This article is part of a larger series on Accounting Software.
QuickBooks Online is one of the most comprehensive accounting software packages on the market. It is popular for its ease of use and robust accounting features that include bank integration and advanced reporting. However, getting up to speed on QuickBooks can be challenging if you’re just getting started. Even pros may be missing critical tips and shortcuts that can save you hours each month.
These tips and tricks can save you time by reducing repetitive tasks and minimizing scrolling for the data you need. Discover how to work more effectively by using keyboard shortcuts, automating some of your work, displaying data in different ways, and making your files more accessible. For a more in-depth look at using QuickBooks efficiently, explore our free QuickBooks Online tutorials.
1. Open Multiple Browser Windows
When using QuickBooks Online, the ability to open multiple windows is a huge timesaver as it allows you to flip back and forth between screens. It is also an easy way to make comparisons across multiple reports or QuickBooks features. You may need to update the window for changes to appear by clicking Refresh on your browser.
You can open multiple browser windows within the same company file by duplicating the tab that you’re working on with these two steps:
- Right-click your browser tab
- Select Duplicate
If you’re using Internet Explorer, you can also hit Ctrl + K to duplicate your tab. Now that you have two tabs logged in to your account, you have the option of pulling one out of the window so that you can work on two different screens side-by-side.
You can only use this simple method of opening multiple tabs if each tab is viewing the same company. For viewing different companies simultaneously, you have two options: incognito mode or using multiple browsers.
To open separate windows for different companies, you can use incognito mode, also called private browsing, for one of the windows. There are different ways to do this, depending on which browser you’re using.
- Google Chrome: Ctrl + Shift + N
- Firefox, Internet Explorer, and Microsoft Edge: Ctrl + Shift + P
- Safari: Command + Shift + N
After opening an incognito window, login to QuickBooks as normal and select the company you wish to view. This won’t affect any other tabs with QuickBooks open. Without using an incognito browser, navigating to QuickBooks Online will open whatever company is already open in that browser automatically.
You can also use two different browsers to view multiple companies in separate windows. For example, try logging into QuickBooks Online through Chrome and open your company file. Then, log into QuickBooks Online through Microsoft Edge and open your second company file. QuickBooks should work independently for each company.
2. Connect Your Bank and Credit Card Accounts
Online Banking, which is also known as Bank Feeds, is one of QuickBooks Online’s most helpful and time-saving features. When you connect an account, QuickBooks downloads and categorizes bank and credit card transactions for you automatically. It enters the details so that you don’t have to enter transactions manually―you only need to approve the work. You can connect as many accounts as necessary.
To connect bank transactions and credit card accounts in QuickBooks Online, select Connect Account on the Banking tab, add your account, and follow the onscreen steps to link your account information. Follow along with our free tutorial on feeds to connect your bank account online. Our free tutorial on importing credit card transactions will show you how to connect your credit card account to QuickBooks.
3. Memorize These Handy Keyboard Shortcuts
Keyboard shortcuts can help you save time and allow you to keep your hands on the keyboard when you enter information into QuickBooks Online. Use these keyboard shortcuts when working in a transaction window. Mac users can substitute Option for Alt in the following table.
There’s also an easy way to access these common commands with a shortcut of its own. By hitting CTRL + ALT + ? for PC or CTRL + OPTION + MAC, a menu will pop up with these shortcuts, which are summarized below.
Open the Expense window
Open the Estimate window
Open the Invoice Transaction window
Open the Receive Payment window
Display the Lists page
Display the Customers page
Display the Vendors page
Display the Chart of Accounts page
Display the Search Transactions page
Display keyboard shortcuts
Print the transaction
4. Set Up Items for Every Product or Service You Provide
QuickBooks Online has two basic sales items: products and services. Both represent something that you sell to customers. We recommend creating items for every product or service that you provide so that issuing invoices and entering purchases will be much quicker. This will also give you more detail with reports, allowing you to track financial info by product or service.
To create a new product or service item in QuickBooks Online, follow along with our free tutorial. When creating an item, you will have four types to choose from: Non-inventory, Service, Bundle, and Inventory. Bundles and inventory tracking are only available with QuickBooks Online Plus and Advanced. Bundle allows you to package and sell multiple items as a single product or service while Inventory allows you to track exact quantities and costs of products on hand.
5. Use the Undeposited Funds Account When Making a Deposit
The Undeposited Funds account keeps a record of payments in QuickBooks until you deposit the same payments physically at your bank. Banks often combine all of the payments you deposit into a single transaction. Once you have your deposit slip and know which payments your bank combined, you can do the same in QuickBooks. This makes reconciling your bank accounts much easier.
You can think of the Undeposited Funds account as a virtual “lockbox” that you store your payments in until you are ready to take them to the bank. For more information about how to record bank deposits in QuickBooks Online, see our tutorial.
6. Reconcile Your Bank Account at Least Monthly
To ensure accurate financial data, you must reconcile your bank accounts monthly, ideally when you receive the alert that your bank statement is available. By reconciling your bank accounts, you ensure your financial reports are precise, and your tax records are accurate. To learn how to process bank reconciliations, check out our free tutorial.
Errors like duplicate entries, miscategorized transactions, and incorrect amounts can often be identified while reconciling bank statements because you’re matching transactions entered in QuickBooks Online against transactions shown on the bank statements. The process can be done fairly quickly if you connect your online bank accounts to QuickBooks Online and perform regular upkeep throughout the month.
7. Use Class and Location tracking
Classes represent different aspects of your business like departments or product lines. You can use classes to obtain deeper insights into the sales, expenses, and profitability of each part of your business. Once you turn on the feature, you can assign classes to transactions. Here’s how to enable class and location tracking:
1. On your Dashboard, go to Settings ⚙ and select Account and Settings.
2. Select Advanced, then select the Categories section to edit.
3. Check Track classes.
4. Check Warn me when a transaction isn’t assigned a class. This is optional, but it is good to turn on so that when you look at reports, you know that everything has been classified.
5. Under Assign classes, select One to entire transaction or One to each row in transaction, whichever you prefer.
6. Check Track locations.
7. Select Save, then Done.
This adds class and location fields or columns on your forms so you can assign each transaction a class and location. After assigning transactions, you can print many reports separately for each class or location.
8. Use Attachments
QuickBooks Online lets you upload and save attachments to any transaction. This makes referencing source documents easier and more efficient. To add an attachment:
- Open an invoice or other transaction.
- Click the Attachments icon in the bottom left corner.
- Browse for the attachment.
- Click Save.
QuickBooks Online lets you view the source document when viewing the transaction. This is helpful for receipts, bank statements, copies of transactions, and so on.
9. Set Up Recurring Transactions
Rather than manually entering individual transactions that occur repeatedly, you can automate the process by setting up recurring transactions. These include bills, rent payments, or income, and purchase orders from suppliers. Setting up recurring transactions helps save you time and also serves as a reminder of transactions coming up in the future.
Recurring transactions are available with QuickBooks Online Essentials or Plus, which you can create with the following steps:
- Select the Gear icon at the top right of the screen.
- Under Lists, select Recurring Transactions.
- Click New.
- Select the type of transaction to create and select OK.
- Enter a template name.
- Choose a type: scheduled, unscheduled, or reminder.
- Enter the necessary information.
- Save template.
You can also set up recurring invoices by clicking Make Recurring at the bottom of the invoice window.
1. To create an invoice for a specific customer, click Create Invoice next to their name. The invoice window will display.
2. Complete the Invoice form. There are several key elements to completing the form. They are the following:
- Choose the customer
- Choose the Invoice date and Due date if applicable.
- Choose the Product/Service. Enter a Quantity and Rate.
- Choose the Sales Tax rate.
3. Click Make recurring. You can also select the options to send emails automatically and print the invoice later.
4. Click Save Template. This will not only create the invoice but also send it automatically on the assigned date.
10. Set Up Your Favorite Reports
To view available reports, click on the Reports menu item on the left navigation bar. On the Reports page, you will see that it is divided into three tabs: Standard, Custom, and Management Reports. At the top of the Standard page is the Favorites page. You can add any report to this list by clicking the star button next to it.
While QuickBooks Online is the Best Overall Small Business Accounting Software, there are a variety of tricks to save time and make your experience more efficient. Some features, such as setting up recurring transactions and creating a product and services list, automate transactions, which translates to one less step. Others, such as using keyboard shortcuts, allow you to keep your hands on the keyboard while you’re entering transactions. Connecting your bank and credit card accounts and using the undeposited funds feature within QuickBooks Online assists you with reconciling your accounts, which is recommended on a monthly basis. Information about how to perform many of these functions can be found within our free QuickBooks Online tutorials.