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Caesar's Brook Babblings
QuickBooks News You Can Use 
January 2009 - Vol 2, Issue 1
In This Issue
2009 Online Banking Update
Viewing Balance Detail Reports with Debit and Credit Columns
Closing Your QuickBooks File at Year-End
IRS Mileage Rate Changes for 2009
Caesar's Brook

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

January is named for the Roman god Janus.  Janus Vatican StatueJanus was the god of gates and doorways as well as beginnings and endings.  He was believed to have the gift of seeing both the future and the past.  Like Janus, at this time of year, I always look both back at my accomplishments over the past year and forward to what the New Year brings.  While I can't foresee the future, I can clearly see how much each of you contributed to my successes in 2008.  I thank all of you for your business and look forward to working with you in 2009.

Happy New Year!
2009 Online Banking Update
Intuit released two updates to QuickBooks 2009 in December, both intended to address issues in the online banking area.  Release 4 and Release 5 were available for automatic update on December 18th.  These releases include the following online banking features: 
  • Quick Fill - You will be able to start typing entry information, such as payee and account names, and QuickBooks will recognize what you are typing and complete the information for you.
  • Add New - You can quickly add new names, accounts, and classes within Online Banking by selecting Add New from the dropdown list.
  • Manual Match - You will have the ability to view and select QuickBooks register entries to manually match the downloaded transaction.
  • Review and Add Multiple Bank Transactions at Once - You will be able to easily review, edit, and save downloaded transactions in a batch.

Online BankingIntuit has posted a video overview of the changes available in these updates on YouTube. 


If you are already running QuickBooks 2009 and use online banking, you will definitely want these updates.  However, online banking in QuickBooks 2009 is still less functional than in prior versions, so if you rely heavily on online banking and have not yet upgraded to 2009, I recommend that you wait for further improvements.

To verify what release of QuickBooks you are running, with your QuickBooks file open, press the F2 key.  This will open a Product Information window.  At the top of the window, you will see the QuickBooks version, product, and release.  If you are not running Release 5, you may not have Automatic Updates turned on.  You can learn more about QuickBooks updates, both automatic and manual, from the QuickBooks help menu, or you can contact us for assistance.  Use caution if you run QuickBooks in a multi-user environment; all users must be running the same release of QuickBooks.

QuickTip of the Month
Viewing Customer and Vendor Balance Reports with Debit and Credit Columns

I find that many reports, especially Customer and Vendor Balance Detail reports, are much easier to read if I set the report to display debit and credit columns rather than the amount column.  To make this simple modification, click the Modify Report button at the top of the screen.  On the display tab, scroll down (way down) the columns list, check Debit and Credit to select and uncheck Amount to deselect.  Then click the Okay button. 

FeatureFeature Article
Closing Your QuickBooks File at Year-End
 Securing the Books
Unlike many accounting systems, QuickBooks does not require you to close your books at the end of a fiscal year.  Based on your company's fiscal year start month, QuickBooks automatically zeros out your income and expense accounts and increases the Retained Earnings equity account by the amount of the previous year's net income.   However, in most cases, you will be turning your accounting data over to your accountant who will have additional adjusting entries required to complete your year-end.  Once you have provided your accounting data to your accountant, you will want to be careful not to make changes to transactions in the previous year.  The best way to guard against making changes to the previous period is to set a closing date in your QuickBooks file.
Advantages to Setting a Closing Date
Restricted Access - When you set a closing date, you can restrict which users can change or delete transactions dated prior to the closing date.   If you don't set a password, users with permission to change transactions will be warned that they are changing a transaction in a closed period but will be able to click through the warning.  If you set a password, users with permission will be required to enter the password prior to changing the transaction. 

Reporting - Any changes made after the closing date to transactions dated on or before the closing date will appear in the Closing Date Exception Report.  This report, available from the Accountant section of the Reports menu, enables you to track subsequent activity in a closed period, listing all new and changed transactions.

Detail - Setting a closing date does NOT change the level of detail available to you in your QuickBooks file.  You can continue to view and report on last year's data.

When to Set Your Closing Date

If you will be giving your accountant a copy of your QuickBooks file, when you set your closing date will depend on how you provide your accountant with the data.  If you give them a copy of your QuickBooks Company file (.QBW) or a QuickBooks backup file (.QBB), you will want to set your closing date when you give them the copy.  That will ensure that you do not inadvertently make changes to information that you have already provided to them.

If you give your accountant an Accountant's copy, you will set a dividing date when you create the Accountant's copy and set your closing date after your Accountant has returned the file and you have merged their changes with your working file.  Follow the directions your accountant provides.

How to Set Your Closing Date

The Closing Date is a Company Preference accessible from the Company pull down menu.  You must be logged in as Admin and must be in single user mode to set the closing date. On the Set Closing Date screen enter the last day of your previous fiscal year.  For example, if you have a calendar fiscal year, when you are ready to set your closing date for 2008, enter 12/31/2008.  Setting a password is optional, but strongly recommended.  If you are in a multi-user environment, and this is the first time you have set a closing date, you will want to review your user permissions to ensure that they are appropriately set. 
IRS Mileage Rate changes for 2009
The IRS standard business mileage rate for 2009 is 55.0 per mile.  The mileage rate for January - June 2008 was 50.5 per mile and the rate for July - December 2008 was 58.5 per mile.
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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