If you’re like most business owners or managers, early April is a stressful time: you’ve just finished your corporation taxes, due each year on March 15, but personal income taxes are still due on April 15. With so many deadlines, hopefully, you’ve got a solid system for financial record-keeping in place to make all those expense reports, itemized deductions, and profit and loss statements easy to handle.
In the small business world, the best system for that is far and away QuickBooks by Intuit, which as of 2015 claimed more than 80% market share. Yet many business owners and financial decision-makers struggle with the implementation and use of QuickBooks. Data files won’t update. Multi-user mode won’t work. Old invoices keep showing up in the print queue. Massive transaction logs crash. Network hiccups keep slowing things down.
But with the help of a trusted IT provider, using QuickBooks can provide more smooth sailing and less rocky passages. Here’s how the use of this common accounting application can help your business, both right now with Tax Day around the corner and further in the future.
Five Ways to Utilize QuickBooks:
1) Embrace the version of QuickBooks that’s right for your business. The first decision? QuickBooks Pro vs. QuickBooks Premier vs. QuickBooks Enterprise Solutions. Pro is perfect for most small businesses, while Premier features industry-tailored elements and deeper levels of tracking and reporting; Enterprise is best for medium-sized businesses. Next up is online or not—many business owners and employees might shudder at the thought of moving critical financial information off of local servers and into the cloud. But Intuit’s slow and steady embrace of the technology has resulted in a secure online version of QuickBooks that combines 24/7 anywhere access with elite levels of security. The final call is what version to purchase—and when. Intuit recommends an upgrade every three years, and QuickBooks 2016 was announced last fall. But upgrade options and extra service is available through certified Intuit resellers like CMIT Solutions, who can help you get the services you need.
2) Utilize QuickBooks’ built-in productivity-enhancing tools. Intuit’s flagship accounting applications offer countless workarounds to save time and effort: there are Batch Invoice, Memorize Transaction, and Process Multiple Reports tools, or things as simple as totaling amount fields simply by pressing the +, -, *, or / buttons on your keyboard. Whatever your preferred shortcut, the more training and support you receive for QuickBooks, the better off you’ll be.
3) Implement automatic, recurring backup services immediately. If you don’t have QuickBooks installed on your systems but plan on adding it soon, make sure you turn on the program’s remote backup option from the get-go. And if you don’t have it set up, do it now (it’ll be most effective if you enlist the help of an IT provider). Oh, and if you ever have to fall back on a data backup, make sure you import the most recent one—otherwise you could lose pertinent data.
4) Take advantage of QuickBooks’s constant expansion based on customer feedback. Many technology companies are happy doing what they do and letting the customers follow. But not Intuit and QuickBooks—they embraced the cloud model in 2013, engaged in a major nationwide marketing push toward small business owners in 2014, and in 2015 rolled out QuickBooks Online Self-Employed, a basic tool for freelancers and other self-employed Americans to stay on top of their finances. In a 2014 interview with Harvard Business Review, Intuit CEO Brad Smith said, “Our mission is to improve people’s lives so profoundly they can’t imagine going back.”
5) Reconcile, reconcile, reconcile. You can do everything right when it comes to your use of QuickBooks—but if you don’t reconcile your online activity with your monthly bank statement, the accuracy of your accounting records can quickly go awry. Thanks to QuickBooks’s constant advancements and Intuit’s culture of innovation, though, you can sync the program directly with your online banking service, credit cards, and loans, making the monthly reconciliation process easier and confronting irregularities before they stack up and cause major problems.
When it’s all said and done, CMIT Solutions knows QuickBooks inside and out—many of our business owners use it themselves, and we understand the challenges that fellow business owners face with the program. In addition, we have a longstanding relationship with Intuit that provides our clients with extra training and support—exactly the kind of peace of mind you deserve with one tax day in the rearview and another one around the corner. If you have questions or concerns regarding QuickBooks, contact us today.