Is it Safe to Automate Your QuickBooks or Do You Need an Accountant?

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QuickBooks is designed to run almost entirely on autopilot either on its own or with add-on apps. But remember that almost doesn't count. QuickBooks automation can help boost your efficiency, but you still need that human touch.

What QuickBooks Can Do

QuickBooks is great for anything that happens repeatedly. This might be your sales, payroll, taxes, or monthly bills.

For most of these recurring transactions, you can simply set up a rule so that QuickBooks automatically classifies it. Other things might need an add-on such as an app to properly identify sales by individual item from your point of sale system.

What QuickBooks Can't Do

At the end of the day, QuickBooks is just a tool that does what you tell it. If you make a one-time purchase of new office furniture, you'll need to confirm the details manually. The software also might get fooled by an unusual transaction that accidentally matches your recurring transaction rules and misclassify it.

In addition, QuickBooks also provides little to no information on how to classify things properly. Both tax and GAAP accounting have complex rules that sometimes go against what seems like the obvious answer. You might make a mistake like thinking something should go in Category A as an immediate expense when you really need to capitalize it as an asset in Category B.

Setting Up QuickBooks

The first thing that makes or breaks how much QuickBooks will help your business is how you set it up. Many problems or time wasted on extra unnecessary work is a result of a poor setup.

Major setup steps can include:

•           Writing well-defined rules that avoid misclassified transactions.

•           Setting up a chart of accounts and reporting system that follow accounting rules.

•           Figuring out where to first import information from -- e.g., linking your invoicing system to match payments rather than pulling them from your bank accounts.

•           Creating recurring reports that will give you useful and timely information.

The two key things to remember are that you don't know what you don't know and to not try to reinvent the wheel. If you have no accounting background and are using QuickBooks for the first time, it could take days to figure it out, and you still could unknowingly do something wrong.

To make sure you get started on the right foot, you can ask your accountant for QuickBooks setup help even if you plan to do the routine bookkeeping yourself.

Getting More Out of QuickBooks

You also need to keep your focus on why you're keeping your books. It isn't because it's something you're supposed to do. Even filing your tax return at the end of the year is only a small part of why you need bookkeeping.

Your main goal should be to find ways to continually grow, boost your profits, or just make sure you're protected against a downturn. To do this, you don't just need QuickBooks to send you weekly and monthly reports, you need to know how to interpret them.

A good accountant will point out things like declining profit margins on a product or opportunities to reduce costs with bulk purchasing. You might be able to spot some of these things on your own, but can you match the expertise of an accountant with years of specialized training who also has the opportunity to see what many other businesses are doing?

Ready to Go to the Next Level?

Are you ready to save time and money by automating your bookkeeping but also want to make sure your numbers are still right? Do you want to find ways to add value to your business? Schedule a consultation now.