How to Use Tags in QuickBooks Online

Where is your money coming from? Where is it going? You can use tags in QuickBooks Online to find out.

QuickBooks Online offers numerous ways to help you track your sales, expenses, and profitability. If you’re using QuickBooks Online Plus or Advanced, you can create and assign Classes to transactions to differentiate between, for example, store departments or product lines. Some of the site’s reports are designed specifically for these tools, like Sales by Class and Profit and Loss by Class.

You can assign Categories to products and services to gain insight into your sales and inventory. There’s a different set of Categories that you’ll use when you record bills and expenses. These are important for reporting and tax purposes. You can also add a Location field to sales transactions so you can track sales by stores, sales regions, or counties, for example.

What Are Tags?

Then there are Tags, which are fairly new to QuickBooks Online. These are customizable labels that you can assign to transactions (invoices, expenses, and bills). They’re more flexible than the tools we’ve already mentioned – they allow you to track your money any way you want. They don’t affect your books, and they’re not included in the customization criteria for reports. But there are two reports specifically designed for them: Profit and Loss by Tag Group and Transaction List by Tag Group.

Creating Your Own Tags

Once you’ve given your group a name, you can start adding tags to it.

Before you create a tag, you need to create a Group. Groups consist of related tags that share a common theme. For example, say you do some event planning. You might have a group titled Events. Individual events might read, for example, Grayson Wedding, Spring Art Show, and Hillman Conference.

To get started, click the gear icon in the upper right. Under Lists, click Tags to get to the tool’s home page. (You can also click on the Transactions link in the toolbar, then click the Tags tab.) Click New, then Tag group. A vertical panel slides out from the right. Enter a name in the Group name field. Click the down arrow to select a color, then click Save.

Enter your tags one by one in the fields labeled Tag name. Click Add after each one until your list is complete. Click the Edit button to make any changes. When you’re finished, click Done. The main Tags page will open again, and you’ll see your new group under Tags and Tag Groups. Repeat to add as many as you’d like, up to 300 tags.

Using Tags

You can add tags to any transaction that contains a field for them

Let’s look at how you’d use tags in an expense. Click the Expenses link in the toolbar, then New transaction | Expense in the upper right. Click the down arrow in the Payee field in the upper left and select + Add new. Enter Billy’s Bridal in the Name field Leave the Type as Vendor and click Save. Back on the Expense screen, select the Payment account, Payment date, and Payment method for the expense (reference number is optional).

Directly below those fields, you’ll see the Tags field. Click Manage tags if you need to add or edit one; the right vertical pane you saw before will slide out. Otherwise, click in the field below Tags. Your list of tags will drop down. Select Grayson Wedding to move it into the field. You can assign as many tags as you’d like to transactions, but you can only select one tag from each group. Finish the expense and save it.

Go back to the Tags home page, and you’ll see that there’s a link to one transaction in the Events row. At the end of each row is the Action column, where you can run a report, add a tag, and enter or delete a group. Your expense total appears in the Money Out (by tag) box above it.

Tags are a great addition to the tools QuickBooks Online provides to help you track incoming and outgoing funds. If you’re not familiar with the others we mentioned at the beginning of this column and want to learn how to explore them, let us know. We’d be happy to walk you through their use and help you understand how they can make your finances more understandable.

How Do You Add Users in QuickBooks Online?

If you have one or more people besides yourself using QuickBooks Online, you’ll need to know how to set up their accounts.

 
Your QuickBooks Online file contains a great deal of very sensitive information, like customers’ credit card numbers and employees’ Social Security numbers – data you don’t want to have fall into the wrong hands. You obviously trust your employees or you wouldn’t have hired them, but when it comes to security, you should implement all the safeguards you can.
 
QuickBooks Online can help you stay safe by limiting the access that other users have to your company file. Here’s how it works.
 
To get started, click the gear icon in the upper right and select Manage users. You should be listed there, of course, as the Master Administrator. Click Add user. The screen that opens will ask you what type of user you’re adding. There are four of them:
  • Standard user. You can assign full or limited access to standard users, but they won’t have administrator privileges.
  • Company admin. At this level, the user can see and do everything.
  • Reports only. These individuals have access to all reports except those that contain payroll or contact information.
  • Time tracking only. You’d assign this type to employees who only need to enter their own timesheets.
The first step in adding a user in QuickBooks Online is to specify their type.
 
The first two count toward your user limit, but the second two do not. Make your selection and click Next. We’ll select standard user for this example.
 
On the screen that opens, you’ll be assigning actual access rights, telling QuickBooks Online what the user’s restrictions are. You can choose All (with or without payroll access), None (allows some activities), or Limited. Select Limited, then click in the box in front of Customer to create a check mark. You’ll see the list of specific actions that that individual can take (like creating invoices, sales receipts, and statements) and the screens that they can see (customer registers and reports, tax rates and agency settings, etc.).
 
There’s also a list of what they can’t do, including printing checks, viewing bank registers, and preparing a sales tax return.
 
Click in the box in front of Customer again to uncheck it and select Vendor. You’ll see a similar list here of what your new user can and can’t do, only its activities relate to your accounts payable.
 
QuickBooks Online provides lists of what standard users can and can’t do and see for both customers and vendors.
 
Click Next  If the user will be entering his own her own timesheets in QuickBooks Online, click the button in front of Yes, then select the correct name from the drop-down list. Click Next. Answer the user settings questions on the next screen and click Next. Enter the user’s name and email address (user ID), then click Save. QuickBooks Online will return you to the Manage Users screen, where you’ll see that your new user has been added to the list. The individual you just invited will receive an email invitation to set up an account, with instructions on how to do so.
 

Other Security Tips

 
There are other ways you can keep all of your company’s data safe. Here are some suggestions to consider if your business has returned to its offices.
  • Always update your operating system and applications when prompted. These often contain security patches in addition to bug fixes and new features.
  • Keep backups out of reach of others. Cloud backups are best, but if you use a local device, don’t leave it out in the open.
  • Log out of QuickBooks Online when you’re not at your desk.
  • Shred anything you print from QuickBooks Online or store it in a locked drawer.
  • Protect your networks. Discourage excessive web browsing by employees. Don’t allow extraneous app downloading on company equipment and ask employees not to use company mobile devices on public networks. Consider network monitoring software if you can’t afford managed IT.
We follow security best practices in our own offices, and we hope you’ll do the same. Applying safeguards proactively will help prevent data theft that can be nearly impossible to recover from.
 
Intuit employs industry-standard security practices to keep your data safe, too, and it handles all backup and upgrades. Often, those updates include new features, like the recent addition of transaction “tags.” Let us know if you need our help with these or with any other element of QuickBooks Online.

Billing Customers for Time and Expenses in QuickBooks Online

Sometimes, you have to spend money on your customers. Make sure you’re billing them for it.

 
Usually, money flows from your customers to your business. But there may be times when you have to purchase items for a job whose costs will eventually be reimbursed. Or you, or an employee, might spend time providing services for customers and get paid for those hours by your company before you receive payment from the responsible party. If you’re a sole proprietor with no payroll and no reserves, of course, you just have to wait to be paid for your work.
 
In the first two cases, you’re spending money upfront that will eventually be paid back. In all three cases, QuickBooks Online calls these billable expenses and billable time, and it does a good job of tracking these transactions – much better than if you were scribbling notes on a receipt or a paper timecard.
 
Obviously, you want to be paid for these expenditures as soon as possible to minimize their impact on your own cash flow. So QuickBooks Online “reminds” you that they need to be billed when you create an invoice for a customer. It also offers reports that help you track unbilled time and expenses. Here’s a look at how it works.
 

Tracking Billable Time

 
It’s easy to create a billable time activity. Click +New, then Single time activity. Fill in the blanks and select items from drop-down lists until you’ve completed a form. The critical section of this screen is pictured below:
 
When you create a record of a billable single time activity, be sure you’ve marked it as such.
 
In this example, the employee will receive $50/hour for the work done (Cost rate). Because the Service being provided will be billed back to the customer, you click in the box in front of Billable to create a checkmark. You’re charging the customer $65/hour (a $15/hour markup), so you enter that number in the Billable field. You don’t have to worry about remembering that. QuickBooks Online, as it does with all of your other company information, retains that and makes it available to you.
 

Tracking Expenses

 
You probably already know how to record expenses in QuickBooks Online. You can either click the +New button and then Expense, or you can click the Expenses link in the toolbar and the New transaction | Expense. Just as you did in recording time activities, you complete the fields and place a checkmark in the Billable column and select the Customer/Project from the drop-down list.
 
Once you’ve saved a billable expense, it will appear in the table on the Expense Transactions page. To display is again, click View/Edit at the end of the corresponding row. The transaction will open, and you’ll notice that there’s a small View link in the Billable column. Click it, and you’ll see this:
 
A partial view of the Billable Expense screen
 
In this example, there’s been no markup applied to the transaction. If you want to add markup costs to all billable expenses, click the gear icon in the upper right and go to Account and settings | Expenses. Click the pencil icon to the far right of the Bills and expenses block of options. Click the box in front of Markup with a default rate of to create a checkmark and enter a percentage. All of your billable expenses will now include a markup of that percentage.
 

Invoicing Time and Expenses

 
The next time you invoice a customer who has outstanding time and expenses, QuickBooks Online will remind you that they’re pending. Open an invoice form and select a customer who you know has billables. The right vertical pane will contain a box containing information like this:
 
QuickBooks Online reminds you when a customer you’re invoicing has outstanding billable time and/or expenses.
Click Open if you want to see the original expense record. Clicking Add will, of course, include that transaction on the invoice.
 
QuickBooks Online offers another way to see your pending billables. Click the Reports link in the toolbar and scroll down to the Who owes you section. You’ll see two related reports here: Unbilled charges and Unbilled time.
 
We want you to make sure that you’re getting reimbursed for all of the time and expenses you incur on behalf of your clients. So please let us know if you have further questions on this topic or if you have other QuickBooks Online issues.

How to Create Recurring Transactions in QuickBooks Online

QuickBooks Online saves time and improves accounting accuracy in numerous ways. One example is its support for recurring transactions.

 
It’s easy to get distracted when you’re doing dull, repetitive accounting work. That distraction leads to errors sometimes. So, besides the time you’re spending on work that could be automated, you have to tack on additional time to chase down your mistakes.
 
QuickBooks Online already reduces repetitive data entry by saving your lists of customers, vendors, products, etc., and making them accessible when you’re creating transactions. But it does more to save time and minimize errors by allowing you to create recurring transactions. Enter a transaction like an invoice or bill once, and QuickBooks Online memorizes it for future use!
 
Here’s how it works. Let’s say you have a customer who wants to rent a printer from you for one year. You create an invoice for one month’s rental. At the bottom of the screen, click Make recurring. A partial view of the screen that opens is pictured below.
  
QuickBooks Online allows you to set up a transaction to repeat at scheduled intervals.
 
Much of this screen will have already been filled in. You’ll need to enter a name for the template you’re creating at the top of the screen, one that will remind you of its content. In the second field, the drop-down list displays three options for how the recurring transaction will be handled by QuickBooks Online They are:
 
  • Scheduled. Your invoice will go out automatically at the scheduled interval, with only a change to the date. As with any automated process, you should be very careful when selecting this option.
  • Reminder. You will get a reminder ahead of each occurrence so you can make any necessary changes before sending.
  • Unscheduled. No automation is involved here. The invoice is memorized, but you’ll have to remember when it needs to go out.
 
If you chose Reminder, the next field will read Create (x) days in advance. Enter the number of days here. On the next line, you’ll only have to check or uncheck the Options.
 
Under Interval, you’ll tell QuickBooks Online when the invoice is scheduled to go out. You can choose from Daily, Weekly, Monthly, and Yearly. The invoice in this example should be processed and sent on the first day of every month. The start date is January 1, 2021, and it will end on December 31, 2021. If your recurring transaction should continue to go on indefinitely, you’ll have the option to select None from the drop-down list under End. You can also choose After.
 
Check the fields below this line to make sure they’re correct. You can change the message if you’d like and add an attachment. If everything looks correct, click Save Template in the lower right corner.
 

Using Recurring Transactions

 
If you’ve set this transaction up to recur automatically, you don’t have to do anything more with it unless you need to edit it at some point. If you need to do so, or if you’re responding to a reminder (or chose not to be reminded), you can access the list of transactions you’ve memorized by clicking the gear icon in the upper right and selecting Recurring Transactions under Lists. A screen containing this section will open:
 
 
Once you’ve created recurring transactions, you have several options for managing them.
 
The table that appears will contain other columns describing the recurring transactions, like Type and Interval. The image above shows the end of each row that reads Edit until you open the drop-down menu. You can see what your options are. They include Use, which you would select when you want to edit and/or send a transaction. You can also create a Duplicate, Pause the recurrences temporarily, Skip next date, or Delete the template. Click the arrow next to Reminder List in the upper right and select Run Report to see the Recurring Template List Report.
 
As you can see, recurring transactions can not only save time, but they can also help reduce errors and minimize unnecessary work. They’re not overly difficult to create, but you should use caution if you choose to automate them. We’re available to answer your questions about this useful tool and about any other element of QuickBooks Online. Stay healthy, and here’s to 2021!

5 Resolutions QuickBooks Online Users Should Make for 2021

New year, new challenges, and the potential for new successes. Here are five ways you can improve your financial management in 2021.

 
A painful year is drawing to a close. We’ll still be dealing with COVID-19 and a struggling economy in early 2021, but there’s hope on the horizon. There’s a lot you can’t control about the difficulties facing our country, but you can take control of your corner of it, especially in terms of how you manage your finances.
 
If you’re already using QuickBooks Online, you know how it’s solved the paperwork confusion of the past. But are you taking advantage of all of its capabilities? As you turn your digital calendar to January, consider expanding your use of the website to set yourself up for success in the new year. Here are five features to explore if you haven’t already.
 

Practice Proactive Reconciliation:

 
QuickBooks Online’s Banking screen display registers for the bank and credit card transactions that have been posted by your banks. Do you review these frequently? It’s easy, and it’s important. It will save time when you do your monthly reconciliations with your bank statements. Hover over Transactions in the toolbar and select Banking. You can see some of your transaction management options in the image below.
 
 
Once QuickBooks Online has downloaded a transaction from your bank, you have multiple options for dealing with it and clearing it.
 
When your statement comes and you’re ready to reconcile, you can use QuickBooks Online’s tools that take you step by step through the process. Hover over Accounting in the toolbar and select Reconcile. Let us know if you need help with reconciliation or with managing downloaded transactions.
 

Start Accepting Online Payments:

 
This is probably the #1 way to encourage customers to pay you faster. When you set up a merchant account through QuickBooks Payments, you’re be able to accept credit cards, debit cards, and ACH bank transfers. Your invoices will include a Pay Now button and will contain the information your customers need to pay electronically. Their funds will go into your bank account.
 
There are other ways they can pay you directly. You can take their card numbers over the phone. You can also get a free card reader from Intuit and swipe their cards on your mobile device. And you can set up recurring payments that will occur automatically. There are no base fees – you just pay per transaction.
 

Set Weekly and Monthly Report Schedules:

 
You may just run reports in QuickBooks Online as you need them. Some reports, though, should be created every week at a minimum, like Accounts receivable aging (detail or summary), Accounts Payable Aging, Open invoices, and Unpaid Bills. There are many others, but you need to keep a close watch on what you owe and who owes you.
 
 
We can help you create and analyze the standard financial reports that should be produced regularly.
 
It’s important to run some other reports on a monthly (or, sometimes, quarterly) basis, including Balance Sheet, Profit and Loss, and Statement of Cash Flows. Rather than just providing snapshots of where you stand with money coming in and going out, they give you a more comprehensive view of your finances that can help you make better business decisions. They’re complex and often difficult to analyze, though, which is why QuickBooks Online categorizes them as For my accountant. We can create and interpret these for you.
 

Expand QuickBooks Online’s Features by Using Apps:

 
QuickBooks Online is generic enough that it can be used by a wide variety of small businesses. But that flexibility may mean that it’s not quite robust enough in one area or another, like inventory management or time tracking. There are hundreds of apps that you can integrate with QuickBooks Online to fill in the gaps. Some are free. Click on Apps in the toolbar. Again, we’re available to help if you need assistance.
 

Evaluate the Cost-effectiveness of Your Vendors:

 
It’s easy to stick with the same old suppliers because it’s a hassle to change. But so many companies are hurting because of the pandemic that you may find you can get what you need for less. To go over your whole list, hover over Expenses in the toolbar and click on Vendors. You might clean up your list while you’re at it. Click the down arrow at the end of each row and select Make inactive if you haven’t ordered from specific suppliers over the last year.
 
As we said earlier, we’re available to meet with you and explain any of the concepts discussed here in more depth. It’s still a hard time for so many small businesses, and we want to be of help wherever we can.

QuickBooks Online’s Mobile App: The Basics

QuickBooks Online is more portable than you may realize.

 
In this work-from-home world, millions of people are finding it impossible to get away from the “office”. But there may be times when you’re not at home or work when it would be really convenient to have access to your accounting data in QuickBooks Online.
 
The site’s free companion apps make that possible. Available for both Android and iOS, the QuickBooks Online mobile app can do many of the things that you’re used to doing on your desktop or laptop. And of course, everything you do on the app is synchronized with your browser-based version, and vice versa. Both versions look and work similarly and offer a user experience that makes your mobile tasks easy to accomplish.
 
Here’s a look at what you can do.
 
 
The QuickBooks Online mobile app doesn’t look much like the browser-based version, but it can do many of the same tasks.
 

Navigation Tools

 
Once you’ve downloaded the QuickBooks Online mobile app and entered your login credentials from the browser-based version, you’ll see a screen full of shortcuts to the app’s main functions. This is an abbreviated list of what you can actually do, but it takes you to the screens you’ll want to see most often. Click the All tab, and a full set of links for the app opens that includes functions missing from the shortcuts page, like Reports and Products & services.
 
Click on the home button in the lower left, and the app opens two more screens. One is a Dashboard that’s similar to the one you see in your browser. It displays charts for profit and loss, invoices, and expenses, as well as a list of your account balances. Click the Activity tab to see a list of the most recent activity. Like most everything on the app, the list is interactive. When you click on an activity, the transaction underlying it opens.
There are two more navigation links at the bottom of the screen. When you want to add a transaction, you can click on the + (plus) sign to open your options there. Click the three horizontal lines to open the Shortcuts page. The gear icon in the upper left takes you to the Settings screen, where you’ll find links to Company Information, Tax Rates, Overdue Invoice Alerts, etc.
 

Records and Transactions

 
Customer and vendor records are not as detailed as they are on the browser-based site, but they should serve you well for mobile activities. You can toggle between basic contact details and recent activity. There are also icons that allow you to quickly call, text, or email a contact. Product records are not as complete, however you can see each item’s name, description, sale price, tax status, and account and category assignments. You have the ability to edit records and create new ones on the apps.
 
 
You can view the data from your browser-based version of QuickBooks Online on the mobile app.
 
You can also add and edit transactions on the mobile apps, including invoices, estimates, sales receipts, expenses, and invoice payments. These are very thorough. They include the fields you need to bill customers and record purchases. You can even request signatures on estimates, add notes or attachments to invoices, and view a status bar for invoice progress.
 

Other Features

 
There are other tasks you can complete on the QuickBooks Online mobile apps. You can snap photos of receipts with your phone. The apps will then upload them to the main site and move some of their data on to the correct fields on forms. You can work with bank deposits, projects, and categories. And you can record mileage for business trips. If you turn on Auto-tracking, the apps will record your mileage as you drive.
 
There’s one more feature on the app that’s fairly new to QuickBooks Online – so new that it may not have been rolled out to you yet: Cash Flow. This is divided into two sections on the main site, Overview and Planner. The second deals with cash flow projections, which can be a complex concept to understand. We recommend you let us walk you through this tool so you know when it may be wise to take actions that will prevent an impending cash crunch.
 
Are you experiencing cash flow problems now because of the economic downturn? We can analyze your data and reports in QuickBooks Online and help you come up with a recovery plan, contact us to help you.

How to Create Product Records in QuickBooks Online, Part 2

Once you’ve created your company’s product and service records, you’ll use them in numerous places in QuickBooks Online.

 
Last month, we covered the setup you have to do before you start building your product and service records in QuickBooks Online. We told you to click the gear icon in the upper right, then click Account and settings, then the Sales tab, then Products and Services. Once you’ve specified your preferences, you click the gear icon again, then Products and services, then New to complete the fields required for each record.
 
 
Before you start creating product and service records, you should establish your preferences.
 
You can always view the Products and Services screen by clicking on Sales in the toolbar, then Products and Services. (You can also access it by clicking on the gear icon, then Products and services under Lists.) This comprehensive table, a kind of dashboard for your products and services, displays real-time information about each item’s pricing and inventory levels, as well as its type and tax status.
 
Click the down arrow in the Action column, and you can work with that product in a variety of ways. For example, you can run a report, adjust its starting value and quantity, and reorder. You can also edit the record from here. Large, colorful buttons at the top of the screen give you an instant view of the number of items that are low on stock or out of stock. Click on one, and a list of those items will appear.
 
Warning: Be sure you understand your reason for modifying inventory level numbers (either their starting value or quantity) and the impact this could have on your reporting. We recommend that you consult with us before taking either action. The same goes for reordering if you haven’t worked with purchase orders in QuickBooks Online before.
 

Using Your Records

 
Once you start creating transactions like invoices and sales receipts, you’ll see why we recommended that you complete all of the relevant fields in your product and service records. QuickBooks Online is good about allowing you to supply data “on the fly” (as you go along), but your daily work will go much faster if you do your setup work first.
 
Here’s how you add a product or service to an invoice or a sales receipt, for example. Click on the +New button at the top of the screen and select your transaction type. Choose the appropriate Customer by clicking on the down arrow in the first field in the upper left. Check the rest of the fields in the top half of the form and make any necessary changes. Click in the field under Service Date, then click on the small graphical calendar to select the date of the sale. Click on the down arrow in the field below Product/Service.
 
You can select from product or service records you’ve created or add a new one on the fly.
 
As you can see in the above image, +New is the first option in the list. Click on it if you haven’t yet created a record for what you’re selling. The Product/Service Information pane will slide out from the right side of the screen. Otherwise, click on the correct product or service in the list. If you filled out all of the relevant fields in its record, QuickBooks Online will complete the rest of the line with the needed information. You only have to enter a quantity in the Qty field.
 
Enter any information requested at the bottom of the screen and Save the transaction. QuickBooks Online will reduce the quantity available for any products you just sold. You can see your sale and how it affects inventory by looking at reports. Sales By Product/Service Detail, for example, shows you the sale you just made and any others within the date range you selected.  Product/Service List provides a number for the quantity on hand. Run Inventory Valuation Detail to see a combination of the data in both of those reports. And if your company counts inventory periodically, you can use the Physical Inventory Worksheet, which even displays a number for any items currently on purchase orders.
 
We hope you’ve been able to continue supplying your customers with the products and services they need during these challenging times. If you maintain thorough product records in QuickBooks Online, you’ll find that your daily sales work can be both fast and accurate. The site can also help you maintain enough inventory that you don’t run short, as well as don’t have too much money tied up in excess products. Please let us know if we can help you with this critical tracking task – or if you have questions about any other element of QuickBooks Online.

How to Create Product Records in QuickBooks Online

Whether your company sells product or services, QuickBooks Online can help you track them.

 
If you sell one-of-a-kind products and can see all of them at a glance, tracking your inventory isn’t such a big issue. But not many people run businesses like that. Even if you do, you’d want to keep track of what you have and what you’ve sold for accounting purposes.
 
Most businesses sell multiple types of products and stock numerous units of them. These companies need to be able to easily add them to invoices and sales receipts. They need to know what’s selling and what’s not, and they need to know when it’s time to reorder.
 
QuickBooks Online’s recording and tracking tools meet all of these requirements by allowing you to create records for services. Here’s how it works.
 

Getting Ready

 
Before you can start working with QuickBooks Online’s product records, you should make sure that the site is set up for this purpose. Click the gear icon in the upper right, then Your Company | Account and settings. Click the Sales tab to get to the Products and services section, as pictured below.
 
 
 
QuickBooks Online’s Account and Settings has a section devoted to Products and services.
 
Click on Products and services to open your options here. To turn any entry from On to Off,or vice versa, click in the box at the beginning of the line to check or uncheck it. To see an explanation of each, click on the small circled question mark. When you’re done here, click Save. Then click the X in the upper right to close this window.
 

Creating Records

 
To start entering product and service data in records, click the gear icon in the upper right, then select Products and services. Since you haven’t entered anything yet, the table will be blank. Eventually, it will contain data for each record you’ve created. You’ll also notice two colored circles at the top of the screen, one marked Low Stock and the other, Out of Stock. When there is a number next to either of them, you’ll be able to click on either circle to see a list of what’s low or what’s out.
 
Click New in the upper right. A vertical panel will slide out asking what kind of record you want to create. You can choose from:
 
  • Inventory – Physical items you sell whose quantity you want to track
  • Non-inventory – Products you buy or sell but whose quantities you don’tneed to track
  • Service – Services you sell, like legal representation or landscaping
  • Bundle -A group of products and/or services thatare sold together, like computer training and accompanying software
 
We’re going to create an inventory item, so click on Inventory.Type its Name in that field and add a photo if you’d like. If the product has been assigned a SKU, enter that in its field. You may want to divide your products into primary categories and sub-products or services (like Writing Instruments and Pens, Pencils, Markers, etc.). You can skip this option if you don’t.
 
 
 
QuickBooks Online helps prevent product shortages.
 
In the next section, you’ll enter the Initial quantity on hand. How many do you have as of (current) date? And where do you want to set your Reorder point? What number of items remaining should trigger the Low Stock alert so you can replenish your supply?
 
Inventory asset account should already be set at Inventory Asset. Enter a brief Description and then the product’s Sales price/rate (the price you’ll charge customers) and leave Income account set at Sales of Product Income. Then select a Sales tax category. If you haven’t set up sales taxes in QuickBooks Online and believe you’re required to pay them on at least some sales, please let us help.
 
In the Purchasing information field, enter the description that should appear on purchase forms, then Cost (the price you paid to buy the product, if any). The Expense account should be Cost of Goods Sold. Select a Preferred Vendor if you’d like and Save the record.
 
Not all fields are required in your product and service records, but we strongly recommend you complete each record as thoroughly as is possible.
 
Next month, we’ll look at how product and service records are used in QuickBooks Online. In the meantime, please let us know if there’s any way we can help with your accounting or your use of QuickBooks Online. We know these are challenging times for you, and we hope you’ll use us as one of your resources.

3 Ways to Receive Payments in QuickBooks Online

Recording customer payments is one of your more pleasant accounting tasks. Depending on the situation, you can choose from multiple ways to do this using QuickBooks Online.

 
If you made New Year’s resolutions this last January, you’ve probably had to revise them. No one knew what was coming when 2019 turned over to 2020. We hope that despite the turmoil and disruption of the last six months, you’ve managed to stay healthy and keep your small business running.
 
It’s more important than ever to conscientiously record all of the money coming into your company and ensure that it gets deposited into your account(s). QuickBooks Online offers several ways to accomplish this. Whether you’re receiving payment on an invoice, documenting an instant sale, or selling on the road – the site provides tools to make certain that your receipt of the funds is entered in the correct place.
 

Delayed Payments

 
Do you send invoices for products and/or services? If so, there’s more than one way to record payments when they come in. You can, of course, just open the invoice and click Receive payment in the upper right corner. We find, though, that going to the All Sales screen gives us a chance to check the status of other pending transactions. Click Sales in the toolbar, then All Sales.
 
If your list isn’t very long, you can just look for the invoice number. If not, you can use the Filter tool to find the original form. Click the down arrow next to Filter in the upper left to see your search options here (Status, Customer, etc.).
 
If you have a lengthy list of sales transactions, you can search for the one(s) you want in this drop-down window.
 
Once you’ve found the invoice, look down toward the end of that row. In the Action column, you’ll see Receive payment. (While you’re there, click the down arrow to familiarize yourself with the other options.) When the Receive Payment window opens, select the Payment method that applies. Leave the Deposit to field showing Undeposited Funds and look over the rest of the screen to make sure everything is accurate. Print it if you’d like and/or add an Attachment using the links at the bottom, then Save it.
 
Tip: Customers tend to pay invoices faster if you allow them to make payments online. If you’re not yet set up for this, we can help you.
 

Instant Payments

 
Your business may collect payments at the time you provide a product or service. When this happens, you’ll want to supply your customers with a sales receipt instead of an invoice (this is also important for your own records). Click the +New button in the upper left and select Sales receipt under Customers to open a blank form. You’ll fill this out just like you would an invoice, by selecting the Customer first, then entering or selecting any data needed for the other fields.
 
If you don’t anticipate needing all of the fields on your sales forms, you can remove some of them and even add your own. Ask us how this works.
 
 
If you’d like to add custom fields to your sales forms, you can do so in QuickBooks Online.
 
When you’ve completed all of the fields in your sales receipt, you can preview and print it. You can also save and email it to the customer.
 

Going Mobile

 
If you generate sales on the road, you can still create sales receipts for customers using the QuickBooks mobile app. Just click the plus (+) sign at the bottom of the screen and select Sales Receipt. The form is similar to the one you’d use on your desktop computer, though the layout is different, of course.
 
Having a QuickBooks Payments account is especially helpful when you’re making mobile sales. You can even swipe your customers’ credit and debit cards if you order a card reader from Intuit. We can walk you through this process.
 
You don’t ever want to record a payment incorrectly, of course, but it’s especially important right now to ensure that you’re accounting for every dollar that comes in. Please stay healthy and safe, and let us know if we can help in any way with your accounting and your use of QuickBooks Online.

Tracking Mileage in QuickBooks Online

If you’re having to drive for work during the pandemic, let QuickBooks Online make sure you’re recording all of your deductible mileage.

 
Many states are starting to open for business again. If yours is one of them and this is affecting you, we hope you’re taking steps to stay healthy. We also hope that you’ve been keeping up with your changing finances by using QuickBooks Online.
 
As many will resume back to the day to day of business, if any part of your work involves driving business miles that can be deducted on your income taxes, you’ll want to know about a relatively new QuickBooks Online feature: mileage tracking. You can NOW record trips either manually or automatically, and the site will calculate your deductions. Here’s how it works.
 

Tracking Trips Manually

 
Before you get started, you’ll want to create a record for the vehicle you’ll be using. Click Mileage in the navigation toolbar. Hover over the green Add trip button in the middle right of the screen, then click View Vehicles. Then click Add vehicle and complete the fields on the screen that opens. Click Save. Back on the main screen, click directly on Add trip. The New trip panel will slide out from the right.
 
Enter the Date, then the number of miles driven (Distance). If you’d like, you can enter the Starting point and Ending point for your records. Click either the Business or Personal icon and enter a Description. Select the correct Vehicle if you use more than one and click Save. Your trip will now appear on the main screen with your tax deduction already calculated, as pictured below. Click the More button at the end of the row (not shown here), and you’ll be able to Edit your trips and Duplicate them.
 
 
 
 
Once you’ve created a record for a trip in QuickBooks Online, it will be added to the list on the main Mileage screen.
 

Auto-Track Your Miles

 
There’s another way to track your trips, one that doesn’t involve writing down your odometer readings or mileage. The QuickBooks Online mobile app will automatically track your miles as you drive.
 
To set this up, open the app and click on the three horizontal lines in the lower right to open the app’s navigation shortcuts. Then click the Mileage icon.  Auto-tracking is off by default, so you’ll have to click OFF to open the Mileage settings screen. Click the Auto-tracking button to change it from grayed-out to green. In the small window that opens, click Settings to go to the QuickBooks section of your phone’s Settings screen and make these changes:
 
  • Location must be Always On.
  • Motion & Fitness must be On.
  • Background App Refresh must be On.
  • Cellular Data must be On.
 
 
 
 
Before you can automatically track your mileage in QuickBooks Online, you’ll need to change some settings (image above taken in iPhone; Android phones have similar settings).
 
Close this screen and return to the QuickBooks Online app’s main Mileage screen after you’ve changed your settings. Auto-tracking should be ON. Click the + (plus) sign in the lower right, then Create trip. The app will automatically detect your starting and stopping locations using your phone’s GPS. When you’ve arrived at your destination, open the Mileage app again.
 
Swipe left on the trip’s record to categorize it as business and right to mark it personal.  Enter the trip’s purpose if it’s a business trip and click Save. You’ll now need to turn off Auto-tracking and reverse the changes you made in your phone’s Settings (unless, of course, you normally leave any of them on).
 

A Quick Tip

 
Do you ever find yourself opening QuickBooks Online in a new tab because you need to check something in another part of the site but don’t want to shut down your current screen?  If you’re accessing QuickBooks Online through Google Chrome, it’s easy. Right-click anywhere in the navigation toolbar that contains links (not the blank space below) and select Open link in new tab. A new tab will open to a QuickBooks Online page. You can do whatever you need to do in the second tab without disturbing your original page.
 

Stay in Touch

 
The COVID-19 pandemic has had impact on both large and small businesses all around the world. We hope you’ve stayed physically and financially healthy during this exceptionally difficult time. Don’t hesitate to contact us if we can help with your use of QuickBooks Online and/or your overall accounting.