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QuickBooks, why does my payroll have a mind of its’ own? PART 1

Do you ever get the feeling that your QuickBooks payroll is an evil spirit set on thwarting your efforts at every juncture? You’re not alone, everyone who has ever used QB Payroll Center has had a tussle. In this two part series, we will be visiting the first of two common issues that can make payroll processing more of a pain than it has to be.

Son of a… the weekly timesheet entry window has defaulted to this week, THIS WEEK! Seriously? Why would I be entering time that has not even occurred yet? And I’ve already entered a bunch of time on the wrong dates. Ok, no big deal, I’ll just consult my friendly question mark so I can learn how to change the date on a weekly time sheet. What do you mean I can’t do that? Delete and re-enter all of the timesheets??? But I’ve already entered all the job costing and overtime allocations! Why is the question mark being so unhelpful today? Unfortunately, the preferences in QuickBooks aren’t sophisticated enough to know that you will not be entering weekly time sheets for this week, so it’s up to you to make sure that you have the correct date range before you start entering time. And there really is no way to change the date range on the whole weekly timesheet; but that doesn’t mean that all is lost, we will just have to take a minor detour.

First let’s pull a report to see which time has been impacted by the erroneous dates. Pull down the “Reports” menu, go down to “Jobs, Time & Mileage”, on the sub-menu select “Time by Name”. When the report opens, set the date range for the erroneous time entries. I can drill down to each employee by clicking on their total hours, which will open a new report listing all the line items on that employee’s timesheet. Clicking on one of those line items will open the time entry in the Single Activity screen where I CAN change the date. Now I just repeat this process for each line item on each effected employee. I like to make up a little song that I can play in my head and accent with my keyboard clicks when I have to do tedious, repetitive tasks like this. It’s fun! Ok, that’s a fib, it’s not fun and like all detours it will take a little longer to get to my destination. But in my opinion this is still a better solution than deleting and replicating all the data I’ve already entered. And on the bright side, you can bet this hard learned lesson will insure that I always check my date range before I start entering a time sheet from now on.

Triple Word Score Tip: When entering weekly timesheets, clicking the “Save & New” button will give you a fresh blank weekly time sheet with the same date range as the one you just entered. Clicking the “Save & Close” button closes the window and clears the date range, so the next time you open the weekly timesheet window it will default back to the week range including today.

BONUS TIP: If your employees frequently work the same jobs/tasks, you can save yourself a bit of data entry by using the “Copy Last Sheet” button at the bottom left corner of the weekly time sheet to automatically populate the sheet with the data from the last time sheet entered for that employee. Or select multiple employees to enter the time for a whole crew at once.