Tips for improving your Microsoft Office Accounting experience

Are you new to Office Accounting? Have you got questions about how the program works or how you can improve your use of the program? This collection of Tips for improving your Microsoft Office Experience is one place where you can look for answers.

If you you didn't find what your're looking for, drop me a line and we'll get you the answers you need!

Gail Perry, Managing Editor

These Microsoft Office Accounting tips are provided by David Ringstrom, CPA, and reprinted with permission of Microsoft Corp.


Many CPAs can’t count the number of times that a client has lost accounting or other data due to a computer crash or another unexpected event. Indeed, I sometimes share this cautionary tale: during a burglary, the thieves took the accounting computer and my client’s only back-up disk ‑ which had been left in the computer overnight. There’s simply no substitute for frequently backing up one’s accounting records, and in more than one place. In this article I’ll provide some recommendations that you can share with your clients.

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The concept of "one size fits all" has been replaced by "mass customization." Special pricing now is often the rule, rather than the exception. Fortunately your clients can use the Price Levels feature in Microsoft Office Accounting to tailor pricing to compete effectively in today's marketplace. Further, your clients can manage their bad debt exposure by utilizing the Credit Limit feature.

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Some users consider entering repetitive transactions —such as monthly dues, service agreement invoices, as well as rent and utility bills — to be the accounting equivalent of watching paint dry. Fortunately, Office Accounting Professional 2008 can release your clients from much of the drudgery of these monotonous, yet necessary, transactions. In this article I’ll discuss the new ways that your clients can manage — and automate — routine periodic transactions.

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Depending on the version you choose, Office Accounting offers 20 to 70-plus standard reports. Even this dizzying assortment might not meet your exact needs, but it’s easy to customize every report to your liking.

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Although budgets and small business owners often mix like oil and water, just about every business should have a budget. A well thought out budget can help your clients consciously act, instead of constantly reacting. For instance, you can help your clients plan ahead for seasonal slowdowns, so they don’t get caught in a cash crunch. Further, you can help your clients monitor their performance by comparing the budgeted results to actual each month. Doing so can help your clients contain costs.

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Although Office Accounting makes it easy to migrate your clients from QuickBooks or Microsoft Money, sometimes the automated approach isn’t best. For instance, customer and vendor lists might be clogged with duplicate or unneeded contacts, or former employees still linger. Even more likely, the chart of accounts is long in the tooth. In this article I’ll discuss your options for scrubbing data prior to import into Office Accounting.

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Certain users encounter a rare problem installing or activating Office Accounting 2008. This situation is usually isolated to users who attempt to downgrade from Office Accounting Professional to the Office Accounting Express. You could also encounter a problem if you switch from the United States version of Office Accounting to the United Kingdom version, or vice versa. In such cases your product key might appear to be invalid, or you may receive an activation error. Fortunately there's an easy solution to these problems. I'll also describe the variety of troubleshooting resources you have at your disposal.
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Many accounting packages allow some customization, but Office Accounting breaks new ground in this regard. You can not only modify many transaction and list item screens, but you can also place your own user-defined fields wherever you need them. And these aren't your father's user-defined fields: you can place checkboxes, comment fields, date fields, and more on many of Office Accounting's screens. You can also share your custom layouts with other Office Accounting companies.
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Many of your clients use online banking at home, and may soon want the same convenience for their business. Office Accounting offers integrated online banking, but its capabilities vary by financial institution. In this article I'll explore Office Accounting's online banking feature so that you can quickly determine what is available for your clients.
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Many users fall into the trap of using their mouse exclusively to work with computer programs such as Microsoft Office Accounting. Indeed, Office Accounting’s user interface is very mouse friendly, but you may be surprised to learn that there are dozens of keyboard shortcuts available. Your hands are often on the keyboard anyway, so a keyboard shortcut can provide instant access to a list or transaction form. Keyboard shortcuts can also reduce wrist strain, since you minimize moving your hand to your mouse, and then moving the cursor to the desired position. This is particularly considering most lists, such as Customers and Vendors, require 3 mouse clicks to access, but only a single keystroke.
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Here’s the situation: your best client is ready to move to Microsoft Office Small Business Accounting, and their data needs to be converted. The process is simple if they’re using QuickBooks — Small Business Accounting provides direct conversion capabilities. But your client isn’t using QuickBooks. No sweat: use the steps in this article to help your client get started with Small Business Accounting today.
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Do you have QuickBooks clients that want to convert to Microsoft Small Business Accounting? Good news: doing so is a straightforward process. In this article we'll review the steps involved in migrating your client's data from QuickBooks to Small Business Accounting.
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If you haven’t heard yet, Microsoft Office Small Business Accounting 2006 has been rechristened Microsoft Office Accounting 2007. Microsoft Office Accounting Express 2007 will be included in several Microsoft Office 2007 suites, so prepare yourself for questions from your clients who are looking to begin using an accounting system or seem dissatisfied with their existing one. The great news is that Office Accounting is a good fit for many of your clients — and it includes a powerful new interface that will transform the way you interact with your clients’ books.
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One of the most innovative features in Office Accounting 2007 is the ability to list items for sale directly onto eBay. This feature provides you and your clients a simple means to generate additional sales or dispose of obsolete inventory. In this first of two parts I’ll walk you through the process of configuring Office Accounting for online sales. I’ll then walk you through listing your first item. In the next article I’ll show you how to track your eBay listings from within Office Accounting, and how to download the resulting orders and fees.
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As I discussed in the previous article, an innovative feature in Microsoft Office Accounting 2007 enables you to list items for sale directly from the software onto eBay. Many Office Accounting users employ this capability to generate additional sales or dispose of obsolete inventory. Previously I walked you through the process of configuring Office Accounting for online sales. I also showed you how to list your first item on eBay. To complete this two-part series I’ll demonstrate how to track your eBay listings from within Office Accounting, download the resulting orders and fees, and manage your online settings.
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If you haven’t already, you’ll soon be able to install the third edition of Microsoft Office Accounting. This latest version adds some exciting new features, as well as intuitive improvements to the software. Read on and I’ll get you up to speed on what’s new.
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More tips coming soon!

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