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8 posts from January 2014

Building Better Business Finances: The Profit and Loss by Job Report

The profit and loss by job report in QuickBooks can bring a whole new (and better!) vision to your business when it comes to tracking revenues and expenses by job or project.

Here is a screen shot of a sample report (found by clicking Reports > Company and Financial > Profit and Loss by Job):

As you can see, this report provides the profit and loss report layout you've seen before, but the columns are now broken out by job/project. This particular sample report was filtered for just one customer and their jobs for easy reference. Some businesses may even refer to this as their "job costing" report.

In order to make this profit and loss by job report work properly, each income transaction (i.e. invoice or sales receipt) needs to be tagged with the correct job, and each expense transaction (i.e. bill, check, credit card charge, etc.) needs to be tagged correctly as well.

Need more details behind a value in the report? Like any other report in QuickBooks, simply hover over the number and double-click on it to drill down into the next level of details.




My QuickBooks File is Too Big - What Are My Options?

Does it seem to take forever to run a report in your QuickBooks?

Maybe you can brew a pot of coffee while you wait for QuickBooks to open?

Seeing odd warnings and random crashes in your QuickBooks?

It's very possible that your QuickBooks data file may be getting too big for its' own good and preventive action needs to be taken before additional complications arise.


I wanted to get some additional insights on this topic, so I connected with Shannon Tucker, an expert when it comes to dealing with QuickBooks data files). Shannon is the President of AccountingUsers, Inc, and has consulted in thousands of accounting database cases over the last 20 years.

Shannon Tucker

Here are Shannon's thoughts on file sizes in QuickBooks...

Note: You can see your file size by tapping the F2 key when your QuickBooks company file is open.

Q: In your opinion, how big is “too big” when it comes to QuickBooks Pro, Premier and Enterprise files

A: "It's a gray area, but let's say 200MB for Pro, 400MB for Premier, and 2GB for Enterprise. The best way to define "too big", however, is to say a file that a file is too big when it starts to get sluggish or unstable when you're using it in QuickBooks. That could be a bigger or smaller file than the numbers I gave above."

Q: What are some of the symptoms to watch for in QuickBooks when a file is getting too big?

A: "The most common one is poor performance -- slow. When it takes a minute to save an invoice, for example, the file is probably too big. The other symptom to watch for is random crashes. If the file is getting so big that it seems to be increasingly unstable -- it crashes or freezes up more than once in a blue moon -- then it may mean that the file is too big."

Q: What are the potential solutions for a QuickBooks file that has gotten too big?

A: "There are three approaches:

1. The classic approach is to start a new company in QuickBooks. That gives you a small file! But to get all your accounts and subaccounts set up again -- either by exporting/importing or rekeying -- is a hassle. And then to get your open transactions put in is a hassle. And to set up your users, permissions, memorized reports, custom templates....hassle.

 2. Use the built-in condense command. QuickBooks revamped the condense command in their 2012 version, and when it works, it works pretty well! The problem is that a lot of times it crashes or freezes up or jumbles up your balance sheet. And the condense/clean up/archive commands that were available in versions prior to 2012 didn't really do anything at all.

3. Get your file supercondensed. This is a service that we offer to users of US and Canadian editions of QuickBooks. By removing all but the last couple of years' transactions, we can reduce file sizes from 50-80%, and this greatly speeds up and stabilizes the file."

As you can see from Shannon's insights, there are several options for you to consider to deal with QuickBooks files that are too big. Each option has pros and cons associated with it and the best answer for one business may not be the best answer for another.




True Cost of Out of Stocks and Vendor Performance Evaluations

My friends at ACCTivate, a leading advanced inventory add-on package for QuickBooks and Inacct, have recently published two guides that help get you thinking about better ways to run your business.

Here are links for easy access - enjoy!

  • The True Costs of Out of Stocks - while this guide doesn't offer any numeric calculations behind the out of stock question, it does get you thinking about how bar coding may help correct inaccuracies in your inventory.




Support for QuickBooks 2011 Ends May 31, 2014

Do you use any of the QuickBooks 2011 products? This includes the Pro, Premier, Enterprise (also referred to as version 11.0), and Mac editions.

If so, it's important to understand that support for this edition of QuickBooks will end on May 31, 2014 and that you'll want to start planning for an upgrade.

The "QuickBooks service discontinuation policy" outlines exactly what will stop working within your QuickBooks if you don't upgrade to the 2014 edition.

Some key services that won't work after 5/31/2014:

  • QuickBooks payroll
  • QuickBooks credit card processing
  • E-mailing invoices directly within QuickBooks
  • Many others...

If you use one or more of these features and want to continue using them, an upgrade to QuickBooks 2014 should be completed by May 31, 2014.


If your business doesn't use any of the products or services outlined in the service discontinuation policy, then you can keep right on using the 2011 edition if you like and won't know the difference.


Make the upgrade easier on your checkbook. You can save at least 20% (and get free shipping) on your purchase of QuickBooks 2014 products on my web site.





QuickBooks Enterprise vs. Net Suite: Part 2 - "On-Site" vs. "In the Cloud"

In part 1 of this series, we took a brief look at the “cheapest vs. best fit” considerations of both QuickBooks Enterprise and NetSuite.

Now we’ll examine another big decision point when considering new software – on-site vs. in the cloud.

Full Disclosure: I am a reseller for QuickBooks Enterprise and an affiliate sales rep with Brainsell who represent NetSuite.


NetSuite was built from the ground up to be a fully cloud based solution. Quite simply - if your business has access to the internet, it has 24/7 access to NetSuite.  Desktop or mobile devices included.

Having your accounting/ERP solution in the cloud removes the need to invest in servers and the related IT support eco-system that goes with it and can simplify your operations and reduce your costs.

Naturally, you’ll want do some contingency planning in case your main internet circuit goes down if this type of approach appeals to you. Many businesses purchase a "spare" internet circuit for emergencies such as these, so you'll need to factor in those costs too.



Currently, QuickBooks Enterprise is still a “desktop and server” based software product. That simply means you need to install the software on each desktop/ laptop that will be using QuickBooks Enterprise, and it also needs to be installed and configured on a server computer. In some cases, this configuration also then allows for remote access via “remote desktop” capabilities that have been baked in the server.

As a result of this approach, you have the embedded costs of supporting the desktop, laptop and server computers to consider. If you have a solid IT plan and support team in place, adding another application like QuickBooks Enterprise to the mix shouldn’t increase those costs dramatically. However, if the thought of having to deal with servers and other IT complexities is enough to cause gut-wrenching pain or sleepless nights, maybe this approach is not for you.


Alternately, a growing concept in the QuickBooks Enterprise world is to have it “hosted in the cloud”.  Without getting too technical, hosting provides the ability to access your QuickBooks 24/7 via the internet. It removes the need for maintaining servers, etc. as discussed in the traditional approach above.

For example, you would buy QuickBooks Enterprise from a reseller like me. Once you do that, you contract separately with a hosting company – they take these licenses you purchased and then install/configure the software in THEIR server environment (not yours). Once that is done, they give you the keys to access your QuickBooks information via the internet.

Keep in mind this key point – if you need an “add-on” for QuickBooks such as advanced inventory management, this add-on solution ALSO has to be hosted in order for QuickBooks to communicate with it – you can’t have QuickBooks being hosted and the add-on running on your local server. This is completely different than the NetSuite approach – all their modules are under one roof.

For discussion purposes, hosting QuickBooks Enterprise can run about $50 per user PER MONTH. Additional applications such as Microsoft Office and/or other applications will increase that price. So – in some respects, we’re back to the “cheapest vs. best fit” discussion mentioned earlier.


There is definitely no easy or right answer…

The answer to this question boils down to the philosophy, needs and budget of each individual business. The pros and cons of each approach need to be carefully evaluated before a decision can be reached.


QuickBooks Enterprise






Customize Columns in QB 2014 - Checks/Bills/Credit Card screens

Here is a new feature in QuickBooks Enterprise 2014 (not available in Pro or Premier versions) that may pay big dividends for you...

The ability to customize the columns that appear at the bottom of these windows:

  • Write checks
  • Enter bills
  • Enter credit card charges

To access this new feature, just right click anywhere on any of these screens and then click on the "Customize Columns" option. You'll then see a window appear from which you can add, remove or reorganize the columns that appear as shown below:


Be sure to download my "What's New in QuickBooks 2014" guide for more details and insights about this latest version of your favorite software.



QuickBooks Enterprise: Allows for Mandatory Custom Field Entry on Forms or Lists

Ever wish that QuickBooks would offer the option to make it mandatory to fill in a field on a form (such as an invoice) or when entering new information, such as a new customer?

The Enterprise edition of QuickBooks provides a limited solution to this issue. Here's how it works...

When you create a new custom field for a customer, vendor, employee or item, you have the ability to make it a mandatory field entry on either a form (i.e. invoice) or list entry (i.e. new customer). The screen shot below provides a glimpse:

For example, if we make the Contract # field a mandatory field under the "list" column, if we go to enter a new customer and forget to fill in this field, we get a prompt to fill it in as shown below:


I have seen a number of businesses implement these mandatory fields with success, as it helps them ensure that critical data is entered at the right time and in the right place so that somebody doesn't have to chase it down later.


To have the ability to make each field that can appear on a form or list have these options. None of the "regular" fields in QuickBooks have this capability.

For example, if you wanted to make it mandatory for your sales desk to fill in the "ship via" on each sales order form, there is no way to make the existing "ship via" field a mandatory field as shown above, since it is not a custom field.

Maybe this is something we'll see in QuickBooks Enterprise 2015. Or maybe not...


This is just one of the features that exists in QuickBooks Enterprise that does not exist in the Pro or Premier versions. For more details about the Enterprise edition of QuickBooks, stop by my web site.



Mobile Payments - A Game Changer for Your Business?

Do you take orders at trade shows?

Have service techs out in the field?

Want to get paid on the spot instead of sending out a bill and waiting for payment to roll in? (Remember - customers LOVE to charge things to their credit cards and rack up bonus points/rewards!!)

Consider the world of "mobile payments" - an exciting and fast-growing concept that can easily be put into action and improve your cash flow.


Instead of having to lug around the old-fashioned credit card processing imprint equipment (you know, the old one where you took carbon paper and slid it over the card to make a "ka-chunk" sound), now you can take credit card payments on your smartphone or tablet.

You simply plug in a "dongle" (now there's a high tech term!) into your phone and either swipe the card (you get a lower processing rate) or key in the card details (you pay a higher processing rate). It looks something like this (image courtesy of Square.com):

Credit Card Dongle


Here are some leading companies that provide mobile payment services to small businesses:

This is a rapidly expanding area, so there very well may be other firms out there providing similar services.


For example, the Intuit GoPayment service has pay-as-you-go and monthly plans. Processing rates range from 1.75% to 3.75% of each transaction depending on the chosen plan and method of processing.

Each of the providers above has their own fee structure, time frame for making deposits to your bank account, deposit maximums and other terms and conditions. Be sure to review and understand these details and how they will impact the cash flow of your business before opening an account.


Are you dialed in and using some form of mobile payment system for your business? Our readers welcome your insights and comments about how it has worked out for you, things you've learned along the way, or other thoughts you'd like to share. Please post them in the comment box below - thanks!