Speaking to accountants and bookkeepers like you, we’ve learned about the challenges of creating and following a consistent process for closing your clients’ books on a monthly basis. Ensuring the books are accurate and complete is time consuming and stressful.
For those of you managing a team of bookkeepers, you have the added challenge of creating an easy-to-replicate process that maintains a consistent quality of work, without feeling like you are constantly breathing down your bookkeepers’ necks!
To help you spend more time focused on your client’s growth and success, and less time worrying about administrative tasks, we’re excited to share month-end review, a new accountant-only feature found exclusively through QuickBooks® Online Accountant that we’ve built to help you and your teammates close your clients’ books with more accuracy – and in less time.
What can it do?
When designing month-end review, we first spoke with accountants and bookkeepers who have successfully implemented a monthly books-closing process in their firms. We then combined these best practices with the power of QuickBooks to create an easy-to-follow workflow. Throughout the process, month-end review automatically identifies and helps you resolve incomplete transactions, unreconciled accounts, and other common – and not so common – bookkeeping issues. Along the way, month-end review also provides recommended checklists that you can customize for the specific needs of each client.
To help you stay organized, we’ve added progress tracking, making it easy for you to check off your tasks as you go and see the monthly status of each client on your client list. For those managing a team, you’ll also be able to track progress at the bookkeeper level, making it easier to identify roadblocks before the end of the month and provide additional support to bookkeepers who need it (see how it works).
Where do I find it?
To access month-end review, sign in to your client’s books through QuickBooks Online Accountant. You’ll see month-end review on the left-hand navigation bar. You can also access it from the books tab in your client list.
How do I use it?
Inside month-end review, you’ll find three tabs that will walk you through the process.
1. Transaction review
Transaction review is all about setting your client’s books up for success. To get started, QuickBooks automatically identifies unaccepted bank transactions for you to review. By clicking on the link, you’ll be taken directly to those transactions, where you can accept or remove them. Once complete, you can then begin resolving open issues. QuickBooks automatically surfaces common bookkeeping issues, such as uncategorized transactions, transactions without payees, and unapplied payments; undeposited funds, and duplicate transactions will available soon.
As you click on each open issue, you’ll be directed to the transaction in question, where you can easily update and resolve the transaction. Once resolved, the transaction will automatically be removed from the list.
While completing each step, select to do to update your progress. You can select waiting to indicate a task in progress, or done to show a task as done. Updating the status of each task make it easy to assess your remaining work from your client list, share your progress with your manager, and jump back in to complete your month-end review.
Additional items: The customizable checklist includes tasks that we’ve heard are important. Don’t care about a task, or have a client-specific issue you need to remember every month? You can easily remove tasks from the list, or add a custom task. Once you add or remove a task from the list, you’ll see the same list of tasks for that client, month after month.
Quick tip! Have a client who sometimes struggles to categorize their transactions correctly? Encourage them to categorize transactions that they are uncertain about as “ask my accountant.” Then, create a checklist item to review these transactions each month so you can categorize correctly and with confidence. You can even link directly to the report by going to the “ask my accountant” report, copying the URL from your browser, and pasting in the QuickBooks page link section.
2. Account reconciliation
The account reconciliation tab is where you make sure your client’s bank and credit card accounts are up to date and complete. Month-end review shows you all of the client’s accounts, the number of unreconciled transactions, and the date they are reconciled through. Click through to go to the account reconciliation page for each account. As the number of unreconciled transactions goes to zero as you complete your work, feel the joy of work being accomplished!
Coming soon! Outstanding transactions: The month-end review process is about more than just making sure the books are complete and accurate. It’s also about helping clients identify and resolve issues that impact their business health. Soon, month-end review will identify uncleared checks, payments, deposits, and credits. This will make it easier for you to alert your clients and help them come up with a plan to pay their vendors, get paid by customers, consider a write-off, or just resolve a clerical error.
Additional items: Once you finish reconciliation, look to your checklist for other tasks to complete before moving on to the next step. We included the reconcile loan accounts and review reconciliation report to get you started, but you can add others to meet the needs of your practice and your clients.
3. Final review
You’re almost there! The final review is all about ensuring your clients’ books are complete and accurate, and checking that you didn’t miss any special circumstances. We recommend reviewing your balance sheet and profit and loss reports to make sure changes month over month and year over year match your expectations.
Coming soon! Unusual or unexpected balances: In addition to reviewing the balance sheet and profit and loss report, it’s also important to look out for unique situations that may have accounting or tax implications, including the following:
- Expenses that may be assets.
- Assets that may be expenses.
- Accounts receivable (90+ days).
- Accounts payable (90+ days).
Soon, final review will automatically include these issues in a new “unusual or unexpected balances” section. You can click through to review each balance individually, make necessary changes, or choose to dismiss the issue.
Month-end review is designed to help your firm create a consistent and best-in-class monthly process for closing your clients’ books. Our goal is to help you spend less time searching for issues, and more time supporting and advising your clients. In the upcoming months, look for more automation in surfacing common bookkeeping issues, and more tools to track your progress at the client and firm level. After trying out month-end review for yourself, let us know what you think by clicking on the in-product “Feedback?” link.
Original article from the Firm of the Future Blog.