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Quickbooks Tips (for Canadians)

I personally use Quickbooks. Iíve been using it since Feb 1995. It does the job for me.  Personally, I like it although Iíve noticed that theyíre getting their share of negative feedback on Amazon.

 Most of my clients use it, but not all profitably.  Some of my clients have bought it, but just never figured out how to use it.

 Why Quickbooks?

Thereís really not much choice out there--- at least, not anything that is moderately easy to learn for someone who has neither accounting or programming knowledge.

Also, there are tons of website resources as well as books you can borrow or buy that will help you learn Quickbooks.

Next in popularity to Quickbooks, my guess is, Simply Accounting and MYOB. Some people actually prefer them to Quickbooks. Usually, these are people with some accounting or bookkeeping experience. The reason they like Simply Accounting and/or MYOB is because these two programs retain some flavour of traditional accounting.

For example, in Simply Accounting and MYOB, you use journals and ledgers like old time accountants always used. You close off your books every once in a while. Once the books are closed, you canít change a transaction that was closed. You have to run a journal entry.

Some people prefer it this way. But, if your background has no accounting in it, youíll probably want to go with Quickbooks.

Here are my top Quickbooks tips

1.       Get the Canadian version (if youíre in Canada )

You shouldnít even think about buying any other version. Youíll get totally messed up in GST, PST payroll taxes and what not

2.      get the Pro version of Quickbooksónot the Easy Start  and- not Quicken

Quickbooks offers all sorts of products in various price ranges.  Iíve seen clients pay $500 for a specialized product when all they needed was the basic product. If you think you need more than the basic product, check out the features carefully before you commit to a higher priced product.

But, donít buy Quicken. It just doesnít give you the information you need to put together a set of financial statements. It may be okay to handle your home finances, but for your business, youíll need something more powerful.

So, check out whatís available and get the product with the features you need.

3.      Start easy

There is definitely a learning curve with Quickbooks with all its quirks. So, if you havenít used it before,  hereís what I suggest.

 Start easy. At the beginning, forget about payables and forget about payroll. Just start learning how the basics of Quickbooks works.

Start with a single client/customer.  Go to the customer navigator and create a new client/customer. Call it test customer.

 Start with a single bank account. Call it test bank account.

Start with a single sales account. Call it sales test.

 And, with a single item. If youíre a GST registrant, make sure the item is set up as being subject to GST. If it itís also subject to PST, make sure the item, is coded for PST, also.

Now, create a single sales invoice to your only client selling the one item you have. Save it and print it. Make sure the invoice looks right.

 Check the sales report and receivables reports to make sure it is properly recorded.

Next, receive a payment from the  customer

 Next, deposit it into bank account.

Next, do the bank reconciliation.

Next, check all the reports. If they make sense, then you should congratulate yourself. Because, from here on, all else should be relatively easy.

4.      Think about doing payroll outside Quickbooks

Typically, payroll is the most complicated part of bookkeeping. Personally, I donít use Quickbooks for payroll. Instead, I use my own Excel template for payroll. This makes Quickbooks less complicated and saves me $240 per year.

If you feel you can competently handle Quickbooks payroll, and you donít mind the additional cost,  by all means go for it.

But, you may also want to look at other options. Such as using an outside payroll service provider, using a stand alone payroll software program, or just doing it on your own using the payroll deduction information you can download from the CRA website.

5.      Learn to do the bank reconciliation

If the bankís not right, then nothingís right. At least, thatís how I feel. So, you should, at a very minimum learn how the bank reconciliation works. And, when you hand your Quickbooks file to your accountant, make sure the bank is reconciled.

6.      Set up credit card accounts as bank accounts

This will make life easier for you. So, when you record a charge to your VISA, just write a cheque  on your VISA bank account.

 

8.      Donít worry about making mistakes

Just record everything as accurately as you can. With Quickbooks, you and your accountant can always go back and fix mistakes

9.      Always back up

It goes without saying you should periodically back up your Quickbooks fike to either a floppy, a CD ROM or whatever.

10.  Petty cash

If you have a lot of small bills for cash, do yourself a big favour. Donít record them individually. Just accumulate them. Put them in envelopes. One envelope per expense category. E.g., one envelope for gas, one for parking receipts, one for restaurants, one for office supplies paid by csh etc.

Then, at the end of the year, you take a calculator with a tape. You add whatís in each envelope. And, attach the tape to the envelope.

Then, in Quickbooks, you set up a bank account called petty cash. You number each envelope. Then you record as  a cheque the total of each  envelope as  a cheque paid out of petty cash.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Copyright © 2013 B.C. Chastkofsky C.A.
Last modified: January 01, 2013