen. You can scroll down to see all of the reports included there, denoted by miniature graphical representations. You can change this to a list view (pictured below) or one with an animated 3-D carousel effect by toggling between the three icons in the upper right.

July 2.2

Figure 2: This is the List view of the Employees & Payroll section in the Report Center.

A vertical series of tabs for multiple viewing options runs across the top of the screen. Click on one to change the view from Standard (all reports in that category) to Memorized (reports whose content and formatting you’d like to use again) to Favorites (frequently-run reports) to Recent to Contributed (custom report templates that Intuit and other users have created for specific business situations).

Extra Help

Highlight the first report, Payroll Summary, by hovering over it. You’ll see a brief description of that report’s purpose, four icons and a drop-down list for changing the report’s date range (click the down arrow to open it).

Here’s what the labeled icons do:

  • Run. Displays that report using your own company’s data
  • Info. Opens a small window containing the description again, a miniature version of a sample report, and the three interactive icons
  • Fave. Adds that report to your list of favorites
  • Help. Opens QuickBooks Help with more information about the report

To Memorize a report and add it to the list contained under that tab in the Report Center, simply click Run in the main view and make any desired changes by clicking the Customize Report button in the toolbar (you may want our help with this option depending on how much experience you have with reports). Then click Memorize. This window will open:

July 2.3

Figure 3: You can modify a report template to include the content, columns, etc., that you want, and then memorize it and add it to a Report Group.

You’ll follow these same procedures to run any of the reports in Payroll & Employees. They’re divided into three categories: Payroll (Payroll Item Detail, Payroll Liability Balances, Employee Earnings Summary, etc.), Employee (Employee Withholding, Paid Time Off List, etc.), and Workers Compensation (Workers Compensation by Code and Employee, Workers Compensation by Job Summary, etc.).

Your QuickBooks Payroll reports can be as basic or as complex as you want them to be as you zero in on the exact cross-section of data you’re looking for. As you continue to modify and run reports, you’ll be more confident about your role in this complicated process; and better able to contribute to future company financial decisions.

QuickBooks Advantage

QuickBooks Advantage
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5 Ways You Can Use QuickBooks’ Income Tracker

The Income Tracker is one of QuickBooks’ more innovative features. If you’re not using it, you should be.

One of the reasons that QuickBooks appeals to millions of small businesses is because it offers multiple ways to complete the same tasks, which accommodates different work styles. Say, for example, you wanted to look up a specific invoice. You could:

  • Go to the Customer Center and select the customer, and then scan through the list of transactions,
  • Use the Find feature (Edit | Find), or
  • Create a report.

There’s also another way you can get there if you have a recent version of QuickBooks: the Income Tracker. (Note: Only the Administrator or a staff member with the correct permissions can access this feature. Talk to us about whether to allow other employees to use it, and how to set that up.)

July 1.1

Figure 1: QuickBooks’ Income Tracker provides a visual overview of your company’s income.

That’s the first thing you can do with QuickBooks’ Income Tracker. To get there, either click the link in the vertical navigation bar or go to Customers | Income Tracker.

Four colored bars across the top of the screen represent unbilled estimates, open invoices, overdue invoices, and invoices paid within the last 30 days. Each bar contains two numerical values: the number of transactions of that type and the dollar amount involved.

QuickBooks defaults to displaying all types of transactions, but when you click on a bar, the screen changes to show only that type of transaction.

You can also filter the table of transactions using the drop-down lists below the colored bars. Your choices here include Customer:Job, Type, Status (Open, Paid, etc.) and Date (range). Click the arrow to the right of each filter’s label to display your options.

The column labels below these lists will change depending on the transaction type that’s active.

More Functionality

The Income Tracker is great for simply viewing groups of transactions; double-clicking on one will open the original form. You can also open them by selecting an action to take. For example, open your estimates list and click on a transaction to highlight it. Then click the arrow next to Select in the Action column at the far right end of the row.

July 1.2

Figure 2: You can modify transactions like estimates from within the Income Tracker.

If you choose the first option here, QuickBooks opens a small window that asks you whether you’d like to create an invoice for 100 percent of the estimate, a percentage of it, specific items, or percentages of each item. When you make your selection and click OK, a completed invoice form opens, which you can then check over and save.

As you can see above, you can also mark the estimate as inactive, print it, or email it.

Each transaction type supports a different set of actions. In the open invoice action column, as you’d expect, you can click the option to Receive Payment, which opens the Customer Payment window with the customer and amount due already filled in. This can be edited to reflect a different amount, or you can just accept it as is, then save it.

Flexible Forms

You can even create a new transaction within the Income Tracker. Click on the arrow next to Manage Transactions in the lower left corner of the screen and select the form you want.

July 1.3

Figure 3: You can open new transaction screens from within QuickBooks’ Income Tracker.

The Income Tracker also provides one of the fastest ways to print multiple forms. Just select the transactions you want to print by clicking in the box in front of them, and then click the arrow next to Batch Actions in the lower left corner.

Finally, you can edit transactions from here, too. Either double-click on one or select it and click Edit Highlighted Row in the Manage Transactions menu.

QuickBooks’ Income Tracker doesn’t do anything that can’t be done another way in the program. But it provides an excellent one-glance view of the current state of your receivables movement.

If you’re consistently seeing patterns that you don’t like, call us. We can evaluate your receivables process and suggest ways to accelerate it. Even if your sales aren’t increasing, getting that “PAID” stamp on invoices quickly will improve your cash flow and strengthen your confidence as a business manager.

QuickBooks Advantage

QuickBooks Advantage
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8 QuickBooks Reports That You Should Be Running Regularly

QuickBooks provides dozens of customizable report templates. You know when you need some of them, but which are musts? You send invoices because you sold products and/or services. Purchase orders go out when you’re running low on inventory, and there are always bills to pay, it seems like. All of this activity is, of course, important in itself, but all of your conscientious bookkeeping culminates in what’s probably the most critical element of QuickBooks: your reports.

Reports can tell you how many navy blue sweatshirts you sold in March, what you paid for health insurance premiums in the first quarter, and how much you bought from your favorite vendor last month. They’re very good at drilling down to get the precise set of numbers you need.

But reports – carefully customized and properly analyzed – can do more than tell you how many golf clubs to order and when it’s time to switch phone services. They can help you make the business decisions that will help you take your growing company to the next level. There are several that you should be looking at regularly, some of which you can interpret easily and use in your daily workflow. We’ll help you with the interpretation of the more complex financial reports.

Who Owes Money?

That’s probably a question you ask yourself every day. You don’t necessarily have to run the A/R Aging Detail report every day, but you’ll want to run it frequently. It tells you who owes you money and whether they’ve missed the due date (and by how many days).

June 1.1

 

Figure 1: By running the A/R Aging Detail report, you can see whether you need to follow up with customers who have past due invoices. 

As with any report, you can modify it to include the columns, data set and date range you want by clicking the Customize button. When you create a report in a format that you think you might want to run again, click the Memorize button. Enter a name that you’ll remember, and assign it to a Memorized Report Group.

Getting There

There are two ways to find the reports you want to see. You can open the Reports menu and move your cursor down to the category you want, like Customers & Receivables, which will open a slide-out menu of options there.

Or you can open the Report Center, which lets you explore reports in more depth. Each is represented by a small graphic with four icons under it. You can:

  • Run the report with your own data in it
  • Open a small informational window
  • Designate it as a Favorite, and
  • View QuickBooks help.

June 1.2

Figure 2: If you access QuickBooks reports through the Report Center, you’ll have several related options.

Other accounts receivable reports that you should consult periodically include Open Invoices and Average Days to Pay.

Tracking What You Owe

Reports can also keep you up-to-date on money that you owe to other people and companies. An important one is Unpaid Bills Detail, accessible through the Vendors & Payables menu item. Though you can modify its columns, this report basically tells you who is expecting money from you, the date the bill was issued and its due date, any number assigned to it, the balance due, and relevant aging information.

Vendor Balance Detail is critical, too. This report displays every transaction (invoices, payments, etc.) that contribute to the balance you have with each vendor.

Standard Financial Reports

June 1.3

Figure 3: We hope you’ll let us help you by running and interpreting these standard financial reports.

QuickBooks report categories include one labeled Company & Financial. These are reports that you can run yourself, but they’re critical for understanding your company’s financial status. We can customize and analyze these for you on a regular basis so you’ll know where you stand. They include:

  • Balance Sheet. What is the value of your company? The balance sheet breaks out this information by account (under the umbrella of assets, liabilities and equity).
  • Income Statement. Often referred to as Profit & Loss, this shows you how much money your business made or lost over a specific time period.
  • Statement of Cash Flows. How much money came in and went out during a specified time range?

Reports can only generate information about what you’ve entered in QuickBooks and exactly where it’s been entered. So it’s crucial that you follow standard accounting practice as you proceed through your daily workflow. We’re always available to answer questions you have about QuickBooks’ structure and your activity there. Your reports – and your critical business decisions – depend on it.

QuickBooks Advantage

QuickBooks Advantage
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Do You Need to Use QuickBooks’ Fixed Asset Tools? The Basics

Managing your company’s fixed assets is a complicated process, one that will require some extra assistance.

Much of the work you do in QuickBooks is short-term. You send an invoice and it gets paid. Your purchase order is fulfilled, and the products move into your inventory. You run payrolls and submit their related taxes and other payments.

Managing the life cycle of your fixed assets is an exception. Simply, fixed assets are physical entities that you purchase to help your business generate revenue, like property, a vehicle or a commercial oven. By definition, they must be in use for over 12 months.

may 1.1

Figure 1: You’ll need our help in depreciating the book value of your fixed assets, but careful recording of them will make your QuickBooks reports, your taxes and your company’s worth more accurate.

QuickBooks can help you track these, but both the value of your company and your tax obligations – and the sale price, should you eventually sell them — are affected by how the book value of your fixed assets is depreciated. It’s important that you work closely with us over the life of each one. What you can do on your own, though, is to maintain absolutely accurate records in this area.

Two Paths

The best time to start recording information about a fixed asset is while you’re creating a transaction related to its purchase. You can build an item record for it as you’re filling out the Item section of Enter Bills, Write Checks, Enter Credit Card Charges or Purchase Order.

Let’s say you’re writing a check for a new company truck. You’d go to Banking | Write Checks and fill in the blanks. Click the Items tab below the MEMO field, then click the down arrow in the ITEM field. Scroll up to the top of the list if necessary and select <Add New>. You’ll see this menu:

may 1.2

Figure 2: Keep track of your company’s fixed assets by creating item records for them. You can do this as you’re entering transactions for their purchase.

Click on Fixed Asset to open the New Item window.

Transactions Not Required

There may be times when you’ll want to create an item record for a fixed asset when you’re not processing a transaction. Such situations include:

  • Cash purchases
  • Transfer of a personal asset to your company
  • Purchase of a fixed asset with personal funds, or
  • A multi-item purchase.

To do this, click on the Lists menu and select Fixed Asset Item List. If you’re adding a new one, right-click anywhere in the list part of the screen and select New (or click the down arrow next to the Item button in the lower left of the screen and click New). The same New Item window that you opened from the check-writing screen appears.

You’ve already chosen Fixed Asset as the TYPE, so your cursor should be in the Asset Name/Number field. Enter an easy-to-recognize name so that you’ll be able to quickly identify it in reports. Select the correct Asset Account (ask us if you’re not sure) and type a description in the Purchase Description field, clicking the correct button for new or used.

Enter the Date purchased, the Cost and the Vendor/Payee. Don’t worry about the SALES INFORMATION fields until – and if – you eventually sell the asset.

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Figure 3: You should be able to complete the New Item window in QuickBooks for your fixed assets on your own, but consult with us on any questions.

Under ASSET INFORMATION, enter the Asset Description (you can write a lengthier description here), its Location, PO Number if applicable, Serial Number and warranty expiration date. Add Notes if you’d like, and you’re done – unless you want to incorporate Custom Fields. If so, click the Custom Fields button in the upper right, then Define Fields.

(We can provide the depreciation and book value numbers under FIXED ASSET MANAGER.)

Your fixed asset records are critical elements of QuickBooks. You may be storing similar information elsewhere in your office records, but QuickBooks needs it, too, so you’ll have a comprehensive accounting of your company’s value.

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QuickBooks Advantage
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Spring-Clean Your QuickBooks Company File

There are a lot of clues that indicate trouble with your QuickBooks company file. Is it time for a check-up and tune-up?
 
After this ridiculously long winter, you’ll probably hear few complaints about things like puddles in the street, summer heat and spring cleaning. Most people are eager to throw open the doors and windows, and attack the dirt that the season left behind, both inside and outside of the house.
 
It’s not hard to see when your home is dirty. QuickBooks company file errors are harder to detect, but they’re there, including:
·         Performance problems
·         Inability to execute specific processes, like upgrading
·         Occasional program crashes
·         Missing data (accounts, names, etc.)
·         Refusal to complete transactions, and
·         Mistakes in reports.
 
Figure 1: If some transactions won’t go through when you click one of the Save buttons – or worse, QuickBooks shuts down — you may have a corrupted company file.
Call for Help
 
The best thing you can do if you notice problems like this cropping up in QuickBooks – especially if you’re experiencing multiple ones – is to contact us. We understand the file structure of QuickBooks company data, and we have access to tools that you don’t. We can analyze your file and take steps to correct the problem(s).
 
One of the reasons QuickBooks files get corrupt is simply because they grow too big. That’s either a sign of your company’s success or of a lack of periodic maintenance that you can do yourself. QuickBooks contains some built-in tools that you canrun occasionally to minimize your file size.
 
One thing you can do on your own is to rid QuickBooks of old, unneeded data. The software contains a Condense Data utility that can do this automatically. But just because QuickBooks offers a tool doesn’t mean that you should use it on your own.
 
Figure 2: Yes, QuickBooks allows you to use this tool on your own. But if you really want to preserve the integrity of your data, let us help.
A Risky Utility
 
The program’s documentation for this utility contains a list of warnings and preparation steps a mile long.
 
We recommend that you don’t use this tool. Same goes for Verify Data and Rebuild Data in the Utilities menu. If you lose a significant amount of company data, you can also lose your company. It’s happened to numerous businesses.
 
Be Proactive
 
Instead, start practicing good preventive medicine to keep your QuickBooks company file healthy. Once a month or so, perhaps at the same time you reconcile your bank accounts, do a manual check of your major Lists.
 
Run the Account Listing report (Lists | Chart of Accounts | Reports | Account Listing). Are all of your bank accounts still active? Do you see accounts that you no longer used or which duplicate each other? Don’t try to “fix” the Chart of Accounts on your own. Let us help.
Figure 3: You might run this report periodically to see if it can be abbreviated.
 
Be very careful here, but if there are Customers and Vendorsthat have been off your radar for a long time, consider removing them – once you’re sure your interaction with them is history. Same goes for Items and Jobs. Go through the other lists in this menu with a critical but conservative eye. If there’s any doubt, leave them there.
 
A Few Alternatives
 
There are other options. Your copy of QuickBooks may be misbehaving because it’s unable to handle the depth and complexity of your company. It may be time to upgrade. If you’re using QuickBooks Pro, move up to Premier. And if Premier isn’t cutting it anymore, consider QuickBooks Enterprise Solutions.
 
There’s cost involved, of course, but you may already be losing money by losing time because of your version’s limitations. All editions of QuickBooks look and work similarly, so your learning curve will be minimal.
 
Also, try to minimize the number of open windows that are active in QuickBooks. That will improve your performance. And what about your hardware? Is it getting a little long in the tooth? At least consider adding memory, but PCs are cheap these days. If you’re having problems with many of your applications, it may be time for an upgrade.
 
A Stitch in Time…
 
We’ve suggested many times here that you contact us for help with your spring cleanup. While that may seem self-serving, remember that it takes us a lot less time and money to take preventive steps with your QuickBooks company file than to troubleshoot a broken one.
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QuickBooks Advantage
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Setting Up Payroll Schedules in QuickBooks

One of your early tasks as a payroll administrator will be to establish payroll schedules for your employees. Here’s how.
 
Payroll administration can be complex and time-consuming. It requires precision and tremendous attention to detail. Your employees are counting on you for their livelihood, and multiple taxing agencies expect you to submit your payments accurately and on time.
 
QuickBooks Payroll offers the tools you need to make regular payrolls and tax payments happen, though if you’ve never managed payroll before, please let us help you get started. You’ll lay a lot of the groundwork using the integrated Payroll Setup tool. You’ll also operate within QuickBooks’ Payroll Center itself.
 
Simple Steps
 
One of your early tasks will be to establish one or more payroll schedules. These simply mandate the timing of your payroll, creating an ongoing calendar of paydays. You can do this before you begin entering employee information, though you can revisit those records to specify or change an existing employee’s payroll schedule.
 
You’ll start by opening the Employees menu and selecting Payroll Center. Between Create Paychecksand Recent Payrolls is a small gray bar that says Payroll Schedules. Click the down arrow on it and select New (you can also edit and delete existing payroll schedules from this menu). The New Payroll Schedule window opens.
 
Figure 1: The New Payroll Schedule window.
 
In the first field, enter the name of your new Payroll Schedule. This is most commonly the name of the frequency. Click the down arrow in the next field and select the actual frequency.
 
The pay period end date is the actual day that your pay period will end. Click on the small calendar icon or just enter it manually. Next, QuickBooks wants to know what date should actually appear on the paychecks themselves. This is the day when paychecks will be handed out (or direct deposits made) and your bank account must be prepared for your payroll run.
 
Separate Schedules
 
If your company pays many individuals, you can set up multiple payroll schedules. Each group, though, must share the same pay frequency. You might want to do this if, for example, you’d like separate payroll schedules for:
·       Employees who work in the same location or division
·       Recipients of paper checks and those who have signed up for Direct Deposit, or
·       Salaried and hourly employees.
 
Updating Employee Records
 
When your company hires new employees, or if for some reason you want to switch an individual to a different payroll schedule, you can add or modify this designation in his or her employee record.
To see where this occurs, open an existing employee record. Open the Employees menu and select Employee Center. Highlight a name and click on the Edit icon in the upper right (the little pencil-end). In the Edit Employee window, click on Payroll Info.
 
 
Figure 2: You can change an employee’s payroll schedule – or even create a new one – from within the Edit Employee window.
 
Click the down arrow next to PAYROLL SCHEDULE and select the frequency you want, or click on <Add New> to establish a new one.
 
Unscheduled Payrolls
 
QuickBooks does not mandate payroll schedules. If you’d rather just initiate them on your own, that’s fine. You’d do this by clicking the Pay Employees button in the Payroll Center.
Even if you have established a payroll schedule, you can still run an Unscheduled Payroll when you need to issue a check outside of the regularly-scheduled ones. You could also do this when, for example, you need to write a check for a bonus.
 
Go to the Payroll Center again and click the Start Unscheduled Payroll button (which only appears after you’ve set up at least one scheduled payroll) over to the right of the Payroll Schedules drop-downmenu. QuickBooks then opens the payroll wizard that you’re accustomed to from scheduled payrolls.
 
 
Figure 3: You can make the Pay Schedule column active when running relevant payroll reports.
 
Paying an unscheduled bonus is a little more complicated. We can walk you through this the first time.
 
Payroll is probably the most complicated element of small business bookkeeping if you’re not an accounting professional. Be sure to build a good amount of time into your schedule for education and setup before you consider running your first payroll.
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QuickBooks Advantage
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5 Ways to Accelerate Your Receivables in QuickBooks

Increasing your income is good. But even if you can’t, you can still take steps to collect the money you’re already owed faster. Here are five.
 
If you asked five small business owners to name the top three roadblocks they face in their quest for ongoing profitability, it’s likely that all five would point to slow payments.
It’s everyone’s problem. Accounts receivable requires constant monitoring. As satisfying as it can be to dispatch a group of invoices, you know that it’s going to take some work to bring in payment for at least some of them.
 
By using QuickBooks’ tools and complying with accounting best practices, you’ll be more confident during the invoicing stage that what you’re owed will actually be in your bank account in a reasonable amount of time. Here are five things that we suggest.
 
Let customers pay invoices electronically.
 
Figure 1: You’re likely to get paid faster if you let customers pay electronically when they receive an invoice. Go to Edit | Preferences | Payments | Company Preferences.
 
A few years ago, this was a good idea. In 2014, when people have stopped carrying checkbooks and are accustomed to using their mobile devices to pay for merchandise, it’s become almost required. Whether or not you know it, you’re probably losing some business if you don’t have a merchant account that supports credit and debit card payments, and possibly e-checks.
 
If you have an online storefront, you’ve undoubtedly been accepting plastic for a long time now. Not many shoppers want to place an order on a website and hunt for envelopes and stamps and blank checks to complete it. If you invoice customers, it’s just as critical that you allow them to remit payment ASAP.
 
Not set up with a merchant account yet? We can help you get started with the Intuit Payment Network.
 
Keep a close watch on your A/R reports.
 
Part of being proactive with your accounts receivable is being vigilant and informed. Create and customize A/R reports regularly. When you customize your A/R Aging Detail report, for example, in addition to the other columns that you include, be sure that Terms, Due Date, Bill Date, Aging and Open Balance are turned on (click Customize Report | Displayand click in front of each column label).
 
You should also be looking at Open Invoices and Collections Report frequently, or assigning someone else to monitor them closely. We can help here by creating more complex financial reports periodically, like Statement of Cash Flows.
 
Send statements.
 
Figure 2: In this window, QuickBooks wants you to create filters to identify customers who should receive statements. Here, everyone with transactions that are more than 30 days old will be included.
 
Invoices are generally the preferred way to bill your customers, but you should consider sending statements in addition when customers have outstanding balances past a certain date. QuickBooks sometimes calls these reminder statements. You’re not providing the recipients with any new information; you’re simply sending a kind of report that lists all invoices sent, credit memos and payment received.
 
To generate statements, click Customers | Create Statements. You’ll see the window pictured above. You can send statements to everyone, a defined group or one customer, and you can define the past-due status that you want to target in addition to other options.
Send accurate invoices the first time.
 
Few things will slow down your accounts receivable more than incorrect invoices. The customer can wait until payment is almost due to dispute the charges, which means that they’ll probably get another 15 or 30 days (or whatever their terms are) to pay the amended bill.
So whoever is responsible for creating invoices needs to be checking and re-checking them. If it’s logistically possible depending on your workflow, have them verified by a second employee.
Offer discounts for early payment and assess finance charges.
 
Offering discounts is a balancing act. You’ll be getting less money for your sale – even 5 percent multiplied by many customers can add up – but it may make sense financially for you to take a small hit in return for being able to deposit the payment sooner. We can help you do the math here.
 
To offer this, you’ll have to set up your discount scenario as a Termoption (Lists | Customer & Vendor Profile Lists | Terms List), as seen here:
 
Figure 3: This Standard discount term gives customers a 5 percent discount if their invoice is paid within 10 days.
 
To make a customer eligible for the discount, open the Customer Center and double-click on a customer, then on Payment Settings| Payment Terms.
 
You might also want to be assessing finance charges. The revenue you bring in from finance charges will probably be negligible. But sometimes, just knowing that a late payment will be more costly may prompt your customers to settle up in a timely fashion.
 
Whatever approaches you choose to accelerate your receivables, be consistent. If any of your customers should compare notes, you want to be regarded as being firm but fair.