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Make QuickBooks Yours: Customize the Desktop

09/09/2020

If your business has been locked down because of the pandemic, or you are scrambling to hold things together with fewer employees or diminishing sales, you may be depending on QuickBooks more than ever. Whether you’re keeping an eye on dwindling inventory, closely monitoring your daily cash flow, or trying to collect on invoices that aren’t being paid because your customers are short on money, QuickBooks can help.

Getting Around Quickly

Customizing QuickBooks and streamlining its operations will take some of the unnecessary frustration out of your work life by accommodating different work styles and preferences as well as providing multiple navigation methods such as:

  • The old, standard Windows menus.
  • The home page’s icons.
  • The Icon Bar that appears in the left vertical pane by default (you change its position by opening the View menu).

If you’re going to use the Icon Bar, make sure you set it up to prominently display your most often-used tools. You can do this by right-clicking in the toolbar and then clicking on Customize Shortcuts to open the Customize Icon Bar window. In the upper left corner, you’ll see a list of your icons as they’re currently arranged. You can rearrange them by grabbing the small diamonds to their left with your mouse and dragging them to their new positions. You can change their labels by clicking Edit, or Delete them.

Figure 1: You can add almost any window in QuickBooks to your fast-access Icon Bar.

You’re not limited to the items on the list. Click Add, and the Add Icon Bar Item opens, as pictured above. Click on any of the ones you want to include in the Icon Bar, then click OK. QuickBooks allows you to add almost any screen to your Icon Bar. Navigate to the window you want to add, then open the View menu and select Add…to Icon Bar. If you never use the Icon Bar, you can collapse it by clicking the small arrow to the right of the Search box at the top of the pane. You can also close the home page by clicking the lower of the two small X’s in the upper right.

Tile Your Windows

If you regularly work with the same handful of screens, there’s a faster way to access them. Open them all, then open the Window menu and select Tile Vertically. All the windows will be displayed on the same screen, arranged vertically. If there are enough of them, they will overlap. To activate one, just click on it. You can open it to full screen by clicking the small rectangle in the upper right and return to your vertical arrangement by clicking the double rectangle in the upper right.

If you prefer, you can Tile Horizontally. Or, you can click Cascade to display them stacked on top of each other with only each window’s title label showing, as shown below. If you want to go back to a blank screen and start over, click Window | Close All. The Window menu also displays a list of open windows that can be used for navigation.

Figure 2: If you click Window | Cascade with multiple windows open, QuickBooks will stack them, with only the bottom screen showing. Click on a title label to open a different window.

The Desktop View

There are other ways you can make QuickBooks work the way you want it to. Open the Edit menu and select Preferences, then Desktop View. Click on the My Preferences tab if it’s not already highlighted. There are several preferences here. Look under the Desktop heading. You can have QuickBooks open to the configuration of Windows you want. Your options are:

  • Save [the windows that are already open] when closing company.
  • Save current desktop (a specific set of windows).
  • Don’t save the desktop (always open to just the home page).

Click the Company Preferences tab to add or remove icons from the home page. This is also where you turn features on and off.

Still Here and Ready to Help

While these suggestions may seem minor, they will save time. More importantly, they will give you a better sense of control over the hours you spend on accounting tasks, and with so many things out of our control right now, creating a software environment that is tailored to your workflow can benefit you.

You may be struggling right now to maintain your financial as well as physical health. More than ever, don’t hesitate to contact the office for assistance if you have a QuickBooks or general accounting problem to solve during this challenging period.

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frequently asked questions

  • What Is A Virtual CFO & How Can It Transform My Business?
    • a. A Virtual CFO can be a much-needed sounding board, coach, and guide. Outsourced Virtual CFO is generally not just one person, but an experienced team of professionals providing a full-stack Accounting and Finance Department at a fraction of the cost that it would otherwise cost a business to hire even just one full-time CFO internally. The right virtual CFO service team, such as the one at Perpetual CPA, can deliver timely, detailed, comprehensive financial reporting, interpret the financial data, prioritize recommendations, give expert guidance on how to execute those recommendations, and ultimately give a better path to business success.
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      b. A Virtual Accounting Department can integrate with a company’s own accounting department to create a blended solution or provide a full-stack accounting department, including Accounting Staff, Manager, Controller, and Virtual CFO. By using a Virtual Accounting Department Small business owners don’t have to worry about hiring, training, figuring out compensation, and payroll compliance for the internal accounting team. Also as the business grows and new and more complex accounting and tax issues come up, the outsourced Virtual Accounting Department can provide all the needed expertise to facilitate continued business success.
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    • a. Certified Public Accountants (CPAs) do a lot more than just crunch numbers and prepare taxes. They provide valuable expertise and strategies to help businesses and individuals achieve their business and financial goals. A CPA firm can help small businesses with management financial reporting, tax compliance, strategic business advice, and much more. Firms like Perpetual CPA, that specialize in helping small and medium-sized businesses achieve growth, can also provide Virtual CFO services, that help the business owners have the foresight into the short-term future cashflows and be able to more successfully navigate their business performance.
  • What are the best strategies for small business growth?
    • a. A business growth strategy is, simply, a plan of how a business gets from where it is today to where it wants to be in the future.

      b. Some of the questions to consider when coming up with a growth strategy are:
      i. Where will the business get new customers from?
      ii. How will the business expand into new markets?
      iii. What new products could the business offer?

      c. In reality, what happens with many small businesses, is that they generally achieve a specific level of business activity or sales and then the business growth trend flattens. In those cases, working with a firm like Perpetual CPA, which provides Virtual CFO services, can help small businesses avoid stagnation. Virtual CFO services, aside from providing timely accounting and tax reporting, can also provide valuable insight into the current performance of the business, as well as, foresight into the future cash flows for the business. Perpetual CPA Virtual CFO team helps small businesses interpret their financial information and come up with business strategies to help improve business performance and achieve growth.
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      b. For many small and medium-sized businesses, the easiest way to develop and implement a business risk management plan is to work with a reputable CPA firm, such as Perpetual CPA. Large corporations invest a lot of resources and time into managing risk, which is a material factor that allows those large corporations to continue to generate billions of dollars in revenue every year. Small businesses, however, almost never manage any business risks, which is the major reason that over half of all the small businesses do not survive for more than 5 years. Generally, small business owners are not experienced corporate business professionals and lack the needed business knowledge, yet they often have to wear many hats while trying to get their businesses off the ground. In those situations, a CPA firm such as Perpetual CPA, can help small businesses better manage tax compliance risks, cash flow, internal controls, business administration, financial reporting, and much more.
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    • a. When small businesses start spinning wheels, it is a good time to consider hiring a reputable CPA firm, such as Perpetual CPA, which can provide both Strategic Advice and Virtual CFO services.

      b. As a strategic advisor, the CPA firm will work with business management to improve the effectiveness and profitability of the business. They will look holistically at the business and find ways to operate the business more efficiently, increase customers through additional or improved marketing or improve customer touchpoints and service.

      c. As a Virtual CFO, the CPA firm is like a part-time version of a traditional CFO or Chief Financial Officer plus a full Accounting support team. They perform the tasks that in a larger organization would be performed by the CFO, Controller, and Accounting Staff such as preparing and overseeing the budget process, identifying and analyzing current and future trends, and developing strategies for the business growth.
  • How can timely financial visibility and management reporting help with better business decisions and growth?
    • a. A simple way to a successful business is to prioritize the timely financial visibility and management reporting as it means:
      i. Timely financial information and analysis are essential for making informed decisions, evaluating your company’s results, improving financial performance, and ensuring you are on the path to meet your strategic goals.
      ii. Management reporting is a source of business intelligence that helps business leaders make more accurate, data-driven decisions. But, these reports are most useful if they are available timely and the management receives proper interpretation of the business financial information.

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