How to Apply Finance Charges in QuickBooks

You may hate to have to do it, but assessing finance charges for late payments may improve your overall cash flow.

There are a myriad of ways to bring in customer payments faster and improve your cash flow. You can:

  • Get a merchant account and let customers pay you electronically
  • Offer a discount for early payments
  • Shorten the payment due cycle (21 days instead of 30 days, for example)
  • Be more aggressive about collections

QuickBooks can help you take all of these steps. It also offers a fifth option: assess finance charges for tardy remittances.

Maybe you don’t want to do this because it seems like a less-than-friendly way to treat customers – especially valued ones. But you’re not in the business of lending money, which is what you’re doing when you continue to let your accounts receivable slide. So, here’s how to do add finance charges to your payment policies.

Multiple Issues Involved

Before you can start adding finance charges to tardy payments, you’ll need to let QuickBooks know how you want them handled. Open the Edit menu and select Preferences. Click the Finance Charge tab in the left vertical pane, then the Company Preferences tab in the window that opens. You’ll see something like this:

example of how to enter finance charges

You’ll need to decide on your QuickBooks Finance Charge settings before you can begin to apply these late fees.

What Annual Interest Rate will you charge? Will there be a Minimum Finance Charge? Do you want to offer a Grace Period? If you’ve never worked with finance charges before, you might be at a loss as to how you should answer these questions. We can talk it through with you if you’d like, and make sure you’re selecting the correct Finance Charge Account. In our example, QuickBooks defaulted to 70100 – Other Income, which may be the best option for you.

The next question may require some research. Some jurisdictions don’t allow you to Assess finance charges on overdue finance charges; you’ll need to find out. If there’s any doubt, make sure that the box in front of that option isn’t checked.

QuickBooks also needs to know on what date it should start calculating finance charges: on the due date or invoice/billed date. Finally, check the box in front of Mark finance charge invoices “To be printed.” QuickBooks doesn’t include finance charges on invoices themselves; it bills them on separate invoices. Check this box if you want the software to print all of them as a batch.

When you’re done here, click OK.

Applying the Charges

 example of how assessment date is used to calculate charges

By selecting an Assessment Date, you’re telling QuickBooks how many late days should be included in its finance charge calculations.

When you’re ready, open the Customers menu and select Assess Finance Charges. A window like the one in the image above will open.

QuickBooks, of course, performs all of the required calculations in the background. But it must first know what specific date you plan to actually assess the charges so that it can determine the number of late days that should be included. This may not be the current date, so be sure the Assessment Date is correct before proceeding.

All you have to do here is make sure there’s a check mark in front of every finance charge that should be invoiced (they’ll probably already be there, but you should verify this). If you send statements, clear the box in front of Mark Invoices “To be printed.” The finance charges will appear on the next statement.

When you’re satisfied, click Assess Charges.

Dispatching the Charges

Your finance charges have now been recorded in QuickBooks as individual invoices. When it’s time to print, open the File menu and select Print Forms | Invoices. You’ll see your numbered finance charge invoices displayed like this:

example of invoice charges when printing them

You can see your finance charge invoices when you go to print them.

(Of course, if you email invoices, you’d click on File | Send Forms.)

It’s a good idea to notify your customers before you start assessing finance charges. This will give them a chance to catch up, and no one will be surprised to see the extra invoices.

QuickBooks does the hefty lifting as far as calculations are concerned, but it’s very important that you set your finance charges up correctly. Customers will be annoyed by mistakes. And it’s much easier for us to help you get this tool set up right from the start than to have to go in and untangle errors. Let us know if you plan to start assessing finance charges, and we’ll help make it work for you.

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.

Case Study: Non-Profit Improves Processes, Hires New CFO

Client: $4 million non-profit organization

Service: Non-Profit Outsource Accounting Services

 

Situation

When the Chief Financial Officer of a $4 million non-profit left abruptly, the board reached out to Insero & Co.’s Non-Profit Outsource Accounting Services Group for assistance. They had an immediate need for coverage, but also wanted to step back and figure out what would be best for the organization in the long run. This was especially important since the organization had experienced recent turnover of nearly all internal management roles, including the Executive Director. The board asked Insero to help evaluate the CFO position and make recommendations for process improvements, as well as hiring and pay structure for the accounting department.

 

Resolution

Insero’s Outsource Consultants were able to provide the organization with an interim CFO to fill the immediate needs of day to day operations, as well as a strategic planning partner to assess the current structure and provide guidance to the board. After an initial assessment, Insero was able to assist with the recruiting and placement of a new CFO as a direct hire. We also developed a six-month transition plan to support the new CFO, who attends all board meetings and delivers Finance and Board Packages, which have now been automated to print directly from QuickBooks.

Other process improvements included:

  • Grant management procedures
  • Month-end close process
  • Refining the annual budget process
  • Defining ownership roles within the organization

All of this was achieved at a fraction of the cost of the previous CFO’s salary and benefits.

executive director of a non-profit review financial data and process improvements with outsource consultants

Learn More

With over 40 years of experience working with non-profits, Insero’s specialists have the knowledge and capacity to help you with your organization’s needs. Our clients include foundations, arts and cultural organizations, chambers of commerce, social clubs, fraternities and sororities, housing assistance and development organizations, recreation facilities and programs, community support organizations, child care providers, and more. Learn more about our service offerings below: To learn more about how we can help your organization, contact us today.

 

All About Sales Receipts in QuickBooks

All About Sales Receipts in QuickBooks

Documenting every sale carefully helps ensure that your financial records and reports will be accurate. The sales receipt is the right tool for this in specific situations.

You know how important it is to obtain receipts for the expenses you and your employees incur. You need to record them, analyze their impact on your cash flow, and claim some of them on your income taxes.

Your customers, too, expect to receive forms documenting purchases they’ve made from you. When they pay you immediately for goods or services, you’ll give them a sales receipt, rather than invoicing them for future remittance. Not only will your customers have a record of the transaction – you will, too.

QuickBooks supports the creation and tracking of sales receipts. It manages the mechanics of this important task incredibly well. It eliminates the need to enter receipt data twice, once on a paper copy for your customer and again in your accounting system. This QuickBooks feature not only minimizes errors, but saves time and lessens the possibility of disputes down the road.

A Simple Form

Here’s an example of a situation that illustrates the importance of really learning about and understanding QuickBooks before you start entering live data. Say you got a check from a customer on the spot for a house painting job you completed. When you look at QuickBooks’ home page, which icon do you click?

You might be tempted to click Receive Payments, since that’s exactly what you’re doing. But that screen is reserved for revenue that comes in to satisfy outstanding invoices and unpaid items on billing statements. Instead, you’d click Create Sales Receipts to open the Enter Sales Receipts window. Here’s a partial view of what you’d see:

When a customer pays you immediately for goods or services, you need to open and complete the Enter Sales Receipts window.

If you’ve already entered your customer and item/service records in QuickBooks, you can record your sale very quickly here. Even if you haven’t, or if you need to create a new record on the fly, you can select <Add New> when you open the drop-down option lists for the Customer:Job and Item fields.

Warning: Do you need to track inventory levels for products you sell? Have you created thorough records for these items? There is information that QuickBooks needs to help ensure that you don’t run out of stock or keep too much on hand. Let us walk you through the software’s inventory-management tools so you can take advantage of all the benefits they offer.

Once you’ve selected the appropriate customer, Class (if you use this feature), and Template (Here again, do you understand that you can either use the default sales receipt form provided by QuickBooks or customize it? We can help here), make sure that the Date and Sale No. are correct.

Next, click on the icon representing the transaction’s payment method, choosing from Cash, Check, Credit Card, or eCheck. Click the More button if your method isn’t listed there. Here, you can add new options by selecting Add New Payment Method. A small window will open allowing this. If you want to modify this list further by, for example. editing and deleting the default methods, clear and close the current sales receipt, open the Lists menu, and select Customer & Vendor Profile Lists | Payment Method List. This window will open:

Click the down arrow in the Payment Method field near the bottom of this window to see your modification options.

Once you’ve chosen the desired Payment Method (and entered a check number if necessary), you’ll complete the rest of the sales receipt much like you would an invoice, by selecting the correct products or services, the quantity you’re selling, and the transaction’s tax status. QuickBooks will fill in the rest if you’ve created complete item records.

When you’re done, save the sales receipt. Information about the transaction will be available in standard places like the Customer Information screens and various reports.

Whether your revenue comes instantly (documented by a sales receipt) or as longer-term payment on an invoice, your company’s income is just one element of the cash flow equation. Are you able to create and interpret the reports that can help you understand these complex calculations, like Cash Flow Forecast and Profit & Loss? You probably run some of QuickBooks’ more basic sales reports regularly, but consider bringing us in to do the deep analysis needed to make better business decisions.

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.

Polish Your Image: Customize QuickBooks’ Forms

Polish Your Image: Customize QuickBooks’ Forms

The invoices and other forms you send to customers and vendors should reflect your company’s attention to detail, accuracy, and consistency.

Every opportunity you have to interact with your customers and vendors is critical. Whether it’s a phone call, an in-person connection, or an email, how you present yourself reveals a lot about you. Are you efficient? Friendly? Do you handle orders and problems and payment issues quickly and carefully?

Your accounting forms can also contribute to your image. They should always be:

  • Neat and attractive.
  • Easy to read, with the most important information displayed prominently.
  • Consistent with any graphics you use on other company materials.
  • Accurate, above all.

You might be able to use at least some of QuickBooks’ form templates as is, without any modifications. But couldn’t they be better? More visually appealing? Formatted to include only the fields that your business most often needs? QuickBooks contains the customization tools you need to make them so.

Improving What Exists

 

You can personalize your QuickBooks forms and make them consistent with any design themes your brand may use.

We’ll look at the modification options for an invoice, though, depending on what version of QuickBooks you’re using, you can also work with sales receipts, purchase orders, statements, estimates, sales orders, and credit memos. Start by opening the Lists menu and selecting Templates. Highlight Intuit Product Invoice in the list. Click the down arrow next to Templates in the lower left corner and choose Edit Template.

The above image displays part of the window that opens. Here, you can add a logo, change the color scheme, and change fonts for your company’s contact information and the labels that identify each field (like Bill To, Terms, and Quantity). The right pane of this window shows you what the form will look like as you make changes.

Nothing you’ve done so far will prevent you from using Intuit’s pre-printed forms. But when you click Additional Customization at the bottom of the screen, you’ll be warned that if you make modifications beyond this point, the forms may not print correctly. To be safe, click Make a Copy. You’ll be able to print this new version on plain paper.

Deeper Customization

The image below shows you part of the window that opens when you click on Additional Customization. The first two columns here are the most important; they let you specify the labeled fields that will appear on your invoices. When Header is the active column, you’ll be able to choose the content that will go at the top of your form, like Date, Invoice Number, and Terms.

Next to each default label, you’ll see boxes for Screen and Print. Click in these boxes to create or delete checkmarks; this will indicate whether each label will appear in the software itself and which will be printed for your customers to see. If you’d like to change the language QuickBooks uses to describe each, enter your preferred word or phrase in the Title column.

With the Header column highlighted, you can shape the appearance of the top section of your invoices.

Warning: As you’re checking and unchecking boxes, a dialog box may open telling you that your changes will cause some fields to overlap on your form. If you click the Default Layout button, QuickBooks will make automatic adjustments to fix this. Clicking Continue means you’ll have to use the software’s Layout Designer to make your own adjustments. This tool is not particularly intuitive, and it requires some design skills. If you must work with the Layout Designer, let us help.

When you click the Columns tab, you’ll see a list of the fields available for the main body of your invoices, like Description, Quantity, and Rate. This works similarly to how you just modified the Header, with one exception: You’ll be able to enter numbers in the Order column to specify the placement of each field. Here again, you’ll be able to watch a preview of your form change in the right pane.

If you want to start over, click the Default button to revert the form to its original state. When you’re done, click OK.

Neatness Counts

Whether you print and mail your forms or simply dispatch them electronically, we strongly encourage you to make them as professional and polished as you possibly can. Their appearance will enhance or detract from the image your customers and vendors have of your business. Let us know if we can help here. We’d be happy to help you learn about and implement the customization options that QuickBooks offers.

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.