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Hello - The following is my saga of frustration. Sorry it is so long but we seriously do need some guidance.

I have gone back & read some of the posts on the topic of bookkeeping but they were old and I have some other related questions. I am the bookkeeping half (wife ;-) ) of our power generation contracting business but I am not a bookkeeper by training, skill or talent and neither is the technical half. We've had our business for 16 years now and it has grown gradually and successfully. Shockingly we still are running on a glorified "shoe box" method of bookkeeping. We have job files for every job and all expenses, labor, etc. are recoded and kept in each file. Our quarterlies are based on previous year. We tabulated all income, expenses, business investment and charitable at the end f the year manually. We have Quickbooks but only use it for the invoice template. I have a system I have designed in Word for quotes and reports.

We are at crisis point right now as we are at the place of needing to hire employees and are moving into a bigger space which we are purchasing. Neither of us has any bookkeeping or accounting aptitude but I am willing to learn, albeit I had a couple very bad experiences trying to learn Quickbooks in one or two day workshops as both were taught by accountants that were talking from complicated accounting perspectives that completely confused me. The classes were a waste.

Hiring a full time bookkeeper is not in our budget. Our invoicing can be complicated and I am familiar with how we do it. Any opinion on Sage 100 versus Quickbooks? How can I learn a software program without wasting my time taking a class from accountants with no teaching aptitude?
 

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I'm The BOSS
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You should consult a local accountant.

Have them help put the systems in place and teach / train you on the use of them.

It's mind boggling I know, I had been doing the shoebox method for years. I finally asked my accountant, who did my payroll and taxes.

She suggested using her services for the bookkeeping.

Now monthly she get all, invoices, paid bills and checking statements.

I now saves my in-house part-time bookkeeper (wife,: smile:)
approx. 15-20 hrs. a month.
 

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Designer/Contractor
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Like JD suggests, maybe run an ad and get someone who can train you is a possibility. If you're close to a college town there might be students who could get you up to speed. There might also be continuing education classes available.
 

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If you can't hire, you need to do... if you need to do, but don't know how, you need to learn... the best type of training is one-on-one... you can get all YOUR questions asked and addressed...
 

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Working
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QB is just exactly what you are doing manually but computerized. I would highly recommend fumbling your way through it until it is set up. It takes a long time to get it set up with all your accounts entered but it is well worth it.

Like others said either you learn how to do it or you pay some one to do it for you.

Cole
 

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Rob
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I use QB also. Just get QB for dummies to learn the basics and when you have it mostly figured out just google QB advisors and several bookkeepers in your area should come up. Then just schedule a few sessions to go over the details. If you still have issues as to what category to put you're expenses and income call an accountant and they'll tell you.

Yeah it might cost you a few hundred or so but then you'll know all about it.

Edit: after reading your post again...

Yes the people who run these little workshops want you to believe that you'll be an expert at the end. But people learn in different ways and at different speeds and sometimes you just have to sit down and learn it at your own pace.
 

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Talking Head
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The big question is, have you been using the shoebox method correctly? QB isn't that hard to operate if you understand the correct methods of accounting. If you try to make it work for a system you invented then it's going to get ugly.

Do you have an accountant? I recommend having your accountant set up the chart of accounts (very quick) and then hire a bookkeeper for 10-20 hours who will sit down and ask about your system and then enter the first month of the quarters bills. Then you have a working demo that also gets a month out of the way. After that's entered, spend the rest of the time entering more transactions with the bookkeeper and learning to use reports.
 

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Hello - The following is my saga of frustration. Sorry it is so long but we seriously do need some guidance.

I have gone back & read some of the posts on the topic of bookkeeping but they were old and I have some other related questions. I am the bookkeeping half (wife ;-) ) of our power generation contracting business but I am not a bookkeeper by training, skill or talent and neither is the technical half. We've had our business for 16 years now and it has grown gradually and successfully. Shockingly we still are running on a glorified "shoe box" method of bookkeeping. We have job files for every job and all expenses, labor, etc. are recoded and kept in each file. Our quarterlies are based on previous year. We tabulated all income, expenses, business investment and charitable at the end f the year manually. We have Quickbooks but only use it for the invoice template. I have a system I have designed in Word for quotes and reports.

We are at crisis point right now as we are at the place of needing to hire employees and are moving into a bigger space which we are purchasing. Neither of us has any bookkeeping or accounting aptitude but I am willing to learn, albeit I had a couple very bad experiences trying to learn Quickbooks in one or two day workshops as both were taught by accountants that were talking from complicated accounting perspectives that completely confused me. The classes were a waste.

Hiring a full time bookkeeper is not in our budget. Our invoicing can be complicated and I am familiar with how we do it. Any opinion on Sage 100 versus Quickbooks? How can I learn a software program without wasting my time taking a class from accountants with no teaching aptitude?
Personally, I agree with you 100% regarding the difficulty using QuickBooks. The problem with QuickBooks and hiring an accountant is neither will teach you a system that is idiot-proof nor simple. It is not in an accountants best interest to have your accounting super simple nor organized and they really don't have the time to micro-manage every client's method of bookkeeping.

My company is running up to 60 employees and three separate businesses with only one part-time secretary who does just about nothing regarding bookkeeping. That is because my system is so efficient I can do it myself in only a few hours a month and prefer not to have too many hands in the soup.

Every month you make two folders and you write a Month Number on each folder. If you've been in business for 10 years and this is your 120th month then write on one folder 'BANK STATEMENT MONTH NUMBER 120' and on the other folder you write INVOICES/CONTRACTS MONTH NUMBER 120'.

On your bank statement you write 'MAY MONTH 120'. You put the bank statement in the folder. Then, you take every receipt, check and payment that refers to the bank statement and you place that in the folder. Then, you use the database (or by hand) you make a list of every transaction on the statement and you make sure you have a receipt in the folder that matches that transaction. When the totals in your database are the same as the totals on your bank statements you know your books are accurate to the penny. When the IRS wants to see your records they usually always want to see only your bank statements and receipts that match what you put in and take out of your bank. I've been audited several times and no auditor ever asked to see a contract nor invoice, but you keep them in a folder, anyway.

When I want to know what my monthly, or annual sales are then I can go to my invoice database, or my statement deposits. The invoice database tells me more about the types of sales and where they came from.

Every month, my database prints a report that tells my CPA exactly how much I paid each employee and the report prints a list of each employee's deductions. I send this report to my CPA and a few minutes later he tells me how much to pay the IRS, etc. I never try to calculate my payroll liabilities because this is an area for the experts and when I get an audit I drop the ball in my CPA's lap.
 

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Talking Head
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The OP was a one-and-done. PCplumber, what you described is almost exactly what I do but I use QB to do it. It just takes the place of your databases. You can make it a lot more complicated with items and different sales categories but you can also make it just as simple as your system but with better reporting and a couple redundancies to make sure that your trail balances and reconciliations are accurate.
 

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Hair Splitter
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The OP was a one-and-done. PCplumber, what you described is almost exactly what I do but I use QB to do it. It just takes the place of your databases. You can make it a lot more complicated with items and different sales categories but you can also make it just as simple as your system but with better reporting and a couple redundancies to make sure that your trail balances and reconciliations are accurate.
Maybe one and done, but 7 days can just mean a vacation or busy week.
 

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Just my $.02. Use QuickBook. It has a basic and useable tutorial that I finally used after being on it for 6 years (yeah, it takes a minute or two for me sometimes:) )

It's not spendy, although you DO have to buy the updates every three years or so. Additionally, it allows you to take your books on vacation if you need to do so.
 

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The OP was a one-and-done. PCplumber, what you described is almost exactly what I do but I use QB to do it. It just takes the place of your databases. You can make it a lot more complicated with items and different sales categories but you can also make it just as simple as your system but with better reporting and a couple redundancies to make sure that your trail balances and reconciliations are accurate.
Seriously, I think QB is the only solution for most people because it is the best canned package and it has the best support and reliability, but at the same time I would never use QB because it has too many integrated features that make the software bog my accounting to a stop and I find it is too difficult to use to be 100% accurate.

What I don't like about QB is there are too many features and too many screens. The software does too many things that are confusing and the changes between screens is slow compared to a database. With my database everything I need to do and know can be accessed from one simple screen and the changes between screens for reports is lightning fast.

I purchased QB three times and threw it in the trash. I don't have a copy in my office. What makes me angry about Intuit is the way they make it necessary to pay for upgrades and the way they make it necessary to pay tons of money for services that used to be free, or cost only pennies. For example, I purchase a copy of Quicken For Business for $39 about 25 years ago and I was charged about $125 per year for tax table upgrades. A few years ago, Intuit stopped selling the tax upgrades because they are very smart and greedy. Intuit forced me to get their tax tables online and they forced me to use their online service for writing checks at a cost of $40 per month, or $480 per year.

That was a 400% increase and I hate the system because now I have to go online and fumble through multiple web pages slower than a snail when before I had software that was lightning fast. The worse part of the change is now my company employee's tax records are stored on someone else's web servers and I don't like the idea that people have access to my company's information. I don't like having to call Intuit every time I have a problem because before I had full control inside my office and not on someone else's server. I have been looking for an alternative for having software that writes paychecks with the proper deductions because paying $400 per year for tax table software is ludicrous.



My point; there is a better alternative where people don't have to pay one penny, the system can be faster and more-accurate, people don't have to be at QB's mercy and other people will not access to your records for whatever reason. I realize that you can use QB for multiple businesses, multiple checking accounts, etc., but it is not always practical, not always practical nor safe to try to separate accounts in one software package. It is much safer and easier to have a separate and simple database for each business. Just my opinion and I am very cheap when it comes to paying, every year, for software that I don't really need.
 

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pcplumber: Very good points. I use it because of the small size of my stuff, and that it's worked for me for years. If I had ANY computer savvy, and could use the database the way you describe, I just might.
Thanks for the input, it helps to look at things like this from the view of others.
 

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Hair Splitter
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Seriously, I think QB is the only solution for most people because it is the best canned package and it has the best support and reliability, but at the same time I would never use QB because it has too many integrated features that make the software bog my accounting to a stop and I find it is too difficult to use to be 100% accurate.

What I don't like about QB is there are too many features and too many screens. The software does too many things that are confusing and the changes between screens is slow compared to a database. With my database everything I need to do and know can be accessed from one simple screen and the changes between screens for reports is lightning fast.

I purchased QB three times and threw it in the trash. I don't have a copy in my office. What makes me angry about Intuit is the way they make it necessary to pay for upgrades and the way they make it necessary to pay tons of money for services that used to be free, or cost only pennies. For example, I purchase a copy of Quicken For Business for $39 about 25 years ago and I was charged about $125 per year for tax table upgrades. A few years ago, Intuit stopped selling the tax upgrades because they are very smart and greedy. Intuit forced me to get their tax tables online and they forced me to use their online service for writing checks at a cost of $40 per month, or $480 per year.

That was a 400% increase and I hate the system because now I have to go online and fumble through multiple web pages slower than a snail when before I had software that was lightning fast. The worse part of the change is now my company employee's tax records are stored on someone else's web servers and I don't like the idea that people have access to my company's information. I don't like having to call Intuit every time I have a problem because before I had full control inside my office and not on someone else's server. I have been looking for an alternative for having software that writes paychecks with the proper deductions because paying $400 per year for tax table software is ludicrous.

My point; there is a better alternative where people don't have to pay one penny, the system can be faster and more-accurate, people don't have to be at QB's mercy and other people will not access to your records for whatever reason. I realize that you can use QB for multiple businesses, multiple checking accounts, etc., but it is not always practical, not always practical nor safe to try to separate accounts in one software package. It is much safer and easier to have a separate and simple database for each business. Just my opinion and I am very cheap when it comes to paying, every year, for software that I don't really need.
Are you being greedy when you raise your rates? Unless you actually know the reasons I would jump to that conclusion so fast.

$400 a year isn't all that bad, but if I had that many employees I would have hired ADT to handle the payroll. But that's me. I'm not afraid to hire professionals who do something for a living that I don't abd am not trained to do.
 

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Are you being greedy when you raise your rates? Unless you actually know the reasons I would jump to that conclusion so fast.

$400 a year isn't all that bad, but if I had that many employees I would have hired ADT to handle the payroll. But that's me. I'm not afraid to hire professionals who do something for a living that I don't abd am not trained to do.
Hiring a professional seems like the right thing to do and the cost is not the problem with the exception of when you get burned by the person you pay professional prices to.

I don't think there is any substitute for knowing what you are doing, having full control without being dependent on others, doing things the way you want and getting things done when you want them done. Put another way, I don't like being at the mercy of a professional and I don't like getting screwed nor do I like to lose thousands of dollars because your professional didn't do what you thought he was supposed to do.

$400 is only the cost of the software and in ten years that is $4,000 I refuse to pay to Intuit for software that has all the problems mentioned above. I'd rather put the $400 in my kids piggy bank every year for their college and not give it to some snot-nose college brats who figured a way they could weasel $400 from their consumers when there was nothing wrong with the software they had.

One thing I find very interesting about people is money is very difficult to earn and super simple to waste and lose. If most people put controls on the small amounts of money they spend then they would not have to work as hard to build their nest eggs and they would have a better lifestyle.
 

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Hair Splitter
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Hiring a professional seems like the right thing to do and the cost is not the problem with the exception of when you get burned by the person you pay professional prices to.

I don't think there is any substitute for knowing what you are doing, having full control without being dependent on others, doing things the way you want and getting things done when you want them done. Put another way, I don't like being at the mercy of a professional and I don't like getting screwed nor do I like to lose thousands of dollars because your professional didn't do what you thought he was supposed to do.

$400 is only the cost of the software and in ten years that is $4,000 I refuse to pay to Intuit for software that has all the problems mentioned above. I'd rather put the $400 in my kids piggy bank every year for their college and not give it to some snot-nose college brats who figured a way they could weasel $400 from their consumers when there was nothing wrong with the software they had.

One thing I find very interesting about people is money is very difficult to earn and super simple to waste and lose. If most people put controls on the small amounts of money they spend then they would not have to work as hard to build their nest eggs and they would have a better lifestyle.
Most people don't want to waste time learning all of the ins and outs of accounting. Just like most wouldn't and don't know the ins and outs of web design or SEO. You hire pros to do it. Heck, I don't even change my oil any longer. It's cheaper and faster to pay someone to do it.
 

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Most people don't want to waste time learning all of the ins and outs of accounting. Just like most wouldn't and don't know the ins and outs of web design or SEO. You hire pros to do it. Heck, I don't even change my oil any longer. It's cheaper and faster to pay someone to do it.
I agree and that is one thing I will not do. I think I can trust someone to change my oil???
 

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Hair Splitter
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I agree and that is one thing I will not do. I think I can trust someone to change my oil???
Then you don't know how many times they strip out the drain plug or forget to put it back on. :whistling
 

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TNT, I change my own oil simply because it forces me to take a look at the undercarriage and keep an eye on the overall condition of my truck. And because I enjoy doing it (yes, I can be easily entertained at times)
 
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