If you use QuickBooks, there are a number of ways you can navigate things more efficiently if you know some shortcuts. Here are a few tricks for getting more out of the online version of the software.

Calculator Inside Fields: Any field where you enter a dollar amount has a calculator built into it. As you do arithmetic, it will show all the steps in the math you’re doing. When you’re done, click Enter or Tab and it will calculate the total for you.

Find Feature: This is a search feature that lets you look up any transaction in your QuickBooks file. The basic search is in the top bar of the screen. Click on the magnifying glass to see an option for the advanced search window, and recent items you edited. You can search by almost any field, e.g. dollar amount, vendor or customer name, account name, date, transaction type. Click on a transaction to open it, or export the search results to an Excel file.

Classes: Classes give you another field to track transactions by and you can run a profit and loss report, aka statement of activities for a nonprofit, based on class. For example, you can create a class for each department, region, or office in your company and report on each one individually. If you run a nonprofit, you can use classes to track expenses for your Statement of Functional Expenses report for your 990. To turn on classes, click on the gear menu in the upper right, then click on Account and Settings – Advanced – Track Classes. To add a new class, or see the classes currently in use, click on the gear menu and go to All Lists – Classes.

Locations: Locations are similar to classes and the steps for turning them on and setting up new locations are the same as they are for classes. One limitation is that a location can only be assigned to an entire transaction. If a transaction has multiple lines, a difference class can be used for each line, but not so for locations.

Automate Bills and Income (Recurring Transactions): Do you have certain bills or income that happen every month, e.g. a phone bill, rent, or customers who pay you every month? You can memorize transactions and either be prompted to post them each month, or have QuickBooks post them automatically. You can add recurring transactions by going to the gear menu in the upper right; click on All Lists, then Recurring Transactions. You can set them up to be:

  • Scheduled, so they post automatically
  • Reminder, so you get a reminder on your homepage and have a chance to edit them before posting
  • Unscheduled so you can post them when you want, such as if the transaction happens on an irregular basis, or the dollar amount changes.

Export Reports to Excel: You can customize a lot in the reports QuickBooks generates, but can’t really manipulate data or perform operations within those reports. You can export it to Excel to do more detailed analysis. Click Export at the top of the report and choose if you want to export it as an Excel or PDF file. The Export button is a picture of a square with an arrow pointing out of the right side of it.

Download Bank and Credit Card Data: If you have online accounts with your bank and/or credit card, you can have QuickBooks download transactions that post to your account. You should still check it for accuracy, but it can save you a lot of time and reduce the chance for data-entry errors. Go to the Banking tab on the menu on the left side of the screen. If this is the first account you’ve set up, you’ll see a Connect button. If you’ve already set up one or more accounts, click Add Account in the upper right corner. This will download every transaction that posts to your bank or credit card. You’ll have a chance to adjust the vendor and revenue and expense account before posting it. If it matches a transaction already posted in QuickBooks, click Match.