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Friday, June 24, 2005

Using Financial Statement Designer.


It appears that the new Financial Statement Designer program (QuickBooks 2005 Accountant Edition) does not allow you to prepare Budget vs. Actual or Budget Performance reports. These reports are available only in the Reports menu. Is this correct? Are there templates that can be downloaded from the website? Perhaps this can be customized in the FSD program but I am not seeing it?

Ps. Thanks so much for your Blog! You have been such a help in the past!


You are I can tell, budget amounts can't be included in the financial statement designer. My best searches didn't yield any results for templates that can be loaded into financial statement designer.

Frankly, I have not been overly impressed with the capabilities of the financial statement designer. It seems that all it does is improve the aesthetics of the reports that are already available.

If as an accounting firm you are using QuickBooks for write-up, you should look into some of the more robust write-up accounting software packages.

Creative Solutions write-up will allow you to format reports in any way you want. It also will interface with QuickBooks for your clients that do their own basic accounting. I know that some of these packages can get expensive, but they can pay for themselves many times over in improved staff efficiency and the billable value of the finished product.

Help Needed! QuickBooks Problem on Tiger OS


I operate on a Powerbook G4 and recently installed Tiger. Since then,
when entering a transaction in QuickBooks, I am not allowed to
record, but have to scroll across the top to edit then click and
click again before I am allowed to record the transaction. I am using
QuickBooks Pro 6.0. Do you have any suggestions?

Thank you,



Sorry, I am not much of a Mac expert. I must confess that I haven't used one since college. I am told that I am really missing out. My friend has a Powerbook also, and I couldn't believe it when the keys lit up when the lights were dimmed. That would be great on a plane.

If only Michael Dell were half as cool as Steve Jobs...that would be something.

Sorry for rambling. Hopefully, some of our Mac user will have some insight.

Setting up Your Beginning Balance Sheet.


1. What is the proper way to record fixed assets (our building and land) that we already own when setting up QuickBooks?
2. Is there anyway to show appreciation of fixed assets?



When you set up quickbooks for a business that is alraedy in operation, it is important to get all the opening balances in correctly. This is why I usually advise clients to begin using quickbooks at the beginning of the year, then after I finish their tax return, I will set up the opening balances.

Having said that, on to your specific problem. Depending on which tax form you file (Sch. C, 1065, 1120, 1120-S, etc.) you may already have your opening balances. Look on your 2004 tax return (if you are anything besides a Schedule C) and look for a balance sheet. For smaller companies this is it may not be there. If it is there your set. You have your 12/31/2004 balance sheet. Make a general journal entry (Company - Make Journal Entry)DEBITING the assets and CREDITING the liabilities and equity (assuming none of the balances show up as negative) The tax returns balance sheet should include buildings and land, so this would take care of the problem.

Now if you don't have your a working balance sheet on your tax return, you can record your buildings and land by journal entry at COST. To make the journal entry, you would DEBIT Buildings or Land and CREDIT Opening Balance Equity.

As an aside, let me explain why I said put it in Opening Balance Equity instead of retained earnings where most would put it. See the first thing that your accountant is going to do when he gets your file, is to ensure that retained earnings balances (Previous years retained earnings +/- prior year profit/loss). I had you put it in opening balance equity so that he doesn't experiance additional confusion in performing this task.

The answer to your second question is simply don't do it. Fixed assets are recorded at cost and they remain on your books at cost until you sell them or dispose of them. It iswhen you sell them that you effectivly write down or appreciate those assets by recording a gain/loss on the sale of assets. This gain is a taxable item. Fortunatly, the government hasn't figured out how to tax us on unrealized let's not help them by quantifying the gain on our books.

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Inventory Aging Report.


I’m getting the feeling that this one’s beyond the scope of what QB is designed to do, but I’ll give it a shot.

Is there any way to get QB (either internally or by a 3rd party app) to create an inventory aging report? I’ve been told by one 3rd party vendor that it can be done as long as we track things by lot or serial #, which (as far as I know) we haven’t done to date. It seems to me that all the necessary information is in there regardless, & it’s just a matter of how to get it out in the format we need.

Any ideas?




You are correct. This is beyond the scope of what QuickBooks can do. I looked through the third party solutions marketplace and didn't see anything that offered this report specifically. I also noticed that some of these add-ons were incredibly expensive. You may find one that is in your price range and nail them down as to whether what you want will be included.

Manufacturing Inventory.


Do you know anything about manufacturing with QuickBooks for Mac? Currently, I convert raw material inventory to finished product inventory via inventory adjusts and “zero” bills. But is there any add-on program or tricks I haven’t thought of to create BOM and/or inventory/manufacturing projection?


QuickBooks does not have a very good process for manufacturing inventory. To be quite honest...I handle it the same way that you do. There are several products out there that claim to make the process easier, but I haven't used any of them. Here is a link to the manufacturing add-ons. Some of them are quite pricey. If you use any of them let me know what you think.

If anyone uses a third party add-on and like it...please let me know.

Help Needed!

I am exporting report data to sheet1 of a workbook, and trying to link sheet 1 data to a more comprehensive report in sheet 2.using copy-paste-link. When I change the date range in QB and export to sheet1l sheet 2 has #REF.....

What am I doing wrong????? Thanks for any help...


This sounds more like an Excel problem. I can't think of anything that would cause this. Does anyone else have any ideas?

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Opening a Mortgage Account.


What is the proper way to enter a mortgage (initially) and make payments so that it reflects on the Balance Sheet?

Thanks, Bill


Well, a mortgage is in most instances a long term liability. So if this is the case, create a new account (Company - Chart of Accounts - Ctrl + N). Enter the account number if you use them. Make the account type Long-Term Liability. Give the account an apporpriate name such as "Citibank - Building Mortgage".

The easiest way to record the opening amount is by journal entry (Company - Make Journal Entry). DEBIT either your "Buildings" fixed asset account if you purchased a new building or the old note payable if you refinanced (if you refinanced you may need an accountant to help you apply the loan proceed correctly per your HUD statement). You will CREDIT the account you created above.

Now when you write the check for the payment each month, make the check out for the total amount of the payment. When you classify it, put the part that went against principal (according to your statement)into the note payable account (created above) and the rest of the payment should be interest (check the statement to be sure there is no escrow).

NOTE: if you have QuickBooks 2005, it has a Note Payable Manager that if the information is entered correctly will keep track of interest vs. principal amounts.

Sorting Bills by Due Date.


I have QBooks Basic 2004 Windows

I can't sort a unpaid bill report by Due Date ----- nothing happens.



You are not the first person to bring this up. This repost I believe is fundamentally flawed in that it breaks the bills down by vendor FIRST. So when you sort by due date it will only sort multiple bills to the same vendor. Unfortunatly the report you are looking for…sorted only by due date isn’t available except by viewing bills in the Pay Bills Screen (Vendors – Pay Bills).

Problem with Customer Balance.


I recently posted a payment through the Receive payment window. Somehow I got the amount in the system twice because when I go to my receivables report, it is showing up a negative balance due. I have tried repeatedly to change the payment, delete it, etc. I always get an error message that I have to delete it from the deposit before I can delete the payment. I go the deposits and delete it and it takes it out of my check register, where it is only recorded once. Then I go back to receivables and it is still showing up a negative….HELP!


This sounds strange. The only possibility that I can think of is that the payment was applied to the invoice and not deposited in the bank. While at the same time an additional deposit, or maybe the same deposit was applied to the customer and deposited in the bank. If this were the case, the customer would show a credit balance…which your customer does. When you go to “Make Deposits” is the amount still waiting to be deposited…or is that amount in undeposited funds?

You will need to search through the “Receive Payment” transactions to see where the amount was applied twice.

Balance Sheet Problems.


I have having problems creating an accurate balance sheet. I have used QB for several years but, I have not needed to create balance sheets with it. Unfortunately, now I do.

Under current assets, all of the amounts showing up with the exception of National City Bank should be zero. How do I eliminate these amounts?

The accounts payable should be zero. How do I eliminate this balance?

Total current Liabilities should also be zero. How do I eliminate this entry?

Opening balance equity is $16,000. How do I make the report show $16,000

Retained earnings should also be zero. How do I eliminate the retained earnings amount?

This company is an LLC which I purposely keep to a minimum of assets for liability reasons

Thanks for your help.



Your question is difficult, without knowing your situation. I would urge you to talk to your accountant.

Assuming that all current assets should in fact be zero, you will need to find out what is in those accounts.

To do this open a "Balance Sheet Standard" report, and click modify report. In the window that appears, change the dates to beginning of your company’s existence or some date way in the past such as 01/01/1975 to today's date.

Now look at the current asset accounts that are on the balance sheet. Double click on the ones that should be zero. You will be given a list of transactions that make up your balance. You can either reclassify them at the transaction level by double clicking them again or make a journal entry to reclassify them.

Again, I can't recommend any of this...especially if the transactions in the current asset account are from prior years. (This could create a current year tax problem if they were assets on your prior years returns). But this is how you would do it from a QuickBooks operations standpoint.

As for opening balance equity, this is an account created by QuickBooks when you open an account that has an existing balance. Generally this account should be zero. Many times it is capital or retained earnings.

Retained earnings should in fact have a balance if you have been in operation for more than a year and have either a collective profit or loss.

As you can see there are many issue involved, however it shouldn't take a CPA long to correct it to your specifications and within the constraints of the law. This would be money well spent.

Changing the QuickBooks Invoice Templates.


I am using a QuickBooks template for my company invoicing, and I want to change the font, add my company phone number, Which I have put on the original template but it does not print on the invoice. I also want to change the size of the columns on the invoice template?


QuickBooks doesn't allow you much flexibility when you are using one of their predefined templates. However, if you go into the customize invoice feature, you can create a new template based on the predefined one you are using. From this point you can go into layout designer and fiddle with it until your heart is content.

Applying Payments


How do you mark several invoices paid that were made as one deposit in the checking acct?


If you have deposited funds, and the invoice is not marked paid, then you have not properly applied the payments.

To apply payments, right click on the invoice screen and select "Receive Payments". Select the customer and fill in the screen accordingly...applying the payment to the correct invoice at the bottom of the screen.

Since you have already deposited the funds, you will need to see how the deposit was applied. Possibly, it may not have been applied at all.

You may have to void the previous deposit and start over.

I Deleted a Transaction...I Need it Back.


I accidentally deleted a reconciled split deposit. I know the amount but is there anyway I can get the split details back? I am using QuickBooks Version 2000.


If you delete a transaction (instead of voiding it) then it is gone forever. Unless you have a back up for that time period that includes that deposit. If you do have a back-up, you can restore it using a different file name and find the transaction. Then re-create it on your working QuickBooks file.

In the future unless you are sure that you want to delete a transaction, you should probably VOID it instead.

I Don't Have My QuickBooks Password.


For a variety of reasons, I have purchased a new computer. The sales team dutifully transferred my files to the new hard disc. However I learned that I could not start QuickBooks on the new drive without re-installing the program. I have now installed my old QuickBooks Pro 2003 but my account will not open without entering the password. As far as I know, this would be the password I installed when closing out my 1996 year and I can not find a record of what I used. I have tried the passwords I typically use for various programs but none of these seem to work. Is there a way I can eliminate the password (which serves no purpose in my situation), learn what I used in 1997 or change it, without opening the account? - Bill K


There are basically two types of passwords in QuickBooks.

1. Login passwords
2. Closing date passwords

The password that you seem to remember is the closing date password, which does nothing more than lock prior periods to editing. The problem that I believe that you are having is with your login password. Forgetting this password would prevent QuickBooks from opening the file.

I am afraid that this is more serious.

If in fact this is the password that you don't have then you will have to have Intuit remove the password for you.

The following is a excerpt from the QuickBooks Help Menu:

For those instances in which you cannot recover the Administrator's password using the troubleshooting suggestions, contact our Data Services group or use the Online Service Request Form located on our Password Removal Service site. There may be a fee for this service. You will be asked to review the terms of our Service Agreement online before uploading your data file to Intuit.

I think the fee is like $65 or so. You may want to have a QuickBooks professional in your area determine that this is the problem before you go through this.

Duplicate Deposits in the Check Register


Found your blog site and thought I would get advice,

1- Our small co. has a duplicate deposit that it seems QuickBooks will not allow me to delete from the QB check registry

2- Three of the first deposits were made, however still show in the undeposited funds, when we try to remove them they end up as deposited again, thus the balance of the registry doubles the original deposit.

QB Pro2005

Any/All advice would be appreciated


These types of questions are always hard to answer without seeing the problem. One thing to remember is that you must always trace the documents back to the source to delete it. For example, you can’t just delete a deposit; the problem may be with how you applied the payments or the you need to find the source of the problem. Without seeing it I don’t know where that problem is. If worst comes to worst, you could recreate the invoice and redo the whole process for that deposit, or make a journal entry. If you use a journal entry please be careful, because you can cause many headaches for your accountant in December.

Believe me...that’s not what he needs then.

Trouble with Backup.


When I attempt to back up my company to cd or floppy I get a message that I do not have permission to open the file and that I must get permission from the owner or administrator. I am the owner/administrator and have set my self up in set users as such complete with password. I can only back up to my hard drive. Any suggestions?


First log on with the user mane "Admin" and the password that you set up when you created the file. If you still have the problem I would have to say that the problem is not with QuickBooks. Check with your network administrator.

Recording Merchant Fees.


How do I account for merchant card fees if my processor deposits sales into my bank account after discount fees?

If I receive a $400 payment for services from a customer and deposit $400 in QB's but my bank received $392, it doesn't reconcile. I use to have the whole amount deposited from my previuos merchant provider and would just write a check for merchant expenses they billed each month.



You can do one of two things.

1. You can make a journal entry either after every deposit or once a month, to record the merchant fees. (You would DEBIT - Bank Fee and CREDIT - Bank Account)

2. You can create a check with "Draft" where you normally have a check number for the amount of the merchant fees. Again, you could do this after each deposit or monthly.

It would probably be easiest to do it monthly when you get your merchant statement.

Rental Business Sample File.


I am new to QB and was wondering if you know of where I might find a
sample company file for managing rental property or other resource for
setting up QB for Rentals? Thanks in advance, Sarah


I am not aware of a place where you can get sample files...other than the ones included with QuickBooks.

If you want to practice with a file, you can use the service based business sample file that QuickBooks provides.

I use QuickBooks to do the books of a property management firm, and the setup was one of the more simple ones that I have done. You probably will not need an extensive chart of accounts.

Hopefully this will help.

If anyone knows about a place where you can get sample files let me know.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Tracking Salesman Commissions.


Specifically, we are interested in automatically generating commissions for sales reps associated with a given invoice and setting up the system to notify that a commission is payable based on entry of payment received in the system. Basically, when I enter an invoice into the system can I link each line item to a specific sales rep at a specific commission rate?


This one is actually new to me. After reading your question, I didn't think it was possible. I did a little reasearch and found that it can be done. It looks like you can do it by invoice...not necessarily by line item.

The first thing that you need to de is customize your invoice so that the "REP" field is displayed.

Now you will need to enter all fo your sales reps. To do this go to Lists - Customer and Vendor Profile Lists - Sales Rep List. In the bottom left of the window you will see "Sales Rep." Click and select add new. Choose the applicable employee from the drop down list and ensure that the other information is correct. Click "Next" and repeat as many times as necessary.

You will now need to go into the employees list (Employees - Employees List) Make sure that they are marked regular in the type field. On the Payroll Info Tab, add a commission payroll item and enter the commission rate (as a %) in the Hourly/Annual field.

Now when you enter invoices make sure you apply them to the correct sales rep.

After this you will be able to generate a sales rep summary report that will show the current commissions owed.

To pay the commissions, you will use the above mentioned report to enter each salesmans total sales in the quantity field of the preview paycheck screen.

If you continue to have trouble with this, open QuickBooks help (F1) and search for commissions.

Good question.

Saving to Pay the Tax Man.


When using QuickBooks basic for Mac, can I transfer money between accounts- such as transferring money form checking to savings? Can I do this as a historical transaction? As a contractor, is there a recommended method, or account, to set aside money for quarterly taxes? I currently am using a savings account. Is there a recommended method for taking money out of payments from invoices and setting it aside for tax purposes?


To transfer money between bank accounts, such as your checking account and a savings or money market account is very strait forward. Go to the "Banking" drop down menu and select "Transfer Funds". From here I think you will be able to fill out the rest.

If you are transferring funds to something other than a bank account, you can use a general journal entry. If you are unfamiliar with accounting principles, then you should probably clear this with your accountant first.

As for the second question, this is more subjective. There are usually two types of quarterly taxes...payroll taxes and corporate income tax.

If you are referring to payroll tax, and you do your payroll in QuickBooks, then you can know exactly what your payroll liability is at any given time. Go to Reports - Employees and Payroll - Payroll Liability Balances, then select the range of dates that you are concerned with. Assuming your payroll is setup and prepared properly, the total is what you should be prepared to pay.

Corporate income tax is much more complicated. That why most people pay a pro to do it for them. As for how much to set aside, much of that depends on the type of business entity you are using. For instance if you are a C corp., you are subject to a federal tax rate and a state tax rate at the corporate level. If you are a subchapter S corporation, then all the profit will flow through and is taxed at your personal federal and state rate. If on the other hand you are a sole proprietor or a partnership you may also need to prepare for self employment taxes.

As you can see there is no quick way to answer your second question. I believe that it would be well worth it to sit down for a few minutes with your accountant to get a better idea of how much you should be stashing to pay your tax bill. If you already have an accountant that prepared your taxes last year, check with them...they may offer mid-year planning as a free service. If not...they should be willing to do this on a fee basis. If you are just starting, most CPA's will give you a free initial consultation with the idea that you will allow them to prepare your taxes for you.

Finally, I applaud your discipline to save money through the year to pay your taxes. I have seen businesses nearly go out of business after some of their best years, because they didn't have the money to pay taxes. I agree with you that I think it is best to keep funds reserved for this purpose in a separate account.

Here are links to a couple of good money market accounts that I use. Their rates are pretty good.

ING Direct (Sole Proprietors Only) 3.00%

ord Money Market Account (Not FDIC Insured) 3.60-3.90%

Capital One 3.15%

Monday, June 20, 2005

Help Needed!


I have the need for a listing (that I can export to excel) of all transactions that impact an invoice, showing the date of the item, item description, amount, AND INVOICE NUMBER.

Something that would look like this:

Date Item Description Amount Invoice Number

6-1-05 Payment 40.22 0555_123

6-1-05 Discount 2.32 0555_123

6-3-05 Discount 22.19 0666_789


I have payments and discounts posted against invoices, and I can’t seem to find a way to get a report that shows me these items, BY INVOICE NUMBER.
Any ideas????


I have tried everything that I know to get a report in the format that you want, I cant get QuickBooks to do it. Hopefully, one of our readers will have a solution. The only thing that I would suggest is look at QuickBooks Enterprise Edition. This version allows for reports to be formatted to your specifications. Although you pay for it.

Tracking Manufacturing Profitability.


Need some help with how to set up my sales receipts? I make shirts for dogs. I buy the material, make the shirt, and then sell the shirt. I can't figure out which item to use in the sales receipt column. The closest I can come to is inventory part, but that really isn't accurate. I need to be able to track the material expenses for each shirt too. I looked up in the help & support, and it suggested I could use the inventory assembly item, which apparently I can only get if I got the more expensive Premium QuickBooks package. Is there any way to make this work with just my Basic QuickBooks?


Unfortunately, I don't think that you can use inventory assembly items in QuickBooks Basic. Without knowing everything about your business, I would say that using that feature would be overkill for you. If you used an inventory assembly item in QuickBooks Premier, you would have to predetermine the exact number of components required to make each shirt. For instance, one shirt requires two yards of fabric, 10 feet of thread, etc.. While this information may be nice to have, if you are hand making the shirts it would be next to impossible to determine this. It would also be tedious to setup and maintain.

I have a few suggestions:

  • If you make the shirts custom and in small quantities you could set up each one as a job, and you could see the profitability in the job reports.
  • Otherwise, I would just put the income in an income account, and all the direct expenses in a cost of sales account. Then use the profit and loss statement (Gross Profit) to track item profitability.

Sending a Deposit with a Purchase Order.


Is there a version that will allow me to make partial payments on a purchase orders? I am a manufacturer’s rep. When I send the manufacturer a PO, I must also send a 50% deposit with the order. In other words, if the PO is for a $2,000 sofa I must send a deposit payment with the PO for $1,000. Therefore, I need to track partial payment on POs as well as see the credit and balance due for each PO. I currently use QuickBooks Pro 2003. Is this possible in this version? If not, please let me know which version will accommodate this function.


In reality, you don't pay purchase orders, you receive the items then you receive and pay the bill. If you understand this flow of paperwork, your problem can be solved quite simply.

Follow these steps:

  • Enter the purchase order.
  • Go ahead and right click on the purchase order and select "Receive Bill"
  • Now enter the bill as you expect to receive it.
  • After entering the bill, right click on the bill and select "Pay Bills". Find the bill that you just entered and place a check mark beside it.
  • In the column that says "Amt. to Pay" ... override the amount, so that the deposit you must pay is entered. Make sure all the dates are correct and enter the payment and cut the check.
I know this isn't exactly what you wanted...but from an accounting standpoint it should work fine.

I'm Back!

Sorry, I have been away so has been a crazy week. It's not supposed to be this way after tax season. I will be posting as many questions and answers as can.