Have you done it yet? Have you bought Quickbooks? It seems to be a right of passage for most entrepreneurs. Once the money starts rolling in and rolling out, you realize that someone needs to keep track. Unfortunately, that person is you.
So, if you have already agonized over which version to buy and have endured the grueling installation process, this post is for you. Here are some things to keep in mind as you use Quickbooks:
Chart of Accounts
Quickbooks generates a list of accounts for you as part of the installation process. Some of the accounts will make sense for your business and others won’t. Early on in your bookkeeping, you should look at your accounts and change them to suit your needs.
On the top menu bar, click on Lists > Chart of Accounts. All of the accounts for your business will show. Ignore the first few, they need to stay for us bean counters. But you will be working with the income and expense accounts, and they need to make sense to you.
If you are a painter and you paint new construction AND you paint renovations of existing homes, you might want to track that. You could have two income accounts: Painting – New and Painting – Reno. To make that happen, right-click on the income account that you don’t want and choose EDIT. That brings up a window. Under “Account Name” – just type in what you want. Save and Close.
In looking my accounts over, I see an expense for “Copies.” I was in business before it was common to have a copier/printer, so I used to have to go pay to have copies made for my clients. (I know. . . ancient.) This account is just cluttering up my picture of my business, so I want to remove it. I right-click on the account name and choose DELETE. If I had never used this account, that would work. But since I have used it in the past, Quickbooks won’t let me delete it because that would cause me to lose data. I need to merge it with another account. I right-click again and choose EDIT. That brings up a window. I change the name from Copies to Office Supplies. Hit save and close. I get a notice : This name is being used. Would you like to merge them? I hit yes, and now my Copies expense account and all of its data is swallowed up into my Office Supplies account.
This is a great trick that you can use any time with no loss of data. If you realize you have a customer or a vendor listed twice, under two different names, just decide which name you want to keep. Edit the other account to that name, and you will get the notice asking if you want to merge the accounts. That will take all of the data from both accounts and treat them as one.
Feel free to ask questions if I was unclear in any way. I do this every day, so I could gloss over something important. I’ll tell you how to add accounts (and what to keep in mind when doing so) in my next post.