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Getting Started with Accounts in QuickBooks Online, Part 1

QuickBooks Online was built to work with transactions downloaded from your online financial institutions. Here’s how to work with them.

The ability to import transactions from financial institutions into QuickBooks Online is definitely one of the best things about the site. You may have even signed up for that very reason. By now, you’ve probably already set up at least one connection. But are you using all of the QuickBooks Online’s account tools? There’s a lot you can do once you’ve imported in data from your bank or credit card provider.

We’ll explore these features in this column and the next.

First Steps

If you’re a new subscriber, you may not have established these critical links yet. It’s an easy process. Start by clicking the Banking link in the left vertical navigation pane.  In the upper right corner, click Add Account and enter the name of your financial institution if it’s not pictured. Then follow the instructions you’re given on the screen. These can vary depending on the bank or credit card provider, but you’re always at least asked to enter the username and password that you use to log into each online.

Need help with this? Let us know.

Viewing Your Transactions

Once you’ve made a successful connection, you’ll be returned to the Bank and Credit Cards page. You should see a card-shaped graphic at the top of the screen for each account you’ve linked. Click on one. The table that opens is not your account register. The view here defaults to For Review, which refers to transactions you’ve downloaded. The All tab should also be highlighted; we’ll get to Recognized transactions later.

When you first download transactions into QuickBooks Online, before you’ve done anything with them, many will appear under For Review.

There’s a lot going on here, so don’t be surprised if you’re confused. Review each transaction by clicking on it. QuickBooks Online will have guessed at how it should be categorized, but you can change this by opening the list in the category field and selecting the correct one. It’s critical that you get this right, since it will have an impact on reports and income taxes. If you need to Split it between multiple categories, click on that button found to the right.

If the transaction is Billable, check that box and choose a customer from the drop-down list. If you don’t see this box, click the gear icon in the upper right and select Account and Settings | Expenses. Check to see that Make Expenses and Items Billable is turned On (click on Off, then check the appropriate box to turn it on).

Next, determine how you want to process the transaction by clicking on one of the three buttons at the top of the transaction box. Do you want to accept it and Add it to that account’s register? Do you want QuickBooks Online to Find (a) Match for it (like a payment that matches an invoice, for example)? Or, do you want to Transfer it to another account? Once you’ve made one of these three selections, the transactions that you’ve added or matched will move under the In QuickBooks tab (where you can still Undo them) and will be available in the account’s register.

Other Options

You can save time by using QuickBooks Online’s Batch Actions tool.

Say you run a cross some duplicate or personal transactions that you don’t want to appear in the current account’s register. Check the box in front of each, then click the arrow in the Batch Actions box. Select Exclude Selected. They’ll then be available under the Excluded tab. You can also Accept or Modify multiple transactions simultaneously by using this tool.

So far, you’ve been viewing All your transactions. Click on Recognized to the right of it. These are transactions that are already familiar to QuickBooks Online because they’ve appeared before and/or have been matched, or because you’ve created Bank Rules for them (we’ll address that concept next month). You’ll need to address these the same way you did the transactions in the For Review section; you can either Add or Transfer them.

If you’re new to QuickBooks Online, this may all sound pretty complicated. It can be at first. But once you’ve worked with downloaded transactions for a while, you’ll understand the flow much better.  If you’re not clear on the process from the start, it can lead to trouble. Contact us at your convenience.  We’d be happy to sit down with you and go through it all using your own company’s data; the familiarity may help.

Your Perfect Work Day

How well do you love the way you spend your typical workday? What would a typical workday look like if you had absolutely no constraints? Here’s a fun exercise to get you thinking about your future and how you can make small changes in your current day to move it toward your ideal day.

Get comfortable and begin jotting out what your ideal day looks like. Start with what you do before you get to work. How do you start your day? With a workout or breakfast or something else? What does breakfast consist of? Where are you eating? What do your surroundings look like?

How do you get to work? What is your commute like? List the sights, sounds, smells. Once you get to work, what do you do first? Will you spend time on the phone? With whom? At the computer? Do you go somewhere?

Do you get a nice break for lunch? Write it all down in detail, and continue until your post-workday routine. Who are you with? Where are you? What do you do?

Here’s a partial sample:

“Lunch with my two friends at our favorite Mexican restaurant on the beach. We laugh a lot, share stories, and part with hugs and handshakes. After lunch, I work on my favorite work project, which challenges me to think about how to help my employees gain new skills. While I work, I listen to my favorite music CD. In a few hours, I am ready for a stretch break and walk outside to water the plants. After break, I return calls, talking with my clients and catching up on how to best serve them. …”

OK, now it’s your turn. Here are some questions to consider while you do this exercise:

  • What’s important to you to spend time on?
  • What’s enjoyable that you would really like to have as part of your daily routine?
  • What activities will give you a nice balance of accomplishment, relaxation, and socialization, even during work?

What do you need to include in your ideal day to get your needs met?

Change One Thing

Getting to your ideal day can take time. Don’t try to change your whole routine all at once. What one or two things can you pull out of your ideal workday description that you could bring into your current workday to brighten it with happiness? In the description above, this person might block out time to find employee training, go out for lunch instead of eating at her desk, make a new playlist, delegate tasks that are not part of her ideal day or take more time when returning client calls.

Make gradual changes in your current day to improve it. With each change, you’ll be moving toward the realization of your ideal day. And if your ideal day doesn’t include bookkeeping but your current day still does, we’re here for you.

Training Fido to Fetch More than a Bone

 

While “fetching” might be what some trained dogs can do, accounting systems are getting into the act too. This relatively new feature is called “receipt fetching,” and it’s when an app can retrieve documents directly from the vendors that you do business with so you don’t have to spend so much time on paperwork retrieval.

Apps that can perform receipt fetching can integrate with your accounts and pull invoices into their system. For example, if your business has an account with a utility or telecom company, the receipt fetching app can pull the electricity, water, or telephone bills into your receipt fetching app account and consolidate them.

The benefits are simple. You save time, certainly. But the bigger benefit is you no longer have a monthly deadline to get your documents to your accountant — at least for all the documents that can be automated in this way. This reduces stress and eliminates minutiae from your day.

Accountants benefit too. No accountant likes to spend their time asking clients for documents over and over again. We know you have better things to do with your time, and we know you probably hate doing the paperwork. Receipt fetching is an easy way to get the job done.

To take advantage of receipt fetching, the first step is to select a receipt-fetching app. A few of the apps to select from include LedgerDocs, ReceiptBank, HubDoc, and Greenback. Some of these apps do receipt fetching only, and others have many more functions.

The second step is to determine which vendor accounts are supported, and to connect with them. Generally speaking, the connection is based on your account credentials, so if those change, the connection will need to be updated. When many of your documents can be pulled into one place, you don’t have to spend time logging into each vendor portal to pull receipts.

If you’re curious about how to benefit from receipt fetching in your business, please feel free to reach out.

Customer Statements: When, Why, and How

If your business relies on invoices to get paid, there may be times when you need to create and send statements.

You enter into an informal contract with a customer when you send an invoice. You expect that you will receive payment in a timely fashion for goods or services you’ve sold.

That probably works most of the time. But what happens when it doesn’t, when you’ve sent a reminder and are still waiting? And what do you do when a customer orders frequently and is confused about what’s been paid and what hasn’t?

If you’re using QuickBooks Online, you can easily send a statement, a list of sales transactions, credits, and payments. There are three kinds of these:

•    Balance Forward. This document emphasizes what’s currently owed by displaying it at the top. Below that is a list of sales transactions that occurred between two dates you specify.
•    Open Item. You select a date, and the statement shows all transactions that were completed before it.
•    Transaction Statement. There’s no total balance here, just the amounts billed and received for every transaction.

Setting Up Statements

Balance Forward statements cover a period of transactions that you define.

There are three way to create statements. You can:

  • Click the Plus (+) icon at the top of the screen.
  • Dispatch one while you’re in a customer record.
  • Launch a batch action from the Customer screen.

Before you create your first statement, though, make sure QuickBooks Online is set up the way you want it to be. Click the gear icon in the upper right of the screen and select Your Company Account and Settings. Click the Sales tab and scroll down to Statements. Click Statements to open the options there.

You can List each transaction as a single line or List each transaction including all detail lines. Click the button in front of the one you prefer. If you want to Show aging table at bottom of statement, click in the box. This will show customers how many days each transaction is overdue.

Click Save when you’re done.

Creating Statements

If you’ve already started entering transactions so there’s some data in QuickBooks Online, click the Plus (+) icon in the upper right corner of the screen.

Tip: If you don’t see the plus (+) icon, you’re in an active screen. Click the X in the upper right to close it, saving it first if necessary.

Click Statement, which is located under Other on the far right. Under Statement Type, select BalanceForward. Below that is the Customer Balance Status field. Do you want to see customers with open balances, those who have overdue invoices, or all customers? The third option will include credit memos.

Select a Start Date and End Date. In this example, these were 04/09/2018 and 09/09/2018, and the statement date was 09/10/2018.  Click Apply. QuickBooks Online will display a list of matching customers. Click Print or Preview at the bottom of the screen to see your statements.

In this preview, the customer’s balance forward on 04/09/2018 was $8,245.05. A catch-up payment was made on 08/09/2018 and another invoice sent on 09/01/2018, which accounts for the TOTAL DUE at the top.

From this screen, you can either Print the statements or Close to go back to the previous page, where you can Save and Send.

Two Other Options

As we stated earlier, there are two other ways to create statements. Click Sales in the left vertical toolbar and highlight the Customers tab by clicking on it. Hover your cursor over a customer and click the down arrow at the very end of that line. From the list that opens, select Create statement.

You can also hand-pick multiple customers to receive statements. With the Customers window open, click in the box in front of your choices, and then click the down arrow next to Batch actions at the top of the list. Select Create statements.

The mechanics of creating statements in QuickBooks are fairly simple. But you don’t want to send an inaccurate one to a customer. Make sure your transactions are up to date before you generate any statements, and choose your date ranges carefully. As always, we’re available to help with this task – or any other area of QuickBooks Online that might be confusing to you. We’re here to help you be pro-active to avoid problems in the long run.

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