QuickBooks: The Official Guide

QuickBooks: The Official Guide

by Kathy Ivens

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Overview

Create a customized,fine-tuned accounting system foryour business Whether you're migrating from a handwritten ledger,another software product,or an earlier version of QuickBooks,QuickBooks 2000: The Official Guide explains everything you need to know to get up and running with Intuit's #1 accounting software. Covering QuickBooks and QuickBooks Pro,this guide shows you how to set up easy-to-manage systems and track funds. . . manage payroll. . . process invoices. . . monitor inventory. . . create budgets. . . handle general ledger,time and billing. . . manage money online. . . and profit from money-saving tax tips. Author Kathy Ivens has loaded this management tool with tricks,tips and shortcuts for QuickBooks features,making this an indispensable resource for every small-business owner.

Integrate the power of the Internet with the sound business advice offered in this Intuit-authorized guide. Online Investing with Quicken 2000: The Official is your all-in-one investment for the future! Packed with information on how to harness the revolutionary power of the Internet to become a savvy investor,this book teaches you smart ways to find the right investments and reach your financial goals. You'll learn how easy it is to use Quicken 2000 and Quicken.com to manage your investments,find the best-performing stocks and mutual funds,and track your portfolio online. Every aspect of online investing is explained,including setting your goals,designing your investing strategy,picking the right stocks and mutual funds,finding the best online broker,lowering your tax bill,and placing trades with confidence. Each chapter is filled with smart tips fornovice to veteran investors. The Internet has changed Wall Street,and this book is your ultimate guide to the brave new world of online investing. Inside,you'l find out how to: Select the best-performing mutual funds using Quicken 2000's Mutual Fund Finder. Track your portfolio online from anywhere. Download your investment transactions directly into Quicken 2000. Interpret Wall Street analysts' research and company reports. Retire wealthier by making the most of your 401(k) and IRAs. Optimize your asset allocation and keep it up-to-date. Keep up with news that affects your investments. Find the best online broker - and use your account wisely. Get real-time stock quotes and place trades with confidence. Use Quicken's tax features to lower your tax bill. Find out about IPOs,insider trading,and other ways to boost your returns.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780078825743
Publisher: Osborne/McGraw-Hill
Publication date: 07/01/1998
Series: Made Easy Series
Pages: 531
Product dimensions: 7.39(w) x 9.12(h) x 1.33(d)

Read an Excerpt

Chapter 1: Using QuickBooks for the First Time

Payroll Feature

if you have employees, QuickBooks wants to know about it, and also wants to know how many. Here are the guidelines for answering that question:

  • An employee is someone you pay for whom you withhold taxes and issue a W-2 form at the end of the year.
  • Subcontractors are not employees.
  • If you write a payroll check and withhold taxes for yourself, you are an employee.
  • If you write checks to yourself but don't withhold taxes, you are not an employee.
If you do have employees, you're asked whether you want to use the payroll feature. Say Yes, if that's the appropriate answer.

See Chapters 8 and 9 to learn everything about doing your own payroll.

Estimating, Invoicing, and Reports Preferences

If you provide estimates and then bill your customers according to a formula that tracks the progress of a job, QuickBooks has some features you may want to use. Answer the questions to match the way you do business. if you bill for time and want to track the amount of time you or your employees spend on each job, an interview question is provided for that, also. See Chapters 18 through 20 for information about using this feature.

You also are given an opportunity to turn on the classes feature, which is a way to combine categories and accounts to create reports that produce an overview. The feature can be useful for tracking types of customers, jobs, or even branch offices. More information about setting up and using classes is found in Chapter 21. if you turn on the classes feature here, you must establish the classes at some point after the interview (or answer No now and turnon the feature when you're ready to set up the classes).

Accounts Payable Preferences

The next section in the interview process is the determination of the method for handling your bills from vendors. You have two choices and both offer advantages and disadvantages:

  • Enter the checks directly.
  • Enter the bills first and then enter the payments later.

If you opt to enter your checks directly, it means that as bills arrive in your office, you put them somewhere (an envelope, a folder, or a shoebox) until you're ready to pay them. Then, you just have to enter the checks in the QuickBooks check register, place the checks in the envelopes, and attach a stamp. The advantage of this method is that it takes less time and less data entry. The disadvantage is that the only way to know how much money you owe at a given moment is to take the bills out of the container and to total them manually. Also, unless you specially mark and store those bills that offer a discount for timely payment, you might inadvertently miss a deadline and lose the discount.

If you decide to enter the bills first and then go through the process of paying them in QuickBooks, you can let the software remind you about due dates and you can get a current accounts payable total from the software. Another consideration when you opt to enter your bills into the software is that your accountant might have to make an adjustment when it's time to figure your taxes. Tracking accounts payable (and accounts receivable, for that matter) is called accrual accounting. If you file on a cash basis instead of an accrual basis, the accrued amount owing is not considered an expense and has to be subtracted from your total expenses. This isn't terribly unusual or difficult, but you should be aware of it. Most small businesses that don't have inventory file on a cash basis.

Reminders Preferences

QuickBooks has a feature which tracks the things you need to do and shows you a To Do list when you start the software. Included in the list are any due dates that exist (as a result of your data entry) in addition to any notes you wrote yourself and asked for a reminder about.

You can continue to let QuickBooks show you the reminder list when you open the software, or opt to display it manually through the menu. Make your decision based on the way you're most comfortable working. (You can always change it later.)

Cash or Accrual Reporting

QuickBooks has a specific interview question about the way you want to keep your books, offering cash or accrual options. Before you make the decision, check with your accountant. The smart way to do that is to ask your accountant to give a full explanation (don't just say "Which way?" and accept a one-word answer).

Here's a quick overview of what's really involved in this decision. (For details that apply specifically to your business, you should have a fuller discussion with your accountant.) in cash-based accounting, an expense doesn't exist until you write the check. Even if you enter the bill into the software and post it to an expense account in the general ledger, it isn' t really an expense until the check is written. The same is true for revenue, meaning income isn't considered to be real until payment is received from your customer. Even though you enter an invoice and post it to a revenue account in the general ledger, it isn't revenue until its paid.

In accrual-based accounting, as soon as you incur an expense (receive a bill from a vendor) or earn income (send an invoice to a customer), it's real.

Because most accounting software is accrual-based, most businesses, especially small businesses, keep accrual books and report to the IRS on a cash basis. Most accounting software is accrual-based because business owners want to know those accrued totals: "How much did I earn (bill customers for)?" and "How much do I owe?"

The Start Date Interview

if today is the first day of your fiscal year (usually January 1) and your accountant has just completed all the accounting stuff for last year, and your numbers are pristine and perfect, you can keep going now. If any other situation exists, you should stop right here, right now, and read the section on selecting a start date in Appendix A. (You might also want to call your accountant.)

The start date you select has an enormous impact on the amount of detail your QuickBooks reports will have. in fact, it has an enormous impact on the accuracy of the numbers QuickBooks reports.

Without repeating all the information in Appendix A, the following is a quick overview of the choices you have:

Choose the start date that represents the first day of your fiscal year and enter every transaction...

Table of Contents

Part I: Getting Started.
Part II: Building Your Financial Plan.
Part III: Finding the Right Investments.
Part IV: Online Trading.
Part V: Monitoring and Expanding Your Portfolio.

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