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5 Workarounds for QuickBooks®

Article Post Date
June 30th 2011 by

There are times when we have to make QuickBooks® work in ways that, perhaps, its developers had not anticipated. These are workarounds that the creative user will employ to make the software performs functions or run reports that do not have a specific menu item. Here are five “outside the box” examples of such workarounds that my clients have used successfully:

#1: Requesting Funds: Use Pending Sales Receipts

My client must send out (and track) requests for deposit funds from clients. When the funds come in, my client posts the funds as a sales receipt. My client already uses estimates and sales orders for other purposes. One way to track these requests is to record them as pending sales receipts, with the “due date” field renamed “request date.” See an example in the screen shot below.

When the funds arrive, the pending sales receipt is marked “final” and the date of the receipt is changed to the date that the funds arrive while the “request date” remains unchanged:

#2: Internal Spoilage Tracking by Job: Using Sales Receipts

My client is a printer and sometimes has to re-run jobs for picky customers. His expenses are already counted in the bottom line (payroll, toner, paper, utilities), but he would like to track the estimated costs of these spoiled jobs so that he can see which clients are too much trouble to keep.

As any posting of the extra costs related to the job would inflate the client’s expenses, we set him up with a sales item called “Spoilage” (linked to a revenue account that doesn’t get used) with a price of $0. Every time he re-ran a job for a customer, we’d issue an internal sales receipt for this customer, citing the item “Spoilage” and the quantity being the estimated dollar amount of the extra cost to my client.

These sales receipts did not affect the receivables or statements, and we were able to run Sales by Customer Detail reports filtered just for this Spoilage item. The Qty column gave us the internally-calculated estimated costs of these spoiled jobs:

#3: Tracking Personally Incurred Expenses for a Company: Virtual Bank Account

Many times, my clients have to track expenditures that were paid for out of personal funds by shareholders. The easiest way to do this is to create a virtual bank account for each shareholder and post each personally-incurred expenditure as a check out of that bank account:

This tracks expenses as well as what is owing to the shareholder. Here, the register shows the total of what is owing to the shareholder:

Next, edit the account from a “bank” to an “other current liability” account for reporting purposes so that the shareholder loan shows on the liability side of the balance sheet:

#4: Set Foreign Currency Costs on POs and Bills: Use Memorized Transactions

Although we can use price levels in QuickBooks Premier, Accountant and Enterprise to create foreign selling prices for items, we can’t do that when we want foreign costs. We’re stuck using home currency costs and then editing the unit costs on foreign bills and purchase orders because they’ve fluctuated with the exchange rate.

We can avoid this problem by setting up a PO or bill for a foreign vendor (purchasing the items desired) and memorizing it. Then we can get the memorized transaction and edit it (quantities can be changed, items removed, date and reference number entered). The exchange rate can change, but the unit costs will not:

#5: Session Journal: Use Audit Trail

Other programs offer a “session journal,” which QuickBooks does not have. I just tell clients to run an audit trail for the session date (usually “today” although they can edit that) and that gives them what they want. Some like to create and modify the report, give it a “Session Journal” title, and memorize it. They can print or save that audit trail to a PDF:

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  1. Thank you for the great tips!–always neat to learn helpful tidbits. A thought on #3: if I’m reading it correctly, one way that might also work is to setup the shareholders as “Credit Card” accounts. Personally incurred expenses could then be posted as “credit card purchases”, and the Balance Sheet classification would already be a liability, reflecting amounts owed back to the owners. Thanks again!

    Comment by Adrian Simmons — June 27, 2011 @ 8:58 am

  2. Tracking Personally Incurred Expenses for a Company

    I create an equity account “owner name contribution” and treat it like a bank account. There is no need to change the account type for reporting.

    If the owner/shareholder “Borrows” cash from the company, I create another equity account “owner name draw”

    I “assume” the tax preparer looks at these accounts at year end and does the proper reporting for taxes.

    I explain to the owner/sharehold what I am doing and where the balances show on their financial reports.

    Connie Mitchell

    Comment by Conne — July 1, 2011 @ 12:22 pm

  3. Great comments! I especially like the idea of using the credit card type of account for ease of entry; that is exactly what I good friend and colleague of mine here in Canada does.
    Thank you for your valuable feedback!

    Comment by Esther Friedberg Karp — July 3, 2011 @ 10:08 am

  4. Tracking Personally Incurred Expenses for a Company – need to be careful that reimbursements for expenses meet IRS accountable plan requirements for deductibility. Also, need to be careful that organizing documents and stockholders agreements allows for the recording of off-the-books transactions involving stockholders. Also applicable to partnerships and LLCs.

    Comment by cromancpa — September 26, 2011 @ 1:06 pm

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