We'll begin by taking a look at the QuickBooks ® accounting system flowchart and end the chat with closing procedures and how GST/HST is handled.
While you don't have to have formal bookkeeping training to use QuickBooks®, you do need to have a basic understanding of accounting principles to ensure you have accurate data ... and there are certain procedures you must follow to ensure you have accurate data.
I have found over the years that the more input accountants have had in this product, the less user friendly it has become ... but for good reason. So like you, I can get frustrated learning how to use QuickBooks® each time a new version comes out. As with most things, the frustration goes away as I climb up the learning curve.
I read a great quote by Sara Laidlaw Woodruff in the January Sleeter Group newsletter that sums it nicely, “QuickBooks is easy? I agree! So is a pencil. But if I sit you down at a drafting table does it make you an architect?”
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When you first enter the QuickBooks® program, you are presented with a flowchart of the accounting system. It gives you an overview of how your bookkeeping work flows ... and your first clue as to how to how to use QuickBooks®. If you flow the workflow process, you will be more productive and efficient.
Study the chart and notice the different areas of the program. Learning what each area is for will make learning how to use QuickBooks® go faster.
Each version has five sections - Vendors (for accounts payable and expenses ... money leaving the business), Customers (for accounts receivables and sales ... money coming into the business), Employees (for payroll and/or time tracking), Company (for COA and list management), and Banking (for banking functions).
Try to understand the bookkeeping process by studying the flowchart.
Let me say again ... when learning how to use QuickBooks® ... before you do anything else ... stop and look over the flowchart.
Once you understand the bookkeeping workflow, things start to become easy. When in doubt, stop what you are doing and find out where you are on the flowchart. Then go from there.
The flowchart shown above varies. It depends what version you are using and what features you have. So if your chart
doesn't look exactly like this one, don't worry about it. How to use
QuickBooks® is pretty much the same for each version ... only the
features change to accommodate different sizes of businesses.
When learning how to use QuickBooks®, make sure you take time to learn how to customize reports tailored to your informational needs. Here are four that might come in handy.
Have you been wondering how to use QuickBooks® to track the cheques issued during the month in your QuickBooks® accounting system?
Learn how to use QuickBooks DESKTOP VERSION
A quick and easy way to get a cheque listing is to go to Reports / Banking / Missing Cheques. Create the report for the time period you want.
What I do is modify the report heading to Cheque Register Summary and memorize the report for easy access. I make a point of printing this report each month-end for my financial reporting package.
Learning how to use QuickBooks® to create this customized report will enable you to track the sequencing of your cheques for your audit trail.
During the month, I update it and keep it handy for easy reference throughout the month too.
If you need to see the cheque details, then choose Reports / Banking / Cheque Detail.
The reason I prefer my "summary" report is that I can scan for a cheque quickly. The "detail" report prints a lot of pages and to use it, I have to flip a lot of paper.
So there are two ways to get track the cheques you have issued. It's your choice which you use.
Learn how to use QuickBooks ONLINE VERSION
QBO doesn't actually seem to have any banking reports like QBD. I created my Cheque Register report (because I like to make sure that all cheques are accounted for ... even voided ones) as follows:
I also created a similar report to track my invoice numbers ... because again I want to ensure all numbers are accounted for ... even voided invoices. This means I never delete an invoice because I want the numerical sequence accounted for.
You already know I'm going to tell you that I investigate all missing or duplicate numbers shown in the Cheque Register or the Invoice Listing. The whole point to the exercise when learning how to use QuickBooks data that you've painstakingly entered is to manage and monitor your financial health, help you make better business decisions ... and to safeguard your business assets.
Guess what? There are also two methods to book customer deposits/prepayments.
If you use the liability method to process your customer deposits in your QuickBooks® accounting system, here's how to use QuickBooks® to keep track of who paid deposits.
Here is an example of what the report would look like.
After customizing, the report shows your customer deposit transactions so that you can track who still has an unapplied or unused deposit. A customer deposit account should show a zero balance once the full deposit has been applied to an invoice or several invoices.
If you print a Sales Report by customer or by item, the deposit transactions will show up there as well, but not as nicely as this customized report.
This is an excellent example showing how customizing your reports in your QuickBooks® accounting system will help you make good business decisions based on solid information.
Holdbacks are not revenue ... and not subject to tax until the holdback amounts are billed. So it's important when accounting for holdbacks to have a way to track and monitor them.
Here is how to use QuickBooks® to track and bill construction holdbacks.
Begin by setting up a current liability account named Holdbacks.
To facilitate invoice preparation, create an Other Charge list item also named Holdbacks. Code the item to the current liability account you just created above.
When you invoice your customer, show your customer the holdback by selecting the Holdback item in your drop down list. Enter your holdback amount as a negative amount. For example if your percentage of work completed to date is $5,000 with a 10% holdback, enter -500.00 as your holdback amount.
On your final invoice to bill your customer for the completion of the job, select the Holdback item ... but this time ... enter the amount as a positive number. This will clear out your holdback account and reclassify it to sales where it now becomes taxable.
Finally, setup up your QuickBooks® accounting system to create a customized report so you can easily keep track of the status of the holdbacks. I think these instructions will work but there are so many versions now, you may have to modify the instructions slightly to accommodate your version.
If you have done everything correctly, the report should look very similar to the example report shown in the Customer Deposits segment above.
The Sales by Customer report shows you where your revenue comes from and who your top customers are. You can use it to determine if you have any concentrated credit risk. Here's how to create the report.
Consider how to use QuickBooks sales information to improve your customer relations and grow your business by finding creative ways to utilize the information.
For example, the September 2010 Admin Books Newsletter (Administrative Bookkeeping Co., Inc.) suggests you select your top 10 customers and send them a hand written note with a small gift ... or share the names of the top ten customers with your employees so they can provide them VIP service.
Take a look at the percentages. Does one customer stand apart from all the others or represent more than 10% of your business? Make plans on how your business could sustain revenue if your top client left.
Learning how to use QuickBooks® to close your books is much simpler than most other accounting programs out there.
The QuickBooks® accounting system does not require any period end entries, that is why it is important to set your closing date when you have completed your month-end procedures or year-end procedures.
This features allows you to always have access to prior years' data right down to the transaction level. It also allows you to create comparison reports.
QuickBooks® automatically performs the following period end adjustments:
QuickBooks® does not reclassify the equity account. YOU need to book the closing entry to clear the Owner's Draws and Contributions to the Owner's Equity account.
The "closing" procedure is date driven and occurs based on the reporting dates of the financial reports you request.
QuickBooks® has a great feature for report time periods - This Month, Last Month, Year-to-Date, etc. that makes it quick and easy for you select your reporting period.
Learning how to use QuickBooks® to track GST/HST depends on whether you are a GST/HST registrant or not. We'll look at both.This section was created using a 2009 version of QuickBooks® and before HST was implemented in B.C. and Ontario. I haven't updated it because BC will be returning to PST on April 1, 2013. All the instructions here should work in QuickBooks versions 2010, 2011, and 2012.
Please keep this in mind while learning how to use QuickBooks® sales tax module.
If you are not an HST/GST registrant, you will NOT be collecting GST (and should not as you are not authorized to). This means you do not qualify for input tax credits so there is no need for your accounting system to track the sales tax you pay.
In this case, when you record any purchase or expense that has sales taxes, the sales tax amount is either expensed or capitalized.
For example, if you purchased printer toner for $150 before taxes, you would record $168 to the expense account Office Supplies if you lived in BC. In Ontario, the amount would be $169.50 (because the PST / RST rate is different).
though you don't have to, you may want to track how much sales tax you
are paying ... so you can see how much money you are leaving on the
table by not registering for GST/HST.
To track your GST/HST expense separately, create an expense account called Sales Taxes or Sales Taxes Paid. In the QuickBooks® accounting system, the account setup is done through your chart of accounts.
Each time you purchase something, you would code the sales tax amount to this expense account. This is one of the ways of how to use QuickBooks® to give you management information to run your business.
If you are under $30,000 in sales and not registered for HST/GST, you may want to consider registering voluntarily. Take time to read how you are paying more tax by not registering.
I have also created a Guide to Understanding HST/GST that explains why you might want to register voluntarily.
In the QuickBooks® accounting system, it is not necessary to have three accounts like you do when you handle GST/HST manually. One account called HST/GST Payable handles everything.
long as you are properly booking your entries and managing your sales
tax in the sales tax windows, the QuickBooks® accounting system keeps
track of your GST collected and input tax credits for you. When you need
to determine the amounts to report to CRA, you run your sales tax
report for the details.
Here's an overview of how it works, using versions 2009 through to 2012. Tracking sales tax has five steps:
1. Turn on the sales tax feature. This creates the Manage Sales Tax icon found on the right hand side in the Vendor section of the flowchart.
2. Setting up sales tax items and codes along with coding individual customers, vendors, sales items, and expense items.
3. Collect sales tax through the sales forms - invoices and sales receipts.
4. Capture your input tax credits through enter bills form and write cheque form.
5. Pay your sales tax to CRA using the Sales Tax Drop Down Menu. Click on File Sales Tax. Here is where you find the sales tax reporting features and sales tax payment cheque form (which is NOT the same as the Write Cheque form).
As long as you are entering your data correctly, the QuickBooks® accounting system automatically tracks your sales taxes for you.
A payable or receivable is automatically setup when you use the File Sales Tax function ...
When you get your GST/HST refund from CRA, use Receive Payment under the customer drop down menu to record your entry to undeposited funds account and clear the receivable.
If you owe, use Pay Bills to clear the payable when you make your GST/HST payment to CRA.
To organized and accurate record keeping in your accounting system! ;-)
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