The Place of Quickbooks in Management

QuickBooks: More Than Just Bookkeeping

This section refers to the Intuit product called Quickbooks. Quickbooks comes in several versions, as shown here: Compare QuickBooks Products.

You can uses it from anything as just simple check register up to almost a full business management tool which keeps track of most of your business functions.

As a small business (1 man doing upholstery from my house) I've been using Quickbooks since 1998 (in recent years my wife has learned to help me with the bookkeeping). Quickbooks is more than just bookkeeping, it is more like the central knowlege base of what is going on in all phases of the business. As an example of what I mean, I use a number of different QB reports, that I've created, that show us what is going on in our business. Some of the Quickbooks Functions and Reports we use are:

QuickBooks Functions which are useful for upholstery.

  • Customer Center: shows all the invoices, estimates, customer payments, bank deposits, job notes that are connected to each client.
  • Estimates: Most of the estimates for the business can be created directly in Quickbooks. When a client decides to proceed, the estimates are converted into QB invoice/Work Order. (I've created specific invoice templates for each type of job I do. (for example, we have a variety of specific templates for upholstery, slip covers, RV cushions, etc.)
  • Work Orders: I use the invoices (on custom designed templates) as work Orders. 
  • Replacement Work Orders: The beauty of creating work orders in Quickbooks is the you can easily just print out another copy. I remember I would lose a Work Order from time to time. Oooh, what a mess. Since that was my only recorder of the work and the client's name and contact info, we just had to wait for the client to call us. I shudder when I think of that.
  • Job Notes: Each job has a Notes sections so that it is easy to keep track of the notes of each job.
  • Attach Files: you can attach documents, spreadsheets, pictures, drawings, etc. to each job and to each clent's file.
  • Purchase Orders: I use purchase orders to order fabrics and supplies. When the shipments come in, we "check them in", creating a bill (with correct due dates) in the process.
  • Enter Bills: Whenever we get bills in the mail (electricity, water, etc.) We create Bills in QB, complete with the due dates, making it easy to keep all the bills paid on time.
  • Bill Payment: I love the bill payment window of Quickbooks.  Assuming that you have your bank records up to date and that you have entered all your bills, with due dates, correctly, then the Bill Payment window is a wonder. It lists all of your bills that are due or coming due. It also shows how much money you have in your bank account. As you click off the bills that you want to pay (A), which shows the amount of each bill (B), you can see the bank balance after you click on each bill. It clearly shows you how much money you will have left over after paying all or part of your bills. It makes it simple to decide how many bills you can or want to pay.
  • Reasons for Using Quickbooks: I see the arguments about "not wasting time doing all that bookwork". As an encouragement to emphasize the importance of bookwork, I want to tell you about my dad. He was one of the hardest workers that I knew. He could work harder and faster than many men. However, he wasn't big on paperwork. As a result, as I was growing up, at least several times we were running and hiding from creditors, because the records weren't kept up and the bills didn't get paid, etc. When I got married, neither I nor my wife had any financial training. After going through some years of financial struggles ourselves, we got a computer and starting using Quickbooks. It took at least a year or two to learn how to use it, but it has been well worth it. During the years that we've been using QB, we've had a complete turn around in our financial areas. Although we don't make a lot of money, our bills are paid on time, we keep our business much more on track and organized. QB, and our appointment calendar (Microsoft Outlook) helps to keep us on track.

Useful QuickBooks Reports

Standard QuickBooks Reports

  • Profit & Loss

Custom Reports (which we created)

  • Work Flow Chart (Jobs in progress: a report that automatically shows any work orders (invoices) that have an open balance. As soon as the job is finished and paid, it drops off the list. Before we started keeping Quickbooks I tried to keep a manual or separate computerized Work Flow Chart. I was always forgetting to update it and it never would be accurate. Now it's always up to date and accurate with no hassle.
  • Fabrics or supplies that need to be ordered (this report reads Work Orders and shows all the orderable items.)
  • What's been ordered (for this I use both the "Open PO's" report, and the above report)
  • Record of Purchases per supplier: How much (and what) we've bought from each supplier How much we are spending for each type of supplies, utilities, etc.


I just want to finish by saying this. I've both seen and experienced what it's like to work hard, but still have everything come crashing down because of the lack of proper record-keeping. I'm throughly convinced of the need, and desirability, of "doing that "nit-picky" paperwork. Taking the time up front to work out the details saves so much time, and peace of mind, in the long run.