Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Customer Odds and Ends

In this chapter, I discuss most of the important commands on the Customers menu. However, the Customers menu supplies several other commands that are noteworthy — perhaps even useful — and deserve discussion somewhere in this book. For this reason, I want to briefly describe the other commands available on the Customers menu:

  • Customer Center: Displays the Customer Center window, which includes information about your customer list, including the amounts that your customers owe.

  • Enter Statement Charges: Displays the Accounts Receivable Register. You shouldn't need to use this command. You can, however, use this command to add amounts to the accounts receivable for a particular customer. The amounts then appear on the customer's next statement.

  • Create Statements: Displays a window that you can use to create a set of monthly statements for customers. Such statements show the amounts that a customer owes, invoices created for the month, credit memos issued for the month, and payments made during the month.

  • Add Credit Card Processing: Displays a submenu of commands that you can use to deal with credit card payments and credit card billing. QuickBooks, by the way, supports credit card merchant accounts and makes it easy to accept credit cards from customers. This is something you may want to do. You should visit the QuickBooks Web site and find out the details.

  • Marketing and Customer Tools: Displays a Web page of marketing tools that Intuit (the maker of QuickBooks) supplies to small businesses, including a tool to submit your small business's Web site to online directories, such as Google Maps and Yahoo! Local.

  • Item List: Displays the Item List, which shows the items that may be included on the invoice or credit memo.

  • Change Item Prices: Lets you change the prices of a bunch of different items at one time — for example, increasing every price by 5 percent.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Assessing Finance Charges

You can tell QuickBooks to assess finance charges on overdue customer invoices. To do this, you first set up the finance charge calculation rules. After you've done this, you can easily assess finance charges on overdue amounts by choosing the QuickBooks command.

Setting up Finance Charge Rules

To set up the finance charge rules, choose the Edit ð Preferences command. When QuickBooks displays the Preferences dialog box, click the Finance Charge icon and then the Company Preferences tab. The Preferences dialog box at this point should look like the one shown in Figure 1. To tell QuickBooks how it should calculate the finance charges, enter the annual interest rate that you'll use for calculating charges into the Annual Interest Rate (%) box. Enter the minimum finance charge amount that you assess into the Minimum Finance Charge box. If you want to create a grace period, enter the number of grace period days into the Grace Period (Days) box. Use the Finance Charge Account drop-down list to specify the QuickBooks income account to which finance charge revenue should be credited. Select the Assess Finance Charges on Overdue Finance Charges check box if you want to charge finance charges on finance charges. Finally, use the Calculate Charges From radio buttons — Due Date and Invoice/Billed Date — to specify the date from which finance charges should be calculated. After you've provided this information, you can click OK to save your finance charge calculation rules.

Figure 1: The Company Preferences tab for the Finance Charge Preferences


QuickBooks assumes that you don't want to print finance charge invoices. For this reason, the Mark Finance Charge Invoices to Be Printed check box is not selected. Finance charges typically appear only on customer statements.

Calculating Finance Charges

After you set up the finance charge rules, you can easily assess finance charges on overdue invoices. To do this, choose Customers ð Assess Finance Charges. QuickBooks displays the Assess Finance Charges window, as shown in Figure 2. This window lists all the overdue invoices that customers owe you and, based on your finance charge calculation rules, calculates a finance charge. To assess the finance charge to a particular customer, click the Assess field for the customer. (By default, QuickBooks assumes that you want to assess finance charges whenever a customer's account is past due.) If you don't want to assess finance charges to a particular customer, remove the check mark from the Assess field by clicking it. After you've identified which customers should be assessed finance charges, click the Assess Charges button. QuickBooks, essentially, creates new invoices for each of these customers. These new invoices charge the customers a finance fee.

Figure 2: The Assess Finance Charges window
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