Custom Fields Give Better Business Insight

How QuickBooks’ Custom Fields Can Provide Better Business Insight

QuickBooks’ customizability makes it flexible enough for countless business types. Custom fields are a big part of that.

QuickBooks makes it possible for your business to create very detailed records for customers, vendors, employees, and items. In fact, you may find that you rarely make use of every field each contains.

But you may also find that there are additional fields that you’d like to see in your predefined record formats. That’s where custom fields come in. QuickBooks lets you add extra fields and specify what their labels should be.

You can define up to 12 total fields for use in customer, vendor, and/or employee records. QuickBooks treats these just as it treats your built-in fields. They appear in the records themselves, of course, and are included when you export a file containing them. You can also  search for them in reports. 

People Records

There are separate processes for defining fields for your individual and company contacts and your items. Let’s look at how you can set up custom fields for customers, vendors, and employees first.

 

Go to your Customer Center and open a blank Customer record (in newer versions of QuickBooks, you’ll click on New Customer & Job in the upper left corner, and then click New Customer). Then click the Additional Info tab in the left vertical pane of the New Customer window, then click on the Define Fields button in the lower right. This window will open (with blank fields):

Figure1: You can create up to 12 total custom fields that will be shared by customers, vendors, and employees.

It’s easy to create your custom field labels. Simply type a word or short phrase on a line under Label, and then click in the box(es) on the same line in the appropriate column(s). While it’s possible that you would want to include the same field in multiple record types, you’ll most likely have separate labels for each. 

Consider carefully before creating custom field labels. Ask yourself questions like:

  • What do I want to know about customers/vendors/employees that isn’t already covered in the pre-built record formats?
  • What kinds of information will I want to make available in report filters?
  • How will I want to separate out individuals for communications like emails, memos, special sale invitations, etc.

Remember that you’ll have to go back into existing records and fill in these blanks in order to be consistent. You’re not required to complete them, but your searches, reports, etc. will not be comprehensive if you don’t.

As always, you can consult with us if you want some suggestions. 

Item Records

The custom fields we just created are generally only used internally. That is, they won’t automatically appear on sales forms, purchase orders, etc.

You may decide that some custom fields in item records, on the other hand, do need to be available on some forms. For example, you might sell shirts in multiple sizes, colors, and styles.

To start creating them, open the Lists menu and select Item List. Click the down arrow on the Item menu in the lower left, then click New. Since you will be selling similar items that you’ll be keeping in stock, select Inventory Part under TYPE. Then click on the Custom Fields button over on the right and then Define Fields.

Figure 2: If you sell similar items that are available with different characteristics, you’ll want to create custom fields. 

As you did with the earlier custom fields, enter a word or phrase under Label, and then click in the Use column. After you’ve entered up to five fields, click OK.

A Complicated Process

This is where the simplicity of creating and using custom fields for items in reports and transaction forms ends. If you sell t-shirts in various sizes and colors, you’re going to need our help in order to see true inventory levels in reports and add those custom fields to sales and purchase transaction forms.

Figure 3: Adding custom fields to QuickBooks’ standard transaction forms is possible, but you’ll need our assistance to make sure inventory tracking is set up right. 

It may be that you need more inventory-tracking tools than are offered in your version of QuickBooks. If that’s the case, we can help you either add an application that will meet your needs or suggest an upgrade.

Memorize Transactions in QB: Why? How?

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.

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:

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:

 

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.

Make Your Preferences Known in QB

January 30, 2015 · Posted in Bookkeeping Tips, QuickBooks Help, QuickBooks Software · Comment 

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.

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.

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.

Using Statements in QuickBooks: The Basics

Using Statements in QuickBooks: The Basics

Most small businesses use invoices for billing customers. But there are times when you may want to send statements instead of — or in addition to — invoices.

One of the more enjoyable parts of your job is probably sending invoices to your customers to bill for products and/or services is probably one of the more enjoyable parts of your job -second only to recording payments received. Thanks to the company file you’ve built in QuickBooks, creating invoices is generally a very simple process that requires no duplicate data entry.

Figure 1: You probably use QuickBooks’ invoice forms frequently, so you know how much easier it is to fill them out than to create paper bills.

QuickBooks also includes easy-to-use templates for another kind of customer form: the statement. These forms are generally not used nearly as frequently as invoices. However, you may find them more appropriate if you:

  • Want to create a form that lists all of a customer’s open charges
  • Have a customer who accrues multiple charges before being billed
  • Receive advance — or regular — payments, or
  • Need a historical accounting of a customer’s activity, including charges, payments, and balance.

Limitations of Statements

QuickBooks places some restrictions on statements. For example, if you have a number of related charges for which you want to create a subtotal for, you’ll have to use an invoice. Statements also cannot include sales tax, percentage discounts, or payment items. Products or services requiring descriptions that run more than a paragraph can’t go on a statement. Customization options, too, are limited: you can’t add custom fields to the statement form, nor can you include a message to your customers, like, “We appreciate your business.”

The “Reminder Statement”

There may be occasions when you want to create a form that lists invoices received, payments made, and any credits given for one or more customers. This may be necessary when, for example, a customer is disputes a charge. You may also want to send out these statements to remind customers of delinquent payments.

 

You do not have to enter any new data for these statements. Instead, QuickBooks will pull the existing activity that you ask for in the Create Statements window, shown below. To get there, either click on the Statements icon on the home page, or open the Customers menu and select Create Statements.

 

Figure 2: The Create Statements window in QuickBooks offers multiple options for defining the statements you want to send to customers.

 

As you can see, QuickBooks offers a lot of flexibility in the creation of statements. You can specify:

  • The active date range. Under SELECT STATEMENT OPTIONS, you can either enter a date range or request a statement for every customer who has open transactions as of the Statement Date (be sure that this date is correct before proceeding). You can also ask to include only transactions that are past due by a specified number of days.
  • The customers to include. Do you want to use the conditions you just outlined to apply to All Customers? If so, click on the button in front of that options. If you choose Multiple Customers, a small button labeled Choose… will appear. Click on it, and a window displaying your customer list opens. One Customer also opens your list of customers. If you’ve assigned types to your customers and want to include only those in one category (like Residential or Commercial), click Customers of Type. And Preferred Send Method lets you limit your statement output to customers who receive either emailed or printed forms.
  • The template to use. Click the down arrow to see the statement templates available. If you have not customized QuickBooks’ standard form and want to do so, let us help.
  • Whether QuickBooks prepares one statement per customer or per job. This is a very important distinction, so choose carefully.
  • Miscellaneous attributes of your statement run. Click on the box in front of any that should apply.

If you assess finance charges, you can do so here. This is an advanced activity in QuickBooks, and we’d be happy to provide guidance in this area.

When you’re done, you can Preview your statements, Print, or E-Mail them by clicking those buttons.

Entering Individual Charges

If you need to enter individual charges, you’ll have to work with QuickBooks’ customer registers. You’ll find these by either opening the Customers menu and selecting Enter Statement Charges or highlighting a customer in the Customer Center, then clicking the down arrow next to New Transactions and selecting Statement Charges.

Figure 3: Statement Charge in the customer register.

We highly recommend that you let us help you get started if individual charges are necessary. Like many of QuickBooks’ functions, this isn’t a difficult activity once you understand it. But it’s much easier and economical for you to get upfront guidance than for us to come in and untangle your company file.

Depositing Payments in QuickBooks: The Basics

November 4, 2014 · Posted in Bookkeeping Tips, QuickBooks Help, QuickBooks Software · Comment 
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.

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.

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.

 

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.

Billing for Time in QB: An Overview

October 5, 2014 · Posted in Bookkeeping Tips, Business Tips, QuickBooks Help · Comment 
Billing for Time in QuickBooks: An Overview

If you sell your employees’ time and skills, you can use QuickBooks to record those hours and bill your customers for them.

 

If your small business sells products, you know how precisely you must track your starting stock numbers, ongoing inventory levels, and your reorder points. QuickBooks provides tools to help with this process, but human factors can sometimes throw off your careful counts.

 

Fortunately, QuickBooks is remarkably flexible when it comes to recording the time your employees spend on customers and jobs. You can enter information about a single activity — either billable or unbillable — and/or document hours in a timesheet. A built-in timer (the “Stopwatch”) helps you count the minutes automatically; you can also type them in manually.

 

One Work Session

All versions of desktop QuickBooks include dialog boxes designed to help you enter all the details related to a single timed activity. To get there, either open the Employees menu and select Enter Time | Time/Enter Single Activity, or click the down arrow next to the Enter Time icon on the Home Page and choose Time/Enter Single Activity.

 

Figure 1: QuickBooks helps you create records for individual activities completed by employees, which can be either billable or unbillable.

 

You fill out the fields in this window like you would any other in QuickBooks. Click the calendar icon in the DATE field to reflect the date the work was completed (not the current date), and click the down arrows in the fields that contain them to select options from a list. If you already know the duration of the activity, simply enter it in the field to the right of the clock icon. Otherwise, use the StartStop, and Pause buttons to let QuickBooks time it.

 

The Time/Enter Single Activity dialog box is designed to record one activity, not necessarily an entire workday, unless an employee only provides one service for one customer in a day. If he or she provides more than one service for one or more customers, you’ll need a fresh record for each.

 

Note: If the employee selected is timesheet-based, an additional field will appear above the CLASS field asking for the related PAYROLL ITEM. And if you’ve turned on workers’ compensation (and the employee is timesheet-based), a field titled WC CODE will drop into place below it. This must be done absolutely correctly, and it can get complicated. We can help you manage this feature.

 

A Comprehensive View

 

At the top of the Time/Enter Single Activity dialog box, you’ll see an icon labeled Timesheet. If you click on this with an employee’s name selected, his or her timesheet will open and display the hours already entered for that period. Or you can open a blank timesheet by opening the Employees menu and selecting Enter Time | Use Weekly Timesheet. You can also click the Enter Time icon on the Home Page.

Figure 2: You can access an employee’s timesheet from the Time/Enter Single Activity dialog box, from the Employees menu, or from the Home Page.

 

If you’ve entered all of the hours individually for an employee in a given time period, the timesheet should be correct when you click through from the Time/Enter Single Activity boxIf not, you can edit cells by clicking in them and changing the data. Be sure that the Billable box is checked or unchecked correctly.

You can also enter hours directly on a timesheet instead of recording individual activities. Just select the employee’s name by clicking on the arrow in the NAME field at the top of the Weekly Timesheet dialog box and fill in the boxes.

 

Note: Individual activities that you enter for employees are automatically transferred to the timesheet format and vice-versa. 

 

Billing for Time 

 

QuickBooks keeps track of all entered billable hours and reminds you of them when it’s time to invoice. If customers have outstanding time and/or costs, this dialog box will open the next time you start to create an invoice for them:

 

Figure 3: This dialog box is one of the ways QuickBooks helps you bill customers for everything they owe.


QuickBooks also provides several reports related to billing for time. We’ll be happy to go over them and — as always — help with any other questions you might have.

Navigating Nanny Taxes and Household Payroll Compliance

October 2, 2014 · Posted in Bookkeeping Tips · Comment 

Time is precious for most of us these days, and often, we need help at home so we can have more time to run our businesses or careers.  That may mean hiring help for personal tasks such as caregiving for the young, elderly, or special needs family member.  When you first hire a household worker, there’s a whole different set of rules to follow compared to hiring for business.

Underground Payroll

There is a whole industry of “underground” payments made to domestic workers.  Individuals such as housekeepers, regardless if they live with you full time or work once a month, are wrongly paid as contractors, and often in cash, most of the time.  According to the IRS, in court case after court case, these workers should be paid as household employees, even if they are part-time.

Cracking Down

One of the focus areas for the IRS is this area of household payroll.  The current and strong drive to bring this underground payment system to the light is caused by several new pieces of legislation.  A few states have recently passed a domestic workers bill of rights.  Changes in minimum wage and overtime requirements are going into effect in 2015.  And the health care act requires workers to document their wages before they can qualify for a subsidy, so this can bring more workers asking you to get them fully documented on your books.

Getting It Right

The need to hire household workers is rising due to the silver tsunami – a term describing the aging of the populous Baby Boomer generation and their growing need for health care, which will truly stretch our system based on their numbers.

Expert Guidance

When your family makes the decision to hire household workers, seek expert guidance so that you can get through the maze of compliance in this area.  You’ll want to be sure you learn about the risks and compliance issues in this area so that you can properly protect your personal wealth as well as your peace of mind.  And if we can help, please reach out and let us know.

8 QuickBook Reports You Should Be Running

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).

 photo QBC0614image1_zpsbaaf5086.jpg

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.
 photo QBC0614image3_zps53680fa0.jpg

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

 photo QBC0614image2_zps8a5db7fc.jpg

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.

Is It Time for Spring Cleaning Your Business Files?

May 15, 2014 · Posted in Bookkeeping Tips, Management Tips · Comment 

How much time do you spend each day looking for information about orders, customers, vendors, or employees?  If it’s a lot, a little spring cleaning might pay off.  Here are five quick tips to assess and improve your information access.

<strong>Your Librarian</strong>

Large companies often have a librarian on staff that is in charge of stored documents, both physical and virtual.  It’s not a bad idea to have this function in your small business, although you certainly don’t want to devote an entire headcount to it.

Today, a company librarian might be in charge of the company’s document portal, which is a very secure area where company documents can be stored.  It might be on the company server or in a secure area of the cloud.  There are companies that offer secure file storage, accessible through document portals.

The librarian will also be in charge of creating recordkeeping policies and procedures.

<strong>What’s in a Name</strong>

One such procedure that brings order to chaos is setting naming conventions for client files and folders.  Set consistency by using a naming standard such as having a client file name always start with the last name of the client followed by a birth date, or something else unique.

It will save time each time you look up a file because you’ll always know where to look.  Even if it’s only seconds saved per lookup, that time will add up to minutes and hours saved over a year.  That will save you labor costs.  A naming standard will also look professional in front of the client.

<strong>Permanent vs. Transactional</strong>

Get uber-organized by separating your important long-term legal papers from your transactional documents.  Long-term papers such as your corporate by-laws and tax returns should have a special place away from your day-to-day invoices and receipts.  Also keep major purchases such as settlement documents from real estate transactions in a special file that you’ll keep for many years.

Your daily transactional files should be batched up by month or year and stored accordingly.  You’ll be able to delete these files after their retention period is up, while you’ll want to keep your long-term legal papers almost forever.  You still won’t be able to throw away your annual documents too soon – some agencies require you to keep transactional documents for as long as 11 years.

<strong>Paper or Paperless</strong>

What percentage of your business documents is scanned and stored online?  If you’d like to increase this percentage, then make a plan to convert your paper into scanned documents you can access online.  So that it’s not such an overwhelming task, break it down into smaller chunks:   start with one area of your business at a time or one vendor at a time.

Purchase a scanner for everyone in your office, and you’ll soon find your office getting more and more paperless by the week.  You can also have fun taking pictures of receipts on your cell phone and uploading the documents to your document portal.

<strong>A Backup Plan</strong>

So that you don’t lose your documents to a catastrophe, theft or any other disaster, make sure you have a backup of all of your documents so you are able to recover them.

This is where paperless shines over paper, because there is always risk of fire with the latter.  It’s also where a secure document portal beats your company server anytime because of the elaborate layers of security that are required for secure commercial data centers.

After you implement these five tips, you may not even need to do a spring cleaning.  You’ll be organized and efficient, and that’s good for business.

Do You Need to Use QuickBooks’ Fixed Asset Tools?

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.

 

 photo QBC0514image1_zps63899256.jpg

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 ofEnter 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 ITEMfield. Scroll up to the top of the list if necessary and select <Add New>. You’ll see this menu:

 photo QBC0514image2_zps600a88f6.jpg

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 theItem 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 thePurchase 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.

 photo QBC0514image3_zps63bcac9b.jpg
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 LocationPO 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.

 

This can be a little tricky.  Contact us if you need help.

Next Page »