Neat Books - Get Started with Neat Bookkeeping!
Neat rolled out several bookkeeping features to simplify the process of tracking your expenses, categorizing and reconciling transactions, creating financial reports, and gaining new insights about your financial health.
The overview below provides the workflow to help you get started using Neat to simplify your bookkeeping.
The first step in getting started is to connect all your bank, credit card, and loan accounts to Neat. This needs to be done first as other areas of Neat like reconciliation and business insights are driven by your transactional data.
Neat is able to load transactions from up to a year ago. However, your financial institution may limit the transactions you can load to as little as 90 days.
Confirm your transactions are loading and note how far back transactions are available from each account. Later, you'll need to select a starting date for bookkeeping and our recommendation is to use the earliest date where you have transactions from all of your accounts.
Look for the account whose oldest transactions are the most recent when compared to your other accounts. For example, if you have a total of 3 accounts for transaction streaming and one shows transactions from the last year, one shows transactions only from the last six months, and one shows transactions only from the last 90 days then you would note the date of the oldest transaction from the account that shows only the last 90 days of transactions. This would be your recommended start date to provide transaction history from all your connected accounts.
For more details please see Transactions in Neat.
Chart of Accounts
The Chart of Accounts provides a complete listing of all categories used to classify your transactions as income, expenses, assets, liabilities, and more. The Chart of Accounts is valuable because it allows you to separate all your transactions into different "buckets" (income, assets, etc) which will later give you deeper insights into your finances.
You can use preselected categories or create custom categories. In order to make use of the Chart of Accounts, you must have at least one bank, credit card, or loan account connected to Neat but we highly recommend connecting all your current accounts so you have a complete picture of your finances from the start. Doing so will also set up vendor accounts from your transactions so you won't have to create them manually.
You can access the Chart of Accounts by clicking on your name in the top right and selecting Chart of Accounts from the dropdown list.
The Chart of Accounts has three columns. The column on the left shows the available Parent Categories which include:
- Cost of Goods Sold
Each parent category has subcategories that can be selected. The image below shows that the subcategory Sales under the Income parent category has been selected.
The column in the middle shows available Common Categories. These are standard categories that appear in Neat by default. They can be enabled or disabled as desired.
The column on the right shows Custom Categories which allows you to create categories you need for your business. Like common categories, they can be disabled if you no longer need them. Custom categories can also be moved if you decide they belong under a different parent category.
For more details please see Chart of Accounts.
Vendor mapping allows you to assign categories to vendors from your streamed transactions in Neat. Once mapped, Neat will automatically update a transaction's category to a mapped category for that vendor.
You can open Vendor Mapping by clicking on your name in the top right and selecting Vendor Mapping from the dropdown list.
In the Category column, click the drop-down to see your available Chart of Accounts categories. Select the category you want to map to your vendor.
For more details please see Vendor Mapping.
Neat simplifies the reconciliation process so you can save time for other tasks. By reconciling, you provide supporting documentation to transactions streamed into Neat from your connected accounts. For instance, if you have a $650.00 electricity charge from your bank account, you can attach an image or file of the electric bill while reconciling or you can add it from your Neat File Cabinet if you've already scanned or uploaded it.
You can review and match supporting documentation to your streamed transactions in monthly reconciliation periods. The reconciliation periods begin with your chosen bookkeeping start date. You can scan, email, import, or take photos with the Neat mobile app to get your supporting documents into Neat so they can be matched with your streamed transactions so they are reconciled.
You can also take advantage of the Neat mobile app to reconcile some items while you're on the go!
Neat offers a variety of reports to give you a better overview of your data.
Classic reports can be run for both streamed Transactions and items in your File Cabinet and include:
- Expense Report
- Spending Detail
- Spending Summary
- Tax Category
- Sales Tax
Accounting reports currently includes the Profit & Loss Statement and the Balance Sheet. A Cash Flow Statement will be added soon.
The accounting reports offer the option to specify a date range, account, vendor, or reconciliation status for the reporting period. The classic reports offer the option to narrow down the report by date, vendor, folder, category, and more.
Neat's Insights feature offers a variety of quick at-a-glance information without the need to create reports. The Insights section of Neat includes:
- Net Cash Flow
- Top Expense Categories
- Cash Balance
- Profit and Loss
- Total Sales
The infographics can be customized and refined by date, category, and more.
For more details please see Insights in Neat.