Lesson 50-- Utility Accounts

Utility accounts are 'classic' bookkeeping accounts. They represent abstract accounting items that are not related to any specific person or business.

The Goldenseal accounting software program uses Utility accounts 'behind the scenes' to manage some tasks. You can also create your own utility accounts, if you'd like to use 'classic' accounting methods within Goldenseal.

HINT: Even if you never look at them, Utility accounts will still keep Goldenseal's accounting functions running smoothly.

Viewing Utility Accounts

To view Utility accounts, follow these steps:

  1. Choose Utility Accounts from the Accounts menu.
  2. You'll see a browser window that shows all Utility accounts.

Goldenseal uses each Utility account to store totals for a specific accounting function. The utility account also keeps a list of transactions that it can use to generate reports.

You can change the name of any utility account, and you can enter any comments you have about it.

NOTE-- You cannot change the reporting type or current balance for any of the standard utility accounts that Goldenseal starts out with. You also can't change the basic function-- Goldenseal accounting software will continue to use the Unbilled Sales account to track billable sales, even if you rename it to something else.

New Utility Accounts

Goldenseal lets you create new utility accounts. You can move funds in and out of them, the same as you would for 'classic' bookkeeping accounts.

HINT--The only time you need to add utility accounts is if you prefer to use a 'classic' accounting style, and want to create additional accounts to itemize expenses, revenue or other items.

When to Use new Utility Accounts

Create new utility accounts if you'd like to divide any of the basic accounting functions between more than one account.

For example, you can create additional expense accounts to track expenses, or new revenue accounts to track income.

HINT-- Before you set up more utility accounts, consider using cost categories, cost locations, job types or cost types as a way to allocate income and expenses. They probably will accomplish the same thing, and they are easier to use.

Types of Utility Accounts

Utility accounts can be of any of the following types:

  • Accounts Payable-- Totals that you currently owe to suppliers and subcontractors.
  • Accounts Receivable-- Totals for billed sales, billed projects, rents that are due, and similar items.
  • Equity-- The owner's value in your business. Some equity accounts handle the assets and liabilities that were put into your business upon its creation, and some handle ongoing profits and losses. NOTE: To set up owner equity that you want to track separately, choose Liability Accounts from the Accounts menu, then choose Owner Equity from the submenu.
  • Expense-- Totals for expenses of different types, either accrued (when work is done) or cash (when the item is paid).
  • Misc. Assets-- Other items considered as an asset on the balance sheet.
  • Misc. Liability-- Other items considered as a liability on the balance sheet.
  • Prepaid Expenses-- Expenses that you have marked as prepaid.
  • Revenue-- Totals for gross income from various sources, either accrued (when work is done) or cash (when the item is paid).
  • Undeposited Funds-- Money received but not yet deposited.
  • Unpaid Benefits, Taxes and Expense-- Miscellaneous unpaid items.
  • Utility-- Other items that are not listed on the balance sheet.

Creating a New Utility Account

To create a new utility account, follow these steps:

  1. Choose Utility Accounts from the Accounts menu.
  2. Click the New button.
  3. Enter a name for the new account, and choose a basic type of account from the Reporting Type popup menu.

Using Utility Accounts

To use a new expense or revenue account, you'll first need to set up the layouts so you can show the utility account on data entry screens. Then you can add it to reports.

For example, to add an Expense Account field to an expense transaction, follow these steps:

  1. Choose Custom Layouts from the Options menu, then choose Transactions from the submenu.
  2. You'll see a window for changing layouts (see Lesson 32). Choose Material Purchases from the Transaction popup menu.
  3. Select the Field tool from the palette at the left side of the window (underneath the rounded rectangle). HINT: When you single-click on a tool, it will be used only once. After that, the selector tool (arrow) is restored. When you double-click on a tool, it stays selected until you select a new tool.
  4. Click in the layout at the place where you'd like the field to be, and drag to the opposite corner. HINT: You may need to enlarge the layout to fit the new field. To do so, click on the lower right corner of the layout and drag, or choose Size & Margins from the Options menu and enter larger numbers.
  5. You'll see a list of available fields. Choose Expense Account from the list, and click OK.

Using New Expense Accounts

Goldenseal accounting software starts out with five expense accounts for equipment, labor, materials, subcontractors and other costs. Goldenseal automatically posts equipment hours to the equipment expense account, material purchases to the material expense account, and so on.

To post expense transactions to a different expense account, enter the new choice into the Expense Account field in the expense transaction.

Using New Revenue Accounts

The Goldenseal accounting software program starts out with four basic revenue accounts-- for sales, project income, rentals and other income.

To post income transactions to a different revenue account, add the Revenue Account field to the sales, rental transaction or billing records layouts, and then enter a different revenue account..

Using Cash Transfers

You can also use cash transfers to move funds between utility accounts. The transfer will simply add to one account's balance, and subtract from the other's.

Using Utility Accounts in Reports

To show totals for a new utility account in a report, first create a calculator that uses the new account. To do so, follow these steps:

  1. Choose Calculations from the Options menu, and choose Utility Accounts from the submenu.
  2. Click the New button.
  3. Enter the new account into the Account field.
  4. Enter the type of calculation into the Field field. For example, to get totals during a time period from a new expense or revenue account, choose Total In Date Range.

5. Click OK.

To use the new calculation in a report, follow these steps:

  1. Choose Custom Layouts from the Options menu, and choose Reports from the submenu.
  2. Open the report where you'd like to show the account total.
  3. Click on the Calculator tool.
  4. Click at one corner of where you'd like to show the field, and drag to the opposite corner.
  5. You'll see a list of calculated fields. Enter Utility Accounts into the popup menu at top, then choose the calculator you just created.

Utility Account Links

Some Utility accounts 'link' to the transactions included in the account.

For example, to see a list of billable Sales transactions that have not yet been billed, follow these steps:

  1. Choose Utility Accounts from the Accounts menu.
  2. Use the Browser to get to the Unbilled Sales account (it's the first one).
  3. Choose Detail Transactions from the View menu.

Finishing Up

In a way, Utility accounts allow the Goldenseal accounting software to handle the 'invisible' money in your business. And likewise, sometimes the most chic hats are the ones you can't see.

Maybe that's why there is so much interest in the new line of microscopic 'nano-technology' hats and garments in the latest Victoria's Secret catalog.