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In this example, I will take you through the process of taking a SCANNED or PDF item list converted into Excel, then clean it up and ready to import, and finally imported into QuickBooks without doing any data entry! Also, check out my other article at the Intuit website on other shortcuts I take to reduce data entry.
First, if you already have the Item list in Excel, then you can skip to STEP 5… But, if you got the pricelist in a scanned document or PDF, there you must use a 3rd party program called PDF2XL to be able to convert the document to Excel first. PDF2XL has 3 versions: Basic (for Native PDF files) $199, OCR (For Scanned PDF files) $299 and Enterprise (Direct Scan to Excel) $399. I have done a few conversions since I got this program and It has saved me an estimated 20 hours of work already, so the investment is definitely worth it.
For this example, I will be converting the first page of Apple’s Education price list as if it is my cost for products I will resell, into excel:
So the first step is to open the PDF file into PDF2XL:
Then we are going to select the options Tables (Marking Mode) and Pages Different (Structure) which will give you the ability to create a table around the data you want to import for each page:
After that, you create a table by clicking and dragging inside the PDF document ONLY in the area where the relative text and numbers are…
Consulting 101 Pdf
You will notice the darker shade of orange to be the HEADER section which will create all the titles for the columns on row 1 of your spreadsheet. Then you will see dashed vertical lines that represent the separation of each column of data. Then you want to select the Conversion Format (Excel), Convert Pages: 1, and clock on CONVERT.
Within seconds, you will see a spreadsheet with all the data:
There may be some minor clean-up, for example I will delete extra rows that contained subheaders that I didn’t need….
And then cleaning up some extra columns not needed as well:
Then, I can do simple things like adding 20% markup to my cost to have my SALES PRICE in my spreadsheet ready for importing, like this:
And then finally, we will move to QuickBooks to import Copy/Paste this data to create the items, by going into the List Menu and Clicking on Add/Edit Multiple List Entries…
And then select INVENTORY PARTS under List and click on CUSTOMIZE COLUMNS to add or remove the desired columns to match the spreadsheet’s structure to have a perfect copy/paste (in this case we only have ITEM NAME, DESCRIPTION, COST, and SALES PRICE, however the last 3 columns in here (Income, COGS, and Asset Account) cannot be removed as they are required for an Inventory Item:
Finally, your screen will look like this:
Which is now ready for you to COPY the data in Excel and paste it into QuickBooks’s first Item Name box on the top left, after you paste it will look like this:
Before Clicking on Save Changes, you must make sure that all items have their Income Account, COGS Account and Inventory Asset Account. you can you use the “Right-Click Copy Down” tool to fill all of them out with the same account:
After clicking Save Changes, you will get a confirmation that all the items have been imported, so it will be a great time to go into List, Item List and right click to Customize Columns so you can see the item list just the way you want it:
Conclusion, it took me about 20 minutes to do this process (including writing this article…) which I calculate would have taken me to manually enter item by well over one hour, the time saving exponentially grow as the item list get larger. But best of all, FLAWLESS (or near flawless I must disclaim) data entry with no errors!
You can go to http://bit.ly/PDF2XL to download a trial. You can also use COUPON CODE CPC38629 for 10% off!
Seth David from Schoolofbookkeeping.com made this great video explaining the process:
In previous posts, we’ve discussed interviews, resumes, and the general recruiting process. Today, we want to touch upon one of the most important but often overlooked aspects of the interview process – the case interview, and even non-standard case interview questions.
What is a case interview?
If there’s one question on the mind of every aspiring consulting applicant, it is this: what is a case interview? How is it set up? What am I being asked to do? And most important, how do I master it?
Put simply, a case interview is where you are asked to solve a business problem, on the fly, with limited information. There will always be math involved, and you’ll be expected to talk your interviewer through your calculations and thought and decision-making processes. The goal of the case interview isn’t necessarily to get you to solve the business problem – it’s to see if you can think like a consultant, whether you can think on your feet, if the numbers you produce are logical, and if you can be trusted to communicate key insights in front of a CEO client.
There are four basic frameworks that all case interview problems can be categorized under:
Profitability, Market Sizing, Market Study, and Mergers & Acquisitions.
These are general frameworks, but do a good job of organizing the main kinds of problems consultants solve on a project-to-project basis, and thus the types of problems that are presented in case interviews.
Profitability cases generally deal with a client trying to decide what to with revenues, costs, or overall revenue. Market Sizing cases examine the size of a current market (usually in revenue), while Market Study cases examine whether a client should enter a new market or not, as well as the declining market share of a client. Finally, there are M&A cases. These are the big boys of case problems, as M&A cases include Profitability, Market Sizing, and Market Study concepts all in one case. These cases are all about whether Company A should merge with Company B, or whether Company Y should acquire Company Z. Remember the one overarching goal of both of these transactions, though: increased profitability for the client!
Why do consulting firms use case interviews?
Because doing well in cases requires the same skills that consultants use:
- Understanding of basic business concepts (e.g., revenues and costs, suppliers and customers, market structure, etc.)
- Analytical, structured-thinking
- Business-oriented creativity and insight
- Communication and presentation
A case study mirrors the work that consultants do day-to-day.
What Should I Do For My Case Interview Prep?
There’s no magic bullet for preparing for the case interview – it’s going to take grit, perseverance, and good old fashioned hard work. However, there are case study interview tips that will help you focus your approach:
- Practice as much as possible with friends, colleagues, contacts within consulting firms. Even practice in front of a mirror to assess your communication style, body language, etc. Out loud practice is the key.
- Review case study-specific resources – from the Vault Guides to Cosentino’s Case in Point. Don’t go overboard (in particular, Cosentino’s guide is helpful but not a must-have).
- Go through our consulting-specific prep courses, and work with our expert MBB coaches.
- Review general business problems – get your hands on as many case studies as possible. Most consulting firms post a few online, or at least give info like the McKinsey Interview page. The more exposure you have, the more familiar each question will seem. Even when you’re reading the Wall Street Journal, Fortune, etc. – put yourself into the CEO’s shoes at every opportunity.
Further reading:2 smartest case study techniques and case study interview tips
We released a guide on case studies and consulting interview questions. Click here to check it out! We also created a Complete Guide to Case Interview Prep article.
Case Interview Example Walkthrough:
I’m not that good at case interviews. Can I get an offer by conquering the “fit questions” and my resume?
No. Your performance on case studies accounts for at least 50% (and usually more) of your “score” in determining offers. It is the most underprepared area for candidates, but something the best applicants excel at. If you want an offer, you’ll practice, practice, practice.
So what does a case interview question look like, anyway?
If you’ve never seen a case interview prompt before, the whole process can sound very intimidating. Let’s demystify it a little bit – here’s a sample case interview question you’d see for each basic framework:
Estimate the number of gas stations in Chicago.
Your client is a well-known beer company. The company manufactures and sells beer. It is sold in pubs/restaurants and in bottles/cans (supermarkets, grocery stores, etc.), but mainly in pubs/restaurants. Recently, the client has become aware that profits have been declining while those of their main competitors have been increasing. Where would you start to solve this problem?
A small life-science technology startup, One for the Road, Inc. (ORI), has invested a huge amount of money in R&D and was recently granted a patent for a new breakthrough patent. The client wants to know what approach it should take to commercialize the product.
M&A (Mergers & Acquisitions):
Companies All Liquorice (AL) and Black Delight (BD) are both in the candy industry in the UK. The candy industry produces chocolate, liquorice, and chewing gum. There are 4 players in the market. Besides AL and BD, there is Chewin, the market leader and most profitable company, and Devotion. The market is competitive and strong consolidation has taken place over the last years. Now the Board of All Liquorice wants to acquire Black Delight. Why do you think they want to acquire Black Delight?
Non-standard case interview questions
I’ve heard that some companies/interviewers don’t ask standard case questions. Instead, they ask questions like “How many golf balls would fit into a Boeing 747?” or “How would you rescue the auto industry today?”
That will happen, particularly in later rounds and with more senior interviewers. They may not be prepared to run you through a standard case, or they may want to see how you handle the unexpected. One question we faced (not at McKinsey but another firm) was the following:
Can you explain why Starbucks actively promotes the construction of locations that are so close to each other that they cannibalize sales?
If this happens, don’t panic. The interviewer is still looking for the same things – how crisp and logical is your thinking; how well do you communicate those thoughts; and how much do you understand the basic business underpinnings.
We give you tons more info on the case study interview, sizing questions, and fit/experiential interview questions in The Consulting Bible. With 300+ power-packed pages – including 16 case studies with exhibits – you’ll jump ahead of your competition with this top global resource on consulting interviews.
Click here to buy now and start landing consulting jobs with interview prep or resume prep!