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10 posts from May 2009

Streamline Your Accounting: Automate Your Purchase Orders in QuickBooks

Why hand write every purchase order that your business creates each day when it is so easy to automate the purchase order process in QuickBooks?

If you stop and calculate how much time and energy is being spent in your manual purchase order process, you'll probably be unpleasantly surprised at just how much time is wasted.

QuickBooks allows you to simplify this entire process by:

  • Creating a purchase order with just a few mouse clicks - the purchase order can contain as few or as many line items as necessary

  • If you have a separate receiving department, the purchase order can easily be received by them. If the purchase order contained items for inventory, this receiving process will update your inventory in real-time. Once the items are received, the bill payable to your vendor can be entered when it comes in later.

  • If your business doesn't have a separate receiving department, no problem. You can choose to receive the items and enter the bill from your vendor at the same time.
  • Even better, there is no rekeying of information - it is automatically copied to the receiving screen or the bill entry screen. The only changes you need to make are to quantities or costs. A lot fewer keystrokes!

The following video gives you a very brief visual look at how the purchase order process in your business can be simplified in QuickBooks - take a peek now:



Other tips in the Streamline Your Accounting Series:

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Scott Gregory is a specialist with QuickBooks Pro, Premier and Enterprise. He also provides part-time controller services to small businesses. With over 25 years of experience, he understands "the accounting side ofQuickBooks" and the "QuickBooks side of accounting". Contact Scott at Bottom Line Accounting Solutions.

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Streamline Your Accounting: Remote Deposit Capture

C'mon, be honest...

Hauling yourself to the bank to make your deposit every day is a pain in the shorts, isn't it?

As long as your business takes payment by check (and not by coin or currency), you can stop making that daily trip to the bank. How could that could be?

Piggy Bank

Ask your banker about a product called Remote Deposit. It also goes by Remote Banking, Remote Office, and a host of other names, but the idea is the same. You turn your office into a remote branch of your bank (if only you could print money there too!)

Here is an overview of how Remote Deposit works:

  • The bank sells (or rents) you what is called a remote capture terminal. It is a small piece of hardware that sits on your desk. You feed your checks through the terminal, and the image of the check is then stored for processing.
  • You use the bank supplied software to then transmit these images securely and directly to the bank to complete your deposit.

What's in it for you?

  • No longer waste countless days over the course of a year driving to and from the bank and hanging out in line to make the deposit
  • Most banks provide a longer business day when using remote deposit. For example, instead of having deposits after 3pm posting to the next business day, many allow same day deposits up to 5 or 6pm the same day.
  • Acceleration of your cash flow so that you can use available funds more aggressively to pay down debt and reduce interest expenses.
  • Convert the time you spend on non-value added banking activities into value-added and revenue enhancing activities (i.e. chasing customers down for overdue payments, helping to get quotes and estimates out the door, etc.)

Is there a cost for Remote Deposit?

In most cases, there is a cost to purchase or rent the terminal as well as a monthly cost to maintain the remote deposit service.

Naturally, if you are an extremely small business, this concept may not be cost-effective for you. However, if your business has any steady recurring volume of checks, it may pay for itself relatively quickly. Besides, there is a cost to the way you are currently handling your bank deposits - you just don't see it leaving your checkbooks each month!

With some negotiation, you can usually find a way to lower some of these costs as well.

Additional Resources on Remote Deposit:


Are you using Remote Deposit in your business? Let us know how its' working out for you by posting a comment below!

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Scott Gregory is a specialist with QuickBooks Pro, Premier and Enterprise. He also provides part-time controller services to small businesses. With over 25 years of experience, he understands "the accounting side of QuickBooks" and the "QuickBooks side of accounting". Contact Scott at Bottom Line Accounting Solutions.

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When Will QuickBooks 2010 be Released?

This question has surfaced a lot recently in my conversations with clients, so I'd like to share what I know with you.

If Intuit holds true to their past practices when releasing a new edition of QuickBooks, we should expect to see QuickBooks 2010 sometime this fall. My guess is that we'll see it in October or November, but this is only an educated guess based on past history.

WANT TO GET UPDATES ON THIS TOPIC? Just enter your e-mail address and click "Subscribe" in the box just below my picture on the right hand side of this page. I will keep you informed about this and other breaking news about QuickBooks.

Peachtree has already released their 2010 edition, so that has to be increasing the pressure for QuickBooks to get their new edition into the pipeline as quickly as possible.

The new feature list in Peachtree 2010 is impressive (this is just a partial list):

  • Opening multiple companies at one time - users have been begging for this feature in QuickBooks. Will they see it in QuickBooks 2010?
  • Multiple contacts for customers - QuickBooks provides 2. It's time for more!
  • Customizable dashboard - QuickBooks 2009 had a basic concept of this for the first time. What enhancements will we see in QuickBooks 2010?

What are you hoping to see in QuickBooks 2010? Drop a comment below so that we can get some traction on these ideas and make sure Intuit is aware of them!

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Scott Gregory is a specialist with QuickBooks Pro, Premier and Enterprise. He is also a CPA, and he understands the "accounting side of QuickBooks" and the "QuickBooks side of accounting". Reach Scott at (440) 527-5696 or at Bottom Line Accounting Solutions.


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Do I Lose My QuickBooks Data When I Upgrade to a New Version?

If you have been considering an upgrade to QuickBooks 2009 (or even if you are waiting until QuickBooks 2010 arrives), here is some very good news - all of the data that you have created in your current QuickBooks company file will update seamlessly into the new version! Whew - one less hassle to worry about, right?

Here's how the update process works:

  • You install the newest version of QuickBooks on your desktop/laptop computers (and server where necessary).

  • The very first time you access the data file you have been working with for weeks, months or years, QuickBooks presents you with the following screen:

    Company File Update Screen
  • Put a check in the "I understand that my ... box" and click the Update Now button, and QuickBooks then begins the process of taking your data and making it work in the new version.
  • Unless there is some significant data corruption going on in your data file (this is rare), the update process will take anywhere from 10 minutes to an hour or so. The duration of the update depends on how big your company data file is, the power of your processor, and the amount of memory/RAM in your computer. You will see a process bar telling you how far along in the process you are during the conversion.

IMPORTANT NOTES ABOUT THIS PROCESS:

  1. Make sure to make at least two backup copies of your QuickBooks data when doing this upgrade process. You can never have too many backup copies of your data around, just in case something happens during the update process (power outage anyone?)

  2. Make sure that you do this update of the data file on the server (if you are using one) and NOT across the network on a desktop or laptop computer. Strange things can happen if you don't follow these instructions (see #1 above).

  3. Remember that once you do the steps above, you are then "live" in the new version of QuickBooks. You would not use your older version of QuickBooks from that point forward. Simply delete the icon for the old version from your desktop  or uninstall it from your Control Panel and the Add/Remove Programs option.

If you like the idea of upgrading into a newer version of QuickBooks but find any of this conversation to be overwhelming or confusing, I am always available to help with your project.

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Scott Gregory is a specialist with QuickBooks Pro, Premier and Enterprise. He is also a CPA, so he understands the "accounting side of QuickBooks" and the "QuickBooks side of accounting". Reach Scott at (440) 527-5696 or at Bottom Line Accounting Solutions.


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Intuit Town Hall Meeting - See How Other Business Owners are Navigating the Recession

Intuit recently ran a series of town hall meetings. At this meeting on May 14, 2009, Intuit CEO Brad Smith listens in as small business owners talk about the things that they are doing to work through this recession and acquire new customers.


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Scott Gregory is a specialist with QuickBooks Pro, Premier and Enterprise. He is also a CPA, so he understands the "accounting side of QuickBooks" and the "QuickBooks side of accounting". Reach Scott at (440) 527-5696 or at Bottom Line Accounting Solutions.

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Tips For Working with Multiple QuickBooks Files

QuickBooks software will let you work with a virtually unlimited number of company/data files. However, you can only work in one data file at a time.

If your business has the need for more than one company file (example - the owner has 2 different LLC entities), follow these easy tips to reduce the chances of entering data into the wrong company file (there is nothing worse than discovering you have entered an entire days' worth of transactions into the WRONG company file!):

Tip #1:

Make sure to take a quick look at left hand corner of the blue bar at the top of your screen. It will tell you exactly which company/data file you are working on (in this case, it is the Sample Rock Castle Construction company/data file):

Company File Name

Tip #2:

Use the preferences within QuickBooks to change the background color of the company/data files to make them unique. By default, QuickBooks loads the "Sky Blue" color theme. Changing it to a different color scheme will also give you a strong visual reminder that you are working in a different QuickBooks company/data file.

Changing the color scheme is a snap. Click Edit > Preferences > Desktop View > My Preferences. Choose the color scheme of your choice:

Change Color Preference

Once you have settled on your color scheme of choice, click OK to save it.

The few seconds it takes to set a different color scheme for each QuickBooks data file can potentially save you hours of time in avoiding data entry in the wrong QuickBooks file.

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Scott Gregory is a specialist with QuickBooks Pro, Premier and Enterprise. He is also a CPA, so he understands the "accounting side of QuickBooks" and the "QuickBooks side of accounting". Reach Scott at (440) 527-5696 or at Bottom Line Accounting Solutions.

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Is Your Bookkeeper a Good Fit?

As you explore ways to improve your business and make it more efficient (and profitable), consider taking a closer look at the financial side of your business. This review would include the systems and staff that are in place handling accounting and bookkeeping tasks each day. They may be costing you more than you think!

Bookkeeper

In this installment, let’s explore several trouble spots where the wrong bookkeeper in a small business can get it into BIG trouble…

Are They Knowledgeable?

Unfortunately, I see it all too often – the person that handles the books for a business gets stuck with the task because nobody else wants it. Or even worse, the business owner staffs the bookkeeping spot with a relative because they were “cheap” or because they had some free time on their hands.

The reality is that your business finances are too critical to leave in the hands of someone that doesn’t have a solid understanding of bookkeeping. I am not suggesting that they be a CPA and wear a green eyeshade to work each day. However, the person doing your books must know the differences between assets and expenses, the process of reconciling bank and credit card accounts, and the ability to stay on top of the invoicing and bill paying processes.

If your bookkeeper doesn’t know even these basic job functions, the potential problems (and costs) may surface later. For example, if your bank accounts are not reconciled on a timely basis during the year, it means your CPA has to do it at the end of the year. That is an extra expense to the business and an unnecessary hit to your bottom line.

Do They Understand the Software?

Don’t be misled by bookkeepers that “say” they understand QuickBooks, Peachtree, or other accounting packages. Ask them to demonstrate their understanding of the software. If you are not comfortable with this type of evaluation, turn to outside sources for verification. For example, you can do a quick Google search for “QuickBooks tests” and review a number of alternatives that can help sort out those who are knowledgeable from those who are not.

If you choose to hire someone that doesn’t yet have a good understanding of the software used in your business, it’s imperative to get them some training on the software immediately. Your investment in this training should pay big dividends very quickly.  If they don’t get the training, it’s a safe bet your employee will be stumbling around the software and making bad decisions that could be costly to fix later on.

By chance, if you are using some DOS-based accounting system that was created twenty years ago, you may be hard-pressed to find anyone who knows it and training for it may be non-existent. If that is the case, it’s time to seriously consider updating your accounting software to something more current and user-friendly. This is simply a good investment to shore up the foundation of your business and strengthen your accounting department.

Do You Have Cross-Checks in Your System to Prevent Fraud?

Many businesses that I have seen have given their bookkeeper full control to all aspects of the business finances. The owners figure that if there is a problem somewhere along the way, their CPA will catch it at the end of the year and fix it.

The truth is that in most cases, your CPA hasn’t been hired to look for evidence of fraud or other funny-business going on with your accounting records. They are simply taking the information you are providing to them from your accounting system and translating it for the purpose of preparing your tax returns.

The sad fact is that there are numerous stories where the bookkeeper has simply taken the trust placed in them and abused it for their own personal gain. I recently read a story that recounted the sad tale of a small business being taken for over $500,000 over a four or five year period because the owners weren’t keeping an eye on things.

Problems such as these can be minimized by having a solid system of checks and balances put in place. These checks and balances don’t have to be expensive, but they do have to be done on a regular basis to help ensure your business doesn’t become the next news story.


These are a few examples of situations where having the wrong person doing the bookkeeping can create some serious problems for a business owner.

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Scott Gregory is a specialist with QuickBooks Pro, Premier and Enterprise. He is also a CPA, so he understands the "accounting side of QuickBooks" and the "QuickBooks side of accounting". Reach Scott at (440) 527-5696 or at Bottom Line Accounting Solutions

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Using the QuickBooks Built-In Calculator

When entering data into QuickBooks, sometimes you need quick access to a calculator.

QuickBooks has one built in - you just need to know where to locate it.

Here's how to access it:

  1. Click Edit in the menu bar
  2. Click Use Calculator and your calculator appears

QuickBooks Calculator

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Scott Gregory is a specialist with QuickBooks Pro, Premier and Enterprise. He is also a CPA, so he understands the "accounting side of QuickBooks" and the "QuickBooks side of accounting". Reach Scott at (440) 527-5696 or at Bottom Line Accounting Solutions.

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Can I Move From QuickBooks Premier to Pro or Vice Versa?

I would like to take a second and clear up the confusion that many businesses have about their options when purchasing the new "model year" of QuickBooks (i.e. QuickBooks 2010 when it is released this fall).

Here are some helpful tips to know:

1) If you own QuickBooks Pro, you can move up to QuickBooks Premier (any edition - i.e. Contractor, Manufacturing, etc.) or you can move directly to QuickBooks Enterprise if you find your business needs more than 5 users in QuickBooks at any given time or needs to work with a bigger QuickBooks data file. The transition of your data from one edition to another in this scenario is seamless.

2) If you own QuickBooks Premier (any edition - i.e. Contractor, Manufacturing, etc.), you can move back into QuickBooks Pro if you don't need the extra features in QuickBooks Premier. You can also move directly to QuickBooks Enterprise if your business is growing, you need more than 5 users or you need to work with a bigger QuickBooks data file. The transition of your data in this scenario is seamless.

3) If you own QuickBooks Enterprise and want to move back into QuickBooks Pro or QuickBooks Premier, you cannot do that directly. If this is truly the route you need to go, you will need to either create a brand new QuickBooks data file from scratch or work with a third party specialist like QBorNotQB to help make that transition.

Be sure to read my companion post about the differences between QuickBooks updates and QuickBooks upgrades.

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Scott Gregory is a specialist in QuickBooks Pro, Premier and Enterprise software. He is also a CPA, so he understands the "accounting side of QuickBooks" and the "QuickBooks side of accounting". Reach Scott at (440) 527-5696 or at his business, Bottom Line Accounting Solutions.


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Profit and Loss Report for Multiple Months in QuickBooks

When you run the Profit and Loss Standard report in QuickBooks, you get one column of results. This column could be the figures for a given month, quarter or year. But what if you want to see the Profit and Loss report displayed so that each month was side-by-side with the next?

Here's how to make it work:

  • Create the Profit and Loss Standard Report (Reports > Company and Financial > Profit and Loss Standard)
  • Change the date range in the upper left hand corner to "This Fiscal Year"
  • Change the selection in the drop down list that says "Columns" so that it shows Month - it will look like this:
    Profit and Loss by Month
  • Note how the display then puts one month right next to the other.

BONUS TIP:

Using this new report format, if you would like to compare the current month results to those from the same month last year, here's how:

  • Click Modify Report in the upper left hand corner of the report
  • Then select the "Previous Year" option as well as the "$ Change" and "% Change" options like this:
    Profit and Loss by Month Comparison

  • The new report will now look like this:

    Profit and Loss by Month Compared to Prior Year


Get More Great Tips from Scott Gregory, QuickBooks Expert - download his free QuickBooks guides today!

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