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Caesar's Brook Babblings
QuickBooks News You Can Use 
September 2009 - Vol 2, Issue 9
In This Issue
More Keyboard Shortcuts
QuickBooks Online Edition
Using Price Levels for Custom Pricing
Caesar's Brook

Welcome to the September issue of Caesar's Brook Babblings.
This month, as the summer winds down, we finish up our series on remote access with a look at QuickBooks Online Edition, a product that has come a long way in the past couple of years.  We also discuss using Price Levels, a handy but often overlooked feature, and learn a few more keyboard shortcuts.
It's hard to believe, but this is our first anniversary issue.  When I started writing this newsletter a year ago, I was sure I'd run out of things to say long before now.  I hope you continue to find this information helpful and as always, I welcome your feedback.

QuickTip of the Month

Keyboard Shortcuts Keyboard Shortcuts
Here are a few more handy keyboard shortcuts:
Ctrl+A - opens the Chart of Accounts
Ctrl+F - opens the Find window
Ctrl+W - opens the Write Checks form
Ctrl+I - opens the Create Invoice form
Ctrl+T - opens the Memorized Transactions List

FeatureFeature Article

QuickBooks Online Edition
While Intuit has continued to develop and enhance their desktop QuickBooks products, over the past several years their strategy as a company has been to move more and more toward what they call "Connected Services" and what you may otherwise hear referred to as "Cloud Computing" or "Software as a Service" (SaaS).  QuickBooks Online Edition is a perfect example of "Connected Services" and, reflecting Intuit's investments in this area, it has come a long, long way since the last time I looked at it.  

Unlike the desktop versions of QuickBooks, you do not purchase a software license; rather you pay a monthly service fee to access the application over an internet connection and your data is stored on their servers.
Quickbooks Online PlusThere are three versions available, Free, Basic and Plus.
  The free version allows you to support up to 20 customers.  The Basic version is, well, basic.  You can support an unlimited number of customers, create and send invoices, receive payments, print checks, and track expenses, but many of the other features of the desktop editions are not available.
Although it does not include Inventory or Purchase Orders, the Plus version otherwise compares quite favorably with QuickBooks Pro.  The monthly fee includes access for 3 users plus your accountant (additional users are available), anytime, anywhere access from a PC, Mac, Blackberry, or iPhone, redundant data backup, call-back and chat customer support, product updates, and the ability to import your historical data from a desktop QuickBooks file at startup.  As with other editions of QuickBooks, you can add Merchant Services and Payroll services at an additional cost.  The Online Edition also has some nice features that are not available in Pro, including the ability to do delayed billing, unlimited time tracking data entry only users, and the ability to create users with access to report viewing only.   On the downside, it is somewhat less flexible in customizing forms and reports and, if you are coming from a desktop version, the user interface takes a bit of getting used to.
The Basic version is available for $9.95/month.  Plus lists at $34.95/month, but Intuit is currently offering up to 40% off if you subscribe through a ProAdvisor.  Even at $34.95/month, the pricing compares favorably with the purchase of a 3 user license, especially if you consider the support, product upgrades, and remote backup features.  However, if you use your desktop QuickBooks to access multiple company files, be aware that the Online Edition monthly fee is per company file.    
If the Online Edition sounds attractive to you, I encourage you to take advantage of the 30 day free trial.  If the feature set meets your needs, QuickBooks Online Edition can be a great solution to the remote access problem at a reasonable price.
Price Levels
Price levels are a handy, but often overlooked, QuickBooks feature.  Price levels let you set custom prices for different customers or jobs.  For example, you might set your standard prices as a retail rate and create a price level that you assign to wholesale customers, or you might use a price level in an instance where you have negotiated a special rate with a particular customer.
In order to use price levels, you must turn on the "Use Price Levels" Company Preference under Sales & Customers.  Then select Price Level List from the Lists menu and set up your Price Levels.  If you are running QuickBooks Premier or Enterprise, you will have the option of setting up either a fixed percentage price level or a per item price level.  If you are running QuickBooks Pro, your only choice will be a fixed percentage price level.  
Fixed percentage price levels apply to all items.  Let us suppose you always give your wholesale customers a 10% discount on products and services.  You could create a new price level named "10% Discount" that decreases item prices by 10%.  Once you have set up the price level, you must assign it to the wholesale customers by editing the customer and selecting "10% Discount" from the Price Level dropdown on the Additional Information Tab.  You get to choose the name for the new price level definition, so you could call it "Wholesale" or whatever makes it easy for you to remember why you created it.  You can set up as many different price levels as you need to support your pricing structure.  You can also have the adjusted prices automatically rounded to make them seem more rational, or not round them at all if that makes more sense to you.

New Price Level

When you invoice customers with the "Wholesale" price level assigned, QuickBooks will automatically calculate the discount and suggest the lower price.  It will also show you a dropdown menu next to the price allowing you to select an alternative price level.
What is the difference between a fixed percentage price level and a percentage discount? 
Price Levels Table
Per Item Price Levels, available in QuickBooks Premier and Enterprise, allow you to set custom prices for specific items.  You can select the individual items that you want the price level to apply to, enter custom price as a dollar amount or adjust the price by a percentage higher or lower than your standard price, your cost, or your current custom price.  You can use this to sell to your wholesale customers at a percentage over cost, set sale prices for selected items, or quickly make price changes on a large number of items.
Note: If you use Markup Percentages on Estimates, you will want to experiment to be sure you understand the interaction between markup percentages and price levels.
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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