Why QuickBooks for an Ad Specialty Distributor?
The ad specialty distributor business, regardless of its size, is unique. It does not fit a “business mold.” It is not retail, nor wholesale, nor manufacturing, nor a service and, instead, is a little bit of each. And the product sold is a uniquely customized item that can involve multiple production partners and variables. It’s complicated.
Typically distributors start out slowly and easily. Our friends and family need some pens, T-shirts or key chains, and these orders are pretty straightforward and sporadic. But then suddenly we have 10 orders in process at the same time and four more in the pipeline, and some orders involve returns and refunds, and the makeshift record keeping system adds to the confusion. There is just no time to record all these details. Growth is a mixed blessing. It validates us and reveals the complexity of this business. It’s complicated.
I am schooled in accounting and am familiar with many of the software solutions used by Ad Specialty Distributors. About 26 years ago when I started my ad specialty distributor business, I chose QuickBooks. Here are 10 reasons why I still believe QuickBooks is an excellent choice for an ad specialty distributor:
- It's affordable. One license, amortized over its three-year life is far less than $200/year.
- QuickBooks, unlike many other accounting software packages, does not require an accounting background to use it. For example, when you click on "Write Checks" and specify which type of expense this is, you don't need to enter the debit and credit. QuickBooks does that automatically behind the screen.
- QuickBooks is the No. 1 selling accounting software for small to medium-sized businesses, which means there are more bookkeepers and accountants who already know something about using it. While you will need to train accountants and bookkeepers about how our business works, you will not need to train them on the software.
- Because QuickBooks is so well-known, chances are your CPA knows how to use QuickBooks to extract the information needed to prepare your taxes--perhaps saving you tax preparation fees.
- QuickBooks is both an order management and accounting software, avoiding the need for two separate systems.
- You can set up purchase orders as jobs in QuickBooks, allowing you to see the profitability of each purchase order.
- Once you enter data in QuickBooks (e.g., customers, suppliers, and items), you don't need to reenter this data for future orders. This reduces your data-entry time and effort, and minimizes errors.
- Because you can create and manage your purchase orders in QuickBooks, a history of orders is maintained, making reorders and referencing of old orders simple.
- QuickBooks produces your financial statements and other industry reports for your monitoring and for your CPA at tax time.
- QuickBooks is best for small to medium-sized businesses, and in fact, is the No. 1 accounting software for businesses with less than 20 employees and annual sales of less than $1 million.
There are multiple versions of QuickBooks, and I am often asked if there is one that is best for an ad specialty distributor. There is, and that answer is covered in my blog “Which Version of QuickBooks is Best for Ad Specialty Distributors?"
Please email accounting questions you would like considered for the column to HGatter@AccountingSupportLLC.com with the subject line of "Ask the Accountant."
Harriet Gatter, owner of Accounting Support LLC, was an ad specialty distributor for 23 years and an adjunct professor of accounting at Neumann University. She sold her ad specialty business in 2012, became certified as a QuickBooks ProAdvisor, and now works exclusively with ad specialty distributors nationwide on their QuickBooks, order management and accounting needs.