Q&A: Need Help With Client Engagement

Q: I have a client who has asked me to help him prepare financial statements. In looking at his books, they are completely a shambles. He has 7 (!) checking accounts, and not one of them can I reconcile in Quickbooks because it appears deposits were randomly recorded, or not recorded, checks were recorded with incorrect check numbers or not recorded, transfers were not recorded, etc. Soooo….. my thought, since they’ve been in QB for only 7 months, I might start from scratch and just record everything fresh. My question is, is there any way I can do this while they’re still working in QB? This job will take me a few weeks to complete, and I don’t want to tie their hands while I’m working on straightening out their financials.

A: Before I respond, I have a question for you: will this be an ongoing client where you will review their file and prepare financial statements on a monthly or quarterly basis going forward? The answer to this seemingly benign question will dictate part of how you move forward and the type of engagement you have.

In my opinion a few things need to happen.

First: train whomever is doing their data entry so that it is done correctly going forward. If they are not trained adequately, you will find yourself in the same boat in a few months. The only difference is you will have the added pressure of getting it done quickly because the client will need the year-end statements done for tax time.

Second: decide if anything in their file is salvageable. Was anything set up correctly (vendors, clients, COA)? Can you make heads or tails of any of the transactions? If not, you may need to throw in the towel and start afresh.

Third: the client can work in the file while you review historic information. If you are setting up the new file, set it up, create an accountant’s copy for yourself and send them a copy, make sure the dividing date is one where they can still work and input transactions. Keep in mind there are a few limitations for you (mostly payroll related). I’m not sure if that will create a real problem for you or not since you didnt’ mention if he had payroll transactions for you to reconcile.

Fourth: is there any reason they have SEVEN bank accounts??? If they don’t have a ready explanation, you may want to advise them to cut back on that. Even if they are all free business checking accounts, it’s costing them time & money in the long run. Trying to keep them all straight is obviously creating a problem for their staff person handling the input of deposits and processing checks and may be the source of a lot of the reconciliation/messiness of the client file.

Hope this helps,


Post asked & answered on Quickbooks Forum



Q&A: Importing Transactions From Online Merchant Account

Q: We have a software division that charges people monthly on subscription plans. It’s all done automatically. What’s the FASTEST way for me to manage this? I don’t really want to manually enter thousands of monthly charges into QuickBooks every month, but at the end of the year, my accountant will want detailed records. any suggestions?

We’re using authorize.net and cybersource. I can look into importing them. I can import them from the bank, but that seems to a big pain too, as QuickBooks asks me to do each one individually pretty much.

A: Look into what your choices are available regarding the various formats that you can download the information from authorize.net & cybersource. A lot of companies offer a way to export your transactions in a way that’s ready to import them directly into your QB file. It may take some effort on your part to set it up correctly on the front end but will be well worth it not to post transactions one at a time.

I use another payroll provider that allows me to do exactly what I’ve described to import the information with no problem.

If you have additional questions regarding setup, I really think you should seek the advice of your accountant. If they aren’t available or versed in this kind of set up, shoot me an email. (remind me of our forum discussion)… I’d be happy to help.

Good luck! ~Joyce

originally asked & answered on QuickBooks Forum


Ten Ways Outsourcing Drives Your Bottom Line

  1. Freedom: outsourcing to a service provider allows you to concentrate on income generating activities, increasing your income…
  2. Reduces overhead: if you don’t have an accounting department, you don’t need the office space, telephones, cubicles, chairs, filing cabinets, etc. You can reallocate that budget to other areas or eliminate it altogether.
  3. Real time accessibility: offering you real-time accessibility to reports, you know what your cash position is at any given time that is up to date. Up to date information allows you to easily manage your cash flow… and manage your business.
  4. Secure, off-site storage/backup: not that anything catastrophic will happen but just in case, all your financial information is safe and secure. The cost and time it would take to recreate your finances could be prohibitive, if that were ever necessary. With off-site storage & backup, you don’t have to worry about that.
  5. No more hiring headaches: it’s hard to find and supervise the work of a bookkeeper when realistically, you have no idea what they are supposed to be doing and turnover is costly.
  6. No more training headaches: if hiring is a headache, training is too. And if you’re a small business owner training those coming and going through the revolving door of the employer-employee relationship can get expensive. That disappears with outsourcing.
  7. No more continuity/consistency issues: because an outsourcing provider is there for you day in and day out, you don’t have to worry about the “new person” and their learning curve.
  8. Less stress: you can relax knowing that your finances are taking care of by competent professionals and concentrate on driving your income and growing your business.
  9. Internal privacy: eliminate talking about the company’s financial health around the water cooler. Having an independent outsourcing service firm gives you, the owner, more privacy when it comes to the companies overall finances.
  10. Fixed monthly fee: like you, Common Cents is a small business and we don’t particularly care for hourly billing either… so we do a detailed review of your files to derive a fixed monthly fee for you.

Are you ready to drive your bottom line… upward? Let’s make it happen. ~Joyce


Q&A: Merchant Account Fees as a COGS

Question: Why did QB set up Merchant Account Fees as a COGS (cost of goods sold) account? Before starting to use Quickbooks, I always had the Merchant Account Fees account set up as Expense Type. QB interview set it up as COGS. (I am an artist and do keep track of inventory). Should I change it back to Expense?

Answer:The chart of accounts & the COGS account were created based on your selections during the QB setup interview. From what you’ve said so far, it sounds like you have made some incorrect selections or need some adjustments made to your Chart of Accounts.

If you are comfortable with the day to day data entry, you may want to have someone review the chart of account and other selections you’ve made to make certain that they correspond to your business appropriately. I would do this as soon as possible, you don’t want to get too far into the process or all your hard work will be for nothing.


Why Outsource Bookkeeping/Accounting?

Why should you outsource your bookkeeping and accounting functions? You might want to consider doing so for several reasons. For starters, maybe you’re someone who just hates math and accounting with a passion. There’s no shame in that; I will be the first to stand up, hold my head high, wave my arms in the air and scream, “I HATE ACCOUNTING!” (Okay, I’m kidding. I just wanted to get the admissions started.)

When you truly hate accounting and bookkeeping, you’re unlikely to do it well. Worse than that, you might even be unlikely to do it at all. While you can get away with poor personal bookkeeping, like not balancing the checkbook, you can’t with your business. If your business is going to thrive, you need the books kept to perfection. If you can’t do this on your own, or if you simply don’t want to do this on your own, outsource bookkeeping is a great way to go.

In-House Versus Outsource Bookkeeping
Another reason you might want to outsource your bookkeeping and accounting with a virtual accounting firm is to save money. While every business needs their books kept up professionally, most can’t afford to have a full-time accountant on staff. Outsourcing solves that problem by getting the job done through an outside provider. Now, with the assistance of the Internet, you don’t need to ship in a part-time subcontractor to do your books. You can have your books completed & reviewed virtually by a competent, trained professional… saving you money that you can put back into your growing business.

Saving Time With Outsourcing
Let’s suppose you’re like me and love (or at least, like) accounting. Maybe you’re even trained at accounting and feel you can keep your books better than anyone else. There’s still the matter of your time, which is best spent working on your business and making it thrive, rather than balancing books. And as we all know, time IS money…


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