Solving Problems in QuickBooks, with Gail Perry
Author of "The Complete Idiot's Guide to QuickBooks" and "Using QuickBooks"
Session Moderator: QuickBooks can be a challenge, but today, we are going to hear from our own resident expert, Gail Perry.
Gail Perry is a CPA, tax specialist, author, speaker and instructor. Her column, "Fun With Taxes," provides readers with practical tax insights and advice presented in plain English with a touch of humor. And, if you are like me, humor can go a LONG way with a subject that can be a bit trying!
Perry is a former senior tax consultant with the international firm of Deloitte and Touche, where she provided tax planning services and advice to individuals and small businesses. An accomplished free-lance writer, Perry is the author of over a dozen books, including "The Complete Idiot's Guide to Doing Your Income Taxes," "Using QuickBooks," and "TurboTax for Dummies." In addition, she has written several computer training books and is co-author of a book for trainers, "The Computer Trainer's Personal Training Guide."
Perry is a regular guest on America Online's Money Whiz Q&A program, and she has been featured on Fox television's "Good Morning New York," Bloomberg Business News's "Bloomberg Forum," WOR Radio's syndicated program, "Manage Your Money with the Dolans," as well as dozens of radio shows across the country.
Gail, thanks for being here today - the floor is yours!
Gail Perry: Thank you Tina - and welcome everyone!
I first want to say that I welcome questions - please don't hesitate to speak up and offer your insights and tell us about problems you've had with QuickBooks.
For those of you using QuickBooks in a company with a lot of users, or using the program with a large number of transactions, you may have run into problems with the programs limitations. If your company experiences more than 500 transactions per month or has over 100 users, the program can start acting funny - has anyone had problems with QB overload?
Shirley A. Bartell: I've had problems with overload in the past.
Gail Perry: Another problem people run into is data overload when they have too many years stored in the program - this is just starting to happen as more people are using the program for several years. At the point when the program starts to overload, you will need to go to the file utilities and consider compressing the data file, or pull off prior years onto disks.
QuickBooks is not equipped to handle more than about 11 MB of data. There is a problem with inventory parts as well - the program can't handle more than about 14000 inventory items. If you have that kind of inventory, you should probably consider looking at another program or using a stand-alone inventory program, then journalizing the inventory entries.
Shirley A. Bartell: If you compress prior years' data, can you access this data again, and if so, how?
Cele Badgerow: Shirley - Save a backup copy, un-condensed.
Gail Perry: Yes you can reclaim compressed data. The compression feature condenses unused accounts, customers and vendors that have not been accessed, unused items, other features that are dormant. But the information is still accessible if you attempt to use it.
Go to File/Utilities/Condense data to move data to this background state
Cele Badgerow: Caution: Compression loses transaction detail, that's why I keep a backup.
Gail Perry: As for compression losing detail - you can choose which areas you want to compress when you use this utility, which gives you a bit of control.
Craig S Hanson: One of my clients is experiencing a problem with payroll liabilities showing as zero balances, however there was payroll paid in the prior month. Is this an overload issue or something else that I need to be concerned about?
Gail Perry: The payroll liability zero balance issue may be a result of reports issued on an incorrect date, or perhaps the client is requesting cash basis reports instead of accrual.
Here are some of my favorite QB tips:
First - if you have a favorite report that you've memorized, you can store access to that report on the navigation bar for quick access. Simply open the report, then go to Window, Add window to navigation bar - the report will be only a click away from now on.
Brian Quin: is there anyway to combine two sets of books into one set, say books for 1996 and 1997, if they are in two separate companies now?
Gail Perry: Brian, you cannot combine transactions from one company to another, only data like vendors, chart of accounts, etc.
Cele Badgerow: QuickBooks only accepts transactions assigned to vendors. customers, so the detail agings should always be equal to the TB.
Brian Quin: Too bad, that is something I think would really increase QuickBooks value when trying to bring a company up to date that is two or three years behind.
Rick Stuart: How do you pull off prior years data onto disks?
Goldberg Wagner Stum: How can an accountant make adjusting entries for a client to A/R and A/P without having to enter a customer or vendor name?
Goldberg Wagner Stum: That's what I've done but I was trying to avoid that.
Shirley A. Bartell: We don't use the A/R and A/P features at all. I set up an A/R account as an "Other Current Asset" and an A/P account as an "Other Current Liability" and use those for my cash basis company. I book all transactions EXCEPT cash receipts to these accounts via journal entry.
Brian Quin: Does QuickBooks plan to discontinue the payroll that you can do yourself, will we be able to continue to get payroll updates in the future, now that QuickBooks is offering it's on line service?
Gail Perry: QB will still offer payroll updates, even though they are offering the online service as well.
Brian Quin: for how long into the future?
Gail Perry: QB has not announced any plans to change the access to payroll downloads, but I can't speak for their future plans down the road.
Brian Quin: Do you know why QuickBooks stop offering client lists to their advisors
Gail Perry: Brian, I have no idea - actually I didn't realize they had discontinued this practice - any advisors out there with similar complaints?
Here's another tip for you: You can set up a transaction, such as a monthly depreciation journal entry, or the order to pay the rent, and memorize the transaction. This is a nice tool to give your clients - set up the transaction for them and make it automatic. Open the transaction, then press Ctrl+M to memorize it.
Goldberg Wagner Stum: How come you cannot view bills generated while reconciling an account?
Gail Perry: You can view bills while the reconciliation is open - you still have all the access to the menus while reconciling.
Gambino: What is the advantage to upgrading to QB 2000?
Gail Perry: QB 2000 doesn't offer a lot over QB99- the main feature is the navigation bar, misc options like printing postage and using QB credit cards and web site building. And of course the QB2000 offers the new tax tables.
Goldberg Wagner Stum: What about when it has already been reconciled and the bill has been paid?
Shirley A. Bartell: How can I get a listing of outstanding bills in vendor name order?
Lara Niles: I know that one Shirley. Reports - unpaid bills. It's great!
Gail Perry: Shirley, you want to select Reports, Vendors & Payables, Vendor Balance Detail
Brian Quin: How did you handle job costing to keep the job open with all its detail when the job is open over more than one year, the report wants to put the carryover costs to retained earnings and not report the detail, I am trying to job cost on the completed contract method?
Rhonda Gregory: How do you set up employee who is exempt from SUT and FUT, but not exempt from FICA?
Gail Perry: When you go to employee setup, in the taxes area, there are checkboxes for the various taxes, and you can uncheck the SUT and FUT boxes.
Rhonda Gregory: We unchecked the SUT and FUT boxes, but it is still computing those taxes.
Gail Perry: Rhonda, I'd check with QB tech support, or post a question on their web site and www.quickbooks.com  - haven't run into the problem myself, but I haven't tried to accomplish that.
Here's a question that was emailed to me from Mary Ann Stromyer: Mary says that she has clients who are unhappy with the new navigation bar and miss the old navigator –
Gambino: I miss it too.
Gail Perry: The old navigator is still there - hiding on the Window menu. You can turn on the navigator, click the Customize button on the Nav bar and minimize it.
Lara Niles: Anyone out there charge interest on past due balances? We're setting up for the first time 9/1.
Ellen Watters: How can I get COA to be in correct order, example - my income accts are in this order #419 Loss on... , #410 P and E... , #418 Unrestricted... , #401 Plate, #402 Pledges. I'd like them to be 401, 402, 410, 418, 419. Thanks.
Cele Badgerow: Display the chart of accts, then drag the accts to the location you want.
Gail Perry: Ellen - you can open the chart of accounts and drag accounts.
Cele Badgerow: QB will still group the accts by type, e.g., all COS accts together.
Amanda Kary: If a client brings in after-the-fact manual checks after a bank reconciliation has been completed, is there any way to print an updated report showing the additional uncleared checks?
Gail Perry: Amanda - you can request a Check Detail report on the Reports/Banking menu - customize the report to include the CLR column which shows which checks have cleared, then filter to remove cleared items, leaving only uncleared items.
Brian Quin: Any answer on that completed contract method question?
Gambino: Is there a way to change the color of the letters on a QB financial statement
Gail Perry: Gambino - right click on the report, and a font box will appear to let you change typeface, color, etc.
Gail Perry: Here's another interesting QB fact: If you make a journal entry to A/P, the 1099 feature won't be affected. If you need to journalize to a 1099 client, be sure to use a form to enter the amount and not a journal entry.
Cele Badgerow: Good tip, Gail.
Brian Quin: How many here today are enrolled in the advisors program thru QuickBooks?
Dale M. Schuler: I am Brian.
Cele Badgerow: I'm a certified PA.
Lara Niles: We're in the advisors program.
Neil Sullivan: I am a QBAdvisor.
Chris Bales: Brian - we are in the UK advisors program.
Shirley A. Bartell: Brian-I'd like more information about this program.
Brian Quin: Contact QuickBooks on line, but without the mailing list option, I wonder if it is worth it, it does offer teaching tools that are pretty good, Shirley A Bartell. I am unhappy they discontinued the mailing list for their advisors, go source for new client contact.
Amanda Kary: Will the Check Detail report help to tie out the checking balance per the TB with the checking balance on the bank rec?
Gail Perry: Amanda, if your TB balance is not agreeing with the bank rec, there may be a problem with the date on which the TB is issued, or the TB may be created on cash basis rather than accrual.
Gambino: Once a bank rec is complete is there some way to go back to it if I realized I made a mistake?
Gambino: What is the easiest way to void a check?
Cele Badgerow: Highlight it in the register, Edit menu, Void!
Gail Perry: The easiest way to void a check is not the best way
Shirley A. Bartell: Agreed, Gail. I do it with a journal entry.
Gail Perry: Right - void a check with a journal entry to make sure you don't affect prior financial statements.
Gambino: Now I am confused. It's not good to confuse the Gambino. I should do an AJE to void a check?
Gail Perry: Right, Gambino, unless the check is in the current month.
Lara Niles: How can I add a "standard" paragraph to monthly statements?
Gail Perry: QB only lets you add one line of text to a financial.
Gambino: This is why I prefer Peachtree. I am having a hard time with QuickBooks!
Gail Perry: Tell us some other things you like about Peachtree - I'm curious, as I'm not a Peachtree user.
Dale M. Schuler: Just about everything on Peachtree.
Shirley A. Bartell: I really like the feature that allows you to shoot the reports out to Excel!
Gambino: It is much more sophisticated than QB!
Gail Perry: How so?
Cele Badgerow: Shirley - newer versions of QB can send reports to excel spreadsheets, too
Shirley A. Bartell: Cele-That's what I meant. I'm not fond of Peachtree.
Cele Badgerow: I'm not as crazy about Peachtree either.
Chris Bales: But QuickBooks isn't designed for sophisticated users.
Susie Finn: Is Peachtree as user friendly?
Robin Houck: I am new to both Peachtree and QuickBooks but I like Peachtree much better, it seems more flexible.
Dale M. Schuler: I can do more with the reports in Peachtree than in QB
Cele Badgerow: I have to agree, Peachtree's reporting is much more flexible, but give me QB for day-to-day ease.
Chris Bales: Dale - ship the reports out to Excel to do the fancy stuff for reporting, like pivot tables etc.
Gambino: I like that there are not a lot of ways to do things in Peachtree. You really have to know accounting to use it. It is much easier to screw something up in
Gail Perry: That's why QB is so popular with non-accountant business owners.
Gail Perry: That it's not like an accounting program, not that it's easy to screw up?
Session Moderator: It seems like what is good for one makes the other not as good!
Gambino: Exactly! If someone could make a program that combined the best of the two they would be a millionaire!
Glenda Adkins: Is that not the entire purpose of QB. Your client keeps up with the day-to-day data entry and you are valuable in that you review and make necessary corrections.
Session Moderator: Gail, have many people said they prefer QB pro over QB or QB2000?
Chris Bales: Gail - what's QB2000 got that makes it better?
Goldberg Wagner Stum: Can you departmentalize in QBs?
Gail Perry: Users don't seem to have a preference between pro and std - it's more a question of what they need. I've heard users complain that 2000 didn't offer much new stuff.
Gambino: What did QB 2000 add?
Gail Perry: QB2000 has new menus, the nav bar, the report finder, which helps you search for reports, easier online updates (automatic), and misc stuff like postage, credit cards.
Shirley A. Bartell: I'd like to see the P&L include prior year YTD as well and current month...any hope?
Gail Perry: Shirley - you can create that report in Excel, but it's a 2-step process.
Shirley A. Bartell: Gail-I've been creating it in Excel. Was hoping that QB would do it in an upgraded version. Seems a logical step.
Gail Perry: They keep offering more options with reports, but people still complain there aren't enough features.
Susie Finn: QB2000 is a pain.
Session Moderator: Gail, if a business owner uses QB, but the accountant uses QB Pro, are they compatible?
Dale M. Schuler: Don't have to ship reports out. I build them the way I want them and they are there. And run with report groups.
Shirley A. Bartell: Dale-How do you do that?
Dale M. Schuler: Shirley, It is done with the account numbers and masks
Dale M. Schuler: Masks are wildcards in the account numbers.
Gambino: Masks? Like an asterisk * ?
Dale M. Schuler: Yes, Gambino.
Shirley A. Bartell: Dale-Are you talking about QB or Peachtree?
Dale M. Schuler: Peachtree.
Brian Quin: How do you setup an excel sheet that can be used over and over again to produce F.S., when exporting new data from QuickBooks?
Cele Badgerow: Brian - as long as the chart of accts doesn't change much, you can build a spreadsheet that uses lookups to another worksheet, then send your TB to a worksheet. just add new lines to the FS worksheet for new accts.
Gail Perry: You can set up an Excel template, then export the info to Excel. Once the info is there you can copy it into the template file.
Shirley A. Bartell: Gail-That works until you set up a new account...I'm working on a way to export the trial balance and have the data filter off to reports from there.
Gail Perry: Right, Shirley - then you need to change your template.
Walter Stocker: How can I apply an invoice against an open credit memo?
Lynette Fritz: WALTER - go to Customers, Receive Payments. Pull up the customer, click on Apply existing credits, and select the invoice it applies to. The net
effect should be $0.
Neil Sullivan: I like that I can create and memorize a report in QB pro version and then export it to Excel with a single click. I can adjust print size and font etc in the QB before memorizing and then send it out to Excel.
Ken Niese: Anyone hear whether QB will ever again update the Mac version?
Rick Stuart: Ken, Intuit has totally abandoned their Mac version.
Ken Niese: Rick, I know, since way back in '97. Any ideas on how I can do an accurate payroll at this point?
Rick Stuart: Ken, at one point last year I visited the Intuit web site and looked up Mac. At that time they referred me to another program that processed payroll for Mac and imported to Mac QB.
Chris Bales: Here in the UK, QB advisors can load both QB and QB Pro provided FOC - you can run a QB standard data file on QB Pro.
Neil Sullivan: You can import from QB to QB Pro, but they are not downward compatible.
Chris Bales: Neil - beg to differ. If you import an Accountants Copy, the updated file will load back from QB Pro into QB as you have worked on data that is not using QB Pro facilities.
Neil Sullivan: Thanks Chris, had not tried that. Good to know.
Chris Bales: Neil - small word of caution - it works on QB version 6, not yet tried it on a later version.
Ellen Watters: Are there QB options/preferences that I can use to help my visually-impaired client? He loves his QB DOS, but needs to move to Windows version so that he can keep up with payroll the change has been very difficult on him.
Gail Perry: Ellen - not that I know of
Gambino: Is there a way to archive QB files?
Gail Perry: Here's a question that came in email today- How can you change the opening balance in the bank reconciliation if the amount is incorrect?
The only way QB lets you do this is to close the reconciliation, go to the register, and make an adjustment there, then when you open the rec, the
amount should be corrected.
Goldberg Wagner Stum: How can you adjust payroll liabilities when a client has never used the Pay Payroll Liabilities function?
Gail Perry: Here are some tips for printing some interesting reports in QB
To create a General Ledger account for one account: Open the GL report (Reports, Accountant & Taxes, GL), then click Filters, choose Account, indicate the account you want, and click OK. The result is a GL report of just the selected account.
To get rid of the other accounts on the GL report, choose Customize, In Use
Goldberg Wagner Stum: Aren't the other accounts there showing Zero amounts, Gail?
Cele Badgerow: Goldberg - you're right. I generate a Trial Balance report, then drill down and filter accounts from there.
Goldberg Wagner Stum: I realize that, but the other accounts with activity are still shown as zero balances.
Gambino: If I forgot my password for QB, is there some way to retrieve it?
Gail Perry: Forgot your password? tsk tsk. I think you can pay a lot of money to someone at Intuit to break into your program.
Cele Badgerow: Intuit does offer a password recovery service.
Gambino: I feel better knowing that I can get my password back. Now that I know intuit can do it for me.
Monte Harrell: There is a free aftermarket program that will find the passwords, just search the net.
Ken Niese: So Intuit could break into my program? Or someone else, if someone hacks into Intuit?!?
Ellen Watters: I'm just learning about billing invoice templates. I set up a footer and it looks great, but when I added more to the footer, the additional info doesn't print (it's there in the template). What am I doing wrong?
Chris Bales: Ellen - you've probably overflowed the permitted space.
Cele Badgerow: Ellen - are you using the Customer Message field? It's got space available.
Gail Perry: Only one line allowed in a footer - QB official rule
Shirley A. Bartell: Ellen- I think I got around that problem in a previous life....I created an "item" with the text I wanted, then used that item as the last thing on my invoice.
Ellen Watters: I appreciate everyone's help!
Cele Badgerow: I've noticed that the General Ledger report always shows all accts, regardless of settings.
Neil Sullivan: Any conversion of transactions recorded in a foreign currency into US $$'s feature in QB?
Ken Niese: Neil-there's a program called MYOB Accounting Plus that offers multi-currency, if you need it.
Neil Sullivan: Thanks Ken.
Goldberg Wagner Stum: What about my Pay Payroll Liabilities question?
Session Moderator: Hi - I hate to break up the session, but we are running very short of time.
Goldberg Wagner Stum: Yes but I couldn't get it to work.
Susie Finn: Go to adjust payroll liabilities and enter in the adjustments but make sure you mark for it not to affect accounts.
Craig S Hanson: Gail, I would appreciate more of these sessions in the future!
Cele Badgerow: More, please ! :-)
Gail Perry: I'll be glad to make a return engagement - There are too many questions for one session!
Neil Sullivan: Thanks for leading us Gail. Helpful.
Dale M. Schuler: Thanks Gail
Amanda Kary: Thanks for all the tidbits everyone!
Gail Perry: Thank you all so much for attending today - I hope I was able to give you some help with your QuickBooks problems.
Shirley A. Bartell: Thanks for the tips, Gail. Do you do an on-line workshop in Excel also?
Gail Perry: I haven't done an Excel workshop, but am considering doing so
Session Moderator: Gail - did we cover everyone's questions? Any last requests?
Gambino: Please do one!
Gail Perry: Only if Gambino promises to attend
Gambino: Sure I will.
Kristi Kinder: Gail-Is there any way that you can just teach us little tidbits and then give us an e-mail address to send our questions too? I think it would be a little more productive.
Gail Perry: You can post questions at AccountingWEB - go to the front page and click on Q&A Forum in the left column, then post your question.
Chris Bales: Thanks Gail and everyone for an interesting and useful session. Bye from the UK.
Session Moderator: Gail - this has been a GREAT session! Thanks for leading our workshop.
Gail Perry: My pleasure!
Neil Sullivan: I would also like a workshop on PowerPoint. When you have time.
Session Moderator: Thanks to all of you who joined us! Have a successful week!