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.

QBO 0715 image 1_zpsncxa9hqyFigure 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. I 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.

QBO 0715 image 2_zpsm4w3xnwtFigure 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 I hope you’ll let mework 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:

QBO 0715 image 3_zpsd5ep1ykx
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 I should be creating and analyzing for you on a regular basis; these fall under the Accountant Report heading. I encourage you to master QuickBooks Online’s customization tools for many reports, but do let me help you understand the more complex content that will help you make better business decisions.

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Working With Your Accounts in QuickBooks Online

June 2015

“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 me 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.

 

QBO 0615 image 1_zps1ivudtixFigure 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). I recommend that you let me 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. I 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.

QBO 0615 image 2_zpsx1uifcq5Figure 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, I suggest you don’t try. As I’ve said, if I see a reason in your bookkeeping to add, edit, or delete an account, I’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.

QBO 0615 image 3_zpsnahx2wl6Figure 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. I’m here to help if this causes confusion in your daily bookkeeping.

 

 

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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.

QuickBooks Online Home PageFigure 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:

QuickBooks Online OptionsFigure 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.

QuickBooks Online Recent ActivitiesFigure 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.

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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.

Fixed Asset Listing

Figure 1: You’ll need my 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. You’ll see this menu:Select Item TypeFigure 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.

Fixed Asset Screen

Figure 3: You should be able to complete the New Item window in QuickBooks for your fixed assets on your own, but consult with me 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.

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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Receiving Payments in QuickBooks Online

It’s probably your favorite activity in QuickBooks Online: recording payments from customers. Here are the options.

QuickBooks Online was designed to make your workflow fast, intuitive and easy. This is especially true of the interface upgrade that some of you are seeing now (Intuit is rolling out this new look in stages; screen shots displayed here come from the new version).
Receiving payments from customers has never been particularly difficult or time-consuming in any version of QuickBooks, but recent changes have streamlined the process even more.

What really streamlines the process of getting paid, though, is the ability to accept credit and debit cards. I highly recommend that you provide this option to your customers. If you’re not yet set up with a merchant account, I can help you get started.

A Common Scenario

The timing of your payments mandates the type of transaction you’ll use to record them. Probably the most common scenario occurs when you send invoices and your customers submit payments.

There’s more than one way to accept those payments in QuickBooks Online, but probably the easiest involves simply clicking on the Customers tab in the left vertical pane. Then click on the colored tab at the top of the screen that displays a dollar amount and the total number of open invoices.

QBO Customer TabFigure 1: Click on the middle bar in this navigational/informational tool in QuickBooks Online to see a list of your company’s unpaid invoices.


QuickBooks Online displays a table listing all of the customers with open invoices, the number unpaid and the current balance due. Click the Receive payment link in the ACTION column for each customer to go directly to the Receive Payments screen (if that link isn’t showing, click the down arrow, which displays additional options).

Links in the PENDING INVOICES column show how many invoices are open, and their status. Clicking on this link takes you to a list of transactions, which should be open to Invoices. You can select one or more by clicking in the box to the left of the customer name and then clicking the Receive Payment button in the ACTION column.

However you get there, the Receive Payments screen works the same. The customer’s name should already have been selected. Change the Payment date if necessary and select your payment method from the drop-down list, enter any related reference number and select the correct account for the money (ask us if you’re not sure). To the far right, enter the Amount received in the box supplied. Check the box in front of the invoice(s) that should be paid, and make sure that the Paymentin the box on the far right is correct.

Receive Payment window

Figure 2: It’s easy to accept payments in QuickBooks Online. The site does some of the work for you.

If you have a merchant account and have enabled QuickBooks Payments, you’ll be able to record a payment using the customer’s credit or debit card (major cards are supported). When the customers receive invoices, they’ll be able to send their payments back electronically, which will have a positive effect on your accounts receivable and cash flow. The Online Payment button in your sales screens should be turned on when you’re creating the invoice.

Other Options

If a customer should pay you at the same time that the products or services are received, don’t create an invoice. Instead, click the + button at the top of the screen and select Sales Receipt in the Customers column. Fill in the blanks like you would in other sales forms.

Customers may occasionally make a down payment or pre-payment on a product or service. You can process this through the Receive Payments screen (click the + sign and then Receive Payment in the Customers column to get there) and apply it to an invoice later. If you already know what the items or charges will be, you can create an invoice and record the payment as a deposit.

There are multiple ways to receive payments in QuickBooks Online. You can even do so from the invoice screens themselves. So find what fits best into your workflow. You work hard to produce the products and services that your company sells; make sure that customer payments always reward that effort accurately.

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Receiving Payments from Customers in QuickBooks

Receiving Payments from Customers in QuickBooks

Depending on the situation, there’s more than one way to record a payment in QuickBooks. Here are your options.

There are undoubtedly some QuickBooks tasks that are more enjoyable than others. It’s no fun paying bills, for example, and making collection calls on unpaid invoices can be downright unpleasant.

But you probably don’t mind recording payments after all of your hard work creating products or providing services, sending invoices or statements, and generating reports to make sure you’re on top of it all.

QuickBooks offers more than one way to document customer remittances, and it’s important that you use the right one for the right situation.

Defining the destination

Set Company Preferences

 

 

 

 

 

Figure 1: Uncheck the box on the farthest right if you think you may want to direct payments to other accounts sometimes.

Before you begin receiving payments, you need to make sure they’ll end up in the correct account. The default is an account called Undeposited Funds. To make sure that this setting is correct, open the Edit menu and select Preferences, and click the Company Preferences tab. Use Undeposited Funds as a default deposit to account should have a check mark in the box next to it.

If you think you’ll sometimes want to deposit to a different account, leave the box unchecked. Then every time you record a payment, there’ll be a Deposit to field on the form. Talk to us if you’re planning to use any account other than Undeposited Funds, as you can run into serious problems down the road if payments are earmarked for the wrong account.

The right tool for the job

Probably the most common type of payment that you’ll process will come in to pay all or part of an invoice or statement that you sent previously.

Record customer payments

Figure 2: You’ll record payments on invoices you’ve sent in this window.

To do this, open the Customers menu and select Receive Payments. In the window that opens, click on the arrow in the field next to RECEIVED FROM to display the drop-down list, and choose the correct customer. You’ll see the outstanding balance. Enter the amount of the payment you received in the AMOUNT field and change the date if necessary. Click the arrow in the field next to PMT. METHOD, and then select the type of payment.

If you established a credit card as the default payment method in the customer record, the card number and expiration date will be filled in. If not, or if a check was submitted, enter the information requested.

Any outstanding invoices will appear in a table. Make sure that there’s a check mark in front of the correct one(s). If the customer only made a partial payment, you’ll have to indicate how you want to handle the underpayment. Here are your options:

Record partially paid invoices

 

 

 

 

Figure 3: You can select how to handle partially-paid invoices here.

When you’re done, save the payment.

Instant income

There may be times when you receive payment immediately, at the time your products or services change hands. In these cases, you’ll want to use a sales receipt. Open the Customers menu again and click Enter Sales Receipts.

Select a customer from the drop-down list or add a new one, then fill out the rest of the form like you would an invoice, selecting the items and quantities sold, and indicating the type of payment made (cash, check, credit).

Enter a sales receiptFigure 4: Fill out a sales receipt when payment is received simultaneously with the sale.

Other scenarios

These are the most common methods of receiving payments from customers, and you may never have to do anything other than simple payment-recording and sales receipts.

But unusual situations may arise that leave you stumped. For example, a customer may want to make a partial, advance payment before you’ve created an invoice or at the same time you’re entering it. In a case like this, you’ll have to create a payment item so that the money you’ve just received is reflected on the invoice. Or you may get a down payment on a product or service, or even an overpayment.

Let me help you when such situations occur. It’s much easier –and more economical for you – to spend some time with me before you record a puzzling payment than to have me track it down later on. I will  help ensure that your money makes it to the right destination.

 

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25 Accounting Terms You Should Know

It’s back-to-school time. Why not take a page from the kids’ books and do some learning of your own?

QuickBooks is easy to use, intuitive and flexible. But it is not an accounting manual or class or tutorial. If your business is exceptionally uncomplicated, you might get by without knowing a lot about the principles of bookkeeping.

Still, it helps to understand the basics. Here’s a look at some terms and phrases you should understand.

Account. You’ll set up financial accounts like checking and savings in QuickBooks, but in accounting terms, this refers to the accounts in your Chart of Accounts: asset, liability, owners’ equity, income and expense.

A QuickBooks Chart of AccountsFigure 1: A QuickBooks Chart of Accounts

Accounts Payable (A/P). Everything that you owe to vendors, contractors, consultants, etc. is tracked in this account.

Accounts Receivable (A/R). This account tracks income that hasn’t been realized yet, like outstanding invoices.

Accrual Basis. This is one of two basic accounting methods. Using it, you record income as it is invoiced, not when it’s actually received, and you records expenses like bills when you receive them. Using the other method, Cash Basis, you would report income when you receive it and expenses when you pay the bills.

Asset. What physical items do you own that have value? This could be cash, office equipment and real estate. In QuickBooks you’ll be managing two types. Current Assets are generally used within 12 months (or you could convert them to cash in that length of time). Fixed Assets refers to belongings like vehicles, furniture and land, property that you probably won’t use up in a year and which usually depreciates in value. Depreciation is very complex; you may need our help with that.

Average Cost. This is the inventory costing method that programs like QuickBooks Pro and Premier use to calculate the value of your stock.

QuickBooks Statement of Cash FlowsFigure 2: QuickBooks provides a Statement of Cash Flows report.

Cash Flow. This refers to the relationship between incoming and outgoing funds during a specific time period.

Double-Entry Accounting. This is the system that QuickBooks uses – that all legitimate small business accounting software uses. Every transaction must show where the funds came from and where they went. Each has a Credit (decreases asset and expense accounts) and Debit (decreases liability and income accounts) which must balance out (other types of accounts can be affected).

Equity. This refers to your company’s net worth. It’s the difference between your assets and liabilities.

General Journal. QuickBooks handles this in the background, so it’s unlikely you’ll ever be exposed to it. I sometimes have to create General Journal Entries, transactions required for various reasons (errors, depreciation, etc.) that contain debits and credits. Please leave that to me.

Item Receipt. You’ll create these when you receive inventory from a vendor without a bill.

Job. QuickBooks often associates customers with multi-part projects that you’ve taken on, like a kitchen remodel.

Net income. This is your revenue minus expenses.

Non-Inventory Part. When you purchase an item but don’t sell it or you buy something and resell it immediately to a customer, this is what it’s called. It’s merchandise that isn’t stored by you for future sales.

Payroll Liabilities Account. QuickBooks tracks federal, state and local withholding taxes, as well as Social Security and Medicare obligations, that you’ve deducted from employees’ paychecks and will remit to the appropriate agencies.

Payroll Liabilities ScreenshotFigure 3: QuickBooks helps you track and remit Payroll Liabilities.

Post. You won’t run into this term in QuickBooks. It simply refers to recording a transaction within one of your accounts.

Reconcile. QuickBooks helps you with this. It’s the process of making sure your records and those of your financial institutions agree.

Sales Receipt. This is how you record a sale when payment is made in full during the transaction.

Statement. You’ll generally use invoices to bill customers in QuickBooks, but you can also send statements, which contain transaction information for a given date range.

Trial Balance. This standard financial report tells you whether your debits and credits are in balance. Should you run this report and find a problem, let us know right away.
Vendor. With the exception of employees, QuickBooks uses this term to refer to anyone who you pay as a part of your business operations.

These are just a few of the terms you should recognize and understand. I hope you’ll contact me when you need help understanding how the accounting process fits into your workflow.

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QuickBooks Bootcamp

QuickBooks Bootcamp for You and Your Employees

A man starts a little business. He could be an attorney or a chiropractor or a sales rep. Anything. At the end of the year he takes his stuff to his CPA, who tells him “You need to get this stuff up on QuickBooks.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tame the paper monster!

So he goes to Costco or Staples and he picks up the QuickBooks software and he brings it home and tells his wife, who could be a school nurse, “You aren’t doing anything, you can keep the books.”

And another QuickBooks victim is born. She installs the software and maybe looks at a few of the videos, and gets to work. Poor thing, she really doesn’t know what she’s doing, and at the end of the year they take their stuff to the CPA and he charges them $2500 to clean up the QuickBooks before he can start on the taxes. Ow!

This is why I developed the QuickBooks Bootcamp. This is not a seminar that you take in a hotel, or a class that you take with 30 other QuickBooks victims.  I come to your office and I train you, your wife, or employees using your QuickBooks company file.  I show you everything you need to know to get started in QuickBooks properly, and I answer all the questions that keep coming up –

  • How do I record money that I spent out of my pocket or personal accounts that was for business expenses?
  • How do I personalize my invoices so they aren’t so ugly?
  • How can I create custom reports and transactions and memorize them so I can use them again?
  • Do I have to setup a vendor for every restaurant he every goes to?

A QuickBooks Bootcamp takes 3-4 hours, and I will train up to three people.  I offer two bootcamps, the QuickBooks Bootcamp and an Extreme Bootcamp, where I come back after you’ve had a chance to work with it for awhile and I walk you through reconciling your accounts and I answer all your questions that have come up.

So, if you are tired of being a QuickBooks victim, go to my website, sign up for my newsletter, and call me to schedule your QuickBooks Bootcamp. You will be so happy once you are clear about your bookkeeping skills and you know what is happening with your company and your money.

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Preparing Purchase Orders Precisely

Modifying the default template makes tracking easier, more accurate.

Part of the reason for QuickBooks’ success is its exceptional flexibility. By allowing users to turn features and preferences on and off, the same software can be used by a wide variety of business types and sizes.

In some cases, the default settings that QuickBooks supplies will work fine for your company. This is not necessarily true in the case of purchase orders, since the whole inventory procurement process is so complex, and users can have such a diverse range of needs.

Purchase Order Screen ShotFigure 1: QuickBooks 2013’s default Create Purchase Orders screen. You can see that formatting options are available when you click the Formatting tab.

So before you order your first widget, make sure that your purchase order form is designed to accommodate all of the information you want to record and track, with no unnecessary data fields to confuse staff.

Working With Templates

There aren’t many program preferences to check. If you can open a purchase order, you’re set. If not, go to Edit | Preferences | Items & Inventory and be sure that the box next to Inventory and purchase orders are active is checked.

What you want to find first is the Additional Customization screen for the Custom Purchase Order Template. This is easily accessed from the Create Purchase Order screen itself in QuickBooks 2013, but if you’re using an earlier edition, go to Lists | Templates | Custom Purchase Order Template. Double-click on it to open the Basic Customization page. Here, you can add a logo, change fonts and colors, etc. But go ahead and click on the Additional Customization button at the bottom of the screen. This window opens:

Additional Customization Screen ShotFigure 2: The left pane of the Additional Customization window contains additional fields that you might want on your purchase orders, like Ship Via and Terms.

(Tip: If you want to design multiple purchase order templates, click Manage Templates on the Basic Customization screen, then Copy on the Manage Templates page. Rename the form and make your modifications. This version will always be available as an option when you create purchase orders.)

Making It Yours

Each of this window’s four tabs opens a new screen that gives you customization control over a different element of the purchase order form: the top, bottom and midsection, and printing options. You simply check the boxes next to the fields that you want to add to the current form (be sure to check both columns if you want the fields to appear both onscreen and in your printed versions; sometimes, one is not an option) and uncheck any you want to delete

In the right pane of this window, a dynamic preview changes to reflect each addition or deletion. And when you’ve finished altering the set of fields, you can see an actual print preview. Close that and keep clicking OK until you get back to the Templates window.

This simplicity and ease carries over into the more cosmetic elements of your purchase order. Make sure the template you want to redesign is highlighted and click Templates | Create Form Design. QuickBooks walks you through the process of adding a logo and background, colors and fonts, and a grid style, and it lets you apply this same theme automatically to all of your forms. (You can modify your design similarly on the Basic Customization page, minus the wizard-like approach and the background options.)

Simple But Complicated

One more comment about the QuickBooks 2013 purchase order screen. Beyond making your formatting options available in the “ribbon,” it also moves you through purchasing to the receiving process. With the appropriate purchase order open, click Create Item Receipts in the ribbon. This window opens, with the correct vendor name selected. When you click in the Item field, this small window appears:

Figure 3: Click Yes here and select the correct PO, and QuickBooks fills in the data. If you check the Bill Received box, the Enter Bills window opens.

QuickBooks’ purchasing and receiving tools makes your inventory-tracking job easier, but you still need to understand the workflow. I encourage you to let me work with you as you begin managing inventory – or to contact me if you’re tangled up in what can be a very challenging element of QuickBooks.

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Does This Icon Make Me Look Fat?

Does This Icon Make Me Look Fat?

Spring is a good time to clean up and slim down QuickBooks and its data.

Depending on your location, you’re probably starting to see early signs of spring. The nicer weather and signs of new life seem to make people want to spruce up their surroundings.

Now would be a good time, too, to clean up your accounting environment. Some of your screens may be unnecessarily cluttered. And your QuickBooks company file probably needs attention, too.

So here are some suggestions for streamlining QuickBooks. You’ll have a tidier workspace, and you’ll save time and frustration.

Make a Clean Start

Intuit did a great job of giving QuickBooks’ home page a fresher, more “open” look in its 2013 versions. But does everything really need to be there? Could you simplify it a bit? There are several things you can do, including:

Minimize icons. That pretty graphical process map on the home page is great for quick access to frequently-used actions. Some of them must remain there if they’re related to activities you do (i.e., Invoices has to stay if you use Estimates), but you can remove some of the ones you don’t use. Go to Preferences | Desktop View | Company Preferences. You’ll see this:


Figure 1: You can turn off some of the feature icons on your home page.

Some of the options have been grayed out because they support other processes. To remove an active feature icon like Inventory, click on it. In the window that opens, uncheck the box next to Inventory and purchase orders are active (you can also modify options here).

Figure 2: Clicking the checkbox next to Inventory and purchase orders are active grays out the other options and removed related feature icons from the home page.

To reduce the number of feature icons even more, go to the Finance Charge, Jobs & Estimates, Payroll & Employees, Sales & Customers, Sales Tax and Time & Expenses. QuickBooks removes the related icons and reroutes the process map on the home page.

More Time-Saving Tweaks

• Don’t allow multiple windows to open in your work area. Tired of seeing all of those overlapping open windows on your desktop? Open the View menu and select One Window. All of your open windows remain active in the background. To return to one of them, open the Window menu and select the one you want to move to the front (Window | Close All returns you to a blank work area).

Figure 3: Your Icon bar can be your fastest route to often needed screens – if you modify it to only contain the functions you use, in order of importance. You can also change the labels to make them more meaningful to you.

Trim down your icon bar. Seems like a minimal change, but it’s one of those things that can add unnecessary moments of frustration throughout the day (“Where’s the Calendar!”). Click View | Customize Icon Bar.

Customize columns in Lists. You probably work in QuickBooks’ Lists often, but are you spending too much time tracking down the right information? Customize their columns so your registers contain only what you usually need (and add additional ones if it’s helpful). Open a list, right-click anywhere within it and select Customize Columns to modify the display (resize column widths by placing your cursor on the vertical set of dots between labels and dragging).

Figure 4: When you customize your columns in Lists, you’ll find what you’re looking for faster.

Hide inactive items. Highlight an item, right-click and select Make Item Inactive. Open the Item menu in the lower left and click Hide Inactive Items (this action won’t delete them).

Internal Cleaning

These may all seem like cosmetic changes, but you will save time and frustration over the long run.

The most critical spring cleaning task is company file analysis and maintenance. I can handle this for you. QuickBooks can slow down and start generating error messages when the data file becomes unwieldy and sloppy. Preventing file corruption before it crashes your system is a lot faster and less expensive than a reconstruction project.

 

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