Many small businesses purchase QuickBooks for their business because it is the most popular small business accounting software. However, after purchasing QuickBooks I'm sure many people think to themselves, "now what?" In fact it is not uncommon to come across a business that has purchased QuickBooks but has not even installed it. So if you are new to QuickBooks here are a few suggestions for getting started.
Consider Hiring A QuickBooks Professional
If you are new to QuickBooks I think that it is definitely worth hiring a professional for QuickBooks traning and/or bookkeeping training. A QuickBooks professional can save you so much time and agony with a quick one day training session. They can also help to set up your QuickBooks file correctly the first time and show you the basic functions of the software. This may seem like a plug for our services but I assure you it is not. I don't care if you hire us or not just hire someone to help you that understand QuickBooks. Many CPA's and accountants do not like or recommend QuickBooks because they don't know how to use it properly. I feel that QuickBooks is a great software for the business owner that doesn't necessarily understand accounting and that is why accountant's dislike it. CPA's understand taxes and accounting but sometimes not QuickBooks, it is because QuickBooks is a whole other animal.
Set up QuickBooks Correctly The First Time
You really need to set up QuickBooks correctly right from the beginning and that can be difficult if you have never used QuickBooks before. When a new client calls us for some QuickBooks help we tend to see the same common QuickBooks errors over and over again. Some users don't know how to efficiently set up QuickBooks and overlook simple functions like downloading banking and credit card transactions directly into QuickBooks or printing checks directly from QuickBooks. Other times they make common mistakes like setting up a credit card as an expense account or not reconciling the bank account. The bottom line is that a QuickBooks professional can set up your company file correctly the first time and show you the basic functions.
Use the QuickBooks EasyStep Interview
The QuickBooks EasyStep Interview is a great wizard that can walk you through the steps of setting up a new QuickBooks company file. If you have never used QuickBooks it is a good way to set up your QuickBooks companies. It will ask you a series of questions and walk you through the steps of setting up your file properly. The interview will ask you questions about your company including basic contact information, entity type and tax ID numbers. It is important to fill out all of the information that you can track down. Also, don't worry if you don't know some of the information or any of the questions that the set up wizard asks. You can always manipulate the information later in QuickBooks and turn on or off many of the functions of QuickBooks.
Familiarize Yourself With The QuickBooks Home Screen
The QuickBooks home screen can be a real life saver and a good resource for performing many of the common functions of QuickBooks. Returning to the QuickBooks home screen is simple. You can click on the 'Home' button on your icon bar or Company/Home page from the menu bar to return to the QuickBooks home screen. The home screen is broken out into five major sections; vendors, customers, employees, company and banking. Your screen may look differently depending upon what functions you have turned off in the program. The QuickBooks home screen has flow charts in some sections that easily walk you through some of the more common QuickBooks functions. The home screen is a great place to go and play around with some of the icons as you can typically figure out how to do some of the more basic functions of QuickBooks just by walking through the home screen functions.
Bank Reconciliation Is Your Most Important Monthly Task
I can't stress how important bank reconciliation in QuickBooks is. I believe that reconciling is the most important QuickBooks and bookkeeping task of your entire month. Reconciliation in QuickBooks is so important because it is the only way that you can prove that all of your data is in QuickBooks. Making sure that you have properly coded all your transactions is another thing to consider, but your CPA should be reviewing your coding. As long as you are reconciling your accounts then your CPA or accountant at least knows that all of your information is in QuickBooks. It gives them a good starting point for being able to review your data and prepare your tax return. Make sure that you reconcile all of your accounts that have a statement not just your bank accounts. You can reconcile any account that has a statement date with a beginning and ending balance. You should reconcile bank accounts, credit cards, loans and lines of credit.
If you are new to QuickBooks and you are not sure what to do with the program I highly recommend hiring a QuickBooks consultant to advise you. You can also find many resources online which can teach you QuickBooks basics. We have a collection of QuickBooks tips videos that can walk you through some of the various basic functions of QuickBooks.
Is using QuickBooks a struggle for you or your business?