What you should know about IT Support and QuickBooks

Our recommendations for common problems you may experience!

Illogical or erratic behavior in QuickBooks®

The good news about QuickBooks is that it is a very reliable software that rarely has technical problems which it cannot repair itself. If you experience any illogical or erratic behavior in your software, immediately click on the File menu – Utilities – Verify Data. If QuickBooks finds any problem in the data file, it will instruct you to rebuild the data. Again, click on the File menu – Utilities – Rebuild Data. It will ask you to back up your data. Then the rebuild will start automatically and fix the problem. I occasionally find this happens after I’ve made numerous changes to a major list, such as the Chart of Accounts or Items List, when reworking a QuickBooks file that was not set up correctly in the beginning.

File grows too large

You may experience performance problems if after years of being in business, your file approaches the maximum size the software is designed to handle. Periodically check the size of your file though Windows Explorer. QuickBooks Pro and Premier can handle a file up to 150-200 MB. If you’re experiencing problems and you’ve confirmed your file is approaching the size limit, the simplest solution is to upgrade to QuickBooks Enterprise Solutions which has a maximum size of 1 GB or more. Enterprise Solutions is optimized for larger data files and network usage. Of course, it is more expensive than Pro or Premier, but has additional features appreciated by larger, more complex businesses. Enterprise Solutions supports up to 30 users and even handles complex manufacturing and distribution concerns. Your file will open right up in Enterprise Solutions and you can proceed with your work!

Another option that may buy you a little time is to condense your file, thus reducing its size, by removing detail from past years’ transactions. The procedure for doing this is:

* Back up your data file. Rename the original file to include the time frame of transactions included, i.e. Fiscal Foundations, LLC (2007-2010).qbw. All the past years’ transaction detail will remain available to you in this file.

* Restore the back-up file you just created, naming it with your company name, i.e. Fiscal Foundations, LLC.qbw. This is the file you will work in now. You’ll be able to find past year’s transactions in your old file, but we are going to remove the past years’ detail in this new file by condensing the data. The totals in your accounts will remain to be available for historical reports, but the details of individual transactions like checks, bills, invoices, and sales receipts will be deleted. Each month’s transactions will be converted into journal entries only recording the total of the transactions posted to each account.

* Click on the File menu – Utilities – Clean Up Company Data. Follow the instructions. It will also give you the option of removing unused list items.

* Recheck the size of your new file to see how much capacity you’ve gained.

My experience has been that only a small amount of capacity is gained through this file cleanup. I’m sure it depends on how many years of data you have in your file—the larger your file, the greater your gain.

Your computer crashes or is stolen, or your house/office is destroyed

Failure to back up routinely is one of the most painful and costly mistakes you can make. Clients often ask how often they should back up. My answer is another question, “How much data would you like to reenter or pay to have reentered?” My first recommendation is to make sure your general liability insurance covers data recovery. Have multiple backups including on a flash drive or external hard drive and an offsite backup as well. I recommend daily backups. Automatic offsite backups make your life simpler and your data secure. This service is inexpensive, particularly when compared to the costs of losing your data.

Occasionally, a file will be damaged but not destroyed. This happened to one of my clients a few years ago. As a QuickBooksTM ProAdvisor, I was able to recover most of the lists. Of particular concern and value were the Chart of Accounts, Customer List, and Items List. This company produced and sold hundreds of stationery items to stores all over the United States. Reentering all this data would have cost thousands of dollars and virtually have paralyzed their business for weeks. This company had implemented the routine backup procedures I had recommended years before, but had been sold to new owners just a year before the computer crash. The new owner had not continued the backup procedure. The saving grace was that we had just sent the first year’s financial reports off to the CPA for tax preparation. So even though I was not able to recover any transaction data, we at least had a beginning Balance Sheet for the year. With the recovered lists and a paper trail of the last few month’s transactions, recovery time was short and the backup procedure was reinstated.

Your QuickBooks file needs to be available to 2-30 users on a network

ProAdvisors are QuickBooksTM experts, but not necessarily IT consultants. We collaborate with IT consultants to make sure networks are set up and secured properly, and QuickBooks is configured on the network with individual User ID’s, passwords, and appropriate permissions to facilitate work being done and your financial security assured.

A virus infects your computer or network

Protection against viruses invading your computer or network is critically important. We’re all on the internet every day. The risk is real. What’s more important to protect than your financial data? Your QuickBooks file may contain your passwords, bank account information, employee and vendor social security numbers, and key information about your products, customers and business performance. That’s information you don’t want in the hands of crooks or competitors. Keyloggers are extremely dangerous invader in that they can record your every keystroke you make including passwords to your bank accounts and accounting files. Call a professional immediately if your computer system is compromised! We have a great referral for you! Call That Girl!, owned by Lisa Hendrickson, is a wonderful resource for us for hosting our off-site backup and protecting our client and company data. Their IT professionals work remotely so your location is not a limiting factor.

If you are experiencing any of these situations, call us for help! We can assist you remotely, virtually anywhere, and onsite in Minnesota, western Wisconsin, or in the Denton and Dallas/Fort Worth areas in Texas.

For any of these IT issues:
* Virus removals

* Online back up

* General troubleshooting, printers, networking, file sharing

* Outlook support

* Server support

* Pretty much everything!

Contact:

Call That Girl

Call That Girl

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Call That Girl!
http://www.callthatgirl.biz
Twin Cities: 952-681-7969
Rochester: 507-923-4042
Winona: 507-474-7272

How QuickBooks Supports the One Page Business Plan

-Take your business to the next level

By Linda Logan, President, Fiscal Foundations, LLC

Our mission at Fiscal Foundations is to improve the success and success rate of small businesses everywhere. We’re a small business too, and that is our personal mission too—to constantly improve our business and our success. Why? Small business is at the heart of our economy and democracy. In the western world, it’s the mechanism for achieving our dreams. It can be a way out of poverty for creative, industrious people in third world nations. Success builds the confidence and courage to improve lives economically, socially and politically. Personally, I find building a business a fascinating, creative exercise. Athletes are always striving to stretch the bounds of what they can achieve. Artists work to perfect the expression of their visions on canvas or other media. I see building a business as a little of both.

Our work is focused on accounting because as Charlie Munger once said, “You have to know accounting. It’s the language of practical business life.” So many entrepreneurs fail because they don’t know how to set up and maintain their accounting systems, and how to use their financial data to make the decisions needed to grow their businesses to achieve their dreams. There’s nothing more rewarding in our work than watching our clients gain the expertise needed to take charge of their financial planning and growth. However, I still see businesses grow to the point where owners get by, managing to make an average living, but not really fulfilling the dreams that originally inspired them. They often seem stuck at this point and unable to see a way forward. Consequently, many give up and quit at this point. We can’t settle for that! So the question is, what’s the next step and what can help us get there?

I was excited to read The One Page Business PlanTM by Jim Horan and Tamara Monosoff. Business plans always sound like a good idea, but the idea of the spending hours writing a 50 page plan that will sit on the shelf is less than inspiring. What is inspiring is putting words to your vision, articulating what you are building; defining your mission, why your business exists, what difference you want your work to make; laying out your objectives, what results you want to achieve and measure; then, planning the strategies you’ll implement to make it happen; and finally, listing the steps, the tasks you’ll take to make it happen. To accomplish anything, you have to break it down to a series of actions to be taken, one step at a time. The One Page Business PlanTM offers a format that we all can work with, one page. Think of it as the business plan on Twitter! You can apply it to a one person business or a large company with multiple locations, divisions or departments. It helps you produce a plan that becomes a living part of the organization, develops consensus among the management team, builds accountability into the system, and helps you, the business owner steer the business to your ultimate destination.

There are several versions of this book. The one I am personally recommending is The One Page Business Plan for Women in Business, published in paperback version, January, 2010. While the examples of plans are from women-owned businesses, men will find it just as useful and valuable. It is the newest version. I tend to believe, as authors, we seek to improve upon all our previous work, and this is the one we are personally using in our work.
Here are some of our recommended books on the subject:

Reading a book is great, but there are times when we need some hands-on help. Local consultants are available to help you implement The One Page Business PlanTM in your company. We are working with J. Michael Cavitt of Cavitt Associates, www.cavittassociates.com. If you’re in the Minneapolis/St. Paul area, you can learn more about this planning process by attending one of our free workshops: Business Plans, Projections & Budgets – Keeping it Simple & Achieving Results! co-facilitated by myself and J. Michael Cavitt. See www.meetup.com/Free-QuickBooks-Workshop/events to see upcoming dates. We also show you how to record and monitor progress against your plan using QuickBooksTM. Budgets and projections can be documented in QuickBooksTM and you can regularly review Budget to Actual reports. QuickBooksTM is the most commonly used accounting software program in small businesses because it is inexpensive, easy to learn and use, and performs all the accounting functions needed by your business. Another of its strengths is its reporting. There are over 150 standard reports built in and many more can be customized to help you measure your results in achieving the objectives you identify in your plan.

FOOD FOR THOUGHT

It takes as much energy to wish as it does to plan.
— Eleanor Roosevelt

By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.
— Benjamin Franklin

Planning is bringing the future into the present so that you can do something about it now.
—Alan Lakein

All you need is the plan, the road map, and the courage to press on to your destination.
— Earl Nightingale

A good plan today is better than a perfect plan tomorrow.
— George S. Patton

Developing the plan is actually laying out the sequence of events that have to occur for you to achieve your goal.
— George L. Morrisey

Reduce your plan to writing. The moment you complete this, you will have definitely given concrete form to the intangible desire.
— Napoleon Hill

Tis The Season! Tax Season, That Is!

 It’s not too early to schedule your year-end review! Talk with your Fiscal Accounting Consultant about the steps involved and scheduling your appointments in advance. We usually add a number of new clients at year-end and our schedules can fill up quickly. We want to make sure our current clients’ work is handled in a timely manner. Our staff members come armed with a 4-page checklist detailing all the tasks and deadlines to make sure your tax obligations are met and your books are CPA ready in plenty of time for on-time tax filing in March or April.

Right now is the time to send your accounting file or financial reports to your CPA. He or she will recommend any last minute actions you can take to reduce your taxable income. Remember transactions must be dated by December 31st. If your tax return is prepared on a cash basis, pay as many bills as cash flow allows and postpone receiving customer payments. If done on an accrual basis, purchase new equipment or supplies and make sure the vendors date your bills dated prior to year-end.

Check to see that you have current W-9 forms from all your subcontractors and verify that employee addresses are still correct in your QuickBooks file. 1099’s and W-2’s are due to subcontractors and vendors by January 31st.

If you’d like to get a head start on closing the year or are the do-it-yourself type, Linda has just finished writing our first eBook aptly titled, ‘Tis the Season! Tax Season, That Is! containing our 4-page list plus instructions. It is available on our website for $9.97. If you’re interested, just go to Products on the main navigation bar. Then ‘Add to Cart’. We accept VISA, MasterCard and PayPal!

Small Business Loans / SCORE

Money, Small Business Loan

Small Business Loan

Fiscal Foundations is pleased to volunteer our staff trainers to deliver QuickBooks workshops for SCORE in Minneapolis and St. Paul. If you’re considering seeking advice on any business topic, SCORE offers free consulting to small businesses. We heartily recommend their services. Money is still tight in this economy, but several Minnesota banks are willing to offer SBA loans. According to Loren Herbst, our friend and associate from SCORE, Anchor Bank ranks 6th with 6l SBA loans in 11 months ending August, 2010. 21st Century Bank ranks 14th and has made 31 SBA loans, and Unity Bank ranks 19th and has made 23 SBA loans. In our experience, smaller community banks are more small business friendly. If you would like to get in touch with SCORE, call us for a contact name and number or check their websites: www.score-minneapolis.org or www.score-stpaul.org. We can help with financial reports, projections and business plans if you’re considering applying for a loan.

Year-end Close Checklist for QuickBooks eBook

Tis the Season – Tax Season, that is!  How to close your Books for year-end and be ready for your CPA and taxes.

Every year, full knowing all the steps to year-end closing, our staff goes out to clients armed with a 4 page checklist of all the steps that need to be done. The list is complete and in order. That way we forget nothing and our client’s books are done accurately and completely. They meet all their tax deadlines and avoid penalties. They follow their CPA’s instructions to reduce their tax liability and their taxes are done on time!

Wouldn’t you love to have your taxes done in January, so you can get on with building your business in the New Year. It’s time to get on with the recovery and growth of 2011! Budgets, cash flow projections, plans, developing new products and services, new sales & marketing activity, better accounts receivable management. It’s producing results that you want to spend your time on.

OK, so here it is. We’ve taken our 4 page checklist, a proven solution year after year, and we put it into an ebook with complete instructions. Following this guide could save you hundreds or thousands of dollars. We’ve had clients who called us too late and ended up paying anywhere from $10,000 – $40,000 in tax penalties, no kidding. That can put you out of business very quickly!

The good news is we’re not going to charge you hundreds of dollars or even tens of dollars. We’ll send you our ebook, aptly named ‘Tis the Season, Tax Season That Is, for $9.97. And if you have any questions, you can call or email us, or contact a contract bookkeeper in your local area. This list is also perfect for contract bookkeepers to use as well, so if you know any, please tell them about this ebook. It will help all their clients too.

Just click on the products tab on the main navigation bar and order this simple, inexpensive, easy to use solution to your year-end woes!

We’d also love to have you email us about your experience using the list! We’re always incorporating new suggestions to make our products and services more useful to you!