Are you STILL doing data entry?

Data entry is so time consuming and let’s face it downright boring. With all of the tools available are you still doing it (or paying someone to) ? I stopped several years ago. Keying in mountains of receipts, bank debits and credit card charges is time better spent doing other things. Imagine how much time and money you could save by significantly reducing time spent doing data entry. So what are your choices?

If you’re using the Quickbooks desktop version, there are several options that don’t cost anything extra. The requirement is that your version of Quickbooks has to be currently supported and you need internet access.

Bank account transactions and credit card transactions are the most common transactions that can be downloaded directly from most bank websites.  All you have to to is download it in a format that Quickbooks can read. This is usually a QBO format. This can be set up a couple of different ways. One method is free and requires that you download the transactions manually. The other method requires that you sign up through your bank for automatic download. There is usually a monthly fee for this. I’ve never paid for this service because quite frankly, manually downloading is very simple and easy once you get the hang of it.

In Quickbooks On Line,  you just follow the prompts to connect your bank or credit cards and they automatically update, every single day.

Once you connect your accounts you still have to categorized the transactions before they are posted to your company file. This is called “matching”. Once they are downloaded, the transactions go to a download screen where they attempt to match with transactions that are already posted. This keeps the system from automatically posting transactions you may have already keyed in. Any transactions not matched need to be categorized and posted. Over time the system “learns” what transactions go to which vendors and general ledger accounts. You can also set rules that re-name transactions and classify them automatically.  While you still need to categorize the transactions, you can spend more time analyzing your data rather than keying it in.

Other ways to reduce data entry

Do you have a separate point of sale system and then manually key in the data to Quickbooks? It’s very likely they have bridge software to eliminate data entry.

Some vendor invoices can be directly imported into Quickbooks from their websites once you log in.  Most payroll companies also  offer a Quickbooks download link to post all payroll transactions.

Pay-pal and Square have a Quickbooks integration as well. If you have an e-commerce site there are other solutions such as ECC Webgulity that provides a highly functional third party software bridge between Quickbooks and shopping carts.

Even if the above options are not available, if you can get the data into a spreadsheet, there are several programs that can import directly into Quickbooks from Excel. I’ve used Transaction Pro Importer, Big Red Consulting’s IIF creator and Dynamic Ventures. All of these programs cost extra and require some configuration. However, if you have large amounts of data to import, for example if you are converting accounting software or are doing a lot of back bookkeeping, the price and time to configure are well worth it. You can also create templates that can be used for recurring data imports.

What if you have a lot of receipts that are a mix of many different credit cards, debit cards  or cash? Linking the individual accounts may be difficult, however there is still an option to eliminate data entry. Shoeboxed will scan envelopes of random receipts and then provide you with a link directly to Quickbooks on-line or you can import using a spreadsheet importer. You send them a “magic envelope” full of all of your receipts and they scan them in creating a PDF copy of each receipt (completely accepted by the IRS ) and spreadsheet or direct link for Quickbooks Online.  Not only do you eliminate data entry but as an added bonus all those shoeboxes of receipts are nicely categorized, archived and gone. I would definitely call that magic!

I’ve emphasized the time saved by using data import methods but I would like to mention  what is gained. Traditional data entry can be plagued by errors but by using electronic methods, you reduce data entry errors as well. This in turn gives you better information to run your business. And it’s likely to be more timely, because, let’s be honest, who doesn’t put off keying in receipts? Timely, more accurate data can be a huge benefit to your bottom line.

Need help or guidance? Please contact me, I’ve  performed many Quickbooks integrations from very basic to extremely complex including  E-commerce, EDI  and POS solutions.