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How can I setup QuickBooks correctly?

This is one of the most common comments I get via e-mail, and it sounds like this: “I was watching your YouTube videos and it helped me get started with QuickBooks, however I have a feeling that I may have be missing something as my bank balances don’t match, my expense categories don’t seem to make sense for my business, I don’t really know how to categorize certain things, I just need help sorting it all out so I can manage this process on “real-time”… can you help? how much would you charge?”

So, a lot of these emails turn into private one-on-one remote training/consultations sessions where I login in to the business owner’s computer using Zoom or TeamViewer and we spend an hour or two getting it all sorted out.  So what are the typical things that we do on this training/consultation session? these are the typical things:

  • Beginning balances: enter all the beginning balances from previous balance sheet (normally from last year’s tax return, if the previous accountant has prepared one)
  • Setup Chart of Accounts: creating income and expense accounts that are relevant to the industry and specific business activities.  Creating all balance sheet accounts: assets (that they own)  and liabilities (what they owe) that the business has with their correct current balances.
  • Connect Bank and Credit Card Accounts: make sure that all bank and credit card accounts that can be connected to be downloading transactions from the bank automatically are setup to be downloading daily.  Plus configure Bank Rules, so that the common and predictable transactions are automatically classified by QuickBooks upon download
  • Clean-up  and “Catch-up” the books: download and enter historical transactions to make sure that all banks and credit cards can be reconciled at match-up to income from invoices and sales receipts; and expenses from bills and payments created.
  • Basic workflow training: teach the end user how to enter transactions such as invoices, bills, payments, creating items, managing inventory, etc… that matches the workflow of how the business operates and generates transactions
  • Create Reports: show the client how to generate most important reports and how to read them to make the proper business decisions.  Plus create custom reports for specific information that the end-user / business owner needs to create to focus on specific information to review
  • “Close the books”: this is typical when preparing to generate reports for tax returns, this requires making high level adjustments to accounts receivables, accounts payables, inventory, non-deductible expenses, and other balances that pertain to adjusting books to IRS/tax tules; and finally lock the books so they cannot be changed one the tax return has been filed using QuickBooks reports.


Unfortunately, knowing how much of these tasks we need to perform and how in depth we must go in other to catch-up and get to “Real-Time” information, so it is very hard to price upfront.  So I ask these folks to budget between $200 and $500 for the first meeting to see how far we can get.  And then determine if the balance of the work (assuming there is some, many times we get everything they done of the first meeting) is something they want to manage on their own, setup another session with me, and/or outsource some of the catch-up of they don’t have the resources to do so.  Either way, we feel the is an enormous amount of value anyone can draw from working alongside a professional to get the QuickBooks set up correctly from the get-go.


Also, for more in-depth information about getting the books correctly for month/year-end; check out “Tax Return Ready” financial reports:




Hector Garcia

Hector Garcia

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