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“Winging It” In QuickBooks

Posted on March 11th, 2017

Jack Kern
Owner, President
Outsourced Accounting Department, Inc.

I was recently closing year-end for a client and found out they had somehow downloaded numerous, duplicate payments on accounts receivable. As QuickBooks couldn’t locate matching invoices for the duplicates, it created a new customer name called “Other Customers,” and created a negative account receivable balance.

Then, to make matters worse, my client proceeded to enter the bank deposits through the Make Deposits window, but didn’t match up the date of the payment with the correct customer name and date of the deposit per the bank statement (which, by the way, was several months past due being reconciled).

The end result of the above was an accounts receivable report that was so messed up that one couldn’t tell which customers owed what, and several hours of reconciling and re-reconciling her bank account via trial and error on her part, until she finally got the correct payments matched up to the correct customers.

This client is actually also a friend, and I told her jokingly, “You know, QuickBooks will let you do anything you want, but you learn the hard way that after you’ve done it once, you’ll never do it again.” Then I asked her, “But seriously, how much time have you spent trying to fix this, and what would you have rather been doing?”

I have seen messes like this (and far worse) created by numerous QuickBooks users, and it’s almost always the result of not understanding the accounting effect of QuickBooks methodology and instead just “winging it.” In fact, many of our clients came to us initially as a QuickBooks clean-up engagement, after which the client threw up their hands and turned over most or all of the bookkeeping to us.

For any small business owner who is currently attempting to do their own bookkeeping, or contemplating it, I would highly recommend these two articles I found in Entrepreneur Magazine: “What’s the One Task Most Small-Business Owners Loathe?” , and this one;  “5 Tasks Entrepreneurs Are Better Off Outsourcing.”   And here’s one of my own recent articles on a similar topic:  “How You Use QuickBooks Can Distort Your Company’s Profitability.”

Bottom line, as I’ve often told my clients, “Focus on your strengths, delegate your weaknesses.” In other words, where is YOUR time best spent?


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