An organization’s approach to accounting often depends on the type of business it is and its objectives, policies, procedures, and industry. For example, maybe you use inventory tracking and payroll—but maybe you don’t. The way you and your accountant like to work also influences your organization’s accounting practices. For instance, you might prefer the simplicity of cashaccounting to the more intimate pairing of income and expenses that accrual accounting offers.
Sunday, February 28, 2016
By synchronizing your real-world bank accounts with the bank accounts in QuickBooks, you can download your bank balances and transactions into your QuickBooks company file so you’ll always know how much cash you have on hand. (The connection you set up between the two is called bank feeds to differentiate it from online banking that you perform by logging into your bank account outside of QuickBooks.) That way, before repaying your aunt the money she lent
QuickBooks comes with loads of built-in reports that show what’s going on with your company’s finances. But having a dozen report categories with several reports tucked into each one presents a few challenges, particularly if you’re new to both business and QuickBooks.
The first challenge is knowing what type of report tells you what you need to know. For example, a profit and loss (P&L) report shows how much income and expense you had over a
As you’ve no doubt noticed in business and in life, the activities that cost money almost always seem to outnumber those that bring money in. Most companies want to make money and most nonprofits want to do the most with the funds they have, so budgeting and planning are essential business activities.
Like any kind of plan, a budget is an estimate of what’s going to happen. Your actual results will
Sales tax can be complicated, particularly in states where the number of tax authorities has exploded. You might have to pay sales taxes to several agencies, each with its own rules about when and how much. QuickBooks’ sales taxfeatures can’t eliminate this drudgery, but they can help you pay the right tax authorities the right amounts at the right time—and that’s
As you record inventory purchases and sales in QuickBooks, the program keeps track of your inventory, just as the point-of-service system at the grocery store does when a cashier scans items. This chapter begins by explaining how toturn on QuickBooks’ inventory features and set up inventory items in your company file so the program can work this magic.
Unless you practice just-in-time inventory management, you need inventory in your
As if your typical workday isn’t hectic enough, the end of the year brings with it an assortment of additional bookkeeping and accounting tasks. As long as you’ve kept on top of your bookkeeping during the year, you can delegate most of these year-end tasks to QuickBooks with just a few clicks. (If you shrugged off your data entry during the year, even the mighty QuickBooks can’t help.) This chapter describes the tasks you have to perform at the end of each fiscal year (or other fiscal period, for that matter) and how to delegate them to QuickBooks.
Friday, February 26, 2016
When you first start your business, you may be the proud owner of every job title in your company: receptionist, sales rep, technician, bookkeeper, janitor, and CEO. But if your company is like most, you’ll eventually hire people to help you with all those tasks. Unless you run an all-volunteer operation, sooner or later, your employees are going to want to get paid. When that time comes, you face the daunting task of dealing with payroll, which is the name for all the financial
Thursday, February 25, 2016
QuickBooks can zip you through the two basic ways of producing and distributing invoices and other forms: on paper and electronically. Within those two camps, you can choose to produce and send forms as soon as you complete them or place them in a queue to process in batches. For sporadic forms, it’s easier to print or email them as you go. But when you generate dozens or even hundreds of sales orders, invoices, statements, or checks, printing and emailing batches is a much better use of
Statements are the perfect solution for businesses that charge individuals for time and other
services in bits and pieces, such as law offices, cell phone service providers, and astrology advisors. Statements can summarize the charges racked up during the statement period (usually a month). They’re also great for showing payments and outstanding balances, the way your cable bill shows the charges for your monthly service, the pay-per-view movies you
Telling your customers how much they owe you and how soon they need to pay is an important step in bookkeeping. After all, if money isn’t flowing into your organization from outside sources, eventually you’ll close up shop and close your QuickBooks company file for the last time.
Although most small business owners sift through the daily mail looking for envelopes containing payments, they usually find more containing bills. One frustrating aspect of running a business is that you often have to pay for the items you sell before you can invoice your customers for the goods.
If you want your financial records to be right, you have to tell QuickBooks about the expenses you’ve
When customers pay for your services, they’re really buying your knowledge of how to get the job done the best and fastest possible way. That’s why an inexperienced carpenter charges $15 an hour, whereas a master woodworker who hammers faster and straighter than a nail gun charges $80 an hour. When it comes right down to it, time is money, so you want to keep track of both with equal accuracy. Product-based companies track time, too. For example, companies that want to increase productivity often start by tracking the time that employees work and what they work on.
Open any QuickBooks window, dialog box, or form, and you’re bound to bump into at least one drop-down list. These lists make it easy to fill in transactions and forms. Creating an invoice? If you pick the customer and job from the Customer:Job drop-down list, QuickBooks fills in the customer’s address, payment terms, and other fields for you. Selecting payment terms from the Terms List tells the program how to calculate an invoice’s due date. If you choose an entry in the Price Level List, QuickBooks calculates the discount or markup you extend to your customers for the goods they buy. Even the products and services you sell to customers come from the Item List.
You’ve opened your mail, plucked out the customer payments, and deposited them in your bank account. In addition to that, you’ve paid your bills. Now you can sit back and relax knowing that most of the transactions in your bank and credit card accounts are accounted for. What’s left?
Some stray transactions might pop up—an insurance-claim check to deposit or handling the aftermath and bank fees for a customer’s bounced check, to name a couple. Plus, running a business typically means that money moves between accounts—from interest-bearing accounts to checking accounts,
If you frequently add or edit more than one customer, vendor, or item at a time, working in a New or Edit window (like New Customer or Edit Item) isn’t only tedious, but it also takes up time you should spend on more important tasks, like selling, managing cash flow, or finding out who has the incriminating pictures from the last company party.
Whether you build houses, sell gardening tools, or tell fortunes on the Internet, you’ll probably use items in QuickBooks to represent the products and services you buy and sell. But to QuickBooks, things like subtotals, discounts, and sales tax are items, too. In fact, nothing appears in the body of a QuickBooks sales form (such as an invoice) unless it’s an item. You can also use items to fill in the bills and other purchase forms you record. Now that you’ve got your chart of accounts, customers, jobs, and vendors set up in QuickBooks, it’s time to dive into items.
You may be fond of strutting around your sales department proclaiming, “Nothing happens until somebody sells something!” As it turns out, you can quote that tired adage in your accounting department, too. Whether you sell products or services, the first sale to a new customer often initiates a flurry of activity, including creating a new customer in QuickBooks, assigning a job for the work, and the ultimate goal of all this effort—invoicing your customer (sending an invoice for what you sold that states how much the customer owes) to collect some income.
If you’ve just started running a business and keeping your company’s books, all this talk of accounts, credits, and debits might have you flummoxed. Accounting is a cross between mathematics and the mystical arts; its goal is to record and report the financial performance of an organization. The end result of bookkeeping and accounting is a set of financial statements (page 448), but the starting point is the chart of accounts.
You have more than enough to do running your business, so you don’t want bookkeeping to take any more time than necessary. QuickBooks’ icon bar (which comes in two flavors: left and top) offers shortcuts to your favorite features. Each version of the icon bar has its pros and cons, so you have to decide which one you prefer (or you can hide them). This chapter shows you how to access QuickBooks’ features from both the menu bar and icon bars.
When you use the basic setup process or the EasyStep Interview, QuickBooks gets the basic facts about your company in small chunks. But after you create your company file, you can easily view and edit any of this information. Here's how:
1. Choose Company→My Company or click the My Company entry in the icon bar.
The My Company window opens. As shown in Figure 1-7 (background), your company info appears on the left and info about your copy of QuickBooks appears on the window's right. Apps, services, and subscriptions that you've signed up for (like accepting credit cards, payroll, and so on) appear below your company info. Other products that Intuit would like to sell you appear at the bottom of the window.
Opening an Existing Company File
After you've opened a company file in one QuickBooks session, the next time you launch the program, it automatically opens that same company file. If you keep the books for only one company, you might never have to manually open a QuickBooks company file again.
But if you're an irrepressible entrepreneur or a bookkeeper who works on several companies' books, you can open another company file in QuickBooks anytime, and the program automatically closes the previous one. Because QuickBooks stores data in a database, you don't have to save a company file before you close it. (And if you use QuickBooks Accountant edition, you can have two company files open at the same time, as the Tip that follows explains.) The following sections describe the different ways to open a company file.
Wednesday, February 24, 2016
If you launched your small business from your basement and kept your records with Quicken Home & Business, your accountant has probably recommended that you make the leap to QuickBooks. Or maybe you used another accounting program like Peachtree or Small Business Accounting and have decided to move to QuickBooks. Or perhaps you're switching from QuickBooks for Mac to QuickBooks for Windows. Whatever your situation, this section tells you how to prep your file for a smooth conversion and bring it over into QuickBooks for Windows.
Converting from Quicken Home & Business
Quicken doesn't report your business performance in the way that most accountants want to see, nor does it store your business transactions the way QuickBooks does. Bottom line: You have to prep
Keeping books requires accuracy, attention to detail, and persistence—hence the customary image of spectacled accountants scanning row after row of numbers. QuickBooks can help you keep your books without ruining your eyesight—as long as you start your company file with good information. If you want to practice with QuickBooks, you can experiment with a sample file, as the box below explains.
Experimenting with a Sample File You don't have to use your real company file to test out QuickBooks features you've never used. The program comes with a couple of sample files: one for a basic product-based business, and one for a basic service-based business. And if you have QuickBooks Premier, you can experiment with several other sample files for more specialized pursuits like contracting, consulting, manufacturing, and so on. To experiment with QuickBooks features before you put them into production, in the No Company Open window, click “Open a
Tuesday, February 23, 2016
To keep your entire financial history at your fingertips, you need to put every transaction and speck of financial information in your QuickBooks company file. But you have better things to do than enter years' worth of checks, invoices, and deposits, so the comprehensive approach is practical only if you just recently started your company.
The more realistic approach is to enter your financial data into QuickBooks starting as of a specific date and, from then on, add all new transactions to QuickBooks. The date you choose is called the start date . (The start date isn't something that you enter in a field in QuickBooks; it's simply the earliest transaction date in your company file.) You should choose it carefully. Here are your start date options and the ramifications of each one:
Here are the easiest ways to open QuickBooks:
• Desktop icon.Double-click the desktop shortcut that QuickBooks created during installation.
Windows taskbar. The fastest way to open QuickBooks is to click its icon on the Windows taskbar, shown in Figure 1-1—but first you have to put it there. To do that in Windows 7 and Windows 8.1, right-click the QuickBooks desktop icon and then, on the shortcut menu that appears, choose “Pin to Taskbar.” If you're still using Windows 8 (not 8 .1 ), pinning the QuickBooks desktop icon to the taskbar takes a few more steps: Point the cursor at the screen's upper-right corner to
A company file is where you store your company's financial records in QuickBooks, so it's the first thing you need to work on in the program. You can create a company file from scratch or convert records that you previously kept in a different small-business accounting program, Quicken, or even another edition of QuickBooks like QuickBooks for Mac.
If you're new to bookkeeping, another approach is to use a file that someone else created. For example, if you've worked with an accountant to set up your company, she might provide you with a QuickBooks company file already configured for your business so you can hit the ground running.
QuickBooks helps people who don’t have a degree in accounting handle most accounting tasks. However, you’ll be more productive and have more accurate books if you understand the following concepts and terms:
Double-entry accounting. The standard method for tracking where your money comes from and where it goes. Following the old saw that money doesn’t grow on trees, money always comes from somewhere when you use double-entry accounting. For example, as shown in Table I-1, when you sell something to a customer, the money on your invoice comes in as income and goes into your Accounts Receivable account. Then, when you deposit the payment, the money comes out of the Accounts Receivable account and goes into your checking account.
Saturday, February 20, 2016
If you work in one of the industries covered by QuickBooks Premier, you can get additional features unique to your industry. (When you install QuickBooks Premier, you choose the industry version you want to run. If your business is in an industry other than one of the five options, choose General Business.) Some people swear that these customizations are worth every penny, whereas others say the additional features don’t warrant the Premier price. On the QuickBooks website ( http://quickbooks.intuit.com/premier ), you can tour the Premier features to decide for yourself. Or you can purchase QuickBooks Accountant, which can run any QuickBooks edition, from QuickBooks Pro to the gamut of Premier’s industry-specific versions.
Here are the industries that have their own Premier editions:
QuickBooks comes in a gamut of editions, offering options for organizations at both ends of the small-business spectrum. QuickBooks Pro handles the basic needs of most businesses, whereas Enterprise Solutions (the most robust and powerful edition of QuickBooks) boasts enhanced features and speed for the biggest of small businesses. On the other hand, the online editions of QuickBooks offer features that are available anytime you’re online.
This tutorial focuses on QuickBooks Pro because its balance of features and price makes it the most popular edition. Throughout this book, you’ll find notes about features offered in the Premier edition, which is one step up from Pro. (Whether you’re willing to pay for these additional features is up to you.) Here’s an overview of what each edition can do:
• QuickBooks Online Simple Start is a low-cost online option for small businesses with very simple accounting needs and only one person running QuickBooks at a time. It’s easy to set up and use, but it doesn’t offer features like entering bills, managing inventory, tracking time, or sharing your company file with your accountant, and you can download transactions from only one bank (or credit card) account.
When you run a business (or a nonprofit), you track company finances for two reasons: to keep your business running smoothly and to generate the reports required by the IRS, SEC, and anyone else you have to answer to. QuickBooks helps you perform basic financial tasks, track your financial results, and manage your business to make it even better. But before you read any further, here are a few things you shouldn’t try to do with QuickBooks:
Work with more than 14,500 unique inventory items or 14,500 contact names. QuickBooks Pro and Premier company files can hold up to 14,500 inventory items and a combined total of up to 14,500 customer, vendor, employee, and other (Other Names List) names. (In the QuickBooks Enterprise Solutions edition of the program, the number of names is virtually unlimited.)
Friday, February 19, 2016
Saturday, February 13, 2016
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