7 Powerful Ways to Get Work Done Faster in QuickBooks

Working faster in QuickBooks is not just for the “pros” like me.  Have you ever stopped to think that doing something the slower way could affect the profitability of your business? Wouldn’t you love to get your work done faster?  Here are 7 powerful ways to your get your work done faster in QuickBooks

  1. Customize your preferences – There are Company preferences (set by the administrator), and Individual preferences tied to your login. Company preferences include job costing features, tracking 1099 expenses, inventory and more.  Individual preferences would include data entry preferences (dates, numbers, moving around), pre-filling from past transactions and more.  Click on Edit, Preferences, and take the time to look at each area to see if there are changes that would be beneficial to you.
  2. Customize your QuickBooks Desktop – Make your desktop more conducive to the way you like to work and you’ll see your productivity increase. (Here’s a link to a video if you prefer to watch how this is done.)
    1. Opening Desktop – The default setting in QuickBooks when you close your data file is to Save the Desktop.  This means that next time you open QuickBooks, all those windows you had open (like reports and registers) will need to be opened again before you can start working.  Depending on the number of open windows, the size of the data file and the types of reports, this can sometimes take a while.  Click on Edit, Preferences, Desktop and My Preferences. There you can choose to Not save the desktop or if you prefer, you can select a specific window to see when you first open, such as the Company Snapshot.
    2. One or Multiple Windows – Whichever works best for you (or switch depending on your situation).  Click on View, and choose One or Multiple Windows.  Personally, I like a large window so I can see more, but sometimes I’m comparing two reports or a report to a register and I want to look at two windows at the same time, so I switch to Multiple Windows.
    3. Open Window List – Click on View, Open Window to turn this feature on.  All open windows will appear in a list on the left – you can quickly move from one screen to another by simply clicking in the Open Window list.
    4. Customize Your Top Icon Bar – Make common tasks and reports one click away on your Icon bar.  There are two ways, with different advantages.
      1. Right-click and select Customize – If you click on Add, you can add more tasks (like the Calculator, Find, Print Checks, and much more).  You can also rename or rearrange if need be.  Personally, I’ve shortened names to fit more icons on the bar and have them organized by general area (like banking, sales (invoices/payments), bills, etc.
      2. When you’re in a screen you want to access frequently (like Receive payments or your operating account), click on View then Add.  You can also add reports this way to the icon bar; personally, I have a few financial reports, Unbilled Time and Balance on Prepaid Time/Retainers.
    5. Customize your list (customer, vendor, items, etc.) views so you see information you want quickly.  Simply right-click on the column headings and select Customize Columns.  Pick the ones you want and put them in the order you want.  In the Items List, you might want to add columns for Expense/Cost of Goods, or Quantity on Order.  In the Customer List, you might want Days Overdue or Job Status or Rep.  In the Payroll Items List, you might want Expense Account, Liability Account, Affects Taxes.
  3. Automate Your Work– This can literally save hours for some businesses and increase the accuracy of the data.  There are two key areas – transactions and reports.
    1. Transactions – Types of transactions to memorize could be monthly invoices, recurring deductions from accounts (like Internet access fees), payroll journal entries, etc.  Simply right-click on the transaction to memorize, give it a name, then decide how often you need it and whether or not to be reminded.  To use them, you can either add Memorized Transactions to your toolbar or you can click on Lists, then Memorized Transactions.
    2. Reports that you run frequently and customize are worth memorizing – then you don’t need to customize the report each time you need it. To find them, click on Reports, then Memorized Reports. I recommend using the preset dates (like Year to Date or This Month) rather than entering dates in the calendar.   When you enter specific dates and memorize, the report will always use those dates.  If you use the preset dates, then the report is more current as you progress during the year.
  4. Use Groups – With this powerful feature, you can quickly accomplish many tasks. You can use groups with Items, Memorized Transactions and Memorized Reports.
    1. Items – Grouping items can be a fast way to create an invoice or estimate.  You don’t need to use every item in the group nor do you need to show each item in the group on the printed document.  Examples might be labor and materials or phases of jobs/projects.
    2. Memorized Transactions – You can create groups for Memorized Transactions. It can not only be a nice way to organize all the memorized transactions, but more importantly you can double-click on the group and all the transactions in the group will be created!
    3. Memorized Reports – Again, groups not only help organize reports (like monthly, quarterly, sales reports, etc.), but you can double-click on a group to run multiple reports at one time.
  5. Reports are crucial to running a business.  You can create custom reports, customize existing reports so they’re more useful, memorize (which we mentioned above) or run a batch of reports at one time.
    1. Creating Custom Summary or Transaction Detail reports is a whole topic on its own, so I won’t go into detail here, but do take the time to experiment to see how it works.  Often you can get a report that shows just you want.
    2. Customize how a report looks and what data it pulls (filters). Simply click on Modify Report and you’ll find a myriad of ways you can customize.  Your options will vary depending on the report.  Sometimes you can add columns for percentages, you can choose to show only lines that have a number other than zero, and the filters let you get very specific.  Which filters to use is best discussed when dealing with specific topics like job costing, commissions, sales reports, grants, etc.
    3. Memorizing reports – see above
    4. Process Multiple Reports – You can run a batch of reports by clicking on Reports, Process Multiple Reports. Pick which reports to run; you can use different dates for different reports.  This screen is much faster than running reports separately.
  6. Use Keyboard Shortcuts – If you’re a keyboard person like I am, you’ll like these (and I will argue the case they are faster than using a mouse especially if you have to scroll through a menu). There are date short-cuts (like T for Today’s date, Y for the first of the Year) and other short cuts like Ctrl-I for Invoice and Ctrl-F for Find.  For more “control” shortcuts, click here.  And for date shortcuts and more, click here.
  7. Reconcile Accounts – Reconciling regularly (I recommend monthly) is a good way to catch mistakes early. Besides the checking accounts, you can reconcile just about any account on the balance sheet, so look at your loans, credit cards, employee advances and any others that have monthly or quarterly activity.   Don’t rely on simply downloading from the Online Banking. I have caught many mistakes – either incorrectly matched/cleared or completely missed or even entered multiple times.
  8. Bonus Tip – Ask for help.  So much time is lost trying to figure out what’s wrong, how to do something, how to fix mistakes, or not being aware of a feature that could save you time.  Many ignore the cost of downtime, but often help from an expert can save you more than you realize.
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