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Using Tasks to enhance your QuickBooks Online Advanced workflow

As a multiple hat-wearing business owner, there is nothing I dislike more than remembering an important task AFTER that task was due. As an accountant for small business owners, I cannot tell you how excited I am to see the new tasks feature offered in QuickBooks® Online Advanced.

Tasks help team members know what work has been assigned to them and when that work is due. Each time a workflow is created in QuickBooks Online Advanced, any follow up actions will be created as new tasks available for your review. Check out some of the built-in workflows and the tasks that they create below.

Generating tasks from QBO Advanced workflows:

Included in the list of custom workflows in QuickBooks Online Advanced is the new Approve Invoice workflow. This powerful workflow automatically generates a new task every time an invoice is created by anyone who does not have administrative access. While setting up the workflow, a user will be selected to assign all invoice approvals. This provides the perfect opportunity to use the Sales Manager Role as a custom user that has administrative access. Once set up in QuickBooks, all invoices generated by the sales team will require approval before they send it to a client for payment.

While tasks may reside within QuickBooks Online Advanced, they are not limited to activities within the program.

To illustrate the hidden power within tasks, let me show you how I help clients use tasks to enhance their payroll services. Then, my good friend, Lynda Artesani, will share how her firm implements tasks for their legal industry clients.

Creating payroll tasks in QuickBooks Online Advanced

The new task feature in QuickBooks Online Advanced has proven to be our payroll departments’ favorite new feature. Thanks to this new feature, our payroll staff can quickly add a new task to remind us when an employee’s introductory period (90 day) is about to conclude. Depending on the state laws and the company’s internal pay policies, this date may introduce compliance issues if not followed correctly.

In California, employers are required to provide every employee paid sick leave after they have finished their introductory hiring period of no more than 90 days. During this period, an employee accrues sick leave, but the employer is not obligated to use the accrued time until after the 90 days. Thanks to the introduction of tasks, we can now add a task that will remind the payroll department to notify the employee that their hours are now available.

Similar to sick leave in California, other businesses require an introductory period to be completed before offering any fringe benefits such as healthcare and retirement plans. Tracking all these dates can become complicated the larger the company becomes and potentially expensive for non-compliance.

Steps to create task:

  • Select Tasks from the side menu. The Task window will pop up.
  • Create a unique Title for your task that can be distinguished easily on the task dashboard.
  • Assign the Task to any standard or accountant user directly connected to the company file.
  • Add Notes about the task, including any subtasks that the person should complete. It is also very helpful to add any text-based URLs that may be necessary to complete the task.
  • Complete the task by listing who it was assigned by, especially when using the QuickBooks Online Accountant version. This will help designate who within the firm the assignee should direct their questions to.

By adding this simple task each time, a new employee joins the team, the payroll department will be able to ensure the employee has the best possible onboarding experience with the company.

Powerful tasks to help law firms keep their books clean

As an accounting conversion specialist for the legal industry, we understand the importance of task management, especially during a large migration project. Our team often works hand in hand with a firm’s internal bookkeeper and admin team to adhere to a very detailed project timeline throughout the process.  Before introducing QuickBooks Online Advanced tasks, we had to resort to external checklists that were often overlooked by the firm’s employees. Now, we can now assign specific tasks to registered users in QuickBooks Online Advanced, which ensures everyone knows which tasks are outstanding and who is responsible for their completion.

Here are some more tasks I’ve created to automate the accounting process for my QuickBooks Online Advanced Clients:

Reminder to reconcile the Advanced client cost account

There are some duties when working with a law firm client that you need to remember to do. There is no bank statement for this important account that should be reconciled to keep accurate records for a law firm. If this account is ignored, you may have expenses for clients that go unbilled or expenses that should be moved to the attorney’s expenses if they are never going to be invoiced to a client.

This account is often overlooked, and it is essential to be sure that the account only holds those work in process (WIP) expenditures. If there are transactions from closed matters, you will need to check with the attorney of record and determine if the expense needs to become a firm expense.

Keeping a good eye on the over 90-day AR aging report

Reviewing the outstanding and overdue accounts receivable is just as critical. Many law firms do a less than stellar job of maintaining the accounts receivable records. I recommend the accounts receivable clerk or bookkeeper follow up with each attorney of record on any open invoice 90 days past due. Should the open invoice be written down or should you move those clients to collections?

Maintaining the unapplied cash payment income account

Some of my immigration and family law clients do a tremendous volume of invoicing. When you combine this with multiple staff members entering transactions, you may find errors in dates where payments are recorded before the actual invoice date. A gentle reminder to keep a watchful eye on this account will help keep the records in the proper order. Just run a profit and loss by cash basis to reveal the transactions that need to be corrected.

Reminder to the attorney to turn in their receipts

For compliance, we like to have receipts for all transactions. With QuickBooks, this can be a simple task. Just scan and upload. But, if we find a missing receipt, we can notify the attorney. If they have access to QuickBooks, gently remind them that the receipt is missing. Once it is uploaded, we can mark that task as complete.

Remember, these tasks do not have to be QuickBooks-only tasks. Think outside the box! Maybe you need to order a birthday cake for a staff member. Perhaps you need to get a gift for a client that gave you a referral. Assign that task as a reminder, and you can keep your law firm running smoothly.

Creative uses for Tasks in QuickBooks Online Advanced

Real estate and property management:

  • Lease Renewal Dates: Set up reminders for important lease renewal dates.
  • Safety Checks: Create a task to make sure all Fire suppression systems have been checked each year.

Construction industry:

  • Review COI: Set up a reminder during a large project to review all certificates of insurance are valid for any subcontractors on a job.
  • 1099 Review: Set up a task to review contractors w-9 information is up to date and accurate.

More task ideas for any business:

  • Workers compensation: Another powerful use of the tasks feature is to set reminders for important dates, such as your workers compensation renewal date. This simple task will provide your team enough time to start shopping your policy for the best rates on the market as well as prepare for their next workers compensation audit.
  • Business license: Create a task that reminds you when you need to update your business license.
  • Corporate filings: Avoid late filing fees by setting up a reminder to update your statement of information and your annual minutes for your corporation. If you provide these services, you can setup tasks to help you remember when to discuss with your clients.
  • Special deadlines: Create a task to help remind you of special deadlines, such as the PPP cover period.

Who can see and use tasks:

The new task feature can be used by anyone who is a registered user of that QuickBooks Online Advanced company file, except report-only users. Administrators have the greatest functionality to create a task as well as see the tasks created by others. For all other employees, only the tasks assigned to them or created by them will be displayed and grouped by:

  • Past due
  • Today
  • Upcoming

Once a task has been marked as completed, it will be moved to a separate list to better view what is still outstanding.

Hopefully, we have managed to get you thinking about all the different ways you could harness the power hidden within Tasks. After playing with this new feature, we are excited to see the different ways that Intuit will embed this feature throughout all their features. Now it is your turn, what creative tasks would you be interested to see added as templates? Share your ideas in the comments below!

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