When QuickBooks Enterprise first was released, and even with the first upgrade to 4.0 in 2004, we were tepid in our excitement. Sure, it ran reports faster for those larger data files and yes, if you had more than 5 users it provided a solution. QuickBooks is an easy accounting software to learn and it offered enough features to satisfy most small businesses. But the differences between Premier and Enterprise were not enough to warrant the higher price tag, unless of course you had more than 5 users.
But since the release in year 2005, the new features limited to Enterprise editions have filled in some much needed gaps in internal controls for small business and has added quite a few efficiency features for those businesses with large lists.
As you read about the new features of Enterprise, you too will understand why we here at QBalance have switched our “favorite” QuickBooks edition to Enterprise. Even with less than 5 users, this edition will make office workers more efficient and produce fewer errors, paying for the additional price tag many times during the course of the year.
Enterprise sells for $3000 retail (call us for pricing) and Intuit encourages annual upgrades by offering the upgrade at a price of $850 per year. This pricing structure is the equivalent of purchasing the latest edition once every four years, which, with the change in technology, is a very fair pricing strategy and will give the business owner access to the latest editions every year. Be sure to keep this upgrade price of $850 in your annual budget. Failure to upgrade one year means paying full price next time you do decide to upgrade. Pricing policies are Intuit’s policies and could be subject to change. Also keep in mind that your data file, once upgraded to Enterprise, is not backward compatible to the Premier and Pro editions.
One of our favorite features of Enterprise is the advanced Permissions offer control over who has access to your financial information. Giving your staff permission to access all features of QuickBooks is risky business. Consider:
- If fraud can be rationalized by an employee who has an opportunity to commit a fraud;
- the employee has additional outside pressure or incentive to respond to that opportunity;
- and if conditions in your business are such that “getting caught” seems to be an unlikely scenario
your business is vulnerable.
Too much information provided to employees who do not need the information to do their jobs creates a ripe environment for fraud. Such was the complaint of many businesses that use QuickBooks. The inability to limit users to just those functions and features that permitted employees to do their job efficiently meant the employees had access to financial information and changes to financial information that could provide fraud motivation to the disgruntled or financially distressed employee.
All that has changed with QuickBooks Enterprise. A robust permissions and access features have been added to the Enterprise suite of software. Users can now assign distinct access levels, including view-only, create, modify, delete, and print, to over 155 separate entitlements. Plus print a report of each users permissions for periodic review. Plus selectively assign certain rights only previously available to the admin user . And finally an “always on” Delete report which can no longer be turned off!
For specific screen shots on how this works see:
As your business begins planning for 2012, you may want to consider hosting a brainstorming session. Brainstorming is a technique that allows the creative genius inside your workforce to flow through for the common purpose of solving your company’s biggest problems. While brainstorming as a technique has been around for quite some time, the ways in which it is carried out have changed dramatically.
With more opportunities for telecommuting and alternative work arrangements, your best and brightest may be scattered across the country, rendering standard conference room whiteboard meetings difficult to carry out. Remote access programs such as GotoMyPC can be the solution to gathering your remote employees for a brainstorming meeting, as they allow you to collaborate with individuals in any time zone.
Smaller employers can look to online networking groups for assisting with idea generation. Be prepared to have patience with this method and collect ideas over the span of a week or two, as these forums allow members to generally participate on their own time. LinkedIn and Facebook have groups and pages dedicated to brainstorming.
Employers can tap into employee creativity outside of meetings using special mind mapping software. While there are plenty of programs to choose from, QuickBooks users may want to check out Intuit’s Brainstorm as a tool to gather and manage employee ideas. There may be benefits for sole proprietors as well, as you can save and organize your ideas as you go.
Regardless of format of your brainstorming meeting, creativity can quickly be stifled if your brainstorming session is not facilitated correctly. This article from Inc. Magazine shares the top 5 ways to kill a brainstorming session, summarized here:
1. Do not pass judgment – the purpose of the meeting is idea-generation, and any comment that is made regarding someone else’s idea is likely to promote hesitation amongst the members of the group from sharing their own thoughts.
2. Editing – checking spelling and punctuation is a left-brained activity that comes at the expense of creative thought. You can take care of tidying up after the session is over.
3. Thinking ahead – the goal is to generate as many ideas as possible while brainstorming. You can plan out how to carry out the best of those ideas in a different meeting.
4. Worry – set the tone of the meeting by being the first to throw out an outrageous idea. Your participants will be less likely to worry that their own ideas may not be good enough.
5. Wander – with all of the creativity flowing, you may find yourself getting off topic. If you feel the subject matter diverging from your original plans, create a “parking lot” list to revisit in another meeting.
- Before finalizing and mailing the 4th Quarter 941 form, print up the W2 forms and determine if the amounts agree to what you have been reporting quarterly. Buy W2 forms here and we will provide you with a checklist that will help you identify and uncover problems that may exist.
- Next make sure you review the W2 tax form for the right amounts in the right boxes with the right codes. Be sure to read the instructions for the W2 form for 2011. Click here for a sample 2011 W2 Form issued by the IRS. Receive a free W2 and 1099 Guide for printing your 2011 tax forms with instructions on preparing QuickBooks W2’s, including where you can get your tax questions answered by the IRS, with each order you place for W2 and 1099 tax forms here. Review the W2 forms before printing final copies to make sure the alignment is accurate. Learn how to align preprinted W2 forms in QuickBooks with our free W2 Guides when you purchase your QuickBooks W2 forms. Our W2 guide provides useful links to websites that offer answers to frequently asked questions about preparing W2’s. This is a worthwhile page to review for information you may not have been aware of, including how to include third party sick pay and common questions about each of the boxes on the W2 (its a long page, scroll 1/2 down for specific W2 information).
- Modify W2 form amounts as necessary. QuickBooks permits modifying the amounts that default to the W2s. Learn how to make these adjustments and where to add or change state, federal and employee identification numbers in QuickBooks from our free guide available when you purchase your W2 tax forms.
- Print the W2 forms. We make available a step by step printing W2 Guide in QuickBooks that includes screenshots when you purchase your forms.
- Stuff envelopes.
- Visit our payroll tips page for more payroll tips and tricks, plus a complete knowledgebase where you can get answers to your payroll regulation questions.
- Our W2 instruction guide provides you with the information you need for printing W2s in QuickBooks version 2008, 2009, 2010, & 2011.
The recent celebration of Earth Day this past Friday provides a reminder to many environmentally conscious entrepreneurs to search for ways to reduce their business’s carbon footprint this year. QuickBooks users seeking to “green up” their office space may identify with Intuit’s socially responsible business practices (Intuit created Intuit Green in 2007 with three goals: Helping customers be green, reducing their environmental impact, and being open to socially responsible ideas).
Here, we’ve identified some key green practices that are simple to adopt and have some QuickBooks relevance as well.
One of the easiest places to start is looking at where you can reduce paper waste from photocopiers and faxes by running a paperless office. This helps your office run more efficiently because, as an added bonus, you can automatically link pertinent files to QuickBooks with just the click of a mouse.
For staff training and development needs, look for web-based opportunities, such as the online QuickBooks seminar we offer, to reduce the amount of travel your business will foot the bill for. This is both better for the environment AND your bottom line.
Along those lines, consider if a “Remote Work” policy makes sense for your business. By using remote access products such as Go To My PC, you may be able to reduce office expenses in addition to the number of cars on the road during rush hour. As an added bonus, your staff may thank you for giving them back some extra time in the day!
As you can see, some of the eco-friendly practices commonly adopted by small business owners also tend to be helpful in reducing operating expenses as well. What are some sustainable practices your business has adopted in the last year?
You may not be graded by your tax preparer, but when you get their invoice to pay for services you may wonder if you could have prepared a little better before dropping off your QuickBooks company file. For Tax reports to be correct you must first begin January 1 with the same asset and liability balances reported on your prior year tax returns. You can find out what was reported by turning to page 4 of your Last year S Corporation or Partnership tax return. Compare these amounts to your QuickBooks balance sheet as of 12/31/tax year.
From the reports menu
Company & Financial;
Balance Sheet Standard;
Set date to 12/31/tax year
Failure to make these adjustments each year will require your accountant to spend additional time fixing the same problems year after year. Having your QuickBooks file updated with accurate balances and swept clean of problem transactions will reduce the time your accountant must spend with your data plus provides you with an added bonus of identifying mistakes throughout the year.
Changing beginning balances in QuickBooks to agree to the tax return can be tricky. Use of journal entries will speed the process but some adjustments such as inventory may require an adjustment to the item’s quantities and values. Changing a reconciled cash balance or the balance of the accounts receivable or accounts payable account, may correct your 12/31/prior year balances but create havoc with the balances currently in QuickBooks. To avoid problems, adjust the 12/31/prior year balances (if necessary) to agree to the tax return, then create a reversing journal entry as of 1/1/tax year to return order back to these accounts. Set up an income type of account called “balance adjustment” to use on the reversing entry rather than your regular one of your regular income accounts. Doing so will make it easy for you to find these transaction adjustments again.
Have you “forced” any of the cash accounts to balance during reconciliation? Look at your chart of accounts for an equity account named “opening balance equity”. QuickBooks applies all improperly recorded transactions to the opening balance equity account. If there is a balance in this account, edit each transaction that is dated in during the Tax Year you are reviewing and change the account to an expense account or income account. For example, consider using the account, bank service charge in lieu of “opening balance equity” for an automatic journal entry created during a bank reconciliation and consider using a “purchases” account in lieu of “opening balance equity” for an automatic journal entry created during an inventory adjustment. Be sure to investigate why the person who is reconciling is not resolving problems prior to hitting the reconcile window.
Don’t stop, you are not quite done with your review. Run a Profit & Loss report and double click net income. In this report, look for inappropriate transactions found in the wrong accounts. For example, the income accounts should hold invoices, sales receipts, deposit transaction types but not bills, checks or credit cards. There should not be invoices or sales receipt transactions in your cost of goods sold accounts and expense accounts. If you do spot an inappropriate coding, double click to open the original transaction select the correct account or if items were used, make a note of the item causing the problem. From the list menu, select item list and highlight the questionable item. Right click and edit this item to see what account has been recorded as the default for this item. Some items can be used in both a sale and a purchase. If this is one of those types, you need to expand the item to a two-account item by clicking on the square option box “this service is performed……” or “this item is purchased and sold….” Once expanded, enter the expense account on the left side and the income account on the right side.