Monthly Archives: September 2015

Favorite QuickBooks Shortcuts

After 11+ years of working with QuickBooks I have found a number of shortcuts and tricks to make some processes more efficient and to eliminate some of the more annoying quirks of the program. Here are a few of my favorites.

1. You don’t have to use invoices. If you are running a business on a cash basis (you get paid immediately at time of service) then invoices are probably complicating your bookkeeping unnecessarily. Try using Sales Receipts instead. You can do all the same things that Invoices can do, without needing to Receive Payments, including posting the payment to Undeposited Funds, before making a deposit.

If you don’t see the option for Sales Receipts on your Home Page, you can add it under Preferences. Go to Edit > Preferences > Desktop View > Company Preferences, and click Sales Receipts.

2. Does Spell Checker annoy you every time you go to save an invoice or sales receipt? You can turn it off. Go to Edit > Preferences > Spelling > My Preferences and uncheck the “Always check spelling before printing, saving or sending supported forms.” Or, you can tell QuickBooks to ignore certain categories of “words” such as Internet Addresses, All UPPERCASE, or Mixed Case, as well as a few others.

3. Change the look of QuickBooks to something you like better. Do you like QB 2015 but prefer the way it looked before 2013? You can change it back to the “Classic” look quite easily. Click View > Top Icon Bar and the Icon Bar will move back to the top of the screen and not the left hand side. Also, you can change the colors within QuickBooks, both the overall look, the Company File Color Scheme and the individual registers.

For the Overall look go to Edit > Preferences > Desktop View > Switch to colored icons/light background on the Top Icon Bar. Click OK.

For the Company File Color Scheme go to Edit > Preferences > Desktop View > Company File Color Scheme, and choose the color scheme you want from the drop down list. Click OK.

For the individual registers, go to that register, and click Edit > Change Account Color.You can pick from the Basic Colors or create a Custom Color.This is a good idea if you have multiple checking accounts for your business.Set each account to match the color of the physical checks you print for that account, then you have a nice visual reminder of which account you are working in.

4. Lastly is one of my favorite for when I need to see how QuickBooks posted a specific transaction in order to either reverse or revise it through a Journal Entry. Find the Transaction in the appropriate register, click on the transaction, and click CTRL-Y. That will bring up the Transaction Journal showing how each account was debited and credited.

Have you found a shortcut, tip or trick that makes using QuickBooks easier, faster or just more enjoyable? I’d love to hear about it. Please leave a comment sharing your tricks with me and your fellow readers.

Do I Need To Upgrade to QuickBooks 2016?

QuickBooks Desktop 2016 is now out and available for purchase or download. So you ask, “Do I need to upgrade?”

Well, the answer is that depends on which version you are currently using and what functions you use regularly.

In May of 2016 Intuit will “sunset” QuickBooks Desktop 2013. Although the list of functions that will be effected by this sunset has not yet been released, going by previous years, they will most likely include:

  • Intuit Payroll
  • 1099 Wizard
  • Online Banking
  • Accountant’s Copy File Transfer
  • Live Technical Support
  • Replacement CD’s or Manuals

These functions will most likely not be available any longer, which means that many tasks you did with just a couple clicks may now take quite a bit longer as you will need to find other ways or software to accomplish your tasks.

The two functions that cause the majority of my clients to upgrade are the payroll and online banking functionality.

If you are using QuickBooks 2013 and any of their payroll functions (Basic, Enhanced or Full Service) you will want to upgrade to QuickBooks 2016 before May 2016. The reason is that Intuit stops updating the tax tables, and will no longer calculate the payroll taxes or allow form filing once the program is sunset. This can cause quite a headache in your payroll if you are not prepared for it.

Also, if you rely heavily on downloading your transactions from your bank into your company file, then you will want to upgrade. Instead of your transactions you will receive an error message indicating you need to contact your bank. You can skip that part, and either contact Intuit to upgrade, or enter your transactions manually.

The next two popular functions that prompt upgrading are 1099s and Accountant’s Copies.

The 1099 Wizard will most likely work for your 2015 1099s as those need to be sent by the end of January and Intuit doesn’t sunset until May. But it can be quite frustrating if that is the only add-on function you use and suddenly it is January 2017 and you can’t figure out why the Wizard isn’t working anymore when it worked fine last year.

Lastly, is the Accountant’s Copy File Transfer Service. Again, it should work fine for tax season 2016, as the sunset happens after all the tax deadlines (unless you file an extension). Once the sunset takes place, you will still be able to create an Accountant’s Copy for your tax preparer, but the File Transfer Service will not be available any longer. So, you will need to find an alternative secure way of transferring the file, if you choose not to upgrade.

If you do not use any of these functions and QuickBooks is still running well, then you probably do not need to upgrade at this time.

If you aren’t certain or still have questions, please do not hesitate to contact us. We are happy to discuss your current version, how you are using it, and whether or not upgrading makes sense in your specific situation.

Are your Sub-Contractors Really Employees?

Hiring sub-contractors, also called 1099 contractors, independent contractors or even 1099 employees, can be beneficial to small businesses. These vendors can provide highly skilled services, can give your company flexibility in handling changes in work-flow, and there is the potential for cost savings over hiring an employee.

However, it can also be quite detrimental if not done properly. The Federal Department of Labor, most State Departments of Labor and the IRS have defined what they deem to be independent contractors, if the criteria are not met, then they are employees.

So, how do you know if you’re risking significant fines & penalties from one or multiple agencies? Well, you need to familiarize yourself with the criteria of all three agencies. However, there are some common criteria that may help you decide if you need to further investigate your classifications.

1. Does the service provider provide services to multiple businesses, not just yours? Are they set up as a business (registered with your state, is covered by business insurance, etc.)?

If so, then you can most likely stop right here. You have hired an independent contractor. To make sure you are fully covered in case of a Labor (or even a Worker’s Compensation) Audit, I would encourage you to collect Certificates of Insurance from all your independent contractors (any person or company that you will be providing a 1099-MISC for in January).

2. Does the service provider control how, when & where the work is completed?

If you require the service provider to come into the office at specific times, for a set number of hours, and they must do the work your way, then you may be treading on dangerous ground. I would suggest you speak to an attorney who works in the employment law arena to see if you are indeed misclassifying employees as contractors.

3. Does the service provider provide all tools, supplies, etc. to complete the job?

If the service provider supplies the tools, office supplies, or machines (office or otherwise), without requesting reimbursement from you, then you are most likely in independent contractor territory.

4. Does the service provided dictate the amount of financial compensation for the job?

Who set the compensation amount? If the service provider dictated to you the fees that would be charged to complete the job and the schedule for payment of those fees, again you are closer to independent contractor territory.

5. Are they a former employee? Whose choice was it to become a former employee?

If the service provider left your employment to pursue starting their own business and you valued their work enough to have them continue as an independent contractor holding to the above listed criteria, then you again are most likely ok. However, if you chose to end their employment and then offered them work as an independent contractor, but continuing to set the how, when & where expectations, then you may want to reconsider their classification and bring them back as a part-time employee, or look for another solution to get the work completed as you have most likely misclassified them and are risking high penalties & fines.

This is not a complete list of the criteria, but just a starting point. I would strongly suggest speaking with an expert such as your CPA and/or attorney, to confirm that you are in compliance with your employee classifications. An experienced, qualified and knowledgeable bookkeeper can also be a great resource in this area, but you want to make sure they have payroll experience and are up on the current labor laws both federally and in your individual state.