You can automate your standard client communication using QuickBooks Desktop's Customized Letter Templates and Microsoft Word.
While much of our written communication with clients takes place over email, there are still times when a physical letter could be the appropriate means of communication. QuickBooks Desktop makes it easy to create bulk correspondence customized to your clients’ data in QuickBooks--provided that the data is thorough and accurate and you have a Microsoft subscription. In this tutorial, we’ll discuss how to prepare customized printed letters from QuickBooks.
Automate your client communication with QuickBooks templates.
QuickBooks integrates with Microsoft Word, using Word's mail merge feature to produce business letters from QuickBooks templates. You can create a customized letter or choose from numerous pre-written letters, such as a bounced check, customer apology, or collection letters. Once the personalized letters are created, you can either print them or copy and paste the information into an email. Let's start by getting familiar with the templates available. To get started, go to the QuickBooks Customer Center (Customers | Customer Center). You’ll want to see what your options are, of course. So with the Customers & Jobs tab highlighted, click Word in the toolbar, select Customize Letter Templates, then click View or Edit Existing Letter Templates and Next. You can see a partial view in the image below.
Before you start creating letters, you should see what templates are available. Let's create a letter as an example. Click the button in front of Customer in the first column, highlight Customer apology in the second column, and click Next. MS Word will open, displaying that letter template and its merge fields, which will look like this: <<FieldName>> . These merge fields will ultimately populate each customer's relevant information in individual letters. At this point, any edits you make to the template in Microsoft Word will apply to all the letters you create at this time.
Word inserts merge fields to show you where your QuickBooks data will go.
How to define your recipients for a mail merge from QuickBooks Desktop
Now that we've populated the letter in Microsoft Word, it's time to select the recipients of this letter. Navigate back to QuickBooks and click Use Template. Click the correct buttons to indicate whether you want to see Active or Inactive customers or Both, and if you want the list to contain Customers or Jobs. Since this is just a test run, we only need to see a couple of Customers or Jobs as examples, so click Unmark All and select two to three Customers or Jobs by clicking in the column in front of them. Click Next, and if Customer apology isn’t highlighted, go ahead and click it. Click Next again. In the window that opens, enter the Name and Title that should appear. When you click Next, Microsoft Word will create a personalized letter for each customer you selected. Each letter will start on a new page, so you can print them out as individual letters. Here, you can edit individual letters as you see fit without affecting the original template.
What to do if your mail merge is missing information
Depending on how thorough your customer records are in QuickBooks Desktop, you may get an error message saying your mail merge contains **MISSING INFORMATION**. Most often, the culprit is that a salutation has yet to be selected for your customer in QuickBooks. To get around this issue, you can do one of two things:
Cancel the mail merge and enter the missing information in each record in QuickBooks, then start over, or
Delete the merge field from the letters you created.
Since this is just a test run, delete **MISSING INFORMATION** from your letters. Back in QuickBooks, click Cancel in the window that opens (since we won't be printing envelopes in this instance). You’re now finished with the mail merge wizard. You can save the letters you've created as a group and print them to mail to customers.
Alternative approaches to creating your mail merge
There are multiple ways you can proceed with your mail merge. Now that you understand the basics of creating a mail merge using QuickBooks, we'll discuss a few other ways you can accomplish this. Navigate back to the Customer Center and click Word again to see the different options available. You can create a letter for only the highlighted customer, choose your customers first, or prepare collection letters. The latter requires setting up a filter for your mail merge (date range past due). Creating a mail merge from QuickBooks Desktop can save you time and effort in managing your customer communications. By following the simple steps outlined in this post, you can easily customize your letters and emails and send them out to your customers with just a few clicks. If you have any questions, reach out to us!