QuickBooks is the small business accounting software of choice today. So, in itself that ought to tell you something about why you should use QuickBooks Over the years I’ve worked with or installed many different accounting software products in use by our clients. These software products have ranged from low end to mid-range software costing many thousands of dollars. During this time, I have witnessed the evolution and expansion of the QuickBooks suite of products. In my professional opinion, I consider the following key factors to be the most significant reasons for choosing QuickBooks if you have a small business:
1. QuickBooks is extremely adaptable to most small businesses. All documents and reports can be customized to the business needs. Reports can be readily exported to other applications.
2. QuickBooks is easy to use once properly setup, the software does an excellent job of recording, organizing and reporting the financial information of the business enterprise in accordance with established accounting standards and methods.
3. Because the installed user base of QuickBooks is so extensive, the product has been widely tested and is very stable and reliable. When you compare all the features and functionality of this software in relation to its cost, there is simply no other product in the market at this level which offers a better value for the small business enterprise.
4. QuickBooks is compatible with many vertical market applications which allow industry specific software applications to export directly into QuickBooks, and more of these applications are being integrated all the time. Examples include: Point of Sale, Construction, Medical etc. Also, the QuickBooks Premier Edition has been expanded into industry specific editions.
5. Realizing that many small businesses have or soon will outgrow the capabilities of QuickBooks, Intuit released its next generation software called QuickBooks Enterprise Solutions which allows a much larger business organization to use the product. For example, QuickBooks Enterprise Solutions is a better fit for a business with perhaps 100 to 200 employees, $10 million in sales with network access up to 20 simultaneous users.
I feel that factors 4 and 5 above are very significant because they demonstrate how QuickBooks has evolved over the years such that now it is more likely you can find a QuickBooks product to meet your specific business needs – then, as your business grows, to have an upward migration path to follow.
Does this mean that QuickBooks is right for every small business? No. Even in consideration of all these positive attributes, there are situations in which QuickBooks is not the right fit for certain businesses. Also, as in most non-custom developed software, there might be some limitation or situation that causes frustration. As a ProAdvisor, I am trained to recognize when these circumstances exist and can suggest alternatives.
QuickBooks, like any accounting software is merely a tool. Just as the purchase of woodworking tools will not turn a novice into a fine craftsman, neither will accounting software by itself effectively manage your business. In this regard, as with most skills, there is simply no substitute for knowledge and experience. My QuickBooks software knowledge is complimented by years of experience in accounting and financial reporting, taxation and business advisory services across a wide range of industries. This gives me an unparalleled advantage in helping you – the small business owner – implement a successful QuickBooks setup for your company.
What makes my approach to accounting software implementation different?
Often times as businesses and their related internal information requirements grow, an assortment of applications and procedures develop without any real overall central design or planning. Over time, these processes become habits simply because “it has always been done that way”. But, it is key to recognize that it may not be the best or most efficient way.
For these reasons my QuickBooks advisory process goes beyond simply choosing software preferences and setting up your chart of accounts. Rather, through the process of interviews and observations our objective is to define the optimal flow of information processing through your organization and define the goals to be achieved with the end result. When this is accomplished, redundant tasks can be eliminated and an accounting information system can be configured in such a way that allows the organization to function at peek efficiency. Ultimately, this translates into many benefits among which include lower manual labor costs, higher levels of customer satisfaction, optimal purchasing and management of inventory, greater accuracy and usefulness in reporting, improved overall profitability of the organization, etc.
Because I am a CPA and have broad experience in financial reporting, taxation issues, business entity structures etc. I look at all these combined elements of your organization because they are all important factors to be considered in designing an accounting software setup and providing training. Therefore, unlike a computer guru, I take a very comprehensive approach when setting up an accounting software system.
Will you teach me to use all the features in QuickBooks?
No, because truthfully, not all the features and functions will apply to your company. My job is to show you which ones will benefit you and how to set them up properly while at the same time steer you away from doing things that I know will add too much complexity or time to your daily bookkeeping chores and not provide enough benefits to justify it. Remember, as a CPA who has worked with many businesses over the past two decades, I know what your accounting books should look like based on the type of business you are and your business entity structure and the kind of reporting information that will be needed.
Will QuickBooks reduce my year end accounting fees?
The truth is, that depends entirely on you. You see, over the years in working with numerous companies using QuickBooks, almost without exception, if the person who setup and used QuickBooks was not trained in accounting, the books were a mess! That can involve considerable time on my part to 1) first fix all the problems and 2) repeatedly fix more problems every year at year-end if the bookkeeper does not understand how to properly use QuickBooks. Consequently, QuickBooks may not reduce your accounting fees and could actually increase them if it takes longer to decipher your accounting records versus our just compiling your general ledger from source documents. That is the situation you should be trying to avoid. That’s why it makes sense to invest the time and effort up front in getting properly trained on QuickBooks. When you do that, it becomes a win-win situation. Your company is better managed and organized. Because of that, you do save accounting fees at year end and I am able to complete your work more quickly and with less problems – which makes me happy too.
What purpose and benefits do my accurate QuickBooks accounting records provide my company?
First, they provide the financial foundation upon which to operate and manage your business.
Second, if you ever need to obtain financing to grow your business, and virtually every business does, you will need to prove to the lender that you are a good risk. That requires you to present financial statements (income statement, balance sheet, statement of cash flow) to the lender. The only way you will be in a position to do that is if you are able to produce accurate, consistent accounting information in a “double-entry, general ledger format” which is what QuickBooks produces.
Third, your business must comply with all the various tax reporting laws. Since the information to complete all income, sales, payroll and other tax forms must come from your accounting system, you must make sure that you have accurate methods in place to obtain that information and that your tax returns agree to your numbers in QuickBooks.
Personal training instruction in setting up and using QuickBooks is available to you. Sure, seminars are great, but when you go back to the office and attempt to apply this training, do you still find that you have questions or that your setup situation for your business requires a non-standard approach not covered in the seminar? If so, then you will appreciate my approach because I work with you in setting up your company in your office.
Among the ways I can help you with QuickBooks include:
> Installing software, setup and design of an appropriate accounting structure for your business.
> Issues associated with installing and running QuickBooks in multi-user mode on a network.
> Developing or modifying an existing chart of accounts that is suitable for your business.
> Determining opening balances – not always an easy process, especially if you are converting from a manual accounting system.
> Reconciling detail receivable, payable, inventory and payroll registers to the general ledger.
> Outlining an organized conversion strategy to make the transition from your existing system to QuickBooks.
> Setting up customer, vendor, inventory, payroll and job costing lists and template files.
> Customizing forms and reports.
> Fixed asset supplementary reporting.
> Integrating vertical market applications with QuickBooks.
> Reviewing your existing QuickBooks setup and offering suggestions for improvement.
> Training your staff on QuickBooks.
> Providing complete periodic review of your transactions and general ledger and making corrections where necessary.
> Providing ongoing advisory assistance to your business on an “as needed” basis or for projects requiring special expertise in accounting, taxation, budgeting etc.
Here are some of the most frequent situations where users need help with QuickBooks. I can resolve them
> The bank statements are not regularly or accurately reconciled to QuickBooks whereby deposits, checks and other transactions are matched and cleared.
> Credit card transactions are not properly entered and paid in QuickBooks resulting in the inability to know how to breakdown the credit card payment among all the accounts affected.
> Just correcting an account balance with a journal entry in lieu of investigating the true cause of the discrepancy. Although this approach may correct the general ledger balance, it does correct the other reports in QuickBooks which are derived from the underlying subsidiary account details.
> Prior year balances that have changed due to voided or other transactions and now as a result no longer reconcile to the past year tax returns.
> Duplicate accounts, poorly structured chart of accounts, accounts setup with an incorrect “account type” resulting in erroneous financial statement reports.
> Unorganized “items” code structure and use of sub-item categories.
> Improper use of “class” codes or not using class codes when the accounting needs are well suited to “classes”
> Improper use of (or not using) the “undeposited funds” account which results in a building balance that is never cleared or customer payments not properly grouped together into deposits – which makes reconciling the QuickBooks checking account to the bank statements exceedingly difficult.
> Subsidiary accounts detail reports such as aged accounts receivable or payable that do not reconcile in total to their respective general ledger control accounts.
> Improper entry of payroll tax deposits resulting in payroll liabilities report not agreeing to the general ledger.
> Improper accrual and/or payment of sales tax such that the sales tax liability report does not agree to the general ledger.