QuickBooks Desktop Tip: Are You Using QuickBooks’ Reminders?

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

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

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

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

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

Totally Customizable

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

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

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

My Preferences vs Company Preferences

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

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

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

Using Reminders

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

QuickBooks Online Tip: Setting Up Sales Tax in QuickBooks Online

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

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

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

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

Setting Up Sales Tax

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

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

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

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

 

Questions about the Combined tax rate? Contact us.

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

Your Responsibilities

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

The site bases its calculations on three things:

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

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

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

Sales Tax Settings

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

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

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

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

 

 

Quickbooks Desktop Tip: Working with QuickBooks’ Vendor Records

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

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

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

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

Filling in Fields

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

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

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

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

The other tabs here open windows where you can specify:

·      Tax Settings. Vendor Tax ID and 1099 eligibility.

·      Account Settings. Here, you can select the default account that should be automatically selected when you enter a bill or expense for this vendor (for example, phone bills=Utilities:Telephone). Talk to us if you don’t understand this. It’s OK to leave it blank for now.

·      Additional Info. Vendor Type (subcontractors, for example) and Custom Fields (fields you can define for your own use).

When you’re done, click OK.

Viewing Your Records

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

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The Vendor Information window displays contact information in the top pane (not pictured here), and additional details below.

Here’s where your conscientious work creating records starts to pay off. Click on any of the five tabs in the top toolbar to display that vendor’s Transactions, the Contacts from that company, any related To Do’s, Notes you’ve taken, and Sent Email. Once your lists grow unwieldy, you can search by a variety of filters.

Using Records in Transactions

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

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

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QuickBooks provides numerous paths to creating vendor-related transactions.

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

QuickBooks Online Tip: Are You Using QuickBooks Online's Mobile App?

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

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

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

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

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

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

Adding Transactions

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

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

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

·      Who did you pay?

·      What kind of expense is this?

·      Who was it for?

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

Viewing Existing Information

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

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

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

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

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

Quickbooks Desktop Tip: Creating Customer Statements in QuickBooks

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

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

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

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

A Simple Process

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

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

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

Choosing Customers

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

·      All Customers.

·      Multiple Customers. When you click on this choice, QuickBooks displays a Choose button. Click on it, and your customer list opens in a new window. Click on your selections there to create a check mark. Click OK to return to the previous window.

·      One Customer. QuickBooks displays a drop-down menu. Click the arrow on the right side of the box, and choose the correct one from the list that opens.

·      Customers of Type. Again, a drop-down list appears, but this one contains a list of the Customer Types you created to filter your customer list, like Commercial and Residential. You would have assigned one of these to customers when you were entering data in their QuickBooks records (click the Additional Info tab in a record to view).

·      Preferred Send Method. E-mail or Mail?

Miscellaneous Options

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

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

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

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It’s easy to see how much each customer is past due within each aging period. This summary appears at the bottom of statements.

After you’ve checked all the statements, click the Print or E-mail button at the bottom of the window.

Other Avenues

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

QuickBooks Online Tip: What Is a Vendor Credit, and How Do You Record One?

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

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

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

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

Simple Steps

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

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

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

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

Payment date - Change the default date if it's not correct.

Ref no. - Enter a reference number if applicable.

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

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

Additional Input

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

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

Using Your Credit

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

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

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

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

Quickbooks Desktop Tip: What Sales Orders Are and When to Use Them

They’re not as commonly used as invoices. But if you need them, they’re there.

When you want to document sales that you can’t (or won’t) fulfill immediately, but you plan to do so in the future, you can’t create an invoice just yet. This is where sales orders come in.

You may never need to create a sales order for a customer. Perhaps you have a service-based business, or you never run out of inventory. Or you simply don’t enter an order unless you know you have the item(s) in stock.

But if you plan to use sales orders, you must first make sure QuickBooks is set up to accommodate them. Open the Edit menu and select Preferences, then Sales & Customers. Click the Company Preferences tab to open that window.

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Before you can use sales orders, you’ll need to make sure that QuickBooks is set up for them.

Sales Orders Are Required for Some Tasks

There are a few situations where you must use a sales order:

• If you have a customer who orders very frequently, you may not want to create an invoice for absolutely every item. You could use a sales order to keep track of these multiple orders, and then send an invoice at the end of the month.

• If you’re missing one or more items that a customer wanted, you can create a sales order that includes everything, but only note the in-stock items on an invoice. The sales order will keep track of the portion of the order that wasn’t fulfilled. Both forms will include the back-ordered quantity.

Warning: Working with back orders can be challenging. In fact, working with inventory-tracking itself may be problematic for you. If your business stocks enough of multiple types of items that you want to use those QuickBooks features, let us help you get started to ensure that you understand these rather complex concepts.

Creating a Sales Order

Creating sales orders in QuickBooks is actually quite simple and similar to filling out an invoice. Click the Sales Orders icon on the home page, or open the Customers menu and select Create Sales Orders.

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A sales order in QuickBooks looks much like an invoice.

Click the down arrow in the field next to Customer: Job and choose the correct one. If you use Classes,select the correct one from the list that drops down, and change the Template if you’ve created another you’d like to use.

Tip: Templates and Classes are totally optional in QuickBooks. Templates provide alternate views of forms containing different fields and perhaps a different layout.

Classes are like categories. You create your own that work for your business; they can be very helpful in reports. Talk to us if you don’t understand these concepts.

If the shipping address is different from the customer’s main address, click the down arrow in the field next to Ship To, and either select an alternate you’ve created or click <Add New>. Make sure the Dateis correct, and enter a purchase order number (P.O. No.) if appropriate.

The rest of the sales order is easy. Click in the fields in the table to make your selections from drop-down lists, and enter data when needed. Pay special attention to the Tax status. Let us know if you haven’t set up sales tax and need to.

When everything is correct, save the sales order. When you’re ready to convert it to an invoice, open it and click the Create Invoice icon in the toolbar. QuickBooks will ask whether you want to create an invoice for all the items or just the ones you select. You’ll be able to specify quantities, too, in the window that opens.

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When you create an invoice from a sales order, you can select all the items ordered or a subset.

As we’ve said, sales orders are easy to fill out in QuickBooks. But they involve some complex tracking, and you may want to schedule a session with us before you attempt them. Better to understand them ahead of time than to try to troubleshoot problems later.

 

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QuickBooks Online Tip: 7 Best Practices for QuickBooks Online

Even if you’ve been using QuickBooks Online for a long time, it’s good to step back and evaluate your actions.

“Best practices” aren’t enforceable rules. They’re simply guidelines businesses commonly follow in one area or another. If you’re in retail, for example, one best practice might be to always ask customers checking out if they found everything they were looking for. This serves two purposes: It conveys a feeling of concern for the customer’s shopping experience, and it may also lead to increased sales.

QuickBooks Online has many best practices, some of which may serve multiple purposes, including these:

·     They keep your company data safe and clean.

·     They provide insight on your financial status.

·     They save time.

·     They can lead you to better relationships with customers and vendors.

Are any or all the following common practices for your business?

Reconcile accounts regularly.

One of QuickBooks Online’s most useful features is its ability to connect to your financial institution’s websites and download cleared transactions. QuickBooks Online also offers tools to help you keep your accounts reconciled online, like you used to do every month when your paper statement came. Reconciling accounts can help you uncover errors. It gives you a truer picture of your cash flow, and it improves the accuracy and timeliness of some reports.

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It’s not a particularly pleasant process, but you should be reconciling your accounts regularly in QuickBooks Online. We can help.

Clean up your lists.

Some lists in QuickBooks Online aren’t overly lengthy. You don’t have to worry about, for example, Payment Methods, Terms, or Classes. Your lists of customers and vendors, products and services, on the other hand, can grow unwieldy over the years. This means it can take more time than it should to scroll through lists when you’re using those entities in transactions. It also puts unnecessary stress on your company file. If you can’t delete any, at least make them inactive.

Never leave QuickBooks Online open when you leave your work area.

This goes for everyone, even people who work alone and don’t access their company files away from their work areas. The obvious reason is to keep someone else from getting in and authorizing payments, for example, or otherwise compromising your financial information. It also protects the integrity of your data file in case your internet connection suffers some kind of outage.

Keep track of 1099 vendors.

Whether your company uses 10 vendors or a hundred or more, you may have to supply at least some of them with an IRS Form 1099 at about the same time you’re preparing W-2s for employees. Your 1099-related tasks will be much easier if those individuals and/or companies are earmarked. If you think vendors might need 1099s when you create their records in QuickBooks Online, click in the box to the left of Track payments for 1099 in the lower right corner. Not sure? Ask us.

Classify everything with care. Every time you have to create a record or transaction where categories are involved (i.e., ClassesCustomers and VendorsTerritories), check and double-check that you’ve assigned them the correct classification. Errors here can result not only in problems with daily workflow, but your reports will not be accurate. A related best practice: Create a meaningful group of Classes, and use them faithfully. They’ll help you make better business decisions.

To create your list of Classes, click the gear icon in the upper right and selectAll Lists | Classes | New.

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View reports on a regular basis.

There are some advanced financial reports in QuickBooks Online that we should be creating for you on a regular basis, either monthly or quarterly. These include Profit and LossBalance Sheet, and Statement of Cash Flows. The mechanics of creating them aren’t difficult, but analyzing them is. You should be running reports on your own at frequencies that you think would be helpful, like A/R Aging DetailUnpaid Bills, and Sales by Class Detail.

If you’ve been using QuickBooks Online for a while, you could probably come up with your own list of best practices. If you’re new to the site, consider scheduling some time with us to go over more of them. Develop good habits from the start, and there won’t be nearly as much need for troubleshooting down the road.

QuickBooks Desktop Tip: Working with Checks in QuickBooks

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

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

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

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

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

Other examples here include:

·     Issuing paychecks (click the Pay Employees icon),

·     Submitting payroll taxes and liabilities (Pay Liabilities icon), and

·     Paying sales taxes (Manage sales tax icon).

Simple Steps

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Easy, But Tricky

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

·     Issue a check from the wrong screen,

·     Classify a check incorrectly, or,

·     Skip a step.

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

 

QuickBooks Online Tip: Receiving Payments in QuickBooks Online

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

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

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

Receive payment on an invoice

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Receive payment at the time of the sale

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

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

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

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

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

Receive a down payment or retainer

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

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