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5 posts from August 2008

Dashboard for QuickBooks

When working with financial and accounting data, sometimes a picture is literally worth a thousand words. Unfortunately, QuickBooks accounting software doesn't have the ability to create a visual "dashboard" of critical information to help you manage the mountain of numbers.

Enter the Dashboard add-on for QuickBooks from the Intuit Innovation Labs!

The Dashboard add-on is designed to provide you a simple overview of the following information from your QuickBooks data file (click the screen shot below for a larger image):

  • Open Invoices
  • Account Balances
  • Item Inventory
  • Sales Orders
  • Vendor Balances

In addition, this Dashboard can also provide graphical summaries on a monthly or annual basis of:

  • Revenue
  • Expenses
  • Sales Data
  • Liability Balances

This is a free download from the Intuit Labs web site. A couple of things you need to know about this tool from my experience with it:

  • While the promotional material says you can run the Dashboard without having QuickBooks open, I was not able to replicate that.
  • The program crashed unexpectedly several times on me. I was able to restart it right away without any rebooting of the computer required.
  • The Dashboard is not a fancy software product nor does it allow any customization. It is a really basic product that provides a quick overview of some of the really important data in your accounting system.

Is this program a sign of things to come in future editions of QuickBooks? I guess we'll have to see what awaits us in the 2009 release of QuickBooks, which should be arriving sometime this fall if their past release schedule holds true this year.

There are other dashboard software products available for QuickBooks, and I'll be talking about those in future posts.

FIND THIS TIP HELPFUL? This is just one nugget of knowledge that Scott Gregory, QuickBooks Expert can bring to your business. Contact Scott today and put a game plan in place to help your business boost your QuickBooks knowledge and your bottom line.


Backing Up QuickBooks Data

I can't stress enough how important it is to make regular backups of your QuickBooks company data files. Too many businesses don't take the backup process seriously until it is too late. Don't become a statistic.

Take a moment and download my free guide - "3 Insider Tips to Backing up QuickBooks" to ensure your critical QuickBooks data is safe and sound.


Easy Way to Create a Report in QuickBooks

Ever wished you could turn the detail showing in the customer, vendor or employee centers into a report?

Now you can - quickly and easily.

When working in any of these centers, simply RIGHT click anwhere in the section of the screen that lists the transactions, and choose the "View as Report" option.

A screen shot of how this will look to you is shown below (click on the graphic to expand the view of it):

Looking for help with QuickBooks? Look no further.


How Many Company Files Can QuickBooks Hold?

I am frequently asked if there is a limit on the number of different company data files that QuickBooks can hold.

As far as I know, there is no limit on the number of them. The limit would actually come from the amount of hard disk space that is available on the computer. With the huge size of most computer hard drives today, it is safe to say that there is really no limit on the number of company files.

It is important to know that you can only have one company data file open in QuickBooks at a time. Believe it or not, that is for your own safety. This limitation helps prevent you from making bad postings into the wrong company file.

As an added bonus, QuickBooks makes it easy to jump between company data files. Simply click File, Open Previous Company as shown in the graphic below, and select the company to work in.

You can also use the "Set number of previous companies" menu option to expand or contract the number of names that show up in this list. The default is 4 - your choice as to what you make it.

Note: Soundoff on QuickBooks likes and dislikes right now. Hurry - contest ends on 9/30/08.


Sales Tax is NOT an Expense on the Profit and Loss Statement

We need to take a moment and review a very important point that will make your profit and loss statement a much more meaningful report very quickly.

That point is - sales tax that you collect from your customers is not considered an expense of your business and sales tax should not be listed as an expense item on your profit and loss report.

Your business is simply acting as a "collection agent" for the state sales tax. You charge it to your customers where applicable, they pay it to you, and you turn around and pay it to the state. In some states (Ohio is a good example), they allow you to keep a fraction of the collections by giving a discount for paying the tax on time. This discount is actually income to your business if you deduct it from your sales tax return.

For your accounting records to be set up correctly, you would want to have an account in your chart of accounts called "sales taxes payable" (or something similar). This account would be considered a liability account (remember, a liability is something that the business owes to someone else).

When you collect the sales tax from your customers, the balance of the "sales taxes payable" account will increase (again, because you are collecting it on behalf of your state). Once you write the check out to the state when filing your sales tax return, the balance of the "sales taxes payable" account will decrease again.

By way of example - if you collected $100 from your customers for sales tax during the month, your sales taxes payable account would have a balance of $100 in it until you write the check to pay it. Once the check has been issued, the balance would return to $0. (it's not always quite this simple since your sales tax collections are ongoing, but you get the idea).