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Class and Location Tracking in QuickBooks Online

Welcome back to our blog! We can’t wait to share with you today.

We just finished up a blog series on your chart of accounts. Something that goes hand-in-hand with optimizing your chart of accounts is utilizing the class and location tracking options in QuickBooks Online.

 

Class Tracking 101

Class tracking is a method of categorizing each transaction by separate classes or fields that you create. Many farm, ranch and agribusinesses are becoming more diversified. This means that income and expense transactions for several different enterprises are utilizing the same bank accounts, loans, etc. However, you might find that you would like to know the income and expense of one of your several enterprises.

That is where class tracking comes in. For some farm and ranch operations, two classes could be appropriate: livestock and crops. A farming operation might want to use: corn, soybeans and pulse crops for their classes. A diversified farming and ranching operation could use: cattle, sheep, corn, hay. A ranch that raises both commercial and registered cattle might consider using: registered and commercial as their classes.  An agribusiness that provides feed and agronomy services could use two or more classes.

You get the idea. Any separate type of operation that you’d like to create an income statement for should have a class attributed to it.

 

Enabling Class Tracking in QBO

Class tracking can only be used in QuickBooks Online Pro. Turn class tracking on by follow these steps:

  1. Click the Gear icon.
  2. Select Account and Settings.
  3. Go to the Advanced tab.
  4. Click on the Edit button for Categories
  5. Check the Track classes box.
  6. Click on Save.

To add new classes:

  1. Click the Gear icon.
  2. Select All Lists.
  3. Click on Classes
  4. Click on New
  5. Enter the class Name.
  6. Click on Save.

 

Location Tracking Basics

What if you have the same type of operation in several locations? QuickBooks Online now offers location tracking as well as class tracking. You can enable one or both, depending on your needs. I find that location tracking is helpful for both small and large operations. Many farmers and ranchers own land that is not contiguous or lease land from a landholder. Larger operations may have ranches is different counties or different states. By keeping the separate operations in one QuickBooks account, under separate locations, you can run  your reports to reflect the individual income statements. If you have both Class and Location Tracking, you can run several different reports to meet your needs.

Enable Location Tracking:

1.      Select the Gear icon at the top.

2.      Under Your Company, select Account and Settings (or Company Settings).

3.      Select Categories under the Advanced tab.

4.      Select the pencil icon and put a check mark on the box to Track locations.

5.      Select Save then Done.

Add new location:

1.      Select the Gear icon at the top.

2.      Under Lists, select All lists.

3.      Choose Locations.

4.      Select New in the upper right and add the Name of the location you want to track.

5.      Select Save.

How to Know if Class or Location Tracking are Right for YOU

Every operation is different. That’s an understatement. Figuring out if class tracking is right for you will depend on a few indicators.

1.      If you have separate types of operations or locations.

2.      How detailed you’d like your financial statements to be. Class and location tracking provide another layer of detail that you wouldn’t normally receive.

3.      If you are willing to follow through with the categorization. Class and location tracking take an extra step when categorizing them. If you aren’t willing to do so, its possible that class and location tracking aren’t right for you. If you don’t think you want to do the extra work, but would still like the additional detail, hiring a bookkeeper might be the right choice.

The Next Step

As you MAY have noticed, I’m a little passionate about providing timely, accurate and up-to-date bookkeeping, reports and analysis for my clients *ahem* (you). Its kind of my jam. If we work together and your operation needs class or location tracking, you can ensure I will help you make it happen. If you’d like to hear more about bookkeeping, payroll or financial consulting, click the link below for a free bookkeeping consultation.

Free Bookkeeping Consultation

I also want to share our AMAZING promotions going on right now.

1.      Save $100 on 2018 bookkeeping catch up/ clean up when you sign up for a 2019 monthly bookkeeping package. Bookkeeping packages are starting $225 per month.

2.      Save 5% off your payroll processing when you sign up for a monthly bookkeeping package. Payroll packages are starting at $50 per month.

Just mention this blog post when we chat!

As always, happy bookkeeping!

       –          Michelle

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Optimize Your Chart of Accounts – Part 3

Welcome back!! We are so glad to have you here today.

We’re back with the third and final installment of our chart of accounts series. I just wanted to touch on some tips and tricks that haven’t already been covered.

 

Numbering Chart of Accounts

Some companies and accountants choose to number their chart of accounts. This helps to group similar items and makes it simple to sort by numerical order.

A standard example often used is as follows:

1000s: Assets

2000s: Liabilities

3000s: Equity

4000s: Income

5000s: Cost of Goods Sold

6000s: Operating Expenses

7000s: Other

I recommend consulting your bookkeeper, accountant or both before making a big change in your chart of accounts!

Assign Your Account Numbers in QuickBooks Online

QuickBooks Online will not automatically assign account numbers as the desktop version did. However, you can manually assign numbers by following the steps below- per the QuickBooks Online website.

  1. Select the Gear icon at the top, then Chart of Accounts.
  2. Select the edit (pencil) icon above the Action column.
  3. Under the Number column, enter the account numbers. (Account numbers can be up to 7-digits long).
  4. Select Save on the upper right after you’re done entering your account numbers.

 

Naming Chart of Accounts

It is very important that you take care when you are naming accounts. I have a few tips below to help you avoid any duplication or confusion.

  1. Use consistency when naming accounts. For instance, you might have a checking account named 1st Federal Bank and then the savings account named First Federal Bank. Every time you look for the accounts, you’ll have to remember how you spelled it. I recommend doing something along the lines of “First Federal Bank Savings XXXXXX” (bank account number). Adding the type of account and actual bank account number in the name make a good verification for you before you being entering transactions.
  2. Think once, twice, three times before you create a new account. Usually, it already exists. I see this all the time! Business owners can’t remember what they called something and then they make a new account. Before you know it, you have three accounts for fuel. You can avoid this by printing out your chart of accounts to look at. For some reason, it helps me to see the accounts on a sheet of paper.
  3. Use abbreviations ONLY when you will remember them. If you think you’ll remember BD for bad debts… chances are you won’t. Spell everything out when you have the space.
  4. Follow the names on your tax forms when possible. Whether you’re a Schedule C, Schedule F filer or file as a partnership, corporation, etc you can find exactly which tax lines your accountant will be classifying that specific account to.

 

Maintaining Chart of Accounts

Maybe yourself, your bookkeeper or accountant set up an account that you thought for sure you’d use. If you go an entire year without using an account, I recommend making it inactive. In QuickBooks Online, it says you are deleting the account, but it actually only makes it inactive. You can do this in QuickBooks Online by following the instructions below, per QuickBooks:

Deleting Accounts:

Choose the  Gear icon > Chart of Accounts.

  1. Click on the account to highlight it.
  2. In the Action column on the right, click the drop down and select Delete
  3. Click Yes.

When you decide you need to restore a deleted account:

Restoring/Undeleting Accounts:

  1. Choose the Gear icon > Chart of Accounts.
  2. Click on the Settings icon on the upper right hand side of the Chart of Account.
  3. Place a check in the box to Include inactive
  4. Click on the Account you want to un-delete to highlight it.
  5. In the Action column on the right, click Make Active.

 

Thanks again for stopping by! Leave me a comment if you read this blog or have any other questions.

Stay tuned for a blog post next week on Class Tracking in QuickBooks Online.

Happy Bookkeeping!

-Michelle

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Optimize Your Chart of Accounts – Part 2

Welcome back! We’re continuing our discussion on your business’ Chart of Accounts.

Last week we discussed how to utilize your Chart of Account through the use of income accounts. If you missed it, check it out here! Today, we’re going to discuss your expense accounts. 

Continuing on last week’s example, let’s say you have two herds of cows of equal size. You decide to use two different weaning strategies for each herd and want to determine which method is more profitable. We’ve been through the strategy of differentiating them in your income accounts, and now we want to determine what the expenses for each herd are. 

For the most part, these two herds are treated equally. The same feed program, vaccination program and grazing protocols. The only difference is at weaning time, you put a little more input into one herd in the form of supplies and labor. Considering your hired man is paid on a salary, we won’t figure the labor into the actual expenses of the weaning program. Don’t get me wrong, some might consider the more labor intensive protocol a poor fit because of the availability of labor, time, etc. We’re purely looking at profit in this example. Management decisions can be very complicated, so this is just ONE way to break down your protocols and help with decision-making. 

So let’s say your normal weaning program takes absolutely no additional supplies. You won’t need to add any transactions to its own account. Your experimental weaning protocol, on the other hand, does require additional supplies. You should create an additional account on your chart of accounts to categorize the transactions. It will look something like Supplies:Weaning Program X. When you run a Profit & Loss Report, you can clearly see what your input into the special weaning program was and if it actually made you more money compared to the other program.

While we’re on this subject, I find it helpful to break your supplies down into other categories as well. You might have one that’s Supplies:Misc Ranch Supplies for anything that doesn’t fit in your other categories. Often times, a Supplies:Fencing account is helpful as well (and should only be used for fencing maintenance, as any new fencing built is a capital improvement and should be categorized as such). Basically anything that is supplies for the ranch that’s not auto expenses or feed, can go into your supplies accounts and you might want to separate it for your management decisions.

You can use this for your vehicle expenses as well. For instance Vehicle Expenses: Truck A, Vehicle Expenses: Truck B. And accordingly, you could break down your fuel expenses by vehicle or equipment as well. So your base account might be: Fuel & Oil. Then you could have several sub-accounts such as: Fuel & Oil: Oil, Fuel & Oil:Fuel:Truck A, Fuel & Oil:Fuel:Tractor A or something similar. You can separate diesel fuel and gasoline, dyed diesel and regular diesel. It all depends on what you need to see in your reports.

Keep in mind if you want your chart of accounts to serve your operation, you need to follow through with this concept. If you intend on utilizing sub-accounts, you will need to ensure that your transactions are categorized to the lowest level of the sub-accounts. If you have a transaction that doesn’t fit into a lowest level sub-account, then create one that does. These are best practices that will keep your accounting file clean and easy to use.

As always, include any comments or questions below. I love to hear your input!

We will continue with this series next week and I have plans to cover QuickBooks Classes in the future as well. Classes are helpful when you have multiple types of operations and need to separate multiple income and expense accounts.

If you aren’t even sure what changes to make or where to start, that’s where your bookkeeper comes in. If you don’t have a good bookkeeper, give me a shout! I’d love to offer you a free no-obligation bookkeeping consultation.

Thanks again for stopping by. Happy bookkeeping!

-Michelle
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Optimize Your Chart of Accounts – Part 1

I’m finally back at it after welcoming my sweet little baby Abigail! I’m kicking off a series of blog posts on your business’ chart of accounts, which helps you categorize your assets, liabilities, equity, income and expenses. Today we’ll be focusing on your income, specifically livestock sales.

So let me ask you… Is your Chart of Accounts serving your business? 

Go ahead. Think about it. 

If you’re scratching your head, I’m going to go out on a limb and say probably not. Thankfully I have a way to help you. 

Regardless of who initially created your chart of accounts- your accountant, bookkeeper, husband, wife, daughter, son…. you need to sit down a take a good look at it. If a chart of accounts is created solely for accounting or banking, it will not necessarily benefit your daily business. There. I said it. Not exactly a popular opinion. 

So how can you ensure that your chart of accounts is serving your business?

Throughout this series, we’ll walk through the most common accounts and I’ll explain how to customize them for YOUR business. The examples we’ll walk through are intended for Farmers, Ranchers and Agribusiness Owners, but I think that any business can relate with the general guidelines. When we are done with this series, you will be able to make custom reports for your business that will give you the most insight into your profitability as well as cash flow and net worth. 

I’m so excited about this, so let’s just get started!

Your accountant would (generally) tell you that your chart of accounts should have TWO accounts for sale of livestock. Purchased Livestock and Raised Livestock. Yep, that’s it. And the reason is so that your accountant knows if you need to pay capital gains tax on a purchased animal which you later sold. It really doesn’t have to do with what YOU need to know to manage your operation. So all of the work you are putting in to your herd to raise the best cows, the healthiest calves, etc is not properly reflected on any reports you are to run.

For the most part, in our example, I would agree with having one Purchased account. So it would look something like Income:Sales:Purchased Livestock. You might consider having multiple accounts if you purchase your replacement heifers or if you are interested in finding out which bulls have the best market value when you are through with them. Just a few things to think about. A lot of it has to do with how detailed of bookkeeping and reports you want to utilize and are willing to maintain, either yourself or via an employee or a bookkeeper.

However, your Raised Livestock account, in my opinion, should be better customized to your business. Any farmer or rancher (or business person, at that) can tell you there are thousands of different decisions you can make in your operation, and sometimes you need to see the data to know if a decision was the right one. For simplicity’s sake, let’s say you have two herds of cows, of equal size. You decide to use two different weaning strategies for each herd and want to determine which method is more profitable.

After weaning, you market your calves and sell them. You want to create two different accounts on your chart of accounts to categorize the transactions. The first is Sales:Raised Livestock:Calves Weaned with X Program. The second would be Sales:Raised Livestock:Calves Weaned with Y Program. Now when you run a Profit & Loss statement, you can clearly see which set of calves made more money. We will continue to use this example next week and will determine your individual expense accounts, knowing that JUST income can’t indicate your true profit on these calves. My preferred accounting program is QuickBooks Online for its flexibility and mobility. Seriously, you can use it anywhere! No more being tied to a desk. One of the biggest reasons why I believe QuickBooks Online is ideal for farmers, ranchers and agribusiness owners. But we’ll have to chat about that another time. If you would like to transfer your books to QuickBooks Online from another accounting software program or even from your paper books, just let me know. I can help you snag the first two months for free! 

Keep in mind if you want your chart of accounts to serve your operation, you need to follow through with this concept. If you intend on utilizing sub-accounts, you will need to ensure that your transactions are categorized to the lowest level of the sub-accounts. If you have a transaction that doesn’t fit into a lowest level sub-account, then create one that does.

With these changes, you are well on your way to running reports that will reflect your specific management decisions. Your accountant can still easily find the information they need, using the less detailed accounts. You will be so amazed by the detail-oriented reports you can run if you just use your chart of accounts to your advantage!

If you aren’t even sure what changes to make or where to start, that’s where your bookkeeper comes in. If you don’t have a good bookkeeper, give me a shout! I’d love to offer you a free no-obligation bookkeeping consultation.

If you have any other topics you’d like for me to touch on, just drop me a comment!

Thanks so much for stopping by! Happy bookkeeping.

– Michelle
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Going Paperless

One of the biggest trends in business right now is to go paperless. It is one method to cut costs and boost efficiency. But is this method of file management even possible for you and your business?

It would be nearly impossible to completely eliminate paper from your business. So, what are some of the easiest areas to introduce paperless and automated practices? The first and most obvious area is your accounts receivable. How many invoices and statements are you printing and mailing to your customer?  This can be unnecessary when most, if not all, of your customers have an email account and might be willing to receive online invoices? If you are already running QuickBooks Desktop or Online, the email feature is very user-friendly and doesn’t cost you anything on top of your subscription. With your QuickBooks Online subscription, you can also receive free bank ACH payments directly from their bank to yours. This payment is applied directly to the invoice and entered into QuickBooks as a deposit. Once the invoice is sent, you don’t have to do anything more. Talk about a time saver! I can’t say enough good things about QuickBooks Online. I truly think it’s the best accounting software available right now.

Next, your accounts payable can be looked at. You probably receive most of your vendor invoices in the form of a paper invoice. Some of your vendors probably offer online invoicing. You also have the option, through your bank or even your accounting software, to pay your bills online. This creates a bank ACH, saving you money on checks, envelopes and postage. Not to mention the time it takes to create all of these. If you have monthly recurring payments, you can set the payment as such and not have to worry about it again.

If you are a service-based industry, you probably also keep miscellaneous customer information on hand. This type of information can very easily be scanned into your computer, if you regularly back it up, or to a cloud-based server. I, personally, do both.

Most of your bank, credit card and other loan accounts offer online statements. Take advantage of this! You will be notified by email when a statement is available, and you can save it in the proper location on your computer. You can always print it when necessary.

Any business will have other documents that can be scanned, such as; insurance documents, licenses, banking information, etc.

Let’s talk logistics. For scanning purposes, I use the Fujitsu ScanSnap ix500. I find that this model is user-friendly and fast. There are smaller and more affordable scanner options, such as the Portable Fujitsu Scanner or this Portable Brother Scanner. For my cloud storage, I utilize Microsoft OneDrive. I have 1TB of storage through my Microsoft office account. That is A LOT of storage. On my computer, this my OneDrive show up as another folder, just like my regular document folders. Just to be on the safe side, I also back up my computer regularly using an WD Elements 1TB External Hard Drive. This is a manual process, but once it’s set up, all it takes is attaching the hard drive with a USB cord and the process will begin automatically. I keep my hard drive in a fireproof safe, so it anything were to ever happen, my documents would be stored in multiple secure locations. Some business might prefer a cloud-based automatic backup system. This is a great choice for many, but tends to be a little more costly. If you have a service-based business that exchanges a lot of customer documents, you can also subscribe to a cloud-based file sharing program. ShareFile is a good choice, but there are many options to choose from. With ShareFile, you can upload files as you go, or just ones that are request by your customer. It creates a simple customer portal, and they can send you documents as well. This is ideal for working with sensitive documents, so you aren’t having to password protect the documents for security purposes.

The only way for this to really work for your business is if you and your employees are committed to the process and have policies and procedures in place. You might spend a week or even a month, depending on the scale of your business, planning and preparing. You’ll need to decide who will assume the responsibilities; such as online bill pay, online or email invoicing, scanning, etc. Also take the time to ensure that your online file and naming system is simple and easy to use. There is nothing worse than having to search all over for a file. I recommend naming every file by the customer or vendor name, the document description and the date it was received. If you are truly committed to paperless, you might also consider spending some time scanning old documents. This will be a good way to clean up files.

Keep in mind the end goal. Easily accessible documents, employee efficiency and reduced costs. Win-Win-Win. I offer a discount on QuickBooks Online for all of my customers, as well as scanning services! Just contact me through the website or email me to get started.

Be sure to check out my other blog posts, like my Facebook page Patten Bookkeeping Services  for more information!

Thank you so much for stopping by and I wish you the best!

Michelle

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