Use QuickBooks Memorized Reports to
Create 4-Week Accounting Periods

By John Nessel
Restaurant Resource Group

Most accounting software programs require the user to pre-select a fixed time period, most typically "monthly", as the basis for the company's Financial Statements. Once this choice is made, the die is cast, and no changes can me made at a later date. QuickBooks takes a radically different approach, one that is infinitely flexible, and allows you to view your periodic Financial Statements in any time period format you wish, at any time! In one moment you can see your P&L for the prior month and in the next moment you can also view the same report for the prior four week period.  

The most obvious accounting period for your Financial Statements, especially your Profit & Loss Statement (P&L), is Monthly. In fact this choice is so obvious that most independent restaurant owners are not even aware that other options exist! In fact a very strong argument can be made that 13-four week accounting periods are a better option for managing your restaurant's financial performance than the traditional 12 monthly periods. Jim Laube's excellent article titled "Why Most Chains Use 4 Week Accounting Periods" provides an excellent overview of the benefits of four week accounting periods.

Before we learn how to create "customized" four week P & L reports in QuickBooks, lets take a moment and see how to create the more typical monthly P & L reports. From the QuickBooks Menu bar select ReportsCompany & FinancialProfit & Loss Standard.  If today were April 25, 2005 you would see the following screen:

Notice the window (highlighted in blue) to the right of the word Dates. The default date period is set by QuickBooks as “This Month-to-date”. By selecting the downward pointing arrow to the right of this window you can easily select any “standard” accounting period that you wish to view. For the typical QuickBooks user this will be monthly, and again, the user would select “Last Month” (see below) in order to view the P&L from the last completed accounting period.


 

 Some of the "standard" periods that are available to you are shown in the screen shot below. 

Now that you understand how to create a P & L for monthly accounting periods let's see how QuickBooks can be customized so that you can create similar reports for specifically defined four Week accounting periods? The solution lies in the Memorized Report feature of QuickBooks.

First, use the two date windows to select the "range" of one of your 13 four week periods. Use a calendar to make the job easier. The example below defines the four week period beginning on Feb 28 and ending on Mar 27, 2005. This happens to be the third of the years 13 four week periods based on the first period beginning on Monday Jan 3, 2005.

Your next step is to create a Memorized Report, one that “remembers” the date range of the four week period you are creating. Select the Memorize button above the report (see picture above). By creating Memorized Reports for each of your 13-four week periods you can easily assess them for viewing and/or printing. After selecting the Memorize button you will be prompted to create a name for this specific report. Simply type in a name that will uniquely identify this period such as “Period 3 2005 (Feb 28- Mar 27)”. Note that you will have an opportunity to save this (and the other four week period reports) to a Report Group if you like. To do this simply click on the box to the left of "Save in Memorized Report Group" and make a selection.

To assess your newly created four week reports simply go to the QuickBooks Menu bar and click on Reports…Memorized Report (and the Group if one was specified) and select the specific custom report (e.g. Period 3 2005)

If you are using four week accounting periods you will need to create 13 memorized reports in your Memorized Report List.

You can still use all the Report features available to users of the standard report periods. Just select the Modify Report button on the left side of the Report screen.


 

From the Modify Report screen (below) you can select any combination of options that will be helpful to you in evaluating your restaurant's financial performance.

John Nessel is the President of Restaurant Resource Group a Boston based consulting firm that provides simple yet powerful financial tools and support services to restaurant owners and managers. He is also the author of The Restaurant Operators Complete Guide to QuickBooks. John can be contacted at john@rrgconsulting.com

 

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