Sunday, April 10, 2011

New Year, New Adventure

I have not been too diligent about getting postings out.  I think that my topic base has been too narrow.  Perhaps I have just been too busy.  But I am in an new year and it is time for new adventures.

Back in January I was informed that my position with Komisar Brady had been eliminated.  After the shock wore off, I got down to the business of finding a new job.  I was fortunate in that Komisar Brady was willing to keep me on staff while I conducted my search. 

A few months back I hosted a guest post about the separating yourself from the pack.  As someone who firmly believed in that frame of mind, I definitely was able use my extra knowledge of computer accounting systems to vault myself into a new position and fairly quickly.

But I was lucky,  I knew what I had to offer and I knew what to do to find something in two months.  I am considering expanding my talking points to what I did and what you can do, especially if unemployed.

Just some thoughts on a Sunday afternoon.

Monday, November 22, 2010

IRS expands its program to accept Peachtree

Back in September I covered the fact that the IRS is accepting files from QuickBooks for Audits.  It seems that has now been expanded to Peachtree as well.

Web CPA covers the information fairly well. 

The idea of the IRS accepting the data from Peachtree and QuickBooks is a good one.  It saves on time and paper.  Keep in mind that when you do give your file to the IRS, you are also giving everything to them.  This can open a whole can of worm if for some reason, even the most innocent of reasons, the auditor happens to look at information outside the scope of the audit time frame.

Be sure to consider this before handing your file over to the  IRS.  You may want to consider handing over a condensed file that covers only the time frame of the audit.

We can help.  If you find yourself in an audit situation and want sound advice and assistance please feel free to e-mail me at

Separating yourself from the rest of the accounting pack

With today’s employment market being so tight, it is sometimes hard to differentiate yourself from the many others who are vying for the same jobs you may be after.

For those of us who may want to include technology as part of our expertise, we need to consider learning accounting programs beyond ones we are exposed to in school. Excel is a great start, but to really differentiate yourself you may want to consider something more substantial.

Last week I received an e-mail from Hunter Richards, who runs  the accounting website of Software Advice. He offered a great article on what to look for in a unique skill set in today’s competitive market. You can view the full article here. He researched what employers are looking for and what to consider if you want to separate yourself from the rest of the pack.

Hunter points out the very thing I discovered years ago. Companies want more than an accountant. Often they want someone who can understand the accounting programs the company has chosen to use. You also may be asked to know the customer relationship software that the company uses.

So, what to do? A lot of skills are obtained by either doing the work or taking the extra time to study up on the latest systems. This is a habit I continue to do today. Go out and buy a copy of Excel for your personal use, use it, get materials to read on it, and work with the program until you know it inside and out.

Beyond that, look at industries that interest you and find out what they are using. As Hunter suggests, check online to see what employers want. Then go out and find the materials to help you learn those systems. You may be surprised, just having a familiarity with a system may get you that job you always wanted.
Hunter Richards runs the accounting website for Software Advice.

If you are a small to medium sized business and use QuickBooks or Peachtree and want to get more out of your accounting software. Please feel free to contact me at I can help you get the most out of your software.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

The IRS and QuickBooks

Over the last few months I have been hearing a bits and pieces about the IRS purchasing copies of Intuit’s QuickBooks to help facilitate audits. As I heard more and more on the subject, what could be discounted as a rumor, now can be considered as a possibility and something business owners should consider as a risk when they are requested to provide information for an audit by the IRS.

Here is a link to a great article from the Tech Accountant on the subject.

QuickBooks helping the IRS Audit your Books?

The IRS may request your QuickBooks data so they may review it. The key problem on this is the IRS will now have access to all of your information for all of the years you have in QuickBooks. This would include years beyond what was requested.

You will need help!

I suggest that you contact your accountant and request that either they assist you with creating a file for the IRS or that they recommend an individual who can create a data file for the IRS to have.

The data file, created from a backup of your main file, should contain only the years that the IRS requests. The data should match what is in your actual file, which means you will need to add starting balances to the data for the beginning of the years that the IRS has requested to review. This way the IRS gets only the data they requested to review and you can hand them an accurate complete file for them to review.

If your accountant does not have a recommendation or the skills to assist you, not everyone does. Please give David Chermak a call at 414-238-6724. I will be happy to assist you and provide you with a quote for my services based on your needs.

QuickBooks Pro 2010

QuickBooks 2010 The Official Guide (Quicken Press)

Friday, May 28, 2010

It's been awhile.....

Sorry I have been doing so many other things I have not had time to sit down and write a post.  I have been publishing though, but on the work website. 

I was part of a collaboration that wrote about Credit Card Security.  It seems that Peachtree is beefing up to meet the Payment Card Industry Digital Security rules,  this turned me on to the subject which lead to the article.

Here is a link Komisar Brady & Co.

If you need a review of your systems or just want to get more out of your accounting programs, give me a try, you may be suprised at the results.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

QuickBooks vs Peachtree

Wow!  I have not posted in about two months.  Sorry about that, tax season makes it hard to write.

One of the hottest questions out there, and believe me I am asked it all of the time, is what is better; QuickBooks or Peachtree?

The answer is; it depends.

On your business.

On your time.

Who is going to do the bookkeeping.

What your accountant may work with.

There is a lot that goes into selecting the right product for you. I help business owners on a daily basis with this selection. I do this by asking questions and determining what product fits best with how and why they are doing business. Still the question remains, which is better. Let’s take a look at what each offers and you can decide for yourself.


By far QuickBooks is the more widely used of the two programs. This is just my opinion, but I feel that Intuit has done a better job of getting the message out to the small business owner. At one time Intuit the makers of QuickBooks advertised that QuickBooks is as “simple as balancing a checkbook” , or something along those lines. The message got through and many small businesses now use QuickBooks.

QuickBooks is good in that it provides the user lots of help. Help setting up the company, help selecting a chart of accounts, help getting transactions in place. The menus are fairly easy to understand and the user has the option of selecting picture icons of what they want to do. The pictures generally depict what you may have in mind such as making a deposit, writing a check, etc. All of this is available on the main screen for easy access.

The centers, such as the Customer Center or Vendor Center give the user a central location for adding and transacting with the customer or vendor. There is also an employee center for your employees, but some of the features in the employee’s center requires a subscription. This grouping of functions helps with directing the user to all that is available with their QuickBooks.

Where QuickBooks excels is with its use of forms. The forms are fairly easy to understand, a check looks like a check and so on. Where many get confused is assigning things to accounts. For example, if you are paying a utility bill, obviously you write a check but then you must assign the cost to your utilities account in the form below the check form. You can also add notes explaining the charge for later use. Once the item is entered the first time, QuickBooks memorizes what you did, so the next time the information is there, except the notes and amounts, that you will need to add, but it makes the process easy as you go along.

QuickBooks also has a lot of add ons so you can get more out of your program. QuickBooks has add ons of its own such as the Point of Sale and quite a bit of third party add ons like the inventory control program Fishbowl.

For the small business owner who is going to do their own books, QuickBooks gives the ease and flexibility you may be looking for.

What is not so good about QuickBooks

QuickBooks is a bit open with how you can add transactions. For example, if voiding a check the void reverts back to the original date the check was written. This can create havoc with monthly reporting, especially when you have reported information to your lender and now the information is different when you report again.

The database is a bit difficult to work with. In order to affect changes to the database you need a series of templates to direct QuickBooks as to what you want to do. This can be time consuming especially when you are trying to fix a portion of the data. This would affect only a small portion of users, so as a problem it is a minor one. QuickBooks 2010 did improve on interaction with Excel by allowing for the use of bulk lists for adding customers and vendors.

Although you don’t need to, QuickBooks upgrades every year. This seems to be a push to continually glean cash from the customer. I personally recommend only upgrading when your version is no longer supported by Intuit. In some cases, a new feature comes out in QuickBooks which makes it worthwhile to upgrade sooner. Again, you need to weigh cost against need.


Peachtree comes in a close second to small business use. Peachtree like QuickBooks has a wonderful user interface. Peachtree does, however, use more of an accounting function such as period segmentation which takes a bit of getting used to.

The period segmentation is one of the better features that Peachtree has. The need to change accounting periods (months) forces the user to stop and evaluate what needs to be done for the month end. Activities such as reconciliations need to be done in the period that the reconciliation represents. Peachtree does allow the user to make transactions in periods other than the current one, but the user is warned that the transaction is in another period. This can be valuable for preventing mistakes.

Peachtree works in centers, just like QuickBooks which allows the user to do everything they need to do for customers, vendors, and employees. The reporting function in Peachtree is also very nice; however, it does take time to learn how to modify reports to your needs as the reporting is more structured.

Peachtree’s user forms are easy to use, and the way they are set up allows the user to easily follow along when making entries. Peachtree will also memorize what you have done with a customer or vendor and pull that information the next time you make an entry. This is a time saver.

What is not so good about Peachtree

The one thing that I find perplexing with Peachtree is its bill pay function. When you enter bills in QuickBooks, the bill pay will pull up a list of bills and when they are due. All you need to do is select the bills you want to pay and set up to print the checks. Peachtree requires you to select the vendor first and then see what is due. 5/28/2010 thanks to a diligent reader and some training I was doing on Peachtree, you can select multiple bills to pay.  Just use the Select Bills function to be directed to pay multiple bills. You can always print a report of items due and then drill into the report to pay the items, but sometimes it would be easier to just be able to see a list of items due. This falls into Peachtree’s roots. It used to be that accounts payable would keep the paper copies of bills due sorted by the date they should be paid. On that day, the accountant would take the bills and work through them to pay them. Peachtree is set up to work using that method. As we work towards a paperless office, the need for a list of items due has become more important.

Peachtree also has upgrades every year, but you don’t need to upgrade until Sage, the maker of Peachtree, stops supporting your version.

Peachtree’s database

By far the best feature of Peachtree is its database. It is easy to work with and can be easily exported to Excel, adjusted and then imported. Because of its ease of use an accountant can send adjusting entries to their client via an e-mail with the Excel export ready to import into the clients Peachtree. This ability gives Peachtree the edge when working with files.

On a final note, Peachtree also has third-party add ons for various needs. The add-ons help to enhance your use of Peachtree. Peachtree however seems to be a more complete package than QuickBooks. Peachtree offers a bit more power to your bookkeeping and handles a lot more within the program. This reduces the need for add ons and allows the user to get more out of an out of the box accounting program.

I really have not discussed costs in my comparison. The main reason is the costs are similar for what you get. It is really a matter of looking at your needs and how you need to utilize your accounting software.


Both Peachtree and QuickBooks offer various versions for various industries. QuickBooks however also offers an online version of their program. This gives the ability to sign in wherever you have web access and work on your books. Recently QuickBooks has made some nice modifications to the online program and the user interface is almost like that as the desktop version. One limitation is the QuickBooks online does not handle inventory very well and it does not have the ability to make Purchase Orders. As Intuit is adding new features to the online version all of the time I am sure that these limitations will be addressed soon.

Peachtree at this time does not have an online version.

If you want a taste of what each program can do, both companies offer a free version of their programs. Peachtree offers a great free version that is essentially a basic version of its regular program but it does not allow for inventory. QuickBooks free version is desktop only. The desktop version is limited by the number of customers you can have and does not allow for inventory.

With the free versions you can compare for yourself. Ultimately the choice is up to you.

If you need help with choosing a product or would like help setting up your business’s accounting software, I can help! Contact David Chermak at

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Peachtree Toolbox: The Year End Wizard

As you approach the end of your fiscal year, you may receive a prompt asking if you would like to use the Year-End Wizard. This is because Peachtree only allows for two years to remain “open” at any given time. If you are in period 24, you will have to close the accounting year in order to enter transactions next year. Generally, that means you are closing 2008. You should not be closing the current year or that will permanently prevent access to certain data.

Before starting the Year-End Wizard

Before you launch the wizard, there are a number of tasks you should perform. These include printing out any unprinted items such as invoices and payroll checks. You will also need to clear the Waiting on Bill from Vendor check box in the Purchases/Receive Inventory window for any outstanding vendor purchases. If you start the wizard before performing this task, the wizard will not be able to proceed. You will have to exit the wizard and clear the check box before you can complete year-end close.

Note: Since the close process may take quite a while to complete, we recommend that you start the process at the end of your business day, making sure you leave the computer running. Also, make sure that all other applications are closed before you begin.

The Year-End Wizard

The Year-End Wizard guides you through the process. It requires that you make a backup, and we recommend that you uniquely name the backup and consider putting it on removable media (CD, memory stick, external memory, etc.) for future reference. You are also prompted to run year-end reports, which you can do on paper or save/export to Excel or to a readable file if you wish. We maintain copies of all reports needed to prepare your financial statements and income tax returns; however, we recommend you retain a backup file of your Peachtree data for 7 years. Additionally, we recommend you save a PDF copy of the following reports for 7 years:

• General Ledger for the year you are closing

• Under general ledger, General Journal for the year you are closing

• Under accounts payable, Check Register for the year you are closing

• Under accounts receivable, Cash Receipts Journal for the year you are closing

• Under payroll, Payroll Journal for the year you are closing

You only need to save these reports if you have data in the specific areas.

The procedure of closing a year also allows you to purge inactive accounts or customers/vendors. This will decrease the size of your data file, and remove some of the clutter that may be in your records. We recommend purging certain old data, but you are not required to do so during the year-end close process.

To begin the process, go to TASKS / SYSTEM / YEAR END WIZARD to walk through the closing process. If you would like to purge inactive accounts prior to the closing, go to TASKS / SYSTEM / PURGE WIZARD and follow the prompts.

If you have any questions concerning the Year End Closing or your Peachtree data file, feel free to e-mail David Chermak at