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10 posts from February 2010

QuickBooks 2011: A Wish List


GREAT NEWS! QuickBooks 2011 has been released. Details and 20% savings (+ instant download) on QuickBooks 2011 software are just a click away...

While the release of QuickBooks 2011 won't happen until this fall, it is never too early to put together a wish list of features and functionality I hope to see in the new release.

While QuickBooks 2010 brought us the document management center and the ability to copy and paste information directly from Excel, here is my wish list for QuickBooks 2011:

  • A remit to address for vendors - c'mon already - this should have been added years ago
  • Better tools to manage accounts receivable - after all, they are the lifeblood of many small businesses today
  • A redesigned set of tools to customize reports - the current options within the "modify report" button are really tired and need a refresh
  • The end of forced phone-in registration to get a license code. You can follow the dialogue on this issue at this very popular blog post.
  • A fix on the problem that occurs with average cost on inventory items in some cases when the on-hand count goes below zero.

BUT WAIT, THERE'S MORE...

  • A refresh of the customer center - seriously, room for just 2 contact names, phone numbers and e-mails? What business doesn't have the need for more functionality here without having to purchase a CRM add-on.
  • The ability to purchase two additional licenses for QuickBooks Enterprise instead of being forced into buying five at a time. Businesses don't grow their staff in nice even 5 user chunks.
  • An upgrade to the budgeting tools - I don't think those have been touched in more than five years
  • Reduced in-product advertising - it seems to me like this has really increased over the last several versions of QuickBooks.
  • The ability to customize statements - very little can be done with this form currently.
  • To Do items that are unique to the user and that aren't shared on the master to do list
  • The "pressing Enter moves between fields" preference to be on by default. This one keystroke derails many new users to QuickBooks right away

AND FINALLY

  • Stop asking each user if they want to enter memorized transactions. Designate people who even see this box in the first place.
  • Control the process of installing software updates - Centralize that activity in the Admin account, especially after the oodles of problems that R9 in QuickBooks 2009 caused.

I'm sure I will think of more to add to this list. This is plenty to get started :-)

More importantly, what is on your QuickBooks 2011 wish list? Feel free to post a comment below!

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Download Scott's free QuickBooks guides and learn more about QuickBooks.

Scott Gregory is a specialist with QuickBooks Pro, Premier and Enterprise accounting software. He has been helping businesses "think beyond the ledger" for over 25 years.

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Boost Your Billable Time and Productivity With This Handy Software

How much unproductive time do you spend each week traveling from the office to client sites? (my guess is a lot!)

How many times have you arrived at a client site only to discover that you could have handled the work quickly and easily from the office? (frustrating, isn't it?)

To boost your productivity and reduce these time-wasters, you should consider a product called GoToMeeting.

CONNECTING REMOTELY

GoToMeeting allows you to connect with your clients and/or prospects via a secure internet connection and phone (or with a headset connected to your computer) to:

  • Solve business problems
  • Work together on a project
  • Demo a new product to them
  • Conduct a webinar

GoToMeeting Logo

Once you have connected to an online meeting, it really is just like working on-site. GoToMeeting allows you to:

  • Share the contents of your computer screen with other meeting attendees
  • Have other attendees share their computer screen by making them a presenter
  • Mark up the screen with drawing tools such as highlighter, pen, etc.
  • Have online chat with meeting participants

LESS THAN 3 MINUTES

I created the GoToMeeting account I use in my QuickBooks consulting practice in less than 3 minutes and was literally off and running.

When you host a meeting, each participant in the meeting is securely connected to the meeting, usually in 2 minutes or less (even faster if they have used GoToMeeting for prior meetings).

MEET NOW OR MEET LATER

I like the fact that you can create a meeting "on the fly" and meet right away, or simply schedule a meeting at a future time. GoToMeeting even sets up the meeting invitations that can easily be sent using Microsoft Outlook.

As far as I know, you can have an unlimited number of meetings on your account every month. There are no limitations.

NO SOFTWARE TO INSTALL

GoToMeeting is known as "Software as a Service" (or SaaS in geek-speak). That means you do not have to have an IT department to set it up or keep it running. They take care of all of that on their end.

The current price of a GoToMeeting account is $49 per month, with annual plans available that offer a discount. If your business is service-based, you should be able to recover that cost in less than a day by being more productive.

FOR BIGGER MEETINGS

You can have from 1-15 people in attendance for a GoToMeeting session. If your business needs more room than that, you can investigate a product called GoToWebinar. That product incorporates all of the features of GoToMeeting plus allows you more attendees and more advanced functionality.

Most businesses will be fine with the GoToMeeting option, but it is good to know that there is a growth path if needed.

I SAVED TIME AND MONEY AND CLIENTS ARE HAPPY!

Just this week, I have fired up 3 meetings to help clients nail down solutions to their QuickBooks headaches. One was located in New York, one in California, and one in Idaho. GoToMeeting has allowed me to expand the reach of my QuickBooks practice with ease and be a lot more productive at the same time.

RELATED POST: Online or On-site Event Registration Made Easy

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Subscribe to this QuickBooks blog today!

Download Scott's free QuickBooks guides and learn more about QuickBooks.

Scott Gregory is a specialist with QuickBooks Pro, Premier and Enterprise accounting software. He has been helping businesses "think beyond the ledger" for over 25 years.

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QuickBooks Should Come with a Warning Label

"Ugh, QuickBooks confuses the crap out of me..."

"This QuickBooks class is way over my head....I need basics"

"OK QuickBooks. I give up for the night..."
Warning labelDo you feel the frustration here? Maybe you have even said the same things!

These poor souls were sharing their dismay on Twitter recently about working in QuickBooks.

The sad thing is, most of these people are headed for big and costly trouble and probably don't even realize it.


JUST BECAUSE YOU CAN DOESN'T MEAN YOU SHOULD...

What is it that makes small business owners think that they should actually keep their own books?

Especially when they have no background in bookkeeping and by their own admission "they don't want to be an accountant?" I have heard that phrase literally hundreds of times.

Is it because they saw the commercial that promised "if you can write a check, you can use QuickBooks" (the ad conveniently forgot to include the word "correctly" as in "use QuickBooks correctly")

Or was it the fact that they were lured in with a "free starter copy of QuickBooks"?

Either way, I believe their premise in doing their own books is simply wrong. Just because "do-it-yourself" accounting software exists and is inexpensive, doesn't mean that they should buy it and dive in.

It does NOT ensure that they will be sprinkled with "magic bookkeeping dust" and come to understand the issues behind keeping a good (and correct!) set of books for their business.

NOT AS CHEAP AS THEY THINK IT IS

The poor soul that buys into the "do-it-yourself" accounting fantasy usually gets a pretty rude awakening. 

That awakening comes when they hand off their financial information to their CPA at tax time.

In fact, I can hear many CPAs bellowing in their offices right now - "what a $@!* mess this QuickBooks file is!" I've heard it every year for the last ten years.

So what starts out as a "cheap" way to do their own books quickly racks up additional costs as the business owner pays their CPA to "clean up the mess". Besides, don't they want their CPA spending time trying to lower their tax bill instead of sorting out a years' worth of mis-postings and mistakes?

Was any money really saved going the DIY route? Doubtful. Very, very doubtful.

But off in the distance, you can hear the CPA going "cha-ching".

AND THE BEAT GOES ON

Unfortunately, this same cycle repeats itself year after year. New businesses spring up on a regular basis where optimism is running rampant and cash is running tight. "I can buy a cheap copy of QuickBooks and do my own books" is being muttered right now by someone wondering the aisles of Staples.

If the truth were known to these businesses, they would read (and heed!) the warning label that should be prominently attached to their software box.

THE WARNING LABEL WOULD SAY...

"Do NOT attempt to use this software unless you have working knowledge of bookkeeping or have had an expert set it up and show you how it applies to your specific business". Failure to do so can have catastrophic consequences to your checkbook."

Skeptical? Just know that poor bookkeeping practices were one of the primary factors in over 25% of bankruptcy filings according to data from the SBA.

If you remember the old commercial that said "you can pay me now, or pay me (a lot more) later", you have captured the essence of doing your own bookkeeping.

Am I missing something here? Have your own thoughts on DIY bookkeeping? Feel free to post a comment below...

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Subscribe to this QuickBooks blog today!

Download Scott's free QuickBooks guides and learn more about QuickBooks.

Scott Gregory is a specialist with QuickBooks Pro, Premier and Enterprise accounting software. He has been helping businesses "think beyond the ledger" for over 25 years.

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How Do I Change the Font Size in QuickBooks Reports?

Good news! - you don't have to accept the default font settings in QuickBooks reports.

In fact, you have a great deal of control over the size, type and color of the information that appears in the various QuickBooks reports.

To change the font settings on a particular report, run the report of your choice, then click the "Modify Report" button in the upper left hand corner, then the "Fonts and Numbers" tab:

Fonts and Numbers on Reports 

Simply select the area of the report you want to change, click the "Change Font" button, make your selections, and continue to click OK until you exit the window. Your report will then reflect your updated font preferences. Be sure to click the "Memorize Report" button when finished so QuickBooks knows you want your own copy of the report saved with these customized settings.

BONUS:

You can also set the default font settings for ALL QuickBooks reports by following these steps:

  • In the menu bar at the top of QuickBooks, click Edit, then Preferences
  • Click Reports and Graphs, then the Company Preferences tab
  • Click the Format button, then the Fonts and Numbers tab
  • Make the changes you prefer, and click OK until you exit the preferences area.

IF YOU WANT TO CHANGE BACK TO THE DEFAULTS

Changing back to the original font settings is a snap - simply repeat the steps above, and click the Revert button instead of the format button, then click OK until you have left the preferences window. All of your QuickBooks reports will then return to their "out of the box" status.

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Subscribe to this QuickBooks blog today!

Download Scott's free QuickBooks guides and learn more about QuickBooks.

Scott Gregory is a specialist with QuickBooks Pro, Premier and Enterprise accounting software. He has been helping businesses "think beyond the ledger" for over 25 years.

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Hidden Options to View Time Reports in QuickBooks

If you are using QuickBooks to track time, you probably know about the reports available when clicking Reports > Jobs, Time and Mileage.

Reports such as:

  • Time by Job Summary
  • Time by Job Detail
  • Time by Name
  • Time by Item
are the standard reports offered in QuickBooks.

But did you know there are even more ways to display the data on these reports?

Click the "Modify Report" button the upper left hand corner of any of these jobs/time and mileage reports and you then have another option that says "Display time grouped by" with several additional options. The options available change based on the time report you are viewing. 

For example, I pulled up the Time by Name report and these additional grouping options appear:

  • Time by Name by Job
  • Time by Name by Item
  • Time by Name by Job by Item
  • Time by Name by Item by JobTime by Name Report Options


If you were sitting in the Time by Item report, you would see similar options, but the choices would begin with "Time by Item by...." instead.

This one little tweak to a time report recently helped a client go from using a report of marginal benefit to one of tremendous benefit.

How can I help you with QuickBooks today?

RELATED POST: A web-based time-tracking tool for QuickBooks

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Subscribe to this QuickBooks blog today!

Download Scott's free QuickBooks guides and learn more about QuickBooks.

Scott Gregory is a specialist with QuickBooks Pro, Premier and Enterprise accounting software. He has been helping businesses "think beyond the ledger" for over 25 years.

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Fan of Dan Fogelberg? FM Odyssey Radio Interview With Jean Fogelberg - Don't Miss It

Are you a fan of Dan Fogelberg music?

If so, don't miss this very warm, insightful, and touching interview with Dan Fogelberg's wife Jean.

The interview was done by Fred Migliori of FM Odyssey Radio, and it provides a behind the scenes look at Dan's CD "Love in Time", which was released after he passed away. It also gives you the opportunity to get to know more about Dan as a performer and as a person as well as Jean's perspective on things.

I just had a chance to listen to the entire interview last week, and I would like to say - thank you to Jean for sharing your story and to Fred for putting it all together!

Dan was one of my favorite performers, and I am trying to learn some of his songs while I learn the guitar (I can see that my learning is going to take a LONG time!). I went to look at his web site to see if he was going to be coming to Cleveland a while back, and that is when I learned he had become ill with prostate cancer and would not be touring. He passed away shortly after that.

Thanks for all the great music and memories you left behind for us to enjoy!

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Event Registration Made Easy - Either Online or Local Events

I'd like to share information with you on a service that has really helped streamline and simplify my business this year.

TERRIFIC SUITE OF TOOLS FOR EVENT REGISTRATIONS

In my QuickBooks consulting practice, I host events (both local and internet-based) where event registration is needed. I came across the EventBrite web site from attending another online event and decided to take a closer look.

Glad I did!

EventBrite Button 

EventBrite takes care of pretty much everything I need to organize an event and allow people to sign up for the event quickly and easily.

Here is a sample of what I can do with the software:

  • Create a very attractive landing page without having to know HTML and other geek-speak
  • E-mail those who have signed up with updates and news ahead of the event
  • Process payments via - the EventBrite payment system, PayPal, Google Checkout or a combination of the the three
  • Get reports about the event
  • Use built-in tools to promote the event on my blog and other locations

In addition, I have found their support to be quite helpful with the few questions I have had since I started to use the application.

There is no monthly fee to use the EventBrite service. They get paid when people sign up for my QuickBooks events - a very small portion of the ticket price goes to them and the rest goes to me. For free events, there is no charge at all to use the service.

Are you already using EventBrite? Post a comment below to let our readers know what you like about it!

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Subscribe to this QuickBooks blog today!

Download Scott's free QuickBooks guides and learn more about QuickBooks.

Scott Gregory is a specialist with QuickBooks Pro, Premier and Enterprise accounting software. He has been helping businesses "think beyond the ledger" for over 25 years.

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QuickBooks Enterprise 2010 - Great New Feature: More and Better Custom Fields

QuickBooks Enterprise 2010 has a great new feature that didn't receive nearly as much fanfare as the new document management did...QBES Personalized_Quote

It should have though!

To me, the ability to have more (and more functional) custom fields in QuickBooks Enterprise 2010 adds a great deal of functionality that many businesses have been searching for.

The "new and improved" custom fields come into play in several places:

  • Item list
  • Customer list
  • Vendor list
  • Employee list

We'll start with the Item List - once you open an item in QuickBooks Enterprise (any item), click the "Custom Fields" button, then click the "Define Fields" button, and you will see a window that looks like this:

QB Enterprise Custom Fields Screen

I have filled in some of the fields above with examples to get your mind stirring about how you can adapt these new tools to the specific needs of your business.

Take note of the following enhancements - these are really great improvements to QuickBooks Enterprise:

  • Use up to 15 custom fields instead of 5
  • Pre-determine what type of data will be used in the custom field. In addition to the any text that has always been available, you can also choose from a variety of number options, phone number, date or even create your own custom list of options! (see the "what kind of data" column highlighted above)
  • Require that the field be filled in either on a transaction OR when the item is being added to the item list for the first time (see the "required on" columns that are highlighted above).

That's right - you can require a field to be entered on a transaction! Think about how functional that could be to ensure that your order entry staff gets the order right the first time.

NOT JUST FOR ITEMS!

You also get more choices of custom fields when it comes to customers, vendors, and employees.

For example, in QuickBooks Enterprise 2010, if I am reviewing the details of a customer account, I can click the "Additional Info" tab within the customer account, then click the "Define Fields" button and then a window like this appears:

QB Enterprise Customer Custom Fields

New and improved in this set of custom fields:

  • You can have up to a total of 20 custom fields to be shared across your customer, vendor and employee lists
  • You now have the same new choices when it comes to the type of data to be entered just as shown in the item list above.
  • You can also make the entry of data into these fields mandatory on a transaction OR when setting up a customer, vendor or employee for the first time.

Think about the possibilities this opens up for capturing even more important data in QuickBooks. For example, you could easily set up two new custom fields and call them "Sales Contact" and "Purchasing Contact" - you have instantly doubled your number of fields available to hold important contact information.

How is your business using these new and improved custom fields in QuickBooks Enterprise 2010? Post a comment below to share your story with our readers!

RELATED POSTS:

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Scott Gregory is a specialist with QuickBooks Enterprise, Premier and Pro accounting software. He has been helping businesses "think beyond the ledger" for over 25 years.

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Accept Credit (and Debit) Cards in QuickBooks

Looking for ways to improve your cash flow? (and who isn't these days!)Credit Cards

If so, consider how one simple button within QuickBooks can improve your cash flow AND your efficiency as well. That button is the "Process Credit Card When Saving" option, which allows you to accept Visa, MasterCard, American Express and Discover card payments from your customers quickly and easily (the Visa example is shown in the screen shot below)

QB Credit Card Button

Once you have a merchant account set up with Intuit Payment Solutions, this button becomes active and ready to use for "one click" processing of credit card payments.

This solution is perfect for businesses that have have a fixed location. The process works exactly the same whether you swipe the card or just get the card details via mail order, internet, etc. (other solutions suggested below)

Watch a video on how to accept credit cards in QuickBooks using Intuit Payment Solutions

IF YOU NEED A MOBILE CREDIT CARD SOLUTION...

Let's say that you have a service business where you or your team is out on the road all day. Just because you are mobile doesn't mean you can't have a credit card processing solution that is simple too.

The Intuit GoPayment solution may be just what your CPA ordered to help improve your cash flow.

The GoPayment solution allows you to accept credit cards using your mobile phone. You can even get a Bluetooth card swiper and printer to complete your mobile credit card processing setup.

Watch a video on how the Intuit GoPayment solution works

POINT OF SALE (POS) USERS HAVE A SOLUTION TOO!...

Intuit has a solution for businesses that are using the QuickBooks POS too. It is designed to meet the unique needs of retailers and others that are tied into POS processing every day.

Watch a video on how the Intuit POS Payments solution works

THE KEY DIFFERENCE

Many of my clients have said the QuickBooks credit card solutions outlined above stopped them from having to do double work that is required if other credit card processing systems are used in addition to QuickBooks. In those cases, the data is entered twice. 

In the case of using the QuickBooks solutions, the data is entered once, and only once. Given this, be sure to factor in the value of your time when assessing proposals from various credit card processors.

In addition, be sure to carefully review the fee structure and costs of any credit card processing solution you may be evaluating.

GET A NO OBLIGATION CUSTOMIZED QUOTE ON THESE QUICKBOOKS SERVICES FOR YOUR BUSINESS

If you would like to get more information and/or pricing on one of these services for your needs, pick up the phone and dial my associate Kirstan Gides who works for the Intuit Payment Solutions Group. Her number is 800-601-4083 x 68287. You can also e-mail Kirstan to get a conversation going that way too.

Be sure to mention the discount code "bottomline" to Kirstan in order to get the best package possible that meets the specific needs of your business. 

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Subscribe to this QuickBooks blog today!

Download Scott's free QuickBooks guides and learn more about QuickBooks.

Scott Gregory is a specialist with QuickBooks Pro, Premier and Enterprise accounting software. He has been helping businesses "think beyond the ledger" for over 25 years.


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QuickBooks Tip: Need More Report Options? Just a Click Away

Tucked away in the corner of the Report Center screen in QuickBooks 2010 is a button called "Find More Reports" - an often overlooked but very powerful button.

Find More Reports


Clicking the "Find More Reports" button transports you to the new QuickBooks Reports Library...

QuickBooks Reports Library 

Here you will find an entire library of new reports that have been created by other QuickBooks users and QuickBooks ProAdvisors.

Within the library, you can search by the same categories you are used to seeing in QuickBooks, such as "company and financial", "customers and receivables" and more. You also have the ability to sort by the most recent, the most downloaded, and highest rated reports using the "sort by" button in the upper right hand corner of the screen.

HOW TO DOWNLOAD THESE REPORTS

Once you find a report of interest, simply create a folder on your computer to store the reports, click the download button and save the report in your newly created folder. Go to your reports folder, double-click on the report, and it will be added to your memorized reports menu. The process couldn't be any easier.

Some reports you may find of interest:

  • Payments by Vendor
  • Overhead as % of Total Income and Expenses
  • Unapplied Customer Payments and Credits
  • Sales by State
  • Cash Flow Forecast by Quarter
  • Many, many more...
What is your favorite report? Post a comment below and share it with everyone - thanks!

Save 20% and get an instant download or free shipping if you prefer to upgrade to QuickBooks 2010

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Subscribe to this QuickBooks blog today!

Download Scott's free QuickBooks guides and learn more about QuickBooks.

Scott Gregory is a specialist with QuickBooks Pro, Premier and Enterprise accounting software. He has been helping businesses "think beyond the ledger" for over 25 years.

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