Consulting Services

Although the resources available on this web site solve many issues for small businesses and those that support them, there are times when one-on-one attention is needed. Below is a description of how we have worked with many clients in a personal way.

"When we were looking for QuickBooks consulting we called many of the names from the Intuit web sites list of Pro Advisors.  Several of the consultants recommended Bonnie.  They said that Bonnie is the best in the business. Her rate may be higher but you get the quality service you are paying for.   We were very impressed that Bonnie was respected by her collegues in her profession.  Now that we have used her services, Bonnie is not only quick in answering our questions but many times has several different approaches AND her answers work.  We have nothing but praise for Bonnie and her company." Toy Nodzak, http://www.halfpricedrapes.com/

Accounting and QuickBooks Professionals - Let Us Help You.

Set Up, Clean Up, and Work-Arounds

Do you want to increase your revenue while helping your clients? We can show you how! We are available for one-on-one consulting engagements to help you personally.

Make use of our extensive experience and knowledge in using QuickBooks® to help your clients get the most from their accounting software while they improve their operations. Since we don't do tax work, audits, or reviews there's no conflict -- just an opportunity for you to help your client.

Here's how the information below will help you to understand the direction we are taking with our business and that our intention is to deliver high quality services through and with our continuing strong relationship with CPAs and firms like yourself. 95% of our work is with QuickBooks Professionals and/or their clients that come to us via referrals.

Contact us about how to take the next step.

Keeping the QuickBooks File Healthy

We offer several alternatives for regular check ups of the QuickBooks data file. At a minimum, we recommend that the check up be performed prior to year end tax planning, and again prior to the file being sent off for the tax return preparation. Many clients prefer a more regular check up to avoid any surprises and to make sure that the information they are receiving via reports from QuickBooks is accurate. This process is completed by us then the client receives an e-mail that details the issues, an optional service of a telephone call is available to discuss what needs to be done to correct the issues.

Contact us about how to take the next step.

Specialized Knowledge

As a CPA with Controller experience, you can feel confident that Bonnie Nagayama can assist your clients with their operational issues, while ensuring that your accounting needs are respected. By bridging this gap, she can find a way so that the needs of everyone who is using QuickBooks is heard. For specific issues such as Yahoo Store, QuickBooks for the Mac, etc. strategic partners with that expertise will be used.

Contact us about how to take the next step.

Getting More from QuickBooks

Integration Consulting
is also an area of expertise for us. At least 30% of our collective time is spent investigating, testing, supporting, or consulting on add-ons and other integration issues. QuickBooks serves the needs of many, but there are also some specific needs that can only be addressed by an add-on and/or custom integration between another software program and QuickBooks. If it feels like there should be a better way, there probably is.

Contact us about how to take the next step.

QuickBooks Technical Support via telephone or e-mail

Live Technical Support -- When your clients need help with QuickBooks® software issues or have problems which you either don't have the time or expertise to assist with, we can work as an independent contractor to solve the problem. This lets you maintain your relationship with your client by offering them the help they need without having to send them to another firm. We can work directly with the client or through you as an independent contractor. Either way, you maintain the relationship with your client, we simply act in a support role.

Contact us about how to take the next step.

Other Alternatives:

Just looking for a quick, cost effective answer?
Check our our QuickBooks(R) Accounting Software Knowledge Base
The membership web site is a must for all small business consultants, accountants, and bookkeepers with QuickBooks clients. With more than 2,500 pages of html content including countless screen shots, tips, tricks, add-on reviews, and links to additional resources, you will be quickly and easily able to find the information you need. New content, including camtasia videos are added weekly. Don't find what you need, no problem, send us an e-mail and we'll get you an answer. Used alone or in conjunction with the diagnostic tool, you never have to waste valuable time doing non-billable research.

Want a live, interactive experience on the telephone and internet with a small group of other participants?
Tele-Classes could be the way to go.
We deliver many QuickBooks® Accounting Software and small business seminars by telephone. This cuts costs for everyone. You could also act as a sponsor to one of regularly scheduled (or custom offered) classes whereby your clients come for a discounted fee or free and we announce that your firm is a sponsor. In this way, everyone on the call is introduced to you and what your firm provides. We would post information about you in the pre-seminar advertising, e-mail confirmations, and follow up correspondence.

There are also more cost effective alternatives that you may offer directly to your clients or use as back end support to you and your staff: Check out our listing of eReports. If you don't find what you are looking for there try the QuickBooks Newsletter Archive. Still have questions, try Ask the Expert for possible inclusion in a future newsletter.

QuickBooks® Accounting Software and Small Business Live Seminars
We'll present a seminar to your clients and potential clients where they can get answers to their QuickBooks® questions along with tips on using it as an effective business tool. You can charge them a nominal fee or present it as a value-added service. Seminar content is flexible as is the format of the handouts. The seminars are especially effective when done in conjunction with a pre or post-seminar email, tele-class or telephone consulting, either by you or us. No matter how you do it, you are seen as a professional who is truly concerned about the success of your clients! This is also the perfect way for your firm (or your firm and a couple other local firms) to have private training for your staff. Get your questions answered while your staff is trained on your firm's procedures. A win-win for everyone! Added Bonus: We can help you to coordinate with others in your area, or other events in your area, to help reduce costs.

Free Weekly Tips and Tricks Newsletter

And if you haven't yet done so, sign up for our newsletter on QuickBooks. We'll keep in touch with you regularly with ideas for the financial health of your business -- and they won't just be accounting solutions. We'll have creative marketing tips that will immediately affect your bottom line.

Contact us about how to take the next step.

On to the products...

QuickBooks Consulting

Our Three Most Requested Services:

QuickBooks File Conversion (File is too big and need a new one with detail balances and transactions moved over?)

QuickBooks System Integration (Spending time moving data electronically from one system to another? Automate the process now!)

QuickBooks Consulting is a great way to get the one-on-one assistance you and your clients need. The way we typically work is either directly with the Accountant, Bookkeeper or Consultant, or, if they prefer, we can work directly with their client. Some professionals prefer to have us "behind the scenes" supporting them as they provide the service directly to their client. Others prefer to just have us step in, deal with the situation, and then step back out. 80% of our work is on an "as needed" basis for both the professional and their client. The services we provide vary based on client needs: some a straight consulting engagement (evaluating various alternatives, clean up projects, or set up projects), but many fall into several other categories such as technical support (our advantage is that we can discuss accounting and business management issues that may effect how you choose to use the software features themselves), regular checkups of the data file, detailed file analysis, how to improve efficiency, internal control, and/or cash flow, etc.

How we work together

We work very closely with clients from across the United States as well as several international clients. By using the remote access feature available with QuickBooks Premier: Accountant Edition, we are able to provide the same level of service from our location, as we can when we visit a client location. With this tool we simply send an e-mail to the client, they click on the link and then join, once the client has connected to the session, the consultant will request control. Once the client has granted the access, quickly and easily we can both see the same screen. Either the consultant can "take control" and the client can watch, or the client can "take control" and the consultant can watch. This process used in conjunction with a telephone call makes the experience just like being there. The only time this process does not work well is if the client does not have high speed internet access and/or does not have the ability to be on the telephone and on the internet at the same time. If either is the case, we have several other technology alternatives which work well depending on the situation. If a client requires an on-site visit, there is a flat rate trip charge.

How to begin

To begin we suggest you complete the contact us form with your contact information and a brief description of how we can best help you. We will then contact you to confirm we can assist you with your needs including which member of our team is the best match for you and their qualifications. At that point, we will e-mail you an engagement letter that confirms the services you have asked our firm to perform and the terms under which we have agreed to do that work. Once we receive the signed engagement letter and required retainer (typically 2 hours or 1/2 of the project estimate, whichever is less) an appointment will be scheduled.

Recommendation

For new clients, we recommend that prior to beginning work together we are contracted to perform a Diagnostic Analysis of the file. The reason for this is two-fold: 1) It provides a great way to see what exactly is happening in the file so our consulting time will be more efficient and more effective (including discovering issues that may have been previously overlooked); and 2) The client will receive a written report of the issues and related commentary custom for their file. If there are issues, they now have a complete listing of what needs to be addressed to provide to the bookkeeper, accountant, or anyone who will be responsible for working on the file. This process provides piece of mind for the client and the accountant. There are two alternatives: one is QuickBooks specific and the other looks at the business as a whole.

Exception: Most of our clients come to us as referrals from the accountant. If their accountant has provided the referral for a specific situation, we will waive the analysis requirement.

On to the products...

Data Conversion

QuickBooks File Conversion

 

Data Conversion

  • The client has data conversion needs that don’t fit in the Intuit Data Conversion model
  • New legal entity (New Tax ID) but transactions are in a previous QuickBooks file
  • Data Entry done in wrong file
  • Two files that should be combined using the class feature to keep activity separate
  • Client has data in other data base systems and needs to extract the data and import it into QuickBooks (Initial set up or on a regular basis)
  • Clients going from QBES to Pro/Premier
  • Import of list data into QuickBooks for Mac
  • Split one file into several based on the class data
  • QuickBooks set up from hard copy printouts
  • Reconciliation work to assist with a smooth conversion or catch up/cleanup work

 

 

Problem:

For a variety of reasons QuickBooks files can get large: Sometimes there is just too many years of data, sometimes the inventory or payroll transactions contribute to the increase in size. There can be other issues that create the need for file conversion work such as: a new legal entity but the transactions are in the previous QuickBooks file; data entry done into a wrong file; or two files that should be one using the class feature to keep activity separate. We have been seeing even larger files for those clients who have converted to QuickBooks 2006/2007 and Enterprise Solutions 6/7. While larger files themselves may not be a cause for alarm, managing a large file, especially when creating reports or when it is time to transfer it, can be problematic (i.e. the back up with version 2006 is still 75% of the size of the qbw data file and if the file is damaged the portable company file that is about 10% of the size may not work).

Our Solution:

Create a new file. For years we have been using a variety of tools to deal with data transfer issues. Starting in 2006 we have now taken the process one step further. In the past we could use a tool to transfer beginning balances as of a specific date. While this was helpful, it did not go far enough when creating statements or when using a data transfer tool that wanted to link to a specific invoice. So we now have a process that works quite well.

  1. Create a new file
  2. Transfer the lists
  3. Transfer line balance detail for open invoices and unpaid bills (any partial payments are entered manually).
  4. Transfer the remaining beginning balances
  5. Reconcile beginning Trial Balance, confirm aging, inventory valuation and bank reconciliation.
  6. Transfer the activity from beginning balance date to current.
  7. Reconcile ending Trial Balance, confirm aging, inventory valuation, and bank reconciliation.

If you or your clients need to have this process completed, you can purchase the tools and do it yourself or contact us to discuss how we can help.

How we can help:

Since we have completed the process in the past, we have become pretty good at it. While the tools themselves are easy to use, there is, like anything else, a learning curve to using them. In addition, depending on the size of the file, the computer processing time can be an issue.

Pricing:

Each file is a little different so we provide a custom quote for each project. For reference, the base price is $1,500 for a 400 MB size file or less, 2 active reconciliations, less than 75 outstanding transactions on the beginning balance reconciliation, open invoice report of 4 pages or less, and unpaid bills report of 4 pages or less for an accrual basis file. Some of the situations which will result in an additional fee are large files, payroll wage items that are required to transfer timesheets, QuickBooks payroll, inventory and/or inventory assembly, excessive number of transactions, excessive templates, syntax issues such as names with a ' or " in them, etc.

Timing:

When we receive the retainer payment and the file, we will begin to transfer the beginning balances. During this time the client can continue to enter new transactions and not make any list changes, but it is critical that no changes are made prior to the transfer date (if changes are made, an additional fee will apply to try to find the changes). For this process allow 3 working days. Once we have the new file and beginning balances reconciled, we will request another copy of the file. During this time it is critical that no transactions and no changes are made as this information will not be included in the new file. We will work with you to try to schedule the “down time” to minimize your inconvenience, but please allow 3 working days for the process to be completed. Depending on the size of the file, we may not have any control since often it just takes time for the computer to crank through the transactions. In other instances, we may be able to negotiate a rush on the project.

Limitations the Client Needs to Know:

Integration Consulting

There are two types of Integration Consulting Services we offer:

For the QuickBooks Professionals and their clients who need assistance working more effectively with QuickBooks

For the Developers working on products to integrate with QuickBooks

Our Approach

We support many add-ons due to the increase in efficiency and functionality enhancements when working with QuickBooks. Some are tools that provide a specific function, others are complete software packages that serve as a front end method for capturing data that is then integrated into the QuickBooks file, and still others extract the information from QuickBooks to accomplish specific client needs.

With more than 400 add-on products, we cannot be an expert in all of them, but we do have a good working knowledge of many. In addition, we know where to look for others. With our extensive use and testing of many different add-ons we know how they should work, and can provide guidance on evaluating if a specific add-on is the right decision. 30-60 minutes of consulting time is an inexpensive way to get a second opinion before the time and cost of purchasing and implementing an add-on is begun.

This is also true for developers: We have heard time and time again, I am so glad we talked before we actually started the programming and/or Wow, this product is much better (and very different than where we started) based on the feedback, suggestions, and comments we have received from you.

QuickBooks Professionals and Clients

 

Data Integration

We assist in building out what a client’s entire accounting/operational process looks like by:

  • Taking various systems and insuring that they are compatible and communicate with one another in an efficient and automated way
  • Implementing various 3rd party Software Programs with QuickBooks to achieve a fully integrated system
  • Building a process so that everyone has the information they need from an accounting, management, and operational perspective

QuickBooks has many features that serve the needs of most small businesses adequately. An add-on is appropriate when a feature or report cannot be handled by QuickBooks alone. Some of these solutions are available directly from Intuit, while the majority is provided by third party developers.

Specific Examples:

 

To determine when an add-on is needed, first carefully examine the features and functionality of QuickBooks alone. Then determine as specifically as possible what is needed. With a clear understanding of how QuickBooks works, it will make the evaluation of potential add-ons more efficient.

How to Find Appropriate Add-Ons

Due to the many alternatives available, and the fact that most QuickBooks professionals and their clients are not interested in becoming experts in evaluating the alternatives, we have found they appreciate a targeted list of alternatives with Pros and Cons of each as a starting point. From there, it is possible for them to investigate, test, and decide which is the best alternative for them. Other times, they prefer we guide them through that process and the implementation. We are flexible, as in all aspects of our business, to develop an approach that works best for the client. As a starting point, many clients want to use our Add-On Recommendations service to get a starting point for their search.

If you want to start the search yourself, the three most effective methods we have found for discovering appropriate add-on alternatives are: Intuit’s Solutions Marketplace, a general search of the internet, and networking and/or asking for referrals.

Intuit Solutions Marketplace

Intuit maintains a web site of integrated applications where you can search for products based on key words. The list is too extensive to include plus new products are being added all the time. To see the complete listing, visit http://marketplace.intuit.com/default.asp or choose Company > Company Services > Find Integrated Applications from within QuickBooks.

Internet Search

A search of the internet may also provide other alternatives in addition to those registered as part of Intuit’s Developer Network.

Ask for Referrals

Networking and asking for referrals from other consultants, QuickBooks users, industry associations, discussion forums, IDN message boards, etc may also serve to uncover missed gems. Keep in mind those industry specific products that provide an appropriate, cost effective solution may still be better than a QuickBooks specific add-on. It really depends on the results of the needs analysis and what the priority hierarchy is for solving the needs. In addition, there may be a way to work with the industry specific developer (by explaining the market share the QuickBooks enjoys) to help them expand their customers to include QuickBooks users, or a third party developer may be able to develop a bridge program to extract the information from the industry specific add-on and integrate the data into the QuickBooks file. Take the time to thoroughly investigate the relative pros and cons of each scenario prior to making a decision. A chart documenting this will also help the client to understand the trade offs, and potentially eliminate frustration in the long run.

On to the products...

Developers

We love working with developers! It is exciting to see products progress and with the extensive experience we have with QuickBooks as well as a working knowledge of developer issues, we have made a dramatic impact on many products. We are quick with suggestions for consideration along with many ideas for future enhancements. Based on the numerous QuickBooks data files we have seen as well as the countless industries our clients represent we bring a unique end user, QuickBooks Professional Advisor, and CPA perspective. Other issues discussed often include marketing, how to effectively reach the target audience, obtaining testimonials, etc.

On to the products...

QuickBooks Mac Consulting

Mac Information

How Healthy is Your QuickBooks File?

How We Work Together

Mac Information

We have been working with QuickBooks for Mac since the early 1990s. In addition Bonnie Nagayama has participated in the Intuit Mac Council for several years so be sure to pass along your feedback so she can take it to Intuit. While our practice is primarily QuickBooks and related add-ons for Windows, we do have a working knowledge of QuickBooks for Mac. With the improvements in remote access tools, we can now support our QuickBooks for Mac clients just as we do our QuickBooks for Windows clients. Give us a call to see how we can help you too!

Check out Intuit QuickBooks for Mac Little Square: The concept is that it will be more like a town square than a big New York Times Square: a place where people can gather and share ideas.

How Healthy is Your QuickBooks File?

We offer several alternatives for regular check ups of the QuickBooks data file. At a minimum, we recommend that the check up be performed prior to year end tax planning, and again prior to the file being sent off for the tax return preparation. Many clients prefer a more regular check up to avoid any surprises and to make sure that the information the are receiving via reports from QuickBooks is accurate. This process is completed by us then the client receives an e-mail that details the issues, an optional service of a telephone call is available to discuss what needs to be done to correct the issues.

As a CPA with Controller experience, you can feel confident that Bonnie Nagayama can assist you with their operational issues, while ensuring that the accounting needs of the tax professional is respected. By bridging this gap, she can find a way so that the needs of everyone who is using QuickBooks is heard.

How We Work Together

Fishbowl

While we have general Fishbowl Inventory knowledge, at this time we do not have someone on staff to specifically support the FIshbowl Inventory product. We partner with other professionals to serve these needs for our clients. Contact us for more information. Click here to learn more about Fishbowl Inventory.