How Your Small Business Can Get the Most out of QuickBooks
Inuit's QuickBooks software can be a lifesaver when it comes to small business accounting. Here are five tips to help you get the most out of it.
By now you’ve probably heard about the merits of Inuit’s QuickBooks or even tried the industry standard software yourself. Yes, the rumors are true: QuickBooks can go a long way toward improving your accounting, especially if your current system is a spreadsheet. For starters, its features range from creating customized invoices and tracking accounts receivable to producing YTD reports. It can certainly make your life easier. But there are certain steps you should take—both when setting up and using QuickBooks—that can help you get the most out of it. Here are five must-dos for any small business owner.
First, establish what QuickBooks should do for you.
Both the online and desktop versions of QuickBooks have capabilities that range from tracking invoices to producing complex reports. Depending on the nature of your business, you may use all of them or only a few. Also, determine the level of detail you wish to see on its reports. Doing an initial check of your goals before getting started with QuickBooks—or any software, for that matter—is wise, as they may dictate the type of data you’ll need to enter.
Enter only squeaky-clean data.
Speaking of data, QuickBooks is only as good as what you put into it. If you enter old or inaccurate data, you’re setting your accounting system up for a fiery crash. At a minimum, you’ll want to enter the following:
- Chart of accounts
- Vendors and customer accounts
- Bank and credit accounts
Make sure all of the data related to these is 100 percent accurate before you get QuickBooks up and running—or else you won’t be able to rely on its reports.
Sync your third-party apps.
This is a setup step you do not want to skip. Allowing your third-party apps, such as an inventory or payroll app, to talk to QuickBooks can help to ensure the integrity of your data as well as streamline your business.
Allow QuickBooks to automatically download your bank transactions.
Linking QuickBooks to your banking activity, or even logging in to your online banking account and downloading a QuickBooks-friendly file, saves you from tedious data entry. What’s more, it enables QuickBooks to do most of the bank reconciliation for you. Different banks work differently, so be sure yours is compatible. I recommend doing this for your credit card accounts, too.
Don't go it alone
When you’re setting up QuickBooks, you want to get it right the first time. For this reason, it’s smart to work with a professional. Having a CPA or QuickBooks professional on board can help you ensure everything is set up correctly. Plus, this person can walk you through the QuickBooks features and answer your questions. If you’re using the online version your accountant can log in if needed, and this can be very helpful indeed.
This is not an exhaustive look at QuickBooks basics or best practices; these just a few of the steps business owners shouldn’t ignore. If you have questions about using or getting started with QuickBooks, please don’t hesitate to contact me.