Accounting, Bookkeeping, and QuickBooks Tips for Small Businesses

Posts in category Bookkeeping

QuickBooks Tutorial: How to Write Off Bad Debt in QuickBooks





Yes, it’s an unfortunate part of doing business. Occasionally you will have those stinky customers who refuse to pay for the products and/or services your business sells. After you have exhausted all possibilities of trying to collect payment from your nonpaying customer (called them, emailed them, mailed past due statements, charged late fees, offered to work out a payment plan, etc) you realize they are not going to pay. You can write this off as Bad Debt and get the sale off of your books in 2 simple steps.

IMPORTANT – There are several ways to write off bad debt in QuickBooks. However, the way I’m about to show you is the ONLY way to adjust your sales taxes payable liability account (if applicable to your business). Even if your business does not collect sales tax, this is a pretty easy way to write off bad debt and I highly recommend it.

Step 1:
Click on the Reports menu and select Customers & Receivables from the drop-down menu. Then choose the Open Invoices report. This report will show you all the open invoices you currently have (customers who owe you money). Find the customer you want to write off. Write down the customer’s name, the noncollectable invoice number, and the amount due.

Step 2:
Next, go to the Customers Menu or go to the Customer Center located on your main home screen. From there select Create Credit Memos & Refunds. The Credit Memo window will open.

  • Enter your customer’s name, choose the date you want to write off the invoice, and leave the credit memo number alone (QuickBooks will automatically assign that number for you).
  • Choose the “Bad Debt” Item. You will want to have an Item specifically set up for Bad Debt. If you don’t have one, you will need to set one up.
    • If you need to create a new Item, click Add New, select Other Charge, the Item Name can be Bad Debt, in the description box you can type in Bad Debt or Noncollectable Funds, and then for the account select your bad debt expense general ledger account. Click OK to set up the new Bad Debt Item.
  • In the description box, I like to reference the invoice number we are writing off. It’s not required, but it makes it a lot easier to go back if you ever need to quickly reference what invoice number you wrote off. You can simply put “unable to collect invoice #…”.
  • The amount will be the amount of the invoice you are unable to collect and want to write off your books.
  • If you are using QuickBooks’ class tracking feature, select the appropriate class.
  • Sales Tax – If your business tracks Sales Taxes Payable, this is where you will adjust your sales taxes payable account. Please note, there are various ways to write off bad debt in QuickBooks, but using a Credit Memo is the ONLY way to adjust your Sales Tax Payable account.
  • Click Save and Close.
  • A new window will open informing you that you have a remaining balance on this credit. QuickBooks will want to know if it can help you apply it somewhere else, offer a refund and help you write a check (i.e. customer overpaid), or apply the credit to an invoice. Select the Apply to Invoice option.
  • Find the invoice number you are writing off, check off that invoice number, and click done.
  • Your invoice has been written off. Meaning it will no longer show up as an Accounts Receivable on your Balance Sheet and will appear on your Income Statement as an expense (bad debt expense). This expense is used to reduce your income since you are unable to collect this sale.

Free Tip!
I recommend double checking your work. This is a great way to make sure you wrote off your noncollectable invoice correctly.

  • View your Open Invoices report again (step 1). The invoice you just wrote off should no longer appear on the Open Invoices report.
  • If you look at your Balance Sheet, your Accounts Receivable will be reduced by the amount of the invoice you just wrote off.
  • Your Income Statement will report an expense line for Bad Debt. This expense should equal the amount of your uncollectable invoice.

You’re good to go! That is the correct way to write off bad debt (noncollectable invoice) in QuickBooks.

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Michelle Edwards, CPA - QuickBooks Consultant Written by Michelle Edwards, CPA
Certified QuickBooks ProAdvisor

Michelle Edwards, CPA is the owner of Trailhead Accounting Solutions CPA, LLC, an Erie, CO based CPA firm focused on providing small and mid-sized businesses with day-to-day accounting, bookkeeping, and Virtual CFO solutions. Michelle is a CFO turned consultant who loves working with small businesses and entrepreneurs. When she’s not crunching numbers, she can be found hiking, remote camping, gardening, home brewing, quilting, and hanging out with her family.


Using QuickBooks to Track Outstanding Invoices

The other day I received a great question from a customer wondering how she can use QuickBooks to see which customers have outstanding invoices. It was such a great question, I thought I’d share the QuickBooks tips with my blog readers as well.

Here are 4 QuickBooks reports that will help you manage your outstanding customer invoices…

1. Customers Who Owe Money

Using QuickBooks 2013, there is a sidebar on the left side of your screen with useful tools.
–>Click on My Shortcuts
–>Click on Snapshots
–>Make sure you are looking at the “Company” tab
–>Check out the Customers Who Owe Money report

This report offers are quick snapshot to a list of customers who have outstanding invoices. You can quickly see which customers owe you money, when the invoice was due, and the amount due. By default, the report sorts by the oldest receivable first. However, you can click on the customer, date, or amount header to have the report quickly resorted the way you want.

Customers Who Owe Money QuickBooks Report

Managing receivables with QuickBooks

2. Open Invoices Report

–>Click on Reports from the menu across the top of your QuickBooks window
–>Select the Customers & Receivables option from the drop down report list
–>Choose the Open Invoices report

This report will show you all of the open invoices, sorted alphabetically by customer name. It’s a powerful report if you need to see the invoice number, the invoice date, due date, and amount due all in one report.

QuickBooks Open Invoice Report

3. A/R Aging Detail Report

–>Click on Reports from the menu across the top of your QuickBooks window
–>Select the Customers & Receivables option from the drop down report list
–>Choose the A/R Aging Detail report from the list of report choices

The A/R Aging Detail report will show you all open invoices, sorted by due date. So you can quickly see which accounts receivables (A/R) are 0-30 days, 30-60 days, 60-90 days, and 90+ days past due. It’s a great way to track late paying customers and see if you have any really old outstanding invoices that either need to be sent to collections or written off the books and expensed as bad debt.

QuickBooks A/R Aging Detail Report

4. Customer Balance Detail Report

–>Click on Reports from the menu across the top of your QuickBooks window
–>Select the Customers & Receivables option from the drop down report list
–>Choose the Customer Balance Detail report from the list of report choices

The Customer Balance Detail report in QuickBooks will show you all the invoices & payments for each customer, sorted by customer. Although this report is not the best one to look at outstanding invoices, I mentioned it because it’s an extremely useful report to gain an overall view of your customers activity. You can see your customers, their invoices, the payments you have received, and it tells you which customers have an open balance due.

QuickBooks Customer Balance Detail Report

QuickBooks Tip:

Want more information about the invoice you see on the various reports? Hover your mouse over the invoice you would like to see more details on, when the magnify glass appears, just double click on the invoice. QuickBooks will drill down and open the invoice window so you can view all the details for that specific invoice.

**Please note, the information included on the report samples in this blog post came from one of QuickBooks Sample Company Files. The reports display fictional data.**

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Michelle Edwards, CPA - QuickBooks Consultant Written by Michelle Edwards, CPA
Certified QuickBooks ProAdvisor

Michelle Edwards, CPA is the owner of Trailhead Accounting Solutions CPA, LLC, an Erie, CO based CPA firm focused on providing small and mid-sized businesses with day-to-day accounting, bookkeeping, and Virtual CFO solutions. Michelle is a CFO turned consultant who loves working with small businesses and entrepreneurs. When she’s not crunching numbers, she can be found hiking, remote camping, gardening, home brewing, quilting, and hanging out with her family.


QuickBooks Keyboard Shortcuts

QuickBooks Keyboard Shortcuts

QuickBooks Keyboard Shortcuts

CTRL + A – Displays the Chart of Accounts window
CTRL + C – Copies your selected text
CTRL + D – Deletes your current list item or transaction. Please note, this CANNOT be reversed, so think long and hard before using this shortcut.
CTRL + E – Edit an item in a register or on an items list
CTRL + F – Brings up the Find feature
F3 – Opens the Search feature (can be used in place of the Find feature mentioned above. This shortcut works with QuickBooks 2011 and later versions)
CTRL + G – If you’re looking at a funds transfer in the register, this will open the register for the other side of the funds transfer.
CTRL + H – Opens the transaction History. Very useful if you’re looking at an invoice and want to see the customer’s payment history for this invoice.
CTRL + I – Opens the Create Invoice window
CTRL + J – Opens the Customer Center
CTRL + L – Opens a list. This works well if you’re entering a transaction and your cursor is in a field with a drop down list.
CTRL + U – Selects an item from the the drop down list your just opened using CTRL + L and adds this list item to your transaction.
CTRL + M – Opens the Memorized Transactions window
CTRL + N – Creates a new transaction or list item
CTRL + P – Print
CTRL + Q – Opens the Quick Report for the selected transaction
CTRL + R – Displays the Register window
CTRL + T – Displays the Memorized Transaction List, so you can create a new transaction from the memorized transactions
CTRL + V – Pastes copied text
CTRL + X – Cuts your highlighted text and stores it on your clipboard to paste elsewhere
CTRL + Z – Undo – usually undoes your last action
CTRL + Delete – Deletes the selected line in a transaction
CTRL + Enter – Saves your current transaction. FYI – this selects the “best” save option from the buttons at the bottom of your screen – “Save & Close”, “Save & New”, “Clear”, Etc. Pressing “Enter” without the CTRL will cause QuickBooks to select the botton that is highlighted, and not necessarily the “best” save option.
CTRL + Insert – Inserts a line into a transaction
ESC – Closes current window
F1 – Opens the Help Window

QuickBooks Amount Field Keyboard Shortcuts

If the cursor is in an amount field, you can use these shortcuts to make calculations in QuickBooks
+ – Adds numbers together
– Subtracts numbers from each other
* – Multiplies numbers together
/ – Divides the numbers

QuickBooks Date Field Keyboard Shortcuts

If the cursor is in a date field, you can use these shortcuts to change the transaction date in QuickBooks
+ – Adds one day to the date shown
– Subracts one day from the date shown
T – Replaces the date shown with Today’s date
Y – Changes the date to the first day in the Year
R – Changes the date to the last day of the yeaR
M – Changes the date to the first day in the Month
H – Changes the date to the last day in the montH
W – Changes the date to the first day in the Week
K – Changes the date to the last day in the weeK
[ – Changes the date to the same day in the previous week
] – Changes the date to the same day in the upcoming week
; – Changes the date to the same date, but for last month
– (apostrophe) Changes the date to the same date, but for next month
Alt + Down Arrow – Opens the calendar so you can easily select the date

Starting QuickBooks Keyboard Shortcuts

CTRL – Starts QuickBooks without opening a company file.
ALT – Starts QuickBooks without opening the windows you previously left open last time you shut down QuickBooks.
ALT + F4 – Closes QuickBooks

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Michelle Edwards, CPA - QuickBooks Consultant Written by Michelle Edwards, CPA
Certified QuickBooks ProAdvisor

Michelle Edwards, CPA is the owner of Trailhead Accounting Solutions CPA, LLC, an Erie, CO based CPA firm focused on providing small and mid-sized businesses with day-to-day accounting, bookkeeping, and Virtual CFO solutions. Michelle is a CFO turned consultant who loves working with small businesses and entrepreneurs. When she’s not crunching numbers, she can be found hiking, remote camping, gardening, home brewing, quilting, and hanging out with her family.


Video Blog – How to Collect Past Due Invoices

Yesterday I wrote a blog listing out 4 easy steps to collecting your accounts receivable. I decided I wanted to try to a video blog as well. If you would rather listen than read, here’s the link to my video blog giving you some tips on how to collect those past due invoices.

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Michelle Edwards, CPA - QuickBooks Consultant Written by Michelle Edwards, CPA
Certified QuickBooks ProAdvisor

Michelle Edwards, CPA is the owner of Trailhead Accounting Solutions CPA, LLC, an Erie, CO based CPA firm focused on providing small and mid-sized businesses with day-to-day accounting, bookkeeping, and Virtual CFO solutions. Michelle is a CFO turned consultant who loves working with small businesses and entrepreneurs. When she’s not crunching numbers, she can be found hiking, remote camping, gardening, home brewing, quilting, and hanging out with her family.


4 Easy Steps to Collecting your Accounts Receivables

All small business owners and entrepreneurs know cash is king. You need cash to run your business. Whether it’s ordering inventory, purchasing supplies, paying payroll, covering your utilities, investing back in your business, and paying yourself. I was shocked to read an article from the AICPA’s blog about a survey conducted by SageWorks. The survey found that the typical small business has at least 40% of their assets tied up in Accounts Receivable. Wow, that’s a lot of financing to their customers! Here are 4 easy steps to collect your accounts receivable quickly.

  1. Be In Touch With Your Customers
    Don’t be afraid to pick up the phone and contact your customers. A simple and friendly call to remind them about their outstanding invoices can go a long way. Another great way to remind customers of their past due balances is to send monthly statements. I recommend sending monthly past due statements at the beginning of every month. Add it as a task to your calendar and stick to it. Then the customers who are still outstanding by the middle of the month, give them a call. It’s a lot easier to collect newer receivables than the older ones. So being in touch with your customers sooner than later will almost always pay off.
  2. Take a Look at Your Accounts Receivable Policy
    • Not all of your customers are the same. Yes, if you are working with large corporations, it typically takes the standard 30-45 days for them to issue payment. If you work with smaller companies, try adjusting the payment terms. Is it possible to have your invoices due within 10 days, 20 days, upon receipt, etc?
    • What about charging a retainer payment – your customer pays half up front and the other half when you deliver the product or service.
    • Another great option is offering prepayment discounts. Many times you will see invoices with 5% discount if paid before 30 days. There are a lot of small businesses out there that love reaping the benefits of paying early to get discounts. Why not entice them to pay your bill early too!
    • Contact your bank and get set up to accept automatic draft payments or credit card payments. You can sign your customers up to have their monthly fees be directly debited from their bank account on the 1st of each month or you can automatically charge their credit card the 1st of each month (or whatever day you choose).
    • Don’t be afraid to charge late fees. Keep in mind some states have credit laws, so you need to make sure your financing fees are in line with the state and federal laws. Typically you need to have the late fees spelled out in your contract and listed on your invoices. That way there are no surprises to your delinquent customers.
  3. Not Everyone Has To Be Your Customer
    Don’t be afraid to turn away customers that you get a bad gut feeling about. Maybe you know the potential customer doesn’t have the funds to pay or maybe you’ve done this type of work in the past and have been stiffed more times than you would like to admit. If it doesn’t feel right, it probably is not. Why waste your time and resources doing work when you do not think you will get paid. Instead, kindly turn down the work. If you really want to do the work, make sure you collect the payment up front.
  4. Double Check Your Invoices
    Don’t forget to double check the invoices you send to your customers. Set up a procedure to have them looked over before sending or a few weeks after they have been sent, if payment has not been received. I know I’m guilty of this too, taking longer to pay on incorrect invoices. We are all busy, but don’t make your customer have to make time to correct your billing mistakes. This will almost always result in a delay in you getting paid.

These 4 easy steps should make collecting your past due invoices easier and quicker. Bottom line, being active and managing your accounts receivable will help turn those late payments into cash in your bank account. Eventually word will get out that your business does not mess around with accounts receivable and your customers will start a habit of paying you on time, if not early!

Want to watch the video blog version? Check it out here!

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Michelle Edwards, CPA - QuickBooks Consultant Written by Michelle Edwards, CPA
Certified QuickBooks ProAdvisor

Michelle Edwards, CPA is the owner of Trailhead Accounting Solutions CPA, LLC, an Erie, CO based CPA firm focused on providing small and mid-sized businesses with day-to-day accounting, bookkeeping, and Virtual CFO solutions. Michelle is a CFO turned consultant who loves working with small businesses and entrepreneurs. When she’s not crunching numbers, she can be found hiking, remote camping, gardening, home brewing, quilting, and hanging out with her family.


SageOne Review

SageOne - Online Bookkeeping for Small Busienss Owners

This week I took a look at SageOne, a new online accounting tool from Sage Software. I really enjoy working with Peachtree, now known as Sage50. So I was thrilled to see Sage’s announcement of offering online bookkeeping software. Sadly, I was extremely disappointed with SageOne. It is easy to use and has a beautiful screen appearance. However, the software’s simplicity is too basic and is missing a lot of important accounting features that have become the norm with other cloud based accounting software providers. As I played around with SageOne, I kept thinking this is very similar to FreshBooks, yet FreshBooks is one hundred times better. I have hope for SageOne and believe it will improve with future developments. I think there is future potential for SageOne, but Sage needs to quickly get the ball rolling if they want to have a chance to compete in the online accounting software market. The competition is fierce.

Cost: $29/month, Free Trial

What I Love:

  • The online accounting interface is very pretty and easy to navigate.
  • Very simple to set up and get started. They offer a video tutorial to walk you through a couple of steps, then you’re up and running. Piece of cake.
  • The ability to track Projects and Tasks is a cool idea and has lots of potential. SageOne lets you create projects, assign tasks to employees, track hours spent on the tasks, has a message center to communicate with your employees, and you can attach files. The collaboration tools are a great way to keep track of your team and the work being done.
  • Invoicing customers is easy. You can enter the amount to bill, or pull hours worked from the project and task center. You can add your own logo and have a choice of a couple different invoice layouts. Invoices can be emailed from SageOne and sent to customers as attached PDF documents.
  • Easy to manually enter your expenses to keep track of where you spend money. There was an option to link the expenses to your projects. This seems like a great idea, but you can’t pull up these linked expenses later to invoice to the customer, there were no reports to see profit/loss per project, it didn’t show up on the project window to compare against your estimated project expenses, etc. So I’m not sure why this option was there, except for future development maybe?
  • Easily record transfers between bank accounts.
  • Standard bank reconciliation feature, which is a great double check that you recorded all of your deposits and expenses. It was easy to add missing deposits, checks, and a link for accountants to make an adjusting entry.
  • The dashboard offers a graph so small business owners can see their profit/loss during the year. You can also easily see which customers owe you money and track your projects from your dashboard.
  • I’ve heard rumors of an accountant portal coming later this year. This would be a great tool so SageOne could keep a basic interface for small business owners, while giving accountants, bookkeepers, and CPAs more advanced tools.
  • SageOne offers the ability to set up email notifications to be reminded of past due invoices, upcoming project due dates, and when you receive project messages from your team members. Don’t want a lot of emails? You can opt for the daily digest email and get all notifications in one email instead.
  • My Wish List:

    • A sad array of reports. Yes, they offer the top 3 reports, but that’s it. Currently SageOne only offers a balance sheet, income statement, and aged receivables (money owed from customers) reports.
    • What, you can not download your bank transactions? SageOne doesn’t automatically connect to your bank accounts, credit card accounts, and PayPal? Seriously? Isn’t this industry standard? Very disappointing. Data entry is a thing of the past, this alone could kill their product.
    • I guess they’re trying to offer a more cash based accounting model. When you enter an invoice, the income does not appear as income on the profit/loss (Income Statement). Instead, it shows up on your balance sheet as “potential sales” under your liabilities. I found it interesting when creating an invoice, you don’t have the ability to record the sales to an income account. Then, when you record payment from your customer, you get the option to post the sales to an income account. Therefore, after you receive and record the customer payment, then the work shows up as income on the profit/loss statement. I understand most very small businesses operate on a cash basis (or checkbook accounting as I like to call it), but this makes it really difficult to track how much money you’re actually making each month. Not to mention, would I remember a month later what services where for each invoice, especially if I work with a lot of clients?
    • Along the same lines as above, you can not record one customer payment against various income accounts. For example if you run a landscaping company, you might invoice your customer for landscape design services and installation. On the invoice, you can break out different projects. However, you can not record income from these two services to different income accounts when your check arrives.
    • No online payments from customers available.
    • SageOne does not integrate with any of the other Sage products.
    • There is no import/export function.
    • SageOne does not support payroll. This is really surprising since their projects and tasks are built to support employees and team members working together. So, if you have employees, you will need another accounting program to account for payroll.
    • Small business owners can not enter bills and keep track of money owed to vendors, utilities, rent, etc. Only cash expenses can be entered in SageOne.
    • I would love to see the Projects/Tasks tracking features expanded. It’s nice you can enter estimated hours to complete, estimated expenses, and estimated billable fees. However, it would be great to easily see how much you’ve actually spent on expenses and billed for the project/tasks as compared to your estimates. SageOne will compare your estimated time against the time already spent. However, tracking hours is a manual task and there is not a time clock.
    • I don’t believe SageOne has an iPhone, Droid, or other smartphone apps.

    I’m sad to report that at this time I would not recommend SageOne to my customers. It’s very similar to FreshBooks, but FreshBooks offers a lot more services and at a better price. For that matter, at $29/mo you could also use Xero and get a full accounting package. I’m disappointed with Sage. It’s almost as if they threw together an online accounting software so they could say they offer cloud based accounting solutions. I have a feeling they hoped customers would not see past the pretty interface and user friendly application. SageOne has some good ideas, but has a long way to go to be competitive with other cloud based accounting solutions that are currently on the market. I’ve heard rumors Sage is continuing to develop this product, so hopefully the future will bring better news for this poorly created cloud based accounting tool.

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    Michelle Edwards, CPA - QuickBooks Consultant Written by Michelle Edwards, CPA
    Certified QuickBooks ProAdvisor

    Michelle Edwards, CPA is the owner of Trailhead Accounting Solutions CPA, LLC, an Erie, CO based CPA firm focused on providing small and mid-sized businesses with day-to-day accounting, bookkeeping, and Virtual CFO solutions. Michelle is a CFO turned consultant who loves working with small businesses and entrepreneurs. When she’s not crunching numbers, she can be found hiking, remote camping, gardening, home brewing, quilting, and hanging out with her family.


Xero Review

Xero Logo

This weeks online accounting software review is on Xero. Currently, Xero is my favorite cloud based accounting software. Xero is pretty, offers graphs and charts for the visual types, a dashboard that’s filled with quick access to the accounts and reports you need to see every day, Xero is easy to use, and saves a lot of time with their automatic bank imports. Xero was founded in 2006 in New Zealand. They are growing rapidly and have teams located throughout the world, including the US.

Cost: $19/month – $39/month, Free Trial

What I Love:

  • Xero offers daily bank feeds, which is a huge time saver. You can connect your bank account with Xero for automatic downloads of your daily cash transactions.
  • Xero offers the ability to create bank rules for your imported transactions. It takes a while to create the bank rules, but once they’re in place it’s a huge time saving feature. Once a bank rule is saved, Xero will remember how to code those transactions in the future, so you don’t have to.
  • The bank reconciliation feature on Xero is pretty handy as well. Once your bank transactions are imported into Xero (either manually or via the automatic daily bank feeds), users can code and match your imported bank transactions. The cool thing is as you code and match your transactions, Xero reconciles them. Saving that extra step is a huge time saver.
  • The financial reporting in Xero is decent. The reports they offer are the most important and useful ones for small business owners. I love that they not only does Xero offer an Income Statement (Profit & Loss Statement), but they also offer a Balance Sheet. You can also run aged receivable reports, payable reports, sales reports, ledger balances, etc. All of the reports can be exported to an Excel spreadsheet, meaning you can play with your numbers even more!
  • Not only is Xero pretty but it also offers a dashboard you can customize with charts, graphs, and reports. The dashboard gives you a quick glimpse at the numbers that are most important to you, the entrepreneur.
  • The Help feature is extremely useful. You can click on “help” from anywhere in Xero and help topics relating to that page will appear. The tutorials are helpful, very detailed, and will walk you through step-by-step how to use the accounting program.
  • Working and reporting in Multi-currency in Xero is a breeze.
  • It offers a basic inventory tracking system, for small businesses. When your business requires a more robust inventory tracking system, there are several add-on’s to help Xero grow with your business.
  • The payroll system is limited, but you can still keep track of your employees wages, taxes due, and taxes paid through the pay run feature. Xero integrates with ADP, for those that want an all-in-one payroll solution.
  • Another great feature is the ability to track categories in Xero. Although it’s limited to 2 categories, I believe the subcategories is unlimited. So you can track income and expense by department, region, store, property, etc.
  • Xero can also automatically calculate the depreciation on your fixed assets. No more waiting around for depreciation schedules from your accountant.
  • There is a huge number of add-on’s that integrate with Xero. These add-on’s allow the system to grow with your business and add custom features that your business needs. Some examples are WorkFlowMax (job management solution), Vend (cloud based point-of-sale system), Shoeboxed (receipt management), FreshBooks (billing system), Bill.com (payables solution), etc.
  • I love they offer unlimited users at no extra cost.
  • Another great tool for entrepreneurs is their personal finance system.
  • Like any other cloud based tool, I love the ability to check my numbers while on the go. I can access Xero from my iPad, iPhone, Android, laptop, and anywhere I have internet access.

Here are a few Xero screenshots, so you can see what I’m raving about.

Xero Dashboard Screenshot –

Xero Dashboard Screenshot

Xero Bank Reconciliation Screenshot –

Xero Screenshot Bank Reconciliation

My Wish List:

  • Xero does not accept online payments from customers. However, Xero does play nice with FreshBooks and Bill.com, so this minor detail can be avoided by using some of their add-on’s and integration partners.
  • I give Xero props for having a pay run section, allowing small business owners to keep payroll info in one place. However, the pay run is very basic. I would love the ability to have the payroll taxes and net paychecks payable post to a payroll liability account – payroll taxes payable & payroll payable. This makes it a lot easier for small business owners to see where their money is going and when cash is leaving their bank account. Currently all payroll payable transactions entered in the pay run are reported in the general accounts payable account.
  • I’ve found it to be painfully hard to correct mistakes. Typically you have to void the entire transaction and then redo it. This is a huge hassle if all you need to do is change a date, an account, or a check number.
  • You can only use check numbers once. Not a huge deal, but I ran into troubles with this when I accidentaly recorded an incorrect check number and needed to fix it. This could pose a problem if your office check numbers are the same as your payroll check numbers. You can not enter letters with check numbers either.
  • The starting chart of accounts is very basic. For a system designed for small businesses, I would love to see a handful of “custom” chart of accounts for various industries. I think it would make it much easier to set up for an entrepreneur.
  • Xero does not offer the ability to print 1099’s. You can export the information into other programs, but this will still be a hassle in January.
  • Xero is still working out kinks with its PayPal integration. Xero has been known to drop a handful of PayPal transactions, creating headaches for accountants and business owners alike. If you have a large volume of PayPal transactions, Xero might not be the best automatic download accounting solution for your business.

Overall, I’ve been really happy with Xero. It offers a lot of the same functionality as QuickBooks, but in a cloud based environment. Xero is continuing to grow and is always adding new features to their system. They do a great job of listening to their users. I’m sure over the next few years Xero will continue to be a favorite online bookkeeping system for entrepreneurs, small business owners, mid-sized business owners, and accountants.



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Michelle Edwards, CPA - QuickBooks Consultant Written by Michelle Edwards, CPA
Certified QuickBooks ProAdvisor

Michelle Edwards, CPA is the owner of Trailhead Accounting Solutions CPA, LLC, an Erie, CO based CPA firm focused on providing small and mid-sized businesses with day-to-day accounting, bookkeeping, and Virtual CFO solutions. Michelle is a CFO turned consultant who loves working with small businesses and entrepreneurs. When she’s not crunching numbers, she can be found hiking, remote camping, gardening, quilting, and hanging out with her family.


Outright Review

Outright - Online Accounting and Small Business Bookkeeping Software

This week I’m reviewing Outright. Outright is a very basic online bookkeeping software that lets entrepreneurs organize their small business finances. It was designed for sole proprietors, single member LLC’s, and Schedule C filers who have basic bookkeeping needs. Outright is also a perfect online bookkeeping solution for Ebay and Etsy sellers who started a small business as a hobby. If you’re a mompreneur, small business owner, self-employed, or sell on Ebay or Etsy, Outright might be the perfect cloud based accounting solution for your small business.

Cost: Free – $9.95/month

What I Love:

  • Ability to set up Outright to link to and download transactions directly from Ebay, Etsy, Amazon, private websites, and PayPal.
  • You can also link your bank accounts and credit cards to Outright for automatic downloads, saving even more time from tedious data entry.
  • Outright will automatically categorize your downloaded transactions. Small business owners also have the ability to edit or add transactions manually.
  • I love how small business owners can track their accounts receivables though Outright with the “Money to Collect” section. Outright also has another section under the Income tab to record customer payments.
  • Under the expenses tab small business owners can track their expenses and checks written to vendors.
  • Another cool feature is that Outright can integrate with Shoeboxed.com, to help entrepreneurs organize and keep track of their receipts. Another bonus is that small business owners can automatically import their transactions stored in Shoeboxed.com directly to their Outright bookkeeping software.
  • Outright offers users a decent amount of financial reports to help entrepreneurs keep on top of their business finances. You can track your Profit & Loss daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly or annually. Some other financial reports include keeping track of your types of income, finding out who are your best customers, and reporting where you are spending your money. I love that it offers users the choice to view their financial reports as numbers or as graphs.
  • Outright offers a mileage tracking feature, making it easy to keep track of your business mileage throughout the year for tax purposes. The mileage tracker also has a link to Google Maps, making it easy to record your mileage if you forget to use your car’s odometer.
  • One of my favorite features is their tax section. You can track your business’ sales taxes, have Outright calculate your estimated quarterly tax payments, and assist in calculating your annual taxes. They also have an entire section to help small business owners with their 1099-K’s received from PayPal. It’s a great tool to assist small business owners with their basic tax questions.
  • Outright also has an iPhone app that provides home based business owners on the go with the ability to see their Profit & Loss reports, keep track of their bank balances, see details to their transactions, and receive income alerts so small business owners know when an order comes though.
  • Outright also has an incredible blog filled with tons of useful information that’s easy to understand and that’s written for the small business owner, mompreneur, homepreneur, entrepreneur, and self employed. Their blog includes tax due date reminders, tricks to using their online bookkeeping software, and other helpful information for business owners.

My Wish List:

  • Outright does not have invoicing tools. However, it does integrate with FreshBooks so you can use FreshBooks for your invoicing needs.
  • Small business owners can not enter bills to pay and the bookkeeping software does not track payables. Users can only enter after-the-fact expenses and payments already made to vendors.
  • I have a love-hate relationship with the tax section. I love that helps provide small business owners with an amount they will owe in their quarterly estimated tax payments and helps small business owners figure out their annual taxes. I don’t like that this part of the system is so simple that I worry it would be easy to make a mistake. Even though the software does figure out taxes, I still recommend working with a tax preparer to ensure your taxes are calculated correctly.
  • I wish the software included a balance sheet under the reporting section. I know small business owners are intimidated by the balance sheet, but it’s such an important part to watching a business’ finances.

Overall, I’m impressed with Outright as an online bookkeeping software for small businesses. It offers a lot of great features for entrepreneurs, home office businesses, mompreneurs, self-employed, micro businesses, Schedule C filers, and people selling on Ebay and Etsy. It’s definitely designed for small businesses in mind who have basic bookkeeping needs. However, for these small businesses Outright is a much better bookkeeping tool than using a spreadsheet, a bank statement, or doing shoebox accounting.

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Michelle Edwards, CPA - QuickBooks Consultant Written by Michelle Edwards, CPA
Certified QuickBooks ProAdvisor

Michelle Edwards, CPA is the owner of Trailhead Accounting Solutions CPA, LLC, an Erie, CO based CPA firm focused on providing small and mid-sized businesses with day-to-day accounting, bookkeeping, and business solutions. Michelle is a CFO turned consultant who loves working with small businesses and entrepreneurs. When she’s not crunching numbers, she can be found hiking, remote camping, gardening, quilting, and hanging out with her family.


Wave Accounting Review

Wave Accounting

Continuing my quest to find reputable, online, cloud based bookkeeping solutions for small businesses, I came across Wave Accounting. Wave Accounting started about a year ago with a mission to help the small business owner be more successful. To accomplish this goal, they are creating bookkeeping tools that are easy to use, designed with the small business owner in mind, and offer support for their online bookkeeping software. Only being in business for a little over a year, I honestly have to say I’m impressed with their cloud based bookkeeping software. Wave Accounting is designed for the small business owner, typically under 9 employees. This is a great solution for mompreneurs, work at home mom’s (WHAMS), photographers, real estate agents, Mac users, independent contractors, the self employed, home offices, and freelancers.

Cost: Free!

What I Love:

  • When you set up your account for the first time, Wave has you choose your business type to help create a chart of accounts that makes sense for your specific business. This is a huge help to small business owners. Even more impressive is Wave’s extensive list of business types – from photographers, to creative types, to consultants, to hair/spa businesses, to medical and dental offices, to retailers, to web and tech companies, to just plain and simple general service businesses.
  • Offers the ability to set up and track sales taxes.
  • Connect your bank and credit card accounts to Wave, allowing Wave to automatically download and import your transactions. Huge time saver allowing small business owners to focus their time on important tasks, not data entry.
  • Wave offers an invoicing tool with four styles of professional looking invoices that allow you to customize the colors and add your company’s logo.
  • The expense feature allows small business owners the ability to enter bills, track account payable, easily add a payment, and write checks. When you enter expenses, Wave will attempt to automatically categorize expenses the software recognizes.
  • Reporting section that has a balance sheet, income statement (profit and/or loss statement), sales tax reports, aged receivables, aged payables, reports to calculate the gain/loss on foreign currency exchange, etc. Another cool feature is you can email, export to Excel, or save the financial reports as a PDF.
  • Dashboard with quick access to useful financial information and snapshots about your business.
  • As an accountant, I love this this tool. Wave Accounting has a guest collaborator tool, allowing small business owners to invite guests to view and/or edit your company’s financial information. Your guests could be your CPA, your accountant, a bookkeeper, board members, assistants, etc.
  • Cloud based, meaning you have access to your small business bookkeeping from any computer that has an internet connection.
  • Wave has a ProNetwork for accountants and bookkeepers. This is a great way for accountants and bookkeepers to learn the software to better assist their small business clients. This a also a great benefit to the small business owner who are looking for a CPA, accountant, and/or bookkeeper that is familiar with and that works with Wave Accounting.
  • Wave Accounting integrates with FreshBooks and Google Docs.
  • Separate tab for tracking the small business owner’s personal finances. As your CPA has told you time and time again, you should not mix business and personal funds. However, we are well aware that many small business owners comingle business and personal funds. This tool makes it easier to split and track debit card and credit card transactions between personal and business expenses.
  • What small business owner doesn’t love free bookkeeping software!

My Wish List:

  • The advertisements at the bottom of the screen are a bit annoying. But, it’s free software and they have to make their money from somewhere. I do have to give the folks at Wave Accounting credit, the ads I saw were for reputable companies that I would actually consider doing business with. They were well thought out and well planned ads, not random, junky ads you see on most free websites.
  • Wave is not set up with merchant processing companies yet. Meaning no online bill pay options for for your customers when you email them an invoice. Wave does play nice with FreshBooks, so if this is important feature for your business you can do your invoicing in FreshBooks, then import those transactions into Wave Accounting.
  • Currently, they do not offer time tracking or time sheets. However, rumor has it that Wave Payroll will be coming to the US later this year and I’m guessing that will take care of that issue.
  • I didn’t see an iPhone and/or Droid phone app. I love being able to check my account balances, send invoices, etc. from my mobile devices while on the go.

Overall, Wave Accounting is a basic online bookkeeping and accounting software. It beats keeping your books on a spreadsheet and is a great solution for the small business owner. I love that it offers the self employed an affordable bookkeeping option that handles most general bookkeeping functions. Keep in mind Wave has only been in business for a little over a year, and they are continually adding and creating more tools to save entrepreneurs time and money. I’m anxious and curious to see what the future holds for Wave Accounting..

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Michelle Edwards, CPA - QuickBooks Consultant Written by Michelle Edwards, CPA
Certified QuickBooks ProAdvisor

Michelle Edwards, CPA is the owner of Trailhead Accounting Solutions CPA, LLC, an Erie, CO based CPA firm focused on providing small and mid-sized businesses with day-to-day accounting, bookkeeping, and business solutions. Michelle is a CFO turned consultant who loves working with small businesses and entrepreneurs. When she’s not crunching numbers, she can be found hiking, remote camping, gardening, quilting, and hanging out with her family.


FreshBooks – Video Review

Here’s my first attempt to offer my readers a visual test drive of FreshBooks, via video. I was super excited about how it came out, expect the full screen view gets blurry. I’ll keep playing with my screen cast software and try to figure this out so my next video will be easier to see in the full screen version. Bear with me, I’m a video and screen sharing newbie.



http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=reeGy1GmsKo&context=C330d1deADOEgsToPDskK_DOZyx2hw-kJ88GSngXFm


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Michelle Edwards, CPA - QuickBooks Consultant Written by Michelle Edwards, CPA
Certified QuickBooks ProAdvisor

Michelle Edwards, CPA is the owner of Trailhead Accounting Solutions CPA, LLC, an Erie, CO based CPA firm focused on providing small and mid-sized businesses with day-to-day accounting, bookkeeping, and business solutions. Michelle is a CFO turned consultant who loves working with small businesses and entrepreneurs. When she’s not crunching numbers, she can be found hiking, remote camping, gardening, quilting, and hanging out with her family.


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