Easy questions on QuickBooks

Should I be using QuickBooks for my business?
90% of the time, I would say yes, particularly if you are going to be billing clients for your products or services, and/or if you intend to have employees. If you are not planning on having employees and will be paid at the time you sell the product or render the service, then almost any sort of accounting package will do. If you are not computer literate, try a Dome Book or One Write system. If you ARE computer literate, then Quicken is a decent bookkeeping program to start your business off with. I do not generally recommend other accounting programs because they have such a small portion of the market, that their future is uncertain and the features can't keep up with QuickBooks. However, before saying "yes" to QuickBooks, I would want to discuss your business with you first to make sure that I'm giving you the best recommendation possible.

Do I have to upgrade QuickBooks every year like Intuit suggests?
Not really. If you are doing your payroll in QuickBooks, then you WILL have to upgrade at least every two years, since Intuit rather aggressively "sunsets" their support for previous versions once they're over two years old. If you're not doing your payroll in QuickBooks, I think you'll find that the incremental improvements in each year's version are simply not worth paying the extra $200 for. Stick with what you've got, unless it's an insanely old version.

Can I do QuickBooks myself, or do I have to hire a bookkeeper?
If you know the basics of bookkeeping, you can do it yourself; however, ask yourself this question: "Is this really the best use of my time?" Invariably, the answer is a resounding NO! You should be out selling your services to new customers and supervising your employees. You should be brainstorming new campaigns and products, and looking for ways to improve your business. Doing bookkeeping, no matter how enticing it may seem to you, is a huge waste of time and an excuse to avoid doing the things you know you need to do in your business. Hire a bookkeeper! Having said that, it can be extremely difficult to find a competent bookkeeper who is also affordable. We are now offering an outsourced bookkeeping service from India that gives you extremely competent accountants who understand English and work extremely hard. The net cost to you is only $15 per hour plus the cost of an online hosting service. Call us at 1-800-370-2607 and ask for a free quote.

What are the downsides to using QuickBooks?
Every software program has its Achilles heel, and QuickBooks is no different, except that unlike Achilles, it has two proverbial heels: one is sales tax and the other is inventory. If you do everything perfectly, you can avoid problems in these two areas, but whom of us is perfect? If you are going to be paying sales taxes or intend to maintain your inventory in QuickBooks, carefully review the manual and ask my assistance in setting up the items and accounts. The biggest mistake I see made in the area of inventory are selling items that you haven't first purchased. Trust me, this happens more often than you would think.

What's the best way I can get myself training on QuickBooks?
If you intend to ignore my advice above about hiring this out, then buy "QuickBooks for Dummies", which despite the title, is very well written and much easier to understand than Intuit's dense manual on QuickBooks. You can also find classes on QuickBooks at your local community college or high school. QuickBooks comes with several Sample companies which you can open up and fool around with to your heart's content and they are a good way to develop a feel for the program without messing up your own data.

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