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Caesar's Brook Babblings
QuickBooks News You Can Use 
March 2009 - Vol 2, Issue 3
In This Issue
Faster Data Entry with Keyboard Shortcuts
Changing Account Color
Creating Customer Statements
What are Statement Charges?
Caesar's Brook

Welcome to the March issue of Caesar's Brook Babblings.

This month we continue our look at QuickBooks tools to help you manage your Accounts Receivable with an article on Customer Statements, and I offer up some of my favorite QuickBooks keyboard shortcuts to help you speed up your data entry.
Think Spring! I know I do.
Faster Data Entry with Keyboard Shortcuts
Keyboard MoneyIf time is money, then speeding up your QuickBooks data entry is money in your pocket. Keeping your fingers on the keyboard instead of reaching for the mouse will increase your data entry speed significantly, and QuickBooks has a lot of keyboard shortcuts to help you do that.  We covered the QuickBooks Calculator in our September 2008 Newsletter
I am going to share a few more of my favorites with you here.
Tab Key Moves Between Fields
The single most important thing you can do to speed up your data entry is to train yourself to use the Tab key to move between fields on QuickBooks forms.  When you finish entering data into one field, such as customer name, using the Tab key to move to the next field highlights that entire field and positions you to type over any prefilled default data.  If you need to go back a field, Shift + Tab will take you there.
When you have completed the form, pressing the Enter key will take the default action.  The default action is indicated by the highlighted button, such as the "Save & New" button on an Invoice form.
Using the Tab key to move between fields is the QuickBooks default preference.  However, it can be changed.  If your QuickBooks isn't behaving the way I have described above, make sure the "Pressing Enter Moves Between Fields" box that appears on the General Tab of the Preferences dialog box available from the Edit pull down menu is unchecked.
ALT + Underlined Letter
What if you don't want to take the default action?  You want to select "Save & Close" instead of "Save & New".  ALT + A (the underlined letter in "Save & Close") will do it.  My favorite place to use this one is quickly switching between the Expense tab (ALT + X) and the Item tab (ALT + M) on a Vendor Bill.
Spacebar Unchecks the Box
Here's one I just learned recently.  As you are doing data entry, periodically you will come across something that needs to be checked or unchecked.  Instead of picking up the mouse, hit the spacebar.  The spacebar will toggle between checked and unchecked.  Two examples of places this trick can come in handy are marking a vendor bill that has a customer:job assigned as billable or unbillable and speeding up your bank reconciliation.
Don't Forget Cut & Paste
QuickBooks implements the standard Windows shortcuts for Copy (CTRL + C), Cut (CTRL + X) and Paste (CTRL + V).

Look for more keyboard shortcuts in future issues of Caesar's Brook Babblings or get a full list of them by searching QuickBooks Help for "shortcuts".

QuickTip of the Month
Changing Account Color

Did you know that you can color code your QuickBooks accounts?  If you have more than one bank account, more than one credit card, or more than one Accounts Payable account, this can help prevent data entry errors.
Color CodedOpen the account register or open a related form with the account selected (such as Write Check or Enter Credit Card Charge).  From the Edit pull down menu, select "Change Account Color" and pick your new color.  Your register and related forms will now be displayed in the new color. 
FeatureFeature Article
Creating Customer Statements

AccountsIf you extend credit to your customers, you may want to make it a practice to send your customers statements.  Create Statements can be found on the Customer pull down menu or on the Home page.  (If you don't find this option on the Home page, make sure the Statements preference is selected on the Desktop View Tab of the Preferences dialog box available from the Edit pull down menu.)

QuickBooks gives you the option to send statements to all customers who meet specific criteria or to individually selected customers.

Regular Monthly Statements

You may choose to send your customers monthly statements showing all activity on their account during the statement period.  Statements for a particular period will include a balance forward showing the balance as of the beginning of the period.  You should be sure your statement periods are consecutive so that the beginning balance on any given statement always matches the ending balance on the previous statement.  QuickBooks allows you filter out customers with no activity, $0 balances, or balances below a minimum amount.

Reminder Statements

An alternative to sending a regular monthly statement is to send statements as a reminder of outstanding invoices.  Start by reviewing an A/R Aging Summary or Open Invoice Report with the same date as the statements you will be sending.  This will help you identify target customers.  Be sure to apply any unapplied payments or credits before generating your statements.

On the Create Statements screen, enter the as of date and select whether to include all open items as of the statement date or only those items which are some number of days past due.  Be sure that the option to include the transaction due date is checked.

Customizing Statements

You can customize the Statement form with your logo, fonts, and colors, just as you can with Invoice forms.  However, there is very little you can do to customize what appears on the statement itself.  There is a checkbox to include invoice detail, but most people find the results confusing.  With this box unchecked, you get only the date of the transaction, the transaction type, the number, the amount, the original amount if applicable, and the memo field.  Your statements will be more meaningful if you make it a practice to include a brief description of the sale in the invoice memo field and "Applied to inv #..." in the payment memo field.
What are Statement Charges?
QuickBooks provides three alternatives for recording sales to customers:  Invoices, Sales Receipts, and Statement Charges.  Statement Charges are a method of accumulating charges on a customer account without creating individual sales documents.  At the end of statement period, statements are sent showing all activity on the account during the statement period. Customers pay from the statement.  For example, a landscaping business that mows lawns or plows driveways might use Statement Charges to record each time a service is provided, then send a monthly statement that shows all services provided during the month.
Statement charges have some limitations.  You can only record one item per statement charge, you can't include percentage discounts or taxable items, the description field is limited, and no custom fields are available.

banner 2I hope you found these babblings useful.  Your feedback is important to me.  Please drop me a line and let me know what you think.
Susan Dugdale
Caesar's Brook Business Solutions, LLC
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