How To Set Up QuickBooks Online, Settings, Features, And Customize Your Chart Of Accounts
QuickBooks Online is an extensive and robust program that you can design to suit you and your business specifically. However, unlike any other QuickBooks program, there are no industry-specific versions. That means that we are left with having to customize QuickBooks for you, which can be a daunting task between turning on features, setting up settings, customizing your chart of accounts, and deciding on 3rd party integrations to make QuickBooks even better. This blog will talk about that setup process and include instructional videos to help you along the way.
Deciding which version of QBO to use, which you can view in the below video. For most people, though, QuickBooks Online Essentials or Plus is more than enough depending on how many users you have, and if you need inventory or class tracking functionality, plus the cost savings here is substantial over QuickBooks Advance.
Next, we have to set up the account and get it started; luckily, depending on your industry, it will automatically set up several settings for you to make it a little easier to set up. However, make sure you still go through the settings and customize things specifically to you and your business. This is one area where talking with a QuickBooks Certified Pro-Advisor can benefit you, but several settings can harm you if you don’t fully understand them.
Next, you will go through and invite your accountant and users to the account based on what they need access to. At the end of the below video, it will walk through settings and steps for what users can access and add them if you need guidance. Luckily QuickBooks makes this step easy as it provides everything to us in black and white from the dashboard and their step-by-step guide, which takes you to the right areas in the account.
Designing Your Chart Of Accounts:
Equally important, if not the most important, is designing your chart of accounts. This is the backbone of your QuickBooks and accounting; it determines your financial statements, business insights, taxes, write-offs, profit margins, and much more. This is a place to talk with an accountant or bookkeeper to get something customized specifically for you and your business. When setting up your Chart of Accounts, we have six (6) main account types. Bank Accounts are your checking, savings, and investment accounts.
Are your vehicles, buildings, inventory, equipment, or computers.
Loans that you owe for cars, business growth, leases, or mortgages.
Show your retained earnings, what you made in previous years, your ownership of the company, and its capital after liabilities are removed. This area is super essential for getting loans and selling your company in the future so treat it with care during setup.
Show where and how you made income. Rather than just having a generic income, you should make sure that you break it down into the key areas and components of what you do within your business. This will help to tell you how different portions of your business are performing.
Cost of Goods Sold Accounts
Are widely misused. People will put all job expenses and even general expenses into these accounts; even though COGS accounts are supposed to be expenses, you can directly tie to a specific customer and job for job costing purposes. Unless you track inventory or receipts by job and hours of employees by the job, this isn’t easy to achieve correctly.
Break down your payroll expenses, job expenses, advertising, and all the other expenses you incur. This should be detailed enough to show you month over month changes on critical expenses that are similar to each other but not so complicated that every expense and detail is its own account. Group similar expenses together and then break out essential things like insurance and payroll expenses but not your different marketing expenses.
Finally, when setting up your QuickBooks Online Account, one of the best things to do is develop your App Eco-System app to suit your business. QBO has hundreds of third-party apps that add to QuickBooks’ functionality and provide you customizations specifically to your company and your needs. The most important is finding an app approved to integrate with QuickBooks Online, which can be done by going to apps.com. This is a curated list by Intuit organized into functions of approved applications along with reviews of those specific applications and their integrations. Finding an app that is approved to integrate with online verifies that Intuit has reviewed the application and confirmed that it does what it says and how it says it.
Apps that range from A/P and bill payment management systems to time tracking and inventory management. Or apps specific to the trades designed for making scheduling and dispatching easier or job management better through change orders and sub-contractor scheduling. However, if you take your time and do your research, not just with the app companies’ demos but also with consumer reviews and advice from people familiar with the systems’ integration, making the right decision here can save you time and money later on and make QuickBooks 10 times more useful than it already is.
Ultimately when setting up your QuickBooks, it is designed to be a do it yourself process, which is easy to do. Still, your QuickBooks setup can make or break the company and its success for years to come. Taking time to understand how to set up QuickBooks and work with it is vital for your long-term success. Make sure if you have a tax or financial professional that you discuss with them about this or take the time to talk with someone to make sure you are prepared for the long haul.