Tuesday, September 4, 2012

QuickBooks Tip: Advanced Excel Options

You've undoubtedly created reports that were so lengthy that you got tired of scrolling up and down to find totals for each individual section. QuickBooks lets you collapse and expand reports to see primary totals only, but this command affects the entire report.

If you want to just collapse a section or two, here's how you do it. As an example, go to Reports | Company & Financial | Balance Sheet Standard. In QuickBooks 2012, you'd click the Excel button (your version may say Export). Indicate that you want to create a new worksheet and click Advanced. This window opens:
Figure 1: The Advanced Excel Options window displays the formatting tools you can carry over from QuickBooks and the features in Excel that you want to be active.

Make sure that )Auto Outline (allows collapsing/expanding) is checked, then click OK and start the export. When your report opens as an Excel spreadsheet, you'll notice that there is a series of vertical lines to the left of your data, and a group of numbers that corresponds to them running above horizontally.
Figure 2: Excel's Auto Outline feature adds tools to the left of your data that let you collapse and expand subsections.

To collapse a section so that only the totals show, click on the minus (-) sign next to the line that should remain (in this example, it's Total Checking/Savings). Do the same for Total Accounts Receivable and Total Other Current Assets. Then scroll down and do the same thing for the other asset subtotals. Here's what you'll see:
Figure 3: As you can see, the minus (-) signs have turned into plus (+) signs, which allows you to expand the rows back to their original states.

Auto Outline is a very useful feature, but there's more than one way to implement it. And its availability and operation can vary in different versions of both Excel and QuickBooks. We can help you master this, as well as other QuickBooks-to-Excel tools. Call us today!

Why It Pays To Hire Your Kids

Hiring your children not only prepares them for their future and allows you to spend more time with them, but it also offers significant tax advantages.

Having your kids as employees will be most beneficial if they are under the age of 18. The government assumes that you will take care of your underage children if they lose their jobs, so you will not be required to pay unemployment insurance premiums. For similar reasons, the federal government will not require you to pay taxes for Social Security or Medicare.

If your child works for you, you can also open an Individual Retirement Account on his or her behalf. Opening a traditional IRA allows your child to earn a larger income without paying taxes. Conversely, opening a Roth IRA allows your child to put money away into account that can be tapped without penalties in the future.

In order to claim any of these financial benefits, you must follow certain rules when you take your children on as employees. First of all, any work your children perform must be reasonable and necessary for the business. If you would usually pay someone else to perform a task your child is doing, the IRS will most likely consider it to be a valid job. Jobs must also be appropriate for your child's age. For example, you probably shouldn't hire your eight-year-old to program the computers in your office.

In order to hire your children legally, you must also pay them a wage that is consistent with the wage you would pay another employee to do the same work, and you must treat them like all other employees in your company. Make sure that you keep good records in case you are chosen for an audit.

Hiring your kids isn't always the right decision, but it can be rewarding if done correctly. Acting as your child's employer allows you to teach the child financial responsibility while simultaneously reaping tax benefits for your business.