Efficiency Tips

Efficiency Tips

1.Click on File
2.Click Back Up
3. Complete the location where the file will be backed up (i.e. floppy disk in A: or other disk)
4.Click the Back Up button

Over time, your QuickBooks company can grow in size to the point that it becomes difficult to find specific transactions. For instance, let’s say that you hire a new employee, and want to order another desk to match the ones in your office.

 

You vaguely remember the last time that you ordered a desk, but can’t remember which vendor, or how much you paid. In this article we’ll discuss seven ways that you can search QuickBooks to find transactions such as this, or when necessary, determine if a transaction was deleted.

 

    • #1: Registers

 

    • #2: Simple Find

 

    • #3: Advanced Find

 

    • #4: Search

 

    • #5: Customized Lists

 

    • #6: Report Filters

 

    • #7: Audit Trail

 

Summary
Hopefully you now have at least a couple of new ways to retrieve transactions or contact information from QuickBooks. Not every technique is appropriate for every search, but understanding these seven ways to search QuickBooks can broaden your skills, and help you retrieve information about anything within your accounting records.

Did You Know?

There are hundreds of add-on products available for QuickBooks that may be able to help you streamline business processes that you currently carry out by hand. Visit http://marketplace.intuit.com to search the list of available products by industry or business need.

Many applications are certified by QuickBooks, and most products include customer product ratings. Free trials are often available, so you can try products before you buy. The web site also includes a list of developers, so you can have a custom application written for you if can’t find an existing tool to meet your needs.

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You’ll likely be closing the books on 2010 soon and your records will become the basis for your tax return. It’s critical that your QuickBooks records for a given year match the corresponding tax return, so consider setting a closing date in QuickBooks so that no one inadvertently changes the supporting documents for your tax return:

  • Choose Edit, and then Preferences.
  • Choose Accounting, and then click on the Company Preferences tab. You can use this window to determine if a closing date has been set.
  • Click Set Date/Password, and then enter a closing date. Although optional, you should then set a password. If you set a date without a password, then the prompt shown in Figure 2 will appear when someone attempts to enter or modify a transaction dated on or before the closing date.
  • Conversely, the prompt will ask for the closing date password.
    • The Company Preferences Accounting tab displays the current closing date for your company.
    • Users can bypass this warning prompt if you don’t set a closing date password.
    • Set a closing date password to ensure that users can’t modify prior year transactions without permission.

It’s generally best to set the closing date once you’ve completed all of your year-end reconciliations, printed W-2s and 1099s, and other year-end tasks. In fact, an ideal time is when you send the books out to have your tax return prepared.

Eliminating Uncategorized Income and Expenses

Unless you set a specific preference, users can enter transactions without specifying a revenue or expense account. Such transactions appear on the Profit & Loss Statement as Uncategorized Income or Uncategorized Expenses.

If these items appear on your Profit & Loss Statement its an easy fix. Simply double-click on the amount, and then double-click on each of the transactions in the resulting transaction report. Assign accounts to each of the underlying transactions, and then click the Refresh button to see the effect on your report.

Fortunately you can set a preference in QuickBooks to ensure that no uncategorized transactions will ever slip through:

  • Choose Edit, and then Preferences.
  • Choose Accounting, and then click on the Company Preferences tab.
  • Ensure that Require Accounts is checked, and then click OK to save the preference.
  • QuickBooks places transactions that don’t have account numbers into Uncategorized Income and Expenses.
  • The Require Accounts preference prevents uncategorized income and expense transactions.

Note: Setting this preference won’t clear up existing uncategorized transactions, but will prevent them from occurring in the future.

How to Print W-2s and 1099s from QuickBooks

If you process payroll in QuickBooks, you’ll soon need to print W-2 for your employees. The recipient copies of these forms must be postmarked by January 31, 2013, while you’ll need to submit the government copies by February 28, 2013.

QuickBooks can print on blank perforated W-2 forms or preprinted W-2 forms. But before you embark on printing W-2 forms, make sure that you have the latest payroll update:

  • Choose Employees, and then Get Payroll Updates.
  • Click the Update button, and then follow the on-screen prompts to download the latest payroll updates and forms for your version of QuickBooks.

Once you’ve installed the payroll updates, you’re now ready to print your W-2 forms:

  • Choose Employees, Payroll Tax Forms & W-2s, and then Process Payroll Forms.
  • Choose Federal Form, and then click OK.
  • choose Annual Form W-2/W-3 Wage and Tax Statement/Transmittal, and then specify the year for which you’re printing W-2s.
  • You can print W-2 forms directly from QuickBooks on preprinted or blank forms.
  • When the Select Employees for Form W-2/W-3 window appears, click Review/Edit to display a preview of each form to be printed. You’ll walk through an interview, copies of the W-2 forms, the summary W-3 form, and then printing instructions.
  • Click Submit Form to display the dialog box. You then use this window to print the various copies of forms W-2 and W-3.

How to print 1099-Misc

QuickBooks allows you to generate a 1099-Misc, as well as the transmittal Form 1096. 1099 must be postmarked by the same dates discussed previously for W-2s. Here’s how to print 1099s in QuickBooks:

  • Choose Vendors, and then Print 1099s/1096. If this option does not appear, choose Edit, Preferences, and then Tax: 1099. Choose Yes on the Company Preferences tab, and then click OK.
  • When the 1099 and 1096 Wizard appears, click the Run Report button for step 1. When the Vendor 1099 Review report appears, carry out these steps:
  • Scroll down and ensure that all vendors that require a 1099 have a Yes in the Eligible for 1099 field. Check with your tax advisor if you’re unclear as to whether any of your vendors should receive a 1099 form.

If you find any misclassified vendors, double-click on the vendor name, and then choose the Additional Info tab, and then set or clear the Vendor Eligible for 1099 checkbox. Filter the report to show only 1099 vendors, so that you can confirm that every 1099 vendor has a proper address and tax ID number entered in QuickBooks.

To do so, click the Modify Report button, and then click the Filters tab. Scroll down to the Eligible for 1099, and then choose Yes, as shown in Figure 8. Click OK, and then confirm that all vendors have tax IDs and addresses.Simplify your 1099 review by displaying only vendors that require 1099s. Ensure that each vendor has a proper tax ID and address lists.

Return to the 1099 and 1096 wizard, and then click the Map Accounts button. Most 1099 vendors are classified as subcontractors, so ensure that Box 7 matches the account where you posted subcontractor income.

Click the Run Report button on the 1099 wizard. As shown in Figure 9, the report shows amounts that will appear on a 1099, as well as amounts you paid that won’t be included.

Be sure to double-click each amount in the Uncategorized column. QuickBooks only allows you to map a single account to a given box on Form 1099, so you may need to change the account on one or more uncategorized transactions to ensure that the 1099 reports the proper amount. Keep in mind that reimbursed expenses are not typically included on Form 1099.

Double-click on uncategorized amounts to determine whether they should be included on Form 1099.

Once you’ve reviewed the summary report, click Print 1099s. Confirm the date range to use, and then use the Select 1099s to Print window shown in Figure 10 to preview and then print your forms.

This window allows you to print copies of Forms 1099 and 1096.

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Use the Open Previous Company option found on the File menu to give you fast access to company files you have used recently

Here’s how you delete some of those old invoices that have been hanging around since 2002. This is a common problem in QuickBooks. Here’s the fix – for each entry that is showing up in your Reminders list under “Invoices to Print”, double- click on it. This action should take you to the invoice itself. Once here, remove the check mark in the box in the lower left hand corner that says “to be printed”, then click “Save and Close”. This invoice should no longer show up in the “Invoices to Print” list.

When filtering reports in QuickBooks you may want to select most of the items on a particular list, but not all items to appear on your report. First choose the “selected” option from the list (selected accounts, selected names, etc).

Normally you would check each item that you want to appear on your report. However, if you want to check all the items on the list, click the first item and do not release the mouse button. While holding down the mouse button, slide the mouse pointer down just below the list.

When QuickBooks is done all of the items on the list will be checked. Release the mouse button. Now you can manually click the items to remove the ones that you do not wish to include in your filter.

You probably already run reports in QuickBooks – but are you making full use of the program’s reporting tools?

Let’s take a look. Reporting changed a lot between QuickBooks 2010 and 2011 in terms of interface, navigation, and access to reports. We’ll look at version 2011 since the core reporting mechanisms are similar, and wrap up with a brief summary of the new features in 2011.

Extensive Customization

Open the Reports menu. You can go directly to the Report Center, but since the interfaces are different (and very self-explanatory), we’ll work from the menu.

Drop down to Sales, and in the pop-out menu, click Sales by Customer Detail.

You may just be changing the date range when you run reports in QuickBooks. If so, you’re missing out on a lot of customization and other features.

Don’t like displaying the date/time/basis for each report? Click Hide Header and then Show Header if you want to bring it back.

Is the text in some of your columns – usually Name, Item, and Memo – being truncated (such as “Gutter clean…” in the example above)? Grab the diamond to the right of the column name and drag it to the right with your mouse. It may take some adjusting to make every column header display properly.

Are you exporting a lot of reports to Excel workbooks but never clicking on the Advanced tab in the dialog box? If your reports always look different in Excel and you don’t like them, it may be because you’re skipping this step. Click the Export button, and the dialog box appears. Click Advanced to see this view.

Before you export a report to an Excel worksheet, click the Advanced tab in the Export Report dialog box. You’ll be able to select options that will preserve or ignore the original QuickBooks formatting.

Sophisticated Modifications

To get to the real meat of your modifications, click the Modify Report button. You’ll be able to tinker with a number of report elements here, including :

  • Display. What dates should the report cover? Which columns should display? (You’ll have plenty to choose from.) Cash or accrual? How do you want to total and sort data? Click Advanced to show all accounts or those in use during the report period, and to display a customer’s current balance or the balance as of the report’s ending date.
  • Filters. QuickBooks builds in powerful filtering capabilities, allowing you to corral a subset of data that contains exactly what you want, down to the words included in the Memo field. Take some time here and read the accompanying help files. A box on the right displays the current filters; you can easily remove any of them or revert to the original configuration.
  • Header/footer. Easy stuff. How should the report look? QuickBooks gives you a lot of control over that. You’ll simply check or uncheck boxes, and enter information.
  • Fonts & Numbers. Easy here, too. You can make choices about the fonts and colors you want your report to contain, and how you want numbers to be displayed.

QuickBooks gives you an enormous amount of control over the format and content of your reports.

Memorization and More

Once you’ve gone through all the trouble of formatting a report, you’ll probably want to save it so you can use it again (the settings are memorized, not the data). QuickBooks makes this easy. With the report open, click Memorize. In the window that opens, type a name for your report (if you want to specify a new one), and check the box next to Save in Memorized Report Group if you want it categorized. To access a memorized report, open the Reports menu and put your mouse on Memorized Reports. From the pop-out menu, select the report you want. You’ll still be able to modify it.

The new Report Center in QuickBooks 2011, makes it easier to locate the desired reports quickly. It features a scrolling 3D representation of sample reports in each financial category (list and grid views are also available); you can click on icons in a toolbar to see your own version of the report, change the dates, learn more about it, and tag it as a favorite. Other links let you toggle the view among standard, memorized, favorite, and recently accessed reports.

This “carousel” view of sample reports in QuickBooks 2011 especially helps beginners find the correct report. Grid and list views are also available, as are other tools for locating the right screen.

When you’re just running reports for your own edification, you may not do more than select a report and change the date range. But there will likely be many occasions when you’re presenting reports to an audience, like bankers or potential customers. QuickBooks’s report tools can help you slice and dice your data in myriad ways and make your financials look polished and professional. The ability to export to Excel opens up even more possibilities.

If you need help with this feature, or you have any questions about QuickBooks, don’t hesitate to give us a call.

Well, the taxes are paid (hopefully) for the 2010 tax year, and you’re almost a third of the way into 2011. How’s your cash flow doing this year?

If tax payments caught you short, you may be scrambling to build a cash reserve that protects your bottom line. There are many ways to do that, some less desirable – and possible – than others. Raise your prices. Apply for a loan. Freeze employee raises and minimize benefits (or, in the extreme, lay off a worker). Put off investments in new technology.

But there’s another option: Accelerate your receivables. It’s likely that in this economy at least some of your customers are slow to pay off invoices. Here are some suggestions to help improve your bottom line starting today.

Evaluate your Current Invoicing Methods

Are you sending invoices immediately, while the purchase is still fresh in the customer’s mind? Old invoices feel stale, and your timeliness in dispatching them says something to the customer about your need for the funds and your business efficiency.

Enter a strong message on your invoices, creating a new one if the boilerplate examples provided aren’t emphatic enough. To change the message, open an invoice by going to the Customer Center and clicking New Transactions | Invoices.

The Customer Message box is in the lower left. Click on the arrow there, and then Add New, and a window opens.To help encourage your customers to pay promptly, customize the Customer Message on your invoices.

Enter your new message and click OK. It will now be available as an option whenever you send an invoice.

Consider Finance Charges

In your message(s), remind your customers of any applicable finance charges. If you haven’t yet incorporated finance charges because you think you’re too small or you think it’s too hard, reconsider that stance. To explore this feature, click Edit | Preferences | Finance Charge | Company Preferences.

If you have customers who are chronically late paying invoices, you may want to consider applying finance charges to tardy payments. Consult your accountant for help on this.

As you can see, you have several decisions to make that are best made with the help of your accountant.

When it comes time to bill finance charges, click Customers | Assess Finance Charges. A window opens, displaying customers in arrears and the extra amount they owe.

You can select and unselect customers who should be assessed finance charges by clicking the check marks next to their names.

The income you receive from finance charges may not be significant, but their psychological impact on customers may bring in invoices closer to the due date. Customers like knowing they’re saving some money, and no one wants to be a deadbeat.

Make It Easier for Customers to Pay You

This is a no-brainer. The simpler it is for customers to pay and for you to receive payments, the faster you’re likely to turn around receivables.

If you don’t yet have a merchant account, which lets you receive credit and debit card payments, you should. Intuit can help. QuickBooks already contains all the tools you need for the Intuit Merchant Service ($59.95 one-time setup fee; $19.95/monthly plus some minor additional fees).

Using the service, you can accept payments online or by phone, fax, or email. It also accommodates recurring charges.

Intuit Merchant Service integrates seamlessly into your QuickBooks operations. It lets you receive payments by phone, fax, or email (fees apply).

Tip: If you deal with a lot of checks, consider Intuit Check Solution for QuickBooks, which lets you scan checks and deposit them without a trip to the bank. Subscription and scanner required.

Ask the Expert

There are other small steps you can take to accelerate the speed of your receivables. These include:

  • Use QuickBooks’ built-in tools to create engaging invoices and other forms. Professional-looking documents contribute to your customers’ overall impression of you, and may prompt them to act quicker. Open a form and click the arrow next to Customize.
  • Stay on top of outstanding receivables. Check reports frequently and/or make use of QuickBooks’ Company Snapshot, which displays the most critical company financial information on one page, including Customers Who Owe Money (not available in Simple Start).
  • Track receivables in multiple currencies (not available in Simple Start).
  • Use discounts as an incentive for early payments. Use QuickBooks’ help files to learn about this easy process.

Unfortunately, your work with QuickBooks doesn’t end just because it’s summer, the weather’s great, and school’s out. But there are ways to minimize your time spent managing your money and maximize your time at the beach. Memorizing transactions is one such way. When you memorize a transaction, QuickBooks remembers all of the relevant details and either processes it automatically or reminds you that it’s due.

A memorized transaction could be bills that show up in the same amount every month, like your Web-hosting payment, or obligations that change regularly, like your utility bill. You can specify the amount due if it’s static, or leave the amount open if it regularly changes, making this feature very flexible and easy to set up.

Jog your memory

Once you start teaching Quickbooks to memorize transactions, you’ll wonder why you didn’t use this handy feature before. Say you want to automate your electric bill. First, create a transaction without an amount. Click the Edit menu, and then click Memorize Bill.

To memorize a bill payment that changes regularly, fill out the transaction form minus the amount.

When you click Edit/Memorize Bill, this dialog box opens.

The vendor’s name appears in the Name field. If you want a more descriptive name so you’ll recognize it in a list, change it here. You have a few decisions to make in order to set up the repetitive transaction:

  • Do you want QuickBooks to remind you in advance of the bill’s due date? Click Remind Me. If not, click Don’t Remind Me. And if it’s a bill whose amount remains the same every time, you can click Automatically Enter. If the transaction is a part of a group you’ve created, click the With Transactions in Group button.
  • How often do you pay this bill? Generally, it will be monthly, but QuickBooks gives you several options.
  • Check the Number Remaining box if you have a transaction with a finite number of payments, such as paying off a company vehicle.
  • How much warning do you want? Enter a number in the Days In Advance To Enter field.
  • If you’ve created a group and you want this transaction to be a part of it, select the name from the drop-down list.

When you want to use a memorized transaction, click the Lists menu, then Memorized Transactions List to open the dialog box shown in Figure 3. You can also “memorize” repetitive reports. Open the report you want to work with by clicking, for example, Reports/Company & Financial/Profit & Loss YTD Comparison. A dialog box opens. Accept the name presented, or change it to one that you’ll more easily recognize. If you want to save reports in groups you’ve created, like Accountant, select the group from the drop-down list.

The Memorized Transactions List allows you to customize to your preference.

The Memorize Report dialog box…

Thanks for the memories

Memorized transactions and reports can not only save you time for more summer adventures: They provide another way for QuickBooks to give you a quick look at what you owe and are owed, and how your company is performing overall.

Many businesses can benefit from tracking revenue and expenses by project. Known as job tracking in QuickBooks parlance, it’s ready for your immediate use. For instance, let’s say that your company installs residential elevators. Several different builders contract with you to install your product in their high-end homes. In such cases the builder would be the customer, while each house that you install an elevator in would be a job. You can associate as many jobs with a customer as you wish. As you’ll read in this article, you can not only associate revenues, but also expenses with jobs, as well as create a budget so that you can track your prognostication against reality.

Jobs versus Classes

Users sometimes confuse jobs with classes. Both allow you to track revenue and expenses, but are typically used for different purposes:

  • Jobs are helpful when you want to track activity for a specific project for any of your customers. In addition, jobs allow you to create estimates and utilize progress invoicing.
  • Classes are effective when you want to track costs by department, for an internal project, or other activities where you’re not necessarily billing a customer. In addition, you must enable classes in QuickBooks by choosing Edit, Preferences, Accounting, and then choose Use Class Tracking on the Company Preferences tab. For instance, a medical office might create a class for each doctor, so that expenses can be allocated fairly among practitioners. Once you enable class tracking, you’ll notice Class fields appear on various transaction screens that you can use as needed.

Note that you can associate customer invoices and expenses with classes, but you’ll find that jobs typically work better for that purpose. However, you can also use jobs and classes in conjunction with each other, for even greater tracking capabilities.

Create a Job

Unlike classes, no special set up is required for jobs, which are always associated with a customer. Since you probably already have numerous customers established in QuickBooks, let’s see how to add a job:

  • Click on the Customer Center button on the toolbar (or press Ctrl+J).
  • Right-click on a customer name in on the Customers & Jobs tab, and then choose Add Job, as shown in Figure 1. Alternatively, you can choose Add Job from the Edit menu after you select a customer name.

Beware: It’s possible to create a job within a job, so be sure that you click on the customer name, and not a job name, when you click Add Job.

The Add Job choice appears amidst many other choices.

  • At this point the New Job window appears, as shown in Figure 2. Assign a job name, and then complete the Address Info tab. Much of this should carry forward from the associated customer record, but you can override the information as needed for this job.

The New Job dialog box is almost a mirror image of the New Customer dialog box.

  • The Additional Info and Payment Info tabs work in the same fashion as with customers, but you’ll note that jobs have an additional Job Info tab. This allows you to maintain these fields:
  • Job Status: This field lets you assign one of these labels to the job: None, Pending, Awarded, In Progress, Closed, and Not Awarded. You cannot add additional choices to this list, but you should change the status as the job works through the various stages of its lifecycle.
  • Start Date: Enter the date the job begins.
  • Projected End: Enter the expected end date for the job. Doing so will later let you compare how your projected job end dates match up to the actual job end dates.
  • End Date: Leave this field blank until the job is completed.
  • Job Description: This field allows you to assign an additional description beyond what appears in the Job Name field at the top of the screen.
  • Job Type: This user-definable field allows you to assign types to jobs as you wish-choose Add New from the list to add a new type. You can edit or delete this list by choosing Lists, Customer & Vendor Profile Lists, and then Job Type List.

Job Info tab: Confusingly, the Job Info tab also appears when you add a new customer. However, you cannot add a customer and a job at the same time. You can use the Job Info tab to store information about that customer, but it’s best to first add the new customer, and then add the job in the fashion described above.

Assign Jobs to Transactions

Estimates, Sales Orders, and Invoices can only be assigned to a single job, but you can split other transaction types among multiple jobs. Therefore you’ll choose a job name from the Customer:Job drop down at the top of the Invoice screen-estimates and sales orders work in the same fashion. Other transaction types have either a Customer:Job column or a Name column where you can assign line items to specific jobs. For instance, Figure 3 shows the Customer:Job field on the Enter Bills screen. In addition, each transaction screen includes a Billable column where you can indicate whether an expense is reimbursable by your customer. You’ll leave the Billable field blank if you’re simply tracking costs for a given job, or click in the field to place a checkmark that will indicate that your customer should be billed for the charge.

The Customer:Job column on the Enter Bills window is one way to assign expenses to a job.

Payroll: The paycheck detail screen allows you to assign payroll to a job, but it’s best to use QuickBooks time tracking feature to do so. The paycheck detail screen doesn’t allow you to specify whether time is billable, but the other screens do. Choose Employees, Enter Time, and either Use Weekly Timesheet or Time/Enter Single Activity. The Enter Time window is shown in Figure 4.

Enable Time Tracking: Choose Edit, Preferences, Time Tracking, and then Yes to enable time tracking.

Use the Enter Time window to assign billable hours to a job.

Apply payments: Remember to apply customer payments against the job and not the customer itself. Otherwise you might encounter situations where the customer has a credit balance and the job has a debit balance that net out to zero.

Budgets

QuickBooks enables you to create a budget for your job, but there’s a catch: you can only budget within a single fiscal year. So, if your job spans more than 12 months, or crosses fiscal years, you may have to use some creativity, such as splitting the job budget between two fiscal years. However, with that caveat in mind here’s how you’ll create a budget for your jobs:

  • Choose Company, Planning & Budgeting, and then Set Up Budgets.
  • Click the Create New Budget button to launch the Create New Budget wizard.
  • Specify a fiscal year, choose Profit and Loss, and then click Next.
  • Choose Customer:Job on the Additional Profit and Loss Criteria screen, and then click Next.
  • Choose Create Budget from Scratch on the Choose How You Want To Create a Budget screen, and then click Finish.
  • You’re now presented with the screen shown in Figure 5, where you can select a customer and/or job, and then enter your budget on an account by account basis.

All customer and job budgets are stored within a single budget screen.

Consolidated Budget: Keep in mind that you only need to run the Create New Budget wizard once for a given fiscal year. Simply change the Customer:Job field on the budget screen to budget additional jobs. Once you’ve run the wizard, you can view or maintain your budget by choosing Company, Planning & Budgeting, and then Set Up Budgets. If necessary, choose your budget from the drop-down list. QuickBooks automatically assigns a name like FY2009�Profit and Loss by Account and Customer :Job.

Reports

Although job tracking is a helpful way to ensure that you bill your customers for reimbursable expenses, most business owners would agree that the primary benefit is the report capability. As you would expect, QuickBooks provides a variety of job-specific reports-choose Reports, and then Jobs, Time & Mileage to access these choices:

  • Job Profitability Summary: This report compares actual costs to actual revenues and shows a dollar difference. You can optionally display a percentage difference-this is helpful if you want to determine margins. To do so, display the report onscreen, and then click Modify Report. Click % Difference, and then click OK. By default this report summarizes all jobs, but you can limit the time frame or filter the report to view selected jobs or types of jobs.
  • Job Profitability Detail: As shown in Figure 6, this report allows you to view one customer or job at a time, and provides much more detail than the Job Profitability Summary report. However, this job shows data by inventory item. Note that if you select a customer, then all jobs for that customer are summarized together, but you can also select a single job instead.

The Job Profitability Detail report provides the best overview of a single job.

  • Profit & Loss by Job: This report provides a column for every job for the specified report period, and details activity by account-as opposed to the Item ID approach used by the Job Profitability Detail report.
  • Unbilled Costs by Job: This key report enables you to track any expenses that you’ve marked as billable but haven’t yet passed along to customers. For instance, the Enter Bills and Write Checks screens enable you to assign expenses to a job. An adjacent field enables you to also mark the charge as billable. In turn, QuickBooks notifies of pending unbilled charges when you invoice the customer.

TIP: It’s easy to disable the “unbilled charges available” prompt on QuickBooks invoicing screen, so it’s a good practice to click the Add Time/Costs button on the Invoicing screen and look for unbilled charges on each tab.

  • Open Purchase Orders by Job: Most small businesses don’t use purchase order tracking, but those that do can use this report to determine what items are still on order for jobs in progress.
  • Mileage by Job Summary and Detail: Most small businesses simply have to absorb the cost of mileage, and therefore don’t choose to track mileage by job. However, if tracking this level of detail is helpful to your business, these reports will be a key tool. In such cases, use Enter Vehicle Mileage on the Company menu to log your travel, as shown in Figure 7.

You can assign vehicle mileage to jobs-and specify whether the miles are billable.

The Job Is Done

In this article we helped you get up and running with QuickBooks job tracking feature. We discusses how job tracking differs from class tracking, and showed how you can use job tracking to allocate revenue and expenses to jobs, as well as track billable charges. We helped you establish budgets for your jobs, and then we wrapped up the article with an overview of QuickBooks job tracking reports. look at what you owe and are owed, and how your company is performing overall.

Although the Employees & Payroll reports menu in QuickBooks offers numerous reports that let you slice and dice your payroll data, you may sometimes yearn for more flexibility. When you do, the Summarize Payroll Data in Excel and Tax Form Worksheets in Excel features will transform your payroll data with just a couple of mouse clicks. The Summarize Payroll Data in Excel feature helps you review historical payroll transactions; while the Tax Form Worksheets in Excel lets you peer into the summary numbers that appear on the tax forms that you generate from QuickBooks.

Excel required: Note that you must have Microsoft Excel installed on your computer to use these features. If you don’t already have Microsoft Excel, you can download a free 60-day trial from www.trymicrosoftoffice.com.

Summarizing Payroll Data in Excel

This feature is available in QuickBooks 2004 and later, and enables you to generate numerous payroll reports in Excel with just a couple of mouse clicks. Keep in mind that the mix of reports that you see may vary, based on your version of QuickBooks. In addition, the Excel-based reports take two different formats:

  • Pivot table-based: Excel’s pivot tables feature summarizes rows of data into a concise format. In this case the rows of data are in QuickBooks, so the resulting spreadsheet becomes an extension of QuickBooks. In general, pivot tables offer several special benefits:
    • You can rearrange the pivot table by dragging and dropping fields
    • You can double-click on any number within the pivot table to drill down to the underlying detail
    • Certain fields in the pivot table include drop-down lists, from which you can exclude certain items or employees.
    • You can set the pivot table to put a page break between each employee or item, which enables you to easily print a separate report to share with each person on your team.
  • Worksheet-based: The worksheet-based reports that QuickBooks generates are static in nature, meaning you can’t double-click on any numbers to view the underlying detail. These reports are similar in nature to reports that are generated when you use the Send to Excel feature to analyze any of QuickBooks built-in reports. You can, however, copy and paste portions of the reports into other workbooks, or modify the reports to meet your needs.

QuickBooks’ Summary Payroll Data Reports

The following payroll data reports appear in the 2007 and 2008 versions QuickBooks Pro or higher – other versions of QuickBooks might not include some of these standard reports:

  • Employee Journal – This pivot table-based report lists payroll transactions by employee, including pay date, check number, and deductions.
  • YTD Summary – This worksheet-based report summarizes compensation and withholding by employee. This report appears on a worksheet labeled YTD Summary 1.
  • Hours – This pivot-table based report summarizes hours by employee, by type – this enables you to see regular, overtime vacation, and sick hours in a concise format.
  • Rate & Hours by Job – This report summarizes payroll data on a job by job basis. Make a choice from the Customer:Job drop down at the top of the worksheet to see costs for a particular customer or job.
  • State Wage Listing – This report breaks out state-assessed taxes, such as unemployment, so that you can see the wages, excess wages, wage base, and tax amount for the specified report period.
  • Quarterly – This report provides summary level wage and tax data sorted by Social Security Number by quarter. If you choose to see payroll for an entire year, this report will include a column for each of the four quarters.

Depending upon your QuickBooks version, you may also be able to generate these reports:

  • 8846 Worksheet – This worksheet helps employers calculate the tax credit that can be collected on employer taxes paid on certain types of employee tips.
  • Effective Rates By Item – This pivot table-based report appears in a worksheet labeled Calculated %, and shows the percentage used to calculate various taxes, including Social Security, Medicare, and unemployment, as well as other payroll items such as disability and workers’ compensation.
  • YTD Recap – Similar in nature to the YTD Summary, this worksheet-based report lists employee activity on a payroll item-basis. This report will appear on a worksheet labeled YTD Summary 2.
  • Deferred Compensation – This report displays any compensation and deferred compensation by tax-tracking type, and is sorted by date.
  • 943 Worksheet – This worksheet helps employers that are required to file Form 943, Employer’s Annual Tax Return for Agricultural Employees.

Changing the prices of your company’s services and inventory items can solve one of two problems, depending on why you’re looking for a solution. Say your materials suppliers have upped their prices. You may choose to increase your affected products to maintain your profit margin. Or maybe an item or service has not been moving well. A drop in price might trigger improved sales.

Those examples, of course, are simplifications of what needs to be a thoughtful, studied process. They’re critical business decisions that should be made with the guidance from your trusted ProAdvisor. We’re not experts in just QuickBooks – we also understand the flow of profit and loss, and we can be valuable allies in your battle for continued growth.

We’ll explore the tools that QuickBooks offers to help simplify price changes once your decisions have been made. They’re not overly difficult to use, but we want to ensure your intentions are carried out accurately. And there are related inventory issues that may be impacted by your modifications.

First Steps

First, make sure that QuickBooks is set up to accommodate price levels. Click Edit | Preferences and select Sales & Customers in the left vertical pane. Then click the Company Preferences tab. You’ll see the window shown in Figure 1.

Before attempting price level changes, be sure the Use price levels box is checked. If it’s not already checked, click on the box next to Use price levels. Then click OK.
Multiple Options

QuickBooks offers options related to item price changes. You can simply alter the cost of one item, or you can modify several at once. Your adjustments can be in the form of either percentages or fixed amounts.

There are two ways to get to the price-changing window. You can click the Customers menu, then Change Item Prices. Or you can select the Items & Services icon from the home page. If you do the latter, simply open the Activities menu at the bottom of the screen and select Change Item Prices to see a window similar to the one shown in Figure 2.

The Change Item Prices window displays lists of your products.

By opening the drop-down list below Item Type, you can select the desired type of product: Service, Inventory Part, Inventory Assembly, Non-Inventory Part, or Other Charges.

Targeting Your Changes

Once you’ve selected the right type, click in the column next to the item(s) you want to change. A check mark will appear. If you want to increase or decrease the prices of all of them, click next to Mark All at the bottom of the screen, as pictured in Figure 3.

Click the box next to Mark All if you want to change the prices of all entries.

Based on your discussions with us, you should now know how you want to adjust the selected price(s). You may have just decided on a new price, in which case you can simply enter it in the New Price column.

Here’s an alternative. In the box to the right of Adjust price of marked items by (amount or %), enter either an individual number to increase by that amount, or a number with a % sign after it to up it by that percentage. To decrease the cost, enter a negative number.

The next step is a little trickier. If you simply want to alter the price of an entry based on its current sales price, leave the Current Price option showing in the next box. But if you want to change it based on its Unit Cost, you’ll have to consult us or do some digging to learn what that is.

If you want the resulting numbers to be rounded up, click the arrow next to Round up to nearest. When you’re satisfied with your work, click Adjust to see your changes reflected in the New Price column. Make any desired modifications, then click OK.

One Exception

Of course, no existing transactions will be altered. But if any of your newly priced items or services occur in memorized transactions, you’ll have to edit them. Go to Lists | Memorized Transaction List. Highlight the affected transaction, then right-click and delete it. Enter a new transaction and memorize it again. If you know only that transaction will be affected, you can select Edit Memorized Transaction instead of deleting it.

Don’t know where all of those items occur? Go to Edit | Find to locate them as shown in Figure 4.

You can easily find items in memorized transactions using the Find tool.

Making price changes in QuickBooks – even global ones – isn’t terribly difficult, but it involves a business decision that’s best made in conjunction with us. It can lead to increased profitability no matter which direction you go, as long as you take into account the issues and potential outcomes involved.

The reasons for putting off tax preparations are endless – and understandable. So tax filing deadlines may become the culmination of marathon sessions with your records, which can make mistakes more likely.

Conscientious daily work habits-including a constant eye on tax issues-can help prevent this painful scenario. QuickBooks offers many built-in tools to help you minimize the tax-time terrors.

Stay on Top of Your Receivables in QuickBooks 2011

Even if your sales are up, slow customer payments may be damaging your cash flow. If you often come up short when it’s time to pay your tax obligations, it may be that you’re not chasing down your receivables adequately.

QuickBooks Pro and Premier 2011 added a number of features to help with this. The new Customer Snapshot gives you instant access to key customer information; things like open balance, number of days to pay, and recent invoices and payments.

A new vertical pane next to transaction forms displays an overview of your interaction with the customer or vendor. Beyond saving the time you used to spend looking up historical information, this feature can alert you to collection opportunities. A new Collections Center also automates e-mailed collection notices.

QuickBooks Pro and Premier 2011 display vertical panes next to transactions to help you catch unbilled items and open balances.

If you’ve got any questions about these newer versions of QuickBooks, give our office a call.

Older Versions’ Cash Flow Tools

Previous versions of QuickBooks also help you maximize customer payments. Enter an invoice for a customer who has outstanding time charges and/or costs, and a dialog box reminds you of that.

If you’re invoicing a customer who already owes you money, QuickBooks will remind you – and include the past due balance in your current form.

Also, QuickBooks’ integration with Microsoft Word makes short work of collection letters. Open the Customer Center, then click Word | Prepare Collection Letters and follow the wizard. The Payment Snapshot (Company Snapshot | Payments) is a page you should visit daily; its tables and graphs spell out who needs nudging.

Intuit also offers solutions that let you accept payments online, so you don’t have to wait for checks to arrive in the mail. Talk to us about which one might be best for you and how to get started with it.

Keep Documents Close

However you store receipts and other tax-related paper, it can be frustrating to match paper to QuickBooks data. QuickBooks 2010 introduced the ability to attach scanned documents to any screen that has the Attach icon. Using this tool faithfully will reduce the time and frustration associated with your tax preparation. Prices start at $9.95/month for one attachment per list item or transaction; 30-day free trial.

Click on this icon to attach a scanned paper document to a QuickBooks item.

Use “Classes”

QuickBooks uses the accounts assigned to your transactions to categorize your tax-related data. You can also slice your data in additional ways by using classes to break out account balances by filters, like by departments, consultants, or locations. You must use it faithfully for it to be effective. You should also check with us before embarking on this new classification system.

First, make sure that QuickBooks is equipped to handle classes. Click on Edit | Preferences, then click the Accounting tab and Company Preferences. Click on the box next to Use class tracking if it isn’t already checked, and on Prompt to assign classes if you want QuickBooks to remind you before you save an unclassified transaction.

Make sure your Company Preferencesare set to accommodate class tracking.

Go to Lists | Class List, and then click the Class tab in the lower left corner. Select New. Type your new class name in the field that appears and check the Subclass of box if you want to make this a subclass. Assign these classes in transactions where appropriate, and you’ll have neatly categorized data for the Profit & Loss by Class, Profit & Loss Unclassified, and (new in 2011) Balance Sheet by Class reports. Classes can also be displayed in other reports.

Built For Tax Reporting

QuickBooks can’t prepare your taxes for you, but these tools and more help shape your data to make tax deadlines less stressful and your returns more accurate than the days of pencil and paper.

It does so in the background by, for example, assigning your transactions to the appropriate accounts, so your reports tell the right story. Other assistance is more obvious; QuickBooks helps you print 1099s, W-2s and W-3s.

QuickBooks’ design encourages you to look at tax-related issues every day, which can be a very good thing come filing time. Take advantage of this-along with the expert advice of our offices-and you can be more confident and less frantic during your periodic interaction with the IRS.

The reasons for putting off tax preparations are endless – and understandable. But when we procrastinate on this tedious job, tax filing deadlines mean marathon sessions with tax records. Not only are these unpleasant, but they also make it more likely you’ll make potentially costly mistakes on your return.

Conscientious daily work habits – including a constant eye on tax issues – can help prevent this painful scenario. QuickBooks offers many built-in tools to help you minimize the tax-time terrors.

Stay on Top of Your Receivables in QuickBooks 2011

Even if your sales are up, slow customer payments may be damaging your cash flow. If you often come up short when it’s time to pay your tax obligations, it may be that you’re not chasing down your receivables adequately.

QuickBooks Pro and Premier 2011 added a number of features to help with this. The new Customer Snapshot gives you instant access to key customer information; things like open balance, number of days to pay, and recent invoices and payments.

A new vertical pane next to transaction forms displays an overview of your interaction with the customer or vendor. Beyond saving the time you used to spend looking up historical information, this feature can alert you to collection opportunities. A new Collections Center also automates e-mailed collection notices.

QuickBooks Pro and Premier 2011 display vertical panes next to transactions to help you catch unbilled items and open balances.

If you’ve got any questions about these newer versions of QuickBooks, give our office a call.

Older Versions’ Cash Flow Tools

Previous versions of QuickBooks also help you maximize customer payments. Enter an invoice for a customer who has outstanding time charges and/or costs, and a dialog box reminds you of that.

If you’re invoicing a customer who already owes you money, QuickBooks will remind you – and include the past due balance in your current form.

Also, QuickBooks’ integration with Microsoft Word makes short work of collection letters. Open the Customer Center, then click Word | Prepare Collection Letters and follow the wizard. The Payment Snapshot (Company Snapshot | Payments) is a page you should visit daily; its tables and graphs spell out who needs nudging.

Intuit also offers solutions that let you accept payments online, so you don’t have to wait for checks to arrive in the mail. Talk to us about which one might be best for you and how to get started with it.

Keep Documents Close

However you store receipts and other tax-related paper, it can be frustrating to match paper to QuickBooks data. QuickBooks 2010 introduced the ability to attach scanned documents to any screen that has the Attach icon. Using this tool faithfully will reduce the time and frustration associated with your tax preparation. Prices start at $9.95/month for one attachment per list item or transaction; 30-day free trial.

Click on this icon to attach a scanned paper document to a QuickBooks item.

Use “Classes”

QuickBooks uses the accounts assigned to your transactions to categorize your tax-related data. You can also slice your data in additional ways by using classes to break out account balances by filters, like by departments, consultants, or locations. But you must use it faithfully for it to be effective.

To get started with classes, first make sure that QuickBooks is equipped to handle classes. Click on Edit | Preferences, then click the Accounting tab and Company Preferences. Click on the box next to Use class tracking if it isn’t already checked, and on Prompt to assign classes if you want QuickBooks to remind you before you save an unclassified transaction.

Make sure your Company Preferences are set to accommodate class tracking.

Next, go to Lists | Class List, and then click the Class tab in the lower left corner. Select New. Type your new class name in the field that appears and check the Subclass of box if you want to make this a subclass. Assign these classes in transactions where appropriate, and you’ll have neatly categorized data for the Profit & Loss by Class, Profit & Loss Unclassified, and (new in 2011) Balance Sheet by Class reports. Classes can also be displayed in other reports.

Built for Tax Reporting

Unfortunately, QuickBooks can’t prepare your taxes for you – but these tools help shape your data so tax deadlines are less stressful and your returns more accurate than in the days of pencil and paper.

QuickBooks organizes data in the background by, for example, assigning your transactions to the appropriate accounts, so your reports tell the right story. Another helpful feature includes the ability to print 1099s, W-2s and W-3s.

QuickBooks’ design encourages you to look at tax-related issues every day, which can be a very good thing come filing time. Take advantage of this – along with our expert advice – and you can be more confident and less frantic during your periodic interaction with the IRS.

Every year since its inception in the early nineties, Intuit has delivered an enhanced version of its desktop QuickBooks program. Each annual edition incorporates myriad new and upgraded features designed to save you time, money, and frustration – and let you focus on your business, not your finances.

QuickBooks 2011 is no exception. The new version improves and accelerates interaction with your customers, and provides easier, more targeted access to QuickBooks data. If you take advantage of these new tools, your daily accounting tasks will become more productive and palatable. (Note: The new tools are not available in Simple Start.)

You won’t find the new features in Intuit’s online versions of QuickBooks, but you will get more frequent upgrades, easier collaboration, and better mobility. Granted, the Web-based line isn’t as powerful as desktop Pro and Premier. Still, it may be all you need. We can help you explore this.

Zeroing In on the Right Data

QuickBooks provides numerous ways to focus on subsets of financial information, like Reports and Centers. The 2011 version debuted the Customer Snapshot; click its icon in the toolbar, then on Customer.

The new Customer Snapshot displays key numbers for each customer.

Select any customer from the drop-down list and you’ll see tables and graphs that spell out your financial interaction over a given period. This screen gives you an instant overview of transactions like invoices and payments, as well as providing details like Average days to pay and Open balance.

There’s another new way to track down specific information: the Search tool. Search will take a phrase and grab every related report, invoice, contact, and transaction detail.

Say you want to find all references to “exterior wood door.” Click Search in the toolbar (or Edit | Search) and type the phrase into the search box. A pane like this appears:

QuickBooks’ new Search tool tracks down a wide variety of program data.

Click on any item in the list, and the original item opens.

Stay in Touch

Interaction with your customers is critical; good communication can actually improve your cash flow. QuickBooks 2011 offers new ways to further develop this exchange.

For one thing, your email pipeline is expanded. You can now send invoices and estimates using your Yahoo, Gmail, or Hotmail account. To open this channel, click on Edit | Preferences. Click on Send Forms and make sure My Preferences is highlighted. Under Send e-mail using: click the button next to Web Mail. An empty box opens; click Add and fill in the details for your email account(s). If you enter more than one, be sure that your preferred account is designated as the default.

QuickBooks has always offered ways for you to keep track of delinquent accounts, like aging reports, but there’s a more automated tool for this task in 2011. Click the Customer Center icon in the toolbar, then Collections Center. A window like this opens:

Find out quickly who owes you and send email reminders to them using the new Collections Center.

You can toggle between past due and almost due invoices by clicking on the tab. Select a customer and click Select and Send Email. A completed email form appears, which you can edit before clicking Send. The original invoice is included.

Batch Invoicing also helps you stay current. Rather than sending forms individually, you can email them in a group, so long as each invoice contains the same line items.

Tip: before you do any batch invoicing, make sure you’ve set up each customer’s terms, sales tax rate, and send method correctly. (We can help you with this.)

Click Customers | Create Batch Invoices. If you might duplicate a mailing with the same customers someday, click Add New under Billing Group. Give it a name and click Save, and then choose customers. Click Save Group and Next. If you’re doing a one-time batch, choose the desired customers and click Next. A wizard will walk you through the process of sending the mailing.

Details Where You Need Them

For those occasions when you need to look up historical information while preparing transactions, QuickBooks 2011 saves you time and effort. Some of this information is now available in a pane adjacent to the form, like this:

Transaction forms now include a pane containing information related to that customer or vendor.

If you need to dig deeper, you can locate the original data by clicking links.

QuickBooks 2011’s enhancements will save time – and by extension, money – as you zero in on details and interact with customers and vendors. Its new, well-implemented tools give you more freedom to build your business.

If you’re wondering how this new version could affect your business, call our office.

Turn over a new leaf. Make a New Year’s Resolution. Make a fresh start. Get your ducks in a row. All familiar cliches, but their message is valid: At this time of year, you probably feel like renewing your commitment to running a more successful, productive business.

There are numerous ways to do this, but you might consider adopting the concept of best practices (if you haven’t already). Most industries have them, primarily larger businesses. Best practices are a set of operational guidelines that are expected to produce a favorable outcome. Run your business using these techniques or methods, and you’re likely to be more successful.

Accounting has best practices. While they’re not carved in stone, sticking with some tried-and-true, common-sense procedures will likely lead to increased efficiency. Perhaps adopting some or all of them will make a difference in your business. QuickBooks can help.

The Three I’s

Let’s look at the three stages you’ll encounter when you decide to apply best practices to your company.

Identify

What problems are you trying to solve? Where are your bottlenecks? Are collections a problem? Cash flow? Timely, accurate payroll? Have you seen a reduction in your customer base? Are your bills being paid late? Having trouble keeping up with inventory?

Bring your employees in on this process. They’re on the front lines, and will have insight into where your systems are breaking down. They’ll be pleased to be asked, and they may have ideas that will evolve into best practices.

When you’re formulating ideas that could evolve into best practices, use your best resource: your employees.

Implement

Turn your ideas into policies, and formalize them. Make a big deal out of introducing them to all staff related to accounting, and explain the rationale behind them. They’re intended to improve your company’s financial bottom line, which should translate into a positive outcome for everyone. Don’t turn your presentation into a critique of past performance; emphasize the constructive nature of the changes. Put it in writing, too.

Here are some examples of best practices that other businesses have implemented.

  • Invoice at the time of service/shipment, instead of once or twice monthly.
  • Set a specific time interval to deal with collections, like once a week. If you’re running QuickBooks 2011, you can use the Collections Center. Previous versions have numerous helpful reports, like A/R Aging Detail, Open Invoices, and Collections Report.

QuickBooks 2011 features the automated Collections Center.

  • Estimate your income tax obligation monthly, not just quarterly. When payments come due, there won’t be any major surprises.
  • Make sure everyone who works with accounting has a backup person who can fill in. Consider having us do the training.
  • If you don’t have a merchant account – which QuickBooks supports – get one, and encourage customers to pay in this fashion. Pay your bills the same way wherever possible. Use all of the technology that makes sense for you.
  • When it’s logistically possible, have employees who incur billable time use a timer. A few minutes lost here and there adds up. QuickBooks has a built-in timer; remote employees can use Time Tracker.
  • Have employees time billable activities whenever possible.
  • When was the last time you looked at your pricing structure? Are you building in enough profit? Evaluate your selling ratios on a schedule. Run inventory reports regularly.

See? It’s not rocket science. It’s a matter of emulating the practices of the most successful businesses. You might network with other companies to see how they handle this formalizing of processes. Talk to us, too.

Insure

Don’t leave it at that. Evaluate the effectiveness of the new best practices by scheduling follow-up meetings with employees. What’s working, and what isn’t? Do you need to tweak your methods?

This step is absolutely critical. You might want to appoint a compliance officer who follows up with individual employees and departments. If your business is small and informal, you could bring in lunch one day a month for follow-up – and for the development of new best practices.

Not just for mega-companies

You may already know something about best practices, but have always assumed that the concept was designed for big business. While it may be more of an imperative for large companies, even a sole proprietor with a bookkeeper can benefit. It’s really just a matter of putting the most effective work processes into place and maintaining them. Implementing best practices can be a good first step towards a more successful 2011. Call us if you have any questions.

Data entry and modifications in QuickBooks can be tedious. Beginning with QuickBooks 2010 Pro Edition and above, that job got a lot easier. The Add/Edit Multiple List Entries tool does just what its name implies: It lets you add entries to your lists of customers, vendors, services, inventory parts, and non-inventory parts. It also makes changing one or several of them quick and easy.

Using this feature, you can:

  • See customized views of your list data
  • Enter missing information
  • Create new entries from duplicates of existing ones
  • Do a mass change of a whole column
  • Copy and paste records from Excel

There are a myriad of applications for this tool. You could use it, for example, when you’re changing Preferred Vendors for a group of items and you don’t want to edit each individual item record. Or, when the area code for select customers or vendors has changed. You could use it if you’re adding an inventory item that’s just slightly different from another, or when your accountant tells you to change the name of an account.

Building the perfect view

To get started, click Lists | Add/Edit Multiple List Entries. In the screen that opens, click the arrow next to the List box and select the type of data you want to see, like Customers. Then select the group that you want displayed by dropping the View list down. Click the Customize Columns button. This window opens:

Make sure your columns are correct and in the right order.

The list on the left represents all possible column labels. To make the list on the right reflect what you want to see in your table, highlight the correct item and use the Add or Remove buttons and the Move Up or Move Down buttons. When you’re satisfied, click OK. The table will change to display those columns in that order.

TIP: You may have a lot of empty space between columns. To close those gaps, put your cursor on the faint vertical line that separates two column names. A cross-like symbol will appear. Drag it left or right until the columns are positioned well.

Let’s say that a customer commissions a new job. Since so much information will remain the same as in previous jobs, you can duplicate her record. Highlight the last entry in her list of jobs and right-click. Select Duplicate Row. The new entry will contain her default information, except the name will change to DUP [NAME OF PREVIOUS JOB]. Change that phrase to the name of the new job and click Save Changes if you’re done.

It’s easy to duplicate an entry’s information.

Mass changes

You may occasionally want to make the same change to a subset of records. Say a city’s zip code changed and you want to find the customers affected. You’d open the Customers list, click on the View arrow and select Custom Filter. Then:

  • In the Search list, choose from All, Active, etc.
  • In the For box, enter the common attribute, like the zip code.
  • Click on the arrow next to the in box, and tell QuickBooks where you want to search (address fields, all common fields, etc.).

Hint: You can search for a group of entries that share a common characteristic.

  • Click Go. QuickBooks will display a list of all of the matching entries.
  • Make your change to the entry at the top of the list, then right-click on it.

The Copy Down command changes all entries in a column to match the top one.

When you select Copy Down, all of the entries duplicate the first one in the list.

Some housekeeping

Anything you change in these views, as long as you click Save Changes, will be reflected throughout QuickBooks, wherever that record appears. If you’ve made an error, like using a dollar sign, you’ll get a message telling you to fix it.

You can use Add/Edit Multiple List Entries in other ways. For example, it’s a good way to see how thorough your recordkeeping is. Take a look at your lists occasionally to spot missing data. Or say you were at a trade show and signed up new customers, but you didn’t have QuickBooks on your laptop so you entered them in Excel. Once you’ve made sure that your column names and order in Excel match those displayed in Add/Edit Multiple List Entries, you can just copy and paste the new customers in.

This feature is easy to use, but be cautious. We can help with complex modifications. Add/Edit Multiple List Entries is one of the ten best features QuickBooks has incorporated in recent years. It’s an easy way to get a birds’ eye view of your lists, and a great time-saver.

Next to payroll, paying bills is probably your least favorite task in QuickBooks. You don’t have to use this feature — you can keep stacking bills on your desk, scrawling the due dates on a paper calendar, and writing checks.

If you’re still operating this way, though, you’re missing out on the numerous tools that QuickBooks offers to track your accounts payable, including the ability to:

  • Enter bills as they come in
  • Set reminders for bills due
  • Pay bills easily
  • Locate a bill or payment quickly
  • Enter bills as (or after) you receive items
  • Link bills to purchase orders
  • Have instant access to a bill’s status

Receiving the goods

When an expense bill comes in (from a utility company, for example), click the Enter Bills icon on the home page, or Vendors | Enter Bills. A window like the one displayed above opens. Select the vendor and fill in the blanks. Make sure that the Expenses tab below is selected and the appropriate account number and amount fields are completed. If it’s a bill for an item that already has a related Item Receipt (the shipment preceded the bill), QuickBooks instructs you to use Vendor | Enter Bill for Received Items. Follow the prompts.

Note: Dealing with incoming inventory is complex. Consult with us if you plan to use this feature.

If the bill came simultaneously with items, click Vendors | Receive Items and Enter Bill. When you select the vendor from the list, this box opens (if you have sent a purchase order):

QuickBooks is telling you that you have open orders with this vendor.

Click Yes. The Open Purchase Orders box opens, containing a list of open POs. Select the one(s) you want and click OK. The bill form opens, containing the details of that purchase order. Change quantities if they don’t match the shipment, and edit other fields as necessary. Save the bill.

Settling your debts

It’s good to set reminders for bills. Go to Edit | Preferences and click Reminders. Make sure that the Show Reminders List…box is checked, then click Company Preferences. Find the Bills to Pay row and enter the advance notice you’d like. Indicate whether you want to see a list or a summary, then click OK.

When bills are due, click the Pay Bills icon or select Vendors | Pay Bills. A window opens displaying all outstanding bills. You can pare this down by selecting a date in the Due on or before field and filtering by vendors. The screen will look something like this:

You can easily select the bills you want to pay.

Enter a check mark next to the bills you’re paying, and change the amount in the Amt. To Pay field at the end of the row if necessary. At the bottom of the screen, you can set the payment date and type, use any discounts or credits, and make sure the correct payment account is selected. When you’re done, click Pay Selected Bills.

Tip: You can have credits and discounts automatically applied by going to Edit | Preferences | Bills.

After You’ve Paid Up

There are a number of places where your bills appear in QuickBooks, including:

    The Unpaid Bills Detail report

  • The A/P Aging Detail report
  • The Vendor Center
  • QuickReports
  • In the Recent Transactions pane of some forms
  • On the bills themselves

QuickBooks displays the Paid status of bills.

QuickBooks also lets you void and delete bills, and copy and memorize them. Check with us before voiding and deleting, as this can make some complicated changes in your accounts.

You can just pay bills by using Banking | Write Checks or Enter Credit Card Charges. But the payoff for tracking bills is instant access to your accounts payable status, better relations with vendors, and a more insightful accounting of your company’s cash flow.ies is one of the ten best features QuickBooks has incorporated in recent years. It’s an easy way to get a birds’ eye view of your lists, and a great time-saver.

QuickBooks’ standard reports are critical to understanding your company’s past, present, and future. But the program also offers innovative tools that can make them significantly more insightful and comprehensive.

QuickBooks offers two simple conventions that let you identify related data: classes and types. Classes are used in transactions. Types are assigned to individual customers, vendors, and jobs.

For example, you might use classes to separate transactions that relate to different departments, locations, or types of business. A construction company might want to track classes using New Construction, Remodel, and Overhead. Your customer types might help you isolate groups by characteristics like Industry or Geographical Location.

Creating Classes

First, make sure that QuickBooks is set up to use classes. Go to Edit | Preferences | Accounting | Company Preferences. Make sure that Use class tracking is checked. If you want to be prompted for a class designation in transactions, check that box, too. QuickBooks already contains a Type field in customer, vendor, and job records.

It’s easy to build lists of options for both. To define classes, go to Lists | Class List. In the bottom left corner of the screen, click on Class, then select New from the menu. You’ll see this:

To create a class, just give it a name and click OK

Let’s say that you’re a contractor and you want to separate remodeling jobs into room types, like Bathroom or Kitchen. Go through the above steps again. Enter “Bathroom” in the Class Name field and click the box next to Subclass of. Open the list and choose “Remodel.” Click OK.

Tip: If your class list grows lengthy and you want to tidy it up, you can make classes that you’re not currently using inactive by checking the box in this window. It will remain in your QuickBooks records and can be reactivated again.

Putting Classes to Work

Now you can use classes in transactions. Open a blank invoice and select a customer. The Class field will be next to the customer name. If the entire invoice will be assigned to the same class, click the drop-down list and select it. You can also assign separate classes to individual line items:

You can assign different classes to individual line items in transactions.

Not all invoice templates include a column for classes. You can add this by selecting the invoice form you want to modify and clicking Customize in the toolbar.

QuickBooks comes with two reports specially designed for tracking class-based transactions: Profit & Loss by Class and Balance Sheet by Class (both can be found in the Reports menu, under Company & Financial). Of course, you can filter other reports to include a class column. You can also create a QuickReport for individual classes. Go to Lists | Class List and select a report or graph.

You can filter by class in QuickBooks reports.

Warning!

The Balance Sheet by Class report is complicated and may produce unexpected results. Let your ProAdvisor help you work with this one. They can also help you set up a solid class structure.

A Simpler Assignment

Customer, vendor, and job types are a bit less complicated. Job types are especially useful; you can track, for example, profitability and time spent on individual projects. Customer and vendor types can produce output for things like targeted mailings and reports.

Creating types is very similar to creating classes. Go to Lists | Customer & Vendor Profile Lists, and select the type you want to work with. You’ll follow the same instructions here as you did for classes. Types do not appear on transactions; they’re designed for your own internal use, and they’re stored in records.

Customer, vendor, and job types are specified in their records.

Classes and types can be used very effectively in your bookkeeping, but they require a good deal of thought and planning upfront to get accurate, meaningful reports. Let your ProAdvisor know if he/she can assist as you attempt to use these powerful forms of classification.

No matter which version of QuickBooks you’re using, there are always ways to make your workday easier. As with any software, we tend to learn the features we need and not much more. But small changes in the way you operate can add up to significant time savings and more accurate files. If you jumped into QuickBooks without a thorough introduction, consider these tips.

Use the Open Window list

Spend some time in Preferences, and you’ll be surprised to learn that you have more flexibility than you knew. QuickBooks is designed to work for a tremendously wide variety of businesses, so it comes with some features activated but many dormant.

The Open Window list is a good example. Do you tire of closing windows to find a screen that you used several tasks ago? Make sure that you’re in one-window view (View | One Window), and then click View | Open Window List. Click on any entry to move to that page.

The Open Windows list lets you easily move among active screens

Make account assignment mandatory

QuickBooks lets you enter transactions without assigning them to accounts. So your Chart of Accounts has two accounts labeled Uncategorized Income and Uncategorized Expenses that serve as repositories for these transactions. This means that when you run reports or prepare for taxes, you may have a hard time remembering the circumstances of those transactions and will find it difficult to assign them to accounts.

Do yourself a favor. Set up QuickBooks so that you must assign an account to every transaction. This will take extra time upfront, but not as much as if you try to recall the transaction three months from now. Go to Edit | Preferences | Accounting | Company Preferences and make sure that Require Accounts is checked. If you have questions on this, please call or email us.

Use the Account Prefill fields

Speaking of accounts, here’s a little time-saving tip. If you have vendors that are always assigned to the same account(s), you can establish this constant in the vendor record. Simply open the Edit Vendor window for a client and click the Account Prefill tab. Select the appropriate selection(s) from the drop-down lists. If a payment is sometimes split between multiple accounts, you’ll handle this division when you add transactions.

Designate vendor accounts to save time when creating transactions

Use “Pending Sales”

Invoices, sales receipts and credit memos can be earmarked as “pending.” These sales do not show up in registers or reports (except for the Pending Sales report) and can’t be used for transactions where payment has already been applied. Create the transaction and click Edit | Mark [form name] As Pending. To finalize it, open the form and click Edit | Mark [form name] As Final.

This action can be useful in multiple situations, including:

  • Backordered items
  • Draft approvals
  • Estimates
  • Time-tracking for jobs
  • Profit and loss reports that show the impact of pending sales (choose Either as the posting status [Non-posting or Posting] under Filters)

You can mark a payment as “pending” in several situations

Be kind to your accountant: Set a closing date

Once we’ve worked with your QuickBooks file up to a certain date, entering, editing or deleting transactions prior to that date wreaks havoc with the balance of your books. To be safe, your administrator should password-protect the ability to do this, so that no one does this intentionally or unintentionally. Go to Edit | Preferences | Accounting | Company Preferences and enter a closing date and password. We will change the date each time we complete our work.

Password-protect closed periods to preserve the accuracy of your books

These are just a few examples of ways you can customize QuickBooks to make your workdays more productive and your record-keeping safer and more reflective of your business. We can help you further tailor the software to make it a better fit.

If you have questions on this or any other QuickBooks feature, call or email us. We’re your partner and we’re here to make your business better.

If you make one resolution about improving your accounting procedures in 2012, it should be this: Make extensive use of the tools that QuickBooks offers for report modification. Comprehensive, meticulously-shaped reports that flow out of your carefully-constructed records and transactions are your reward for pounding on the keys every day, conscientiously recording income and expenses.

QuickBooks supplies you with a wide variety of pre-formatted reports whose modification options can help you do focused, critical analysis of your financial data. The right set of numbers will help you understand your history and plan for the future more effectively.

Note: The reports discussed and pictured here shows only one possible set of customization options. There are many variations. We can answer your questions.

Check your preferences

When you created your company file in QuickBooks, you chose between reporting on a cash (income and expenses are recorded when money changes hands) or accrual (recorded when you invoice or receive a bill) basis. This affects summary reports, but not those that break out individual transactions or are simply lists.

If you want to change this, click Edit | Preferences | Reports & Graphs | Company Preferences and click the desired button:

You can establish a preference for your summary reports’ basis here.

You can set other preferences in this window that will affect your report output here, too, as you can see.

Altering the display

Open the Income by Customer Summary report (Reports | Company & Financial). Change the dates to reflect a range you’d like to see. Want the data displayed by different time increments — like week or quarter — instead of just the total? Click the arrow next to Columns and select Four week.

You can do some report display alterations from this toolbar; the options it offers vary by report.

By default, your report rows display alphabetically. If you want to view a column by total in ascending or descending order, select the column by hovering over the top number until the magnifying glass appears, and click on it. Click the arrow next to Sort by and choose Total, then click the AZ [down arrow] icon (in some reports, there will be other options here).

Additional options in this toolbar let you:

  • Memorize the report
  • Print, email or export it to Excel
  • Hide or Show the Header
  • Collapse or Expand the columns
  • Refresh the report if you’ve made changes that will alter data

More display options

Click Customize Report to open this window:

This window outlines your report’s content options.

Some of the options here duplicate what you saw in the toolbar. In addition, you can switch between Accrual and Cash for just this report, and add subcolumns in some. The latter is a complicated operation, one that you must understand well in order to glean any insight from it. We can help you with this.

Sometimes the subcolumns are generic, as shown in the screen above. In other reports, they’re very specific to that group of data.

More customization = more insightful results = more informed financial choices

 

Transaction reports have many similarities and two major differences: You can change the column order by hovering your cursor over the column label until a hand appears. Click, hold and drag the column to the desired spot and let go. You can also add or delete columns by clicking Customize Report and checking or unchecking labels.

In transaction — or detail — reports, you can alter the column structure.

Learn the mechanics of report display modification well, and your company’s finances will come into much sharper focus, improving the wisdom of future choices. Up next month: filtering your reports for additional clarity.

If you have questions on this or any other QuickBooks feature, call or email us. We’re your partner and we’re here to make your business better.

When you think about it, it’s pretty amazing that Intuit is able to pack the lion’s share of your financial data into one giant company file. Certainly makes it easier to separate from QuickBooks and move when necessary.

There are actually three options for saving and relocating that file. You know about backups, since you should be producing them religiously. You generate them so that if QuickBooks — or your computer itself — stops working or your file becomes corrupt, you can re-create the entire environment. Portable company files are more limited, and are best used when you want to save your file to a temporary location and/or email it to someone else.

You would only use an Accountant’s Copy, of course, when you want us to check your progress. We’ll work with you on setting this up.

Once you save and send off an Accountant’s Copy, you can’t work on transactions created before the dividing date.

The Critical Backup

We can’t emphasize this enough: Losing your financial data can be the beginning of the end of your company. You won’t know what you’re owed, so you’ll be unable to collect. You’ll miss vendor payments. Payroll will be impossible to reconstruct, and you won’t be able to submit payroll taxes. And how will you know what your income tax obligation is?

It can happen to you.

QuickBooks simplifies this process. Click File | Create Backupâ?¦ You’ll be asked whether you want to back up locally — to a network folder or thumb drive, for example â?? or to the cloud, using Intuit Data Protect (fees apply). If you select the local preference, click on Options to designate a location in this window:

Choose from options in this window to create a backup profile.

Click OK, then Next. QuickBooks will ask when you want to save your backup copy and offer scheduling options. When you’re done, click Finish.

Warning: If you’re using Intuit Sync Manager, there are special rules about copying the company file. Let us help you handle this safely.

Just the Facts

Portable company files are more compact than backup files, so they can be easily e-mailed as attachments or copied onto another computer. But they don’t contain everything that backups do. They lack, for example, letters, logos, attachments, images and templates. Don’t use this option if changes will be made, since they can’t be merged back into the file.

Be sure to create a current backup before you begin to move your file.

To save a portable company file, click on File | Create Copy (you can do this to copy any kind of file, actually). This window opens:

Click File | Create Copyâ?¦ to access any of QuickBooks’ three options.

Select Portable company file and click the Next button. In the following window, you’ll browse to a location for your file. QuickBooks will already have entered the name and will save your data in .qbm format. Click Save, then OK when QuickBooks tells you it must close and reopen your file first. Click OK again when you’re told that the file has been created.

Opening the File Elsewhere

When you’re ready to open the file at another location, click File | Open or Restore Companyâ?¦ In the window that opens, select Restore a portable file. The Open Portable Company File window opens; make sure that the file’s location is displayed in the Look in: field. Click Open. QuickBooks then asks where you want to restore the file.

The following step is critical. Rename your file unless you want to overwrite your current company file. You can add a date or some other identifying information like a version number.

Click Save. QuickBooks will convert your portable file to a standard company file with a .qbw extension.

QuickBooks makes it easy to create copies of your data, but an error here can threaten your company’s future. We can help ensure that that doesn’t happen.

Zero in on Key Report Figures

You’ve undoubtedly created reports that were so lengthy that you got tired of scrolling up and down to find totals for each individual section. QuickBooks lets you collapse and expand reports to see primary totals only, but this command affects the entire report.

If you want to just collapse a section or two, here’s how you do it. As an example, go to Reports | Company & Financial | Balance Sheet Standard. In QuickBooks 2012, you’d click the Excel button (your version may say Export). Indicate that you want to create a new worksheet and click Advanced. This window opens:

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

Make sure that Auto Outline (allows collapsing/expanding) is checked, then click OK and start the export. When your report opens as an Excel spreadsheet, you’ll notice that there is a series of vertical lines to the left of your data, and a group of numbers that corresponds to them running above horizontally.

Excel’s Auto Outline feature adds tools to the left of your data that let you collapse and expand subsections.

To collapse a section so that only the totals show, click on the minus (-) sign next to the line that should remain (in this example, it’s Total Checking/Savings). Do the same for Total Accounts Receivable and Total Other Current Assets. Then scroll down and do the same thing for the other asset subtotals. Here’s what you’ll see:

As you can see, the minus (-) signs have turned into plus (+) signs, which allows you to expand the rows back to their original states.

Auto Outline is a very useful feature, but there’s more than one way to implement it. And its availability and operation can vary in different versions of both Excel and QuickBooks. We can help you master this, as well as other QuickBooks-to-Excel tools.

Hidden Gems

Here are some other less-commonly-used QuickBooks features that you may want to try:

  • Getting ready to send an invoice but want to check a related transaction from the same job a few months ago? You could use the Find tool, which is a seriously underused feature that can often answer a question quickly. But that takes a few clicks. Instead, just hit Ctrl + L, and that Customer/Job screen pops open in the Customer Center. Click Ctrl + E from that screen to see the Edit Job dialog box.
  • CTRL+Y on transaction screens opens the Transaction Journal, which shows you the behind-the-scenes debits and credits. If the Account column is truncated, click and drag the little diamond symbol to the right.
  • QuickBooks offers numerous helpful payroll reports, but it also transfers your data into Excel for more comprehensive views of your employee compensation information over customizable date ranges. Go to Reports | Employees & Payroll | Summarize Payroll Data in Excel and More Payroll Reports in Excel.
  • Summarize Payroll Data in Excel is actually a series of reports, available by clicking this navigational bar at the bottom of the screen.
  • Allowing multiple windows in QuickBooks and tired of clicking the little x repeatedly to start with a clean slate? Click Window | Close All. This drop-down menu also displays the list of open windows; click on one to go there.
  • There may be no more frustrating task than reconciling your bank accounts. If you’re using online banking, consider doing this more than once monthly. Also, don’t let QuickBooks do an automatic adjustment for a considerable discrepancy unless it was a mistake made by a financial institution: Click the Undo Last Reconciliation button and try to find the error. And don’t forget about the Leave button. You may do better attacking it later.
  • If you occasionally need to enter a transaction for an entity that isn’t a customer, vendor or employee, go to Banking | Other Names List. You can add, edit and delete these, as well as converting them to customers, vendors or employees.

There’s more than one way to do a lot of things in QuickBooks. We can tell you about more, and evaluate your workflow to see how else we can improve your accounting experience.