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8 posts from May 2013

Building Better Business Finances: The Accounts Payable Aging Summary Report

Here is another installment to help you try and make sense of all the data you enter into QuickBooks every day in my Building Better Business Finances series.

The topic for today is the Accounts Payable Aging Summary Report.

Easily located by clicking Reports > Vendors and Payables > A/P Aging Summary Report, you'll see a report that looks like this (click image for a larger view):

AP Aging Summary Report

This report provides three key pieces of information when it comes to managing your finances and cash flow:

  1. Who you owe
  2. How much you owe them
  3. How long you have owed them (the aging of the information)


Sadly, when I look at this report when helping clients with their QuickBooks, I see all sorts of problems and errors within the report.

Problems such as:

  • Bills that were paid a long time ago are still showing up
  • Bills are not aging correctly because the wrong payment terms were entered
  • Negative balances for vendors that are actually owed money

As you can imagine, for this report to provide the optimum benefit for your business, the data needs to be correct. Otherwise, you won't have a good handle on what is actually happening with the accounts payable side of your business (the money out side).


If you find yourself with some problems in this (or any other) report in your QuickBooks, help is just a click away!

Contact me and we can arrange for a coaching session to help you make the proper corrections to your information so you can rely on this business-critical report going forward.





QuickBooks and Virtual Private Networks (VPN) - Do They Play Nicely Together?

Thinking about using QuickBooks (Pro, Premier or Enterprise versions) on a VPN (virtual private network)?

You may want to rethink that plan - and fast.


When it comes to optimizing QuickBooks for use on various types of networks, only three types of networks get the job done:

  • Wired networks
  • Terminal services/remote desktop
  • Hosted networks

VPNs, wireless networks, network attached storage (NAS), DropBox and other setups for QuickBooks are NOT recommended for a number of reasons.


You will want to take a read through this support article from Intuit that provides some excellent background on recommended and non-recommended network types for use with QuickBooks.


As those who have tried to use QuickBooks on a VPN have found out, the concept works - but only from a technical standpoint. It is technically true that you can connect to QuickBooks using a VPN.

The reality of trying to use this setup is this - EXTREMELY poor performance. Some businesses are literally reporting wait times of 5+ minutes for a screen to appear once they click a button inside of QuickBooks. Not too many businesses I know of will tolerate wait times like that.


If your IT provider is mentioning QuickBooks and VPN in same sentence, stop the conversation right there and have them review the Intuit support article above. You'll be glad you did!





QuickBooks: Purchase Orders, Estimates and Sales Orders Don't Post to Accounting

Have you been scratching your head trying to figure out exactly how (and where) QuickBooks posts the information contained in purchase orders and sales orders?

Good news - you don't have to look very far. Neither of these transactions post anywhere in your QuickBooks accounting records. And by that, I mean into your ledger.


Even though the purchase orders and sales orders contain items, amounts, and other details, they are really designed to be informational only.

This concept is better defined when you look at your chart of accounts and see them listed at the bottom with the "non-posting" designation (estimates are non-posting too!):

Non Posting Entries


You can run various reports that pull together information on sales orders (i.e. open sales order report) and purchase orders (open purchase orders by item) to quickly and easily check status on them.

However, if you try to run any of the transaction detail reports (Reports > Custom Transaction Detail), you'll come up empty, since only "posting" transactions appear on these type of reports.





3 Ways to Help Avoid an Oh-$H#% Moment with QuickBooks

Unfortunately, there is no way to avoid it - QuickBooks has bad days, just like people do sometimes.

Frustrated Computer User on PhonelTo minimize the chances that QuickBooks is going to develop a bad attitude and cause you to have a bad day as well, take these three steps to help avoid an Oh-$H#% moment with your QuickBooks:

  1. Make doubly sure your QuickBooks is being backed up EVERY DAY that you work on it AND that the backup process is working properly. I can't tell you how many businesses I have visited over the last fifteen years that "thought" their backup was working, but alas, it was not.

    Need a reliable backup service? Download and install Carbonite. It will be the best $59 investment you'll ever make.

  2. If your QuickBooks data is being stored on a server, make sure the person responsible for the backup of the server downloads and reads "insider tip #3" from my QuickBooks backup guide. If this step is NOT done, it is very likely your QuickBooks performance will suffer (or may already be suffering a lot!)

  3. Download and install the latest patches/fixes to all installed copies of your QuickBooks - yes, that includes the server too! When QuickBooks presents what I like to call these "nag messages" (as shown below), you'll want to proceed with the installation:

Update Notice for QB
Keep in mind that the installation of these patches will tie up your computer for 5-15 minutes or so. However, it will be time well spent to ensure that your QuickBooks is up-to-date with the latest bug fixes and patches.


Let us know what your favorite tip is to minimize the chances of QuickBooks giving you grief. Just drop your comments in the box below - thanks!




Dashboard Option for QuickBooks: WebKPI

What if you need a dashboard for QuickBooks that has more power and functionality than is offered in the Company Snapshot tool?

Enter WebKPI!


WebKPI provides the ability to choose from a predefined library of dashboard templates or you can even build your own.

KPI is the acronym for Key Performance Indicator and this tool lives on the web as a service - hence the name WebKPI.

Here is a list of some of the features found within WebKPI:

WebKPI Features

Starting at $30/month for the base package, consider how much time WebKPI can save you when it comes to capturing and reporting the KPI for your business or organization.


Just fill out this quick contact form and I'll be sure to connect with you to provide some additional details and insights.




I Paid a Bill Online - How Do I Show That in QuickBooks?

This particular question has popped up no less than five times in the last two weeks, so let's take a moment to see how to handle it in QuickBooks.


  • You create a bill to pay a vendor within QuickBooks
  • You pay that vendor with an online payment rather than cutting them a check from your internal check stock
  • You need to tell QuickBooks that you paid it online, but don't see any selections that fit the need


You will enter the bill in QuickBooks and go to your bank's web site to pay it just as you normally do.

From there, you'll return to QuickBooks and go to the Pay Bill screen. Check the vendor bill that was paid online, and head to the bottom of the Pay Bill screen (click the image for a larger view):

How to Show Online Bill Payment

To show that the bill for Middlefield Drywall above was paid online, be sure the "Method" option is set to "Check" and the option directly to the right is set to "Assign Check Number". Ensure all the other information on this screen (i.e. date, bank account, etc.) is correct and click the "Pay Selected Bills" screen.

From there, you'll see this window:

How to Show Online Bill Payment Assign Window

In the window above, type in Online, Online Pmt, or some other term you prefer to reflect this particular bill was paid online, then click OK. The bill will now be marked as paid, and it will show it was paid online instead of by a check.

Repeat this process for any and all other bills you have queued up in the Pay Bills screen that are being paid online.


Why not take care of all this at once - pay the bill and get the online payment done all in one step?

With the Bill.com service, you can easily accomplish that and so much more, including the ability to store copies of your vendor bills and other important documents directly with your transactions. Get your free trial of Bill.com today to see how you can simplify things in your business...




QuickBooks Enterprise 2013: 5 Features Not Found in QuickBooks Pro or Premier

QuickBooks Enterprise 2013 contains many features that the QuickBooks Pro and QuickBooks Premier versions don't have.

QB13ES_r3dHere is a closer look at five of those features...

  1. The ability to have more than 5 users working at the same time - QuickBooks Pro is limited to 3 users at the same time. QuickBooks Premier maxes out at 5 users at the same time. QuickBooks Enterprise can have up to 30 users (even some remotely) logged in at the same time.

  2. The ability to store more than 14,500 items or customers - QuickBooks Enterprise allows for you to have up to 100,000 customers or inventory items (though I wouldn't plan on having that many). QuickBooks Pro and Premier max out at 14,500 of each. Keep in mind - there is no "early warning system" in QuickBooks Pro or Premier to let you know about getting close to these limits. You'll need to monitor your situation by pressing the F2 key to know how many you have.

  3. A deeper set of user security and permission settings - QuickBooks Enterprise 2013 does a much better job in allowing or restricting access to QuickBooks data at a lot deeper level. Be sure to check out my QuickBooks User Settings and Security Guide for more information

  4. The ability to keep more history in a larger company data file - QuickBooks Enterprise 2013 can handle a data file that is usually 5-7 times larger than the biggest file size that QuickBooks Pro and Premier can handle. While these aren't hard and fast numbers, ten years of hands-on experience with Enterprise shows them to be good reference points.

    Many businesses don't even know they are at risk because their QuickBooks Pro or QuickBooks Premier data files are too big. Be sure to download my guide that talks about QuickBooks file size limits and what the options are for more insight on this critical QuickBooks issue.

  5. The ability to connect remote offices easily - Working hand-in-hand with Windows Terminal Services/Remote Desktop software, QuickBooks Enterprise 2013 can easily be accessed by remote road warriors, as long as they have a connection to the internet. No messy VPN's to worry about (QuickBooks doesn't work with them anyway). Just connect to the internet and then to your QuickBooks company data.

QBES Details Button



QuickBooks 2010: Support Ends 5/31/2013 - Do You Have to Upgrade?

Well, the annual cycle of people being frustrated with Intuit is upon us...

For users of QuickBooks 2010 products, it's your turn in the spotlight.

As you sort out the information below, remember that I am just the messenger...


Every year, Intuit phases out support for a prior version of QuickBooks based on their "service discontinuation policy".

As of May 31, 2013, this service discontinuation policy kicks in for users of QuickBooks Pro 2010, QuickBooks Premier 2010 and QuickBooks Enterprise 2010/10.0.

To boil it down:

If you use any of the Intuit products that tie into QuickBooks such as:

they will stop working as of May 31, 2013 unless you upgrade to QuickBooks 2013. No exceptions will be granted.

Knowing that your employees will want to be paid and that you'll want to process customer credit card payments to keep the cash flowing, I'm sure you'll want to make the upgrade to QuickBooks 2013 a done deal before the end of May.


Good question! If you are sure you're not using ANY of the features described above, an upgrade for you is optional, but not mandatory.

There are many businesses out there using older versions of QuickBooks without a problem.

Just keep this in mind if you decide NOT to upgrade - if you do develop any type of trouble with your QuickBooks after May 31, 2013, you'll then immediately have two problems:

  1. Your first problem will be the one that forces you to call Intuit for help
  2. Your second problem right then will be that your product is not supported, and they won't help you until you do upgrade.


My standing advice to clients is to budget for an upgrade to your QuickBooks every three years. That way, you're always covered - no questions. I still get a lot of pushback on that philsophy, and I'm ok with that.

QuickBooks is likely a critical asset for the flow of financial information in your business. Why leave it to chance? In addition, there are usually enough new features built into QuickBooks over that three year cycle that will make your business more efficient as well.


You can save 20% on your upgrade to QuickBooks 2013 at my web site. Get an instant download or free shipping if you want the CD.

Your thoughts on this upgrade process are welcome. Just drop them into the comment box below...