15 QuickBooks Tips To Save You Time & Streamline Your Accounting
QuickBooks can be overwhelming, but our list of tips and tricks will increase your confidence about using the software for your small business accounting.
Using QuickBooks in your business to balance the books and handle finances is the first step to simplifying your small business accounting. But once you start actually using the software, QuickBooks can seem anything but simple. With so many features, transactions, reports, and data, it’s not uncommon to feel completely overwhelmed by the software.
Fortunately, you’ll start getting the hang of how to do things in QuickBooks once you start diving in and exploring the software. For the busy business owner, though, finding the time to learn all of the possible QuickBooks tips and tricks can seem like a monumental task — until now.
In this post, we’re going to break down some of the best tips for how to use QuickBooks Online. These simple tricks can help you easily and efficiently navigate the software and keep your finances on track like a pro, even if you have no prior accounting experience. And if you’re a QuickBooks Desktop user? Don’t worry — we have some neat tricks for you, too.
If you still haven’t gotten enough QuickBooks after all of that, we’ll point you in the direction of additional resources to help you get the most out of your software. So whether you’re a brand new QuickBooks subscriber or you’re still struggling months after signing up, keep reading to learn how you can become a QuickBooks expert with a few easy tips.
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The 15 Best QuickBooks Online Tips
From using keyboard shortcuts to using automations and scheduling, these QuickBooks Online tips and tricks can it even faster and easier to balance the books. Use these tips to save time when using QuickBooks Online and improve your business processes.
1. Use Keyboard Shortcuts
You’ve probably used a keyboard shortcut at least once in your life to copy, paste, or search for text on your computer. QuickBooks Online has its own set of keyboard shortcuts designed to make it easier to access common features and tasks. Here are some of the most commonly used shortcuts:
|PC Shortcut||Mac Shortcut||Action|
|Ctrl + Alt+ I||Ctrl + Option + I||Opens a new invoice|
|Ctrl + Alt + W||Ctrl + Option + W||Create a new check|
|Ctrl + Alt + X||Ctrl + Option + X||Create a new expense|
|Ctrl + Alt + R||Ctrl + Option + R||Receive a payment|
|Ctrl + Alt + A||Ctrl + Option + A||Opens your chart of accounts|
|Ctrl + Alt + H||Ctrl + Option + H||In-software help|
Can’t remember the shortcuts or want to explore the other options? QuickBooks Online has a shortcut for that, too. PC users can simply use Ctrl + Alt + ? and Mac users can use Ctrl + Option + ? for a full list of all keyboard shortcuts.
2. Connect To Live Bank Feeds
By adding your business bank account to QuickBooks Online, your account balances and transactions will automatically update in the software — no manual uploading or data entry required. QuickBooks supports over 20,000 local and international banks, so getting set up should be a breeze.
To get started, click the Banking tab, then choose the Link Accounts options. Follow the prompts to continue syncing your account.
Transactions are updated every night, although you have the option to update manually with a single click as needed.
3. Connect All Of Your Business Accounts
Once you’ve added your primary bank account to QuickBooks Online, don’t stop there. Make sure to add all of your business accounts to get the most accurate picture of your finances — and have all of your account information in one spot. You can add all types of accounts, from credit cards to PayPal. Simply add each account through the Banking tab.
4. Create Banking Rules
You can use bank rules to categorize bank transactions automatically. You can name the rule, set conditions, assign by transaction type, payee, and category, and add tags. You can create one or more banking rules by clicking on Banking>Rules.
5. Set Up Recurring Invoices
Instead of manually sending invoices to your customers each month, save time by setting up recurring invoices in QuickBooks Online. This is ideal for subscriptions that are the same amount and are due at the same time each month.
To create a recurring invoice, make a new invoice by clicking Sales>Invoices>Create Invoice. Under the invoice date, you’ll find the option to create a recurring invoice. From here, you create an invoice as you would normally; you can also set the interval, start date, and end date.
6. Automate Late Invoice Reminders
Don’t chase down your customers that haven’t paid their invoices. Instead, use QBO’s automations to send out late invoice reminders. Not only will you save time by not manually sending out reminders, but these automatic reminders can also help you get paid faster.
To set up this automation, go to Settings>Account and Settings>Sales>Reminders. From this menu, you can turn automatic invoice reminders on and off as well as customize the accompanying email message.
7. Pay Your Bills Online
Pay your vendors and other bills without ever leaving QuickBooks. Choose your vendor and add data, including the due date, amount, memos, and attachments. You can save even more time by setting up a recurring bill payment. To use this feature, navigate to New>Vendors>Pay Bills.
Additionally, you can add integrations, including software you already use to pay bills, such as Bill.com. We’ll dive further into integrations further along in this post.
8. Set Up Recurring Expenses
QuickBooks Online makes it easy to set up and track recurring expenses. You can manually add and set up a recurring expense, or you can make this change to expenses that are imported from your live bank feeds.
To get started, click the Expenses tab. From here, you can add a new transaction or edit an existing transaction. For new transactions, click New Transactions>Expenses. Fill out the form, and click the Make Recurring link at the bottom of the page. You can set the payee, account, interval, payment method, category, amount, and more.
If you’re editing an existing transaction, simply open the transaction, click the Make Recurring link, fill in the information, and save your changes.
9. Use Transaction Matching
There are times when you have to enter a transaction manually into QuickBooks. Let’s say you write a check to a vendor. The transaction won’t appear on your bank feeds until the check has been cashed or deposited and funds are drawn from your account. Instead of waiting for the transactions to update, you opt to input the check payment in QuickBooks as soon as the check is given to the vendor. Once the transaction clears your bank and appears in your live feeds, it will also be added to QuickBooks.
The good news is that QuickBooks Online flags matching transactions, preventing you from having duplicate transactions. To access this feature, navigate to the Banking menu and select For Review. Transactions with a potential match are flagged, so you can click on each transaction, confirm the match (or select the match if there are multiple options), and prevent duplicate transactions from posting to your records.
10. Set Up A Payment Link
Accepting online payments is convenient for both you and your customers. Customers will be able to pay their invoices online easily, and you won’t have to worry about checks getting lost in the mail or spending time depositing cash and checks at the bank.
Through QBO, you can easily set up a payment link. All you have to do is set up payments, create a unique link, and share it with your customers. Customers can then use the link to pay using their card or through a bank transfer. To get started, go to Sales>Payment Links and follow the instructions.
11. Send Invoices Through Gmail
QuickBooks has teamed up with Google to provide a way for users to send invoices right from their Gmail accounts. The QuickBooks Invoicing for Gmail app allows you to invoice your clients, and all invoices are synced with your QuickBooks account.
To get started, install the add-on to Gmail, then click the QuickBooks logo in your Gmail account. You can then sign in to your QuickBooks account to create, send, and track your invoices.
12. Get Business Funding Through QuickBooks Capital
If you need business funding to boost cash flow or cover an emergency expense, don’t waste time filling out lengthy applications. Instead, consider applying for QuickBooks Capital.
QuickBooks Capital can be accessed right through QBO. Simply navigate to the Capital tab to get started. QuickBooks will prefill your information and use data from QuickBooks to determine if you’re eligible for funding. Once approved, you could receive up to $150,000 in as little as one to two business days.
13. Automate Reports
Like most small business owners, you probably run at least one report regularly. Instead of going through the process of generating a report manually, you can automate the process with just a few quick steps.
Navigate to the Reports tab, and choose (or create) a custom report. From the Custom Reports tab, you can set how often the report is sent, an end date, an accompanying email message, and recipient email addresses. Once you’ve saved the changes, the report will be sent as scheduled via email.
14. Use Integrations
Sync your business software and apps easily with integrations. QuickBooks Online integrates with over 650 business apps. QBO has some of the most popular apps across categories, including bill payments, employee management, invoicing, time tracking, analytics, inventory tracking, and more.
Just click on the Apps tab to start searching and downloading the best apps for your business or check out the top QuickBooks Online integrations for businesses.
15. Customize Automations
We’ve already hit on some of the automations available in QuickBooks Online, but there’s an easy way to access multiple automations that can be easily toggled on and off as needed. Through the Account and Settings>Advanced menu, you can choose to pre-fill forms, automatically apply credits, automatically invoice unbilled activity, and automatically apply bill payments.
Using QuickBooks Desktop? Check Out These 10 QuickBooks Desktop Tips
We didn’t forget about you, QuickBooks Desktop users. QuickBooks Desktop also has several built-in shortcuts to help you save time when balancing the books. These tips offer great ways to simplify your accounting processes, from customizing your dashboard and icon bar to signing your checks automatically.
1. Use Keyboard Shortcuts
Like QuickBooks Online, QuickBooks Desktop also has a set of keyboard shortcuts that are used to quickly navigate the software by pressing a few buttons. Shortcuts include:
|Ctrl + I||New invoice|
|Ctrl + J||Customer Center|
|Ctrl + R||Account Register|
|Alt + F4||Closes QuickBooks|
|Ctrl + T||Memorized transaction list|
These shortcuts apply to QuickBooks Desktop for PC users. A separate set of shortcuts is available for QuickBooks for Mac users.
2. Customize Your Icon Bar
You can customize the shortcuts on the icon bar on the lefthand side of your QuickBooks dashboard. This allows you to add, remove, and reorder features, giving you quick access to the features you use the most.
Customizing this menu is simple. Scroll to the bottom of the menu and select Customize Shortcuts. From here, you can add, edit, and delete icon bar content. You can also reorder icons by simply dragging an icon up or down on the list.
3. Use QuickBooks Capital For Business Funding
Like with QuickBooks Online, QuickBooks Desktop also gives you quick access to QuickBooks Capital. Simply click the Banking>Get Capital to get started.
4. Customize Your Layout
You can update the layout of your QuickBooks Desktop software to make it more visually appealing and easier to navigate. To do this, click Edit>Preferences>Desktop View.
On the My Preferences tab, you can update your QuickBooks to show one window or multiple windows, change your color scheme, and update your save settings. Under the Company Preferences tab, you can choose the features that are shown on the Home page.
5. Customize Reports
QuickBooks Desktop has a lot of reports. Fortunately, you don’t have to waste time wading through the reports to find the ones you run most frequently. You can customize and set favorite reports, so the most important ones are always just a click away. Navigate to Reports>Report Center, search through the reports, and click the heart icon underneath each to mark them as your favorites. All reports that were marked will now appear in the Favorite tab in the Report Center.
You can also easily view your favorites through the icon bar by clicking Run Favorite Reports.
6. Sign Checks
You can create a signature file to add to checks, eliminating the need to sign every check written by your company.
To do this, sign your name and upload it to your computer by scanning or taking a photo. Then, navigate to File>Printer Setup. Under Form Name, select Check/Paycheck. Then, check the Print Signature Image box. Finally, add the signature you uploaded by selecting File, selecting the saved image, and save your changes.
7. Calculate Quickly With The QuickMath Calculator
The QuickMath calculator is a quick way to perform simple calculations without having to pull out a calculator or use a separate app on your computer. To use this feature, open the form you will be using (such as an invoice or estimate). You can then either press the equal key or type a number followed by a function, such as:
- Plus: +
- Minus: –
- Multiply: *
- Divide: /
A window will pop up showing your calculations. You can press equal to see your subtotal, C to clear the last entry, or C twice to clear the equation. After completing your calculation, press Enter, and the calculated value will be entered into the field.
8. Lock Closing Dates
Setting a closing date prevents transactions prior to the set date from being changed. This is also known as closing the books. While most businesses do this at the end of the year, you can close the books from any date of your choosing.
To set a closing date, click Company>Set Closing Date. After choosing Set Date/Password, you will be able to select a date and set a password. This password will be required to make any changes to past transactions based on the closing date. Doing this prevents accidental changes that may be time-consuming to identify and correct.
9. Transaction History
If a transaction appears to be missing or something is off with your books, you can view a report of deleted and voided transactions. This report will show what action was taken, when the action occurred, and other transaction details.
To view this report, go to Reports>Accountant and Taxes>Voided/Deleted Transactions Summary. Then you’ll be able to select the fields to include on the report and set filters before viewing the report.
10. Audit Trail
The audit trail is somewhat similar to the Voided/Deleted Transaction Summary. This feature gives you a chronological view of user entries and transactions that have been added, modified, and deleted. This report tracks changes to bills and invoices, updates to your chart of accounts, and even when accounts were last reconciled. If something seems off with your account, viewing these changes in the audit log can help you identify where the problem lies.
To access this report, go to Reports>Accountant and Taxes>Audit Trail.
Extra QuickBooks Learning & Training Resources
Ready to learn other ways to use QuickBooks to your advantage? The best way to find what works for you is to really learn and understand the software. One great way to do this is by using the QuickBooks Online test drive to explore and practice. If you’re a QuickBooks Desktop user, you can open a sample file and start poking around. By using a sample file or test drive, you can test out QuickBooks features without messing up your company data.
QuickBooks also has a number of great support resources for its users. QuickBooks Support has over 700,000 articles covering everything from setting up live bank feeds to connecting apps. Step-by-step video tutorials are also available on a variety of topics.
QuickBooks also hosts numerous webinars to help users get the most out of the software. Webinars last an hour and cover topics such as managing expenses, using QuickBooks Time, and sales and invoices. You can sign up for a webinar directly through QuickBooks.
If you want the ultimate experience, you can sign up for QuickBooks Training. Courses include Mastering QuickBooks Online and Mastering Accounting Basics for QuickBooks Online. Live classes, self-paced courses, and certification courses are available. Please note that these courses do come at an extra cost.
Finally, you can look no further than right here at Merchant Maverick for learning more about QuickBooks — whether you use QuickBooks Pro, QuickBooks Online, or QuickBooks for Mac. Start with our QuickBooks Pro tutorial series, which makes it easy to learn the basics you need to use QuickBooks Desktop in your business successfully.
Have a few QuickBooks tips and tricks of your own? Be sure to share them in the comments below!