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Set up QuickBooks lists for your clients

You can add and correct the information stored in QuickBooks lists as you process transactions. However, if you're doing the QuickBooks setup for your client, you should add the most common list items to increase efficiency and accuracy when the client enters transactions.

When setting up the following lists in a QuickBooks company file, consider these suggestions.

Item list

Whether the client sells products or services, any line item included on an invoice must be on the QuickBooks Item list. Add an item for each type of charge that appears on an invoice.

If the client charges sales tax, add a sales tax item for each type of tax collected. Make sure to indicate which sales tax is the most common. Complete all the fields in the New Item window, so that invoices and sales receipts are entered accurately.

Items are how you associate an income account with goods or services a company invoices for, so it's important that you set up items correctly to generate meaningful financial reports.

Customers & Jobs list

Determine whether the client will want to sort the list later based on the type of customer. If so, create customer types. For example, you can use customer types to distinguish between corporate and individual customers, or to distinguish between wholesale and retail customers.

If the client wants to track jobs (or projects) for each customer, make sure you know the amount owed to the client for each job as of the QuickBooks start date.

Complete all of the information requested in the Customers & Jobs list. If the customer purchases for resale, obtain the resale number and enter it in the customer's record.

You can set up different price levels and associate them with specific customers. Each time your client creates an invoice, credit memo, or sales form for that customer, QuickBooks will use the price level associated with that customer to calculate the rate for service, inventory, and non-inventory items.

For a new QuickBooks company, you need to enter the opening balance for each customer as of the client's QuickBooks start date. You can enter an opening balance when you add each customer to the Customers & Jobs list, or you can create a summary invoice for each customer using an item called "opening balance." Assign the item to the appropriate income account. Each invoice should have a date earlier than the QuickBooks start date.

QuickBooks enables you to create custom fields for customers. For example, if your client wants to track additional information for customers, such as the customer's administrative assistant or region, you can add custom fields to the Customers & Jobs list.

Vendor list

Before adding the vendor information, determine whether the client will want to sort the list later based on the type of vendor. If so, create vendor types. For example, vendor types allow your client to distinguish between vendors who provide business supplies and those who provide construction materials.

For a new QuickBooks company, enter the opening balance for each vendor as of the client's QuickBooks start date. You can enter an opening balance when you add a vendor to the Vendor list, or you can create a summary bill for each vendor in the Enter Bills window. If you create a summary bill, assign the amounts to the appropriate expense account. Each vendor bill should have a date earlier than the QuickBooks start date.

In the Vendor list, use the Account field on the Additional Info tab to record the client's account number with the vendor. QuickBooks puts this information in the Memo field of checks that pay bills from this vendor. If the vendor should receive a 1099-MISC at the end of the year, click the Additional Info Info tab and select the Vendor eligible for 1099 checkbox.

If you want to store additional information about vendors (such as region), you can use a custom field.

Payroll Item list

Use the Payroll Item list for everything that affects the amount on a payroll check and for every company expense related to payroll. When you indicate you want to use payroll, QuickBooks creates an initial Payroll Item list with items for wages and federal taxes.

However, you'll need payroll items for all the other taxes you enter, as well as for other payroll information, such as bonuses, commissions, and company-paid contributions to health plans.

You can set up payroll items for state taxes (state withholding, state disability, and state unemployment), local taxes, and/or custom additions and deductions for your clients to ensure the payroll information is accurate.

Employee list

If your client will be using QuickBooks for payroll and has more than one or two employees, set up employee defaults. This lets you set up several employees quickly, because you use the defaults to enter information that most employees have in common (such as payroll period and federal and state tax information). Then, when you click Employee Center to set up individual employees, many of the fields will be prefilled with the information you entered in your employee defaults.

To add the information for each employee in the Employee list

  1. Select an employee in the list and click Edit Employee in the Employee Information area.

  2. Fill in the appropriate fields.

  3. Provide other pertinent information on the Additional Info tab. Add any custom fields for additional employee information you want to track.

  4. Click the Payroll Info tab to set up employee payroll information. Click Taxes and select the Federal and State tabs to enter the withholding allowances and filing status. If the employee has regular additions and deductions (and you haven't entered them in your employee defaults), you can enter them here. (You can also modify each paycheck at the time you run payroll.)

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