Recording Simple Expenses in QuickBooks Online

Recording Simple Expenses in QuickBooks Online

Tracking even the little expenses is important.

How does most of the money you owe individuals and companies get disbursed? Do you print checks, or write them by hand? Use credit cards? Pay online through your bank’s website?

Keeping track of your outgoing funds can be challenging, since there are so many ways to complete those transactions. But it’s important that all expenses are recorded correctly and consistently, to keep your company file accurate. In addition, so many of your expenses are tax- deductible. You don’t want to miss any of them.

But when do you enter and pay bills using QuickBooks Online bill-paying screens? In what situations would you use a purchase order? Why would you record a purchase on the dedicated expense screen? These are all questions we can answer for you. If you’re new to QuickBooks Online or simply puzzled by your options here, we’d be happy to schedule some time to go over these purchase issues.

Setting Up the Site

How you set up these preferences depends on your company’s individual structure and needs.

Before you start recording expenses, you’ll need to make sure that your site settings match what you need. Click on the gear icon in the upper right, then Your Company |Account and Settings| Expenses to see what we mean. Most of these options will turn columns on the Expense screen off or on (though you can change them for individual transactions). As for the Track billable expenses and items as income preference, that’s something we can discuss when we go over this topic.

Billable or Not?

Let’s say you need to buy some landscaping tools for your business that you’ll use with multiple customers. One of your customers has asked you to purchase some additional tools for her own use. This is how you could record your purchases on that trip. You’d click the + sign in the upper right, then select Expense. Click the down arrow in the payee field and select the name of the store (or add it if it’s not there by clicking + Add new). In the field to the right, you’ll select the source of the money you’ll be paying. Choose the name of the Checking account from the drop-down list.

Note: Even if you’re using a credit card for this purchase, the money will ultimately come out of your checking account. So be sure to choose the correct option here.

Make sure the date is correct, and choose the Payment method that you’re using to complete the purchase at the store.

This is the portion of the Expense screen where you’ll enter the actual details of your purchase

Click in the field under ACCOUNT to display a list of categories and click the correct one. In the DESCRIPTION field, enter descriptive text about the item – enough that it will be recognizable when you see it later. Type in the AMOUNT of the item. Since you’re buying these tools for company use, you can’t bill them to an individual customer. Click in the TAX field if necessary.

However, you’re buying the second item for a specific customer. You’ll click in the BILLABLE field to create a checkmark and add your company’s MARKUP PERCENTAGE in that field. Open the drop-down list in the CUSTOMER column and select the correct one. Choose a CLASS if you use them and save the transaction. .

When you look at that customer’s transaction list, you’ll see an entry for a Billable Expense Charge. You can click Start invoice if you want to bill for this one item. If not, you’ll see this charge in the vertical column to the right the next time you create an invoice for that customer.

Mobile Expenses

QuickBooks Online has a companion mobile app that lets you—among other things—track expenses when you’re away from your computer.

As you can see in the image above, you’ll be able to enter the details of your expenses manually. Click on the camera icon in the upper left, and you can take a picture of a receipt and attach it to the transaction. The next time you log into QuickBooks Online, you’ll see the expense with the photo file attached.

QuickBooks Online can simplify the entry and tracking of expense data, but as we said, it’s important to enter purchases in the right places – and to categorize them correctly.

5 QuickBooks Reports You Need to Run in January

5 QuickBooks Reports You Need to Run in January

The new year has begun. Does your accounting to-do list look like a clean slate, or are critical tasks from last year still nagging?

Getting all of your accounting tasks done in December is always a challenge. Besides the vacation time you and your employees probably took for the holidays, there are those year-end, Let’s-wrap-it-up-by-December-31 projects.

How did you do last month? Were you ready to move forward when you got back to the office in January? Or did you run out of time and have to leave some accounting chores undone?

Besides paying bills and chasing payments, submitting taxes and counting inventory in December, there’s another item that should have been on your to-do list: creating end-of-year reports. If you didn’t get this done, it’s not too late. It’s important to have this information as you begin the New Year. QuickBooks can provide it.

A Report Dashboard

You may be using the Reports menu to access the pre-built frameworks that QuickBooks offers. Have you ever explored the Report Center, though? You can get there by clicking Reports in the navigation toolbar or Reports | Report Center on the drop-down menu at the top of the screen.

QuickBooks’ Report Center introduces you to all of the software’s report templates and helps you access them quickly.

As you can see in the image above, the Report Center divides QuickBooks’ reports into categories and displays samples of each. Click on one of the tabs at the top if you want to:

  • Memorize a report using any customization you applied.
  • Designate a report as a Favorite
  • See a list of the most Recent reports you ran.
  • Explore reports beyond those included with QuickBooks, Contributed by Intuit or other parties.

Recommended Reports

Here are the reports we think you should run as soon as possible if you didn’t have a chance to in December:

Budget vs Actual

We hope that by now you’ve at least started to create a budget for this coming year. If not, the best way to begin is by looking at how close you came to your numbers last year. QuickBooks actually offers four budget-related reports, but Budget vs Actual is the most important; it tells you how your actual income and expenses compare to what was budgeted.

Budget Overview is just what it sounds like: a comprehensive accounting of your budget for a given period. Profit & Loss Budget Performance is similar to Budget vs Actual. It compares actual to budget amounts for the month, fiscal year-to-date, and annual. Budget vs Actual Graph provides a visual representation of your income and expenses, giving you a quick look at whether you were over or under budget during specific periods.

Income & Expense Graph

You’ve probably been watching your income and expenses all year in one way or another. But you need to look at the whole year in total to see where you stand. This graph shows you both how income compares to expenses and what the largest sources of each are. It doesn’t have the wealth of customization options that other reports due, but you can view it by date, account, customer, and class.

A/R Aging Detail

QuickBooks’ report templates offer generous customization options.

Which customers still owe you money from last year? How much? How far past the due date are they? This is a report you should be running frequently throughout the year. Right now, though, you want to clean up all of the open invoices from last year. A/R Aging Detail will show you who is current and who is 31-60, 61-90, and 91+ days old. You might consider sending Statements to those customers who are way past due.

A/P Aging Detail

Are you current on all of your bills? If so, this report will tell you so. If some bills slipped through the cracks in December, contact your vendors to let them know you’re on it.

Sales by Item Detail

January is a good time to take a good look at what sold and what didn’t before you start placing orders for this coming year. We hope you’re watching this closely throughout the year, but looking at monthly and annual totals will help you identify trends – as well as winners and losers.

QuickBooks offers some reports in the Company & Financial and Accountant & Taxes categories that you can create, but which really require expert analysis. These include Balance Sheet, Trial Balance, and Statement of Cash Flows. You need the insight they can offer on at least a quarterly basis, if not monthly. Connect with us, and we can set up a schedule for looking at these.

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January is a good time to run reports you didn’t have time to in December. Talk to us about which are most important.

QuickBooks provides templates for some reports that you probably need help analyzing, like Balance Sheet. We can help with these.

Have you explored QuickBooks’ Report Center? It offers a variety of tools and guidance for managing reports.

What Is a Vendor Credit, and How Do You Record One?

What Is a Vendor Credit, and How Do You Record One?

Whether you’re getting a vendor credit for a refund or a return, you can record it in QuickBooks Online.

When you’re dealing with your company’s vendors, you’re probably accustomed to money flowing in one direction: theirs. Maybe you send them purchase orders and they send you invoices. Or they send you bills and you pay them. Or you walk into a store and buy something your business needs.

Sometimes, though, vendors owe you money. Probably the most common scenario is a return of merchandise, products that you’ve sent back to the supplier for any of a variety of reasons. You may be issued a credit of some kind simply because you’ve been a loyal customer, and a vendor wants to reward you. You might also get a rebate for an item you bought.

In these cases, you’ll enter a Vendor Credit in QuickBooks Online, which you can apply the next time you buy something from that supplier. Usually, the process is pretty straightforward, but sometimes situations arise that may make it hard for you to know how to record a vendor credit accurately.

Simple Steps

Let’s start with a simple example. Let’s say you received a shipment of pens that you’d planned to use as promotional items for your salespeople. The ink on some of the pens had gotten smudged, so your company email address printed on them was illegible. The supplier issued you a credit of $50.00 for future purchases, and sent you a reference number to use.

It’s easy to complete a Vendor Credit form in QuickBooks Online for a simple credit. But other situations are more complicated.

Here’s how it would work. Click the + (plus) sign in the upper right corner of the screen and select Vendors | Vendor Credit. A screen like the partial one pictured above would appear. These are the fields you would need to complete:

Vendor – Click the down arrow in the field in the upper left corner and select the correct vendor, or + Add New.

Payment date – Change the default date if it’s not correct.

Ref no. – Enter a reference number if applicable.

Under Account details, click in the field under Account, and open the drop-down list by clicking the down arrow on the right. Select the account you used when you created the original expense. Enter a Description and the Amount of the credit.

You can add a Memo in the box at the bottom of the screen if you’d like, and select any Attachments to include from your file directories. Otherwise, click Save and close or Save and new.

Additional Input

There’s much more to the Vendor Credit screen that you didn’t need to consider for this example. The row where you entered Account, Description, and Amount contains several additional fields that you may need to complete in some cases. They are Billable, Markup %, Tax, Customer, and Class. If you’re not sure when these fields are required, ask us to go over these concepts with you.

There’s also another section under Account Details you may need to address: Item Details (click the arrow to open if necessary). You would only enter information here if you’re returning items to a vendor. Fields displayed there include Product/Service, Qty (quantity), Rate, and Sales Amt (amount). We don’t recommend that you do this the first time on your own; let us help.

Using Your Credit

How do you redeem this credit? QuickBooks Online reminds you to use it.

QuickBooks Online records your Vendor Credits and reminds you that they’re there when you go to pay that vendor again.

The next time you enter a transaction that involves—or will involve—sending that vendor some money, you’ll see a record of that credit to the right of the Check or Expense screen, for example. In the image above, a small box has opened as soon as the vendor’s name was selected. You can Add that credit to the current transaction or Open it if you want to see the original screen.

Not everyone uses Vendor Credits. Some businesses find workarounds. But we recommend you at least understand when and how they’re used so your bookkeeping is accurate and precise.

Creating Customer Statements in QuickBooks

Creating Customer Statements in QuickBooks

Invoices not being paid promptly? Customers questioning their payment history? Create statements.

Let’s say you have a regular customer who used to pay on time, but he’s been hit-and-miss lately. How do you get him caught up?

Or, one of your customers thinks she’s paid you more than she owes. How do you straighten out this account?

Both of these situations have a similar solution. QuickBooks’ statements provide an overview of every transaction that has occurred between you and individual customers during a specified period of time. They’re easy to create, easy to understand, and can be effective at resolving payment disputes.

A Simple Process

Here’s how they work. Click Statements on the home page, or open the Customers menu and select Create Statements. A window like this will open:

QuickBooks provides multiple options on this screen so you create the statement(s) you need.

First, make sure the Statement Date is correct, so your statement captures the precise set of transactions you want. Next, you have to tell QuickBooks what that set is. Should the statement(s) include transactions only within a specific date range? If so, click the button in front of Statement Period From, and enter that period’s beginning and ending dates by clicking on the calendar graphic. If you’d rather, you can include all open transactions by clicking on the button in front of that option. As you can see in the screen shot above, you can choose to Include only transactions over a specified number of days past due date.

Choosing Customers

Now you have to tell QuickBooks which customers you want to include in this statement run. Your options here are:

  • All Customers.
  • Multiple Customers. When you click on this choice, QuickBooks displays a Choose button. Click on it, and your customer list opens in a new window. Click on your selections there to create a check mark. Click OK to return to the previous window.
  • One Customer. QuickBooks displays a drop-down menu. Click the arrow on the right side of the box, and choose the correct one from the list that opens.
  • Customers of Type. Again, a drop-down list appears, but this one contains a list of the Customer Types you created to filter your customer list, like Commercial and Residential. You would have assigned one of these to customers when you were entering data in their QuickBooks records (click the Additional Info tab in a record to view).
  • Preferred Send Method. E-mail or Mail?

Miscellaneous Options

At the top of the right column, you can select a different Template if you’d like, or Customize an existing one. Not familiar with the options you have to change the layout and content of forms in QuickBooks? We can introduce you to the possibilities.

Below that, you can opt to Create One Statement either Per Customer or Per Job. The rest of the choices here are pretty self-explanatory – except for Assess Finance Charges. If you’ve never done this, we strongly recommend that you let us work with you on this complex process.

When you’re satisfied with the options you’ve selected in this window, click the Preview button in the lower left corner of the window (not pictured here). QuickBooks will prepare all the statements in the background, then display the first one. You can click Next to view them one by one. At the bottom of each, you’ll see a summary of how much is due in each aging period, like this:

It’s easy to see how much each customer is past due within each aging period. This summary appears at the bottom of statements.

After you’ve checked all the statements, click the Print or E-mail button at the bottom of the window.

Other Avenues

Your company’s cash flow depends on the timely payment of invoices. Sending statements is only one way to encourage your customers to catch up on their past due accounts. There are many others, like opening a merchant account so customers can pay you online with a bank card or electronic check.

Working with QuickBooks’ Vendor Records

Working with QuickBooks’ Vendor Records

It’s important to maintain good relationships with your vendors and suppliers. QuickBooks helps you track your interaction with them.

QuickBooks never forgets. That’s one of the reasons you use it. You create a record or transaction, enter a note about a customer, or write a check, for example, and the information gets stored in your QuickBooks file. If you don’t remember exactly where it is, you can search for it. No more flipping through a card file or folder, or digging in drawers.

QuickBooks makes it possible—easy, even—to maintain thorough records of your vendors, the individuals and companies who provide you with office supplies, product parts, computer equipment – everything you need to keep your business operating. Once you’ve started building a vendor record, you’ll be able to use it in transactions and reports, and to simply refer to it when you need some information.

If you’re just starting to use QuickBooks, part of your setup will involve entering vendor details in the record template the software supplies. If you’ve been a QuickBooks user for a while but you’ve only suppled enough information about vendors to create transactions, consider fleshing out those elements of your accounting file as you have time.

Filling in Fields

To create a vendor record, open the Vendors menu and select Vendor Center. Above the tabbed table, there’s a small toolbar. Open the New Vendor menu and click on New Vendor. A window like this will open.:

 

You can store an enormous amount of detailed information about your vendors in these record templates.

 

At the top of the screen (not pictured here) is a box labeled Vendor Name. Enter it, then move on to the Opening Balance field and supply the amount and date. If you don’t understand the concept of opening balances, we can go over this with you.

Fill in as many of these fields as you can, then click on the Payment Settings tab in the toolbar on the left. The fields in this window—Payment Terms, Credit Limit, etc.—are optional, but complete what you’re able to. The more you can fill out now, the less work you’ll have to do later, since much of the information here automatically comes up when you create transactions.

The other tabs here open windows where you can specify:

  • Tax Settings. Vendor Tax ID and 1099 eligibility.
  • Account Settings. Here, you can select the default account that should be automatically selected when you enter a bill or expense for this vendor (for example, phone bills=Utilities:Telephone). Talk to us if you don’t understand this. It’s OK to leave it blank for now.
  • Additional Info. Vendor Type (subcontractors, for example) and Custom Fields (fields you can define for your own use).

When you’re done, click OK.

Viewing Your Records

Once you’ve created one or more vendor records, the Vendor Center will display a list of them in its left pane. Click on one to highlight it, and you’ll see something like this in the right pane:

The Vendor Information window displays contact information in the top pane (not pictured here), and additional details below.

Here’s where your conscientious work creating records starts to pay off. Click on any of the five tabs in the top toolbar to display that vendor’s Transactions, the Contacts from that company, any related To Do’s, Notes you’ve taken, and Sent Email. Once your lists grow unwieldy, you can search by a variety of filters.

Using Records in Transactions

There are numerous transaction types that require vendor information, like purchase orders, bills, checks, and sales tax payments. When you open one of these transaction forms and click the down arrow in the Vendor field, your list will drop down. Select one, and related details that you’ve already entered will automatically appear in the correct fields.

You can create vendor transactions from either the home page or the menus. You can also do so from the Vendor Center. With either the Vendors or Transactions tab active, you’d click on the New Transactions link in the upper toolbar and select the one you want to launch.

Need to Set Up Users in QuickBooks Online?

Need to Set Up Users in QuickBooks Online?

Your employees probably don’t need access to every corner of QuickBooks Online. Here’s how to set limits.

One of the best attributes of QuickBooks Online is that multiple users can access it without having software installed on their PCs. No more paying up front for a boxed copy that you’ll store on your hard drive. You just pay a monthly subscription fee.

Unless you assign specific access rights to your users, though, they’ll be able to see and do everything that you see and do on the site. You undoubtedly trust your employees or you wouldn’t have hired them, but it’s just good business practice to restrict individuals to their specific work areas. You probably did the same thing if you ever ran a manual accounting system.

QuickBooks Online makes this easy. Once you’ve set up individuals for a specific set of screen permissions, that’s all they’ll see when they log in with their user names and passwords. Here’s how it works.

Several Levels

Click the gear icon in the upper right of the QuickBooks Online screen, then select Manage Users under Your Company, then click New. This mini-interview will open.

QuickBooks Online’s mini-interview will walk you through the steps required to assign access rights to employees.

As you can see, four access levels are supported. You’ll probably select Regular or custom user most often because you can drill down and set permissions at the screen level. The Company administrator is you, of course, unless you’ve assigned this role to someone else. The user at this level has access to everything.

You can also let someone see Reports only, with the exception of payroll reports and those that contain contact information about customers, vendors, and employees. If you have employees who submit time sheets but don’t otherwise work in QuickBooks Online, you can let them in to do Time Tracking only.

Tip: There’s a fifth option here. You can grant us access to your QuickBooks Online company data, making it easier for us to monitor and troubleshoot your accounting information. Let us know if you want to take advantage of this.

Paring Down Access

Click the button in front of Regular or custom user if it’s not already highlighted, and then click Next. This third screen in the mini-interview deals with Customers and Sales and Vendors and Purchases Access Rights. Click All or None if appropriate.

This screen in the mini-interview helps you restrict user access in Sales and Purchase areas.

If you’re allowing Limited access in these two areas, be sure to read the fine print explaining what is and isn’t allowed. When you’re satisfied with your selection, click Next.

On the next screen, you’ll set administrative rights for that user by indicating whether he or she can manage other users’ access rights and work with your subscription status and other company information.

You’ll supply the individual’s email address and name on the following screen. This will be used to send an email inviting the user to sign in using an existing Intuit Business Services user name or one he or she creates. Click through the next screen and click Finish when you’re done. The mini-interview will close, and you’ll be back at the Manage Users page.

Your User Overview

The Manage Users page displays a list of all users who have been invited or are active.

The Manage Users screen

The table here lists all users’ names, email addresses, access rights, billable standing, and status. If you haven’t received a response to an invitation (Invited), you can click the Resend button to issue another email. When he or she responds, Invited changes to Active. Click on a row to highlight an individual, and you can Edit or Delete him or her, and see an audit log of Activity.

You or your appointed Master Administrator should set up access rights before any new employee is admitted to QuickBooks Online. Let us know if you’re having trouble with this element of the site, and if you’d like us to join your list of active users. It’s a lot easier for you and us if we can get in there and see what problems you’re having — and resolve them.

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