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 3

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In QuickBooks

Getting started in QuickBooks varies, depending on version.  If you are new to QuickBooks, reading this section through, before starting, will save confusion.

QuickBooks 5 added the QuickBooks Navigator XE "QuickBooks Navigator"  XE "Navigator:QuickBooks" , which is a set of on-screen roadmaps to many of the functions of QuickBooks.  The new user can find things easily, without having to know which menu to drop.  However, the Navigator will  not set up a new company.  If it is displayed, please turn it off, by clicking the X in the upper-right corner. We can turn it back on, after setting up the company.

In the menu bar, click on File, then New Company, as described in Chapter 23 (for Windows 95) or Chapter 24 (Windows 3.x.)  (Older versions of QuickBooks may require you to click on Close Company, and then start a new company.)  Quickbooks 4.0 added an excellent system called EasyStep Interview to guide you through setting up a company.  The name, and a little more information, must go in through the Interview.  All of the other information can come through the Interview, if you wish, or by calling menu headings. 

The Interview is very well thought-out and convenient.  It may be used for a wide scope of entry, but receivable, payables, and bank accounts are better entered by selecting these functions from the menu bar.  This is even more true of employees and payroll, for reasons that will be apparent in reading those chapters.

Early in the Interview, the company file name will be set up.  The program will suggest a file name, which you may accept or change.  A file name may be one through eight characters. Upper and lower case are taken as the same.  You may use the letters A-Z, numerals 0-9, and any of   _ @  #  $  ~  and some other special characters listed in the MS DOS manual under filename conventions.  The hyphen ( - ) can be used, but causes trouble as the first character of a file name.  Specifically excluded are comma, space, and ( + ) plus sign.  Exactly one period will be in the file name, between the basic file name and the suffix, which is .qbw after the file name.  We CANT put .qbw at the end of a sentence, because another period would be confusing.

A starting date is also required.  It may be entered in the form of 6/21/98 or 062198. QuickBooks uses the short date format, set up in Windows Control Panel, International or Regional settings.


When you open an existing company file in Quickbooks for Windows, only the file name will be available, not the company name.  Consider this when setting up file names.

After the file name is entered, the mouse pointer becomes an hour glass, telling you to wait (but despite being an hour glass, it will not be that long.)  The hard drive will be busy for a few seconds, setting up the company file.

The Interview XE "interview"  breaks  XE "easystep interview" software tradition.  After the file name is entered and the file set up, you can safely leave the Interview.  You can start again, taking up where you left off.  To return, select File|EasyStep Interview or Help|EasyStep Interview , depending on version.

The interview will ask about your line of business, and then offer to print some special information, and that is a good idea. The printing should be through your default Windows printer, if that is set up.  (This information can be read or printed later, by selecting Help|QuickBooks and Your Industry. )  The line of business entry will also result in the offering of a listing of income and expense accounts (not balance sheet accounts.)  You can accept the list, or enter your own, account by account.  Should you accept the list offered, you can edit it later, but before you enter any transactions, including opening balances.  After transactions are entered, you can add or rename accounts, but deletion of accounts may prove to be quite a bother.

Most of the actions in the interview can be changed later.  The specific company information is found under File|Company Info or in the Navigator, on the Company tab.  The exception is the file name, which can be changed only outside of QuickBooks, by the operating system.

TheGeneral group should be completed before starting other topics, and you will be  reminded of this, several times.  Assuming you have been good and have carefully completed the General group, just click Next on those reminders, and go on.

Bank accounts should be launched with some care, as should Receivables and Payables.  The term launch may sound a bit literary, but it does apply.  If the bank account is started with exactly correct information, it will continue with computer precision.  If you have balances due from customers or balances due to vendors, the same applies.  Later chapters tell how to start these accounts so they will not baffle you, but work for you.  They are probably better done directly in those accounts, rather than the interview.

Employees and payroll information also do well with direct entry.  The Building Blocks chapter describes a specific and useful means for setting up these records.

Older versions require essentially the same information, which may be entered using standard procedures for navigating in Windows.  Some of the information simply is not handled by the older versions.  Versions 2.0 and 3.0 do not have integral payroll, but use the auxiliary QuickPay program.  Most users with version 3.0 probably know how to set up a company.  Users with version 2 would be well advised to upgrade. It was actually the first Windows version, and some experienced cynics recommend avoiding the first version of any program.  This idea is supported by the authors contact with numerous programs.

With the interview completed, your company file has been set up.  Chapter 4 builds the Chart of Accounts as the framework of your accounting system. The remainder of this chapter is a collection of facts, all useful, but not really large enough for a separate chapter.

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Last modified: May 21, 2004