Startup Steps #5: Steps to a Successful QuickBooks Setup

An essential element of cash flow management for small businesses is the implementation of a good bookkeeping system.  For many business owners, QuickBooks is the preferred product to use to aid them in their essential financial record keeping; hence, I asked my good friend, Mary Brettmann, to share some pointers as to how to setup QuickBooks for a small business owner.

Mary Brettmann, CPA is a certified Public Accountant, Intuit Solution Provider and a QuickBooks Proadvisor with a QuickBooks practice in the Twin Cities.  She can be reached at  For free QuickBooks tips and advice, please visit

Steps to a Successful QuickBooks Setup – Mary Brettmann, CPA, Mobile CFO

QuickBooks is an incredible value. For about $200, you can purchase a program that will reliably run the company’s accounting and management systems.  Yet many people tell me that they aren’t getting what they need from their QuickBooks file.  Careful thought and planning are necessary before setting up a QuickBooks file.  Here are the steps that I use when advising a new company on a QuickBooks setup and configuration:

1.  Know what you are selling and what you want to track:  That will tell you what QuickBooks modules that you will need to use and what you need to setup in the system.

2.  Watch the free videos: Located in the help menu, the Learning Center videos do a good job in explaining the basics of each QuickBooks module.

3.  Setup List items:  List items include customers (jobs), vendors, employees, items and the chart of accounts.  Carefully consider the use of jobs to aggregate jobs or other locations into one billing address (customer).  Decide what you want to see when looking at your company’s income statement and balance sheet and add those accounts to the chart of accounts. 

4.  Add all transactions to your QuickBooks file:  This includes invoices, received payments, checking deposits, bills to pay and checks issued.  If you have any questions about how to do something watch the help videos (#2).

5.  Reconcile all bank and credit card accounts:  This will tell you if your QuickBooks file matches the record of outside parties.  No financial statements are ready for review until all accounts are reconciled in QuickBooks.

6.  Review the Income Statement and Balance Sheet: Does it make sense to you? If not, then go back to #1 and rethink your processes and procedures.