There’s been a recent “product enhancement” in QuickBooks Online.
When a customer makes a payment which is paying several invoices the payment now shows up as a set of individual payments in the customer records and reports. The same goes for the supplier side, a payment to a supplier which is settling a number of bills now shows as several individual payments in the supplier records and reports.
This “enhancement” seems to be a triumph for the product developers over the users.
Apparently I’m not the first to complain!
Why is the change unhelpful?
Whether you’re dealing with a sales ledger or a purchases ledger, before too long there will be a dispute and you’re going to have to engage with the other side to make sure your records and your customer or supplier’s records are the same. At which point you must have objectivity. Both sides have to list their version of what actually happened.
You produce your list of transactions (invoices, credit notes, bank transactions) and they produce theirs. You line them up side by side and any differences jump of the page as a matter of fact. Differences can then be resolved.
The point is that you need to be objective. Your customer paid you £3,289.84 on October 4. They did not pay you what QuickBooks now shows – four payments of £898.65, £412.20, £1,666.63 and £312.36.
We have always used the brilliant “Customer Balance Detail” and “Supplier Balance Detail” reports to manage these situations. They are simply lists of everything that happened on a customer or supplier’s ledger. But now we have to amend them in Excel, to take off several small payments that never happened and replace them with one payment that did happen which the other side will recognise on their bank statement.
As a user, who wants to waste time doing that?
On screen clutter
I want to be able to look at a screen of data and have it tell me what happened. With sales and purchase ledgers there are often patterns over time and they need to be easy to see. Adding individual transactions that didn’t happen onto the screen creates clutter and obscures the pattern.
Less is more.
Compare and contrast with HMRC!
Until recently if you looked at PAYE records on the HMRC portal what you saw as payments of PAYE were not necessarily the payments made by the employer but HMRC’s allocation of a payment to a particular liability. Recently they improved matters and you can now see the actual payments made and compare them to your own.
They have done the reverse of what QuickBooks has done and the HMRC experience is better for it.
Change it back or make it optional, QuickBooks
I can’t see how this change is helpful, let alone how anyone who knows what firms need from an accounting system could ever have thought it was. So my suggestion is to change back to how things were.
If not that then, at the very least, make it an option so users can have a choice as to how customer and supplier payments are displayed and reported.
Sales | Margins | Profit | Cashflow
PS – If you’re a QuickBooks user and feel you’re not getting as much from the software as you could then perhaps we can help. With our bespoke QuickBooks training sessions your business becomes the classroom!