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8 posts from July 2012

Building Better Business Finances: QuickBooks Profit and Loss by Department/Class Report

Here's a little secret...

It is possible to track profit and loss by department, line of business, cost center, location or other methodology in QuickBooks - you just have to turn on the "class" feature to make it work (this is found in the accounting preferences section).

Once you turn on the "class" feature, you then have the opportunity to create your desired groupings for the profit and loss report.

In order to make it all work properly, it is essential that you code each transaction (invoice, check, bill, etc.) with the proper class(es).

Assuming that is being done, creating a profit and loss report by class is a snap. Click Reports > Company and Financial > Profit and Loss by Class. You'll see a report that looks like this (click the image for a larger view):

Profit and Loss by Class Report

In this example, this particular business has opted to track their profit and loss by: automatic pool systems, manual pool systems, custom pool systems and other categories.

Just substitute the profit and loss breakdown you envision for the classes shown in this example, and you'll get the profit and loss report you're looking for!

Need help sorting out this (or other) issues with your QuickBooks?



QuickBooks "aborts" after inactivity on my computer - what's up with that?

I have fielded a number of QuickBooks calls recently with a similar set of circumstances...

Each person is reporting that after a period of inactivity (say 15-20 minutes) on their PC, their QuickBooks would stop working and display the infamous "Abort" message. At that point, their only option was to shut down QuickBooks and begin again.

The common solution we discovered - turning off all power management options on the PC. Depending on your version of Windows, click Start > Control Panel and then look for power management options. Once there, turn off any power management that relates to the hard drive (screen savers are ok).

Once we did that, these problems went away!

If your problems persist after taking this action, a deeper investigation would be needed. Contact me for help with your QuickBooks.




QuickBooks: Make the Manufacturers Part Number Visible on Your Item List

If your staff constantly reference the manufacturers part number for your inventory items in QuickBooks, you'll want to show them how to display it in the item list.

Here's how...

  • Open the Item list
  • Go to the Item box in the lower left hand corner and click "Customize Columns" (or you can right click within the screen and select as well). You'll see a screen that looks like this:
    Customize Columns Screen Shot

  • The left hand side of the window has the columns that are available to add to the item list. The right hand side has a list of columns that are already visible.
  • Click the MPN option, then click the Add button. Click the Move Up button if you want to reposition the MPN column within the item list and then click OK.

Once you have completed these steps, the manufacturers part number (if present) will be displayed along with the part number and other critical data your team needs to see in the item list. No need to double-click into the item to see that information.

REMEMBER: Each user of QuickBooks will have to repeat the steps above if they want to see the manufacturers part number in their item list. This is not a "company-wide" setting.




Remote Access Options for QuickBooks

Have staff in multiple locations trying to access QuickBooks?

Are you a one person show that needs remote access the QuickBooks on your office computer while you're somewhere else?

Man on Beach w_Laptop
My new guide "Remote Access Options for QuickBooks" will provide you with the insights you need to understand your options.

You'll learn more about single person solutions like GoToMyPC as well as those built for multi-users such as Windows Remote Desktop.

Download your free copy of "Remote Access Options for QuickBooks" today!




QuickBooks: Allow Customers to Look Up Order Status/Receive E-mail When Orders Ship

Do your customers e-mail or call frequently for the status of their orders?

If so, let them get that information online quickly and easily. They can also receive e-mails when their order ships from your warehouse too!


My Order Lookup Logo
As you know, QuickBooks does NOT provide the ability to directly upload information to a web site for your customers to see.

However, MyOrderLookup.com and QuickBooks working together can do just that.


Users are reporting reductions of 30% - 50% in customer service and support calls once they implement MyOrderLookup.com.

After going through the initial setup of the software, MyOrderLookup.com automatically retrieves order information from your QuickBooks data file.

From there, it is posted to a secure database which your customers can easily access via their web browsing software - just as easily as they look up their stock quotes or the daily news.

See for yourself how MyOrderLookup.com works


In addition to the online order status capabilities, the software can also allow you to trigger e-mails to your customer when an order has shipped (or even if the order has changed for some reason).

MyOrderLookup.com comes in three tiers of service. You choose the one that fits the needs of your business and budget:

  • Basic online order lookup services: $49/month
  • Basic online order lookup + order history: $99/month
  • All of the above + e-mail notifications when orders ship: $149/month

There are no long-term contracts to sign and no upfront costs involved.

Need help with MyOrderLookup.com? Just contact me and we'll discuss your situation in more detail.



QuickBooks: Today Would Be a Great Day to Verify your Data

Are there little gremlins lurking in your QuickBooks file, just waiting to cause you a headache soon?

Here is one way to find out quickly and easily - run the verify tool that is built into QuickBooks.


Think of your QuickBooks file as a filing cabinet containing lots and lots of records relating to the money in and money out of your business.

Just like a paper filing cabinet gets cluttered and filled with junk, your QuickBooks data file can do the same.

Sadly, QuickBooks doesn't really provide any early warning system to alert you to potential trouble ahead.


Take the following steps once per month with your QuickBooks file (be sure to do this on the server if you are in a multi-user setup):

  • Click File (in the menu bar) > Utilities > Verify Data

Let QuickBooks run the verify tool on your data to help ensure your "filing cabinet" is as clean as it can be.

If trouble is discovered during the verification process, QuickBooks will sound the alarm and tell you that it needs to rebuild your data file.

If you see the rebuild message, do not wait - go directly to the rebuild process as that indicates there is some potential corruption of your QuickBooks data that needs to be fixed ASAP.

While the above steps can't guarantee there won't be any trouble with QuickBooks, they sure put the odds in your favor since you'll be taking a proactive approach to monitoring and managing it!




Why does a QuickBooks journal entry require a name for Accounts Receivable or Accounts Payable?

I'm often asked why QuickBooks won't let you save a journal entry if no name is included when posting to either the accounts receivable or accounts payable accounts.

The screen shot below references the name column:

Journal Entry Screen

Here's the reason...

QuickBooks is also tracking a separate "sub-ledger" of customers and vendors behind the scenes. Any time you post to accounts receivable, QuickBooks is also updating the specific customer information in their "sub-ledger". Same goes for entries to accounts payable updating the "sub-ledger" for that vendor.

This is how QuickBooks is able to generate A/R and A/P reports and ensure that the totals of these sub-ledgers match those of the main A/R and A/P accounts. Since there are no sub-ledgers for any other accounts (other than sales taxes), a name is not required on the journal entry screen.


For some reason, QuickBooks has been programmed to ONLY ALLOW ONE A/R or A/P account to be used on a single journal entry. If you need multiple uses of these accounts, separate journal entries will be necessary. This is something I haven't been able to figure out over the years, but just the way it is.




QuickBooks: How do I give customers an account number?

Need to set up an account number for your customers in QuickBooks?

Here's how...

Open the Customer Center, highlight the customer, and double-click on their name. Once there, click the "Payment Info" tab. You'll see a screen that looks like this:

Customer Account Number

Once there, you can populate the "Account No" box with whatever letters, numbers or combination of both you like.

Note that you can establish a credit limit for this customer on this screen as well.

Be aware that QuickBooks has no capability to automatically assign account numbers - you'll have to manually enter them as needed using whatever numbering sequence your business prefers.

Once you populate this field, you can easily include it on your invoices, statements, or other forms within QuickBooks.


Since you can easily look up a customer by name in QuickBooks, I think the value of assigning account numbers has diminished over the years.

No question that this capability was critical years ago when a lookup by name was not possible or impractical. Not so sure about its' usefulness today.


Feel free to drop a comment into the box below to let our community know if account numbers are still alive and well in your business!