Favorite QuickBooks tips and tricks

By Irene Bushnell

Some of My Favorite QuickBooks Tips
Having worked with QuickBooks for over 13 years, I'm always on the lookout for helpful hints and time saving tips.  It's funny how often we learn something but then fail to remember it.  Several years later we hear it again--and wonder why we didn't know that sooner (think of the time we could have saved)!  With that in mind, let me share a few of my favorite QuickBooks tips with you.

Finding Related Transactions in QuickBooks
Often times, we need to find related transactions in QuickBooks, such as the check that pays a bill, a payment applied to an invoice, related deposits, etc.  QuickBooks has made that easy for us with a History button in transactions screens.  Open any transaction, such as a bill payment check, click the History button at the top of the transaction window, and a list of bills paid by the bill payment check will be displayed.  You can double-click on a bill to view the bill details.  This works for all related transactions in QuickBooks!  If you don't see the History button, use Ctrl H on your keyboard.

Reviewing Payroll Information to See if Calculated Amounts Have Been Modified
Periodically looking to see if payroll checks are being modified is a good internal audit procedure.  There are two ways you can find out if amounts calculated on a payroll check have been modified.  First, access the original paycheck from the Employee Center and drill down to the paycheck detail.  In the right section that shows the Amount and YTD columns, you'll see the word (adjusted) after Employee Summary, indicating one or more of the amounts in the column has been modified.  To find out which amount, use the Payroll Detail Review report (found under Employees & Payroll Reports).  There is also a column called User Edit? with a value of Y or N.  Look for amounts with a Y and you'll see exactly which checks have been modified.

Saving Time by Adding Filters Before a Report Generates
This is one of my favorite tips.  When you generate a report in QuickBooks, default information is used and the report is displayed on the screen.  How often do you change the information and then generate the report again?  In QuickBooks, you can have the Modify Report screen come up prior to generating the report.  Choose Edit | Preferences from the menu and then select the Reports & Graph option.  On the My Preferences tab, check the checkbox entitled Prompt me to modify report options before opening a report.  This will tell QuickBooks to open the Modify Report screen before generating a report, allowing you to put in your specific report criteria the first time the report is generated.

Allocating Payroll Contributions and Taxes to Classes and Jobs
Did you know you can allocate payroll contributions and taxes to classes and jobs?  The first thing you need to do is make sure the Allocate payroll contributions and taxes preference is turned on.  To do this, go to Edit | Preferences | Payroll and Employees | Company Preferences and check the box Job Costing, Class and item tracking for paycheck expenses.  Once that preference is turned on, check the box Track Expenses By Job when you set up an item you'd like allocated to jobs.  You can also go into an existing payroll item and turn on this feature.  QuickBooks won't go back and allocate prior transactions, but all future ones will be allocated.

Moving Columns on Your Reports
Some users don't realize they can control the order of the columns on a customer report.  It's important to make your reports appealing for the reader, so it's nice to be able to customize reports in a way that makes sense.  Here are the steps for doing that.

Open a new transaction report (Reports | Custom Transaction Detail Report).  To move the Name column to the left side of the Num column, place your mouse over the word Name in the name column.  Notice your cursor has changed to a hand.  Hold the left mouse key down and drag the column to the left.  As you get to the diamond between the Date and Num columns, you'll see a red arrow appear.  Let go of your mouse and the Name column will be on the left side of the Num column.  You can also resize a column by holding your mouse over the diamond between a column until it turns into a cross.  Then press your left mouse key and move the diamond to the left or right to either shrink the column or make it larger.  Don't forget to memorize your report when you have it just the way you want it.

I hope you'll be able to use some of these tips in your organization!

About the author:
Irene Bushnell, a Certified QuickBooks ProAdvisor, is a shareholder with Anderson Zurmuehlen in Helena, MT. The new QuickBooks Conference Kit assists CPA Firms, Intuit Solution Providers, ProAdvisors and others interested in hosting their own QuickBooks Users Conference. It is a joint project between Forepoint LLC and Anderson Zurmuehlen.  For more information please visit www.QBConferenceKit.com or call 406-495-1000.

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