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7 posts from May 2010

Have You Backed Up Your QuickBooks Custom Invoice and Other Templates?

So you've just spent hours getting the colors and column widths just right in your QuickBooks invoices?

Take just a minute and make a backup copy of your handiwork. It's easy to do and you'll thank me later.

In QuickBooks, click Lists, then Templates in the menu bar. From there, click the template you would like to back up, click the box that says "Templates" in the lower left hand corner and then Export for a window that looks like this:

  Export Template

Once you click on the Export option, you will see a window asking where you would like to save the template. Simply choose an external drive, a flash drive, or other location that is not the same as your main computer as the place for safekeeping of your template.


  • The process above allows you to backup one template at a time. To backup multiple templates, you'll have to use Windows Explorer to locate them and then copy and paste them.
  • QuickBooks invoice templates are stored as .DES files, so you can quickly do a search for *.DES files on your computer to locate where they are stored.
  • You can never have too many backups. QuickBooks has been known to corrupt templates every once in a while or a co-worker may mess one up as well. By having backups, you can quickly and easily pull it back as it should be and get back to work.



Moving Money Between Bank Accounts is NOT Income in QuickBooks

Contrary to what your friends may have told you, the process of moving cash from one bank account to another within the same business is NOT income when it comes to recording the transaction in QuickBooks (though that would be nice for sure!).

Rather, all that is being done in this case is the transfer of funds from one asset account to another within the same business.

Example - a business transfers $10,000 from a Checking account into a Savings account to put the money away for a rainy day.

In QuickBooks, there are two ways to go about recording this transfer in your accounting records:

  1. Use the Transfer Funds button found in the Banking option in the menu bar.

      Transfer Funds
  2. Use the Write Checks window

  Transfer Funds via Write Check

Either option gets the job done for you. Option 1 is probably easier if you move the money via an online electronic transfer and Option 2 is easier if you are actually making a physical deposit of a check at the bank.

Even better, by using either of the options above, your accounting records will properly reflect the transaction being made. No more will you have a profit and loss report showing income that doesn't exist.

In a future post, I'll discuss how to move money between bank accounts that exist in different businesses.



The "Cost of the QuickBooks Economy" - A Haunting Thought

I was chatting recently with a accounting buddy of mine. He was commenting (and that is a nice way to put it!) on the number of clients who provided him with a QuickBooks file at the end of the year that was either partially or totally messed up. Ghost

And by messed up, he meant that there was no way he could get the taxes done without first doing some serious QuickBooks cleanup work. He did not mention if using dynamite was one of the methods he used to clean up the QuickBooks file.

So I got to thinking (and my wife says that is a very scary and dangerous thing!)...

There are over 4.5 million businesses using QuickBooks (according to Intuit data). Based on my experience in working with businesses using QuickBooks  over the last ten years, I would estimate that well over 80% of those businesses have partially or totally messed up QuickBooks data files.

Assuming that those businesses pay their accountants $500 to fix up their problems at the end of the year (and that doesn't include the cost of doing the actual tax return), that amounts to nearly $2 billion a year of non-productive spending! (4,500,000 users * 80% with problems * $500).

Nearly $2 billion being spent to fix the accounting of those who have bought into the "I can do it myself" myth perpetrated by QuickBooks!

Even if my estimated cost per fix is off or the percentage of businesses that have problems is a bit overstated, the result  cost of the "QuickBooks economy" is still a staggering sum.

And yet the marketing for QuickBooks software continue with this theme - "built for butchers, bakers and candlestick makers. No accounting experience required whatsoever." Really?

This thought haunts accountants everywhere. And the QuickBooks horrors their clients deliver at tax time every year have been known to cause a nightmare or three as well.

Wouldn't it make sense to get it done right the first time or hire someone who can and put these expenses to much more productive use?

Weigh in with your thoughts on the "cost of the QuickBooks economy" in the comment box below!

RELATED POST: Setting the Right Expectations for Using QuickBooks



Do I Lose My Data if I Downgrade from QuickBooks Premier to Pro?

Thinking of saving a bit of cash and moving from a Premier edition of QuickBooks (i.e. contractor, manufacturing, professional services, or non-profit) into the less expensive QuickBooks Pro version?

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The number one question I receive about this is - "will I lose my data if I make the move from Premier to Pro?"

The short answer is no - your data is safe.


You WILL lose some of the reports and features that may be unique to the Premier versions of QuickBooks.


  • QuickBooks Premier Manufacturing allows you to work with inventory assemblies. QuickBooks Pro does not.
  • QuickBooks Premier versions allow you to have sales orders. QuickBooks Pro does not.
  • QuickBooks Premier versions may have some specific reports built in that Pro does not provide (Unpaid Bills by Job in the Contractor edition for example).

If you are not using these extra features or reports, then there is no problem in making the downgrade. However, if you are, you'll want to ensure your business can make do without them. If you decide that Pro still works for your business, your data should convert into that version seamlessly.




Use This Special Account in QuickBooks and Show Your Accountant the Love

Want to get a hug from your accountant instead of a frown because something wasn't recorded properly?

Use this solution and begin sharing the love... Heart


I'm pretty sure you have entered bills or written checks in QuickBooks and been a little (or a lot!) unsure about what ledger account to use for the transaction. You've taken your best guess at it, but your accountant has told you later they wanted it in a different account.

Don't worry about that problem any longer!

Head directly to your chart of accounts (In the menu bar, go to Lists > Chart of Accounts), then click the "Accounts" box in the lower left hand corner and click New.

From there, choose Expense account as the type and fill in Ask My Accountant in the account name box, then click OK. That's all you need!

Note: Some versions of QuickBooks already have this account created for you!


Let's say that the boss has told you to write a check to the leasing company for $1,000 for some new equipment. You don't have any other details and aren't sure what to do with this transaction.

Suggested plan of action...

Open the write checks window, fill in the boxes with the information you know, and then choose the newly minted "Ask My Accountant" account. Be sure to put in a descriptive memo about what is going on with this transaction for easy reference later.

  Ask My Accountant


By using this special account, your accountant will be able to quickly review the transactions that need their assistance. They can simply look at the details of the "Ask My Accountant" account instead of hunting their way around your QuickBooks data to locate things that may not be posted correctly.

Naturally, if a majority of your transactions end up in the "Ask My Accountant" account, that means some additional training on accounting is in order.

What's that you say? Less time by my accountant = smaller bill? You'll have to see if they'll share the love with you.



How to Combine Multiple Companies to Run Reports in QuickBooks

QuickBooks Enterprise has a handy feature that allows you to combine data from multiple QuickBooks company data files into Excel. From there, you can easily consolidate the numbers as you like.

The following reports can be combined:

  • Balance Sheet Standard
  • Balance Sheet Summary
  • Profit and Loss
  • Statement of Cash Flows
  • Trial Balance

This feature is easily accessed by clicking Reports in the menu bar, then Combine Reports from Multiple Companies.

A window like this will appear:

  Combine Multiple Companies

Note that you have the ability to select:

  • The company files you desire to combine
  • Basis for the reports (cash or accrual)
  • Name for the reports
  • Various options in Excel

All of the data files must be in QuickBooks Enterprise format in order for this feature to work properly.




The "Keep the Boss From Screwing It Up" Feature in QuickBooks Enterprise

Bookkeepers everywhere now have the ability to keep the boss from wreaking havoc on the work they have done in QuickBooks!

You know - the boss that says "I just want to take a look at a few things in QuickBooks" after hours and the one who pleads "not me" when information has been changed within the data file?

QuickBooks Enterprise has a role that is called "View Only" that is the perfect solution for this problem.

Accessed by clicking Company > Users > Set Up Users and Roles, scroll down the role list until you find the "View Only" option:

    View Only Mode

Just assign this role to the owners account in QuickBooks, or any other account where you prefer they look but don't touch.

This role is NOT available in the Pro or Premier versions of QuickBooks however - just Enterprise.

Be sure to download my free guide on QuickBooks Enterprise for more insight and information.