The first thing you should do when you get QuickBooks is to customize QuickBooks for your small business. While every small business is different and has unique needs there are a few customizations you most likely want to do no matter what. The goal of customizing QuickBooks is to make your bookkeeping as easy as possible to handle each month. Here are a few ways to customize QuickBooks for your small business.
Use The QuickBooks Easy Step Interview
One thing I notice is that when people get QuickBooks they are eager to get started. They don't want to waste time on setting up QuickBooks they just want to start using the program. When you start a new company in QuickBooks I would suggest using the QuickBooks easy step interview. I would select the detailed start option and set up all of the company information correctly the first time. The detailed interview will ask you for basic information about your business and I suggest filling in as much information as possible. QuickBooks will ask for your industry and you should try and select something close. If you don't like any of the options select general product or service business. The industry selection will basically help make suggestions for your chart of accounts but you can always change this later. The interview will then ask you what business functions you use to try and tailor the software to your business. You will answer questions about invoicing, bill management, payroll etc. Take the time to go through the interview in detail to get QuickBooks set up properly.
Familiarize Yourself With QuickBooks Home Screen
The next thing I would do is to familiarize yourself with the QuickBooks home screen. The QuickBooks home screen should lay out a logical business flow for your business. If you see any icons or business functions that don't apply see if you can figure out a way to turn those functions off to clean up your home screen. In order to figure out if a function can be turned off try the help menu, a Google search or our QuickBooks tips blog. Most of the home screen functions can be performed by using QuickBooks shortcuts, the icon bar or menu bar. However, the home screen is a great place to go if you are unsure how to carry out a particular transaction.
Customize QuickBooks Icon Bar
Another thing I do before I start working in a new company file is to customize the QuickBooks icon bar. I like to have some of my most heavily used functions right on the icon bar. Many of the default icon bar functions I don't find nearly as useful or crucial as some that I add. I suggest adding the following functions to your QuickBooks icon bar: find transactions, calculator, enter bills, write checks, chart of accounts and backup data. I particularly like the find transactions function as I find it very useful to quickly find transactions that you have limited information on. I would also eliminate those icons that you don't find useful to keep a clean and simple icon bar.
Customize Chart of Accounts
Next I would customize the QuickBooks chart of accounts to tailor it more specifically to your business. Setting up a chart of accounts correctly takes some accounting knowledge to get the account types correct. Additionally the more accounting knowledge you have the more effective you will be at setting up a proper chart of accounts. I would suggest working with your CPA or bookkeeper to get your chart of accounts set up properly. One thing I notice is that when business owners try and set up the chart of accounts themselves they make a lot of mistakes and also create an overcomplicated chart of accounts. We ask questions of our clients to determine what is important to them from a financial reporting perspective and tailor the chart of accounts to their needs. If you find yourself with redundant or duplicate accounts then you might want to consider merging QuickBooks accounts to clean up your chart of accounts.
Set Up Relevant Accounts For Online Download
Once your chart of accounts is set up properly I would next set up QuickBooks accounts for online download. Downloading your transactions into QuickBooks can save a lot of data entry time. However, you also need to be careful and take the time to review your transactions before adding them to QuickBooks. Part of the download feature is that you can create QuickBooks renaming rules to help QuickBooks remember certain vendors and corresponding expense coding. The more you use QuickBooks it will begin to automatically rename and match transactions. Take the time to review these transactions rather than to fully trust QuickBooks. Just because you coded a purchase from a particular vendor one way does not mean that the coding will be correct in the future.
Connect Your Email to QuickBooks
I would next connect my email to QuickBooks. There are many different email account types that can be linked to QuickBooks. Linking Gmail to QuickBooks and Outlook seem to be the popular choices. Linking your email to QuickBooks allows you to email out customer invoices and statements, which will help reduce accounts receivable and increase cash flow. You can also email reports directly from QuickBooks by clicking on the email button at the top of any report. You establish an email link within QuickBooks by customizing the QuickBooks preferences. From the QuickBooks file menu select edit/preferences/send forms. Then on the my preferences tab set up your email.
Edit QuickBooks Preferences
I would next edit QuickBooks preferences by selecting from the menu bar edit/preferences. The link we provided gives you a video and article about popular suggestions we have for editing your preferences. I would look through each preference and look at both the my preferences tab and company preferences tab to see what the options are. You can change a lot of functionality to tailor QuickBooks more specifically to your business (not to mention turn off that annoying beep when you record transactions).
QuickBooks Memorized Transactions and Reports
The last thing I want to point out is to take advantage of QuickBooks memorized transactions. Memorized transactions can really help boost your efficiency in QuickBooks. Many different transactions can be memorized such as bills, checks, and journal entries. So if you record daily sales journals in QuickBooks it most likely makes sense to set up a memorized journal entry. Memorizing recurring bills or auto payments (like a mortgage) will automatically enter transactions and help you manage bills due and your cash flow. You can also memorize QuickBooks reports and save them in a memorized report group specifically for you. If you are entering a transaction or have a report customized that you want to memorize you can select edit/memorize or simply type Ctrl+M.
When you first get QuickBooks be sure to take the time to properly customize the software to your business needs. Setting up QuickBooks the first time will boost efficiency so you can focus on other critical business tasks. Consider getting QuickBooks support from a professional to help you set the software up and learn the basics.