How to back up your important QuickBooks data
- Click on File
- Click Back Up
- Complete the location where the file will be backed up (i.e. floppy disk in A: or other disk)
- Click the Back Up button
Seven Ways to Search QuickBooks
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.
QuickBooks maintains a register for each account on your balance sheet, which includes bank accounts, inventory, accounts receivable, and other assets. There are also registers for accounts payable, loan accounts, and owners’ equity.
Depending upon what you’re looking for, a register might be a fast way to find what you’re looking for, such as that desk we mentioned at the start:
- Choose Edit, and then Use Register (or press Ctrl-R). Alternatively, you can choose Banking, and then Use Register.
- As shown in Figure 1, choose your Furniture account from the list, and then click OK. QuickBooks will then present a window similar to Figure 2.
Figure 1: Every balance sheet account’not just cash accounts’has a register.
- As also shown in Figure 2, you can use the Go To button to search the register. This can help you narrow your search within a register that contains many transactions.
Figure 2: The register displays a searchable listing of all transactions within a balance sheet account.
Keep in mind that registers are just one way to find transactions in QuickBooks, and won’t always be appropriate for every situation. For instance, income and expense accounts don’t have a register’in those cases you need to take another approach.
#2: Simple Find
Think of the Simple Find feature as an expanded version of the Go To feature within a QuickBooks register. Choose Edit, and then Find (or press Ctrl-F) to display the window shown in Figure 3.
If necessary, click the Simple tab at the top of the window. You can then carry out searches based on transaction type, such as Invoice, Estimate, Bill, Check, and so on:
- Choose a transaction type from the list.
- Optionally limit your search by completing the Customer/Job, Date, Transaction #, and Amount. It’s not necessary to complete these additional fields, however without doing so you’ll return a list of all transactions of a given type, which may or may not be helpful.
Figure 3: Simple Find allows you to search within a single transaction type.
Once your list of transactions appears on the screen, you have several options:
- Double-click on a transaction to view it, or click once on the transaction and then click the Go To button.
- Click the Report button to display a Find report onscreen. As we’ll discuss later in this article, you can then click the Modify Report button to further refine the results of the Find report.
- Click the Export button to export the results to a comma-separated values (CSV) file or Excel spreadsheet.
#3: Advanced Find
This feature, shown in Figure 4, is akin to the Simple Find on steroids. You can search QuickBooks based on any combination of dozens of criteria. For instance, Figure 4 shows a search on customers in the city of Middlefield who bought appliances costing $500 or more.
To use Advanced Filter, simply choose a field from the Filter column, and then set the desired criteria. Your input choices will vary based on the field that you choose.
For instance, if you click on Name City, you can enter a single city.
Conversely, you can make multiple selections when you choose a field like Item or Account. Keep adding new filters as needed. You can craft some very elaborate searches in this fashion. To eliminate a filter, click once on the item within the list on the right, and then hit the Delete key. Alternatively, the Reset button will also clear the decks for you.
Figure 4: Advanced Find allows you to specify criteria for dozens of available fields.
Current versions of QuickBooks feature a Search command on the Edit menu. You may be prompted to enable Google Desktop the first time that you choose this command. Doing so will allow you to use the same search terms and conventions that you use on the Internet to locate transactions within QuickBooks.
As shown in Figure 5, this feature is not automatically enabled, and doing so may cause minor performance degradation on your computer. As shown in Figure 6, Google Desktop automatically groups transactions by type, and you can choose to sort by date.
Figure 5: You must enable Google Desktop Search within QuickBooks.
Figure 6: Google Desktop search automatically groups transactions by type.
Indexing required: Google Desktop initially runs an indexing process on your QuickBooks data. The length of time required for this varies, based upon the size of your QuickBooks company.
You’ll get the best results from your search if you wait until Google Desktop has completed its initial index. New transactions will automatically be indexed after this one-time process completes.
#5: Customized Lists
By default, QuickBooks customer and vendor lists only display names and balance totals. You may not realize that you can add additional columns, such as phone number, and that each column is sortable:
- Choose Customers, and then Customer Center (or press Ctrl-J).
- Right-click on the customer list, and then choose Customize Columns.
- As shown in Figure 7, you can add as many additional fields as you wish to the list, as well as move fields up and down within the list. Click OK once you’ve made your changes.
Figure 7: You can add or remove columns from list windows in QuickBooks.
- As shown in Figure 8, you can resize the columns within the list. Place your mouse between field names, and then drag to the left or right to resize the field.
Figure 8: QuickBooks list columns are resizable and sortable.
- Click the name of a field within the list to sort based on that column. As shown in Figure 8, you can use this technique to search for a customer simply based on telephone number.
#6: Report Filters
Some QuickBooks reports are like a fire hose of data, giving you far more information than you really need. Fortunately, every report has a Modify Report button in the upper-left-hand corner of the screen, which enables you to pare down the results of the report.
As shown in Figure 9, you can click the Filters tab of the Modify Report window and make the same choices that we discussed previously in the Advanced Filter dialog box.
Figure 9: Most QuickBooks reports allow you to apply filters to limit the amount of data shown.
#7: Audit Trail: If you’ve exhausted all of the previous methods to find a transaction in QuickBooks, one final place to look is the audit trail. Someone could have deleted the transaction, either on purpose, or accidentally.
The audit trail formerly was an optional feature in QuickBooks, but starting with the 2006 versions and onward, it’s always on, so you’ll always have a searchable record of every transaction ever entered in QuickBooks.
You cannot view the details of deleted transactions in the audit trail, but at least you’ll know why it didn’t appear through any of the other search methods:
- Choose Reports, Accountant & Taxes, and then Audit Trail.
- Once the report appears on screen, you can change the date range to pick a broader range if necessary. You can also click the Modify Report button and apply any filters that you wish. As shown in Figure 10, any deleted transactions will be marked as such.
Figure 10: The audit trail shows deleted transactions.
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.
Fast access to company files you have used recently
- 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. 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.
Filtering a Report - Selecting most of the items from a 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.
Hiring Summer Employees? QuickBooks Can Track Their Time
QuickBooks offers capable tools for tracking the items you sell, but it’s also quite a competent time-tracker. If you pay employees based on the hours they work, QuickBooks can ease your bookkeeping burden. Tracked time can flow to both invoices and payroll, helping you pay employees and collect on services provided to customers.
Before you start tracking time, you’ll need to turn on the related tools. Click Edit | Preferences, and then Time & Expenses. Click on the tab titled Company Preferences. You’ll see the window shown in Figure 1.
Figure 1: Before you can start tracking and billing for time, you’ll need to fill out some of the fields in this Company Preferenceswindow.
In this window, be sure you’ve checked Yes, and then select the first day of the work week from the drop-down list.
If you are going to want billable time to flow directly to invoices, check the first box under Invoicing Options. The other options in this window relate to expense and item tracking; check with us to see if your business needs to use them.
Tip: If you want to use payroll to pay employees for time worked, be sure to check the box labeled “Use time data to create paychecks” when you’re building employee records, as shown in Figure 2.
Figure 2: To facilitate the flow from time to paychecks, be sure to check the box for “Use time data to create paychecks.”
If you’re planning to use QuickBooks’s job tracking, click on Sales & Customers in the left pane, then on the My Preferences tab (see Figure 1). Here, you can choose how you want QuickBooks to handle available time and costs when you’re preparing an invoice.
Single Activities or Time Sheets?
QuickBooks offers two ways to enter time. You can record hours on individual tickets or fill out weekly timesheets. No matter which you choose, the information is always available in the other form. You can switch methods at any time, and your work will be preserved.
Let’s start with the individual time tickets. Open the Employee Center in the toolbar, or click on the Employees menu. Click Enter Time, then Time/Enter Single Activity. The window shown in Figure 3 opens:
Figure 3: It’s easy to record hours on this single-activity ticket by simply filling in the blanks.
QuickBooks pulls in data from other parts of the program, records you’ve already created. First, enter the activity’s date or select it from the calendar. Click the arrow next to Name and choose the appropriate employee from the list.
Second, if the hours are going to be billed to a customer or job, click the next arrow and select the correct one (ignore this if you’re just recording company time, like regular compensation or sick time). Finally, pick the service that the employee performed, if applicable. Be sure to check the Billable box when it’s appropriate.
Tip: You can create a new record on the fly here if, for example, you haven’t set up the service you need to record. Click < Add New >in the drop-down list.
Linking to Payroll
You can also use QuickBooks’s timer if you’re going to bill for a timed activity such as a phone call. And you can add notes that will be saved to the ticket.
QuickBooks provides other ways to describe hours spent so that they’re recorded properly. If you have payroll turned on and have associated a payroll item with the selected service item, the Payroll Item field (which indicates how much the employee should be paid) will automatically be filled in. You can easily change this field if necessary.
If you haven’t created a payroll item, select Add New. A wizard will walk you through the process. This relationship can be a bit confusing so talk to us if you have any questions. When you’re done, click Save & Close or Save & New.
Week at a Time
Weekly timesheets can save you a lot of time. To get there, open the Employee Center in the toolbar, or click on the Employeesmenu. Click Use Weekly Timesheet. You’ll see a window similar to the one shown in Figure 4:
Figure 4: Rather than entering each activity individually, you can document an entire week at a time using the Weekly Timesheet.
You can speed through weekly timesheets, using the drop-down lists to select the appropriate data and entering the number of hours worked. Click Copy Last Sheet if you want to duplicate the configuration from the last pay period.
QuickBooks Time Tracker offers another way to save time and avoid errors. Employees can send their timesheets from any computer that has an Internet connection. Your staff who handles payroll can then download and incorporate them into the company’s payroll. Prices start at $10/month for one user.
Whether you’re bringing employees in for seasonal help or your regular payroll incorporates time worked as well as items sold, QuickBooks contains the tools you need to both invoice customers accurately and dispatch proper paychecks.
If you need help with this feature, or you have any questions on QuickBooks’s reporting, don’t hesitate to give us a call.
Save Time for Summer by Memorizing Transactions
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, like the one shown in Figure 1. Click the Edit menu, and then click Memorize Bill. The dialog box shown in Figure 2 opens.
Figure 1: To memorize a bill payment that changes regularly, fill out the transaction form minus the amount.
Figure 2: 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 like the one in Figure 4 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.
Figure 3: The Memorized Transactions List allows you to customize to your preference.
Figure 4: 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.
Is It Time to Adjust Your Pricing? How QuickBooks Can Help
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, 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Turn Over a New Cliche: Adopt Best Practices
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.
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.
Figure 1. When you’re formulating ideas that could evolve into best practices, use your best resource: your employees.
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 theCollections Center. Previous versions have numerous helpful reports, like A/R Aging Detail, Open Invoices, andCollections Report.
Figure 2. 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.
Figure 3. 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.
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.
Using the Add/Edit Multiple List Entries Feature
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:
Figure 1: Make sure your columns are correct and in the right 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.
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.).
Figure 3: 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. You’ll see this menu:
Figure 4: The Copy Down command changes all entries in a column to match the top one.
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.
Tracking Bills in QuickBooks, Worth the Effort
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):
Figure 2: 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:
Figure 3: 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
- In the Recent Transactions pane of some forms
- On the bills themselves
Figure 4: 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.
Classes or Types? When To Use Them in QuickBooks
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.
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 onClass, then select New from the menu. You’ll see this:
Figure 1: 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:
Figure 2: 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 clickingCustomize 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.
Figure 3: You can filter by class in QuickBooks reports.
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.
Figure 4: 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.
QuickBooks Tips And Tricks: Make it Yours
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.
Figure 1: 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 labeledUncategorized 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.
Figure 2: 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 clickEdit | 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
- 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)
Figure 3: 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.
Figure 4: 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.
Modifying Reports: Better Insight Into Past, Future
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:
Figure 1: 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 toColumns and select Four week.
Figure 2: 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 chooseTotal, 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:
Figure 3: 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.
Clicking on Revert takes you back to the default format, and Advanced opens additional options specific to the current report.
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.
Figure 4: 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.
Portable Productivity: Smartphones Do Invoices, Expenses, Time Billing
Accounting in the cloud is closer than you might think. In fact, it’s here, in some cases. QuickBooks Online, of course, is entirely cloud-based, but it does not yet offer all of the features found in Intuit’s top-of-the-line products, Premier and Enterprise.
In the meantime, Intuit itself, as well as third-party developers, have built online apps that fill in some of the gaps. These add-on solutions exist on websites, but they can collect data and synchronize it with desktop QuickBooks. So can that iPhone or Android that’s sitting on your desk right now.
Many Mobile Applications
To find these apps, go to the Intuit App Center and click on All Apps. There are dozens of them, arranged by category (Billing and Invoicing, Customer Management, Inventory Management, Apps by Intuit, etc.).
Your first stop should be at Intuit’s QuickBooks Connect (this is the name of the online application that you’d use on a remote PC or laptop; the name of the smartphone app is QuickBooks Mobile). This app gives you easy access to your customer and sales data when you’re away from your office.
Figure 1: QuickBooks Mobile, shown here on the Android operating system, gives you sales tools when you’re away from desktop QuickBooks.
Remote Sales Tools
Whether you’re working in web-based QuickBooks Connect or on a smartphone, your data and transaction options are similar. QuickBooks Connect has a few more features, like an Item List and Customer Center, but both let you:
- Access multiple company files
- View, add, and edit customers, estimates, invoices, and sales receipts, using QuickBooks’ custom templates
- E-mail these forms to customers
QuickBooks Mobile and QuickBooks Connect use the Intuit Sync Manager — located on the desktop where QuickBooks is installed — to keep data current everywhere. That computer must be running for syncs to work.
Figure 2: You can create and e-mail invoices from QuickBooks Mobile.
Manage Travel Expenses
Concur Breeze grabs the data you need (customers, employees, jobs, etc.) from QuickBooks to record expenses on the road. You can enter charges directly into a form or snap a picture with your phone — it’ll be attached to your expense report. These charges are then sent to a report template that thoroughly documents the charge, letting you specify variables like the trip purpose, travel policy type, project and client. The status of your approval and payment are also included here.
You can send travel itineraries from your free TripIt Pro account and credit card charges directly to an existing expense report to accelerate the process. And once an expense report is approved, money can be moved automatically from the designated company bank account to an employee’s account. $8 per month per user; free 30-day trial.
Figure 3: Concur Breeze provides mobile expense management.
If your company has employees or contractors who work remotely and submit hours for approval, consider eBillity Time Tracker for Intuit QuickBooks. After it pulls in customers, service items, and employees from QuickBooks, you can invite workers to track their time on their smartphones by either entering it manually or using the timer, and then sync it with the online application.
Mobile workers can use the application in offline mode; entries are uploaded when they reconnect. Prices start at $10/month for Admin and one user.
Backup or Portable Company File? How to Decide
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.
Figure 1: 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 Backup You’ll be asked whether you want to back up locally — to a network folder or thumb drive, for example — or to the cloud, using Intuit Data Protect (fees apply). If you select the local preference, click onOptions to designate a location in this window:
Figure 2: 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:
Figure 3: Click File | Create Copy 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 Company In the window that opens, selectRestore 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.
QuickBooks Can Do Much More Than You Think
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:
Figure 1: 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.
Figure 2: 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’sTotal 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:
Figure 3: 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.
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 theFind 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 theEdit 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.
Figure 4: 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.
Spring Cleaning: Streamlining QuickBooks
Although Intuit did a great job of giving QuickBooks’ home page a fresher, more open look in its 2013 versions, maybe some of your screens have become unnecessarily cluttered. Perhaps your QuickBooks company file needs some attention as well. By taking a few minutes to do some “spring cleaning” you’ll have a tidier workspace, and you’ll save time and frustration. The following suggestions will help you do just that.
Make a Clean Start
One simple way to take care of cluttered screens is to do the following:
- Minimize icons. That pretty graphical process map on the home page is great for quick access to frequently-used actions. Some of them must remain there if they’re related to activities you do (i.e., Invoices has to stay if you use Estimates), but you can remove some of the ones you don’t use. Go to Preferences | Desktop View | Company Preferences. You’ll see this:
Figure 1: You can turn off some of the feature icons on your home page.
Some of the options have been grayed out because they support other processes. To remove an active feature icon like Inventory, click on it. In the window that opens, uncheck the box next to Inventory and purchase orders are active (you can also modify options here).
Figure 2: Clicking the checkbox next to Inventory and purchase orders are active grays out the other options and removed related feature icons from the home page.
To reduce the number of feature icons even more, go to the Finance Charge, Jobs & Estimates, Payroll & Employees, Sales & Customers, Sales Tax and Time & Expenses. QuickBooks removes the related icons and reroutes the process map on the home page.
More Time-Saving Tweaks
- Don’t allow multiple windows to open in your work area. Tired of seeing all of those overlapping open windows on your desktop? Open the View menu and select One Window. All of your open windows remain active in the background. To return to one of them, open the Window menu and select the one you want to move to the front (Window | Close All returns you to a blank work area).
Figure 3: Your Icon bar can be your fastest route to often needed screens ‘ if you modify it to only contain the functions you use, in order of importance. You can also change the labels to make them more meaningful to you.
- Trim down your icon bar. Seems like a minimal change, but it’s one of those things that can add unnecessary moments of frustration throughout the day (Where’s the Calendar!). Click View | Customize Icon Bar.
- Customize columns in ,b>Lists. You probably work in QuickBooks’ Lists often, but are you spending too much time tracking down the right information? Customize their columns so your registers contain only what you usually need (and add additional ones if it’s helpful). Open a list, right-click anywhere within it and select ,b>Customize Columns to modify the display (resize column widths by placing your cursor on the vertical set of dots between labels and dragging).
Figure 4: When you customize your columns in Lists, you’ll find what you’re looking for faster.
- Hide inactive items. Highlight an item, right-click and select Make Item Inactive. Open the Item menu in the lower left and click Hide Inactive Items (this action won’t delete them).
These may all seem like cosmetic changes, but you will save time and frustration over the long run.
The most critical spring cleaning task is company file analysis and maintenance. We can handle this for you. QuickBooks can slow down and start generating error messages when the data file becomes unwieldy and sloppy. Preventing file corruption before it crashes your system is a lot faster and less expensive than a reconstruction project.
Simplify, Accelerate Common Tasks with QuickBooks 2014
If Intuit named its desktop versions of QuickBooks by the version number rather than the year we’d be in version 20-something by now. QuickBooks, still the preferred software for small businesses, keeps getting smarter in its annual upgrades. Rather than pile on tons of new features in its upgrades, for many years now, Intuit has concentrated on making it easier for you to access the tools and data that are already there.
QuickBooks 2014 is no exception. Its combination of small-but-effective changes makes it easier to get in and do what needs to be done quickly and then get out and move on to activities that will help build your business.
A Superior View
If you do upgrade to QuickBooks 2014, head first to the new Income Tracker (Customers | Income Tracker). QuickBooks offers numerous reports and other tools for following the progress of your incoming revenue, but this new feature provides the best we’ve seen in the software.
Figure 1: QuickBooks 2014’s new Income Tracker gives you real-time access to the status of your receivables.
You may find yourself spending a lot of time on this screen because it gives you a birds-eye view of your receivables that isn’t available anywhere else in the program. You can click on any of the four colored bars that run across the top of the screen –
Estimates, Open Invoices, Overdue and Paid Last 30 Days
–to change the data that appears below. Within each bar is the number of related transactions and their total dollar amount.
You’ll use the drop-down lists directly below these navigational bars to set filters that define a subset of transactions. These areCUSTOMER:JOB, TYPE, STATUS and DATE.
The last column in the table is labeled ACTION. Once you’ve earmarked a transaction or transactions that you want to work with by checking the box in front of each name, you can select an action you want to take. If OPEN INVOICES is active, for example, you can receive payment for the transaction(s), print or email them. Where applicable, you can open a drop-down menu in the lower left of the screen and batch-produce invoices, sales receipts and credit memos/refunds.
More Descriptive Email
If you regularly send invoices through email, you may have wondered how many of them actually get opened by your customers in a timely fashion. QuickBooks 2014 contains a new tool that makes the details of each invoice available within the body of the email itself.
Figure 2: You can modify this template or leave it as is: QuickBooks 2014 will fill in the relevant details for each customer.
To access this template, open the Edit menu and select Preferences. Click on the Send Forms tab, then Company Preferences. Open the drop-down list to select the type of form you want to view or modify (pay stub, sales receipt, credit memo, etc.). Click the Editbutton to see the actual template, and open the Insert Field drop-down menu to see your options. When you email a form, QuickBooks will replace the text and numbers in brackets with the correct details for each recipient.
This is what is called a mail merge. They’re fairly simple to use, but one error will throw your message off. We can help you get set up with these.
Intuit has made many small-but-useful features to QuickBooks 2014, all designed to help you work faster and smarter, and simply to support more convenient operations. For example, the Ribbon toolbars on transactions now include a tab or menu that lets you open related reports.
Figure 3: You can now access reports directly from the Ribbon toolbar on transaction screens.
- QuickBooks’ color scheme has been changed.
- The program runs faster.
- You can now copy and paste lines within forms.
- We can communicate with you (and vice versa) via an email window that’s been embedded into the software. This tool even auto-pastes the transaction in question into the email window.
- There’s been some retooling of online banking (now called “Bank Feeds”), making it more accessible and understandable.
Upgrading to a new version of QuickBooks can be challenging, so we encourage you to let us know if you’d like to explore the process. New functionality and usability that improves your workflow and your understanding of your finances can be worth the time and trouble.
Receiving Payment from Customers in Quickbooks
Undoubtedly, there are some QuickBooks tasks that are more enjoyable than others. It’s no fun paying bills, for example, and making collection calls on unpaid invoices can be downright unpleasant.
But you probably don’t mind recording payments after all of your hard work creating products or providing services, sending invoices or statements, and generating reports to make sure you’re on top of it all.
QuickBooks offers more than one way to document customer remittances, and it’s important that you use the right one for the right situation.
Defining the destination
Figure 1: Uncheck the box on the farthest right if you think you may want to direct payments to other accounts sometimes.
Before you begin receiving payments, you need to make sure they will end up in the correct account. The default is an account calledUndeposited Funds. To make sure that this setting is correct, open the Edit menu and select Preferences, and click the Company Preferences tab. Use Undeposited Funds as a default deposit to account should have a check mark in the box next to it.
If you think you’ll sometimes want to deposit to a different account, leave the box unchecked. Then every time you record a payment, there will be a Deposit to field on the form. Talk to us if you’re planning to use any account other than Undeposited Funds, as you can run into serious problems down the road if payments are earmarked for the wrong account.
The right tool for the job
Probably the most common type of payment that you’ll process will come in to pay all or part of an invoice or statement that you sent previously.
Figure 2: You’ll record payments on invoices you’ve sent in this window.
To do this, open the Customers menu and select Receive Payments. In the window that opens, click on the arrow in the field next toRECEIVED FROM to display the drop-down list, and choose the correct customer. You’ll see the outstanding balance. Enter the amount of the payment you received in the AMOUNT field and change the date if necessary. Click the arrow in the field next to PMT. METHOD, and then select the type of payment.
If you established a credit card as the default payment method in the customer record, the card number and expiration date will be filled in. If not, or if a check was submitted, enter the information requested.
Any outstanding invoices will appear in a table. Make sure that there’s a check mark in front of the correct one(s). If the customer only made a partial payment, you’ll have to indicate how you want to handle the underpayment. Here are your options:
Figure 3: You can select how to handle partially-paid invoices here.
When you’re done, save the payment.
There may be times when you receive payment immediately, at the time your products or services change hands. In these cases, you’ll want to use a sales receipt. Open the Customers menu again and click Enter Sales Receipts.
Select a customer from the drop-down list or add a new one, then fill out the rest of the form like you would an invoice, selecting the items and quantities sold, and indicating the type of payment made (cash, check, credit).
Figure 4: Fill out a sales receipt when payment is received simultaneously with the sale.
These are the most common methods of receiving payments from customers, and you may never have to do anything other than simple payment-recording and sales receipts.
But unusual situations may arise that leave you stumped. For example, a customer may want to make a partial, advance payment before you’ve created an invoice or at the same time you’re entering it. In a case like this, you’ll have to create a payment item so that the money you’ve just received is reflected on the invoice. Or you may get a down payment on a product or service, or even an overpayment.
Let us help you when such situations occur. It’s much easier âand more economical for you â to spend some time with us before you record a puzzling payment than to have us track it down later on. We’ll help ensure that your money makes it to the right destination.
5 Ways to Accelerate Your Receivables in QuickBooks
If you asked five small business owners to name the top three roadblocks they face in their quest for ongoing profitability, it’s likely that all five would point to slow payments.
It’s everyone’s problem. Accounts receivable requires constant monitoring. As satisfying as it can be to dispatch a group of invoices, you know that it’s going to take some work to bring in payment for at least some of them.
By using QuickBooks’ tools and complying with accounting best practices, you’ll be more confident during the invoicing stage that what you’re owed will actually be in your bank account in a reasonable amount of time. Here are five things that we suggest.
Let customers pay invoices electronically
Figure 1: You’re likely to get paid faster if you let customers pay electronically when they receive an invoice. Go to Edit | Preferences | Payments | Company Preferences.
A few years ago, this was a good idea. In 2014, when people have stopped carrying checkbooks and are accustomed to using their mobile devices to pay for merchandise, it’s become almost required. Whether or not you know it, you’re probably losing some business if you don’t have a merchant account that supports credit and debit card payments, and possibly e-checks.
If you have an online storefront, you’ve undoubtedly been accepting plastic for a long time now. Not many shoppers want to place an order on a website and hunt for envelopes and stamps and blank checks to complete it. If you invoice customers, it’s just as critical that you allow them to remit payment ASAP.
Not set up with a merchant account yet? We can help you get started with the Intuit Payment Network.
Keep a close watch on your A/R reports
Part of being proactive with your accounts receivable is being vigilant and informed. Create and customize A/R reports regularly. When you customize your A/R Aging Detail report, for example, in addition to the other columns that you include, be sure that Terms, Due Date, Bill Date, Aging and Open Balance are turned on (click Customize Report | Display and click in front of each column label).
You should also be looking at Open Invoices and Collections Report frequently, or assigning someone else to monitor them closely. We can help here by creating more complex financial reports periodically, like Statement of Cash Flows.
Figure 2: In this window, QuickBooks wants you to create filters to identify customers who should receive statements. Here, everyone with transactions that are more than 30 days old will be included.
Invoices are generally the preferred way to bill your customers, but you should consider sending statements in addition when customers have outstanding balances past a certain date. QuickBooks sometimes calls these reminder statements. You’re not providing the recipients with any new information; you’re simply sending a kind of report that lists all invoices sent, credit memos and payment received.
To generate statements, click Customers | Create Statements. You’ll see the window pictured above. You can send statements to everyone, a defined group or one customer, and you can define the past-due status that you want to target in addition to other options.
Send accurate invoices the first time
Few things will slow down your accounts receivable more than incorrect invoices. The customer can wait until payment is almost due to dispute the charges, which means that they’ll probably get another 15 or 30 days (or whatever their terms are) to pay the amended bill.
So whoever is responsible for creating invoices needs to be checking and re-checking them. If it’s logistically possible depending on your workflow, have them verified by a second employee.
Offer discounts for early payment and assess finance charges
Offering discounts is a balancing act. You’ll be getting less money for your sale–even 5 percent multiplied by many customers can add up–but it may make sense financially for you to take a small hit in return for being able to deposit the payment sooner. We can help you do the math here.
To offer this, you’ll have to set up your discount scenario as a Term option (Lists | Customer & Vendor Profile Lists | Terms List), as seen here:
Figure 3: This Standard discount term gives customers a 5 percent discount if their invoice is paid within 10 days.
To make a customer eligible for the discount, open the Customer Center and double-click on a customer, then on Payment Settings | Payment Terms.
You might also want to be assessing finance charges. The revenue you bring in from finance charges will probably be negligible. But sometimes, just knowing that a late payment will be more costly may prompt your customers to settle up in a timely fashion.
Whatever approaches you choose to accelerate your receivables, be consistent. If any of your customers should compare notes, you want to be regarded as being firm but fair.