June 2014 Newsletter

Queen of QuickBooks

On Father’s Day I was thinking about my dad, who taught me everything I know about money. He would have been 94 this year. I want to tell you one of the most important things he taught me, but first here are a news flash and a reminder about upcoming classes:

News Flash about QuickBooks Online
Intuit is attempting to salvage their QuickBooks Online, which does not work as well as the QuickBooks Desktop version. No one wants to use the Online version — accountants, bookkeepers, and CPAs screamed about it. Now Intuit is trying to upgrade it. We don’t know how long that will take, so for now stick to the Desktop version.

QuickBooks Intro: July 8th – 22nd

  • This three-week, three-hours-per-session introduction to QuickBooks is essential so that you find out which version of QuickBooks to use, and learn important basic information about how to use it.
  • Understanding accounting basics is important, and is stressed in this class.
  • The skills you acquire in this introductory class will enable you to go to the next step and set up your own company file and/or clean up the one you now have(which can be done in the Weekend Warrior Workshop).
  • Classes are held at Redwood High School in Marin County, California. Register at Tamalpais Adult and Community Education. Type 120200 into the “Search” box. New students may need to create a profile (with a user name and password) in order to sign in.

Queen’s Academy Weekend Warrior Workshop: July 25th and 26th

These classes fill up quickly because they are small and customized, allowing students to ask questions and get information relevant to their particular business. All QuickBooks is taught with an emphasis on the best practices in accounting.

Now for some Father’s Day Cash Flow Advice

My father taught me everything I know about money — and what happens if you run out of it. Basically, he put the fear of God in me about money. Maybe that is why I became the Queen of QuickBooks.

My Father grew up in a depression era. His father was an important minister of a large Baptist Church in Salt Lake City, Utah. They often were broke with not enough money for groceries. There were six kids in the family. Often, instead of paying a salary, parishioners would donate goods, like cases of corn flakes. My dad said he looked in the cellar one time and it was filled with corn flake boxes. At night if they hadn’t had a big enough dinner, they would have a bowl of cereal before going to bed.

The goal was to never run of out money and thus not be able to eat. The Prime Directive was budget. No matter how much money you do or do not have — it is essential to keep track of it accurately, and thereby control the cash flow train when it tries to go off the tracks.

The formula is simple — either make more money or spend less money (and therein lies the rub for most folks, including the Queen).

Because there were no credit cards, the Prime Directive said:

  • Get a good education.
  • Get a good job.
  • Stay at that job until you retire.
  • Buy a house. Pay it off. Make it your nest — you do plan to be there until no house is needed any longer.
  • Go to your local bank to do business with your money.

No more of this. Elizabeth Warren details what blew that plan out of the water with her newest book, “A Fighting Chance.” Her book is a story, a drama, and details exactly how my father’s plan would no longer work and how he was robbed of the middle class dream he had worked for all his life.

What am I supposed to do now?

How does a small business leverage their cash? Where do you find the $ to float for a payroll due in two days? Do you go to your bank and ask for a Line of Credit (LOC)? Do you use credit cards (BEWARE: they are seductive and deceptive)?

Accounting actually gives us the tools to manage cash flow and to make sure that all of the money that is owed to you by customer is in your checking account and not theirs.

This is called Account Receivable (AR) — who owes you money and when do you think you will be getting it?

The Queen uses “Dialing for Dollars” — a technique designed to reel in all of the outstanding and possibly overdue invoices owed to you. It is simple, really.

In QuickBooks go to “Reports” on the word menu (the one at the top) then choose Customers and Receivables/ Collections Report.

Print this out. Someone who has a good talking voice and patience should be put in charge of calling the people who owe money and asking them when it will be paid (in the nicest way). Then you make a note of what they said (you can even put that in the notes tab of the customer record, so that the next person who looks at the record will see what you have done).

You will be surprised how many customers who owe you money may say, “Oh, we never received the invoice!”

Then you get to say, “Oh, let me email you another one.”

Then the next week, you go through the list again and see who has not paid. If Bob at Choice Consulting told you he would mail a check by Monday, check on Wednesday to see if that happened. If it didn’t, make another call to Bob.

“Hi Bob, we didn’t get the check on Wednesday. Do you think it got lost in the mail?” Then Bob will tell you something else and you note that. This goes on and on, pleasantly and routinely calling until the invoice is paid in full.

And the best news is that if the AR doesn’t solve it, you can go to your bank and ask for a Line of Credit — and now you will have the correct Profit and Loss Report (Financial Statement) and accurate Balance Sheet (what you have and what you owe), to properly apply for the LOC.

Have a great summer — and manage that cash flow!
Pamela Lyons is a Certified QuickBooks Pro Advisor and a Microsoft Certified Trainer. She teaches with a hands-on, real-world technique that has proven successful for hundreds of students.

Pamela Lyons

The Queen of QuickBooks …

Pamela Lyons provides clients with efficient, easy-to-use, time- and money-saving solutions for all their accounting needs. Find out how she can help you, too!


Speak Your Mind