Your guide to using QuickBooks effectively – Tips and Resources

Accounting.

That single word is known to strike fear and dread into the hearts of many small-business owners, entrepreneurs, freelancers, and self-employed professionals.

It’s all about crunching numbers, the ones that you consider most important: your business finances. Whether you are running a small business with several employees or are working independently, chances are your budget restraints will lead you to manage your own accounting instead of hiring a professional accountant.

Let’s face it, this is one area of work where you cannot afford to make any mistakes because any mistake could come at a great cost. Accounting. Wow, it can truly feel like a weight pressing down against you.

Hold on a second, there is hope for you yet! A smart, affordable, easy-to-use solution that comes in the form of software, one that was designed with you in mind. 

It’s called QuickBooks and as the name suggests, it’s an accounting software solution that is quick to learn, fully customizable, and works fast. QuickBooks was introduced in 2019, but its parent company has been around since 1983 and over the last several decades they have produced several best-selling programs dedicated to financial management and accounting. This means you can rely both on the history of its development as well as its present-day innovative approach

Wait, do I really need this thing?

Well, if you are a freelancer, contractor, owner of a small or medium-sized business, you do – because you need accounting services. As we have previously mentioned, you can manage your own accounting, but if you are not educated in financial accounting, you are putting your business at risk. If you are working on a tight budget and cannot afford an accountant, you might feel forced to take this approach.

Try QuickBooks instead.

What is Quickbooks?

Okay, but what does it actually do? 

Accounting. 

Okay, now it’s getting funny, right? No longer a word you should fear. 

That is what you get with QuickBooks, a program that does your accounting services. Sure, you’ll be doing some of the work yourself, but it mostly comes down to setting up your preferences, adding your documents and all necessary info, and customizing QuickBooks to meet your specific requirements.

You’ll find yourself feeling less stressed when it comes to accounting, leaving you with more time to focus on developing and managing your business. 

Will QuickBooks help me manage the salaries of my employees?

If you are the owner of a small or medium-sized business and have employees on your payroll – yes, it will help you manage their salaries. You will have constant access to in-depth information for the account of each one of your employees

I am self-employed and work alone – can I handle my personal finances? 

Yes, you can. [In the voice of The Rock] It doesn’t matter if you don’t have any employees. QuickBooks can be set up to work for companies and individuals alike. Receipts, bills, payrolls – it can cover everything. 

It’s worth noting that QuickBooks also allows users to keep track of certain segments of their business process and produce regular reports. In fact, you can keep track of all of your receipts and payments, which can especially be useful when paying taxes.

There are even more incredibly useful features packed within QuickBooks, and we’ll get to them in the rest of this post.

Now that we have covered some of the basics, let’s get to the most important part – how to set up your QuickBooks account and start using it

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How to efficiently use QuickBooks 

1- Install it!

But before you do, make a list or a spreadsheet of your company profile and preferences. At this point, it is important to keep in mind that you are setting up the groundwork for how you want QuickBooks to work for you

By using lists or spreadsheets, you will make sure every element of your business process is well-organized and easy to track down. 

With that out of the way, now you are ready to actually install QuickBooks.

At the start of the installation process, a prompt will ask you if you want a Custom or Network Options type of install. If you are not going to share files and data with other devices and will work on one computer alone, choose “I’ll be using QuickBooks on this computer”. 

If you are going to use it on several devices, then go for Network Options. And as with any other typical install, choose the designated folder for your software. 

2- Get all your papers and documents

Relax, this is not like going through an audit. Just get all the necessary paperwork – in digital form – and sort it in order to set up your QuickBook files. This includes such data as your official company name, business address, financial statements, tax ID numbers, and other crucial documentation.

3- Create a file for your company

Build a company profile, add all the necessary information. As we have previously mentioned, QuickBooks is great for smaller companies, but it works equally great for individuals as well, such as freelancers, solopreneurs, and self-employed professionals.

The great thing about QuickBooks is that it is very customizable. Whatever your business process looks like, QuickBooks can be modified to meet your demands.

You can create your company file by launching QuickBooks – simply by clicking on its icon. When using it for the first time, you will be able to use the EasyStep Interview Wizard, which will walk you through the process of setting up a file for your company in step-by-step intervals. 

If you want to learn more before actually putting QuickBooks into use, feel free to use the program’s interactive tutorials. There really are many customizable options, such as setting up various lists, giving unique names to features you want to track, cost management, and much more.

4- Create accounts for your vendors

If your business works with vendors, you can set up accounts for each one of them. By vendors, we mean companies and individuals who support your business, which includes suppliers and independent contractors. 

You’ll see a button in the top toolbar that says “Vendor Center”. After clicking on it, click on the “New Vendor” button to build a new vendor account. For transactions, click on “New Transactions”. As you can see, QuickBooks is pretty easy to use.

If you want vendor profiles and their data in spreadsheet format, QuickBooks has the very useful option of being linked to Excel and Word. You can export data from QuickBooks and turn it into Excel spreadsheets. Just use the “Excel” or “Word” button. 

5- Create accounts for your employees

You are running your own business and have employees on your payroll? They too will need unique accounts. Set up an account for each of your employees by clicking on the “Employee Center” button. 

Click on the “New Employee” button and add all the necessary information. Repeat this process for each one of your workers. 

Use the “Transaction” tab to add salaries and other transactions. The “Enter Time” option enables you to handle timesheets for each employee. 

If you work alone, well, I guess you can just skip this part!

6- Create accounts for your customers

Now, this option applies to all – business owners and freelancers. We all have customers. Similar to the previous two steps, you can build and handle customer accounts

Click on the “Customer Center” button and then go for the “New Customer and Job” option. This is where you add a new source of income. Then, click on “New Transaction” and add transactions – payments, bills, estimates, invoices. 

Use the Customer: Job List feature and keep track of all financial transactions connected to an individual customer

7- Set up regular reports

You thought reports were going to be tough, right? Well, it’s easy just like every other aspect of QuickBooks. Reports can be generated based on your preferences. Keep track of what is important to you and your business and get regular reports.

This will lead to great advancements in your business process, as you will be able to track your performance and know instantly what you are doing great and what needs to be improved.

You can set up reports by using the “Report Center” feature.

8- Use the Help feature

Yes, it might seem boring, but using the Help feature is one of the most useful and easiest options out there. By pressing F1, you will access the “Help With This Window” feature. From there, you can go to the “Help Index” and seek explanations, definitions, all important info. 

Don’t know how to do something? Simply click on the “How Do I?” option you can find in the activity windows. By clicking on it, a drop-down menu will appear from where you can search for the answer you need. 

9- Customize your user interface 

QuickBooks can be completely customized to meet your individual requirements. Choose how you want it to work and look, basically. You can modify navigation methods, windows, menus, QuickBooks Centers, shortcut keys, and more. 

10- Use it to your benefit 🙂

This is the best part! Once you have entered all the data you need and have customized everything, finally use QuickBooks to its full abilities. You can additionally modify it whenever you like. The more you use it, the easier it will become.

Conclusion

Accounting, is no longer a term you should be afraid of, but something you can do stress-free, knowing you have full control of every aspect. Thanks to QuickBooks, accounting services are available to everyone. 

Get your copy of QuickBooks from their official website and choose your preferred payment plan. They always have special offers so you will most likely find a great deal that suits your business plan and budget perfectly!

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John is the ex-Growth Manager of UserGuiding, a code-free product walkthrough software that 2000+ teams trust in their user onboarding.

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