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 desktop version of the software.

Right-Click Menus: Many places in QuickBooks have right-click menus so you can avoid going through the toolbar. For example, if you have the chart of accounts open, the right click menu lets you add, edit, and delete accounts, customize the columns, or get a QuickReport.

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. Open it with Ctrl-F. You can search by almost any field, e.g. dollar amount, vendor or customer name, account name, date, transaction type. Double click on a transaction to open it, or export the search results to a CSV or Excel file.

Classes: Classes give you another field to track transactions by and you can run reports 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, go to Edit – Preferences – Accounting – Company Preferences – Use class tracking. To see the classes currently in use, go to Lists – Class List. You can add a new class with the right-click menu in the Class List, or by going to Edit – New Class.

Automate Bills and Income (Memorize 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. See this link for how to set up memorized transactions. It uses bills as an example, but can also be used for other types of transactions, e.g. invoices to customers and journal entries.

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 a CSV or Excel file.

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. See this link for detailed instructions for setting this up, with video as well as written instructions with screenshots.

Multiple Bank Accounts: If you have multiple bank accounts, you can change the background color of the check register for a visual reminder of which account you’re looking at. Open the register for an account, click on the Edit menu, and select Change Account Color.