QuickBooks Tips and Shortcuts, with Gail Perry

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Gail PerryQuickBooks Tips and Shortcuts
Presented by Gail Perry, CPA
Managing Editor of AccountingWEB and author of "Using QuickBooks and QuickBooks Pro," and "The Complete Idiot's Guide to QuickBooks"
Contact Gail at [email protected]
January 23, 2001

Visit the AccountingWEB Workshop Calendar for upcoming sessions.


Click here to buy the bookAuthor and CPA Gail Perry presided over a lively workshop session in she and the participants shared favorite QuickBooks tips and timesavers.

Topics included:

  • Getting tax return information out of QuickBooks
  • Using the Accountant's Review feature
  • Using different versions of QuickBooks
  • Numbering Charts of Accounts
  • Adding to Navigation/Icon bar
  • Printing speculative invoices
  • Journal Entry tips

…and much more! Read the full transcript of this workshop.

January 23, 2001 Session Sponsored by National Payment Corporation

Full Transcript

Session Moderator: I'm pleased to introduce Gail Perry, our presenter today. Gail is a CPA, tax specialist, journalist, author, speaker and instructor. Her weekly newspaper column, "Fun With Taxes," which appears in the Indianapolis Star, provides readers with practical tax insights and advice presented in plain English with a touch of humor. She joined the staff of AccountingWEB in the summer of 2000.

Gail 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 has authored several books, including "Using QuickBooks and QuickBooks Pro."

Gail, welcome, and the floor is yours!

Gail Perry: Thanks, Mike - and thank you all for attending today!

Today I hope to share with you some insights into the use of QuickBooks, and I hope you will join in with your favorite tips and shortcuts. If you have any questions, please feel free to enter them at any time.

The first area I thought I'd address is the issue of recording personal expenses on a company credit card.

When I have clients charging personal charges on their company account, I recommend they set up a current asset account for shareholder loans and record the info that way. If there is more money flowing into the company than there is flowing out, I set it up as a current liability. The client needs to be advised as to how to make a journal entry when he dips into his own funds to pay for company expenses.

One client had so many transactions of this nature; I had him use an Excel spreadsheet to track the transactions during the month, then make a single journal entry at the end of the month.

D.J. Spoltore: QuickBooks has never made it easy for clients to make journal entries.

Naseem Wenzel: If I need to change my chart of accounts for the next fiscal year, is there anyway to do this without losing history?

Gail Perry: Naseem - you can carefully go through the chart of accounts and merge old accounts into new accounts - one by one, but this is very tedious

Here's a good trick for making journal entries much easier:

Open the journal entry window, then, while the window is still open, click the Quick Add button at the bottom of the nav bar. The journal entry window is now just a click away.

There's also an option to add the active window to your nav bar, or IconBar if you use an earlier version of QB, located on the Window menu.

Leonard Marshall: How many prior versions of QB utilize the QuickAdd feature?

Gail Perry: Just 2000 and 2001 have the Quick Add feature - the previous versions use the IconBar.

Beatrice Graeber: When downloading credit card statements into QuickBooks, is there a way to avoid having to edit each transaction before it can be added to the register?

Gail Perry: I haven't done a live download of a credit card statement - but it is my understanding that you still have to enter the details for each transaction.

Ken Niese: Is there a good reason to upgrade to QB2001?

Gail Perry: There are some new features that don't have much to do with the operation of the program.

Susan Garcia: I'm using QBPro 99. When I want to do a JE, I just go to my chart of accounts, activities, then "make Journal entry". I don't get what you mean by the IconBar for a JE transaction.

Gail Perry: There is an IconBar available in QB 99, and it is back in 2001, but they removed it for the 2000 version. To display the IconBar, which is a toolbar that sits on the top of the screen, go to the preferences window and choose IconBar, then check a box to activate it.

FNR: Is there a way to print out a comparative extended trial balance?

Gail Perry: By extended trial balance - do you mean with all the detail?

FNR: Extended trial balance meaning with unadjusted balance, adjustments, and adjusted balance.

Gail Perry: FNR - offhand I do not know how you could produce this as a comparative report without the help of Excel.

Richard Friedman: Is there a way to modify the layout of the register reconciliation report - that is narrow some columns or delete them?

Gail Perry: The reconciliation report is fixed - you can't change it. I'm trying to figure out if there's a way to get the reconciliation report over to Excel, but I don't think there is.

Steve Smith: In QB2001, the box says you can now "sort columns". How is this done?

Gail Perry: You can click on the top of a column to sort by that column in the new version.

If you haven't already, one of the best QuickBooks techniques you can teach your clients or anyone you know who uses QuickBooks is how to use the Memorize feature.

Use the Memorize feature to set up recurring payments, such as rent, loan payments, utilities, etc. Anytime you teach your computer to automate a process, you feel like you're getting your money's worth out of the machine. This memorization feature is especially nice for payments like rent where there isn't a bill that comes in the mail.

If the recurring bill amount changes each month, as in a utility bill, you can still use this feature, just leave the amount blank. To set up a recurring payment, first fill out the bill, with all the information that you want to memorize. Before you save the form, memorize it by pressing Ctrl+M (or Edit/Memorize). Enter the name of this transaction (like Rent, Electricity, etc.) in the Name field. Enter the payment interval (like Monthly) in the How Often field. Enter the next date this bill will be due. Click the Remind Me option to have QuickBooks add this item to your reminder list. Don't bother if you don't use the reminder list. Choose Automatically Enter if you want QuickBooks to take care of entering this bill as a payable.

Naseem Wenzel: When you run the AR or AP summary aging report, is there a way to see only vendors or customers with balances? I have tried to do this through customize but then it doesn't reflect journal entries. Is there another way?

Gail Perry: If you filter out the zeros, but asking for only amounts > 0, that should give you what you need

Edward Wear: Why is it important to prepare a trial balance with prelim, AJEs and final? You can get to the final amount from the entries in the GL. A more interesting report is to compare the current year to the past 2 or 3 years. You can do that for all or sections of the financial statements. We use sections.

Steve Smith: Is there a way to have QuickBooks automatically assign a journal entry number?

Arlen Pecka: Excellent Question.

Gail Perry: NO - and this is SO IRRITATING!!! You have to enter your own number, and QB doesn't care what you enter, or whether you've used the number before.

Have any of you encountered a situation where you want to print invoices for subscription or service contract renewals, when you don't expect 100% of subscriptions to be renewed?

You don't want to have to void the invoices later, and you don't want the invoices to affect revenue or A/R because to a certain extent they are speculative.

FNR: Can Quickbooks assign account numbers to a chart of accounts that was not set up that way initially, without having to begin a new chart of accounts?

Gail Perry: Yes. You can request account numbers in the Preferences window and QB will assign the numbers. For account numbers, if you go to Preferences, then Accounting, there is a check box to use Account Numbers. Then if you don't like the numbers you get, you can go back and edit the accounts individually and change the numbers.

Steve Smith: Is there a way to print a journal entry report and have it print in journal entry number order - rather than in last entry order?

Gail Perry: In the new version you can request this print order. In earlier versions, you must click the report over to Excel and sort it there.

Steve Smith: Is there a way to total the "number of items" on an invoice or detail report?

Gail Perry: No, I don't know of a way to present a total number of items on an invoice. You can total the number of items on a report by sending the report over to Excel.

Lynette Fritz: Steve - you can export the report to Excel and create a formula to sum the column.

Gail Perry: and - thank you Lynette! - using the Count function in Excel you can get the total.

With regard to my previous question about printing spec invoices, I recommended preparing an invoice, printing it, and then deleting it. Any other suggestions?

If you have A LOT of these - you could probably prepare an invoice letter and do a mail merge, instead of setting each one up individually. Then when you eventually receive payments, enter a real invoice and record the payment at the same time.

Leonard Marshall: Does this mean you would have to export each invoice to Excel (one at a time) to get the count?

Gail Perry: I don't think you can perform the count on individual invoices - just on a report.

Leonard Marshall: I misunderstood. I thought the questions referred to the number of items in an invoice.

Steve Smith: Has the use of the "accountant's copy" improved much in the last two years? It seems to handle only journal entries.

Gail Perry: Here's a list of what the accountant's copy will do:

On the accountants copy, you can view all transactions, add new items to the lists, add journal entries, edit account names and numbers, edit journal entries, adjust inventories, create reports, and create payroll tax forms. You're still limited in that you can't delete any items; you can't change payroll liabilities (the biggest complaint). You can't edit or delete existing transactions; you can't make changes to employee YTD payroll info.

FNR: If you make adjustments to the accountant's copy in a new version of Quickbooks, how can you revert back to the older version to give to your client?

Arlen Pecka: I don't think you can…

Gail Perry: It is my understanding (untested on vers 2000 and 2001) that you can't switch versions - you must be using the same version as your client

D.J. Spoltore: This is true. Client must have compatible version.

FNR: Is there a way to save as the lower version?

Gail Perry: No - no way to save as a lower version.

Arlen Pecka: I've been running two versions on my machine but then you have problems regarding web-based updates.

Richard Friedman: Has anyone found a way to "force" updating of YTD info on an employee PR record when you go in a change the original data? I have found that only going through the next "regular" payroll cycle seems to fix the YTD balances.

Jay Goldberg: My client uses a "CM" prefix to credit memos. When they go back to prepare invoices, it automatically continues the invoice number sequence with the "CM". How can they avoid this and have the next invoice number appear?

Steve Smith: Has anyone used the new Intuit Advisor Workspace Pro or Private Client Sites?

Gail Perry: Let's take Steve's question for a moment - Joanne, you said you had set up a site within the new Intuit Advisor - any comments, feedback?

Joanne Ganapoler: No, we just set it up recently, we have received e-mails from our friends.

Leonard Marshall: This question is addressed to Pro Advisors. What kind of response form potential clients have you had? How many were you able to retain as clients?

D.J. Spoltore: Very little response.

Gail Perry: Have you received direct referrals from Intuit?

Leonard Marshall: No.

Edward Wear: I have received a few calls from people who got our name off the web site. Practically of the people calling are shopping for a low price.

Gail Perry: With regard to the question about CM in the invoice number, you can't get this out without manually taking it out - QB picks up on the last number you used, including any letters, and issues the next logical number.

Steve Smith: Last year I got about 12 calls & 10 new clients. About 4 I did work with this year. I found them to be good quality - at least they were computer savvy.

Gail Perry: I do think that the people looking for QB advisers will continue to grow due to the program's incredible popularity, coupled with the fact that it is complicated.

Arlen Pecka: QuickBooks' marketing makes everyone think they are accountants. This has cost me more business than it has created. I have had clients that made an absolute mess of their books and then when I charged them for fixing it they got angry with me and went somewhere else.

Gail Perry: Very true, Arlen - people don't understand why they have to pay to get help than they paid for the program.

Let's have some comments on using QB for tax preparation - are the reports that QB generates sufficient for your tax needs?

Arlen Pecka: For the most part, yes.

Gail Perry: There are three tax reports, the Summary report, the Prep report, and the Detail report.

D.J. Spoltore: I use Pro series for tax preparation and have used the export feature in QB. It takes some time to set up, but it improves efficiency tremendously in subsequent years.

Stephanie White: Any tips or advice on handling manufacturing inventory issues?

Gail Perry: Ahhh -one of my favorite topics, Stephanie! QB is very cumbersome for manufacturing inventory, but here's one tip that may help, especially if you don't have a lot of different types of items being manufactured. For switching from work in process to finished goods, Intuit recommends that you have to sell the items to yourself. Not nice, but it works, for getting things out of WIP.

Gambino: What do you mean by sell to yourself, via AJE?

Gail Perry: You can create a no $ sale and run it through an invoice, or you can use an AJE - either way, I'd try to automate the process with a memorized transaction

Stephanie White: Do you factor in overhead and labor or just the materials?

Ken Niese: Steph, try MYOB Accounting Plus, it does a much better job on manufacturing inventory.

Leonard Marshall: Doesn't selling it to yourself create an A/R problem?

Gail Perry: Yes, Leonard - but not if you sell for no $. Depending on your version, they are concealed in various places on the Reports menu - look under Accountant and Taxes, or Other. Also, you can open the Chart of Accounts and find the Income Tax Prep List under Reports - good for checking tax lines.

Susan Garcia: Gail, where are the summary, prep and detail reports that you mentioned?

Session Moderator: We've got just a couple of minutes left in today's session. Any other questions for Gail today before she wraps up?

Stephanie White: Where on the Internet might I go for more manufacturing thoughts?

Gail Perry: Stephanie - an outside program may be your best bet for inventory - you can find some that interface with QB, or so I'm told - but I've heard very few success stories. I've done searches for QuickBooks and Inventory and found some interesting stuff.

Stephanie White: Anyway we might talk offline Gail?

Gail Perry: Sure - you can e-mail [email protected], or our office phone is 317-876-7525.

Stephanie White: cool - I'll be in touch via email. thanks!

FNR: Thanks Gail, you were a lot of help!

Arlen Pecka: Good job Gail!

Gambino: Thanks Gail, I always love your online seminars

Steve Smith: Good Session - thank you Gail!

Stephanie White: Good session Gail, thanks!

D.J. Spoltore: Thank you Gail.

Session Moderator: Gail- any final thoughts??

Gail Perry: Thanks, everybody! I'm glad you could all join us today!!!

Session Moderator: Thank all of you for joining us here today, and Gail, thank you for your insight and ideas.

Session Moderator: A request from AccountingWEB: if any of you know of anyone who would make a good presenter for a future AccountingWEB workshop, or would like to suggest a future topic, please let us know - we're always looking for new ideas. Simply write to [email protected] with your recommendation for either a topic or a presenter. Thanks again for joining us today!

Gail Perry: I feel like I should do an encore, since so many of you are still here - so here's one more bit of info - if any of you are still under the gun with filing 1099s and W-2s, there's a cool little service called Filetaxes.com which provides online filing for about $4.00 per form. You can go to our front page and click a link to get there if you're interested. They take care of the W-3, 1096, and copies to the individuals.

Anyway - that's it for today - thanks again all of you!


Gail Perry
Managing Editor, AccountingWEB

Gail Perry is a CPA, tax specialist, journalist, author, speaker and instructor. Her weekly newspaper column, "Fun With Taxes," which appears in the Indianapolis Star, provides readers with practical tax insights and advice presented in plain English with a touch of humor. She joined the staff of AccountingWEB in the summer of 2000.

Click here to buy the bookMs. 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," "Excel 2000 Answers!" 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."

Ms. 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.

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