How do I handle gift certificates/gift cards?

For retail B2C oriented businesses, it's not uncommon to sell a customer a gift card for them to give to friends and family. Acctivate offers a few different ways to accomplish this.

Gift cards and gift certificates in Acctivate have a few different options. You could setup the gift certificate as a credit on the customer's file for use at a later time. You could add a negative line item to an order and call it "Gift card" (recommended method for tracking via an account) or you could even make a payment method called gift card. This article will detail those three methods.

Using a customer credit:

Using the Customer payment window, you can add a credit to a customer's file for them to use later. You can even add a reference to the credit for a tracking of gift card ID. To do that, follow the steps below:

Pre-Requisite: You can sell a customer a gift card/certificate via an "Other Charge" item line. Other charge items are great for when you sell an item like a gift card, or add a credit card processing fee. 

  1. Open the Customer Payment window, accessible via the "Cust Payment" icon on the tool bar, or by going to Customer -> Enter Payment.
  2. Select the customer in question who is receiving the gift card.
  3. Enter the amount of the gift card in the payment amount. 
  4. For the payment method, you can choose the payment method that the original customer used to purchase the gift card. You may also choose to create a customer payment method called "Gift Card Creation" or something or the sort for better tracking.
  5. Add a payment memo if desired (suggested to enter in order in which the gift card is purchased on.)
  6. Add a reference # if desired (suggested to enter in "Gift Card: ####" where #### is the number of the gift card.)
  7. Click "Save" to add the credit to a customer's file. 
    1. Payment-1

Now when the customer orders, you can process their order and use their credit (gift card) to pay. Please refer here if you need to know how to use credits.

Using a gift card line item

For customers that would like to track their gift card sales via a special GL account and have the account automatically reduced when the amount is spent can opt for using a gift card line item with a special product class. This process is very similar to our "Creating Customer Deposits" article.

  1. In QuickBooks, create a new GL account with the account type of Other Current Liability since these will be amounts that have not been applied to a particular invoice yet. For ease of tracking, you may opt to name the account "Gift card amounts"
  2. Run a sync, and then create a new Product Class in Acctivate. You can name the product class "Gift Cards" or any other desired name. You'll want to assign the product class "Sales GL Acct" the account you made in step one. Then assign the COGS GL account to be your normal COGS account.
  3. Create a product for the Gift card. This should be an "Other Charge" item with the product class you specified in step two. You will also want to make the product non taxable and with a cost method of none.
    1. GC
  4. For selling the gift card, you can add it like a normal product and set the cost to be the amount at which the card is being purchased. You may opt to change the product's description at time to sell to add on the gift card number. For example:
    1. Gift card
  5. When using the gift card, you'll want to add in the gift card product as a negative amount line item. This symbolizes that the order is being subtracted the amount of the gift card. Then any outstanding balance can be covered at time of invoicing. 

If you check the Chart of Accounts in QuickBooks for "Gift Cards" you should see it balance out with a credit to add in the $50 when the customer purchased, and a debit to subtract the $50 when a customer used.

Using a Gift Card Payment Method

You could create a payment method called "Gift Card" and use it when a customer is paying with a gift card. The challenge with this method is that you would need a way to track the gift card number and amount as well as manually adjust the amount each time the customer uses it.

One suggestion is to take advantage of customer "Popup Notes" that will pop up each time a customer is added to an order. Using these notes, you can track how much a customer still has on their card and then manually adjust the entry each time the customer uses it.

Pop-up notes can be found on the Edit Customer window, under the misc. tab.


The popup note can then be disabled when the gift card has been fully used.