May 25, 2024

Get Your Act Together with Quickbooks in 2011

It’s the end of the year, bring on the holiday bustle and cheer!  December will blow by, so now is the time to reflect on how your business has done in 2010, and how you can make it better in 2011.

How about  bookkeeping, the vexation of many small business owners…will 2011 be the year that you finally get your act together?  How is your current system working for you? Does it consist of dumping every receipt into a box for “later,” causing untold misery and woe come tax time?  There is, as you know, a better way–and you owe it to yourself and your business to organize your financial record keeping.

As a solopreneur, you have two choices: hire a bookkeeper, or do it yourself.  If you elect to DIY, use QuickBooks.  QuickBooks provides accounting software for small businesses.  It’s been the industry standard for over fifteen years, and it’s what I recommend to my clients.  (And if you outsource, chances are your bookkeeper will use QuickBooks.)  Familiar with Quicken? You shouldn’t use it for business purposes; it’s designed for tracking personal finances, though it’s made by Intuit, the same folks behind QuickBooks.

Here’s a snapshot of what QuickBooks will do for you:

There are many features you can add-on, including payroll and merchant services.  In fact, few users need (or even understand) everything that QuickBooks has to offer.  This is what makes it great for home-based solopreneurs: you can keep things simple (tracking money in–money out,) and increase your knowledge as your business grows.

So, how do you decide which version of QuickBooks is right for you? Take a look here .  Most newbies begin with QuickBooks Pro.  There are also specialized Premier versions for Contractors, Retail, Nonprofits, Manufacturing & Wholesale, and Professional Services.

Finally, you’ll need to decide if you want to use the traditional desktop software, or QuickBooks Online–a newer service that Intuit is plugging pretty hard.  It’s ideal if you need to access your entire data from anywhere–office, home, or on the road.  Imagine creating and printing an invoice from your hotel room!  You can do that with QuickBooks Online.  It costs more (billed monthly,) but you get superior customer support, and you never have to upgrade to the next year’s version–you stay current. (No QuickBooks Online  for the specialized Premier versions, alas.)  If you don’t need all that accessibility (translation: you don’t get out much,) you can add-on Remote Access, starting at $3.95 per month, where you can access and work on your desktop files online.

So, the big question: is QuickBooks easy to use? Well, yes and no.  Once your account is set up, it’s a matter of data entry, which is simple(ish) enough.  It’s the setting up that can be tricky, especially if you don’t have a background in accounting. (Chart of Accounts? Items? Lists? Statements? Oy.)  QuickBooks comes with tutorials, customer service (2011 Pro version comes with a free one-hour phone session with a QuickBooks expert–a very welcome, new feature,) so you’re not completely on your own.  However, I suggest that you save yourself the inevitable headaches and get some help. 

Remember, 2011 is a fresh start.  Make the commitment now to get your books in order.  I can help.  And soon, I’ll be able to help from almost anywhere: in 2011, I’ll be offering virtual QuickBooks training.  If you’re interested in setting up a free practice session, let me know.  Also, if you have any QuickBooks questions, experience, yays-and-nays, post a comment.  On to 2011!