Maximizing your QuickBooks experience
Accounting software like QuickBooks offers numerous advantages to business leaders: increased visibility and robust controls over financials, data centralization and standardization, remote access and automation. But as with any accounting system, the better your inputs are, the better results you will see. Read on to learn how to make the most of your accounting and finance software — it forms a crucial store of knowledge that can then be supercharged with additional solutions to inform your business’ decision-making into the future.
Identify the responsible party
Someone in your business needs to be accountable for keeping financial records current. If you’re an owner or CFO and are updating your books yourself, it might be worth considering if doing so allows you enough time to focus on other aspects of your business, such as growth and relationship management.
As your business scales, financial data comes in from an increasing number of sources, systems and teams — thus requiring further attention to avoid confusion or errors.
Ensure timely updates — and accuracy
Whatever software a business invests in, its output is only as good as its inputs. Mistakes or missing transactions inevitably produce low-quality reports and insights. In turn, those incorrect assumptions can lead to a false sense of understanding or poor decision making.
It helps to simplify and streamline your processes to the greatest degree possible. For example, keep an organized chart of accounts and limit the number of users in your accounting system. Reconcile all accounts, lock historical periods and back up your data. Most accounting software, including QuickBooks, includes simple tools and analytics to better understand your data. If you find yourself encountering irrelevant information or taking too many steps to complete a process, there may be ways to alter your settings to better suit your needs. Read our post on common QuickBooks mistakes here for tips on how to solve such issues.
Staying up-to-date is as important as entering correct information — and if your business is growing and keeping current begins to pose a challenge, it might be time to consider automating some tasks, hiring additional staff or outsourcing some responsibilities to a CPA.
Customize your QuickBooks
Every business is unique, and QuickBooks can accommodate some variations in operations. Although accounting software comes with standard features, functions and pre-configured reporting that can be used across most industries, it also almost always provides room for customization to help you establish a fitting bookkeeping process.
Training for yourself and your team can help you better understand the ins and outs of your accounting system. Don’t settle for the basics — get the best value from your investment by turning on the advanced features and functionality of your accounting system.
Schedule regular audits in QuickBooks
Even if you assign accountability to a staff member, reconcile regularly and streamline your process, mistakes can happen. Businesses are complex and always evolving, and bookkeeping can easily fall by the wayside. Make time to bump it up on your priority list by scheduling regular audits to ensure your data is accurate and up-to-date, and that the settings and processes you’ve established are still appropriate for your business.
It’s likely that as part of the audit process you’ll encounter missing or incorrectly applied transactions that could otherwise be lost, and it will help avoid backlogs that can occur during busy periods.
Integrating and automating QuickBooks with solutions from the QuickBooks App Store
While QuickBooks and other accounting systems are powerful tools that can serve your business well, they have limits. They provide a core, reliable data set for you to work from as you grow. Depending on your business’ needs and objectives, that data can form a base from which you can tap into insights from artificial intelligence and machine learning with additional software. It also can allow you to grant access to certain parts of the data to particular staff members so they can perform forecasting or work on collections without necessarily giving them access to your full accounting records.
That said, as stated above, the data provided by an add-on solution is only as good as your original records. It’s critical to your business’ success to create a sustainable process that provides the comfort, peace of mind and security that accompanies solid bookkeeping practices. For more information, read our ebook on best bookkeeping practices for small and mid-sized businesses.