Do You Need to Bundle Products in QuickBooks? Create Assemblies

If you frequently sell multiple inventory items grouped together, you need to learn about QuickBooks’ assemblies.

Let’s say you run a home improvement retail outlet, and one of the things you sell is doors. You might sell their parts—door frames, hinges, doorknobs, etc.—individually, in case a customer needs to replace a piece. You may also want to sell all of the individual components as a kit and give your buyer a price break for purchasing them all together.

QuickBooks calls these assemblies; sometimes they’re referred to as kits. Just as you’d create an individual inventory part, you can group related parts together and create an item that you would sell as a package.

A couple of caveats here. You can only build assemblies in QuickBooks Premier and above. If you need this feature and are using QuickBooks Pro, talk to us about upgrading. Second, we know that not all of you are using the latest versions of the software. We’ll use QuickBooks Premier 2018 in the examples here.

Under the Hood

Before you can start working with assemblies, check your QuickBooks settings to make sure they’re correct. Open the Edit menu and select Preferences, then Items & Inventory | Company Preferences. Click in the box in front of Inventory and purchase orders are active in it’s not already checked. If you want QuickBooks to deduct the quantity of items that have already been entered on sales orders, check that box (we recommend this, so you’re not selling items that have already been promised). Then make sure the button in front of When the quantity I want to sell exceeds Quantity Available is filled in, for the same reason.

Before you start building assemblies, you’ll need to make sure your    Company Preferences    are marked accordingly.

Before you start building assemblies, you’ll need to make sure your Company Preferences are marked accordingly.


Creating an Assembly Item

Open the Lists menu and select Item List. Open the drop-down list under Item in the lower left corner and click New. In the window that opens, click the down arrow under Type and select Inventory Assembly. Enter an Item Name/Number in the corresponding field in the window that opens. Don’t check the Subitem of or the I purchase this assembly item from a vendor boxes, and ignore Unit Of Measure.

Again, depending on the version of QuickBooks you’re using, you may see different fields in the Inventory Information box at the bottom of this window. But there are some standard elements you should find in this window no matter the version. They include:

  • Cost. How much does it cost you to purchase all of the parts for one assembly?

  • Sales Price. What will you charge your customers per kit?

  • COGS Account. “COGS” stands for Cost of Goods Sold. What account in the Chart of Accounts will you use to track the cost of producing your assemblies? Usually, the default one in QuickBooks is fine.

  • Income Account. Which account tracks your sales of this assembly?

  • Bill of Materials (BOM). This appears as a table in QuickBooks; it’s a list of all the individual inventory parts that make up the kit, along with their Cost (to you), QTY (quantity required for each assembly), and the total BOM Cost.

Your    Bill of Materials Cost    is the total of all inventory items required to create an assembly.

Your Bill of Materials Cost is the total of all inventory items required to create an assembly.

The Inventory Information box at the bottom of this window might contain fields for information like the Asset Account, quantity On Hand, and the number of items on purchase orders and sales orders. Once your inventory assembly is saved, it will appear in your Item List

When you need to actually create kits, you’ll open the Vendors menu and select Inventory Activities, then Build Assemblies. You’ll select the Assembly Item from the drop-down list in the upper left corner, which will open a list of the components needed and their quantity on hand. You’d enter the number of kits you want (the maximum possible appears below the table) and then click one of the Build buttons. The next time you look at the kit in your Item List, you’ll see that its quantity has increased.

The concept of assemblies is easy to understand, but if you haven’t worked with accounts and inventory much, you may find creating kits in QuickBooks to be a bit of a challenge. Inventory levels can be a real problem if they get out of whack, and accounts must be assigned correctly to avoid inaccuracies in reports and taxes. We’d be happy to work with you as you get started with this task.

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Do you sell inventory items in related bundles? QuickBooks helps you create and track assemblies (or kits). We can help you get started.

If you’re using QuickBooks Premier or above, you can create inventory assemblies to sell bundled items.

When you create an assembly of related inventory parts in QuickBooks, you can sell this kit as one item.

Do you know what a Bill of Materials (BOM) is? We can explain how it fits into the creation of assemblies in QuickBooks.


Could Your Sales Invoices Be Better? How QuickBooks Online Can Help.

Every interaction with your customers can enhance your image. Here’s how QuickBooks Online contributes to that.


Getting paid by your customers—on time, and in full—can take some effort on your part. You set smart due dates and enforce them. Price your products and services so they’re both reasonable and profitable. Accept online payments.

But are your invoices working for you here? QuickBooks Online provides sales form templates that you can usually use without modifying. But it also offers tools that support multiple kinds of customization. It helps you shape the content and appearance of your invoices and their accompanying messages to be consistent with your company’s brand.

These may be cosmetic changes, but they can affect the way customers react to communications from you. You have few chances to make an impression, so anything you can do to enhance and personalize every interaction will have impact on their impression of you. Neat, well-designed sales forms convey professionalism and attention to details.

Here’s a look at what you can do.

Editing Fields

Unless you use every single field in QuickBooks Online’s default sales form template, your invoices will look sloppier than they might otherwise. The site gives you control over much of the content that your customers will see. To make changes, click the gear icon in the upper right of the screen and select Account and Settings, then Sales. You’ll see Sales form content in the left column. Click on any of the fields to the right to open a more thorough list of options. 

QuickBooks Online lets you turn fields on and off in your sales forms and specify other preferences.

QuickBooks Online lets you turn fields on and off in your sales forms and specify other preferences.

Click on the status (On, Off) in the right column to change it. When you’re satisfied with your selections, click Save. Then close that window by clicking the X in the upper right corner.

You have more options than these. Click the gear icon again, and then Your Company | Custom Form Styles. You’ll see that there is already a “master” form. You can either edit it or create a new one. We recommend leaving the master form alone so you always have a clean copy to consult if you get tangled up while you’re working. 

Click the down arrow in the New style box in the upper right and select Invoice. In the screen that opens, enter a descriptive name for your template in the field at the top and then click Content. A graphical representation of your invoice will appear in the right pane, grayed out. It’s divided into three sections: header, footer, and table (the middle of the invoice where you describe what you sold). Each displays a small pencil icon on the right side of the screen. Click the one in the middle to make that area more visible.


It’s easy to specify which fields should appear on your invoices, what the labels should say, and how wide the space should be.

It’s easy to specify which fields should appear on your invoices, what the labels should say, and how wide the space should be.

As you check and uncheck boxes to indicate what content should be included, your invoice on the right will change to reflect your actions. You can Preview PDF by clicking that button in the lower right. When you’re satisfied with the changes you’ve made to all three sections, click on the Design tab.

Changing the Look

You don’t have to be a graphic artist to have QuickBooks Online forms that look attractive and consistent, which highlight your brand. The site provides tools that give you control over the appearance of your invoices, not just their content. Click each link below the Design tab to:

  • Choose a template.

  • Add your company’s logo.

  • Select a color scheme and fonts.

  • Change the printer settings to accommodate letterhead, for example.

 Choosing Your Words


You have control over the messages that go out with your invoices.

You have control over the messages that go out with your invoices.

Finally, click the Emails tab. Options here let you customize the emails that are sent to customers along with their invoices. Again, changes you make in the left pane will be reflected in the graphical version on the right side.


When you’ve completed all of your modifications, click Done.


We gave you this whirlwind tour of QuickBooks Online’s invoice customization options so you’d know what was possible. We expect you might need some assistance when you sit down to apply the concepts you’ve learned about to your own company’s sales forms. We’re available to help you present a polished, carefully-crafted image representing your brand to your customers.


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Are you satisfied with the image you convey to customers through your QuickBooks Online sales forms? We can help you make them more customized and effective.

You have few chances to interact directly with your customers.  Make sure your QuickBooks Online sales forms convey the image you and your brand deserves.

QuickBooks Online comes with sales form templates that may work for your company, but did you know you have control over their appearance and content?

Your customers pay attention to the sales forms you produce for them. QuickBooks Online lets you improve on the default templates it provides making a better impression to your client.

How Do You Track Jobs in QuickBooks? Part 2

In this second of a two-part series, we’ll explore how you use the job-related records you’ve created.

Last month, we showed you how to start building a foundation for tracking jobs in QuickBooks. We explained that you can use the software’s jobs tools to track income and expenses for any related group of items and/or services (you can think of them as projects, if you prefer).

We covered three elements of preparing to use “jobs”:

  • Creating job records that you can use in transactions (example: develop promotional materials)

  • Creating item records that can be assigned to jobs (example: website development)

  • Determining whether you’ll need to create a new account in your Chart of Accounts for your job income and expenses. You should consult with us anytime you think it might be necessary to modify the Chart of Accounts.  


Using Your Job-Related Records

Now that you’ve recorded the items and jobs themselves, you can start using them in transactions, and eventually track your progress by generating reports.

Let’s say you worked eight hours on website development for your promotion job. You’d open the Employees menu and select Enter Time | Time/Enter Single Activity to open this window:


You can enter individual, billable activities and assign them to jobs.

You can enter individual, billable activities and assign them to jobs.

In the example above, you’re limited to recording one day’s work on a specific SERVICE ITEM. You’d verify the date and select from the drop-down lists to complete the fields for employee NAME, CUSTOMER:JOB, and SERVICE ITEM. You can either use the timer to time the job or enter the number of hours manually in the DURATION box. Click in the Billable box to create a checkmark and add NOTES if you’d like. The CLASS field is optional; talk to us if you’re not familiar with this feature.

If you worked on two separate service items on the same day for that CUSTOMER:JOB, you would create two individual records. You can also enter billable activities directly on a timesheet by clicking Employees | Enter Time | Use Weekly Timesheet. Once you select the employee NAME at the top, any single activity(ies) you created that week will appear as individual records, and vice versa.

Writing a check or using a credit card for a job-related purchase that should be billed to the customer? You’d fill out these forms in QuickBooks like you usually do, making sure that you document the items or services by highlighting the Items tab, select the correct CUSTOMER:JOB, and make a checkmark in the BILLABLE? column.


If you write a check or charge your credit card for purchases that can be billed to a    CUSTOMER:JOB   , be sure to record it in QuickBooks.

If you write a check or charge your credit card for purchases that can be billed to a CUSTOMER:JOB, be sure to record it in QuickBooks.

If you’ll be doing some billable driving for your job, you should also be tracking your mileage in QuickBooks. Open the Company menu and select Enter Vehicle Mileage. If you haven’t created a VEHICLE record in QuickBooks, click <Add New> and easily do so. Complete the rest of the fields and save.

Tip: Do you want to see some of your overhead expenses on job costing reports? Create a CUSTOMER:JOB named “Overhead” and assign related costs to it.

Billing the Billables
When the time comes to invoice your customers (Customers | Create Invoices), you’ll see how your careful work in QuickBooks simplifies that task. Open an invoice form and select a CUSTOMER:JOB. If you’ve entered billable items for him or her, this small window will open:


When you create an invoice for a    CUSTOMER:JOB    who has billable time, mileage, or other expenses, QuickBooks can automatically add them.

When you create an invoice for a CUSTOMER:JOB who has billable time, mileage, or other expenses, QuickBooks can automatically add them.

If you leave the first option checked and click OK, another window will open that lists all of the expenses you’ve marked as billable to the customer, arranged by type. Click in the first column of each expense you want to include and click OK. Your invoice containing those entries will open. Do any editing necessary, and then save it.

Note: You’ll probably notice two fields in the Choose Billable Time and Costs window that refer to Markup. This is an advanced concept that we can explore with you, should you want to charge customers more for expenses you’ve incurred on their behalf.


Related Reports

QuickBooks contains a wide variety of reports related to your work billing customers for jobs. Click Reports in the navigation pane or Windows menu, then Jobs, Time & Mileage to see what’s available. Choose a date range and click Run to see them appear with your own data.

If you’ve never worked with jobs in QuickBooks, we strongly recommend that you let us help you here. There are a lot of moving parts, and you don’t want to miss out on any of your efforts or expenses that are billable.

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Do you do projects for customers that involve billable time and other expenses? QuickBooks allows you to set them up as jobs.  Find out how here.

If you assign time and other expenses to a job in QuickBooks, the software can automatically import them into an invoice.  We show you how here.

When you record purchases related to a job in QuickBooks, be sure to define them as Items so they’ll be included in job-costing reports. Find out how here.

Need to start recording job expenses in QuickBooks but not sure how to do it? We can go over this multi-step process with you.


How Do You Track Jobs in QuickBooks? Part 1

If your business divides some of its work into specific jobs and you’re not tracking them individually, you’re missing out on valuable insight.

Job-costing is not just for contractors. That’s probably the most common understanding of this concept in QuickBooks, but you can also use the software’s jobs tools to track income and expenses for any related group of items and/or services.

Think of them as projects. If you’re an expert in business promotions, for example, you probably have multiple projects going on simultaneously that consist of materials you might need to order for your client (like special paper) and the actual work you do (design, content-creation, etc.). You could also have to track expenses like mileage, and you may price your services by the hour.

QuickBooks can handle all of this. If you’re conscientious about documenting all of the pieces that go into every job, you’ll be able to run reports that show you how much you spent and took in on each. This information can help you better price your services and manage your time to maximize profitability.

Many Elements

In this first part of a two-column series, we’re going to explore the basic elements that go into job-tracking. Keep in mind that there are many different ways to work with jobs. How you choose to do it will depend on the structure of your business. We can help you devise a plan.

We’ll look at a simple example here. The first step involves setting up a job for an existing client. Even if you think you’re only going to be doing one project for them, you can still set it up as a job so you can assign all related income and expenses to it. This will make it much easier if you get additional work from the customer down the line – and if you have to bill the customer for something that’s not related to a specific project.

To create a job, open the Customers menu and select Customer Center. Make sure the Customers & Jobs tab is highlighted. Select the customer by clicking on it. Right-click the name and select Add Job from the drop-down list. When the New Job window opens, click the Job Info tab.

You can track your    Jobs    by keeping their status current in the    New Job    window.

You can track your Jobs by keeping their status current in the New Job window.

Fill in the Job Name field. In this example, we’ve selected a name that’s broad enough that we’ll eventually be able to break down into specific tasks. If your customer has an outstanding balance as of the current date, that amount will appear in the Opening Balance field.

Enter a Job Description. The Job Type field is optional, but creating these classifications can help with advanced reports that gauge profitability. Consult with us if you want to explore these.

Open the Job Status list and select the correct one, then choose a Start Date and Projected End Date. You’ll document the End Date when you’re finished. Click OK.

Creating Item Records

You may already know that if you buy and/or sell products and/or services, you have to set up individual records for each one so you can include them on sales and purchase forms. You’ll need these to record income and expenses related to your Promotion job. If you’re new to QuickBooks, here’s how it works.

Open the Lists menu and select Item List. In the window that opens, click the arrow next to Item in the lower left corner and select New. A window like this will open:


The    New Item    window

The New Item window

The Item Type list will drop down. Select Service. In the example above, you’re creating a record for a service you sell: Website Development. Enter that in the Item Name/Number field. Ignore the U/M Set field; this is not available in QuickBooks Pro or Premier.

Enter a Description and your hourly (or project) Rate. Choose the correct Tax Code status and select the Account. When you’re done, click OK.

Warning: You may not have an Account in your Chart of Accounts that fits the specialized income and expenses you want to track. Let us help you set one up.

You’ll repeat this process for other types of promotional work you do (making flyers and brochures, designing and ordering branded products, general content creation, etc.).


Think It Through First

Before you create your first job, spend time envisioning how you want it structured. Remember that every invoice or timed activity or other income or expense you enter will only be assigned to one Customer:Job, but you can include as many Items as you want. As we said, we’re happy to help you think this through and go through setup with you.

Next month, we’ll demonstrate how the records you’ve created can be used.

Social media posts

Some small business people are intimidated by QuickBooks’ jobs tools. Let us show you how to work with them.

QuickBooks’ jobs feature isn’t just for contractors. Did you know you can use it to track related income and expenses for any type of project?

If you’re going to approach QuickBooks’ jobs tools, be sure to carefully consider how your work should be structured. We can help.

Do you need to track income and expenses for a specific set of tasks or products? QuickBooks’ jobs feature can help you do so.

How to Apply Finance Charges in QuickBooks

You may hate to have to do it, but assessing finance charges for late payments may improve your overall cash flow.

There are a myriad of ways to bring in customer payments faster and improve your cash flow. You can:

  • Get a merchant account and let customers pay you electronically

  • Offer a discount for early payments

  • Shorten the payment due cycle (21 days instead of 30 days, for example)

  • Be more aggressive about collections

QuickBooks can help you take all of these steps. It also offers a fifth option: assess finance charges for tardy remittances.

Maybe you don’t want to do this because it seems like a less-than-friendly way to treat customers – especially valued ones. But you’re not in the business of lending money, which is what you’re doing when you continue to let your accounts receivable slide. So, here’s how to do add finance charges to your payment policies.

Multiple Issues Involved

Before you can start adding finance charges to tardy payments, you’ll need to let QuickBooks know how you want them handled. Open the Edit menu and select Preferences. Click the Finance Charge tab in the left vertical pane, then the Company Preferences tab in the window that opens. You’ll see something like this:


You’ll need to decide on your QuickBooks    Finance Charge    settings before you can begin to apply these late fees.

You’ll need to decide on your QuickBooks Finance Charge settings before you can begin to apply these late fees.

What Annual Interest Rate will you charge? Will there be a Minimum Finance Charge? Do you want to offer a Grace Period? If you’ve never worked with finance charges before, you might be at a loss as to how you should answer these questions. We can talk it through with you if you’d like, and make sure you’re selecting the correct Finance Charge Account. In our example, QuickBooks defaulted to 70100 – Other Income, which may be the best option for you.

The next question may require some research. Some jurisdictions don’t allow you to Assess finance charges on overdue finance charges; you’ll need to find out. If there’s any doubt, make sure that the box in front of that option isn’t checked.

QuickBooks also needs to know on what date it should start calculating finance charges: on the due date or invoice/billed date. Finally, check the box in front of Mark finance charge invoices “To be printed.” QuickBooks doesn’t include finance charges on invoices themselves; it bills them on separate invoices. Check this box if you want the software to print all of them as a batch.

When you’re done here, click OK.

Applying the Charges


By selecting an    Assessment Date   , you’re telling QuickBooks how many late days should be included in its finance charge calculations.

By selecting an Assessment Date, you’re telling QuickBooks how many late days should be included in its finance charge calculations.

When you’re ready, open the Customers menu and select Assess Finance Charges. A window like the one in the image above will open.

QuickBooks, of course, performs all of the required calculations in the background. But it must first know what specific date you plan to actually assess the charges so that it can determine the number of late days that should be included. This may not be the current date, so be sure the Assessment Date is correct before proceeding.

All you have to do here is make sure there’s a check mark in front of every finance charge that should be invoiced (they’ll probably already be there, but you should verify this). If you send statements, clear the box in front of Mark Invoices “To be printed.” The finance charges will appear on the next statement.

When you’re satisfied, click Assess Charges.

Dispatching the Charges

Your finance charges have now been recorded in QuickBooks as individual invoices. When it’s time to print, open the File menu and select Print Forms | Invoices. You’ll see your numbered finance charge invoices displayed like this:


You can see your finance charge invoices when you go to print them.

You can see your finance charge invoices when you go to print them.

(Of course, if you email invoices, you’d click on File | Send Forms.)

It’s a good idea to notify your customers before you start assessing finance charges. This will give them a chance to catch up, and no one will be surprised to see the extra invoices.

QuickBooks does the hefty lifting as far as calculations are concerned, but it’s very important that you set your finance charges up correctly. Customers will be annoyed by mistakes. And it’s much easier for us to help you get this tool set up right from the start than to have to go in and untangle errors. Let us know if you plan to start assessing finance charges, and we’ll help make it work for you.


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There are numerous ways to encourage prompt payments from your customers. Assessing finance charges is one of them. QuickBooks can help do this.

Positive cash flow is dependent in part on how quickly your customers pay their invoices. We can help you set up finance charges to encourage this.

QuickBooks dispatches finance charges by creating additional invoices, which can be confusing. Let us help you understand this process.

Do you know what is a reasonable finance charge to assess customers who pay their invoices late? We can help you make such decisions.

Resolve to Do These 3 Things in QuickBooks Online

Try exploring these three areas to dig deeper into QuickBooks Online.

You should decide to learn more about QuickBooks Online and keep up with your accounting chores more conscientiously. How will you know if you achieved that goal?

Let’s pick three (or more) specific areas and focus on them! We’ll get the ball rolling for you by making some suggestions.

Explore the QuickBooks Online mobile app:

Yes, QuickBooks Online itself is already mobile; you can access it from any computer that has an internet connection and browser. But you probably don’t always lug a laptop around when you’re away from the office, and you’re sometimes at locations where using it wouldn’t be practical. But you can always pull out your smartphone and fire up the QuickBooks online app, available for both iOS and Android.


No matter how small your smartphone (this image was captured on an iPhone SE), you can still do your accounting tasks using QuickBooks Online’s app.

No matter how small your smartphone (this image was captured on an iPhone SE), you can still do your accounting tasks using QuickBooks Online’s app.

QuickBooks Online’s app replicates a surprising percentage of the features found on the browser-based version. You can create, view, and edit invoices, estimates, and sales receipts for example, as well as see abbreviated customer and vendor records. Your product and service records are available there, including tools for recording expenses on the road.

Create a budget for one month:

Budgets are intimidating. That’s one reason why some small businesses don’t create them. So instead of trying to estimate what your income and expenses will be for an entire fiscal year, just build a budget for one month. In QuickBooks Online, you’d click the gear icon in the upper right, then select Budgeting. Click Add budget in the upper right to open the New Budget window.

Give it a name, like “February Budget,” and select FY2019. Leave the Interval at Monthly, and open the Pre-fill data? menu to click on Actual data – 2018 (if you have data from last year). Then click Create Budget in the lower right corner. Look at last year’s February numbers and estimate how they might change in 2019. Replace the old numbers with your new ones.

Creating a framework for a budget in QuickBooks Online is easy.

Creating a framework for a budget in QuickBooks Online is easy.

We’re suggesting you try it for just one month, so you get a feel for how this tool works. And that experiment will probably leave you with some questions. We can help you go further and complete an annual budget.

Customize your sales forms:

Every piece of paper and email you send to your customers contributes to their impression of you. Are you presenting an attractive, consistent image of your business to them? QuickBooks Online can help with this. It offers simple (for the most part) tools that allow you to modify the boilerplate forms offered on the site – without being an experienced graphic designer.

Start by clicking on the gear icon in the upper right and selecting Your Company | Custom Form Styles. Unless you’ve done some work in this area before, the screen that opens will have just one listed entry: your Master form, the one that comes standard in QuickBooks Online. To see what you can do, click Edit at the end of that line. Your four options are:

  • Design. This section contains links to modifications you can make to your sales forms’ visuals. You can, for example, add a logo or color and change the default fonts.

Want to change your logo or other elements of your sales forms? QuickBooks Online has the tools

Want to change your logo or other elements of your sales forms? QuickBooks Online has the tools

  • Content. Do you want to add or remove the standard columns (Date, Quantity, etc.) displayed on your invoices? You can do so by checking and unchecking boxes.

  • Emails. QuickBooks Online sends email messages with forms; you can edit them here.

  • Payments. This is a reminder that QuickBooks Online supports online payments, which can help you get paid faster.

There’s more you can do to make your sales forms look professional and polished. We can help you with these tools – and any others you want to explore to expand your use of QuickBooks Online. It’s a new year, and who knows what might come your way over the next 12 months? Contact us if you want to prepare for the new accounting challenges that 2019 might present.

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Did you resolve to grow your understanding of QuickBooks Online in 2019? We can help you explore new features.

Go mobile in 2019: Download the QuickBooks Online app for your smartphone. You’d be surprised at how much it can do for you while you’re on the go.

How are things going with your 2019 budget? If you don’t have one yet, let us show you how QuickBooks Online simplifies this critical task.

QuickBooks Online’s sales forms (like invoices) may work fine for you. Do you know, though, how they can be customized to fit the image of your business? Ask us.

Need to Create Estimates? How QuickBooks Can Help You with This.

Estimates can be effective sales tools – if they look professional and offer attractive prices. Here’s how to create them using QuickBooks.

You don’t need to be a car repair shop or an HVAC technician to present prospects and customers with estimates. In fact, there may be many times when an unexpected estimate—or bid, or proposal—will land you a job you didn’t necessarily expect.

Of course, the bottom line is the meat of your estimate, the price you’re willing to accept for your work performed. It’s your job to determine that. But let QuickBooks do what it does best: provide intuitive, efficient tools for creating and modifying estimates.

First Steps

Before you start creating estimates, you’ll need to make sure they’re turned on in QuickBooks. Open the Edit menu and select Preferences, then Jobs & Estimates | Company Preferences. If the Yes button below DO YOU CREATE ESTIMATES? is not filled in, click inside of it to turn on this feature. Also, the Warn about duplicate estimate numbers check box should be activated.

There are actually three ways to open an estimate form. You can click the Estimates icon on the home page or open the Customers menu and select Create Estimates. You can also open the Customer Center (Customers | Customer Center) and click on the Transactions tab. Click the New Transactions button in the toolbar and choose Estimates.

If you haven’t explored QuickBooks’    Customer Center   , you should. You can do a lot of your sales work directly from there, like creating estimates.

If you haven’t explored QuickBooks’ Customer Center, you should. You can do a lot of your sales work directly from there, like creating estimates.

As you can see, you can create multiple types of sales forms from here. You can also see lists of existing and historical transactions.

Making It Yours

Before you create your first estimate, you should make sure that the form’s header, footer, and columns contain the fields you want. Use one of the three methods we just outlined to open a blank form. Then, with the Formatting tab at the top of the window active, click Customize Data Layout in the toolbar that opens to launch the Additional Customization window.

Take your time working with the options in this window. QuickBooks gives you an incredible amount of control over how your estimates will look, but don’t get ahead of yourself. Start with the most important content: the text you want to have appear. By default, the software opens a template called Custom Estimate that contains commonly-used fields, like Cost, Description, and Markup. You can easily change these by checking and unchecking their corresponding boxes.

You’ll check and uncheck boxes to indicate the fields you want to appear in the    Header   ,    Columns   , and    Footer    of your estimates.

You’ll check and uncheck boxes to indicate the fields you want to appear in the Header, Columns, and Footer of your estimates.

You’ll notice that you can have specific fields appear on the screen and/or on printed copies of your estimates. You can also change the field names (use Bid or Proposal instead of Estimate, for example), and for columns only, the order in which they appear.

Warning: Be careful with the Markup field of your estimates. You wouldn’t want your customers to see this, so be sure that it is NOT checked in the Print column.

As you make changes to this template, you’ll see the graphical Preview over to the right change to reflect your modifications. Click Print Preview to see a larger, finished version of your template. When you’re satisfied with it, click OK. This will replace your Custom Estimate template.

Adding Templates

You probably noticed other links and icons related to the formatting of estimates. These open advanced tools that we can help you understand. Once you’ve mastered them, you can save multiple versions of your estimate templates to use in different situations. These features include:

 

If you want to create a different look for the    Custom Estimate    template or build and save a new one, you can walk through this customization wizard.

If you want to create a different look for the Custom Estimate template or build and save a new one, you can walk through this customization wizard.

  • Customize Design. This opens a multi-step wizard that helps you select a background, font, and grid style.

  • Download Templates. You can choose from multiple pre-designed templates.

  • Basic Customization. This window supplies tools for adding a logo and changing colors and fonts.

  • Layout Designer. We only recommend this tool if you already have freeform design skills.

Just Like Invoices

Creating an estimate in QuickBooks is just like filling out an invoice. You enter data where appropriate, and select options from drop-down lists. If you don’t have any experience with sales forms and need some guidance, we’re here to help. We can set up a time to go over the entire process – and answer any other questions you might have about QuickBooks while we’re at it. So, get started and connect with us at your convenience.

 

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A carefully-crafted estimate that offers a reasonable price can help boost sales. QuickBooks can help you create them.

Have you explored QuickBooks’ Customer Center? You can create transactions like professional looking estimates from there and see lists of existing ones.

Did you know QuickBooks supports deep customization of professional looking estimates, which can enhance your company’s image? We can help with this.

Do you need to bid for jobs? QuickBooks’ customizable estimate forms can set you apart from your competition. Ask us about this.

 

Getting Started with Accounts in QuickBooks Online, Part 2

We covered a lot of ground but there are still some things to know about working with transactions you import from your banks.

We went over the basics of managing financial transactions once you’ve downloaded them into QuickBooks Online. We walked you through the mechanics of connecting to banks and credit card companies online and described the process of reviewing imported transactions, exploring concepts like:

  • Categorizing them, and marking them as billable

  • Adding them to an account register; matching them to related transactions; or transferring them to another account

  • Using Batch actions to process related groups

We explored QuickBooks Online’s    Banking    features last month, including the site’s ability to work with related transactions as groups.

We explored QuickBooks Online’s Banking features last month, including the site’s ability to work with related transactions as groups.

We’ll look at the process of setting up rules to automatically classify transactions as they come in from your banks. We’ll also provide a brief overview of the Chart of Accounts.

Bank Rules

We’ve already discussed QuickBooks Online’s ability to guess how transactions should be categorized (it’s not always right, but you can change incorrect ones). It also allows you to memorize transactions that recur on a regular basis; this also saves time and improves accuracy. There’s another way the site also uses automation to help minimize keystrokes: Bank Rules. Based on your input, it will scan incoming items and classify them, so you don’t have to. This can be very helpful when you regularly import transactions that share specific attributes.

Let’s look at how this works. Click Banking in the navigation toolbar, then click Bank Rules. Once you’ve created your own rule(s), they’ll appear in a grid on this screen. For now, click New rule in the upper right corner. Basically, you’re going to tell QuickBooks Online that when specific conditions are met, as you can see in the example below, it should take the specified action(s): assign a Transaction type, Payee, and/or Category. You can also have the transaction automatically added to your books.

You can create    Bank Rules    in QuickBooks Online that will automatically assign a    Transaction type   ,    Payee   , and    Category    to imported items that meet specific conditions.

You can create Bank Rules in QuickBooks Online that will automatically assign a Transaction type, Payee, and Category to imported items that meet specific conditions.

We suggest you meet with us if you’re going to take on this task. If your business processes a lot of transactions, Bank Rules can be incredibly helpful. But set them up incorrectly, and it could take many hours to untangle the errors.

Account Registers, Chart of Accounts

In this column and the last, we’ve been working with transactions as they come into QuickBooks Online directly from your financial institutions, before they appear in your account registers. When you clicked Add after you looked at—and perhaps modified—a transaction listed under For Review on the Banking page, you sent it to that account’s register.

Notice that the site’s registers look similar to their paper counterparts; you may remember recording checks and deposits in the back of your checkbook, if you’ve been in business long enough. There are two ways to see them in QuickBooks Online. When you’re on the Banking page, look over to your right. You’ll see a link labeled Go to Register. Click it, and you’ll be taken to that page for the account that’s currently active.

You can also open your account registers from the Chart of Accounts. We don’t talk much about this element of financial management because it’s not something you should be modifying. Nevertheless, it’s the heart of your accounting system. It consists of a comprehensive list of your company’s accounts, divided into assets, liabilities, income, expenses, and equity (along with subaccounts). Transactions are assigned to the appropriate account and recorded in the General Ledger, which is another element of accounting that we don’t discuss because you don’t have to deal with it in QuickBooks Online.

You can view your company’s    Chart of Accounts    in QuickBooks Online, but we recommend you don’t modify it.

You can view your company’s Chart of Accounts in QuickBooks Online, but we recommend you don’t modify it.

  Click on the Accounting tab in the navigation toolbar, then Chart of Accounts. You’ll see your individual bank accounts listed here, along with a View Register link.

A Critical Concept

Again, you won’t have to deal with the Chart of Accounts, but it’s very important that you understand how to manage downloaded transactions as you move them into your bank accounts in QuickBooks Online. Mistakes here can trigger errors in reports and taxes, as well as create general confusion. We’d be happy to get you on the right path with this critical function.

 

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QuickBooks Online guesses at how imported transactions should be categorized. You should be checking these carefully and changing incorrect ones.

If your company’s transaction volume is especially high, you may want to create Bank Rules to help process them quickly. Ask us how to do this successfully.

Make a New Year’s resolution to get a better understanding of how accounts work in QuickBooks Online. Book a session with us to explore this.

Bank registers in QuickBooks Online resemble paper checkbook registers, but they don’t work the same way. We can help you understand the differences.

 

Getting Started with Accounts in QuickBooks Online, Part 1

QuickBooks Online was built to work with transactions downloaded from your online financial institutions. Here’s how to work with them.

The ability to import transactions from financial institutions into QuickBooks Online is definitely one of the best things about the site. You may have even signed up for that very reason. By now, you’ve probably already set up at least one connection. But are you using all of the QuickBooks Online’s account tools? There’s a lot you can do once you’ve imported in data from your bank or credit card provider.

We’ll explore these features in this column and the next.

First Steps

If you’re a new subscriber, you may not have established these critical links yet. It’s an easy process. Start by clicking the Banking link in the left vertical navigation pane.  In the upper right corner, click Add Account and enter the name of your financial institution if it’s not pictured. Then follow the instructions you’re given on the screen. These can vary depending on the bank or credit card provider, but you’re always at least asked to enter the user name and password that you use to log into each online.

Need help with this? Let us know.

Viewing Your Transactions

Once you’ve made a successful connection, you’ll be returned to the Bank and Credit Cards page. You should see a card-shaped graphic at the top of the screen for each account you’ve linked. Click on one. The table that opens is not your account register. The view here defaults to For Review, which refers to transactions you’ve downloaded. The All tab should also be highlighted; we’ll get to Recognized transactions later.

When you first download transactions into QuickBooks Online, before you’ve done anything with them, many will appear under    For Review   .

When you first download transactions into QuickBooks Online, before you’ve done anything with them, many will appear under For Review.

There’s a lot going on here, so don’t be surprised if you’re confused. Review each transaction by clicking on it. QuickBooks Online will have guessed at how it should be categorized, but you can change this by opening the list in the category field and selecting the correct one. It’s critical that you get this right, since it will have an impact on reports and income taxes. If you need to Split it between multiple categories, click on that button found to the right.

If the transaction is Billable, check that box and choose a customer from the drop-down list. If you don’t see this box, click the gear icon in the upper right and select Account and Settings | Expenses. Check to see that Make Expenses and Items Billable is turned On (click on Off, then check the appropriate box to turn it on).

Next, determine how you want to process the transaction by clicking on one of the three buttons at the top of the transaction box. Do you want to accept it and Add it to that account’s register? Do you want QuickBooks Online to Find (a) Match for it (like a payment that matches an invoice, for example)? Or, do you want to Transfer it to another account? Once you’ve made one of these three selections, the transactions that you’ve added or matched will move under the In QuickBooks tab (where you can still Undo them) and will be available in the account’s register.

Other Options

You can save time by using QuickBooks Online’s    Batch Actions    tool.

You can save time by using QuickBooks Online’s Batch Actions tool.

Say you run a cross some duplicate or personal transactions that you don’t want to appear in the current account’s register. Check the box in front of each, then click the arrow in the Batch Actions box. Select Exclude Selected. They’ll then be available under the Excluded tab. You can also Accept or Modify multiple transactions simultaneously by using this tool.

So far, you’ve been viewing All your transactions. Click on Recognized to the right of it. These are transactions that are already familiar to QuickBooks Online because they’ve appeared before and/or have been matched, or because you’ve created Bank Rules for them (we’ll address that concept next month). You’ll need to address these the same way you did the transactions in the For Review section; you can either Add or Transfer them.

If you’re new to QuickBooks Online, this may all sound pretty complicated. It can be at first. But once you’ve worked with downloaded transactions for a while, you’ll understand the flow much better.  If you’re not clear on the process from the start, it can lead to trouble. Contact us at your convenience.  We’d be happy to sit down with you and go through it all using your own company’s data; the familiarity may help.

 

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If you’re new to QuickBooks Online, there’s a lot you need to understand about dealing with downloaded transactions out the gate. Let us help.

When you download transactions into QuickBooks Online, the site sometimes automatically “matches” them to existing entries. We're here to explain and help you navigate this.

Tired of reviewing downloaded transactions one by one in QuickBooks Online? Click on the Batch Actions button to explore this feature.  We can show you how.

QuickBooks Online often guesses at how downloaded transactions should be categorized. You should always check these for accuracy, and we can show you how.

 

 

Paying Bills in QuickBooks: The Basics

The time-consuming part’s over once you’ve entered bills in QuickBooks. Here’s how to pay them.

In our last post, we explained that the process of paying bills in QuickBooks requires two separate sets of actions. We went over what’s required to enter bills and to set up reminders so they don’t get overlooked. This month’s column will walk you through the second step: paying the bills.

You’ll remember you must first click Enter Bills on the home page (or open the Vendors menu and select Enter Bills), which opens a graphical representation of a bill. Select a Vendor from the drop-down list and complete the remaining fields in the top box. Make sure the Amount Due carries over to the lower part of the screen under either the Expenses or Items tab and that the rest of the fields there are completed correctly before you save the bill.

Once a bill is saved, it will be available to you when you click Pay Bills on the home page. That action will open a window similar to this one:

When you click    Pay Bills    on QuickBooks’ home page, a screen containing a table like this will open.


When you click Pay Bills on QuickBooks’ home page, a screen containing a table like this will open.

In the upper left corner, you’ll first SELECT BILLS TO BE PAID by either defining a date range or asking to see all bills that have been entered but not yet paid. To the right of those options is the Filter By field. You can open the list and click All Vendors or click on a specific vendor. Selecting an option in the Sort By field allows you to change the display order of the list of bills.

Selecting Bills

Next, you’ll have to indicate which bills you want to pay, and by what method. This may take more than one pass if you’re using different payment methods for different vendors. If that’s the case, you’ll have to select bills in batches. Click in the box in front of each bill that you want to pay (or click Select All Bills below the table). 

There are several columns in the table you will see. Some will already be filled in for each vendor with information that was included in the actual bill, like REF. NO. and AMT. DUE. Others refer to discounts and credits. If you’ve already set up vendor discounts (early payment, for example) or are entitled to a credit (overpayment, returned merchandise, etc.) and have set up QuickBooks to automatically apply them to bills, they should appear in those columns.

Tip: If you are the company administrator, you can set up this option. Open the Edit menu and select Preferences | Bills. With the Company Preferences tab active, check the boxes in front of Automatically Use Credits and Automatically Use Discounts, and select the correct Default Discount Account.

Discounts and credits are rather complex concepts in QuickBooks, and we expect you might need our help with setting them up.

The final step in bill paying on this page is to enter the AMT. TO PAY at the end of each applicable row.

Dispatching Payments

If you’ve selected All Bills (or chosen a batch that will use the same payment method), you’ll need to deal with the lower half of the bill-pay screen, which will look something like this:

Whether or not you’ll be dealing with credits and discounts you’ll still have some work to do at the bottom of the bill-paying screen.

Whether or not you’ll be dealing with credits and discounts you’ll still have some work to do at the bottom of the bill-paying screen.

You can click on Go to Bill if you need to see the original form; also, verify the Payment Date and Terms are correct. You can still Set Discount and Set Credits here, but again, please don’t do so until we’ve scheduled a session to go over these advanced tools if you plan to use them. Select a payment method for the bills you’ve selected; the options and account to the right of your choice will change depending on which it is.

When you’re done, click Pay Selected Bills and do any follow-up work that’s requested.

The bill-pay process in QuickBooks has a lot of moving parts, some of which may need prep work before you can actually dispatch bills. We strongly urge you to get together with us if you’re planning to use this element of QuickBooks. Although beneficial, it’s one of the more complicated processes in the software, and it must be done with extreme accuracy. When you’re ready, we can help.

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Once you’ve entered bills in QuickBooks, you’ll need to go through the payment process. Although beneficial, it can be complicated. We can help you with this.

QuickBooks bill-pay tools can make your life easier, but can be confusing at first. Let us walk you through the steps.

Do you need to record vendor discounts and credits as you pay bills in QuickBooks? This can be complicated. Consult with us and we can show you how.

Did you know you can set up QuickBooks to automatically apply vendor credits and discounts? Go to Edit | Preferences | Bills and contact us to walk you through the steps.