Here are five keys that can guide you to success using QuickBooks in your business.

1. Setup. If you were having a house built, you wouldn’t just get out there with a hammer and nails and start winging it. You shouldn’t wing it when you set up your books in QuickBooks for the first time, either.

Find an accountant or a QuickBooks expert who can structure your accounts in QuickBooks in a way that will serve you well over the long haul. Like remodeling a house, making major revisions to your QuickBooks company after the fact can be difficult and expensive.

If you are just starting out, QuickBooks Online Edition is easy, affordable, low-maintenance, and has the advantage of being available to you anywhere, anytime. The QuickBooks Online Setup Service can get you started right.

2. Security. QuickBooks touches private individual information like social security numbers, and sensitive financial data like bank accounts, credit cards, and financial statements.

You don’t want any of that to fall into the wrong hands. So make sure that every computer on your network has up-to-date internet security software installed, and use passwords that are adequate.

3. Site. The equipment you use on-site can contribute towards success with QuickBooks.

First, you should have a battery backup on every computer on your network — even computers that don’t run QuickBooks directly. Power blips that occur on other network workstations can affect the QuickBooks data stream being passed across the network.

For maximum network stability, use the same kinds of network cards on all your workstations. They will know how to talk to each other better than a random mix of cards.

4. Supervision. Having only one person with access to QuickBooks is a recipe for potential accounting errors, or worse, fraud and embezzlement.

Having more than one pair of eyes on the books plus an occasional audit greatly reduces the likelihood of bookkeeping crime. And having a regular review can keep the books cleaner.

5. Scale. If you have been using QuickBooks Pro or Premier and your growing business means that you now need more than 5 users accessing QuickBooks at the same time, it’s time to consider scaling up to Enterprise. All of your data will automatically convert up when you first open your company in Enterprise.

You can scale down, too. If you find that Enterprise is more than you need, you can downgrade to Pro or Premier.

I was driving through the grounds of a conference center last week and saw a roadsign: Speed Limit – 11 Miles Per Hour.

I noticed the sign, and so did one of my kids. “Dad, why is the speed limit 11 miles per hour? That’s kinda weird.”

I told her that it was kinda weird, and that was the point. If it had said 10 miles per hour or 15 miles per hour, most people wouldn’t pay attention.

There are some signs in accounting data that should stand out to us too, and make us pay attention:

  • Decreasing net income over comparable prior-year period
  • Decreasing margins on key products or services
  • Steadily decreasing cash
  • Increasing age of receivables
  • Decreasing revenue per employee

There are more. But these should get an owner’s or manager’s attention. Stop, look, and listen to what your financial reports are telling you.

What indicators of financial performance really get your attention?

You’ve been told a LOT of times that the world is a dangerous place, and that you should only use ‘strong’ passwords for your accounting software, your email and social accounts, your online financial accounts…really all your accounts and apps that are supposed to be secure.

So you know what you OUGHT to do, but how do you do it?

You probably already know that you shouldn’t use your name, your address, your birthday, or the word “password”.

Actually, you are not supposed to use any word found in the dictionary.

Many experts advise you to use a nonsense string of upper and lower case letters, numbers, and special characters. One expert advised to use a longish phrase or line from a memorable book, movie, or song.

If you want to check out the quality or strength of your password, go to the free and secure Microsoft password evaluator and let it pass judgment on a password you use or are considering using. Very handy.

Posted in IT.

Some things in business improve over time, and others seem stuck.

In 1876, Alexander Graham Bell tested the first working telephone with the words, “Mr. Watson, come here. I want to see you.”

If he had instead said, “Mr. Watson, come here. The answer is found!” then Watson would have replied, “The answer is sound? Yes, I hear it!” And Bell would have said, “No, no! Found! Found! F as in Frank!”

Which is what people still say in 2010 when they talk on the phone. You place an order over the phone. The rep asks you, “Is that F as in Frank?” “No, it’s S as in Sam”. “F” and “S” sounds are hard to differentiate over the phone even today.

You would think that after more than a century and billions of implementations, the telecommunication industry would have figured out how to make us intelligible to one another. But no. Smartphones are amazingly powerful, but how about some clear speech for our business phone calls?

Today there are a few centuries-old business practices/hassles that just might have taken a turn for the better with QuickBooks 2010:

* Filing documents. QuickBooks 2010 has an optional digital document management option. Scan and shred instead of file and store. There are 3rd party solutions for this too. Not only do you save storage space, but the digitized documents (invoices, for example) can be accessed within QuickBooks. That saves a lot of time on the retrieval side later on.

* Going to the bank to make deposits. The online check deposit option lets you scan and upload your checks for deposit instead of having to make a run to the bank. Saves time, gas, hassle. Brilliant!

* Making copies and taking them offsite. I have no idea how bookkeepers 100 years ago would deal with the possibility of the company books being destroyed by fire, etc. Maybe they would periodically make hand copies and take them offsite? Maybe not. In 2010, the online backup service offered by Intuit and 3rd party vendors makes it easy and efficient to safeguard the books in case something goes wrong.

The Intuit Workplace App Center adds even more problem-solving options to QuickBooks 2010.

Do you think QB 2010 makes a significant jump in office productivity? Are there other longstanding business problems you can think of that QuickBooks is addressing now?

What do these classic (’70s!) TV commercials have in common? And what do they have to do with QuickBooks?

Easy! It’s best when the customer decides what they want — and get it.

Sometimes folks using Enterprise decide that it’s a little more than they need.

No problem. We can take your Enterprise file and downgrade it to QuickBooks Pro or Premier. No data lost, no hassle.

Let us know if we can help with that. The customer is always right, right?

Want some good DIY problem-solving for QuickBooks? Google’s mission is to organize the world’s information, and with their new interface there are several new ways to slice and dice the web’s information about QuickBooks.

Let’s say you are interested in exploring what options there are for check printing in QuickBooks:

The list on the left shows how you can subdivide your results.

Shopping for QuickBooks or related accessories? Click the Shopping link on the left.

Want some free video training tools? Click on Video and it will pull up YouTube and other content.

Want to know what’s being said real-time about QuickBooks? Search on QuickBooks and then click Updates and you’ll see the Twitter timeline. You don’t have to have a Twitter account to access it.

One not-so-new, but still valuable Google trick for finding DIY QuickBooks support is using the site: prefix in your search. Use site: at the beginning of your search to concentrate your search in an answer-rich environment. Searching within, and works great.


Anybody else have a tip for using Google to find what you need for QuickBooks?