We all know that certain kinds of assumptions are dangerous, whether in life, relationships, or business. Here are three assumptions that it would risky to make about QuickBooks:

1. Assuming QuickBooks is easy and you can do it all yourself.

A lot of people think that because you can buy a copy of QuickBooks Pro 2012 for under $200, it’s a simple program. The assumption is that inexpensive software is simple to use, and anyone can set it up and operate it. It’s like Quicken for business, right?

That’s not a very good assumption. QuickBooks addresses the most fundamental financial aspects of your business: cash flow, invoicing, payments, inventory, payroll, and indirectly, taxes and credit. You want all that done right.

If you have an experienced bookkeeper or accountant on your staff, you should be in good shape. If not, it’s probably best to find one who can help you set up and maintain a proper set of books in QuickBooks. You can find a find a local QuickBooks ProAdvisor here.
They can scale the level of help you need — it need not be a terribly big budget item for you.

2. Assume that all the numbers are always right.

This goes along a bit with number 1 above. You’ve heard the old data processing chestnut, “Garbage in, garbage out”? That is as true in QuickBooks as it is in any information system. You can plug pretty much any kind of numbers into QuickBooks that you want. Because of that, there is no built-in guarantee of correct financial reporting. There’s always the human factor.

A while ago I was talking with a QuickBooks consultant who had a client with a problem: their books were off in accounts payable by $600,000. That’s a little bit of a problem, eh?

It’s an extreme case. But it illustrates how if the bookkeeping processes aren’t correct, and mistakes are repeated over a long period of time, it can make a mess.

There are online training seminars available to help users master the skills they need to use QuickBooks correctly. Or refer to point 1 above and let a pro take a look at your books and see if there are issues.

3. Assume that your computer, and QuickBooks, will start up every time you want it to.

This is an easy assumption to make — I make it myself every day.

But computers are machines, and software is a kind of logical machine itself, in a way. No machine will work right every time forever.

So every day, some QuickBooks user somewhere turns on their computer and Windows fails to boot. Or the network server RAID drive fails in the middle of the day. Or a QuickBooks company gets corrupted.

THEN what happens? Hopefully, a contingency plan is put into motion that had previously been thought through and prepared. One that involves current backups.

But believe me, a lot of people never think this through in advance.

p.s. I hate to be the cup-half-empty guy, but dealing with empty to half-empty cups is a big part of my job.

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