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Be A Better Bookkeeper

Being a bookkeeper or office manager for a construction business is one tough chore! There are thousands of little things that you have to keep track of and manage on a daily basis and there is always something “special” that your boss needs you to keep track of. Who has time to pick and poke around QuickBooks to see if you can automate a task? As a result, we all end up, at one point or another, resorting to a trusty Excel spreadsheet track something special. The result – fragmented data or information all over the place. These tips will help you to handle specific tasks.

New Product Announcement: QuickBooks IIF Inactive Cleanup Utility

Intuit, for as many years as I can remember, has offered us a means of exporting various QuickBooks Lists into their own IIF format - so that we can import those lists into a brand new file.  However, they have never provided us with a method to quickly and easily remove inactive list elements - before we import that list into the new file.  This has caused much grief and aggravation over the years and as we all know; it's a horribly time-consuming task to manually remove those inactive list items. Enter, the QuickBooks IIF Inactive Cleanup Utility!  Saving you countless hours (not to mention headaches) caused by scrolling through long IIF files and removing the inactive list elements before you can import them into a new file.
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How To Turn On and Use Manual Payroll in QuickBooks

How to turn on and use the manual payroll option in QuickBooks certainly feels like a highly guarded secret.  Intuit makes a lot of money selling payroll subscriptions and rightly so as keeping up with payroll tax laws and forms in each and every state is a lot of work! There are times when a company that uses QuickBooks for their day-to-day accounting has a need to record their payroll manually - without paying for an Intuit tax table subscription - one such instance is when the company has their payroll done by an outside payroll service, but need to record their payroll in detail for job costing purposes in QuickBooks. This article explains how to turn on and use the manual payroll function in QuickBooks.
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QuickBooks Payroll Record Keeping Tips-How To Stay Organized

In order to be well prepared for a Wage & Hour audit that you need to keep your payroll records for the duration of EACH worker’s employment with your company PLUS 5 to 10 years! Most Human Resources and legal experts are suggesting this to ensure these records are available in the event a claim is filed,

Discover what records you need to have available for an audit and how to store that information without having to have a bunch of file cabinets in your office.

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Payroll Recordkeeping – More Than Just Getting Employees Paid On Time

In the past couple of years there has been an increase in the number of Federal and/or State payroll wage audits resulting in the repayment of back wages, in all industries – not just construction, plus fines and penalties. In May and June of 2013 U. S. Department of Labor audits have resulted in the payment of $5,750,693.00 in back wages throughout the United States.

Are your payroll records accurate and up-to-date? They need to be - because inaccurate payroll records can cost emBeployers BIG bucks!

See this article for information on what you need to keep and how long you need to keep your payroll records.

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Employees and Company Credit Cards – What’s the Charge?

It's a common practice among business owners to provide their employees with company credit cards. In some cases it really makes sense - but caution should be used if this is a common practice in your business.

It is vital to for a business owner to review credit card statements and other bills for personal charges and collect the money from the staff member as soon as possible. If the employee cannot pay the monies back by cash or check right away, a receivable should be created for the employee until the charges can be deducted from their paycheck.

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Unconditional Waiver / Release Upon Final Payment – Part 5

Once you’ve successfully collected your final payment it’s time to give your customer an “Unconditional Waiver and Release Upon Final Payment” form (#4 release).

Never issue a #4 release form unless you have been successfully paid in full for the entire project. If you do even though you haven’t been paid and you didn’t allow for the exceptions then the courts wouldn’t side with you because unconditional is unconditional – it’s final.

If you have suppliers include the same forms from them.

This article is an overview of waiver/release forms and is not legal advice. Please contact an attorney in your state with any questions you might have.

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QuickBooks Tip – How To Handle Stored Materials and AIA Pay Apps

QuickBooks has no built-in ability to handle stored materials, like many of the more costly construction specific software programs. This causes problems for contractors who need to generate AIA Pay Apps and need to make sure that their books (or accounting data) syncs with their AIA Applications for Payments.

Because the General Contractor allows billing of stored materials on the AIA Payment Application you also need to include the amount of stored materials on your QuickBooks Progress Invoice in order for your accounting records to match your AIA billing records.

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Conditional Waiver / Release Upon Final Payment – Part 4

When it’s time to submit the invoice for the final payment you may need to include a “Conditional Waiver and Release Upon Final Payment” form (#3 release).

Usually this release form does not include a “release through date” like the #1 and #2 forms do because it’s your final invoice on the project.

Once you’ve received payment and it has cleared the issuing financial institution then typically that Conditional Release becomes an Unconditional Release. That means you’ll never be able to file a lien on the project (which is okay as long as you’re paid in full).

This article is an overview of waiver/release forms and is not legal advice. Please contact an attorney in your state with any questions you might have.

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I-9 Form Updated – Make Sure You’re Prepared

Government audits used to be rare, but that has changed under the Obama administration, which has investigated companies more aggressively, Shusterman said. Government audits of employer I-9 forms rose from 250 in fiscal 2007 to more than 3,000 last year, according to data from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement cited by the Associated Press in December.

Mistakes or missing information, whether intentional or not and which might have nothing to do with a worker being in the country illegally, can lead to stiff penalties. Employers can be fined from $110 to $1,100 per violation for failing to comply with the form's requirements, according to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. Penalties can be even steeper, up to $6,500 per violation, for participating in document fraud, or up to $16,000 for knowingly hiring an unauthorized worker.

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Automating Job Costing Overtime, an 800 pound gorilla with an attitude

Calculating and distributing employee overtime is a burdensome process that many business owners and payroll administrators have to deal with on a weekly basis. Everyone has a different opinion on just "HOW" that overtime is to be calculated and distributed. By everyone, I mean the business owner, the payroll clerk, heck even the Federal and State government. No wonder it's just a problematic situation!

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Unconditional Waiver / Release Form Upon Progress/Partial Payment – Part 3

You’ve successfully collected your progress payment and now it’s time to provide your customer with an “Unconditional Waiver and Release Upon Progress Payment” form (#2 release).

If you have suppliers include the same forms from them.

The #2 release is unconditional which means you’re giving up all lien rights through the “release through date”. Never issue a #2 release form unless you have been successfully paid for that time frame. If you do even though you haven’t been paid the courts may not side with you because unconditional is unconditional – it’s final.

This article is an overview of waiver/release forms and is not legal advice. Please contact an attorney in your state with any questions you might have.

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Conditional Waiver/Release Form Upon Progress/Partial Payment – Part 2

When it’s time to submit an invoice for a partial / progress payment you may need to include a “Conditional Waiver and Release Upon Progress/Partial Payment” form (#1 release).

If you have suppliers you’ll probably have to include these same forms from them.

This article is an overview of waiver/release forms and is not legal advice. Please contact an attorney in your state with any questions you might have.

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You Get What You Pay For – Do Cheap Bookkeepers Save Money?

There is a lot to learn about using QuickBooks and there is a LOT to learn about bookkeeping! Sure there are a lot of websites (including this one) where you learn how to do very specific tasks in QuickBooks and tons of YouTube videos - but tracking down the various pieces of the learning QuickBooks puzzle is horribly time-consuming and overwhelming; and the information that is found may not entirely meet the requirements of your company.

When you hire an inexperienced person and thrust them into full-fledged bookkeeping position; it’s very likely that you will end up with nothing but a huge mess on your hands and will need to have your books cleaned up by a professional.

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About Your Host:

Nancy Smyth, Certified QuickBooks ProAdvisor

Nancy Smyth, Sunburst Software Solutions, Inc.
QuickBooks Construction & Payroll Expert


I've been using and supporting QuickBooks products since the early 1990's. I've worked with thousands of contractors, assisting them with QuickBooks setup, Certified Payroll Reporting requirements, AIA Billing and Weighted-Average Overtime.


QuickBooks is a powerful product, but learning how to use it in your construction business can be difficult. I hope you find resources available here to be helpful.

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