Motivational posters lined the walls of a dimly lit conference room where several women and a man sat learning the step-by-step method of how to use the popular QuickBooks program. One poster with a serene lake setting and canoe described the experience — success is a journey, not a destination.
Heidi Hatch, QuickBooks Pro advisor, helped participants begin the journey to success with detailed training of the Intuit program to run small businesses efficiently by managing bank accounts, invoice customers and pay bills, process payroll, as well as reconciling accounts and create up to date company financial reports.
The three-day classes are held the third week of each month at the Kenai Peninsula Job Center.
“Anyone know what a lead is?” she quizzed the class on the second day. “A lead is a customer.”
With a PowerPoint slide presentation, Hatch guided the participants through each of the aspects of the program while they followed along with a large binder manual that was included in the $350 cost of the class.
“(The binder) is really a QuickBooks bible,” she said. “It is good for people who do not know the program.”
Glenda Isham attended the class because she recently began working with her mother, Ravin Swan, owner of Gamas Designs, a custom embroidered and screen-printed clothing store. Isham said she takes care of paperwork and the QuickBooks training will be useful for her.
“I am excited,” she said. “It will help simplify life.”
Like many small businesses, Gamas Designs started out 19 years ago with few employees and hand-written invoices. Today, the business has increased its number of employees, switched to a point of sales system and has a need for QuickBooks.
“We have really grown,” she said.
Isham said she is hoping the new knowledge about QuickBooks will help reduce her time with paperwork and teach employees to use the program.
“This is a very easy system,” she said.
Hatch said the class is open to 10 participants at a time, all of who receive the manual and use of a laptop for the class.
“This class is a actual hands-on intuitive learning,” Hatch said.
Hatch navigated the program with class members using a mock business, Larry’s Landscape and Garden Supply. From the homepage, she was able to show how to reconcile ledgers, invoice purchases and utilize online banking within the program.
Hatch also lent the group beneficial information on making personal contact with customers as well as the differences between using the program on a PC versus a Mac.
Hatch, who offers classes through the Kenai Peninsula Economic Development District, began holding classes in April.
KPEDD offers specialized cases with in-depth training covering specific items within the most widely used accounting system.
According to their website, KPEDD supports area businesses by assisting with developing business plans, preparing commercial loans, providing access to capital and providing technical support.
Hatch said the class helps small business owners, as well as those using the program in large businesses, learn how to get the most out of the program.
Hatch said she is willing to travel across the peninsula to offer classes.
“As long as they have six people, we will go there,” she said. “Wherever there is a need, we are willing to go assist.”
According to the October 2012 PC Magazine, QuickBooks 2013 Premier Edition received four and one half stars, highlighting the program’s remodeled home page and customizable navigation panel.
Bunny Kishaba with the Alaska Small Business Development Center said a 2011 QuickBooks class has been offered in the past. Currently SBDC is offering the Inventory and Payroll aspect of the program. She said there was a large turnout for the instruction classes.
“QuickBooks is geared to all businesses,” Kishaba said. “So that they can measure their success.”
Other tutorials may benefit users, but not with the same hands on approach.
One online 90-minute live audio class, Boot Camp for QuickBooks by Lorman Education Services is offered in July to assist users with the program, with listed a price of $199.
Hatch said she has heard of other instructional classes, but not all show users detailed use of the program. Also, while the manual that comes with the QuickBooks program may create more issues, she said she is available for those who have taken the class for follow-up questions.
“I want you to be successful,” she said to the class. “Just remember, I am a phone call away.”
Hatch will offer another QuickBooks Training class July 17-19.