Want to Know More? Using Custom Fields (Part 1)

Is there more information you’d like to track about your customers, vendors or employees?  Have you tried to collect data? One of the most powerful yet under-utilized tools in QuickBooks is Custom Fields.   You can use Custom Fields for customers, vendors, employees and items (I’ll discuss items in another blog). 

For customers,  you might want to know how they found out about your company  (such as newspaper, radio, flyer, referral),  their birthday, favorite team, favorite product, region, type of car, pet, and so on.  For vendors, maybe you want their website,  area of expertise,  or product line.  For employees, maybe you want to have their contact name and  phone number, date of last raise, date I-9 expires, etc.  In Enterprise, the employee organizer is included and you’ll notice that there are many more fields already there for you to use.

When using Custom Fields in Enterprise, you have a few more options than you would with Pro and Premier, such as:

  • With 2010, you can have up to a total of 30 Custom Fields for customer/vendor/employees.
  • Custom Fields can be required, which guarantees that employees fill in certain data.
  • You can specify the type of data. This is a huge benefit for owners who use Custom Fields.  You can even have a drop-down list so employees can simply choose from a set list.  This eliminates inconsistent data entry. Just think of how many ways a person can enter a date,  phone number, or name.  Any time the data is entered differently, it’s treated as a different  entry. Drop-down lists ensure uniformity so that data is not entered in different ways.

To create a Custom Field, click on the Additional Info tab, click on Define. Type in the name you  to appear on the label for the  custom field (e.g. birthday).  Click which list this is for (customer, vendor, employee); you can use it for all three.

Once you create Custom Fields, you can use them in transactional documents (such as sales orders, invoices) and reports.   

  • If the data is entered in the customer/vendor record, then when you add that field to an invoice, sales order or purchase order, the data will automatically fill in.  (If you enter that information when creating the document, it will not be stored with the customer/vendor record.
  • You can use Custom Fields in the headers of invoices, purchase orders, sales orders, or as a column for the body of the document.  What I usually recommend is using Custom Fields for customers and vendors at the top of the document and Custom Fields for items in the body.
  • When used in actual transactions, such as invoices and sales receipts, you can get additional sales data in reports.  So, if “region” was a Custom Field for your customer and it was used it on the header of an invoice, you could generate a report that breaks down sales by region reports.
  • When used in customer/vendor/employee records, you can pull in the Custom Fields on list reports. 

Let me know if you have any problems using the Custom Fields.

So what information would be helpful for you to track?  I’m always interested in hearing the different ways businesses use QuickBooks.

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