Filter to Find What You Want

QuickBooks makes it easy to find information with their Filters.  A filter simply limits what you see (i.e. filters out what you don’t want) so you see only what you want to see.   Both the Find Feature and reports in QuickBooks use Filters. So once you know how to use filters in one place, you can use them elsewhere. 

Perhaps you’re having problems reconciling the bank account and you’re off by a $500. Click on Edit>Find

Don’t let the word Advanced scare you off!  Click on Amount, then click the circle by = and type 500 in the box.  Notice on the right, QuickBooks is listing your current Filters/choices.  (Posting status refers to whether or not it affects your financial statements.  Estimates, Sales/work orders, Purchase Order are “non-posting”, i.e. they don’t affect your P & L or your Balance Sheet or other financial reports.)  QuickBooks very quickly finds all the transactions that meet your criteria.  It’s great when you see only a couple transactions.  But sometimes you’ll get a long list and will want to narrow it down some.   

Perhaps you know that it’s from last month or you know it’s a payment and not an invoice. So if you scroll through the list of filters, you’ll see Date (in image below) and Transaction Type (in image on the right).





So in this example, I selected last month for Date and Bill Payment for Transaction Type.  Now my list is much shorter.  (Don’t panic – this example lists only 1 transaction but shows “twice” because there are 2 sides to every accounting transaction).

Other filters I frequently use in the Find feature are Account, Class and Entered/Modified.   Perhaps I entered or modified a transaction today, but dated it the beginning of the month or some other date. This way I don’t need to know the actual date of the transaction – simply the date I created it!

You might find there are times when you want more than one filter in a given category.  Using the bill payment above, perhaps I want to see bills paid by check or credit card.  By clicking Multiple, I can choose more than one

I’ve used the Find feature to create reports, and if you go to modify a report, notice you’ll have access to the same set of filters!   So maybe I want to see a list of bills that I clicked to pay but have not printed the checks yet.   Here’s what QuickBooks found. Notice you can click on Report or Export on the right.

So now that you’ve seen Filters, here are the filters to some common reports you run:

Now it’s your turn!  What do you want to find?

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Better Business Decisions by Customizing QuickBooks’ Reports

Whether you’re a contractor, wholesaler, non-profit or some other service professional, reports are crucial to monitoring your cash flow and profitability.  When I work with clients, I often recommend changes in their setup and changes in their data entry.  While part of this is to help them save time, the other reason is to help them get the reports they need in QuickBooks instead of using data from a variety of places and then using Excel or a calculator to get their final numbers.  Once changes are made, then there are reports in QuickBooks that are just a click or two away. And, these reports can help them make better estimates and business decisions going forward. 

Customizing ReportsOften, to get the information you need, you need to customize an existing QuickBooks report.  One of the aspects I like about QuickBooks is the ease of customizing reports. (And having dabbled in Microsoft Access years ago, I’m amazed at how easy QuickBooks makes this!)  You’ll find that the more you customize, the more tricks you will pick up helping you get all sorts of reports you didn’t know you could get!  

Types of Reports:

There are two basic types of reports –

  1. Summary (i.e. has totals like your Profit & Loss, A/R aging summary) and
  2. Transaction detail (which shows the detail behind the totals such as P & L Detail).

If you’re new to customizing, don’t worry if you think you’re not ready to differentiate.  Just realize that will explain some of the differences in which display options you’ll have.

When you run a report, then click on Customize Report, you’ll see 4 tabs

Customizing Reports

  • Display options let you specify the columns you want to appear in your report. Note that you can add subcolumns and change your sorting. If you’ve never done much more than change your date range, take the time to change the columns across the top, try some of the subcolumns, and be bold and even check out the Advanced button (trust me – it’s not too advanced for you)! Other options here include how your data should be totaled. Some reports let you choose between cash and accrual basis.

Customizing Reports

Customizing ReportsIf you’re in QuickBooks 2018 or 2019, it’s right on the report page (which personally I really like)


The Modify Report screen capture for the P & L above is from a “summary” report while the one below is from a detail report.  Notice you have more columns from which to choose in a detail report.

Customizing Reports

  • Filters let you be more selective as to which data you see (i.e. they filter for only what you want to see).  This is the tool that will provide the most insight. You can pick & choose classes, types of transactions, names, types, Items, etc.  If you’ve never really taken a look at the different filters, I encourage you to do so; you’ll be amazed at what all is in that list.  If you use the “multiple” feature, you can then choose more than one (e.g. class as shown below).

Customizing Reports

Another way to begin to be more comfortable in this screen is to take a look at some of the reports that come with QuickBooks and see how they’ve used filters. The more you try some of the filters, the more comfort you’ll have in this screen and you can then start to really tweak reports.  

  • Header/Footer – What I like best about this section is that I can name my report so that when it prints, it’s not using the name QuickBooks gave it – which can be very helpful if you’ve customized your report much.  And even more so if it’s a report you need to give someone or memorize.

Customizing Reports

  • Fonts & Numbers This section is probably used more often by my accounting friends, but if you’ve never looked at this screen, do take a quick look to see if you want to make any changes, like how negative numbers appear or whether or not you see cents.

Customizing Reports

Memorize!  If this is a report you will want to run again, then memorize it so you don’t have to recreate what you did and you can get your information faster next time! One tip on memorizing: as much as possible, use the dates from the drop-down date menu; this way, the report will “roll forward” with you. When you key in the actual dates and memorize, QuickBooks thinks you always want to see those same exact dates, and unless you do, you’ll always have to redo the dates.

Customizing ReportsComment? Do you ever find you need to explain (or ask) about particular numbers on a report?  Try the Comment button (new a couple years ago) right next to the Customize Button. 

After you click on comment, you’ll see little boxes appear next to each one.   

Customizing Reports

Simply click on the box next to the number you want to comment on and a box will appear for you to type your comment.  Notice that is has a number next to it so if you have multiple comments, there’s a way to reference.

Customizing Reports

With your custom reports (and other QuickBooks reports), you can spot cash flow problems, see which jobs are the most profitable, compare your estimates to actual costs, and maintain the right inventory levels. You’ll also be able to identify your best customers and your most sought-after products and services. Customizing your reports and analyzing your data will make the answers to your questions about your company’s future direction much clearer. Let us know if you need help customizing or creating your reports.

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Estimated vs Actual Hours

How did the actual time on the job compare to what you estimated?  That’s one of the big things you want do know, right? If job costs run over, it’s usually in the area of labor, not materials.  It’s been a report I’ve wanted to see for a long time. And wouldn’t you know, I found it, accidentally, so I have no idea how long it’s been there! So even us “pros” still learn ;-) 

This is for those who use a desktop version of QuickBooks (Pro/Premier/Enterprise) AND enter the time spent on jobs in QuickBooks (you either use Enhanced Payroll or Assisted Payroll or if you outsource payroll, you have the manual payroll turned on) Anyhow, here’s how you create it.

  1. First, the estimated number of hours needs to be on your estimate in QuickBooks.
    estimated vs actual hours
  2. Then, run the Jobs by Time Summary Report or the Time by Item Report
  3. Customize the report to include Estimate hours
    estimated vs actual hours
    estimated vs actual hoursestimated vs actual hours

And there you have it!

If this is  a report you will run often, memorize it, maybe even put it on your QuickBooks toolbar. Then next time it’s easy to change the customer:job or date range if need be.

If you want to see this in video form, here’s your link.

Let us know if you have questions or want some help with this.

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Margin vs Markup

Many of you create estimates for jobs with the idea of achieving a certain profit, often as a percentage.

When reviewing the job cost reports in QuickBooks and turning on the %, it’s important to know just what percentage you see in the report.  Where this really jumps out is comparing the P & L for a particular job to the Job Profitability Detail report. You’ve probably noticed these percentages are not the same.  I must admit to sometimes being a little dense but one day the light bulb went on and I realized just what each was measuring.

If you use the estimate in QuickBooks (even if it was created in an add-on product and then imported into QuickBooks), you can turn on the markup column.  This simply means you will mark your costs up by a certain dollar amount or percentage with the goal of achieving a certain profit, often thought of in percentages (profit margin). In other words, you mark your costs up to achieve a certain profit margin

Some add-on products focus on the profit margin but when you look at the estimate in QuickBooks, there’s no column for profit margin – only markup.  

When you run the P & L for a particular job and turn on percentages, you will see your profit margin percent.  However, when you the Job Profitability Detail report and turn on percentages, that is the percent you marked your costs up to hopefully achieve your profit margin.  Both are useful in helping you estimate future projects.  

So next time you run your job cost reports and click on Customize to add the %, take the time to compare the differences between the two reports. I think you’ll find that both reports will guide you in your future estimates.  If you have any questions, please be sure to reach out!

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Reports to Monitor Job Costs

You may be in the middle of your mad rush or just extremely busy right now. Either way, you have jobs in progress or already completed so it’s worth knowing just what job costing data you can pull from QuickBooks. Here are a few job cost reports to help you monitor your progress and profitability – perhaps some you didn’t know existed!

  • Estimated vs Actual – I’m a big proponent of some version of your estimate being in QuickBooks because the rest of your data is there. Why not be able to look at your reporting in one place?  Found in the Jobs, Time & Mileage reports
    Job Cost Reports
  • Expenses Not Assigned to Jobs – When I was doing the books for a landscaper, bills would come in and I wouldn’t know which jobs they were for so I had to wait to ask someone. But what if I forgot to ask?? This report helps ensure that all costs that are to be costed to a job, are. (Not all expenses are job related, like rent and advertising.) The last thing you want is to find out after you invoiced your customer that some billable costs were missed. This report is found in the contractor reports in Premier and Enterprise.
    Job Cost Reports
  • Billed/Unbilled Once the work is done, you want to get those invoices out the door! Here are a few reports to help you review.
    • By Person and Job (found in the contractor reports in Premier and Enterprise) –This helps you monitor your billable labor costs.
      Job Cost Reports
  • Unbilled Costs (found in Jobs, Time & Mileage reports) helps you track your unbilled costs – important for Time & Material invoicing!
    Job Cost Reports
  • Job Progress Invoices vs Estimates (found in Jobs, Time & Mileage reports)- When you do contract pricing, this lets you see if you are up to date for invoicing on the project.
    Job Cost Reports
  • Open Work Orders (Work Orders are Sales Orders in QuickBooks, found in the Sales reports in Premier and Enterprise) – Just as you can invoice off an Estimate, you can invoice off a work order. Open Work Orders means you haven’t invoiced your customer yet – or at least not entirely.
    Job Cost Reports
  • Cost to Complete – for your larger projects, this report helps you see if you will still come in at or under your original costs. YOU decide how far you are on the project – 10%, 50%, etc.  Then based on your estimate, your actual costs to date and the percentages you enter for the different tasks, this report calculates your cost to complete the job and whether you are over or under your estimate. This is a report where negatives numbers can be a good thing!  (FYI – lately there have been issues with this report.  If this report does not work for you, let us know and please click on Help>Send Feedback Online>Bug Report. Intuit is aware this report has had problems but the more people they hear from, the higher it moves up their “to-fix” list.)
    Job Cost Reports
  • Committed Costs – An Enterprise report found in Jobs, Time and Mileage, this will pull in your open Purchase orders, Item receipts and unpaid wages (if you use Basic, Enhanced or Assisted Payroll), which are costs that don’t show in the Cost to Complete report. Very helpful for monitoring large projects.
    Job Cost Reports
  • Work in Progress (WIP) – Many of you with larger projects track WIP. For some, you can’t invoice or run reports until you have these numbers.  If you are in QuickBooks Pro or Premier, you’ll have to run a couple reports, export to Excel to calculate (or maybe you already have some elaborate spreadsheet). Depending on the number of job, this can be a time-consuming project.  But with Enterprise, it just takes a few seconds! Found in Jobs, Time and Mileage reports.  This might even be worth bumping up to Enterprise. (We can help you price so you can decide – just let us know.)
    Job Cost Reports
  • Job Profitability Detail – I prefer this to the P & L by Job because I like to keep the Chart of Accounts simple and have the detail in the Items list, which is the basis for this report. This is probably not an under-used report, but an easy one to point out a common issue.
    Job Cost Reports

If you see No Item followed by a number (especially if it’s thousands or tens of thousands), then you have a data entry error and possibly a setup error as well.

If you have to rely on spreadsheets, it could be because you either don’t know about some of these reports or something in your setup isn’t right and therefore the reports aren’t providing useful information.  Our Common Costly Mistakes report covers the main mistakes people make in setup.  Let us know if you don’t have that report.

So what report(s) have you missed out on that would be beneficial?

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5 Ways to See Key Reporting with QuickBooks

Let’s face it – you’re busy, you have information you need to see, but don’t want to spend all day getting it.  Especially during your busy season!

First, decide what information you want to see. Such as Accounts/Receivable, Accounts /Payable, bank balances, Profit and Loss, Balance Sheet, job costs, payroll…  If you customize, by all means memorize the report so you don’t have to keep customizing every time you run the report.

Second, how often do you need to see the report (s) – daily, weekly, monthly quarterly, after project, during project?

Here are 5 ways you can view multiple reports quickly.

  1. The Company Snapshot – Still one of my favorite features in QuickBooks. You can check on payables, receivables, account balances, see trends in income and expenses, reminders 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.  Click here to see how to customize your snapshot


  1. Trackers – While I love the Company Snapshot, Intuit has been putting their energies into the trackers.
    • Income Tracker – What I like about the Income Tracker is the ability to see open Estimates and Sales Orders in addition to Open Invoices and Overdue Invoices – all with total dollar amounts! Starting with 2015, they added unbilled time and expense. Seeing those numbers will get some people moving!


    • Bill Tracker – New in 2016 was the Bill Tracker. Like the Income Tracker, you can do 1 action on multiple transactions at one time


Click here to see how you can customize the trackers

  1. Put your report(s) on your toolbar. While I’m a firm believer that all QuickBooks users should have their own login information for security reasons, another benefit is that you can customize QuickBooks to suit your personal preferences – including what’s on the toolbar.  So if you have a report you want to see frequently, click on View>Add (and it will list the name of the report), then give it a name (I recommend keeping the name short). Next time you want to review that information, it’s simply a click away!


Click here to see how to work with reports on your toolbar

  1. Process Multiple Reports – Run several reports at one time. You can click on Reports>Process Multiple Reports then choose the reports and dates. Guaranteed this is faster than you doing these reports individually.


Click here if you’d like to see this in action.

  1. reportsRun a Group of reports. This is definitely a very powerful timesaver in 2 ways. First you save time because you simply double-click on the Group to run a whole bunch of reports instead of individual reports one at a time (Reports>Memorized Report list)

Second, Groups help you organize your reports so you can find reports more easily. How many of you have a ton of reports, all with similar names and you don’t know which one you need to you use so you create another?!

When you run/create a report, save the report to a Group.  Some Group ideas could be weekly, monthly, quarterly, during a project/job, after a job, open orders… you get the idea

Click here to see how to create and use groups

  1. Bonus: If you have multiple companies and use QuickBooks Enterprise Solutions, Combine Reports from Multiple Company (Reports>Combine Reports from Multiple Companies). Then select the company files, the reports, date range, etc.  Your reports will appear in Excel with columns for each company.  Since the chart of accounts is often different between the two companies, having the software create the spreadsheet for you is a huge timesaver. 


So don’t spend more time than you need to see your reporting.   Get the information you need so you stay on top of your business, sales, jobs and head out the door sooner, be it for work – or fun!

I’d love to hear which of these you implement and how it helps you.

Posted in Business Finance, Cash Flow, Features, Job Costing, Power Tips, QuickBooks | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Tracking Vehicle and Equipment Costs

If you’re a contractor, one of the important factors in estimating costs is recouping equipment & vehicle costs. It’s simpler when it’s used for only 1 job or one type of job, but when it’s used frequently for a variety of purposes, it can be tougher.   I’ve seen a variety of techniques – some have worksheets, some ask their accountants or peers, some use QuickBooks classes, and some just guesstimate.  There are 2 parts to equipment costs for jobs – what you need to cover for the cost of ownership for this piece of equipment (or vehicle or trailer) and how much it cost to use it on the job.  Today let’s look at a way that might be useful in tracking the actual costs of you have a better idea in the future how to estimate.

Chances are, you have these costs in your books, but they’re scattered – depreciation in one place, insurance in another, maintenance & repairs somewhere else. That can make it tough to gather all that information to say here are your costs.

First, you can take advantage (if you haven’t already) of using the Fixed Asset Item List so at least you have 1 place where you can see all your individual fixed assets.

equipment costWhen purchasing the item, choose the Items tab on the check, credit card charge or bill and then type in the name of the equipment or vehicle.

equipment cost

When asked what type of item, select Fixed Asset and you’ll see this screen

equipment cost

You can even get reports on them

equipment cost

Now to tracking costs.  Here’s an idea that has worked for some of my clients. 

  1. Treat them as “jobs” (or sub-customer if you use QuickBooks Online) of a customer called Equipment or Vehicles. List each one you want to track.

equipment cost

  1. As get bills, write checks or have credit card charges, use Account (or Item) you want (e.g. repairs & maintenance, registration, insurance, interest…) and select the specific vehicle or piece of equipment for the customer:job.

equipment cost

  1. Then you can run reports like P & L by Job or Job Profitability Summary report for your equipment & vehicles.
    equipment cost
    • Assuming you want to view more than one “job”,
      • Click on Customize
      • Click on the Filters Tab
      • Scroll down to Name and select Multiple names…

equipment cost

Either type the name you want or scroll down and select the “names” you want

equipment cost

Would love to hear if you decide to use this method, and if so, how you like it.  Let me know if you have any questions or need assistance.

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Save Time with Mobile Products

With today’s technology, we’re able to do so much more by web and smart devices.  You can save time (and not worry about forgetting), if you can jot down notes or handle details quickly.  However, for many, QuickBooks is still in the office.  When looking at add-on products, BE SURE to check which version(s) of QuickBooks they integrate with as well as just what syncs (and what does not). So here are some task-specific products that work with QuickBooks you can use away from the office saving you time and sanity!  

Mobile Lead Tracking (CRM)

mobileUse your smartphone to enter new leads or to add notes when you’re meeting with them with Method CRM. This is a product I use, too. You can assign tasks to staff and have reminders sent out.  You can easily look at a list of leads and opportunities when away from the office.  If a lead becomes a customer, with a click of a button you can sync with QuickBooks!  – free 30-day trial 

Industry-specific products also often have a CRM component to them.  Some that my landscape clients use include CLIP, HindSite, LMN, and Service AutoPilot.

Mobile Invoicing

  • Method CRM – With Method CRM, you can also invoice from your phone, tablet. You can use the customized invoice templates you have in QuickBooks. You can also check on customer balances. free 30-day trial
  • Bill & Pay– I love Bill & Pay (as do a few of my clients)  for many reasons (integration with QuickBooks is one), but it does so much more.
    • You can access Bill and Pay from the web (from a tablet or laptop, but probably not good with your smartphone) or from the Bill & Pay Desktop Manager. You can create invoices in Bill & Pay that will later sync with QuickBooks, which is great for when you’re not in your office or in QuickBooks but want to get an invoice out the door! Bill & Pay also has an auto-reminder for almost due and past due invoices, which definitely help saves you time with collect.
    • Your customers can pay you from their mobile devices. AND, they can pay without creating an account. However, if they do set up an account, they can then see their payment history as well as pay multiple invoices with just 1 payment. Click here for more information on this product and free trial.  Be sure to use my invitation code muirassoc.

Mobile Payments

mobileIntuit Payments has the best integration with QuickBooks (making bank reconciliations easier), NO contract and has made lots of changes to their pricing so I always suggest trying Intuit before going elsewhere.  You get lower rates when you go through us rather than contacting Intuit directly, so let us know if you want to give it a try.

With Intuit payments, you can process checks (ACH) or credit cards.  And using their GoPayment (included with your payment account), you can swipe the card with your smartphone or tablet (no waiting for the “check is in the mail”) and you get the lower credit card processing rate. Click here to see how it works

Or you can access your merchant account online to charge a customer’s credit card or their check information.

As a ProAdvisor and Premier Reseller, we’re able to get our clients lower rates with Intuit’s merchant services than if you contact Intuit directly. We can also help you get it setup and show you how to use it if you need.

Mobile Time Tracking

Having entered timesheets for landscape crews years ago, I can’t stress enough just how much time is involved when you do it manually vs. using mobile time tracking – not to mention that you prevent time theft (whether intentional or not).  So, it’s definitely worth your time to check out your options.

There are lots of products out on the market nowadays that integrate with QuickBooks. Often industry-specific works best because they understand your needs and how your employees work.  Industry-specific often includes other features, like CRM, estimating, scheduling and additional reports.  Some that my landscape clients use include CLIP, HindSite, LMN, and Service AutoPilot.

If you’re not ready to sign up for industry specific, then at least for the short-term, take a look at TSheets – they have a 14-day free trial (let me know so I can get that moved to 30 days so you don’t spend you trial just getting setup) and you get a 10% discount off your first year when you go through Muir & Associates.  Be sure to use my invitation code muirassoc if you decide to try TSheets, so you save on your first year

If you have questions about these products or wish I discussed other mobile products, let me know!  So what are you doing out in the field that you have to wait to enter until you get to the office?  Perhaps there’s a solution for you.



Posted in Business Finance, Credit Card Processing, Productivity Tips, QuickBooks, Remote Access | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Going Mobile with QuickBooks

Do you need mobile access to estimates or customer payment information?  Or do you have staff in multiple locations who need remote access to QuickBooks? I frequently get requests from clients who want or need to access their QuickBooks remotely.  I thought I’d share some options with you.

Remote into your computer.  GoToMyPC, LogMeIn and TeamViewer are the most popular. This way, you can use a desktop version of QuickBooks (Pro, Premier or Enterprise), while accessing remotely. You have access to your other software on the computer, so this is a popular option for those out of the office. Because you literally take control of a computer, the computer must be left on.  If more than one person needs access to the same computer, this doesn’t always work well.  If you are in an office environment, then you need to determine if there’s a risk of someone seeing you work on your computer remotely.  If you still decide to use it, I recommend having a Windows password, logging out of Windows AND turning off your monitor(s)!

QBox is a way to share your QuickBooks file over the Internet (securely). Whoever is currently working in QB, locks the others out.  When you are done, Qbox syncs the changes and releases the lock automatically so another user can acquire the lock to make changes. Not a solution if you need more than one person in at a time, but if you don’t, you might take a look. 

QuickBooks Online (QBO) – This product is constantly evolving and definitely growing in popularity.  As long as you have Internet access, you can work in the data file and have multiple users. You’re always in the most current version and someone else takes care of the backups. You pay a monthly fee. Still not nearly as feature-rich as the desktop and falls short for job costing (no job cost reports and you can’t job cost labor) and inventory.  For now, Intuit is keeping QBO accounting focused and relying on add-on products for other needs, so you might pay more.  Also, the subscription is per company, so if you have more than one company, you’ll need more than one subscription.  If you’re currently in a desktop version of QuickBooks, please note that the online version looks and acts very differently (2 different product development teams). Some have been okay with the transition, some have loved it and others hated it so much they moved back to desktop.  If you use an add-on product (or plan to), find out which version of QuickBooks the product works with, if they work with both desktop and online, BE SURE to find out the differences.

Hosted Solution – Similar in some respects to QBO in that your QuickBooks software and data reside on a remote server, but the difference is that you can use a desktop version of QuickBooks. So, you get the flexibility of Online QuickBooks but the additional functionality of the desktop QuickBooks! If you already own QuickBooks, then your license is used. If you don’t have QuickBooks, there is an option to lease Pro or Premier or Enterprise. (Pro supports up to 3 users, Premier up to 5 users, and Enterprise up to 30 users.) You can also have access to Microsoft Office and other products if desired.  Just like QBO, you don’t have the upkeep of another computer or server and the “host” makes the daily backups for you. You pay a monthly fee per user to have it hosted, which is different than QBO.  If you are interested in a hosted solution, there are about 15 Intuit-authorized hosts (they have met the security and other requirements with Intuit), but you might also find that your local IT company offers these services as well.   Not all hosts are equal in terms of price, whether or not MS Office is included (or extra), customer service and 3rd party applications they support.  So if you use (or want to use) a 3rd party software, you need to ask if they support that software, and if so, the cost.  If not, sometimes they have options, albeit at a higher price point.

Enterprise Solutions – With Enterprise, you can access your data from anywhere you have Internet connection by taking advantage of Remote Desktop (aka RDP and formerly Windows Terminal Services) with a server that supports RDP.   In essence, you access your server and both Enterprise and your data are there. This is different than the traditional method where the software is on your computer and you access the data on the server.  Therefore, RDP requires a different (and “beefier”) server. Enterprise looks/acts like Premier but has additional features, including tighter security and more users (up to 30).  Enterprise comes in 3 levels (Silver, Gold & Platinum). With all 3 levels, you get unlimited US-based tech support, the new version when it comes out, Intuit Data Protect, access to 12 hours of QuickBooks training online, data recovery services, and preferred rates with Intuit Payments (credit card processing).  The Gold level includes Intuit’s unlimited Enhanced Payroll and direct deposit so many save money with the gold subscription.  Platinum includes the gold features plus additional inventory features (multiple locations, FIFO, lot/serial number tracking, quantity discounts, and more).  As a QuickBooks Solution Provider and Advanced-Certified ProAdvisor, we stay up to date on promotions and get special deals (including lifetime discounts), so let us know if you would like to know more about this option.  

Add-ons:  Do you need access to everything or just certain tasks?  If you don’t need to access everything, then perhaps a web-based add-on product is the way to go.  There are lots of add-ons that address certain needs, e.g. time tracking, CRM, and estimating. 

If you look at industry specific add-ons, they typically address several areas, such as CRM (leads/opportunities), estimating, time tracking and project management. And because they’re industry-specific, they “understand” you J

Method is a web-based highly-customizable program that gives you a form of remote access to your QuickBooks – in real time!   I use it mostly for CRM, but it can handle lead generation, assigning tasks, estimating, sales/work orders, invoicing, purchase orders, payables and much more so it can be a great way to get work done away from the office. 

If remote access is important to you, then before you make the final jump, contact our office so we can help you choose the option best for your situation.  In some cases, we can save you money depending on what we determine is best for you.

Posted in Productivity Tips, QuickBooks, Remote Access | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

4 Ways to Get Your Estimates Entered Quickly In QuickBooks

For those who job or project cost, it all starts with the estimate.  When the estimate is simple, then it’s often easy to create in QuickBooks. But for many of you, you most likely have many of the same types of estimates (such as seasonal maintenance jobs) or have more involved estimates such as construction, landscape design/build projects, etc.   So here are 4 ways to get your estimates entered faster.

  1. Use Item Groups – This is a fast way to pull multiple items onto an estimate. While you might select only 1 item (group), you will see all the items in the group listed on your estimate. Examples – items in a display, components of an outdoor fountain, labor and materials for a shed, what’s included in a maintenance contract…   Item Groups are also a way for you to have the detail in QuickBooks for job costing while showing your customer only the summary.  Here are a couple screen captures: 

Figure 1: Setting up Group Item 


Figure 2: What your customer sees


  1. Duplicate – If you need to create an estimate similar to another one you’ve done, you can duplicate the estimate, change the customer and any other pertinent information. This is also useful when you have a customer wanting to see multiple estimates for pricing or other reasons. Right-click on the document to get the pop-up menu below


  1. Memorize Estimate – Need to do this estimate (or type of estimate) frequently? Then memorize the entire estimate. This is especially helpful for install or construction jobs where numerous items/cost codes are used or for special types of project – such as backyard “kitchens”, patios, office/home additions, etc.   You can either click on Memorize on the ribbon bar or right-click to memorize.  Then to use this later, click on Lists>Memorized Transactions.   You might also want to memorize the estimate with $0 and/or 0 quantities so you will have to fill it in.  You don’t want to accidentally think it’s done when it’s not!


You might also want to use different Estimate templates for different types of estimates.  For example, seasonal maintenance estimates might have one format, but design/build types of estimates might look different.   So keep that in mind when memorizing your estimates.

  1. Import – Many of you either do your estimating in a spreadsheet or 3rd party software, which often suggests some level of complexity to the Estimate. Some 3rd party estimating/bidding or industry-specific software can integrate with QuickBooks so you can import the Estimate making this easy once it’s setup and a big time-saver.  Even if you use Excel, there are products out there you can use to import the estimate.  Usually the biggest issue is the items.  In Excel, many times people are inconsistent with how they reference their services, materials or subs, so importing could inflate your Items list.  However, if you can be consistent in your terminology, this can be a big timesaver.

You may find you use a combination of these options, but you will definitely save lots of time in entering your estimates.   

If you want help with any of these ideas, let me know.  I would love to hear which method(s) you have found the most effective for you!

Posted in Job Costing, Power Tips, Productivity Tips | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment