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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
- 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.