QuickBooks Year-end Checklist

There’s lots that needs to be done at the end of the year to get your books ready for taxes. Here’s a list of to help you; those who have been diligent about bookkeeping will find this list will be shorter.

  • Order Forms: If you haven’t done so already, get the forms you need like your W-2s, W-3s, 1099s, and 1096s.  Even if you e-file with Uncle Sam, you still have employees and vendors needing documents.
  • RECONCILE!! I can’t tell you how big this step is. This is a good step to verify that you have tracked all money into and out of the company and will help you find missed entries, duplicates, checks not cashed, and more.  You will save money with your accountant if they don’t have to reconcile.   And DO NOT simply rely on Bank Feeds or go into the register and check off transactions. I promise that using the reconcile feature inside a QuickBooks will not only be faster but more accurate. Accounts to reconcile would include
    • Bank and credit card(s)
    • Loan accounts- Remember, interest is an expense – it doesn’t reduce your loan balance, so do review; your bank may have that online as well as sending out a statement.
    • Other balance sheet accounts, such as employee advances, prepaid insurance, customer prepayments, etc.
  • List of loans and terms – Make a list any new loans, lines of credits, etc. that you took out this year. Your accountant may want to see a copy of the terms and interest rate.
  • List of equipment purchased – Your accountant will want to know of any equipment, vehicles, furniture etc. that you purchased during the year. If the purchase is large enough, rather than expense the purchase in full, your accountant will depreciate the purchase over a few years. Ask your accountant what size purchase – frequently it’s been purchases of 500 or 1000, but with tax law changes their answer may be different. Usually your accountant will want a copy of the receipt or purchase document with the price.  In the case of a vehicle where you had a trade-in value and/or down payment, then they would want that information as well.
    • FYI – for future reference there is a Fixed Asset list where you can keep lots of pertinent information. you can click on List, Fixed Asset List.  In the future, when you purchase a fixed asset, you can use an Item (instead of account) and select Fixed Asset so you can put in the detail.
  • Employees
    • Unemployment – unemployment rates frequently change each year in part based on how many employees in any claim with your company. The state of Maryland usually sends you a letter in November with the number to call to see what your new rate will be. If you process payroll yourself in QuickBooks, look to see if your version will let you enter the new rates for the upcoming year – new versions do. If you need help entering the new rates, call us for help.
    • Employee withholding – it’s good to check whether employees’ withholding will be the same or if they want to revise it, so have them do a new Federal W-4 and state withholding forms (sometimes they decide after their taxes are done!)
    • Before you print out your w-2’s,
      • Run the Payroll Summary Report and compare to the W-2’s
        • Besides wage and taxes, you may also need to review fringe benefits that need to be on a W-2
    • 1099 Vendors –Review your list of vendors. To get your list, Click on Vendors, Print 1099’s
        • Be sure that all who need to get a 1099 are marked as 1099 eligible. When in doubt either call them, ask your accountant or make them 1099-eligible. Best to err on the safe side!
        • Confirm that contact information is correct, ask for tax ID or have them send a W-9.
          • Some companies make it a policy to obtain a W-9 before they ever pay a vendor – that’s incentive to get the form returned to you!!
          • Here’s the link to the IRS website to get the W-9 – they’re listed right at the top (left side)
      • If you need to update several, the Add/Edit Multiple Lists is a great tool for updating this information. Simply click on Customize Columns and select the Tax ID field (and any others you might want); remove those you don’t need at this time.  This does NOT remove any data from your QuickBooks; this is simply a feature to simplify editing.

QuickBooks Year-end Checklist

  • Inventory – If you have inventory do a physical inventory (Inventory > Physical Inventory Worksheet) and then compare with what QuickBooks says.
    • I also recommend you do NOT print out the Quantity On Hand column so no one can get lazy and use the numbers in the system
    • For those with large inventories, you may want to consider “cycle” counting – i.e. you systematically do counts on just some of your inventory checks (daily, weekly, monthly – whatever works), but this way it doesn’t get away from you.

QuickBooks Year-end Checklist

  • QuickBooks Version – Intuit supports 3 years, so in May they will “sunset” QuickBooks 2015. Doesn’t mean 2015 won’t work, but if you download bank transactions, use payroll or email reports, invoices, or statements, those features will no longer work.
    • Here’s a link to my article discussing the new 2018 QuickBooks products.
    • This page has 2 videos highlighting the differences between the different versions,
    • This page has a comparison chart of the different QuickBooks versions; we can also provide demos if you need
    • You can also download a 30-day trial of Enterprise here.
    • I’ve mentioned before but I’ll mention it again ;),
      • For those of you using Enhanced Payroll and paying for direct deposit fees, Enterprise Gold is often a better deal – even if you’re in QuickBooks Pro or Premier.
      • Those of you on Intuit’s “older” Enterprise plan, you may find the subscription is a better deal – especially since Intuit is raising their prices on the older plans – substantially. We can help you navigate your options so you can get the plan that’s best for you –whether that’s staying with your current plan or changing.
    • For those of you considering moving to the online version but want job costing, check out this article.
    • If you would like to upgrade, let us know – we can help you get a good price and assist with the upgrade if you need.
  • Review your QuickBooks setup. This is a great time to make changes in your QuickBooks setup.  Even I do this!  Perhaps you want to use Classes or change your Classes.  Or maybe the Chart of Accounts needs some cleaning up.  And often the Items list can use some (or lots!!) of clean-up (including mine!).   We’ll be happy to help you review, make recommendations, and even give you tips to make it go faster!
  • Other Services – Calendar or fiscal year-end can be a good time to review other services – whether you need them and or want to change them.
  • Customer payments and credit cards – If you would like to process checks in QuickBooks instead of having to go to the bank, or want customers to pay you online or have customers asking you to accept credit cards, Intuit Payments is definitely worth reviewing – they have simplified and lowered their rates.   I can promise that Intuit is NOT going to give away their integration with QuickBooks to another provider.  With no double-entry, the ease of reconciliation and the time saved, it’s often a smart decision.  Let us know if you are interested or reach out to George Madenian – George_Madenian@intuit.com 818-436-8158!
  • Payroll – This is a great time of year to review your payroll options. This page has a simple chart comparing the payroll products.  Let us know if you have questions. Keep in mind we can get you discounted pricing.  Don’t just look at tangible costs. Also consider job/project costing (if that’s an issue), amount of time to handle payroll tasks, risk (of under payments or missed payments) or fraud (I’ve known of bookkeepers and even a payroll company).   For those who don’t want the hassle of the payroll tax filings and w-2’s, there are Intuit products that will do that for you, but do contact us so you can get discounted pricing.
  • Adjustments to make to your books. While some adjustments are best left for your accountant, there are a few that you can do or at least get the information pulled together for your account.
    • Bonuses – It’s great to give bonuses to employees at year-end, but it’s not so great to forget about the tax part of it. Bonus checks should always be run through payroll, but often are not, which requires an adjustment after the fact.
    • Work in Process- For those of you who have projects that span over a few months and need to track work in process there are usually two methods – one simply for year-end for tax purposes and the other method is done monthly; typically only my larger commercial clients track monthly. If you use QuickBooks Enterprise, you’ll love the WIP Summary Report. Contact our office if you want help with that.
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QuickBooks Setup for Success

It’s the start of a new year and for many, this is the time to make changes to your QuickBooks before your season gets busy.

There are 4 major areas I consider when working with contractor clients:

  1. Software – So much depends on your setup and what setup you can do depends on your software! So, is your version of QuickBooks a good fit for your company?  Regardless of how long you’ve been in QuickBooks, this is always good to review.  This will give you a start:
    1. Start with creating 2 lists – what you need and what you want. Realize that you may not get everything you want, so you might have to rank some features. Also, keep in mind that QuickBooks is an accounting package so it won’t be the best for CRM, scheduling and time tracking.  Here are several questions to help guide you:
    2. How many need access? This may quickly narrow your options
    3. Who needs to be able to do what? For instance, if you just want someone to track their time, you might want a mobile time tracking product that integrates with QuickBooks instead of giving them access to QuickBooks.
    4. Do you need to job cost? The desktop version of QuickBooks still beats the online version Online when it comes to job costing!
    5. Are you currently using a 3rd party product or considering one? If so, which versions of QuickBooks do they integrate with?  Some will integrate with both but not with all the same features.  And some will integrate with desktop only or online only, so you need to know!
    6. If you want mobile access, what you do you want to be able to do when you’re not in the office? Sometimes an add-on product might be a better option.
    7. For those of you in Pro Plus, or Premier Plus or Enterprise, let me know so we can price your current plan and see if there’s a plan that can save you money and/or give you more for your money. When you call Intuit directly, you won’t always get someone who has your best interests at heart – they have sales quotas & goals ;-)
    8. A couple resources that might help you more:
      1. My feature comparison chart – this makes it easier to compare
      2. An article I wrote comparing QuickBooks Desktop (Pro/Premier/Enterprise) with QuickBooks Online. In spite of the rumors, Intuit is not giving up on the desktop versions of QuickBooks – they are still the bigger money makers for them.
      3. Videos showing the differences between the products
    9. And if you want to make a change, let us know. There are promotions we can’t always advertise, and there are often life-long discounts we can get for you versus a short-term discount followed by full price later.
  1. Setup – I often see problems in the setup, which can explain why you can’t get the reporting or information you want. So here are some major areas to consider:
    1. Classes – Classes are unique to QuickBooks. I think of Classes as way to do side-by-side comparisons of Profit Centers. You can see a sample report below.  For contractors, that’s usually your divisions.   Here are some examples to get the wheels turning.
      1. Landscapers, often use maintenance, Installs, Irrigation, Lighting, and Snow (or some variation).
      2. Painters might do interior and exterior work and/or commercial vs residential (I can create a P & L for Customer Type if you don’t want to use classes).
      3. Construction might want New construction, remodel – maybe even historic, if that’s a specialty of yours.
      4. For those of you with multiple offices, then you might want to use location – especially if those locations are in different sates
      5. Other ideas: Sales rep, partner, crew, program….
      6. You can even have sub-classes; just keep in mind that they don’t collapse (i.e. the P & L by Class won’t just show the “parent” classes when you “collapse the report).QuickBooks Setup
    2. Chart of Accounts – Those not using Classes are usually doing it in their Chart of Accounts. I used to start here but I found that once we setup Classes, we were going back & changing the Chart of Accounts, so now Chart of Accounts is 2nd ;-). My main strong recommendation for all you contractors:
      1. Your job costs belong in the Cost of Goods section. The sample service file in QuickBooks is a great idea of what NOT to do!! My rule of thumb – if you had to spend that money for that job (e.g. buy materials, pay for labor, rent equipment, etc.) then that’s a direct cost.  Some of you have all your payroll in payroll expenses – you’ll want to separate office staff from field staff since that’s such a large component of your job costs. You’ll like the separation when looking at your Profit & Loss reports as is the example above.  Also note in the above example, they did NOT pull out field labor as I recommend (tsk tsk!)
    3. Items – The key to job costing in QuickBooks is in your Items – NOT your Chart of Accounts!
      1. Decide what Items you need. My rule of thumb for Items (Products & Services) is (1) What do your customers need to see and (2) What do you want to see in your job cost reports
      2. For contractors, if you do T & M invoicing (Time & Materials), you want your Items to have a cost side as well as an income side. That way you can see what you paid for the different materials and subs as well as what you invoiced.
    4. Jobs – Many of you provide more than one service for your customer and there is often crossover in time period. So if you want to see the job costs for one job, you need to be able to specify the job. In some cases, I just see a list of customers, so it’s hard to pull out the costs for a specific job.   If these are one-time customers, 1 short job or 1 service, then you may not need jobs, but most contractors I work with need to specify jobs.
    5. Payroll There are many different options for payroll.
      1. If you want job costed payroll, still the best options are Enhanced or Assisted Payroll with Intuit and I can get your pricing discounted as well as help explain how they work and which might be your best option.
      2. If you want to outsource your payroll, there are a couple different “tricks” to get the labor costs – let me know if you need to know.
  2. Work Flow – This is another big area where I hear complaints and work to help my clients streamline. You usually know where the work slows to a crawl – could be time tracking, payroll, invoicing, payables, tracking cash flow or getting job cost data or some other type of reporting.  Poor workflow adds to your overhead and stress, so while it’s not a hard cost like field staff, it definitely affects your bottom line. It’s good to list the areas that are a problem – then you can begin to look at solutions.
  3. Reports – This is often the issue that prompts changes. What reports are you unable to get, and/or doing them in Excel? Which reports take too long to get? What information would you like to see in reports but are not?  From there, we can begin to address the issue.

If you would like to make a change in your QuickBooks or want help in addressing your setup, please contact our office. Now’s the time to do it before you get really busy!

Here’s to a year that will provide better data and smoother and faster workflow!

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By now you probably have a good idea of your year-end numbers.  As you look back over your year, take the time to list what worked – and what didn’t. Here are a few recommendations to help you review 2017 so you can plan for 2018

  1. Profitability: Where were you most profitable? Where were you least profitable?  I would look at
    • Service line or division or department – You should easily be able to compare your different divisions. Total sales is not your only indicators! You want to compare AFTER your job expenses including field labor (cost of goods). If you use the Class tracking in QuickBooks, which I highly recommend, comparing divisions will be easy!
    • Type of customer – If you review your customer list and start looking for patterns as to the type, you may find you really like some and would love to drop others and your numbers support your decision. Some ideas for type could include residential, commercial, builder, HOA’s, property management, government, age or other demographics.  QuickBooks can help you track this easily. Identifying the type of customer(s) you like (besides those who pay quickly ;-) will also simplify your marketing.
    • Location – Are you finding a certain municipality or county or subdivision or… hasn’t been profitable? Or maybe it’s been a gold mine for you. Perhaps it’s time to consider moving to a new location so you’re more centrally located or it’s been so profitable it’s time to consider a second location.
    • Type of jobs – Over time you’ll find that there are certain types of jobs you enjoy, are more profitable, easier to estimate.  Maybe you decide certain types of jobs you will no longer do because you lose money on them or you just really don’t want that type of work or that they’re too small – or too large.  I know many are often afraid of turning away projects, but if you underestimate your costs or the crews are inefficient, you aren’t helping your business.  When you narrow the type of work you do, you’ll find it will be easier to estimate and your crews will be more efficient.  It will also be easier to market to the types of clients and jobs you prefer!
  2. Overhead: Have you reviewed your overhead costs lately?  If not, maybe it’s time!
    1. I find it’s easy to forget about payments that are automatically paid by credit card or deducted from your bank account. I know I made changes in a couple subscription plans that saved money in my own business.
    2. I’ve also seen that those using Enterprise Solutions are frequently paying more than needed – especially this year with pricing changes Intuit made. If I know you use Enterprise, I make it a point to reach out to make sure you have a plan that fits your needs – often I can get payments reduced.  If we haven’t spoken, let me know – I can find out what your current plan is and discuss whether or not there is a better option.
  3. Staffing: Were there changes in staffing? Consider both out in the field and in the office. Sometimes a new employee could be a reason to add or drop something. For example, a new employee with certain skills may suggest you’d like to use more of those skills, which could mean different jobs or different clientele.
  4. Time: Many of you are conscious of time out in the field, but what about office time? I find few companies clock how long it takes to do office tasks and often there are inefficiencies.
    • Are you still doing paper time sheets or using the old punch time cards for employees to clock in/out? Maybe it’s time to go mobile – there are lots of good products out on the market – of course some better than others!
    • Are you entering data in one place and then some version of that same data in a second place (like a spreadsheet and then in QuickBooks – or vice versa)? Could there be a way to integrate the data so you don’t have double-entry resulting in saving time?
    • Are you doing work-arounds? Maybe it’s time to re-assess – can it be done in QuickBooks or will an add-in product solve your problem?
    • Are you running reports in Excel? If so, is that because you can’t get that information from QuickBooks? I frequently find that setup and lack of training are key reasons you’re not getting some of the reports you want/need from your software and hence using Excel to generate the report.
    • Are reports taking a long time to run? Perhaps there’s some file maintenance that needs to be done or upgrade in computers or networks. Slow computers add to your labor costs as people sit and wait – including you!
    • Are there faster ways to get your work done? Unless you live and breathe QuickBooks like I do, you might find there are features and/or “tricks” to get the information you want that you don’t know about.
    • Sometimes it pays to talk to a professional and I’m happy to take a look and discuss your situation.
  5. Software: Is your current software solution still a good fit for you?
    • QuickBooks Whenever I’m working with clients I start with discussing what version of QuickBooks you’re using and your pain points. Sometimes QuickBooks can do what you want – you just didn’t know it could or how to get the results you wanted.  If your current version won’t do all you want, we discuss pros/cons of keeping what they have, upgrading and/or getting an add-on product.  I recommend having a needs list and a wish list.  Most times, you won’t find something that fits all of your needs and wishes so you have to decide what’s most important – and that’s unique to your business.
    • Add-ons –Is it time to add a 3rd party product to solve for one or more of your pain points? Add-ons come in 2 “flavors”
      • Task specific – these often solve 1 issue – e.g time tracking, payroll, estimating, CRM, etc.
      • Industry specific products typically solve for more than one pain point within your industry, will use your lingo because they “understand” you. You’ll find that add-ons have differences so there’s no “one-size fits all” solution – you will still have to decide which one best fits your business.
      • And of course, I always want to know how the products integrate with QuickBooks; that’s one reason why I like the Intuit add-ons because I know the integration will be good. If job costing is important, there are better ways than others for those job costs to come in to your QuickBooks if you want to maximize the reporting in QuickBooks.

If you need help either getting this data or wondering how to adjust your setup and/or procedures, let me know – I’ll be happy to work with you

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It’s time to review your sales to see where you were most profitable in 2017 and see what if any changes you’ll make for 2018.  When looking at profitability, there are a few different factors you can review using QuickBooks.  So here are 5 areas to consider.

  1. Identify Your Most Profitable Division/Service Line: If your divisions or service lines or departments are classes, this can be simple to evaluate. Run your P & L by Class, then customize the report so you can see % of Row.  Then not only will you have a comparison by dollar amount, but the percent of your business income AND expenses. If you take the time to allocate your overhead (either on a monthly or quarterly basis), you can get an even better picture.
  2. Identify your Most Profitable Products/Services – If your Items are double-sided, AND you use the items tab when you receive your bills, then the Item Profitability Report can be helpful as well. Choose Year to date or Year to last month for your date range. Is it time to drop a service or product?  Or maybe you want to sell more of a particular product or service line.

Note: If you haven’t been good using Items in your job costing this is an area that may not reflect true profitability. If so, put it on your list to improve for 2018 ;-)

  1. Identify Your Most Profitable Customers: Look at the Job Profitability Summary It will run on an accrual basis only, so you could have some unpaid invoices in there.  But hopefully your customers will be forthcoming with payment.  The default date range is all, since some jobs cross over years, and in some cases, multiple years.  If that’s true for you, then you may want to keep that setting. But for most of you, the jobs tend to be shorter, so I would recommend running it just for this year.  For the purposes of identifying the top customers, you can collapse the report so you just have the customer names. Export the report to Excel and then you can sort for the Difference column which should be your profit.  Of course, this assumes you’ve been good about costing all your labor and materials to the job ;-). For those of you who outsource your payroll, you may find that not all your labor costs are in.
  2. Identify Your Most Profitable Types of Customers: When you look at the top customers above, do you see a pattern as to the type of customer? Perhaps they’re commercial or government or residential or landlords, or …. You get the picture. (I use industry for type).   You can also use subtypes.  If you want more top customers, it’s helpful to have a better picture of just who they are.

If you use the Customer Type field, you can create a Custom Summary report with Customer Type for column headings. (Click on Reports>Custom Reports>Summary).   You can also turn on % of Row if you’d like.

  1. Identify Your Most Profitable Jobs: Click on Reports>Jobs, Time & Mileage> Job Profitability Summary. You can export this out to Excel as is or filter on the customers you identified above.  Unless all your jobs have unique names/numbers this will take more work before you can easily sort in Excel. Perhaps the quickest way is to copy the customer name down so it is with the job name and then sort by Difference (your profit). You can use the Auto Filter feature in Excel to remove the rows with blanks in the job column.

Also look to see if there is a pattern in the type of job you do for that customer.  Some types of jobs are more profitable than others. Makes more sense to stick to the more profitable jobs!

As you go through these steps, you might also want to take note of which ones are the bottom of the list. Perhaps it’s time to drop those customers, jobs, products or services.

When you can identify your true top customers and jobs, then you have a better idea of how to market, and you can focus on more profitable customers and jobs, which will boost your bottom line rather than trying to be everything to everyone.

If you need help getting this setup in QuickBooks, contact our office.

Would love to hear if you had any “a-ha’s” as you look at these reports!

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Save Time with Mobile Barcode Scanning and Enhanced Sales Order Workflow

Platinum Enterprise now has 2 new features that should be a great help for those of you using inventory in a big way – mobile barcode scanning and a greatly improved sales order workflow with real-time updates!

Both features need to be activated in the new Site Operations found in the Company Preferences (Edit>Preferences>Items and Inventory>Advanced Inventory Settings>Site Operations)

sales order fulfillment

The new sales order fulfillment worksheet, found ONLY in the Platinum version of Enterprise’s Advanced Inventory, is easier to understand and more functional.  Note there is now a tab for Picklist instead of just printing out a sheet.

sales order fulfillment

sales order fulfillment

And here’s where it gets really good. Before you had to be physically connected to a computer to enter the picking, but now you can now use a WIRELESS device!

sales order fulfillment

You’ll need to download the free QuickBooks Desktop Warehouse app (for Androids only)

sales order fulfillment

You can use an Android phone or the Zebra MC 40.  The advantage of the Android phone is it’s inexpensive and easily obtained but the advantage of the MC 40 is the ability to scan. You can count wirelessly on the phone but not scan.

sales order fulfillment

And you have real-time status on your sales orders!

sales order fulfillment

This is an area that Intuit plans to continue to develop and I would expect to see additional wireless devices and making adjustments based on feedback.

For those with large warehouses or garden centers with products out in the field, this definitely has potential.  If you would like to download a 30-day trial version of QuickBooks Enterprise, click here.  Let me know if you want more information or what you think of these new features!


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Work More Efficiently and Faster

This year’s new QuickBooks 2018 features focus on solving for some common pain points and issues.  These first few are for QuickBooks Pro, Premier and Enterprise, the latter ones I specify the version(s) of QuickBooks.

QuickBooks 2018Multi-Monitor

If you use multiple monitors, then chances are you’ve experienced working in QuickBooks and a pop-up window is on a different monitor – and sometimes behind other windows.  This new feature puts an end to that. In fact, the new feature is supported up to 3 monitors!  The monitors must be touching each other for this to work

Click on View>Multi-monitor

QuickBooks 2018Search Chart-of-Accounts

Ever have to hunt to find an account in the Chart of Accounts?  Now you can search – finally! Type in the word, part of word or number and QuickBooks will help you find it much faster 


Copy Line/Paste Line Keyboard Shortcuts for Transactions

If you’re a keystroke person like me, then you will like these.  Ctrl-Alt-Y for Copy (perhaps Y for the last letter in Copy) and Ctrl-Alt-V for Paste (Ctrl-V) is the Windows paste keyboard shortcut.

QuickBooks 2018 QuickBooks 2018


Cash/Accrual Toggle on reports

I know some of you have your default report setting on cash (personally I recommend setting it to accrual), but regardless of your setting, chances are you sometimes want to switch “basis”.  In the past, you had to click on Customize Reports to make the change.  Now, you can simply click on a button for to make the change between cash and accrual.

QuickBooks 2018Past Due Stamp on Invoices

If you’re like most businesses, chances are you have a few customers who are “slow pay”.   Up to now,  if you wanted to resend the invoice with a past due notice, you’ve had to manually stamp the invoice. Now you can have it appear on your invoices automatically. You can either turn this feature on at the template level so it appears on all late invoices, or you can click the button on the screen to turn it off or on.

QuickBooks 2018Payroll Liability Reminder

Even been late on a payroll tax payment?  Those penalties and interest can add up!  I remember back when I did bookkeeping trying to keep up with which tax payment was due when – I had a chart that I had to  check frequently.  Over the years Intuit has tried to make this easier, but I love having the reminder show up in red on your home page on Pay Liabilities – gives you 7 days’ notice.

QuickBooks 2018Secure Webmail

If you email invoices using webmail (like Gmail, Hotmail and Yahoo), Intuit upgraded from the “old” SMTP to the current industry standard Oauth 2.0.  Not exciting but very important!


Edit>Preferences>My Preferences>WebMail –

Check Use Enhanced Security and then log into your Intuit account. 

QuickBooks 2018Enhanced Inventory Reports – (not available in QuickBooks Pro)

In the past, some of the inventory reports have had very few options for customizing.  Now there are 3 inventory reports that let you decide which columns you want to see. Those reports are:

  1. Inventory Valuation Summary
  2. Inventory Stock Status by Item
  3. Assembly Shortage



Merge Multiple Vendors – available in QuickBooks Accountant and Enterprise

A common occurrence is to have the same vendor listed multiple times in your vendor list – for a variety of reasons.  Different users, variations of store names,…  Currently you can merge 2 vendor names into 1.  This new feature lets you merge up to 4 names at one time.

If you’re in the Accountant’s Edition, click on Accountant>Client Data Review>Merge Vendors

If you’re in Enterprise, click on Company>Accounting Tools> Merge Vendors.

  1. Type in the name (keep it short)
  2. Select the 2 to 4 you want to merge
  3. Choose the one you want to keep
  4. Be sure it has all the pertinent information
  5. Click on Merge

Note: Some names can’t be merged

  • Vendors with direct deposits
  • Federal/state tax agencies
  • Vendors with online transactions (does that mean downloads in bank feeds)

QuickBooks 2018

There are 2 more new features, specific to Platinum Enterprise but they’re big enough to warrant a separate article and many of you aren’t in platinum.

Should you upgrade? If these address some of your pain points, then determine how much your current work-around is costing – daily, weekly, annually – and that will help you determine whether or not to upgrade. Personally, I recommend waiting until at least one release patch (update) has come out, or wait until W-2’s and 1099’s are done.  Those of you working in 2015 QuickBooks, will definitely need to upgrade before the end of May if you want to continue downloading bank transactions, running payroll and processing credit card payments, to name a few.   And I’ll be sure to keep you up-to-date on any sales!  (I suspect there might be a Cyber Monday sale – Intuit has had those in previous years).

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Enterprise Makes Changes

The new QuickBooks has arrived and as typical of the start of a new product year, Intuit has used this time to make some changes.  For those of you using Enterprise, there may be one or more change that will affect you, so be sure to take a look.

  1. Subscription Only

Intuit has done away with their old support plan and moved to subscription only – this will affect many of you. For those of you on older plans, Intuit will automatically move you from your old plan to a new QuickBooks Desktop Enterprise Subscription Plan (annual payment only) UNLESS you let them know otherwise. You will NOT be losing any features or benefits.  However, that plan may NOT be your best deal. If you bought through us, chances are we know your renewal date and will be contacting you, but just in case, please contact our office so we can let you know if you’ll be affected, when, and what your options are.  Intuit has multiple plans and often promotions, so there’s a good chance I can find a better plan for you – including ongoing discounted pricing. I have helped many of my clients save money by moving them into the appropriate subscription plan – especially for those who run payroll in-house.

  1. Price Increase for Subscription Plans

Intuit is raising the price of QuickBooks Enterprise 10%. I will admit the increase is not a surprise –  Intuit has not raised their price on the subscription products since they were introduced in the fall of 2014. The increase will happen on your renewal date. If you contact our office, we can let you know when your Enterprise will renew and what your new price will be.

  1. Monthly payment plans increasing in November

In the past, there was no savings for paying annually vs monthly. As a result, many chose monthly since it was easier for cash flow purposes (especially for seasonal businesses) and spread the cost of the software over a year in your financials.   Just as many other subscription products charge more for monthly payment plans and offer a discount for paying annually, Intuit is now doing the same.  Starting in November, the increase for monthly will be 20% (that’s on top of the 10% increase for Enterprise for a total of 30%) – in essence, a finance charge for paying monthly.  Again, this will happen on your renewal date.  So, if you are paying monthly, let’s talk about your options BEFORE the increase.

  1. Mobile Scanning and Improved Sales Order Fulfillment

If inventory is important to you, you may really like this enhancement.  New in 2018, Intuit has beefed up the sales order fulfillment worksheet substantially and added the ability to scan barcodes wirelessly – great for moving inventory and picking for sales orders!  I will be writing more in-depth about this in upcoming weeks!

As usual, contact our office if you have any questions!

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QuickBooks Desktop vs QuickBooks Online

If you’re in a desktop version of QuickBooks (Pro/Premier/Enterprise) you may be wondering if it would be better to move to QuickBooks Online (QBO) so you have remote access and because 3rd party products are saying Desktop QuickBooks (QBDT) is going away.  With the new products just rolling out, I thought this would be good to discuss pros/cons – and my opinion ;-)

Yes, Intuit has put a heavy emphasis on QBO, but they still have many more desktop customers than online, so they aren’t going do desert them!  While Intuit thinks online is the way to go long-term and is spending a lot to continue to develop this product, they realize that their current online product doesn’t yet meet the needs of many of their customers, so they are still committed to adding new features and improvements for their desktop products.

If you’re on the fence as to which way you go, it’s wise to look at what the products have to offer BEFORE deciding.

So here’s the deal. Even though QuickBooks is part of the name, the online version of QB is VERY different from the desktop (2 different development teams) – just ask anyone who’s moved from one to the other! I’ve had a few tell me they tried QBO and went back to desktop!

QBO offers 24/7 access, no worries about updates or upgrades, automatic invoicing and bank downloads and a growing number of add-on apps.

However, with QBO, you pay a subscription PER company.  For some of you, that can add up!

If you’re in QBO you probably love the mobile access, but might be feeling some frustration with what you can’t do – especially when it comes to job costing.

  • While easy to access, QBO is not nearly as feature-rich as the desktop product – and may never be. In fact, Intuit (at least for right now), seems happy to focus on mostly on accounting in QBO and letting apps solve for the additional features/functionality you need.  So you may need to subscribe to additional apps – which means additional costs and having to learn another product – or 2 or 3 or ….
  • There will be a definite learning curve for all involved. Some have loved it, many have not!
  • For many of you, job costing is important, and Intuit is aware that QBO is NOT a good fit for those who need job costing.  I’ve seen Intuit partner with some 3rd party apps for job costing, but I recently saw they are starting to add some job cost features in the Plus level, albeit limited compared to desktop. These were in the “lab” last I saw, so not sure of a roll-out date and they got a loong wish list from us!  Here’s the list of what is in the lab:
    • o Projects (in the customer section)
    • o Budgets for projects.

o   You can have both a cost side for a product or service as well as an income side (especially useful if you invoice for time and materials).

I’m not sure just how much they’ll add for job costing vs letting 3rd party apps solve for issues, but will continue to monitor.

So what types of features would you miss if you move to QBO?

  • Group Items – This is a great feature in desktop that lets you pull in lots of items with only one click.  You can also have the detail for job costing purposes with an option to let the customer see the detail – or not (many of my clients love this feature and choose NOT to show the detail to the customer)
  • Fixed Asset List – QBDT has a nice Fixed Asset List (gives you detail without expanding your Chart of Accounts)
  • Price Levels – In QBDT, you can have automatic pricing based on customer or type of customer, but not in QBO
  • Estimates – In QBO, you can enter estimated price, but you can’t enter estimated costs in, so you lose the estimated vs actual reporting. In QBO you create a budget instead and the budget vs actual report will deal with costs, whereas in QBDT, you can see both estimated and actual costs and revenue in one report instead two.
  • Sales Orders There’s no sales order feature (which you can also use as a Work Order in QBDT).  In QBO, you can use an estimate template as a sales order, but since you can’t progress invoice, you can’t track back orders.  Also in QBDT, you can create sales orders from your Estimate, but not so in QBO
  • You can’t do progress invoicing, i.e. multiple invoices from one estimate.  (I would never recommend their suggested work-around – the risk of mistakes is too high!)
  • You can’t job cost your labor. This is huge for many of you.  Even if you can get the hours by job from a 3rd party product, QBO uses total hours only.  Nor can you “burden” your labor with payroll taxes, etc.   So you can’t run a report on a job, drill down the work done and find your true cost of labor (which is sooo easy in desktop QB).  Instead, you will have to find a way to get the information from your add-on product
  • You can’t run a job profitability detail report (which lets you see all the different services and materials),– but you can customize the Item Profitability report.  However, if you can’t allocate labor cost to jobs, you’ll miss out on a significant part of your job costs
  • You can’t see open PO’s totaled by customer:job
  • Reports – Currently there’s no group of job cost reports like you see in the desktop products. Not only are there fewer reports (65+ in QBO vs 100+ in QB Pro/Premier), there are fewer ways to customize reports.  And as I mentioned above, since the subscription is for only one company, you can’t run a combined financial for multiple companies.
  • Permissions aren’t very strong – an employee able to do payroll can also see your financial reports – yikes!   When you start having 3-5 people or more in your books, you definitely want to restrict who can see and/or do what.  Enterprise is by far the best at controlling access.
  • Backups – Intuit does keep your QBO backed up, but you can’t select a specific backup to restore if there are any problems.  Likewise, you can’t manually backup QBO and have your own copy or decide to restore a backup.  So if there was a major problem that happened as a result of an incorrect integration with a product or a bookkeeper making a massive mistake (either accidentally or deliberately), you don’t have a backup to restore like you do with the desktop product. While you can export the data out, it’s not in a ready-to-go format that you could use in desktop QB.
  • While you get the ease of remote access, you miss out on some other time-saving features available in desktop QuickBooks. Here’s a chart comparing the availability of some time-saving features in QBQuickBooks

For a more complete list, you can download my QB Feature Comparison Chart from this link.

So what are your options?  Personally, I still recommend the desktop versions of QuickBooks for anyone who wants job costing.  For remote access, here are some options:

  • You can use a product like GoToMyPC or LogMeIn and remote into your computer.
  • There are Intuit-approved companies who will “store” (host) your QuickBooks and data; this gives you remote access plus the ability to use QB Pro/Premier or Enterprise.  You pay per month per user to access the remote server in addition to your software.
  • Many 3rd party products work remotely, solving for your “need” and integrate with desktop QuickBooks. They tend to be either task-specific (e.g. time tracking) or industry-specific.  Method is probably the product that give you the most flexibility for remote access without being industry specific.
  • Enterprise can run in a “Remote Desktop” environment.  In this setup, both the software and the data are on the server, so you just log into the server.  In a traditional network environment, the software is on your computer and the data is on the server.  The Remote Desktop servers have to be more powerful than traditional servers because everyone is using both software and data, but they can be really nice when you have people working remotely or in different locations.

If you still opt for QBO, just realize that you may need to find one or more products to integrate with QuickBooks or have work-arounds so you can do all that you need or maybe decide to do without.  Contact me if you want to discuss more or would like to see our discounted pricing on the QuickBooks products.

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Tracking Use Tax

If you have to collect sales tax, then chances are your report form asks you about use tax.  Use tax is a sales tax on purchases taxable in your state but for which you were not charged. An example would be if you ordered office supplies from Amazon and you weren’t charged sales tax, but if you had purchased from your local office supply store, you would have paid the tax.  You see this more often when you make out of state purchases, but you might find that a local supplier didn’t charge you sales tax, so you need to check.  I’ve had landscape clients go through sales & use tax audits and often the auditor will find taxable purchases with no sales tax so the state wants the use tax.

Check with your accountant for what’s taxable and what is not. This varies by state, and sometimes by use. For instance,

  • Downloadable software is taxable in some states, but not others
  • Mulch might be taxable when used one way (e.g. for maintenance) but not taxable in design/build projects.

It’s easier to keep up with tracking as you go along, rather than waiting until the end of the report period, especially if you pay quarterly.  So here are the steps to simplify your reporting.

  1. Use TaxSetup a Use Tax Payable account – this is an Other Current Liability account
  2. When you make a purchase (bill, credit card charge, etc.), review the purchase to see if
    1. The item(s) is taxable
    2. If sales tax was charged (you might be surprised at who charges and who doesn’t!)
  3. If the item is taxable but no tax was charged, then you want to track Use Tax
    1. Calculate the sales tax and add to the cost of the item
    2. On the next line, subtract the new cost from what you paid, and that’s your use tax
    3. In the example below, the company paid $66.50 for office supplies. These would be taxable in this particular state, but no tax was charged.  So the $3.99 was added to the cost of the item and the 3.99 “deduction” puts 3.99 in the Use Tax Payable account.
    4. It’s up to you whether or not you want to add a note in the memo field letting you know if you paid sales tax or added use tax for report purposes.

Use Tax

Just like other balance sheet accounts, the Use Tax Payable account will have a running balance.

At the end of your tax reporting period, you can move the amount in the use tax payable account (for that period) to your sales tax payable account

  • If you create a journal entry,
    • Debit Use Tax Payable and credit Sales Tax Payable (and list your sales tax agency in the Name field)
    • Set the date to the last date in the report period (e.g. 3/31 for a report period that ends in March)
  • Or if you don’t like or understand journal entries, then
    • Go into the Use Tax Payable register
    • Enter your date
    • Put the amount of use tax you owe in the decrease column and save/record.
    • If you right-click on the transaction you just created, you’ll see the journal entry and you can add the tax agency in the Name column.

You can either run a balance sheet report, double-click on Use Tax Payable and change the date range or you can create and memorize a report for Use Tax.

  1. Click on Reports>Custom Reports>Transaction DetailUse Tax
  2. On the Display tab,
    1. select your date range (e.g. Last Month, Last Fiscal Quarter)
    2. Select the columns you want to see
    3. Total by: you might want to total by Name or by Month (if more than 1 month) or just Total Only
    4. Sort by – You might want date or Name or Memo….
  3. On the Filter tab,
    1. Select Use Tax Payable from Account
    2. Choose your date range if not already done. I recommend using the drop-down dates instead of manually keying in the dates!

Use Tax

  1. On the Header Tab, name your reportUse Tax
  2. Run your report and then tweak as needed.
  3. Once you have the format you like, then Memorize!

Going forward, tracking Use Tax Payable will hopefully be much easier!  Let us know if you need any help with this.

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Cash flow tools in QuickBooks

Many businesses find that sales are sometimes slower in July and/or August- spring projects are complete, people are on vacation… That can mean a slowdown in cash flow.  Here are 5 tools in QuickBooks that can help you monitor your cash flow.

  1. Cash Flow Forecast (Reports>Company & Financial) – This assumes your customers pay timely as do you. While that may not always be the case, this is a quick tool.  If you don’t enter your payables, this report will give you a very lopsided projected balance!Cash Flow
  2. Cash Flow Projector (Company>Planning & Budgeting). Most businesses find fluctuations in their cash flow, so this tool lets you account for known income or expenses you expect in the 6 weeks that might be out of the norm (e.g. quarterly insurance payment, big deposit for a new job starting…).Cash FlowCash FlowCash Flow
  3. Balance Sheet Ratios – I find many businesses ignore reviewing their balance sheet and think it’s not useful, but it can very helpful in many ways, including warnings about heading into tough financial situations if you’re not careful! You can take a quick look to see how your cash balance and receivables compare to payables and debt.  But there are two ratios you can easily get from your balance sheet that are worth reviewing.  Your accountant can help you determine if yours is healthy and/or similar to others in your industry.
    1. Current Ratio – How easily can you pay your debts? For a true picture, you will want to include the “current portion of long-term debt”. In other words, if you have 4 years left on a loan, move 12 months of principle from long-term liability to current liability.  (Your accountant or lending institution could help you determine this number if you need assistance.) This can be a substantial dollar amount depending on the number and size of your loans.  But even if you don’t do this, it can still be a good eye opener.  Simply divide your Total Current Assets by your Total Current Liabilities (both shown in blue below).  In this example, you would take 201,064 divided by 33,545.
    2. Debt Ratio – What percentage of your business is financed by debt? To get this ratio, divide Total Liabilities (debt) by Total Assets, both shown in red below. In the example below, you would take 420,512 divided by 201,064.Cash Flow
  4. Income Tracker – The Income Tracker focuses on money coming in using your “sales” tools – open estimates and sales orders (indicating future sales). Unbilled time and expenses suggesting you need to invoice! And then you view Open Invoices, past due Invoices and recent payments.   If you don’t see the icon on your toolbar, it can be found in the Customer menu.Cash Flow
  5. The Company Snapshot – Still one of my favorite features in QuickBooks. You can check on payables (very important for cash flow), receivables, account balances, reminders, trends in income and expenses and much more – all in one You can choose from 12 possible reports, organize them any way you want and choose the time frame from the drop-down menu (no custom dates). Past due invoices and bills show up in red, making it easy to pick them out.  You can even print the snapshot.  You can also click on the payments tab to see who’s paid you recently.  If you don’t see this on your toolbar, you can find it in the Company menu.Cash Flow

Hopefully you’re cash flow is in good shape, but these tools can be very useful.  I’d love to hear which one(s) you like best!



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