Stay on Track with 8 Essential Accounting Tips

The New Year is here! It’s a time when many of us make resolutions to improve our health, finances or family situations. As a business owner, New Year’s resolutions are also a great way to make positive changes for the future – especially when it comes to finances and accounting. If you’ve struggled with the daily challenges of running a small business, here are some essential accounting tips that will get you back on track and on the road to success.

Think ahead. Are there some expenses you’ll need to incur in the coming year such as new office equipment, computer upgrade or remodeling/repairs? Plan ahead by setting aside money now so you’ll have the resources when you need it. You can also take the stress out of next year’s taxes by putting back a certain amount of cash each month.

Invest in accounting software. A little investment in accounting software upfront will make all the difference in the long run. Programs like Sage 50 allow you to keep everything you need in one place for easy access and recovery and will help you track unpaid invoices, billable hours and your budget as well as create customized invoices. Always be sure your current program is up-to-date.

Don’t mix business with personal. As your business grows, it’s important to separate your business and personal expenses. If you use personal funds to supplement your business, record them as loans or capital contributions. Your accountant can assist you with any questions you have.

Check, check and re-check. Even though your accounting software does a lot of the work for you, data entry errors still happen. Monthly reconciliation of your bank account as well as running monthly error reports can go a long way in making sure your books are as accurate as possible.

Keep an eye on inventory. Track all inventory (i.e. dates purchased, stock numbers, purchase prices, dates sold, etc). Managing your inventory will help cut down on “misplaced” items or alert you to suspicious activity or theft.

Track every expense. Avoid using cash for businesses purchases whenever possible. A credit or debit card will make tracking statements easy, plus it will help you and your employees in recording true business expenses (which is information you’ll need to know come tax time).

If expense reports are a pain in your side, Expensify integrates with Sage 50 and makes capturing receipts, tracking time or mileage, business travel and creating expense reports in a timely manner easy — for both you and your employees. Just be sure to set up a clear, published time frame for submitting expenses — whether bi-weekly, monthly, etc). When employees delay filing their expenses, not only does it hurt their pockets, it can also cause cash-flow challenges for you, not to mention associated accounting nightmares.

Make your clients pay. Sending out an invoice doesn’t always mean a check’s in the mail. Don’t let your clients avoid regular payments and always follow up on unpaid invoices. Sage 50 allows you to put an account on hold once it reaches an outstanding dollar amount (set by you) so additional orders can’t be placed. This safeguard keeps past-due clients from accidentally slipping through the cracks.

Make time for your books. Don’t get caught up in the “end of the year scramble.” You may find yourself spending hours trying to track down receipts and other documents that are several months old and that is just plain stressful. Put your bookkeeping day on the calendar and stick to it – you’ll feel much better when the end of the year rolls around.

Can’t do it all?
Running your business can be stressful enough without dealing with all the financial responsibilities that come with it. If you simply don’t have the time it takes to keep it all straight, that’s OK. Hire a part-time bookkeeper to help keep you on track with finances and payroll. Maybe there’s a financial advisor or an accountant in your area who knows your industry that you can rely on for expertise and advice when needed.

Sage 50 Memorized Transactions

Save Time with Sage 50 Business Templates You Can Use Later

If you often find yourself sifting through stacks of papers or wrestling with Excel when you need a report on monthly sales and inventory or customer invoices, you’re probably not alone. No matter the size of your business, managing the books is a necessary evil, and one of the most vital activities that contributes to your current and future success. Robust programs for accounting and customer relationship management can increase your ability to compete, but only if they are used strategically and effectively.

Do you:

  • Provide the same/similar service for a customer on a regular basis?
  • Pay a bill to the same company on the same day each month?
  • Have a repeat order with a vendor?

Rather than spending valuable time entering and re-entering data for every new transaction, why not make use of Sage 50 Quantum’s memorized transactions and create templates that can be saved and used later? Sage 50 can memorize and save quotes, sales invoices, purchase orders, payments, and general journal entries for payroll and month-end accruals.

Memorize Repeat General Journal Transactions

Using memorized transactions can save time in repetitive data-entry tasks… here’s how:

  1. Access a Memorized Transaction or create a new one from the Maintain menu.
  2. Under Memorized Transactions, select General Journal Entries and make your entry as you typically would in the Memorized Journal Entry shown and give it a Transaction ID (i.e. PRTRANS-01)
    Sage 50 memorized transaction
  3. The hidden little arrow in Sage 50 (just to the right of the List button) needs to be selected when you go through your normal General Journal Entry process.
  4. After selecting the little down arrow button, click on the Select button to get to the list of memorized journal entries.
  5. From the list of memorized transactions, select the memorized transaction you want to use and select the OK button to create your journal entry.
  6. After your memorized transaction has been pulled into your current journal entry you can change your reference number, amounts and even add lines to the entry as needed before you save it.

Start using memorized transactions from Sage 50 Quantum so you can free up your time and focus your energies on those that matter most – your customers.

The Beauty of Archives

Sage 50 Premium and Quantum products come with advanced accounting features including advanced budgeting, archive company data, and change order processing.  Previously, we showed you change order processing earlier, so now let’s take a look at archiving company data.

Purchase orders, sales orders, and stock transactions can all be archived before closing out your year.  This will help with software processing speed plus keep your data clean.

Back Up

You should always make a back up of your data before making these types of changes to your system (within Sage 50, go to File -> backup).

If you absolutely must keep copies of your invoices and other records, consider creating .PDF copies of them and storing them in a separate digital file on your server or external hard drive.  This will free up space in Sage 50 for increased performance.

Archived company data can still be retrieved by opening the archived company from the file menu.  But by pulling it out of your current data, your system runs faster allowing you to get more done every week.

Clear the Audit Trail

Go a step further and clear the Audit Trail to remove paid and reconciled transactions to free up even more space.  Consider doing this annually to keep your system from getting bogged down unnecessarily.  This can be accessed by going to Tools -> Period End -> Clear Audit Trail.  The online wizard makes the process easy.

Struggling to keep up with change requests?

Last week we took a look at managing projects in the Job and Project Management Center. This month, we’re going to explore this management center further with Change Order Processing, a feature allowing you to track change requests and their approvals.

A change order is a way to track changes to job estimates.

Sage 50’s advanced change order tracking system lets you quickly see how job changes will affect overall profitability, keep track of when an estimate changed, how much and even who approved the change order.

This can help make sure each job stays profitable and helps protect the business by staying on top of changes.

Easier Processing

Revising revenue estimates is easy; simply open a “new change order” to record your revisions.  Once the order is approved, it’s automatically applied to job records and report estimates.

Here are the steps:

  1. Open a new change order
    • Click on the “Jobs” button and select New Change Order
    • Enter the change order details (Job, date, etc.)
    • You can also change the projected end date if necessary on this screen.
    • Enter any relevant notes you want to tie to the change order (why the customer requested the change, etc.)
  2. Enter the specific change
    • Enter change estimates for units, expenses, revenues by the amount the current estimate is changing by (example: if the existing expense estimate is $200 and the new estimate is going to be $150, enter -50.00 as the change amount).
  3. Approve
    • Approve the order by checking “approved”
    • Select “applied to transaction” to keep track of orders applied to a proposal or invoice
    • Enter the date and approvers name
    • Select “Update Job Estimates”

You can also print or email change orders by selecting the option on the toolbar.  This is helpful if you want to quickly confirm with your customer and keep them informed of the changes to the job.

Tip: You can view a full list of all change orders by selecting “list” on the toolbar

Sage 50 Digital Detox

Last month, we showed you how to make vendors and customers inactive. So now is a perfect time to consider getting rid of all those unnecessary files.

If you haven’t purged data recently (or at all) consider getting rid of inactive or unnecessary data now. This is especially important if your Sage 50 system is running slower than it used to, or your company file size is getting too large. It’s a perfect time after closing out your year, but you can do this any time.

This digital detox can help increase processing speed and keep your data clean… plus save loads of time by not having to sifting through long lists of unused items.

Getting rid of data can be unnerving; and using the word “purge” certainly doesn’t help. But the data you’re removing are just inactive vendors, employees, quotes, invoices, cost codes, GL accounts, inventory items, etc. The disk space and speed is far more valuable than those old records.

If you followed the steps from last month’s post to flush out inactive records, you know there are records worth purging. If you haven’t done that yet, go ahead and do it now [link from last month’s post here]; it only takes a few minutes and definitely worth it in the long run.

So how do you do it?

  1. Sage makes it easy with a Purge Wizard that will walk you through its straightforward process.
  2. Click on Customers & Sales -> scroll down to “System” -> and then select “Purge Wizard.”
  3. The Wizard offers the opportunity to create a backup of your company files before you get started; we highly recommend you do this.
  4. Use date parameters and then choose which transactions you want to remove (including vendors, employees, inactive customers, jobs, quotes, invoices, and purchase orders).purge-wizard
  5. You will then have the option to reconcile each account before you purge data.
  6. Next, you can select which inactive records you’d like to purge.

Once the purge is complete, consider taking your system maintenance one step further and compress the data.

  1. Go to File -> Maintenance -> Compress Data
  2. Select the specific areas in the system where you removed records.

Your system should be running smoother and more efficiently. If not, you may need a more robust accounting solution to handle larger data requirements.

Call 866-686-1329 or e-mail us at sales@quantumbuyers.com to help you understand all the options available to you. The new Sage 50 Quantum handles remarkably well; you might be amazed at how much more productive you could be.

 

photo attribution: gcpics/dollarphotoclub

Making multiple vendors/customers inactive with batch processing

Too Many Vendors?

Tired of scrolling through achingly long lists of outdated vendor records?

Well say goodbye to endless scrolling. Shorten those lists by making the records inactive (and also improve system performance).

Sure, you can go into each record and manually mark them inactive… one… at… a… time, but who has that kind of time?

Clear those inactive vendors quickly with batch processing in just a couple of simple steps. This rarely used feature has been part of your Sage 50 Quantum for a while but it’s not something many people think about using or even realize the function is available.

Use it! It will shave time off tasks every day and, as you know, every second adds up. Here’s how to do it:

  1. To set multiple records as inactive, go to the menu bar, select Maintain, then Make Records Inactive.
  2. There you can make old or unused records inactive all at once and even opt to view records you haven’t used since a certain date.
  3. After you complete the above task, go to Options -> Global to “hide inactive records” so you no longer see them in your lists.  You also have the option to “purge” those records.

This will speed up your day but it should also improve your software performance.  By the way… you can do this same thing with your inactive customers!