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9 posts from March 2012

Building Better Business Finances: The QuickBooks Balance Sheet Report

The balance sheet report in QuickBooks (or any other accounting software) provides an assessment of three critical financial metrics about your business:

  1. What you own
  2. What you owe
  3. What your business is worth


You will see a recap of what you own in the "Assets" section of the balance sheet report. Broken down into subcategories like bank accounts, accounts receivable, other current assets and more, this section gives a quick overview of the balances in all of the asset accounts.


While not nearly as fun as the things your business owns, you will see a recap of everything your business owes in the "Liabilites" section of the balance sheet report.

Broken down into areas such as: accounts payable, other current liabilities, credit cards and others, QuickBooks provides you with the information you need to know to track what you owe to others.


Referred to as the "Equity" section in your balance sheet, QuickBooks calculates the value of your business quickly and easily.

Your equity = Total Assets - Total Liabilities, or what is left over for you once everyone else gets paid what they are owed.


Click Reports > Company and Financial > Balance Sheet Standard to get a report that looks like this sample below:

 Balance Sheet

Ideally, you'll want to run the balance sheet report at the end of each quarter to see how things look.

Need help making sense of it all? Contact me to get the help you need!




QuickBooks 2012: Quick and Easy Reference to File Size

QuickBooks 2012 makes it easy to see just how big your company file is as you can see in the screen shot below:

 File Size via Home Screen

The file size column is a new addition to "No Company Open" screen.


When your QuickBooks data file gets too big, you will start to see things like:

  • Taking forever to run reports
  • Random shutdown of the QuickBooks program
  • Other odd behavior, including potential data corruption

It's essential to monitor the size of your company data file, as there are no internal warnings built into QuickBooks to alert you that it might be getting too big. Fortunately, this new feature makes that easier to do.

Download my free guide that provides all the insight you need to learn more about QuickBooks data files and what your options are when they become too big.




5 Really Bad Business Finance Mistakes to Avoid

Here are some quick tips about your business finances that will help you avoid the problems others have learned "the hard way"...

  1. Are you buying into the concept that doing your own bookkeeping is a good idea?

    It's not.

    Unless you are going to be a bookkeeper or you have an accounting background that is.

    Otherwise, you will quickly discover that keeping your books is an exercise in frustration and futility.

    Keep this in mind - even though bookkeeping will be a pain in your asset, it is an absolutely essential function within your business. In fact, doing it timely and doing it correctly may be the difference between success and failure.

    Can't afford a qualified bookkeeper or accountant to restore order to the mess you have created? Maybe you're running a hobby instead of a business then...

  2. Thinking of doing your own payroll in-house?


    Consider this - the minimum expectation for payroll is that you get it 100% right. Every time. If not, you have employees telling you their checks are wrong. Or worse, the government politely telling you that "you owe penalties and interest" because your were late on a deposit or filing. Who needs those headaches?

    Read more about why you should outsource your payroll to an expert.

  3. Don't let your accountant bully you into using QuickBooks because that is the only accounting software they know.

    Get a new accountant.

    No question - QuickBooks is a very, very solid accounting package. That is why I offer consulting and training services on QuickBooks.

    However, it may be complete overkill for many small businesses. There are some other terrific packages out there like FreshBooks and Less Accounting that are far less intimidating for a small business.

    There would be nothing better than having your business graduate from one of these packages into QuickBooks. Accountants are there to help you with your finances and taxes, not dictate what software you have to use.

  4. Do you wait until the end of the year to get your shoebox in order?

    Bad idea.

    Every January, I see countless tweets and Facebook posts that discuss how behind the person is with their bookkeeping. Many of them have missed updating their books for six months, nine months, or even the entire year.

    A monthly profit and loss report is essential to keeping your business on track. Any of the packages mentioned above can provide those with the click of a button. But the information in the report is only as good as what you put in.

  5. Do you regularly mix personal and business expenses in your business accounts?

    The IRS is eager to talk with you!

    They love to send out personalized invitations to discuss this issue in great detail.

    One simple way to keep this subject off the radar is to keep your business and personal expenses completely separated. If you must perodically combine them, make it very clear in your accounting records the who, what, and why behind the expenses being set up that way.

    While that won't guarantee the IRS won't challenge it, at least you will remember the details behind the activity. "I don't know" isn't usually a good answer.

Do you have some tips to share about things you've learned relating to your business finances?

Your comments on this topic are welcome.



QuickBooks Training Classes vs. Personalized Training - which is better?

I'm curious - when you say "you'd like some training on QuickBooks", what does that really mean?

Does it mean:

  • You want help trying to figure out a specific problem within your QuickBooks?
  • You want to learn more about features in QuickBooks that you don't know about?
  • You want to learn how to customize QuickBooks to the needs of your business?
  • You want to get away from the office and hideaway in class for a day or two?


Unless you answered "get away from the office" above, I think you'll find that a personalized approach to your QuickBooks training will get you closer to the desired solution a lot quicker.

If you sign up for a "QuickBooks class", is there any assurance that the lessons will even cover what you are hoping to learn? Will you have to sit through 3 hours of instruction on topics you're not even interested in before you get to what you want to know?

Remember, a QuickBooks training class is often geared to meeting the needs of a wide variety of businesses and the content is usually pretty generic - there just isn't time to go in-depth on things. Or the instructor runs the risk of boring the other 98% of the class by dwelling on a specific issue too long.

In many cases, you're looking for information on how to solve a problem that is specific to the needs of your business. Unless you catch a break and discuss your situation after class or during lunch, your specific questions may not even be answered at all.


Believe it or not, it may not be.

No question about it - if you are looking to learn everything about QuickBooks in a couple of days, classroom training is probably the way to go and will be less expensive for you. Be sure to take a large sponge to class so you can absorb the fast running stream of information for later use.

However, if you are looking to solve a specific problem or learn some specific features of QuickBooks to apply in your business, the personalized approach may be less expensive. It very likely will involve less of your time compared to the multi-day classroom approach. And we know that your time is quite valuable, right?


I welcome your thoughts and experiences relating to your past training on QuickBooks. Did you take a class? Did you work with a QuickBooks advisor? What worked best for you?


If you'd like to connect for some personalized training on QuickBooks, please click the contact button below and I'll get in touch with you to learn more about your specific questions and concerns.




Can I Change an Inventory Part to a Non-Inventory Part in QuickBooks?

Unfortunately, the only way to change an inventory part to a non-inventory part in QuickBooks is to create a new item in your item list and classify it as a non-inventory part.

As you can see from the screen shot below, there is no option to reset the type from inventory part to non-inventory part:

 Inventory Part to Non Inventory Part

Even worse - once you create the new non-inventory part, you can't use the exact same name as it currently appears. You'll have to make it unique by one character (i.e. add a * at the end of the part number or something similar) so this new non-inventory part can be saved in your item list.


Good news here!

If you want to convert a non-inventory part to an inventory part, you can do that directly within the item itself by clicking the drop down and choosing "inventory part".

 Non Inventory Part to Inventory Part

Be aware...

Before you save your change, QuickBooks will alert you with a warning message indicating this change cannot be reversed, as shown below:

 Inventory Warning


It's good practice to make a backup copy of your QuickBooks data prior to making any significant changes such as these. That way, you can easily rewind to your backup copy should you change your mind or if something doesn't work out the way you intended.




How to Create an Open Sales Order by Due Date Report in QuickBooks

If you are using QuickBooks Premier or QuickBooks Enterprise, you are aware of their ability to track sales orders.

In addition, you can run an Open Sales Order by Customer or an Open Sales Order by Item report quite easily in those versions (Click Reports, then Sales and look for the Open Sales Order reports).

But what if you need an Open Sales Order by Date report? Is it possible to get one of those in QuickBooks?

Good news...

Indeed, you can generate an Open Sales Order by Date report in QuickBooks with just a few mouse clicks. The video below will show you just how to do it:





How Can I Avoid Printing Zero Quantity Items on Packing Lists?

Some businesses prefer to have only the line items that are being shipped appear on a packing slip.

In order to accomplish that in QuickBooks, here is my suggested plan of action:

  • Be sure that you are generating your packing slip from an invoice template in QuickBooks, not a sales order template.
  • Click Edit > Preferences > Sales and Customers > Company Preferences. Be sure to check the "Don't print items with zero amounts when converting to invoice" box and click OK as shown in the screen shot below:
    Zero Qty Item on Packing Slip
  • Convert the sales order to the invoice as normal.

SPECIAL NOTE: You will still see the line item with the zero quantity on the invoicing screen. However, when you go to print the packing list from this screen, only those line items with quantities greater than zero will actually print out.

Have you found other ways to accomplish this in QuickBooks? Please share your comments in the box below!




Tracking Inventory in QuickBooks: Online Seminar to Understand the Nuts and Bolts

IMPORTANT NOTE: Even though this webinar is over, you can learn more about the inventory module of QuickBooks in my free guide - "Can QuickBooks Handle My Inventory?" Download your copy today!


Trying to figure out how inventory tracking works in QuickBooks?

You're invited to attend our "Inventory Essentials" online seminar to be held on Thursday, March 22, 2012.

"Inventory Essentials" will help you build your understanding and confidence in working with the inventory module of QuickBooks (Windows versions).

  • How to turn the inventory module on in QuickBooks 
  • Detailed explanations of the differences between inventory parts, non-inventory parts and inventory assemblies (assemblies are available in Premier and Enterprise editions)
  • A deep-dive into the item screen to understand each prompt on the screen
  • An understanding of the “flow” of inventory from purchase order to sale
  • Explanation of how the behind-the-scenes accounting works for inventory transactions
  • How to fix problems in your inventory
  • A review of the various reports available to help you manage your inventory
  • Options to consider if QuickBooks doesn’t have enough horsepower to manage your inventory

Be sure to take advantage of the early registration discount and register by March 9, 2012.

BONUS! One lucky attendee will be selected at the end of the event to receive a free copy of QuickBooks Premier 2012 - a $400 value!

 Register Button




Find Inventory Parts Faster in QuickBooks

Are you taking advantage of the "Look for" search box in your QuickBooks inventory list? If not, you'll want to check it out.

Instead of wasting time scrolling endlessly through your inventory list to try and pinpoint the part you're looking for, use the power of the search box instead.

This search box sits right at the top of your item list (if you don't see it, your version doesn't have this feature) as shown in the screen shot below (click the image for a larger view):

 Look For Box for Inventory Parts

Just type in the first several characters of the part you are looking for and click the search button. QuickBooks will then provide a much shorter list of any part that contains what you have typed in.

Even better...

Note the additional search criteria available in the drop down list just to the right of the search box:

  • Item Name/Number
  • Description (sales)
  • Purchase Description
  • Preferred Vendor
  • Manufacturers Part Number

You can even search for matching parts based on information you have entered in custom fields in QuickBooks!


If your parts list is thousands of entries long, you will want to be more particular about how you perform the search described above.

In your case, instead of just typing in a few letters and clicking the search button, you should click the specific field you are trying to search in as well.

By doing this, QuickBooks will restrict its' search through your thousands of inventory and non-inventory parts to just that field instead of searching for a match in each and every field in each and every item in QuickBooks. You'll see a much better performance of the search box by taking this one extra step.