|Use QuickBooks Memorized
Create 4-Week Accounting Periods
Restaurant Resource Group
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.
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 Reports…Company
& Financial…Profit & 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.
the "standard" periods that are available to you are shown in the screen shot
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
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
your newly created four week reports simply go to the QuickBooks Menu bar and
Reports…Memorized Report (and the
Group if one was specified) and select the specific custom report
(e.g. Period 3 2005)
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.