helping right brain professionals navigate the left brain world of accounting

Archive for the month “July, 2013”

Why is my previous QuickBooks GST/HST ‘File Sales Tax’ journal entry incorrect?

ISSUE: the journal entry that QuickBooks automatically creates when filing sales tax is not entered correctly. The most common problem is missing tax items. You may also see missing information on the memo line, and you may even see the tax items switched around.

This happened to one of my clients this week. He noticed an ‘unassigned tax amount’ when attempting to ‘file sales tax.’ He clicked on the amount and it took him back the journal entry that QuickBooks had created for the previous sales tax filing. We then started to uncover some strange errors…

Here’s a screenshot of what a normal FILE SALES TAX journal entry should look like:

Correct JE for File Sales Tax

And here are two screenshots of the incorrect FILE SALES TAX journal entries discovered in my client’s file:

Incorrect JEIncorrect JE #2This is a known issue. QuickBooks senior tech support tells me it’s essentially random. It started with the 2012 R12 update and the 2013 R4 update. It’s considered a critical issue with moderate severity and high impact. The engineers are working on completely removing this issue. 

SOLUTION: Go back to the incorrect journal entries that QuickBooks created and manually correct them. Review previous, current, and future tax filings carefully.

My advice until Intuit works on eliminating this potential problem is to keep current with your updates and CHECK YOUR ‘FILE SALE TAX’ WINDOW CAREFULLY BEFORE FILING! Watch out for unassigned tax amounts. If you have any, drill down on the amount. If you end up in a previous ‘File Sales Tax’ journal entry, and you spot something wrong, you’ve likely encountered the ‘File Sales Tax’ bug! You will need to correct the journal entry by entering the correct tax items. If you discover information missing from the memo line, correct that as well. You can refer to previous filings for missing information.

NOTE: these errors carry over to the next sales tax return. If you discover more than just the last “File Sales Tax’ journal entry incorrect, your previous filings with the CRA could have errors.

Other tips for spotting errors in the File Sales Tax window: Manually multiply line 101 by the tax rate in your province for a ballpark figure of what line 103 should be. Drill down on line 103. Look for a balance leading into the period. This will be zero if you have not made changes to your sales after your last filing. Drill down on line 106. Again, look for a balance leading into the quarter. This will also be zero if you haven’t made any changes to your purchases after your last filing.

Be careful when troubleshooting your sales tax, and always make a backup of your file before making any changes.

I’d love to hear from you if you’ve run into this particular bug!

‘Find a Local QuickBooks Expert’ site shutting down in Canada!

This weekend, the ‘Find a Local QuickBooks Expert’ search wizard for Canada will be gone. But it’s only temporary! In September, a new and improved site will be launched. Here’s the announcement:

Find an Expert

I couldn’t be more excited about this development! We are definitely behind our US counterparts in this regard, so this is very welcome news. I’ve been asking about and hoping for a better site for years! Here’s a peek at what the Canadian site looks like now:

7/19/13 UPDATE – FEATURE NOW GONE! I was hoping to add a screen capture of the site today but they took it down a day early! Here’s the link anyways:

And here’s a link to the US site:

The links take you to the welcome pages, not to the search results. The differences when you actually perform a search are astronomical!

Complaints about the Canadian site aside, this is an awesome tool provided by Intuit on both sides of the 49th. I have connected with a few clients because of it, and the long-awaited improvements will be great for Canadian ProAdvisors and clients alike.

Did you sign up for e-statements? Don’t forget to save or print!

So you’ve gone green and signed up for e-statements. Kudos to you! Here’s how going paperless helps the environment, compliments of


There’s nothing better than neglecting my own bookkeeping and sitting down to do it a couple times a year. It fulfills my need for a challenge. LOL! (I don’t recommend this, by the way!) This last time, I went to my credit card provider’s website to download the past twelve months of statements into QuickBooks. Except eight of them were gone! Only the most recent four were available to download into QuickBooks. The missing months were easy enough to access in PDF format (they keep seven years for me), but the downloadable files were indeed gone with no way to get them back. That made for a lot of manual data entry for me.

Another of my credit card providers only saves six months, PDF or otherwise. After that, I have to contact them to retrieve the missing statements. This involves an email, a confirmation email, a password and a time limit to fetch them… which I typically miss. I then have to start the entire process of retrieval over again!

Banks and credit card issuers often make only a certain number of statements available online. In many cases, it’s only a few months. If you need to go back farther than that, you may have a few hoops to jump through. You may even be required to pay a fee.

So here’s a reminder. Save those files to your computer every couple months (and if you still prefer to print, no judgement here!).

Why did my QuickBooks closing date mysteriously change?

Several months ago, I was consulting with a Canadian client in a 3-user networked environment. Before leaving, I set the closing date to March 31, 2012. They called me a couple days later saying two users were being asked to override a closing date of Dec 12, 2012. Whaat? I was sure I set the correct date. I went back and reset the closing date to March 31, 2012. We tested it out but had the same issue. The closing date had again mysteriously changed to Dec 12, 2012. What was going on?

I’ve never seen this problem south of the border, but north of the border? As of this week, three times! At first I was completely perplexed, but I finally figured out why this was happening. The regional date settings on your computers don’t match! The reason I’ve never seen it in the United States is that new computers are preloaded with the date preferences set to be Month/Day/Year. Everyone matches. In Canada, it seems like some computers are preloaded with the date preferences Month/Day/Year but many others are set with the format Day/Month/Year (silly, and one of my pet peeves… it should be written the way we say it! But that’s a rant for another blog post…)! In addition, users like myself sometimes change the date settings to the ‘US’ format. So not everyone in the network matches. Since the date format of the computer that initially set the closing date doesn’t save to the data file, any computer in the network that has a different date format will cause QuickBooks to get confused!

The solution? Make sure all computers in a networked environment are set with the same date regional date settings. Again, I prefer the Month/Day/Year setting myself, but the critical thing is that all the computers have matching regional date settings. If you’re using Windows 7, here’s how to locate the date preference: Start > Control Panel > Region and Language.

Now, if we could just get businesses to be consistent about dates on receipts. This was never a problem in California, but in Canada, it sure gets confusing when a receipt is dated 6/7/13 and it’s entered a few weeks later!



How do I get rid of the zeros on my Profit & Loss?

Great question! First off, let me explain why these are here. Accounts with no activity during the period will not show up on the P&L. Accounts with activity during the period will show up on the P&L… even if the total balance is zero. If you want to hide those zero balance accounts, here’s what you do:

Open the Profit & Loss report. Click on CUSTOMIZE REPORT in the upper left hand corner. You’ll be on the DISPLAY tab. Now, click on the ADVANCED button to open the Advanced Options window. Under DISPLAY ROWS, select the NON-ZERO radio button. Click okay. Click okay again.

Any accounts with zero balances should now be gone. This is a nice way to ‘tidy up’ your Profit & Loss report when it needs to be distributed. Note: this also works with a Trial Balance report.

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