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What are the Benefits of QuickBooks Online?

QuickBooks  Online (QBO) is the cloud version of the popular accounting software by Intuit®. It is the perfect solution for anyone that wants the ease and flexibility of access while on the move. Over the past few years, Intuit has done a lot of tinkering to cloud accounting software. Today, the online edition of the popular accounting software comes with powerful features and functions. This has made it the most popular choice of small and medium sized business owners.

Using the cloud accounting software, you can benefit from dozens of features that will streamline the function of managing company financial data. Here, we put the online edition of the accounting software under our magnifying glass to find out what it offers in value added benefits to companies.

QuickBooks Online Benefits: What’s in It for You?

QuickBooks® Online stands apart from its competitors when it comes to ease of use and time saving functionalities. The subscription based accounting software is available in different versions that you can select according to your company’s needs and requirements. These include Self Employed, Simple Start, Essentials and Plus that costs $10, $15, and $30 and $40 per user per month, respectively.

All the versions of the cloud accounting software provide basic accounting functionalities as well as advanced features such as:

  • Connecting online accounts and downloading transactions
  • Automatic upgrades and backups
  • High grade security
  • Reporting features
  • and Mobile access

Below are some of the value added benefits you gain by purchasing QuickBooks Online.

a. Access Anytime, Anywhere
The most important benefit that you gain from using QuickBooks Online is accessing the software from anywhere and anytime. There is no need to be confined to your desktop PC to know how your company is faring financially. You can easily access the software while on the move using an internet enabled device.

And you know what’s even better. You can access the software anytime even late in the night when your office is closed. This is beneficial for those late owls who find that they think better during the night. You can access the company data while you are on a vacation abroad to track your company’s finances, and give direction to the employees if necessary.

b. Managing Remote Employees
A great benefit of QuickBooks Online is that it allows you to better manage remote employees. If your company have workers that perform tasks at remote locations, you can use the software to keep track of their work time. When your workers use time-in compatible attendance software that syncs with QuickBooks, accounting data such as number of hours worked, late arrivals, holidays, etc. can automatically transferred from the online attendance software to QuickBooks Online. This eliminates the need to manually enter the data in QuickBooks. Thereby, you save precious time for your accounting personnel. The end result is increased productivity of the accounting personnel and reduced operational costs for the company.

c. Third Part Software Integration
Without hesitation, one of the most important benefits of QuickBooks Online is integration with third party apps. The online version can easily connect with other popular third part apps such as Spotify, SalesForce CRM, Square, Revel POS, and eCommerce payment software platform.

Integrating the accounting software with the third part apps will keep the accounts updated in real time. You will always have access to accurate and up-to-date accounting information. Moreover, it will ease the task of the accounting personnel in performing their tasks and reduce the chance of error in manually entering the data. As a result, they can prepare timely, error free, and quality accounting reports for you that will prove invaluable in charting the future course of the business.

d. User Friendly Interface
A great thing about QuickBooks Online is its easy-to-use interface. You can easily access important functions without having to navigate deep into the menus. Most of the accounting tasks can be performed by clicking just a few clicks of a button.

The left vertical pane consists of tabs that you can click to access Vendors, Customers, Employees, Reports, Transactions, Taxes, and Apps. A gear icon located towards the top portion of the screen gives you easy access to advanced accounting features. Overall, the user interface is simple and less cluttered as compared to the desktop version of the accounting software.

The reports can be filtered and customized in a way that you get exactly the information you require. Generally speaking, although the reporting feature is not as robust as the desktop version, most business owners are satisfied with the amount of information provided by the QBO reports.

e. Automatic Updates and Backup
With QuickBooks Online you don’t have to worry about updating the software or creating a backup of the company file. The company file is automatically backed up. Moreover, you also don’t need to upgrade the software every year. The accounting software automatically updates on the back-end. This allows you access to the most recent features and functionalities.

How Does QuickBooks Online Differ from Desktop Version?

Now that you know the benefits of the QBO, you might be wondering how the online version differs from the desktop version. The simple answer to this question is that if  you want flexibility to access the software from anywhere, you should opt for QuickBooks Online.

However, if you want powerful features like the following:

  • Average cost valuation of inventory
  • Batch invoicing
  • Multiple price levels
  • Batch time sheet entry
  • Modify and covert estimates to sale or purchase order
  • Advanced reporting features

You should buy one of Desktop version of the accounting software. Contact us for assistance in choosing the best software option for your business and to receive special discounts.

 

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QBO 101: Setup Roles and Users in QuickBooks Online

QuickBooks Online offers flexibility and convenience in performing accounting functions. The accounting software is ideally suited to the needs of medium and small businesses. What’s best about the accounting software is that you can scale it up (or down) based on the required needs of your business.

The simple version of QuickBooks Online subscriptions includes access to a total of three users, (one user and 2 accountants) who can access the cloud software simultaneously.

QuickBooks Online Essential subscriptions include access to five concurrent users (three users and two accountants). QuickBooks Online Plus subscription allow access to seven concurrent users (five users and two accountants).

With QuickBooks Online Plus subscription, you can add up to a maximum of twenty-five users at an additional cost.

So, the question is how do you add a user or accountant to QuickBooks Online?

You can add users and assign roles from the Administrator panel. In order to add a user, you must perform the following simple steps.

  1.  Click on the Gear Icon on the upper right corner of the screen.
  2.  Select Manage Users from the sub-menu under Your Company.
  3.  Click on the New button at the bottom right corner of the screen, select the type of user you want to add, and then click Next.
  4.  Now, you must specify the access right that you want to give to the user’s, and again click on Next.
  5.  In the new screen that opens, you can make adjustments to the user’s access like limiting their ability to make changes to customer accounts, print checks, etc. You can even provide view only access when going to the next screen.
  6.  Lastly, you must enter the email address of the user that you want to give access to QuickBooks Online, click on the Next button, and then Finish.

Congratulations! Now, you have successfully setup a new user in QuickBooks Online. An email will be sent to the new user who must select Click Here. The user will have to create a user ID and password to gain access to the company file.

Now that you know how to add a user in QuickBooks, let’s add and assign your Accountant access to your QuickBooks Online account. The process is really simple and somewhat similar to adding users.

First, click on the Gear Icon on the upper right corner of the screen.

Next, Select Manage Users from the submenu.

Now, under the accounting firms at the bottom of the screen, you must click on Invite Accountant.

Finally, you must enter the email address of the Accountant, click Next, and then Finish.

Once you perform the above steps, an email is sent to the Accountant containing a link to access the software.

Owine additional type of user that you can add in QuickBooks Online Plus version is a Time Tracking User. These users are not charged against the number of users that you are allowed. To add this type of user, follow the same steps described above. Select Time Tracking under the Manage Users Tab.

This type of user is helpful if you charge your clients or customers for time worked. You can use Time Tracking to record people’s time within QuickBooks Online. That way, you can easily pull billable hours into your customer invoices.

10 Essential Tips & Tricks to Become a QuickBooks Power User

QuickBooks is the most versatile accounting software available. It is ideal for most small and medium businesses. The software can help you monitor business expenses, manage invoices, and organize customers and payroll data. You can set up a chart of accounts for a variety of business organizations with ease. Whether you run a small boutique shop, a financial advisory firm, manufacturing company, or a real estate company, QuickBooks has you covered.

Do you want to know how to accurately record financial data using QuickBooks? Do you want to know how to file tax forms? Do you want to know how to determine your business’s profits or losses? Then, you have to look no further. You will learn this and more so keep reading.

Note: The tips mentioned below relate to QuickBooks 2011 Desktop and above. If you have an older version of QuickBooks, you should upgrade your software since it no longer supported by Intuit. Go to the Products page to purchase your software upgrade.

A. Customize Your QuickBooks Desktop

1. Change the Default View

QB Search

The QuickBooks default screen can be customized according to your preferences. Simply click on Preference and then Desktop View. From this tab, you can opt to change the startup screen, show single or multiple windows on the screen, display home page when opening a company file, or switch to color icons/light background on the top icon bar. You can also customize the display color and fonts displayed on the QuickBooks screen. In addition, if you want to hear specific sounds for actions like minimizing, opening, or closing reports, you can customize this through the sounds tab.

2. Customize the Icon Bar

Customize Icon Bar

The QuickBooks default interface is loaded with icons that you may never need. You may also be missing icons that you may need for easier interface. In order to modify the icon bar, right click on the icon bar and click on Customize Icon Bar from the sub-menu. From this screen you can add and remove icons according to your needs. You can also create new icons by clicking on the Add button. From the Add Icon Bar Item screen, you can select a specific action and write a label and small description of the icon event.

B. Time Saving Tips for QuickBooks

1. Use Keyboard Shortcuts

Similar to other Windows applications, QuickBooks supports a number of different keyboard shortcuts. Using these shortcuts, you can save considerable time in operating the software. Some of the important keyboard shortcuts are listed below:

  • Start QuickBooks without a company file Ctrl (while opening)
  • Create Chart of Accounts Ctrl-A
  • Delete Transaction Ctrl-D
  • Edit transaction selected in register Ctrl-E
  • Find transaction Ctrl-F
  • Go to Other Account Register Ctrl-G
  • Display Transaction History Ctrl-H
  • Create invoice  Ctrl-I
  • Open Customer Center  Ctrl-J
  • Memorize transaction or report Ctrl-M
  • New invoice, bill, check, or list item in context   Ctrl-N
  • Copy Transaction in Register Ctrl-O
  • QuickReport on transaction or list item  Ctrl-Q
  • Open memorized transaction list Ctrl-T
  • Write new check Ctrl-W
  • Display Transaction Journal Ctrl-Y

2. Speed Up QuickBooks Searches

QB Search

You can also customize the QuickBooks searches from the preference screen. The search feature lets you find items in the programs’ help file or in your company file. By default, QuickBooks allows you to choose whether you want to search from the help file or company file every time you make a query in QuickBooks.

If most of your queries pertain to the company file, you can speed up the search by specifying that the software search within that location only.  To do this, click on Preference and then Search. In My Preferences tab, you can specify that the software automatically make a search of the company file without asking you every time you initiate a query.

From the Company tab, you can also specify how often the software updates company file indexes.  Specifying lower duration of indexing will speed up the program. But the searches will not reflect the most recent changes made to the file. In order to update the entries, you can click Update Now button in the window.

3. Automate Form Entry

Automation

Do you have to enter certain transactions regularly? Not in a mood to enter recurring transactions every day? Then, let the amazing memory of QuickBooks works its magic for you. QuickBooks can memorize certain recurring transactions like rent payments, utility bill payments, and depreciation expenses. You can specify that the software make entries for memorized transaction automatically. To access the tool, type Ctrl + M.

4. Record Favorite Reports

Do you work on certain reports regularly that you want to access instantly? QuickBooks lets you do this easily. You can designate certain reports as favorites by clicking on the heart icon underneath the report in the Report Center. You can access your favorite reports from the Favorites Tab in the Report Center.

C. QuickBooks Power Tips

1. Batch Invoicing

Batch Invoicing

QuickBooks 2011 and above has a very useful feature called batch invoicing. Using this feature, you can create multiple invoices for a single transaction. To access this feature, go to Customers Menu, and select Create Batch Invoice.

2. Create Customized Templates

Templates

In QuickBooks, invoices, purchase orders and sales orders are referred to as templates. You can customize these templates in QuickBooks. Just go to Lists Menu, Templates, and right click on a template. From the sub-menu, select Edit Template. You will be taken to the Layout Designer button. You can import your company logo, so it shows on your documents. You can also download additional templates and colorful themes that will enhance all your templates.

3. Paperless Accounting Through QuickBooks

Did you know that you can achieve paperless accounting through QuickBooks? The software allows you to attach an electronic version of the documents to the transactions either locally or in cloud-based storage. With QuickBooks 2012 and above, this feature is absolutely free. To use the tool, click the Attach button with the paper clip icon in any document or template.

4. Enable Remote Access

QuickBook Remote Access is a cloud-based service that allows accountants and other users to log in remotely. The remote access feature is available in two versions: Full desktop access for $7.97 per month or QuickBooks data access only is priced at $3.95 per month. You can purchase this additional service by going to File > Remote Access in QuickBooks.

The above are just a few of the tips that you can use to make QuickBooks more efficient for your business. QuickBooks allows you to save a lot of time, money, and resources when managing your business income and expense data.  The survival of businesses often depends on timely and relevant accounting data, and this goal can be obtained easily using QuickBooks financial software.

What is Class Tracking and Why Do I Need It?

As someone who owns or manages a small business, you understand the complexities and problems behind maintaining a proper bookkeeping and accounting record. However, with the introduction of accounting software like QuickBooks, accounting and bookkeeping task have not only become easier to maintain but the innovative tools have helped organizations to develop and grow. Class tracking is yet another important tool QuickBooks has to offer.

What Is Class Tracking?
Class tracking allows you to create separate classes for managing transactions. This feature lets you manage account balances by department, office locations, the properties you own, or another relevant source.

If you have different segments in your business and you offer a number of products and services, you will find the class-tracking feature useful. You can define these segments and keep a close eye on them, while managing the account balances on receipts, bills, or invoices, separately. Moreover, different departments and segments of your business can use the class feature to report the account balances, respectively.

For example, if you own a clothing line and your shop is located at two different locations, you can manage both the accounts separately. A restaurant owner with restaurants in 5 different locations might use class tracking to keep track income and expenses by each restaurant location. Similarly, at the end of the accounting period, segment/department specific reports can be generated.

Class Tracking Reports
Apart from creating separate identities for different segments of your business, you can also get useful reports at the end of the year, which makes your job even easier. You can also create consolidated reports.

Profit And Loss By Class Report
This report includes subtotals for each type of expense, or income, from each classified segment, making it easier to see where the money is coming from and where is it going. When you use class reporting for the first time, the default set date range represents a fiscal year, but you can always change the date, which suits your business needs.

Profit And Loss Unclassified Report
Just as you may have created classes for the segments you need recorded, there might be other aspects of your business, left unclassified. The profit and loss unclassified report takes care of such unclassified items. It helps you conveniently identify the transactions, which have been left unclassified, making your job more easier, and keeping a strict accountability of everything coming in and going out.

Tips For Using QuickBooks Classes
Here are some general tips you can use:

  • If you feel that, a certain department or segment cannot fit into the classes you have setup, set it to ‘other’, so that you can deliberately use it to classify transactions.
  • Avoid using classes to track two different purposes of your business; for example, don’t create classes for tracking restaurant locations in addition to tracking partners.
  • Be Persistent! Enter the class information into all the forms and registers, so you know the this information is valid and useful.

 

Class tracking can help you streamline the recording of business transactions and make your job easier, so you can concentrate and focus on the growth and development of your business.

QuickBooks Online – Aligned With Your Current Business Needs

The Internet has revolutionized and simplified business chores that previously consumed significant amounts of time, labor and effort. It is now possible to conduct trade online with unbelievable ease and convenience. Most business enterprises have turned towards this medium to capture audiences and market share for a simple reason – this is where the consumers are!

This revolution has come about with another reality – if this is where customers are, this is precisely where businesses should be. This shift has changed the importance and necessity of physical workspace for most businesses. In fact, many organizations have turned remote office setups to save valuable business resources and use them profitably within the business.

Most companies have a mobile labor force working from different parts of the city, if not, the world to meet strategic business objectives. This, however, has given rise to challenges of a unique nature.

The biggest challenges is how to get the workforce on board, on the same page at the same time. Information sharing is proving tricky while also trying to take into account the company’s confidentiality policies. This is where QuickBooks® has emerged as the viable solution to the problem of managing your accounting function securely and confidentially.

QuickBooks – Going Online
QuickBooks is an accounting software that serves more complex purposes than simply bookkeeping. It not only helps you keep track of all expenses and income for the business, but it also helps managers plan their business activities according to the amount of resources available to them. This ensures overspending can be avoided, which, in turn, protects the company against loss and potential bankruptcy!

What is even more important, QuickBooks has gone online. This means you can gain access to updated financial information about the company from anywhere at any time!

All information fed into the software is stored on a virtual cloud computing server. So, everyone who has access to the software portal can access the same information at the same time, which is up-to-date. This encourages greater collaboration and lessens the probability of erroneous and “expensive” financial decisions. In essence, it safeguards the future of your business entity.

Authority can be parsed out based on responsibility level and how much access each person needs. All participating parties have been given the authority to make changes, and they can let their peers know about the updated status. These changes need not be made from a computer, but can also be made from a smartphone or tablet. These uses call for better and efficient use of business resources. This also helps keep every expense recorded without relying on delayed entries.

QuickBooks has a built-in feature that automatically highlights the tasks that require your immediate attention. Any receivables or payables that are already due or are nearing their due date will be displayed on the dashboard. This ensures the company’s cash flow is in order with greater efficiency and accuracy.

Moreover, QuickBooks is adequately programmed to make and receive payments; there is even a single click (or touch) feature. This makes it easier to manage accounts and meet deadlines. This protects the company’s credit scores and builds credibility with vendors over the long run.

What more could you possibly ask for? QuickBooks is the best accounting software that is precisely aligned with your current business needs in mind. You can manage your resources easily and effectively with an eye toward greater gains! Yahoo!

 

How to Track and Manage Small Business Expenses

With cutting edge competition in all industries, it has become vital for businesses to track and manage their expenses in order to pinpoint any unnecessary expenditure and to cut costs. Proper management also helps a lot when the time comes to pay taxes. As an entrepreneur, you can maintain a number of practices to keep your business’s finances sound.

The following guidelines will help you to track and manage all the expenses of your business. You should try to aim for implementing as many of these tips as you can.

Get Automated
There are several powerful accounting software tools out there that can help you automate the process of financial bookkeeping. QuickBooks, for example, is renowned for simplifying the process of tracking and managing small business expenses. It is best to use the same version as your accountant because this will make it easy to import information to your tax return when the need arises.

Get Ready for Tax Time
Make sure your records are as accurate as possible, and don’t forget to record any expenses that you are planning to deduct on your taxes. These may include expenses involving travel, entertainment, use of business vehicles, office equipment as well as charitable contributions.

Don’t Mix Personal and Business Funds
Try not to use your personal cash, credit cards or checking accounts for any business expenses. Even though you can later reimburse yourself for any such expenses, these generally add unnecessary complexity to your financial records and may even expose your business to scrutiny by IRS.

Keep an Eye on Petty Cash
Petty cash expenditures, if not tracked properly, can create lots of problems for you. Use your accounting software to create a cash account so that you can adequately manage your expenses and cash flow in and out of the account. It is best to minimize the use of petty cash until absolutely necessary.

Save All Receipts
In order to document tax-deductible expenses, you will need all your receipts if you are audited. It’s a good idea to jot down why you carried out the transaction on the receipt for future reference. Consider scanning all your receipts to file them digitally; doing this will not only save on a lot of physical storage, it will also cut down on the hassle of managing all the extra paperwork.

Your accounting software may allow you to upload your receipts with the expense. QuickBooks Online, FreshBooks, Xero and Wave are software programs that allow receipt management.

Be Timely
If you don’t put your expenses into your accounting software on a timely basis, you will end up with a large pile of receipts that will only continue to grow. By recording the expenses in a timely manner, you will be keeping your financial records up-to-date.

Use Technology
Technology has made things extremely easy. For instance, you can use the QuickBooks mobile app to keep track of your expenses on the go. You can easily integrate and synchronize data between QuickBooks on your PC and on your mobile.

Monitor Results Frequently
Using QuickBooks, you can easily create weekly or monthly reports to review how your expenses are coming along and to see how well you have been managing your business cash flow. Make sure you keep an eye on your budget by reviewing financial reports on a regular basis.

These simple tips will help you get started with good bookkeeping habits, which in turn, results in maximizing your expense deductions and minimizing confusion tax time.

Note: Also check out our article on Keep a Leash on Business Expenses.

Reduce Your Taxes as an S Corporation

When it comes to being self-employed, in most cases, you will have to pay more Social Security and Medicare taxes as compared to a person who is employed by a company. There is an effective way to reduce such taxes; you can do so by organizing your company as an S Corporation.

An S corporation is a type of company that fulfills the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) requirements to be taxed under Subchapter S of the Internal Revenue Code. Such an organization offers the advantage to a company that has 100 shareholders or less and is taxed as a partnership. This way, the company is not taxed at a corporate level, but at the individual level of shareholders.

Self-Employment Taxes
Regardless of whether you are employed by some other company, or are self-employed, you will have to pay Social Security and Medicare taxes no matter what. However, when you are working for someone else, you are only partly responsible for paying the taxes – the employer also contributes by paying 50% of the taxes.

Being self-employed, however, means that you will have to pay both the portions of the tax on your own. As of 2012, the combined portions of this tax (both employee and employer) amounts to 15.3 percent.

S Corporation Distributions
If you wish to organize your business as an S Corporation, you should specify some of the income as salary, while some must be classified as a distribution. Still, you will be expected to pay self-employment taxes on the portion of your income that you have classified as your salary. On the other hand, for the distribution portion of the income, you will only be liable for ordinary taxes.

Based on how you go about dividing your income as salary and distribution, you can save quite a bit on taxes by converting your company into an S corporation.

Risks of S Corps
Even though S corporations have a lot of benefits for shareholders, especially where the payment of taxes is concerned, you need to be aware that the IRS keeps a close eye on S corporations because of the possibility of abuse.

For instance, a person may be earning an income of $500,000 a year, but they might allocate $20,000 as the salary; this kind of disclosure can trigger an IRS inquiry.

The best way to be safe and legal is to designate a reasonable amount as your salary and distribution. Being reasonable usually falls into a ‘gray’ area; you should generally try not to push the envelope too far as it could invite an IRS audit.

Additional Costs for S Corps
In some instances, an S corporation may cost you more than it saves you. Ongoing legal and accounting costs can add up. However, you can properly manage your records by properly tracking and managing your expenses using a professional accounting software such as QuickBooks, which can reduce your accounting costs.

If you keep a track on all your income and expenses, you will have a better chance of gaining maximum profit.

Choosing the Right Bookkeeper for Your Business

There may come a time when your business grows to a point where it becomes difficult for you to manage one of the most critical aspects of your business on your own. As your business expands, you may need to hire qualified personnel to manage some of the most important segments of your business, including accounting and finances.

I will highlight some of the things that you must pay attention to when selecting a bookkeeper, whether in-house or remote, to look after your finances.

Experience
It is generally thought that a person with ‘little’ experience in accounting will suffice for a small business. This is far from the truth. Accounting is instrumental when it comes to the growth of your business, and proper tracking and management of income and expenses can increase your business’s profits.

You should find a person with as much experience as you can afford to pay for, but do not look for any shortcuts here! As I often remind you, you get what you pay for.

Education
The individual whom you select to look after your business’s finances must have received some kind of formal education in the disciplines of accounting, finance, and taxes. Without this person having the proper background knowledge, you may find it difficult to simply handover your company’s books to them with confidence.

A good bookkeeper will have the ability to think a few steps ahead in order to warn you of any pending problems. They can often help you prevent complications in the first place. Accounting education will empower them to fully understand policies, procedures, strategies as well as ethical values.

Banking Technology
E-Commerce has become a necessity these days, rather than a luxury. You will have to work with your bank and other companies online in order to streamline your work and save time. Tasks such as paying bills, receiving payments, and making deposits can be easily performed right from your office.

You should choose a person who is able to conduct business online in a safe, secure, and efficient manner.

Bookkeeping Software

If you’re still writing checks to pay your vendors, employers or any other third parties, then you really need to upgrade. There are accounting software choices out there that have been specifically designed for small businesses to help them keep a track on and manage their expenditures. For example, QuickBooks®, Xero, and Wave are really powerful accounting software tools that are very popular among small business owners.

If you already use this software, then you will should to find a person who is fully capable of working with these tools. These tools have certification programs, which will help to ensure that the person you choose knows how to work well with these tools. They know the ins and outs of the software, which will convert to savings for you because they know the shortcuts to keep costs down. They can also manage your bookkeeping and accounting, without having to learn the software from scratch like in-house staff might.

Accounting Policies
To ensure smooth and uninterrupted work in your accounting department, you should establish some policies and procedures that will be used to determine how bookkeeping is done within your company. For instance, a procedure for the payment of bills, a policy for refunds, and so on.

Your new bookkeeper should be given time to familiarize themselves with your company’s policies and procedures so that everything works as it’s supposed to do.

Remember, shortcutting in this area could come back to bite you in the long run. Outsourcing to a firm or person may make hiring an accounting professional more feasible. This will allow you to pay for services without having the concerns of paying for benefits and training.

9 Ways You Should be Using QuickBooks

QuickBooks is the most popular accounting program on the market, and it is the accounting software of choice for a significant number of entrepreneurs with minimal time to dedicate to trying to maintain their bookkeeping. QuickBooks offers a seamless solution for all the accounting needs of a small business with superb scalability and ease of use; unlike other financial software that have a steep learning curve.

Here are a few ways you should be using QuickBooks for managing your business:

1. Get the Most Out of Existing Reports:

  •   Use the accounts receivable aging to find information on who owes you money, and how much they owe you and since when.
  •   Similarly, use the accounts payable aging to find out whom you owe money to, while you monitor cash flow.
  •   Prepare reports with comparative balances to analyze the trends in your revenue and expense.
  •   Utilize the variety of pre-formatted and custom reports to analyze your business in ways that are of most value to you.

2. Use Budgets:

  •  Budgets present a target or a benchmark. You can compare your plans to your actual results to determine how things are going month to month and year over year. Are your expenses increases? What are the reasons behind these increases? Budgets are an important business tool.

3. Export Information to Microsoft Excel:

  • Using QuickBooks, you can easily export all your data into Excel format. Doing this, will allow you to sort the data and prepare certain graphs and charts that may not be available to you in QuickBooks.

4. Use Classes:

  • By using classes, you will be able to keep track of the income and expenses in a variety of categories, such as by a particular department, location, or any other breakdown that may be useful for your business.

5. Set It Up Correctly:

  •   You should take your time to learn and configure QuickBooks correctly or hire someone to do it for you. By configuring the software properly, you will create a solid foundation to work from.

6. Enter All Data Consistently:

  • Consistency is important if you want accurate reports. For instance, if you enter ‘Albert Co’ at one place and ‘Albert Company on another for the same customer, you will end up with two different customers.

7. Close and Secure Periods with Passwords:

  • When you close periods at the end of the month and secure them with a password, you prevent changes from being made to those specific periods that have been finalized after review.

8. Reconcile Cash at the End of the Month:

  • You should always reconcile your bank accounts at the end of the month to ensure that the cash is accurate. If your reconciliations are accurate, chances are your other business activities will also be the same.

9. Use Adjusting Journal Entries:

  • The journal entries are really useful for entering any transactions or for correcting prior periods. In QuickBooks, journal entries are used to record transactions that do not already have a designated form.

QuickBooks accounting software is very powerful that provides entrepreneurs a perfect platform for bookkeeping. With the proper know-how and practice, you will be able to flawlessly manage all of your incomes and expenses, or at the very least, you will be able to hire the right person to handle it for you.

Hiring Family

Common Small Business Accounting Mistakes to Avoid

Bookkeeping is a challenging task and one of the most important when it comes to managing your business. Even the slightest of errors could seriously affect the financial stability of your business and its capability to sustain itself. This is why it is imperative that you learn from the mistakes of others and avoid them to ensure the success of your startup.
Here are a few mistakes to avoid that have been committed by a number of entrepreneurs and small business owners.

1. Hiring the Wrong People
One of the most common mistakes that many business people make is that they hire the wrong people for a particular job. You may not need to hire a person right at the start of the launching of your business, but you may need to do so later on when your business begins to expand. It can become very difficult for you to manage all aspects of the business.
Do not go for a cheaper hire, get a fully qualified person to look after your finances. You would be amazed at the number of things we have seen. Remember, garbage in, garbage out. You may have to pay more, but remember that you cannot afford losses that may result from mistakes or not understanding your financial position. Your business credit is an important element that could be at risk.

2. Spending Too Much on Technology
Many entrepreneurs invest a lot of money in really expensive accounting software. Some of the software that they purchase may not even be suitable for small businesses. It is best to do your research. If you opt for accounting software that has been designed for small businesses, such as the QuickBooks, Xero, Freshbooks or Wave. Their features vary greatly as do their costs and support. These are all good small business software programs, but QuickBooks has the ability to grow as you grow. It not only it comes with powerful features, it will not leave a dent on your wallet.

Remember, do an evaluation. No software is one size fits all. What works for a friend’s business, may not work for yours. There are a number of great comparisons on the web. Even with this, read carefully, and make sure you are picking what will work best for you. Also, do not hesitate to talk with a consultant, who can usually give you the best recommendation after talking with you about your business, but they may also be able to offer you special pricing.

3. Hiring Family Members
A lot of owners think that it is a good idea to hire their family members to look after the financial aspects of their business. This can be a dangerous thing, and in some cases, certainly not all, it can lead to conflict. Although many of us have heard or worked through some of the horror stories, not every story is bad. While this may be considered a generalization by some, I have seen enough of the bad to advise you to tread carefully. It will undoubtedly be a bit more expensive to hire a qualified bookkeeper or accounting professional to do the job, but you may avoid a number of problems and save yourself a bundle in the end.

4. Mixing Personal and Business Finances
Mixing personal and business finances has always been a bad idea. So many people have had to face numerous complications later on, but still, some businesses continue to use a single account for both types of finances. You really do not want $500 worth of video games on your business credit card statement. Not only will this cause confusion, but it could also spawn issues with the IRS.

5. Doing It All Alone
The do-it-yourself approach is not always practical, especially when it comes to starting up a business. A business requires a lot of attention, and there are so many facets that need to be carefully looked after during this critical phase. Things can really overwhelm you if you try to take care of everything on yourself.

It is best to get a helping hand in areas where you may need additional expertise, preferably a professional who can assist you with the most complex aspects of the business such as finance, accounting, taxes, business structure, etc.

It’s my hope that this information has been helpful. I realize some of these may be a duh for some of you, but now, you can’t say I didn’t tell you. 🙂

Advantages of Using QuickBooks

As an entrepreneur running a small business, you need all the help you can get to streamline your business processes. Accounting and Finance are among the most critical facets of running a business. Your business simply cannot afford to waste or lose any money as it may already be running on a boot-strap budget.

QuickBooks® is among the most powerful accounting software programs that include some of the best features available to help small businesses work as efficiently and smoothly as possible.

As you know, business finance includes many areas that can require your complete attention. It can get quite complicated at times, especially when you have to juggle between managing the finances and running your business. QuickBooks can make this easy for you by offering numerous benefits such as the following:

Precise Money Management: One of the key aspects of business finance is to be fully aware of where your money is going. Recording such transactions is made easy by QuickBooks. You can record all kinds of transactions, set up dates for any recurring bills and do the necessary math required to manage your expenses to the last cent.

Payroll Management: QuickBooks also comes with a built-in payroll feature that lets you manage payroll and its related taxes for any number of employees who may be working at your company.

Sales Tracking: Tracking your product sales and services is important, so you know how much revenue you are generating and which products are generating the most revenue. You can also create invoices for those customers who need invoices for purchasing purposes.

Easy Reporting: You can use the software to generate reports such as Profit and Loss (P&L) statements, balance sheets, cash flow statements, as well as accounts receivable and payable aging. These reports can simplify the process of financial statement analysis.

Easy to Use: Most accounting software has a really steep learning curve. They are cumbersome to learn and initially cause more trouble than they seem to solve. Being a contrarian, QuickBooks is an extremely intuitive program that is easy to understand and extremely powerful.

Integration: QuickBooks has exceptional integration abilities that allow it to integrate with numerous other programs. Once you have input all the data on income and expenses, you can easily export it to tax preparation programs. You can also import data from other applications and use it within QuickBooks.

Customization: There is an abundance of ready-to-use templates that can be used to create invoices, charts, business plans and spreadsheets in QuickBooks. Thanks to the customization features of the software, you can manage the look of each document in order to make them stand out. You can also add your company logo to invoices to give them a personal touch.

Signing Checks: If you have to sign a lot of checks for your business, then QuickBooks can make this job easy for you by allowing you to scan and upload your signature. The scanned signatures can then be used to prepare checks. Automation of this process can save you a great deal of time and effort.

QuickBooks® has a great deal to offer entrepreneurs and small to medium-sized businesses. I’m just beginning to scratch the surface of many features available as a part of QuickBooks. Contact us for more information.

A Couple of QuickBooks Don’ts

One of the most important things for a small business to invest in is an accounting system that can manage its financial activities on a daily basis. Many small business owners may be tight on cash and cannot afford an accounting and finance department that handles its daily transactions and other business activities. As a result, software like Xero and QuickBooks are popular with small businesses.

QuickBooks® helps businesses track sales and costs, run payroll, and follow up on their monthly or quarterly performance. QuickBooks is rated #1, as the best small business accounting software, but not everyone has benefited from it. This situation may be due to a variety of reasons including improper initial setup of the company file, the purchase of an incorrect QuickBooks edition, or the account mapping is wrong. There may also be a lack of basic bookkeeping knowledge, which is helpful when setting up and using most accounting software.

Let’s explore a couple of the don’ts of QuickBooks that may help you avoid a few of the mistakes that other small businesses have made.

Don’t Run Payroll by Yourself
Is it really that hard to create paychecks for employees? Well, to be honest, it’s really not that difficult, and certainly not within QuickBooks, but you still hear stories from other business owners on what a nightmare it can be. So where’s the catch? Well, the biggest challenge is correctly filing the various tax reports on time and in making timely and accurate tax deposits. This can even be a challenge in QuickBooks. Unless you’re an absolute genius in running payroll, you may want to outsource it. Payroll is not a value-added activity for any business. Sometimes, calculating the paychecks involved, making the tax deposits on time, and creating accurate tax filings makes it quite an enormous task for someone who does not have a background in managing payroll functions. Hence, you may not want to risk it and should transfer it to someone who has experience in handling payroll.

There are a number of companies that offer payroll management services. Intuit currently offers the most cost effective service, and they aim for 100% customer satisfaction. They also guarantee the accuracy of their calculations. All you need to do is make sure you correctly report your employees’ hours in a timely manner and ensure the appropriate funds are in the bank. Other than these two factors, everything else will be managed for you. This will allow you to focus on other, value-added activities, for instance marketing, a collection of overdue accounts, and customer service.

Don’t Get Involved in Online Banking Straightaway
Once you create a bank account in your live company file within QuickBooks, you will be asked to connect the bank account with your online account. This may be something you will want to avoid in the beginning. Why you ask? Because without understanding how QuickBooks records credit card and bank transactions, you cannot manage your bank account properly. There’s a high probability that you will end up downloading and entering a lot of data that will amount to trash in your live company file, but it will seem productive since you will be managing your electronic connections much faster.

Remember, garbage in, garbage out.

Learn how banking works in QuickBooks by having someone train you on what to look out for and how it functions or do it manually at first. This will not take you very long since you have a working knowledge of the setup and other activities within QuickBooks. Once you start getting the hang of how QuickBooks handles bank and credit card transactions, you can then connect your live files with online banking.

QuickBooks 2014 Tips to Save Time and Money

QuickBooks has been long been rated as the best accounting software for small businesses. QuickBooks basically allows a business to establish an easy to use accounting system through which a business owner or employee can send invoices, accept payments, scan receipts, track sales and expenses, run payroll, and follow your monthly and quarterly progress. With the 2014 edition of QuickBooks running on your computer, let’s take a look at a few tips that can help you streamline the bookkeeping process.

Hire a Certified QuickBooks ProAdvisor
An Advanced Certified QuickBooks Proadvisor can almost operate QuickBooks with their eyes closed. Well, not really, but these individuals have been thoroughly tested on QuickBooks, and they know the tricks that keep QuickBooks humming. If you’re a small business owner with little to no experience or knowledge of bookkeeping, then it is best that you hire someone else to do it for you, even if you have spent $200 to $400 on accounting package software. Consider hiring a proadvisor who can save you time and effort. This person can update the daily details within the software in an efficient manner, which usually translates money saved.

It’s fair to think, “Why should I spend money on an accountant or proadvisor when I just bought software to handle everything?” But then, not knowing your way around the software will only lead to wrong numbers showing up at the end of the month, which can hinder accurate financial reporting.. At the very least, hire an Advanced Certified QuickBooks Proadvisors to setup your chart of accounts and data file mapping to ensure accurate reporting. Remember, garbage in, garbage out. Hiring a certified QuickBooks ProAdvisor on an hourly, monthly or a per project basis will ensure your entries are correct, and it will certainly be more viable than hiring a dedicated bookkeeper or accountant.

Outsource Payroll
One of the hardest jobs for a small business owner is managing payroll. Think about it. How will you manage to correctly calculate all the paychecks, make the deposits in a timely manner and file the appropriate tax forms on your own? Unless you know your way around running payroll, you should consider outsourcing it. Payroll is a non-value added activity, which is why outsourcing it will not be a bad call. It could cost as little as $900 per year, which is money well invested rather than doing it yourself and not delivering the paychecks or taxes on time. You can make most of the $900 back by avoiding payroll tax penalties.

Online Banking
Using a sample company file, learn how online banking works within QuickBooks. Once you get used to it, link your online banking systems like PayPal to allow automatic download of transaction data into QuickBooks. This provides for more accurate and fast data entry, again saving you time and effort.

Setup Your Whole Accounting System on QuickBooks
There’s a reason why QuickBooks has been reviewed and voted as the best accounting software for small businesses. QuickBooks gives you the opportunity to setup a complete accounting environment on your computer or laptop, which is why you should incorporate every detail of your business within it. This will not only help you easily track your data entry, but will also provide more details when you create your monthly or quarterly income statement and balance sheet reports. The 2014 edition is more intuitive and user friendly than the previous versions. If you have not purchased QuickBooks yet, then do it now to ensure progressive growth through a streamlined accounting system. If you have an earlier version, there is no better time than the present to upgrade to QuickBooks 2014.