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QuickBooks CPA Consultant discusses QuickBooks Limitations and Solutions

QuickBooks CPA Wilmington NC

Gary Bode CPA: a QuickBooks CPA should understand the program's strengths and weaknesses. For a free phone consult call (910) 399-2705.

QuickBooks has limitations, or sometimes the client perceives it has limitations. There are dozens of QuickBooks articles on this site showing that I’m a big fan. But a good QuickBooks CPA understands the program’s weaknesses and its strengths.

QuickBooks Reports

I think most QuickBooks CPAs run into this problem. A client grows the business and wants to see specifics on a QuickBooks report. QuickBooks reports can be customized within the program itself. Very cool. I only recall a single time where QuickBooks failed to deliver. And then we just had to prepare two reports and analyze them together. There are also user defined data fields that allow company specific customization. These extend QuickBooks functionality. For example you might use these to enter a company statistic and then sort by that statistic.

But great reporting ability isn’t always enough.

When I worked for construction firms, I routinely customized QuickBooks reports and then exported them to Excel for further tweaking. Excel has better sorting, charting, formatting and analysis tools. Why export? My job depended on conveying complex information to busy project managers in an intuitively obvious manner. While QuickBooks held all the hard data, those internal reports didn’t make analyzing it easy. Talk to your QuickBooks CPA about making bookkeeping relevant for managerial purposes. Of course, the underlying data must be accurate, timely and consistently entered. Sometimes managerial reporting means designing a performance dashboard where multiple reports and charts are consistently presented weekly and/or monthly.

QuickBooks Bookkeeper

Some business owners find QuickBooks hard to use. Generally this seems more related to time constraints then the QuickBooks interface. In most companies, bookkeeping isn’t the Owner’s, Member’s, or Shareholder’s best use of time. This is true regardless of the accounting software. So a QuickBooks bookkeeper becomes a necessity at some point.

QuickBooks gives back whatever you enter. Garbage in, garbage out. A poorly designed set of books might be OK for tax purposes, but may hinder managerial usefulness. A QuickBooks CPA should take the time to understand your company and the way you think about it. And then help you design a relevant chart of accounts, train your bookkeeper, and then periodically look your QuickBooks file over.

QuickBooks Fraud

Originally QuickBooks circumvented usual internal accounting controls to earn its user friendly reputation. But that made it easier to commit fraud with QuickBooks than with other accounting software. This is still true, in my opinion.

No QuickBooks CPA can 100% guarantee against fraud or embezzlement. But a QuickBooks CPA can help find the right tradeoff between internal control and effective use. As a QuickBooks CPA, I’m interested in fraud. You’ll find a dozen or so QuickBooks fraud postings on this site. When I inspect a client’s books, I look at common areas where fraud occurs. Again, no guarantee. But I think it helps some folks stay honest when they know someone is watching them.

QuickBooks Add Ons

QuickBooks integrates with many third-party applications designed to extend functionality. For example, QuickBooks isn’t fantastic with Inventory. It doesn’t have an employee time clock function. Sometimes the third-party software integrates with QuickBooks well. Other times you end up with a workaround situation which is time consuming. QuickBooks is great software and can be extended far beyond basic bookkeeping. But sometimes you have to consider going to specialized software for your industry. Your QuickBooks CPA would help you decide if that’s so and how to approach switching.

Using QuickBooks in Parallel with another Program

Restaurants, for example, usually have Point of Service software. It rings up sales, calculates sales tax, clocks employees in and out, tells you how many folks eat lunch with you on Tuesday, processes credit card transactions, etc. But the restaurant uses QuickBooks to track the cost side of the business, e.g. payroll, food purchases, etc. Sometimes, just a weekly entry of revenue into QuickBooks, as shown on the POS software, suffices. I have fast food franchise clients with multiple locations operating in this fashion. Issues? Generally any managerial analysis is done in Excel but isn’t a major problem.

QuickBooks is just a Software Program: accounting skills and training

You need to provide the accounting and bookkeeping skills. While QuickBooks is easier to implement than most programs, you will eventually need a CPA skilled with it. Sometimes it’s just easier to start off right.

I taught QuickBooks online for Baker College, the largest private college in Michigan. This is a generalized course and explores aspects of QuickBooks your company may not need. It doesn’t really integrate the accounting skills either. Sometimes customized training that concentrates on your company, and how you think, is quicker and easier than generic training.

Switching From QuickBooks

Any QuickBooks CPA will have horror stories about switching accounting software. I think some folks stay with QuickBooks long past when a switch makes sense. Why? A convoluted set of processes you understand is less scary than new processes. Switching just takes lots of planning and research. Have you exploited QuickBooks to its full potential? Maybe an industry specific program is now appropriate.

I’m a QuickBooks CPA with a virtual office to serve our international and long distance clients, and, offer greater convenience to local Wilmington NC clients. By the way, I’ve used QuickBooks for 18 years. For a free phone consult call (910) 399-2705.

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