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Filing Paperless Documents, Part 1

Years ago speculating about the future ‘paperless office’ was all the rage. As technology began to be implemented, the dialogue settled more into the idea of an office with ‘less paper’.

This latter ideal has been much easier to implement and has gained a strong foothold in business. Tools are available even for the smallest of businesses to create and keep documents in an electronic format rather than a paper format.

As small business has tested the water so to speak, and experimented with some of these tools, the value has become apparent. More and more small businesses are looking for ways to save information without generating more reams of paper to be stored in ever more filing cabinets.

QuickBooks has included tools to aid small businesses in this quest. For some time we have been able to create and send reports in pdf format. Now we can create and save the reports as pdf files, without the email action, just to save and file for our own records without ever printing it.

Invoices can also be printed, emailed, or saved as a pdf for electronic filing.

menu save as pdf

Attached Documents

Within QuickBooks is a feature called Attached Documents. This feature aids in the electronic filing process by saving documents and linking them to transactions and list elements in QuickBooks as a filing solution.

Users of QuickBooks have probably noticed this column in the Customer, Vendor, and Employee Centers, perhaps even the paperclip icon along the top edge of the window:

customer center

These are both indicators for the Attached Documents feature. The paper clip graphic in the ATTACH column of the customer list indicates that a document is attached to this customer. The paper clip icon at the top of the screen opens the Attach Documents function.

A click on the paper clip next to the customer name, in this case MWI, opens a list of one or more documents linked to this customer. See the following graphic.

document list for customer

From this window, the pdf document can be selected and opened.

The icons along the top of the window show the variety of ways QuickBooks will accept a document to be attached to a list or transaction. It could be scanned in from a paper copy. If the document is already on the computer, the computer icon could be selected. The user would then navigate to the correct location and select the file to be attached. Other documents like Word docs and Excel worksheets can also be attached.

The Doc Center can be opened with the third icon, or is available from Company->Documents.

doc center

Four documents are shown in the Doc Center screenshot. It is easy just to drag the files from other locations and drop them here. The arrows point to the indicators that show the last doc of the list as being attached. It is attached to the customer MWI as shown in an earlier screenshot.

The other three are not attached to anything. It is possible to select documents anywhere on the computer or to scan them into the computer while in a transaction or list in QuickBooks. It is also possible to drag them into the Doc Center and then find the places in QuickBooks where you want them attached.

From a transaction, click on the paperclip icon.

bill with paperclip icon

The list of documents opens, but is blank since there are no documents attached. Simply click on the Doc Center icon and the list of unattached documents appears. Select the appropriate one, then the Attach button, and the process is complete.

In the next post we’ll discuss some limitations of Attached Documents and possible alternatives.

Hector Garcia, CPA
Certified Advanced QuickBooks ProAdvisor
12401 Orange Drive #136
Davie, FL 33330

Hector Garcia

Hector Garcia

Hector Garcia is a CPA and QuickBooks Consultant.

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