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7 posts from March 2009

QuickBooks Running Slow? - Part 2

Another method to improve the performance of your QuickBooks (in addition to that mentioned in part 1) is to increase the amount of memory (also referred to as "RAM" in geek-speak) your computer has installed.

Many computers I have seen during my QuickBooks consulting engagements simply have not been configured for optimum efficiency nor built with sufficient memory installed.

For a very modest cash outlay, you could double or even triple the amount of memory your desktop or laptop computers are using. Today's programs (and QuickBooks is no exception) love memory. The more, the merrier!

To determine how much memory you have installed, simply click Start, then Run. Type in winver in the open box, hit the Enter key, and another window will appear like this:

Showing memory available

Focus on the "physical memory available to Windows" section in this window - ideally, if you are running Windows XP, you will want this value to be 1,000,000 or more. If you are running Windows Vista, you will want this value to be 2,000,000 or more.

Memory vendors such as Crucial and Kingston make it a snap to order the correct memory/RAM for your specific make and model of computer (and believe me, there are all sorts of variations of computer memory out there!).

Don't delay - installing more memory in your computer is an easy step to take to make not only QuickBooks, but all other programs run more smoothly and efficiently.

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


QuickBooks Running Slow? - Part 1

There are a number of reasons why your QuickBooks may be "running slow", but here is one reason for it - the hard drive where the QuickBooks data file resides needs to be cleaned up (or "defragged" in geek-speak).

Envision your paper filing cabinets - they get out of order and disorganized over time as you add more information to the cabinets and take information out. Your computer hard drive is no different - it gets disorganized too. If it does, it does not run with optimal speed and may be slowing you down.

The process of "defragging" is easy - on the computer where your QuickBooks data file is located, click Start > All Programs > Accessories > System Tools > Disk Defragmenter. A screen like this will appear:

Disk Defragmenter

Just click on the Defragment button and let your computer get to work cleaning itself up.

It is best if you run this defragmenting process overnight or while you are away from your computer for a while so it can have exclusive access to your hard drive.

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


Where is the Back Button in QuickBooks?

When you surf the web, it's easy to go back to the previous page you were viewing - simply click the "back" button to get there.

You may have been searching high and low for the same functionality within QuickBooks - unfortunately, a "back" button doesn't exist in QuickBooks.

No worries though - QuickBooks has an easy way to move around to all your open windows without the hassle of closing each open window to get there. Simply click the word "Window" in the menu bar, and you instantly see a list of all windows currently open in QuickBooks. It will look like this (though the entries in your list will be different depending on what screens you have been working in):

Open Window List

Based on the above, the check mark indicates I am currently on the Home page, but have 6 other windows open in QuickBooks too. To jump directly to the window containing the Balance Sheet, I would click on 4-Balance Sheet in the list and head right there, bypassing the other open windows in the process.

BONUS: Instead of the above approach, you can also click on View > Open Window list in the menu bar so that a permanent list of open windows appears on your screen. It looks like this:

Open Window via View Menu

REMEMBER: For the best performance of QuickBooks when starting it up each morning, be sure to close all of your open windows at the end of the day. Details here.

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


What is the Opening Balance Equity Account in QuickBooks?

You may have stumbled upon the account titled "Opening Balance Equity" in your QuickBooks chart of accounts and had no idea where it came from or what it does for you. I'd like to share a few insights with you to help clear up any confusion:

  1. The Opening Balance Equity account is automatically created by QuickBooks the very first time you set up your new company file. No extra action was needed on your part - it just appeared in the "Equity" section of your chart of accounts.
  2. The Opening Balance Equity account has a very specific function within QuickBooks. It allows you to easily add a beginning balance to an asset, liability or equity account in your balance sheet and have QuickBooks take care of the bookkeeping entry that needs to be made.

For example, if I need to add a new savings account that has a balance of $100 in it to my chart of accounts, I would see the following occur:

Opening Balance for New Ledger Account

Once I click OK to save this newly created account, I could then run a balance sheet and see the impact on the Opening Balance Equity account:

Opening Balance Equity on Balance Sheet

In essence, you are telling QuickBooks what the balance of the account needs to be, and it takes care of the rest without you having to worry about debits and credits or other complicated accounting terms.

Eventually, the Opening Balance Equity account balance should be $0. To ensure that your books are accurate, once all of your accounts have been added (or if you are currently showing a balance in this account that has been there for a period of time), the balance in the Opening Balance Equity account needs to be closed out via a general journal entry and moved to the retained earning account. Ask your QuickBooks advisor or CPA for assistance with that step when ready.

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



Disconnecting Bank Accounts from QuickBooks Online Banking

Been underwhelmed by the online banking capabilities in QuickBooks?

Having ongoing technical trouble downloading information into QuickBooks from your bank?

If these or other reasons are prompting the desire to just turn off the online banking connection in QuickBooks, here is how to do it.

  1. Open your Chart of Accounts (Lists > Chart of Accounts)
  2. Right click on the bank account you want to disconnect from online banking and click Edit Account
  3. Click the tab toward the top of the window that says Online Services
  4. Click the button that says "Deactivate All Online Services"

Disconnect Online Banking

Note that this process simply disconnects your bank account in QuickBooks from your online banking. It does NOT stop you from doing your online banking directly from your banks' web site.

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


Sorting Lists in QuickBooks

Ever notice that your customer, vendor or item list has gotten a bit out of whack and isn't sorted correctly any longer?

It's easy to get any QuickBooks list resorted into its' original form. Open the list that needs to be resorted, then click View, and then Resort List.

You will then get a window that looks like this:

List Resort

Click OK, and your list will be resorted and returned to its' original format.

For customer and vendor lists, the original format is by customer name (and by job within customer name if you are using jobs), For your item list, the original sorting is by the type of item, not by the name of the item. To sort the item list by the name of the item (or any other column that appears in your item list), click on the header of the column you wish to search by.

For example, if you wanted to sort the item list by the name of the item, just click on "Name" at the top of the name column:

List Resort by Name

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


Attach Documents to QuickBooks With Ease

Why waste time searching the paper filing cabinets for copies of important customer information or copies of vendor invoices? Simply attach them directly into QuickBooks using SmartVault software.

SmartVault is an "add-on" product that works with QuickBooks, and allows you to:

  • Attach copies of customer drawings, contracts and other documents directly to their account in QuickBooks.
  • Attach copies of customer purchase orders, terms and conditions and other documents directly to their estimate, sales order or invoice in QuickBooks.
  • Attach copies of vendor invoices and other documents directly to bills and checks in QuickBooks.
  • Attach copies of employee W-4 and other tax forms directly into QuickBooks, even if you are NOT using QuickBooks for payroll processing.

A very simple process gets the documents from your hands into QuickBooks. Using the SmartVault Inbox, you can either scan the document into QuickBooks or attach an existing document:

Smart Vault Inbox

You then enter the transaction (check, invoice, sales order, etc.) as normal into QuickBooks, and then choose to attach the document(s) you have saved in your in-box directly to that transaction, customer, vendor, etc.

Smart Vault Attachment

SmartVault also provides:

  • The capability to backup your data to a secure, offsite data center (chances are, you aren't doing this critical step with your current backups!)
  • The ability to share your QuickBooks data and documents with your CPA to streamline the month-end, quarter-end, or year-end process with them significantly!

SmartVault is not software you purchase via a CD. Rather, it is known as "software as a service", which allows you to spend less time on the technology and more time on the business. There are three pricing levels of the SmartVault service:

  1. Free Plan - 1 user account, storage of 50 documents, and 50MB of backup storage space.
  2. Standard Plan - 1 user account, storage of up to 1000 documents, and 1 GB of backup storage space.
  3. Team Plan - 5 user accounts, storage of up to 5,000 documents, and 5 GB of backup storage space.

I set up SmartVault in my QuickBooks consulting business in less than 10 minutes. It's that easy.