Why You Should Be Using Mobile Apps with QuickBooks

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 to apps that can be integrated with your desktop QuickBooks company file has numerous benefits. You can, for example:

  • 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 

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 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, 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.

 

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 means 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.

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.

Customize QuickBooks Reports – Make Better Business Decisions

Customize QuickBooks’ Reports, Make Better Business Decisions
QuickBooks simplifies and speeds up your daily accounting work, but you’re missing out on valuable insight if you don’t 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.

 

Figure 1: QuickBooks’ Report 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.

Figure 2: You can’t miss QuickBooks’ customization 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 default date range 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.

 

Figure 3: In this example, you’ve 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.

Making QuickBooks Yours in 2014

January 6, 2014 · Posted in QuickBooks Software, Time Management Tips, Uncategorized · Comment 
QuickBooks can be used as is (with some exceptions), but you can customize many elements to improve your workflow, your form output and your business insight.

While many of the things you purchase and use in your daily work and professional lives don’t come with options, many do. Think about the last time you bought a car, for example. Did you request additional features for safety or convenience or aesthetic value?

  

You can’t buy “extras” with your copy of QuickBooks. You can select from the different versions (Pro, Premier, etc.) and extend the software’s functionality by installing integrated add-ons from the Intuit App Center. But if you install QuickBooks on two machines from the same DVD or download, they’ll look and work the same.

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Figure 1: Need more functionality in areas like CRM or receivables? Talk to us about adding an integrated app.

That is, until you start customizing the product, which you should do. The customization options in QuickBooks let you:

  • Change the appearance of your desktop 
  • Modify forms to include only needed content and to make them look professional and uniform, and
  • Drill down deeply on your company data to isolate only the information that you want.

The benefits of customization are obvious. You’ll accelerate your workflow, polish your image and get insight that helps you make critical business decisions.

Your Desktop View

QuickBooks has always made your most commonly-used tools available on the home page. Intuit revamped this screen very skillfully starting with the 2013 versions, so it’s much cleaner and less cramped. But if you don’t use all of the functions represented by icons, you don’t have to even see them.

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Figure 2: You can remove icons from the home page, but not if related features are enabled.

 

You can remove icons like Estimates and Time Tracking if you’re not planning to use those functions, but some icons must remain if specific features are active. For example, if sales orders and estimates are enabled, invoices are automatically turned on. Likewise, if you’re enabled Inventory, Enter Bills and Pay Bills are locked in, too.

 

There’s an option to either limit the QuickBooks display to one window or let multiple windows open simultaneously. When you open QuickBooks, you can choose to have a specific set of windows open, the window or windows that were open when you shut down, or no windows.

Your Forms

QuickBooks comes with pre-defined forms for transactions like purchase orders, invoices and sales receipts. If you don’t like the look of one of these default templates, you can download one from the dozens of alternatives that QuickBooks supplies. You can alter these to better meet your needs – even creating multiple versions of the same type of form to use in different situations. 

Columns and fields can be added, deleted, renamed and repositioned so that your forms contain only the information that your business requires. You can add your logo and change fonts and colors. Once you’ve settled on a design, you can apply it to multiple forms to present a unified image to your customers and vendors.

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Figure 3: You can specify which fields will appear – both onscreen and in print — in your templates’ headers, footers and columns.

 

QuickBooks provides the tools to do all of this, but let us help you if you plan to do much modification. It can be challenging, especially if you have to use the Layout Designer.

Your Reports 

You already know that you can do simple modification of your reports, like changing the date range. You may even have clicked on Customize Report and altered the column structure of a report and its sort order.

 

But do you regularly click on the Filters tab in the Modify Report dialog box? If you’re often frustrated because your reports cover too much ground or an inadequate, unfocused level of detail, you should be exploring the options offered here regularly. Filters restrict the data in a given report to a smaller, more targeted group of records or transactions, based on your needs.

 

For example, you might want to find out which customers in your New Construction class have outstanding balances (based on invoices) of more than $500 that are more than 60 days old. You’d set up Filters to create this screen:

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Figure 4: You’ll learn far more about your company’s financial status if you use Filters in reports. We can help you set up the most effective ones for your business.

 

Why not resolve to make your copy of QuickBooks your own in 2014? Some customization processes will require some upfront time, but once you get going, you’ll wish you’d done this sooner.

Maintain Balanced Inventory Levels with Quickbooks Reports

QuickBooks Reports Help You Maintain Balanced Inventory Levels

Running out of products too frequently? Having to sell cheap because inventory is overloaded? Use QuickBooks’ reports.

 

It seems so simple in theory. Don’t overstock goods because you’ll tie up too much money and perhaps need a clearance sale to get rid of the excess. On the other hand,don’t let yourself run out of anything and lose orders.

 

In practice – especially if you stocks dozens or hundreds of items – it’s impossible to ensure this if you’re managing your inventory manually. Guesswork can be costly.

 

It’s a complex element of accounting, but QuickBooks comes equipped with a handful of reports that can keep you on track. They don’t teach you how to balance your inventory to improve profitability, but we can help with that.

  

Figure 1: Be sure to enter a figure in the Reorder Point field so QuickBooks can remind you to reorder.

Building Precise Records

 

There’s a critical number in your item records that must be completed: Reorder Point. You’ll see it at the bottom of the Edit Item window (click Lists | Item Lists and double-click on the correct entry or click New in the Item drop-down list). Without it, QuickBooks can’t alert you when you’re running low.

 

QuickBooks also tells you how many items are currently on hand. If you had reached the reorder point and created a purchase order, you’d see a number under On P.O.

Ideally, you would do this when you’re first adding item records, but you can go back at any time and add it.

 

Rigorous Reporting

 

Running reports regularly will keep you apprised of your inventory status. To see what QuickBooks offers, click Reports | Inventory or go to the Report Center. Select Inventory Valuation Summary. You can also see this report in detail, but if you carry a lot of inventory, it’s difficult to get a birds’ eye view. Do run it, though, if you want to see the transactions that affected your inventory’s value.

Figure 2: The Inventory Valuation Summary does just what the name says.

  

 

In addition to what’s pictured here, this report displays columns for Sales Price, Retail Value and % of Total Retail. As always, you can click Customize Report to change the date range.

 

Precise Tracking 

The Inventory Stock Status by Item report should be consulted frequently. It tells you exactly where all of your items are in the pipeline.

 

Figure 3: This report provides a real-time update of the status of every inventory item. 

 

Watch for checkmarks in the Order column; they appear when you’ve hit or exceeded your specified reorder point. Three other important figures populate columns in this report: the number on purchase order, the date the next shipment should arrive and average sales per week.

 

Reminders can come in quite handy here. To set them up, go to Edit | Preferences | Reminders | Company Preferences. And you’ll find the most comprehensive view of your items in the Inventory Center. Go to Vendors | Inventory Activities | Inventory Center. This screen also provides quick access to commonly-used reports.

Figure 4: The Inventory Center tells you everything you want to know about your items.

  

Automate Your Inventory Reporting 

    

Here’s a quicker way to grab your reports:

  • Go to Reports | Memorized Reports | Memorized Report List.
  • Click the down arrow next to Memorized Report at the bottom and select New Group. Type in Inventory and click OK.
  • Open an inventory report and click Memorize. The Memorize Report window opens. Check Save in Memorized Report Group and select Inventory from the drop-down list. Click OK. Repeat for others you want in this cluster.
  • Click Reports | Process Multiple Reports. Select Inventory from the drop-down list and make sure that there’s a check mark next to the reports you want. You can click on the dates in the From and To column to change them.
  • Click Display or Print.

If you operate a product-based business, the success of your company depends in large part on your ability to find the sweet spot: neither too much nor too little inventory. It’s an ongoing, daily challenge. Let us know if we can provide guidance on this critical balancing act.