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Archive for the tag “Tips and Tricks”

Loss of laptop real estate in QuickBooks 2013

If you don’t seem to have a lot of useful ‘real estate’ when working on forms in QuickBooks, your computer resolution could be to blame. I personally find working on my laptop very frustrating because I have so few lines of detail on the bottom of forms. Here’s what Intuit Canada says about the issue:

Missing Buttons on Write Cheques Window

Laptop or not, it seems like I spend a lot of time in 2013 moving, maximizing, collapsing, expanding, resizing, supersizing…you get the picture. One of my biggest complaints about certain windows is the fact they can barely be minimized from the top and bottom. This drives me crazy. You can minimize the sides, but that’s not where the SAVE buttons are at. They’re at the BOTTOM, and I should be able to minimize the window from the top and bottom! And the really weird thing? This seems to act differently at every different computer I sit down at. Tip: holding down the shift key while opening certain windows – for example, ‘Make Deposits’ – does help a bit with downsizing.

One last thing. I love the new feature where I have the ability to collapse specific sub-accounts on the financial reports. But I am completely at a loss why they would add this feature to PRO and not PREMIER. Is this a mistake? Technical support couldn’t give me an answer, and no one has really mentioned it on any of the forums. First time I can remember where a feature in Pro is not available in Premier!


QuickBooks and the Case of the Disappearing Penny!

When I was a little girl, my dad used to buy a bag of uncirculated pennies every year and stow them in a secret hiding place in our home. Not sure what ever became of those pennies, but he sure collected a lot of them. This likely inspired my fondness for coins. I have a tiny collection of my own, and to this day, I’m often treasure hunting my loose change. Also when I was little, I couldn’t get enough of the Encyclopedia Brown novels. Solving those tricky mysteries kept me busy on many a dreary winter day. For Leroy Brown, no case was too small, and so, I’d like to offer you my rounding workarounds in QuickBooks and the Case of the Disappearing Penny!

On February 4th, the Royal Canadian Mint will stop distributing the one-cent coin to Canadian banks, and Canadian businesses will be “encouraged” to begin rounding cash transactions to the nearest nickel.  Apparently, “encouraged” means when “pennies aren’t available.” We’ll soon see how business will interpret this change. In any case, all debit card, cheque, and credit card transactions will continue to be processed at their exact amount. No rounding here. It’s when cold, hard CASH is involved that things will be different. If your cash transaction ends in one, two, six, or seven cents, you round down. If your cash transaction ends in three, four, eight or nine cents, you round up. Fear not…the government isn’t trying to scam you and there’s no effect on GST/HST. It’s simply a rounding issue. Check out this informative article from the Department of Finance for more information:


So – does your POS provider have this all figured out? What about your financial software? I personally don’t have a lot of clients that deal in cash outside of a POS system, so I’m counting on those POS guys to figure this out! But for those of you who use QuickBooks and need to know what to do, here are some ideas that I’ve come up with. I welcome your comments and other workarounds. (Just don’t be all Bugs Meany about it!)

But first, a humble plea to the Intuit programmers. Someone at Intuit needs to implement a ROUNDING button so I don’t have to work so hard! LOL! However, I don’t think that’s in the cards just yet. Perhaps one day. In the meantime, here are my:


Complete these two simple steps and you’ll be all set up for rounding, up and down, on sales and purchases.


You’re going to need a new EXPENSE ACCOUNT on your chart of accounts. Go ahead and set up an “Other Expense” account called ROUNDING.

Rounding Other Expense


You’re going to need a new two-sided ITEM called ROUNDING. Set it up as an “Other Charge” item and point it to the ROUNDING expense account on both sides.

Rounding Item



Whether you issue an INVOICE or a SALES RECEIPT, rounding will always be done    in the MAKE DEPOSITS window. Do not adjust for rounding on the sales forms themselves, only in the MAKE DEPOSITS window. Here are the examples:


To receive payment on an Invoice and account for rounding, create Invoice and Receive Payment as you normally would. Make sure you ‘DEPOSIT TO’ the UNDEPOSITED FUNDS account (if you deposit straight to the CASH account, you won’t be able to adjust for rounding).

Inv to UFpng

Choose “MAKE DEPOSITS” from the Banking menu, select the correct payment(s), and adjust for rounding:

Make Deposit Round Down Invoice


To adjust for rounding on a Sales Receipt, create Sales Receipt as you normally would. In the DEPOSIT TO window, you can choose either the CASH account or UNDEPOSITED FUNDS. I will use the UNDEPOSITED FUNDS account for this example, to be consistent:

Bobby Jones Cash SR

Choose “MAKE DEPOSITS” from the Banking menu, select the correct payment(s), and adjust for rounding:

Bobby Jones Dep round up

NOTE: For Sales Receipts only, you can choose to DEPOSIT TO your CASH account. The only difference here is that next step won’t be to MAKE DEPOSITS, as the deposit is already entered. Find the deposit and edit for rounding.

What is key to remember is that you will always adjust for rounding in the MAKE DEPOSITS window.

PROS: The above method of rounding is easily handled at the banking level. You can combine several customer payments into one deposit. Does NOT affect Line 101 of your sales tax return.

CONS: The Invoices and Sales Receipts you give to your customers do not show the rounding. Could be easy to lose track of what’s been rounded.


Use the ROUNDING item you set up in step two to adjust for rounding directly on your Invoices and Sales Receipts. Although it affects Line 101 of a Sales Tax Return, I prefer this method. Here’s what an Invoice rounded up will look like:

Rounding Up on Invoice

And here’s what a Sales Receipt rounded down will look like:

Rounding Down Sales Receipt ii

What is key to remember is that you will always adjust for rounding directly on the SALES RECEIPT or INVOICE.

PROS: The above method of rounding is easily handled at the sales form level. You’ll never forget if you’ve rounded or not. Most importantly, the customers gets a form that shows the rounding.

CONS: This method will change Line 101 of your sales tax return by the total amount of all rounding done on sales forms for the period. For some businesses, this will be only a few pennies and hence, immaterial. Despite this hitch, there’s no effect on Line 109 Net Tax – the amount owing for GST/HST remains correct.


If you receive a receipt from a vendor that’s been adjusted for rounding, here’s a way to enter that cash purchase into QuickBooks using a cheque. You can use a bill in the same manner. Let’s say you buy some office supplies for $32.97. You pay the rounded amount of $32.95. Enter the cheque as you normally would, selecting the correct CASH account, DATE, and VENDOR. In the AMOUNT box, record the rounded amount. Tab down to your expense area. On the first line, select the ROUNDING Expense account. Then enter the amount of the rounding. In this example, we’re rounding down. Enter -.02 and use the Z tax item. Then, if you simply tab to the next line, QuickBooks will automatically fill in the rest of your numbers including GST/HST.

Rounding Down on Cheque w exp tab

You can also use the ITEM tab to enter the expense. You’ll use the ROUNDING item you set up earlier which points to the ROUNDING expense account. The only drawback to using this method is that the second line doesn’t automatically calculate. You’ll have to manually enter the subtotal of your receipt and confirm that the GST/HST amount is correct.

Write Checks w item Rounding Down

Of course, if the vendor issues a receipt for the pre-adjusted amount and the rounding happens “off” the receipt, here’s a super easy way to handle it: adjust your CASH account via journal entry to the ROUNDING Expense account to address the missing/extra pennies.

These are not perfect workarounds, but they’ll do until we get that awesome ROUNDING button I’m hoping for! What will you do with your extra pennies? Save, spend, or donate to charity?

Clever trick to unapply a customer credit in QuickBooks


Open the CREDIT MEMO you wish to unapply, and temporarily change the name of the CUSTOMER:JOB – any name will do. SAVE. This will unapply the credit. Then, change the name on the CREDIT MEMO back to the correct CUSTOMER:JOB. The credit memo is once again fully available and you can apply as you’d like.

How do I get the correct date range to show when “Filing Sales Tax?”

When you use the FILE SALES TAX feature of QuickBooks and your from and to dates don’t coincide with your actual filing dates, you haven’t indicated the correct date range. It’s fairly simple to manually change the date range for the period that you’re filing, but you can set this up so that the correct date range automatically shows up each time you open the FILE SALES TAX window. Here’s how to set the default date range in the Canadian version of QuickBooks:

Go to the VENDOR CENTRE and double click the vendor RECEIVER GENERAL. Then click on the TAX AGENCY INFO tab. Choose your Reporting Period (Monthly, Bimonthly, Quarterly, Bi-annual, or Annual). Then choose the Period Ending. Once this is set, it will show up automatically when you go to FILE SALES TAX.

Why doesn’t vendor discount show when I go to PAY BILLS?

This is a common annoyance affecting anyone using vendor discounts. It’s an issue in Canada (not the US), and my hope is that it will be fixed in the near future!


When most users enter a BILL, they typically enter the information in order; in other words, the way QuickBooks guides you through entering the bill if you tab from field to field. That means that the AMOUNT of the bill is typically entered on the top portion where it says AMOUNT DUE.

However, if you enter a bill this way AND use vendor discount terms (ie 1% 10 Net 30), the amount of the discount will NOT show up when you go to PAY BILLS. This is a known issue that QuickBooks Canada has yet to fix.


When entering a bill using a vendor discount, DO NOT manually populate the AMOUNT DUE field on the top of the bill. Skip past this field and enter the $$ information on the bottom half of the bill. THEN CLICK RECALCULATE. This method will ensure that your discount will show up in the PAY BILLS window.


Do not manually populate the AMOUNT DUE field if you want your vendor discount to show up in the PAY BILLS window.

I received a bill for GST only. How do I enter it?

Great question. And it has a very simple solution!

Go to Enter Bills > Select Vendor > Fill out top portion as usual > Choose expense account (I use the one associated with the original transaction) and use G for tax code > Enter $0 for the amount > Enter the amount of the GST into the GST (ITC) window in the bottom right hand corner

Don’t use the GST/HST Payable account. You will get a warning and this will affect your Sales Tax Returns. This is what most people tend to do!

Sometimes you’ll receive a bill that includes both GST and Duties. It’s the same basic idea:

Go to Enter Bills > Select Vendor > Fill out top portion as usual > Choose applicable expense account (ie Broker Charges) and use G for tax code > Enter amount of expense > Enter the amount of the GST in the GST (ITC) window in the bottom right hand corner

Bottom line? You can always override the GST amount in the bottom right-hand corner box.

More about GST in upcoming posts. As always, I welcome your questions!

Why you MUST set a closing date in QuickBooks!

You’re a small business owner, and you’ve just sent your QuickBooks data file off to your accountant to complete your tax return for the year ended June 30, 2012. For the next 12 months, your staff unknowingly make changes prior to that date – they delete a few invoices, add a few receipts, add a couple old bills from vendors who haven’t been paid, delete a lost payroll cheque…you get the idea. Now your accountant has the June 30, 2013 data file and runs a report from June 30, 2012 to make sure the numbers match from the previous tax return. THEY DON’T. Now what?



There’s one REALLY important thing you need to do as soon as you send your file to your accountant: SET THE CLOSING DATE! This prevents users from making changes to QuickBooks, prior to a date you select. Here’s how to do it:


Enter a closing date (the fiscal year end). Create a password that users will be required to enter to override the restriction. There’s now also a box to exclude non-posting transactions from the closing date restriction – a fabulous new feature if you use estimates, purchase orders, and/or sales orders. Check it!

Once you set the closing date, you’ll be able to run a CLOSING DATE EXCEPTION REPORT if you ever need to see what changes have been made:


Don’t rely on your users to know whether or not changes they’re making will affect a prior period. SET A PASSWORD-PROTECTED CLOSING DATE TO PREVENT CHANGES.

If you find yourself in the  hypothetical scenario described at the top of this post…call a ProAdvisor to get your books back to where they were when you sent them to the accountant 🙂

NOTE FOR SALES TAX and/or HST/GST FILERS: I recommend that you set the closing date as soon as you’ve filed a sales tax return. In the case of quarterly filers, this means the closing date is changed quarterly. 

Get creative with a splash of QuickBooks account color!

Do you have more than one bank or credit card account? Have you ever entered a transaction in one of those accounts just to realize you posted it to the wrong account? Here’s one way to reduce the chances of that happening. Change the account color to distinguish your accounts! Here’s how to do it:

From the chart of accounts, double click on the register you want to change. Then select EDIT > CHANGE ACCOUNT COLOR…

You can select a color or customize your own. I find the basic colors to be too dark, so click on DEFINE CUSTOM COLORS. Then pick a color “chiclet” that you like, and drag the arrow upwards to lighten the color. If it’s a color you want to use more than once, add it to the pack by selecting ADD TO CUSTOM COLORS. Click okay, and the color of the register will change!

What’s great is that you can change colors for essentially all of your balance sheet accounts. It’s a great feature that’s fun to play around with.

Interesting for Canadian users…CHANGE ACCOUNT COLOUR uses the British spelling, but when you open the preference box, it appears all five times spelled COLOR. Hmmm…oversight or programming necessity?

QuickBooks keyboard shortcuts you didn’t know about!

I love having ways to stay on the keyboard so I’m not continually going back and forth to the mouse. Which saves time! So instead of clicking on the little calendar icon, try out some of these keyboard shortcuts when you’re entering dates.

t  ~ Today
y ~ beginning of the calendar Year
r ~ the end of the calendar yeaR
m ~ beginning of the Month
h ~ the end of the montH
w ~ beginning of the Week
k ~ end of the weeK
+ ~ increase date by one day
  ~ decrease date by one day

Park your mouse in the date field, and play around a bit. For example, if you keep tapping “h” you’ll advance the month. Repeatedly tapping “y” reverses the year. And so on.

One more thing when manually entering dates that’s awesome. QuickBooks isn’t fussy about the slash or a whole bunch of extra digits. Let’s say you’re entering July 7, 2012, or 07/07/2012. You can enter 7.7 or 7/7 or even 7-7. QuickBooks knows it’s the current year. You don’t need to write out the whole date, and you don’t need the zeros. So save yourself some keystrokes!

Stay tuned…more keyboard shortcuts to come in upcoming blogs. And as always, your questions and comments are welcome!

How do I handle a refund to a debit card?

As usual, there are a few ways to do this in QuickBooks. But here’s a way that I discovered that works beautifully, especially if you’re in Canada and dealing with GST. You’re going to be entering a BILL CREDIT:

1. Go to enter bills. Select the radio button that says CREDIT.

2. Enter the vendor information as you normally would, including the date of the refund, a descriptive memo line, and the customer/job if applicable. Enter the amount of the refund (CREDIT AMOUNT) and use the ACCOUNT you originally used for the purchase. QuickBooks will automatically calculate the sales tax.

3. Now here’s the cool part! Under the expenses tab, go to a new line. In the ACCOUNT field, enter the BANK ACCOUNT where the refund will show up. Then, tab over and enter the total amount of the refund as a NEGATIVE number. Now click RECALCULATE, and the total in the CREDIT AMOUNT will change to ZERO. Click SAVE AND CLOSE.

4. The amount of the refund will now appear in the bank account reconciliation on the right side under DEPOSITS AND OTHER CREDITS.

Simple and effective!

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