Tackling any new piece of software can be daunting. Add a complex process like accounting to the mix, as QuickBooks does, and you may feel apprehensive about your ability to learn how to use it.
But QuickBooks was designed for small business people, not for accountants or technical wizards. It uses familiar language and forms, and it works like other Windows programs. That doesn’t mean, though, that you’ll be able to just jump in and start completing your accounting tasks.
Once you’ve created your company file, here are five steps to familiarize yourself with QuickBooks to get the software up and running in no time. Of course, if you need help creating a company file, don’t hesitate to call.
1. Open a sample file.
While you’re exploring QuickBooks, it’s a good idea to work with a sample file. That way, you can look around and practice without risking compromising your company file. You’ll be able to see how completed records and transactions should look and try your hand at entering sample data of your own.
Before you open a sample file, you’ll need to close your current company. Click on File in the upper left to open that menu and then select Close Company. A window will open that should have your company file in its list. Below that, you’ll see three boxes containing different options. Click on the down arrow next to Open a sample file, as pictured above (this may look slightly different in your version). Choose the one you want to open and click on it. QuickBooks will load again with that file open. When you’re done looking at the sample file, go to File | Close Company again. The No Company Open window should appear again. Click on your company file name and then on Open to return to your file.
2. Learn where your lists are.
You’ll be storing a great deal of information in lists. QuickBooks maintains these automatically sometimes when you enter information in a record or transaction. For example, when you create a record for a product or service you sell, it goes into a master list that you can access by opening the Lists menu at the top of the screen and clicking on Item List. You’ll also open the Lists menu when you want to add options to an existing type of list, like Class List (QuickBooks allows you to assign Classes to transactions so you can group related information, like New Construction or Remodel if you’re a contractor).