Direct Capital Top Accounting Blog

Virtual Accounting & Bookkeeping Services for SMBs - Blog

Current Articles | RSS Feed RSS Feed

Accounting Education Series: Automated Bill Payment and Invoicing


setup automated billing workflowsAs the leading provider of virtual accounting and bookkeeping services, we spend a great deal of time considering how technology can be implemented to make accounting processes more efficient. In fact, we're not embarassed to admit that sometimes we even dream about it. Seriously--who doesn't envision a world where accounts receivable and accounts payable are streamlined through seamless approval workflows and automated systems?

Ok, so maybe that isn't number one on everyone's holiday wishlist this year--but it tops ours and as such, we love to pass on the best of what we find to our friends and clients in the hopes that they too will be able to enjoy the nirvana that is automated AR and AP! So for those of you interested in (a personal favorite of ours!), here are some basic tips to get your started:

How to Set Up Bill Payment and Invoicing in is a cloud-based bill payment and invoicing service that helps businesses cut down on the amount of accounting paperwork they receive in the process of sending and receiving payments. Since this service combines bill payment and invoicing, it’s a convenient set up to run all of your finances through the application. It takes a bit of time to set up, but once everything is in the system it streamlines your workflow and helps you to stay on top of payments and your overall business cash flow. Once you have your customers, contractors, and vendors set up in, you can start creating bill pay and invoices.

Setting Up Bill Payment in

The basic bill payment function is located in the Payables tab. All of the bills that you have entered into the system are displayed here, along with the customers, clients, or vendors that they’re associated with. Select any bills from the unpaid bill section you wish to pay, then enter the amount that you are paying and what day you want to process it. Select the appropriate payment account from the drop down list underneath the Unpaid Bills section and click “Pay” to process the payments.

To set up a different lead time on bills, choose the “Settings” menu and click Overview. The settings page lets you control many aspects of your account. Select “Payables” and “Preferences” to get to the recurring menu. Enter a lead time on the Payables settings so you have a standard time for paying the vendor bills. Click “Save.”

Setting Up Invoices in

Invoices are handled through the Receivables tab in Choose the “Invoices” option and click “New” to create a new customer invoice. The invoice asks for several pieces of data, such as the invoice number, the specific customer, how much lead time is expected on the payment, when the payment is due, messages to send to the customer, and the items that the invoice is for. Select how you want to send the invoice so it’s delivered in the most appropriate fashion. Click “Save.”

How to Set up Recurring Bills and Invoices in

Your time is valuable as a small business owner. Manually sending out bills and invoices that are the same amount every month is a time consuming process that takes you away from tasks better suited to your expertise. Instead of manually handling regularly recurring bills and invoices, consider using a service such as to handle it automatically. This frees up your time to handle business tasks that can’t be automated, as well as helping you stay on top of all of your payments.

Setting up Recurring Bills

Open the Payables tab to access your bill information. Go into the “Manage Recurring” section of Payables. Choose “New” to create a bill. The primary field to fill out on this page is the bill schedule. Enter the established due date and choose the vendor it’s associated with. The recurring frequency is set based on your payment terms for a particular vendor. If the recurring bill is generating at an incorrect time, change the payment terms under the vendor’s account.

Choose the billing frequency and click “No End Date” if this is a bill that continues to go on without a set term. If you don’t have a vendor entered into the system for the recurring bill, you can create one directly from this page. Enter in a description of the bill, the total amount of the bill, and any line items associated with the bill. Use the approvers drop down field if a particular person, such as your accounting department head, needs to approve the bill before it goes out. Click “Save” to save your changes.

Recurring Invoices Setup

Go to the “Receivables” section on Select “Recurring Invoices” to access the section you need. Choose “New” to start creating the recurring invoice. Fill out the relevant fields on the invoice, such as the due date, when the invoice gets generated, the customer information, the invoicing frequency, how soon payment is due after the invoice is sent, whether there’s an end date to invoice generation, and what the invoice is for. also includes a field for a message to the customer, as well as specifying the method that the invoice is sent. Save your changes, and you’re ready to move on to the tasks that really matter.

Not sure how to get started or simply prefer to have it all handled by a bookkeeping service? Our experts can help get you on the path to automated bill payment perfection. Schedule a free consultation today!

New Call-to-action

Accounting Education Series: Cash vs. Accrual Accounting Methods


cash vs accrualIf your bookkeeping is like most other small business bookkeeping services, you use the cash method of accounting. You record transactions either when you receive a payment or when you pay an expense. Cash accounting is simple, and it provides a clear picture of your company’s cash flow. However, some companies prefer the accrual method even though it’s more complex.

Accrual accounting differs from cash accounting because it doesn’t book transactions when payment changes hands. You don’t record payment when your customer pays an invoice; instead, you record payment on the day you complete the job. Also, you don’t log an expense when you write the check, but you log the expense on the day that you received the service. Your accounting services provider can help you evaluate whether cash or accrual is right for your business.

What Are the Advantages of Cash vs. Accrual Accounting?

Although the real comparison between cash and accrual is more complex, this list provides a simple summary of each method’s major advantages:

  1. Accrual accounting gives you a better picture of your company’s overall performance. Instead of tracking payments, you’re tracking how much work you do during a particular period, which gives you a better picture of the health of your business.
  2. Accrual accounting is more timely. If you complete a large job for a client in December and don’t receive payment until January, then you can still book the income in December even when you haven’t received payment. You can count your income in the current tax year instead of delaying it until the following tax year.
  3. Cash accounting requires less work. Cash accounting allows you to spend less effort on bookkeeping.
  4. Cash accounting helps you to see what you have at a glance. With cash accounting, you can see your cash flows all of the time, which helps you to quickly see how much cash your business is putting into the bank.

Tax Reform Could Force More Companies to Switch to Accrual

The IRS requires most companies that have inventory to use accrual accounting to record sales of merchandise. Once a business earns more than $10 million annually, it’s generally required to switch to accrual accounting.

This requirement may change, however, based on a tax reform bill that the House Ways and Means Committee is currently drafting. If Congress gets its way, more businesses may have to switch to accrual accounting in the future, which could significantly affect your small business tax bill. If your company is a partnership, an S-corporation, a personal services corporation or a farm operation, talk to an accounting services provider about how these changes might affect your company.

Need help figuring out what type of accounting you need? Our certified bookkeepers and accounting professionals can help. Schedule a free 30 minute consultation today.

New Call-to-action

Accounting Back-To-School Education Series: Accounts Receivable


how-to-manage-accounts-receivableOne of the most common complaints we hear from incoming clients is staying on top of their accounts receivable. They often find themselves without the ability to track or manage outstanding invoices, resulting in extra work, wasted staff resources and reduced profits. But finding ways to improve accounts receivable processes can be overwhelming, especially in small businesses and with limited resources.

Whether you're exploring outsourcing your accounting services or simply looking to improve the way you manage your local bookkeeper, the following tips are intended to help shed some light on the common pitfalls stalling your accounts receivable.

4 Accounts Receivable Tips for Small Businesses

Of all the accounting services crucial for small business success, accounts receivable may just be the most important. Why? Because this metric measures the lifeblood of your business: cash flow. You may have a phenomenal marketing team and the best sales force but if the cash isn’t coming in your business will struggle to make its own payments. Below are some suggestions for using accounts receivable to maximize your profits and success.

Invoice Promptly

You should invoice your customers immediately in order to make sure your services are fresh in their minds. After all, if it takes months for you to send out the invoice, are they really going to be in a rush to pay it? QuickBooks allows you to create and send invoices automatically. Emailed invoices are even better, leaving little chance of a customer saying your invoice got lost in the mail.

Send Monthly Statements

As part of your accounting services package, monthly statements are an essential for keeping money coming in, especially for customers you work with frequently. Invoices can be put aside and forgotten about, but if your customer is receiving a statement of their account every month they’ll know exactly what they need to pay and when. You can also reconcile the statement to make sure they have all of your invoices.

Monitor Aging

The QuickBooks aging summary report shows you customer account balances at a glance, so you can quickly view accounts that are overdue by 30 days, 60 days or even longer. The more overdue an invoice becomes, the less cash you’re pulling in that month. Aim to stop 30 days delinquencies from snowballing to 60 days delinquencies and so on.

Chase Overdues

It can be difficult to pick up the phone to make a call to a customer with an overdue balance, but it’s vital that you chase payment as soon as an invoice comes due. Your customer might have missed their payment because it slipped their mind, because they’re having issues with their payment process or for many other reasons. The point is, you won’t know until you make contact with them. If you struggle with making that contact personally, QuickBooks can be set up to send reminders at certain points. Automating as much of the process as possible will greatly improve your return rate.

Managing accounts receivable can seem like a daunting part of overall accounting services, but with an automated system and increased knowledge of the process, you’ll find it’s actually a breeze to have customers that pay on time, every time.

Need help managing your accounts receivable processes or setting up new automated AR systems? Our bookkeeping experts can help relieve you of this responsibility and help you get paid quickly and efficiently. Contact us to find out how today.

New Call-to-action

August Accounting Back-To-School Education Series: Unpaid Interns


unpaid interns accounting services bookkeeping regulationsYour startup or SMB probably operates on a tight budget, so unpaid interns might seem like the ideal solution to your labor problems. Unfortunately, you could end up in hot water with the Department of Labor if your internship program doesn’t meet certain legal standards. Every employee in the United States is entitled to a minimum wage and overtime compensation. In addition, employees might be entitled to workers’ compensation, unemployment benefits and protection under state labor laws and discrimination laws. According to the Supreme Court’s ruling in Walling v. Portland Terminal Company, your company can’t avoid these obligations by simply calling someone an “unpaid intern.”

Before establishing an internship program, you should talk to your accounting services provider. Unpaid internships have to pass six legal tests to exempt your company from the employer/employee relationship:

1. The intern’s training simulates what he or she would receive in an educational environment. Asking an unpaid intern to file papers for a summer might decrease your office workload, but it won’t provide the intern with the caliber of job skills that would be delivered in an educational environment. Work with a local college to make sure that your intern gets college credit while working for you.

2. The internship experience benefits the intern. If your intern doesn’t gain more than your company does from the experience, then your internship program doesn’t pass the exemption test.

3. The intern doesn’t displace a regular employee. Your intern shouldn’t fulfill a role better filled by a paid employee. Also, existing staff should supervise all interns closely. If your interns act like employees, then they should be paid at least minimum wage. Your accounting services provider can help you make the distinction.

4. The business doesn’t receive advantages from the intern’s presence. The effort to train an intern should actually impede your business, not make it easier, according to the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). Again, the intern should be receiving the benefit, not your company.

5. The intern isn’t entitled to a job once the internship is complete. Before the internship start-date, have the intern sign an agreement. The agreement should explain that no intern is entitled to a job offer.

6. The intern isn’t entitled to payment. The intern should sign an agreement acknowledging that he or she isn’t going to be paid.

In today’s uncertain employment environment, unpaid interns might eagerly trade free labor for work experience. However, even if interns seem willing to work for nothing, accepting free labor puts your company in litigious territory. Keep yourself and your business safe. Work with tax and accounting professionals to ensure strict adherence to labor regulations and structure unpaid internships around the Walling v. Portland Terminal Company standards.

Need help managing your small business bookkeeping? Our professionals can help--schedule your free 30 minute consultation today.

New Call-to-action

August Accounting Back-To-School Education Series: Job Costing


job costing outsourced accounting servicesIn bookkeeping, job costing is simply the task of tracking the expenses on a project and comparing them to the revenue that job produces. Job costing is critical for high-dollar jobs like building projects, consulting or architectural contracting, but it is also used by manufacturers to record and compile costs for materials, overhead and labor for a specific job or batch of products. Job costing can give a business keen insights to reduce expenses and improve profitability, if properly utilized.

Bookkeeping services are typically well-versed in job costing procedures, and they can set up your accounting systems to easily track your expenses and revenues. Having access to detailed job costing data will help you, your CFO or controller make the best decisions as they pertain to the job at hand, and to future job quotes and resource management as well. It also ensures that all of the costs that are part of the job are appropriately passed along to the customer. An Estimated vs. Actual report will give an analysis of the quoted costs to those that were actually incurred – critical information to have when bidding on future work.

Components of job costing

Ideally, your bookkeeper will track all the costs attributed to the job, make sure that all the costs are billed to the customer, and produce a report that details costs and revenues for each job. There are typically two types of jobs quoted – fixed fee jobs, and time and materials jobs. Fixed fee jobs are typically quoted a bit higher to include any potential overruns.

Let’s look at a few of the many components of job costing:

Quotes - The initial projection of costs you give the customer before the job is awarded to you. These can also be called proposals or bids. Quotes also need a way to track ongoing costs; this keeps costs in line and allows for overruns to be dealt with.

Materials - All of the project components, like building supplies, are assigned to the project once they are used. They can be costed based on actual costs as purchased for the job, or on average if they are materials used frequently by the business.

Labor - Employees and subcontractors record their time for specific jobs, and your bookkeeping services assign it to the jobs in your accounting software.

Overhead - Overhead costs are typically accumulated in cost pools, and divided among the jobs proportionally.

How can job costing improve profits?

Job costing is the best tool for tracking costs to specific jobs and analyzing them to reduce costs in future jobs. Job costing reports are helpful for keeping costs down during the progression of a job, and they also help you to identify the most profitable and least profitable components of your business, allowing you to focus on those parts that make you money, while adjusting or eliminating those that are draining profit.

By having and using detailed job costing reports from previous, similar jobs, quoting new work is much more of a science than a mere “guesstimate.” This allows the business to earn maximum profits and take advantage of future growth opportunities.

Need help implementing job costing at your company? Our team of dedicated financial controllers and bookkeepers can help you get your job costing on track. Schedule a free 30 minute consultation today to review your accounting needs.

New Call-to-action

August Accounting Back-To-School Education Series: Protecting Financial Data


protecting data securityIn today’s back-to-school education post, we’re taking a close look at how small business owners can protect their financial data. If you watched this morning’s news, you likely heard about a massive data security breach in which 1.2 billion—yes, BILLION—email address and password combinations were stolen by Russian hackers. According to the New York Times this is the largest known collection of stolen Internet credentials—and that means there is a good likelihood that it will affect you or someone you know. At least 420,000 websites were discovered as part of this hack, including household names—which means everyone from college students to mommy bloggers to small business owners are likely going to be affected by this in coming days and weeks.

When Changing Your Password Goes From Annoying to Terrifying

For those of us with information stored in the cloud—a growing number by the day—concerns turn from simple annoyances (“Need to change my Staples password again!”) to gut-wrenching horror (“My financial data is in the cloud! Somebody stop them!!!”). With more of our clients turning to cloud-based accounting software to manage everything from their bookkeeping and payroll to expense reporting and time tracking, we know there is a lot of sensitive data floating around in the cloud—and a lot of reliance on accounting technology providers to protect this data.

Small Business Financial Data is More Vulnerable

Small business owners are especially vulnerable to this because they do not (and likely could not) have the capabilities in house to safeguard against outside threats. They are forced to depend on their vendors providing security and protections—often without much support to review and analyze measures in place. However, when it comes to financial data, you can never be too safe or too involved in the security in place.

To make sure your data is safe (and stays safe!), we’ve put together a list of best practices for creating safe ID and password combinations. Let us know if you have other password protection policies in place—and then get to updating your information today!

Best Practices to Safeguarding Your Internet Credentials

  • Create a unique ID and password combination for every login you have.
  • Mandate every employee create a unique ID and password combination for each unique app or access point.
  • Make sure your email password(s) are unique from all others and change every 30 days as well as in the event of any breach.
  • Use 2-Step Verification processes where available, especially in securing email accounts. Gaining access to email accounts is the easiest way for a hacker to take over all of your accounts in moments because most software programs use password reset via email.
  • Use OAuth processes where available to allow third party access without sharing passwords across platforms.
  • Skip the obvious password combinations (anniversaries, children, pets, etc)—it is easier than ever to track down personal information online and guess at password combinations.
  • Keep software, apps and operating systems up-to-date. Bugs are discovered every day and patches are pushed out—automatic updates will help keep you protected.
  • Keep your security software up-to-date.
  • Limit sharing of personal data on unnecessary sites. You may not have a choice on all sites, especially those where you are required to share financial or legal information—but skip sharing your birthdate on irrelevant sites. Staples may want to send you a birthday discount code—but a fake birthday will do just as well while still protecting your personal information from the next group to hack into their database.

Need help making sure your accounting systems are protected? Our accounting technology and bookkeeping services experts can help make sure your accounting systems are setup correctly and safely.

New Call-to-action

August Accounting Back-To-School Education Series: Class Tracking


project management class trackingClass tracking in accounting services and bookkeeping systems, notably QuickBooks, allows you to create differentiated classes for each transaction. These can be set up according to location, department, project or any other criteria. Choose classes that will give you the most crucial details from the grouped data. Class tracking makes it easier to focus on specific areas of the business without the hassle of trying to separate transactions later.

What is Class Tracking?

The class tracking feature allows your bookkeeper to track transactions in individual segments of the business, from invoices, receipts, bills or other documents. Businesses can use classes to keep account balances for each department, each manager or each project, and keep the reporting function and sorting abilities totally separate. It is easy to see how tracking can be useful for an owner of multiple restaurant locations. A class can be created to track information on the entire restaurant group, with attending separate reports of revenue, profits, and assets for the individual stores. Likewise, a farmer might use the class function to separate transactions for cattle, corn or soybeans, so that he can see at a glance what his expenses and profits are in each category.

Class tracking tools make accounting software more intuitive by giving you a comprehensive overview of each area of your business, which can help you make critical business decisions. In the examples above, tracking can alert you if one (and hopefully only one!) of your restaurant locations needs some extra attention. It can also help the farmer decide which crops to plant next year. When you have a detailed overview of the individual parts of your business, you can quickly spot which areas need extra care and tending. In-depth insights make future planning and implementation more successful.

Class Tracking in QuickBooks

Setting up class tracking in QuickBooks is relatively simple; if you use outsourced accounting or bookkeeping services, they can quickly enable it for your use. Otherwise, edit your “Company Preferences” to ensure that class tracking is ready for use and set up class prompts for each transaction input. Add the classes that you think you may need for your bookkeeping needs. You can always deactivate those you don’t need.

Two reports in QuickBooks are specifically designed for class tracking– Profit & Loss by Class and Balance Sheet by Class. Other reports in the system can be set to filter by a class column also. One word of advice – the Balance Sheet by Class report is likely more complex than you are used to. If you work with an outsourced accounting services company, ask for clarification regarding any details of the report that are unclear.

Class tracking does not need to be difficult. In fact, it can be quite simple and extremely useful to track your expenses, your profitability and how much time you spend on projects. These details can help you see areas of potential savings or increased profits in the future, ensuring you are more successful overall.

Need help implementing class tracking so you can figure out what your actual profitability is? Our accounting and bookkeeping experts can help! Schedule a free 30 minute consultation to find out how our clients are leveraging their accounting data to get real, actionable business insights.

New Call-to-action

August Accounting Back-To-School Education Series: Startup Challenges


Startup GrindAs a virtual accounting and bookkeeping services provider, we engage with companies of all shapes and sizes. As such, we are exposed to a lot of trends and insights—and one of the areas in which we see a lot of movement towards virtualization of all non-core competencies is the startup world. This may come as no surprise, after all the connections between startup, technology and virtualization are easy to follow.

The startup community in general is primed for early adoptions and disruptions as many of the forward thinkers inspiring this are coming directly out of startups. In some ways, we like to think of ourselves as having a bit of a startup culture and mentality—which might be why we feel so at home sponsoring events such as Startup Grind (unsolicited plug—their 2015 event tickets went on sale today and it is a “must attend” for anyone starting or growing a business). And in other ways, we’re proud to mentor the startup community, especially when it comes to preparing startup founders for the responsibilities of proper accounting and bookkeeping procedures.

For today’s Back-To-School installment, we’re taking a second look at an issue that is paramount to startup growth—Managing and Measuring Burn Rate. For startups that have to manage investors, budgets and returns, this is often the most critical startup challenge they will ever face. Armed with the right knowledge, understanding burn rate can be the difference between prosperity and failure. So without further ado, here’s what you need to know.

How To Keep Your Burn Rate From Burning You

accounting department burn rateStartup companies often find themselves dealing with a negative cash flow during the early stages of operations. Focused on growing their business, their investments, overhead and operating costs generally outweigh any revenue they might be generating for quite a while, a normal situation for many startup companies but an unsettling one nonetheless. In the position of having to make up for diminishing operating capital, startups typically look to one of several funding sources—from bootstrapping or traditional business loans to investor seed money and venture capital—to keep them above water while their revenue increases to profitable levels. Yet, convincing a funding source to get or remain involved is not nearly so simple and many startups struggle to explain their financial situation or capital needs. What startup companies really need—and often lack—is a clear understanding of their burn rate and the financial picture behind it. In short, they need to learn how to keep their burn rate from burning them.

What Is A Burn Rate?

Your startup’s burn rate is, in its simplest form, your expenses less income. It is the rate at which money is flowing out the door, offset by any revenue coming in. Ultimately, a good measurement of your burn rate will give you a clear picture of how long you can continue to operate at the same level without needing to raise additional funding. On average, investor expect each round of funding to last from a year to 18 months. If your burn rate indicates you won’t meet expectations, you might run the risk of not receiving future funding—and end up losing everything.

Startup companies can run afoul many ways during their infancy, not least of which is simply running out of money. While this is sometimes inevitable or unavoidable—perhaps the startup is just not viable or there isn’t enough interest among investors—many times it is a result of an inaccurate financial picture. There are several reasons for this happening, all of which have fairly simple fixes. 

Avoiding The Burn--Rate, That Is

Managing your burn rate relies on a mix of best practices, from proper financial understanding and reporting to alternatives to direct cash outlays.

Financial Best Practices:

  • Review your burn rate (at least) monthly to make sure you have a clear financial picture.
  • Manage your burn rate daily to ensure control over expenses.
  • Track and code every expense when they occur.
  • Record and assign revenue to the appropriate calendar month—this is especially important if you sell anything that spans multiple time periods, such as an annual license for software or a monthly membership.
  • Mind anticipated future large cash outlays so you aren’t surprised by a jump in your burn rate down the road.
Alternatives to Big Expenses:
  • Offer equity or future revenue to lower employee salary costs and offset a lack of employer-sponsored benefits.
  • Consider shared spaces, co-work environments and BYOD policies to lower overhead costs and reduce IT expenses of managing and fixing issues.
  • “Rent” developers or other professionals through startup labs and incubator programs instead of hiring a large, full-time team.
  • Reduce time and money spent on operational and administrative activities by hiring virtual or outsourced employees, such as bookkeepers, administrative assistants and even legal support.
  • Be patient and prolong taking your product to market. The expenses to hire and manage sales staff and marketing will be wasted if your product isn’t ready yet.
  • Consider cloud-based programs to reduce maintenance and server costs where possible.

By employing a mix of financial best practices as well as exploring alternatives to larger, more traditional expenses, you can ensure that your startup is a lean operation with a manageable burn rate and a greater chance of successfully going to market. The slower your burn rate, the greater likelihood your startup receives funding, gets to market, and becomes profitable.

Need help getting control over your full financial picture? We can help with a free 30 minute consultation.

New Call-to-action

August Accounting Back-To-School Education Series: QuickBooks Tips


back to school accounting trainingThe beginning of August is always bittersweet. As we head into the final month of summer, we feel the urge to relish every last moment that waning summer days have to offer--while keeping one eye on the "back to school" vibe permeating the air around us. Even if you've been out of school for a while, the lure of clean notebooks and sharpened pencils (or, ahem, shiny iPads and wearable gadgets) is enough to bring you back to the moments in early September when all is fresh, new and inviting for education.

Perhaps it's just us--or our back-to-school nostalgia--but beginning today and for the entire month of August, we will be committing ourselves to improving accounting and bookkeeping education. From QuickBooks tips and tricks to how-tos for the latest software integrations, we will be bringing you everything you ever wanted to learn about accounting and bookkeeping! (We know, we know--we can hear your applause from here).

To get started, we're contributing a few of our go-to favorites to a Webucator Tips series, where students can for QuickBooks training. So without further ado, let's get Back To School! Back To School Series Day 1: Making QuickBooks Work With You

Beginner Level: QuickBooks Keyboard Short Cuts

  • Control + A = brings up the Chart of Accounts
  • Space Bar = marks or un-marks items or boxes with check marks
  • Control + F = opens Find Transactions window
  • Control + Q = brings you a quick report of transactions for each item in a list you have highlighted (sale item, customer, vendor, etc.)
  • Alt + F4 = exits the QuickBooks software
  • Control + M = brings up the Memorize Transaction option
  • Control + Delete Key = deletes a line
  • Control + Insert Key = inserts a line
  • Alt + Down Arrow Key = displays list for a field
  • Control + E = lets you edit a transaction
  • Control + I = creates a customer invoice
  • Control + W = opens up Write Checks window

Intermediate Level: Customizing the QuickBooks Icon Bar

The QuickBooks Icon Bar can be customized for convenient access to your most frequently used QuickBooks windows. Shortcuts appearing on the Icon Bar by default can be removed, and shortcuts for any window in QuickBooks can be added.

Customize the Icon Bar by selecting View > Customize Icon Bar to open the “Customize Icon Bar” window. A list of shortcuts currently appearing on the Icon Bar appears under “Icon Bar Content”.

To remove a shortcut that is not needed, simply highlight the name of the shortcut in the list and click Delete. To add shortcuts from the pre-defined shortcut list to the Icon Bar, click the Add… button to open the “Add Icon Bar Item” window. Highlight the shortcut you wish to add and click OK to return to the “Customize Icon Bar” window.

To reorder the icons within the Icon Bar, click the diamond next to the item you wish to reposition and drag it up or down to the desired location.

Shortcuts for similar tasks can be grouped together on the Icon Bar using Separators, which appear as (space) in the “Icon Bar Content” list. Separators can be added, deleted, and reordered in the same way as shortcuts.

Display Options for the Icon Bar are set by default to “Show icons and text.” If desired, the Display Options can be changed to “Show icons only” to remove the text description from the shortcuts on the Icon Bar.

Shortcuts can be added to the Icon Bar for any window in QuickBooks, even if the shortcut does not appear in the pre-defined list. Begin by opening the window for the shortcut you wish to add. This can be a transaction (Make Journal Entry), a list (Memorized Report List), a register, or a specific report. With the window displayed on the screen, select View > Add “” to Icon Bar… to open the “Add Window to Icon Bar” window. Select an icon for your new shortcut from the list on the left. QuickBooks suggests a label for the shortcut in the Label field. You can either accept the suggested label or modify it as preferred. Click OK to add the new shortcut to your Icon Bar. Once added, the new shortcut can be reordered in the “Customize Icon Bar” window.

The QuickBooks Icon Bar is user-specific, so each user can customize the Icon Bar to suit his or her preferences.

Advanced Level: Customized Columns for Lists and Account Centers

The columns for Item Lists, Fixed Asset Item Lists, etc. can be customized to remove data fields that are not applicable or to add data fields that you frequently use, including custom data fields. This way you can view it at a glance, instead of having to open/edit the item to view data fields.

Open the Item List (Lists > Item List). Right click and select Customize Columns in the pop-up window. The Customize Columns box pops up (shown below).

example 1

You can add or remove data fields and move them up or down so that they appear in the desired order.

The columns in the Vendor and Customer Centers can also be customized to add or remove data fields. For example, you can add the Due Date or Open Balance columns. If you have a client that frequently pays partial amounts, the Open Balance column allows you to quickly see the unpaid amount of each bill, without having to run an Open Balance Report. Same for A/R customer partial payments of invoices.

When in the Vendor or Customer Center, right click (in the lower right section of the Vendor Information or Customer Information window, where the transactions are listed) and select Customize Columns in the pop-up window. The Customize Columns box pops up (shown below).

example 2

You can add or remove data fields and move them up or down so that they appear in the desired order when you look at vendor/customer records in the Vendor/Customer Center.

Looking for a professional outsourced bookkeeping or accounting service to take care of QuickBooks for you? Our full time, expert accounting professionals can help!

New Call-to-action

How Time Tracking Software Improves SMB Accounting Productivity


time tracking software small business accountingBig business has leveraged strategic outsourcing for years. More recently, the emergence of new technologies and software products has made outsourcing a smart choice for small business, particularly in the areas of accounting and finance. Small business is increasingly turning to outsourcing in these and other areas as a way to control costs, increase efficiency, reduce risk, enhance productivity and focus on core business objectives.

The Expansion of Outsourcing

According to a recent study by Ovum, companies are expanding outsourced services beyond the traditional areas of payroll accounting, accounts payable and accounts receivable. Business is “moving up the value chain,” according to Ovum analyst, Ed Thomas, and “looking to move from relatively basic transactional processes, such as accounts payable to more strategic functions, like budgets, forecasts and internal audits.” As companies look for new ways to cut costs and increase efficiency, they are incorporating an ever-wider slate of outsourced activities, including those related to employee productivity.

The Benefits of Time Tracking Software

Time tracking software provides a way for employees to track their time sheets in real time, and for managers to assess employees’ relative productivity levels. As such, time tracking software is an increasingly important human resources tool for small business.

Time tracking software increases productivity by:

  • Providing managers with a tool to measure employee performance. Able to see how employees spend their time, managers can assign tasks based on competency, reward high-performing employees and counsel those who are underperforming.
  • Assessing appropriate staffing levels: Managers can control payroll costs by determining if the inability to achieve desired outcomes is related to inadequate staffing or to weak employee performance.
  • Enhancing performance reviews: Managers can more easily measure the productivity of employees against one another and against group averages.
  • Giving employees a tool to improve their own performance: Time tracking software empowers and protects employees by quantifying their productivity and permitting them to participate in managing their own time. By creating individual action lists and performance goals, along with the steps necessary to achieve them, time tracking software contributes to employee motivation and morale.

Finding the Best Time Tracking Software for Your Business

Every business is different, and each needs its own set of time tracking features. In general, however, there are common core features offered by the best software that are applicable to the needs of most small businesses. These include ease of usage, generation of clear and comprehensive reports, mobile and GPS capabilities and the ability to generate employee alerts and reminders.


TSheets is among the strongest time tracking products on the market, both because it is relatively inexpensive (important for small businesses) and because of the comprehensive features and benefits it offers. These include mobile time tracking, employee scheduling, sick leave, flex time and vacation tracking, approval process control, attendance, management, project time tracking and multiple pay rates and projects.

TSheets is one software product among the many which have revolutionized the way small companies do business, making outsourcing a more attractive option. In the years ahead, as its benefits become more apparent, small business will discover new and better ways to leverage outsourcing and new business functions to outsource.

If you need help analyzing whether time tracking software can help improve your small business accounting productivity, our dedicated accounting software and technology integration specialists can help.

New Call-to-action

All Posts