How to Set Up QuickBooks for Landscapers

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As a business owner, you want a powerful and reliable accounting program to manage your company's financial records. If you want to use QuickBooks for your landscaping business, you will find several versions that are adaptable to your needs depending on the size of your company.

QuickBooks for a Landscaping Business

QuickBooks is available in several versions, and while there is no specific version of QuickBooks for a landscaping business, you can choose to use this powerful accounting tool as a PC version or via online access. The PC software requires a one-time purchase that is installed on your desktop computer or laptop, while the online version gives you access to your accounts via a mobile phone or tablet from anywhere you have an internet connection. This flexibility may be a good choice for a landscaping business that operates outdoors and over a wide regional area.

Once you've downloaded your software, you must set up your books, taking into account a wide variety of factors. It is a good idea to seek the advice of an accounting professional to be sure you have included all the important items. You will want to set up the following sections.

Design and Input Chart of Accounts

Plan out the structure of the various financial accounts in your books, assigning numbers to each account. A basic chart of accounts list and description will appear in the setup guide within QuickBooks, and you can adapt it to your needs. A typical QuickBooks chart of accounts for lawn care will include:

  • Assets: Lawn equipment, vehicles, bank account balance or accounts receivable (money owed to you)

  • Liabilities: Accounts payable (for supplies), wages or taxes payable, credit card balances owed, loans due

  • Income: Sales (create an account for each item or service that will bring in income)

  • Expenses: Cost of the products and services you sell, loan payments, rent, wages, sales tax, operating expenses

Create Product and Service Lists

Create a list for the products you sell, such as bags of grass seed, fertilizer, paver stones or shrubs. Be specific, as you may sell several types or brands within each category, and they will vary in price. Services can be created as one-time care or specific bundles of routine maintenance.

As you create each item within these lists, select whether or not each item is taxable. The selected tax code will automatically appear each time it is selected on an invoice but can be changed if necessary. Be sure to check with your sales tax revenue department to understand which services are taxable or exempt within your state.

Customize Invoices and Payment Options

Create a professional invoice by starting with the basic template that comes with QuickBooks and then add your logo for a professional look. Set up payment options for your customers so they can pay you easily online once they receive your emailed invoice. Consider setting up automatic payments for customers who receive regular maintenance.

Enter Starting Balances and Start Date

If you have already been operating your business, you will have starting balances to enter into several accounts in your books. Choose a start date from which to launch your books in QuickBooks and enter those balances as of that date. Include the following:

  • Beginning bank balance, including outstanding checks and deposits

  • Balances owed on credit cards

  • Customers with outstanding invoices

  • Outstanding accounts payable

  • Inventory balances

As you move forward, you will need to enter all transactions into the software to maintain accurate balances and an overall financial picture of your business.

Integration With Landscape Software and Apps

Consider integrating a software package that is specifically designed for the landscape industry to help you manage your business. While some of these products do not offer the accounting power of QuickBooks, they handle many other specialized tasks that allow you to prepare quotes, schedule jobs, plan routes and dispatch work crews. Fortunately, many of these programs also integrate with QuickBooks so that financial data from the field can easily be synced with your books.