By Ed Wenck
The always-entertaining Leslie Shiner has some thoughts about the accounting program called Quickbooks:
“The best thing about Quickbooks is that it’s so flexible, you can do anything at any time.
“The worst thing about Quickbooks is that it’s so flexible, you can do anything at any time.”
Shiner, who’s been teaching courses for CEDIA since the 2003 trade show, this year adds a pair of workshops to the San Diego slate. The courses are two of a series, both dealing with various aspects of Quickbooks. Shiner’s learned how to wrangle the platform specifically for the unique needs of the user in the CEDIA channel.
Shiner explains: “I started out using Quicken. I’ve been using Quickbooks since it was introduced. A lot of it was trial and error, but a lot of it was also working backward. What do you want to know, and how can we get it to give you that information? Let’s suppose you’re asking for job costing figures – you have to do it in this order, in this specific way.”
After reverse-engineering numerous outcomes that would be of interest to a technology integration firm, Shiner split the classes into Part 1: Accounts, Items, Jobs, and Estimates; and Part 2: Invoicing and Job Cost Reports.
“Quickbooks can be an excellent tool for accounts and project management – but only if it’s a) set up correctly, and b), you follow the rules,” she cautions.
Some common errors that can trip up unschooled users?
“Often people will try and do job costing in their chart of accounts,” says Shiner. “You end up with a P&L that’s 16 pages long and doesn’t tell you what you need to know.
“I also see people handle inventory all wrong. If you don’t do it right – it’s a giant mess.
“The second class, part two, has to do with invoicing and job cost reports. What’s the best way to invoice your clients? How do you deal with CEDIA-specific issues – customer deposits, for example. How can you get job-cost reports that tell you what you want to know?”
Shiner has a caveat for those planning on attending: “I’m going to be covering the Desktop version of the program. I am NOT going to be talking about Quickbooks Online. The Online version has extremely limited-to-no job-costing capabilities -- even though Intuit is trying to get everybody online.”
As mentioned, CEDIA 2017 isn’t Shiner’s first rodeo, and she’ll be teaching courses in addition to the Quickbooks sessions. “Back by popular demand is the ‘Work Smarter, Not Harder’ workshop. We’ll have a panel of business owners, and attendees will be able to learn from those who’ve succeeded – and those who’ve failed.”
Shiner knows all about the pitfalls: She was initially a consultant to both the construction and non-profit fields. “Unfortunately, they’re very similar,” she jokes. As for those in the CEDIA Channel, “These companies have a lot of the same issues as contractors, but some have a retail component, some have a manufacturing component – they’re all unique, complex businesses even when they’re small.”
Managing for Profitability with Quickbooks, Part 1: Accounts, Items, Jobs and Estimates
Sept. 7, 10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
Managing for Profitability with Quickbooks, Part 2: Invoicing and Job Cost Reports
Sept. 8, 10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
Presented by Leslie Shiner, Financial Consultant, The Shiner Group Register for CEDIA 2017 here.