Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Completed 5 Years in Business!

I am happy to announce that I have beat the statistics and have completed my 5th year in business! This has also been my best year so far, beating out my previous years' gross profit, and there are still 2 months to go!

So I definitely want to thank all my clients for their business and my colleagues that have helped me. I have special gratitude for Joe Woodard and Doug Sleeter and their associates and Intuit for making my business even possible.

As I look to the future, I have finally put together a new web site that is simple and clean. I can't believe it only took just a couple of days using easy technology that I already had at my fingertips (actually my web host), but just didn't know about it. With that being said, as we move more and more into the cloud, I will continue offering many solutions that will help businesses become more efficient and productive. 

I am currently working on an amazing eCommerce product called ??? that syncs online marketplaces such as Amazon and eBay and many web site shopping carts with QuickBooks and makes shipping a breeze. For manufacturers, wholesalers, and retailers, I can help with domain registration, web hosting, web site design, shopping cart integration and more.

And with the latest release of QuickBooks 2013 and its new look and my continued work pushing my QuickBooks clients into the cloud, I will have much more to talk about, so stay tuned!

Thursday, March 29, 2012

QuickBooks 2012 Release 8 (R8) Now Available (Manual Update)

There are a lot of changes, enhancements, and fixes in this release. You can wait until the automatic update or install now for the following:

Subscription Feature
Available in Premier Plus, Pro Plus and QuickBooks Accountant with PAP
  • Added the ability to print bills in QuickBooks.
  • New feature added to improve how QuickBooks handles bounced checks.
1099 Forms
  • QuickBooks can now print large numbers of 1099s without interruption.
Accountant Specific
  • Fixed an issue that prevented the Accountant Center from opening.
  • Accountant version: The Home page will now display when opening company files if the Desktop preference is selected
Advanced Inventory (Available in Enterprise Solutions Only)
  • QuickBooks will now use the next default Doc number when duplicating the inventory transfer transaction.
  • When exporting Inventory Valuation Summary by Site and Inventory Stock Status by Site reports to Excel, the totals will display the totals in QuickBooks and not as zeroes.
  • In the Inventory Center, the Quantity on Hand will now automatically refresh after transferring items to different sites.
  • The 'Filter Report by Serial Number' window will no longer appear when processing multiple reports that include the Transaction List by Serial Number reports. Instead, the report will remember the last serial number used.
  • QuickBooks will no longer crash during condense when inventory adjustments with serial/lot numbers are within the date range of the condense.
  • Additional boxes will no longer appear on printed invoices or PDFs when Serial Number is selected to print in the columns.
  • The message, "Default components to same sites as finished assembly" will now appear on the Build Assembly screen when you choose to bring back one-time messages.
  • Warning message "The number of Serial #s is less/more than the Quantity Specified" will now display - or not -- depending on your preferences setting.
  • You will now be able to view lots in the negative in the Lot Number Count column when creating adjustments for Lot Numbers.
  • The Print button in the Setup Advanced Inventory screen will now work correctly.
Application Integration
  • Improved performance when syncing contacts with Outlook.
  • QuickBooks will no longer display an incorrect check number after clicking Edit Transaction on a check where the number has been changed but not yet recorded.
  • QuickBooks Enterprise users assigned to the Time Tracking role will now be able to see time activities on the Calendar.
  • Sales Orders will now show under the Upcoming and Past Due sections on the Calendar.
  • QuickBooks will no longer exclude items created in a previous year from the Past Due section of the Calendar.
Condense Data
  • The Condense Data feature now works correctly when the option to "Create a report showing which transactions cannot be removed" is selected.
Email Sales Forms and Statements
  • QuickBooks will no longer create duplicates in the Select Forms to Send window if the Save button is clicked on an invoice marked To Be Emailed.
Enhanced Inventory Receiving (Available in Enterprise Solutions Only)
  • When Enhanced Inventory Receiving has been successfully enabled and multi-currency is on, the landing page will display amounts in the home currency.
  • Purchase order status now correctly changes back to open when bills linked to it are deleted.
  • Some crashes during the Enhanced Inventory Receiving conversions have been fixed.
  • When changing a service item's income or expense account with Enhanced Inventory Receiving enabled, QuickBooks will no longer replace the Inventory Offset account for affected historical transactions.
Excel (Send reports to Excel)
  • QuickBooks no longer creates a new worksheet in Excel when updating an existing worksheet.
  • Aging figures will remain unchanged when a report is created from the Customer Center and exported to Excel.
  • The option to include a space between columns of reports sent to Excel is now available.
File Operations
  • Fixed an issue that would prevent QuickBooks from completing a condense successfully.
  • QuickBooks will no longer display an unrecoverable error 14930 82988 or 14503 77225 when opening a company file.
  • Improved condense functionality.
  • Help button on the Open a Company window now displays the correct content.
  • "Find a local QuickBooks expert" QuickBooks will now prioritize the results with experts that support your version and industry.
  • In-product Help topics will now open when link is clicked from Search results.
  • Askforcd is now digitally signed.
Intuit Payment Network
  • When credits have been applied to an invoice before it is sent, PaymentNetwork now presents the net amount (not the gross) as the default amount to be paid online. Credits applied after the invoice was sent are not reflected in the amount to be paid unless the invoice is re-sent.
  • Intuit Payment Network will now restore the existing or default value if the account combo box edit is cancelled.
  • Enable Online Payment will now be automatically checked when creating an invoice from an estimate if the customer online payment link setting is "Always on for this customer".
  • PaymentNetwork users can now choose to receive payments via credit card (in addition to bank transfer). From within QuickBooks, you can enable/disable credit card acceptance for a single invoice, all invoices for a customer, or for all invoices/all customers.
  • Non-admin users can now access QuickBooks Statement Writer.
  • The Inventory menu is no longer visible when the "inventory & purchase orders are active" preference is unchecked.
  • Purchase Orders will now correctly show as closed after billing and receiving for them.
  • When you create a bill from a PO, the received quantity (from previous item receipts) is now considered when calculating the quantity for the items on the bill.
  • QuickBooks will now display items used in assemblies in the Transaction List by Serial Number report.
  • Item QuickReports and Inventory stock status reports quantity now match.
  • QuickBooks will no longer create duplicates in the Select Forms to Send window if the Save button is clicked on an invoice marked To Be Emailed.
Multi User/Hosting
  • H202 error code for multi-user has been updated to include detailed information to help identify root cause.
Name History on Transactions
  • Email addresses for customers will now display on the Name History on Transactions pane when creating or viewing invoices.
New User Setup
  • Blank rows will no longer be displayed when fixing duplicate names in QuickBooks Setup.
  • Saving a timesheet with the Save and New button will no longer have incorrect columns and/or close with an unexpected error.
  • The timesheet will now correctly show Employee names first in the list when you have already recorded a prior timesheet using the Save and New button.
  • Enhanced Payroll for Accountant subscribers will now have the ability to print a custom logo on pay stubs and paycheck vouchers.
Price Markup and Markup preferences
(Available in Enterprise Solutions Only)
  • The word *overflow* will no longer appear in the Price column of the Item List when the price is set to zero.
  • "Overflow" will no longer appear in the Markup Percent field when cost and price are set to zero.
  • When the Markup global preference is set to 'Use default: Percent over Cost' and you edit the markup of an item, calculations will now work and display correctly.
  • Verify and Rebuild can now detect and fix most cases of the overflow error related to price markup.
QuickBooks Attached Documents
  • QuickBooks will no longer display the Error: Failed to open file: (File path) The specified file was not found, when opening an attached document that has special characters in the name of the file. (#, % etc.)
  • Improved error messaging when deleting documents that show in the Document Center but have been moved or removed from the system.
QuickBooks File Manager
  • You will now be required to answer the Challenge questions when restoring and changing the password from the QuickBooks File Manager.
  • QuickBooks File Manager in-product Help articles have been updated to display 2012 instead of 2011.
QuickBooks Merchant Services
  • The Merchant Account sign-up has been streamlined.
  • Some extraneous text will no longer show on the QuickBooks informational message when checking Merchant Account reminders.
  • Inventory Site filter has been added to the Inventory Valuation Summary By Site and Inventory Stock Status By Site reports.
  • QuickBooks no longer displays the Average Cost column on the Inventory Valuation Detail report when the FIFO preference is enabled.
  • QuickBooks will now display a confirmation message once a report is emailed using the webmail option.
Reports Center
  • The report center now refers to new servers to improve performance, scalability and user experience.
  • You can now add employees from other countries using the SDK without an error.
  • There is no longer a failure to close QBW32.exe when there is no automatic login permission.
  • SDK apps can now open connections on Terminal Services machines (in most cases.)
  • The tag will now be updated correctly. This is only used by the SDK.
Send Forms
  • You can now edit transactions flagged to email without adding a duplicate email to the Send Forms list.
  • QuickBooks will no longer display the Unrecoverable Error 11296 98535" when opening QuickBooks with some company files.
  • QuickBooks will no longer unexpectedly close when you open a company file through the File menu when the "No Company Open" window is not displayed.
User Interface
  • Fields and drop-down lists will no longer overlap when changing Assembly Item setup options

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Virtual Terminal Plus: Process Payments on Remote PCs

Using any Web-capable PC and this merchant service tool, you can accept credit cards wherever you are.

We've talked about how Intuit Merchant Services for QuickBooks lets you accept credit cards from within QuickBooks. But you can also use your Intuit merchant account to process credit cards from any computer that has Internet access, whether you're at a customer's location or convention or special interest fair. Once you're back at your office PC, you can use this free feature to move sales into QuickBooks and apply them to invoices.

To get started with Virtual Terminal Plus, log on to the site and sign in using your Intuit login. On the Set up payment page, enter the transaction details (or swipe the card using the optional card reader, $69.95; this will lower your discount rate).

Figure 1: Swipe the customer's credit card using the optional card reader or manually enter the details here.

After the payment is processed and approved, you can print customer and merchant copies of the receipt.

Moving Payments Into QuickBooks

Integration between Virtual Terminal Plus and QuickBooks itself is quite good. Simply open the Customer Payment screen from the home page or the Customers menu. Under Manage Payments in the left vertical pane, click Get online payments. The Intuit QuickBooks Merchant Service window opens, giving you three options: Recurring Payments, Mobile Transactions and Virtual Terminal Plus.

Figure 2: This window displays payments available to download.

The first time you download completed credit card sales from Virtual Terminal Plus, QuickBooks automatically uploads your customer list to the site (you may want to take this step before you begin making remote sales). New online customers are added to QuickBooks, and the lists are synchronized with every subsequent download.  

Then the site displays a list of transactions that have been processed and matches them to outstanding invoices (you can also create an invoice here). To ensure that this setting is correct, click Edit payment preferences from the Customer Payment screen. And to see a report of the transactions you've added, go to Reports | Merchant Service Reports or Reports | Customers & Receivables | Online Received Payments.

Simple Tools, Complex Process

If you close sales away from the office, the ability to accept credit cards through Virtual Terminal Plus is likely to increase your receivables. Intuit has made this process easy with its tools and integration, but the overall management of credit card sales should not be taken lightly. We can help you get started and troubleshoot along the way.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Portable Productivity: Smartphones Do Invoices, Expenses, Time Billing

These three web-based apps – accessible via your smartphone -- provide mobile access to QuickBooks data.

Accounting in the cloud is closer than you might think. In fact, it's here, in some cases. QuickBooks Online, of course, is entirely cloud-based, but it does not yet offer all of the features found in Intuit's top-of-the-line products, Premier and Enterprise.

In the meantime, Intuit itself, as well as third-party developers, have built online apps that fill in some of the gaps. These add-on solutions exist on websites, but they can collect data and synchronize it with desktop QuickBooks. So can that iPhone or Android that's sitting on your desk right now.

Many Mobile Applications

To find these apps, go to the Intuit App Center and click on All Apps. There are dozens of them, arranged by category (Billing and Invoicing, Customer Management, Inventory Management, Apps by Intuit, etc.).

Your first stop should be at Intuit's QuickBooks Connect (this is the name of the online application that you'd use on a remote PC or laptop; the name of the smartphone app is QuickBooks Mobile). This app gives you easy access to your customer and sales data when you're away from your office.

Figure 1: QuickBooks Mobile, shown here on the Android operating system, gives you sales tools when you're away from desktop QuickBooks.

Remote Sales Tools

Whether you're working in web-based QuickBooks Connect or on a smartphone, your data and transaction options are similar. QuickBooks Connect has a few more features, like an Item List and Customer Center, but both let you:

·         Access multiple company files
·         View, add, and edit customers, estimates, invoices, and sales receipts, using QuickBooks' custom templates
·         E-mail these forms to customers

QuickBooks Mobile and QuickBooks Connect use the Intuit Sync Manager – located on the desktop where QuickBooks is installed -- to keep data current everywhere. That computer must be running for syncs to work.

Figure 2: You can create and e-mail invoices from QuickBooks Mobile.

Prices start at $9.95/month for one user; a 30-day free trial is available.

Manage Travel Expenses

Concur Breeze grabs the data you need (customers, employees, jobs, etc.) from QuickBooks to record expenses on the road. You can enter charges directly into a form or snap a picture with your phone – it'll be attached to your expense report. These charges are then sent to a report template that thoroughly documents the charge, letting you specify variables like the trip purpose, travel policy type, project and client. The status of your approval and payment are also included here.

You can send travel itineraries from your free TripIt Pro account and credit card charges directly to an existing expense report to accelerate the process. And once an expense report is approved, money can be moved automatically from the designated company bank account to an employee's account. $8 per month per user; free 30-day trial.

Figure 3: Concur Breeze provides mobile expense management.

Mobile Time-Tracking

If your company has employees or contractors who work remotely and submit hours for approval, consider eBillity Time Tracker for Intuit QuickBooks. After it pulls in customers, service items, and employees from QuickBooks, you can invite workers to track their time on their smartphones by either entering it manually or using the timer, and then sync it with the online application.

Mobile workers can use the application in offline mode; entries are uploaded when they reconnect. Prices start at $10/month for Admin and one user.

Figure 4: eBillity Time Tracker for Intuit QuickBooks is a great companion app for remote workers.

The Cloud = Convenience And Accessibility

Synchronization – especially across three or more devices – is a simple concept whose implementation can be not-so-simple. We can help you determine which apps make sense for you and get them up and running.

Integrated, web-based applications accessed by whatever computing device happens to be nearby are the essence of cloud-based accounting. Intuit and its companion mobile apps offer the convenience and accessibility that the Internet is making possible.

If you need help with any of these applications, or questions about “the cloud”, please email or call us. We are your partner in building a successful business.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Speed Up Receivables Using Intuit Payment Network

The last few years have probably taken a toll on your accounts receivable. A bad economy can result not only in slow sales, but in slow customer payments.

Make it easy for your customers to pay, and it's likely they'll pay faster. You can accomplish this simply and cost-effectively through the Intuit Payment Network. If you're using QuickBooks 2010 or later and are willing to spend 50 cents per payment received to get that money in your bank account faster, consider electronic invoicing.

Readying QuickBooks
When you sign up for the Intuit Payment Network (no setup fee or monthly charges), you'll be able to include a link in your invoices that takes customers to a secure site where they can enter their bank account or credit card information to pay the invoice.

First, though, make sure that QuickBooks is set up for this service. Go to Edit | Preferences. Click on Payments, then the Company Preferences tab. Check the two boxes below Enable online payment via Intuit Payment Network and enter the email address that you want to use (only the administrator can activate these preferences).

Figure 1: Make sure that QuickBooks is set up for electronic invoicing.

Just like online banking
Once you've completed this and Intuit has notified you that your account is active, the rest is equally easy. When you create an invoice, the box in the lower left of the screen next to Show online payment link on invoices will be checked. Just fill out the invoice like you normally would and save it.

When you send these invoices, they'll include a short paragraph telling customers that they can remit payment online, with a link taking them to the web page:

Figure 2: Customers who pay bills online will recognize this process.

Once customers transmit their payments, the funds will move into your bank account within a day or two, minus the 50-cent service charge on bank account payments or 3.25 percent of the transaction amount for credit cards. QuickBooks versions differ on the process for updating your file.

Intuit offers numerous ways to accept payments on your PC or mobile device. We can help you select the right one(s) and get your cash flow moving in a more positive direction.

Monday, March 5, 2012

QuickBooks Income Tax Reports And Filtering Options: Target The Right Output

April 15 is getting uncomfortably close.

QuickBooks, of course, can't do your taxes for you. But it helps you lay some of the groundwork. Following up on last month's column on customizing reports, we'll look at the program's tax-related reports and its powerful report-filtering options.

But first, you'll need to make sure that this output will be accurate.

Describe your company accurately
Your tax entity setting should have been established when you first set up QuickBooks, but verify that you've specified the correct one. Go to Company | Company Information. Your Report Information is in the lower left corner. Click the arrow next to Income Tax Form Used to see what's active.

Figure 1: Make sure that QuickBooks is set up for the correct tax entity.

QuickBooks automatically assigns some of your accounts to their matching lines on the 1040 and assorted forms and schedules; this is called tax line mapping. So when you create tax reports, related transactions will be grouped by these designations.

This can be a real time-saver – as long as you've specified the correct entity. If:

·         was selected
·         This setting is incorrect
·         You're starting a business and don't know which to choose…

please contact us. If you switch entities, your existing tax line mapping will disappear and will have to be reassigned.

Dedicated tax reports
Many of QuickBooks' general financial reports provide tax-related information. But there are some that specifically relate to the numbers that will go on your return. Go to Reports | Accounting & Taxes | Income Tax Preparation. Here's an excerpt of what you'll see:

Figure 2: QuickBooks automatically assigns many accounts to the appropriate tax form lines, based on your specified tax entity.

Here, QuickBooks shows you which tax lines have been pre-assigned to your accounts.  You can specify a tax form line for unassigned accounts, but this is something you should not attempt on your own. This report, though, will give you an idea of how useful your report output will be and where you'll need our assistance.

Other reports provide tax-related data. You can access them by going again to Reports | Accountant & Taxes and clicking:

·         Income Tax Summary. This displays totals for each tax line that's relevant to your particular tax entity. Double-click on any number, and the Tax Line By Account report appears, detailing every transaction related to every tax-related account (you could add a column for Tax Line in Display options and make this quite a useful report).
·         Income Tax Detail. This lists all individual transactions by tax form/schedule line assignment.

Paring it down
Some tax reports can be very lengthy; you may want to filter them to look at various "slices."
Click Customize Report | Filters:

Figure 3: This window displays a powerful set of filtering options.

The options listed under Choose Filter are available on other reports; they help you set up incredibly complex searches using multiple filters.

Let's say you want a report that displays your installation labor costs on new residential construction from the last year (you could also throw other variables in). You'd simply choose the filters from the left pane and then select related options in the next pane (usually a list). You'd want to also click on the Display tab to make sure that the appropriate columns appear.

Figure 4: You can apply multiple filters to your reports.

QuickBooks reports can shave time off of tax preparation, and filtered views help you scrutinize your data in quite creative – and very useful – ways. The program's boilerplate reports have their place in simple examinations of your financial status, but filters are potent tools. They can facilitate the kind of deep analysis that helps you make critical business decisions.

If you have questions on this or any other QuickBooks feature, call or email us. We’re your partner and we’re here to make your business better.