Bookkeeping Made Ease-y

The program for the August monthly meeting, “Interactive Bookkeeping Workshop for Graphic Artists and Small Business,” was a very informative and productive gathering of CDPUG members at BudgetEase, an experienced group of bookkeepers located in Shaker Heights on Lee Road.

In an expansive and airy space with many windows open to the busy street, Kathy Dise, president of BudgetEase, divided us into three groups of around ten people each and then sent us off into different conference rooms — those interested in bookkeeping in general and using programs other than QuickBooks; those who want to learn QuickBooks; and those who already use QuickBooks for their business.

Ron Skoczen took part in the second group — those interested in learning more about QuickBooks but did not know where to start. Ron said, “I learned that having a system in place to handle your bookkeeping needs is essential to being able to grow your business in a measurable and predictable way.”

With several online versions available, choosing the correct program can be a challenge. However, from customizing invoices, to tracking inventory, to generating a 1099-Misc, Mary Rossi, CPA, answered all of the questions and demonstrated how easy the software is to use. “Mary handed out a two-page checklist that was very helpful for the group to determine which is the best version for our individual business needs,” said Ron. “Choosing the version that solves your immediate needs is key, as you can always upgrade and add features as your company grows,” he added.

Cindy Gill, CPA, moderated the third group, and it was very a helpful and thorough session as we resolved each issue together. Most of the general questions dealt with things like the difference between accounts, categories, and services, and how they interact with each other; how to pick an invoice design from existing template and then adapt it to your needs; and how to set up services pricing for entry into invoices later.

(Left to right): Mary Rossi, CPA, Cindy Gill, CPA, and Kathy Dise, president of BudgetEase. Photos by Janet Dodrill.

Christi Carlson, the office manager for Team Spike Consulting, LLC, asked about a problem she has while reconciling bank statements and how lump sum payments come through online QuickBooks without specifying which amount came from which client. Cindy eased her frustration by showing how to manually assign each payment to a specific account after the deposit hits. In some ways, you still have to tell QuickBooks what you want it to do. It doesn’t do everything. Yet.

Others questioned the cost of QuickBooks service fees incurred for each online transaction. Cindy suggested that it would be worth the savings for users to make the switch considering the amount of time it takes to produce invoices manually and then enter the accounts receivable by hand when the program can do it for you. QuickBooks matches up invoices to payments with very little user interface and lets you know when payments are received. All of this can be done from your smartphone or tablet as well.

Landscaper Jim Beveridge of Yards Done Right, asked about the best way to run an expense report for his business because he uses QuickBooks to track expenses while also using proprietary software specifically for his industry. Cindy also clarified for him the difference between cost of goods sold and an actual expense. Providing a service such as lawn fertilizer application would not be considered an inventory product that one would sell directly to a customer, but as a service, and categorized as an expense.

A large part of the discussion centered around whether or not one can continue using QuickBooks on the desktop, or, if one will eventually be forced into the online subscription version. Kathalee Kirkendall wants to stick with the desktop version because in a couple of years her husband will be retiring from their business, so having to learn a new program so late in the game seems counterproductive. Also, Janet Dodrill mentioned that many are still uncomfortable with learning and depending on cloud-based software. Some are more inclined to invoice in the traditional way, while also receiving payments by check or credit card.

For some, it is uncomfortable to “lose control” over their data, but Cindy assured them that using the cloud allows access to that data anywhere and at any time. The files would always be backed up even if one’s hard drive were to crash. Spike Radway, of Team Spike Consulting, added that since the online version updates automatically (and frequently) the cloud version offers the most up-to-date and the most secure version possible.

Regarding cost, some had trouble committing to a monthly service fee. But QuickBooks offers many levels of financial commitment depending on your needs. Right now, sole proprietor freelancers can sign up for as little as $5/month, whereas larger businesses with employees can choose the $30/month plan (project and inventory features included), and with add-on payroll features for a few more dollars a month. All plans include receipt capture, 24/7 chat support, and integration with your current apps such as PayPal. Visit to compare pricing options.

Many thanks to Kathy, Cindy, and Mary, for hosting us and helping us “ease the pain” of bookkeeping. Visit or call 216-832-4998 for more information.

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