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Cheat Sheet

QuickBooks 2008 For Dummies

From QuickBooks 2008 For Dummies by Stephen L. Nelson

Your business assets may include your ability to work with QuickBooks accounting software. This handy Cheat Sheet helps you build your bookkeeping know-how — from data file management to payroll preparation, item list assembly to purchase order tracking with QuickBooks 2008.

How to Set a Closing Date and Password in QuickBooks

QuickBooks doesn’t require you to or even let you “close” months and years, the way old manual accounting systems did. (When you “closed” an old accounting period, you actually zeroed-out the revenue and expense accounts, and transferred the net amount to the owner’s equity accounts.)

However, QuickBooks does let you use a closing date and password. The closing date sort of prevents someone from entering transactions earlier than the specified date. If you set a closing password, for example, someone needs to supply that password before entering a transaction or changing a transaction dated before the closing date. If you don’t set a closing password, someone trying to enter or change a transaction dated before the closing date is warned, but he or she can still create or change the entry.

To set a closing date, choose Edit→Preferences, click the Accounting icon, click the Company Preferences tab, and then enter the closing date (probably the end of the most recently completed year) in the Date Through Which Books Are Closed box. To use a closing password, click the Set Password button, and use the dialog box that QuickBooks displays to create the closing password.

Getting Ready to Do Payroll with QuickBooks 2008

If you want to use one of the QuickBooks Payroll service options because you want to save money, you aren’t scared of a little paperwork, or maybe you want the extra flexibility that comes with doing it yourself, you need to sign up for the appropriate flavor of service.

To set up for a payroll service option, get ready to hop on the Internet. Follow these steps:

  1. In QuickBooks, choose Employees→Payroll→Order Payroll Service.

    QuickBooks connects to the Internet and displays the first page of a multiple-page web form that enables you to sign and set up the QuickBooks Payroll service.

  2. Follow the on-screen instructions.

    Note: Setting up the QuickBooks Payroll service requires that you have accurate year-to-date payroll information for all your employees as well as state withholding rate information. You’ll want to collect all this information before you begin. The process of setting up payroll — assuming that you have the information at hand and that you have only a handful of employees — shouldn’t take much more than half an hour.

  3. Schedule your payroll.

    After you sign up for (and indirectly set up) the QuickBooks Payroll service, you need to schedule your upcoming payroll activities. To do this, choose the Employees →Add or Edit Payroll Schedules command.

    When QuickBooks displays the Payroll Schedule List window, click the Payroll Schedule button and then New. When prompted by QuickBooks, describe the payroll you’re scheduling. For example, if you’re setting up a weekly payroll, name the payroll something like Friday payroll. Furthermore, describe the frequency as weekly, biweekly, semi-monthly, and so on.

  4. Describe your employees.

    You need to describe each of your employees, and you need to identify which payroll schedule they belong to. Choose Employees→Employee Center. Click the New Employee button. Then, use the tabs of the window that QuickBooks displays to provide the employee’s name, address, Social Security number, and so on. Note that you use the Payroll and Compensation tab to specify the employee’s wage or salary and to assign the employee to a scheduled payroll.

Inactivating List Items in QuickBooks 2008

One of the neat features in QuickBooks is that it enables you to simplify your lists by hiding items that are no longer active, including those that you expect to be active again later. If you have seasonal employees, you can hide them from your Employee list during the times of the year when they don’t work. Or if you sell commemorative key chains only every five years, you can keep them from cluttering your Item list in the off years. You can also inactivate customers and vendors from their respective lists.

To inactivate something from a list, all you have to do is open the list and double-click the item. When QuickBooks opens the item, employee, customer, or vendor that you want to inactivate, select the Item Is Inactive check box. (The name of the check box changes, depending on what you’re trying to inactivate.) Then click OK. QuickBooks hides this member from your list. The next time you display the list, the Include Inactive box appears.

To view and edit hidden members of your list, just click the Include Inactive box. Any inactive members show up with X icons beside them. If you want to reactivate a member, all you have to do is click the X icon, and the member is reactivated.

QuickBooks Keeps Track of Purchase Orders

You can create QuickBooks POs even if you order goods by phone or via the World Wide Web — that is, whenever you don’t request goods in writing. Filling out purchase orders enables you to determine what items you have on order and when the items will arrive. All you’ll have to do is ask QuickBooks, “What’s on order, and when’s it coming, anyway?” Never again will you have to rack your brain to remember whether you’ve ordered those thingamajigs and doohickeys.

And when the bill comes, you’ll already have it itemized on the PO form. Having written out all the items on your PO, you don’t have to fill out an Items tab on your check when you pay the bill. Or, if you’re paying bills with the accounts payable method, you don’t have to fill out the Items tab in the Enter Bills window. When the items arrive, all you have to do is let QuickBooks know; the items are immediately added to your inventory list.

Use POs for items that you order — that is, for items that you’ll receive and pay for in the future. If you buy items over the counter or receive items that you didn’t order, you obviously don’t need a PO. What you need to do is just pay the bill and inventory the items that you just bought.

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