How To Create A Budget In QuickBooks Pro

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How To Create A Budget In QuickBooks Pro

One of the best ways to stay on top of business finances is to budget. QuickBooks allows you to create a yearly budget for your business.

While deciding on a budget can be a bit time-consuming, actually creating a budget in QuickBooks Pro only takes six steps.

In this post, we’ll walk you through how to set up your budget, choose the proper budgeting options, and run budgeting reports.

Table of Contents

Create A Budget

To begin, go to Company > Planning & Budgeting > Set Up Budgets.

Step 1: Select Budget Year

Use the arrows to select the year for which you want to create this budget.

How To Create A Budget In QuickBooks Pro

Step 2: Choose Budget Type

Choose the budget type. You can create a Profit and Loss budget or a Balance Sheet budget.

The Profit and Loss budget offers a more complete view of your yearly activity, whereas the Balance Sheet budget deals predominantly with your ending balances. For our sample company, we’re going to choose the Profit and Loss option.

How To Create A Budget In QuickBooks Pro

Once you select Profit and Loss, click the blue “Next” button at the bottom of the screen. If you select Balance Sheet, click the blue “Finish” button and proceed to step 5.

Step 3: Add Additional Criteria (Optional)

If you want, you can create budgets for specific customers and jobs by clicking the “Customer:Job” option. Or, you can click “No additional criteria” to make a general yearly budget.

How To Create A Budget In QuickBooks Pro

Once you’ve decided, click the blue “Next” bottom at the bottom of the screen.

Step 4: Choose Budget Creation Preferences

Choose between “create budget from scratch” or “create budget from previous year’s data.”

How To Create A Budget In QuickBooks Pro

Using previous years’ data can be helpful and provide insight when creating a budget. However, our sample company is brand new, so we’re going to select the first option.

Step 5: Enter Your Budget

Now enter your budget goals for each month and each account. This part takes some time and thought.

I recommend using QuickBooks reports to help give you some insight into your sales and expense patterns. Learn how to take advantage of reports by reading How To Run Reports In QuickBooks Pro.

Tip: Make your budget practical. If you want to have $5,000 in sales each month, don’t just put the number in QuickBooks. Break that goal down into actionable, manageable steps. Think of practical marketing and advertising practices that could help you reach this goal.

Step 6: Save

Once your budget starts to look something like this, it’s time to save your masterpiece.

How To Create A Budget In QuickBooks Pro

To save your budget, click “Save.”

At any time, you can run reports to view the status of your budget. QuickBooks Pro offers the following budget reports:

  • Budget Overview
  • Budget vs. Actual
  • Profit & Loss Budget Performance
  • Budget vs. Actual Graph

For troubleshooting issues, check out the QuickBooks Community or call QuickBooks directly. If you have any further questions, leave a comment below and we’ll do our best to help you.

Chelsea Krause

Chelsea Krause is a writer, avid reader, and researcher. In addition to loving writing, she became interested in accounting software because of her constant desire to learn something new and understand how things work. When she’s not working or daydreaming about her newest story, she can be found drinking obscene amounts of coffee, reading anything written by C.S. Lewis or Ray Bradbury, kayaking and hiking, or watching The X-Files with her husband.

Chelsea Krause

“”

How To Reconcile A Bank Account In QuickBooks Pro

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How To Reconcile A Bank Account in QuickBooks Pro

One of the most important processes in accounting is bank reconciliation: ensuring that the transactions you record in QuickBooks match the activity in your bank.

Reconciling a bank account may sound intimidating, but we’ve broken the process up into 12 manageable steps.

Let’s get started.

Table of Contents

Reconcile A Bank Account

Before you reconcile your bank account, make sure your QuickBooks account is up to date. If you have any last minute payments to enter or deposits to record, be sure to do so.

Once all of the transactions in QuickBooks are up to date, grab your bank statement and keep it in front of you — you’re going to need it. Then go to your home screen and click on the “Reconcile” option.

How To Reconcile A Bank Account in QuickBooks Pro

You’ll be taken to a screen that looks like this:

How To Reconcile A Bank Account in QuickBooks Pro

Step 1: Choose Account

To start, select the account you are reconciling. For our sample company, we are reconciling our checking account.

How To Reconcile A Bank Account in QuickBooks Pro

Step 2: Modify Statement Date

Find the statement date on your bank statement (it’s usually the last day of the month and can most often be found on the top of the statement). Then use the drop-down calendar to enter this date into QuickBooks.

How To Reconcile A Bank Account in QuickBooks Pro

Step 3: Verify Beginning Balance

You’ll want to double check that the beginning balance in QuickBooks matches the beginning balance on your bank statement.

How To Reconcile A Bank Account In QuickBooks Pro

If your beginning balance doesn’t match, click on the blue “What if my beginning balance doesn’t match my statement link?” or watch this QuickBooks Pro reconciliation video.

Step 4: Enter Ending Balance

Enter the closing balance on your bank statement into QuickBooks Pro.

How To Reconcile A Bank Account In QuickBooks Pro

Step 5: Add Any Service Charges

If you see any service charges on your bank statement, add the total at this time. Make sure to adjust the date and tell QuickBooks which expense account you want bank service fees to be recorded in.

How To Reconcile A Bank Account In QuickBooks Pro

Step 6: Add Any Interest Earned

If you received any interest payments from your bank on your statement, add the total at this time. Adjust the date and tell QuickBooks which income account you want to record earned interest in.

How To Reconcile A Bank Account In QuickBooks Pro

Step 7: Click Continue

Once all the information on the screen is correct, click the blue “Continue” button.

How To Reconcile A Bank Account In QuickBooks Pro

You’ll be taken to the bank reconciliation screen, which looks like this:

How To Reconcile A Bank Statement In QuickBooks Pro

The Reconciliation Screen Explained:

Let me break down this screen a little bit.

At the top of the screen, you’ll see the period date. You’ll also see an option to “Hide transactions after the statement’s end date.” Clicking this means that only the transactions from this statement period and earlier will be shown. (I recommend checking this box if you have a lot of transactions that come after your statement date.)

The screen is then divided into withdrawals and deposits, just like your bank statement. On the left side of the screen, you’ll see “Checks and Payments,” or withdrawals. On the right side, you’ll see “Deposits and Other Credits.”

On the bottom of the screen, you’ll see the beginning balance, the number of items cleared (which is currently zero), and a few other totals. The main total you want to pay attention to is the “Difference” total. Currently, our difference total reads 5,171.07. By the end of the bank reconciliation process, this number should read 0.00.

Step 8: Match Transactions

Now, to actually reconcile your account, you are going to match the transactions from your bank account with the transaction in QuickBooks. Don’t worry — it’s simpler than it sounds.

Here’s our sample bank statement:

How To Reconcile A Bank Statement In QuickBooks Pro

We’re going to go straight down the list to make things easy. On our sample bank statement, the first transaction is a withdrawal of $1,400 paid to Shire Views Property Management. Now we have to go back to QuickBooks and find this transaction.

We go the Checks and Payments section for withdrawals and look for a matching transaction. In this case, it’s the top transaction (see picture below). Once you find the transaction, make sure the amount in QuickBooks matches the exact amount on your bank statement. Then click the checkbox next to the proper transaction.

How To Reconcile A Bank Account In QuickBooks Pro

Tip: Printing your bank statement and marking the transactions on it as well can help you verify transactions and not get lost.

Let’s do another example.

You’ll see that the second transaction is for a withdrawal. (We ordered $655 worth of inventory from Gimli at Moria Mining on 11/1.) The first step is to go to our QuickBooks screen — on the Checks and Payments side — and look for the matching transaction.

On 11/1/2017 a check for $655 was written to Gimli. The two amounts match, so we check the box.

How To Reconcile A Bank Statement In QuickBooks Pro

Continue matching transactions until you’ve matched every transaction in your bank statement.

Tip: While the amounts must always match, the dates on your bank statement may differ from the dates in your QuickBooks account. For example, you may write a check on the 5th that doesn’t get cashed and processed by the bank until the 10th. The same transaction will be dated 11/5 on QuickBooks and 11/10 on your bank statement — that’s totally fine.

Step 9: Double Check Information

When all of your transactions are added, your screen should look something like this:

How To Reconcile A Bank Account In QuickBooks Pro

Double check that all of the information looks correct.

If you look at the picture closely, you’ll see that there are three unchecked transactions in the picture above. Not every transaction will be checked. In this instance, we wrote three checks on the last day of the month. None of these checks have been cashed yet, so they don’t appear on our bank statement. We will reconcile these three transactions next month once the checks have been cashed and processed by our bank.

Only check the transactions that appear on your bank statement.

Step 10: Make Sure The Difference Is 0.00

If you did everything correctly, the “Difference” on the bottom of the screen should say 0.00.

If the difference is off (even by a couple of cents), check your QuickBooks transactions and bank statement again to see if there are any discrepancies, If you really can’t figure it out, refer to QuickBooks’ bank reconciliation troubleshooting page to learn about some common reasons why the bank reconciliation process may not be balancing properly

At this point, also check that the withdrawal and deposit total on the bottom left-hand side of the screen matches the totals on your bank statement

How To Reconcile A Bank Account In QuickBooks Pro

Step 11: Reconcile

Once the “Difference” reads 0.00, click the “Reconcile Now” button. Now your account is officially balanced!

How To Reconcile A Bank Account In QuickBooks Pro

After clicking “Reconcile Now,” you may receive a notification from QuickBooks advertising online banking. Click “OK.”

How To Reconcile A Bank Account In QuickBooks Pro

Step 12: Print Reconciliation Records

At this point, you can print the complete bank reconciliation report for your records. You can choose a basic summary report, detailed report, or both. Use the “Display” button to preview these reports before printing.

How To Reconcile A Bank Account In QuickBooks Pro

Repeat steps 1-12 for all bank and credit cards accounts. Most CPAs recommend reconciling your statements each month so you don’t miss any crucial discrepancies.

For troubleshooting issues, check out the QuickBooks Community or call QuickBooks directly. If you have any further questions, leave a comment below and we’ll do our best to help you.

Chelsea Krause

Chelsea Krause is a writer, avid reader, and researcher. In addition to loving writing, she became interested in accounting software because of her constant desire to learn something new and understand how things work. When she’s not working or daydreaming about her newest story, she can be found drinking obscene amounts of coffee, reading anything written by C.S. Lewis or Ray Bradbury, kayaking and hiking, or watching The X-Files with her husband.

Chelsea Krause

“”

Who Is Responsible For Business Credit Card Debt?

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Business credit cards are a useful way for anyone in your organization to make purchases, all while earning reward points. But while swiping the card may be easy, it raises questions about who is ultimately responsible for the purchases made with the card. The swiper? The business owner? The business itself?

If you’re confused about who is responsible for business credit card debt, read on.

Table of Contents

The Personal Guarantee

In most cases, it’s pretty easy to figure out who is ultimately responsible for business credit card debt. Typically, a credit card company will require the business owner to sign a personal guarantee.

What this means is that, even though the business credit card is technically taken out in the name of your business, the creditor can try to collect on you, personally. This bypasses some of the protections granted to your personal assets by your business’s corporate status.

If you’re worried about creditors knocking on your door after they’ve squeezed all the blood from your business, you may want to think twice before signing a personal guarantee–and scrutinize the ones you do sign.

Personal guarantees come in limited and unlimited forms. An unlimited guarantee is a great deal for your creditor. Under that agreement, you can be held responsible not only for your debt, but for any legal fees associated with collecting that debt. As you might guess, signing an unlimited guarantee is far from ideal.

Limited guarantees come in a couple different forms, but in most cases they assign liability between multiple parties. You’re most likely to see this arrangement if you have business partners, but it’s possible, at least in theory, to negotiate an unlimited guarantee down to a limited one.

Does That Mean The Owner Is Always Personally Responsible?

While a personal guarantee sounds pretty straightforward, in practice it’s far from an air-tight contract.

A side effect of pushing the responsibility onto the business owner is that it can make the debt subject to personal bankruptcy protections. In those cases, your business credit card debt is treated like personal debt.

Even if you don’t declare bankruptcy, a personal guarantee doesn’t necessarily entitle the creditor to declare open season on all your property. To collect anything, they’ll need a legal judgment against you. Depending on your balance, your creditor may decide your debt isn’t worth the trouble.

Is There A Way To Avoid A Personal Guarantee?

You might be noticing a theme so far: there are few certainties in the world of business credit cards. And what do you know? It applies here as well.

The default terms for almost all business credit cards include a personal guarantee, so it won’t be a matter of hunting down a rare, plastic unicorn. On the other hand, banks are more inclined toward negotiation with established customers. You stand the best chance of having a personal guarantee waived if you’re applying for a business credit card from a bank with whom you’ve previously had a relationship.

Bigger businesses and corporations may also be able to use the heft of their enormous accounts to negotiate better business credit card terms with their bank.

Who Is Responsible If You Avoid A Personal Guarantee?

If you circumvent the personal guarantee, your liability for unpaid debt will depend on the way your business is organized. That means limited liability corporations (LLCs), C-corps, and S-corps will, in most cases, have the protection from personal liability that you normally enjoy.

Final Thoughts

Business credit cards come with personal risks. Be sure to understand what your liability is and which assets will be exposed should you default. And, if you can, negotiate a deal that will leave you as protected as possible.

Looking to compare business cards? Check out our 2018 business credit card breakdown.

Chris Motola

Chris Motola is an independent writer, journalist, programmer, and game designer who has mastered the art of using his laptop in no fewer than 541 positions, most of them unergonomic. When he’s not pushing keys or swiping screens, he’s probably out exploring urban or natural environs, experimenting in the kitchen, or delighting/annoying his friends with his ideas and theories.

Chris Motola

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Team Bio Series — Matt Sherman (Recovering Music Snob)

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For the next stop in our tour of the Merchant Maverick virtual office we’ll be talking to Matt Sherman, our resident head of point of sale. Matt is an old-school sports journalist who stoically watched the print industry implode before joining the MM team. But, apart from his willingness to go down with burning ships, what else does this life-long Oregonian bring to the table? Let’s read on, shall we?

Name: Matthew Sherman

Title: Head Writer for Point of Sale

Hometown: West Linn, Oregon

Current city: Gladstone, Oregon

Education and background: I spent two years at Point Loma Nazarene University in San Diego before graduating with a BA in English from the University of Oregon. I then spent about 14 years as a writer and sports editor for a pair of weekly newspapers where I had a unique front-row seat to the print industry’s spectacular demise.

Merchant Maverick department/specialty: Point of sale

How did you discover Merchant Maverick?: I have known Julie (one of the site’s editors) for the vast majority of my life, being friends with her older brother and attending the same church/piano recitals she did. When the newspapers and I decided to make a conscious uncoupling from each other, she contacted me.

Proudest professional moment: Covering the Little League World Series in Pennsylvania when one of our local teams qualified was a big highlight.

Favorite Merchant Maverick post/moment/opportunity: I haven’t been here too long but the meet-up in Palm Springs was fantastic. In terms of actual work output, I get a thrill from successfully shaking off requests from pesky vendors. I’ve also liked being able to respond to questions from people who are directly in the market for a point of sale system. With each passing day I feel like less and less of a fraud here.

What do you do for fun?: When you have two young, hyperactive boys, hobbies tend to take a back seat. I write a little bit and enjoy getting together with friends for board games. Evenings are generally spent on Netflix, HBO, Hulu, or Amazon trying desperately to make a dent in an impossible number of good TV shows available right now.

What movie character do you identify most with and why? A few years ago, there was one of those activities that everyone posted on Facebook where you were supposed to pick the 3 movie characters you most identified with. I was a Facebook contrarian even back then and refused to participate with an actual post but couldn’t help but think about it and was always pleased with my answer. Michael Cera’s character in Superbad because he looks and acts very similar to me in high school. Ron Livingston’s character from Office Space because my dream is to also sit around doing nothing. And Jim Carey’s character in Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind just because.

Favorite sitcom: The most influential show on my life was/is The Simpsons. I loved 30 Rock and Parks and Recreation and currently, I’m a huge fan of The Good Place and Broad City.

Favorite ‘90s song: I’m a recovering music snob who refuses to advance his tastes past the late 90s. I’ll say Paranoid Android by Radiohead with my guilty pleasure being Criminal by Fiona Apple.

Favorite dessert: Tough to go wrong with a good cheesecake.

What are three places you’d like to go?: Germany is pretty high on my list right now. The Riviera has always appealed to me as well and, for somewhere tropical, maybe somewhere like Belize.

If you could travel back in time and talk to anyone, who would you visit and what would you ask them?: I’d be so paranoid that anything I said would dramatically alter the future so I’d probably be pretty conservative. It’d be pretty cool to just hang out for an evening with the Beatles before they got famous or the Velvet Underground or maybe in the SNL writers room in the late 70s (avoiding partaking in the copious amount of drugs that would be present in all of those scenarios.)

Mac or Windows?: It’s probably a major faux pas to admit I don’t have a strong preference. As someone who is fairly computer illiterate and gets irrationally angry about glitches and bugs, I always appreciated the user-friendliness of Macs while being fully aware (via tech-savvy friends) that PCs are superior.

You’re given an unlimited budget at one retail store. Where do you go? What do you buy?: Oh man. I thought way too long about this. I would probably say Home Depot to totally revamp my deck and my entire yard area as long as I could also purchase the labor required to do it considering I still utilize my poor father-in-law for the most menial home improvement tasks.

Matt hasn’t been a part of our weird work-family for long, but we’re sure glad he’s getting more used to us by the day. Anyone who can admit an affinity with Michael Cera is okay by us, and — I speak for the entire MM team when I say that we like a man who’s not afraid to admit he listens to Fiona Apple.

Interested in reading about other members of the Merchant Maverick staff? Check out our team interview series.

Julie Titterington

Julie Titterington is a writer, editor, and native Oregonian who lives in the beautiful Willamette Valley with her husband and two small children. When she’s not writing or testing software, she spends her time reading early 20th century mystery novels, staring blankly at her iPhone, and attempting to keep her kids fed, clothed, and relatively uninjured.

Julie Titterington

Julie Titterington

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How To Enable Live Bank Feeds In QuickBooks Pro

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How To Enable Live Bank Feeds In QuickBooks Pro

One of the most time-saving automations QuickBooks offers is live bank feeds. Live bank feeds pull all of your bank transactions into your account automatically, so you don’t have to.

We’ll teach you how to connect your bank account directly to your QuickBooks account in these five simple steps.

Table of Contents

Enable Live Bank Feeds

Before you get started, make sure you have already created an account in QuickBooks for each bank account you’re adding. To learn how to add an account to your chart of accounts, read How to Add A Bank Account To QuickBooks Pro.

To begin, go to Banking>Bank Feeds>Set Up Bank Feed for Account.

You may see the notification below. Save and close any information you currently have open, and then click “Yes.”

How To Enable Live Bank Feeds In QuickBooks Pro

Step 1: Find Your Bank

Search for your banking institution.

How To Enable Live Bank Feeds In QuickBooks Pro

Select the proper bank from the search results.

How To Enable Live Bank Feeds In QuickBooks Pro

Step 2: Adjust Bank Settings

Once you select your bank account, you’ll be taken to a screen that says “Direct Connect.” At this point, you’ll want to go to your banking institution and enroll in “Direct Connect.”

Each banking institution handles integrations differently, so contact your bank directly for instructions on allowing a QuickBooks connection.

Once you’ve enabled QuickBooks to connect to your account, click the blue “Continue” button in the bottom right-hand corner.

How To Enable Live Bank Feeds In QuickBooks Pro

Step 3: Log In To Your Bank Account

Now that you’ve connected to your account, you’ll be asked to log in. Some banks ask for your login credentials, while others ask for your bank number and pin. Follow the instructions on the screen, then click “Connect.”

How To Enable Live Bank Feeds In QuickBooks Pro

Step 4: Choose Accounts

QuickBooks will now pull up all accounts associated with your bank login. Select the accounts you wish to include in QuickBooks Pro. Use the drop-down menus to select which account (from your chart of accounts) to connect to your bank account.

Step 5: Connect

Click “Connect” to complete the bank connection. Go to your Bank Feeds Center to see the transactions that QuickBooks automatically pulls in from your bank.

For troubleshooting issues, check out the QuickBooks Community or call QuickBooks directly. If you have any further questions, leave a comment below and we’ll do our best to help you.

Chelsea Krause

Chelsea Krause is a writer, avid reader, and researcher. In addition to loving writing, she became interested in accounting software because of her constant desire to learn something new and understand how things work. When she’s not working or daydreaming about her newest story, she can be found drinking obscene amounts of coffee, reading anything written by C.S. Lewis or Ray Bradbury, kayaking and hiking, or watching The X-Files with her husband.

Chelsea Krause

“”

How Does Shopify Work?

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If you’ve just begun looking into shopping cart software, chances are you’ve run into Shopify (see our review). Shopify is an all-inclusive online selling platform. For one monthly rate, you can create and develop an online store from which you can promote, sell, and ship your products.

Shopify is popular due to its low startup cost and easy-to-use interface. It’s possible to run a complete online store for as low as $29/month, and you can have everything online in less than a week!

Shopify is an excellent solution for many merchants, though it’s not perfect. Keep reading for more information about what comes included in a Shopify subscription, the merits and disadvantages of the software, and how to set up a Shopify store.

Table of Contents

What Does A Shopify Subscription Include?

Shopify is a cloud-based, SaaS (software as a service) shopping cart solution. A monthly fee gives you access to an admin panel where you can enter store data, add products, and process orders.

In addition, you’ll be able to choose from a rich selection of free and for-purchase design templates. These themes are clean and modern, and Shopify provides a variety of editing tools which you can use to make your chosen theme fit your brand.

What’s more, a subscription with Shopify includes secure, reliable hosting for your website. You don’t have to worry about your site crashing during peak traffic or hackers hijacking your transactions. With 99.9% uptime and a free SSL certificate, Shopify has you covered.

Finally, your monthly payment entitles you to comprehensive 24/7 customer support. You’ll be able to contact support via phone, email, and live chat. And you can also use Shopify’s knowledge base to solve smaller problems on your own.

Shopify boasts that they’re an all-in-one solution. With a Shopify subscription, you should have everything you need to quickly begin selling on your very own site.

What Are The Pros & Cons Of Shopify?

As you may expect, while Shopify is an excellent option for many merchants, it isn’t for everyone. Here’s a brief list of the reasons merchants choose Shopify, followed by a list of common customer complaints.

Pros

  • Easy To Use: This is by far the biggest reason merchants love Shopify. Shopify is built for the technically illiterate. It’s simple to add products, create discounts, and process orders. Web design is user-friendly — and even easy — with the new drag-and-drop editing tool.
  • Low Startup Cost: Shopify’s relatively low monthly fees make setup affordable. The basic plan costs $29/month and the mid-level plan is priced at $79/month.
  • Beautiful Themes: Subscribing merchants can choose from a variety of free, mobile responsive themes. Premium (paid) themes are also available for merchants who want more options.
  • Good For Dropshippers: Shopify is the platform of choice for many dropshippers. Integrations with Ordoro and Oberlo make dropshipping from your Shopify admin a lot simpler.
  • Lots Of Support Options: You can access technical support every hour of the day through phone, live chat, or email. Self-help options are available as well. Customers like that support is available outside of regular business hours.

Cons

  • Limited Functionality: Shopify comes pre-loaded with almost all of the features smaller merchants need to build an online store. However, every business has some specialized requirements, and Shopify typically does not have the features to meet those specific needs. This is where add-ons come in. Many merchants end up needing to purchase a handful of add-ons to make this shopping cart work the way they need it to.
  • Costly Add-Ons: As I’ve said, while Shopify offers almost every basic feature, the software is lacking many advanced features. You’ll have to find these features in the form of add-ons, which are not free. The cost of adding just three add-ons can double your monthly fees.
  • Transaction Fees: Although most shopping carts have dropped their transaction fees entirely, Shopify has retained their 0.5% to 2.0% fees (depending on your pricing plan).
  • Strained Customer Support: While in the past Shopify has been known for responsive customer support, it seems their support team has experienced increased strain this past year. Shopify’s client load is increasing exponentially, and support is struggling to keep up. Hold times of up to thirty minutes are not uncommon.

How Do You Make Shopify Work For You?

The way to get the most out of your Shopify subscription is to play to the software’s strengths. Shopify offers a few feature modules that you can use to boost your administrative power and expedite daily processes. Here are a few of Shopify’s strong points;

  • Shopify Shipping: Shopify’s brand new shipping modules allows you to integrate with major shipping carriers in order to calculate real-time shipping rates. You can purchase and print shipping labels directly from your admin panel. You should note that this shipping module does not let you display calculated rates in your customers’ shopping carts.
  • Dropshipping Apps: Shopify allows you to integrate with a handful of dropshipping applications, including Ordoro and Oberlo. I have seen numerous reports of success with these applications in combination with Shopify.
  • Mobile Management: Shopify offers a mobile app, which lets you manage your store from anywhere.
  • Integrations With Amazon & eBay: Connect your Shopify account with two of the internet’s biggest marketplaces. Process orders from all of your sales channels in Shopify. It should be noted that while we’re glad Shopify has bothered to create these integrations, they have not garnered good reviews with Shopify’s user base. Read our article on the two integrations to learn more.

How Do You Start?

If you’re considering Shopify, take the first step to getting started and sign up for their 14-day free trial. You won’t have to enter any credit card information to access the trial; they’ll just need you to submit contact information and answer a few questions about your business.

During your trial, make sure to test every aspect of Shopify’s software. Add products, create marketing campaigns, change your storefront design, and add on an application or two. Make sure Shopify can handle all of your daily operations. Look for any advanced features you may need, like filtered search, abandoned cart notifications, and pop-up promos.

Once you’re sure Shopify is the right choice for you, choose your appropriate pricing plan, and get moving.

If you didn’t already do so in your trial, you’ll need to begin by adding your company’s basic information. Providing an accurate location will help estimate shipping rates and taxes.

You can then head over to the products section to upload your wares. Make sure to list weight and dimensions for each item as this will help Shopify accurately calculate shipping rates in Shopify Shipping.

As you add your products, you should keep in mind your ultimate vision for the design of your site. Take a look at Shopify’s selection and choose a theme that fits your brand and accommodates the number of products you plan to offer.

For example, don’t choose a theme that does not include drop-down menus if you plan to list 500+ products. With so many items, you’ll need to be able to create subcategories.

As you explore your new platform, don’t forget about Shopify’s vast App store. Shopify offers over 1500 extensions and applications which can help fill in any gaps in features you may find.

And when you run into trouble, you can always reach out to Shopify’s support team. At this time, you can expect hold times of up to 30 minutes, so I would first look into Shopify’s knowledge base before calling.

Final Thoughts

Shopify is an excellent shopping cart for many merchants. Its easy to use interface, reasonable pricing model, and beautiful themes make it one of our favorite eCommerce solutions, and we recommend it frequently to readers.

But as always, I suggest you continue your research before you commit to the software. Head over to our full Shopify review for complete information on the pros and cons of the platform. Then, sign up for a free trial to test out the software yourself. Our reviews are just a place to begin. Your own experience with the software is more valuable than any advice I can give.

Best of luck and happy researching!

Liz Hull

Liz is a recent college graduate living in Washington state. As of late, she can often be found haunting eCommerce forums and waiting on hold with customer service representatives. When she’s free, Liz loves to rock climb, watch Spanish dramas, and read poorly-written young adult novels.

Liz Hull

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How To Add A Bank Account To QuickBooks Pro

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How To Add Bank Accounts In QuickBooks Pro

Before you can start reconciling your bank accounts and performing other important accounting processes, you’ll need to make sure your bank accounts and opening balances are added into QuickBooks Pro.

If you’ve already read How To Set Up A QuickBooks Pro Account, the process of editing your chart of accounts should seem pretty familiar.

In this post, we’ll teach you how to add bank accounts to your chart of accounts — and how to add opening balances to your accounts — in 11 easy steps.

Table of Contents

Add A Bank Account

To begin, go to Company>Chart of Accounts>Account>New.

Step 1: Select Appropriate Account Type

Select “Bank.” Then click the blue “Continue” button at the bottom of the screen.

How To Add Bank Accounts In QuickBooks Pro

Step 2: Name The Account

Type in the name the account goes by, ex. ‘savings’ or ‘checking’. Click on the “Select From Examples” button if you need help.

How To Add Bank Accounts In QuickBooks Pro

The account name is the only information that is absolutely necessary. The following fields are optional (though we recommend filling out the ones that are pertinent to your business).

Step 3: Attach To A Subaccount

You most likely won’t be doing this, but you can choose to mark your account as a subaccount of another account.

How To Add Bank Accounts In QuickBooks Pro

Step 4: Write An Account Description

Write a description for your account, so that you will recognize it in your chart of accounts.

How To Add Bank Accounts In QuickBooks Pro

Step 5: Add A Bank Account Number

Enter your bank account number.

How To Add Bank Accounts In QuickBooks Pro

Step 6: Enter The Routing Number

Type in the corresponding routing number.

How To Add Bank Accounts In QuickBooks Pro

Step 7: Select a Tax-Line Mapping

A tax-line mapping is used by accountants to prepare the books for tax software and to run an Income Tax Preparation Report. QuickBooks recommends that you do not use tax-line mappings unless you are an accountant or tax professional. Click on the blue “How do I choose the right tax-line?” link to learn more, or just skip ahead to step 8.

How To Add Bank Accounts In QuickBooks Pro

Step 8: Enter An Opening Balance

If you have an opening balance on your account, you can enter that information now. Click the “Enter Opening Balance…” button.

Next, you’ll want to add your opening balance to the statement ending balance slot. Then use the drop-down calendar to select the date of that balance. Once all of the information looks correct, click the blue “OK” button.

How To Add Bank Accounts In QuickBooks Pro

Step 9: Choose Check Settings

Enter your check settings. If desired, you can set a check reorder point and opt to order checks that you can print directly from QuickBooks.

How To Add Bank Accounts In QuickBooks Pro

Step 10: Save Account

Click the blue “Save & Close” button to save your new bank account.

How To Add Bank Accounts In QuickBooks Pro

Step 11: Enable Live Bank Feeds (Optional)

Once you click save, you’ll receive a notification like the one below.

How To Add Bank Accounts In QuickBooks Pro

If you want to enable live bank feeds, click “Yes” and continue on to How To Enable Live Bank Feeds In QuickBooks Pro.

If you don’t want to enable live bank feeds, click “No” and proceed to the chart of accounts to check that your new account saved correctly.

How To Add Bank Accounts In QuickBooks Pro

Repeat this process as many times as necessary until all of your checking, savings, and credit card accounts are properly entered into QuickBooks Pro.

For troubleshooting issues, check out the QuickBooks Community or call QuickBooks directly. If you have any further questions, leave a comment below and we’ll do our best to help you.

Chelsea Krause

Chelsea Krause is a writer, avid reader, and researcher. In addition to loving writing, she became interested in accounting software because of her constant desire to learn something new and understand how things work. When she’s not working or daydreaming about her newest story, she can be found drinking obscene amounts of coffee, reading anything written by C.S. Lewis or Ray Bradbury, kayaking and hiking, or watching The X-Files with her husband.

Chelsea Krause

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Top POS Systems For Liquor Stores

Our unbiased reviews and content are supported in part by affiliate partnerships. Learn more.

Growing up, as I did, in a conservative household, liquor stores always felt a bit seedy. There was an element of danger to them, as if just opening the door and walking inside (even when of a legal drinking age) would be setting yourself up for negative consequences. Now? I could spend hours perusing an individual store’s selection, reading descriptions on bottles from the scores of local distilleries that have all cropped up seemingly overnight.

Liquor stores are unique businesses with constantly fluctuating inventory and price changes, meaning that choosing an effective point of sale system is extremely important. You’ll need to make sure the system is strong in these areas:

  • Inventory Management: Even a small liquor store will have thousands of individual products – if not more — and keeping track of every bottle or item on hand can be daunting.
  • Employee Management: While you want to trust all of your employees, the fact of the matter is, it’s an industry where theft is often rampant. A POS system that tracks transactions and can be easily checked is crucial.
  • Customer Management: Whether you’re dealing with customers who come in almost daily or those who buy a single bottle of brandy at Christmas each year, a POS system can track preferences and send out individualized promotions to attract return customers and boost profits.

Here are some of the top POS systems on the market for use in liquor stores:

Table of Contents

mPower Beverage

mPower Beverage is a point of sale system specifically designed for liquor stores, so you would expect it to have a leg up on other, broader systems on the market. And you wouldn’t be disappointed. mPower is outstanding at what it does. There is a custom inventory system that allows you to easily review products on hand (and sales history) on one intuitive screen while also predicting inventory needs in the future. Purchase orders can be created within the program or directly by the vendor, whichever you prefer.

mPower also offers a built-in loyalty system that keeps track of money spent and can be customized to give different rewards for purchasing different products. The program is searchable, making it easy to track repeat customers; it can store personalized information about individuals, and offer store credit. There are more than 70 different reports offered as well, and permissions can be assigned to individual employees — a definite bonus in an industry where turnover is high. mBeverage can even create custom reports if a client needs something even more specific. Integrations are a nice feature with mBeverage, which offers Beverage Media, BottleCapps, Drizly, Drync, MiniBar as well as QuickBooks for accounting

Lightspeed Retail

Lightspeed Retail (read our review) is one of the more versatile retail POS systems around, and with a flexible pricing structure, it’s likely they have all the features your liquor store will need to thrive. Lightspeed has a strong inventory system, allowing for data to be imported via a CSV or Excel file. Stock can be ordered directly through the POS and you can create a single purchase order for multiple vendors.

Lightspeed offers terrific reporting capabilities, allowing for real-time analysis. Its employee tracking lets you see who is ringing up what products and cuts down on the potential for fraud. Its gift card system is also top notch, storing customer information and predicting future purchases.

As a bonus, Lightspeed can be exceptionally mobile, allowing employees to walk around the store and pull up descriptions of various spirits that can be programmed into the system. With its own integrated payments system and multi-store functionality, Lightspeed is an all-in-one solution.

ShopKeep

ShopKeep (read our review) isn’t the cheapest system on the market, but there’s a reason why we have it rated 5 stars. If you’re looking for fantastic reporting and inventory management, it’s difficult to do better than this POS. All inventory can be imported in just minutes, and alerts can be set up for when a product is running low.

Shopkeep has excellent reporting, with an easy-to-read layout to assess what items are selling well and which ones should probably be nixed. Employee hours and permissions can all be viewed remotely and organized on the back-end, and sales histories for each register are tracked.

ShopKeep’s mobile app is also outstanding, allowing you to check on sales in real time and manage multiple locations from the palm of your hand. The POS integrates with many of the standard accounting programs and can be customized to meet the needs of your business. Again, many of these come at an added cost, meaning that you might be able to find exactly what you need for a cheaper price. However, ShopKeep certainly has the functionality to meet even the most complex liquor store’s needs.

KORONA.pos

KORONA.pos (read our review) is a cloud-based system that is intended to fit the needs of most small to mid-sized businesses. The retailer will work with a business to set up a POS specifically designed to handle whatever that business might need and there are a handful of functions that are tailor-made for liquor stores. KORONA has the capability to handle millions of products. That may be a bit more than your single store is processing, but it shows KORONA’s commitment to inventory management. There is a nice feature that runs automatic inventory audits and can identify discrepancies quickly. When you run a full inventory count, KORONA creates intelligent count sheets automatically.

Security is also a strong suit for this POS. Every transaction is saved and can be monitored, and suspicious transactions are immediately flagged. Its reporting capabilities are robust and can identify products that are cutting into the business’s profit margin. KORONA offers a strong number of integrations and, with an unlimited free trial available and low starting price point, it should be a strong contender for most liquor stores.

talech

talech review

talech (read our review) is another competitively priced POS that can be customized to meet the needs of a business owner. One of the best things about talech is its customer management. This POS can upload customer information and then create custom marketing campaigns.

As you would expect, its inventory management is also top-notch. You can generate your own barcodes, saving you valuable time and eliminating the need to buy an additional scanner. Price changes can be added to categorized groups. Products, categories, and discounts can also be synced across multiple locations, which is a huge benefit for liquor stores as prices are constantly fluctuating. With talech, you can make your own purchase orders and get alerts when inventory is low.

For security, the POS offers a manager swipe card, making it possible for only the person in charge to void orders or perform other administrative actions. For integrations, talech is teamed up with OneSaaS to offer more than 30 different programs.

Final Thoughts

Managing and maintaining a profitable liquor can be a tricky proposition. There is a large amount of inventory to keep track of with prices and discounts that need to be updated daily. There are also many instances of theft in the industry, making security of the utmost importance. But, fortunately, a good point of sale system can alleviate a lot of that stress. Many systems can meet your basic needs, but we believe the apps on the list will provide you with a good jumping off point.

Know of a good liquor store POS we didn’t mention? Use any of the systems above? Let us know in the comments!

Matt Sherman

Matt Sherman recently walked away from a 14-year stint in the thriving print media industry where he spent the bulk of his time as the sports editor for a pair of weekly newspapers in suburban Portland, Oregon. He is the father to a pair of energetic boys and can easily be distracted by Netflix, Amazon and HBO Go.

Matt Sherman

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What Are The Risks Of Using Business Credit Cards?

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Business credit cards offer a variety of enticing perks to companies that use them skillfully. But with those tempting rewards come a unique battery of risks that can catch unprepared businesses off guard.

Here are some of the risks that come with using business credit cards…

Table of Contents

Interest Rates

The most obvious risk you take when using business credit cards is accruing interest.

Business credit card APRs typically fall in the mid-to-high teens. If you carry a monthly balance on your business credit card, interest will begin to accrue on your account. This interest is an additional, and often unnecessary, business expense.

To figure out how much you’ll be spending in interest, divide your APR by 365. So, if your APR is 18 percent, your daily interest rate will be 0.0493 percent. In other words, if your balance on a given day is $1,000, you’ll accrue 49 cents in interest on that day.

As you can imagine, those small charges add up very quickly. Most carriers will offer a grace period to make payments without being charged interest, but you’ll need to keep an eye on your bill to see if you’re meeting them. Unlike personal credit cards, there’s no set, legally enforced interest-free window.

Bait & Switches

Personal credit cards are governed by the Credit CARD Act of 2009. This legislation ensures that cardholders get 21 days to pay their bills, won’t be subject to retroactive rate increases, will receive ample warning before rates are increased, and will have payments applied to their highest APR items first.

Unfortunately, those protections do not apply to business credit cards. That means credit card companies can change your rate, and even your billing date, with little warning. In a worse case scenario, this can leave you facing charges you aren’t prepared for or make it more burdensome to pay off standing debts.

This doesn’t necessarily mean your credit card company will be pulling shenanigans with your account, but you need to be on guard for it. Be especially wary of changes if you miss a payment, as they’ll often be used as a rationale for tinkering with your terms of service.

You’ll also want to be aware of less nefarious tactics like introductory offers. You may be expecting them to expire, but did you know your credit card company can revoke them at any time, for any reason?

Needless to say, keep an eye on your statements.

Affect On Your Credit Report

At this point, business credit cards are probably sounding like the wild frontier of revolving lines of credits. Unsurprisingly, this can carry over to credit reporting.

There’s no industry standard governing what bureaus your credit card activity is reported to, or if it’ll be reported at all.

This means that some companies will report your business credit card activity to commercial credit bureaus. Others will report it to consumer credit bureaus. Some will report it to both. Some will report it to neither.

So if you’re hoping to create a partition between your personal and business credit, you may have a hard time doing it with a business credit card. This can also make it difficult for you to use a business credit card to repair your personal credit.

If you’re concerned about how your business credit card usage shows up on credit reports, be sure to contact your credit card company and find out what their policy is.

Debt Responsibility

Depending on how your business is incorporated, you may or may not be personally liable for business debts in general.

Business credit cards, however, tend to require a personal guarantor on the account. That means that you are responsible for those debts should your business close. On the other hand, that also means you can treat that business debt as personal debt if you file for bankruptcy.

Final Thoughts

Keep in mind that these risks are a collection of worst case scenarios. Many companies maintain mutually beneficial relationships with their business credit card providers. Nevertheless, it is a poorly regulated segment of the credit card industry that comes with a number of dangerous pitfalls. Just don’t be caught unawares.

Looking for a convenient rundown of some of the most popular business cards? Check out our comparison chart.

Chris Motola

Chris Motola is an independent writer, journalist, programmer, and game designer who has mastered the art of using his laptop in no fewer than 541 positions, most of them unergonomic. When he’s not pushing keys or swiping screens, he’s probably out exploring urban or natural environs, experimenting in the kitchen, or delighting/annoying his friends with his ideas and theories.

Chris Motola

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Top 3 Project Management Apps For Small Businesses

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Searching for the perfect project management application can feel a bit like being Goldilocks — taste-testing each app until, finally, you settle on the choice that is “just right.” Are extensive reporting and invoicing capabilities too hot? Are time tracking or communication tools too cold? It can be daunting to have to search for solutions, especially when the bears (in the form of wasted time, over-budget projects, and poor task management) might return at any moment! When working from the time and budget constraints of a small business, the search can be that much more difficult and frustrating. Merchant Maverick to the rescue! Compiled below for your convenience and reading pleasure are our top three project management applications for small businesses.

A quick note about criteria: I picked these three applications based on affordability relative to other project management applications, ease of use, and an “X-factor” that makes them more desirable than their competitors. Okay, with that out of the way, on to the list!

Table of Contents

Redbooth

Redbooth (read our review) is one the perennial favorite project management applications here at Merchant Maverick; in fact, I think I have recommended it in just about every project management blog I have written. It has that fantastic combination of usability and price that is nearly unmatched in other project management applications.

Price

Pricing for Redbooth is figured per-user, meaning that you pay less if you have fewer users. Generally speaking, this kind of pricing plan favors smaller businesses, especially if yours falls into that 10-12 user category. Of course, the fact that Redbooth starts their pricing at ‘zero’ helps as well. Though you sacrifice a few of the features and are limited to two projects, the free plan might be a good choice for you, at least to start with. When Redbooth actually starts charging, the prices remain firmly in affordable territory, between nine and 15 dollars/user/month.

Usability

I have tested and used Redbooth in a number of scenarios over the last two years, and every time I have found it an absolute joy. Adding new tasks, creating workspaces, and communicating with team members from within the app are all accomplished without trouble or confusion.

“X-Factor”

The special thing that makes Redbooth more desirable than other, similar, project management applications is the excellence of the UI design. Seriously, I have tested a lot of project management apps, but this one is definitely my favorite. It is crisp, clean, and makes absolute sense to anyone who uses it. I love it!

Binfire

Binfire (read our review) is designed especially with remote teams in mind. A strong project management app on its own, it especially shines in situations where not all team members work from the same location. Equally useful in traditional and “agile” project management styles, this app will almost certainly fill a niche for your business.

Price

While Binfire does not offer a free option (ala Redbooth), this app is available at a lower initial cost, and with more increments to help you tailor the experience to your own needs without completely breaking the bank. Like Redbooth, Binfire is available in a per-user pricing scheme — more users = more expensive. Price tags start at five dollars/user/month and extend through four pricing levels up to $15/user/month.

Usability

Binfire is a bit more complicated than Redbooth — offering a wider variety of features — which lends itself to a more difficult user experience. Fortunately, due to good interface design and simple aesthetic, Binfire avoids most pitfalls and remains quite easy to both learn and use.

“X-Factor”

Binfire’s X-factor has to be remote-work features like its interactive whiteboard. Designed to replicate a project-planning whiteboard session, the interactive whiteboard provides a digital space for teams separated by distance to collaborate meaningfully.

Teamwork Projects

Teamwork Projects (read our review), another perennial favorite in the project management world, is an excellent project management platform designed to grant just about anyone the ability to manage projects effectively. One of the things I appreciate about Teamwork is that it is a very scalable product; if you have aspirations of growing your business beyond the “small” label, this could be the project management app for you.

Price

Teamwork Projects is priced per user. Like Redbooth, Teamwork has a free option, offering a reduced feature set to users for either limited use or use as a trial phase. If you want the rest of Teamwork Projects’ features, you are going to be shelling out $9/user/month, though only 100 or fewer users can jump on board at that price. While 100 user slots will be more than enough for small businesses, if your ambition is to grow rapidly, the flexibility here might come in handy farther down the road.

Usability

Like both prior apps, Teamwork Projects is exceptionally easy to use. When viewing your projects and tasks you can choose from one of several views that allow you to customize your viewing experience (a feature that can be found in many project management apps), and the interface is well designed and logical.

“X-Factor”

I think the X-Factor for Teamwork Projects would have to be the team behind it. Few project management applications that I have reviewed embrace new features and ideas quite the way Teamwork Projects does, certainly not while maintaining an otherwise excellent product. Most recently, Teamwork Projects gained the popular new “board view,” giving you yet another way of visualizing your projects.

Honorable Mentions

There are two other applications* that also fit the bill of “small business friendly project management,” but are too limited in scope and function for me to feel good about adding to the main list. They are, briefly:

  • Trello: Available free to anyone who cares to sign up, the team at Trello is responsible for the original “board view” that was so recently implemented at Teamwork Projects. Trello is easy to use and brings a sense of humor to project management with their cute husky Mascot, Taco.
  • SquidHub: Similar to Trello but much newer, SquidHub is a free project and task management app that is so easy to use that I have a hard time accurately describing how simple the program is. Like Trello, SquidHub is a little on the cheeky side, heavily featuring a smiling squid mascot.

*I recently compared these two apps in another post.

Wesley Kriz is a writer from the misty peaks of the Pacific Northwest, or as he prefers to call it, the Best Coast. He is willing to debate on almost any topic, but he is admittedly very stubborn, so beware. When not writing for Merchant Maverick, Wesley is likely thinking about Star Wars, or reading Lord of the Rings.

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