Bookkeeping is a little like physics – there are unbreakable rules. So to paraphrase one of them, “For every debit, there is an equal and opposite credit.” But in QuickBooks, that is not always obvious. The “implied side” of a transaction is not staring you in the face most of the time.

The balancing side of every transaction is there nonetheless, so that your general ledger zeroes out and your financial statements work as they are supposed to.

Where do you find the implied side of the transactions? Sometimes you want to know (or confirm) what the offsetting entry is behind the scenes. That’s where the Transaction Journal comes into play.

You can simply run the Reports / Accountant and Taxes / Journal report. It will show every transaction within the reporting date range (which you can change) and it will break out the debits and credits of every transaction into columns for the accounts that are affected.

In this example (which I split into different lines for viewability), Mr. Teschner made a payment against his customer account. You see the split in the Journal report: Checking account 10100 was debited (increased) by $5,000 and Accounts Receivable account 11000 was credited (decreased) by $5,000.

Example of Journal Report in QuickBooks

You can change the dates on this report to focus on a particular date or date range, or you can click Customize Report / Filters to limit the Journal report’s output to particular accounts you wish to see.

A faster way to pinpoint one particular transaction is to pull up the customer, vendor, employee, etc. in its respective Center.

Let’s say you want to see the implied side of an invoice that posted to a particular customer.

Go the Customer Center and click on the customer you want. You’ll see the customer’s transaction in the right-hand pane.

In this example, let’s say you want to see all the debits and credits associated with invoice 1024, the last transaction in the listing.

You just right-click on that transaction, and select “View Transaction Journal”, like this:

Journal transaction detail

A new window will pop up with the debits and credits for that specific transaction. Here’s the rightmost columns of information in the window:

Viewing the transactions journal in QuickBooks

Nice! This is faster and easier than running the big Journal report and filtering down to this level. You see that the implied side of the transaction is listed first: accounts receivable. That’s the implied side of the invoice transaction.

This is a pretty obvious example. But in cases where you’re not sure what the offsetting debit or credit was, you have ways to find out.

Memory aid
Do you remember to make QuickBooks backups?
The classic problem with backups (Quickbooks or otherwise) is that they don’t get made consistently.

So people are always calling with QuickBooks data corruption and…you guessed it…no good current backups.

So what’s the answer? The solution is to always have backups available that are technically sound, current, and deep.

Deep? Well, sometimes your file gets corrupted, and your last good backup is corrupted too. You can’t just restore your backup, if you’re only “one backup deep”. So you need a number of backups going back in time. If your last backup is bad, perhaps the one created the day before that is OK.

There’s gotta be an easy way to do this, right? A way that you don’t have to think about too much?

These days, backing up your QB data can be easy and automatic. Let’s look at some options.

1. Intuit Data Protect. This plan seems to be replacing QuickBooks Online Backup, although it is only available for QuickBooks 2011 and higher (QuickBooks Online Backup works with earlier versions too.) This fee-based service will automatically backup your QuickBooks files, and other files too, to Intuit’s cloud. It will keep your data around for 45 days. So that’s pretty good “depth”. This plan is included for no extra charge if you have certain Intuit support plans.

2. 3rd Party Online Backup Services. There are a lot of these out there. Global DataVault, iDrive, Carbonite, Mozy, and others compete in the online storage marketplace.

Most of these will automatically sync your hard drive to your online storage account, and backup your files whenever then change. This includes your QuickBooks company data files.

The potential vulnerability here is with one-generational backups. Example: Your company file is getting synced continuously with your online backup account. But then your data gets corrupted. And backed up to your online account. Hmm, where’s a good backup? It’s not online!

The workaround for this is to still make manual backups within QuickBooks. You can configure your preferences in QuickBooks to prompt you every time you exit to make a backup. I would recommend that you do this. Making a backup doesn’t take much time. Then, theoretically, you have an almost limitless number of backup generations if you get in trouble.

These are really the only easy and automatic methods I know of. If you have in-house IT, perhaps you have a way of getting automatically produced server backups off-site and off your server. I’ve talked to too many IT consultants over the years who end up with a crashed RAID and NO good server backups. No good. It might seem scary, but you really want to backup your most important data to the cloud. The scarier alternative is finding yourself with no good current backups at all.

Here’s a neat opportunity: Learn the inventory part of QuickBooks and get a chance to win a free copy of QuickBooks Premier 2012 too.

Our online training seminar, scheduled for March 22, 2012, will help you increase your understanding and confidence with the inventory functions in QuickBooks. Learn to set up items and track inventory activity from purchase orders through sales. Get a handle on the reports that will help you manage your inventory effectively. Find out how to troubleshoot problems in QuickBooks inventory.

At the end of the seminar, we’ll be drawing a name from among those who have registered. The winner will get a free copy of QuickBooks Premier 2012 — a $400 value.

Get details and register here.

We get calls from a lot of people who are setting up QuickBooks for the first time and need some help. How do you find local training and consulting resources?

Fortunately, it’s quite easy. You simply dial up a QuickBooks Pro Advisor by zip code. There’s a good chance that there is a professional QuickBooks consultant near you.

You’ll see a list of consultants in your area. Read their information and the reviews their clients have given them. Pick a few that look good to you and give them a call. Find out their rates and, more importantly, their experience in doing first time set up for QuickBooks newbies. Ask them what their approach would be. Then make an appointment with one you feel comfortable with.

If you are looking for online training with live trainer interaction in an online seminar format, explore the online classes offered through AccountingUsers, Inc.