5 Tricks for Faster, Easier QuickBooks Setup

By Stephen L. Nelson

Setting up QuickBooks takes time and requires a bit of upfront planning. You can ease the burden and accelerate your success by employing these five tricks:

  • Use the Express Start: You can tell QuickBooks to set up QuickBooks with the standard default settings by indicating (at the very first startup screen) that you want to go with the Express Start option. The Express Start route to installation goes much more quickly. Note, too, that you can later change any of the default installation settings by using the Edit→Preferences command.

  • Convert at Start of Year: A beginning of the year conversion is easiest because you don’t have to enter year-to-date income and expense values during the setup process. Consider a start-of-year conversion. This might mean waiting a few months until the current year ends. Or it might mean going back and reentering a few months of accounting data. Either way, you’ll find a start of year conversion way, way easier.

  • Outsource Your Payroll: Consider outsourcing your payroll processing to someone who does payroll for a living. Large payroll service companies like ADP and Paychex do too. Outsourced payroll processing simplifies the setup of QuickBooks and (even though such services seem expensive when you look at their $1,000 to $2,000 a year cost) often save you money when you consider all the costs of doing payroll internally including payroll tax penalties and the effect of a loss in salary confidentiality.

  • Opt for Cash Basis Accounting: If you have the choice, do consider the option of using cash basis accounting for your business. Cash basis accounting means you get to avoid dealing with vendor payables and expense accruals. You’ll simply record expenses when you write a check. By the way, accrual basis accounting (the alternative to cash basis accounting) does produce better, more accurate accounting. But accrual basis accounting complicates your bookkeeping burden. And often that extra complexity simply isn’t worth it.

  • Get Your CPA’s Help: Consider buying an hour or two or four of your accountant’s time. She can help you get the QuickBooks software setup quickly and correctly. She can also give you a bit of training that’s tailored to your specific business’s transactions. This investment in doing it right often produces an excellent return.