Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Paying vendors via direct deposit in QuickBooks

Starting with version 2010, you can now pay your vendors via direct deposit in QuickBooks.  The $1.25 per payment still applies but with the savings of check stock, printer ink, envelopes, stamps and most importantly, time, the fee is well worth it.  And you could charge the fee back to your vendors since it is a convenience for them to receive payment electronically.

You must already be signed up for and fully activated for direct deposit services for your employees.  If your company does not have payroll or has not activated direct deposit, you will need to do that first.

To activate direct deposit for vendor payments, follow these steps:

From within your QB data file, click on Employees --> My Payroll Service --> Account/Billing Information

A screen will pop up showing all of your account and billing information.  In the Direct Deposit section, click on the Activate link:

Then the screen below will show.  Enter your Direct Deposit PIN # in the box and click Continue.
If successful, you will receive the following confirmation screen.  Click on Return to QuickBooks.

To set up a vendor for direct deposit, go to the Vendor Center, click on the vendor you want to set up and then click on the Edit Vendor button: 
Then click on the Additional Info tab.... and click on the Direct Deposit button:

Click the box next to "Use Direct Deposit for..." and fill in the bank account information for the vendor. Then click OK:

Use the Write Check or Pay Bills feature in QB to generate the payment to your vendor.  Keep in mind that two business days are required for direct deposit.  Weekends, holidays and other non-banking days do not count. So if you want to pay on Friday, December 31st, the direct deposit must be processed no later than 5pm PST on Wednesday, December 29th.  .  The QuickBooks software will alert you if you attempt to process a direct deposit payment without the required 2-business day gap.

We recommend you use "DD" as the check #: 

And be sure that the "Online Payment" box is checked.  This should be automatic if the vendor is set up for direct deposit.  Note:  If you want to issue a manual payment (not direct deposit) to a vendor that is set up for direct deposit, simply uncheck this box on their payment.

After saving the payment, this box will pop up:

If you just have the one payment OR are done entering all the DD payments you need to send, click on the Send to Intuit box.  If you have more payments to send, click the Close button and continue to enter your payments.

When you are ready to send the payment(s), either click on the Send to Intuit box after entering your last payment or go to Employees --> Send Payroll Data:

That's it!  This is a great feature that Intuit has added and I know many of my clients will be taking advantage of it!


Saturday, August 14, 2010

Great tool for creating business plans

TODAY only... GREAT deal on Palo Alto Software's Business Plan Pro.  I've heard over and over the through the years that this program is the best one out there to use for creating a business plan.  Grab it now at this great price!

Buy it here:  Business Plan Pro

Monday, June 7, 2010

Great tool to use to check your Facebook privacy settings

Here is a great and free tool to use to check your Facebook privacy settings.  The tool will scan your settings and let you know if you have left any "holes" open.

Reclaim Privacy


Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Break the Addiction to Paper

OK, there are a lot of you out there who are addicted to paper.  Come on, admit it.  You know who you are.  I know who you are and you aren't kidding anyone.  I know you're addicted.  You just love to print, print, print.  And if I'm your bookkeeper, you know you can't hide your addiction from me.  I see the piles of paper when they appear on my desk at the end of the quarter or end of the year.

You feel that every time you make a purchase for your business (or even for personal needs) online or pay a bill online, you need to print out the receipt or confirmation as proof of the transaction.  Your motives are correct.  But the execution needs improvement.

Paper sucks up resources, both in the form of money and time.  And if you are trying to be eco-conscious, you're not doing it right.

First let's talk about the money.  Printing to paper costs money in the form of paper, ink/toner and the added electricity to run the printer.  Then you have to buy something to keep all that paper in whether it be a box, file folders or binder(s).  Then you get to pay your bookkeeper (that's me) added time to organize and review all those pieces of paper.

Now, time.  In my world, there are only 24 hours in a day and I'm betting it's the same in your world (if you have found more, we gotta talk!).  Printing to paper costs time.  First, there is the added seconds waiting for the printer to spit out the document.  Those seconds of time over and over add up to a lot of time spent waiting on paper.  And that's if your printer works properly.  If it doesn't respond or worse, jams up, you've lost even more time trying to get a record of that receipt.

Then what do you do with that piece of paper?  First you probably throw it into a pile with all the other pieces of paper that are similar.  You hope that in that giant pile of paper, all the receipts for similar purchases will somehow magically make friends with each other and sort themselves.  Doesn't happen.  Trust me.

So then you have to spend more time sorting and organizing the paper.  More time lost and time is money.  Hint:  your bookkeeper (again, that's me!) charges by the hour. :)

Ok, so if you're still with me and have read this far, what is the solution?  Do you need a 12-step program?  Inpatient or outpatient?  Will your insurance pay?  Is Dunder-Mifflin to blame?  WWMSD?? (What Would Michael Scott Do?)

I've got really good news for you!!

The solution is easy!  And FREE!  Yes, you read that right.  EASY and FREE!  We love those words, don't we.

On every computer that you work on, you need to download a simple and free program that installs a pdf printer to your system.  It is called Cute PDF and it is a completely safe and highly recommended program.  Myself and many of my computer and accountant buddies have used it for years. Once installed, every time you print, you will see it as a choice of printers.  Simply choose the CutePDF printer instead of that nasty ol' money/time-sucking printer you've used in the past.  Then a box will pop up and you can choose where to save the pdf file and what to name it.

In an upcoming post I will discuss the best methods for naming, storing and backing up the plethora of pdf files you will accumulate as you get used to your new stream-lined method for receipt & confirmation notices.

Stay tuned!


Monday, March 22, 2010

Simplify credit card entries for travel

I have a lot of clients. Pretty much all of those clients have a credit card or two (or three, or four...) that they use for business purchases. Clients take business trips. And on such business trips, they use their business credit card(s). A lot.

All these entries to record the purchases made while traveling can take a lot of time to enter, especially if the client patronized a lot of independent business.... "mom & pop" type places.

In the Vendor List in QuickBooks, you cannot delete a vendor once they have been used in a transaction. They can be made inactive and therefore hidden from view, but they cannot be deleted.

Many of the places my clients patronize when they travel, I do not expect them to return to in the future. To save myself entry time (and bookkeeping fees for my clients) as well as keep their Vendor Lists as lean as possible, I enter a lot of their travel expenses to generic vendors that I set up.

I generally set up four generic vendors in my clients' QB files for use when entering their travel expenses:

  • Travel Meals
  • Travel Entertainment
  • Travel Misc
  • Taxi/Shuttle

Let's say I'm working on the bookkeeping for a client who is based in Oregon. I'm entering transactions from their credit card statement and I see some entries from restaurants that are located in Las Vegas. If I see charges to Starbucks, I'll enter that under a vendor called Starbucks and coded to Meals as there are Starbucks located all over and chances are, the client will visit another Starbucks in the future if it's not already in their QB file from previous entries. The same goes for places like Burger King, The Cheesecake Factory, Red Robin, Taco Bell, etc.

But if I see a purchase from "Rosemary's Restaurant" and see from the statement that the restaurant is located in Las Vegas, I will enter it to the vendor Travel Meals, code it to meals, and enter Rosemary's Restaurant - Vegas in the memo area.

If there are purchases on the credit card for entertainment during the trip to Vegas such as a tour of some kind, tickets to a show, etc I will book those to Travel Entertainment, code them to Entertainment Expenses and notate in the memo who the charge was actually to.

Taxi and shuttle fares I will code to a vendor simply called Taxi/Shuttle and entered to the Travel Expense account. Clients who travel for business will use a lot of different cab and shuttle companies and it's not necessary to have all of them entered as separate vendors.

When it comes to the lodging expenses, it depends on what company the clients stayed with as to how I will code it. If they stayed at a major-name hotel such as Hilton, Marriott, Hyatt, etc then I will code it to vendors named as such. I will not create separate vendors for the same hotel chain in different cities such as "Marriott - San Francisco" and "Marriott - Seattle." I will just name the vendor "Marriott."

But if they stay at an independent place such as "Little Blue Moon Inn," then I will code to to the Travel Misc vendor and enter it to the Travel expense account, again notating in the memo area the actual name that appears on the CC statement.

Other odd expenses incurred when traveling such as gift stores, souvenirs, etc I will code to the vendor Travel Misc and then to an appropriate expense account depending upon what was purchased. If it was a personal purchase and non-deductible for their business, I will enter it to their Draw or Distribution account, depending upon the individual client.

I hope this helps give you guidance as to how to make credit card entries a bit more simple!


Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Backup, Backup, Backup!

I'm sure all of you out there are very good about backing up your QuickBooks datafile and other accounting records. You backup well and you backup often. Right?

But is your backup safe?

There are many ways to backup your can burn it to a CD/DVD, save it to a USB drive, save it to an external hard drive or upload it to a secured web location. Of the methods I've mentioned the safest place for your data is the secured web location as long as the actual file server is not at your main location.

Recently a colleague of mine who was religious about backing up his files lost everything. He thought he was secure since he backed up all his pertinent data to two different external drives. Then he came home from a dinner out with his family to find his laptop and both external hard drives a smoldering pile of ashes due to a power surge from a lightning strike. Everything was gone.

For local backup purposes of a large amount of data, I do recommend an external hard drive system that is formatted to automatically backup important data once per day (preferably in the middle of the night). This will help protect you in case your PC decides to die or your main hard drive fails. But test your backup system often to be sure it is working properly.

But if your home or office burns down or is otherwise damaged, the data on the external drive will be lost as well. It is here that data backed up to a secured web location will save your butt.

There are tons of options out there from setting up your own FTP file server (with the actual file server kept in a separate location from your main computer) to using one of the many companies out there that provide storage solutions. There are a lot of options out there on the web. In prior years I tried the automatic product from and GoDaddy's Online File Folder but both were slow when using to manually upload/download and were cumbersome to use.

About 18 months ago, I switched to Carbonite and am so glad I did. Carbonite comes highly recommended in both the IT and Accounting communities and for less than $60 per year (per computer), I have complete piece of mind. Several times last year my main computer had to go to my IT guy for repair or upgrading. Each time, I hardly missed a step in my daily workflow as I was able to instantly switch to my laptop and download the files I needed from my Carbonite account and my external hard drive.

So, whatever you do.... backup and backup often!