What’s Next, Dude?
At this point, presumably, you know why you need accounting software and why QuickBooks is probably a reasonable and maybe even an excellent choice. In other words, you swallowed my line about QuickBooks hook, line, and sinker. That decision on your part leaves the question of what you should do next. Let me say this: In a nutshell, before you can begin working with QuickBooks, you need to do the following:
1. Install the QuickBooks software, as I describe in Appendix A.
2. Run through the QuickBooks Setup I describe in Chapter 2.
3. Load the master files, as I describe in Chapter 3.
If you’re thinking, “Whoa, cowboy, that seems like a bit more work than what’s involved in installing spreadsheet software or a new word processor,” you’re right. You might as well hear from me the ugly truth about accounting software: Accounting software — all of it — requires quite a bit of setup work to get things running smoothly. For example, you need to build a list of expense categories, or accounts, to use for tracking expenses. You also need to set up a list of the customers that you invoice.
Rest assured, however, that none of the setup work is overly complex; it’s just time-consuming. Also, know from the very start that QuickBooks provides a tremendous amount of hand-holding to help you step through the setup process. And remember, too, that you have your new friend — that’s me — to help you whenever the setup process gets a little gnarly.