Witness Fitness Centre and QBO

Many teachers use the free accounting practice set that goes by the name of the Witness Fitness Centre (School Accounting Modules). Historically, this practice set, which I author, was distributed by CGA Canada. The latest full revision took place in 2010, with minor modifications in 2015. Teachers in Ontario can get their copy by contacting the educational rep at CPA-Ontario, Kim Tran. In other provinces, for the time being, you will have to contact me for advice. (Note: If your copy of the Witness Fitness Centre carries the CPA logo, you can be sure that you have the most recent edition.)

If you are a long-time user of the Witness Fitness Centre, you know that your students can complete it manually, with Sage 50 or with the desktop version of QuickBooks. In addition, you and your students might be enjoying the many benefits of QuickBooks Online. If so, why not have your students use QBO to complete the Witness Fitness Centre? Well, how about Module One, anyway. (The other three modules, with their added curricular complexities, will likely need some specific documentation in the future to smooth out potential bumps in the road.)

If, then, you would like to use QBO and Module One of the Witness Fitness Centre, here are my recommendations:

  • Definitely have your students do the Food To Live For practice set described in the November 9, 2015, post below. This practice set gives step-by-step guidance to help them master QBO.
  • Assign the With Strings Attached exercise in Chapter 7 of Accounting 1. (See the November 25, 2015 post). After completing, your students will be very proficient with QBO.
  • Download the chart of accounts Excel file for Module One of the Witness Fitness Centre that I have prepared for you.
  • To import the chart of accounts into QBO, have your students to refer back to the Food To Live For instructions. I encountered no difficulties when testing.

Let me know how it goes. I would love to hear your feedback.

Accounting 1 Exercise for QuickBooks Online

Once students finish Food To Live For (see the post below), they will be able to use QBO to complete exercises in Accounting 1. Here is some guidance for With Strings Attached, an exercise found on pages 245 to 255 of Accounting 1, seventh edition. (For additional help, students can refer to the Food To Live For student manual.)

Preparing With Strings Attached in QBO

1. After you have handed in all your results from Food To Live For, you will “wipe” or “purge” its data. In the process of wiping data from Food To Live For (“purgecompany’), select “I sell services” when prompted. Also make the selection to direct QBO to create an empty chart of accounts.

2. Import a chart of accounts using the following file: WithStringsAttachedChart.xls

3. Notice that control accounts (accounts receivable and accounts payable) are used, just as they were in Food To Live For.

4. Choose Sales Tax from the Navigation Bar and set up the Sales Tax. You can use 123456789 for the business account number. The With Strings Attached exercise on page 245 of your Accounting 1 text uses September as the beginning month; but, for convenience, you can use the current month.

5. After QBO finishes setting up the sales tax, check the chart of accounts. Notice that you will use just one HST account—as opposed to using both HST Payable and HST Recoverable. This method follows the same strategy you used in Food To Live For.

6. In the Company Settings, enter the company name (with your name in brackets) and identify Ontario as the home province. You may also want to enter invoice terms of net 30 days.

With Strings Attached—Transaction Notes

 7. For Transaction 3 on page 249, simply click the “turn-back-the-clock” icon to find Transaction 2 and correct the erroneous amount.

8. Transaction 5 on page 252 does not identify the payee. You can make up a name.

9. For the Cash Sales Summary referenced in Transaction 9 on page 253, you can use the Sales Receipt form found in the Create menu. Make sure it is set for a deposit to Bank.

10. For the debit memo in Transaction 15, use the Journal Entry form.

Food to Live For—a QBO Practice Set

Business teachers appear extremely interested in the emergence of cloud-based accounting software. An October workshop I conducted at the BCBEA annual conference was packed—and they didn’t just come to sample the free banana bread and lemon loaf I distributed!

An attendee’s testimony highlighted a common, motivating experience of this group of educators: “I waited the entire 2014-2015 school year for our I.T. staff to install accounting software in our computer lab.”

Cloud-based accounting software removes such shackles. Cloud software is certainly “trending” in small business, and it offers educators a great solution to aging computer equipment and slow I.T. service. Our students simply need access to a decent web browser to experience slick, contemporary, and easily-mastered accounting software.

Two providers teachers are familiar with are Intuit (QuickBooks Online®) and Sage (Sage One®). This post is about QuickBooks Online (QBO). In a future post, I hope to give an update about Sage One.

For QBO, I have written a 38-transaction practice set called Food to Live For. It comes complete with a Student and Teacher’s Manual. It is designed to be a “give-’n’-go” project—you can “give” it to students in Chapter 7 of Accounting 1, and they can “go” do it without much intervention on your part.

Intuit will give you free access to Food To Live For, other support materials, and a complimentary QBO account when you enrol in Intuit’s Education Program at the website below. (Student accounts are also complimentary.)

I think you are going to be very pleased with this new wave of accounting software.


The Tech Page

Hope everyone is enjoying the start to the new school year.

There have been a number of comments to our initial Welcome post from March 2013. Many comments, especially about technology issues, contain valuable information, but they tend to get buried in this blog. (I suppose they get 'blogged down."). The best tech revelations from this blog page will be henceforth replicated on our Tech page.


Colin and I are very happy that all the Accounting 1, 7e, resources are now available. In fact, the text is even in its second printing. Thanks to all the long-time Syme-supporters and to those new to Accounting 1.

Now comes some fun building this website in the hope that we can all add some additional richness to our accounting classrooms.

Before we start, a disclaimer of sorts. Colin and I will try to post quickly. Consequently, some of the material on this site will not be subjected to Pearson Canada's thorough editing and publication procedures. While we pursue high standards in all that we do, please be patient if we are "all thumbs" on an cell phone or on a tablet when making a response.

Hope everyone is enjoying a restful spring break.