financial

Why You Should Use QuickBooks’ Snapshots

QuickBooks provides multiple ways to get information about your customers, and their payments, and your company itself. The software’s Snapshots provide quick, thorough overviews.

What do you do when you need to get information in QuickBooks about customers or about payments they’ve made in QuickBooks? You have several options. You could, for example:

  • Create a report
  • Go to their Customer pages
  • Click on Receive Payments on the Home Page and use the Findarrows (not very elegant or fast, but would be an easy way to find recent payments).

One of QuickBooks’ strengths is its flexibility. It helps you find the exact information you’re looking for in a variety of ways. Which one you choose at any given time depends on what screen you’re working on at the moment and precisely what slice of data you need.

A Home Base

The desktop version of QuickBooks doesn’t have a “dashboard,” like web-based financial applications do. Dashboards are like home pages on steroids. Rather than just providing navigational tools and menus, Snapshots display charts and grids and lists representing the data that you’d most likely want to see when you first log on, like account balances, summaries of income and expenses, and high-priority tasks, with links to related activity screens. You can usually customize these.

QuickBooks’ Reminders tell you what needs to be done either today or very soon. But they don’t reveal anything about your financial status. Snapshots do. There are three versions: Company, Payments, and Customer.

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Figure 1: The QuickBooks Customer Snapshot sums up each customer’s activity and history in a one-page view.

Many Sections

Let’s look at the Customer Snapshot to see how these work. To find it, click on Snapshots in the left vertical navigation pane. When the window opens, make sure that the Customer tab is active; if not, click on it. Click on the arrow next to the CUSTOMER field in the center of the very top to select a customer.

You’ll see three columns of information here. The left pane displays some commonly sought numbers (like Total Sales) and some numbers that you might have trouble finding any other way (Average days to pay, etc.). In the middle, you’ll see Recent Invoices and Recent Payments. And the right section (not shown in the screen shot) includes two customizable graphs, Sales History, and Best Selling Items.

This is the default layout, the information boxes you’ll see when you first open the Company Snapshot. To remove any of them, click on the X in the upper right corner. You can restore them at any time by clicking the arrow next to Add Content in the upper left and then click the +Add button next to the one you want.

You can also move the blocks into different positions on the page. Grab one by clicking on its header and holding it, dragging it to the preferred position, and releasing it.

Personalized Pages

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Figure 2: You can add, delete, and move blocks of data around in the Customer Snapshot.

Users who have been assigned access to the data that each Snapshot contains can customize their own views by adding or deleting sections and rearranging them. So each employee can have his or her own unique-looking Snapshots, though the real-time data in all of them will be the same.

Note: If you’ve given employees besides yourself access to QuickBooks, it’s important that you assign permission levels to them. You probably don’t want everyone to be able to see and modify everything in your file. We can help you set these up.

Other Snapshots

The other two Snapshots are more complex, containing more data options. They can, however, be customized in the same ways that you personalized the Customer screen. The Payments Snapshot can give you a quick update on things like Recent Transactions and A/R by Aging Period.

The Company Snapshot lets you display up to 12 lists and charts, including:

    • Account Balances,
    • Customers Who Owe Money,
    • Expense Breakdown, and,
    • Vendors to Pay.

This would be a good page to use as your dashboard (home page), especially since it can also show you your Reminders. With the Company Snapshot open, go to Edit | Preferences | Desktop View | My Preferences and click on the button in front of Save current desktop. Remove the checkmark in front of Show Home page when opening company file if one is there.

QuickBooks’ Snapshots can get you up to speed quickly on critical elements of your accounting file, but there are other reports that you should run regularly, including complex standard financials reports that require expert analysis. We can help you interpret these, which in turn will help you make smarter, more informed business decisions.

…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).

Cash or Lump Sum Payment – What is Best for You

Picture this: You’re leaving your current employer to start a new job or pursue other interests, and you’re about to receive a payout of the money in your retirement plan. What will you do with it? Keep the money invested and working full-time on your behalf in a tax-deferred retirement savings account? Or take the cash?

An Expensive Decision

While there may be circumstances that make taking the cash a necessity, it is generally not a smart move. First and foremost, you shortchange your financial future by cashing out and spending the money. Second, you’ll have to pay tax on the distribution, which means you may end up with less money than you had planned.*

Here’s how it works. Your distribution will be taxable to you at your ordinary income-tax rate. In fact, your employer is required to withhold 20% of your distribution as a “down payment” on your federal income-tax bill for the year. There could also be a 10% early withdrawal penalty on the distribution. (Some exceptions apply.)

If you don’t want to cash out the savings in your retirement plan when you leave, you have other options.

Let It Be

Instead of taking a distribution, you may be able to leave your money in your plan until you retire. Choosing this option lets you avoid a current tax bill and a possible penalty and it keeps your money invested tax deferred. Your plan administrator can tell you whether this option is available to you.

Roll It Over

Moving your money to an individual retirement account (IRA) or another employer’s plan that accepts rollovers is another option. In either case, it’s usually best to ask the administrator of your current plan to transfer your balance directly to the administrator of your new plan or the rollover IRA. You’ll avoid the automatic 20% withholding tax and any penalty that way. And your retirement savings can continue to grow uninterrupted.

Be smart. Keep your money working full-time for your future. To learn more about tax rules and regulations, give us a call today. Our knowledgeable and trained staff is here to help.

 

* Some plans allow participants to make after-tax Roth contributions. Distributions of Roth contributions and related earnings will not be subject to federal income tax when certain tax law requirements are met.

…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).

Two Types of College Savings Funds You Should Consider

It’s no secret that college costs have risen dramatically in recent years. Setting up an education savings program as early as possible can help you manage the ever-rising costs of post-secondary education for your children or grandchildren. Two types of college savings vehicles — qualified tuition programs, also called Section 529 plans, and Coverdell education savings accounts (ESAs) — offer income-tax benefits.

529 Plans

Most states offer some form of 529 plan. There are two types of programs — prepaid tuition programs and college savings plans.

Prepaid tuition programs have been around for some time, a quick read on https://www.gohenryreview.com will give you some history on the subject, prepaid tuition lets you lock in today’s tuition rates by purchasing credits or units of tuition in “today’s dollars” for your children’s use when they actually attend college at some future date. Typically, the units purchased are based on the average public school tuition rate in the state offering the plan. Generally, you may purchase amounts of tuition through a one-time, lump-sum purchase or monthly installments.

College savings plans, however, are the more common type of 529 plan. Minimum contribution requirements are generally very low. Once an account is set up, you typically may choose among several investment options.

For federal tax purposes, earnings on 529 plan investments accumulate on a tax-deferred basis. Distributions used to pay qualified education expenses* are excluded from taxation. Many states also exempt earnings and distributions from income taxes, and some even allow a deduction for contributions. Certain state benefits may not be available unless specific requirements (e.g., residency) are met.

Coverdell ESAs

You can establish an ESA at a bank, brokerage firm, insurance company, or other financial institution. ESAs are self-directed and must be funded with cash.

Subject to income limitations, you can make nondeductible contributions of up to $2,000 per year to ESAs for each child younger than 18 years old (and for special needs beneficiaries of any age). Your eligibility to contribute to an ESA is phased out with adjusted gross income (AGI) from $95,000 to $110,000 if you are an individual taxpayer or from $190,000 to $220,000 if you are a married taxpayer filing a joint return.

ESA distributions that are used to pay qualified education expenses are not subject to federal income taxes. Qualified education expenses include not only tuition and fees, but also books and supplies and, for students enrolled at least half-time, certain room and board charges. In addition to undergraduate and graduate-level education, ESAs can cover elementary and secondary public, private, or religious school tuition and qualified expenses.

Give us a call today, so we can help you determine the right course of action for 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).

Getting the Most Out of Your Financial Statements

Financial statement information is most useful if owners and managers can use it to improve their company’s profitability, cash flow, and value. Getting the most mileage from financial statement data requires some analysis.

Ratio analysis looks at the relationships between key numbers on a company’s financial statements. After the ratios are calculated, they can be compared to industry standards — and the company’s past results, projections, and goals — to highlight trends and identify strengths and weaknesses.

The hypothetical situations that follow illustrate how ratio analysis can give company decision-makers valuable feedback.

Rising Sales, Rising Profits?

The recent increases in Company A’s sales figures have been impressive. But the owners aren’t certain that the additional revenues are being translated into profits. Net profit margin measures the proportion of each sales dollar that represents a profit after taking into account all expenses. If Company A’s margins aren’t holding up during growth periods, a hard look at overhead expenses may be in order.

Getting Paid

Company B extends credit to the majority of its customers. The firm keeps a close watch on outstanding accounts so that slow payers can be contacted. From a broader perspective, knowing the company’s average collection period would be useful. In general, the faster Company B can collect money from its customers, the better its cash flow will be. But Company B’s management should also be aware that if credit and collection policies are too restrictive, potential customers may decide to take their business elsewhere.

Inventory Management

Company C has several product lines. Inventory turnover measures the speed at which inventories are sold. A slow turnover ratio relative to industry standards may indicate that stock levels are excessive. The excess money tied up in inventories could be used for other purposes. Or it could be that inventories simply aren’t moving, and that could lead to cash problems. In contrast, a high turnover ratio is usually a good sign — unless quantities aren’t sufficient to fulfill customer orders in a timely way.

These are just examples of ratios that may be meaningful. Once key ratios are identified, they can be tracked on a regular basis.

To learn more about how to utilize your financial statements for the biggest advantage, give us a call today. Our trained staff of professionals are always available to answer any questions you may have.

…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).

Five Steps to Take Before You Go Into Business

Are you interested in starting a new business? Make sure you do plenty of research and have a firm business plan ready before you take the plunge.

Making the Transition

If you have signed a noncompete or confidentiality agreement with your current employer, review it carefully to make sure it won’t hamper your startup efforts. If your new venture is in the same industry, be careful not to burn any bridges when you leave your current job. Scout out your opportunities. Either you buy a franchise or an existing business – it is much different than building a new business from the ground up.

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Growing Your Business

Where will your customers come from? You may have one or two great prospects, but that may not be enough. Can you count on referrals from current business associates? Take a good hard look at opportunities for expansion that exist, get professional help from the sales force team.

Figure Out Financing

Even with great prospects, it may take some time until cash starts coming in on a regular basis. Do you have enough of a financial cushion to get you through? If your spouse has an outside job, your spouse’s earnings and benefits may help provide stability during the startup period. If you need funding, where will it come from? Have you considered looking for a partner or investor?

Getting the Word Out

How much marketing and advertising will be required? Put together a comprehensive plan along with cost estimates. And, unless you’re familiar with the less traditional marketing and communication opportunities that today’s new media offer, you may want to enlist the help of someone who is.

Make a Budget

List every expense you can think of: rent, payroll (if any), phone and Internet service, computer equipment, website design, insurance, transportation costs, self-employment tax, etc. Then draw up a budget. Once your venture is up and running, you can use the budget as a guide in managing your finances.

Call us today for more tips on how to ensure you’re following business best practices, and let us help you keep your company in the black.

…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).

What You Should Know About the QBO Mobile App

QuickBooks Online’s as a result of Android and iOS app creation, lacks some features found in the browser-based version, but it provides mobile access to tools you may want on the road.

First, it’s free (except for your mobile data plan costs). Second, it’s good. And QuickBooks Online’s mobile app offers more functionality than you might expect. Available for iOS and Android smartphones and tablets, it gives you remote access to the features that you probably use most frequently on your desktop or laptop.

Figure 1: The navigational menu in QuickBooks Online’s mobile app slides out from the left side (iPhone 6+ version pictured here).

Why Mobile?

Since you can already access QBO on a laptop, why would you need an app that’s missing some of the main site’s functionality?

You don’t, necessarily. If your work doesn’t take you out of the office much and you don’t travel for the business, downloading the app may just create one more icon on your smartphone screen that you always see but never open. Check out https://www.sandcastle-web.com/ for best mobile solutions.

But you may want to consider using it if you, for example:

  • Want to work at home or in a coffee shop on your off hours,
  • Regularly purchase items or services that you will submit as expenses to your company,
  • Sell something on the spot and want to create a sales receipt,
  • Need to nail down a sale by creating an invoice immediately,
  • Get a question from a customer or vendor about a past transaction, or,
  • Have to look up a price and description for a product or service.

Figure 2: Using QuickBooks Online’s mobile app, you can create sales transactions wherever you are.

Many Limitations

QuickBooks Online’s mobile app is far from a replacement for the browser-based version. It has numerous limitations. For example, there’s no dashboard – no home page that gives you an overview of your finances and provides reminders about tasks that need to be done. Rather, the app opens to Company Activity, a list of the most recent transactions.

Customer and vendor records are not quite as detailed, and you can’t view or work with your Chart of Accounts. Some settings can be altered, but not nearly as many as on the main site.

There are only two reports available, Profit & Loss and Balance Sheet, which is a tiny percentage of what’s offered online. You can’t enter and pay bills, create purchase orders, or work with payroll. And you can’t check inventory levels.

But the app isn’t designed to be a management or everyday tool. You wouldn’t begin your QuickBooks Online experience with the mobile version; setup and high-level functions like reports, bank reconciliation, and assignment of user roles would be done online by the administrator. There’s a separate application for Intuit’s online payroll, and activities like issuing credits and defining recurring transactions would more likely be done from the office.

While they’re laid out differently, the QuickBooks Online mobile app manages to pack a lot of detail in a small space. It includes the features that a remote worker would most likely need to use. And some of those are quite comprehensive. Forms in the app, for example, lack very little compared to those in the browser-based version, especially those that deal with expenses and payments, which are often done outside of the office.

Figure 3: The QuickBooks Online mobile app looks different from the browser-based version, but it’s very easy to use, and some screens are quite detailed.

Examine Your Workflow

The ability to do accounting work on an app away from the office offers convenience and flexibility that browser-based QuickBooks Online doesn’t. First off, mobile applications show a degree of professionalism and responsiveness to customers and vendors you meet with outside the office. And it keeps you in touch with some of your financial data when you’re on the move.

But can using it create problems? Possibly. Data entered in the app shows up in the browser-based version as soon as it’s entered and saved. But you or your administrator wouldn’t necessarily know to look for an onslaught of expenses or invoices, and by the time they’re discovered, there could be some complications.

So if you’re planning to let employees loose on the QuickBooks Online mobile app and you expect that they’ll use it frequently, it’s best to establish policies ahead of time and make sure that the work that’s done remotely will mesh with the rest of your accounting activities. We can help you prepare well for your new mobile capabilities.

…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).

Why You Should Be Using Mobile Apps with QuickBooks

Intuit discontinued its own QuickBooks mobile app a while back, but there’s still plenty of processing power available for your smartphone or tablet.

In days gone by, running a company was a 40 hour per week proposition. You might have taken work home some evenings or gone into the office on weekends.

Those days are over, thanks to the internet and mobile technology. This fundamental change in the way we do business means that it’s now hard to get away from work.

Your smartphone and tablet are usually within easy reach, and they’re always tempting you to check in.

On the flip side, that kind of 24/7/365 accessibility has numerous benefits. There are, for example, apps that can be integrated with your desktop QuickBooks company file, which enable you to:

  • Make sales wherever you are,
  • Document expenses as they’re incurred, and
  • Monitor employee time for payroll purposes.

Let’s take a look at these in more detail.

Mobile Sales

Figure 1: One of the oldest apps that integrates with QuickBooks is GoPayment. You can process transactions on your smartphone or tablet from anywhere.

Payment-processing on smartphones has become commonplace these days. You’ve probably seen merchants accepting credit cards on mobile phones in one of two ways: by swiping the card on a small card reader that attach to their device or by entering bank cards numbers directly.

Intuit’s GoPayment lets you do either. You can download the free app and process a customer’s payment on your smartphone. However, you still have to download it into QuickBooks and either create a sales receipt or match it to an open invoice. This isn’t a difficult process once you understand it, but you must be sure to do it correctly from the start. We can do some practice runs with you.

Benefit: Improved sales that aren’t dependent on location

Travel Expenses On the Go

One of the smartest, most useful apps that has ever been created is the expense reporter – particularly when used by your road warriors for on-the-go expenses. There are a handful of these. Travelers can record expenses in two ways: they can either enter the information directly or snap a picture of a receipt with a smartphone. When your employees get back to the office, they’re able to prepare complete expense reports, whose approved data can be transferred into QuickBooks.

Concur is one of these apps. When you set it up, it imports Account Codes, Customers, Jobs and Classes, and Vendor and Employee Records from QuickBooks so that these can be assigned for each expense entry. Credit card transactions can be imported directly. When an expense report is completed, it can be sent to a manager for approval, and reimbursement is then deposited in the employee’s bank account.

Figure 2: Intuit’s App Center is home to hundreds of add-on applications for QuickBooks.

Tallie works similarly. It can automatically categorize expenses and alert approvers to expense policy violations. Used in conjunction with Bill.com and SmartVault, it can accommodate a sophisticated, seamless accounting workflow. We’ll see more multi-app integration as cloud-based financial solutions mature, but if you’re going to attempt such a setup, let us help you with the initial mechanics.

Benefit: More accurate, policy-compliant expense reports

Time-Tracking and Timesheets

If all of your employees walk through the office door every morning and stay there, you don’t need a mobile app for time-tracking. But for businesses whose cash flow depends on recovering and recording every minute of billable time, a smartphone time-tracker is ideal

 

TSheets Time Tracker can help improve your bottom line in numerous ways. This particular app:

  • Accomodates real-time mobile data entry,
  • Tracks employee locations using GPS, and
  • Creates timesheets that can be synchronized with QuickBooks, tracking billable time by customer, job, employee, etc.

Benefits: Employee accountability; recovery and correct classification of all billable hours; and less time required to create timesheets.

Moving Toward Integration

Given the size limitations of smartphones, some mobile apps contain only a subset of the features found in their desktop counterparts. But that subset is chosen based on the needs of mobile users.

Fewer features mean that your learning time for the mobile apps that integrate with QuickBooks will be minimal. But the steps to sync with QuickBooks must be followed to the letter, and you may not be familiar with such a process. We want you to experience the benefits that these smartphone solutions can offer without compromising the integrity of your QuickBooks company file. Let us introduce you to these forward-looking, beneficial tools.

…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).

Determining a Succession Plan for Your Business – Before You Need It

You’ve devoted time and money and poured heart and soul into building a successful family business. But do you have a succession plan? If not, you should. Without a plan for transferring your business to the next generation, anything could happen.

Deciding on Your New Role

Start by deciding how much or how little you want to be involved in the business after the transfer is complete. Are you picturing a clean break? Or a period of shared responsibilities and gradual transfer? This is an important decision because it will likely influence other decisions, particularly financial ones.

Choosing a Successor

This can get tricky, especially if there are several family members who may have an interest in — or expectation of — taking over the business. If there’s one clear candidate, that makes it easier. But don’t just assume someone (e.g., your oldest son) is the right successor. Do what’s best for the business. The best choice may be a grandchild, a niece, or even a relative paired with a trusted employee.

Estate planning is an important sidebar to a family business succession plan. There may be children who have no interest in being involved in running the business and are happy to let their siblings take over. However, they probably expect equal treatment when it comes to inheritances. If this is a likely scenario, make sure everyone communicates as clearly as possible and develop a plan you think is fair.

Grooming a Successor

Spend time grooming your successor, even if it’s a son or daughter who knows the business. He or she should understand how every part of the business operates. Before your successor starts representing your business publicly, make sure he or she meets your business contacts (clients, vendors, financial partners, etc.).

Figuring Out the Money

You probably don’t want to give your business away, even to your own offspring. Figure out how much you’re going to need to finance your next venture (retirement, a new business, etc.), and come up with an arrangement that meets your needs.
Take charge of your financial future. Give us a call, today, to find out how we can assist you and your business.

…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).

Working With Your Accounts in QuickBooks Online

“Account” can mean more than one thing in QuickBooks Online. Here’s a look at its multiple concepts.

Until you started doing your company’s accounting, the word “account” probably meant a checking or savings account at a bank or your identifying information at a place like a brokerage.

In QuickBooks Online, “account” can mean the same things. It can also refer to one entry in your Chart of Accounts or your Intuit payment account, a customer or vendor account, and more.

You’ll probably work with all of these in the course of your lifetime with QuickBooks Online, except one: the Chart of Accounts. Although the site allows you to modify the Chart of Accounts by adding, deleting, or renaming accounts, please talk to us if you feel a change is in order. The Chart of Accounts forms the framework of your QuickBooks Onlinecompany, and altering it could have adverse effects on your entire accounting operation.

Everyday Use

One of the first things you probably did when you created your company was to create at least one bank account, probably checking. You can set this up without connecting to a bank site; however, that defeats the purpose of QuickBooks Online, which is to have access to your web-based accounts.

Figure 1: QuickBooks Online’s home page displays balances for all of the accounts you’ve connected.

Setting up a connection to your online bank, brokerage, credit card, orother online financial service like PayPal is easy. On the home page or the Transactions | Banking page, click the Add account button in the upper right. QuickBooks will display logos for some of the most popular financial institutions. If yours isn’t there, enter its name or URL in the box at the top.

QuickBooks Online will then create a link between itself and your account, and it will download the most recent transactions (usually 90 days’ worth). Sometimes, it might recommend a chartered accountant to help with your small business needs. Now when you click on
Transactions | Banking, you’ll see all of your activity in table form with columns labeled Date, Description, Payee, Category or Match, Spent, Received, and Action.

Most of these are self-explanatory; they just provide information about the transaction. You may be unfamiliar, though, with Category or Match and Action (Add). We recommend that you let us guide you the first time you launch and work with a transaction download. It’s very important that transactions are classified correctly.

The Chart of Accounts
The Chart of Accounts, which is a standard, required element of any double-entry accounting system, is a very different set of accounts. To display it, you’d click on your company name in the upper right corner, then Settings | Chart of Accounts. We see a mini-spreadsheet that lists all of your accounts. QuickBooks Online selected these based on the information you provided when you were first setting up your company on the site.

Each account is assigned a Type that describes its accounting function.

Figure 2: Every transaction that represents money you spend on Advertising/Promotional activities should be assigned to this Expense in the Chart of Accounts.

Category Types are used by all businesses for classification purposes. There are only a few of them, such as:

  • Expenses (Bad Debts, Bank Charges, Insurance, Job Materials, etc.)
  • Income (Billable Expense Income, Gross Receipts, Markup, etc.)
  • Cost of Goods Sold (Cost of Labor, Freight & Delivery, etc.)

You don’t have to do anything with your Chart of Accounts. In fact, we suggest you don’t try. As we’ve said, if we see a reason in your bookkeeping to add, edit, or delete an account, we’ll be happy to do it for you. But you will encounter these accounts in numerous QuickBooks Online activities.

Sometimes they’ll be pre-selected for you by the site, but other times you’ll need to make a choice. For example, when you create a Product or Service, there will be three account fields that will already be populated. They are:

  • Inventory Asset Account = Inventory Asset
  • Income Account = Sales of Product Income
  • Expense Account = Cost of Goods Sold

The word “account” is used in so many different ways that it can get confusing. For example, if you wrote a check at the UPS Store for some shipping charges, you’ll be asked for the Account when you enter this in QuickBooks Online. It’s an Expense, but one of its more specific sub-categories.

Figure 3: QuickBooks Online provides the correct drop-down list in form and record fields.

QuickBooks Online takes care of a lot of the background work of double-entry accounting. But it necessarily exposes you to the concept of accounts. We’re here to help if this causes confusion in your daily bookkeeping.

…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).

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).