Nov3rd banner
Caesar's Brook Babblings
QuickBooks News You Can Use 
April 2010 - Vol 3, Issue 4
In This Issue
QuickBooks Pro Timer
Finding Invoice Numbers
Time by Job Report
QuickBooks PDF Problems
Caesar's Brook

Welcome to the April issue of Caesar's Brook Babblings.
Last month we started a series looking at time tracking in QuickBooks.  This month we continue that series with a look at a free gadget that allows non-QuickBooks users to capture time on their desktop in a format that can be imported into QuickBooks and a short article describing how to create a report showing estimated vs. actual time.
Our QuickTip of the Month shows you how to find missing and duplicate invoices numbers and we have an update on solutions for problems creating .pdf documents in QuickBooks.
As always, I value your feedback.  If you have a question or a suggestion for a topic you'd like to see an article on, please let me know. 

April showers bring May flowers
April Showers

FeatureFeature Article
QuickBooks Pro Timer
The QuickBooks Pro Timer is a free stand-alone desktop gadget that can be installed on any Windows desktop with or without QuickBooks.  It allows users to enter time against QuickBooks customer:jobs by item either by running a timer or by entering a duration.   If you have an office administrator or payroll processor who enters time into QuickBooks manually for employees or contractors who are not QuickBooks users, deploying the QuickBooks Pro Timer on the end users' desktop may reduce the amount of data entry required.
The timer itself is very simple to use. 
 You open the Timer, set up a new activity with your name, the customer:job, service item, and either start and stop the timer or enter a duration.  Activities are tracked in a Timer Activity Log which can be edited.  At the end of the week or other appropriate period, the time is exported from the Timer and imported into the Weekly Time Sheets in your QuickBooks file.

QuickBooks Pro Timer

Unfortunately, since there is no direct link between the Timer and QuickBooks, you must export list data out of QuickBooks and import it into the Timer before you can use it.  This can be cumbersome and if you add or change list items frequently, you will have to repeat those steps regularly.  Some people may also find the exporting and importing of time activities confusing.  I think the key to success here is using a file naming convention that clearly identifies what the files are and saving them to a readily available folder. 
If you want to give it a try, here are the steps required to set up the Timer.
  1. Install the software on your computer.  You will find it included in its own folder on the QuickBooks installation media.
  2. Export the Timer Lists from your QuickBooks file.  From the File pull-down menu, select Utilities, Export, Timer Lists.  By default, QuickBooks will bury this file in the bowels of your computer.  I suggest that you create a folder on your desktop or in a top level directory called QB Time Data and put it there with a descriptive name such as Company1_Timer_Lists_20100408.  The file extension will be .iff.   This is Intuit's import/export file format.
  3. Create a new Timer database (.tdb) file.  In the Timer, select "New Timer file" from the File pull-down menu.  If you will be using the Timer with more than one company file or more than one person will be using the Timer on a single computer, create Timer database files for each combination of company and user, for example, User1_Company1.tdb.
  4. In the Timer, select "Import Timer Lists" from the File menu and import the list you created in step 2 above.
  5. Select Preferences from the Timer File menu and set yourself as the default user.
  6. Select New Time Activity and start entering time.
If you will be installing the Timer on multiple computers, you may find it easiest to copy the folder from the installation media onto a flash drive, add the initial QuickBooks Timer List export file, and then do the subsequent installations from the flash drive.
To export the time data out of the Timer, select Export from the Timer Activities Log.  I recommend putting the file in the QB Time Data folder you created earlier.  Save it with a file name that reflects the User, company, and period end date, such as User1_Company1_WE20100404.iif.  This file can then be emailed, if necessary, and imported into QuickBooks by selecting Utilities, Import, Timer Activities from the File pull-down menu.
The good - It's free!  The not so good - It's clunky, and may require frequent updating.
QuickTip of the Month
Finding Missing and Duplicate Invoice Numbers
The Missing Number is 6 
QuickBooks automatically numbers invoices, but it also allows you to create your own numbers. If you get the numbers out of sequence, it can be difficult to figure out where you are.  Here's a quick way to get a list of all your invoices and find missing or duplicate invoice numbers.

On the Reports pull-down menu, select Banking, Missing Checks.  When prompted to select an Account, select Accounts Receivable.  By default, this report includes all dates, but you can easily change the dates to narrow the range down to an appropriate period. 

If you'll use this report frequently, click the Modify button and change the report title on the Headers & Footers Tab to "Missing Invoices" or "Invoice Listing".  When the report refreshes, memorize it with the new title.
Time by Job Report -- Estimated vs. Actual
Working AwayIf you create estimates for jobs in QuickBooks, you can use those estimates to compare estimated to actual costs.  This is a very powerful tool that enables you to understand how accurate your estimates are and where you may have hidden costs.  And it can be used even if the customer never sees your estimate.
Even if you do not job cost, if you track time you can still get a report comparing actual time to estimated time.   This can be especially useful if you do work for a fixed fee based on your own estimated labor hours. 
On the Reports pull-down menu or from the Report Center, select the Time by Job Summary Report from the Jobs, Time, Mileage Report Group.  Click on the Modify Report button.  On the Display tab, select the option to add a sub-column for Estimated Time.  On the Filter Tab, highlight Item, and from the drop-down select Multiple Items, then check only those items that are based on hours.   On the Header/Footer Tab, change the report title to Estimated vs. Actual Time by Job.  Click okay.   You can memorize the report for quick recall, but if you add new labor items, you will need to modify and re-memorize the report to include the new items.
Update on QuickBooks PDF problems
Adobe PDF logoProblems related to creating Adobe .pdf files in QuickBooks continue to be one of Intuit's top support issues.  The QuickBooks PDF Converter settings are not compatible with some settings on some 64-bit versions of Windows 7, Vista, or XP Operating Systems and when you perform an operation which creates a .pdf file, such as emailing an invoice or report or reconciling your bank statement, an error may occur.   Although less common, problems may also occur on some 32-bit versions of Windows.
If you are experiencing problems with QuickBooks and .pdf files, the QuickBooks Knowledge Base has a detailed article listing the steps you can take to help resolve these problems.  You'll find it at: 
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
QuickBooks and QuickBooks ProAdvisor are registered trademarks and/or registered service marks of Intuit Inc.
Copyright 2010 Caesar's Brook Business Solutions-All Rights Reserved
Caesar's Brook Business Solutions LLC | PO Box 1102 | Amherst | NH | 03031