How to use QuickBooks to manage your business' finances

Ryan Ariano
·6 min read
  • You can use QuickBooks as your accounting software for a small- to medium-sized business.

  • You can connect QuickBooks to your accounts to quickly and easily organize all money going into and out of your business.

  • You can also do everything from invoicing clients to paying vendors and more directly from QuickBooks.

  • Visit Insider's Tech Reference library for more stories.

Intuit's QuickBooks has been arguably the gold standard in accounting software since it first came out, following Intuit's successful Quicken.

Intuit has applied several decades of experience to a product that seems to have thought of everything you could want to organize and control your finances.

To get the most out of your QuickBooks software, you need to know all the ins and outs of using the program, from creating invoices to paying your taxes.

How to use QuickBooks

QuickBooks makes it easy to perform a variety of financial management tasks, like creating an invoice, organizing transactions, adding expenses, adding and paying bills, managing employees, creating reports, and managing taxes. Here's how to do it all.

How to create an invoice

  1. In the top-left corner, click on "New" with the plus "+" sign icon.

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    Click on "New" with the plus icon in the upper-left to create many things, most notably invoices. Ryan Ariano/Insider
  2. Scroll down to "Invoice."

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    Select "Invoice" in the pop-up. Ryan Ariano/Insider
  3. Click on the drop-down under "Customer" to select your customer, or you can add in a new customer and then select it.

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    Click on an existing customer to create an invoice, or select "Add new" to create a new customer. Ryan Ariano/Insider
  4. Fill out the template with everything from product to amount. You can also add the customer's email to send it directly from QuickBooks.

  5. When done, click on "Save and send." You will get a preview and the ability to customize the note to go with it. Then, click "Send and close."

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    Preview your invoice, write a note, and click "Send and close" to send directly to the client. Ryan Ariano/Insider

How to organize transactions

You can link QuickBooks to your bank account to have your account transactions uploaded to QuickBooks automatically.

  1. Click on "Transactions."

  2. Click on "Banking."

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    Click on "Banking" under "Transactions" to add a bank account and scroll through transactions in your bank account. Ryan Ariano/Insider
  3. To categorize a transaction, scroll down until you see a transaction you want to edit and click on it.

  4. In the expanded menu, click on "Category," choose the information you want, then click "Add."

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    Categorizing transactions allows you to quickly and easily organize specific transactions going into and out of your account. Ryan Ariano/Insider
  5. If you've added in any transactions manually, click on "Match" in the right column to match it to what is in your account.

  6. You can also create rules to automatically categorize similar transactions by clicking on "New rule" or "Create a rule" and then filling out the form to describe the transaction.

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    Click either button to create a new rule, which allows you to set certain types of transactions to automatically be categorized. Ryan Ariano/Insider

How to add an expense

  1. Click on "Expenses."

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    Click on "Expenses" to add new expenses. Ryan Ariano/Insider
  2. Click on the "New transaction" button in the upper-right.

  3. Scroll down to "Expense."

  4. Fill out the "Expense" form with pertinent details and hit "Save and close" when you're done.

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    Fill out the pertinent details of this expense you're adding in manually. Ryan Ariano/Insider

How to add and pay bills

  1. To add a bill you haven't paid, click on " New" with the plus sign "+" icon and then "Bill" under "Vendors."

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    After clicking on "New," scroll down to "Bill" under "Vendors." Ryan Ariano/Insider
  2. Fill in the vendor information as well as the amount in the form.

  3. Click "Save" to enter it, or click "Save and Schedule Payment" to pay it automatically through an account saved with QuickBooks.

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    After entering the vendor's information, click either "Save" or "Save and schedule payment." Jeremy Dreyfuss, Justin Gmoser/Insider
  4. You can also just save your bills, then go back to "New" and click on "Pay Bills" to see all due bills.

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    After clicking "New," select "Pay bills" in the menu. Jeremy Dreyfuss, Justin Gmoser/Insider
  5. Choose your payment account in the top-left.

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    Choose an account in the "Payment account" drop-down. Jeremy Dreyfuss, Justin Gmoser/Insider
  6. To select all bills, check the box in the upper-left; you can also click individual ones.

  7. You can make the payments directly through QuickBooks by clicking on "Schedule payments online" in the bottom-right corner.

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    After selecting which bills you want to pay, click "Schedule payments online." Jeremy Dreyfuss, Justin Gmoser/Insider

Manage employees

  1. Click on "Payroll" in the left column.

  2. Click on the "Employee," "Contractor," or "Workers' Comp" tabs.

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    On the "Payroll" page, select the tabs for "Employees," "Contractors," or "Workers' Comp." Jeremy Dreyfuss, Justin Gmoser/Insider
  3. To add an employee, click on "Add an employee" under Employee.

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    Click "Add an employee." Jeremy Dreyfuss, Justin Gmoser/Insider
  4. Fill out employee info and hit "Save."

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    After clicking "Add an employee," fill out all the employee's necessary info and click "Save." Ryan Ariano/Insider
  5. You can also add Contractor info the same way but starting with the "Contractors" tab, or click on the "Worker's Comp" tab to get a workers' comp insurance quote.

Create report

  1. Click on "Reports."

  2. Click on the type of report you want to create - most-used types are highlighted at the top but you can also scroll down to other options.

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    Choose a report or scroll down to view more options. Ryan Ariano/Insider
  3. To create a profit and loss report, click on "Profit and Loss."

  4. Once the report is up, you can customize the timeframe as well as the display.

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    Once you've created your report preview, there are options to customize it. Ryan Ariano/Insider
  5. You can also add a comparison column by clicking "Compare Another Period," found on the right.

  6. Click on "Save customization" to apply the changes and run this new report

Manage taxes

  1. Click on "Taxes" on the left side.

  2. Click on "Get Started." The first question is where you collect sales tax.

  3. QuickBooks will walk you through the filing information, including frequency of filing. Once you have it, click "Save."

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    Select your frequency and hit "Save." Ryan Ariano/Insider
  4. Once you've selected the first bits of info, the screen will show "Sales tax due." There you can customize the period. Once updated, click on "Refresh" for an updated sales tax due amount.

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    Once in the "Sales tax due" screen, you can adjust the time period and update the tax due. Ryan Ariano/Insider
  5. If you've filed previous tax returns through QuickBooks, you can find them here as well by clicking on the report.

  6. Once you've seen it, click on "Pay" to see whether it was paid or not.

  7. To get a sales tax report, click on "Run sales tax report" in the menu on the right side.

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    The right column has several options, including "Run sales tax report." Ryan Ariano/Insider
  8. To see what taxes you have already paid, click on "History" in the upper-right.

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