The Strauss Blog

How QuickBooks Can Work for Your Association

No matter what type of association you are managing, keeping accurate financial records is essential. Keeping your accounting records organized is important for many reasons, including a quick and low-cost audit or review engagement and being able to get useable information when it is needed to help manage your association. QuickBooks is one of the most widely recognized accounting software packages around the globe and there is good reason for it.

1. Easy to Use QuickBooks is very user friendly. I personally came into my role as Accounting Manager at an association management company that uses QuickBooks with very little former knowledge of the software. However, I did have a lot of accounting experience and with that experience was able to easily learn how to efficiently use QuickBooks (with a few Google searches here and there). QuickBooks is designed to be intuitive and easy to understand.

2. Integration QuickBooks offers the ability to integrate easily with many other programs, including online banking, Excel and many others that your association is likely using. This allows the opportunity to automate many types of transactions which can save a significant amount of time. It also offers the ability to export data directly into tax software if desired.

3. Electronically Send Invoices QuickBooks allows the tracking of sales and automatically creating receipts and invoices by the click of a button. Invoices and receipts can also be sent electronically to members via email directly from QuickBooks. This can be done individually or in a group, which facilitates multiple members being billed for the same service (i.e. membership).

Also, if you subscribe to QuickBooks Merchant Services or Intuit Check Solution for QuickBooks you would have the added benefit of accepting credit and debit cards or preparing cheque deposits directly through QuickBooks.

4. Multiple Users Up to five people can access QuickBooks at one time. You can use QuickBooks in single-user or multi-user modes. Only a few actions cannot be done when working in multi-user mode, the main ones being filing sales tax and changing QuickBooks settings or account names or configurations, which are generally not things you are doing often.

5. It is Editable Transactions in many accounting softwares are not able to be changed after they are posted or recorded. This is helpful under some circumstances (you can always post additional or reverse journal entries to correct problems, thus leaving a trail of your transactions to follow when trying to figure something out), however many people find this frustration and can create messy accounting records. QuickBooks allows you to edit or void any transaction as you like – however, this ability should be used only if you are sure you know what you are doing and understand the implications of your changes on the associations accounting records.

6. Audit Trail Every transaction within QuickBook is tracked through a function called the Audit Trail. This is extremely helpful in cases where an item has been changed or deleted. You can search and find out which users made which changes to transactions.

7. Automate Transactions Wherever Possible Automated transactions are transactions that are automatically recorded for you in the system. These can be set up for any transaction, but most often used for recurring transactions. Setting up automated transactions for items like monthly bills, monthly bank fees, payroll, monthly accounting accruals will save you time and eliminate the risk of mistakes and double work.

8. Catering to Associations Using the class feature with QuickBooks you can track income and expenses under various funds, as is often used in Not-for-Profit accounting.

QuickBooks also allows report names to be changed from the standard names generated within QuickBooks to Not-for-Profit financial statement wording such as “Statement of Financial Position” and “Statement of Operations”.

In addition, you can track donations and send donation receipts directly from QuickBooks.

9. It is Customizable Along with catering to associations, QuickBooks can be customized in several different ways to suit your associations needs. From creating customized reports and invoices (and memorizing them for future use) to setting company preferences. The company preferences menu has a lot of options to look through to tailor the functionality to your unique needs.

The memorizing function allows you to create an item exactly how you like it and save it for use later or set it to record automatically at a scheduled date (as mentioned in #7). Many items can be memorized such as bills, cheques, reports or journal entries.

When you first get QuickBooks be sure to take the time to properly customize the software to your needs.

10. It is Affordable QuickBooks is a relatively low-cost accounting software. Depending on the number of users needed, QuickBooks may be only a few hundred dollars per year. This is a great savings for many associations.

Using an accounting system that encompasses all these qualities allows the accounting records to be organized and the information hidden within, to be accessible.

At Strauss our experience has been that QuickBooks will boost an association’s efficiency, so it can focus on other high-value, and critical tasks.