Unofficial QuickBooks Accountants Podcast

Hector and Alicia dive into two new features for QuickBooks Online - the expand/collapse capability in Custom Report Builder and the new chart of accounts templates. They walk through how these features work and provide feedback on how they could be improved.

  • (00:00) - Welcome To The Unofficial QuickBooks Accountants Podcast
  • (03:01) - Custom report builder
  • (06:06) - Hector and Alicia walk through the new chart of accounts templates
  • (14:31) - Applying the template
  • (22:12) - Hector and Alicia tried it out
  • (25:34) - Other actions you can take after creating the COA
  • (26:29) - Please submit feedback to Intuit
  • (27:48) - What's going on with Hector and Alicia and remember to subscribe so you don't miss an episode!

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This podcast is independently operated and is not affiliated with or endorsed by Intuit Inc. or QuickBooks®. Any references to Intuit and QuickBooks products are made solely for the purpose of discussing the topics related to the company and its software. 

Creators & Guests

Alicia Katz Pollock, MAT
Alicia Katz Pollock, MAT is the CEO at Royalwise Solutions, Inc.. As a Top 50 Women in Accounting, Top 10 ProAdvisor, and member of the Intuit Trainer/Writer Network, Alicia is a popular speaker at QuickBooks Connect and Scaling New Heights. She has a Master of Arts in Teaching, with several QuickBooks books on Amazon. Her Royalwise OWLS (On-Demand Web-based Learning Solutions) at is a NASBA CPE-approved QBO and Apple training portal for accounting firms, bookkeepers, and business owners.
Hector Garcia, CPA
Hector Garcia,CPA is the Principal Accountant Quick Bookkeeping & Accounting LLC, a globally-serving Technology-Accounting firm based in Miami, FL (USA), specializing in QuickBooks Consulting, but also providing traditional accounting services such as: Bookkeeping, Payroll Processing, Tax Return Preparation, and General Business Advisory. He has over 10 years of experience working with small business finance and accounting, along with 3 Post-graduate degrees from Florida International University (FIU) in Accounting, Finance and Taxation.

What is Unofficial QuickBooks Accountants Podcast?

Stay up-to-date on the latest QuickBooks news, tips, and updates with Certified QuickBooks ProAdvisors Hector Garcia, CPA and Alicia Katz Pollock, MAT. Hector and Alicia break down need-to-know QuickBooks information in a fun and engaging format. Learn about new product features, accounting technology trends, integration how-tos, and best practices for getting the most out of QuickBooks all while earning NASBA-approved CPE.

Warning: This is a machine-generated transcript. As such, there may be spelling, grammar, and accuracy errors throughout. Thank you for your understanding!

Hector: Welcome to the unofficial QuickBooks accountants podcast. I am joined by my good friend Alicia Katz Pollock, the original, the one and only Rockstar CEO and founder of Royal Y solutions.

Alicia: And I have the privilege of collaborating with Hector Garcia, CPA, the founder of Right Tool for QuickBooks.

Hector: In this episode of the unofficial QuickBooks [00:00:30] accountants podcast, we're going to talk about two features that were released in October. Based on the Your Feedback in Action series. You can see articles on that in the firm of the future website. Essentially, what the accountants team over at QuickBooks is doing is talking to accountants to to a group of accountants, and they're gathering specific action, and they're converting that action into action and turning that, returning that with a new feature [00:01:00] of sorts. So there's a whole bunch of features that have been already released and are pending to be released within this your Feedback in Action series. And if you go into the frame of the website and find the article, there's two specific ones that came out in October that we're going to deep dive on today. The first one is going to be the Custom Report builder is getting an expand all and collapse all capabilities, is getting basically a button that allows you to expand and collapse all. And we'll talk about that briefly. And then what we're [00:01:30] going to do a deep dive in is the new chart of account templates for QuickBooks Online accountant. So Alicia let's start with custom report builder expand all and collapse all.

Alicia: Well, I'm really excited to talk about it because I have a couple reports that I've built in QuickBooks Online Advanced and the. Well, let me just preface with the custom report builder, if you haven't played with it yet, is really awesome because you can gather fields from all different tables all together into one [00:02:00] specific report, and I use it. I really like it, but the problem is, sometimes I wind up with these really long reports with a lot of different section headers, and up until now you had to open and close every section header individually. So I heard this rumor that there was a new expand all and collapse all button, and I have not been able to find it. Well, Hector finally pointed out where it is, and it's not a button. Hector. You want to tell us where [00:02:30] to find it?

Hector: It's not a button. It's. Well, it's a menu item under the three little dots next to the title of your custom report. So if you have any custom report, maybe a detailed report that has groupings. And that's a really important thing. You need to have groupings. So you need to be grouped by customer by vendor by account or whatever. So once you have any detailed report in your custom report builder with groupings, you click on the three little dots next to the the title of the report. And it's going to be either an expand all button if everything is collapsed, [00:03:00] or a collapse all button if everything is expanded.

Alicia: And I want to reemphasize what Hector just said on that, because your expectation is to go find, expand and collapse on the toolbar or over on the left hand side like it is in the old reports experience. But you have to look at the title of your report on the report itself. And then there's three vertical tiny little dots up there, kind of like the Chrome tool. You know, when you want to go incognito in your chrome, those same three dots. And you click on that [00:03:30] and it has expand and collapsed. Now by the time we actually, you know, by the time this is published, it might be somewhere else. But for the moment that's where you go to look for it.

Hector: I hope that this podcast episode gets rendered obsolete because we're going to talk about this feature, which is awesome, by the way. Expand and collapse all. Always a great feature. The problem is, if you hide it somewhere, people don't know that it's there. Plus it's the type of thing that should just be available in QuickBooks [00:04:00] desktop is available in QuickBooks Online Core reports, and the Classic reports is available. Why would you have hide, expand, and collapse all inside a submenu? It beats me. There's plenty of white space in that report, so hopefully by the time you're listening to this, you're like, you guys are crazy. There's a beautiful button right there in front of us, and that would be great. I mean, we gave it the feedback. Hopefully they'll they'll take that so we can move on.

Alicia: Right?

Hector: Yeah. Our feet our our feet back in action [00:04:30] and more action and more feedback and more action. Right. So okay so that was a small thing. That's a small thing.

Alicia: That's going to make a feedback loop isn't it. Right.

Hector: We'll get stuck in the feedback loop. Now what most accountants will consider to be the bigger feature from your feedback in action would be this new thing called Chart of Accounts templates for QuickBooks Online Advanced. So while we're recording this, I'm actually sharing the screen with with Alicia. [00:05:00] So we can walk you through it. And we're going to do this really fun experiment where in a podcast you get walk through a feature that really should be shown in a in a visual YouTube format. But hey, this is a podcast. You got to deal with it.

Alicia: I'll be specific about where to click on what exactly.

Hector: So we'll start with like where to find it. So first of all, you need to log in as a QuickBooks online accountant. Then on the Accountant Tools button in the top. And [00:05:30] by the way, you have to be logged out of a client. You cannot be inside of a client, so you have to be in the in the sort of clients page or in the home page of the accountant home page. And when you click on the accountants tool on the top, the same place that you go to reclassify and write off invoices and stuff like that. The, the yeah. The briefcase. Right. All the way in the in the bottom of the tools column, there's a link for chart of account templates.

Alicia: Coa templates.

Hector: Yeah of course good correction CoA templates. So when you go into CoA templates you're going [00:06:00] to see a blank screen a add new template button and a feedback button. Of course we're going to hit a feedback button quite a bit. And we're going to give you specific. At the end of this episode, there will be homework for all of you. Every single person synchronize is going to give the exact same feedback. Okay, Alicia, are we are we going to do this? Are we going to be a movement, you know.

Alicia: For like calling it flood that feedback.

Hector: Flood that feedback. Exactly. We have we actually have a segment called Flood Feedback. So we'll end the episode with flood feedback. So [00:06:30] when you click on Add New template, currently as of the date we're recording this you basically get three options. You get the product based business, service based business and create template from scratch. And look, if you be a QuickBooks desktop user for a long time, but you've been playing with the sample files in QuickBooks desktop, you're familiar with this concept of product based business and service based business. So there's currently two chart of accounts sort of preloaded into this. Now what I think is going to happen, I would say in the next few [00:07:00] months is we're going to see one for advertising. We'll see one for construction, we're going to see one for, you know, manufacturers, wholesalers. I think I hope that long term, there will be an entire set of different chart of account templates in here.

Alicia: I also would like to see an option here. If you have your own existing chart of accounts, to be able to upload it into this, right.

Hector: So to import yours from Excel or maybe from an existing client, that that would make the most sense. Right. So that's on my wish list. So so create it would [00:07:30] be nice flood that feedback would be nice to be able to grab one from an existing account or from a from a chart of accounts, and basically create your own custom template that you can basically preload here and then choose what customers it goes to. Then you pick the chart of accounts that you want. So let's say we pick service based business and click on next. Then the next screen is going to be the Create New Template screen. That is essentially going to show you a list of accounts. You have the familiar chart of accounts interface that would have a dropdown [00:08:00] for your account type, which is going to have bank, other current assets, accounts receivable, all that stuff. And then the dreaded not very fun, completely useless detailed type that you have to enter in there so you can enter the subtype of of that account. Then you're going to have a add new sub account button, which introduces a new mechanic that we have not familiar with, which is like an indented box under the main account where you can create a sub account and then the sub account itself.

Hector: You cannot [00:08:30] change the bank account type. That makes sense because it's a sub account. And you can change the detail type, because then you can have a parent account with the detail type and a sub account with a different detail type. So that's there. There's also a either a delete or a sort of copy duplicate button, which is really cool. You know why in the world don't we have a copy button in a regular chart of accounts screen? I don't know, that would be flipping incredible to be able to just quickly duplicate accounts like that, but we got it in here [00:09:00] somehow. So that allows you to duplicate a parent account or a sub account if you want to. And then you get to name your your template name, you can give it your template name. There's a little checkbox to enable account numbers. For some reason the predetermined template doesn't come with account numbers, so you will have to just give it your own account numbers. I kind of don't like that. I wish there was like a sort of predetermined account number built in there. Alicia, what do you think?

Alicia: Yeah, that actually scares me a little bit, because [00:09:30] accounting has its own Dewey Decimal System of standardized account numbers. And, you know, your assets are all start with ones and liabilities. All start with two. And it would be nice to be able to see this honor that, because otherwise people can put in any account numbers at all. Right.

Hector: True. And this is an accountant tool. So like I also love the fact that I'm not being babysat and being told it needs to be this or it needs to be that, but it would be cool for you to have a checkbox that says, hey, use the leading [00:10:00] right number. Right with all the assets are ones and the liabilities are two and the equity is three. Like that would be cool if like half the work gets done for you, or at least the built in templates should have account numbers to give the user a general guidance of like what are the, you know, at least the prefixes of those of those numbers. So you can scroll up and down and review your accounts. You can delete, you cannot change the order of them. But again, doesn't really matter if you can change the order or not at the end of the. They it's going to be organized in your chart of accounts, depending on how it's being sorted. So [00:10:30] you can't resort the template. Although I can totally picture how someone just for like customization purposes would want to resort it. But there's no there's no resorting here. And again, quite frankly, maybe not even a need to resort the fields on the account names are big. I would say they're bigger than normal, the normal field. So that's that's nice. But that's really all you get at this point. It would be nice if in this screen I could export to Excel and import to Excel.

Hector: That would be pretty cool because maybe, maybe I want to do that. The numbering in Excel [00:11:00] because it'll be easier, right. Or something like that. So then we will click on save and and create that, that chart of accounts. The chart of account template that you have is now created in the Chart of Accounts template screen. There's going to be a column for the date of, you know, of of the date that it was created. It's not clear to me whether everyone in my team gets to see this template or if it's only me. So that's not clear here. There isn't a column for who created it. So I have a feeling that it's just [00:11:30] me and not everybody on my team. So we're going to have to do some testing on that to see how that works. Then after that, the chart of account templates is created. There is basically four actions you can take. The first action, which is the purpose of this whole thing, is apply the template. So the purpose of applying the template is for you to click Apply template. It shows you a preview of your Chart of Accounts template. And then you get to choose which account from your client list you want to apply the template for. Once you select one, [00:12:00] let me see if I have a maybe a sample one here that I wouldn't care too much about.

Alicia: Yeah. So basically it gives you a list of all of your clients. So that could be your clients, the one that you want to import into.

Hector: Exactly. So then we'll click on save. And this is the big the big question here is like okay what what actually happens when you import a chart of accounts to an existing account in Qbo. So if there are duplicates, either by account number or account name, [00:12:30] you're getting an error message saying, hey, by the way, there was a set of accounts from the chart of accounts that were not added. So that's fine. I mean like don't create duplicates. I think that's a wonderful, great thing. What's unclear to me is what if the duplicate is sitting on a different account type, you know, like for example, let's say I have an account called Purchases and Cost of Goods Sold. But then I try to import purchases on, on on expenses. Will they bring that into expenses or will just avoid duplication of the same name? In general, I suspect that it will just avoid duplications of the [00:13:00] same name in general. So that costs a little bit of an issue, because when you import a chart of accounts, you're fundamentally also importing the structure of it. And if you want it to have a purchase account and expenses or cost of goods sold and the current account has it, otherwise, obviously it would be nicer to have that information and go, oh, by the way, you try to import one that had the same name, but it's a different type, right? So that you meant to do something else, like what are your thoughts about that?

Alicia: Well, from looking at the wording on this, it says these accounts weren't added. This is likely due to them having the same name and [00:13:30] type or number as an existing account. And so that that terminology makes me think that if you have the same name, but you have it under two different, a different detail type that it will still import.

Hector: But right now, if you if you try to create a new account in your chart of accounts that contains the same name, but there are different account types.

Alicia: Names already.

Hector: Used, it wouldn't it wouldn't let you.

Alicia: So we'll have to test it.

Hector: Yeah, we'll have to test it. But I suspect that it's just look, you cannot have two things with the [00:14:00] same name now. When you work this with an existing account. I could totally see this being a beautiful thing when it's a brand new blank account with blank a blank account. I can foresee this thing to be a complete disaster with an existing account. And let me explain why. When you want to think about the motivation of why someone would go ahead and import a chart of accounts into a file, there are two possible motivations motivation one. It's a brand new client. It's [00:14:30] a blank file, and I want to have a chart of accounts that looks exactly how I want it to look like. Now, if that's the motivation, that file should have no accounts. Like you should have to go into that file first, delete the existing account structure and then import the new chart of accounts. So assuming that's the use case, then this tool should have had a button that goes hey, by the way I noticed that you have a blank file. Do you want me to clear the existing chart of accounts and import this one because you're going to import over [00:15:00] an existing chart of accounts and essentially what you wanted to achieve, which have this beautiful template be loaded into a new file, is going to add on to whatever is there. Now your thoughts on that?

Alicia: I think that is a great idea that as part of this process, that it automatically goes through and manually inactivates anything that came in from its default chart of accounts, with the exception of the categories that are needed for functionality, we need uncategorized expenses and and all of those. But [00:15:30] it would be nice if during this process, it actually had a two step one to get rid of them and the existing ones, and the second one to add it, because as it is now, what it doesn't do is all this is doing is adding new accounts and looking for overlap. So after you do this and I know I'm getting ahead of ourselves, but you have to go in and then delete all the ones that you didn't want. And so it would be nice to save that step. Yeah. [00:16:00]

Hector: And the problem is if you go back into the file and you look at the chart of accounts, there's no indicator as to like what was imported with the template and what was already there. So there isn't an easy way to delete things. So you have to delete things prior.

Alicia: Yeah, I was about I was about to say that. So your first step even before coming in here would be to go to your chart of accounts, go into edit mode and batch delete the ones that you know you're not going to use, and then come in and use this.

Hector: Exactly. And there is. And just to be clear, if [00:16:30] you go into your chart of accounts in Qbo right now, like if you actually go in there and obviously do this with a test file, don't do it with a real file, but there's a little checkbox at the top for select all and then under batch actions. And again it's not very very intuitive. You can click on Make Inactive and it will make everything inactive. Now there's one specific challenge that I have with this which I haven't tested yet, but it's something that again my instincts are like bubbling up, which is what if I [00:17:00] go in there in my chart of accounts and there's already an existing chart of accounts, blank file, existing chart of accounts. I go in there and I mark inactive the accounts that I, that I don't like all the accounts essentially. So I can go through this action. I go back to Cuba and I import my new chart of accounts from my template. But some of the accounts in my template are the same as the accounts, some of the accounts that I made inactive inside my qbo. So the big question, the big question here [00:17:30] is will it not import those because they're already in there? Because remember you can't delete things in Qbo. So that's issue number one. So will they not import those. And two if it imports it, will it recognize that it was made inactive and make that account that previously made inactive into inactive. What are your thoughts about that?

Alicia: I actually think you're overthinking it. I think once you've made it inactive, it doesn't show up. I mean, this is kind of like, you know, doing manual imports and that doesn't happen, that if you have something that has [00:18:00] been inactivated, it doesn't get recognized and seen. So I don't think it's going to be an issue.

Hector: I'm going to press on this okay. And I'm going to try to open your mind on this one. Okay? I'm not overthinking it. Okay. Remember I have a account that's blank. There's already a default chart of accounts in there. Let's say for example, legal fees is one of them. I go ahead and make everything inactive because I'm going to import my super clean, amazing chart of accounts for my template. Inside of my template. I have a legal fees, [00:18:30] the same name as the one existing when I go import it. Legal fees is already in the database, is inactive, but is in the database. So naturally legal fees will not import. It will say sorry, there's already one in there, but how do I know which accounts were left out that I have to now? Re from my initial inactivation of the entire chart of accounts?

Alicia: Well, from my experience doing data migrations and setting up with manual chart of accounts imports, it has [00:19:00] never recognized those that have been inactivated as still there and kicking out errors. It always has just imported the new freshie, so I'm going to predict that it's going to work the same way I haven't had. If something's inactive, I haven't had an error message that there exists an inactive account with the same name. So Hector and I just took a moment to test this out. And in fact, even if you have inactivated the transactions first, it still won't import [00:19:30] them in again. It still sees them as duplicates. So now Hector and I are having a debate about what should be your order of operations. You know, whether you should go through and delete them first, like we just said, and then import on top, or you do the import first, and then just kind of look through the list and click off the ones that you don't want and inactivate them in a batch.

Hector: Either option seems time consuming. So I think that needs to be. I think this [00:20:00] chart of account templates option should have a workflow that it tells you all the ones that we're not able to be imported. And then from here you can say fine, just make them inactive instead. Right. So that would be I mean, make them make them active instead if they're already made inactive. So like that part is missing because again, that first use case of having a clean chart of accounts and an existing file that doesn't have any transactions but have an existing chart of accounts, you have to give some thought in terms of how this part [00:20:30] would work. Now, the second motivation to doing this is to clean up an existing file that has transactions, and that's going to be a hot mess. And I don't think that this system is really meant to fix that, because there's going to be a lot of creating accounts and making accounts, sub accounts and reviewing whether the account is redundant or not and then merging them. I mean, this thing is just not going to work for an existing company with existing transactions because it's going to be a hot mess. We'll report maybe in the next few months as this thing plays out, whether or not there's [00:21:00] useful use cases of importing chart of accounts into existing files with transactions. So the last couple of things here is the other actions you can take. So other than applying the template obviously the whole purpose of this, you can edit the template, change it before you import it to the next account. You can delete the template and very nicely you can duplicate the template as well. So that's the new chart of account templates for QuickBooks Online Accountants. And you heard our feedback flood that feedback with all those things [00:21:30] that we that we mentioned. And I think we're done with criticizing or dismantling this feature. Any good things Alicia. Any good things?

Alicia: The I really like the fact that you can take your own standardized chart of accounts, like maybe you have a standard chart of accounts that you use across your clients, and then you just customize it for each of their particular businesses and being able to do it in product, instead of having your own set of spreadsheets, I think is really nice. [00:22:00] So I definitely welcome this. I want to remind people what feedback we want to flood. We want to suggest that you can import your own charts of accounts into this as the starting point, instead of having to manually create them, and that we would love to see industry specific charts of accounts.

Hector: Have more feedback. One is grabbing an existing file with a good chart of accounts and importing that. Ooh, okay. That that would be useful. Second is to create a marketplace of accountants [00:22:30] that are going to be sharing this chart of accounts with each other. That would be very cool to see, like community accountants that create their own. Like, I know Alicia is an expert in like gas stations and convenience stores. Not that many accountants are experts in that. I know Alicia for a fact she would share her chart of accounts to the world. So like, you could really accelerate the value of this tool by not having not feeling. You have to control it into it by only giving us the templates that you can think of, you know, allow all of us to share our templates and we can together, [00:23:00] collectively make make this better. Yeah.

Alicia: Intuit actually has a database of industry specific charts of accounts that is so old that they've probably forgotten about it. So intuit, if you actually want to, if you've forgotten where your Chart of Accounts industry list is, reach out to me. I'll I'll send it to you.

Hector: Absolutely. So, Alicia, what's going on in your world?

Alicia: Um. Oh my goodness, what is going on in my world? Um, well, [00:23:30] coming up in November, I have a class on products and services and inventory. It's been a couple of years since I've recorded it, and so it's going to have the whole new interface in it. And I'm also delighted to announce that I am having a couple guest instructors come into my library. I'm going to be having Dan DeLong and Carrie Kahn come in and do a class about expense management and cash flow. Mike is coming to do his how to read a cash flow statement in seven minutes or less. So those are some of the things happening at Royal [00:24:00] What's going on for you?

Hector: So this episode is going to be dropping. End of October. Beginning of the November? I'm not sure. So we either might be in a post. Hector's conference world and I might and I might be in a different state of mind. Because, you know, my conference is a pretty big deal that's happening in Miami has. Occupied a lot of my my brain and heart and thoughts and attention at the moment. So probably by the time you're hearing this, I'm very excited or very nervous about [00:24:30] the outcome of that, of that conference and and getting ready to see everybody at QuickBooks connect in, in Las Vegas.

Alicia: Yeah, I'm really looking forward to December.

Hector: Likewise. Well, thank you very much for tuning in to the unofficial QuickBooks accountants podcast, and we'll see you in the next one.

Alicia: See you in the next one.