Wednesday, November 18, 2020

How Do You Create Price Levels in QuickBooks?

 QuickBooks allows you to create Price Levels that you can assign to customers and jobs and to individual items.


You already know that when you create a product or service record in QuickBooks, you must assign a sale price to it. But did you know that QuickBooks gives you a great deal of flexibility when to comes to pricing items you sell? The software allows you to create one or more additional Price Levels that you can access in invoices, estimates, sales receipts, credit memos, and sales orders.


There are three ways you can use these. Once you’ve created them, they’ll be available in a drop-down list in the Rate field. This means you can assign them manually to individual transactions. The second option is to assign them globally to specific customers or jobs. Once you’ve done so, that price will apply every time you create a transaction for one of them. Finally, you can create price levels for selected items.


Here’s how it works. Let’s say you want to be able to create a price level that’s 15 percent below the actual price that you can use in individual transactions. You open the Lists menu and select Price Level List. Click the arrow in the lower left corner next to Price Level and select New. A window like this will open:


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You can create price levels in QuickBooks and assign them to individual sales transactions.


Fill in the field next to Price Level Name, and then click the arrow next to Price Level Type. Select Fixed %. Select decrease from the drop-down list on the next line and enter your percentage number. Round up to the nearest is an optional field, Click OK when you’re done. The next time you create a sales transaction, your new price level will be available as an option when you open the drop-down list in the Rate column.


When you need to edit or delete a price level, go to Lists | Price Level List again and click the arrow next to Price Level in the lower left corner. You have several options here. You can, for example, make a price level inactive so it doesn’t appear on the list. The field next to Price Level is labeled Reports. Click on the arrow to see what’s available there.


Customers and Jobs


You can also apply a price level you’ve created to a specific customer or job, perhaps to reward a customer for frequent purchases. When you do so, that rate will appear every time you enter a sales transaction for the customer or job you selected.


Open the Customers menu and select Customer Center. Double click on a customer or job’s name to open the record. Click on the Payment Settings tab. Click the arrow in the field next to Price Level and select the right one, then click OK.


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You can assign a Price Level to specific customers or jobs.


Per Item Price Levels


QuickBooks also allows you to set custom prices for specific items that are associated with preferred customers or jobs (this option is only available if you’re using QuickBooks Premier or Enterprise). Let’s say you want to give a 10 percent discount to specific customers who purchase your website development services. Go to Lists | Price Level List and click the arrow next to Price Level in the lower left corner again, then select New (you can also get to the New command by right-clicking anywhere in the window). 


Give your price level a name (like Web Development 10 Off), then select Per Item from the Price Level Type drop-down list. Click in front of the Item you want to include. The fields in the next line should read as pictured in the image below: 10% | lower | standard price. Click Adjust. You’ll see your reduced prices in the Custom Price column in the table above.


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You can establish a Price Level for specific items in QuickBooks.


Again, the rounding field is optional. When you’re finished here, click OK. The next time you create a sales transaction for a customer who is eligible for the lower price, you’ll select Web Development 10 Off from the drop-down list in the Rate column.


Feel like you’re outgrowing your current version of QuickBooks, or is it several years old? Talk to us about upgrading. We’re here to support you and to help you more effectively use the software as your business changes and grows.


Wednesday, November 4, 2020

QuickBooks Online's Mobile App: The Basics

QuickBooks Online is more portable than you may realize.


In this work-from-home world, millions of people are finding it impossible to get away from the “office”. But there may be times when you’re not at home or work when it would be really convenient to have access to your accounting data in QuickBooks Online. 


The site’s free companion apps make that possible. Available for both Android and iOS, the QuickBooks Online mobile app can do many of the things that you’re used to doing on your desktop or laptop. And of course, everything you do on the app is synchronized with your browser-based version, and vice versa. Both versions look and work similarly and offer a user experience that makes your mobile tasks easy to accomplish. 


Here’s a look at what you can do.


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The QuickBooks Online mobile app doesn’t look much like the browser-based version, but it can do many of the same tasks.


Navigation Tools


Once you’ve downloaded the QuickBooks Online mobile app and entered your login credentials from the browser-based version, you’ll see a screen full of shortcuts to the app’s main functions. This is an abbreviated list of what you can actually do, but it takes you to the screens you’ll want to see most often. Click the All tab, and a full set of links for the app opens that includes functions missing from the shortcuts page, like Reports and Products & services. 


Click on the home button in the lower left, and the app opens two more screens. One is a Dashboard that’s similar to the one you see in your browser. It displays charts for profit and loss, invoices, and expenses, as well as a list of your account balances. Click the Activity tab to see a list of the most recent activity. Like most everything on the app, the list is interactive. When you click on an activity, the transaction underlying it opens.

There are two more navigation links at the bottom of the screen. When you want to add a transaction, you can click on the + (plus) sign to open your options there. Click the three horizontal lines to open the Shortcuts page. The gear icon in the upper left takes you to the Settings screen, where you’ll find links to Company Information, Tax Rates, Overdue Invoice Alerts, etc.


Records and Transactions


Customer and vendor records are not as detailed as they are on the browser-based site, but they should serve you well for mobile activities. You can toggle between basic contact details and recent activity. There are also icons that allow you to quickly call, text, or email a contact. Product records are not as complete, however you can see each item’s name, description, sale price, tax status, and account and category assignments. You have the ability to edit records and create new ones on the apps.


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You can view the data from your browser-based version of QuickBooks Online on the mobile app.


You can also add and edit transactions on the mobile apps, including invoices, estimates, sales receipts, expenses, and invoice payments. These are very thorough. They include the fields you need to bill customers and record purchases. You can even request signatures on estimates, add notes or attachments to invoices, and view a status bar for invoice progress.


Other Features


There are other tasks you can complete on the QuickBooks Online mobile apps. You can snap photos of receipts with your phone. The apps will then upload them to the main site and move some of their data on to the correct fields on forms. You can work with bank deposits, projects, and categories. And you can record mileage for business trips. If you turn on Auto-tracking, the apps will record your mileage as you drive.


There’s one more feature on the app that’s fairly new to QuickBooks Online – so new that it may not have been rolled out to you yet: Cash Flow. This is divided into two sections on the main site, Overview and Planner. The second deals with cash flow projections, which can be a complex concept to understand. We recommend you let us walk you through this tool so you know when it may be wise to take actions that will prevent an impending cash crunch.


Are you experiencing cash flow problems now because of the economic downturn? We can analyze your data and reports in QuickBooks Online and help you come up with a recovery plan, contact us to help you.


Wednesday, October 21, 2020

4 Ways to Get Paid Faster Using QuickBooks

 It’s probably one of your toughest challenges. How do you encourage customers to make payments faster?


Cash flow is a problem for so many businesses right now. Unless you sell products or services that are in high demand during the COVID-19 pandemic, you’re probably struggling to get payments from customers who are also cash-strapped. Adding a line to your invoices that says something like, “We appreciate your prompt payment” isn’t making a difference.


QuickBooks provides numerous ways for you to nudge customers who have let payments slide beyond their due dates. You don’t have to be heavy-handed about it (though you may have to be eventually on seriously delinquent accounts). Here are four ways you can speed up your receivables.


Assess finance charges on late payments.


You don’t want to make customers unhappy, but consumers and businesses are accustomed to having interest assessed on late or partial payments. QuickBooks can help you set up finance charges. Once you’re logged in as the Admin, open the Edit menu and select Preferences | Finance Charge | Company Preferences. You’ll see a window like this:



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Setting up and assessing finance charges can be complicated. We suggest you consult with us if you want to take this route.


You might consider what you pay some of your other vendors when you’re deciding on variables like Annual Interest Rate (%) and Grace Period (Days). Keep in mind that in some jurisdictions, you can’t charge finance charges on existing finance charges, so you’ll need to know your local laws if you want to check that box. Then, tell QuickBooks how you want it to calculate the charges. 


To see who owes finance charges and have them applied, click Customers | Assess Finance Charges. Select the Assessment Date and the customers who should be charged. If you click the box in front of Mark invoices: “To be printed,” QuickBooks will print a separate finance charge invoice in addition to the main invoice for each customer. Otherwise, the charges will just be included on their next statement.

Warning: Please let us work with you if you decide to add finance charges. We can help prevent mistakes that will most likely make your customers very unhappy.


Allow your customers to pay online.


This is actually our number one suggestion. You’re not penalizing your customers in any way. You’re simply providing them with an easier way for them to settle up their debts. It’s a courtesy to them, actually. They don’t have to dig for their checkbooks and stamps, address an envelope, and get their payment to the post office. QuickBooks adds information to your invoices telling customers exactly how to proceed.


The benefits to you are obvious: You’re more likely to get paid quicker, and you won’t have to deal with cashing checks and chasing down deposits. You’ll have to first sign up for QuickBooks Payments, which will allow you to accept credit card, debit card, and ACH bank transfer payments electronically. There are no monthly or setup fees, but you’ll of course pay transaction fees. The money should be in your bank account by the next business day, and QuickBooks takes care of all the background work, matching payments with invoices. We can help you get set up here.


Send statements.


You can always run an A/R Aging report to see who’s past due. But you’ll also learn which customers are in arrears if you create and send statements. Click Customers | Create Statements to produce comprehensive lists of your customers’ invoices and payments. You can define a date range and send statements to everyone (or a hand-selected group). You’d be more likely to send statements to everyone who is a specified number of days past due, as pictured below.



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You can tell QuickBooks which customers should receive statements by completing the fields in this window.


Polish up your invoices and send them promptly.


You have more control over your sales forms’ content and layout than you might realize. Open the Lists menu and select Templates. Double-click on the invoice form you use the most, then click Manage Templates. Highlight the desired form and click Copy (it’s best not to alter your existing templates until you’ve practiced a bit). Give it a new Template Name if you want, then click OK. You can change colors and fonts in the window that opens. Click Additional Customization at the bottom of the window, and you’ll be able to add, edit, and delete fields and columns in your forms.


Send your invoices as soon as possible after you’ve completed the sale. You want customers to remember shortly after the fact that they need to pay you.


Poor cash flow is a perpetual problem for a lot of small businesses – and not just during a pandemic. If we can help you use QuickBooks’ tools to evaluate your current cash flow and forecast into the future, or if you need further explanations of anything we discussed here, please don’t hesitate to contact us.


SOCIAL MEDIA POSTS


Poor cash flow? QuickBooks has tools that can help you get paid faster. Call or email us to set up a consultation.


Customers not paying you on time? Consider adding finance charges using QuickBooks. We can walk you through how to do this.


If your customers are slow to pay, maybe they need a faster, easier way. QuickBooks Payments allows you to accept bank cards and transfers. We can walk you through how to set this up.


Are you using QuickBooks’ Statements? They can nudge customers into settling outstanding debts to you. Ask us about this.


Wednesday, October 7, 2020

10 Tips for Better Budgeting…

 …and how QuickBooks Online can help you with the mechanics.


If you already have a budget, it’s probably been difficult for you to stick with it for the last several months. Unless you provide products and/or services that have been in great demand since the  COVID-19 pandemic took hold, you’ve had to adjust your budget significantly.


Better days are ahead, though, and now is a good time to start doing some planning for 2021. While there are still likely to be uncertainties next year, creating a budget will give you a starting point. A budget increases your awareness of all of your projected income and expenses, which may make it less likely that you’ll find yourself constantly running short on funds.


Here are some ways you can make your budgeting process more effective and realistic.


Use what you already know. Unless you’re starting a brand-new business, you already have the best resource possible: a record of your past income and expenses. Use this as the basis for your projections.


Be aware of your sales cycle. Even if you’re not a seasonal business, you’ve probably learned that some months or quarters are better than others. Budget conservatively for the slower months.


Distinguish between essential and non-essential expenses. Enter your budget items for the bills and other expenses that must be covered before you add optional categories. 



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You can use data from a previous year to create a new budget in QuickBooks Online.


Keep it simple. Don’t budget down to the last paper clip. You risk budget burnout, and your reports will be unwieldy. 


Build in some backup funding. Just as you’re supposed to have an emergency fund in your personal life, try to create one for your business.


Make your employees part of the process. You shouldn’t be secretive about the expense element of your budget. Try to get input from staff in areas where they have knowledge.


Overestimate your expenses, a little. This can help prevent “borrowing” from one budget category to make up for a shortfall in another.


Consider using excess funds to pay down debt. Debt costs you money. The sooner you pay it off, the sooner you can use those payments for some non-essential items.


Look for areas where you can change vendors.  As you’re creating your budget think carefully about each supplier of products and services. Can you find less costly alternatives?


Revisit your budget frequently. You should evaluate your progress at least once a month. In fact, you could even start by budgeting for only a couple of months at a time. You’ll learn a lot about your spending and sales patterns that you can use for future periods.


How QuickBooks Online Can Help


QuickBooks Online offers built-in tools to help you create a budget. Click the gear icon in the upper right corner and select Budgeting under Tools. Click Add budget. At the top of the screen, give your budget a Name and select the Fiscal Year it should cover from the drop-down list by that field. Choose an Interval (monthly, quarterly, or yearly) and indicate whether you want to Pre-fill data from an existing year. 



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QuickBooks Online supplies a budget template that already contains commonly used small business items.


The final field is labeled Subdivide by, which is optional. You can set up budgets that only include selected Customers or Classes, for example. Select the desired divider in that field, then choose who or what you want included in the next. Click Next or Create Budget in the lower right corner (depending on whether you used pre-filled data) to open your budget template. If you subdivided the budget, you’ll see a field marked View budget for. Click the down arrow and select from the options listed there.


To create your budget, you simply enter numbers in the small boxes supplied. Columns are divided by months or quarters, depending on what you specified, and rows are labeled with budget items (Advertising, Gross Receipts, Legal & Professional Fees, etc.). You simply enter numbers in the boxes that apply. When you click in a box, a small arrow appears pointing right. Click on this, and your number will automatically appear in the rest of that row’s boxes. When you’re done, click Save in the lower right. You can edit your budget at any time.


QuickBooks Online provides two related reports. Budget Overview displays all of the data in your budget(s). Budget vs. Actuals shows you how you’re adhering to your budget. 


We know creating a budget can be challenging, but it’s so important – especially right now.  We’d be happy to look at your company’s financial situation and see how QuickBooks’ budgeting tools—and its other accounting features—can help you get a better understanding of your finances.

SOCIAL MEDIA POSTS


Don’t have a budget set for your business? QuickBooks Online has tools that can simplify the process of creating one.


When you’re creating a budget, it’s helpful to distinguish between essential and non-essential expenses. QuickBooks Online has tools that can help you, including budgeting for necessities first. 


When was the last time you shopped for new suppliers? Now is a good time to see if you could save some money and help with your budget. QuickBooks Online has many tools that can help both you and your business budget.


Did you know QuickBooks Online allows you to use existing income and expense data to create a budget? Here is how this is done.


Wednesday, September 23, 2020

How to Track Employee Time, Part 2

 If you have to track a lot of employee work hours, you might want to use QuickBooks’ Timesheets


Last month, we introduced the concept of time tracking in QuickBooks. Using the software’s tools, you’re able to record individual blocks of time that employees have worked, so that you are able to include them in payroll and billing customers when necessary. We went through the steps required to set up QuickBooks for time tracking and walked you through the process of creating individual time entries. A completed record for billable time should look something like this:



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To enter an individual time record, you open the Employees menu and select Enter Time | Time/Enter Single Activity.


Using a Timesheet


QuickBooks offers another way to enter time records that’s especially useful if you have multiple employees and a lot of work hours to track. Open the Employees menu and select Enter Time | Use Weekly Timesheet. You can also get there by clicking the down arrow next to the Enter Time icon on the home page. This screen resembles a paper timesheet, with columns for all of the information you would enter if you created a single activity.


At the top of the screen, click the down arrow next to Name and select the correct employee. To the right of that is the Week Of field. If you need to change the dates, click the small graphical calendar, then click anywhere in the correct week. If you have already created individual records for that employee during that week, the information for each will appear in the corresponding date column at the end of the row. And anything you enter on the Timesheet will also appear as an individual entry.


To create a new entry on the Timesheet, click the down arrow in the Customer column and select the correct Customer:Job. Next, choose the Service the employee provided by again clicking the down arrow in that field. You want to be sure that the Payroll Item code is the right one, so choose carefully there; the WC Code (Workers’ Comp) should fill in automatically. Enter Notes if you’d like, then the number or hours the employee worked for that customer for that service in the date column. Be sure to click in the Billable box to create a checkmark if the service was billable.



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Any data you enter on a QuickBooks Timesheet will also appear as a Single Activity, and vice versa.


Totals for each column appear at the bottom. Save the Timesheet and repeat the process for any other employees as needed. These hours will now be available to you when you run payroll and bill customers.


Time Reports and Invoicing


QuickBooks makes it easy for you to see the time data you’ve entered. It offers four pre-formatted reports that tally this information in different ways. Open the Reports menu and select Report Center. Locate Jobs, Time & Mileage in the left vertical pane and click on it. Scroll down to the Time heading to see these four reports. They are:

  • Time by Job Summary (tells you how much time your company spent on each job, broken down by services provided)

  • Time by Job Detail (shows you the same thing, but includes employee name and billing status)

  • Time by Name (lists employees and the hours they spent on each job)

  • Time by Item (tells you how much time your company has spent on each service type, broken down by job)

When you open a report, you can double-click on any number in the Duration column to see the underlying detail.


When you create an invoice for a customer who needs to be billed for services provided, QuickBooks displays this message:



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To make this standard procedure, check the box in front of Save this as a preference.


QuickBooks offers another way to bill for time and expenses that allows you to create invoices in batches. Open the Customers menu and select Invoice for Time & Expenses. In the window that opens, specify your Date Range, and make sure the Template showing is the one you want. 


Click in the column in front of each Customer:Job you want to bill and then click Next Step. You can Review Billables to see details and Edit Options by clicking on those buttons. Click on Create Invoices and make sure each customer’s Preferred Send Method is correct in the next window before dispatching them.


QuickBooks’ time tracking tools may be all your company needs. But if you find them lacking, talk to us about adding TSheets, an integrated solution that adds more advanced features. And let us know if we can help with your use of QuickBooks’ own tools – or any other aspect of your accounting.


SOCIAL MEDIA POSTS


Did you know there are two ways to enter employee work hours in QuickBooks: individual time records or timesheets. Find out the difference here.


Are QuickBooks’ time tracking tools not enough for you? Ask us about adding TSheets, an integrated solution with advanced features.


QuickBooks has a new feature that allows you to invoice for time and expenses in batches. We can show you how this works.


Did you know that QuickBooks can remind you that you have outstanding billable service hours when you invoice customers? Find out how here and ask us how this works.