It's no secret that managing your business finances can be tedious and time-consuming.
Fortunately, programs like Quickbooks can handle most of the nitty-gritty work. But business owners often don't use Quickbooks to its full capacity and find they're barely more productive with the software than they were without it.
To allay this common problem, we've collected a few of our favorite accounting and bookkeeping habits that all business owners should develop for long-term success, and explained how to perform them efficiently in Quickbooks. Put the two together, and you can handle your important accounting tasks with greater reliability and speed than ever before -- opening up plenty of extra time for more rewarding areas of your business operation.
Make a Habit of Recording Transactions
All business owners should record transactions regularly, but let's be honest: in the chaos of running a business, it's easy to forget. That's why it's best to create a regular habit of sitting down and recording transactions in Quickbooks. Depending on your business volume and needs, the easiest way to do this is to set a scheduled hour every week or month.
You should record money coming into your business, like customer and client payments, as well as money leaving the business in the form of bills and vendor payments. Keeping accurate records ensures you have a crystal-clear vision of what's being spent vs. how much money is coming in. This solid foundation underpins nearly every financial decision you will make in your business, so this habit seriously matters!
Quickbooks makes recording transactions simple. Start by opening the Transactions tab, then select the appropriate transaction type: deposit, check, bill, invoice, or another form. Then, select the account associated with the transaction, enter the amount, and save!
It's as simple as that. The key is to make this a regular habit once a month, once a week, or even once a day if needed. By batching together similar transactions by customer or payment type, you can move efficiently through a large volume of transactions in Quickbooks.
Prepare and Send Out Invoices Promptly
The best way to ensure you receive payment on time (or even early!) is sending out invoices promptly after work is completed. Sending out invoices, keeping track of their status, and keeping detailed records of closed payments with invoices received will make sure you're able to accurately forecast your monthly finances and revenue. Prompt invoices also make your customers aware long in advance that payment is required, which can help avoid misunderstandings.
Fortunately, creating invoices in Quickbooks is extremely easy. In fact, there's even a keyboard shortcut for doing so; simply press the command key along with the "I" key at the same time to create a new customer invoice. Alternatively, you can create a new invoice by selecting the "Customers" menu and then clicking "Invoice." From there, you can enter the customer name (be sure to save the customer if they're not already in the system for faster invoice creation down the road) and fill out the details, including:
- Services/goods provided
- Customer contact information
- Due date
From there, you have the option to print, save, and even electronically send the invoice to your customer. Remember that YayPay integrates directly with Quickbooks, which can speed up this process even further. Our invoicing system includes additional tools like automatic reminders and even phone calls from our trained support staff to help collect past due invoices!
Audit Payroll Procedures Regularly
Taking the time to audit payroll procedures on occasion is a smart move for any entrepreneur to make—especially if you're not the one who handles the payroll directly. Doing so allows you to check and make sure that the proper deductions are being taken out of employee paychecks and that there haven't been any unauthorized modifications to employee payment amounts. What many business owners don't realize is that they don't have to manually audit payroll; with Quickbooks, it's actually quite simple to figure out if employee payment amounts have been changed in any way.
Start by going to the Employee Center menu within Quickbooks, then scroll down to the paycheck detail. Here, you'll be able to view details about the previous paycheck along with information about YTD pay and withholding. You can tell if a paycheck has been modified by looking in the right-hand column of the Employee Summary for the word "adjusted." From there, you can also use the "Payroll Detail View" option to figure out which amount(s) have been modified. Of course, there are sometimes good reasons for modifying checks, but it's wise for any entrepreneur to audit these procedures from time to time and ensure policies are being followed.
Reconcile Your Accounts Monthly
Just as balancing your personal checkbook is a must for avoiding potential overdrafts and other problems, reconciling your business accounts is something that should be done regularly as well. For most business sizes, monthly reconciliation is best. By taking the time to follow this practice each month, you can make sure you have accounted for all transactions, avoid potential overdrafts on your business accounts, and be made aware of any problematic spending patterns.
Reconciling your business accounts can seem like a daunting task, but there are some shortcuts that can be followed in Quickbooks to make the process a little easier and less painstaking.
Start by opening the "Reconcile" tab from the Tools menu, then choose the account you'd like to reconcile from the drop-down box. From there, click the "reconcile now" button and begin entering the statement details as prompted. Next comes the tedious part; it's time to compare your transactions from that account's bank statement to the transactions listed in Quickbooks. As you go through, check off the box next to each transaction that matches your bank statements. Manually edit and change any discrepancies or errors until you reach a difference value of zero at the bottom of the reconciliation page. Repeat these steps for each business account, run the reconciliation report and print for your records.
Calculate and Track Your Estimated Tax Payments
Paying quarterly estimated taxes is one of the necessary evils that comes along with running your own business. The due dates for quarterly estimated taxes typically fall in April, June, September, and January of the corresponding tax year, so it's a good idea to calculate your estimated taxes around those times to ensure the most accurate payment amount possible. Accuracy is important when paying quarterly taxes because if you underpay, you could end up facing hefty penalties and interest. On the other hand, if you overpay, then you're essentially giving the government a free loan with money that could have been better utilized in your business.
The process to calculate estimated quarterly taxes on Quickbooks can vary based on the version of the program you have. For example, Quickbooks Self-Employed will automatically calculate your payments for you and even helps you make your tax payments online. Typically, the best way to calculate and track tax payments in Quickbooks is to actually create a separate payment account by going to your Chart of Accounts and selecting "Create New Account" (or pressing control + N). The nice thing about doing it this way is that your tax payments will show up as equity reductions in your bottom line, which will make it easier to report your net income or less when tax time rolls around.
As you can see, there's a lot to keep in mind when it comes to managing your company's accounting and bookkeeping. Fortunately, with a little help from programs such as Quickbooks, you can spend less time on the more tedious aspects of running your business and more time growing your company. All the while, you can remain confident that your bookkeeping is being taken care of and that you're making wise financial decisions for your company's future.