Q&A: Exporting Lists From Quickbooks

Exporting a list of Donors and their addresses

Q: I have QB Pro 07. I am trying to find an efficient way to create a report or list that includes donors AND their addresses to export for a mail merge for a donor letter.

The main problem that I can see is that when I “modify report” in my donor report, I do not have the option of adding address columns as I can in a customer contact list. However, in a customer contact list I cannot find the filters that I need, such as “amount” and “item.”

A: Based on my assumption that you are using customers for donors, export your customer list with addresses. To do this go to chose:

  1. FILE-> UTILITIES -> EXPORT -> ADDRESSES TO TEXT FILE.
  2. In the dialogue box, select the category of names you want to export, click OK.
  3. In the “Save Address Date File” dialog box, select a folder & type the filename, click SAVE

FYI, your file will have a “.txt” extension. You should be able to utilize this list for the mail merge in Word or whatever word processing software you use.

Hope this helps.

 

Another Reason Recessions are a Good Time to Start a Business

I have a similar blog post in December, 2008. Enjoy ~ Joyce

Excerpt: Throughout the 2008-2009 recession we have seen a rash of articles about why it’s a good time to start a business. Sometimes I feel those articles are more a matter of the writer trying to convince himself or herself that it’s a good time to start a business, than convince anyone else! After all, some people lose their jobs and then become unwilling entrepreneurs.

Still, it’s true that a recession can be a rare opportunity to start a business. One reason: competitors (especially large corporations) are distracted by their own market challenges.

That can be good for you if you are thinking of starting — or expanding — your business. It means others in the marketplace are not minding the store. It could provide just enough of an opening in the market to get a toehold to scale new heights.

If you’d like to read more – Another Reason Recessions are a Good Time to Start a Business

 

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Bookkeeping Versus Accounting: What’s The Difference?

Before I provide a distinction, you should be aware that if you don’t know the difference, you are not alone. Some people use the words interchangeably mostly because they don’t know that there is a difference. And although professionals within the industry know that there is a difference, many have a hard time articulating and explaining that difference to others. It is important that when you, the small business owner, decide to take the leap and hire a bookkeeper and/or accountant that you know the difference. What position/functions are you really to fill?

Generally speaking, a bookkeeper is a person without a college degree in accounting who performs much of the data entry tasks. This includes entering the bills from vendors, paying bills, processing payroll data, preparing sales invoices, mailing statements to customers, etc.

Given the “definition” of a bookkeeper, an accountant is likely to have a college degree with a major in accounting and typically takes over where the bookkeeper leaves off. The accountant will prepare adjusting journal entries to record prepaid expenses (expenses that have been paid for that are future services) and/or accrued expenses (expenses that have not yet been paid for but services have already been rendered). Other adjustments to accounts include the calculation and recording of depreciation/amortization, establishing allowances for uncollectible accounts, etc. After making the adjusting entries, the accountant prepares and reviews the company’s financial statements (income statement, balance sheet, statement of cash flows.) The accountant also assists the company’s management to understand the financial impact of its past and future decisions.

With the every changing accounting software, the distinction between accountant and bookkeeper and their roles keep evolving. But simplistically, what it boils down to is data entry (bookkeeper) or analysis (accountant)… or both. Remember that it is important that you (the small business owner) know the difference. What functions/positions are you really looking to fill? data entry (bookkeeper) or analysis/consultant (accountant)?

Good luck in your endeavors! ~Joyce

 

How Hiring A Professional Costs Less Than DIY

If you own a business and are doing your own accounting then you are costing your company money. Too many owners think they are cutting costs but keeping accounting internal but the price they are paying is actually higher than hiring an outsourced accountant/accounting department.

Procedures & Professionalism

If accounting were nothing but addition and subtraction, then it wouldn’t be necessary of accountants to attend college to learn the ins and outs. Since accounting is a framework of smart business practices that ensures financial records are current and complete, it’s clear to see that it is more than just a sophisticated system of tracking cashflow.

Professional bookkeepers are not trained in accounting practices. This is one reason to hire an outsourced accounting department rather than a bookkeeper. Outsourcing to an accountant will bring needed discipline to financial operations to “close your books”.

Taxes: Laws, Breaks & Incentives

Few business owners understand the tax laws as they apply to their businesses. Payroll tax, sales tax, unemployment tax, Social Security tax, etc… they all have to be calculated correctly and paid on time. Then as soon as you learn the rules of the game, they change.

Business owners have more important things to do than pour over IRS regulations. An outsource accountant gives the owners access to an expert who is familiar with the tax laws and filing requirements.

In addition to making sure your business is compliant, accountants often have insight into tax breaks that business owners may not be aware of. Some of these can amount to significant tax savings to the company’s bottom line, savings that are more than the cost to hire an outsourced accounting department costs.

Analysis & Advice

Professional accountants can provide a level of analysis of a company’s finances well beyond what a layman could. Reports can show patterns in revenues and expenditures that a superficial examination may not have revealed. With detailed information and review, the owner can focus and develop strategic plans that will bring future prosperity.

A business owner can ask the outsourced accounting department for advice. Ranging from basic business practices that can cut expenses and increase revenue to evaluations of major expenditures, this could be huge for a small business ventures prospects of survival and growth.

The value of an outsourced accounting department is difficult to measure but almost always exceeds the cost of the operation.

Summary

In short, as a business owner, you can’t do it all. By outsourcing your accounting, payroll and tax needs to a virtual accounting department, you get back that time to use on other things… like building and growing your business.

Save Yourself the Guilt…

Buried under a mountain of paperwork? Vendors calling you incessantly? Let’s face it, accounting isn’t fun. There are financial reports that you don’t understand, checks to prepare and mail, deposits to run to the bank and on and on. There just don’t seem to be enough hours in the day.

As a small business owner, focus on what you do best. So unless you actually enjoy tedious tasks, deadlines that never end, employees that give you that “will my direct deposit work this time” look… what you do best probably doesn’t include accounting. So pass the buck and let others do it for you.

Why should you outsource? Because contrary to popular belief, outsourcing done right, saves time and money. How? A lot of small businesses try to do everything but you have to find balance. By relinquishing tasks that don’t bring in the bucks, you garner more coveted time to focus on money making activities and save not only time but pieces of your sanity.

Check out the contestants
Before going all gung ho for outsourcing, be sure to check out your options and compare apples to apples. Ask what functions are available, what do you have to do (for example do you need to input hours, send a file, etc) and most important, know what your needs, requirements and preferences. Once you find the right fit, go for it.

“Pass the buck” downers
I would be a “Pollyanna” if I neglected to inform you of the potential pitfalls of passing the accounting buck by outsourcing. Here are a few.

  • Inability to customize services so you only pay for the features you need/want.
  • File swapping…you send them a file of your accounting information, they review your information and send you a file back for you to upload to your accounting software. A lot of steps, especially if you’re not a computer genius. Or if your provider is in the pre-internet age, they literally pickup the computer file as well as documents…and bring them back when the work is completed.
  • Emailing files. Not the most secure way of transporting them. You may or may not have access to your accounting file to input current data while the accountant is away and if you’re impatient, merging files may be a hassle.

Picking the Buck Recipient
We can’t advocate this enough, do your research! Look around at what is available and do what works for you and your company. Some things to consider…

  • Consider internal & external options – some service providers charge by the hour and others at a flat rate or per diem (as needed). Caveat: compare apples to apples.
  • Consider those that will integrate with your software systems such as payroll and crm. There are distinct advantages to entering information one time.
  • Consider the personality of your company. Match it to that of your service provider.
  • Consider the features available, including real-time and/or virtual access, and compare them to the features you need. Don’t pay for more than what you need.
  • Consider making a decision to outsource sooner than later. Believe me, you’ll be glad you did and you’ll probably wonder why you didn’t do it sooner.

Don’t forget, keep up with your service provider and spend time focusing on what you love, the things you’re good at. After all…that IS why you got into business. Right?

Common Cents Consulting and it’s subsidiary, Common Cents Outsourcing, were created to provide virtual accounting & payroll alternatives to small businesses on the go without sacrificing quality. Need help choosing an outsourcing provider? We’re happy to help…even if you don’t choose us! http://www.commoncentsoutsourcing.com/
(c) Common Cents Consulting LLC – Common Cents Outsourcing 2008

*originally published on www.ezinearticles.com

 

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