QuickBooks Tip: 5 Invaluable Tips for Beginners

by Lynnea Bylund on November 21, 2010 · 5 comments

There are many things that will contribute to your success or failure with QuickBooks, but here are 5 that we see with a recurring regularity.

Thanks goes to QuickBooks specialist Scott Gregory for these:

Scott Gregory QB Specialist

1. If you’re not a bookkeeper before you buy QuickBooks, you won’t be after either.

Please – do NOT fall victim to the siren song of do-it-yourself bookkeeping that the marketing folks at QuickBooks are singing.

Concepts such as “if you can write a check, you can use QuickBooks” and “QuickBooks is built for butchers, bakers and candlestick makers” (both themes have been used in their advertising) will lull you into a very false sense of security.

2. Unless you are a payroll genius, outsource it! Contrary to what you might think, you can’t afford NOT to outsource your payroll.

OK, I get it. I hear people frequently say “gee, how hard is it to create paychecks for the employees?” That statement by itself as it relates to payroll is absolutely true. It isn’t too terribly hard to create the checks.

However, the payroll nightmares that haunt thousands of small businesses have NOTHING to do with the creation of the checks. The nightmares have EVERYTHING to do with the timely and correct filing of reports and the accurate and timely deposit of taxes due.

Let’s be honest – payroll is a completely NON-value added activity for ALL businesses. The minimum expectation going in is that it be 100% correct (the amount of the paychecks, the deposits and the tax filings). That’s an enormous amount of pressure for someone that very likely doesn’t have any background in payroll. Why even risk it?

3. Learn and experiment freely – in the sample company file, NOT in your “live” company file

Taking time to learn about the various features, shortcuts and tools within QuickBooks is an excellent goal, and I strongly encourage you to do that. After all, less clicks = more vacation in my book!

However, my recommendation is that your learning be done in the sample data files that are provided with every edition of QuickBooks. That way, you can play around all day (or night) in these sample files and have absolutely ZERO worries about messing anything up in your “live” file.

4. Do NOT dive into online banking right away

As soon as you create a new bank account in your QuickBooks chart of accounts, you are asked if you want to connect to your online banking. Resist the temptation at first.

Without the initial knowledge of how QuickBooks expects things to be done when it comes to recording bank and credit card transactions, you will be at a big disadvantage.

In fact, if you connect to online banking right away, there is a very good chance that you’ll just be downloading and entering a lot of garbage into your QuickBooks file – you’ll just be doing it faster as a result of the electronic connection.

5. Download and install QuickBooks updates when notified

I know – the “QuickBooks has recently downloaded an update. Would you like to install it now?” messages can get annoying.

But what you might not know is this – these updates are how the creators of QuickBooks push bug fixes and other updates out to you.

It is essential that you take the time to install these updates when you are notified about them. If you are skittish about installing them because of worries about potential problems, check your favorite search engine for reports of any problems with these updates. If you find none, forge ahead with the installation.

>> Read Scott’s full blog post

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1 Shannon Tucker November 26, 2010 at 7:30 pm

Great advice from a CPA who has probably had to clean up a lot of people’s QuickBooks messes. Better to start off well and let the pros help.

2 JohnnyB January 11, 2011 at 8:51 pm

Good stuff for QuickBooks beginners like ME! -jb

3 SallyCPA January 24, 2011 at 12:39 am

What a great QuickBooks resource you are!

4 Outsource Outback February 5, 2011 at 7:33 pm

This Catalyst QuickBooks site is really a walk-through for all of the info I wanted about bookkeeping and QuickBooks and didn’t know who to ask.

5 Catalyst QuickBooks Editor February 17, 2011 at 10:50 pm

We will try to keep it up for YOU.

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