QuickBooks 2011 offers the ability to exclude Estimates, Sales Orders and Purchase Orders from the Closing Date lock. This is a key piece of functionality that will be attractive to contractors and other business types who often have open Estimates, Sales Orders or Purchase Orders; which I just learned about yesterday in a “New Features in QuickBooks 2011” webinar presented by Joe Woodard.
The Closing Date feature in QuickBooks is designed primarily to protect transactions from previous reporting periods from being changed – for example, it is often a general practice for an accounting professional to set a closing date in a clients QuickBooks file after they have finished preparing their tax returns. Setting a Closing Date allows the accountant to know that the client cannot go back and make changes to transactions that would impact the tax returns that were filed.
Unfortunately, the Closing Date feature works as a “lock”; and effectively prevents a user from making changes to open “non-posting” transactions such as Estimates, Sales Orders, and Purchase Orders.
It’s common in the construction industry to have Estimates that remain open for 6 months to sometimes several years – depending on the size of the job, when they were awarded the contract, and even when they actually start to work on their piece of the project.
With previous versions of QuickBooks, a business owner who utilized these types of non-posting transactions could not use this feature until AFTER the transactions had been closed (Estimate fully invoiced, Sales Orders fulfilled, or Purchase Order completely received); however, their accountants would frequently enter a closing date when they were finished with the tax return.
This caused a lot of hassle and additional work for the business owner. They would need to create a 2nd Estimate in it’s entirety and then create a single progress invoice billing out everything that they had billed up until the time that their books were “closed” by their accountant – they then had to set the invoice as “Mark as Pending” so that it wouldn’t show up in their Accounts Receivable.
With QuickBooks 2011, you can now choose to exclude these open, non-posting transactions when you set a closing date!
If you are a QuickBooks user be sure to tell your accountant about this feature, and if you are an accounting professional, ask them if they need access to these transactions BEFORE you set the closing date, they’ll love you for it!
This option is available from the Edit menu -> Preferences -> Accounting -> Company Preferences tab -> click on the Set Date/Password button -> then check the option to “Exclude”.
To some this will seem like a small and perhaps unimportant change; but for some it will be a HUGE improvement in the functionality.
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