What Sales Orders Are and When to Use Them

They’re not as commonly used as invoices. But if you need them, they’re there.

When you want to document sales that you can’t (or won’t) fulfill immediately, but you plan to do so in the future, you can’t create an invoice just yet. This is where sales orders come in.

You may never need to create a sales order for a customer. Perhaps you have a service-based business, or you never run out of inventory. Or you simply don’t enter an order unless you know you have the item(s) in stock.

But if you plan to use sales orders, you must first make sure QuickBooks is set up to accommodate them. Open the Edit menu and select Preferences, then Sales & Customers. Click the Company Preferences tab to open that window.

Company Preferences Screenshot

Before you can use sales orders, you’ll need to make sure that QuickBooks is set up for them.

Sales Orders Are Required for Some Tasks

There are a few situations where you must use a sales order:

  • If you have a customer who orders very frequently, you may not want to create an invoice for absolutely every item. You could use a sales order to keep track of these multiple orders, and then send an invoice at the end of the month.
  • If you’re missing one or more items that a customer wanted, you can create a sales order that includes everything, but only note the in-stock items on an invoice. The sales order will keep track of the portion of the order that wasn’t fulfilled. Both forms will include the back-ordered quantity.

Warning: Working with back orders can be challenging. In fact, working with inventory-tracking itself may be problematic for you. If your business stocks enough of multiple types of items that you want to use those QuickBooks features, let us help you get started to ensure that you understand these rather complex concepts.

Creating a Sales Order

Creating sales orders in QuickBooks is actually quite simple and similar to filling out an invoice. Click the Sales Orders icon on the home page, or open the Customers menu and select Create Sales Orders.

 Sales Order Screenshot

A sales order in QuickBooks looks much like an invoice.

Click the down arrow in the field next to Customer: Job and choose the correct one. If you use Classes, select the correct one from the list that drops down, and change the Template if you’ve created another you’d like to use.

Tip: Templates and Classes are totally optional in QuickBooks. Templates provide alternate views of forms containing different fields and perhaps a different layout. Classes are like categories. You create your own that work for your business; they can be very helpful in reports. Talk to us if you don’t understand these concepts.

If the shipping address is different from the customer’s main address, click the down arrow in the field next to Ship To, and either select an alternate you’ve created or click <Add New>. Make sure the Date is correct, and enter a purchase order number (P.O. No.) if appropriate.

The rest of the sales order is easy. Click in the fields in the table to make your selections from drop-down lists, and enter data when needed. Pay special attention to the Tax status. Let us know if you haven’t set up sales tax and need to.

When everything is correct, save the sales order. When you’re ready to convert it to an invoice, open it and click the Create Invoice icon in the toolbar. QuickBooks will ask whether you want to create an invoice for all the items or just the ones you select. You’ll be able to specify quantities, too, in the window that opens.

Specify Items and Quantities Screenshot

When you create an invoice from a sales order, you can select all the items ordered or a subset.

As we’ve said, sales orders are easy to fill out in QuickBooks. But they involve some complex tracking, and you may want to schedule a session with us before you attempt them. Better to understand them ahead of time than to try to troubleshoot problems later.

For more QuickBooks tips, tricks and info on training from our team of Certified QuickBooks ProAdvisors® subscribe to The QBC.

QuickBooks and QuickBooks ProAdvisor are registered trademarks and/or registered service marks of Intuit Inc.

Setting Up User Access in QuickBooks

The QBC: QuickBooks® Client Newsletter

Setting Up User Access in QuickBooks

Will multiple employees be working with your QuickBooks company file? You’ll need to define their permission levels.

If you ever did your bookkeeping manually, you probably didn’t allow every employee to see every sales form and account register and payroll stub. Most likely, you established a system that allowed staff to work only with information that related to their jobs. Even so, there may have been times when, for example, someone pulled the wrong file folder or was sent a report that he or she shouldn’t have seen.

QuickBooks helps prevent this by setting virtual boundaries. You can specify which features of the software can be accessed by employees who work with your accounting data. Each employee receives a unique user name and password that unlocks only the areas he or she should be visiting.

QBC 0816 image 1_zpsai8phrevTo help minimize errors, maintain data integrity, and preserve confidentiality, QuickBooks lets you restrict users to designated areas in the software. (more…)

Make QuickBooks Your Own: Specify Your Preferences

The QBC: QuickBooks® Client Newsletter

Make QuickBooks Your Own: Specify Your Preferences

Your business is unique. Make sure that QuickBooks knows how you operate.

QuickBooks was designed to be used by millions of businesses. In fact, it’s possible to install it, answer a few questions about your company, and start working right away.

However, we strongly suggest you take the time to specify your Preferences. QuickBooks devotes a whole screen to this customization process. You can find it by opening the Edit menu and selecting Preferences.

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Using Sales Receipts: When? How?

The QBC: QuickBooks® Client Newsletter

Using Sales Receipts: When? How?

Some types of businesses always use sales receipts. Some use them occasionally. Here’s what you need to know about them.

How do you let your customers know how much they owe you, and for what products or services? In these days of ecommerce and merchant accounts, your customers may provide a credit card number over the phone or on a website. Or perhaps you send invoices after a sale and receive checks or account numbers in the mail. QuickBooks can help you both create the invoices and record the payments.

There’s another type of sales document that you can use in certain situations: the sales receipt. You’d probably be most likely to use one of these when customers pay you in full for products or services at the same time they receive them.  (more…)

Are You Applying Finance Charges? Should You Be?

The QBC: QuickBooks® Client Newsletter

Are You Applying Finance Charges? Should You Be?

Assessing finance charges is a complicated process. But if you have a lot of late payments coming in, you may want to consider it.

There are many reasons why your customers send in payments past their due dates. Maybe they missed or misplaced your invoice, or they’re disputing the charges. They might not be very conscientious about bill-paying. Or they simply don’t have the money.

Sometimes they contact you about their oversight, but more often, you just see the overdue days pile up in your reports.

You could use stronger language in your customer messages. Send statements. Make phone calls if the delinquency goes on too long. Or you could start assessing finance charges to invoices that go unpaid past the due date. QuickBooks provides tools to accommodate this, but you’ll want to make absolutely sure you’re using them correctly – or you’ll risk angering customers and creating problems with your accounts receivable. (more…)

Accounting for Time in QuickBooks

The QBC: QuickBooks® Client Newsletter

Accounting for Time in QuickBooks

If you sell services to your customers, you’ll need to understand how to use QuickBooks’ time-tracking features.

Small businesses that sell products have to do a constant balancing act. Keep too much inventory on hand, and you’re sitting on potential profits. If you don’t order enough and you run out, your customers may go to a competitor. QuickBooks provides tools and reports that can help you manage this ongoing challenge.

Selling time and services is a different story. There’s no real inventory tracking involved — except in terms of knowing how much manpower you have available at any given time. But just like you wouldn’t want customers to walk off with merchandise they haven’t bought, you don’t want any billable minutes or hours to be ignored. Both scenarios eat into your profits.

Gone are the days when you had to count on employees to fill out detailed timecards and hope that they remembered to document everything. QuickBooks can help ensure that you’re getting paid for all time and services rendered.

Building Your Records

Before you can ask employees to start tracking the hours they put in, you need to create a record for every time-based activity so that QuickBooks knows how much to charge when billable time is entered. The software creates and stores these in the same way it builds records for physical inventory items.
Start by clicking on the Items & Services icon on the home page (or go to Lists | Item List). Click the down arrow next to Item in the lower left of the screen that appears, and then select New from the menu (or right-click in the main part of the screen and select New).

QBC%201015%20image%201_zpsimzb3vdtFigure 1: Once you’ve created a record for a service item, you can use it throughout QuickBooks.

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How QuickBooks Helps You Accelerate Receivables

The QBC: QuickBooks® Client Newsletter

How QuickBooks Helps You Accelerate Receivables

Getting paid by your customers in a timely fashion is one of the biggest challenges of being a business owner. QuickBooks can help in several ways.

You’re meeting your sales goals. Keeping inventory balanced. Making sure that every billable hour gets invoiced. Taking advantage of vendor discounts. Basically, doing everything in your power to keep cash flow humming.

But you can’t control how quickly your customers pay you.

You can, though, use QuickBooks’ tools to:

  • Make it easier for customers to remit their payments,
  • Remind customers about unpaid balances, and
  • Keep a close eye on unpaid invoices.

Customer Payment ScreenFigure 1: QuickBooks lets you accept payments from customers in multiple forms. Accepting credit cards and e-checks is likely to speed up your receivables.

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