How To Set Up A QuickBooks Pro Account
QuickBooks Desktop Pro (see our review) may be one of the most popular accounting solutions out there, but it’s not always the most intuitive. That’s why we’ve created a QuickBooks Desktop Pro 101 Series that will walk you through everything you need to know. From setting up your account to adding contacts to sending your first invoice, we are here to help every step of the way.
To kick off this series, we’re taking a leaf from Julie Andrews’ book and starting at the very beginning (it’s a very good place to start). In this article, not only will we walk you through creating your account, we’ll also explain the key preliminary steps you need to take before you start using the software to run your business.
This first article is lengthy, but we promise it’s worth it. Laying a strong foundation is integral to your business’s success down the road.
Using an old version of QuickBooks Pro? Save $100 when you upgrade to QuickBooks Desktop 2018.
Table of Contents
Install QuickBooks Pro On Your Computer
First things first, you’ll have to download QuickBooks Pro onto your computer. Before you do this, look at the QuickBooks Pro hardware requirements to ensure your computer makes the grade.
If you haven’t done so yet, you’ll need to purchase a QuickBooks Pro license. There are two ways to buy the software:
- Directly from the QuickBooks Pro website (for $299.95, price usually discounted)
- From a local office supplies store like Staples (price varies by store)
Step 1: Begin The Download
If you purchased your QuickBooks Pro license directly from Intuit’s website, you’ll be provided a license number and product number. You’ll need to have these numbers handy in order to create your account.
Once you have these numbers, go to your order confirmation and click on the “Start using Quickbooks Pro now” button or go to this download link to install QuickBooks Pro onto your computer. Make sure you’ve selected the right version of QuickBooks Pro before beginning the download.
If you purchased your license in a store like Staples, you’ll find the license and product number on the back of your QuickBooks Pro box. Once you have these numbers, open the package and insert the disc into your computer to begin the download. After this point, the installation and setup processes are the same, no matter which way you purchased the software.
Note: The download will take quite some time.
Step 2: Accept The License Agreement
Once the download is complete, you’ll be taken to a screen that looks like this (except it will say 2018):
Click “Next”; then accept the QuickBooks Pro License Agreement.
Step 3: Enter Your License & Product Numbers
Next, enter the license and product numbers we mentioned earlier.
Step 4: Select Your Setup Process
Finally, select your setup process. Choose either “Express” or “Custom and Network Options.”
QuickBooks Pro recommends Express, which is what we chose for our sample company, but you can click the question mark icon in the bottom left-hand corner of the screen to learn which method is right for you.
Once you’ve selected the proper setup option, QuickBooks Pro will finish installing.
Create Your Account
Once you’ve installed the software, you can begin creating your QuickBooks Pro account.
You can either start from scratch or convert your existing software data. For this post, we are going to create a brand new account so we’ll select “Start Setup.” But if you want to convert data, click the “Other Options” drop-down menu and refer to QuickBooks’ Getting Started Guide to learn how to convert software files.
Step 1: Add Your Business Name
Type in your company’s business name.
Step 2: Select Your Industry
Select your company industry. Click the “Help me choose” link for a drop-down menu of choices.
Step 3: Select Your Business Type
Choose the appropriate business type from the drop-down menu. You should already know this, but you can utilize the “Help me choose” link for additional help.
Step 4: Add Your EIN
Type in your Employee Identification Number. Click on the question mark icon for additional information about this step.
Step 5: Enter Your Business Address
Add your business address including the proper city, state, zip code, and country.
Step 6: Add Your Company Phone Number
Finally, add your company phone number.
Once all of this information has been filled in, click the “Create Company” button in the bottom right-hand corner. You’ll know your company file was successfully created because you’ll be taken to a screen that looks like this:
Get Acquainted With QuickBooks Pro’s Organization
When you first open QuickBooks Pro, it can be a little overwhelming. In this section, we’ll break down the basic organization so you can be navigating the software in no time.
First, you’ll see a home screen.
When I saw the Home page initially, it looked like a bunch of random icons. There is a rhyme and reason to the madness, however. Each icon represents a key feature in QuickBooks Pro. These icons are sorted into five sections:
In addition to the Home screen, there is a menu on the left-hand side of the screen that reads Home, My Company, Income Tracker, Bill Tracker, Calendar, Snapshots, Customers Vendors, Employees, Bank Feeds, Docs Reports, Order Checks, Add Payroll, Credit Cards, Services, User Licenses, and Feedback.
These menu options (or ‘shortcuts,’ as QuickBooks calls them) are completely customizable. Clicking one of these shortcuts will take you straight to the correlating feature.
Underneath, you’ll see My Shortcuts, View Balances, Run Favorite Reports, and Open Windows.
While both the Home screen and shortcut menu will take you to features in QuickBooks Pro, the area you’ll want to familiarize yourself with the most is the Quick Access Toolbar at the top of the screen. The toolbar reads File, Edit, View, Lists, Favorites, Company, Customers, Vendors, Employees, Banking, Reports, Window, and Help.
You’ll use this toolbar much like you would use the toolbar in Microsoft Word or Google Docs. Each toolbar tab takes you to a drop-down menu with a comprehensive list of features associated with that tab.
I know it’s a lot to take in, but don’t worry. There is a handy search bar in the top left-hand corner that you can use to find your way around.
The Preferences section is QuickBooks Pro’s version of Settings. You’ll want to spend a serious chunk of your time filtering through settings and editing the hundreds of preferences options in QuickBooks Pro.
The preferences you should choose will vary significantly from company to company, so we won’t walk you through each step this time, but we can give you an idea of some of the settings you can change in your company preferences:
- Accept multiple currencies
- Enable the inventory feature
- Enable the time tracking feature
- Add integrations
- Accept online payments
- Edit bill defaults
- Set automatic invoice reminders
- Add sales tax
- Choose a default shipping method
- Turn on 1099 filing
Be sure to always click the blue “Okay” button in the top right-hand corner of your screen to save your preferences. You can access Preferences by going to Edit > Preferences, then selecting the category you want to edit from the menu on the left-hand side of the screen.
Add Your Company Information
Once you’ve edited your preferences, there’s some critical company data you’ll need to add before you start using the software.
Gather and enter the following data into QuickBooks Pro:
- Your contacts
- Your vendors
- Your items (or services)
- Your employees
You can add this information manually or import existing files into QuickBooks Pro directly. We cover how to Import A Chart of Accounts, Import Customers, Import Vendors, and Import Items step by step.
Create Your Chart Of Accounts
Setting up a chart of accounts is one of the biggest keys to getting your finances in order. According to Merchant Maverick’s How To Set Up A Chart Of Accounts post:
A chart of accounts provides a way to organize financial information. It is usually divided into five categories: assets, liabilities, equity, income, and expenses.
There are two ways to create your chart of accounts in QuickBooks Pro. You can either export an existing chart of accounts or create a brand new chart of accounts.
If you have an existing chart of accounts, you can import it by going to Lists>Chart of Accounts>Accounts>Import from Excel. Then follow the steps in our How To Import A Chart of Accounts Into QuickBooks Pro post.
If you are creating a chart of accounts for the first time, don’t worry. QuickBooks Pro has got you covered. Remember way back when you were setting up your account and had to select an industry type?
QuickBooks Pro uses this industry to create a default chart of accounts for your company. For our sample landscaping company, Gaffer Gardening, the default chart looks like this:
Now, this doesn’t mean your job is done. You’ll need to delete unnecessary accounts, edit existing accounts to better fit your business, and add accounts that aren’t present.
You’ll find options to delete, edit, or add accounts under List>Chart of Accounts>Accounts.
To determine which sort of accounts you need, or to learn more about creating a chart of accounts in general, read How to Set Up A Chart of Accounts.
Connect To Your Bank Accounts
You’re so close to being able to move on from this long post and begin running your business, but there’s one more thing you need to do. Last but not least, you’ll want to connect your QuickBooks Pro account and your bank account. (You can choose to manually import your banking information instead of opting for live bank feeds, but live bank feeds seriously make life easier).
To connect to your bank account, go to Banking>Bank Feeds>Set up bank Feed for an Account.
Step 1: Select Your Bank
Find your banking provider.
Step 2: Log In To Your Bank Account
Next, you’ll be asked to log in to your account using your banking username and password.
Step 3: Link To Your Bank
Each bank handles this process a little differently, so follow the directions on your screen for instructions.
You’re Ready For Business!
Congratulations! You’ve officially set up your QuickBooks Pro account. Now that you’ve created your account, learned how to navigate the software, and added all of your company information, you can start using QuickBooks Pro to successfully run your business.
If you have any question along the way, don’t forget about the Help tab on your QuickBooks toolbar. You can also check the QuickBooks community for extra help or leave us a comment below. We’re always here to help.
Overwhelmed by QuickBooks Pro? Maybe it’s time to switch to QuickBooks Online. QBO is easy to use, cloud-based, and affordable. Best of all, you can easily import your QuickBooks Desktop data into QuickBooks Online.
Outgrown QuickBooks Pro? Switch to QuickBooks Premier. It’s the same QuickBooks Desktop software you love but with more users and advanced, industry-specific features.