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.

Ask the Accountant… Question: What is the perfect system for a promotional products distributor? Answer: I wish I had the perfect answer for that. Unfortunately, there is not a perfect system for our complex and unique industry regardless of cost. Ad specialty distributors have had to figure out their own systems, mostly by trial and…

Ask the Accountant… Question: I am downloading QuickBooks Premier. There is a question about which edition I want. Which one do I pick? Answer: When you purchase QuickBooks Premier, there will be options of editions when you download the program. The edition that is best suited for our industry is Manufacturing and Wholesale. By selecting…

Ask the Accountant… Question: Recently, I had a question about what a balance sheet shows, so I thought I’d tackle income statements as well. Answer: The income statement is also known as a profit and loss statement, or a P&L. It shows what you have earned and what you have spent to produce a profit…

Ask the Accountant… Question: My CPA always asks for a balance sheet, but I don’t know what that is exactly. Answer: A balance sheet is one of the two standard financial statements that describes the condition of your business. (The other is an income statement.) Your balance sheet is a snapshot of a particular day…

Question: Do you have any suggestions for a good way to track orders? Answer: Our industry is complicated, and each order involves many steps and details. I used to track orders manually—step by step for each order. Today there are several automated solutions...

Ask the Accountant… Question: I am new to the business and don’t know how to price the items I am selling. Any tips? Answer: In general terms, you would like your gross profit percentage to be around 40 percent and higher would be better. Your gross profit margin is the amount left over after you…

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