This is the first in a planned series of nine blog posts that will specifically examine QuickBooks from an agriculture perspective. There is no “QuickBooks for Ag”. So how can we use some of the features in QuickBooks if we are in the ag business?
The Fixed Item List is a relatively unknown feature in the product. Its intention is to provide a place for businesses to track large asset purchases like vehicles, equipment, and buildings.
It’s not a feature that has really caught on. That may be because it has not generated much excitement in the accountant community. When accountants aren’t encouraging their clients to use it, there’s little motivation to do the extra work.
Often though, a feature can be used in a related, but different way than it was originally intended.
One thing most farmers and ranchers have is lots of equipment. That equipment must be tracked, not just for income tax purposes, but county property tax purposes as well. We’re talking about the dreaded 571 property tax report that is mailed to you at the first of each year.
That report requires some very specific information. Year after year. How can we make that job easier?
Access the Fixed Asset Item List from the menu as shown above. When you select this option, a window similar to the following appears.
The fixed item list in this sample company has many items on it. Yours may have none. New items can easily be added by clicking the Item button in the lower left part of the window.
The window that opens for the setup of a new Fixed Asset Item can be daunting. You’re staring at a screen full of blank spaces waiting to be filled. Don’t fear. You don’t need to fill all those empty fields. Let’s just track a few pieces of information that we find useful.
Above is the setup window for one of the fixed asset items shown on the list. We could fill in information like a description, where and when we purchased the asset, and so forth. Most of those fields are optional, but they could prove handy for providing information to our accountant at year-end.
In this example, we’ve used an APN number, that is the number on our 571 property tax report, in the Location field. This can be useful if we have multiple locations where we keep equipment. The county will ask for a report on each.
Serial number might be a good piece of information to have, and keeping it in QuickBooks leaves us with one less list or file to keep. There is a lot of room for notes. Keeping repair notes here is one idea. It’s not optimal though as there is only one note field, it must be edited each time we want to add new information, there’s no pattern to the information we put in, and there doesn’t seem to be any way to access this field for reports.
We actually have some other ideas about tracking repair and maintenance data. We’ll look at that in the next blog post.
Watch the video here.