Quickbooks Tip: How to Lock the Previous Year

lock-143616_960_720It’s not uncommon for small business owners and professional accountants to “close” previous years, preventing any accidental transactions or changes being made to those years. If you are 100% certain that you don’t need to make any changes to a particular year, for instance, it’s best to close that year. Doing so reduces the risk of errors which could otherwise throw off your bookkeeping.

While there’s no option to close previous years in Quickbooks, you can still “lock” them. The purpose of locking previous years is the same: it prevents changes from being made to the locked year or years. Some business owners prefer to leave their years open, which isn’t necessarily bad if you have to make regular changes to previous years. But if you don’t make such changes, it’s best to lock these years to prevent errors and discrepancies.

So, how do you lock previous years in Quickbooks? You’ll need to use the program’s “Set Closing Date and Password” feature. This is done by logging into your Quickbooks account, opening your company file and choosing Edit > Preferences > Accounting > Company Preferences. From here, you’ll see a new window appear with options associated with your Quickbooks company preferences.

Click the option at the bottom of this window called “Set Date/Password,” at which point you’ll see a new window that says “To keep your financial data secure, Quickbooks recommends assigning all other users their own username and password, in Company > Set Up Users.”

But you’ll want to pay close attention to the “Closing Date” prompt, as this indicates the date before which your company file cannot be changed. If you want to lock your previous year, for instance, select December 31 of last year as the closing date.

Upon choosing a closing date for your company file, you’ll need to enter a new password. This isn’t the same password used to log into your Quickbooks account. Rather, it’s an entirely new password that’s used specifically for this purpose. Granted, you don’t have to create a password here. But if you don’t, anyone who attempts to enter a change for the closed year or years will receive a warning. This is bad because users can still make changes to the closed year or years, with Quickbooks only giving them a warning. The bottom line is that you should always create a password when closing/locking one or more years.

Did this tutorial work for you? Let us know in the comments section below!

How to Set Up Gmail with Quickbooks

email-1345971_960_720Looking to connect Quickbooks to your Gmail account? By connecting your two accounts together, you can email Quickbooks transactions, reports and other associated documentation straight through your Gmail account. It’s a quick and easy process that only takes a few minutes. So for step-by-step instructions on how to set up Gmail with Quickbooks, keep reading.

Assuming you don’t already have one, you’ll first need to create a Gmail account. Don’t worry, the Google-owned and operated email service is completely free with no strings attached. Simply go to and sign up for an account.

Next, open Quickbooks and access the “Choose your Email Method” option, followed by “Setup my email now.” If you cannot find option, an alternative method is to click the Edit menu > Preferences > Send Forms, at which point you can begin the email setup process by selecting My Preferences > Add.

Assuming you followed the steps listed above, you should now see a new dialog window asking for more information about your email account. In the “Add Email Info” window, enter your Gmail address in the Email Id field. This is your actual Gmail address, such as or Double check to make sure the address is correct before proceeding. Now, in the “Email Provider” drop-down menu, select Gmail as your email service provider.

Don’t worry if you don’t see anything listed in the “SMTP Server Details” fields, as Quickbooks should gray this area out, meaning you cannot change them. The system automatically pulls the SMTP info from Gmail, eliminating this step during setup.

Now, click “OK.,” at which point your Gmail account should appear in the email Id field, with Quickbooks automatically setting it as the default email address for your account. Now click “OK” again to email a test transaction or report. Depending on your settings, Quickbooks may ask you to enter your password before emailing forms, or when you launch Windows. Quickbooks cannot store your Gmail password for security reasons.

If you have any trouble sending emails through Quickbooks, log into your Gmail account through an Internet browser. This often fixes the problem by ensuring that you are logged into your account.

Did this tutorial work for you? Let us know in the comments section below!

Tips to Manage Your Business’s Cash Flow

dollar-1362243_960_720Cash flow management is a fundamental step in running a successful small business. Regardless of what industry your business operates in, you’ll need cash to succeed. Without cash, you’ll face an uphill battle trying to restock inventory, advertise/promote your business, hire new employees, etc. So today we’re going to take a closer look at some essential cash flow management tips for small business owners.

Where to Acquire Cash

The first step in proper cash flow management for small businesses is to identify sources of cash. In other words, where you can acquire cash to run your small business? There are several different solutions available, including personal credit cards, family & friends, business loans, angel investors, venture capitalist firms and even crowdsourcing. Instead of focusing your efforts on a single medium, it’s best to diversify your capital acquisition across multiple platforms. Diversity creates a blanket of protection, ensuring your business has access to adequate capital at all times.

Prepare Cash Flow Projections

While there’s no way to tell what’s in store for the future of your small business, you should still prepare cash flow projections. As the name suggests, this is a projection of how much cash you intend to receive, have on hand, and use throughout a specified period. Cash flow projections typically cover a year and fiscal quarter, although some cover weeks.

Add Cash at Beginning of New Period

Now that you have a cash flow projection (or projections), you should begin adding cash to your business at the beginning of these newly specified periods. For an annual cash flow projection, for instance, you should add cash during the early days of January. Doing so gives your business a little “financial breathing room,” protecting it from hardship in the event of unforeseen expenses — and trust me, unforeseen expenses WILL occur when running a small business.

Cash Outlays

Small business owners must also make projections about upcoming cash outlays, or in other words, upcoming expenses. Don’t just guess how much you’ll spend, but use historical data from past expenses to provide an accurate representation of your future expenses. Common cash outlays for small businesses includes inventory, payroll, taxes, benefits, utilities, rent/lease, office supplies, furniture, debt, advertising, etc.

Hopefully, this will give you a better idea of how to manage your business’s cash flow. Of course, you should also use a professional accounting system, such as Intuit’s Quickbooks.

How to Turn an Estimate into an Invoice

letter-1292826_960_720It’s not uncommon for small business owners to provide “estimates” to prospective clients and customers. This is especially true for service providers. But what if you decide to use the estimate as the actual price? In this case, you should convert the estimate into an actual invoice. Thankfully, Intuit’s Quickbooks software makes this conversion a breeze, requiring just a few simple steps. So if you’re looking to convert one or more estimates into an invoice, keep reading to learn how.

First and foremost, you’ll need to verify the “estimates” feature is currently active in your Quickbooks account. This is done by accessing Edit > Preferences > Jobs and Estimates > Company Preferences > and tick the radio button for “Do You Create Estimates?” to “Yes.” Once active, you’ll be able to create estimates in your Quickbooks account. You can also create an invoice for a percentage of your estimates by setting the radio button for “Do You Progress Invoicing?” to “Yes.” Click the “OK” button when you are finished to save the changes and apply your new preferences.

After verifying that estimates is active in your Quickbooks account, go ahead and access the Customer Center tab below that main menu. From here, choose Customers & Jobs > and select either the customer’s name or project name that you’d like to use for the estimate. You may then  open the “Show” menu, followed by selecting “Estimates.” Now, scroll through the list and choose the estimate for your new invoice.

Next, click “Create Invoice” at the top of the screen. If you see the message “Items Not Assigned Classes,” select “Save Anyway (don’t worry, you can still create an invoice from the estimate.”

You aren’t out of the woods just yet. Now you’ll need to set the materials cost on the invoice. You can choose 100%, 75%, or any other percentage of your choosing. By default, Quickbooks applies 100% of the materials cost when you convert an estimate into an actual invoice. But there are times when a business owner or account may use a different percentage, in which case you’ll need to adjust it here.

After selecting the materials cost, click Print followed by Save & Close. Congratulations, you’ve just converted an estimate into an invoice! If you have another estimate that you’d like to convert, simply repeat the aforementioned steps.

Did this tutorial work for you? Let us know in the comments section below!

How to Create a Backup Company File on a Flash Drive

removable-150604_960_720Whether you are a small business owner or accountant, you probably why it’s important to back up your files. Hopefully, nothing will ever happen to your original files. But if disaster strikes, you want a secondary copy on hand to get your operations up and running again. Thankfully, Intuit’s Quickbooks accounting software has a convenient backup feature, allowing users to create a backup copy of their company file on a USB flash drive or similar device. To learn more about this feature and how to use it, keep reading.

To back up your Quickbooks company file, go ahead and open the file from your computer. Assuming you have Quickbooks installed, you can open it simply by right-clicking and choosing “open.” This should launch the Quickbooks application, at which point you can choose File > Save Copy or Backup to open the backup wizard. Next, click Backup copy > Next > Local backup.

Before proceeding, you should click the Options button to set your backup defaults. This gives you greater customization over what’s backed up and where it’s stored. You can also specify the location at which your back up is saved (insert your USB flash drive into your computer and choose it from this options page).

After customizing your backup defaults options, click Next to proceed, followed by Save right now (note: you can choose Save right now and schedule future backups if you’d like Quickbooks to automatically create backups after various intervals). Click Next after choosing either Save right now or Save and schedule.

This step is completely optional, but you can change either the name and/or location of your backup file. Simply type your preferred file name into the name field and click the Save option in the drop-down menu. You can also choose a different location for the backup file. With that said, you should not change the .qbb extension file name, as this may corrupt the file and render it inaccessible. Go ahead and click Save to begin the back up.

During the back up, Quickbooks will check the integrity of your company file using the defaults you chose earlier. This will close your company file and create a new backup. Once complete, Quickbooks will display a message telling you that your company file was successfully backed up to the specified location.

It’s important to note that you can create a backup company file on any device. While this tutorial specifically focused on USB flash drives, you can save your Quickbooks company file to any removable storage device, hard drive or local network folder.

Did this tutorial work for you? Let us know in the comments section below!

Can You Reprint a Check in Quickbooks?

light-bulb-1002783_960_720This is a question that many newcomers to Intuit’s popular line of accounting software ask. Perhaps you lost the original check, or maybe you need a second copy for reference purposes. Regardless, there are times during which you’ll need to reprint a check. The good news is that Quickbooks allows for reprinting checks in just a few quick and easy steps. Here’s how you do it.

There are actually two different ways to reprint a check in Quickbooks, the first of which involves accessing the Lists menu. After logging into your Quickbooks account, choose the Lists category from your main menu bar (found at the top), followed by Chart of Accounts > choose your payroll > double-click the check you want to reprint > click the Print icon within this window > click Save and Close. Sorry if you were expecting more, but that’s all it takes to reprint a check in Quickbooks! Quickbooks will now reprint the selected check, allowing you to hand it over to the respective employee or contractor.

But there’s a second way to reprint checks in Quickbooks, and some users may argue that this method is even easier than the first. This is done by accessing the Employees menu, followed by Edit/Void Paychecks > enter the paycheck date in the Show Paychecks from and through options field > click the Print icon at the top of this window to assign the number > click OK.

Now that you know how to reprint a single check in Quickbooks, you might be wondering if there’s an option to reprint multiple checks. Well, there is. If you need to reprint multiple checks, just follow these instructions: log into your Quickbooks account and choose the Transaction tab from the Employee Center, followed by Paychecks (found in the left-hand column) > double-click the paycheck that you want to reprint > click Print Later next to the Print icon > Save & Close. Now, repeat these steps for each check that you want to reprint. After marking all of the necessary checks for reprint, choose File > Print Forms > Paychecks > OK. This will print all of your selected checks, allowing you to reprint all of them at once instead of one by one.

Did this tutorial work for you? Let us know in the comments section below!

How to Remove an Restrictions from Accountant’s Copy

accounting1245If you’re a company executive, you may feel hesitant to hand off your complete Quickbooks company file to an accountant. After all, the company file contains every little detail associated with your business, and placing it in the hands of an accountant could spell disaster.

Thankfully, Quickbooks supports the use of an “accountant’s copy,” which is exactly that: a slimmed-down version of the company file that’s designed specifically for accountants. It allows accountants to make changes before the dividing date. Any changes attempted after the diving date will be blocked, ensuring your company file remains intact. But what if you want to remove the restrictions on your accountant’s copy?

It’s important to note that the steps for removing the restrictions from an accountant’s copy will vary depending on which version of Quickbooks you are using. For Quickbooks 2013 through 2014, you’ll need to perform the following: log into your Quickbooks account > access the File menu > Accountant’s Copy > Client Activities (found in the Accountant Edition) > choose “Yes, I want to remove the Accountant’s Copy restrictions” > OK.

This essentially cancels the accountant’s copy altogether. As explained by Intuit, you will not be able to import your accountant’s changes after performing this operation. If you need to make any changes, you’ll have to either refer to a printed copy or redo the process.

To remove restrictions on an accountant’s copy in Quickbooks 2015 and newer, log into your Quickbooks account and choose File > Send Company File > Accountant’s Copy > Client Activities (available in Accountants Edition) > Remove Restrictions > click the option “Yes, I want to remove the Accountant’s Copy restrictions” > OK.

Sorry if you were expecting more, but that’s all it takes to remove restrictions on an accountant’s copy!

If you are wondering how to create an accountant’s copy in the first place, however, it’s actually a quick and easy process. To create an accountant’s copy in Quickbooks, access File > Accountant’s Copy > Save File > Accountant’s Copy > Next. From here, you’ll need to set your diving date. This is essentially the cutoff date that prevents your accountant from making changes. When you are finished, click Next > choose a save location on your computer or the cloud > Save. You will now have an accountant’s copy with the file extension .qbx, which can be emailed or otherwise sent to your accountant.

Did this tutorial work for you? Let us know in the comments section below!

Intuit Announces ‘Firm of the Future’ Contest

cup-1010909_960_720Quickbooks maker Intuit recently announced its annual Firms of the Future content for 2016. Professional accountants and accounting firms in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom and Australia can enter the contest for a chance to win $100,000 in cash and prizes, including a paid trip to the company’s Quickbooks Connect conference, which is scheduled to take place October 24th to the 26th in San Jose, California.

U.S.-based accountants and accounting firms can enter Intuit’s Firm of the Future contest by visiting Intuit is accepting entries from June 14 to July 31, at which point no more entries will be accepted. To be eligible, accountants and accounting firms must answer questions that explain why they should be chosen.

Some of the sample questions provided by Intuit for its Firm of the Future contest include the following:

  • How many small business clients do you serve?
  • What percentage of your small business clients use Quickbooks Online?
  • Explain how you save time by using cloud-based technologies like Quickbooks Online and/or third-party applications?
  • Describe your value billing model.
  • Explain how your accounting firm leverages the web, digital marketing and social media to attract new clients and expand its operations?

In addition to answering these questions, accountants and accounting firms must also upload a photo that “exemplifies their firm’s future-forward business lifestyle.”

Intuit will announce four finalists from each country (US, UK, Australia and Canada) in August. These finalists will then be given the opportunity to create a video explaining why they should be chosen. Intuit will give each finalist access to a professional videographer and producer for this task. The top four finalists will receive $5,000 in cash, along with two tickets to the upcoming Quickbooks Connect conference. The grand prize will be announced on October 24, and this accountant or accounting firm will receive an additional $10,000 cash on top of the $5,000.

We’re pleased to expand the search for the Firm of the Future contest to accounting firms across the globe who have embraced change and implemented innovative processes that help fuel their clients’ success,” said Jim McGinnis, vice president, Intuit Accountant Segment. “Through this contest, Intuit is celebrating the accounting professionals, sole proprietors to large firms, whose forward thinking and willingness to embrace new technologies has transformed the way they collaborate with clients, elevated themselves to trusted advisors and grown their practices.”

What do you think of Intuit’s Firm of the Future contest? Let us know in the comments section below!



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