Category Archives: quickbooks

Do I keep it forever or can I shred it?

Your desk is cluttered and your file cabinets are overflowing with paper. You can’t even close the drawers anymore, and your hard drive is screaming at you to delete some files and create some free space.

Guess what it’s time to do! That’s right, it’s time to go through all those files and pieces of papers and get rid of the stuff you don’t need any more.  Before you get started, make a plan, it might take a couple days or even weeks (depending on how long you’ve been hanging on to stuff) to get through it all.. Decide if you’re going to start with the file cabinets or the computer files and then spend a couple of hours each day until the task is completed.  Of course if you like this type of thing, the organizing and cleaning, and want to spend entire full days on it, then go for it, and let me know when you’re done, you can come do mine!

However you can’t just start shredding and deleting, you need to know what documents and receipts are important to keep and for how long.  So below you’ll find a list of some personal and business items and a recommendation for how long they should be kept.  If you really want to get organized and maybe even go paper free, take everything you want to save and scan it in to files on your computer. File them in individual folders for each year.

Tax Returns and related tax documents:

The IRS has three years from your filing date to audit your tax return; you also have three years from your filing date to amend your return if you make a mistake. However because tax laws are always changing and the IRS actually keeps your information a lot longer than this I would keep your returns and all documents relating to them indefinitely.  The best way to file them would be to scan everything, and save as a pdf document.

Credit card receipts and statements:

Every month you should be reconciling your credit card statement.  If everything matches up you can shred the receipts that are not related to taxes. I would also suggest that you keep the receipts for any large purchases.  You only need to keep the statements for a few months unless they are tax related.

Bank Records, check registers, voided checks and check stubs:

Any banking related documents that are personal can be discarded after a year. If Business related I would suggest up to 10 years and of course if tax related keep them forever.

Personal Bills:

Phone bills, utilities and other personal bills only need to be kept for a year or shred them after you’ve seen the payment clear the bank. Most of us do our banking online these days, and even receive the bills electronically so you might not have anything to keep.

Medical records and insurance paperwork:

It’s suggested that you keep your medical insurance records like bills, copies of prescriptions and premium statements for five years after treatments ends. If you’ve claimed the medical expense on your taxes file them with the tax return and keep indefinitely.

Business Reports:

Business Tax Returns and related documents – as discussed above, indefinitely!

Monthly Financial Statements3 years

Annual Financial Statements – indefinitely

Sales Invoice and payment slips (cash or credit) – 7 years

Expense Reports – 5 years

W2’s and reports to IRS for employer taxes – 7 years

Vendor payments, invoices and purchase orders – 7 years

Please keep in mind that the time frames I suggested are just that, suggestions and recommendations. Your accountant or business advisor might have different time frames they’d like you to use, and the government might have specific time frames that need to be adhered to for different types of businesses. If you don’t see a document listed here that you have a question on please either leave a question in the comments or send me an email. I’d be happy to research it for you.

This article was originally written and shared by me on Business Darlings. The blog has since closed it’s virtual doors, so I’m reprinting some of my favorite articles here for you.

Thanks for reading and have a great day!

Should I Void or Delete a check in Quickbooks?

Should I Void the check or just delete it, what difference does it make?

If you delete a check you’re basically saying the transaction never happened. Transactions should only be deleted when you’ve made a simple mistake.

Let’s say you wrote the check for the wrong dollar amount but haven’t printed it yet. In this case its OK to delete the transaction and re-enter it because the transaction hasn’t actually happened and won’t until you actually print the check.

To delete a check in Quickbooks:

While in the check writing screen, go to edit and select delete check.

If a transaction has already occurred, meaning you’ve printed the check you will need to void it. For example, you issued a check to a vendor to pay for all the supplies you bought only to realize you paid them to much. You need to void the wrong check and then re-issue a check for the correct amount. If the check had been used to pay an invoice, then voiding that check will also reverse the payment for that invoice, returning it to an unpaid status.

When you use the void function in QuickBooks its keeps the check number, name of the vendor, and date for you. The check shows a zero dollar amount in the register and you can use the memo field to note the reason you voided the check.

To void a check in QuickBooks:

While in the check writing screen, go to edit and select void check. If you’re in the check register, select the check, go to edit and select void bill payment-check.

By voiding instead of deleting you are removing the financial effect of the transaction, but keeping a record of the transaction. In other words you won’t have gaps of missing check numbers in your check register. It’s a good practice to be able to account for all your check numbers for control purposes.

Thanks for reading and if you have any questions shoot me an email!

Tips for working with QuickBooks

If you’ve been wondering where I’ve been? I apologize; I’ve been doing all my blogging over in the financial section of Business Darlings. Which is great, I love the site, but I also know that I should be posting over here on my own blog too. I should be at least sharing with you what I’ve been writing about over there.

So with that said, here’s a bunch of links to all the different articles I’ve been writing about QuickBooks.  I’m sure you’ll find them helpful for setting up or working with QuickBooks in your own business.

Getting Started with QuickBooks

Paying Bills with QuickBooks

Invoicing with QuickBooks

Customer Payments and Deposits with QuickBooks

Past Due Reminders with QuickBooks

Reconciling your Bank Accounts with QuickBooks

Customize your QuickBooks Invoices, make them your own!

If you have any questions or comments on any of the articles please leave a comment or contact me at  Thanks for reading and have a great day.

Organize your bills! A few simple suggestions.

Does the thought of organizing and paying your bills make you cringe. You might have receipts everywhere, in the car, crumbled in your purse or wallet, and the invoices that need paying are probably buried in the papers on your desk or email box. Does this sound like you? Here are some suggestions in how to organize all that paperwork and handle the accounts payable side of your bookkeeping.

1. When you receive invoices that need to be paid, immediately place them in a folder, either in a file drawer or the in-box on top of your desk, labeled invoices or bills to be entered . Set aside some time at least once a week to enter them into your bookkeeping software. After you’ve entered the invoices, file them in a to-be paid folder. Depending on how many invoices you have, you can file them all in one folder or alphabetically by vendor. If you are going paperless, scan the invoices into your computer and file them the same way, in a file folder for Vendor invoices to be paid on your desktop.

2. Before you can enter any of these invoices and bills you’ll need to create a chart of accounts. Keep your chart of accounts simple. The chart of accounts is a listing of all your balance sheet accounts(assets and liabilites) and your income statement accounts(income and expenses). You’ll use these accounts when entering your transactions. Most accounting software packages will suggest a basic chart of accounts for you to start with. You can then add or delete accounts as you see fit.

3. At the same time your entering invoices to be paid, briefly look at any unpaid invoices you’ve already entered to make sure they aren’t due to be paid this week. Instead of looking at the invoices manually, run a quick unpaid bills report. You can then either print any checks needed using your software or pay them using on-line banking. On-line banking is a free service with most major banks, and you can enter the amount of the invoice and schedule it for payment before the due date. And with many accounting software packages you can accomplish this right within the software itself. The benefits of online bill pay is that it saves on postage and also by scheduling before the due dates you’ll avoid any late fees. Just remember if you pay the bills directly from your bank website, you will also need to enter those payments in your accounting software.

4. Reconcile your bank statements monthly. Try setting up time on your calendar the week the statement is received. You don’t want to put this task off because the longer your accounts stay unreconciled the harder it will be to find errors. If you have been disciplined in entering your transactions each week, it shouldn’t be a time consuming process and can easily be accomplished using your software’s reconciliation function.

5. Don’t forget your credit card purchases. If you’ve set up your credit cards as accounts they will need to be reconciled on a monthly basis the same way you reconcile your checking account. So be sure that you’ve been entering the charges daily or weekly. Credit cards statements can also be treated as regular bills, where you enter the bill for payment just like the rest of your monthly bills. If done this way you obviously won’t have an account to be reconciled every month.

6. If you use PayPal, you also need to set up this account similar to how your checking account is setup. And it will also need to be reconciled each month. With PayPal you can download the monthly reports for reconciling. To keep yourself current though I would also recommend doing this on a weekly basis to record any deposits and payments, and then reconcile on a monthly basis.

We’ll talk about handling your accounts receivable another time. We don’t want to forget that. You have to be invoicing customers and making deposits to pay all those bills we just talked about. Are you feeling frustrated and flustered with the thought of bookkeeping? Don’t worry, your not the only one. I think most business owners consider bookkeeping a dreaded task and put it off as long as possible. Unfortunately it’s not something that can be put off altogether unless you decide to outsource to someone that actually enjoys bookkeeping. Even then you shouldn’t ignore it completely, to effectively run a business you need to know what’s going on in every corner of it.

How do you stay organized? I’d love to hear your suggestions.

Introducing Business Darlings!!

Are you thinking of starting a Virtual Business or looking for some new strategies to help build and grow your current business? Then be sure to check out Business Darlings. A new business magazine focusing on Virtual Businesses. There are sections with tips and tricks dedicated to Marketing, Social Media, Software, Technology, Business Coaching, Finance and more!

Business Darlings is set to launch tomorrow, February 14th, and I’m very excited and honored to have been asked to offer my advice, opinions and idea’s in the Finance section.

Here’s what Christina Nelson, owner of VOS Team and Vital Office Solutions, and the creator of Business Darlings has to say about the launch.

I am so excited to be able to give back to the industry that has been so good to me. Business Darlings is a labor of love and I am very proud of what we have accomplished so far.

Business Darlings is an online magazine/blog focused on providing tips, inspiration, direction and motivation for YOU to start and build a Virtual Business.The Virtual Industry is BOOMING and it’s time you got your piece of the Internet. Having a Virtual Business has some unique challenges and we want to help you get the answers you need to face, and overcome, them (or beat them into submission, whatever works lol).Business Darlings has been blessed with (so far) 8 wonderful experts (7 Darlings & a Dude) who have agreed to volunteer their time each week to bring you the information you need to be successful. Plus, we are always looking for more experts to add (email me to see if we need someone with your skills Pop over to and bookmark us for the launch on FEBRUARY 14th (yep Valentine’s Day)

Who is Making a Big Deal out of Small Business?

Every week it seems I come across a new website full of information for the Small Business owner and Entrepreneur. Websites that you could lose yourself in for hours reading and learning about different topics such as: bookkeeping, small business taxes, marketing, and social networking. Since I’m sure that I’m not the only small business owner always looking for new idea’s to benefit my business, on a weekly basis I’m going to share a favorite website that I’ve found to be worth exploring.

This week that website is Small Biz Bee where they are “Making a Big Deal Out of Small Business.” They share all kinds of lists, video’s and idea’s that I’m sure you’ll find beneficial to your business.

Take a few minutes to explore and then let me know if you liked the site. And if you have other suggestions for good websites geared towards small business owners please share them in the comments. Thanks!

Are you one of the guilty ones?

Are you one of those business owners guilty of shoving all your receipts into a drawer to deal with later?

Why not shove them all into an envelope on a weekly or monthly basis and send them to Gem’s Virtual Office instead!

I’ll use QuickBooks software to post and record your income and expenses for the month. You’ll receive monthly reports so that you are always up to date on how your business is doing! If you want to go a step further, I’ll balance and reconcile your banking and credit card accounts, invoice your customers, pay your bills and more.

Let me take some of those nail biting, hair pulling hours away from you! Take the time to sit back and relax or, spend those extra hours building your business further.

So are you one of those guilty ones? Contact Gem’s today for additional information and a free consultation at I look forward to hearing from you.

How are you handling your monthly bookkeeping tasks?

Don’t Let Your Bookkeeping keep you up at night!

A Recent Intuit study shows that the number one thing that keeps small business owners up at night is paying their bills. See the entire story here.

Knowing that, why not let a Virtual Bookkeeper like Gem’s Virtual Office handle it instead. Wouldn’t it be nice to end the day knowing that your bookkeeping and bills aren’t waiting on your desk for attention! 

Here is a list of 10 tasks that Gem’s can complete for you in an hour: 

   1. Balance your checking account.

   2. Enter your vendor invoices

   3. Call your customers in regards to past due invoices

   4. Post your cash receipts and deposits

   5. Pay your bills

   6. Invoice your customers

   7. Assist with your payroll

   8. Reconcile your credit card statements

   9. Generate P/L Reports each month

 10.  Work with your accountant as needed. 

Get in touch with Gem’s today and let us show you how working with a Virtual Bookkeeper can save your business both time and money!

My Sticky Business Task 1

Are you following along with the Sticky Business Contest over at Men with Pens? As mentioned in a previous post the contest is well underway and you can no longer enter, but you can follow along and complete the thought provoking tasks for yourself just as I’m doing.

Task #1 was to write a brief overview of your business concept in 200-350 words. Explaining the business type, services, where you’ll find customers, how they will hear about your business, and how will they take delivery and pay for your services. Here’s my completed task.

Gem’s Virtual Office is a small business owned by Deborah Frawley of Williamson, NY. It was originally opened as a virtual business offering bookkeeping and administrative services to small businesses and individuals needing an additional person to help them manage and grow their business. Today Gem’s is not only virtual, supporting businesses in any location, but also a local business, offering pick up and delivery of projects as well as onsite support as needed.

Some of the bookkeeping services that Gem’s offers are: Accounts Payable (entering and paying bills), Accounts Receivable (invoicing customers and recording payments), collections of overdue accounts, financial statement preparation (so a client always knows where their business stands), and bank account management and reconciling.  Gem’s bookkeeping software of choice is Quickbooks and Deb is a certified Quickbooks user.  Clients can choose to have the bookkeeping done at Gem’s home office with reports generated weekly, use the online version of QuickBooks, or their software can be accessed remotely using programs such as Log Me In.  Administrative services provided include: e-mail and calendar management, data entry, customer service, word processing, bulk mailing, and travel arrangements.

Gem’s will be marketing and networking locally and nationally on social networking sites such as FacebookTwitter, and LinkedIn. Brochures and postcards are also being sent out locally, and businesses and individuals can view Gem’s website at  I’ll also look forward to meeting a lot of local businesses and people at area networking events.”

If you’ve been following along with the contest please share. It’s been a very good tool and motivational exercise for me,  and you might find it to be the same for you. Check back in the next few days and you can read my response to Task #2.

To see the Tasks as they post them for people to join in and to hear how the Stick Business contest is going, visit Men with Pens.

10 Tasks Gem’s can complete for you in an hour:

10 tasks Gem’s can complete for you in an hour:
1. Balance your checking account
2. Enter your vendor invoices
3. Call clients in regards to past due
4. Post your cash receipts and make a
5. Pay your bills
6. Invoice your customers
7. Generate P/L reports
8. Manage your e-mail and contacts
9. Send out your flyers/brochures
10. Research/make your travel

*Each project is unique; times may vary depending on numbers.