Intuit has just announced a new Trial Balance feature incorporated into QuickBooks Online Accountant. You can access it from within the Tax column in the Client Dashboard, from the Client Detail screen in QBOA, or from the Accountant Tools briefcase from within QBO.
This new feature is only available in QuickBooks Online Accountant, QBO clients do not have access to the new feature.
The new feature expands upon the Books-to-Tax feature that was introduced into QuickBooks Online Accountant last December (2014). We will examine more of this functionality in a few paragraphs, but for now let's focus on what the Trial Balance feature offers.
The new feature is much more than the trial balance report already existing in QBO, this is an interactive tool accountants can use. It’s a working space where accountants can not only view and drill-down into file details, but also be alerted about client changes in the balances, go directly to the places they may want to investigate to make adjustments, write and keep notes, attach documents, mark accounts reviewed as completed – and all of your accounting workpapers are saved with that client record. Plus, accountants can review auto-mapped accounts before auto-populating the data in Intuit Tax Online.
Keeping track of your clients activities that impact the trial balance of their file is a major feature of this new functionality. Once an accountant starts the new Trial Balance, the summary balances will be frozen so that accountants will not continually be seeing different balances each time they enter the Trial Balance interface. If a client goes into QuickBooks Online and makes a change to the books for the applicable accounting period, the activity will be recorded in the Activity Timeline and the Other Transactions column, but it will not impact the un-adjusted balances in the Trial Balance tool.
The QBO Books-to-Tax feature is designed to eliminate manual data entry when you need to prepare a business tax return for a client. The software auto-maps all the accounts and balances that are possible, to Intuit Tax Online, Intuit’s cloud-based tax-preparation solution. The new Trial Balance feature was built to solve for the first part of you accounting workflow, which is insuring that the client's books are right. After you’ve gotten the books cleaned up and ready for tax treatment, you can still use the Books-to-Tax feature (now accessible within the new Trial Balance – “Tax Mappings” tab) to auto-populate your Intuit Tax Online return.
If you are a returning Intuit Tax Online user, we will automatically pro forma over your prior-year Ending Balances into the new tax return! If you are new to Intuit Tax Online, you can learn more about it right here. ProAdvisors can actually complete 5 free individual returns, and 2 business returns for free, using Intuit Tax Online. QuickBooks Online Accountant customers can file 2 business returns for free, using Intuit Tax Online.
There are a lot of additional feature functions that are 'on their way' to make this great new Trial Balance tool even better. For example, currently the tool is designed to deal with 'year end', but Intuit team members are working to make the tool available for month-end reviews. The ability to export Trial Balance data and to integrate this new feature with other software such as Excel or Lacerte Tax are also under development.
If you are an Accountant, Tax Preparer, or ProAdvisor supporting QuickBooks Online Clients you will want to check-out this new feature, you may find that it is your new 'best friend' in cleaning up your clients books prior to tax preparation.