Back to the Books – Lesson 1 @Quickbooks.ca

I’m aiming these little lessons at the small business person, people with staff of zero to maybe10 people, whether they’re starting up or have been in business for awhile, and whether they’re in service businesses, consultants, retailers, or even contractors. These are the tools I recommend. Today, i want to discuss one of the tools I include in my Value Billing Packages as a complementary item.

The reason why I include this tool is that I find it essential for every business that fits my preferred client.

So, what can Quickbooks Online do for you? And how does it help me provide you with superior service? It can be broken down into four facets:

  1. Portability
  2. Immediacy
  3. Flexibility
  4. Automation
  5. Security

Portability:

First, because it’s browser-based software, you can access it anywhere you can get an Internet connection – the local Tim Horton’s, or the library, or at one of your clients. Horror of horrors, you can even take it with you on vacation and keep on top of your business as you keep on top of your tan.

Second, you can place a Quickbooks app on your phone or tablet. This doesn’t give you all the reporting functionality that the browser version does, but it does give you the ability to generate the invoice right in front of the client, send it to them, and have them pay by credit card before you even leave their premises. It’s convenient, it saves time, and it means you get paid far faster than the old “I’ll send you the invoice!” days. And no bounced cheques when they pay by credit card. The payment goes through Intuit, and the cost is a low per-transaction discount – no monthly billing for the service, so if you don’t use it one month, you don’t have to pay. The fact that Intuit automatically records the payment into the correct accounts as soon as they know the payment’s been accepted just increases the time savings.

Immediacy:

Everyone wants their money now, and as a small businessperson, you’re no exception. As I mentioned above, you can send out the invoices and the statements via e-mail, including the “pay by credit card” option. If you do so, then your client gets the bill right away, and can pay right away via credit card.

Payroll generation is quick, too. With just a few clicks of a mouse, your employees’ paycheques can be set up for direct deposit at the appropriate time, with everything set up in your books automatically.

You’ll notice that “automatically” enters into this dissertation frequently. This is not a coincidence.

In addition, your bookkeeper can do your bank or credit card reconciliation as soon as the statement is published to the bank’s website, as we’ll have it in Hubdoc within 24 hours. No need to wait for it to come in the mail, or to bug you to provide it to the bookkeeper.

Flexibility:

Quickbooks Online has an ever-growing list of applications that synchronize with it, automating – there’s that word again! – the transactions for a variety of situations. You only need to add those applications that actually add value to your company.

Two of the applications I include with my standard value packages are Hubdoc and Receipt Bank, because the benefit they provide both you and me far outweighs their costs. I’ll discuss what they are and how to take advantage of them in the next two lessons.

Other apps you might use include point-of-sale applications for restaurants and retailers, applications suitable for on-line stores like Shopify, payroll applications for situations requiring more robust software than Quickbooks handles in-house, and even marketing/customer retention solutions like Constant Contact and MethodCRM.

You don’t need all of these applications – there are as of this writing something like 150 different apps, just for the Canadian market alone – but many of these will prove useful for your particular industry. Together, we’ll find what works best and integrate it into Quickbooks

Automation:

And there’s “that” word again. The objective here is to make your books as accurate as possible by inputting as much using automation tools, so that no human has to scratch their heads and go, “How did we do this last time?” Quickbooks can synchronize with most banks, trust companies, credit card providers and near-banks, uploading the transactions for the bookkeeper to review and approve or adjust as necessary. Rules can be set up to automatically enter such transactions as payments of credit cards and the monthly bank charges. The apps will automatically upload or download the data on a daily basis, or when the bookkeeper orders the app to “publish” the transaction to Quickbooks. For invoices and receipts coming through Receipt Bank and Hubdoc, the images will also be attached to the transactions, helping to render your books audit-proof.

Data Security

These apps all use the same level of encryption as the Big Six banks do. The data is immediately mirrored onto multiple servers in multiple locations – no need for a backup to be taken, although if you like that idea, there’s an app for that. And that “off site backup” that is currently being retained in a back room of the store or in your bedroom closet will now be REALLY off site and in geographically separate sites, possibly with copies even being out of province.

Combine that with the stored images, and you can go as paperless as possible. I think we’ve all heard horror stories of companies that have lost all of their documents in massive fires. I’ve even met a few bookkeepers who told horror stories of clients who had every scrap of data, every form, every electronic backup, destroyed in a disaster and had to recreate everything from scratch at colossal cost and inconvenience, and often with a fair chunk of data irretrievably lost forever. That’s one big worry, one big potential headache, gone forever.

Summary:

That is the power of bookkeeping in the cloud. You get a professional set of books, at a reasonable cost, allowing you to look like a larger firm than you are, with consistent company visuals and with solutions that used to be available only to very large and very nimble firms.

Right now until the end of September we’re having a Back to the Books sale: half off our usual setup fee for existing businesses and half off our standard package fee for the first month for anyone who has been in business for less than 12 months. All come with this program and with the excellent Hubdoc and Receipt Bank apps. Call us now to set up an appointment to discuss your needs!

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