How to Create and Use Vendor Records in QuickBooks Online

Keeping your supplies coming in may be difficult right now. Be sure you know your vendors and track their records carefully.

Your company counts on its supply chains to keep operations running smoothly. When it falters, you can have trouble creating and shipping products. Problems may even crop up that have a negative effect on your internal business needs.

We don’t have to tell you that COVID-19 has interrupted supply chains. The pandemic has been catastrophic for many small businesses because of this, and because income has been suddenly and sharply reduced. Some financial help is available, and we hope you’re able to take advantage of it during these extraordinarily difficult times.

It’s perhaps more important than ever to carefully track your income and expenses, and we hope you’re using QuickBooks to do so. Among the software’s financial management tools is the ability to maintain thorough records of those vendors that make up your supply chain. Let’s take a look at how this works.

Creating Vendor Records

We’ll go through the steps for creating vendor records, though you may have at least started on these already. Hover your mouse over Expenses in the toolbar and select Vendors. If you’ve already added some, you’ll see them in a list. To create a new one, click New Vendor in the upper right. Most of the form is easy to complete; it’s primarily contact information.

There are a few fields, though, that need special attention. These are:

  • Cost rate/hr and Billing rate/hr. These help you track time costs for your projects. Don’t enter anything here if you pay vendors via bills or expenses.
  • Terms. Due on receipt? 15 days? 30 days?
  • Account no. and Business ID No. You should have these on file.
  • Track payments for 1099. Put a check in this box for any 1099 contractors.

When you’re done, click Save. This vendor will now appear in your list.

Taking Action

QuickBooks Tips

You can take a number of actions from QuickBooks’ Vendors screen.

You can do a lot of your work directly from QuickBooks’ Vendors page. This screen displays a list of all of your vendors, along with columns for their PhoneEmail, and Open Balance. At the end of each row is an Action column. The link there reads either Create bill or Make payment, depending on whether there is an outstanding balance.

Click on the down arrow in that column to open a list of additional options. If there is a zero balance, you can Create expenseWrite checkCreate purchase order, or Make inactive. If money is due, your options are to Create bill or Create expense. Icons in the upper right allow you to print the list, export it to Excel, or change the column settings.

Collecting Your Billables

Before we look at vendor records in QuickBooks, we’d like you to check a couple of settings to make sure you’re billing your customers for every expense they incur with you. Click the gear icon in the upper right corner and select Your Company | Account and Settings, then click on Expense. Among others, you’ll see these options:

QuickBooks Tips

If you incur expenses on behalf of customers, be sure you will be reimbursed for them by adding a Billable column on expense and purchase forms.

To add a Customer column to expense and purchase forms, click in the first box pictured in the image above. To Make expenses and items billable, click in the second box and add a default markup rate if you want. Do you want to Track billable expenses and items as income? If you’re not sure, ask us. And if you’ve set up sales tax in QuickBooks and want to add that to billable items, check that box, too. When you’ve finished with these and the other questions under Bills and expenses, click Save.

Now is the time to focus on the importance of cash flow and vendor relationships by maintaining good vendor payable records. You want to keep your relationships with your suppliers in good status. If you’re having trouble tracking cash flow or dealing with any other element of your accounting (or QuickBooks itself), please do contact us. We want to support you through this difficult period as much as we can.

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The Vendors page in QuickBooks can show you quickly where you have open balances. Be sure you’re tracking those carefully these days. Find out how here.

How to Use Rules in QuickBooks Online Transactions

Maintaining your transaction registers conscientiously leads to a clearer understanding of your finances.

Last month, we talked about the types of best practices that can lead to more effective use of QuickBooks Online and, ultimately, more thorough knowledge of your finances. The first one was this: Go through your new transactions every day. Categorizing and otherwise expanding on the data brought in by your financial institutions really pays off when it comes to customer billing, reports, and taxes.

Granted, this habit will add time to your daily accounting chores. But there’s a tool on the site that can greatly accelerate this process: Rules. This feature must be used with care to avoid mischaracterizing or, worse, losing track of critical transactions. Here’s how it works.

Creating Rules

There are two ways to create Rules. The easiest is to start with an existing transaction. Hover over Banking in the left vertical pane and select Banking to open your transaction list. Be sure that you’re looking at transactions that are still For review, as these are the only ones that can be assigned to Rules.

Click on a transaction to open its expanded view. At the bottom of the small window that just opened, click on Create rule from this transaction. A screen like this will open:

QuickBooks tips

QuickBooks Online’s Rules feature allows you to automatically document transactions that meet certain conditions.

Let’s say you own a lawn and garden maintenance company. You always order supplies from the same vendor, so there are numerous transactions every month. You want QuickBooks Online to automatically categorize and clear transactions under $250; above that, and you’d want to see them individually.

You’d start by naming the rule, designating it as Money out or Money in, and choosing an account (or leaving this option set at All bank accounts). Next, tell QuickBooks Online whether the conditions you’re about to establish should apply to all or How to Use Rules in QuickBooks Online Transactions. That is, if you’re setting multiple conditions, is it all right if just one meets the criteria, or must they all?

Below that, you’d specify the actual conditions that must be present for QuickBooks Online to handle similar transactions in the same way. In our example pictured above:

The transaction [Description] [is exactly] Lawn and Garden Supply LLC, and, The [Amount] [is less than] $250.

So, any transaction that comes into QuickBooks Online from your bank that has Lawn and Garden Supply LLC in the Description field and which is for less than $250 will be treated similarly. There are other options for the first two fields; you’ll find them by clicking the down arrow.

Now you have to tell QuickBooks Online what to do with the transactions that meet those criteria. Farther down on this screen, you’ll see these options:

QuickBooks tips

QuickBooks Online will handle the transactions that meet the conditions you set by completing these fields.

Using the drop-down lists of options, you’ll select the Transaction TypePayeeCategory, and Class (if you use them). Every time a transaction comes in that meets the conditions you defined above, QuickBooks Online will apply these options.

Finally, you’ll have to choose from two different ways of processing these matching transactions. You can have QuickBooks Online Auto-categorize and auto-add, in which case the transactions will be automatically processed and moved out of the For review queue. In our example, we chose this so we didn’t have to work with transactions of less than $250; we only wanted to see more expensive purchases. If we had wanted QuickBooks Online to fill in those fields but still show us the transactions, we would have clicked in front of Auto-categorize and manually review. Clicking Save would move this Rule into a list that could be accessed by clicking Banking | Rules, where you can Edit or Delete them.

Complicated Stuff

To recap, because of the Rule that was created here, any transaction in which the Description reads Lawn and Garden Supply LLC and which is for less than $250 will now be auto-completed and moved out of For Review. Any transaction for over that amount will remain in the queue for approval.

QuickBooks Online’s Rules can save time if you have a large volume of similar transactions. But if they’re not created with absolute accuracy, you risk mischaracterizing or missing transactions you should have reviewed before adding them to the Reviewed queue. We’d be happy to help here to ensure that that doesn’t happen, so that you can take full advantage of the helpful Rules feature.

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To save time when reviewing QuickBooks Online banking transactions, you can apply automated Rules. Here’s how to get started. We can help you with this.

Did you know that QuickBooks Online’s Rules feature allows you to automatically categorize banking transactions that meet certain conditions to help you save time? Find out more here.

If your business processes a high volume of banking transactions, you might consider applying Rules to process them quickly. Ask us about this, we can help get you started.

If you’re planning to use QuickBooks Online’s Rules, please consult with us first. This feature once implemented can help you save time, but the set-up process can be complicated. We can help.

Tracking Mileage in QuickBooks Online

If you’re having to drive for work during the pandemic, let QuickBooks Online make sure you’re recording all of your deductible mileage.

Many states are starting to open for business again. If yours is one of them and this is affecting you, we hope you’re taking steps to stay healthy. We also hope that you’ve been keeping up with your changing finances by using QuickBooks Online.

As many will resume back to the day to day of business, if any part of your work involves driving business miles that can be deducted on your income taxes, you’ll want to know about a relatively new QuickBooks Online feature: mileage tracking. You can NOW record trips either manually or automatically, and the site will calculate your deductions. Here’s how it works.

Tracking Trips Manually

Before you get started, you’ll want to create a record for the vehicle you’ll be using. Click Mileage in the navigation toolbar. Hover over the green Add trip button in the middle right of the screen , then click View Vehicles. Then click Add vehicle and complete the fields on the screen that opens. Click Save. Back on the main screen, click directly on Add trip. The New trip panel will slide out from the right.

Enter the Date, then the number of miles driven (Distance). If you’d like, you can enter the Starting point and Ending point for your records. Click either the Business or Personal icon and enter a Description. Select the correct Vehicle if you use more than one and click Save. Your trip will now appear on the main screen with your tax deduction already calculated, as pictured below. Click the More button at the end of the row (not shown here), and you’ll be able to Edit your trips and Duplicate them.

QuickBooks mileage tip

Once you’ve created a record for a trip in QuickBooks Online, it will be added to the list on the main Mileage screen.

Auto-Track Your Miles

There’s another way to track your trips, one that doesn’t involve writing down your odometer readings or mileage. The QuickBooks Online mobile app will automatically track your miles as you drive.

To set this up, open the app and click on the three horizontal lines in the lower right to open the app’s navigation shortcuts. Then click the Mileage icon. Auto-tracking is off by default, so you’ll have to click OFF to open the Mileage settings screen. Click the Auto-tracking button to change it from grayed-out to green. In the small window that opens, click Settings to go to the QuickBooks section of your phone’s Settings screen and make these changes:

  • Location must be Always On.
  • Motion & Fitness must be On.
  • Background App Refresh must be On.
  • Cellular Data must be On.

QuickBooks mileage phone tip

Before you can automatically track your mileage in QuickBooks Online, you’ll need to change some settings (image above taken in iPhone; Android phones have similar settings).

Close this screen and return to the QuickBooks Online app’s main Mileage screen after you’ve changed your settings. Auto-tracking should be ON. Click the + (plus) sign in the lower right, then Create trip. The app will automatically detect your starting and stopping locations using your phone’s GPS. When you’ve arrived at your destination, open the Mileage app again.

Swipe left on the trip’s record to categorize it as business and right to mark it personal. Enter the trip’s purpose if it’s a business trip and click Save. You’ll now need to turn off Auto-tracking and reverse the changes you made in your phone’s Settings (unless, of course, you normally leave any of them on).

A Quick Tip

Do you ever find yourself opening QuickBooks Online in a new tab because you need to check something in another part of the site but don’t want to shut down your current screen? If you’re accessing QuickBooks Online through Google Chrome, it’s easy. Right-click anywhere in the navigation toolbar that contains links (not the blank space below) and select Open link in new tab. A new tab will open to a QuickBooks Online page. You can do whatever you need to do in the second tab without disturbing your original page.

Stay in Touch

The COVID-19 pandemic has had impact on both large and small businesses all around the world. We hope you’ve stayed physically and financially healthy during this exceptionally difficult time. Don’t hesitate to contact us if we can help with your use of QuickBooks Online and /or your overall accounting.

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As many will resume back to the day to day of business, did you know QuickBooks Online can now help you track your business mileage? It automatically calculates your tax deduction. Find out how here.

Did you know the QuickBooks Online mobile app has a NEW feature? It can automatically track your mileage as you drive. You’ll of course have to change some phone settings first , and we can show you how.

As states and businesses open back up, if you put a lot of tax-deductible miles on your vehicle for work, you’ll want to check out QuickBooks Online’s new Mileage feature. Find out about it and how to set it up here.

Did you know QuickBooks Online allows you to track your vehicle mileage either manually or automatically? This is helpful if you put a lot of tax-deductible miles on your vehicle for work. Ask us about this new feature.

Sales Receipts, Invoices, and Statements in QuickBooks

QuickBooks allows you to create multiple types of sales forms for different situations. Here’s a look at what they are and when to use them.

When you buy something at a store, you want a piece of paper that shows what you purchased and what you paid. If you receive products or services before you pay for them, you certainly expect to receive a bill. And if you have several transactions with the same company and want clarification on what you’ve paid, and what you owe for a specific time period, the company can usually send you a summary.

Your customers want the same things. That financial documentation might be difficult for you to provide if you’re still doing your accounting manually on paper.

Fortunately, QuickBooks has a solution. Or, rather, several solutions. The software includes templates for all of the sales forms that you’ll probably ever need: invoices, sales receipts, and statements. Here’s an introduction to when and how to use them.

Sales Receipts

QuickBooks Tips

When a customer pays you on the spot, you can create a sales receipt.

When you receive full payment for a product or service at the time of the sale, the correct form to use in QuickBooks is the Sales Receipt. Click the Create Sales Receipts icon on the home page or open the Customers menu and select Enter Sales Receipts. You’ll see a form like the partial one pictured above.

Click the down arrow in the Customer:Job field and select the correct one or <Add New>. If you assign transactions to Classes, pick the right one in that list. The Template field should default to the appropriate form. If you’ve created more than one sales receipt template, select the one that you want. Click the icon above the correct payment type.

Tip: Want to be able to accept credit cards and eChecks? You’re likely to get paid faster by some customers. You’ll also be able to accept payments on your smartphone or tablet and create receipts. Talk to us about adding this capability.

Select the appropriate Item(s) from that drop-down list and enter a Qty (Quantity). Be sure to apply the sale’s Tax status by opening that list. (If you know that you’re responsible for paying sales tax on at least some of your sales but you haven’t set this tracking up in QuickBooks yet, we can work with you on that. It’s important.) When you’ve finished filling in the table with all the goods or services you sold, you can save the transaction and either print it or email it to your customer.

Invoices

QuickBooks Tips

After you’ve completed the top half of an invoice, you’ll see something like this at the bottom.

You’ll create and send Invoices to customers when you’ve received either a partial payment or no payment at the time of the sale. Those completed transactions become a part of your total Accounts Receivable (money owed to you). Click Create Invoices on the home page or go to Customers | Create Invoices. Fill out the fields at the top of the screen like you did with your sales receipt; the forms are almost the same. Invoices, though, have Bill To and Ship To addresses, as well as fields for the sale’s Terms and Due Date.

You shouldn’t have to do anything with the bottom half of the screen (pictured above) unless you want to include a Customer Message, since the information here is carried over from the top of the screen. Check to make sure the Tax Code is correct, though.

It’s important to note, it’s an either/or situation when it comes to creating an invoice and a sales receipt for the same transaction. It’s best to not use sales receipts for invoice payments, as it can cause issues.

Statements

QuickBooks Tips

When you create statements, you’ll first choose the customers who should receive them.

Statements are very useful when you have multiple customers who are past due on their payments (you can find this out by running the A/R Aging Summary report, which you’ll find under Reports | Customers & Receivables). Click the Statements link on the home page or go to Customers | Create Statements. You’ll first have to select the customer(s) who should be on your list, as pictured above. There are several other options on this page that will help you refine this group. When you’re done, QuickBooks will automatically generate them, and you can print or email them.

You’ll save a lot of time when you use QuickBooks’ sales forms. Your bookkeeping will also be more accurate, and it will be easier to track down specific transactions. If you use them conscientiously, you’ll be able to run reports that provide comprehensive overviews of various elements of your finances.

Do you have questions about any of this, or are you just getting started with QuickBooks? We’re happy to schedule a consultation to determine what your needs are and how we can assist. Contact us, and we’ll set something up.

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If you bill customers after you’ve provided a product or service, you can use QuickBooks’ invoice forms to collect your payments. Find out more here.

Did you know QuickBooks can help you create statements to send to customers who are past due on their payments? Find out how here.

5 Things You Need to Know About Sales Taxes in QuickBooks Online

The most important thing you need to know about sales tax is that administering it correctly can be challenging.

If you sold only one type of product to customers in one city, collecting and paying sales tax would be easy. But most businesses have a wider reach than that.

QuickBooks Online offers tools that allow you to set up sales tax rates and include sales tax on sales forms. Further, it calculates how much you must pay to state and local taxing agencies.

This is one of the most complicated areas in QuickBooks Online because you may have to deal with numerous taxing agencies. If you’re not already working with sales taxes, we strongly recommend you let us help you get everything set up correctly from the start. Taxing agencies can audit your recordkeeping and you want to make sure it is set up correctly.

That said, here are five things we think you should know.

QuickBooks Online calculates sales tax rates based on:

  • Where you sell. Every state is different. If your business is located in Florida and you sell to a customer in Minnesota, you’ll be charging any sales tax levied by the state of Minnesota and possibly the city and county and other taxing authorities – if you have a connection, a “nexus” in that state (a physical location, active salesperson, etc.).
  • What you sell.
  • To whom you sell. Some customers (like nonprofit organizations) do not have to pay sales tax. You’ll need to edit their customer records to reflect this in QBO. Open a customer record and click the Edit link in the upper right. Click the Tax info tab and make sure there’s no checkmark in the box that says This customer is taxable. The Default tax code will be grayed out, and you can enter Exemption details in that field.

QuickBooks tipsCustomer records for exempt organizations should contain details for that exemption. You’ll need to see their exemption certificate or at least know its official number.

Intuit now offers a revamped version of QuickBooks Online’s sales tax features.

At some point, you’ll be asked if you want to switch to the new, more automated system. The actual mechanics of the process are simple, but you’ll be moving historical and in-process data to a new structure. If you have sales tax set up right now and your situation is at all complicated, you’re going to want our help with the transition.

This enhanced feature only supports accrual accounting.

You can combine individual tax rates.

If you are required to pay city, county, and state sales tax rates for a particular customer, for example, you can create a Combined tax rate that contains all of the individual components. The customer will only see the total on an invoice or sales receipt, but QuickBooks Online will track each one accordingly for payment and reporting purposes.

QuickBooks tipsYou can combine sales tax rates in QuickBooks Online (image above from current Sales Tax Center in QuickBooks Online, not the enhanced one).

Product and service records should contain sales tax information.

This is another area that will require some research. Just as some services are subject to tax, some products are not (like groceries in Arizona). So, you’ll need to find out what the rules are for what you sell. You can find this information on the website of the state’s Department of Revenue (sometimes called the Department of Taxation).

Once you know, you can record that status in QuickBooks Online. Open a product record by going to Sales | Products and Services and clicking Edit in the Action column or create a new one by clicking New in the upper right. Scroll down to Sales tax category in the record. You can choose between Taxable – standard rate and Nontaxable.

There’s a third option here: special category. This gets complicated. We can help you determine whether it applies to you.

QuickBooks Online tracks the sales tax you owe.

You can see what you owe to each agency by running the Sales Tax Liability Report, and record payments when you’ve made them. Summary and detail versions of the Taxable Sales report are also available.

Once you get sales taxes set up in QuickBooks Online, it’s easy to add them to the relevant sales forms. Getting to that point, though, takes time, study, and careful attention to detail. If you’re getting ready to sell, or you’re already selling and struggling with sales taxes, let us know. We can schedule an initial consultation to see how we can be of assistance.

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Did you know that QuickBooks Online can calculate and apply sales taxes to transactions? However, setup requires some upfront research. Here are a few things to get started.

Does your business have to charge multiple levels of sales taxes? QuickBooks Online allows you to combine them. Here’s how.

QuickBooks Online calculates sales taxes based on where and what you sell, and to whom. It’s a bit complicated and here is why. We can help you get through setup.

Did you know that Intuit has released an enhanced version of QuickBooks Online’s Sales Tax Center? Here are the details and we can help you make the transition