A Few of My Favorite Features in QuickBooks

There are many features I like in QuickBooks, guess that’s why I support the software!  But I find when I’m with new clients who have been using QuickBooks for a while or clients who are upgrading, I always like to share a few of the features I like either as a business owner or from a timesaving bookkeeping perspective.  So here’s my list:

The Company Snapshot – it’s all here in 1 place!  My account balances, payables, receivables (in red if late so it jumps at you), upcoming (like sales tax), and graphs.  As they say, a picture can paint a thousand words. I love the ability to see trends for this year or compared to previous years, or visually see the percent of sales from a product or service or where the biggest chunk of my expenses is.  For busy business owners, you can look at this quickly and then move on with your day.  Doesn’t mean you ignore your other reports, but you aren’t going to run lots of reports daily, so it’s a great 1-stop page.

A relatively new feature is to see the Overdue or Days Overdue in the Customer Center. What’s nice is the Overdue is a color icon so you can quickly see who’s almost due (this is a feature you can customize in the preferences) and then seeing the corresponding days overdue.

Reports – I dabbled in MS Access years ago (hated it), but it gives me an appreciation of just how easy it is to customize the reports in QuickBooks. And for all the years I’ve been in the software, I keep finding additional ways to see data – either for me or a clients – and it’s so easy.  I’ll admit I do have clients that need reporting QuickBooks can’t do, but I’m just amazed at how much can be done in QuickBooks.  And, I take it a couple steps further.  Once the report is customized, I memorize and place it in a group (and maybe even on my toolbar). I have created groups of reports (such as weekly, monthly, quarterly, project) so I can quickly run a group of reports.

Memorized transactions – This is a great timesaver for some businesses and there are so many types and reasons for memorizing; even (or especially) somewhat complex transactions, change the numbers if you need, but the hard part’s been done.  Between clients and myself, I’ve memorized estimates, invoices, sales receipts, journal entries, bills, automatic deductions/charges and probably more.  If the memorized transaction list gets long, you can create groups to organize them. Depending on the nature of the transactions in the group, you might be able to double-click on the group and run all the transactions in the group at once – I have clients whose customers pay the same amount each month so this is a great way to produce multiple invoices at once.

Custom Fields – I used to overlook this feature, or not do much with it, but after working with a business coach, I find there is more I want to track about my clients, products, and services, so custom fields help me do that.  If I pull them in on the invoice, I can get sales information – great for refining niche areas to pursue – or drop.  If information is in a custom field, I can pull it into a transaction, onto a report, sort, or filter – much more useful than buried in notes or descriptions. I work in Enterprise which gives me the ability to create custom drop-down lists. This makes the data entry more uniform so whether I’m filtering or sorting on a custom field, it’s much easier. (Just think how many different ways there are to enter dates – that gives you an idea of why controlling the information is helpful)

Type – I have been using types for quite awhile now. It started when I was filling out surveys and applications with Intuit and they were asking me the percentages of my clients in certain industries. So, as you might imagine, I track industries and I use the Customer Type (and subtypes) to do that. Then it’s real easy to get a Sales by Customer Type report.

Find – Doesn’t matter who it is – a client or my own books. I can’t tell you how often I use the Find feature and it searches sooo much faster than I ever could. I’m a keystroke person (guess I got that from my DOS days) so Ctrl-F and I’m in the Find screen. I keep finding additional ways to filter what I’m looking for.  Amount is probably still the most common, but another one I use often is Entered/Modified; this is great when you gave the transaction one date other than today’s date).  By using today’s date for Entered/modified, you can find the transaction no matter what date you gave it.  I could do a whole session on nothing but different ways I search when I’m looking!

I could go on with features that I like and use frequently, but I’ll stop here.  I’d love to hear what your favorite feature is!

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