You work hard for your money. Strong internal controls can keep it from disappearing unnecessarily.
You trust your employees or you wouldn’t have hired them. That’s what everyone says as they watch a valued staff member being hauled off in handcuffs. But I trusted him.
Whether your accounting tasks are done on one PC or you have multiple users working on different screens, it’s critical that you make use of all that QuickBooks offers in terms of internal controls. You’ll also need to establish some common-sense rules.
First Stop: Audit Trail
An audit trail is a very large report that displays every addition, deletion and modification of every transaction. In older versions of QuickBooks you could turn it on and off, but it’s permanently on now.
Because of its size, you’ll probably have to use QuickBooks’ filtering tools to zero in on the user and/or date(s) you’re looking for. Go to Reports | Accountant & Taxes | Audit Trail. Click Customize Report | Filters to set up your search.
Your audit trail won’t alert you when someone tries to enter a prohibited area, and it won’t detect changes to lists. Setting up permissions will help (Company | Set Up Users and Passwords | Set Up Users), but you need more than that.
Figure 1: Be especially careful when granting user access to areas that contain customer, vendor and employee information.
Run the Right Reports
Other QuickBooks features can help prevent fraud. Review these reports regularly:
- Closing Date Exception. Why were those changes necessary?
- Voided/Deleted Transactions. Is there supporting documentation? Should you be reviewing these daily?
- Expenses by Vendor Detail. Look for irregularities, especially multiple payments made to a vendor in a short period of time.
- Check registers. Use the Balance Sheet for this. Go to Reports | Company & Financial | Balance Sheet Standard and customize the report for the correct period and – if necessary – for specific customers, vendors and/or jobs.
Adhere to Best Practices
You undoubtedly implement financial best practices in your personal life. You reconcile your accounts. You don’t give your online banking password to anyone. And you glance through your recently-posted transactions on your financial institutions’ websites.
If your company is large enough that you have multiple accounting employees, you probably can’t be as hands-on as you are at home. But you can still set up internal control procedures.
Figure 2: Debit? Credit? Reverse the transaction? No one should be making General Journal entries but you. It’s easy to err here; talk to us before using this feature.
For example, if your company has grown to the point where you’re removed from the daily workflow, you may still want to have approval rights for some procedures, like bank balance adjustments, refunds and credits, printed checks (you should still be signing them), timesheets and expense reports.
It goes without saying that you should password-protect your QuickBooks company file and change the password regularly, even – and especially – if you’re the entire accounting department. And protect yourself from external fraud. We can do a review of your security procedures and make suggestions.
Reinforce the rules
Know who your employees are (consider running background checks) and, if you can, rotate the duties assigned to accounting staff. If you have only one person managing all of your bookkeeping work, conduct an even more thorough background search: credit, references, criminal activity, etc.
Finally, make sure that all employees understand the definition and consequences of fraud. Let them know about the steps being taken to prevent it, but do some unannounced auditing on your own. Include a session on fraud in orientation and get current staff up to speed. Explain that this is necessary for their protection, too. Make it easy to report fraud anonymously, with no fear of repercussions.
This may seem like a lot of extra tasks in your workday, but imagine the time you’ll lose tracking down fraudulent activity if it occurs. So spend a fraction of that time upfront.
If you have questions on this subject, or anything else Accounting or QuickBooks related, give us a call or email. We’re here to help.
This article of QuickBooks Tips and Tricks was based on the 2013 version of QuickBooks.
When deciding between QuickBooks Online and QuickBooks Desktop accounting solutions, you will need to consider the pros and cons of each platform, the various features available, as well as how you use the software and what works best for your particular situation.
Features in Desktop Only:
Features in Online Only:
It is best to spend some time in advance choosing the software that best fits your business needs. If you need help with choosing the right software, please call us. It’s what we do.
This article of QuickBooks Tips and Tricks was based on the 2013 version of QuickBooks.
The arrival of QuickBooks® Online (QBO) has provided many new possibilities for small business owners. It is a user-friendly and convenient option for those who are looking for more remote accessibility with their company file. Here are a few quick tips outlined to assist you in navigating the new software.
Supported Web Browsers
Even though Chrome and Internet Explorer are the most popular web browsers, Firefox and Safari also work with QuickBooks® Online. They all have a different look and feel, but the basic features are all the same. Many users feel that Chrome works the best.
- Internet Explorer for Windows, version 9 or higher
- Firefox for Windows, version 4 or higher
- Google Chrome (recommended)
- Safari for Windows 5.0.1 or higher
- Safari for Mac, version 4.1.1 or higher
- Firefox for Mac, version 3.6 or higher
- Google Chrome (recommended)
Mobile support for Blackberry, iPhone, Android and iPad. There is a mobile version of QuickBooks® Online for the iPad using Safari to login, but the features are limited.
Open Multiple Windows
This feature has different results depending on the browser you are using. If you are using Internet Explorer, you will already be logged into a QBO screen. With Firefox and Chrome, you will have to type the QBO URL into the address bar, but you won’t need to enter your user name and password. Another option is to open a new tab in the current browser window. For Chrome, right click the tab you’re in and then click Duplicate.
Side by Side Windows
If you want to see the windows side by side, just pull the tab out into its own window. When you are done, drag the tab back over the original browser window to return it.
Open Multiple Companies
Chrome offers a very useful feature by allowing you to create multiple users. This enables you to have two (2) different QBO companies open at the same time. This is helpful if you have a client who owns multiple and related companies and you need to work back and forth between them.
- Open Chrome.
- Click the Customize and Control Chrome button, and then click Settings.
- Click Add new user.
- Create a Buddy Icon and Name for your new user.
- Once you add an additional user, you can open up a Chrome browser window for each user and log in to QBO separately.
We hope these tips help familiarize you with the basic interface of QBO. As always, if you have any further questions, please do not hesitate to contact our office.
Rhonda Rosand, CPA has successfully completed the QuickBooks® Online 2013 Certification Exam. The course is available only to QuickBooks® ProAdvisors and is designed for accounting professionals and consultants who have a solid understanding of accounting principles.
The Online certification ensures the highest level of knowledge and support for QuickBooks® Online clients. The training allows Rhonda to provide further assistance to businesses setting up, navigating and troubleshooting their QuickBooks® online software.
Rhonda Rosand, CPA is the owner of New Business Directions. She specializes in QuickBooks® consulting and training services, coaching small business owners and providing innovative business solutions.
Using QuickBooks Mobile, you’ll improve business relations, put out fires before they start and unchain yourself from your office computer.
There are only a few reasons why you wouldn’t be using QuickBooks Mobile on your smartphone. Maybe you don’t have a smartphone. Or when you’re out of the office, you don’t want to be available for accounting work. Or you might not think that it has enough features to make it worth using.
While the first two reasons are matters of personal preference, the third just isn’t true. QuickBooks Mobile automatically – and almost instantly – synchronizes the data from your desktop or laptop computer copy of QuickBooks. While it’s only focused on sales, not payables or payroll, you can manage receivables quite nicely whether you’re in a customer’s office or at a trade show or community event – or sitting on the couch at home.
Figure 1: You can see this screen no matter where you and your smartphone are (the-recently-upgraded Android version is pictured here).
There are numerous situations where you might want to access, add or edit customers, estimates, invoices, sales receipts or payments when you’re not near the PC where QuickBooks is installed, like these:
- You’re a mobile service provider (i.e. appliance repair, locksmith, tow truck operator, pizza delivery) and you want to accept payment on site.
- You do a half day of onsite training and your client wants to pay you cash right then. You can record the payment and email a sales receipt.
- You’re on the road and you want to see how well your bookkeeper is managing receivables. QuickBooks Mobile displays three views: recent activity, today and upcoming.
- You’re with a client who would like to give you a check to get current, but he or she can’t find the invoice. Rather than calling your office and sitting on hold until someone has time to look, you can pull up the form on your smartphone to discuss it.
Figure 2: You can record sales receipts and payments on your smartphone – even schedule appointments that move to your Google calendar.
The Perils of Payroll
QuickBooks Mobile doesn’t support payroll, but Intuit Online Payroll does. Like QuickBooks Mobile, the app itself free (of course, you have to pay for the service itself). You can view the most recent payroll run and employee information, as well as preparing, previewing and approving the current payroll.
Neither app is available yet for the iPad, though QuickBooks Online is.
Figure 3: Missed your flight and afraid you’ll miss the current payroll run, too? Intuit Online Payroll gives you access from your Android or iPhone.
Paper or Plastic?
If you’ve been in business for very long and still don’t accept credit cards, you have an idea of how many sales you’ve lost. You’ll need to get a merchant account from Intuit Merchant Service for QuickBooks (fees apply). A merchant account allows you to accept plastic through QuickBooks itself, your web browser, your web storefront – and on your smartphone or iPad.
You can also download Intuit’s free GoPayment app. You can either swipe cards on the free mobile reader or type numbers in. Your customers sign their names on the surface of your mobile device, and you can print, text or email a receipt. There are no monthly fees, no long-term contracts, and you pay as you go.
Figure 4: You’ll need to get acquainted with the Intuit Merchant Service Center to work with credit card payments.
It would be nice if those credit card payments were just instantly zapped into the right places in QuickBooks, but alas, it isn’t so. You’ll need to do some setup and processing both within QuickBooks and in the online Intuit Merchant Service Center. We can help you with setup and your initial transactions to make sure all of your payments get through and are deposited and/or credited correctly.
We think you’ll find that once you start using all of the mobile payment services that Intuit offers, you’ll wonder what took you so long.