Tips For Keeping Quickbooks Plain And Simple



It is estimated that over 24 million small businesses, including myself and many of my clients, use Quickbooks.

Over the years Quickbooks has been developed into a powerful accounting and bookkeeping program that will do your banking, write your checks, do your payroll, manage your accounts payable, do your billing, collect your receivables, manage your inventory, keep track of your time, manage estimating and job costing, and a whole bag of other cool tricks.

Maintaining your Quickbooks file can be as simple or as complicated as you care to make it. A word of caution: the more you try to do with Quickbooks, the more complicated it gets. When it comes to accounting and bookkeeping, most small business owners are boneheads: they have better things to do with their time than become Quickbooks experts. Many small business owners (or the people they recruit to input their data and run Quickbooks for them) make a giant mess out of their Quickbooks file. At year end an expert is needed to come in and straighten out the mess before tax returns can be prepared.

Here are my top ten tips for keeping it very plain and very simple:

  • Reconcile your checking account every month.
  • Have an accountant help you set up your chart of accounts.
  • Use Quickbooks to keep track of your checking account using ONLY “write checks” and “make deposits”.
  • Don’t use any of the other features in Quickbooks other than “write checks” and “make deposits”.
  • Hire a consultant or get someone that uses Quickbooks every day to show you how to use any of Quickbook’s other, more complex features.
  • Back up your Quickbooks file every time you input data.
  • Have an accountant prepare adjustments at the end of the year to record depreciation, and to adjust all your other asset, liability and equity accounts.
  • Learn from the accountant what adjustments need to be made so you can understand what information he or she will need in order to make the annual adjustments and eventually make them yourself.
  • Have a CPA prepare your tax returns.
  • Close the books after the end of each year, so that year’s data cannot be changed.
  • Reconcile your checking account every month.

You may have noticed that the first and last items are duplicates.
That’s because reconciling your checking account is nine and a half times as important as all the others combined.
If you are unable or unwilling to reconcile your bank statement, you shouldn’t be a business owner.

If you can read this article, you can manage Quickbooks. Just keep it plain and simple at the beginning. After you master the basic, simple process outlined above, you can move on to using Quickbooks to manage your invoicing, your inventory, your payroll, and the rest of your business.

– Mark S Gleason CPA


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