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Caesar's Brook Babblings
QuickBooks News You Can Use 
June 2010 - Vol 3, Issue 6
In This Issue
Virtual Time
Quick Opens in QuickBooks
Trade Show Treasures
QuickBooks 2010 Updates
Caesar's Brook
Greetings! 

Welcome to the June issue of Caesar's Brook Babblings.
 
June 2010This month we wrap up our series on QuickBooks Time Tracking solutions with an article on a third-party product called Virtual Time, I highlight some of the changes in the recent QuickBooks 2010 maintenance releases, and our QuickTip tells you how to optimize your desktop for start up.
 
Finally, as I am recently returned from three days at the Scaling New Heights QuickBooks Consultant's conference in Atlanta, I share information on three QuickBooks add-on products that caught my eye on the tradeshow floor.   
FeatureFeature Article
 
This month we wrap up our Time Tracking series with a look at a Virtual Time, a third party product which integrates with QuickBooks.  Virtual Time from Virtual Software (www.virtualsoftware.net) is a web-based time, expense, and billing solution.  This article focuses on the time and billing aspects; we'll cover the expense reporting aspects of the product another time.
 

Virtual Time+Expense

 
From the time tracker's perspective, Virtual Time is extremely easy to use.  It has an intuitive calendar/timesheet interface with drop down lists for Project, Task, Time Type (regular or overtime), and a notes field.  What appears on the user's drop down lists can be customized by the administrator so that only users authorized to work on a particular project can charge time to the project and only tasks associated with the project can be selected.
 
When the timesheet is complete, the user submits the time for approval and processing.  Time can be approved by both internal and external approvers, such as the customer you are doing work for or a vendor providing subcontractors.  Approvals can be routed based on the project or the assigned manager.  Email notifications remind users to submit time and approvers to approve time.  It even all works perfectly on an iPhone.
 
However, it is what happens after the time is approved that makes Virtual Time so powerful.  Virtual Time gives you the option to export timecard data to QuickBooks for reporting and/or payroll processing.  It also gives you the option to export time data to ADP or Paychex.  And, if you choose, Virtual Time gives you the option to create customer invoices and/or vendor payables for 1099 contractors based on your time data.
 
The advantage of using Virtual Time to create invoices and payables is that you can create extremely flexible billing and payment rates based on a combination of who did the work, the customer, project, task, and time type
.  For example, you can set a consultant's standard billing rate at $100/hour, but automatically override it if they perform a particular task and/or work on a particular project.
 
Virtual Software costs $50 per month plus $5 for each license over 10. Time and expense licenses are sold separately. Approvers, administrators and other users who access the system but do not submit time or expenses are free.
 
At the 6 user point, Virtual Time is cost competitive with QuickBooks Time Tracker and provides far and away more functionality.  The only downside to Virtual Time that I have discovered to date is that the inherent flexibility can render the initial set up somewhat daunting. However, once you sort out the options best suited to your environment, it just works.  I've been sufficiently impressed with the product to sign up for their Affiliate Program, so if you would like more information on Virtual Time, please contact me.
 
QuickTip of the Month
 
Open QuickBooks and Get Where You Are Going Faster
 
If your QuickBooks file seems to take forever to open, it may be possible to speed things up by setting the User Desktop Preferences more appropriately.  You will find Preferences on the Edit pull down menu.  Select Desktop View.  You will see three or four options for saving the desktop.

Desktop Preferences

Save when closing company will restore all of the windows open when you last closed QuickBooks, including re-running any reports that were left open.  Unless you always want to return to exactly where you left off, this is not the best option.
 
Don't save the desktop will display an empty desktop (or just the Home Page if you have that option checked) when you return to the QuickBooks file.  This is the best option for opening QuickBooks quickly.
 
Save the current desktop allows you always display the desktop exactly as it at the time you select this option.  So, for example, if you always want to start using QuickBooks in the Customer Center, close all other windows and open the Customer Center, then select this option.
 
Keep previously saved desktop will automatically be selected the next time you open the file if you have previously saved the current desktop.
 
As a general rule, the more windows that you ask QuickBooks to open at start up, the longer it takes.  Selecting "Don't save the desktop" or selecting one or two specific windows and "Save the current desktop" will get you up and running as quickly as possible.
 
Three Favorites from the Trade Show
 
I recently attended a QuickBooks Consultant's conference in Atlanta and, as usual, I visited the vendor booths to see what was new.  Here are three products that I think are worth sharing with you.
 
Bill & PayBill & Pay - This is an online invoice delivery and payment system similar to the QuickBooks Billing Solutions available through Intuit Merchant Services.  What's different about Bill & Pay is that it includes the ability to accept ACH payments at only $0.55 per transaction.  And you can set up recurring automatic ACH payments even when the amount varies from month to month.  More information at www.BillandPay.com.
 
BarcodeTPBarcodeTP
- This is a wireless bar coding solution for QuickBooks inventory transactions.  It allows you process a wide variety of inventory transactions and synchs the data into QuickBooks real-time.  It's not a complete solution; it doesn't address the issue of getting the bar code labels onto the goods in the first place, but it's the first solution I've seen that actually processes the transactions on the hand-held device.  More information at www.romrunner.com.
 
XpandedReportsXpanded Reports - This is a QuickBooks reporting package that allows you to access data not available through normal QuickBooks reports.  It is a very powerful tool with an amazingly simple user interface.  You start with an Xpanded Reports version of a canned QuickBooks report and modify it using tabs similar to QuickBooks for Display, Filter, Header/Footers, and Fonts & Numbers.  The results are then displayed in a spreadsheet format similar to Excel with options for grouping, hiding, adding calculated columns, and summarizing. When you've got it the way you want it, you can print, export to Excel or memorize for future use.  I am really excited about this product; I downloaded the 30 day free trial and produced useful reports in a remarkably short amount of time.  If you have a reporting problem you are looking to solve, or are doing a lot of data manipulation in Excel, contact me or find more information at www.xpandedreports.com.
 
QuickBooks 2010 R6 and R7
 
QuickBooks 2010The QuickBooks updates seem to be coming fast and furious lately.  Here are some highlights from the most recent two.
 
R7 - Available as a manual update, scheduled for release as an automatic update on Jun 10
 
There are only two things in this release: a bug fix for a problem with editing payroll checks, and password security compliance requirements for users of QuickBooks Merchant Services.  If you use QuickBooks Merchant Services, you must install this update by July 1st when new Payment Application Data Security Standards go into effect.  If you don't use payroll and you don't use Merchant Services, you can skip this update.
 
R6 - Available as an automatic update on May 6
 
This release which was focused on performance and stability includes a long laundry list of bug fixes, the most exciting of which is the long awaited fix for PDF problems on Windows 7.  They've also added the ability to start a payroll run and save your work to finish later, as well as a beta test for paying vendors via direct deposit.  This release has enough fixes and has been out long enough now that if you have not already done so, you should install it.  
 
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.
 
Sincerely,
 
Susan Dugdale
Caesar's Brook Business Solutions, LLC
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