The 5 Key Tips to Resolve Your Love/Hate Affair with QuickBooks
As an Advanced QuickBooks Expert I often talk to accountants who have very strong opinions about QuickBooks. They either love it or hate it. What I have found is that many times, accountants love and hate QuickBooks for the same reasons. I thought I’d share the top five reasons why accountants love/hate QuickBooks and some tips to help you love QuickBooks just a little more.
Tip No. 1: It’s easy to change transactions in QuickBooks
This is the No. 1 reason why accountants have a love/hate relationship with QuickBooks: it's so easy to change transactions. You love QuickBooks because you can make changes easily without making lots of journal entries. You hate QuickBooks because clients can make changes so easily.
To keep clients from making changes in QuickBooks, I recommend setting up Date Warnings in QuickBooks and also password protecting closed periods. This is done from the Edit Menu and selecting Accounting and Company Preferences as shown in Figure 1.
Figure 1. Date warnings and closing date.
Tip No. 2: The infamous 'Undeposited Funds' account
The second reason why accountants love/hate QuickBooks is the Undeposited Funds account. As a former auditor, I can tell you that the Undeposited Funds account used to make me very nervous because I didn’t understand its purpose. After all, Undeposited Funds was not a topic in any of my college accounting courses.
Accountants hate it because they don’t understand it. Let me give you a short explanation: the Undeposited Funds account is used to track moneys collected until a deposit is entered in QuickBooks. I happen to love the Undeposited Funds account because, when used correctly, the amount of the deposit entered in QuickBooks should match up to the deposit amount on the bank statement. This makes the monthly bank reconciliation process super easy. If the Undeposited Funds account is not used, deposits in QuickBooks must be added together manually to reconcile them to deposits on the bank statement.
Tip No. 3: Journal entries don’t fix all errors in QuickBooks
As accountants, we were trained to enter journal entries to make corrections to our clients’ books. We are uncomfortable changing source transactions—either because we don’t know how to or we want to leave a clear trail of the adjustments we made. Personally, I hate that the General Journal Entry screen seems to be hidden somewhere in the Company menu.
In my experience as an Advanced QuickBooks Expert, I have learned that journal entries are not always the best method for fixing errors in QuickBooks. How can you love QuickBooks journal entries? First, understand that QuickBooks works best when source transactions are corrected by using as using debit memos, credit memos, inventory adjustments, carefully making changes to transactions in open periods, and other methods.
If you are concerned about maintaining a clear audit trail of transactions you have adjusted in QuickBooks for your clients, set up an External Accountant user so that you can track changes and adjustments on the audit trail. You can find the audit trail at Reports > Accountant & Taxes > Audit Trail.
Tip No. 4: Sending QuickBooks files back and forth
We all hate having to send QuickBooks files back and forth between clients and accountants. In QuickBooks desktop (Enterprise, Premier, Pro), files can be sent via:
- Portable File—QuickBooks 2015 has a new feature that makes it easier for users to send Portable file copies to accountants using file-sharing services such as Dropbox.
- Accountant’s Copy—clients can securely send an Accountant’s Copy via Intuit’s cloud server. Accountants can send changes back to the client the same way.
My preferred method (the method I love) is to work in the cloud with direct access to our clients’ QuickBooks files in two ways:
- QuickBooks Online, clients can invite up to two accountant users to collaborate on their QuickBooks Online file.
- Using a professional hosting company to work on QuickBooks desktop files. This way, we have direct access to our clients’ QuickBooks files.
Tip No. 5: QuickBooks is continually being updated
Personally, I love that QuickBooks versions keep changing. Sometimes, though, it can be overwhelming. For a time, QuickBooks Online was being updated every two weeks. That’s a lot to keep up with! I often hear feedback from accountants that new versions of QuickBooks look very different and that it’s hard to navigate the software. Yes, change is hard for accountants because it affects our productivity.
Working exclusively with QuickBooks for 5 years, I have seen so many exciting changes in QuickBooks Online, downloaded banking transactions, integrated software applications, QuickBooks Enterprise Advanced Reporting, Accountant’s tools, and so much more. Why should you love the fact that QuickBooks keep changing? Because the company is continually looking for ways to improve things.
There is a fine line between love and hate. I hope that these tips will help you understand QuickBooks more and at least like it a little more. After all, QuickBooks is not going away.
About the author:
Veronica Wasek is an Advanced Certified QuickBooks ProAdvisor, a CPA, a public speaker, and a member of the national Intuit Trainer/Writer Network. Veronica is the founder of VM Wasek CPA, LLC, a QuickBooks-centric firm specializing in customized QuickBooks set up, training, clean up, consulting, and bookkeeping. Veronica’s blog, http://5MinuteBookkeeping.com, provides tips, videos, and tutorials for small businesses to get their bookkeeping done in as little as five minutes a day using QuickBooks Online.