QuickBooks Desktop Tip: Why QuickBooks Should Be on Your Desktop

You know about QuickBooks but you’re still hesitating. Here’s why you should make the transition.

Even if you’re a very small business, you’re at a competitive disadvantage if you’re still doing your accounting manually. You might be doing okay using Microsoft Word for invoices and records and Excel for reports.

But many of your rivals manage their financial data digitally. Some of them likely use QuickBooks; it’s the market leader, and it’s on millions of desktops. Their products and/or services may not be superior to yours, but they have an edge because they’re running their businesses more efficiently. They’re presenting a more modern image to their market and building better customer relationships.

Now is the time to update your accounting system. Here’s what your competition has learned and what you, too, can experience.

How It Helps

There’s never a good time to make the transition to new software. Switching to QuickBooks is going to cut into your productive hours, and it will take some time to learn how it works before you can start using it daily. We can accelerate that process by helping you implement it and training you on its operations.

Once you get going, you’ll discover a whole range of benefits that you may not have even considered, like:

  Once you’ve created an item record, for example, QuickBooks stores it for use in transactions.

Once you’ve created an item record, for example, QuickBooks stores it for use in transactions.

Minimized errors. Once you’ve entered data in QuickBooks, whether it’s a customer’s address or a product/service price and description, the software stores it. It will appear in lists that you can access when, for example, you’re creating invoices. Not only does this improve accuracy, but it also makes duplicate data entry unnecessary.

Faster payments from customers. QuickBooks supports merchant accounts. Sign up for one, and you’ll be able to accept direct bank transfers and credit/debit cards from customers. You can automatically include a payment stub on invoices to speed up the remittance process.

Real-time account balances. Supply your login information for your online banks and other financial institutions, and QuickBooks can connect to them. It imports cleared transaction data regularly and helps you reconcile your accounts. You can even set it up to pay your bills electronically.

Instant data access. Got a customer on the phone who has a problem with an invoice or payment? QuickBooks’ search tools help you track down the smallest detail in seconds.

Time-tracking. If you (or your employees) provide services that are billed back to customers, you can create time records individually or on a timesheet. These blocks of hours and minutes can be marked billable, so they’ll appear the next time you start an invoice for any affected customers.

  If your company sells services, you can create individual time records or comprehensive timesheets and mark sessions as billable.

If your company sells services, you can create individual time records or comprehensive timesheets and mark sessions as billable.

Improved customer relationships. Your customers want answers when they have problems or questions, and they want them quickly and accurately. QuickBooks lets you store all needed details about customers in records, including contact information, payment particulars, and transaction history. Nothing helps encourage future sales like a company that knows its customers.

A more contemporary image. Those invoices and statements you create in Word—or worse, write by hand—contribute to your customers’ impressions of you and your commitment to using state-of-the-art technology to better serve their needs. When you email professional-looking, carefully-customized sales and purchase forms, you’re likely to go up a notch in their eyes.

Feature flexibility. You can use a little of QuickBooks and still have it be worth your time and technology dollars, or you can stretch its capabilities to the limits. If the latter happens, you may want to expand the software’s reach by integrating it with one of the hundreds of add-ons available in areas like inventory, invoicing and billing, and CRM.

Time and money savings. This is actually the most compelling reason to use QuickBooks. Yes, you have to pay upfront for the software, but you’ll soon see that your investment will reduce the hours you spend on accounting. That means you’ll have more time to do what only you can do: make your business flourish by planning for its future and taking the actions that will move you toward greater success.

Have you installed QuickBooks but you’re having trouble using its features fully? Do you need some guidance, particularly in the area of advanced reports? Contact us. We’ll assess where you are with the software and devise a plan to complete its implementation. You may be surprised to learn what you can do.

QuickBooks Online Tip: Don't Have a Budget? QuickBooks Online Can Help

The hardest part of creating a budget is getting started. QuickBooks Online provides tools that can jump-start the process.

You know you should have a budget. You’re aware that it can help you stay on track with your company’s income and expenses throughout the year. Maybe you’ve even tried to make one before, but you got discouraged by the mechanics or by the difficulty of estimating money in and out for the next 12 months.

June may not be the beginning of your fiscal year, but that doesn’t mean you can’t make a serious effort to start building a budget that can help you rein in expenses and set revenue goals.

Here’s a look at QuickBooks Online’s budgeting features.

Creating the Framework

Before you begin, you’ll want to make sure that your fiscal year is set correctly in QuickBooks Online. Click the gear icon in the upper right, then click Your Company | Account and Settings | Advanced. If the First month of fiscal year isn’t correct, click the pencil icon over to the right and change it. Then click Save and exit out of this window.

Click the gear icon again and select Budgeting, then click Add budget in the upper right.

  QuickBooks Online asks you the questions that need to be answered before you start filling in your budget grid.

QuickBooks Online asks you the questions that need to be answered before you start filling in your budget grid.

The first thing you’ll do is give your budget a descriptive name by entering it in the Name field. Next, open the drop-down list under Fiscal year and select the correct 12-month period. You can create your budget in one of three intervals: Monthly, Quarterly, or Yearly. If you want to populate your budget with numbers from this year or last, make that selection in the Pre-fill data? field.

 

There’s one more option at the top of the Budgets Grid screen that’s not shown in the image above. You can

Subdivide by Customer, Class, or Location. This can be useful if you want to view budget data specific to a subset of entries in each of those categories. You could, for example, choose three customers and view only their numbers in the grid individually, one at a time.

Providing Your Numbers

Once you’re satisfied with the selections you’ve made, click Create Budget in the lower right. The screen will refresh and display a grid that you can edit.

Let’s say you’re working on a budget for the second half of 2018. QuickBooks Online brought in your numbers for January-May. You see that the numbers don’t vary much from month to month on one specific line item, so you’re going to assume that they will continue to be true (unless you know something that will affect it after May). You could enter a rough average of the first five months in the JUN field. 

Hover your cursor over the arrow to the side of that field, and this sentence appears in a small bubble: Click to copy the value across on the row. QuickBooks Online will then enter that number in the JUL through DEC fields.

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QuickBooks Online can save you some time as you enter data in your budget grid fields.

When you’re done entering data in all of the fields relevant to your business, click Save in the lower right and close the window. Your budget will now show up in the list.

Tip: If you have multiple blank rows and don’t want them to be displayed, click the gear icon in the upper right corner of your budget page. Click in the box in front of Hide blank rows to create a checkmark.

The Hard Part

QuickBooks Online simplifies the mechanics of creating a budget, but it’s up to you to supply the numbers. There’s lots of common-sense advice that experts offer for this process, like:

  • Remember seasonal upswings and downswings.
  • Make your goals as realistic as possible. You might want to create separate budgets for “needs” and “wants.”
  • Track your expenses carefully for a period of time so you can estimate more confidently.
  • Create reports regularly that compare your budget vs actuals.

QuickBooks Online can help you with that last piece of advice; it offers a report called Budget vs. Actuals. You’ll find it in the Business Overview group.

We can help, too. Once we understand a little more about your business structure and goals, we can take a look at your income and expense history and make some personalized recommendations. Connect with us soon, and we can start you on the path to a more focused financial future.

 

 

 

 

 

QuickBooks Desktop Tip: All About Sales Receipts in QuickBooks

Documenting every sale carefully helps ensure that your financial records and reports will be accurate. The sales receipt is the right tool for this in specific situations.

You know how important it is to obtain receipts for the expenses you and your employees incur. You need to record them, analyze their impact on your cash flow, and claim some of them on your income taxes.

Your customers, too, expect to receive forms documenting purchases they’ve made from you. When they pay you immediately for goods or services, you’ll give them a sales receipt, rather than invoicing them for future remittance. Not only will your customers have a record of the transaction – you will, too.

QuickBooks supports the creation and tracking of sales receipts. It manages the mechanics of this important task incredibly well. It eliminates the need to enter receipt data twice, once on a paper copy for your customer and again in your accounting system. This QuickBooks feature not only minimizes errors but saves time and lessens the possibility of disputes down the road.

A Simple Form

Here’s an example of a situation that illustrates the importance of really learning about and understanding QuickBooks before you start entering live data. Say you got a check from a customer on the spot for a house painting job you completed. When you look at QuickBooks’ home page, which icon do you click?

You might be tempted to click Receive Payments, since that’s exactly what you’re doing. But that screen is reserved for revenue that comes in to satisfy outstanding invoices and unpaid items on billing statements. Instead, you’d click Create Sales Receipts to open the Enter Sales Receipts window. Here’s a partial view of what you’d see:

  When a customer pays you immediately for goods or services, you need to open and complete the Enter Sales Receipts window.

When a customer pays you immediately for goods or services, you need to open and complete the Enter Sales Receipts window.

If you’ve already entered your customer and item/service records in QuickBooks, you can record your sale very quickly here. Even if you haven’t, or if you need to create a new record on the fly, you can select <Add New> when you open the drop-down option lists for the Customer: Job and Item fields. 

Warning: Do you need to track inventory levels for products you sell? Have you created thorough records for these items? There is information that QuickBooks needs to help ensure that you don’t run out of stock or keep too much on hand. Let us walk you through the software’s inventory-management tools so you can take advantage of all the benefits they offer.

Once you’ve selected the appropriate customer, Class (if you use this feature), and Template (Here again, do you understand that you can either use the default sales receipt form provided by QuickBooks or customize it? We can help here), make sure that the Date and Sale No. are correct. 

Next, click on the icon representing the transaction’s payment method, choosing from Cash, Check, Credit Card, or eCheck. Click the More button if your method isn’t listed there. Here, you can add new options by selecting Add New Payment Method. A small window will open allowing this. If you want to modify this list further by, for example. editing and deleting the default methods, clear and close the current sales receipt, open the Lists menu, and select Customer & Vendor Profile Lists | Payment Method List. This window will open: 

 Click the down arrow in the  Payment Method  field near the bottom of this window to see your modification options.

Click the down arrow in the Payment Method field near the bottom of this window to see your modification options.

Once you’ve chosen the desired Payment Method (and entered a check number if necessary), you’ll complete the rest of the sales receipt much like you would an invoice, by selecting the correct products or services, the quantity you’re selling, and the transaction’s tax status. QuickBooks will fill in the rest if you’ve created complete item records.

When you’re done, save the sales receipt. Information about the transaction will be available in standard places like the Customer Information screens and various reports.

Whether your revenue comes instantly (documented by a sales receipt) or as longer-term payment on an invoice, your company’s income is just one element of the cash flow equation. Are you able to create and interpret the reports that can help you understand these complex calculations, like Cash Flow Forecast and Profit & Loss? You probably run some of QuickBooks’ more basic sales reports regularly, but consider bringing us in to do the deep analysis needed to make better business decisions.

QuickBooks Online Tip: Using Product and Service Records in QuickBooks Online

Last month, we created product and service records in QuickBooks Online. This month, we’ll explore how they’re used on the site.

If you ever did your accounting manually, you probably remember how tired you got of writing or typing the same things over and over. You may have had your customers’ addresses practically memorized, and your product price list was always close at hand, though you knew that by heart, too.

QuickBooks Online eliminates that duplicate data entry, saving time and reducing errors dramatically. Because of the product and service records you’ve created, completing sales and purchase forms can now be an easy, accurate task. You’ll also have fast access to information about your inventory levels and the profit you make on items. You’ll know what’s selling and what’s not, and when it’s time to reorder.

Here’s how.

Picking Products

Much of your accounting work probably consists of filling out forms. Whenever you create one of these invoices or sales receipts or purchase orders, you already know that you can open a drop-down list and select the name of a customer or vendor. QuickBooks Online lets you enter data about what is being bought or sold in the same way.

To see how this works, open an invoice form and complete and/or verify the fields at the top (customer, date, terms, etc.). Click in the first PRODUCT/SERVICE field, and then click the down arrow to see the list of items and services you sell.

 When you create a sales or purchase form, you’ll be able to select the appropriate product or service from the drop-down list – or add a new one.

When you create a sales or purchase form, you’ll be able to select the appropriate product or service from the drop-down list – or add a new one.

When you select an item, the description and price will fill in automatically. You’ll have to add the quantity and click in the box below the column labeled Tax (if applicable). QuickBooks Online will calculate the total cost of the product or service on that line. If you need to enter additional sales, proceed to the PRODUCT/SERVICE field in the second line and repeat those actions until you’re done and can save the transaction.

Working with Items

What do you do when you need more information about a specific product than just its description and price? Do you have to return to its individual record?

No. QuickBooks Online includes a great tool that provides real-time updates on your inventory items and lets you work with them. Click the Sales tab in the left vertical menu, and then on the Products and Services tab at the top. The table that opens displays numbers for every item’s quantity on hand and reorder point. Look at the end of each line, and you’ll see a drop-down list labeled Edit that looks like this:

 QuickBooks Online’s Products and Services page provides real-time inventory updates, as well as item-management tools.

QuickBooks Online’s Products and Services page provides real-time inventory updates, as well as item-management tools.

As you can see, there are a number of actions you can take here on individual products. 

Warning: If you think there’s a reason you should Adjust quantity or Adjust starting value, please talk to us first. Your inventory records need to be precise. We can schedule a session to go over this and other concepts you need to understand in order to keep inventory counts accurate.

You can take some of these actions on multiple items simultaneously. Click the down arrow in the Batch actions field above this Edit menu. Click the boxes in front of the products you want to work with and select the desired activity (unavailable ones will be grayed out in the list). Take extra care with this mass modification tool.

Multiple Reports

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QuickBooks Online contains templates for numerous inventory-related reports that you can customize.

QuickBooks Online’s Product and Services screen may be all you need in your daily work, but there will be times when you need more analytical assistance. You can turn to the site’s specialized reports for more in-depth scrutiny. Click the Reports tab in the left vertical pane. Make sure the All Reports list is active and select Manage Products and Inventory to see what’s available, including:

  • Inventory Valuation Detail.
  • Sales by Product/Service Detail.
  • Physical Inventory Worksheet.

Reports are easy to run but can be difficult to customize correctly and interpret. If we’re not working with you already on the complex standard financial reports that should be reviewed monthly or quarterly, talk to us. The more you understand about the financial status of your company, the better your decisions will be.

 

QuickBooks Desktop Tip: Polish Your Image - Customize QuickBooks' Forms

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

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

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

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

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

Improving What Exists

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

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

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

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

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

Deeper Customization

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Neatness Counts

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

QuickBooks Online Tip: Creating Product and Service Records in QuickBooks Online

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

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

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

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

Detailed Templates

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

When you’re done, save the record.

Viewing Your Record

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

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

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

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

 

QuickBooks Online Tip: Getting Ready for Payroll in QuickBooks Online

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

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

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

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

Our Purpose Here

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

Building a Backbone

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

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

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

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

Payroll Policies

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

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

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

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

Taxes and More

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

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

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

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

 

QuickBooks Desktop Tip: Get Paid Faster Using QuickBooks

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

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

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

Simplify the Payment Process

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

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

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

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

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

Your customers will appreciate the convenience, and may even be more likely to make a purchase.

In 2018, customers and prospects expect to be able to pay for items and services electronically. Not allowing this affects their perception of you as a forward-thinking, progressive business.

You’ll save time, which translates to money. Instead of chasing payments, you can be working on ways to meet your goals and help your company grow.

Always Know Where You Stand

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

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

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

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

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

Remind Late Payers

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

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

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

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

 

 

 

QuickBooks Online Tip: Getting Ready for Payroll in QuickBooks Online

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

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

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

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

Our Purpose Here

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

Building a Backbone

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

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

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

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

Payroll Policies

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

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

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

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

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

Taxes and More

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

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

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

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

QuickBooks Desktop Tip: Tracking Time in QuickBooks, Part 2

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

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

Recording Employee Hours

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Save the activity record when you’ve completed it.

Using Timesheets

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

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

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

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

Billing Customers for Time

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

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

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

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

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

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