Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Issuing Credit Memos and Refunds in QuickBooks

You’re accustomed to money going in a certain direction, but sometimes you have to pay your customers. Here’s how it’s done.


QuickBooks is very good at helping you get paid by your customers. It comes equipped with customizable invoice templates for billing customers and sales receipts for recording instant sales. It supports online payments, so you can accept debit or credit cards and electronic checks. It simplifies the process of recording payments and it offers reports that let you keep track of it all.


There are times, though, when you have to issue a payment to a customer. QuickBooks provides forms that allow that transfer of funds: credit memos and refunds. Do you know when and how they should be used? Here are the basics.


Credit Memos


A credit memo is just what it sounds like. A customer returns an item for which they’ve already paid, and you have to credit him or her for its cost.  This is the more complicated of the two and requires more bookkeeping, since you’re tracking the sale, its payment, and the return item. You can deal with the amount of the credit by:
  • Retaining the funds in the customer account.
  • Issuing a refund.
  • Applying it to the next open invoice.


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When you issue a credit memo to a customer, you have three options for returning the money they paid.


To create a credit memo, click Refunds & Credits on QuickBooks’ home page or open the Customers menu and select Create Credit Memos/Refunds. The Credit Memo window opens. Select the correct Customer:Job. In the line item section of the form, choose the merchandise returned in the Item column and enter a quantity. Repeat the process if more than one item was returned, then click Save & Close. The Available Credit window, pictured above, will open. Click the button in front of the option you want.


Select the first option if that’s what you want and click OK. The window will close, and the customer will have had that credit amount applied to his or her own account. You can see this in the Customer Center if you click on Customers in the navigation toolbar (or Customers | Customer Center). You can then either click on the Customers & Jobs tab and scroll down until you can highlight your customer’s record or click on Transactions | Credit Memos.


Click on Give a Refund to open the Issue a Refund window. Everything should be filled in here except for the payment method. If you select Cash from the Issue this refund via drop-down list and then pick the correct account from the list that opens, the refund amount will be subtracted from the account. Select Check and then the Account, and check the box in front of To be printed. That refund will be in the list the next time you open the File menu, then Print Forms | Checks. Choose a credit card and check the box in front of Process credit card refund when saving box to issue a credit card refund automatically.


Tip: Can’t work with credit cards because you don’t have a merchant account? We can help you set this up.


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The Issue a Refund window


If there is an open invoice, the Apply Credit to Invoices window will open, containing a list of unpaid bills. If there isn’t already a checkmark in front of the invoice you want to apply it too, click in the first column to create one. QuickBooks will tell you how much credit was applied and whether any remains. When you’ve checked the screen for accuracy, click Done.


Dealing with Overpayments


Let’s say a customer is catching up on multiple outstanding invoices and he or she sends you a check for the total but overpays you. Open the Receive Payments window by going to Customers | Receive Payments or clicking Receive Payments on the home page. Select the customer and enter the Payment Amount and Check #. QuickBooks will have put a checkmark in front of all the outstanding invoices listed to indicate they’ve been paid.


In the lower left corner, you’ll see a section titled Overpayment. The extra amount and your two options for dealing with it appear here. You can either credit the customer or issue a refund. Click the action you want to take, then save the transaction.


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If a customer overpays you, you can use QuickBooks’ built-in tools to credit him or her.


You can also issue refunds through the Write Checks window, but this is a more complicated procedure. It’s easier to process a credit memo.


If you’re at all unclear about what we’ve described here, please contact us for assistance. Refunds or credits that come through incorrectly (or not at all) can make customers very unhappy and may affect future sales. So, let us help you get it right the first time.


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You know how to get paid in QuickBooks, but what about refunding money to customers? We can walk you through the steps.


Do you know why and how you would create a credit memo in QuickBooks? Let us help you understand the process.


Did you know you can create a credit memo in QuickBooks, and you can refund a customer’s money, apply it to an invoice, or keep it in the customer’s account? Find out how here.

If a customer overpays you, QuickBooks can help you deal with the difference. Ask us how.

Wednesday, June 5, 2019

The Life of an Estimate in QuickBooks Online

Estimates—or quotes, or bids—are useful tools when you’re pitching a sale of products or services. Here’s how QuickBooks Online handles them.


Sales estimates are standard procedure in many professions. You wouldn’t authorize a car repair without one. Nor would you OK a remodeling job on your kitchen or a summer’s worth of yard landscaping without knowing what the costs will be upfront.


Estimates don’t have to be formal documents. You could scribble a proposal for products or services and their prices on a paper napkin and have your customer sign it. But as we’ve said before, the quality of your sales documents reflects on your company’s professionalism as well as its image.


QuickBooks Online offers specialized tools to manage this step in the selling process. You can create detailed estimates that the site can easily convert to invoices when you get an approval. And QuickBooks Online reports help you monitor the progress of your quotes. Here’s how it works.


A Dedicated Form


You probably already know how to create an invoice. If so, you shouldn’t have any trouble generating estimates because the forms are very similar. To get started, click the + (plus) sign in the upper right corner of the screen. In the Customers column, click Estimates. A form like this will open:


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QuickBooks Online provides a form template for your estimates.


Open the drop-down list in the Customer field and select the correct one (or +Add new).
Note: If you click on +Add new, you’re only required to enter your prospective customer’s name to create an estimate; contact detail, of course, will not appear on the form. You can go back later and complete a customer record, but it’s best to at least enter a physical and email address. Click +Details to open the complete record, then save what you provide there.


The word “Pending” should appear below the Customer field. This refers to the status of your estimate. Click the down arrow to the right of it, then on the down arrow in the small window that opens to see what options you’ll have later. If you want to copy someone else on the estimate, click the small Cc/Bcc link to the right and provide the email address(es).


Enter (or select by clicking on the calendar graphic) the Estimate date. If your offer is only good for a limited period of time, enter an Expiration date; otherwise, leave that field blank. Then go down to the Product/Service grid and select the items for which you’re providing an estimate, one on each line. Fill in the Qty field and check the labeled box if the item is taxable.


If you had created a product record for it already, the other fields should be completed automatically. If not, click +Add new. The Product/Service information pane should slide out from the right side of the screen. Here again, you’re only required to enter a Name, but you should really create the whole record and save it to return to the estimate. If you’ve not been through this process before, we can walk you through it.


You can add a discount to the estimate as either a percentage or a dollar amount in the lower right corner of the screen. You can also edit the customer message that appears in the lower left and attach any files necessary. When you’re done, save the estimate.


Estimate Options
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You can work with your estimate from the Sales Transactions screen.


If you’re not already there, click the Sales link in the left vertical toolbar, and then the All Sales tab and the Estimates bar. Find your estimate and look at the end of the row, in the Action column. If you want to convert your estimate to an invoice, click Create invoice. In the window that opens, indicate whether you want to invoice:
  • A percentage of each line item,
  • A custom amount for each line, or,
  • The total of all lines.


Look over your invoice when it opens, complete any other fields necessary, and save it. Your estimate’s status has now been changed to Closed, and the new invoice created from it will appear on the Sales Transactions screen. It will also be included in the Estimates By Customer report.


If you can create an invoice, you can create an estimate. The tricky part comes in when you have to amend an estimate before you bill it – or even alter it and resubmit it. If you’re going to be working with estimates extensively, let us help you get it right from the start.


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Does your business ever provide estimates (bids, quotes, etc.) to customers? QuickBooks Online can help you create them.


Did you know that you can add a discount when you create a customer estimate in QuickBooks Online? Ask us about this.


QuickBooks Online can convert an estimate to an invoice with one click, but amending before sending it can be tricky. We can help.

Did you know that QuickBooks Online contains an Estimates By Customer report, so you can easily keep track of their status?  Find out more here.

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

How QuickBooks Protects Your Data, and How You Can Help

The data in your QuickBooks company file contains some of the most sensitive information on your computer. Make sure it’s secure.


Your customer list is gold. And those Social Security and bank card numbers in your payroll, client, and vendor records need to be protected from intruders and only viewed by authorized employees.
It’s not just large corporations and financial institutions that get hacked. That’s what the bad guys want you to think. In reality, small businesses are often the victims of data breaches because their owners think they’re immune from data theft and destruction.
Even if you’re password-protecting your PCs and running antivirus and anti-malware software, there’s more you need to do when it comes to your accounting records. Here’s what we suggest.

Restrict access by setting up user permissions.
If you have multiple staff members using QuickBooks, don’t share the same user name and password. That obviously gives everyone access to all data and activity. If something goes awry, you have no way of knowing when or how it happened, and who was responsible. To protect yourself and everyone else who logs in, it’s critical that all users have their own unique logins. They should only be allowed to access information and functions that relate to their job duties.


You can restrict QuickBooks users to certain screens and activities.
To assign these permission levels, open the Company menu and click on Set Up Users and Passwords, then Set Up Users. This opens the User List window, where you should be identified as the Admin. Click Add User. Enter a user name and password for an employee who needs access (this can be changed later). Check the box in front of Add this user to my QuickBooks license.
Tip: Not sure how many users are allowed under your current license? Click F2 and look in the upper left corner. If you need to add licenses, let us know.
Click Next. The next screen lists three options. You can grant access to all areas or to selected areas. You can also create a login for us as your external accountant, which lets us see everything except sensitive customer data. Select the second option and click Next. You can see in the image above that you can give the employee different levels of responsibility. When you’ve made your choice, click Next. The subsequent nine screens deal with different areas of QuickBooks and their related activities.
Tip: When you need to change your password, which you should do at a minimum every three months, go to Company | Set Up Users and Passwords | Change Your Password.
Save your company file elsewhere.
You should always be backing up your company file to an external storage device (like a CD or thumb drive).  To set this up, open the File menu and select Back Up Company, then Create Local Backup. This window will open:


The Create Backup window
Make sure Local backup is selected, then click the Options button below (not pictured here). Click Browse to see a directory of your PC and select the correct destination. Leave the two boxes below it checked; this will add the backup date/time to the filename and limit the number of backup copies to three.

By default, QuickBooks will remind you to back up your file every fourth time you close your company file; you can change this number if you prefer. Leave the Complete verification option checked and click OK, then Next. Specify when you want to save your backup copy and click Next again. You can schedule regular backups of your company file on the next screen if you’d like. When you’ve completed this screen, click Finish.


You should also consider saving a copy of your company file to the cloud. Intuit offers its own service for this; it costs $9.95/month or $99.95 annually, but it gives you 100 GB of storage space, so you can back up other critical business files, too.  If you can’t swing this financially, at least store your backups to a portable device that you can carry offsite.


Warning: If you already pay for cloud storage from another vendor, don’t assume you can just copy your QuickBooks file to it. Talk to us.


Other Steps
There are other things you can do to protect your QuickBooks data, including:
  • Insist on strong passwords. Yes, it’s a pain to create and remember them, but it’s critical here.
  • Keep everything updated. That includes your operating system and anything else that requires updates.
  • Minimize web browsing on work computers and remind employees about smart email behaviors.
We strongly recommend that you consult with us as you’re setting up any kind of backup system for QuickBooks. The software’s instructions are straightforward, but we don’t want you to do anything that would jeopardize the integrity of your company file.


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Just because you’re a small business doesn’t mean you’re not a target for hackers. Keep your QuickBooks company file safe. We can help here.
If you have multiple people using QuickBooks, you must assign user permissions to each to safeguard information. Ask us how this is done.
Where and how often are you backing up your QuickBooks company file? The software contains tools for this. We can help you set them up.

Keeping QuickBooks data safe means keeping everything on your computers and network updated. Are you doing this? If not, we can show you how.

Wednesday, May 1, 2019

How to Use Progress Invoicing in QuickBooks Online

Does your business do work for clients over weeks or months? Consider using QuickBooks Online’s progress invoicing.


Let’s say you’re doing a job or project for a customer that is going to take a long time, but you don’t want to wait until you’re finished to get paid. Or you’ve agreed to let a customer pay for something in multiple payments. QuickBooks can help. You can create an estimate upfront for the work or products and send a series of invoices at different intervals until the bill is paid off. This is called progress invoicing.


Before you can use this tool, you’ll need to make sure it’s turned on. Click the gear icon in the upper right and select Account and Settings. Click the Sales tab. Look for Progress Invoicing in the left column. If that option isn’t On, click the pencil icon in the far-right column and click in the box to create a checkmark and Save it. Then click Done in the lower right corner.


Creating a Template
You’ll need to use a special template for progress invoicing. Click the gear icon again and select Custom Form Styles. In the upper right corner of the screen that opens, click the arrow next to New Style and select Invoice to open the design window. Replace the template name with a descriptive one and click Airy Classic to select it.


You’ll need to select the Airy Classic template and give it a descriptive name.

There are other options on this page – lots of them. You can add a logo, change fonts and colors, and even modify the content on the invoice. Talk to us if you want to explore the possibilities.
Your progress invoice needs you to adjust a couple other things here. Click on Edit print settings. If there is a check in front of Fit printed form with pay stub in window envelope, uncheck it. Next, click the Content tab, then click the small pencil icon in the second section of the invoice sample over on the right. At the bottom of the left pane, click Show more activity options. Check the box in front of Show progress on line items if you want your progress invoice to display item details. When you’ve made all the changes you want to, click Done.

Estimate to Invoice
QuickBooks can create both invoices and estimates. They’re very similar, and you’ll complete them in the same way, with one obvious exception: In addition to an Estimate date, you can also specify an Expiration date. Click the + sign in the upper right, select Estimate, and fill out the form. Save and close when you’re done.

When your customer has accepted the estimate and you’ve agreed on a payment schedule, you’ll need to know how to create a progress invoice. Click Sales in the navigation bar on the left, then All Sales. Locate your estimate on the list and click Create invoice at the end of the row. This window opens:


You have three options when the time comes to start your progress invoicing.

You’ll choose Remaining total of all lines when you’re ready to send your final invoice. For your first, you can either enter a percentage of each line item or a custom amount for each. If you choose a percentage, QuickBooks will calculate what that number would be and enter it. You’ll be able to specify your custom amounts when the progress invoice actually opens. Click Create invoice.
The invoice that opens will contain the information you provided on the estimate. You’ll notice a new column here, though, labeled Due. Your calculated percentage will appear there if you chose that option. If you indicated that you wanted to enter a custom amount for each line, that field will say $0.00 of [total]. Go down that column and type in the amount you expect to be paid on each line item. When you’ve finished, Save the invoice and send it to your customer. Now it appears in the invoice list, where you can send reminders, receive payment, etc.

You can send as many progress invoices as you’d like until you can finally bill your customer for the Remaining total of all lines. QuickBooks provides a report so you can see the progress of all of your progress invoices at once. Click Reports and scroll down to Sales and customers to run Estimates & Progress Invoicing Summary by Customer.

Progress invoicing is a simple concept, but it requires many steps, as you’ve seen here. And there are other ways to go about it in QuickBooks. We strongly suggest that you let us help you with this task to make sure your invoices are set up correctly – and that you’re paid in full.


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Do you need to bill customers over time? Let us help you set up progress invoicing.
When you create a progress invoice, you can bill customers for a percentage of what they owe or specify custom amounts. We can help here.

Need to know the status of your progress invoices? Run the Estimates & Progress Invoicing Summary by Customer report. We can show you how.

Did you know when you create an estimate for a customer, you can also set up a payment plan for your work? This is called progress invoicing. We can help show you how.