How QuickBooks Accountant Saves You Time & Money
Who says you can’t add hours to your day? In this article I share with you my favorite QuickBooks® Accountant tools and how they help me save time and make more money working with a client’s QuickBooks files. Each of these tools is included with QuickBooks Accountant 2014, QuickBooks Accountant Plus 2014 subscription and QuickBooks Enterprise Solutions Accountant 14.0.
Working with client’s QuickBooks company files offers the following flexibility:
- What file type you choose to receive from your clients.
- How you manage the file types you receive from your clients.
- How to efficiently communicate with your clients about transaction specific questions.
- The method you choose to make changes to the client’s QuickBooks company file.
- Ease in forwarding the changes you have made for the client to include in the QuickBooks company file.
Receive Client Files
First, choose the type of file you want to use for your review. Here is a list of QuickBooks file types and their features or limitations when wanting to work with the file at your office.
QBW: Regular Working Copy of the Data
Each client file is originally created in a .QBW file type. Here is a list of some of the advantages and limitations of sharing this type of data file:
- The accountant has access to all transaction activities.
- The accountant cannot take the file to his office, work in the file and later merge changes into the business owner’s file unless the client agrees not to work in the file while the accountant has possession of it.
- The accountant can use the Send General Journal Entries feature. More details provided later in this article.
- The file can often be too large to send as an attachment in an email.
QBB: QuickBooks Backup File
This file type remains as it has for years and is the best choice for securing a data backup of your work. Consider the following when choosing this file type for sharing data:
- The file cannot be opened first without being restored.
- When restored, the file extension becomes .QBW (see the pros and cons listed earlier).
- Changes made to a restored version of this file type cannot be merged later into the original data file.
- Often the size of the backup file prevents it from being attached in an email.
QBM: QuickBooks Portable Company File
The .QBM file type has been offered for several years; however, consider the following when choosing this file type for sharing data:
- The compressed file size makes a .QBM a perfect choice for attaching to an email or moving from one computer location to another
- When restored, the file extension becomes a .QBW (see the pros and cons listed earlier)
- Changes made to a restored version of this file type cannot be merged later into the original data file
QBX: Accountant’s Copy (Export File)
This is the file the business owner would send to you for using the Accountant’s Copy functionality. Consider some of the advantages and limitations of sharing this type of data file:
- Your client creates this file type, which enables you to review and make needed changes to your client’s data while your client continues recording their day-to-day transactions in the file at their office.
- Your client can send you the file via Intuit’s® Secure File Transfer Service (file size limitations), via email attachment or on a removable storage device.
- Most changes made can be imported (merged) into your client’s data file. Fields shaded indicate the changes will be imported.
- Your accountant work is protected by a required Dividing Date, preventing the client from making changes to transactions dated on or before the Dividing Date.
Manage Client Files
QuickBooks File Manager is used to organize and access the many QuickBooks client files you receive. QuickBooks File Manager is installed automatically and permits you to:
- Take out the guesswork of what version and year of the software your client has sent to you. File Manager displays this information for any and all file types you receive.
- Create user-definable client groups such as Annual Review Clients, Monthly Review Clients, or Payroll Clients to name just a few suggestions for grouping your client files virtually.
- Save your client file passwords in one place, and QuickBooks File Manager will open the clients’ files in the proper version (providing it is installed) without requiring input of the password.
- View important information about your clients’ data without opening the file, information including closing date, tax form, report basis and more.
- Upgrade client files to newest QuickBooks version in batch, a real timesaver.
Make Changes to Client Data
Reviewing client’s files can be a time-consuming process. Use Client Data Review (CDR) to work more efficiently when reviewing and making changes to a client’s company file. I personally have saved on average 1-2 hours per client file review, using the Troubleshoot Beginning Balances tool. With this tool you can easily spot changes to beginning balances after your last review. QuickBooks can prepare an adjusting entry for your approval, and provide a reversing entry if desired.
There are many time saving tools in Client Data Review, including:
- Reclassify hundreds of transactions all at once.
- Write-off multiple open customer invoice balances at once.
- Fix incorrectly recorded sales tax payments.
- Quickly troubleshoot inventory issues.
- Identify changes clients made to the lists in QuickBooks.
- Apply open vendor and customer credits in batch to with charges/invoices.
- Clear up balances left in the Undeposited Funds account.
After working with the Client Data Review tools you will never want to review a client’s file the “old fashioned way” again!
Send Changes to Client Data
Accountant’s using their QuickBooks Accountant 2014 software have more options for how to send QuickBooks company file changes back to the client. The specific method chosen will depend on the file type and year version of the QuickBooks desktop software received. You can choose from the following:
Send General Journal Entries
The Send General Journal Entries permits the accounting professional to share changes to a client’s file with a simple email attachment of the general journal entry transaction. To use this method, your client must also be using one of the QuickBooks 2014 desktop versions.
A best practice when using this feature is to have the business owner send you either a copy of the working file (.QBW), a backup (.QBB), or a portable company file (.QBM). Business owners can continue to work in their files while that accountant reviews and creates Journal Entries in the copy at his office. This method also avoids the restrictions imposed when sharing an Accountant’s Copy file.
The accountant’s journal entries are emailed directly from QuickBooks, with no messy file transfers to worry about. Clients simply click the attachment to import the Journal Entries automatically into their company file.
Another method of sharing data is requesting an Accountant’s Copy from your client. It is, in my opinion, one of the most effective methods for your review of the client’s QuickBooks company file.
Using this file type, your clients can continue their day-to-day accounting tasks, and from the convenience of your office you can review and make needed changes to their data, later importing these changes into the files they have been using.
Discuss the following with your clients before they prepare an Accountant’s Copy of their QuickBooks data:
- The Dividing Date selected. As their accounting professional, communicate what date this should be.
- How current are the bank reconciliations in the data file? In the Accountant’s Copy, your bank reconciliation work is returned to the client only for statement dates on or before the dividing date. Additionally, the client can only mark as cleared items dated after the Dividing Date.
- Instruct clients not to cancel or remove restrictions on the Accountant’s Changes Pending file without first consulting you.
- Discuss the options for sending this file to you. Your client’s have these options:
- Send you an encrypted copy of their data via Intuit’s secure Accountant’s Copy File Transfer Service, a free service to your client. Accounting professionals pay a nominal fee annually for an unlimited number of uses of the service (free if you are a QuickBooks ProAdvisor or have the QuickBooks Accountant PLUS software).
- Attach the saved file to an email.
- Copy it to a storage device, such as a USB drive or CD.
There you have it; my favorite tools for working efficiently with QuickBooks Accountant 2014 and my client’s files. You too can save hours of time with each client’s file when you incorporate these tools into your practice. Who couldn’t use some extra hours in their day?