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Set up tricks to make QuickBooks easy to use, so you can collect your receivables
7 Feb 2006


Originally Published Online by the QuickBooks ProAdvisor Program, Intuit Canada, February 2006


Set up tricks to make QuickBooks easy to use, so you can collect your receivables

Eileen Reppenhagen, Certified
QuickBooks ProAdvisor

What is more important than procedures that can assist you, when collecting your receivables?

Desktop View

Preferences can make things easier during your QuickBooks usage. I always use Multiple Windows and do not save the desktop. I keep it simple by using the Button Bar to navigate, so I close the Navigator as well. The Navigator is wonderful for someone who has no idea about accounting, but if you are a regular QuickBooks user, the Button Bar is a wonderful tool.

Order of Operations

Always enter Sales first before Receive Payments.

Apply payments in the receive payments window so the sales invoice clears in the register. If you happen to get the money before you create the invoice, you can always open up the Receive Payments window after the fact and clear the invoice using the credit button. Always post payments to the receivables account using the Receive Payments window. Why? To clear invoices so that your Open Invoices report is a powerful collection tool.

Collect the payments received; which, have been recorded in Undeposited Funds Account on the Chart of Accounts and summarize them in the Deposit. This moves and clears them automatically from Undeposited Funds to the bank account. Consider the Undeposited Funds account like a vault in your office where you put the payments for safe keeping until you move them to the bank. I always use the Bank Vault picture for the Receive Payments Window. I use what looks like a tennis racquet for the Deposits because that’s how I bat the cheques from my office to the bank.

Follow this two step procedure for receiving payments and making deposits and the result is simplicity when you reconcile your bank. Your bank account register shows the same amount in the deposit column as your bank statement. This makes bank reconciliation at month end a snap, because you do not have to figure out which payments are in which deposit on the bank statement.

When you enter sales first, then payments received, your Open Invoices report will show only outstanding invoices and payments that have been received in advance of an invoice being issued. If you have Multiple Windows preference selected, you can have the receive payments window and the Open Invoices report both active on your desktop when you are entering deposits. This way, you can check that the deposits have been applied to the right invoice and reconcile as you enter.

Reporting starts the collection process

When your data entry of sales and payments is complete, you can print or email an ‘Open Invoices’ report to the owner and/or accountant, to follow up on collections. Use your ‘Open Invoices’ report to reconcile accounts with your customers. It is the perfect -- soft sell -- way to make a collection phone call. Keeping your customers happy and collecting what they owe you are always a balancing act.

Call the customer to ask their accounts payable person to reconcile your account receivable. Then you can gently ask when you can expect to see a payment or whether you can drop by to pick up the cheque because you will be in their area. The principal is that the squeaky wheel always gets attention. If you are on good terms with the customer or their staff that manage payables, the odds are, you will get paid first.

I used to wonder why the payables clerk at the large company I worked at, for 10 years, got multiple, huge boxes of Purdy’s chocolates every year at Christmas. I am older and wiser than I was then. Now I know why, those customers always got paid first. The collections clerk never got the same treatment.

Organize to make it easy

To make it easy to remember what to enter first, organize your Icon Bar with the buttons you use all the time. These are the standard buttons I put on the Button Bar. From the drop down menu, pick View, Customize Icon Bar and delete everything except: Invoice, Deposit, Cheque and Acct.

The Button Bar is directly below the drop down menu bar on your screen. When I open up a new company, the first thing I do is to review the preferences for all categories and then I organize the button bar the way I use it in order of operations.


There are 4 groups of buttons I set up on almost every QuickBooks file I start up for a customer. I shorten the titles so that the buttons all fit on the bar and pick distinctive pictures so that I will relate to them quickly and easily. I’ll put my abbreviations in brackets below.

  1. The first buttons on the Button Bar are those relating to sales. After all, without sales, do you have a business? These are the buttons relating to sales and receipt of funds from sales:

    • Invoice (INV)
    • Receive Payment (REC$)
    • Deposit (DEP)
    • Open Invoices Report (OPENINV)
    • Customer Balance Summary (AR)
  2. The second group of buttons relate to purchases and how you pay for purchases including:

    • Bill
    • Check
    • Credit Card C/C)
    • Unpaid Bills Report (UNPD)
    • Vendor Balance Summary (AP)
  3. The third set relates to both time for billing purposes and for payroll as well as paying employees

    • Time
    • Payroll
  4. The last set is administrative. I use these three buttons all the time:

    • Chart of Accounts (ACCT)
    • Memorized Reports (MEMREP)
    • Find-Advanced (FIND)

    The Button Bar is an important tool for the Quickbooks User.

    Setting up the Button Bar so that the order of operations is clearly laid out assists the user to think clearly and with ease, about:

    • What to do first
    • What to do next
    • How to reconcile
    • How to report on the most critical things that a small business needs to know:
      • What do I have in the bank?
      • What is going to be deposited next?
      • When are those bills due to be paid?


If you want to speed up the collection process to put money in your bank faster, the Button Bar in QuickBooks is the most effective and efficient way to achieve your goal. 


Eileen Reppenhagen writes and speaks about personal tax credits and surviving an IVI tax audit. She is also a volunteer on the Disability Advisory Committee to advise the Minister of National Revenue. Eileen is the originator and contributing author of Section 800 of the CGA Canada Public Practice Manual "Future Oriented Financial Information" (1999), and a participant in CGA Canada's Video: Taking Care of Business (2000).

If you have concerns about disability tax administration or IVI Audits, Eileen would love to hear about them and many be contacted at : 1 604 943-7414 or by email:





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