Gina Brooks is the President and Founder of Gina's Bookkeeping Service. Our primary goal as a trusted advisor is to be available and to provide insightful advice to enable our clients to make informed financial decisions.
We covered a lot of ground last month, but there are still some things to know about working with transactions you import from your banks.
Last month, we went over the basics of managing financial transactions once you’ve downloaded them into QuickBooks Online. We walked you through the mechanics of connecting to banks and credit card companies online and described the process of reviewing imported transactions, exploring concepts like:
Categorizing them, and marking them as billable
Adding them to an account register; matching them to related transactions; or transferring them to another account
Using Batch actions to process related groups
We explored QuickBooks Online’s Banking features last month, including the site’s ability to work with related transactions as groups.
This month, we’ll look at the process of setting up rules to automatically classify transactions as they come in from your banks. We’ll also provide a brief overview of the Chart of Accounts.
We’ve already discussed QuickBooks Online’s ability to guess how transactions should be categorized (it’s not always right, but you can change incorrect ones). It also allows you to memorize transactions that recur on a regular basis; this also saves time and improves accuracy. There’s another way the site also uses automation to help minimize keystrokes: Bank Rules. Based on your input, it will scan incoming items and classify them, so you don’t have to. This can be very helpful when you regularly import transactions that share specific attributes.
Let’s look at how this works. Click Banking in the navigation toolbar, then click Bank Rules. Once you’ve created your own rule(s), they’ll appear in a grid on this screen. For now, click New rule in the upper right corner. Basically, you’re going to tell QuickBooks Online that when specific conditions are met, as you can see in the example below, it should take the specified action(s): assign a Transaction type, Payee, and/or Category. You can also have the transaction automatically added to your books.
You can create Bank Rules in QuickBooks Online that will automatically assign a Transaction type, Payee, and Category to imported items that meet specific conditions.
We suggest you meet with us if you’re going to take on this task. If your business processes a lot of transactions, Bank Rules can be incredibly helpful. But set them up incorrectly, and it could take many hours to untangle the errors.
Account Registers, Chart of Accounts
In this column and the last, we’ve been working with transactions as they come into QuickBooks Online directly from your financial institutions, before they appear in your account registers. When you clicked Add after you looked at—and perhaps modified—a transaction listed under For Review on the Banking page, you sent it to that account’s register.
Notice that the site’s registers look similar to their paper counterparts; you may remember recording checks and deposits in the back of your checkbook, if you’ve been in business long enough. There are two ways to see them in QuickBooks Online. When you’re on the Banking page, look over to your right. You’ll see a link labeled Go to Register. Click it, and you’ll be taken to that page for the account that’s currently active.
You can also open your account registers from the Chart of Accounts. We don’t talk much about this element of financial management because it’s not something you should be modifying. Nevertheless, it’s the heart of your accounting system. It consists of a comprehensive list of your company’s accounts, divided into assets, liabilities, income, expenses, and equity (along with subaccounts). Transactions are assigned to the appropriate account and recorded in the General Ledger, which is another element of accounting that we don’t discuss because you don’t have to deal with it in QuickBooks Online.
You can view your company’s Chart of Accounts in QuickBooks Online, but we recommend you don’t modify it.
Click on the Accounting tab in the navigation toolbar, then Chart of Accounts. You’ll see your individual bank accounts listed here, along with a View Register link.
A Critical Concept
Again, you won’t have to deal with the Chart of Accounts, but it’s very important that you understand how to manage downloaded transactions as you move them into your bank accounts in QuickBooks Online. Mistakes here can trigger errors in reports and taxes, as well as create general confusion. We’d be happy to get you on the right path with this critical function.
Estimates can be effective sales tools – if they look professional and offer attractive prices. Here’s how to create them using QuickBooks.
You don’t need to be a car repair shop or an HVAC technician to present prospects and customers with estimates. In fact, there may be many times when an unexpected estimate—or bid, or proposal—will land you a job you didn’t necessarily expect.
Of course, the bottom line is the meat of your estimate, the price you’re willing to accept for your work performed. It’s your job to determine that. But let QuickBooks do what it does best: provide intuitive, efficient tools for creating and modifying estimates.
Before you start creating estimates, you’ll need to make sure they’re turned on in QuickBooks. Open the Edit menu and select Preferences, then Jobs & Estimates | Company Preferences. If the Yes button below DO YOU CREATE ESTIMATES? is not filled in, click inside of it to turn on this feature. Also, the Warn about duplicate estimate numbers check box should be activated.
There are actually three ways to open an estimate form. You can click the Estimates icon on the home page or open the Customers menu and select Create Estimates. You can also open the Customer Center (Customers | Customer Center) and click on the Transactions tab. Click the New Transactions button in the toolbar and choose Estimates.
If you haven’t explored QuickBooks’ Customer Center, you should. You can do a lot of your sales work directly from there, like creating estimates.
As you can see, you can create multiple types of sales forms from here. You can also see lists of existing and historical transactions.
Making It Yours
Before you create your first estimate, you should make sure that the form’s header, footer, and columns contain the fields you want. Use one of the three methods we just outlined to open a blank form. Then, with the Formatting tab at the top of the window active, click Customize Data Layout in the toolbar that opens to launch the Additional Customization window.
Take your time working with the options in this window. QuickBooks gives you an incredible amount of control over how your estimates will look, but don’t get ahead of yourself. Start with the most important content: the text you want to have appear. By default, the software opens a template called Custom Estimate that contains commonly-used fields, like Cost, Description, and Markup. You can easily change these by checking and unchecking their corresponding boxes.
You’ll check and uncheck boxes to indicate the fields you want to appear in the Header, Columns, and Footer of your estimates.
You’ll notice that you can have specific fields appear on the screen and/or on printed copies of your estimates. You can also change the field names (use Bid or Proposal instead of Estimate, for example), and for columns only, the order in which they appear.
Warning: Be careful with the Markup field of your estimates. You wouldn’t want your customers to see this, so be sure that it is NOT checked in the Print column.
As you make changes to this template, you’ll see the graphical Preview over to the right change to reflect your modifications. Click Print Preview to see a larger, finished version of your template. When you’re satisfied with it, click OK. This will replace your Custom Estimate template.
You probably noticed other links and icons related to the formatting of estimates. These open advanced tools that we can help you understand. Once you’ve mastered them, you can save multiple versions of your estimate templates to use in different situations. These features include:
If you want to create a different look for the Custom Estimate template or build and save a new one, you can walk through this customization wizard.
Customize Design. This opens a multi-step wizard that helps you select a background, font, and grid style.
Download Templates. You can choose from multiple pre-designed templates.
Basic Customization. This window supplies tools for adding a logo and changing colors and fonts.
Layout Designer. We only recommend this tool if you already have freeform design skills.
Just Like Invoices
Creating an estimate in QuickBooks is just like filling out an invoice. You enter data where appropriate, and select options from drop-down lists. If you don’t have any experience with sales forms and need some guidance, we’re here to help. We can set up a time to go over the entire process – and answer any other questions you might have about QuickBooks while we’re at it. So, get started and connect with us at your convenience.
QuickBooks Online was built to work with transactions downloaded from your online financial institutions. Here’s how to work with them.
The ability to import transactions from financial institutions into QuickBooks Online is definitely one of the best things about the site. You may have even signed up for that very reason. By now, you’ve probably already set up at least one connection. But are you using all of the QuickBooks Online’s account tools? There’s a lot you can do once you’ve imported in data from your bank or credit card provider.
We’ll explore these features in this column and the next.
If you’re a new subscriber, you may not have established these critical links yet. It’s an easy process. Start by clicking the Banking link in the left vertical navigation pane. In the upper right corner, click Add Account and enter the name of your financial institution if it’s not pictured. Then follow the instructions you’re given on the screen. These can vary depending on the bank or credit card provider, but you’re always at least asked to enter the user name and password that you use to log into each online.
Need help with this? Let us know.
Viewing Your Transactions
Once you’ve made a successful connection, you’ll be returned to the Bank and Credit Cards page. You should see a card-shaped graphic at the top of the screen for each account you’ve linked. Click on one. The table that opens is not your account register. The view here defaults to For Review, which refers to transactions you’ve downloaded. The All tab should also be highlighted; we’ll get to Recognized transactions later.
When you first download transactions into QuickBooks Online, before you’ve done anything with them, many will appear under For Review.
There’s a lot going on here, so don’t be surprised if you’re confused. Review each transaction by clicking on it. QuickBooks Online will have guessed at how it should be categorized, but you can change this by opening the list in the category field and selecting the correct one. It’s critical that you get this right, since it will have an impact on reports and income taxes. If you need to Split it between multiple categories, click on that button found to the right.
If the transaction is Billable, check that box and choose a customer from the drop-down list. If you don’t see this box, click the gear icon in the upper right and select Account and Settings | Expenses. Check to see that Make Expenses and Items Billable is turned On (click on Off, then check the appropriate box to turn it on).
Next, determine how you want to process the transaction by clicking on one of the three buttons at the top of the transaction box. Do you want to accept it and Add it to that account’s register? Do you want QuickBooks Online to Find (a) Match for it (like a payment that matches an invoice, for example)? Or, do you want to Transfer it to another account? Once you’ve made one of these three selections, the transactions that you’ve added or matched will move under the In QuickBooks tab (where you can still Undo them) and will be available in the account’s register.
You can save time by using QuickBooks Online’s Batch Actions tool.
Say you run a cross some duplicate or personal transactions that you don’t want to appear in the current account’s register. Check the box in front of each, then click the arrow in the Batch Actions box. Select Exclude Selected. They’ll then be available under the Excluded tab. You can also Accept or Modify multiple transactions simultaneously by using this tool.
So far, you’ve been viewing All your transactions. Click on Recognized to the right of it. These are transactions that are already familiar to QuickBooks Online because they’ve appeared before and/or have been matched, or because you’ve created Bank Rules for them (we’ll address that concept next month). You’ll need to address these the same way you did the transactions in the For Review section; you can either Add or Transfer them.
If you’re new to QuickBooks Online, this may all sound pretty complicated. It can be at first. But once you’ve worked with downloaded transactions for a while, you’ll understand the flow much better. If you’re not clear on the process from the start, it can lead to trouble. Contact us at your convenience. We’d be happy to sit down with you and go through it all using your own company’s data; the familiarity may help.
The time-consuming part’s over once you’ve entered bills in QuickBooks. Here’s how to pay them.
Last month, we explained that the process of paying bills in QuickBooks requires two separate sets of actions. We went over what’s required to enter bills and to set up reminders so they don’t get overlooked. This month’s column will walk you through the second step: paying the bills.
You’ll remember you must first click Enter Bills on the home page (or open the Vendors menu and select Enter Bills), which opens a graphical representation of a bill. Select a Vendor from the drop-down list and complete the remaining fields in the top box. Make sure the Amount Due carries over to the lower part of the screen under either the Expenses or Items tab and that the rest of the fields there are completed correctly before you save the bill.
Once a bill is saved, it will be available to you when you click Pay Bills on the home page. That action will open a window similar to this one:
When you click Pay Bills on QuickBooks’ home page, a screen containing a table like this will open
In the upper left corner, you’ll first SELECT BILLS TO BE PAID by either defining a date range or asking to see all bills that have been entered but not yet paid. To the right of those options is the Filter By field. You can open the list and click All Vendors or click on a specific vendor. Selecting an option in the Sort By field allows you to change the display order of the list of bills.
Next, you’ll have to indicate which bills you want to pay, and by what method. This may take more than one pass if you’re using different payment methods for different vendors. If that’s the case, you’ll have to select bills in batches. Click in the box in front of each bill that you want to pay (or click Select All Bills below the table).
There are several columns in the table you will see. Some will already be filled in for each vendor with information that was included in the actual bill, like REF. NO. and AMT. DUE. Others refer to discounts and credits. If you’ve already set up vendor discounts (early payment, for example) or are entitled to a credit (overpayment, returned merchandise, etc.) and have set up QuickBooks to automatically apply them to bills, they should appear in those columns.
Tip: If you are the company administrator, you can set up this option. Open the Edit menu and select Preferences | Bills. With the Company Preferences tab active, check the boxes in front of Automatically Use Credits and Automatically Use Discounts, and select the correct Default Discount Account.
Discounts and credits are rather complex concepts in QuickBooks, and we expect you might need our help with setting them up.
The final step in bill paying on this page is to enter the AMT. TO PAY at the end of each applicable row.
If you’ve selected All Bills (or chosen a batch that will use the same payment method), you’ll need to deal with the lower half of the bill-pay screen, which will look something like this:
Whether or not you’ll be dealing with credits and discounts you’ll still have some work to do at the bottom of the bill-paying screen.
You can click on Go to Bill if you need to see the original form; also, verify the Payment Date and Terms are correct. You can still Set Discount and Set Credits here, but again, please don’t do so until we’ve scheduled a session to go over these advanced tools if you plan to use them. Select a payment method for the bills you’ve selected; the options and account to the right of your choice will change depending on which it is.
When you’re done, click Pay Selected Bills and do any follow-up work that’s requested.
The bill-pay process in QuickBooks has a lot of moving parts, some of which may need prep work before you can actually dispatch bills. We strongly urge you to get together with us if you’re planning to use this element of QuickBooks. Although beneficial, it’s one of the more complicated processes in the software, and it must be done with extreme accuracy. When you’re ready, we can help.
If your business relies on invoices to get paid, there may be times when you need to create and send statements.
You enter into an informal contract with a customer when you send an invoice. You expect that you will receive payment in a timely fashion for goods or services you’ve sold.
That probably works most of the time. But what happens when it doesn’t, when you’ve sent a reminder and are still waiting? And what do you do when a customer orders frequently and is confused about what’s been paid and what hasn’t?
If you’re using QuickBooks Online, you can easily send a statement, a list of sales transactions, credits, and payments. There are three kinds of these:
Balance Forward. This document emphasizes what’s currently owed by displaying it at the top. Below that is a list of sales transactions that occurred between two dates you specify.
Open Item. You select a date, and the statement shows all transactions that were completed before it.
Transaction Statement. There’s no total balance here, just the amounts billed and received for every transaction.
Setting Up Statements
Balance Forward statements cover a period of transactions that you define.
There are three way to create statements. You can:
Click the Plus (+) icon at the top of the screen.
Dispatch one while you’re in a customer record.
Launch a batch action from the Customer screen.
Before you create your first statement, though, make sure QuickBooks Online is set up the way you want it to be. Click the gear icon in the upper right of the screen and select Your Company Account and Settings. Click the Sales tab and scroll down to Statements. Click Statements to open the options there.
You can List each transaction as a single line or List each transaction including all detail lines. Click the button in front of the one you prefer. If you want to Show aging table at bottom of statement, click in the box. This will show customers how many days each transaction is overdue.
Click Save when you’re done.
If you’ve already started entering transactions so there’s some data in QuickBooks Online, click the Plus (+) icon in the upper right corner of the screen.
Tip: If you don’t see the plus (+) icon, you’re in an active screen. Click the X in the upper right to close it, saving it first if necessary.
Click Statement, which is located under Other on the far right. Under Statement Type, select Balance Forward. Below that is the Customer Balance Status field. Do you want to see customers with open balances, those who have overdue invoices, or all customers? The third option will include credit memos.
Select a Start Date and End Date. In this example, these were 04/09/2018 and 09/09/2018, and the statement date was 09/10/2018. Click Apply. QuickBooks Online will display a list of matching customers. Click Print or Preview at the bottom of the screen to see your statements.
In this preview, the customer’s balance forward on 04/09/2018 was $8,245.05. A catch-up payment was made on 08/09/2018 and another invoice sent on 09/01/2018, which accounts for the TOTAL DUE at the top.
Two Other Options
As we stated earlier, there are two other ways to create statements. Click Sales in the left vertical toolbar and highlight the Customers tab by clicking on it. Hover your cursor over a customer and click the down arrow at the very end of that line. From the list that opens, select Create statement.
You can also hand-pick multiple customers to receive statements. With the Customers window open, click in the box in front of your choices, and then click the down arrow next to Batch actions at the top of the list. Select Create statements.
The mechanics of creating statements in QuickBooks are fairly simple. But you don’t want to send an inaccurate one to a customer. Make sure your transactions are up to date before you generate any statements, and choose your date ranges carefully. As always, we’re available to help with this task – or any other area of QuickBooks Online that might be confusing to you. We’re here to help you be pro-active to avoid problems in the long run.
It’s not as much fun as creating invoices, but the bills must be paid. Here’s how QuickBooks helps.
We’re in a bit of a transitional period with business bill-paying. Some paper bills still come via the U.S. Mail, however you may also be getting some through email. Others don’t come at all: You might get a reminder email, but you have to go to the vendor’s site to make a payment.
How do you keep track of it all so you don’t miss any due dates? You could record them on a calendar, but you’d still have to go back to the actual bill to retrieve the amount. But where is it? Is it online, in your email inbox, in a file folder, or hanging on the wall?
QuickBooks can organize this unpleasant process, saving time and helping you avoid confusion. Here’s how it works.
A 2-Step Process
QuickBooks divides your accounts payable tasks into two separate processes: entering bills and paying them. It requires some extra time upfront as you complete the first step, but streamlines the second so that the actual bill-paying only takes a few seconds.
To get started, click Enter Bills on QuickBooks’ home page to open a window like this:
Before you can pay a bill in QuickBooks, you need to create a record for it.
The toolbar for the Enter Bills window is not pictured in the image above, but you don’t need it yet. Rather, you start by clicking the down arrow in the field next to VENDOR and selecting the biller’s name from your list (or clicking <Add New> if you haven’t yet created a record for that entity). The ADDRESS should fill in automatically, as should the date.
If you set up default payment TERMS in that vendor’s record, your preference should show in that field and the BILL DUE date should be correct. Enter the AMOUNT DUE and complete any of the optional fields that the transaction requires (REF. NO., DISCOUNT DATE, and MEMO).
Since this is a utility bill, the Expenses tab should be highlighted, and the amount you entered above should appear in it. Below that is the ACCOUNT field; open that list and choose the right one. Don’t worry about the CUSTOMER:JOB and BILLABLE fields. These will only be completed when you’re charging a customer for an expense or item.
Warning: If you’re not familiar with the concept of assigning accounts to transactions, please schedule some time with us. This is a critical designation that affects so many other areas of QuickBooks.
The toolbar from the Enter Bills window
Once you save your bill, you’ll be able to access it when it’s time to apply payment. How will you remember when it’s due, though? QuickBooks can remind you – or even pay it automatically. So, before you leave the Enter Bills window, click Memorize in the toolbar pictured above.
The Memorize Transaction window will open with your vendor already entered in the Name field. You’ll have three options here:
Add to my Reminders list. QuickBooks can add this bill to its list of Reminders. To ensure that you’ll see this every time you open the software and can make any changes necessary, open the Edit menu and click Preferences | Reminders| My Preferences. Click in the box in front of Show Reminders List when opening a Company file. Then click the Company Preferences tab (if you’re the administrator) and find the Bills to Pay row. Click the appropriate button to indicate whether you want QuickBooks to Show Summary or Show List, and enter the number of days before due date.
Do Not Remind Me. Just what it sounds like.
Automate Transaction Entry. You can only select this if the transaction will be exactly the same every time (except for the date). If the number of transactions will be limited, enter the Number Remaining. And tell QuickBooks how many Days in Advance To Enter.
If you choose the third option here, be very careful when you define the automation. You should really only do this if you’re an advanced user.
When you’re done, click OK to close the box, and save the bill.
Next month, we’ll talk about the second step: the actual paying of bills. In the meantime, let us know if you want to schedule a session to go over any aspect of your accounts payable – or anything else in QuickBooks.
If you dread every minute of the time you spend on accounting, you should know how QuickBooks Online can change your outlook.
How long would it take you to determine:
What your total expenses for this quarter are?
Whether or not your business is profitable as of today?
How much you’ve sold every month this year?
Which invoices are overdue?
If you’re using QuickBooks Online, you can get answers to all those questions—and more—in the time it takes you to sign on to the website.
That’s not an exaggeration. The first thing QuickBooks Online displays is what’s called its Dashboard. This is the site’s home page, which contains an array of charts and account balances that provide a quick overview of your finances. Click on an element here—say, a checking account balance—and you’ll be able to drill down and see the details behind it (in this case, an online account register). Click on the Expense graph, and a transaction report opens.
Your First Hours with QBO
QuickBooks Online is not one-size-fits-all. Its setup tools help you customize it to meet your own company’s needs.
QuickBooks Online works like other online productivity applications you may have used. It uses toolbars and buttons for navigation, drop-down lists and blank fields for data entry, and clickable links to open new related screens to trigger actions. Which is to say, the site is easy to use once you understand its structure. We can walk you through the early steps that are required, which involves tasks like:
Using the provided setup tools to customize the site.
Connecting QuickBooks Online to your bank and credit card company websites so you can work with transactions.
Creating records for your customers, vendors, and the products and services you sell (you’ll be able to add new ones as your business grows).
Learning about QuickBooks Online’s pre-built reports.
Familiarizing yourself with the site’s workflow.
Making the transition from your current accounting system.
How You’ll Benefit
Once you’re comfortable using QuickBooks Online, you’ll discover what millions of small businesses have already learned, that the site helps you:
Get paid faster. You can sign up with a payment processor to accept credit cards and direct bank withdrawals, which can speed up your customers’ responses to invoices. You’ll also be able to accept payments when you’re out of the office on your mobile devices.
Minimize errors. Once you enter data, QuickBooks Online remembers it. No more duplicate data entry that can cause costly mistakes.
Find any detail in seconds. QuickBooks Online has powerful search tools that allow you to find what you’re looking for quickly.
Better service customers. Because your customer profiles include transaction histories, you’ll be able to deal with questions and problems quickly and accurately.
Bill time as well as invoice products. QuickBooks Online supports sales of time-based services with capable time-tracking tools.
Improve your customers’ and vendors’ perception of you. Your business associates will know that you’re using state-of-the-art technology by the forms you share and the customer service you provide.
Save money and time. It does take some time to make the transition to QuickBooks Online. But you’ll quickly make that up with the hours you’ll save on accounting tasks, and be able to concentrate on tasks that improve your bottom line.
Be prepared to grow. Because all of your financial data is organized and easily accessible, you’ll be able to quickly generate reports that help you plan for a more profitable future. Banks and investors will need some of these if you decide to seek financing.
Although you may do the bulk of your accounting work on your desktop or laptop, you’ll have access to many of the site’s features on your smartphone. Your home page displays both an abbreviated version of your browser-based dashboard and a list of recent transactions. You can view, edit, and build new customer, vendor, and product or service records. Snap a photo of a receipt to document an expense and look up or create invoices, estimates, and sales receipts. Record payments, view critical reports, and add notes. Of course, your mobile data is always synchronized with the site itself.
QuickBooks Online lets you do much of your accounting work when you’re away from the office with its mobile app.
Happy to Help
QuickBooks Online was designed for small businesspeople, not accountants. But it includes features that are best used in conjunction with our consulting services, like advanced reports, payroll, and the Chart of Accounts. In fact, the site makes it easy for us to have access to your data so we have the ability to monitor and troubleshoot.
We’ve helped countless sole proprietors and small businesses move their accounting operations to QuickBooks Online, and we’ve seen the difference it’s made in their productivity as well as their attitude toward financial management. Contact us, and we’ll be happy to do the same for you.
Maybe QuickBooks does everything you need. But if you outgrow parts of it, don’t worry, you’ll have options.
What do you do when an application you’re using stops meeting your growing needs in a specific area? You can: a.) find a workaround, b.) switch to different software, or, c.) resign yourself to living without that feature.
QuickBooks offers a fourth option: d.) find an integrated add-on app that will work for you. There are hundreds of them available, so it’s likely you’ll find one that will do just what’s needed. They fall into several categories, ranging from billing and invoicing to Customer Relationship Management (CRM) to inventory management to time-tracking. They have special versions designed to work with QuickBooks, and they require a monthly subscription fee.
We’ll look at three of the most popular in this column. If you’ve never worked with integrated applications before (and even if you have), we recommend that you let us help get these set up and running for you since their operations can be confusing at first.
From receipt tracking through reimbursement, Expensify automates the process of managing expense reports. You snap photos of receipts, and the site’s built-in intelligence will read them and enter details like merchant, date, and price in the system’s own forms. If you need to record vehicle mileage, Expensify can do that by using your smartphone’s GPS. Other features include compatibility with global currencies and taxes; notifications of travel itinerary changes; “smart” receipt-auditing (ensuring that your expense policies are enforced); and direct deposit reimbursements.
You can enter expenses manually in Expensify or take a photo with your phone. The site will read the receipt and transfer critical data to forms in the app.
The service offers three price levels for small business. For $5 per user/month, you get tools that enable basic expense approval and online reimbursements. A Corporate subscription gives you that, plus advanced policy support, corporate card reconciliation, and a multi-staged approval workflow, for $9 per user/month.
method:CRM was actually built exclusively for QuickBooks users. It expands on the customer management tools found in QuickBooks and supports two-way synchronization. You can see real-time customer, lead, and vendor data in either application; automate lead-collection and lead-tracking; and service customers far more efficiently than with QuickBooks alone. The application saves time by streamlining workflows and eliminating duplicate data entry, and its customer and vendor portals provide safe online spaces where you and your contacts can interact, view transactions and other information, and make payments.
After a 30-day free trial, you can subscribe to one of two levels. The Contact Manager version ($28 per user/month or $25 if paid annually) offers everything with the exception of the ability to create QuickBooks sales transactions, accept online payments, and track your sales pipeline. These tools are included in CRM Pro ($49 per user/month or $44 if paid annually). Some services are available a la carte.
If you only process a couple dozen bills and invoices every month, QuickBooks may be all you need. But if you have complex, transaction-heavy accounts receivables and payables that are difficult to track, you might want to consider Bill.com. A web-based application that integrates very well with QuickBooks, Bill.com is all about automation. It offers multiple ways to get your sales and expense documents into a digital format (scan, fax, email, smartphone photo) and then follows your directions as it routes them to the appropriate employees for approval. You’ll make and receive payments electronically and always know where you stand with customers and vendors, thanks to a simple, understandable user interface and navigation scheme.
Once you create approval policies within Bill.com, the application enforces them.
Pricing starts at $39 per user/month, which includes accounting software integration and your choice of payable or receivable support. You can get both for $59 per user/month – plus advanced automation and approver options.
There are hundreds of others, in more targeted areas like human resources, reporting, shipping, and e-commerce. You can search or browse through the library of solutions here.
If the integrated apps we described here sound too complicated for you, you may not need them. Or perhaps you do need them but you’re not sure you could master them easily. That’s where we come in. We would first determine whether you’re using all of QuickBooks’ own tools in the problem areas you’ve identified. Then we’d introduce you to your options in that category and help you get up and running.
QuickBooks was designed for small businesspeople, but that doesn’t mean that you’re going to understand all of its parts and how they work together instantly. So, contact us if you need assistance. We want your business to thrive, and having a clear understanding of your financials is essential to that success.
QuickBooks Online is more than just an online bookkeeper. It can help improve your cash flow, your customer relationships, your inventory readiness, and your future.
If you’re already using QuickBooks Online, you know how much impact its bookkeeping abilities have had on your company’s accounting operations. You’re saving time, which in-turn saves money, and you’re reducing errors. When a customer or vendor calls with a question, or you yourself need to track down a critical detail to solve a problem, you’re able to find solutions quickly.
You may already have learned, though, that QuickBooks Online’s benefits include much more than simply getting the numbers right. When you take advantage of all it can offer, you’re likely to notice more far-reaching effects.
Let’s look at how QuickBooks Online accomplishes all of this. You can do much of it on your own, but we’re trained to help small businesses get the most out of QuickBooks Online. We can help you maximize the effectiveness of your accounting time so your company can:
Better balance between income and expenses.
QuickBooks Online provides quick, real-time overviews of your sales status.
You can’t begin to improve your company’s cash flow until you understand where the financial bottlenecks are. QuickBooks Online provides that information for both income and expenses in a variety of ways. In the image above, you can see that there are seven past-due invoices. Click on the orange bar to see a list of them, and you can automatically send reminders. QuickBooks Online also automates the process of sending statements.
You can also run accounts receivable and accounts payable reports that will show where you stand with customers and vendors, like Open Invoices, Uninvoiced Time, Unpaid Bills, and Accounts Payable Aging Detail. If you determine that one of your consistent problems with cash flow is late customer payments, you can set up a merchant account through QuickBooks Online to support credit card payments and bank transfers.
More repeat business because of improved customer interaction.
Your customers are like gold. To build the best relationships possible with them, you need a clear, updated picture of their transactions, their payment details and history, and your interaction with them. QuickBooks Online provides templates for Customer Information records that provide all of that, along with their contact information and a real-time update of the status of their invoices and payments, estimates, time activities, etc. The latter is provided in the form of an interactive list with links to immediate actions you can take.
A more stable, profitable inventory of products.
If your business sells products, you know that you have to be smart about inventory levels. Stock too much and you have too much money tied up unnecessarily. Too little, and you’ll be turning customers away and possibly losing their future business. QuickBooks Online’s inventory-tracking tools help you achieve and maintain that balance, so you know both when and how much to reorder.
It’s easy to evaluate your inventory status very quickly in QuickBooks Online.
QuickBooks Online also offers multiple inventory reports, like Inventory Valuation Detail, Physical Inventory Worksheet, and Sales by Product/Service Detail.
Readiness for growth.
You may never want to acquire another company, or move into more spacious offices, or employ dozens of individuals. However, it’s not often that a company doesn’t want to be in a position to grow. And you never know when an opportunity will present itself that would require additional capital. Would you be ready?
If you’ve never applied for a business loan or tried to attract investors, you don’t know how much financial information you’ll need to provide, or in what format. There are very specific reports your potential lenders or investors will want to see, standard financial statements. QuickBooks Online includes templates for these, which include a Balance Sheet, Profit and Loss, and Statement of Cash Flows.
Like the reports we mentioned earlier, they’re easy to generate on the site, thanks to intelligent, customizable templates. Analyzing them, though, and making sure they’re ready to be seen by third-parties takes professional expertise. We can provide that for you. We can also help you better understand and use other elements of QuickBooks Online so that you’re taking advantage of all of its benefits. Contact us soon to set up an initial consultation.
Tired of repetitive data entry? QuickBooks provides a way to save time and keystrokes when you create some transactions.
We wrote last month about the benefits of having QuickBooks on your desktop. Among those we listed are three that have an impact on every business that uses it. QuickBooks helps you:
There are numerous examples we could use to illustrate how the software accomplishes this. What we want to talk about this month is the use of memorized transactions. These are templates you set up that contain most if not all the information that could be repeated at specified intervals, eliminating the need for you to enter the same repetitive data regularly and reducing the chances that you’ll make a mistake.
You can create these transaction “models” for both sale and purchase transactions. For example, you might have wireless service bills that remain the same every month or vary by just a bit. Or, you have customers who have monthly standing orders for the same products, or services, or subscription fees.
QuickBooks makes it very easy to set up transactions for repetitive use. Here’s how it works. We recommend you use one of QuickBooks’ sample files for this tutorial.
Creating a Template
Let’s start by creating a repeating bill. Click Enter Bills on the home page and complete all the fields that will remain the same every time the bill is created. In our example, we’re paying a utility bill whose Amount Due will change every month, so we’re leaving that blank. When you’re done, click Memorize in the toolbar to open this window:
Once you’ve created a transaction template, you’ll have to complete the fields in this window to memorize it correctly.
The vendor name appears automatically in a field in the upper left. Below that is a list of four options. These have to do with how/if you want to be notified when it’s time to process a memorized transaction. Your choices are:
Add to my Reminders List. QuickBooks will display an entry in your Reminders List for each memorized transaction. Not using Reminders? Let us help.
Do Not Remind Me. Nothing will be done.
Automate Transaction Entry. You would only select this option if nothing but the date of the transaction changes when it recurs. QuickBooks would automatically process and dispatch the transaction.
Add to Group. If you have multiple recurring transactions that come due at the same time, you can create Groups and assign transactions to them (more on this later).
On the right side of the window, open the drop-down list in the field next to How Often and select from the options provided. Click the calendar icon to choose the transaction’s Next (Due) Date. If you only want QuickBooks to automate the entry a specific number of times, add that in the field next to Number Remaining. Then enter the Days In Advance To Enter.
Further Explanation Needed
We’d like to expand on two of the concepts discussed here. First, advance notice for transactions. If you’ve selected Add to my Reminders List for any memorized transactions, you need to tell QuickBooks how far in advance your reminders should start to appear. Open the Edit menu and select Preferences, then Reminders.
If you want Reminders for memorized transactions, you’ll need to tell QuickBooks what your Preferences are.
Memorized Transactions Due appears toward the bottom of the Company Preferences list. Click on the appropriate button to indicate whether you want to see a summary or a list in your Reminders (or nothing at all) and how many days in advance the alert should appear.
Also, Groups. As we mentioned earlier, you can combine memorized transactions due at the same time within a group. To create one, go to Lists | Memorized Transaction List. Click the arrow next to Memorized Transaction in the lower left, then click New Group and give it a name. Choose from the options available for notification and click OK.
Now you can add memorized transactions to this Group by right-clicking on it, selecting Edit Memorized Transaction, and clicking on the button next to Add to Group. Click the down area to the right of the field assigned to Group Name and select the one you just created.
You can add memorized transactions to a Group and process them at the same time.
We’ve explored this QuickBooks feature with you because we wanted you to see one of the ways that the software can save time and minimize errors. There are many others, and we’re always happy to introduce you to more.
The mechanics of creating memorized transactions are fairly simple. But mistakes can be costly in terms of bills that don’t get paid on time (or at all) and items or services that don’t get invoiced. If you’re new to QuickBooks, we certainly suggest you not work with these on your own. Even if you’re a seasoned user, you may want our help setting up memorized transactions for the first time. Let us know if you need assistance with this or any other element of QuickBooks accounting, we’re ready to help.