Using a Vehicle for Business: Q&A

IRS rules and exceptions abound, but there are some questions we can answer simply.

Next to your home, your car is probably the most expensive investment you make. And the costs of paying for and maintaining it can be considerable. Can you recoup some of your investment by claiming vehicle expenses on your tax return, it also depends where you have purchased the car since many people do car deals and the car is not in the best condition

 

Sometimes. The IRS has many restrictions on the business use of a vehicle, and those restrictions have many exceptions. Better to know these upfront than to have to correct a tax return after you’ve filed it. 

Here are some questions and answers that may help you decide whether you’re eligible.

How does the IRS identify a “vehicle”?
A car, van, pickup, or panel truck.

What are transportation expenses?
These are “ordinary and necessary expenses” incurred when you, for example:

  • Visit customers,
  • Attend a business meeting held at a location other than your regular workplace, or
  • Go from home to a temporary workplace that is not your company’s principal location.

The daily commute to and from your regular office is not deductible. The IRS considers this personal commuting expenses.

What if I’m on an overnight business trip away from home?
The IRS considers these travel expenses, and they’re reported differently. Your car expense deduction, though, is calculated the same way in both situations.

What if I use my car for both business and personal purposes?
You’ll calculate the expenses incurred for each by determining how many miles you drive for business and how many you drive for personal reasons.

I work in a home office. Can I deduct any driving expenses?
Yes, you can deduct the cost of driving to “another work location in the same trade or business.”

How do I calculate my deductible expenses?
There are two options. Using the standard mileage rate, you can claim 54 cents per mile (2016 tax year figure). You are required to use this method for the first year you use the vehicle for business purposes. After that initial year, you can choose between the standard mileage rate and actual car expenses. These include depreciation, oil and gas, insurance, and repairs.

Depreciation? Isn’t that difficult to calculate?
Yes, especially for cars. If you plan to take this kind of deduction, please let us handle your tax preparation for you. Depreciation is very, very complex, and sometimes requires more than one calculation method.

Can I take a Section 179 deduction for my vehicle?
Possibly, if you use the car for business more than 50 percent of the time — and only for the first year.

What kind of vehicle expense records do I need to maintain?
You know the drill here. If the IRS ever wants to examine your return, it will expect evidence like receipts, cancelled checks, and credit card statements. You’ll need to document the date and location where you incurred the expense. You’ll need accurate mileage records (milesdriven, purpose of trip, etc.).

These requirements scream for some kind of organized computer log or written diary, along with a safe place for any paper receipts, bills, etc. There are numerous mobile apps that can help you with this task. We can steer you in the right direction.

If you’re planning to deduct car expenses, it’s important that you keep careful paper or electronic records.

Where will I be reporting transportation expenses?
If you are self-employed, you will report business-related vehicle expenses on Schedule C or Schedule C-EZ (Form 1040). Farmers should use Schedule F (Form 1040). You’ll also want to complete a Form 4562, which is used to report depreciation and the Section 179 deduction.

If you cause a wreck in your personal vehicle, you are liable for your damages and the other party or parties’ damages.

However, if you were driving as part of a work-related task at the time of the accident, your employer might also have liability. That does not take away your liability, however.

After any car accident, no matter who is at fault and whether you were driving for work or personal business, you should speak with an attorney. A car accident lawyer can advise you of your rights, help shield you from liability, and work with you to pursue compensation for your damages; Even if you were driving under the influence of just a few or several substances.

When Is My Employer Liable for My Car Accident Damages?

Under certain circumstances, your employer has vicarious liability for your actions behind the wheel, meaning that if you cause damages to another person or property, whether you were negligent or not, your employer may be liable alongside you.

The circumstances under which your employer could have vicarious liability for your car accident damage are as follows:

  • You were on the job and onthe clock when the accident occurred.
  • You were driving as part of a work-related task.
  • You were driving tocarry out a task your boss or employer asked you to do.
  • You took part in an activityfrom which your employer stood to benefit.

In other words, if you were on the clock, completing an activity that your employer asked you to do, then your employer probably has vicarious liability for your car accident.

Not only that, but your employer could be liable for your injuries — even if the car accident were your fault. If you sustain injuries doing anything work-related, you might be able to file a workers’ compensation claim and pursue damages from your employer. Your attorney can review your situation and offer advice on this process.

Maintaining accurate records for car and truck expenses is time consuming and detail intensive. And that’s once you understand all of the IRS’s rules and exceptions surrounding this deduction. To avoid having to fix completed tax documents that the IRS has questioned, talk to us before you put a vehicle into business use. We’ll be happy to evaluate your transportation situation and guide you through the process.

…from the Team of Professional at RE-MMAP We are just a click or call away. www.re-mmap.com and phone # (561-623-0241).

Stock images courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Setting Up User Access in QuickBooks

Will multiple employees be working with your QuickBooks company file? You’ll need to define their permission levels.

If you ever did your bookkeeping manually, you probably didn’t allow every employee to see every sales form and account register and payroll stub. Most likely, you established a system that allowed staff to work only with information that related to their jobs. Even so, there may have been times when, for example, someone pulled the wrong file folder or was sent a report that he or she shouldn’t have seen.

QuickBooks helps prevent this by setting virtual boundaries. You can specify which features of the software can be accessed by employees who work with your accounting data. Each employee receives a unique username and password that unlocks only the areas he or she should be visiting.

To help minimize errors, maintain data integrity, and preserve confidentiality, QuickBooks lets you restrict users to designated areas in the software.

Here’s how you as the Administrator can define these roles. Open the Company menu and select Set Up Users and Passwords | Set Up Users. The User List window opens. You should see yourself signed up as the Admin. Click Add User and enter a User Name and Password for the employee you’re adding. Confirm the Password and check the box in front of Add this user to my QuickBooks license. Click Next.

Note: You can have as many as five people working in your QuickBooks company file at the same time, depending on how many user licenses you’ve purchased. Not sure? Press F2 and look in the upper left corner. If you need more than five user licenses, talk to us about upgrading to QuickBooks Enterprise Solutions.

In the next window that opens (see above screen), you’ll be given three options. Probably you’ll most often select the second option, which lets you specify the screens this user can see and what he or she can do there. The first-All areas of QuickBooks-would seldom be granted. And the third allows us to come in and do whatever tasks have been outlined in our work relationship (troubleshooting, monitoring, creating and analyzing reports, etc.).

Click the button in front of Selected areas of QuickBooks and then Next. You’ll see the first in a series of screens that deal with the software’s functional areas: Sales and Accounts Receivable, Purchases and Accounts Payable, Checking and Credit Cards, Inventory, Time Tracking, Payroll and Employees, Sensitive Accounting Activities (funds transfers, online banking, etc.), Sensitive Financial Reporting, and Changing or Deleting Transactions.

When you give employees Selective Access in a particular area, you can further define their roles there.

The Sales and Accounts Receivable screen is a good example. You can see the options offered in the above image. By clicking on the buttons pictured, you’re giving this employee permission to both create and print transactions. Below these options, you’ll be able to keep him or her from seeing customers’ credit card numbers in their entirety by clicking in the small box. When you’re finished, click Next.

Keep clicking Next and proceed through the rest of the screens. Your choices will be similar on each. But be sure to read all of the descriptive text very carefully. Keep in mind the importance of confidentiality issues and security as you go along.

The ninth screen, Changing or Deleting Transactions, deserves special attention. First, should this employee be able to change or delete transactions in his or her assigned area(s)? Even though you trusted these employees to work with finances when you hired them, consider this question carefully. Depending on the volume of transactions processed every day, you may want to reserve this ability for yourself.

We may or may not have established and password-protected a Closing Date for your company file. This is the date when the books for a specific time frame have been “closed,” meaning that transactions should not be entered, added, or deleted prior to it. We can talk with you about the pros and cons of such an action.

A summary of user access rights

Here and on every other screen in this multi-step wizard, you can always click the Back button if you want to return to a previous window. When you’re finished, you’ll see a screen like the one in the above image that summarizes the choices you have just made.

If you’re feeling any uncertainty or confusion about the whole issue of access rights, we’ll be happy to go over your options with you. These are important decisions. You’ll want to stress to your employees that restricting their permissions does not signal a lack of your trust in them. Rather, QuickBooks provides these tools to protect everyone who uses the software as well as any external individuals and companies that might be affected.

…from the Team of Professional at RE-MMAP We are just a click or call away. www.re-mmap.com and phone # (561-623-0241).

Using Sales Receipts: The When and How

Some types of businesses always use sales receipts. Some use them occasionally. Here’s what you need to know about them.

How do you let your customers know how much they owe you, and for what products or services? In these days of ecommerce and merchant accounts, your customers may provide a credit card number over the phone or on a website. Or perhaps you send invoices after a sale and receive checks or account numbers in the mail. QuickBooks can help you both create the invoices and record the payments.

There’s another type of sales document that you can use in certain situations: the sales receipt. You’d probably be most likely to use one of these when customers pay you in full for products or services at the same time they receive them.

If you receive full payment for a product or service at the same time the customer receives it, you should use a sales receipt.

Completing a sales receipt is similar to filling out an invoice or purchase order. Click Create Sales Receipts on QuickBooks’ home page or open the Customers menu and select Enter Sales Receipts. A screen like the one above will open.

Choose a Customer from the drop-down list and a Class (if applicable). If you have created more than one Template (more on that later), make sure that the correct one appears in the field. Verify that the appropriate Date and Sale No. read as they should. Click on the type of payment you’re receiving, and enter the check or credit card number where necessary (a small window will open for the latter).

Note: If you are working with a type of payment that does not appear in the four icons, click on the arrow below More to add it.

Now you’re ready to select the products or services you sold by clicking on the arrow in the field under Item to open the available list (if you have not created a record for what you’re selling, select <Add New> and complete the fields in the New Item window that opens). Enter the quantity (Qty.). The Rate, Amount, and Tax fields should fill in automatically, based on the information you entered when you create the item’s record.

When you’ve entered all of the items that the customer is paying you for, you can choose which Customer Message will appear on the sales receipt (you can see your options in the drop-down list found in the lower left corner of the screen). Anything you enter in the Memo field will be for your internal use only; it will not appear on the printed or emailed sales receipt.

Click Save & Close or Save & New.

Customizing Sales Receipts

 

QuickBooks provides tools for customizing forms, including sales receipts.

QuickBooks’ forms contain the fields most often used by small businesses. But you can alter them in numerous ways to meet your company’s needs. To customize a sales receipt, open the Sales Receipt window and click on the Formatting menu. Select Manage Templates.

You’ll want to make a copy of the original sales receipt so that the original will always be available. Click the Copy button in the lower left. “Copy of Custom Sales Receipt” appears in the list of templates. In the Preview pane on the right, click in the field next to Template Name and replace the existing name with a new, more descriptive one if you’d like. Click OK.

The Basic Customization window opens. Click on Additional Customization at the bottom of the screen. You’ll see a window like the one in the image above. Click the Columns tab. The list on the left displays all of the columns that can be included in the body of your sales receipt.

Click in the boxes below Screen and Print to indicate which columns should display on your QuickBooks screen and which should appear on the customer’s copy. The numbers in the Order column can be changed to reflect which column will come first, second, etc.

Numerous Options

There’s a lot more you can do to customize your QuickBooks forms. And there are other situations where you might want to issue a sales receipt. We’ve only been able to touch on both topics here, but would be happy to schedule time with you to explore these elements of QuickBooks.

…from the Team of Professional at RE-MMAP We are just a click or call away. www.re-mmap.com and phone # (561-623-0241).

Better Budgeting Using QuickBooks Online Plus

Everyone groans when budget time rolls around. QuickBooks Online Plus offers tools that simplify the process.

Budget. The word evokes a sense of dread in most small business managers’ minds. Large corporations have entire teams of accountants Gympie that work on this critical element of financial planning. You, on the other hand, must go it alone – or with the assistance of an external company, such as Phoenix Accountants and Advisors, or with the help of other staff if your company is big enough.

Why is this chore so difficult? Several reasons. The biggest stumbling block is probably the sense of uncertainty. How do you know what your income and expenses will be for the coming year?

QuickBooks Online Plus can’t tell you how to plan the next year in terms of numbers, but its tools can make the mechanics of building a budget easier.

Your Fiscal Year Start

Finding the start of your fiscal year in QuickBooks Online Plus

Do you know exactly when your fiscal year starts? You’ll need this information before you can get started on your budget and there is no better place to get it that from professional financial advisor services. Click the gear icon in the upper right next to your company name, and then select Account and Settings | Advanced. The first entry here tells you what the First month of fiscal year is.

Creating a Framework

To get started building your budget, click the gear icon again and select Tools | Budgeting. Click New Budget to open the mini-interview wizard (if it didn’t open automatically). QuickBooks Online Plus creates what are called Profit and Loss Budgets. This kind of budget tracks the numbers in your income and expense accounts.
There are three ways to create one, as you’ll see when you click Next on the first page of the interview. You can:

  • Work from historical amounts by copying last year’s data into the spreadsheet,
  • Start from scratch, or
  • Copy data from an existing budget.
You can choose from these three options to create your budget in QuickBooks Online Plus.

Click in the button in front of No amounts. Create budget from scratch, and then click Next. QuickBooks Online Plus’s budgets consist of a table divided into months (columns) and accounts (rows). You can break this down into even greater detail by subdividing your budget and tracking accounts separated by Territories, Classes, or Customers if this kind of information is important to you. For now, click the button in front of Don’t subdivide.

When you click Next, you’ll be asked to select the fiscal year for your budget. Click the down arrow to the right of Select fiscal year and choose the appropriate year. Type an easy-to-remember name for your budget in the box below and click Finish. The mini-interview will close, and your budget spreadsheet will open.

Entering the Numbers

QuickBooks Online Plus defaults to a monthly view when you first open it, but you can change this at any time to Quarter or Year by clicking the arrow in the field next to View by in the upper right corner.

If you had copied income and expense data from the previous year, or from an existing budget, those numbers would appear in the corresponding cells and could be changed to create a new budget. You opted to start from scratch, so the table is empty. You can just start entering individual numbers – not within the spreadsheet cells themselves, though.

Look down to the bottom left corner of the screen. If you’ve highlighted Discounts given, for example, by clicking on that label in the spreadsheet column, you’ll see a line directly below that last row that reads Edit – Discounts given.

This area is where you’ll do your actual data entry. If the drop-down list to the right of Enter by is set to Month, you’ll see 12 boxes below labeled with the months of the year. If you anticipate that every month will contain a different figure, enter the numbers in the correct boxes and click Save & Next. QuickBooks Online Plus will copy your numbers into the actual budget spreadsheet.

If the number will remain the same for each month, you can enter it in the Jan box and click Copy Across, then Save & Next (click this button after every row change). Your cells for that account will be automatically populated.

Entering quarterly budget data

If you think more in terms of quarterly income and expenses, you can highlight the correct account and select Quarter from the drop-down box next to Enter by (see above image). Fill in your quarterly totals, and QuickBooks Online Plus will divide those evenly between each set of three-month periods. The result would look like this:

QuickBooks Online Plus can divide quarterly totals into monthly budget numbers.

And of course, if you select Enter by: Year, you’ll only enter one number that QuickBooks Online Plus will divide evenly into 12 months.

When you’re done with your budget, click Finish.

This is a lot of information to absorb all at once, and we imagine you may have some questions on budget projections and on the actual mechanics of creating a budget using QuickBooks Online Plus. As always, we’re happy to hear from you.

.…from the Team of Professional at RE-MMAP We are just a click or call away. www.re-mmap.com and phone # (561-623-0241).

The Rental Route

Buy or lease? It’s a decision many small businesses face. Owning real estate certainly can have advantages, including the opportunity to build equity. But many small businesses in need of space choose the rental route instead.

Cash Flow Considerations

By leasing, a company can avoid taking on debt to acquire a property. Less debt on the balance sheet may allow the company to finance other things, such as receivables or inventory and equipment purchases. And the upfront cash commitment needed to enter a lease agreement may be much lower than the down payment required for a property purchase.

Shopping Tips

If your business is looking around for the right rental location, here are a few suggestions to keep in mind. Not all of these tips are appropriate for all businesses, but some may help you get a lead on a good spot — and a good deal.

    • Find an eager landlord. Rental spots that have been on the market for a while could have some negative features, but they may be worth a look. If you find a location that suits you, you might also find a landlord who is anxious to negotiate.
    • Think about the term. A long­term lease locks in your rental rate — and that can be an advantage if you expect the market to trend upward. But leasing for short periods is often less expensive than leasing for longer periods. If your business is in its formative years, significant changes may lie ahead, so a short-­term arrangement could be more practical, too. Adding an “option to renew” clause can help keep your costs down and your options open.
    • Divide and conquer. Could you make do with two smaller spaces instead of one large space? The more flexible you can be, the better your chances of finding a good deal.
    • Check rental comps. Commercial property markets can be very localized. Rents may vary considerably between one locality and another just a few miles away. Unless you’re limited to a specific location, compare rates in several areas.

…from the Team of Professional at RE-MMAP We are just a click or call away. www.re-mmap.com and phone # (561-623-0241).

 

Protecting Your Company’s S Corporation Election

Like many business owners, you may have structured your business as an S corporation because of the tax benefits it offers. An S corporation provides the same limited liability as a traditional C corporation, but it generally avoids the double taxation associated with a C corporation. You and the other shareholders (if any) pay income taxes on corporate income directly.

Once you have an S election in place, it’s important to make sure you avoid taking any action that would put the election in jeopardy. Your corporation’s failure to meet certain tax law requirements on an ongoing basis could result in the IRS’s termination of its S corporation status.

Ownership.
An S corporation generally may not have a corporate shareholder. (Exception: An S corporation may be wholly owned by another S corporation.) All shareholders generally must be individuals, estates, certain trusts, or tax­exempt 501(c) (3) charitable organizations. However, a partnership may hold S corporation stock as a nominee for an eligible shareholder. Nonresident aliens may not be shareholders.

Number of shareholders.
An S corporation may not have more than 100 shareholders. For purposes of this limit, a husband and wife are treated as one shareholder, as are certain other related individuals.

Stock.
An S corporation may have only one class of stock. Generally, a corporation is treated as having only one class of stock if all outstanding shares of the corporation’s stock confer identical rights to distribution and liquidation proceeds.

…from the Team of Professional at RE-MMAP We are just a click or call away. www.re-mmap.com and phone # (561-623-0241).

Lock In Those Business Deductions

If you run a small business, you already know of the importance behind business accounting services. The last thing you need is for the IRS to question any of your business expense deductions. But it could happen. And that’s why having records that prove your expenses is so important. Even deductions for routine business expenses could be disallowed if you don’t have appropriate records.

What Records Are Required?

Except in a few instances, the tax law does not require any special kind of records. You’re free to have a recordkeeping system that is suited to your business, as long as it clearly shows your expenses, I suggest working with the ACT Group as both accounting management and financial consulting. In addition to books that allow you to track and summarize your business transactions, you should keep supporting documents, such as:

  • Canceled checks
  • Cash register receipts
  • Credit card sales slips
  • Invoices
  • Account statements

The rules are stricter for travel, entertainment, and transportation expenses. You should retain hotel bills or other documentary evidence (e.g., receipts, canceled checks) for each lodging expense and for any other expense of $75 or more. In addition, you should maintain a diary, log, or account book with the information described below.

Travel. Your records should show the cost of each separate expense for travel, lodging, and meals. For each trip, record your destination, the dates you left and returned, and the number of days spent on business.Also record the business purpose for the expense or the business benefit you gained or expected to gain. Incidental expenses, such as taxi fares, may be totaled in reasonable categories.

Entertainment. Record the date the entertainment took place and the amount of each separate expense, along with the name and address or location of the place of entertainment. Note the business purpose for the expense or the business benefit you gained or expected to gain and the nature of any business discussion or activity that took place. Also list the identities and occupations of the individuals you were entertaining or other information that indicates their business relationship to you.

If the entertainment was directly before or after a business discussion, be sure to indicate the date, place, nature, and duration of the discussion and the individuals who took part in both the discussion and the entertainment activity. For a business meal, you must prove that either you or your employee was present.

Transportation. As with travel and entertainment, you should record the amount and date of each separate expense. Note your business destination and the business purpose for the expense. If you are deducting actual car expenses, you’ll need to record the cost of the car and the date you started using it for business (for depreciation purposes). If you drive the car for both business and personal purposes or claim the standard mileage rate, keep records of the mileage for each business use and the total miles driven during the year.

Don’t Mix Business and Personal Expenses
Things can get tangled if you intermingle business and personal expenses. You can avoid headaches by having a separate business bank account and credit card.

One more thing you should consider is commercial business insurance that can take care of property, liability and workers’ compensation. Check out https://www.hightowerrisk.com/ for exclusive insurance programs.

…from the Team of Professional at RE-MMAP We are just a click or call away. www.re-mmap.com and phone # (561-623-0241).
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Tax­-smart Ways To Take Cash Out of Your Corporation

Owners of closely held C corporations are often interested in withdrawing profits from their companies in ways that minimize taxes thanks to the financial advisor help they receive. What are the options?

Pay Salary/Bonus.
If the owner is a company employee, taking more salary or a year­end bonus is an option, as long as the total amount of compensation the owner receives is reasonable. The company deducts the payments as a business expense; the owner is taxed on the money. The “cost” of this option depends on the corporation’s and the owner’s tax rates. Payroll taxes are an added expense.

Pay Family Members.
Reasonable amounts paid to an owner’s family members for services actually rendered to the company are deductible by the corporation and are taxable at the family members’ own tax rates. Often, these rates are much lower than the owner’s. Pay a Dividend. Dividends the company pays out will, in effect, be taxed twice — once at the corporate level (dividends are nondeductible) and once to the owner personally. No payroll taxes will be due. With the individual tax rate on qualifying dividends currently capped at 20% for taxpayers in the 39.6% regular bracket (and 15% for most other taxpayers), this option may have more appeal.

Utilize Fringe Benefits.
Certain fringe benefits are deductible by the corporation but not includible in the owner’s gross income. Examples include qualifying group life insurance, health care benefits, and disability insurance. (Most fringes must be provided on a nondiscriminatory basis to other company employees.) To the extent an owner is paying for these items individually, having the company pay for them increases the cash available to the owner.

Take a Loan.
If an owner borrows money from the corporation, the owner is not taxed on the loan amount. The loan must be a legitimate debt, with proper documentation and timely interest and principal payments. How myinstantoffer.com works is a useful resource in this respect.

Lease Assets to the Company.
An owner might consider leasing property to the corporation. The company deducts the lease payments; the owner includes the amounts received in income and deducts expenses associated with the rental activity.

Check for possible thefts
Finally, hire an expert from Identity Theft Orlando to ensure that everything is alright and under the law.

…from the Team of Professional at RE-MMAP We are just a click or call away. www.re-mmap.com and phone # (561-623-0241).

Understanding Background Check Laws

As a business owner, it is normal to want to know as much as you can about a potential employee. That’s where background checks come into play, but before you dive in, you need to have a firm understanding of the laws (possibly through the help of an Overland Park Criminal Lawyer) that surround background checks to ensure you are in complete compliance.

Before you even begin, keep in mind that regardless of how you obtain information about an employee, you must still comply with federal laws put in place to protect prospective and current employees from discrimination. As an employer, you cannot discriminate in your hiring practices for reasons of national origin, religion, race, disability, color, family medical history, or for age over the age of forty, and you cannot collect information due solely to one of these factors.

Before you get any background information, you need to notify the employee that you are doing so, and that this information can or will be used to make employment decisions. When obtaining an investigative report, meaning using interviews with family members and associates, you must inform the prospective employee that they have the right to ask for a description of the investigation that lays out the nature and scope. However, snooping on a higher level and on VIPs would always result in a futile outcome because agencies like Los Angeles executive protection company are hired to keep all data confidential, and also to protect the one who hires these agencies.

In addition, you will need to obtain the employee’s or applicant’s written permission to perform a background check. Finally, you must certify to the vendor that will perform the background check that you have received said permission and have notified the prospective employee.

If you receive a negative background check for an applicant or employee, you must notify them in writing or verbally that any adverse action you take is a result of the information received.

Finally, any background information gathered must be retained for no less than one year. Once the year is up, the information can be disposed of in a secure manner including shredding, burning, or removing digital information so it cannot be reconstructed.
Background checks are an integral part of the hiring process. As long as you understand and follow all laws and regulations, you and your business should be well protected.

If you are interested in a personal background check for your records, apply here today.

…from the Team of Professional at RE-MMAP We are just a click or call away. www.re-mmap.com and phone # (561-623-0241).

Make QuickBooks Your Own: Specify Your Preferences

Your business is unique. Make sure that QuickBooks knows how you operate.

QuickBooks was designed to be used by millions of businesses. In fact, it’s possible to install it, answer a few questions about your company, and start working right away.
However, we strongly suggest you take the time to specify yourPreferences. QuickBooks devotes a whole screen to this customization process. You can find it by opening the Edit menu and selectingPreferences.

This is the screen you’ll see when you go to Edit | Preferences in QuickBooks. You can turn features off and on, and customize the software in numerous other ways.

Let’s look at some examples of what you can do on this page. In the image above, Accounting is highlighted. You can see that QuickBooks makes it easy for you to specify your preferences. You simply click in boxes to check or uncheck them. Sometimes, you’ll click on the desired button in front of a list item. Other times, you’ll be asked to enter numbers and text.

Tip: When you click on a tab in the left navigation pane of the Preferences window, you’ll notice that there are two tabs in the larger pane on the right. If My Preferences is highlighted and there are no options on that screen, click on Company Preferences.

Some of the screens here, like Accounting, contain complex concepts. Do you know, for example, why you would or wouldn’t want to Use account numbers? What Retained Earnings are?

Warning: While the mechanics of this process are simple, there may be times when you don’t understand what’s being asked because you’re either not familiar with the terms  or you don’t know which option you should choose. Rather than guessing, please connect with us to set up a to go over all of the content in the Preferences window.

Some preferences are easier to define. Let’s look at one of these.

The Time & Expenses window in QuickBooks’ Preferences

The image above is a partial snapshot of the screen that opens when you select Time & Expenses from the left vertical tab in the Preferences window.

Tip: If you start making changes and decide you’d like to return to the options selected before you started, click the Default tab in the upper right.

Your options here are very simple:

  • Do you want to use the time-tracking features in QuickBooks?
  • On what day does your work week start?
  • Does all of the employee time worked and recorded get billed back to the appropriate customer? (You can change this manually on each time entry by checking or unchecking the box in front of Billable.)

When you create an invoice for a customer who has outstanding time charges, do you want to be able to select those from a list?

If you check the box in front of Create invoices from a list of time and expenses, this box will appear when you open the Create Invoices window and select a customer who needs to be billed for time:

If you are creating an invoice for a customer who has received services but who has not been billed for them yet, you can opt to have those charges added to the invoice.

You’ll notice that there’s a box in the lower left corner labeled Save this as a preference. While QuickBooks allows you to specify preferences in countless areas in the Preferences window, you will often have the opportunity to make an exception for a particular action as you’re working on transactions. Also, as shown here, you can sometimes turn on specific preferences once you’ve already started a task.

You’re not required to go through all of the entries in the Preferences window before you start working. You can always go there to see if there’s a setting you can change if an element of QuickBooks isn’t performing the way you expected.

But we think it’s a good idea to learn about all of your options in the software before you get started. If you let us go through this process with you, you’ll learn not only about the customization allowed, but you’ll also get a good introduction to all of the things that QuickBooks can do. You’ll also discover where your knowledge of accounting may be lacking. And we’ll learn more about your business and its needs. Contact us and we’ll help you get going.

…from the Team of Professional at RE-MMAP We are just a click or call away. www.re-mmap.com and phone # (561-623-0241).