Archive Monthly Archives: September 2011

SherWare clients tout favorite oil and gas accounting software

 

With so many Americans using QuickBooks for their personal and business accounting needs, I thought I’d ask our community of SherWare users to help us out again on a blog post to see what benefits they’ve found in using QuickBooks for business needs. Here are their top 10 benefits of using QuickBooks and top 10 things they like about QuickBooks.

While our oil and gas accounting software package that integrates with QuickBooks is definitely our most popular package, some of our users who have SherWare’s full Accounting Manager package of our software also chimed in with their top 10 reasons why they would go with a fully integrated system for their oil and gas needs.

As always, our users are so insightful. I hope you find some of their responses as helpful as I did in understand the pros and cons of both.

10 Benefits of Using QuickBooks (in no particular order)

1. You can use it for more than one facet of your life for bookkeeping purposes if you have multiple businesses, personal finances, etc.

2. QuickBooks is an industry standard. It’s very easy to use, yet very powerful.

3. The ability you have to drill down on anything from anywhere within the program and get to and edit the source.

4. The simplicity of the program makes it indispensible.

5. Using QuickBooks allows us to give our accountant the information he needs for tax purposes at the end of the year.

6. It’s easy to replace employees if need be, because the software is commonly known and used.

7. “After having used QuickBooks for almost 20 years, it truly is the most user-friendly software on the market. It’s great for professionals, but so self-explanatory that most non-accounting professionals are able to use it easily.”

8. It’s a well tested and very stable program.

9. The biggest benefit is how SherWare and QuickBooks integrate with each other so a person only has to enter their data once and get all the detail they need for the oil and gas side and finance side.

10. Using QuickBooks allows us to process bills not directly related to a well.

 

10 Things You Love About QuickBooks

1. The ease of use and ability to get help with it

2. The ability to send electronic files to your accountant

3. All the “canned” reports and the ability to modify them on the fly and save them

4. That the program is so portable and accessible – especially with the online version

5. The search and find abilities are superior to any other program

6. “QuickBooks is simple, yet accommodating and ‘intuitive,’ well that’s in their name, no?”

7. Memorized transactions

8. That the program works for multiple companies

9. How flexible the accounting software is to fit so many different types of businesses

10. The quick view of the check register on the home screen

Now for those considering either going with our QuickBooks-compatible software or a fully integrated package, here are what our clients with the Accounting Manager said about why they love the full package.

 

Five Things We Love About SherWare’s Accounting Manager

1. The Accounting Manager is specific to the industry, has all the proper verbiage, is easy to use and you can always get help from support if/when you need it.

2. Being able to see the well/owner information and look up expenses, write notes about the owners/vendors/wells and everything associated with everything to the well in one system.

3. That the program is fully integrated and gives you more options to create the accounting system at the level of detail and sophistication that is best for you and your company.

4. That everything is processed for you without having to complete additional steps.

5. The Accounting Manager has everything I need to do my job in one place – there’s no need for other software.

Whether you love your QuickBooks accounting software or are looking for something more integrated, there are obviously cheerleaders for both sides that can chime in with their advice. If you’re still deciding between the two, contact us for more information on the products, or download an information packet to help get a feel for which one might be a better fit for you.

 


Source: SherWare Blog

 

Clients offer insight into Intuit’s Future of Accounting Report

After my post earlier in the month on Intuit’s 2020 Accounting Report, I sought the insight of our accountant and bookkeeper clients to see if what the report predicted, jived with how our clients saw their industry. Here is what they clarified for me:

Trend One: Outsourcing accounting functions such as data entry and bookkeeping

For me, outsourcing accounting functions to other countries such as India didn’t make sense. I thought perhaps since I don’t delve deeply into the accounting world that I just wasn’t seeing the big picture. But according to our clients, outsourcing doesn’t make much sense to them either.

Fifty percent of respondents thought there would be no benefit to outsourcing accounting functions. For the rest of the respondents, they felt the only benefit that they could see would be to lower labor costs, but that a greater need for quality review would be required, negating the cost benefit.

I suspect that the accounting firms that will likely go to outsourcing in the future are large accounting firms and not small to medium sized firms that are more prevalent in America.

Trend Two: Globalization of accounting firms

Globalization appears to be no closer to reality among our clients than outsourcing accounting functions to India was. None of our clients who responded believed that their businesses would be going global anytime in the near future, primarily because of how local their businesses operate currently. Most oil and gas accounting clients that responded operate locally, within a few counties or states, with a small percentage of clients that operate across the country in multiple states.

One client who runs an accounting consulting business currently, said as part of his business, he does help come up with business plans that expand globally – which shows me it could be possible, just not as likely as Intuit may believe.

Trend Three: Accountants take on more of a consulting role, handle easy tasks less

My panel of clients seemed to be split down the middle regarding this trend predicted by Intuit. For those that responded based on their own personal businesses and local area, they did not see this happening anytime soon. The majority of the clients that they work for believe in “old-school” type accounting where if you are an accountant, you do the tax returns and data-entry, if you are a receptionist, you answer the phone, etc.

For the clients who responded based on how they saw the accounting field changing, not necessarily just their office – they definitely saw this happening and saw it happening now in some cases.

“Data entry will eventually go away as we perfect Internet based methods to download information instead of re-entering,” says Holly, an accountant in Ohio. “Bookkeeping always needs an overseer to make sure it is set up correctly and working as intended. I see an analysis role in this area that should not go away. Good consulting is necessary, but the daily oversight by a human with accounting skills is also imperative to avoid meaningless data.”

Kimberly, a bookkeeper from Ohio had this insight into why she already saw this happening in her area. “Full blown accountants are ALREADY and have been just consultants for a while now,” she said. “All of my clients use their accountants four times a year to check my work and to do their taxes. Bookkeepers like myself are mini accountants. We are doing most of the work and we keep learning how to make ourselves more valuable by learning how to do more of the things that the accountant used to do. A well rounded bookkeeper who thinks like an accountant is a powerful person to have on your team.”

Along those same lines, Teri, an accountant in Texas, suggested that yes, why wouldn’t accountants who have gone through the rigors of getting a college, masters and even higher degree in accounting want to handle something more complex and interesting in the future than simple tax returns and data-entry?

Trend Four: Baby-boomers vs. Generation X

I posed this question to our clients and received responses that humored me greatly: How do your client expectations differ between say baby boomers and younger generation clients in their mid-20s to early 30s?

About half of the respondents don’t deal with younger generation clients currently, so they couldn’t give a response. For the rest – hang on to your teeth, my generation is in for a smack-down.

Generically speaking, respondents believe that the younger generation clients want more technological solutions to their accounting needs, are more open to change and want to be able to handle everything online. They also believed that their younger generation clients are more creative and interested in the details of their finances.

On the flip side, my respondents also thought that younger generation clients want to get rich now and not invest in the future; are interested in the details and may challenge the accountant more, but are less apt to see the big picture; and that they tend to hurry in everything they do.

While I don’t necessarily disagree with the respondents’ assessment of my generation, it still made me laugh to see how we’re often viewed by the older generations. It will be interesting to see how my generation’s “attitudes” affect business plans and models in the future.

Trend Five: Social media takes on more importance as word-of-mouth and traditional advertising fades away

The final trend I questioned our clients on was the importance of social media in their field and if it would take on more prominence in the future. Nearly all respondents didn’t see social media as a trend that would catch on quickly – and primarily because social media is not something that is important in the oil and gas or accounting industries.

With so much personal data and financials involved in both oil and gas and the accounting industry, the majority of clients didn’t see using this tool other than perhaps for some marketing as useful.

What are your thoughts? Do you agree with our clients?

QuickBooks Tips & Resources – Part 2

 

For those QuickBooks users out there who follow the blog, last week we took a look at some tips from the QuickBooks Specialists blog by Ruth Perryman, a QuickBooks guru if there ever was one. Today, I’d like to look at a few that I’ve enjoyed from QuickBooks and Your Business, by Shannon Tucker.

A guide to selecting the best edition of QuickBooks for your business:

A: At SherWare, we have many tools and questions we ask to help get your started with the best edition and software package to meet your oil and gas accounting needs. As evidenced by our sales, our QuickBooks integrated edition is one of our most popular, which makes Tucker’s post outlining the various editions of QuickBooks so helpful.

I can walk you through picking the best oil and gas accounting package we have, but I don’t have the level of expertise with QuickBooks to direct you to the best package to integrate with our program. Here’s an outlined version of Tucker’s original post.

Like our software packages, all QuickBooks editions will handle your basic accounting needs. What varies between editions is the special features and nuances that can make or break how smoothly your accounting operations flow.

For small businesses:

QuickBooks Online Plus

– Program entirely online

– Can handle up to 5 users at once plus the accountant

– Handles accounting records from multiple locations in real-time

QuickBooks Pro

– Can handle up to 3 users at the same time working on a network

– Best selection for small businesses to handle general accounting functions

– Can add optional modules to create your own package

For small to medium businesses:

QuickBooks Premier

– Can handle up to 5 users at the same time working on a network

– Can purchase industry-specific editions (although there isn’t one for the oil and gas industry)

– Allows you to do business planning and forecasting

For medium businesses:

QuickBooks Enterprise Solutions

– Can handle up to 30 users at one time working on a network

– Is designed to handle higher transaction volumes and database sizes

The costs for each of these products obviously vary depending on the number of users and increase the larger the product you need. Check Intuit’s website for current pricing information.

How do I limit the access my employees have in QuickBooks?

A: Since QuickBooks houses your most intimate details about your business’ financials, it makes sense that you don’t want everyone who works in your office to have the ability to access and edit any information in the program.

You can control which features each employee can access and whether they have the ability to edit information on that screen or only read it by going to Company > Set Up Users and Passwords > Set Up Users.

Once you’ve either selected an existing user or create a new one, you’ll be able to choose what parts of the software they can access by walking through QuickBooks’ wizard allowing you to go through each function step-by-step and selecting options.

By taking the time to set up each user properly with the amount of freedom within the QuickBooks program at the beginning, you’ll give yourself peace of mind and protect your business from fraud and error by knowing precisely who can access your financials.

The areas available for setting security controls include:

– Sales and Accounts Receivables

– Purchases and Accounts Payables

– Checking and Credit Cards

– Inventory

– Time Tracking

– Payroll and Employees

– Journal Entries and Online Banking

– Financial Reporting

– Changing or Deleting Transactions

Should you choose to overwrite when restoring a backup?

It happens to the best of us. A computer crashes, you get a new computer or need to correct data errors your QuickBooks file is currently experiencing. When you go to restore your QuickBooks data, many people choose to keep the restored file name the same, prompting the fear-inducing question: Do you want to overwrite the existing file?

Initially, your first reaction may be to simply re-name the file so you don’t have to worry about accidentally overwriting the wrong file. But upon further thinking, it’s possible that without a consistent name for your QuickBooks file, other users may accidentally begin using the old version of the software if stored on a network – creating a whole host of other problems that may not be easily fixed.

Shannon offers a ingenious solution that takes a few minutes more to ensure that you have the most accurate data in your QuickBooks company and to prevent users in the office using all different versions of the same file.

Before beginning to restore your backup of the QuickBooks company, he suggests creating a folder within the main folder where you store your QuickBooks data and naming it Old Copies. With all users out of QuickBooks, open My Computer and browse until you get to the folder or network drive where your QuickBooks data is stored. Click and drag your company data file to the Old Copies folder you’ve created (It’s a file with a .qbw extension at the end), and rename it with your company’s name and today’s date.

By moving it out of the original data folder and renaming it with today’s date, you no longer have to worry about users accidentally grabbing the wrong file since it’s labeled as a dated version. You also can now go into QuickBooks and restore a backup without having to worry about it asking if you want to overwrite the file. With the old data out of the folder, it won’t try to rewrite it – giving you a clean slate to start with and the most recent backup clearly dated if you need to go back in time.

What other tips do you have that help you get through your work? Are there any other QuickBooks Tip blogs you follow as well?


Source: SherWare Blog

 

QuickBooks Tips & Resources – Part 2

For those QuickBooks users out there who follow the blog, last week we took a look at some tips from the QuickBooks Specialists blog by Ruth Perryman, a QuickBooks guru if there ever was one. Today, I’d like to look at a few that I’ve enjoyed from QuickBooks and Your Business, by Shannon Tucker.

A guide to selecting the best edition of QuickBooks for your business:

A: At SherWare, we have many tools and questions we ask to help get your started with the best edition and software package to meet your oil and gas accounting needs. As evidenced by our sales, our QuickBooks integrated edition is one of our most popular, which makes Tucker’s post outlining the various editions of QuickBooks so helpful.

I can walk you through picking the best oil and gas accounting package we have, but I don’t have the level of expertise with QuickBooks to direct you to the best package to integrate with our program. Here’s an outlined version of Tucker’s original post.

Like our software packages, all QuickBooks editions will handle your basic accounting needs. What varies between editions is the special features and nuances that can make or break how smoothly your accounting operations flow.

For small businesses:

QuickBooks Online Plus

– Program entirely online

– Can handle up to 5 users at once plus the accountant

– Handles accounting records from multiple locations in real-time

QuickBooks Pro

– Can handle up to 3 users at the same time working on a network

– Best selection for small businesses to handle general accounting functions

– Can add optional modules to create your own package

For small to medium businesses:

QuickBooks Premier

– Can handle up to 5 users at the same time working on a network

– Can purchase industry-specific editions (although there isn’t one for the oil and gas industry)

– Allows you to do business planning and forecasting

For medium businesses:

QuickBooks Enterprise Solutions

– Can handle up to 30 users at one time working on a network

– Is designed to handle higher transaction volumes and database sizes

The costs for each of these products obviously vary depending on the number of users and increase the larger the product you need. Check Intuit’s website for current pricing information.

How do I limit the access my employees have in QuickBooks?

A: Since QuickBooks houses your most intimate details about your business’ financials, it makes sense that you don’t want everyone who works in your office to have the ability to access and edit any information in the program.

You can control which features each employee can access and whether they have the ability to edit information on that screen or only read it by going to Company > Set Up Users and Passwords > Set Up Users.

Once you’ve either selected an existing user or create a new one, you’ll be able to choose what parts of the software they can access by walking through QuickBooks’ wizard allowing you to go through each function step-by-step and selecting options.

By taking the time to set up each user properly with the amount of freedom within the QuickBooks program at the beginning, you’ll give yourself peace of mind and protect your business from fraud and error by knowing precisely who can access your financials.

The areas available for setting security controls include:

– Sales and Accounts Receivables

– Purchases and Accounts Payables

– Checking and Credit Cards

– Inventory

– Time Tracking

– Payroll and Employees

– Journal Entries and Online Banking

– Financial Reporting

– Changing or Deleting Transactions

 

Should you choose to overwrite when restoring a backup?

It happens to the best of us. A computer crashes, you get a new computer or need to correct data errors your QuickBooks file is currently experiencing. When you go to restore your QuickBooks data, many people choose to keep the restored file name the same, prompting the fear-inducing question: Do you want to overwrite the existing file?

Initially, your first reaction may be to simply re-name the file so you don’t have to worry about accidentally overwriting the wrong file. But upon further thinking, it’s possible that without a consistent name for your QuickBooks file, other users may accidentally begin using the old version of the software if stored on a network – creating a whole host of other problems that may not be easily fixed.

Shannon offers a ingenious solution that takes a few minutes more to ensure that you have the most accurate data in your QuickBooks company and to prevent users in the office using all different versions of the same file.

Before beginning to restore your backup of the QuickBooks company, he suggests creating a folder within the main folder where you store your QuickBooks data and naming it Old Copies. With all users out of QuickBooks, open My Computer and browse until you get to the folder or network drive where your QuickBooks data is stored. Click and drag your company data file to the Old Copies folder you’ve created (It’s a file with a .qbw extension at the end), and rename it with your company’s name and today’s date.

By moving it out of the original data folder and renaming it with today’s date, you no longer have to worry about users accidentally grabbing the wrong file since it’s labeled as a dated version. You also can now go into QuickBooks and restore a backup without having to worry about it asking if you want to overwrite the file. With the old data out of the folder, it won’t try to rewrite it – giving you a clean slate to start with and the most recent backup clearly dated if you need to go back in time.

What other tips do you have that help you get through your work? Are there any other QuickBooks Tip blogs you follow as well?

QuickBooks Tips & Resources

 

Seeing how popular QuickBooks is across the country, it should come as no surprise that posts that contain tips or information about the do-it-yourself accounting program are some of our most read posts. This month since I’m focusing primarily on QuickBooks and the many facets of how it can work for your company, I’m going to post some of my favorite QuickBooks tips modified from two QuickBooks blogs I regularly read.

The first blog I came across nearly two years ago when I began writing this blog is Ruth Perryman’s the QuickBooks Specialists blog based out of California. Ruth answers readers’ questions every day regarding features, new updates, how to make corrections and more.

The tips I’m going to post today relate to questions we are often asked by clients and some that I know would be useful for those using QuickBooks for their oil and gas accounting with a program like SherWare.

How do I send out invoices to customers who haven’t fully paid their balance?

A: Create statements to resend to clients with an outstanding balance by going to Customers > Create Statements under the main menu. Under Statement Options, you can choose to create the statements based on date or all open transactions.

Everyone’s nightmare is having to reconcile bank accounts and QuickBooks is no different. What’s the point in depositing funds into an undeposited fund instead of directly into the bank account I want?

A: The point is – to make your life easier, you should use the undeposited fund feature instead of placing the monies directly into the bank account. The reason? It’s all about making the amounts of your deposit match what your bank has on your statement. If you have multiple items that you want to deposit into your bank account, such as deposits, credit cards, checks, etc. that for example total $500 altogether, you’re going to see the deposit show up as $500 on your bank statement. If you want to see the same lump amount show up in QuickBooks so you can reconcile it easily, depositing it into the undeposited fund allows you to group the deposits into the same amount that matches your deposit slip, as opposed to listing each individual transaction and having to manually add it up to reconcile.

How do I write-off bad debt that we’re never going to be able to recoup for Accounts Receivable in QuickBooks?

A: You can create a credit to apply against the unpaid invoice by going to Customers > Create Credit Memo/Refunds. If you want to be able to track bad debt as an expenses, create an item that is tied to your bad debt expense account. By creating the invoice and mapping the amount to the bad debt expense, you can apply it to the invoice and effectively reverse the invoice by taking it on as an expense.

Ruth suggests checking the Open Invoices report under Reports > Customers & Receivables to make sure that the credit was properly applied to the invoice in question.

How often do I need to upgrade my QuickBooks software?

A: Intuit stops supporting its software three years after its release, so in theory you wouldn’t need to upgrade but every three years so that your software remains fully supported and you receive all the upgrades and updates released to that version throughout its active life. So for example if you are running QuickBooks PRO 2009, you’ll want to upgrade in 2012.

Each new version does release new features in the software, so it’s a matter of preference and need as to whether you’ll want to upgrade each year when Intuit releases the newest version. You can always check Intuit’s site for what new features are included in the newest versions to see if any compel you to upgrade here.

Subscribe to Ruth’s blog to read the rest of her posts.

Next week, we’ll take a look at some interesting posts from QuickBooks and Your Business blog.


Source: SherWare Blog

 

Four Trends to Influence Accounting Profession in Next Decade

Earlier in the year, Intuit released its Intuit Accounting 2020 report, which looks at the factors and trends that will affect the accounting market in the next decade. Seeing as how we handle accounting software for the oil and gas industry, I thought it interesting to look at the four trends Intuit identified to see what changes or direction SherWare will have to continue to move towards.

To get to the Accounting 2020 Report, click here.

Trend 1: Shifting Business Environments Create New Opportunities

Less formal borders of where businesses operate, and where employees work from, meaning from an office, home or on the road, in addition to outsourcing and automation of low-value accounting tasks, will create opportunities for accounting firms to transform their business model to something more than data entry and tax preparation services.

Looking at this trend locally, this means two things for SherWare: First, the trend is in line with how we, as a company, operate. At SherWare our employees aren’t limited to only working behind a desk at the office. This allows our staff to be able to work from any location necessary – including home during inclement weather, as we frequently experience during our freakishly long winters; and on the road, while we attend business meetings and tradeshows and even from clients’ offices when necessary.

Secondly, this means that our client base also will be working from the road as well. We already see a fair amount of our clients who work both in and out of the office, since they handle multiple facets of their operations both in the field and behind a desk. But as the business environment continues to evolve, I believe we’ll also see more clients working from home, on the road and off their Blackberry smartphones than we already do. This means we have to continue to develop and offer platforms not only for our software but in how our clients reach and connect with us to meet these evolving needs.

Trend 2: Demographic Shifts Change the Face of Professionals and Clients

As baby boomers reach retirement age by 2020 – they won’t look like your typical senior generation. My generation – Gen Y or the Digital Generation as we’ve been dubbed – will comprise the majority of the workforce and women and minorities will play a larger role in blurring the social, ethnic, racial and gender gap lines in the workforce – although this won’t be limited to just accounting, obviously.

What does this mean for accountants? It means “retired” seniors will be looking to accounting professionals for advice as they start new businesses even in their 60s, tech-oriented clients will expect technologically advanced tools to be available for making financial decisions and women will become an even more important financial decision maker as they will start small business at twice the rate of men during this next decade.

I’m interested to see how this second trend pans out over the next decade for our industry in oil and gas. The workforce that makes up the industry is already predominantly Caucasian, older males and their offspring – with women and minorities slowly gaining more prominence. In order for the industry to survive, it also has to evolve with the rest of the country and engage women, minorities and younger generations into its fold.

How should the industry begin to attract fresh blood into its demographic?

Trend 3: From Data to Decision Making, Technology Changes the Accounting Profession

This trend is nothing new, as we’ve already seen technology explode in the business world in the past decade. However, some new changes that will continue to change the way accountants (and all businesses, might I add) operate, are cloud computing programs – where business applications are hosted online and not required to be installed on a single computer, allowing greater access to them from any location and any platform; and on-the-go tablets, notebooks, smartphones and other mobile devices, which allow a business professional to essentially work from any location.

At SherWare, this is trend is a main one that we focus on for where we want to see our company go in the future. Cloud computing is going to continue to increase in popularity across computer applications and I believe it will reach into the oil and gas accounting world as well.

While there tends to be a disparity among our clients – either they are with the technological times and understand how computers, e-mail, cell phones, texting work or they don’t have Internet – having software that is able to be accessed on a variety of platforms including online, in the office and on a phone is going to continue to be of important too.

We will have to continue to work with our client base to discover what type of applications are best suited to their needs and how to accomplish this in the future. What types of “apps” could be created for use in the field or on the go from our software? What type of flexibility and access needs to be created to enable you to make decisions about your business at anytime and any location?

Trend 4: High-Tech Enhances High-Touch Client Outreach, Relationships and Service

To me, this trend translates to mean that typical marketing and advertising through word-of-mouth techniques is no longer going to be the par. Online marketing and a web presence is going to be a must for all types of businesses – especially if you haven’t already jumped on board, and social networking will become even more important for finding client referrals and staying in contact with current clients.

In the future, this will mean that clients will expect you to stay in contact with them more than just over the phone or through snail-mail. While, I don’t currently see social media as a huge proponent in the oil and gas industry right now – as the demographics continue to include younger generations – such as my own, I imagine that this will change greatly and having conversations across the Web and through Twitter will become more important.

For SherWare, to get to this point, this means that we have to continue to build on the relationships we already have with clients. Being flexible and accessible are two important traits for providing great customer service – and I think we’ll see how our customer service is offered continue to evolve to the social networking world in the future as well.

What are your thoughts on Intuit’s four trends for the accounting profession? Are you seeing the move towards these trends already or are they off the mark?