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7 posts from September 2013

Building Better Business Finances: Sales by Customer Type Report

Continuing my thread on the QuickBooks manufacturing and wholesale edition, here is another report that comes in handy when analyzing your business - the "Sales by Customer Type" report.

This report can be accessed by clicking Reports > Manufacturing and Wholesale Reports.

Here is a screen shot for easy reference:

This report is extremely helpful in understanding which customer segments are driving your sales for the month, quarter or year.


If you click the Customize button at the top of the report, then check the "Previous Year", "$ Change" and "% Change" boxes, you get a very handy comparison of sales by customer type between this year and last year as shown below:

Here's to a better understanding of your sales traffic!





Can Bill.com Use Items, Customers/Jobs or Classes with QuickBooks?

I have talked with a number of businesses lately that like the idea of automating their bill payment with Bill.com and QuickBooks.

However, they had concerns about using items, customers/jobs and/or classes when entering bills in Bill.com.

Good news - Bill.com can handle any or all of these needs.

Here is a screen shot of the bill entry screen in Bill.com:

Note: Department = class when it comes to QuickBooks. Since Bill.com also integrates with other accounting packages, the department label has more than one meaning.

As you can see, entering a bill in Bill.com is almost identical to entering in QuickBooks - only the layout of the screen is different. Plus, all the data syncs between these apps so that you only have to enter it once. From there, your life just gets easier, especially when it comes to not having checks to sign or reconcile at the end of the month!




See for yourself just how easy it is to get away from the drudgery of check-signing and also how to spend less time on bill paying and more time on value-added activities for your business.

Click the graphic below for a fully functional free trial of the Bill.com service.





Combining Data From Multiple QuickBooks Files - Key Differences to Understand

I've been fielding a number of questions relating to this topic lately, so I'd like to take a moment and review a couple of things to ensure there is clarity about it.


Combining data for reports - you are just taking report information and "welding it together" outside of QuickBooks. Example: putting the profit and loss reports for two different QuickBooks company files together for review and analysis. This can be done in Excel (you would export each profit and loss separately into Excel and then combine them there) or you can also combine data from two (or more) different QuickBooks company files into a combined report using the Enterprise edition of QuickBooks.

Combining transactions from multiple QuickBooks files into ONE QuickBooks file - Example: you are literally taking deposits, payments, bills, etc. from one QuickBooks data file and actually importing/transferring that data into a completely separate QuickBooks data file.

WARNING: If you actually want to combine transactions into one QuickBooks file (and not just data for reports), be absolutely certain you understand the ramifications of doing this on your current and historical financial records! In many cases, doing this will likely cause your accountant to melt down, as your historical information would very likely be changed. And accountants NEVER like it when information from the past changes in financial records!

Generally speaking, you want to leave the history alone and NOT combine actual data from different QuickBooks files into one file. You would pick a point in time and then start a new QuickBooks file and put the information from that point forward into the new file.

However, there may also be cases where it is necessary to combine the actual transaction data (again, understanding the implications and having discussed with your accountant first). Be aware that there is no way to directly combine transaction data in QuickBooks. You'll have to use a third-party tool in order to accomplish that.


  • QuickBooks Enterprise - allows for the combination of report data from multiple QuickBooks data files into Excel for easy review and analysis.
  • WebKPI - allows for the combination of report data from multiple QuickBooks data files into an online dashboard for easy review, analysis and customization.
  • Karl Irvin's Data Transfer Utility and Other Apps - Karl has built a number of very useful and highly functional tools that will actually combine data from multiple QuickBooks files into one file as well as a number of other tasks too.




Can QuickBooks Handle My Inventory?

The question of using QuickBooks for tracking inventory is one I get on a regular basis.

Inventory and WarehouseThe conversation usually starts innocently enough - "does QuickBooks have an inventory module?"

And my answer is "yes".

From there...

"Do you think QuickBooks could handle the inventory for my business?"

And my answer at that stage can only be...."it depends"


When it comes to tracking inventory in QuickBooks, the key question that needs to be asked is "does it have the necessary features and functionality for my specific business needs?"

For many businesses with simple inventory needs, the inventory module in QuickBooks may be the only thing they need, and it will do just fine (assuming it is used properly that is!)

For others that have significant manufacturing, assembly, kitting, lot numbering or bar-codiing requirements, QuickBooks by itself likely isn't enough. These businesses would be well served by exploring the world of "advanced inventory add-ons" for QuickBooks.


Download my free guide that discusses in detail:

  • What QuickBooks can do when it comes to tracking inventory
  • What QuickBooks can't do when it comes to inventory
  • The key features and benefits of the leading advanced inventory add-ons for QuickBooks, including:



My QuickBooks Data is Corrupted - Now What?

Are you having trouble with corrupted data in your QuickBooks file? Maybe you're seeing a balance sheet out of balance, sporadic crashes of QuickBooks, or other erratic behavior that could be a symptom of potential trouble ahead?

Shannon Tucker

I wanted to get some additional insights on this topic, so I connected with Shannon Tucker, an expert on the subject of corrupted QuickBooks data files (and how to fix them!). Shannon is the President of AccountingUsers, Inc, and has consulted in thousands of accounting database cases over the last 20 years.

He was gracious enough to provide some additional insights posted below that I hope you find helpful...

Q: In non-techie terms, what does it mean when a QuickBooks data file “gets corrupted”?

A: It means that either part of the file has gotten internally scrambled to some degree, or it doesn't make accounting sense anymore -- things don't add up right. The first case is much more common than the second.

Q: What do you see as the leading causes of data corruption?

A: Sunspots! No, I think that the four most common causes of data corruption in QuickBooks files are 1) network connection glitches, 2) power glitches that affect computers or network components that don't have battery backups, 3) hard drive problems and 4) bugs in QuickBooks. 

Q: Is there anything that can be done to prevent corruption from occurring?

A: Usually the users themselves don't do anything to cause data problems, unless they pull the plug on the computer while QuickBooks is open or something like that. The best defense for preventing data corruption is to have a very stable computing environment for QuickBooks to run in. That includes:

* Relatively new, fast, professional-grade servers and workstations

* Solid, fast, wired networking (for multi-user situations) using matching network components (not a mix-n-match approach)

* Battery backups (uninterruptible power supplies) on your server, every workstation, and every network component

* Professional, updated versions of Windows on every workstation (not home editions)

* Versions of Windows and QuickBooks that are contemporary with one another (not trying to run QuickBooks 2007 under Windows 8, for example)

* Keeping QuickBooks file sizes reasonable. If the file gets too big, then it takes longer for QuickBooks to update it in real time, and the chances greatly increase that corruption will occur.

Q: How can corruption be fixed?

A: Sometimes the built in Rebuild command in QuickBooks can fix a corrupted file. Otherwise, QuickBooks files can often be repaired by consulting firms like ours. You upload a copy of the damaged file, we repair or reconstruct the damaged sections in the file, test it thoroughly, and return it to you by download link. Pretty easy and non-technical from the user's vantage point. 

So there you have some additional insight on the topic of QuickBooks data corruption. It goes without saying that it is critical to have a solid, reliable backup strategy in place for your QuickBooks and all other critical business data as well just in case you encounter a situation where your QuickBooks data becomes unstable.


While Intuit does offer a service can try to help with problems like these, I can't recommend it. In many cases, they can have your data file for 3-5 business days while trying to fix the problem - there is no guarantee that your file will be returned in any specific timeframe. While they have it, you can't enter any new transactions into the file - all you can do is lookup things.

Shannon's firm specializes in fixing and rebuilding corrupted QuickBooks data files and they offer overnight turnaround on them. Contact him for more details on his services. He and his team have helped countless clients of mine fix their QuickBooks problems and get them back in business.





If I enter a memo on a bill in QuickBooks, does it show up on the check?

An interesting question came in from a client recently that I wanted to share with you...

Q: "If I enter a memo on a bill in my QuickBooks, does that memo print on the check that is issued to pay the bill?"

A: Yes it will!

Here's a closer look with some sample screen shots:

The original bill as entered with a memo:


The check that is issued to pay the above bill:

So there it is - a memo on the bill flowing all the way to the check.

Of course this only works if you issue a single check to pay a single bill. If you try to combine multiple bills into one check, the memo does not print.


Be sure to check out my QuickBooks training video library for detailed insights to many common QuickBooks issues and concerns.




Alternative to QuickBooks Online: LessAccounting

If your business is considering cloud-based accounting software, one of the first options that comes to mind is QuickBooks Online.

However, it is important to know there are alternatives as well. One of those I'd like to introduce to you is called LessAccounting.

Here is a short video I created that gives you an overview of LessAccounting:


Naturally, you'll want to evaluate the features and benefits of any accounting software package against the needs and requirements of your business. LessAccounting could be a good solution for many small businesses, but those with more complex accounting (think inventory or job costing for example) may find that it doesn't work for them.

In addition, here is a handy page that offers a feature comparison of LessAccounting vs. other accounting software packages.


Feel free to share your experiences with LessAccounting, QuickBooks Online or any other solution you have been considering or using in the comment box below - love to hear them!