Karen Bershad is The Small Business Advisor. Most small business owners have a challenge handling all the different areas of running a business. The accounting can be a challenge, particularly if the software seems overwhelming. The Small Business Advisor is what you may need to get you to the next level of your business. We work at your office or provide off site assistance in getting things under control by providing a wide variety of services that are specifically for the small business.
31 Articles Found.
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What Sales Orders Are and When to Use Them
By Karen Bershad on October 1, 2017
They’re not as commonly used as invoices. But if you need them, they’re there.
When you want to document sales that you can’t (or won’t) fulfill immediately, but you plan to do so in the future, you can’t create an invoice just yet. This is where sales orders come in.
You may never need to create a sales order for a customer. Perhaps you have a service-based business, or you never run out of inventory. Or you simply don’t enter an order unless you know you have the item(s) in stock.
But if you plan to use sales orders, you must first make sure QuickBooks is set up to accommodate them. Open the Edit menu and select Preferences, then Sales & Customers. Click the Company Preferences tab to open that window. Read More >>
Recording Simple Expenses in QuickBooks Online
By Karen Bershad on September 10, 2017
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. Read More >>
How to Keep Your QuickBooks Data Safe
By Karen Bershad on August 7, 2017
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. Read More >>
Setting Up Users in QuickBooks
By Karen Bershad on July 10, 2017
If you plan to have multiple employees using QuickBooks, you can limit their access to specific areas.
Controlling access to your QuickBooks company file is easy when you’re a one-person accounting department. You simply use one password to protect your data.
But when you add new employees to the mix, do you want them to have access to absolutely everything in QuickBooks? Probably not. You have confidence in your employees or you wouldn’t have hired them. But this isn’t solely a matter of trust. It’s just good business practice to restrict individuals to specific areas and responsibilities, no matter what the application.
That’s why QuickBooks has built-in tools to help you limit activity. Here’s how it works. Read More >>
Your First Hour with QuickBooks Online
By Karen Bershad on June 4, 2017
Whether you’re just launching a business or you’re going online with an existing company, take some time to get acquainted with QuickBooks Online.
Your first hour with any web-based application is probably spent exploring and clicking buttons, links, and other navigation tools to get the lay of the land.
QuickBooks Online should be no different. In fact, it’s even more important to take it slow when you’re using an accounting solution. If you start entering data without understanding how everything works together, you may make mistakes early on that will be difficult to undo down the road. Read More >>
Establishing Preferences in QuickBooks
By Karen Bershad on April 30, 2017
Before you start entering data, make sure QuickBooks is set up appropriately for your company.
QuickBooks was designed to serve the needs of millions of small businesses. To do that, it had to include the tools and processes suitable for a wide variety of companies. But Intuit recognized that every organization is unique, so your copy of QuickBooks can be customized in ways that make it work best for you.
You could just dive in and start adding records and transactions. But we recommend you do some setup first. If you don’t, you may run into some issues later, such as finding that some features you need haven’t been turned on, for example, or that QuickBooks is simply not doing some things the way you do. The good news is that you can change many of these. Read More >>
Using Custom Fields and Classes in QuickBooks Online
By Karen Bershad on March 31, 2017
QBO’s tools are generic enough that myriad businesses can use it. But custom fields and classes help you shape it to meet your specific needs.
Small business accounting is not a one-size-fits-all proposition. Your company is unique in that sense; you have your own customers and products, vendors and services. Your requirements for your accounting application—what it must do and how it does that—is unlike anyone else’s.
QuickBooks Online contains a standard set of features that can accommodate a broad cross-section of the millions of small businesses in the U.S. It also offers customization options that you can use to make it your own. Two of these are custom fields and classes. Read More >>
5 QuickBooks Online Add-On Apps You May Need in 2017
By Karen Bershad on March 6, 2017
Not finding quite everything you need in QuickBooks Online? Here are some handy add-on apps available.
QuickBooks Online may work for you just fine as is. After all, it was designed to meet the needs of the millions of small businesses that want to manage and track their income and expenses, create records and transactions, and run reports to gauge their financial health.
QuickBooks Online was also designed to grow along with your business. But there’s no need for Intuit to add internal features to do so. In fact, that would make it too expensive and unwieldy for many companies.
Instead, Intuit has partnered with other small business websites to provide add-ons—applications that extend the usefulness of QuickBooks Online in one or more areas, like accounts receivable and payable, inventory, and expense-tracking. They integrate easily to share data and do the extra work you need. Here are some of them to consider. Read More >>
Ringing Out 2016 in QuickBooks
By Karen Bershad on February 6, 2017
2017 is here. Now’s the time to do your end-of-year QuickBooks tasks.
Since early January of this year, you’ve been faithfully creating new records, entering transactions, and recording payments. You’ve run basic reports. You’ve done your collection duties. You may have paid employees and submitted payroll taxes.
Now the end of the year is rapidly approaching. In the midst of holiday get-togethers, gift shopping, and perhaps preparing for travel, you probably have a list of work tasks that must be completed by December 31.
Is your annual QuickBooks wrap-up on that list? It should be. Here are some of the things we suggest you fit into your busy schedule sometime this month. Read More >>
Paying Bills in QuickBooks Online
By Karen Bershad on January 9, 2017
In a previous column, we talked about setting up bills in QuickBooks Online. Now it’s time to pay them.
We recently laid out the benefits of using QuickBooks Online for bill entry and payment. It’s faster than manual methods. It leaves an electronic record of your accounts payable. And it helps ensure that bills are paid accurately and on time.
As we discussed, QuickBooks Online employs a two-step process for bill payment. Once you’ve completed the first (setup), the hard part is done, and you can move on to fulfilling your financial obligations. Let’s take a look.
Warning: Because you may be “handling” a lot of your bills twice in QuickBooks Online, this system can take some getting used to. We’ll be happy to walk you through the process until you’re comfortable. Read More >>
Creating Reports in QuickBooks - Part 2
By Karen Bershad on December 5, 2016
Last month, we discussed QuickBooks’ report Preferences and The Report Center. We’ll look at report customization this month.
QuickBooks makes your bookkeeping faster, safer, and more accurate than what you could do using a manual system. Still, you may occasionally tire of your daily tasks. You want to know what all of these forms and records mean in terms of your overall financial health. You want to see reports.
The actual mechanics of creating reports in QuickBooks are fairly straightforward. You can go to the Report Center, make a selection, maybe change the date range, and voila! Your company’s related data appears in neat rows and columns. Read More >>
Creating Reports in QuickBooks - Part 1
By Karen Bershad on November 7, 2016
QuickBooks comes with dozens of report templates that can be run as is. This month and next, we’ll show you ways to make them “fit” your company.
Reports are your reward for all that hard work you put in entering records and transactions in QuickBooks. Sure, you can always find individual invoices, sales receipts, and customers by using the software’s search tools, but in order to make smart business decisions, you need to be able to see related subsets of the information you so carefully entered in neat rows and columns.
You’ve probably created at least some basic reports in QuickBooks. You may have, for example, wanted to see who’s late paying you, or whether you have unpaid bills. You might need to know your stock levels, or which purchase orders are still unfilled. You certainly want to keep a close eye on whether you’re making or losing money. Read More >>
What Are Payroll Items in QuickBooks?
By Karen Bershad on October 3, 2016
If you plan to process your own payroll using QuickBooks, you need to understand how payroll items work.
Considering processing your own payroll in QuickBooks? Whether you’re moving from a payroll service or getting ready to pay your first employee, you’re taking on a complex set of tasks that requires a great deal of setup and absolute precision. But the reward is complete control over your compensation records and transactions, and constant access to your payroll data.
If you have no experience dealing with paychecks, deductions, and payroll taxes, we strongly recommend that you let us help you get started. QuickBooks simplifies the actual mechanics of setting up and running payroll, but there’s still a lot you need to know.
It goes without saying that accuracy is critical here. You’re responsible for your employees’ livelihoods and for maintaining any benefits they’ll receive. Federal, state, and local taxing agencies will count on you to submit the proper payroll taxes and filings on time; failure to do so can result in stiff penalties and worse. Read More >>
Setting Up User Access in QuickBooks Desktop
By Karen Bershad on September 6, 2016
Will multiple employees be working with your QuickBooks company file? You’ll need to define their permission levels.
If you ever did your bookkeeping manually, you probably didn’t allow every employee to see every sales form and account register and payroll stub. Most likely, you established a system that allowed staff to work only with information that related to their jobs. Even so, there may have been times when, for example, someone pulled the wrong file folder or was sent a report that he or she shouldn’t have seen.
QuickBooks helps prevent this by setting virtual boundaries. You can specify which features of the software can be accessed by employees who work with your accounting data. Each employee receives a unique user name and password that unlocks only the areas he or she should be visiting. Read More >>
Setting Up Settings in QuickBooks Online
By Karen Bershad on July 30, 2016
You’ll be visiting QuickBooks Online’s Settings screen regularly, so it’s good to know what’s there.
You can get into a rental car and just start driving to your destination. But you soon realize that you need to know where the temperature controls and the radio tuner are. If it starts raining, you must know where the wiper controls are. And when it gets dark, you’d better know how to turn on the headlights.
The same goes for QuickBooks Online. You can create bills and start paying them or begin to invoice customers or record expenses as soon as you set up an account (though you’ll be adding a lot of data on the fly). But you’ll soon discover that those tasks would be easier if you had established all of your Settings first.
If you have multiple employees using QuickBooks Online, for example, it has probably occurred to you that not everyone needs to have access to everything in your company file. You’ll want to connect the site to your financial accounts, build a budget, and specify payment terms and types. Read More >>
Make QuickBooks Your Own: Specify Your Preferences
By Karen Bershad on July 10, 2016
Your business is unique. Make sure that QuickBooks knows how you operate.
QuickBooks was designed to be used by millions of businesses. In fact, it’s possible to install it, answer a few questions about your company, and start working right away.
However, we strongly suggest you take the time to specify your Preferences. QuickBooks devotes a whole screen to this customization process. You can find it by opening the Edit menu and selecting Preferences.
Figure 1: The My Preferences window in QuickBooks’ Preferences
This is the screen you’ll see when you go to Edit Read More >>
Are You Applying Finance Charges in QuickBooks? Should You Be?
By Karen Bershad on June 5, 2016
Assessing finance charges is a complicated process. But if you have a lot of late payments coming in, you may want to consider it. Be sure you know what your lease agreement says before you start this process. If your lease agreement clearly states a flat fee per day, month or some other period then finance charges do not work for your situation.
There are many reasons why your tenants send in payments past their due dates. Maybe you sent an invoice for additional charges and they’re disputing the charges. They might not be very conscientious about bill-paying. Or they simply don’t have the money.
Sometimes they contact you about their oversight, but more often, you just see the overdue days pile up in your reports.
You could use stronger language in your customer messages. Send statements. Make phone calls if the delinquency goes on too long. Or you could start assessing finance charges to invoices that go unpaid past the due date. QuickBooks provides tools to accommodate this, but you’ll want to make absolutely sure you’re using them correctly – or you’ll risk angering tenants and creating problems with your accounts receivable. Read More >>
Use QuickBooks Custom Fields to Improve Insight
By Karen Bershad on May 2, 2016
QuickBooks’ structure is universal enough to appeal to millions of small businesses. Custom fields help you shape it to meet your company’s unique needs.
If you’re using QuickBooks, you probably know that you’re complying with the rules of double-entry accounting. The software is designed such that you can be compliant with these requirements without even being aware of it. You’re dealing with invoices and purchase orders, bank account reconciliation and bill-paying and payroll, not debits and credits and journal entries. QuickBooks does the double-entry part in the background.
While every business that uses QuickBooks is following those same rules, each has its own unique structure and its own need to modify some elements of the program to do certain tasks, for example:
This is where custom fields come in. Read More >>
How to Add Documents in QuickBooks
By Karen Bershad on April 3, 2016
Accounting is about more than just numbers. QuickBooks lets you make documents available from within the program itself.
You could call QuickBooks a “green” computer program. It can conserve reams of paper by storing customer and vendor records, for example, emailing transaction forms, and accepting online payments.
Most small businesses are a long way from being “paperless offices,” despite the predictions so many people made when PCs became commonplace. Even though you’re making an effort to be as digital as possible with your accounting files, not everyone else is yet. So you still have to deal with paper.
And you’re probably still consulting paper documents or stored computer files or scanned images that relate to your accounting data. QuickBooks makes it possible to keep this information close at hand, easily accessible from the software itself.
The Doc Center
QuickBooks provides a centralized area for managing the documents you want to keep close at hand. The Doc Center contains tools you’ll need to work with your documents. From here, you can:
Figure 1: You’ll use the tools in the QuickBooks Doc Center to work with the documents you want to have available from within the program.
There are probably times when you have supporting documentation for invoices or tenant/vendor item records, for example. In these cases, you can attach those background documents to the related QuickBooks forms.
It’s not difficult to work with documents in QuickBooks. But if you don’t have much experience working with file attachments or scanning paper forms, we can walk you through the process.
To get started, click on the Docs tab in the left vertical pane or open the Company menu and select Documents Read More >>
Why You Should Use QuickBooks' Snapshots
By Karen Bershad on March 6, 2016
QuickBooks provides multiple ways to get information about your customers, and their payments, and your company itself. The software’s Snapshots provide quick, thorough overviews.
What do you do when you need to get information in QuickBooks about customers or about payments they’ve made in QuickBooks? You have several options. You could, for example:
One of QuickBooks’ strengths is its flexibility. It helps you find the exact information you’re looking for in a variety of ways. Which one you choose at any given time depends on what screen you’re working on at the moment and precisely what slice of data you need. Read More >>