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.

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.

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.

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:

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.

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.

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.

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. 

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. 

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.

How to Create Product Records in QuickBooks® Online

Whether your company sells product or services, QuickBooks Online can help you track them.

If you sell one-of-a-kind products and can see all of them at a glance, tracking your inventory isn’t such a big issue. But not many people run businesses like that. Even if you do, you’d want to keep track of what you have and what you’ve sold for accounting purposes.

Most businesses sell multiple types of products and stock numerous units of them. These companies need to be able to easily add them to invoices and sales receipts. They need to know what’s selling and what’s not, and they need to know when it’s time to reorder.

QuickBooks Online’s recording and tracking tools meet all of these requirements by allowing you to create records for services. Here’s how it works.

Getting Ready

Before you can start working with QuickBooks Online’s product records, you should make sure that the site is set up for this purpose. Click the gear icon in the upper right, then Your Company | Account and settings. Click the Sales tab to get to the Products and services section, as pictured below.

QuickBooks Online’s Account and Settings has a section devoted to Products and services.

Click on Products and services to open your options here. To turn any entry from On to Off, or vice versa, click in the box at the beginning of the line to check or uncheck it. To see an explanation of each, click on the small circled question mark. When you’re done here, click Save. Then click the X in the upper right to close this window.

Creating Records

To start entering product and service data in records, click the gear icon in the upper right, then select Products and services. Since you haven’t entered anything yet, the table will be blank. Eventually, it will contain data for each record you’ve created. You’ll also notice two colored circles at the top of the screen, one marked Low Stock and the other, Out of Stock. When there is a number next to either of them, you’ll be able to click on either circle to see a list of what’s low or what’s out.

Click New in the upper right. A vertical panel will slide out asking what kind of record you want to create. You can choose from:

  • Inventory – Physical items you sell whose quantity you want to track
  • Non-inventory – Products you buy or sell but whose quantities you don’t need to track
  • Service – Services you sell, like legal representation or landscaping
  • Bundle A group of products and/or services that are sold together, like computer training and accompanying software

We’re going to create an inventory item, so click on Inventory. Type its Name in that field and add a photo if you’d like. If the product has been assigned a SKU, enter that in its field. You may want to divide your products into primary categories and sub-products or services (like Writing Instruments and Pens, Pencils, Markers, etc.). You can skip this option if you don’t.

QuickBooks Online helps prevent product shortages.

In the next section, you’ll enter the Initial quantity on hand. How many do you have as of (current) date? And where do you want to set your Reorder point? What number of items remaining should trigger the Low Stock alert so you can replenish your supply?

Inventory asset account should already be set at Inventory Asset. Enter a brief Description and then the product’s Sales price/rate (the price you’ll charge customers) and leave Income account set at Sales of Product Income. Then select a Sales tax category. If you haven’t set up sales taxes in QuickBooks Online and believe you’re required to pay them on at least some sales, please let us help. 

In the Purchasing information field, enter the description that should appear on purchase forms, then Cost (the price you paid to buy the product, if any). The Expense account should be Cost of Goods Sold. Select a Preferred Vendor if you’d like and Save the record.

Not all fields are required in your product and service records, but we strongly recommend you complete each record as thoroughly as is possible.

Next month, we’ll look at how product and service records are used in QuickBooks Online. In the meantime, please let us know if there’s any way we can help with your accounting or your use of QuickBooks Online. We know these are challenging times for you, and we hope you’ll use us as one of your resources.

Make QuickBooks® Yours: Customize the Desktop

Make QuickBooks work faster for you by changing a few settings.

Whether your business has been locked down because of the pandemic, or you’re scrambling to hold things together with fewer employees or diminishing sales, you’re probably leaning on QuickBooks more than ever. You may be watching dwindling inventory items closely or monitoring your daily cash flow or trying to collect on invoices that aren’t being paid because your customers are short on money.

QuickBooks can help with all these accounting tasks. But you certainly don’t want to waste time now just dealing with the software’s mechanics.

As always, we’re available to help as you deal with the toll that COVID-19 is taking on your company. We’d also like to suggest that you spend a little time customizing QuickBooks. Streamlining its operations will take some of the unnecessary frustration out of your work life.

Getting Around Quickly

QuickBooks tries to accommodate different work styles and preferences by providing multiple navigation methods. These are:
• The old, standard Windows menus.
• The home page’s icons.
• The Icon Bar that appears in the left vertical pane by default (you change its position by opening the View menu).

If you’re going to use the Icon Bar, we recommend that you set it up to make your most often-used tools prominent. Right-click in the toolbar and click on Customize Shortcuts to open the Customize Icon Bar window. In the upper left corner, you’ll see a list of your icons as they’re currently arranged. You can rearrange them by grabbing the small diamonds to their left with your mouse and dragging them to their new positions. You can change their labels by clicking Edit, or Delete them.

You can add almost any window in QuickBooks to your fast-access Icon Bar.

You’re not limited to the items in the list. Click Add, and the Add Icon Bar Item opens, as pictured above. Click on any of the ones you want to include in the Icon Bar, then click OK. QuickBooks allows you to add almost any screen to your Icon Bar. Navigate to the window you want to add, then open the View menu and select Add…to Icon Bar. If you never use the Icon Bar, you can collapse it by clicking the small arrow to the right of the Search box at the top of the pane. You can also close the home page by clicking the lower of the two small X’s in the upper right.

Tile Your Windows
If you regularly work with the same handful of screens, there’s a faster way to access them. Open them all, then open the Window menu and select Tile Vertically. All the windows will be displayed on the same screen, arranged vertically. If there are enough of them, they will overlap. To activate one, just click on it. You can open it to full screen by clicking the small rectangle in the upper right and return to your vertical arrangement by clicking the double rectangle in the upper right.

If you’d prefer, you can Tile Horizontally. Or, you can click Cascade to display them stacked on top of each other with only each window’s title label showing, as shown below. If you want to go back to a blank screen and start over, click Window | Close All. The Window menu also displays a list of open windows that can be used for navigation.

If you click Window | Cascade with multiple windows open, QuickBooks will stack them, with only the bottom screen showing. Click on a title label to open a different window.

The Desktop View

There are other ways you can make QuickBooks work the way you want it to. Open the Edit menu and select Preferences, then Desktop View. Click on the My Preferences tab if it’s not already highlighted. There are several preferences here. Look under the Desktop heading. You can have QuickBooks open to the configuration of windows you want. Your options are:

• Save [the windows that are already open] when closing company.
• Save current desktop (a specific set of windows).
• Don’t save the desktop (always open to just the home page).

Click the Company Preferences tab to add or remove icons from the home page. This is also where you turn features on and off.

We’re Still Here

All these suggestions may seem minor to you. But they will save time. More important, they will give you a better sense of control over the hours you spend on accounting tasks. And with so many things out of our control right now, creating a software environment that is tailored to your workflow can benefit you.

We know that you may be struggling right now to maintain your financial health, as well as your physical health. More than ever, we hope you’ll contact us if you have a QuickBooks or general accounting problem that we could solve. We’ll be happy to do what we can to help you through during this very challenging period.

Tracking Mileage in QuickBooks® Online

If you’re having to drive for work during the pandemic, let QuickBooks Online make sure you’re recording all of your deductible mileage.

Many states are starting to open for business again. If yours is one of them and this is affecting you, we hope you’re taking steps to stay healthy. We also hope that you’ve been keeping up with your changing finances by using QuickBooks Online.

As many will resume back to the day to day of business, if any part of your work involves driving business miles that can be deducted on your income taxes, you’ll want to know about a relatively new QuickBooks Online feature: mileage tracking. You can NOW record trips either manually or automatically, and the site will calculate your deductions. Here’s how it works.

Tracking Trips Manually

Before you get started, you’ll want to create a record for the vehicle you’ll be using. Click Mileage in the navigation toolbar. Hover over the green Add trip button in the middle right of the screen, then click View Vehicles. Then click Add vehicle and complete the fields on the screen that opens. Click Save. Back on the main screen, click directly on Add trip. The New trip panel will slide out from the right.

Enter the Date, then the number of miles driven (Distance). If you’d like, you can enter the Starting point and Ending point for your records. Click either the Business or Personal icon and enter a Description. Select the correct Vehicle if you use more than one and click Save. Your trip will now appear on the main screen with your tax deduction already calculated, as pictured below. Click the More button at the end of the row (not shown here), and you’ll be able to Edit your trips and Duplicate them.

Once you’ve created a record for a trip in QuickBooks Online, it will be added to the list on the main Mileage screen.

Auto-Track Your Miles

There’s another way to track your trips, one that doesn’t involve writing down your odometer readings or mileage. The QuickBooks Online mobile app will automatically track your miles as you drive.

To set this up, open the app and click on the three horizontal lines in the lower right to open the app’s navigation shortcuts. Then click the Mileage icon. Auto-tracking is off by default, so you’ll have to click OFF to open the Mileage settings screen. Click the Auto-tracking button to change it from grayed-out to green. In the small window that opens, click Settings to go to the QuickBooks section of your phone’s Settings screen and make these changes:

Location must be Always On.
Motion & Fitness must be On.
Background App Refresh must be On.
Cellular Data must be On.

Before you can automatically track your mileage in QuickBooks Online, you’ll need to change some settings (image above taken in iPhone; Android phones have similar settings).

Close this screen and return to the QuickBooks Online app’s main Mileage screen after you’ve changed your settings. Auto-tracking should be ON. Click the + (plus) sign in the lower right, then Create trip. The app will automatically detect your starting and stopping locations using your phone’s GPS. When you’ve arrived at your destination, open the Mileage app again.

Swipe left on the trip’s record to categorize it as business and right to mark it personal. Enter the trip’s purpose if it’s a business trip and click Save. You’ll now need to turn off Auto-tracking and reverse the changes you made in your phone’s Settings (unless, of course, you normally leave any of them on).

A Quick Tip

Do you ever find yourself opening QuickBooks Online in a new tab because you need to check something in another part of the site but don’t want to shut down your current screen? If you’re accessing QuickBooks Online through Google Chrome, it’s easy. Right-click anywhere in the navigation toolbar that contains links (not the blank space below) and select Open link in new tab. A new tab will open to a QuickBooks Online page. You can do whatever you need to do in the second tab without disturbing your original page.

Stay in Touch

The COVID-19 pandemic has had impact on both large and small businesses all around the world. We hope you’ve stayed physically and financially healthy during this exceptionally difficult time. Don’t hesitate to contact us if we can help with your use of QuickBooks Online and/or your overall accounting.

How to Create and Use Vendor Records in QuickBooks® Online

Keeping your supplies coming in may be difficult right now. Be sure you know your vendors and track their records carefully.

Your company counts on its supply chains to keep operations running smoothly. When it falters, you can have trouble creating and shipping products. Problems may even crop up that have a negative effect on your internal business needs.

We don’t have to tell you that COVID-19 has interrupted supply chains. The pandemic has been catastrophic for many small businesses because of this, and because income has been suddenly and sharply reduced. Some financial help is available, and we hope you’re able to take advantage of it during these extraordinarily difficult times.

It’s perhaps more important than ever to carefully track your income and expenses, and we hope you’re using QuickBooks to do so. Among the software’s financial management tools is the ability to maintain thorough records of those vendors that make up your supply chain. Let’s take a look at how this works.

Creating Vendor Records

We’ll go through the steps for creating vendor records, though you may have at least started on these already. Hover your mouse over Expenses in the toolbar and select Vendors. If you’ve already added some, you’ll see them in a list. To create a new one, click New Vendor in the upper right. Most of the form is easy to complete; it’s primarily contact information.

There are a few fields, though, that need special attention. These are:

  • Cost rate/hr and Billing rate/hr. These help you track time costs for your projects. Don’t enter anything here if you pay vendors via bills or expenses.
  • Terms. Due on receipt? 15 days? 30 days? 
  • Account no. and Business ID No. You should have these on file.
  • Track payments for 1099. Put a check in this box for any 1099 contractors.

When you’re done, click Save. This vendor will now appear in your list.

Taking Action

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You can take a number of actions from QuickBooks’ Vendors screen.

You can do a lot of your work directly from QuickBooks’ Vendors page. This screen displays a list of all of your vendors, along with columns for their Phone, Email, and Open Balance. At the end of each row is an Action column. The link there reads either Create bill or Make payment, depending on whether there is an outstanding balance. 

Click on the down arrow in that column to open a list of additional options. If there is a zero balance, you can Create expense, Write check, Create purchase order, or Make inactive. If money is due, your options are to Create bill or Create expense. Icons in the upper right allow you to print the list, export it to Excel, or change the column settings.

Collecting Your Billables

Before we look at vendor records in QuickBooks, we’d like you to check a couple of settings to make sure you’re billing your customers for every expense they incur with you. Click the gear icon in the upper right corner and select Your Company | Account and Settings, then click on Expense. Among others, you’ll see these options:

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If you incur expenses on behalf of customers, be sure you will be reimbursed for them by adding a Billable column on expense and purchase forms.

To add a Customer column to expense and purchase forms, click in the first box pictured in the image above. To Make expenses and items billable, click in the second box and add a default markup rate if you want. Do you want to Track billable expenses and items as income? If you’re not sure, ask us. And if you’ve set up sales tax in QuickBooks and want to add that to billable items, check that box, too. When you’ve finished with these and the other questions under Bills and expenses, click Save.

Now is the time to focus on the importance of cash flow and vendor relationships by maintaining good vendor payable records. You want to keep your relationships with your suppliers in good status. If you’re having trouble tracking cash flow or dealing with any other element of your accounting (or QuickBooks itself), please do contact us. We want to support you through this difficult period as much as we can.

Using QuickBooks’ Reminders and Calendar

Now, more than ever, you need QuickBooks to track what needs to be done.

COVID-19 has transformed the entire U.S. small business landscape in just a few short months. Companies are struggling to stay afloat. We all just want to get back to “normal,” but it’s unclear when that will happen.

We’d like to help you as much as possible during these uncertain times. One of the ways we can do that is by supporting you as you keep a close watch on your income and expenses. QuickBooks is our go-to tool for that purpose, and we hope you’re making the best possible use of the software right now.

There are steps you can take to ensure that QuickBooks is working quickly and well for you, and that you’re attending to the work you must do every day. The software’s Reminders and Calendar can help you stay current with your accounting.

Setting Up Reminders

You don’t want to let anything slip through the cracks right now. It’s nearly impossible to keep up with your QuickBooks tasks without using the software’s Reminders feature. Before you start using this, you’ll have to set up its structure. Open the Edit menu and select Preferences | Reminders. This window will open:

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You can tell QuickBooks which situations should trigger Reminders.

This window should open to the My Preferences screen. Click the box in front of Show Reminders List when opening a Company file to create a checkmark. Then click Company Preferences. You’ll see a list of QuickBooks “events,” like Checks to Print. You can tell QuickBooks how many days in advance you’d like to be warned about this pending activity by entering a number in the box in front of days before check date. You can also request that this appear in either Summary or List form. If you don’t want to be notified about any of them, click the button below Don’t Remind Me.  When you’re done here, click OK.

The next time you open QuickBooks, your reminders will appear in a window on top of your home page. When you double-click on one, the transaction or other item will open. Two icons in the upper right of the Reminders screen open your Preferences and a blank To Do form. Here, you can schedule a call, task, appointment, etc. and associate it with a customer, vendor, or employee if desired. This item will then appear in your Reminders list. 

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The Reminders window appears when you open the related Company file; you can add To Do’s manually.

A Graphical View

QuickBooks’ Reminders are not the only way you can ensure that you’re meeting your accounting obligations. You can use the Calendar to see what you’ve scheduled and accomplished every day.

As you did with Reminders, though, you should visit this tool’s Preferences page (Edit | Preferences | Calendar). Here, you’ll only need to work with the options under the My Preferences tab. You can choose from among a Daily, Weekly, or Monthly view, or just have QuickBooks Remember last view. Your calendar can display your choice of a Weekly view: a Fixed view of 5 or 7 days or a Variable view of 5/7 days. And, you can show All Transactions, To Do, Transactions Due, or choose one type of transaction (Invoice, Sales Receipt, Bill, etc.).

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How would you like your Calendar displayed? QuickBooks lets you choose from among options.

You can also define Upcoming and Past Due Settings. You can Hide or Show these, Show only if data exists, or remember the last settings. QuickBooks allows you to choose the number of days’ worth of data that will be displayed for both Upcoming data and Past due data.

You can open the Calendar itself from the Company menu and by clicking a link in the Toolbar or on the Home Page. You’ll see a graphical calendar in the View you selected. Every day where there’s been—or is scheduled to be—activity will say either Due or Entered, with the corresponding number of transactions in parentheses. Below that is a list of Transactions Entered; you can double-click on any of them to see the actual transaction form. 

A list of upcoming and past due transactions appears in the right vertical pane. Fields and buttons at the top of the screen allow you to change the View and limit the list to a specified type of transaction. You can also add To Do’s from this page.

We hope these tools are helpful for you as you navigate through today’s choppy financial waters. Please do let us know if we can assist you in managing your company’s critical accounting tasks. We want you to keep your business going as best you can until we get to the other side of the ongoing crisis.

How to Use Rules in QuickBooks® Online Transactions

Maintaining your transaction registers conscientiously leads to a clearer understanding of your finances.

Last month, we talked about the types of best practices that can lead to more effective use of QuickBooks Online and, ultimately, more thorough knowledge of your finances. The first one was this: Go through your new transactions every day. Categorizing and otherwise expanding on the data brought in by your financial institutions really pays off when it comes to customer billing, reports, and taxes.

Granted, this habit will add time to your daily accounting chores. But there’s a tool on the site that can greatly accelerate this process: Rules. This feature must be used with care to avoid mischaracterizing or, worse, losing track of critical transactions. Here’s how it works.

Creating Rules

There are two ways to create Rules. The easiest is to start with an existing transaction. Hover over Banking in the left vertical pane and select Banking to open your transaction list. Be sure that you’re looking at transactions that are still For review, as these are the only ones that can be assigned to Rules.

Click on a transaction to open its expanded view. At the bottom of the small window that just opened, click on Create rule from this transaction. A screen like this will open:

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QuickBooks Online’s Rules feature allows you to automatically document transactions that meet certain conditions.

Let’s say you own a lawn and garden maintenance company. You always order supplies from the same vendor, so there are numerous transactions every month. You want QuickBooks Online to automatically categorize and clear transactions under $250; above that, and you’d want to see them individually. 

You’d start by naming the rule, designating it as Money out or Money in, and choosing an account (or leaving this option set at All bank accounts). Next, tell QuickBooks Online whether the conditions you’re about to establish should apply to all or any. That is, if you’re setting multiple conditions, is it all right if just one meets the criteria, or must they all?

Below that, you’d specify the actual conditions that must be present for QuickBooks Online to handle similar transactions in the same way. In our example pictured above:

  • The transaction [Description] [is exactly] Lawn and Garden Supply LLC, and, 
  • The [Amount] [is less than] $250.

So, any transaction that comes into QuickBooks Online from your bank that has Lawn and Garden Supply LLC in the Description field and which is for less than $250 will be treated similarly.  There are other options for the first two fields; you’ll find them by clicking the down arrow.

Now you have to tell QuickBooks Online what to do with the transactions that meet those criteria. Farther down on this screen, you’ll see these options:

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QuickBooks Online will handle the transactions that meet the conditions you set by completing these fields.

Using the drop-down lists of options, you’ll select the Transaction Type, Payee, Category, and Class (if you use them). Every time a transaction comes in that meets the conditions you defined above, QuickBooks Online will apply these options.

Finally, you’ll have to choose from two different ways of processing these matching transactions. You can have QuickBooks Online Auto-categorize and auto-add, in which case the transactions will be automatically processed and moved out of the For review queue. In our example, we chose this so we didn’t have to work with transactions of less than $250; we only wanted to see more expensive purchases. If we had wanted QuickBooks Online to fill in those fields but still show us the transactions, we would have clicked in front of Auto-categorize and manually review. Clicking Save would move this Rule into a list that could be accessed by clicking Banking | Rules, where you can Edit or Delete them.

Complicated Stuff

To recap, because of the Rule that was created here, any transaction in which the Description reads Lawn and Garden Supply LLC and which is for less than $250 will now be auto-completed and moved out of For Review. Any transaction for over that amount will remain in the queue for approval.

QuickBooks Online’s Rules can save time if you have a large volume of similar transactions. But if they’re not created with absolute accuracy, you risk mischaracterizing or missing transactions you should have reviewed before adding them to the Reviewed queue. We’d be happy to help here to ensure that that doesn’t happen, so that you can take full advantage of the helpful Rules feature.

How to Back Up and Move a Company File in QuickBooks®

Your QuickBooks company file is gold. Make sure you know how to back it up and restore it properly.

You may not think of your QuickBooks company file as being portable. It lives safely on the hard drive of your desktop and/or laptop computer. You wouldn’t want it to be anywhere else, right?

However, the most common reason businesses move these critical files is because they’ve purchased a new computer or they may also want to share their data. QuickBooks allows you to create a backup file that you can save to a USB drive or CD, or to another folder on your company’s network. Once it’s available at its destination computer (where a copy of QuickBooks has already been installed), you (or another recipient) will be able to restore it.

Note: These instructions were created using QuickBooks 2018. If you don’t see what’s being described here in your version, contact us.

Making a Backup

You shouldn’t wait until you have to move a QuickBooks company file before backing it up, though. This is something you should be doing regularly. 

Before you start, make sure your copy of QuickBooks is updated, which shouldn’t be a problem if you’re set up with automatic updates. If you’re not, and you’ve ignored those messages about updates that appear when you open QuickBooks, we can help you launch a manual update and configure QuickBooks to automatically update.

With QuickBooks in Single-User Mode, open the File menu and hover over Back Up Company. Select Create Local Backup. You’ll see this window:

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You can save your QuickBooks backup copy locally or online.

Intuit offers a service called Intuit Data Protect ($99.95 annually) that allows you to back up your company file online (we can help you explore this if you’re interested). Let’s assume here, though, that you have a USB drive plugged into your computer and are ready for your backup.

Click the button next to Local backup, then the Options button. In the window that opens, you’ll select your destination location and answer a few questions about your backup. One of these gives you the option to get a reminder to back up your file every x times you close QuickBooks, should you choose to do manual backups. 

Click OK to return to the Create Backup window, then click Next. The following screen gives you the option to save your file and/or schedule future (automatic) backups. If you choose to simply save it now, check that button and click Next to verify the destination location and file name.

Note: Before you save your backup file, give it a name that is different from your regular company file. Write down the exact file name and its location.

Click Save. A small window will open displaying your progress, and you’ll get a confirmation message when the file has been saved with a .qbb extension. You can now take the removable storage device to the destination computer, where QuickBooks should already be installed.

Warning: If you want to schedule automatic backups by clicking on one of the two options in the Create Backup window, please consult with us first. Automated processes in QuickBooks can save time and effort, but when you’re dealing with your irreplaceable company file, you must get it right.

Restoring a Backup File

Once that’s done, open the File menu and select Open or Restore Company on the destination computer. This window will appear:

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QuickBooks displays this window when you select File | Open or Restore Company.

Click the button in front of Restore a backup copy. Click Next and select Local backup. Then click Next again. Click the down arrow next to the Look in field and click on the location of your backup file to display its contents. Browse until you find the file (it should end in .qbb), then highlight it by clicking on it. Click Open.

QuickBooks displays a window that asks where you want to restore your file. You’ll click Next to find it in the Save Company File as window. The Save in field should point to your main QuickBooks directory (like QuickBooks 2018) and the File name field should show the correct file name. 

When everything looks correct, click Save. QuickBooks will convert your .qbb file to the standard QuickBooks file type, .qbw, and open it.

Care Needed

Losing your QuickBooks data, as you know, would be absolutely disastrous. But there may be occasions when you’ll need to open a backup copy of your company file on a different computer. We would be happy to walk you through this the first time you do it; in fact, we highly recommend it. As always, we’re available to work with you on any QuickBooks issues you’re experiencing – or to get you up and running for the first time.