Get Started with QuickBooks: A Guide for Beginners

QuickBooks is one of the oldest of the many accounting and bookkeeping applications out there. The first version of QuickBooks came out on Microsoft’s DOS platform. Based on the Quicken platform, an earlier program designed mainly for managing personal finance and not for commercial use, QuickBooks distinguished itself from the other competing software of the time by offering an easy to use and intuitive interface to work with, even if it meant giving up on some powerful users that novices might not be able to work with. For instance, QuickBooks represented its “cheque” facility using an image that looked like a cheque.

The software was not used by professionals in the initial stages due to lack of security features and the software not conforming to the established standards of the accounting industry. Advanced features were soon rolled into the software without sacrificing the usability, such as support for double entry functions and full audit trails. Features like this led to QuickBooks becoming the dominant and most popular accounting software in the business, especially for small to medium businesses.

GETTING STARTED

QuickBooks can help you achieve more accurate and faster accounting transactions and significantly improve the business insight you stand to gain from better financial reports as well as improved taxation scenario.

Effectively utilising QuickBooks means having to properly identifying which domains of accounting and bookkeeping are most relevant to your particular business venture. Typically, most small to medium businesses need to focus on invoices, outgoing cheques, debits due to sales, and payroll expenses. For commercial uses, the QuickBooks online subscription is highly recommended because it allows you to fully try out the various features of the software and upgrade accordingly. Cloud accounting really is the future, but if you really want a traditional software alternative, QuickBooks Pro is recommended over QuickBooks Premier or Enterprise versions. Both of the latter versions have enough features that can quickly intimidate new users. It is therefore a better choice to start off with the Pro and then upgrade if and when you see fit

Also keep in mind that QuickBooks sells a separate software module for computing payroll information called QuickBooks Payroll Enhanced. If you already utilise a third party payroll service, or if you manually compute your payroll and fill the relevant forms, you do not need to install the Payroll Enhanced module.

THE INTERVIEW

QuickBooks is one of the most user friendly and accessible software accounting tools. However, it does require some amount of technical proficiency, especially during the initial setup process. When you first run QuickBooks, you need to “set up” your company in the software and follow a series of standardised steps. Experienced bookkeepers should be able to handle these steps easily, but if you are complete novice, you might consider having a professional set up the software for you.

AND YOU’RE DONE

And voila, you are all set to use QuickBooks. You should now be able to explore the various sections of the software and learn the various functions with a little practice and other online resources freely available.
Happy accounting!

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