How to Get Your QuickBooks Balances Right Every Time

Reconciling is the process of matching your transactions in QuickBooks with a source document- usually a bank or credit card statement.

This simple function is the way you make sure the balances you are seeing in your books actually match with reality. The longer you go without reconciling the more likely it is the books are off- maybe way off, depending on how you do things.

If the beginning balance is correct and you have checked all the transactions for the period are correct then your ending balance is correct and all is well. Some people don’t bother do this step because they assume that the downloads are already taking care of that but that is definitely not the case!

Surprising as it is, bank downloads are very often not quite correct and they may include duplicates, errors or missing items that will only be caught by a reconciliation.

If you aren’t downloading transactions there is even more chance of making a mistake and missing something or just typo-ing an entry and not realizing it. If you have no way to check your work then you won’t automatically see that kind of error.

Another way it goes wrong is in transfers between accounts- a transfer should only be entered once and include movement from one account to the other. But if you download your checking account and it shows all the movements to your savings account, and then you download the savings account and it shows all the movements to your checking account you may have just duplicated a lot of cash in QuickBooks that isn’t really there in reality.

Most people think of reconciling as only being for bank accounts but credit card accounts, lines of credit, paypal accounts and anything else with a starting and ending balance can be reconciled.

We always reconcile active accounts for clients and strongly recommend anyone doing their own books make it a regular part of their process. I can also guarantee if you don’t reconcile your books there are errors- the only question is how big and in which direction.

On a side note- when you do reconcile, it should match! QuickBooks gives you an easy way out to enter a reconciliation discrepancy- the difference between what it should be and what it is. But that only means you’ve got a problem you are ignoring, not that you fixed the problem! If you are regularly using the discrepancy account to cover differences you may as well not bother reconciling in the first place.

And on another note- as you go through and find items that haven’t cleared in a while- more than 30 days for a credit or debit transaction or 60 days for a paper check- take them out! They probably aren’t ever going to clear. or at least investigate further to see what is going on. These items will reduce your balance (or inflate in the case of uncleared deposits) in QuickBooks so if they aren’t real and never happened in the bank they are only contributing to having your ending balance be off. Dump ’em.

Why “No” Is a Great Business Strategy

saying no to the right thingsThere are lots of things in business driving you toward saying “yes” but that is often not the best idea.

For example, everyone’s heard “the customer is always right” but that isn’t always the case and you can be led down the wrong path by mindlessly following that saying. Sometimes the customer is right, but not right for you.

And sometimes the customer is just plain wrong . You don’t want to make enemies but if you can extricate yourself from the situation you can move on to better things and not go through the brain damage of trying to make a bad situation livable.

Learning how to say no is a matter of figuring out Continue reading

Does Postcard Marketing Work?

boxofreceiptspostcardThe question of how to grow a business is one that nearly all of our clients ask themselves on a regular basis.

Very few businesses can survive for long if they aren’t growing because costs never stop rising and there is virtually always attrition in sales no matter what you are selling.

So some amount of growth is necessary just to stand still. And most small business owners are looking to do more than stand still.

It’s also a question I ask myself frequently, since I too am interested in growing CapForge well beyond its current size. The basic response to the question is usually in the form of your choices for growth:

  • Sell more of the same to existing customers
  • Sell new things to existing customers
  • Add more customers

For us, I think we are doing the first two pretty well, although of course there is room for improvement. But I want to focus on the third option for right now, and so then the question becomes: what is the best way to add more customers?

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Planning Your Shark Tank Debut

I’ve been watching a lot of Shark Tank recently, partly because I like the show and partly because there isn’t much elshark-tankse on I want to see. You can only watch so many Modern Family reruns…

Although the primary goal of going on the show for the business owners is to get an investment in their business, there are a lot of things a business owner can learn by watching even if they aren’t seeking an investment.

Things a lot of business owners would be wise to consider!

For example, how would you do on Shark Tank if for some reason you were invited to go on there?

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Don’t Sell Your Business (Until You Read This!)

biz for saleIf you have owned a business for any length of time (and I am including periods as short as a few weeks!) you’ve thought of selling it.

Everyone has days where one thing after another goes wrong and you think maybe I should just sell this thing and go do something else.

Sometimes you get into a funk where all you can think about is how great things would be if you sold the business and didn’t have to come in. Not. One. More. $%^&*@! time.

I’ve certainly been there. I’ve thought to myself that if someone offered me a fair price today I’d take the money in heartbeat. They can have the business and they’re welcome to it!

But there is a big problem with that. You can’t sell it for enough. Not nearly.

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