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By gina, Jun 23 2017 03:03AM

You work hard to make sure your QuickBooks data is accurate. Make sure it’s safe, too. Your QuickBooks company file contains some of the most sensitive information on your computer. You may have customers’ credit card numbers and employees’ Social Security numbers. An intruder who captured all that data could create tremendous problems for you and a lot of other people. That’s probably the worst-case scenario. But other situations could also spell disaster for your business, which involve losing your company data through fraud, hacking, or simple technical failures. We can’t overstate the vital importance of protecting your QuickBooks company file, especially your customer and payroll information. Whether someone steals it or it’s inaccessible for another reason, it’s gone. Keeping your business going after such a loss would be very difficult – maybe even impossible. Here’s what we suggest to prevent that.

Internal Safeguards

No business owner wants to believe that his or her employees could use theirQuickBooks access to commit fraud. But it happens. Your company file contains credit card and checking account data that could be used for nefarious purposes. As we discussed last spring, you can restrict user access to specific areas and actions of QuickBooks. FROM THE OFFICES Your Info Your Logo

You work hard to make sure your QuickBooks data is accurate. Make sure it’s safe, too. Your QuickBooks company file contains some of the most sensitive information on your computer. You may have customers’ credit card numbers and employees’ Social Security numbers. An intruder who captured all that data could create tremendous problems for you and a lot of other people. That’s probably the worst-case scenario. But other situations could also spell disaster for your business, which involve losing your company data through fraud, hacking, or simple technical failures. We can’t overstate the vital importance of protecting your QuickBooks company file, especially your customer and payroll information. Whether someone steals it or it’s inaccessible for another reason, it’s gone. Keeping your business going after such a loss would be very difficult – maybe even impossible. Here’s what we suggest to prevent that.

You can limit your employees who have QuickBooks access to certain areas and activities.

To get started, open the Company menu and select Set Up Users and Passwords | Set Up Users. The User List window opens. It should have at least one entry there, for you (Admin). Click Add User and enter the employee’s name and password in the next window that opens, then click Next.

Tip: Your QuickBooks license limits you to a specified number of users. If you’re not sure how many you’re allowed, click F2 to open the Product Information page. The number of user licenses you’ve paid for appears in the upper left.

On the next page of this wizard, click the button in front of Selected Areas of QuickBooks. The following screens will let you define that employee’s access permissions in areas like Sales and Accounts Receivable, Inventory, and Payroll and Employees. When you’ve clicked through every screen and reviewed the summary displayed, click Finish. Your user will now be able to sign in and access the areas you specified.

You can—and should—take numerous other steps to keep your QuickBooks data safe. If your company is big enough to have a dedicated IT expert, he or she will handle most of this. But there’s a lot you can do on your own to prevent data loss and theft.

Keep Your Operating System and Applications Updated

Don’t ignore this dialog box.

Software companies’ occasional updates offer more than just adding new features and fixing bugs. They sometimes refresh your software to ensure greater security based on new threats. Don’t forget about those all-important antivirus and anti-malware applications, as well as QuickBooks itself.

Keep Your Networks Safe J

ust as a cold virus spreads around your office, so, too, can unwanted intrusions like computer viruses. Don’t allow an electronic epidemic to get started; take steps ahead of time to prevent it:

Discourage employees from excessive web browsing. This can be a hard rule to enforce, as some employees probably need internet access for research, timecard entry, and other work-related tasks. Create a firm policy legislating what workers can and can’t do on company-issued equipment (including tablets and smartphones) or any personal devices that use your wireless network.

Ask employees to refrain from using public networks on work equipment. Enforce the rules vigorously, and make compliance an element of performance evaluations.

Minimize app installations on business smartphones. Employees should ask for approval. Viruses and malware get in that way, as well as through some websites and email attachments.

Use monitoring software. If you can’t afford to pay for “ managed IT” (a la carte, third-party IT services), install an application that alerts you to problems.

Use Common Sense

You can fight data loss and theft by being cautious. Be diligent about backups, and if you create them on a local, portable device, don’t leave them in the office. Cloud-based solutions are better. Shred papers that have sensitive information on them. Log out of QuickBooks when you’re not using it or when you leave your office. Be aware of who may be around you, looking over your shoulder.

We take data security very seriously in our own office, and we strongly encourage you to do the same. Contact us if you’re at all concerned with your own data safety, and we’ll come up with a plan together.

By gina, Jun 12 2017 10:47PM

Tracking even the little expenses is important.

How does most of the money you owe individuals and companies get disbursed? Do you print checks, or write them by hand? Use credit cards? Pay online through your bank’s website?

Keeping track of your outgoing funds can be challenging, since there are so many ways to complete those transactions. But it’s important that all expenses are recorded correctly and consistently, to keep your company file accurate. In addition, so many of your expenses are tax- deductible. You don’t want to miss any of them.

But when do you enter and pay bills using QuickBooks Online bill-paying screens? In what situations would you use a purchase order? Why would you record a purchase on the dedicated expense screen? These are all questions we can answer for you. If you’re new to QuickBooks Online or simply puzzled by your options here, we’d be happy to schedule some time to go over these purchase issues.

Setting Up the Site

How you set up these preferences depends on your company’s individual structure and needs. We can help you determine the answers that are right for you.

Before you start recording expenses, you’ll need to make sure that your site settings match what you need. Click on the gear icon in the upper right, then Your Company |Account and Settings| Expenses to see what we mean. Most of these options will turn columns on the Expense screen off or on (though you can change them for individual transactions). As for the Track billable expenses and items as income preference, that’s something we can discuss when we go over this topic.

Billable or Not?

Let’s say you need to buy some landscaping tools for your business that you’ll use with multiple customers. One of your customers has asked you to purchase some additional tools for her own use. This is how you could record your purchases on that trip. You’d click the + sign in the upper right, then select Expense. Click the down arrow in the payee field and select the name of the store (or add it if it’s not there by clicking + Add new).

In the field to the right, you’ll select the source of the money you’ll be paying. Choose the name of the Checking account from the drop-down list.

Note: Even if you’re using a credit card for this purchase, the money will ultimately come out of your checking account. So be sure to choose the correct option here.

Make sure the date is correct, and choose the Payment method that you’re using to complete the purchase at the store.

This is the portion of the Expense screen where you'll enter the actual details of your purchase.

Click in the field under ACCOUNT to display a list of categories and click the correct one. In the DESCRIPTION field, enter descriptive text about the item – enough that it will be recognizable when you see it later. Type in the AMOUNT of the item. Since you’re buying these tools for company use, you can’t bill them to an individual customer. Click in the TAX field if necessary.

However, you’re buying the second item for a specific customer. You’ll click in the BILLABLE field to create a checkmark and add your company’s MARKUP PERCENTAGE in that field. Open the drop-down list in the CUSTOMER column and select the correct one. Choose a CLASS if you use them and save the transaction.

When you look at that customer’s transaction list, you’ll see an entry for a Billable Expense Charge. You can click Start invoice if you want to bill for this one item. If not, you’ll see this charge in the vertical column to the right the next time you create an invoice for that customer.

Mobile Expenses

QuickBooks Online has a companion mobile app that lets you—among other things—track expenses when you’re away from your computer.

As you can see in the image above, you’ll be able to enter the details of your expenses manually. Click on the camera icon in the upper left, and you can take a picture of a receipt and attach it to the transaction. The next time you log into QuickBooks Online, you’ll see the expense with the photo file attached.

QuickBooks Online can simplify the entry and tracking of expense data, but as we said, it’s important to enter purchases in the right places – and to categorize them correctly. We’re ready to work with you on expenses when you

By gina, May 19 2017 12:28AM

It’s one of your more pleasant tasks as a QuickBooks user: receiving payments from customers. Here’s how it works.

QuickBooks was designed to make your daily accounting tasks easier, faster, and more accurate. If you’ve been using the software for a while, you’ve probably found that to be true. Some chores, of course, aren’t so enjoyable. Like paying bills. Reconciling your bank account. Or anything else that has the potential to reduce the balance in your checking accounts.

The process of receiving customer payments is one of your more enjoyable responsibilities. You supplied a product or service that someone liked and purchased, and you’re getting the money due you.

Depending on the situation, you’ll use one of multiple methods to record customer payments. Here’s a look at some of your options.

A Familiar Screen

If you’re like many businesses, you send invoices to customers to let them know what they owe and when their payment is due. So one of the most commonly used ways to record payments is by using the Receive Payments window. To open it, click the Receive Payments icon on the home page or click Customers | Receive Payments.

You’ll use QuickBooks’ Receive Payments screen when you record a payment made in response to an invoice.

The first thing you’ll do, of course, is choose the correct customer by clicking the down arrow in the field to the right of RECEIVED FROM. The outstanding balance from that customer will appear in the upper right corner, and invoice information will be displayed in the table below. Enter the PAYMENT AMOUNT and make sure the DATE is correct. (The next field, REFERENCE #, changes to CHECK # only if the CHECK option is selected.)

Next, you’ll need to ensure that the payment is applied to the right invoices. If it covers the whole amount due, there will be a checkmark in every row in the first column of the table. If not, QuickBooks will use the money received to pay off the oldest invoices first. To change this, click Un-Apply Payment in the icon bar and click in front of the correct rows to create checkmarks.

Several Options

You’ll then want to tell QuickBooks what payment method the customer is using. Four options are displayed. The possibilities that are visible here are:

CASH

• CHECK

• CREDIT DEBIT (A specific card type may be shown here if you’ve indicated the customer’s preferred payment method in his or her record.)

e-CHECK

If the desired payment method isn’t included in those four, click the down arrow under MORE. If it’s still not there, click Add New Payment Method. This window will open:

The New Payment Method window

Click OK. When you choose your new payment method from the list, a window opens containing fields for the card number and expiration date. Click Done after you’ve entered it, and you’ll be returned to the Receive Payments screen. If you’re satisfied with your work there, click Save & Close or Save & New.

Haven’t gotten set up to accept credit and debit cards yet? We can get you going with a merchant account to make this possible. You’re likely to find that some customers pay faster with this option. Your customers will be able to click a link in an emailed invoice and make their payments.

Instant Sales

Depending on the type of business you have and its physical location, there may be times when customers will come in and buy something on the spot. You’ll need to give them a Sales Receipt. Click Create Sales Receipts on the home page or open the Customers menu and select Enter Sales Receipts to open this window:

The Enter Sales Receipts window

You’ll complete this form much like you entered data in the fields of the Receive Payments window. As you can see, you can print the mail for the customer and/or email it.

After all the hard work you’ve done to make your sales, the last thing you want to do is record a payment incorrectly so it isn’t processed and you don’t get paid. Though QuickBooks makes the mechanics of receiving payments simple enough, you still should understand the entire process involved in getting income into the correct accounts. We’re available to help with this and any other areas of QuickBooks.

By gina, May 4 2017 10:02PM

They’re one of the rewards you get for your conscientious accounting work: reports. Are you using them to make better business decisions?


What do you see when you log on to QuickBooks Online? Your most important business numbers represented by real-time charts. Profit and loss. Income and expenses. Sales. And all of your account balances.


This is a great way to start your workday. You know where you stand financially, and you know what areas of your company file need attention, fast.


But QuickBooks Online’s home page only tells part of the story. You also need more in-depth, customizable reports. In the short term, reports help you further determine any necessary accounting work. Long-term, they’ll provide insight to help you make smarter decisions as you plan for your company’s future.


Critical Overviews

Creating reports in QuickBooks Online is easy. Customizing them is a bit harder. And analyzing them, depending on their complexity, can be more of a challenge.


We’ll start with some of the simplest, most important ones: Accounts Receivable. Where do you stand with customer payments? Who isn’t paying on time? How much is outstanding? To find them, click Reports in the toolbar pane. Click All Reports (over to the right, near the top), and then Manage Accounts Receivable. The list of related reports will open.



QuickBooks Online displays descriptions of each A/R report and links to the Run and Customize functions in its directory.


Click the Customize button under Open Invoices. The customization options will appear on the pane to the right of the screen. You can modify:

• The Report period, Number format, and the appearance of Negative numbers

Columns (Transaction Type, Due Date, Open Balance, etc.)

• Aging method (Current or Report Date)

• Filter (Customer, Territory, Sales rep, etc.)

• Header/footer (Show logo, Report title, Date prepared, Alignment, etc.)


QuickBooks Online comes with commonly used options already selected. Changing them helps you zero in on the precise cross-section of data you want to see.



This is a partial list of the Column options in QuickBooks Online. You can also customize in multiple other ways.


When you’ve finished making changes, click Run report to see it displayed with your own data.


If you’d like to save that report (including the modifications you just made), click Save customization in the upper right corner of the screen. In the window that opens, create a new name for the report that you’ll recognize, and enter it in the Custom report name field.


Want to build a group of related custom reports? Click Add this report to a group and type its name into the New group name field. Click Add. That report will now appear in the list of reports you’ve created when you click the down arrow in the field below Add this report to a group.


Would you like to share the custom report with other QuickBooks Online users? Click the down arrow in the field under Share with, and select All or None. When you’re done here, click Save. You can click the icons in the upper right to email the report, print it, or export it to Excel or PDF format.


Reports in other categories—like Review Sales, Business Overview, and Review Expenses and Purchases—work similarly.


Note: There’s one category named Accountant Reports. If you’re very familiar with double-entry accounting, you might attempt to run and analyze these yourself. Most likely, you’ll need some help with these critical financial reports that should be created periodically. We’d be happy to assist with this.



The Reports page toolbar


Saving Time


You can always go to the All Reports screen and drill down to the report you want to see. QuickBooks Online provides a better, faster way to access many of them. The toolbar pictured above appears when you’re browsing through lists of reports. Click Recommended to see what QuickBooks Online deems the most important data for you to see regularly.


Once you’ve started working with reports, the ones you access most often will appear when you click Frequently Run. Those reports that you modified and saved will be listed under My Custom Reports. Management Reports are geared toward company managers, of course.


We encourage you to familiarize yourself with QuickBooks Online’s reports and modification options. And as we said, we’re on hand to run and analyze the site’s more complex report options on a regular basis, or when you have a specific need, like when you apply for financing. Together, we can get the information you need to complete your daily work and do more long-term planning.




By gina, Apr 20 2017 07:17PM

You know that QuickBooks saves a lot of time. But have you explored how it does so by memorizing transactions?


Your accounting work involves a lot of repetition. You send invoices. Pay bills. Create purchase orders. Generate payroll checks and submit payroll taxes.


Some of the time, you only fill out those transaction forms once. You might be doing a one-time purchase, like paying for some new office furniture. Other times, though, you’re paying or charging the same companies or individuals on a regular basis.


QuickBooks contains a shortcut to those recurring tasks, called Memorized Transactions. You can save the details that remain the same every time, and use that template every time the bill or invoice is due, which can save a lot of time and improve accuracy. Here’s how it works.

Making Copies


To memorize a transaction, you first need to create a model for it. Let’s say you have a monthly bill for $450 that’s paid to Bruce’s Office Machines. You’d click Enter Bills on the home page or open the Vendors menu and select Enter Bills. Fill in the blanks and select from drop-down lists to create the bill. Then click Memorize in the horizontal toolbar at the top of the form. This window will open.




Before you can Memorize a transaction, you first have to create a model (template) for it.


The vendor’s name will already be filled in on the Memorize Transaction screen. Look directly below that. There are three ways that QuickBooks can handle these Memorized Transactions when one of their due dates is approaching:

Add to my Reminders List. If you click the button in front of this option, the current transaction will appear on your Reminders List every time it’s due. You might request this for transactions that will change some every time they’re processed, like a utility bill that’s always expected on the same day, but which has a different amount every month.

Do Not Remind Me. Obviously, QuickBooks will not post a reminder if you click this button. This is best used for transactions that don’t recur on a regular basis. Maybe you have a snow-shoveling service that you pay only when there’s a storm. So the date is always different, but everything else is the same.

Automate Transaction Entry. Be very careful with this one. It’s reserved for transactions that are identical except for the issue date. They don’t need your approval – they’re just created and dispatched.


Click the down arrow in the field to the right of How Often and select the correct interval. Then click the calendar icon to pick a date for the next occurrence. If you have selected Automate Transaction Entry, the grayed-out lines below Next Date not shown here) contain fields for Number Remaining and Days in Advance to Enter.


How Does QuickBooks Know?

Obviously, you’ll want advance warning of transactions that will require processing. QuickBooks lets you specify how many days’ notice you want for each type. Open the Edit menu and select Preferences. Click Reminders in the left vertical pane, then the Company Preferences tab. You can tell QuickBooks whether you want to see a summary in each category or a list, or no Reminder. Then you can enter the number of days’ warning you want.



QuickBooks lets you specify the content and timing of your Reminders.


Working with Memorized Transactions

Once you’ve created some Memorized Transactions, you will undoubtedly need to review them at some point. QuickBooks makes this happen. Open the Lists menu and select Memorized Transaction List to see all the templates for recurring bills, invoices, etc., that you’ve defined. Right-click on one you want to work with, and this menu appears:


The Memorized Transaction List with the right-click window open


You have several options here. If your list is so long that it fills multiple screens, you can Find the transaction you’re looking for. If you’ve created multiple related transactions, you can save them as a New Group. You can also Edit, Delete, and Enter Memorized Transactions.


Anytime you’re letting QuickBooks do something on its own, it’s critical that you thoroughly understand the mechanics of setting the process up. We’d be happy to go over the whole topic of Memorized Transactions with you, or any other aspect of QuickBooks operations.





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