Small BusinessTechnology

The Streamlined Chart of Accounts

By February 11, 2024 No Comments

In my firm, I try my best to keep things efficient and streamlined.  One way we do this is to create templates for as many things as possible.  Things like emails, tasks for our monthly projects and that also includes chart of account lists for the different types of clients we serve. 

Being in business over 15 years now, I’ve had to set up numerous clients in QuickBooks Online and I’ve found having COA templates for industry and entity types is one of my biggest time savers.  Not only does this help me set up new accounts faster but another side benefit is that it helps me serve our clients better by having a streamlined review process for month-end close.  It’s so much easier to notice anomalies and issues when the data you are constantly looking at is similar in nature. It’s one lesson I picked up from my time in corporate America, working for a major hospital consolidating reports over the different departments.  

Anyway… over the years my COA templates have migrated from an ever growing excel spreadsheet saved to different file folders on different computers to one large file saved in our client portal linked to our bookkeeping SOP’s. So can you imagine how elated I must be to discover my COA templates can now live directly inside of QBO?  Let’s just say I’m super duper pumped up!

This new feature means a better workflow for my team since they no longer have to go searching for files in a different place than where they are doing their actual job. This is such a timesaver, and I’m all about that.  It’s the minutes saved with features like this that give us time back to better serve our clients.

So I took the time to add a few of our templates to this new feature and just so I could share with you my highlights:

You can import your already created templates.  For me, this was a no brainer since we already had them created in a spreadsheet.  Just be aware if your chart of accounts uses account numbers, every account number must be unique!  

You have the option of uploading a CSV or an excel file. Did I mention this tool can also import sub accounts accurately! I ran into an issue trying to upload a CSV file, but the excel sheet worked perfectly.  Could’ve just been my device, but this could be a flaw we need to make Intuit aware of.  And for my google users unfortunately, google sheets aren’t an option at this time.

There are some pre-built templates for both product-based and service-based businesses.  These templates are very simple and a good starting point.  They give you the ability to customize what you want to see for your clients.  The downside is they are very simple and I would love to see a few more options to choose from for actual industry types or even entity types as a jumping off point.  Us tax folk would love to have those correct equity accounts set up from inception if at all possible lol.

You can start from scratch.  I mean, who would really want to do this but hey the option is there for ya if you want it.  Be aware you can not copy and paste a list using this option so if you have a running list in a word document, you will be better off copying it over to excel and importing from there instead. 

You can import your templated COA into any client that you have access to in QBO.  For me, this is a significant feature because we do a lot of multi-company set ups and that means I can have a new COA added to an empty data file in a few minutes or less.  The bad news is that you can add these templates to a QBO account that already has a full chart of accounts IN ADDITION TO those accounts. Meaning you have just now added a bunch of new accounts to a file that didn’t need it and you now need to make these accounts inactive.  There is a warning about this that says that if there is an account with the same name or number that already exists, they will flag it so it isn’t added. But please just take an extra second to confirm you are choosing the correct client from the start.

It works on a tablet.  This may not be a biggie for you, but often I’m working from my iPad on the go and I could import one of my templates from my saved files in the safari browser.  To be clear, I didn’t try this in the mobile app. I was logged into the Safari browser.

My team has access to my templates.  This is a game changer for me.  As I continue delegating more responsibilities to my growing team, it’s nice to know that we are all on the same page by having access to the same information.  Only draw for me here is that I can’t lock who can and can’t edit the templates. 

In conclusion, I think this is one of the best new announcements from QuickBooks that people aren’t talking about yet. It will take you some time initially setting it all up, but once you have it all up and running, I believe you will truly reap the benefits after that next new client.

You can access the new COA templates under Accounting Tools in your QBOA dashboard. And here is a QuickBooks support article that highlights all the important aspects of this new feature.

Additional resources:

* This is a paid partnership with Intuit.

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