Preventing Data Theft in QuickBooks

The QBC: QuickBooks® Client Newsletter

Preventing Data Theft in QuickBooks

Be proactive about the security of your QuickBooks company file, and you’ll be less likely to encounter data theft.

Thanks to the internet, privacy has been on the wane over the last few years. We assume that our addresses and phone numbers are public information, thanks to sites like Switchboard and 411.com. We hope that our dates of birth are private (though the number of birthday wishes on Facebook makes that doubtful), and we assume that our Social Security numbers are hard to get.

Your customers trust you enough to provide you with additional private information, like credit card numbers. And you’ve seen what an uproar occurs when major corporate entities like Target and Home Depot get hacked.

Your small business may not have hundreds of thousands of customer information files, but you can still be targeted by external hackers and even your own employees. Are you taking measures to ensure the security of that data stored on your hard drive and/or in the cloud? (more…)

How QuickBooks’ Custom Fields Can Provide Better Business Insight

The QBC: QuickBooks® Client Newsletter

QuickBooks’ customizability makes it flexible enough for countless business types. Custom fields are a big part of that.

QuickBooks makes it possible for your business to create very detailed records for customers, vendors, employees, and items. In fact, you may find that you rarely make use of every field each contains.
But you may also find that there are additional fields that you’d like to see in your predefined record formats. That’s where custom fields come in. QuickBooks lets you add extra fields and specify what their labels should be.

You can define up to 12 total fields for use in customer, vendor, and/or employee records. QuickBooks treats these just as it treats your built-in fields. They appear in the records themselves, of course, and are included when you export a file containing them. You can also search for them in reports.

People Records

There are separate processes for defining fields for your individual and company contacts and your items. Let’s look at how you can set up custom fields for customers, vendors, and employees first.

Go to your Customer Center and open a blank Customer record (in newer versions of QuickBooks, you’ll click on New Customer & Job in the upper left corner, and then click New Customer). Then click the Additional Info tab in the left vertical pane of the New Customer window, then click on the Define Fields button in the lower right. This window will open (with blank fields):

 

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Figure 1: You can create up to 12 total custom fields that will be shared by customers, vendors, and employees.

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Memorizing Transactions in QuickBooks: Why? How?

The QBC: QuickBooks® Client Newsletter

QuickBooks saves time in countless ways, one of which is its ability to memorize transactions. Are you taking advantage of this feature?

One of the reasons you started using accounting software, among many others, was to save time. And QuickBooks has complied. Once you create a record for a customer, vendor, item, etc., you rarely – if ever – have to enter that information again; you simply choose it from a list.
You no longer waste time searching through endless piles of papers to find the one you need; you just do a search. And when you need a report on your monthly sales or inventory purchases or your payroll liabilities, you don’t have to wrestle with Excel or locate the right paper records; you just click a few times.

Memorized transactions can be another major time saver. You might use them when you, for example:

  • Provide the same service for a customer on a regular basis,
  • Charge a monthly fee for rentals, maintenance, membership, etc.,
  • Pay a bill to the same company regularly, or
  • Have a standing order with a vendor for a similar set of items.

It’s easy to create memorized transactions. QuickBooks provides an icon for them in the toolbar of every transaction form that’s supported, like invoices, bills, and purchase orders.

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Figure 1: When you see the Memorize icon in the toolbar of a transaction form, you know that you can create a template to use over and over.

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Make Your Preferences Known in QuickBooks

The QBC: QuickBooks® Client Newsletter

QuickBooks is ready to use when you install it. But you can change its settings to make it work the way your company needs it to.

There are some features that all small businesses need in their accounting software. Everyone needs a Chart of Accounts and a good set of report templates. There must be tools to bill customers and to document income and expenses. Some companies need payroll management, and some need the ability to create purchase orders. These days, many businesses want to accept payments online.

But what does your company need? It’s unlikely that you would use absolutely every feature that QuickBooks offers, but you need to make sure that every tool you want to use is set up properly.
If you’ve been using QuickBooks for a while, you may have been directed to the Preferences window already (accessible by clicking on Edit | Preferences). If you’re just starting out with the software, it’s a good idea to acquaint yourself with the most important elements contained there. Here are some of them.
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Figure 1: QuickBooks’ Preferences window. Some features are already turned on or off by default, but you can change their status.

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Creating Item Records in QuickBooks

The QBC: QuickBooks® Client Newsletter

Accurate, thorough item records inform your customers and help you track inventory levels correctly.

Whether you’re selling one-of-a-kind items or stocking dozens of the same kinds of products, you need to create records for each. When it comes time to create invoices or sales receipts, your careful work defining each type of item will:

  • Ensure that your customers receive correct descriptions and pricing,
  • Provide the information you must know about your inventory levels, and,
  • Help you make smart decisions about reordering.

You’ll start this process by making sure that your QuickBooks file is set up to track inventory. Open the Edit menu and select Preferences, then Items & Inventory. Click the Company Preferences tab and click in the box in front of Inventory and purchase orders are activated if there isn’t a check in the box already. Here, too, you can ask that QuickBooks warn you when there isn’t enough inventory to sell. Click OK when you’re finished.

QBC0115image1_zpsdc48f652Figure 1: You need to be sure that QuickBooks knows you’ll be tracking inventory before you start making sales.

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Using Statements in QuickBooks: The Basics

The QBC: QuickBooks® Client Newsletter

Most small businesses use invoices for billing customers. But there are times when you may want to send statements instead of – or in addition to – invoices.

One of the more enjoyable parts of your job is probably sending invoices to your customers to bill for products and/or services is probably one of the more enjoyable parts of your job – second only to recording payments received. Thanks to the company file you’ve built in QuickBooks, creating invoices is generally a very simple process that requires no duplicate data entry.

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Figure 1: You probably use QuickBooks’ invoice forms frequently, so you know how much easier it is to fill them out than to create paper bills.

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Billing for Time in QuickBooks: An Overview

The QBC: QuickBooks® Client Newsletter

If you sell your employees’ time and skills, you can use QuickBooks to record those hours and bill your customers for them.

If your small business sells products, you know how precisely you must track your starting stock numbers, ongoing inventory levels, and your reorder points. QuickBooks provides tools to help with this process, but human factors can sometimes throw off your careful counts.

Fortunately, QuickBooks is remarkably flexible when it comes to recording the time your employees spend on customers and jobs. You can enter information about a single activity — either billable or unbillable — and/or document hours in a timesheet. A built-in timer (the “Stopwatch”) helps you count the minutes automatically; you can also type them in manually.

One Work Session

All versions of desktop QuickBooks include dialog boxes designed to help you enter all the details related to a single timed activity. To get there, either open the Employees menu and select Enter Time | Time/Enter Single Activity or click the down arrow next to the Enter Time icon on the Home Page and choose Time/Enter Single Activity.

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Figure 1: QuickBooks helps you create records for individual activities completed by employees, which can be either billable or unbillable.

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Customize QuickBooks’ Reports, Make Better Business Decisions

The QBC: QuickBooks® Client Newsletter

QuickBooks simplifies and speeds up your daily accounting work, but you’re missing out on valuable insight if you don’t tailor your report data.

Do you remember why you started using QuickBooks? You may have simply wanted to produce sales forms and record payments electronically. Gradually, you expanded your use of the software, perhaps paying and tracking bills through it and keeping an eagle eye on your inventory levels. Certainly, you’ve run at least some of the pre-built report templates offered by all versions of QuickBooks since their inception.

QuickBooks’ automation of your daily bookkeeping tasks has undoubtedly served you well. But that’s merely limited use; now it’s time to take advantage of QuickBooks’ greatest strength: customizable reports.

One of the rewards for diligently entering all of your accounting information is a better grasp of your company’s financial performance to date. That insight ultimately leads to better business decisions that can contribute to your future growth and success.

QBCSeptember2014Image1Figure 1: QuickBooks’ Report Center can help you learn about what each report is designed to tell you. But smart customization requires deeper insight.

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A Tour through QuickBooks' Payroll Setup Tool

The QBC: QuickBooks® Client Newsletter

Getting QuickBooks ready to process payroll is a complex, time-consuming process. Here’s what you can expect.

Payday. You look forward to it when you’re young and working at your first part-time job.

But as a grown-up who needs to start processing payroll for your employees, you probably anticipate it in a different way, perhaps even with a sense of dread. QuickBooks handles the real grunt work once you’ve done the initial setup, but those early hours you spend preparing to print your first paycheck can be challenging.

Fortunately, QuickBooks’ payroll setup tool can guide you through the process. Once you’ve signed up for payroll, open the Employees menu and select Payroll Setup.

QuickBooks Payroll SetupFigure 1: The QuickBooks Payroll Setup tool tells you’ll what information you need to supply in order to start paying employees.

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