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.


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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.

Monday, September 10, 2018

Extend QuickBooks' Usefulness with Add-Ons

Maybe QuickBooks does everything you need. But if you outgrow parts of it, don’t worry, you’ll have options.


What do you do when an application you’re using stops meeting your growing needs in a specific area? You can: a.) find a workaround, b.) switch to different software, or, c.) resign yourself to living without that feature.


QuickBooks offers a fourth option: d.) find an integrated add-on app that will work for you. There are hundreds of them available, so it’s likely you’ll find one that will do just what’s needed. They fall into several categories, ranging from billing and invoicing to Customer Relationship Management (CRM) to inventory management to time-tracking. They have special versions designed to work with QuickBooks, and they require a monthly subscription fee.


We’ll look at three of the most popular in this column. If you’ve never worked with integrated applications before (and even if you have), we recommend that you let us help get these set up and running for you since their operations can be confusing at first.


Expensify


From receipt tracking through reimbursement, Expensify automates the process of managing expense reports. You snap photos of receipts, and the site’s built-in intelligence will read them and enter details like merchant, date, and price in the system’s own forms. If you need to record vehicle mileage, Expensify can do that by using your smartphone’s GPS. Other features include compatibility with global currencies and taxes; notifications of travel itinerary changes; “smart” receipt-auditing (ensuring that your expense policies are enforced); and direct deposit reimbursements.




You can enter expenses manually in Expensify or take a photo with your phone. The site will read the receipt and transfer critical data to forms in the app.


The service offers three price levels for small business. For $5 per user/month, you get tools that enable basic expense approval and online reimbursements. A Corporate subscription gives you that, plus advanced policy support, corporate card reconciliation, and a multi-staged approval workflow, for $9 per user/month.


method:CRM


method:CRM was actually built exclusively for QuickBooks users. It expands on the customer management tools found in QuickBooks and supports two-way synchronization. You can see real-time customer, lead, and vendor data in either application; automate lead-collection and lead-tracking; and service customers far more efficiently than with QuickBooks alone. The application saves time by streamlining workflows and eliminating duplicate data entry, and its customer and vendor portals provide safe online spaces where you and your contacts can interact, view transactions and other information, and make payments.


After a 30-day free trial, you can subscribe to one of two levels. The Contact Manager version ($28 per user/month or $25 if paid annually) offers everything with the exception of the ability to create QuickBooks sales transactions, accept online payments, and track your sales pipeline. These tools are included in CRM Pro ($49 per user/month or $44 if paid annually). Some services are available a la carte.


Bill.com


If you only process a couple dozen bills and invoices every month, QuickBooks may be all you need. But if you have complex, transaction-heavy accounts receivables and payables that are difficult to track, you might want to consider Bill.com. A web-based application that integrates very well with QuickBooks, Bill.com is all about automation. It offers multiple ways to get your sales and expense documents into a digital format (scan, fax, email, smartphone photo) and then follows your directions as it routes them to the appropriate employees for approval. You’ll make and receive payments electronically and always know where you stand with customers and vendors, thanks to a simple, understandable user interface and navigation scheme.




Once you create approval policies within Bill.com, the application enforces them.



Pricing starts at $39 per user/month, which includes accounting software integration and your choice of payable or receivable support. You can get both for $59 per user/month – plus advanced automation and approver options.


Many More


There are hundreds of others, in more targeted areas like human resources, reporting, shipping, and e-commerce. You can search or browse through the library of solutions here.


If the integrated apps we described here sound too complicated for you, you may not need them. Or perhaps you do need them but you’re not sure you could master them easily. That’s where we come in. We would first determine whether you’re using all of QuickBooks’ own tools in the problem areas you’ve identified. Then we’d introduce you to your options in that category and help you get up and running.


QuickBooks was designed for small businesspeople, but that doesn’t mean that you’re going to understand all of its parts and how they work together instantly. So, contact us if you need assistance. We want your business to thrive, and having a clear understanding of your financials is essential to that success.


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Is QuickBooks not providing all the features you need in a particular area? Consider adding an integrated add-on app. We can help here.


Having trouble managing expense reports? QuickBooks has an integrated app (Expensify) that can expand on expense-tracking abilities.


method:CRM is a popular QuickBooks add-on that provides great tools for managing and growing customer relationships. We can get you set up on it.

Unable to keep up with transactions? You may need more automation than QuickBooks provides. Bill.com is an add-on that can streamline the process.

Monday, September 3, 2018

How to Use Memorized Transactions in QuickBooks

Tired of repetitive data entry? QuickBooks provides a way to save time and keystrokes when you create some transactions.


We wrote last month about the benefits of having QuickBooks on your desktop. Among those we listed are three that have impact on every business that uses it. QuickBooks helps you:


  • Save time.
  • Save money.
  • Minimize errors.


There are numerous examples we could use to illustrate how the software accomplishes this. What we want to talk about this month is the use of memorized transactions. These are templates you set up that contain most if not all the information that could be repeated at specified intervals, eliminating the need for you to enter the same repetitive data regularly and reducing the chances that you’ll make a mistake.


You can create these transaction “models” for both sale and purchase transactions. For example, you might have wireless service bills that remain the same every month or vary by just a bit. Or, you have customers who have monthly standing orders for the same products, or services, or subscription fees.


QuickBooks makes it very easy to set up transactions for repetitive use. Here’s how it works. We recommend you use one of QuickBooks’ sample files for this tutorial.


Creating a Template


Let’s start by creating a repeating bill. Click Enter Bills on the home page and complete all the fields that will remain the same every time the bill is created. In our example, we’re paying a utility bill whose Amount Due will change every month, so we’re leaving that blank. When you’re done, click Memorize in the toolbar to open this window:


Once you’ve created a transaction template, you’ll have to complete the fields in this window to memorize it correctly.


The vendor name appears automatically in a field in the upper left. Below that is a list of four options. These have to do with how/if you want to be notified when it’s time to process a memorized transaction. Your choices are:


  • Add to my Reminders List. QuickBooks will display an entry in your Reminders List for each memorized transaction. Not using Reminders? Let us help.
  • Do Not Remind Me. Nothing will be done.
  • Automate Transaction Entry. You would only select this option if nothing but the date of the transaction changes when it recurs. QuickBooks would automatically process and dispatch the transaction.
  • Add to Group. If you have multiple recurring transactions that come due at the same time, you can create Groups and assign transactions to them (more on this later).


On the right side of the window, open the drop-down list in the field next to How Often and select from the options provided. Click the calendar icon to choose the transaction’s Next (Due) Date. If you only want QuickBooks to automate the entry a specific number of times, add that in the field next to Number Remaining. Then enter the Days In Advance To Enter.


Further Explanation Needed


We’d like to expand on two of the concepts discussed here. First, advance notice for transactions. If you’ve selected Add to my Reminders List for any memorized transactions, you need to tell QuickBooks how far in advance your reminders should start to appear. Open the Edit menu and select Preferences, then Reminders.


If you want Reminders for memorized transactions, you’ll need to tell QuickBooks what your Preferences are.


Memorized Transactions Due appears toward the bottom of the Company Preferences list. Click on the appropriate button to indicate whether you want to see a summary or a list in your Reminders (or nothing at all) and how many days in advance the alert should appear.


Also, Groups. As we mentioned earlier, you can combine memorized transactions due at the same time within a group. To create one, go to Lists | Memorized Transaction List. Click the arrow next to Memorized Transaction in the lower left, then click New Group and give it a name. Choose from the options available for notification and click OK.


Now you can add memorized transactions to this Group by right-clicking on it, selecting Edit Memorized Transaction, and clicking in the button next to Add to Group. Click the down area to the right of the field assigned to Group Name and select the one you just created.


You can add memorized transactions to a Group and process them at the same time.


Caution Advised


We’ve explored this QuickBooks feature with you because we wanted you to see one of the ways that the software can save time and minimize errors. There are many others, and we’re always happy to introduce you to more.


The mechanics of creating memorized transactions are fairly simple. But mistakes can be costly in terms of bills that don’t get paid on time (or at all) and items or services that don’t get invoiced. If you’re new to QuickBooks, we certainly suggest you not work with these on your own. Even if you’re a seasoned user, you may want our help setting up memorized transactions for the first time. Let us know if you need assistance with this or any other element of QuickBooks accounting, we’re ready to help.


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New to QuickBooks or considering it? There are so many ways the software helps you save time and money and reduce errors. We can explain how.


Tired of entering similar transactions month after month? QuickBooks lets you memorize them. Talk to us about this time and money saving feature.


Millions of small businesses use QuickBooks. What’s keeping you from trying it? Tell us, and we’ll tell you how it can benefit your company.

Are you memorizing QuickBooks transactions but forgetting to process them? Let’s schedule a session to discuss how Reminders can help.