Setting Up QuickBooks: Simple Tips

Today we will look at simple tips for setting up QuickBooks.

Setting Up QuickBooks Tips

1. Review the QuickBooks basics
Now, become familiar with the software. Even if you are comfortable with numbers, spend time in the “Getting Started” tab on the tutorials. QuickBooks classifies revenue as “Money In,” and expenses as “Money Out.” It then maps the flow of these funds through your business in a chart called “Getting Around.” Be sure to comb through the entire section before entering even one thing. If you get the basic set up wrong the entire system must then be corrected by a very experienced QuickBooks professional.

2. Set up a secure environment
Security is an absolute must anytime money is at risk, and particularly so with QuickBooks because your entire financial life is in one place. Before you start entering sensitive financial information, go to the “Change Password” tab in the “Your Account” section and create a unique and complex password. Make sure you never use words or dates that relate to general information anyone could know.

3. Enter your business vitals
Now that you are familiar with the QuickBooks basics and your passwords set, go to the “Preferences” link in the “Company” tab and enter your company’s financial details. Make sure to follow all details that you and your accountant have discuss.

Usually, the most important items are business structure, reporting forms, Tax ID number and reporting calendar. But that can vary by business, and even tiny details can be critical. Consider double-checking these details with your financial advisor.

4. Enter customer information
To do this begin by clicking on the “Customer” tab and entering the client’s information. While name, address and email are important, the often over looked part is the “Payment Method” option.

Check with your customers directly to determine whether they prefer paying with cash, check or credit card. Then, set the options as needed and, if possible, generate a test invoice for your clients. Confirm with them that all works as it should.

5. Enter basic vendor and employee information
Next, go to the “Vendors” and “Employees” tabs. Start by entering the contact information for workers and vendors. Confirm each entry by generating a report with the “Report” button on the right of the screen.

6. Begin tracking the money flow
This is often the trickiest part: accounting for the actual dollars your business makes and spends. For this, go to the “Banking” tab and focus on the basic reporting options to track the money you make and the costs your business incurs. You can connect to most relevant financial accounts, such as bank accounts and credit cards from here.

Be sure you can cut checks with the “Write Checks” tab and manage your costs and sales in the “Credit Card Expense”, “Cash Expense” and “Deposit” headings. Do a test run with each of these features to make sure QuickBooks is recording the data properly.

You’ll also want to manage the activity on your account. You can use the “Manage Users” screen, located in the “Your Account” section, to add users. Ideally only yourself and your accountant should be able to access your sensitive data.

7. Review expense labels and confirm them with an accountant.
Business funds must be organized by category for both tax purposes and for regulators. You will need to know the nuts and bolts of describing what your business spends. Be sure to understand how to track “Cash Expenses” by hand versus automatically downloading expense data from a bank or credit account. This can be found in the “Downloaded Transactions” section depending on your version of QuickBooks.

Manually entering cash expenses into QuickBooks can be a relatively simple process. Enter an amount, assign a vendor and attach a memo. Expense data from bank or credit card accounts can be uploaded automatically.

8. Create your first profit and loss report
Its time now to determine how much money your business makes. Intuit has a full set of reporting tools but, for now, concentrate on the “Profit & Loss” report found in the “Report” tab.

Essentially, the Profit & Loss report adds up what you made for a period and then subtracts the costs you incurred based on the data entered. Among other things, the report can help give you an idea of the cash you’ll need on hand to pay taxes on your potential profit.

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