In a 2015 blog post it was estimated that Quickbooks held an 80% share of the accounting software market space. Quickbooks has broken its business into two market segments. The 400,000 accountants that serve small business, and the 5 million small businesses that use accounting software.  Quickbooks likes to think that its product is easy to use.  There are instructors at the local community college that offer classes on the subject. We have already gone into quite an in-depth study of the time it takes to perform bookkeeping and accounting services at a successful pace.  For those that feel Quickbooks is an overwhelming program, you are in the majority.  This month we will discuss training services that we offer for Quickbooks users.

The strength of your Quickbooks program is the information that is put into it.  What we mean by that is if transactions are categorized correctly, and a consistent data entry process is followed, the program is likely to be useful to those that need to access the information collected.  If not, it may cost you several thousand dollars for an experienced accountant to reconstruct the financial data into a format that allows them to complete a tax return, or report financials correctly.  There is a lot more to entering your daily Starbucks purchase and tagging it under “marketing” because you want to write it off.  Quickbooks is a robust program with a ton of features that most users do not access yet could be extremely beneficial to their business and tracking of their financials.

When it comes to the Quickbooks Training that our firm offers there are many options to consider.  We can meet with you in our offices, or we can meet with you onsite at yours.  Oftentimes, it is easier to meet with our clients at their facility so that we can gain a better understanding of their business and operation so that the training can meet their specific needs.  For the shy folks in the crowd that do not like to interface with a real human being we offer virtual training as well.  However, we strongly discourage online training as we prefer to meet with you in person at your facility so that the training we can provide is more applicable to what you actually need.

The most common mistakes made in Quickbooks is setting up the chart of accounts.  Quickbooks readily admits that users do not create enough account categories to produce meaningful accounting reports.  Of course, most users are not accountants and have no idea what a chart of accounts actually is.  Most just view it as a step that Quickbooks will not let you past without an answer of some sort.  However, a chart of accounts is critical to managing cash flow for your business.

Another common area that users need assistance with is inventory.  Quickbooks provides features that allow a business to track inventory.  Setting up the inventory program can be confusing, so again we recommend seeking out assistance to ensure this is done correctly.  Many features of Quickbooks tie into one another and the inventory module is one that can cause all sorts of reporting issues.

Cash flow forecasting is a feature in Quickbooks that I personally feel is under utilized by most users.  Quickbooks provides reports in Accounts Receivables (Open Invoices), Inventory (as we just mentioned in the previous paragraph) and Accounts Payables (debt payments, bills, costs of doing business, etc.).  Monitoring cash flow is critical to successfully operating a business.  Without cash flow management businesses often spend more than they are receiving which puts them in dire financial straits. Cash flow forecasting needs to be done at a minimum on a monthly basis and tracked annually so that the business understands its peaks and valleys of payables and receivables.

Payroll processing is one of the most popular features that Quickbooks offers.  It is also another feature that can wreak havoc on the program.  It’s not so much the processing of the payroll, it is the processing of the taxes and garnishments that go along with payroll.  The Federal Government, State Government and Local Governments all take tax payments from payroll.  Child support and Alimony are pulled from payroll.  Pre-Tax programs such as health insurance or 401k contributions are also pulled from payroll.  Ensuring that these items are pulled, paid and recorded is critical to keeping the data in your Quickbooks program up to date.  For that reason alone, we strongly encourage anyone that has payroll to outsource it to a payroll professional.  If you are not experienced processing payroll, it is going to make your job more time consuming and difficult.

These are just a few of the features and issues we see clients running into and requesting our assistance with.  Quickbooks is an incredible program with a lot of features you may never need to access.  When looking for assistance with Quickbooks make sure that you find a Quickbooks Certified Pro Advisor.  This person is trained by Quickbooks to provide assistance with their program.  The instructor at your local junior college may or may not be certified, nor may they be a licensed accountant.  For those reasons we would encourage you to contact Tate & Associates – Tax & Accounting Professionals should you need assistance or training with the Quickbooks program.