Wednesday, August 27, 2014

The NEW QuickBooks Online vs. QuickBooks for Windows (Desktop)

I can't believe it has only been just over a year since my post reviewing QuickBooks for Desktop vs. QuickBooks Online vs. Xero and so much has changed! Since then, I have abandoned Outlook, which I had said I would never give up, and migrated my email to Google Apps so that I could take advantage of Method CRM's Gmail Gadget and Google Calendar Sync. I am so glad I did because now I am more productive and organized than before, not to mention I have discovered the many benefits of being more cloud-based, such as having my emails and appointments syncing across all devices. 

When I learned that it was possible to re-import my QuickBooks for Desktop (QBD) data into QuickBooks Online (QBO), I was excited to take another look and test out the new QBO after learning about its cool features while doing the new QuickBooks Online certification. I have been actively using QBO in tandem with my desktop version, Enterprise Solutions Accountant 14.0. I know, I know...I always consult against doing any kind of duplicate data entry, but this is a great exercise to compare the two using live processes. And this is definitely what I would recommend anyone to do so that you can really see the difference, if you are concerned about switching.

One of the biggest pushbacks I hear from other ProAdvisors is that it is so much faster completing tasks in QBD. That would certainly be true if you don't actively use QBO. But once you know where everything is and learn all the shortcuts and tips, it is really fast! Of course, it helps to have a fast broadband connection. And instead of always talking about what QBD can do that QBO can't, I have some quick notes on the cool features in QBO that are not in QBD. This is an ever-changing list as Intuit is constanting updating QBO, unlike QBD that only gets major upgrades once per year, as their latest QBO update was just a couple of days ago. And I am probably missing some other features, so please feel free to add to this list:

  • Ability to show Discount and/or Deposit by the total on the invoice.
  • Automatically create and email invoices to customers.
  • Track when customer views emailed invoice; by not attaching invoice as PDF, customer has to click on link to view invoice.
  • Audit Log shows history of transaction and list changes with visual representations (changes in Orange) with date & time.
  • Audit History on each transaction.
  • Scrolling activities in Accountant area.
  • Create expenses to any source account on the fly.
  • Ability to put billable rate on single time activity which also shows total dollar amount to be billed.
  • Creating invoice for a customer shows all unbilled time and expenses conveniently on the right, which can be quickly added.
  • Unlimited time tracking users for employees and subcontractors.
  • Bank Feeds update automatically.
  • 1099 filing included free with Plus.
  • Free attachments to transactions in Plus.
  • Help is not a pop up but rather a frame within the browser.
  • Import transactions from Square.
  • Refund Receipts instead of Credit Memos that then have to be refunded (extra step).
  • Reconcile reports saved automatically and shows date of when it was reconciled.
  • Ability to see changes in any reconciliation and fix by clicking on the amount or undo reconciliation and re-enter deleted transaction and then reconciliation (Accountant only). Undo resets ALL the reconciliations (you don't have to undo each one going back).
  • Reports: Exceptions to Closing Date with visual changes & Recent transactions.
  • Multiple A/R or A/P on Journal Entries.
  • FIFO inventory.
  • Clicking "map" for a contact goes into Google maps tab directly.
  • Overdue invoices in mobile app.
  • Check written instead of bill payment, if reconciled already, can easily convert check to bill payment by adding bill.
  • Can click on old uncleared checks within the reconciliation report to void.
  • Online Invoicing included free (without payments).
  • Customer can add a message and an attachment to the invoice viewed in the portal. Viewing the invoice in QBO shows all the history with date/time.
  • Likewise, you can post a message to the invoice that the customer will receive via email.
  • With QuickBooks Payments account, payments, deposits, and fees are recorded automatically.
  • Write off invoices using Account instead of Item.

Friday, August 15, 2014

QuickBooks Connect Conference: Accountants, Small Businesses, Entrepreneurs, and Developers Take QuickBooks Online to the Next Level

Today is the last day to register with early bird pricing of only $169 for the Conference pass and $369 for the Conference pass + QuickBooks Deep Dive event for Intuit's QuickBooks Connect conference in San Jose, California from October 21st - October 23rd. This will be a unique opportunity for accountants, small businesses, entrepreneurs, and developers to all be in the same place together in the expanding ecosystem of QuickBooks Online.

For the Accountant, the latest news is the offering of Advanced QuickBooks Online Certification Training, only available at this event with the opportunity to take the exam and be certified before its official release on November 5th.

For Small Businesses: learn strategies for hiring the right employee, following regulations, and connecting with customers via social media.

For Entrepreneurs: gain insight on starting a business, getting funding, and mentoring with business experts.

For Developers: learn how to build and market your own app using the powerful Intuit Partner Platform and talk to small business owners and accountants to learn what they crave in an app.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Should I Use My Credit Card Overseas? Credit Card vs. Amex Prepaid vs. Travelex

That is a good question. Of course, it depends. There are a number of credit cards out there that offer no foreign transactions fees, the normal 3% per transaction fee that most credit cards levy. Discover is one of them; however, it is not widely accepted around the world. I would have considered it for my recent trip to Paris if it could be used there, which it can't. Then I learned about the American Express Prepaid Card, which doesn't have any fees. I tested this card out by loading a small amount of money from my bank account. Unfortunately, it took 5 business days in order for me to see the amount on the AMEX card! This is way too long to wait for funds, especially for a 10-day trip. The other disadvantage was that most merchants don't accept AMEX due to their higher merchant fees.

My next major issue involved convenience and security. Europe is way beyond the U.S. in regards to credit card security, as the Chip-and-PIN technology is ubiquitous there. This is not to be confused with the Chip and Signature technology now included in many U.S. credit cards. The Chip-and-PIN technology doesn't require any signature at all, as credit card transactions are processed reading the chip and having you enter a unique pin. This is the only way to process some transactions in Europe, such as at kiosques at train stations, toll booths, etc. Since I planned on taking the train from the airport upon my arrival and purchasing Metro tickets, I really wanted this type of credit card, as my whole goal is to avoid carrying any large amounts of cash. 

That was when I discovered the Travelex Cash Passport Prepaid Mastercard, and boy was I happy I did! Not only could I load the card in Euros but it comes with Chip-and-PIN technology. And it is so quick and easy to load the card: all I had to do was go to their Reload site, enter how much I want, and then use my own bank's debit card to process the transfer. The best part of all was that funds became available almost immediately! This was so convenient when I was in Paris and wanted to add more funds before my card ran out, which happened pretty quickly since I ended up using this card for everything. I never had to use cash, as even taxis accepted it. And forget about waiting in line. Since other tourists had no luck with their cards at the kiosques for the train and buying tickets at the Louvre, they would leave frustrated only to cut my wait short so that I could use my card with no issues at all. Another advantage was that all restaurants had hand held card readers, so my card never left my sight as the servers would bring the reader to my table, insert my card, I would enter my pin, and it would print a receipt. Talk about secure (not having to see a stranger walk away with your card like in the U.S.)! And speaking of, it was so easy to Log In and view my remaining balance, including recent authorizations, and they have a tricky secure way of confirming your login by confirming only certain digits of your password. On a final note, while there are no foreign transactions fees or other transaction fees, you will be subject to Travelex's exchange rate at the time of the conversion when adding new funds. Of course, this varies according to currency exchange fluctuations and I tend to think that the rate may be a little higher with Travelex, but let me tell, for the cost of convenience and security, it is totally worth it! I will definitely use this card when I return to Europe in the near future. 

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Want to Get 50% Discount Off QuickBooks Online Forever?

No coupon needed, not a limited time offer, not just for six months, but for the life of your subscription!

If you already have an account, just add me as your accountant. Click on the "Your Account" gear icon in the top-right corner of the screen and select "Manage Users." Then click on the "Invite Accountant" button and fill out my information.

Or just contact me. If you don't have an account yet, let's talk about setting one up for you.

Why not have a Certified QuickBooks Online ProAdvisor be your go to for support? Or do you prefer being on hold?