There's something that Warren Buffet and I have in common... we each have a limited resource called time. Buffet and I have 24hours in a day and there's nothing that neither of us can do about it to buy us an extra minute to our day. For this reason you should always be looking at ways to manage your time more effectively, which is why I'm always seeking new ways to improve my efficiency in QuickBooks.
Efficiency in QuickBooks can come in many different forms from managing outside distractions, developing your company file to work for you, or learning simple shortcuts built into the program. All of the pieces at the end of the day add up to a sizeable number.
- Keyboard Shortcuts - This first one should go without saying, learn the QuickBooks keyboard shortcuts. Simple shortcuts such as Ctrl-W to write checks or Alt-Del to delete a line on a GJE will save you hours over the course of a week. You must learn THE QuickBooks shortcuts. How I forced myself to learn the shortcuts was that if I had to click an icon there must be a shortcut on the keyboard. However, one (of many) gripes I have with QuickBooks is that it does not let you program keyboard shortcuts... I'm not sure why Intuit has designed their program in this way but I guess life just isn't fair sometimes.
- Do It Twice You're Doing it Wrong - This is one of more important mottos I stand by in QuickBooks. Your computer generally speaking (unless you're on Windows ME and in that case a new computer is a worthy investment) is always waiting on you. It's an extremely powerful tool but you must tell it what to do. If I'm inputting a transaction such as a monthly bank fee, a weekly transfer to a savings account, or a monthly ACH mortgage/auto payment I'm going to use a memorized transaction to do it for me. Why should you input an $8.00 bank fee that happens every month manually? I owe you a drink if you can explain why doing the exact same thing twice is worth your time.
- Keep It Consistent - No matter what you're doing don't be erratic. If you decide to do something that you aren't sure about do it consistently the same way. That way, if you're wrong, you'll be wrong consistently. Being consistently wrong is an easy fix because you can back track each transaction and save time by not looking for a handful of wrong transactions.
- Follow The Business Flow - This tip goes hand in hand with staying consistent and the last tip, no distractions. When reconciling your accounts monthly a typical business usually has a lot to finish up. You need to recon your credit cards along with checking & savings accounts, input payroll, review your chart of accounts, provide reports, research unknown transactions, pay and review invoices, the list goes on... During this process it's extremely easy to jump from one task to another. You might be reconciling your checking account and notice a manually written check that's missing. Instead of researching what the check is written for simply write a check for the amount and put it in the other expense Ask My Account. Segregate each type of work and finish them one by one.
- Download Transactions & Renaming Rules - If you're able to download transactions into QuickBooks do it. The company's payroll, credit card's, daily sales reports, checking accounts, you name it, it's probably importable in some manner. This isn't to say it will always save you time but it's well worth the research to discover if it is importable. Also, if it's a checking account or credit card with expenses it's definitely worth your initial investment into changing the renaming rules to work for you after you've downloaded the transactions into QuickBooks.
- No Distractions - This is the top killer for me and I would say everyone else. Even during this article I wasted 10minutes looking at funny infomercial GIF's, albeit hilarious,
I have another 10minutes now before I can sit down and relax. Find a room that you can sit down to work, turn off twitter, turn off Facebook, keep your kids or friends away, and start cranking out the work that needs to be done.
Following these simple tips for efficiency in QuickBooks helps make more time for the important pieces to the workday and personal life. Instead of drawing out an account reconciliation because you aren't efficient you've now made more time to review the chart of accounts, audit your payroll accounts, or as I prefer to get out and crush an afternoon mountain bike ride here in the Wasatch.