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You could tie a string around your finger, but it’s easier to have QuickBooks 2015 remind you to pay your bills on time. In fact, you can make the Reminders message box the first thing that you see when you start QuickBooks.

To adjust the QuickBooks reminder options, you must be logged on as the administrator in single-user mode. Then choose Edit→Preferences. When QuickBooks displays the Preferences dialog box, click the Reminders icon from the list on the left and then click the Company Preferences tab to access the dialog box.

Make sure that its Show Summary or Show List option button is selected and then give yourself several days’ notice before you need to pay bills by typing a number (10 is the default and usually works well) in the Days Before Due Date text box, located in the Remind Me column.

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If you select the Show Summary option (the first button to the right of the option), you get a summary of the bills that you owe each time you start QuickBooks. If you select Show List (the second button to the right of the option), you get the details about each bill.

You may want to review the Reminders window when you start QuickBooks or open a new company file. The window lists reminders (such as forms you need to print and payments you need to transmit) and tells you which unpaid bills you’re supposed to pay. You can see this list by choosing Company→Reminders.

You can also tell QuickBooks to display any reminders when opening the company file. To do this, choose the Edit→Preferences command, click Reminders, click My Preferences, and then select the Show Reminders List when Opening a Company File check box.


Using the To Do List and Reminders in QuickBooks

How many sticky notes do you have plastered on your monitor right now to remind you of things you are supposed to do?

Let QuickBooks simplify the tracking of these items for you using the To Do List in conjunction with the Reminders feature.

You won’t see the To Do List as an option when clicking Lists in the menu (not sure why that is!), but if you click Company in the menu bar, you do see a To Do List. You can then open up the list and have QuickBooks become the central storage location for all those sticky notes on your monitor.

Even better, you can then have QuickBooks remind you about the to do items on any date you choose. This ensures you don’t forget to make that important follow-up phone call about an overdue customer payment or overlook the call to your vendor to ask for better payment terms on your account.

Are You Using QuickBooks’ Reminders?

How do you know when it’s time to pay a bill or follow up on overdue customer payments or print payroll checks? If you’re still using a paper calendar and sticky notes and file folders, there’s a good chance you’re missing some important deadlines on occasion. Manual methods aren’t effective enough when you’re dealing with your business finances. You might experience:

Credit problems.
Overextended customers.
Unhappy vendors and employees.
If you’re missing the mark frequently, you won’t be able to get a true picture of your financial status, and your cash flow will suffer.

Use QuickBooks’ built-in reminders to avoid this unnecessary drama. Here’s how they work.

As you can see in the above image, QuickBooks lets you create reminders for a wide variety of actions. For each, you can indicate whether the Reminders window will display a summary or a list, or whether that particular activity will not be included. For those that are time-sensitive, like Checks to Print, you’ll also be able to specify how much warning you’ll get – how many days in advance each item will appear in the Reminders list.

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My Preferences vs Company Preferences

If you haven’t worked much with QuickBooks’ Preferences, you may not understand the difference between the two tabs that appear in each window. Only the QuickBooks Administrator can make changes on the Company Preferences page, since these affect company-wide settings. All users, though, can change any options that appear in the My Preferences window.

Here’s an example of a Preference (General) where all employees can indicate how they want QuickBooks to work for them specifically:

Using Reminders

If you indicated in My Preferences that you want the Reminders window to open every time you open your company file in QuickBooks, it should appear on top of your desktop. If you didn’t, or if you need to see it after you’ve closed it, open the Company menu and select Reminders. A link should also be available in the toolbar.

Using the Reminders tool is like using any other interactive to-do list.

The left pane of the window displays tasks that must be done today, while the right shows upcoming tasks. Small arrows to the left of each task category expand and collapse each section when you click on them. Double-click a task (not the category label), and the relevant form or other document opens. When you’ve completed the chore, it will disappear from the list.

There are two icons in the upper right of the window (not pictured here). Click the plus (+) sign, and the Add To Do window opens. You can create six types of to-do items here: call, fax, e-mail, meeting, appointment, and task. Each can be assigned to a customer, vendor, or employee, or earmarked as a lead. You can designate a priority (low, medium, high) and a status (active, inactive, done) to each. You can also assign a time and date due, and enter descriptive details. Each to-do then appears in the appropriate place in QuickBooks.

The other icon, a small gear, opens your Preferences for Reminders.

The mechanics of setting up your Reminders window are not difficult. What can be a challenge is watching your cash flow as all these transactions occur. If you’re struggling with that, let’s sit down together and develop a plan for keeping your cash flow positive while meeting your financial obligations.