Each year after a busy tax season, as any CPA will tell you, I need a little vacation. One of my favorite spots for a good get-away is Provincetown, located at the tip of Cape Cod in Massachusetts. Since this little town is known for its booming art scene, I had to stop at the local galleries while I was there.
The gallery, Cortile Gallery, is one that I had noticed the last time I was in town as having particularly striking works of art but it was closed so I couldn’t go in. This time, it was open and the paintings were just as impressive (I wonder if it’s the lighting in the place), so I went in. I struck up a conversation with the owner, Kerry Filiberto. because I wanted to know more about the paintings and the artists. As we were talking at the counter I glanced at her computer screen, and sure enough, she was a QuickBooks user! I introduced myself and told her how I travel the country teaching people how to use QuickBooks. She got excited and told me about a problem she had been having for years with her QuickBooks.
The street address of her gallery was appearing in the address block on her sales receipts twice. The rest of the block was correct but the address was doubled. One of those issues that isn’t a huge deal but looks unprofessional to customers. She had been dealing with this problem for over two years and had tried to solve the problem through Intuit tech support. She even paid an expert to come out and fix it, but nothing seemed to work.
Lucky for her I like a challenge. She let me come behind the counter and we both got to work. Within ten minutes I had the problem fixed. The root of her problem was really just a glitch in the software. I was able to fix it by deleting the address in her QuickBooks program, then restarting the program, and finally re-entering the address. When in doubt, remove the offending item, close QuickBooks. Then open it back up, and reenter it. It worked!
I don’t think I realize just how well I’ve grown to understand QuickBooks until I can solve problems like this one. It never ceases to amaze me how I’m able to help people with knowledge I’ve gained simply by working with QuickBooks as much as I have.
After we celebrated with high-fives she told me about another problem she was having, one that was a little more complicated. This always happens. Give them an inch and they ask for a mile! But I like it, so I was willing. She was having trouble getting QuickBooks to track her consignment inventory. She wanted to track the paintings in her gallery, but the paintings weren’t actually hers until they were sold. This meant that the paintings shouldn’t be on the financials in her books until they were sold. But, she still wanted to use QuickBooks to get a listing of inventory in her store that was on consignment. To address this, she was creating a unique item in QuickBooks for each painting she received on consignment. This part I was cool with, but one issue. She was putting in a quantity of one and also the value of what the cost would be (amount paid to the painter) once the item was sold. This was causing the paintings to show as inventory on her balance sheet with the other side going to equity. Since the paintings weren’t actually hers, these shouldn’t have been on the balance sheet.
For me, it was obvious that either the quantity or the price should be made zero when setting up each item. This would prevent the amount from showing on the financials. She could still look at an item listing report to see her consigned inventory even with zero quantity or zero cost.
The only question left for me was “which one to make zero: the quantity or the value?”. She needed to remember what the cost was, so the answer was simple; quantity should be left zero. Her item list would then give her a list of her inventory with values without the quantity appearing on the balance sheet. When she sold an item she would enter that item on a sales receipt, resulting in a quantity of negative one. This problem was immediately solved as she next entered a bill using the same item to the artist that was to receive payment. This increased the inventory from negative one back to zero.
Although that problem sounds confusing and complicated, I was able to take care of it in twenty minutes. I actually did it right before I left Provincetown as I was headed to the ferry that took me back to Boston’s airport. The whole experience showed me just how much of a QuickBooks geek I really am. There I was on vacation, a time when I should have been relaxing and not working, but I couldn’t resist a chance to help someone with QuickBooks! Embarrassingly enough, it was kind of a vacation highlight for me.
And don’t worry, the gallery owner promised to give me a huge discount whenever I order a painting. (Please don’t tell the IRS about this, as I believe the discount would qualify as a barter transaction and subject to income tax).
If you’re having similar problems with your QuickBooks, explore our Tech Support agreements so we can help you just like I helped her! If you want to find out more about the Cortile Gallery, or going to be visiting Provincetown check them out below!
230 Commercial Street
Provincetown, MA 02657