How to Create and Use Vendor Records in QuickBooks Online

Keeping your supplies coming in may be difficult right now. Be sure you know your vendors and track their records carefully.

 
Your company counts on its supply chains to keep operations running smoothly. When it falters, you can have trouble creating and shipping products. Problems may even crop up that have a negative effect on your internal business needs.
 
We don’t have to tell you that COVID-19 has interrupted supply chains. The pandemic has been catastrophic for many small businesses because of this, and because income has been suddenly and sharply reduced. Some financial help is available, and we hope you’re able to take advantage of it during these extraordinarily difficult times.
 
It’s perhaps more important than ever to carefully track your income and expenses, and we hope you’re using QuickBooks to do so. Among the software’s financial management tools is the ability to maintain thorough records of those vendors that make up your supply chain. Let’s take a look at how this works.
 

Creating Vendor Records

 
We’ll go through the steps for creating vendor records, though you may have at least started on these already. Hover your mouse over Expenses in the toolbar and select Vendors. If you’ve already added some, you’ll see them in a list. To create a new one, click New Vendor in the upper right. Most of the form is easy to complete; it’s primarily contact information.
 
There are a few fields, though, that need special attention. These are:
  • Cost rate/hr and Billing rate/hr. These help you track time costs for your projects. Don’t enter anything here if you pay vendors via bills or expenses.
  • Terms. Due on receipt? 15 days? 30 days?
  • Account no. and Business ID No. You should have these on file.
  • Track payments for 1099. Put a check in this box for any 1099 contractors.
When you’re done, click Save. This vendor will now appear in your list.
 

Taking Action


You can take a number of actions from QuickBooks’ Vendors screen.
 
You can do a lot of your work directly from QuickBooks’ Vendors page. This screen displays a list of all of your vendors, along with columns for their Phone, Email, and Open Balance. At the end of each row is an Action column. The link there reads either Create bill or Make payment, depending on whether there is an outstanding balance.
 
Click on the down arrow in that column to open a list of additional options. If there is a zero balance, you can Create expense, Write check, Create purchase order, or Make inactive. If money is due, your options are to Create bill or Create expense. Icons in the upper right allow you to print the list, export it to Excel, or change the column settings.
 

Collecting Your Billables

 
Before we look at vendor records in QuickBooks, we’d like you to check a couple of settings to make sure you’re billing your customers for every expense they incur with you. Click the gear icon in the upper right corner and select Your Company | Account and Settings, then click on Expense. Among others, you’ll see these options:
 
If you incur expenses on behalf of customers, be sure you will be reimbursed for them by adding a Billable column on expense and purchase forms.
 
To add a Customer column to expense and purchase forms, click in the first box pictured in the image above. To Make expenses and items billable, click in the second box and add a default markup rate if you want. Do you want to Track billable expenses and items as income? If you’re not sure, ask us. And if you’ve set up sales tax in QuickBooks and want to add that to billable items, check that box, too. When you’ve finished with these and the other questions under Bills and expenses, click Save.
 
Now is the time to focus on the importance of cash flow and vendor relationships by maintaining good vendor payable records. You want to keep your relationships with your suppliers in good status. If you’re having trouble tracking cash flow or dealing with any other element of your accounting (or QuickBooks itself), please do contact us. We want to support you through this difficult period as much as we can.

How to Use Rules in QuickBooks Online Transactions

How to Use Rules in QuickBooks Online Transactions
 
Maintaining your transaction registers conscientiously leads to a clearer understanding of your finances.
 
Last month, we talked about the types of best practices that can lead to more effective use of QuickBooks Online and, ultimately, more thorough knowledge of your finances. The first one was this: Go through your new transactions every day. Categorizing and otherwise expanding on the data brought in by your financial institutions really pays off when it comes to customer billing, reports, and taxes.
 
Granted, this habit will add time to your daily accounting chores. But there’s a tool on the site that can greatly accelerate this process: Rules. This feature must be used with care to avoid mischaracterizing or, worse, losing track of critical transactions. Here’s how it works.
 
Creating Rules
 
There are two ways to create Rules. The easiest is to start with an existing transaction. Hover over Banking in the left vertical pane and select Banking to open your transaction list. Be sure that you’re looking at transactions that are still For review, as these are the only ones that can be assigned to Rules.
 
Click on a transaction to open its expanded view. At the bottom of the small window that just opened, click on Create rule from this transaction. A screen like this will open:
 
QuickBooks Online’s Rules feature allows you to automatically document transactions that meet certain conditions.
 
Let’s say you own a lawn and garden maintenance company. You always order supplies from the same vendor, so there are numerous transactions every month. You want QuickBooks Online to automatically categorize and clear transactions under $250; above that, and you’d want to see them individually.
 
You’d start by naming the rule, designating it as Money out or Money in, and choosing an account (or leaving this option set at All bank accounts). Next, tell QuickBooks Online whether the conditions you’re about to establish should apply to all or any. That is, if you’re setting multiple conditions, is it all right if just one meets the criteria, or must they all?
 
Below that, you’d specify the actual conditions that must be present for QuickBooks Online to handle similar transactions in the same way. In our example pictured above:
  • The transaction [Description] [is exactly] Lawn and Garden Supply LLC, and,
  • The [Amount] [is less than] $250.
So, any transaction that comes into QuickBooks Online from your bank that has Lawn and Garden Supply LLC in the Description field and which is for less than $250 will be treated similarly.  There are other options for the first two fields; you’ll find them by clicking the down arrow.
 
Now you have to tell QuickBooks Online what to do with the transactions that meet those criteria. Farther down on this screen, you’ll see these options:
 
QuickBooks Online will handle the transactions that meet the conditions you set by completing these fields.
 
Using the drop-down lists of options, you’ll select the Transaction Type, Payee, Category, and Class (if you use them). Every time a transaction comes in that meets the conditions you defined above, QuickBooks Online will apply these options.
 
Finally, you’ll have to choose from two different ways of processing these matching transactions. You can have QuickBooks Online Auto-categorize and auto-add, in which case the transactions will be automatically processed and moved out of the For review queue. In our example, we chose this so we didn’t have to work with transactions of less than $250; we only wanted to see more expensive purchases. If we had wanted QuickBooks Online to fill in those fields but still show us the transactions, we would have clicked in front of Auto-categorize and manually review. Clicking Save would move this Rule into a list that could be accessed by clicking Banking | Rules, where you can Edit or Delete them.
 
Complicated Stuff
 
To recap, because of the Rule that was created here, any transaction in which the Description reads Lawn and Garden Supply LLC and which is for less than $250 will now be auto-completed and moved out of For Review. Any transaction for over that amount will remain in the queue for approval.
 
QuickBooks Online’s Rules can save time if you have a large volume of similar transactions. But if they’re not created with absolute accuracy, you risk mischaracterizing or missing transactions you should have reviewed before adding them to the Reviewed queue. We’d be happy to help here to ensure that that doesn’t happen, so that you can take full advantage of the helpful Rules feature.

Are You Following Best Practices in QuickBooks Online?

“Best practices” are recommendations for the most effective way to get things done. Are you following standard procedures in QuickBooks Online?

 
Habits can be good things when you’re talking about getting through the workday successfully. You might have developed a habit of responding to emails quickly and preparing checklists before you go into meetings. Maybe you schedule your most challenging work for high-energy times of the day and leave less-demanding tasks for those times when you’re not as chipper.
 
It’s easy to fall into habits with QuickBooks Online, too. You might follow the same workflow pattern every day simply because that’s the way you’ve always done things. There’s nothing wrong with that – as long as you’re incorporating as many of the site’s best practices as you can. That is, you’ve made a habit of taking actions that will lead to the most effective use of QuickBooks Online.
 
Here are four habits we think you should consider developing if you haven’t already.
 

Go through your new transactions every day:

 
One of the five best things about QuickBooks Online is its ability to connect to your financial accounts and import transactions regularly. But this feature is only useful if you review your recently-downloaded transactions every day. Wait too much longer than that, and it will become too overwhelming.
We recommend you review your account transactions every day and complete any of the fields necessary.
 
To view an account register, you’d click Banking in the left vertical pane, and then click on the desired account at the top of the screen. When you select a transaction, a small window like the (partial) one pictured above drops down and displays your options. If you have not worked with defining and clearing downloaded transactions before, we can provide guidance here. It’s complicated.
 

Always assign categories to expenses:

 
You’ll get out of QuickBooks Online what you put into it. That is, the more conscientious you are about completing records and transactions thoroughly, the more helpful your reports will be. It’s especially important that you assign categories to expenses and mark them as billable or not. Those categorized expenses will be very important as you’re preparing your company’s income taxes. And you want to be sure that customers are billed for expenses you incur on their behalf.
 

Run aging reports once or twice a week:

 
QuickBooks Online can help you keep up with money owed to you and money you owe, but you have to take the time to stay current with that information. The site’s Dashboard provides the dollar total for unpaid invoices and links to a list, but it doesn’t tell you what bills of your own may be coming due – or are late.
 
We recommend you run at least two reports at the beginning and end of the week: Accounts Receivable Aging Summary and Accounts Payable Aging Summary. You can modify these reports by clicking the Customize button, but they should be good as is. You don’t want to see any numbers in any columns except the first one (Current). If you see any beyond that, it means that either incoming or outgoing payments are overdue. Click on any number to see the transactions behind it.
 

Set reorder points on inventory items.

 
Inventory-tracking in QuickBooks Online is complicated. We can help you understand it.
 
Keep an eagle eye on your product inventory levels. When you create an item record (Sales | Products and Services | New), be sure to enter a Reorder point. The Products and Services page tells you how many items have Low Stock or are Out of Stock. You can also see the Qty on Hand and Reorder Point in the table below those numbers.
 
Warning: Inventory-tracking is an advanced feature of QuickBooks Online. If you need these tools, contact us about scheduling some time to go over them thoroughly.
 

More to Implement

 
There are many other best practices that we’d recommend for your use of QuickBooks Online. Several of them have to do with reports, one of the site’s capabilities that is particularly robust but which many businesses don’t fully engage in because some of them are difficult to analyze. These include standard financial reports like Balance Sheet and Statement of Cash Flows.
 
You’ll need these reports if you apply for financing or want to share information about your company’s financial health with a third party. The insight they provide can also be useful to you in making business decisions. We’d be happy to create and analyze these for you on a regular basis, or to consult with you on any other aspect of QuickBooks Online that is perplexing.

5 Things You Need to Know About Sales Taxes in QuickBooks Online

The most important thing you need to know about sales tax is that administering it correctly can be challenging.
 
If you sold only one type of product to customers in one city, collecting and paying sales tax would be easy. But most businesses have a wider reach than that.
 
QuickBooks Online offers tools that allow you to set up sales tax rates and include sales tax on sales forms. Further, it calculates how much you must pay to state and local taxing agencies.
 
This is one of the most complicated areas in QuickBooks Online because you may have to deal with numerous taxing agencies. If you’re not already working with sales taxes, we strongly recommend you let us help you get everything set up correctly from the start. Taxing agencies can audit your recordkeeping and you want to make sure it is set up correctly.
 
That said, here are five things we think you should know.
 

QuickBooks Online calculates sales tax rates based on:

  • Where you sell. Every state is different. If your business is located in Florida and you sell to a customer in Minnesota, you’ll be charging any sales tax levied by the state of Minnesota and possibly the city and county and other taxing authorities – if you have a connection, a “nexus” in that state (a physical location, active salesperson, etc.). 
  • What you sell. 
  • To whom you sell. Some customers (like nonprofit organizations) do not have to pay sales tax. You’ll need to edit their customer records to reflect this in QBO. Open a customer record and click the Edit link in the upper right. Click the Tax info tab and make sure there’s no checkmark in the box that says This customer is taxable. The Default tax code will be grayed out, and you can enter Exemption details in that field. 
 
 
Customer records for exempt organizations should contain details for that exemption. You’ll need to see their exemption certificate or at least know its official number.
 

Intuit now offers a revamped version of QuickBooks Online’s sales tax features.

 
At some point, you’ll be asked if you want to switch to the new, more automated system. The actual mechanics of the process are simple, but you’ll be moving historical and in-process data to a new structure. If you have sales tax set up right now and your situation is at all complicated, you’re going to want our help with the transition.
 
This enhanced feature only supports accrual accounting.
 

You can combine individual tax rates.

 
If you are required to pay city, county, and state sales tax rates for a particular customer, for example, you can create a Combined tax rate that contains all of the individual components. The customer will only see the total on an invoice or sales receipt, but QuickBooks Online will track each one accordingly for payment and reporting purposes
 
 
You can combine sales tax rates in QuickBooks Online (image above from current Sales Tax Center in QuickBooks Online, not the enhanced one).
 

Product and service records should contain sales tax information.

 
This is another area that will require some research. Just as some services are subject to tax, some products are not (like groceries in Arizona). So, you’ll need to find out what the rules are for what you sell. You can find this information on the website of the state’s Department of Revenue (sometimes called the Department of Taxation).
 
Once you know, you can record that status in QuickBooks Online. Open a product record by going to Sales | Products and Services and clicking Edit in the Action column or create a new one by clicking New in the upper right. Scroll down to Sales tax category in the record. You can choose between Taxable – standard rate and Nontaxable.
 
There’s a third option here: special category. This gets complicated. We can help you determine whether it applies to you.
 

QuickBooks Online tracks the sales tax you owe.

 
You can see what you owe to each agency by running the Sales Tax Liability Report, and record payments when you’ve made them. Summary and detail versions of the Taxable Sales report are also available.
 
Once you get sales taxes set up in QuickBooks Online, it’s easy to add them to the relevant sales forms. Getting to that point, though, takes time, study, and careful attention to detail. If you’re getting ready to sell, or you’re already selling and struggling with sales taxes, let us know. We can schedule an initial consultation to see how we can be of assistance.

Still Dealing with 2019 in QBO? Clearing the Way for 2020

If you have a nagging feeling this month that you’re not caught up with your accounting tasks, it’s time to clean up your unfinished 2019 work.
 
It would be great if you could have closed out 2019 knowing that you were all caught up with your accounting work. You sent all your invoices, paid all your bills, and wrapped everything up with a series of reports and a proverbial bow.
 
Unfortunately, December rarely goes that way. You’re making last-minute adjustments for your taxes. Dealing with the holiday rush if you’re a retailer. Handling end-of-year employee issues, trying to make your monthly sales quotas, and doing something special to make your customers feel appreciated at this time of year.
 
On top of your daily accounting work, you’re feeling pressure in December to get a clear picture of your finances for the entire year. Then the holidays hit, and suddenly you’re ringing in the New Year without having had time for that.
 
Here are five things you can do clean up 2019 and make way for 2020.
 

1. Create two critical A/R reports: Accounts Receivable Aging Summary and Open Invoices.

This may make you feel both better and worse. On the bright side, you’ll know where you stand in terms of who owes you what and how big the problem is. On the other hand, you may find it disheartening to see how many payments are past due. These reports are easy to find. Click Reports in the left vertical pane and scroll down to Who owes you.
 
 
The Open Invoices report can show you quickly who’s past due.
 
Now would be an excellent time, too, to develop some strategies to be proactive and keep your accounts receivable more up to date in 2020. We’d be happy to sit down with you and help you with this difficult task.
 

2. Create two critical A/P reports: Accounts Payable Aging Summary and Unpaid Bills.

Add “Stay Current with Bills” to your list of 2020 goals. But first, you have to see where you stand right now. Click Reports again and scroll down to What you owe.
 
Who is responsible for paying bills? If it’s you, maybe it’s time to hand over that task to someone without your managerial responsibilities who can make it a priority.
 

3. Create statements for all customers who are past due.

Things slip for your customers toward the end of the year, too. Give them a chance to catch up. Their invoices might have gotten lost in the year-end confusion, but you need to get current with your accounts receivable. So, send statements to those in arrears.
 
Click +New at the top of the left vertical pane, then go to Other | Statement.
 

4. Clean up your customer and vendor lists.

Customers and vendors come and go, but their QuickBooks records are forever unless you do something about them.You can easily make them inactive – after confirming they have no open activity. Click Sales | Customers in the left vertical pane. Click the box in front of customers you want to make inactive and then click Batch actions | Make inactive.
 
Cleaning up your customer and vendor lists will save you time in the future.
 

5. Always look carefully at your dashboard when you log in.

The block in the upper left corner is the most important here. You can see at a glance how much money you have tied up in unpaid invoices and how much money needs to be deposited. This will help you keep QuickBooks Online cleaned up.
 

More to Do

There are certainly other things you can do to clean up QuickBooks. For example, if you carry inventory, January is a good time to run the Physical Inventory Worksheet report and make some decisions about where your purchasing emphasis should be in 2020. Need help interpreting your product movement and sales priorities? We can help with that.
 
Finally, sometime this month-certainly in the first quarter of 2020-let us create the critical standard financial reports (under For my accountant in Reports) that you could actually generate in QuickBooks Online, but which would be difficult for you to analyze. These are the reports you would need if you were going to apply for a loan, for example, or request a business valuation. But the insight they provide can give you a sophisticated overview of your finances.

Have You Explored QuickBooks Online’s New 2019 Features?

Intuit keeps innovating. Here are some of the changes the company introduced for QuickBooks Online in 2019.
 
Whether you can see them now or not, Intuit added and enhanced a ton of new features in 2019. Some of you may not see all of them until 2020, since the company typically rolls them out slowly.
 
So, if you’re not in one of the first waves of users, we want you to know what’s coming. It may also be that your version of QuickBooks Online has incorporated the changes, but you just haven’t noticed them. Here’s a rundown of what’s in store for everyone on the horizon.
 

A new location for the Create button

 
Previously, you clicked on the +(plus) sign in the upper right corner to open the Create window (invoice, sales receipt, bill, single time activity, etc.). Now, you’ll see a button marked +New in the upper left corner.
 

Instant Deposits

 
If you use QuickBooks Online Payments, you’ll be able to have available credit card and bank transfer payments from customers deposited in your bank account within 30 minutes for a 1 percent fee. The funds will be directed to your U.S.-issued Visa or MasterCard debit card.
 

Mileage Tracker

 
This is a tool previously found only in QuickBooks Self-Employed, but QuickBooks Online users will now have access to it. It does just what it sounds like: allows you to track business-related mileage so you’ll have a numerical total to enter when you come to that deduction on your income tax return. You can record trips manually by entering starting and ending addresses (or the total miles). Or, if you’re using the QuickBooks Mobile app, you’ll be able to turn on GPS and let your smartphone record the mileage automatically.
 
QuickBooks Online’s Mileage Tracker allows you to record business miles driven manually or automatically and calculates your tax deduction.
 

New navigation tools in QuickBooks Mobile app

 
You’ve probably gotten used to navigating from a list of features in the QuickBooks Mobile app. You should soon see an entirely different look for navigation that uses icons representing common tasks (Transactions, Expenses, Mileage, etc.). These will appear when you click on the Shortcuts tab. You’ll find the remaining tools under the All tab.
 

Health benefit management

 
QuickBooks Online now allows you to compare, buy, and manage employee health, dental, and vision coverage.
 

Receipt Capture

 
Receipts can be the bane of a business owner’s existence. Many still use the “shoebox” method, tossing receipts in a box and entering them when tax time rolls around. Not a particularly elegant solution. Now, you can snap photos of receipts and move them into QuickBooks Online in one of three ways, by:
  • Scanning through the mobile app.
  • Uploading, then dragging and dropping.
  • Forwarding through email.
 
Receipts are automatically categorized and matched to transactions; if there’s no match, you can create a new transaction. Your receipts appear in the Receipts dashboard under the Banking tab.
 

Multilingual invoicing

 
Do you have international customers? If so, you may be able to send them invoices in their native languages. Besides English, QuickBooks Online now supports French, Spanish, Italian, Portuguese (Brazil), and Chinese (traditional).
 
You can now send invoices to customers in any of six languages.
 

One-step contractor payments

 
You can now select trackable details like class, project, and location by making selections from drop-down lists in the contractor payments window.
 

Next-day deposits

 
If you’re a QuickBooks Online Payments subscriber, you’ll be able to get next-day access to payments customers have made to you via credit card or ACH. You’ll have to sign up for this service, and fees apply to ACH payments (1 percent of the total deposit, up to $10).
 

Auto-calculated sales tax

 
QuickBooks Online has streamlined the process of adding sales tax to sales forms – even if you’re a cash-basis business. After you’ve done some initial setup work, QuickBooks Sales Tax will do the necessary calculations and add sales tax automatically.
 

Hello, 2020

 
We hope that 2019 has been a good year for your business, and we wish you the best in 2020. If you’re still struggling to use QuickBooks Online to maximize productivity and make better business decisions, remember that we’re here to help. We can also advise you on any of the new features Intuit has introduced. Contact us anytime to set up a consultation.

How to Create Projects in QuickBooks Online

If you’re using QuickBooks Online Plus or Advanced, you can create projects and track their profitability.
 
You already know how to determine whether your business is making or losing money overall: you run a Profit and Loss report. But what if you want to break this data down further? How can you tell whether the individual jobs you do for customers, with all their related income and costs, are profitable?
 
This kind of insight can have an enormous impact on future business decisions about product and service pricing, worker costs, and expenses. It can even signal whether or not you should take on specific jobs. If you’re using QuickBooks Online Plus or Advanced, you can use their Project tools to calculate profitability. The theory is simple. You simply assign all relevant sales, time, and expenses to the project. QuickBooks Online will do the rest.
 

Getting Started

 
First, you’ll need to make sure that QuickBooks Online is ready to track projects. Click the gear icon in the upper right and select Account and Settings. Click on the Advanced tab and go down to the Projects section. If this feature is turned Off, click the pencil icon over to the right, click in the box to turn it On, and Save this option.
 
To create a project, click on Projects on the home page and then on the New Project button over to the right. This panel will slide out from the right:
 
Before you begin tracking a Project in QuickBooks Online, you’ll have to create a master record for it.
 
Enter a Project name in that field and select a Customer from the drop-down list (or <Add New>). Notes are optional but recommended. Click Save, and your new project will appear in a list on the Projects page. QuickBooks Online stores that information along with the customer in your company file and makes it available when you create, for example, invoices, checks, expenses records, and time activities.
 

Linking Projects in Forms

 
Your project will appear in different places on different forms. On an invoice, it appears in the Customer drop-down list as a sub-item under the linked customer. You’ll select the project name rather than the customer to make sure the invoice was “tagged” to the project and wasn’t just a one-off bill. If you’re recording an expense, you’ll see a column for Customer/Project with other line items details.
 
There’s also another way to connect transactions to their related projects. On the Projects home page, click on a project name in the list. Click the Add to project button in the upper right and select the correct transaction from the list that drops down. In some cases, like invoices, the project will already have been selected and will appear in the Customer field.
 
If you enter a transaction and realize later that you forgot to connect it to a project, you can correct this in most cases (like expenses and bills) by going back to the original transaction and adding (or changing) the Customer/Project name. Invoices are tricky, though, depending on their status. We’d recommend you consult with us about this.
 

Understanding Profitability

 
You can see what your profit margin is on any project at any time.
 
After you’ve been entering project-related income and expenses for a while, you’ll probably be curious about whether or not you’re making money – even if the project is still in progress. To do this, open the Projects home page and click on the project name. The screen that opens (like in the image above) will be devoted to that one project. You can click on tabs to see:
 
  • An Overview that lists your income and costs, as well as your profit.
  • A list of related Transactions.
  • Time Activity records.
  • Project Reports (Project profitability, Time cost by employee or vendor, and Unbilled time and expenses).
We encourage you to use QuickBooks Online’s Project tools but would caution you about making changes to some existing transactions, especially invoices. We can help ensure that you’re on the right track with this feature. Contact us, and we’ll set up a consultation.

Who Owes You? 5 QuickBooks Online Reports That Can Tell You Fast

Keep a constant watch on your accounts receivable to improve cash flow.

 
Quick: How many of your invoices are unpaid? Have any of your customers gone over 30 days past due? Did you bill all of the time and expenses for that project you just completed for a customer?
 
If you’re doing your accounting manually, there’s simply no way to get that information quickly. Depending on your bookkeeping system, you may not be able to get it at all.
 
QuickBooks Online has more than one solution for this problem. You see the first one every time you log in. The Dashboard contains a graphic in the upper left corner that tells you how many invoices are overdue and unpaid. Click on the colored bar labeled OVERDUE, and you’ll see a list of invoices with the unpaid ones right at the top.

 

You can tell at a glance how much of your money is tied up in unpaid invoices.
 
While this is important information for you to have as you start your workday, it doesn’t tell the whole story. To get that, you’ll need to access some of QuickBooks Online’s reports – five of them in particular. Click Reports in the left vertical pane, and then scroll down to the heading labeled Who owes you.
 
These reports are listed in two columns. Each has the outline of a star next to it. Click on the star, and the report will be added to the Favorites list at the top of the page. Click on the three vertical dots next to it, and you’ll be able to Customize the report. And as you hover over the title, you’ll see a small, circled question mark. Click on this to get a brief description of the report.
 
There are several reports in this list that can provide insight into where your outstanding revenue is. We recommend you run five of them at least once a week – more frequently if your business sells large quantities of products and/or services. The suggested are:
 

Accounts receivable aging detail

 
This report provides a list of invoices that are overdue, along with aging information. There are several columns in the report, but you’ll want to pay special attention to the last one: OPEN BALANCE.
 
Tip: If you have many customers or simply a high volume of unpaid invoices, you might consider running the Accounts receivable aging summary instead.
 

Changing the Content

 
Before you run the report, you should explore the customization tools provided for it. They won’t be the same for every report, but you can start to get an idea of what can be done. Hover over the report title and click Customize. A panel like the one pictured below will slide out of the right side of the screen.
 
QuickBooks Online provides deep customization tools for reports.
 
You can see some of your customization options in the image above. Beyond these, you can also work with filters and headers/footers. When you’re satisfied with your changes, click Run report.
If you want to run a report with its default settings, just click on the report title in the list to display it. You’ll have access to limited customization from there.
 
Four other reports you should be generating regularly are:
  • Customer Balance Summary: Shows you how much each customer owes your business
  • Open Invoices: Lists invoices for which there has been no payment
  • Unbilled Charges: Just what it sounds like: tells you who hasn’t been invoiced yet for billable charges
  • Unbilled Time: Lists all billable time not yet invoiced
 
We don’t expect you’ll have any trouble understanding reports like these; they’re fairly self-explanatory. QuickBooks Online offers many other reports, the standard financial reports that need to be generated monthly or quarterly, like Balance Sheet, Profit and Loss, and Statement of Cash Flows. You’ll absolutely need these should you apply for a loan or need to supply in-depth financials for any other reason. We can help you analyze them to get a comprehensive, detailed picture of your company’s fiscal health.

5 Things You Should Know About the Chart of Accounts in QuickBooks Online

QuickBooks Online doesn’t require deep knowledge of accounting principles. Still, there are concepts you should understand.

 
You probably didn’t expect you’d have to become an accounting expert when you started your business. You knew you’d have to deal with recording income and expenses – maybe track your inventory and process a payroll. But you may not have understood just how complex financial bookkeeping could be.
 
That’s why you decided to use QuickBooks Online, or are at least considering it. The service is an expert on accounting, and it simplifies the process. It knows exactly how you have to document transactions to stay compliant with the rules that accountants and other businesses follow. This is good practice, and it’s absolutely necessary if, for example, you ever have to apply for financing.
 
One of the features of accounting systems you should understand is the Chart of Accounts. You won’t have to alter it in any way-in fact, we strongly advise against it-but you’ll encounter it when you work with transactions. Here are five things you should know about it.
 

What is it?

 
These three columns from QuickBooks Online’s Chart of Accounts display account Names, Types, and Detail Types.
 
QuickBooks Online’s Chart of Accounts is a list of financial categories that are used to classify your company’s transactions when you record them. If you were doing your accounting manually, you would have to create your own Chart of Accounts. But QuickBooks Online builds one for you based on the company type and industry you choose when you’re setting up the site.
 

Why is the Chart of Accounts important?

 
Some people refer to the Chart of Accounts as the “backbone” of your company file. All transactions flow to it. Its primary importance can be summed up in one word: reports. Your reports will not be accurate if your Chart of Accounts is poorly constructed or if you categorize transactions incorrectly. This becomes as issue when you want to:
  • Prepare taxes. Your income tax return will not reflect your reportable income and deductible expenses if transactions are not assigned to the right classifications.
  • Apply for financing, take on an investor, sell your company, etc.
  • Monitor your finances. You won’t get a true picture of your income and expenses, which makes it difficult to analyze your company’s fiscal health and plan for the future.
 

What’s in the Chart of Accounts?

 
There are two types of accounts. One contains information that’s used in the Balance Sheet report. These accounts will have a number in the QuickBooks Balance column that’s based on all transactions up to the current date. They include Assets (bank accounts, accounts receivable, inventory, etc.), Liabilities (unpaid bills, credit cards, payroll and sales taxes, loans, etc.), and Equity.
 
The remainder of the accounts are used in the Profit and Loss report, otherwise known as the Income Statement. They’re divided into Income (sales, discounts given, etc.), Cost of Goods Sold (labor, shipping, materials and supplies, etc.), Expenses (advertising, insurance, payroll, etc.), Other Income, and Other Expense. You won’t see a number in the QuickBooks Balance column for these accounts because the Profit and Loss report changes based on the date range selected.
 
Should I ever make any modifications to my Chart of Accounts?
 
You can set up bank and credit card accounts in QuickBooks Online’s Chart of Accounts.
 
As we stated earlier, we strongly recommend that you never modify your Chart of Accounts without consulting us. However, there are two exceptions to this. You’ll want to create entries for your bank and credit card accounts. To do this, first open the Chart of Accounts by clicking the gear icon in the upper right and selecting Chart of Accounts under Your Company. When it opens, click New in the upper right corner. Choose Bank or Credit Card and fill in the blanks.
 

Do I need to use account numbers in the Chart of Accounts?

 
Generally, the smaller the business, the less need there is for this. If your business is big enough that you have dedicated A/P and A/R individuals, you may want to post transactions to account numbers.
 

Understanding Reports

 
QuickBooks Online makes it possible for you to view the Chart of Accounts and those two critical reports, Balance Sheet and Profit & Loss. Customizing and analyzing them, though, is something you should do under professional supervision. We’re happy to help here and in other advanced areas of the site. Contact us for a consultation.

Need Advanced Time-Tracking? Connect QuickBooks Online to An App

You can track the hours employees work in QuickBooks Online. But if your time-tracking needs are complex enough, you’ll need an integrated app.

 
If your company has a staff and sells services, you know better than anyone that time is money. It’s critical that you track every minute that employees work, as well as those that can be billed to customers. QuickBooks Online offers dedicated tools that let you do just those tasks.
 
But QuickBooks Online has limitations in that area, and you may need more versatile time-tracking than it provides. There’s a solution for that: add an integrated add-on application. Several are available that go above and beyond in the area of employee time management. If you’re interested in exploring these online solutions, we can help you both find and get started with the right one.
 

What QBO Can Do

 
QuickBooks Online’s own time-tracking features are easy to set up and use – but you must be sure they’re turned on. Click the gear icon in the upper right, then Account and Settings under Your Company. Click on the Advanced tab and go down to the Time Tracking section. The first two entries here should be checked; if they’re not, click in the boxes. If you don’t want employees to see how much customers are actually being billed for their time, keep that box unchecked. Change the First day of work week if you want and click Save.
 
 
If you’re going to track hours worked by employees and bill them to customers, these two boxes need to be checked.
 
Once time-tracking is enabled, you’ll be able to enter single timed activities and/or fill in timesheets., marking them as billable where appropriate. Employees will be able to enter their own hours on timesheets, and billable hours can be easily transferred to customer invoices.
 

Adding an Add-On

 
As we said earlier, there are numerous advanced add-on time-tracking applications that can be integrated with QuickBooks Online. They contain built-in tools to facilitate their actual connections with QBO, and they know what data needs to be exchanged and synchronized. Hours captured on timesheets go directly into QuickBooks Online, which transfers billable hours to customer invoices and uses the data in job costing and payroll.
 
Here’s an example of how the setup process works in one of the most popular apps, TSheets. Once you’ve created an account (a 14-day free trial is available), you’ll click on the Feature Add-ons link in the lower left, then Manage Add-ons. Select QuickBooks Online from the list and click Connect to QuickBooks. Click Connect again to establish the link. TSheets then asks some questions about your import preferences. When you’ve designated those and clicked on Start Import, TSheets will import your employees, customers, service items, and other data you’ve specified from QuickBooks Online.
 
You may need our help with one task in particular: setting up the Payroll Item Mapping Tool. This ensures that your pay types (salary, overtime, etc.) match those in QuickBooks Online. There are many other internal settings that will require your attention before you start using TSheets.
 
You can fine-tune your time-tracking app’s settings, as in the above image from TSheets.
 

Sophisticated Tools

 
TSheets and other QBO-friendly time-tracking applications have their own unique set of features, but they all focus on getting your employees paid for their work and your company paid by customers who use your services – accurately and in documented detail. Prices vary, but they generally charge a monthly base fee and an additional monthly fee for each user.
 
Employees can, for example:
  • Punch into and out of specific jobs on a virtual time clock (desktop or mobile). Facial recognition adds another layer of security.
  • Use time cards or timers to record work hours.
  • Record their breaks and time off based on the stated company policies.
  • Track time when wifi or cellular service is not available.
 
Managers can:
  • Access and approve timesheets from the mobile app.
  • Schedule shifts and assign employees to them.
  • See who’s working (and on what) and locate them via GPS tracking.
  • Generate real-time, live reports.
Keep in mind that when you add an app to QuickBooks Online, you’re essentially having to learn how to use an unfamiliar website or program. Since they touch both payroll and customer billing, time-tracking applications must be understood thoroughly and used with precision. So if your needs go beyond what QuickBooks Online can do, let us help you select and implement the right app for you.