Thursday, November 8, 2018

Getting Started with Accounts in QuickBooks Online, Part 1

QuickBooks Online was built to work with transactions downloaded from your online financial institutions. Here’s how to work with them.
The ability to import transactions from financial institutions into QuickBooks Online is definitely one of the best things about the site. You may have even signed up for that very reason. By now, you’ve probably already set up at least one connection. But are you using all of the QuickBooks Online’s account tools? There’s a lot you can do once you’ve imported in data from your bank or credit card provider.
We’ll explore these features in this column and the next.
First Steps
If you’re a new subscriber, you may not have established these critical links yet. It’s an easy process. Start by clicking the Banking link in the left vertical navigation pane.  In the upper right corner, click Add Account and enter the name of your financial institution if it’s not pictured. Then follow the instructions you’re given on the screen. These can vary depending on the bank or credit card provider, but you’re always at least asked to enter the user name and password that you use to log into each online.
Need help with this? Let us know.
Viewing Your Transactions
Once you’ve made a successful connection, you’ll be returned to the Bank and Credit Cards page. You should see a card-shaped graphic at the top of the screen for each account you’ve linked. Click on one. The table that opens is not your account register. The view here defaults to For Review, which refers to transactions you’ve downloaded. The All tab should also be highlighted; we’ll get to Recognized transactions later.
When you first download transactions into QuickBooks Online, before you’ve done anything with them, many will appear under For Review.
There’s a lot going on here, so don’t be surprised if you’re confused. Review each transaction by clicking on it. QuickBooks Online will have guessed at how it should be categorized, but you can change this by opening the list in the category field and selecting the correct one. It’s critical that you get this right, since it will have an impact on reports and income taxes. If you need to Split it between multiple categories, click on that button found to the right.
If the transaction is Billable, check that box and choose a customer from the drop-down list. If you don’t see this box, click the gear icon in the upper right and select Account and Settings | Expenses. Check to see that Make Expenses and Items Billable is turned On (click on Off, then check the appropriate box to turn it on).
Next, determine how you want to process the transaction by clicking on one of the three buttons at the top of the transaction box. Do you want to accept it and Add it to that account’s register? Do you want QuickBooks Online to Find (a) Match for it (like a payment that matches an invoice, for example)? Or, do you want to Transfer it to another account? Once you’ve made one of these three selections, the transactions that you’ve added or matched will move under the In QuickBooks tab (where you can still Undo them) and will be available in the account’s register.
Other Options


You can save time by using QuickBooks Online’s Batch Actions tool.
Say you run a cross some duplicate or personal transactions that you don’t want to appear in the current account’s register. Check the box in front of each, then click the arrow in the Batch Actions box. Select Exclude Selected. They’ll then be available under the Excluded tab. You can also Accept or Modify multiple transactions simultaneously by using this tool.
So far, you’ve been viewing All your transactions. Click on Recognized to the right of it. These are transactions that are already familiar to QuickBooks Online because they’ve appeared before and/or have been matched, or because you’ve created Bank Rules for them (we’ll address that concept next month). You’ll need to address these the same way you did the transactions in the For Review section; you can either Add or Transfer them.
If you’re new to QuickBooks Online, this may all sound pretty complicated. It can be at first. But once you’ve worked with downloaded transactions for a while, you’ll understand the flow much better.  If you’re not clear on the process from the start, it can lead to trouble. Contact us at your convenience. We’d be happy to sit down with you and go through it all using your own company’s data; the familiarity may help.


Social media posts
If you’re new to QuickBooks Online, there’s a lot you need to understand about dealing with downloaded transactions out the gate. Let us help.
When you download transactions into QuickBooks Online, the site sometimes automatically “matches” them to existing entries. We're here to explain and help you navigate this.
Tired of reviewing downloaded transactions one by one in QuickBooks Online? Click on the Batch Actions button to explore this feature.  We can show you how.
QuickBooks Online often guesses at how downloaded transactions should be categorized. You should always check these for accuracy, and we can show you how.

Thursday, October 25, 2018

Paying Bills in QuickBooks: The Basics

The time-consuming part’s over once you’ve entered bills in QuickBooks. Here’s how to pay them.
Last month, we explained that the process of paying bills in QuickBooks requires two separate sets of actions. We went over what’s required to enter bills and to set up reminders so they don’t get overlooked. This month’s column will walk you through the second step: paying the bills.
You’ll remember you must first click Enter Bills on the home page (or open the Vendors menu and select Enter Bills), which opens a graphical representation of a bill. Select a Vendor from the drop-down list and complete the remaining fields in the top box. Make sure the Amount Due carries over to the lower part of the screen under either the Expenses or Items tab and that the rest of the fields there are completed correctly before you save the bill.
Once a bill is saved, it will be available to you when you click Pay Bills on the home page. That action will open a window similar to this one:


When you click Pay Bills on QuickBooks’ home page, a screen containing a table like this will open.
In the upper left corner, you’ll first SELECT BILLS TO BE PAID by either defining a date range or asking to see all bills that have been entered but not yet paid. To the right of those options is the Filter By field. You can open the list and click All Vendors or click on a specific vendor. Selecting an option in the Sort By field allows you to change the display order of the list of bills.
Selecting Bills
Next, you’ll have to indicate which bills you want to pay, and by what method. This may take more than one pass if you’re using different payment methods for different vendors. If that’s the case, you’ll have to select bills in batches. Click in the box in front of each bill that you want to pay (or click Select All Bills below the table).
There are several columns in the table you will see. Some will already be filled in for each vendor with information that was included in the actual bill, like REF. NO. and AMT. DUE. Others refer to discounts and credits. If you’ve already set up vendor discounts (early payment, for example) or are entitled to a credit (overpayment, returned merchandise, etc.) and have set up QuickBooks to automatically apply them to bills, they should appear in those columns.
Tip: If you are the company administrator, you can set up this option. Open the Edit menu and select Preferences | Bills. With the Company Preferences tab active, check the boxes in front of Automatically Use Credits and Automatically Use Discounts, and select the correct Default Discount Account.
Discounts and credits are rather complex concepts in QuickBooks, and we expect you might need our help with setting them up.
The final step in bill paying on this page is to enter the AMT. TO PAY at the end of each applicable row.
Dispatching Payments
If you’ve selected All Bills (or chosen a batch that will use the same payment method), you’ll need to deal with the lower half of the bill-pay screen, which will look something like this:


Whether or not you’ll be dealing with credits and discounts you’ll still have some work to do at the bottom of the bill-paying screen.
You can click on Go to Bill if you need to see the original form; also, verify the Payment Date and Terms are correct. You can still Set Discount and Set Credits here, but again, please don’t do so until we’ve scheduled a session to go over these advanced tools if you plan to use them. Select a payment method for the bills you’ve selected; the options and account to the right of your choice will change depending on which it is.
When you’re done, click Pay Selected Bills and do any follow-up work that’s requested.
The bill-pay process in QuickBooks has a lot of moving parts, some of which may need prep work before you can actually dispatch bills. We strongly urge you to get together with us if you’re planning to use this element of QuickBooks. Although beneficial, it’s one of the more complicated processes in the software, and it must be done with extreme accuracy. When you’re ready, we can help.


Social media posts
Once you’ve entered bills in QuickBooks, you’ll need to go through the payment process. Although beneficial, it can be complicated. We can help you with this.
QuickBooks bill-pay tools can make your life easier, but can be confusing at first. Let us walk you through the steps.
Do you need to record vendor discounts and credits as you pay bills in QuickBooks? This can be complicated. Consult with us and we can show you how.
Did you know you can set up QuickBooks to automatically apply vendor credits and discounts? Go to Edit | Preferences | Bills and contact us to walk you through the steps.

Thursday, September 20, 2018

Customer Statements: When, Why, and How

If your business relies on invoices to get paid, there may be times when you need to create and send statements.


You enter into an informal contract with a customer when you send an invoice. You expect that you will receive payment in a timely fashion for goods or services you’ve sold.


That probably works most of the time. But what happens when it doesn’t, when you’ve sent a reminder and are still waiting? And what do you do when a customer orders frequently and is confused about what’s been paid and what hasn’t?


If you’re using QuickBooks Online, you can easily send a statement, a list of sales transactions, credits, and payments. There are three kinds of these:


  • Balance Forward. This document emphasizes what’s currently owed by displaying it at the top. Below that is a list of sales transactions that occurred between two dates you specify.
  • Open Item. You select a date, and the statement shows all transactions that were completed before it.
  • Transaction Statement. There’s no total balance here, just the amounts billed and received for every transaction.


Setting Up Statements


Balance Forward statements cover a period of transactions that you define.


There are three way to create statements. You can:
  • Click the Plus (+) icon at the top of the screen.
  • Dispatch one while you’re in a customer record.
  • Launch a batch action from the Customer screen.


Before you create your first statement, though, make sure QuickBooks Online is set up the way you want it to be. Click the gear icon in the upper right of the screen and select Your Company  Account and Settings. Click the Sales tab and scroll down to Statements. Click Statements to open the options there.


You can List each transaction as a single line or List each transaction including all detail lines. Click the button in front of the one you prefer. If you want to Show aging table at bottom of statement, click in the box. This will show customers how many days each transaction is overdue.


Click Save when you’re done.


Creating Statements


If you’ve already started entering transactions so there’s some data in QuickBooks Online, click the Plus (+) icon in the upper right corner of the screen.


Tip: If you don’t see the plus (+) icon, you’re in an active screen. Click the X in the upper right to close it, saving it first if necessary.


Click Statement, which is located under Other on the far right. Under Statement Type, select Balance Forward. Below that is the Customer Balance Status field. Do you want to see customers with open balances, those who have overdue invoices, or all customers? The third option will include credit memos.


Select a Start Date and End Date. In this example, these were 04/09/2018 and 09/09/2018, and the statement date was 09/10/2018.  Click Apply. QuickBooks Online will display a list of matching customers. Click Print or Preview at the bottom of the screen to see your statements.


In this preview, the customer’s balance forward on 04/09/2018 was $8,245.05. A catch-up payment was made on 08/09/2018 and another invoice sent on 09/01/2018, which accounts for the TOTAL DUE at the top.


From this screen, you can either Print the statements or Close to go back to the previous page, where you can Save and Send.


Two Other Options


As we stated earlier, there are two other ways to create statements. Click Sales in the left vertical toolbar and highlight the Customers tab by clicking on it. Hover your cursor over a customer and click the down arrow at the very end of that line. From the list that opens, select Create statement.


You can also hand-pick multiple customers to receive statements. With the Customers window open, click in the box in front of your choices, and then click the down arrow next to Batch actions at the top of the list. Select Create statements.


The mechanics of creating statements in QuickBooks are fairly simple. But you don’t want to send an inaccurate one to a customer. Make sure your transactions are up to date before you generate any statements, and choose your date ranges carefully. As always, we’re available to help with this task – or any other area of QuickBooks Online that might be confusing to you. We’re here to help you be pro-active to avoid problems in the long run.


Social media posts


Are some of your customers behind on paying multiple invoices? QuickBooks Online lets you create statements that summarize unpaid transactions.


Is your cash flow suffering because of multiple unpaid invoices? Talk to us about your options, which include creating statements in QuickBooks Online.


QuickBooks Online offers three ways to create statements, including hand-picking the customers who should receive them. Follow these steps to set up this pro-active feature.

QuickBooks Online statements are lists of customer transactions that fall between specified dates. Talk to us about when and how you should use them.

How to Enter Bills in QuickBooks

It’s not as much fun as creating invoices, but the bills must be paid. Here’s how QuickBooks helps.


We’re in a bit of a transitional period with business bill-paying. Some paper bills still come via the U.S. Mail, however you may also be getting some through email. Others don’t come at all: You might get a reminder email, but you have to go to the vendor’s site to make a payment.


How do you keep track of it all so you don’t miss any due dates? You could record them on a calendar, but you’d still have to go back to the actual bill to retrieve the amount. But where is it? Is it online, in your email inbox, in a file folder, or hanging on the wall?


QuickBooks can organize this unpleasant process, saving time and helping you avoid confusion. Here’s how it works.


A 2-Step Process


QuickBooks divides your accounts payable tasks into two separate processes: entering bills and paying them. It requires some extra time upfront as you complete the first step, but streamlines the second so that the actual bill-paying only takes a few seconds.


To get started, click Enter Bills on QuickBooks’ home page to open a window like this:


Before you can pay a bill in QuickBooks, you need to create a record for it.


The toolbar for the Enter Bills window is not pictured in the image above, but you don’t need it yet. Rather, you start by clicking the down arrow in the field next to VENDOR and selecting the biller’s name from your list (or clicking <Add New> if you haven’t yet created a record for that entity). The ADDRESS should fill in automatically, as should the date.


If you set up default payment TERMS in that vendor’s record, your preference should show in that field and the BILL DUE date should be correct. Enter the AMOUNT DUE and complete any of the optional fields that the transaction requires (REF. NO., DISCOUNT DATE, and MEMO).


Since this is a utility bill, the Expenses tab should be highlighted, and the amount you entered above should appear in it. Below that is the ACCOUNT field; open that list and choose the right one. Don’t worry about the CUSTOMER:JOB and BILLABLE fields. These will only be completed when you’re charging a customer for an expense or item.


Warning: If you’re not familiar with the concept of assigning accounts to transactions, please schedule some time with us. This is a critical designation that affects so many other areas of QuickBooks.


Saving Your Work


The toolbar from the Enter Bills window


Once you save your bill, you’ll be able to access it when it’s time to apply payment. How will you remember when it’s due, though? QuickBooks can remind you – or even pay it automatically. So, before you leave the Enter Bills window, click Memorize in the toolbar pictured above.


The Memorize Transaction window will open with your vendor already entered in the Name field. You’ll have three options here:


  • Add to my Reminders list. QuickBooks can add this bill to its list of Reminders. To ensure that you’ll see this every time you open the software and can make any changes necessary, open the Edit menu and click Preferences | Reminders | My Preferences. Click in the box in front of Show Reminders List when opening a Company file. Then click the Company Preferences tab (if you’re the administrator) and find the Bills to Pay row. Click the appropriate button to indicate whether you want QuickBooks to Show Summary or Show List, and enter the number of days before due date.


  • Do Not Remind Me. Just what it sounds like.


  • Automate Transaction Entry. You can only select this if the transaction will be exactly the same every time (except for the date). If the number of transactions will be limited, enter the Number Remaining. And tell QuickBooks how many Days in Advance To Enter.


If you choose the third option here, be very careful when you define the automation. You should really only do this if you’re an advanced user.


When you’re done, click OK to close the box, and save the bill.


Next month, we’ll talk about the second step: the actual paying of bills. In the meantime, let us know if you want to schedule a session to go over any aspect of your accounts payable – or anything else in QuickBooks.


Social media posts


Are you missing bill due dates because you can’t seem to get your accounts payable organized? QuickBooks can help.


You can save an enormous amount of time and frustration if you use QuickBooks’ bill-paying tools. Are you familiar with how to do this? Ask us about this feature.


QuickBooks can remind you when your bill payments should be processed, or it can send them automatically. Let us help with setup.


Paying bills in QuickBooks is actually a two-step process. Once you’ve entered bills, paying them just takes a few seconds. We can show you how.