By: Lori T. Williams, Owner/Managing Attorney of Your Legal Resource, PLLC
Solo and Small Firm professionals wear a lot of hats as they run their businesses. Having someone simplify your bookkeeping, or handle it for you can free up time to devote to other things that only you can handle.
I interviewed Jacqueline Kopp, owner of ATD Solutions, about the advantages of Quickbooks for small businesses. Prior to starting ATD Solutions, Kopp worked for a large marketing research and call center company where she managed the financial budgeting, invoicing, and performance reports for the Customer Service division of 400 employees. She received her bachelor’s degree from Baker College, and in 1999, Kopp and her partner started ATD Bookkeeping Solutions.
ATD Solutions services over 600 businesses in many different industries. This includes providing bookkeeping services along with QuickBooks consulting and training services. In thirteen years, ATD Bookkeeping Solutions has grown from a two person office to eleven employees. To keep up with demands, the business is currently expanding its operations by franchising its business model. The company is on track to open two new locations by the end of 2012; one in Novi and the other in Sterling Heights. ATD Solutions is currently hiring bookkeepers, assistant bookkeepers, operations managers, QuickBooks trainers and sales representatives.
As Kopp began her bookkeeping business, she looked for one software package that she could use and become an expert in. “QuickBooks was and still is the leading software in the industry, so it made sense to us to move forward with QuickBooks product. While we perform bookkeeping in other software packages, we found that QuickBooks is the easiest and best software for non-accounting professionals to use,” says Kopp.
Additionally, Intuit, the maker of QuickBooks, offers add-on services that communicate with QuickBooks. “These services help to streamline processes, improve efficiency and accuracy, and eliminate the need for double entry of information,” says Kopp. Some of the services include:
- Merchant Services or credit card processing;
- Field Service Management. Through the use of GPS and a smart phone, employers are able to better track their employees out on the road;
- Attach Document manager. This allows for a “green” or paperless office.
Kopp’s Top Quick Book Recommendations:
1) Hire a QuickBooks professional to set up the data file.
“While QuickBooks is very easy to use, if it is not set-up correctly in the beginning it can cause a lot of frustrations throughout the use of the software,” says Kopp. Data can be set-up in a manner that is specific to the business owner’s industry, to greatly improve reporting and streamline processes
2) Invest in tailor-made QuickBooks training with a certified QuickBooks Accounting professional.
“It is important that you find a QuickBooks expert that is also an accounting professional because, unlike most software experts, they won’t waste your time training you in areas of QuickBooks that your company will not utilize. Instead they will provide training that is specific to your business and will show you how to manage your financials correctly and most efficiently.”
3) Outsource your bookkeeping to a QuickBooks Accounting Professional.
This will save you time and money. Kopp notes that, “while QuickBooks is easy to learn and use, most business owners have a difficult time managing their books since bookkeeping is not why they started their company. They can hire someone in-house to manage their books but typically after paying payroll, payroll taxes, employee benefits and training it ends up being a far more expensive route especially if they hire an employee with a degree and a lot of experience. When a business outsources their bookkeeping, they eliminate all the expenses associated with hiring an employee and receive the benefits of having an accounting expert on their side.”
Despite it’s success over many years, there are still some misconceptions about Quickbooks:
1. Lacking Privacy/Security
“We hear of complaints that QuickBooks does not allow users to close and lock their books or that it is too easy for people to make changes to closed periods. This is actually not true. QuickBooks has a function that allows users to close and lock their books with a password. Changes can not be made to closed books unless the password is entered,” says Kopp.
2. Turnkey product
Another misconception that many users have is that QuickBooks is easy to set up and use right out of the box. Kopp notes, that ” while I would agree that it is easy to use, like anything new, it does take time and training to learn the software first. We suggest having a QuickBooks professional set-up the company data file on the computer specific to the company’s use, and then provide training on how to navigate QuickBooks. Also, the set-up process is the best time to set up checks and balances for internal fraud prevention.”
3. You can buy the software and handle it all yourself
Many small business owners face challenges with respect to their record keeping. With numerous hats to wear in the company, there is little time left to manage books or keep up on tax laws. “In our experience, most business owners do not have enough detail within their books and lack organization of the back-up paper which is needed in case of a tax audit from the IRS. According to the 2011 IRS Data Book there was an increase in tax audits last year, which means the IRS took a deeper look at tax returns and made more visits to businesses. If this trend continues, more businesses will receive a knock on their door from the IRS, and without the proper paperwork it will be very hard to prove their tax returns are correct.”
For more information about ATD Solutions or to ask for help with Quickbooks, visit their website.
Lori T. Williams is a 23 year attorney based in Birmingham, MI. She owns a legal referral and legal consulting business called Your Legal Resource, PLLC. She assists individuals and small businesses in need of legal advice or representation by connecting them with the right legal specialist for their situation. She also provides consulting services for attorneys and other professional service providers on how to generate more business through effective branding, marketing, networking, and by creating strategic partnerships. For more information, visit www.bestlegalresource.com.