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Protecting Your QuickBooks Data Against Hackers
Every month, we provide information on how to better use QuickBooks. By implementing the best methods for managing your accounting data, you can actually improve your financial bottom line.
But all of your careful work is for naught if a malicious hacker gets in to your computers, or if you experience identity theft by an employee. Social Security and credit card numbers, home phone numbers and addresses, an excruciatingly detailed profile of your company - all can be lost in the time it takes to realize that it's gone.
Are you guarding all of that precious data? QuickBooks provides ways to help you. Some are automatic, but you have to initiate others.
QuickBooks displays some screens using Internet Explorer (IE); the browser opens when you access certain features. It's important that you set the security level correctly so that you're not exposed to shady outside influences.
To check your configuration, launch IE and go to Tools | Internet Options. This window opens:
Figure 1: Be sure that your Internet zone in Internet Explorer is set to Medium.
Click on Security, then on Internet, and move the slider bar to Medium (Intuit recommends this). Click OK and close IE.
Your best defense is a good antivirus program. If you've hesitated to buy one because of the price or the software's intrusiveness, consider Microsoft Security Essentials. It's free, it's good, it can be used in businesses that have up to ten PCs, and it guards against viruses, spyware, and other malicious software (malware).
If you have QuickBooks on a network, or multiple people sign in and out on the same PC, you will want to limit the access of employees to only their work areas. Go to Company | Set Up Users and Passwords | Set Up Users, and you'll see the User List window. Click Add User, and enter a username and password in the next window (if you've already set up passwords but not permissions, highlight a name and click Edit User). Click Next.
Unless the person should have full access, choose Selected Areas of QuickBooks and click Next. You'll see this:
Figure 2: As you go through each module, you'll select an access level for the current employee.
You'll work through a series of windows, including Inventory, Checking and Credit Cards, and Payroll and Employees, indicating in each window how much access should be granted to the user. When employees sign in, they will only see the allowed screens.
Payroll - A Special Case
Be very careful when you assign Payroll permissions. Employee Social Security numbers are stored there, and anyone granted full access can see them. If you've assigned Selective Access to an employee for creating and printing payroll transactions and reports, he or she will still be able to view them on printouts and in reports.
To prevent this, go to Edit | Preferences and click the Payroll & Employees tab, then Company Preferences. At the bottom of the window, you'll see a line that reads Display employee social security numbers in headers on reports. Make sure this is checked only if you want the numbers to appear.
And, of course, you may not want Social Security numbers printed on paycheck stubs and vouchers (though you may not have a choice; the state of California, for one, requires it). In this same window, click on Pay Stub & Voucher Printing to make your wishes known. You'll see this:
Figure 3: Do not check the box next to Employee social security number unless you want it printed on paycheck vouchers.
Intuit and You
Intuit, publisher of QuickBooks, works hard to keep your data safe. The company:
Figure 4: Regular backup is more than a good idea. It could save your business someday.
But it's important that you do your part. Use passwords wherever offered, make them complex, and change them frequently. Maintain regular backup files on your own if you don't subscribe to Intuit's service. Cross-train employees so that if you experience a disaster, more than one employee knows the ropes. Know a lot about who is managing your network.
To be doubly safe, ask us to evaluate your whole system's security profile. We can help you if your business suffers a breach, but better to try to avoid it ahead of time.
Filtering a Report - Selecting most of the items from a list
When filtering reports in QuickBooks, you may want to select most of the items on a particular list, but not all items to appear on your report. First choose the "selected" option from the list (selected accounts, selected names, etc).
Normally you would check each item that you want to appear on your report. However, if you want to check all the items on the list, click the first item and do not release the mouse button. While holding down the mouse button, slide the mouse pointer down just below the list.
When QuickBooks is done ? all of the items on the list will be checked. Release the mouse button. Now you can manually click the items to remove the ones that you do not wish to include in your filter.
To password protect your QuickBooks data file click on Company in the menu bar, then Set Up Users. From here, you can assign a password for the main (Administrator) account in QuickBooks. You can also set up user accounts, passwords, and different levels of access if you have multiple people using your QuickBooks file. Make sure you keep your newly created password in a safe place (just in case you forget it!)
To allow the sharing of your QuickBooks file, your best option is to have a computer network in place. This network will provide the foundation for you to then share the file between two or more computers. You can have either a wired or wireless network within your office.
It is also possible to take a backup copy of the QuickBooks file from one computer and restore it to a second computer to allow sharing of the information. However, I don't recommend this if both computers will be entering QuickBooks data. If you do this, you won't know who has the most recent copy of the data file, and things can get messed up quite easily. Your best bet is to talk to a local computer consultant about a network for your home or office.
QuickBooks Pro can be used to manage many different files. In your case, you could have a QuickBooks file called "Business", and a completely separate QuickBooks file called "Home" to manage the separate checkbooks. For more information on the creation of a new company file, click on File in the menu bar, then New Company.
Here's how you delete some of those old invoices that have been hanging around since 2002. This is a common problem in QuickBooks. Here's the fix - for each entry that is showing up in your Reminders list under "Invoices to Print", double- click on it. This action should take you to the invoice itself. Once here, remove the check mark in the box in the lower left hand corner that says "to be printed", then click "Save and Close". This invoice should no longer show up in the "Invoices to Print" list.
The first thing you must do is tell QuickBooks that you will be issuing 1099s. Click on Edit (from the menu bar), then Preferences. Scroll down until you find the picture that says "Tax:1099" and click on it. On the Company Preferences tab, answer yes to the question about the issuance of 1099 forms, then follow the rest of the instructions on this screen.
Next, you'll need to identify those vendors who are eligible to receive a 1099. Click on Vendors, then Vendor List. Double-click on the first vendor in the list, then the "Additional Info" tab. In the lower left hand corner, put a check mark in the box that says "vendor eligible for 1099" and enter their tax ID number they have provided. Repeat this process for any vendors that need to receive a 1099.
Finally, to run the 1099's and related information, click on Reports, then Vendors, then either of the 1099 reports. Verify the data, correct if necessary, and print your 1099's all within QuickBooks.
It's important to review this topic with your accountant to ensure you are collecting the proper information and preparing the 1099 forms correctly for your business.
If you have customers who are also vendors you may decide to trade some or all of your services / products in exchange for payment.
To record such a barter transaction, invoice the customer for the goods provided or services performed as you normally would. To record the "payment" use the "Receive Payment" function to apply the barter amount against the invoice the same as you would when receiving cash or a check as follows:
Go to Customers: Receive Payment. Payment Amount will be the barter amount (the amount of the invoice you received from your vendor). Pmt. Method will be Barter. Check the radio button for "Group with other undeposited funds". Save this transaction.
Go to Banking: Make Deposits. The payment you just received will come up in the Payments to Deposit screen. If there are also other payments to deposit, make sure you select only the payment(s) being recorded for the barter exchange. When you hit OK the Make Deposits screen will come up with the barter deposit(s) showing. Before recording the deposit make a negative deposit entry on the next blank line below the barter deposit for the amount of the barter as follows:
Deposit To is your normal operating checking account. Date is the date you would have normally paid your vendors invoice. Memo should be changed from Deposit to Barter.
If you have entered the vendors invoice as a bill for payment, Received From is the vendor name and From Account is Accounts Payable.
If you have not entered the vendors invoice as a bill for payment, leave Received From blank. In the From Account column select the expense account you would charge the vendors invoice to, the same as if you were entering it for payment. In the Memo column note the vendors invoice number.
In the Amount column enter the vendors invoice amount with a negative sign first. This negative amount should exactly offset the deposit amount above, resulting in a "Zero" deposit transaction. Save the "deposit" and the transaction is complete.
Do not pay your payroll liabilities from the "Write Checks" window. If you use this window, QuickBooks will warn you to use the "Pay Liabilities" window, but will let you write the check. However when you print the 941, it will not reflect any payments that you made using the "Write Checks" window.
Use the "Pay Liabilities" window to create checks for all tax liabilities. Using this window will ensure that the payments are reflected accurately on the 941 report and that your liability accounts are properly reduced.
To close all open QuickBooks Windows quickly, click on Window on the menu bar, and then Close All.
(Just type the key shown in the date field.)
CTRL+A brings up the Chart of Accounts right away
ALT+F4 closes QuickBooks software
When working in a register, you can use the = to bring up the calculator when adding or subtracting from an account
Use the Open Previous Company option found on the File menu to give you fast access to company files you have used recently
CTRL+T will bring up your Memorized Transaction list immediately