Sunday, June 10, 2012

Capacity Focus, 49: Quick (videos-based) start on Quick Books

It is no secret that Quick Books is the runaway no 1 small business accounting package. So, while I am looking seriously at GnuCash as an open source alternative -- one that has in it its own mini course in bookkeeping -- I need here to take a preliminary look at getting started with QB. 

I think the following three "over the shoulder demo" videos will do, notice how they start with setting up a company then entering info on vendors etc from a bank statement. 

The idea here is that a business has to keep track of its transactions in a running record -- a "journal." This is then used to feed info into various business categories, recording twice -- i.e. "credit side sends value to debit side" (documenting source and sink for the dollars and cents flow side of the value exchanged in the event or transaction) -- thus guaranteeing balance in the accounts. 
--> BTW: the point of an economic transaction is that it is mutually beneficial, a win-win: I want your good/service, and you want my money. So on exchanging the desirable and affordable, for such consideration, we have two beneficiaries. The accounting system thus tracks the money flow side, as an aid to management and stewardship.

Hence we come to the pivotal accounting equation (and income statement or profit and loss account), and it looks like a useful mnemonic is ALOE, Assets = liabilities plus Owner Equity. That is:

[U/d] Jim in Austin, here ff., makes some useful boiled down summaries:

 . . . if assets and liabilities are stuff you either own or owe, then income and expense track the movement of stuff in or out of the company. Cash from a sale increases assets and the off-setting double entry is to income. But the sale might also reduce inventory which shrinks assets and that adjustment would be recorded as an expense. The difference in the two adjustments is your gross profit on the sale.

Looking at a balance sheet shows you where a company stands financially at any given moment, the stuff they own and owe. Income and expense reports show movement and trends over time and break out the asset/liability changes into a variety of categories and types . . . .

[D]ebits and credits [--> Left and Right hand of a "Tee" Account] are not pluses or minuses. They are simply two different categories that are associated with account types. Assets and expenses carry a debit balance. That means to increase them you make an entry in the debit column and to decrease them, a credit column entry. Liabilities, equity and income carry a credit balance. Credit column entries increase them and debit column entries decrease their value.

Once events, transactions and value flows are properly categorised and backed up by paper trails (the rule is: everything must be recorded using some credible source document, filed and correctly entered!), the system's underlying General Ledger puts the accounts in proper order. 

From these, monthly, quarterly and annual reports are made up based on general principles, and we get the "famous" financial statements used by owners, managers, bankers, and of course the tax man.

Videos (embedding disabled by the poster):
Part 1:

Part 2:

Part 3:

Then, for more we can go here for more detailed help. 

Don't overlook QB's tutorial features. 

Bean Counter's 101 on bookkeeping, here, is a good overview course. This primer will help in understanding Financial Statements (including ratio analysis), this one sets them in the context of a novice business man setting up right, and this Wiki article runs through the broad view of accounting, with this one giving a similar overview of the grunt-work part, bookkeeping. The key double-entry bookkeeping approach is discussed here

The bottom-line [an accounting term BTW], is that if we are serious about properly managing a business, we need to put in the intellectual sweat equity to be able to follow -- and follow up on -- what is going on with the books.  END

PS: Ran across this useful outline in a nutshell.