You can get into a rental car and just start driving to your destination. But, you will soon realize you need to know where the temperature and radio controls are. If it starts raining, you must know where the wiper controls are. And when it gets dark, you'd better know how to turn on the headlights.
The same goes for running your business with QuickBooks Online. You can jump right in creating and paying bills, invoicing customers or recording expenses, but you'll quickly discover those tasks would be easier if you had established some ground rules first.
So, it's a good idea to visit the Gear Menu early in your QuickBooks Online journey. It's easy to access: just click the Gear Icon next to your company name in the upper right hand corner of the screen.
The Gear Menu lets you manage tasks like changing company settings, managing your chart of accounts, setting up products or services, and reviewing recurring transactions.
It's organized so you can quickly get to tasks that involve your settings, your lists, use tools like importing, exporting, reconciling or budgeting, and manage the details of your account.
Critical Functions - Account and Setting Preferences
It's very important to set your preferences on the Account and Settings screen found under Your Company on the Gear Menu before you start entering live data into your QuickBooks Online account. QuickBooks Online comes with its own default settings that many businesses would be likely to use; but you need to evaluate these and see if you need to change any of them to better fit your company.
Note: If you went through the QuickBooks Online setup process with our team, these settings have already been customized for your business.
It's easy to specify your preferences on these screens. Just click on each tab on the left in succession, going through each setting and choosing the preference that best fits your situation.
During this process, you may have to make decisions you haven't had to consider before. For example, do you want to use custom fields or custom transaction numbers? Do you want to track Classes or Locations? Sepulvado Consulting Group can go through this together with you if you'd like to make sure you know what each option means and your account is set up correctly.
Going through these settings one by one has another benefit: you will learn about things QuickBooks Online can do that you may not already know about.
Restricting Access - Manage Users
Will anyone other than you be using your QuickBooks Online account? If so, you'll want to visit the Manage Users screen. Here you can assign roles to users and specify what areas of the site they can access, as well as what they can do there. QuickBooks Online will conduct a "mini interview" to walk you through this critical process.
There will be some items on the Gear Menu that you will set preferences for and rarely visit those items again, whereas others you will access more often. One you're likely to visit more frequently is All Lists. Here, you'll be able to complete tasks like:
- Creating records for the products and/or services that you sell.
- Setting up recurring transactions - regularly scheduled invoices, bills, etc. that occur at periodic intervals. (Note: You can choose to either be reminded of these or let them be process automatically. Please consult with a Certified QuickBooks Online Advisor if using this feature to avoid serious problems that can occur with improper set up).
- Adding or modifying customer payment terms.
We cannot stress enough the importance of establishing your accounting settings (Account and Settings) and defining user roles (Managing Users) in QuickBooks Online from the Gear Menu. However, there are many other tools in the Gear Menu you'll likely want to visit at some point too - when you're ready to create a budget or do your first reconciliation.
Contact us for help customizing QuickBooks Online to meet your company's unique needs to get the most out of your accounting software solution.