View Full Version : QuickBooks - setup or just use?

01-06-2006, 05:38 PM
After many years of using using less-than-efficient software (Quicken, plus some other software) for tracking work and creating invoices, I swore 2006 would be the year of change. After reading many threads speaking about the value of QuickBooks, and the ease of use, I got a copy the other day.

By now, I've spent endless hours trying to set it up. In returning to read many threads about QB, I find a subtle language choice. The words usually are all about "using," but nobody speak about the process of making the initial setup out of the box. Did you have your accountant, or another party who was familiar with QB. do the setup making it ready for you to use?

QB makes Quicken look so simple and easy. Yes, I've gone through the tutorials, but when I ready/listen closely, some of the critical steps are missing. Or, maybe the terminology is so foreign to me. To be sure, after setup, showing how easy to use looks like a dream. However, one cannot use QB until it is set up properly.

I'm still a long way off from getting the initial setup done. But, my goal is to get a shadow company setup and running well with all the characteristics of mine, then establish the real one intended for day to day use. My intent is to get all this done before the season begins, so that I'm not fumbling around when data entry, payments, deposits, expenses, etc are for real.

I believe my needs are so elementary that all the options and choices and variations make the simple processes so difficult. Maybe I'll junk the whole thing and buy a new copy of Quicken and write new software for invoicing.

Maybe I'm missing something with regard to low level introductory material. The tutorials seem to address the person in an office who does this task day in, day out. Or, is there a book available with some sample setups for many kinds of small business? Or, is a BBS, or Forum ( like LS) available to read, ask questions? Remember, setup is the issue -- no need to tell me how easy QB is to use. Plenty of threads address that topic.

I'm at the point of putting QB out of my misery with a heavy foot to the CD, and the DEL icon.

01-06-2006, 06:49 PM
I bought QB Simple Start that was fairly easy to set up and it is upgradeable. You can't compare reports with it though. It is basic.

01-06-2006, 07:29 PM
The setup is very easy. All you do is input your company info, then if you are a Sole Prop or Corp for taxes and set up your invoice and statement formats, your checking and your expense and income line items that are LCO specific only cause the general basic ones are already there. Then if you have employees yu just set up the payroll part. I wish I knew what else to tell you but it is very easy. Just dump the tutorials and answer the set-up questions as they pop up.

01-06-2006, 07:36 PM
I remember when I first started with QB. I was ready to give up and trash the thing, as you are. Don't do any thing radical yet. Go ahead and set up your company but don't try to do it all in one sitting. Work on it for a while and stop and come back to it later. I found doing the chart of accounts helped but don't be afraid to change things as you go. Customer: Job List, should be easy, it's just a list of all your customers. You'll be adding to that as time goes by. When you actually create invoices and have real expenses to post it will be more meaningful to you. Don't give up yet, the learning curve isn't as long as it looks.

01-06-2006, 07:44 PM
They have a setup tutorial that walks you through the whole process. The biggest pain would be entering all the customer accounts, although newer versions will import a variety of files. Just follow the tutorial, I think it even has a setup specifically for lawn businesses. Basically you enter your info, select the items and accounts you want, the bank accounts you want, and you're good to go.

01-06-2006, 09:36 PM
Most local colleges or tech schools have continuing education classes for quick books some even have online clases. You may want to look into that.

01-06-2006, 11:10 PM
I was able to get a huge amount of help from my accountant. She has a lady on staff who knows and has several versions of QB because of all the there different clients who are on it. I hired her to come to my house for a couple hours to help set up and tutor me. Her help has been ongoing throughout the past 12 months and she has been a tremendous help to me and my small company. I avoided QB for 2 years and now that I have been using it for 12 months it has been the best business management decision I have ever made. I have very accurate organized information for all aspects of my business that is very easy to access. I could go on & on & on about all that it has done - so don't give up. Call your accountant & keep us posted.

01-06-2006, 11:34 PM
I just upgraded from QB2001 to QB2006 Pro. You can order a comprehensive
user's book from Barnes and Noble. The user's guide that came with QB2006 will get you started. Just take your time. You can also go to www. community.
quickbooks.com for some additional info. As stated by mtdman, use the tutorials and help index.

01-06-2006, 11:38 PM
Which version of QB did you purchase? Did you purchase the general version, or did you purchase one of the specific "contractor" editions? I believe the contractor editions would beneficial over the regular version since I'm sure some of the unassociated information is left out of the contractor versions.

You could go with the http://quickbooks.intuit.com/commerce/catalog/product.jhtml?prodId=prod0000000000007994358 version, or the http://quickbooks.intuit.com/commerce/catalog/product.jhtml?prodId=prod0000000000007994366 version.

If you just purchased the program, I believe there is like a 30 day or something satisfaction return period.

Also, have you checked out http://quickbooksusers.com/ yet and checked out the forum there for any problems you are having? QB is not usually a "jump in the water and see what happens" type of thing. If you don't take your swimming lessons first, you're likely to sink to the bottom and drown. If you don't want to take the lessons.. at least get some arm floaties (the qbusers forum) and dog paddle.

01-07-2006, 02:39 PM
Thanks for the advice and encouragement. The User Forum looks interesting. There may be too many detailed questions to get big picture questions answered. Some time is required to dig through all the details -- just like LS, huh?

I did investigate a community college course, but I think it started this week, runs for four weeks only -- already missed the first class.

My idea is to go through the tutorials again, now with some familarity. Perhaps the tutorials gave me much information I was not yet ready to understand, so I missed some of the message.

I'm sure glad I decided to do the ground work now, and not wait until near the beginning of season. Now, time is cheap. After season begins, time is for making money.

Maybe this is a lesson to be learned for others. Get done NOW what can be done.

01-08-2006, 01:40 PM
You could also find a QuickBooks ProAdvisor in your area that would help you with your set up for a small fee. I happen to be a ProAdvisor, but in Florida. Go to the Intuit site. Here is a link: http://intuitmarket.intuit.com/QBA/ReferralDB/ReferralDataBaseMemberSearch.asp

01-08-2006, 11:58 PM
I've been mowing lawns for over 40 years and have used excel for several years, since it synchs with my PDA for easy field entry and access to accounts info. I just bought Quickbooks Pro and have lots of questions.
1) Can I get my customer info from Outlook 2002 to QB2006 Pro. It looks like I have to get another software called Customer manager (I think)?
2) Can I import the excel information into invoices or statements from 2005, which I have sorted by accounts? That would give me a historical base and save lots of duplicate typing, which is not something I'm good at or enjoy.
3) Ours is a family business, with payment to my sons weekly either cash or check. The time tracking function in QB seems to be a dead end unless you use their high priced payroll service. I have no need for that. All I want to do is record their hours, multiply by hourly rate and record that I paid them.
All of this was easy using excel, I even had templates made up for the typical mowing we did on each weekday, and a simple copy and paste took care of each day's bookwork. Occasionally I copied the new entrys in the by date sheet into an accounts sheet and sorted the data by accounts and date. To make statements I just totaled the charges and credits columns and used the simple formula to find the balance by subtracting the credits total from the charges total, and pasted that all into a form letter in Word.
I thought QB might make all this more accurate as far as seeing where all the accounts receivable might total at any time, but it looks like I'm going to spend lots of time getting the data into it. If I can still enter in excel, this might just work out to be a winner yet.

01-10-2006, 07:35 AM
Try "Learning QuickBooks" (you can conquer basic bookkeeping) from intuit. It's $39.95 and with tax/shipping around $54. It is 2 disk with 3 hours of easy to learn video that you can pause and test using the QB sample company. It also has a search feature for specific topics.

It goes through step by step setup. Here's the link http://quickbooks.intuit.com/commerce/catalog/product.jhtml?prodId=prod0000000000007994318 . They have a sample video.. Check it out I think you will like it.

01-10-2006, 11:56 AM
Quickbooks for Dummies helped me out. Simplified more than the book that comes with the program

Doug Z.
01-10-2006, 12:20 PM
We used qickbooks for dummies, and took a class at the tech school to get it set up. Now it is great. My accountant uses it for all his clients. Some have different versions, but he has all of them. About every month or so, i"ll swing by with a disk, and they download it into their system, that way, if our computer would crash or something, they have it up to date.. The other great thing is that if there is a question, I can call my accountant, he will pull it up, and he can walk us through it,, love the program..

01-10-2006, 04:08 PM
FYI - you can also email a copy to your accountant. I have not done it for a while now since I keep a back up at a separate office.