Chapter 1
Chapter 2
Chapter 3
Chapter 4
Chapter 5
Chapter 6
Chapter 7
Chapter 8
Chapter 9
Chapter 10
Chapter 11
Chapter 12
Chapter 13
Chapter 14
Chapter 15
Chapter 16
Chapter 17
Chapter 18
Chapter 19
Chapter 20
Chapter 21
Chapter 22
Chapter 23
Chapter 24
Chapter 25
Chapter 26
Chapter 27
Chapter 28

Chapter 1

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Chapter 1

What can you expect of this book?

Small businesses are endlessly diverse, as are the people running them.  If this book were designed as an exact fit for one business, it would fit exactly one. The book begins with a foundation of knowledge for all users.  The remainder is intended to be used like a cookbook, allowing readers to pick pieces as they are needed.  The later chapters assume, however, that the reader understands the introductory material.

Foundation.   Any good structure starts with a good foundation.  The next six chapters introduce some of the basic skills for working with QuickBooks, skills that are needed by every user.  The later chapters presume that you have these basics.  Experienced users may choose to browse to see what is there, and just might find a few new things.

When you use QuickBooks you are doing accounting. You can move more efficiently when you know where you are going.  Chapter 2 presents accounting in terms important to the small business owner. It is about your starting financial position, income, expenses, and net gain.  QuickBooks keeps debits and credits out of sight (the -it words are not even mentioned).  If you have an insatiable curiosity about debits, and credits, please read Chapter 22.

After the introduction to accounting, we will go into the set up of a QuickBooks company file, which must contain the necessary information to describe the financial operation of your business to QuickBooks.  Those just starting this process need to round up some detailed information, for which a check list is presented in Chapter 3.  If your company is already set up, reading this chapter may suggest some more information that may be needed, or corrections that might be made.

The foundation of your accounting structure is the Chart of Accounts, described in Chapter 4.  It is the first of many lists in QuickBooks, and is used as a model for instruction on handling lists.

Bank accounts, QuickBooks style, are introduced in Chapter 5.  Everyone needs one, and the bank account register is used as a model for navigating in all QuickBooks registers.

Building Blocks (Chapter 6) are used to describe all the other entities that QuickBooks keeps in lists.  Items, such as invoice line items; named entries for customers, vendors, and employees; and some of those rather strange entities internal to the system, are described.  Understanding of these building blocks goes a long way towards getting a good grasp on the system.

Recording Sales is the topic of Chapter 7, using invoices as an example.  While some businesses run well without invoices, most will use one of the similar and related forms.

The need for a separate chapter on Inventory became apparent, after most of the book was going to press.  References to chapters 23 and 24 appear throughout the book, so the new chapter had to follow them. 

A Glossary has been placed at the back of the book, listing meanings of words as used in this book.  The definitions range from strict meanings applicable to QuickBooks, to some terms that are universal in accounting or in the computer industry.  Item, for example, is used only to refer to a QuickBooks item as recorded in the List of Items.   To avoid using item for other meanings, such terms as entity or entry are used.  Staying strictly with this usage has resulted in some awkward language constructions.

This book represents a diligent effort to deliver the maximum value.  I have worked to make it complete and accurate.  Nonetheless, it would be naive to assume that it says all that it might, or that there are absolutely no errors.  My perfectionist inclinations were outweighed by one important fact. The book does no one any good until it is in print and in your hands.  I would hope that if I came into your office, I would find the pages well-worn and decorated with paper clips or sticky notes. 

On to the cookbook.  Beginning with Chapter 8, the information is designed to stand alone.  To keep the text concise, it has been written assuming knowledge of the foundation chapters, and tries not repeat that material. The emphasis is on direct access to the information you need. 

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Last modified: May 21, 2004