Using QuickBooks Online’s Customer Records

Using QuickBooks Online’s Customer Records

Using QuickBooks Online’s Customer Records

Your customers are your company’s lifeblood. Are you managing those relationships carefully? Here’s how QuickBooks Online can help.

If you’ve been in business long enough to remember tracking your customers manually, you probably remember what a nightmare it was. Maybe you had a card file and paper folders – and lots of sticky notes and calendar notations.

Unless you had an unusually effective organization system, it was probably difficult to find historical transactions when customers called with questions, for example, and you may have experienced cash flow problems because it was hard to keep up with invoices and statements and payments.

If you’re already using QuickBooks Online, you know those days are over. But have you explored all the customer relationship management tools available to you on the site?

Thorough Records

The core of any good customer-tracking system is a comprehensive set of individual profiles. QuickBooks Online offers thorough, flexible record templates for just that purpose. Click Sales in the main toolbar, then the Customers tab at the top of the screen. To create a new customer record, click New Customer off to the right to open the Customer Information window.

Note: If you have your customer database in an existing Excel or .CSV file, you should be able to import it. QuickBooks Online provides instructions for this.

Quickbooks Customer Records

You can create a profile for each customer in the Customer Information window.

You’ll need to enter a lot of the information yourself here, mostly contact details. A down arrow next to a field indicates that there’s a drop-down list of options available.

The lower left quadrant of the screen contains a series of tabbed information windows. Click on each to enter what you can about each customer’s:

  • Address – both billing and shipping
  • Notes – any that you’d like to enter
  • Tax info – exemption details and default tax code (if taxable)
  • Payment and billing – preferred payment and delivery method, payment terms, and opening balance
  • Attachments – any files pertaining to this customer that you want to include

When you’re done, click Save. Your new record will appear in your list of customers. You’ll be able to toggle back and forth between the details you just entered and a list of their transactions.

Working with Customers

You can always add new customers as you go along, but it’s a good idea to enter records for all of them before you start creating transactions. It will save time down the road, and their accessibility will help with other accounting tasks.

When you click on Sales | Customers now, you’ll see something like this:

Sales Customer in Quickbooks

Your Customers page contains a list of customers with links to related activities. It also provides a color-coded row of bars that represent the status of invoices and estimates.

The Customers page consists of many elements. The main section displays a table of your customers. Click on one to open the page containing the Transaction List and Customer Details.

On this screen, though, you’ll only see columns for Customer/Company, Phone, Open Balance, and Action by default; click the gear icon in the upper right if you want to include more columns here. When you click on the down arrow next to a field in the Action column, a drop-down list will display the options available for that customer, like Receive payment, Send reminder, and Create Statement.

A series of colored bars runs across the top of the screen. Each represents the current status of a specific transaction type: Estimates, Unbilled Activity, Overdue, Open Invoices, and Paid Last 30 Days. Click on any of these to open a list of pertinent transactions.

You can do all of these activities elsewhere in QuickBooks Online, but it’s convenient to be able to work directly from the Customers screen, too. The fewer clicks, the better.

Call on STAC Biz

Did you make a resolution to start using QuickBooks Online this year? The site was built for use by business managers, not accountants, but it can still be a little daunting at first. We’re always available to take your questions and help you with setup and/or daily implementation. Connect with us if you need assistance.

Looking for a QuickBooks Expert?

Working with a QuickBooks ProAdvisor is the best way to learn how to use QuickBooks to help your business grow and flourish. You won’t find a better way to get the support you need anywhere else.

As a small business owner, we realize that you may not have the budget to hire a QuickBooks expert. If you’re looking for a more economical way to get set up on QuickBooks, we provide cloud bookkeeping programs to match any business requirement. Here are our Quickbooks ServicesQuickBooks SetupQuickBooks Training, and QuickTune-up.

You can feel confident in knowing that our STAC Bizness Solutions team are Certified QuickBooks ProAdvisors. Meet Our Team.

If you would like to learn about all the benefits that STAC offers, just give us a call and we’ll provide you all the details. Call us at (844) 424-9637.

Working with Downloaded Transactions in QuickBooks Online

Working with Downloaded Transactions in QuickBooks Online

Working with Downloaded Transactions in QuickBooks Online

Downloading transactions into QBO is the easy part. You still have work to do once they’re on board.

Its ability to download financial transactions is one of the five best things about QuickBooks Online. Without it, you’d spend a lot of time on tedious data entry, verifying which checks and deposits had cleared and entering new ones.

Instead, you can easily connect to your bank and bring in all your activity from the previous hours or day. QuickBooks Online stores this neatly in a register and provides tools for you to further describe and classify each transaction.

Setting Up the Connection

Haven’t connected your financial institution to QuickBooks Online yet? It’s easy. Click the Banking link in the toolbar, then Add Account in the upper right. The Find your bank window opens. Start entering the name of your bank, credit card company, or service like PayPal in the blank field. A list of potential matches will drop down; you simply select the one you want. A window like this will open:

All you need to do to start downloading transactions into QuickBooks Online is select your financial institution and enter the User ID and Password you use to connect directly to the site.

 

You will have to go through some security procedures, and then QuickBooks Online will download 90 days of transactions (you can shorten this if you’d like). You’ll also be asked which QBO account should receive the transactions. After a few minutes, the register for that account will appear, displaying the transactions you just downloaded.

Warning: The mechanics of connecting to your bank and downloading your first batch of transactions may sound easy, but if everything is not absolutely clear to you as you’re going through the process, please contact us sooner rather than later.

Working with Transactions

Once you’ve downloaded a set of transactions, you’ll want to look at them. Again, click the Banking link in the navigation toolbar. Your accounts will appear in small boxes at the top of the page, along with two balances: the one that came from the financial institution and the one in QuickBooks Online. Select the one you want by clicking on it, and its register will open.

Tip: QuickBooks Online generally updates your accounts once daily. If you want to launch a manual update at any time, click on Update in the upper right corner.

Let’s look at one downloaded transaction to see what you can do with it. Make sure the For Review column is highlighted above the register. Select a transaction by clicking on it. A window like this will open below it:

QuickBooks Online does more than simply download financial transactions: It lets you define them in greater detail.

There are several options here, including:

  • Add to register. If you’re satisfied with the information as is, just click the Add button to the right (not pictured here).
  • If you want to split the amount/category (Supplies, Tools, etc.)/class of a transaction, click Split (also off to the right and not pictured). A window will open to let you specify that.
  • Assign categories. QuickBooks Online may automatically make assignments to obvious categories, which you can change if incorrect. You can also click the down arrow to the right of that field and select your own from the list.
  • Bill an expense to a customer. Did you purchase something that needs to be billed to a customer? Click in the box under Billable and select the correct one from the drop-down list that opens.
  • Find matches. This can get complicated, and we recommend you let us work with you on it. Let’s say you entered an invoice in QuickBooks Online, and an income item for that exact amount gets downloaded from your bank. QBO will assume that those two “match,” and display them in the In QuickBooks You can click Undo if this is incorrect. But you can also click Find match in the transaction window, and QBO will open a list of possibilities.

As you can see from browsing the lists of downloaded transactions, there’s a lot to learn here. We’d be happy to get together and walk you through your first explorations of these powerful features.

Need additional help…Contact STAC Bizness Solutions!

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What Records to Keep in a Personnel File?

What Records to Keep in a Personnel File?

It can be difficult to know what employee records a small business should keep in a personnel file. Should it only hold onto the bare minimum and risk not having enough documentation to protect itself should it need to in the future, or should it keep everything and files become so thick that it is impossible to find anything efficiently? Ultimately, a practical compromise is necessary.

Below is a brief list of the essential documents a small business should keep in a personnel file. However, please remember that this list is a guideline, a template and that ultimately it is up to the specific needs of the small business to determine what stays and what goes.

 Employment Agreement Records

The most basic of personnel file documents that need retaining should center on the professional relationship between the employee and employer. These documents would include the employee’s application and resume, the description of the job as given to the employee, the offer of employment, and the signed receipt of the employee handbook.

 Legal Documents

The most important of the legal documents that need retaining should be the ones related to taxes. These would include W-4s and state withholding forms. Obviously, the tax forms required by your business may not be the same as other businesses, but the idea is to make sure that a copy of whatever tax forms is required always are kept in the employee’s file. Also, legal documents may include next of kin information, emergency contacts, and forms relating to employee benefits.

 Employee Performance Documents

An essential collection of documents is how the employee performs their job. Primarily, this documentation will provide the necessary empirical data to justify an employee’s review. A short list of such records would include awards, reprimands, notes on attendance, certificates of successful completion of training programs, and why and under what conditions the employee left. In essence, these documents should give a stranger an understanding of what this individual was like as an employee.

Unnecessary Documents

However, there are records that you should avoid including in an employee’s personnel file. These would include an I-9 as a government official who may need access to this record does not need to leaf through all the other personal information to find it, and medical records as a small business are legally required to keep this information confidential and available to only a select few.

Are You Using QuickBooks Online’s Mobile App?

Are You Using QuickBooks Online’s Mobile App?

Even if you don’t travel for work (but especially if you do), you should explore what QuickBooks Online’s mobile app has to offer.

You already know how convenient it is to be able to access your company’s financial data from any desktop or laptop computer that has an internet connection. Still, there are times when you’d like to be able to complete some of your accounting tasks without firing up a full-blown browser and logging on to QuickBooks Online.

If you haven’t yet tried out the site’s companion mobile app, you might be surprised at how much you can actually accomplish on your smartphone. Take a look at the app’s main menu (with a partial view of the Activity screen to the right):

You can’t do everything on QuickBooks Online’s smartphone app that you can do in the browser-based version, but there’s a surprising amount of functionality here.

Once you’ve downloaded the app and signed in with your QuickBooks Online username and password, you’ll see a home page divided into two vertical sections; you can toggle back and forth between them. One is your Dashboard, which displays current account balances and a graph showing an abbreviated version of your Profit and Loss report, as well as a graphical summary of paid and unpaid invoices. Click on Activity to see a list of your most recent actions and transactions.

Click on the three horizontal lines in the upper left of the screen, and the app’s main menu slides out. As pictured in the image above, this interactive list also serves as the app’s primary navigation tool. Any data that you’ve entered in the browser-based version (as well as anything you add here) will appear in list form when you click on an entry here. To add customers, invoices, sales receipts, etc., click on the + (plus) sign. You can also enter new transactions from each individual list screen.

Adding Transactions

If you’ve worked with mobile apps at all, you know that the user interface is different from what you see in full versions of applications accessed through a browser. QuickBooks Online’s app, though, is exceptionally easy to understand and use – perhaps even easier than the browser-based QBO.

Take the app’s New Expense screen, for example. At the top of the page is a camera icon. Click it to take a picture of a receipt. You can also enter the total manually in a field to the right. Below that are three buttons representing Credit, Check, and Other, so you can indicate how you paid for the purchase.

You’ll describe the expense by clicking on links that contain labels like:

  • Who did you pay?
  • What kind of expense is this?
  • Who was it for?

When you click on one, the app opens your list of related data. So, Who did you pay? opens your list of Payees. You can select one or add a new one. Click on the Billable button if the expense can be charged to a customer, and click Add a Split if you need to separate some of the items. There’s also room to add a Ref # and Memo. When you’re done, click Save to add it to your main QuickBooks Online file.

Viewing Existing Information

Besides entering data in the QuickBooks Online app, you can look up existing information.

You can just as easily find records and transactions you’ve entered either in the browser-based version of QuickBooks Online or on the app. You can follow the journey of an invoice as pictured in the screenshot above. QBO even prompts you to complete steps you haven’t taken. Click on the pencil icon in the upper right, and you can edit the data that appears on that screen.

Warning! Editing transactions that have been processed are risky. If you’re making errors that need correcting, we can help you determine when this is safe.

 

The QuickBooks Online app can also provide quick overviews of customer activity, with links to actions.

You may never need to access your QuickBooks Online data remotely on your smartphone. If you do, though, we can help you get set up with the site’s companion app so you’ll learn how they work together.

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How Do You File an Amended Tax Return?

How Do You File an Amended Tax Return?

It’s easy to make mistakes when you’re doing your own tax preparation. The IRS has a special procedure for fixing them.

That sense of accomplishment you feel after you’ve filed your income taxes can turn quickly to dread if you realize later that you made a mistake. What do you do now?

The IRS knows that this will happen to some taxpayers every year. The tax code is so complex, and if you prepare your taxes manually, you’ve probably been shuffling a lot of papers around.

So, first: Don’t panic. You can fix this. The IRS offers what’s called an amended return, the Form 1040X, for just this type of situation.

If you’ve made a mistake on your income tax return, you’ll be able to file a Form 1040X.

What IRS forms does the 1040X cover?

If your original tax return was filed using a Form 1040, 1040A 1040EZ, 1040NR, or 1040NR-EZ, you should file a Form 1040X to amend that return.

What if I realize I made a math error?

The IRS will make the necessary corrections, so you usually don’t need to file an amended return. However, you should submit one if there was an error related to your filing status, income, deductions, or credits.

I forgot to file my Schedule B. Should I file an amended return?

Usually, no. The IRS will request missing forms and schedules from you.

Can I file a Form 1040X electronically?

No. You must submit a paper return.

How much time do I have to file a Form 1040X?

You can usually file an amended return up to three years after the date of your original income tax return or within two years of actually paying the taxes – whichever date is later. Look at the above image of Form 1040X. You must indicate the year of the return you’re amending by checking a box or entering a year after This return is for the calendar year…

What if my amended return entitles me to an additional refund?

Don’t file a Form 1040X until you’ve received the first refund. Once that’s in hand, you can file the amended return and cash the check. Keep in mind that it can take up to 16 weeks for the IRS to process an amended return. It may not even appear in the system for three weeks after you’ve mailed it.

The IRS Form 1040X uses a three-column approach to help you illustrate where errors have occurred.

I realized that I owed more income tax than I sent, but it’s only March. Can I file a 1040X and include the additional funds?

Yes, as long as it’s received by the April due date for that specific year. You’ll avoid taxes and penalties.

Can I check on the progress of my amended return?

Yes. Go to this IRS page. You’ll need to supply your birthdate, Social Security number, and Zip code. You’ll be able to view the status of your return: received, adjusted (refund, balance due, or no changes), or completed.

Accuracy and Thoroughness Critical

The Form 1040X is not the most complicated of the standard IRS forms, but neither is it the simplest. It’s critical that you complete it absolutely correctly, so you don’t start having to amend your amended returns.

The completion of your Form 1040X can be delayed for a variety of reasons, including the presence of errors. It may take more than 16 weeks to process because it’s:

  • Incomplete.
  • Unsigned.
  • A victim of fraud or identity theft.
  • In need of additional information.

Avoiding Amended Returns

We can help you determine whether you need to file an amended return at all, and if so, how you should fill out the form.

If you don’t want to risk going through this whole thing again, talk to us about getting you started with year-round tax planning. It makes the whole tax preparation process (which we can handle for you, too) much easier and less stressful. We’ve worked hard with other individuals and small business to minimize their tax obligations, and we can do the same for you.

 

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