This article is part of a larger series on Accounting Software.
Importing your bank transactions into QuickBooks Desktop helps ensure the accuracy of your financial transactions and accounting data. Today, we present a detailed tutorial on how to move your bank transactions into QuickBooks Desktop Pro and Premier.
There are two methods to import bank transactions to QuickBooks. The first one is by setting up a direct connection, or bank feed, between your bank account and QuickBooks Desktop. The second method is through WebConnect (.qbo files), which doesn’t require QuickBooks to access your online bank account. In this lesson, we’ll cover the two methods of importing bank transactions to QuickBooks Desktop.
We’re glad you’re taking the time to learn QuickBooks Desktop Pro, one of our best small business accounting software. If you’re considering other QuickBooks Desktop products, including Premier, Enterprise, and Accountant, read our comparison of all QuickBooks Desktop products to help you determine which QuickBooks product is suitable for you. You can check out the Intuit website to learn more about the QuickBooks Desktop products.
The following video tutorial illustrates the process of importing bank transactions into QuickBooks Desktop. We also prepared step-by-step instructions below to help you understand this lesson better:
Why Import Your Bank Transactions to QuickBooks Desktop
The ability to import your bank transaction to QuickBooks Desktop is one of the software’s biggest time-saving features. Most banks have online bank features that make it simple to allow QuickBooks access to your account or to export transactions that can then be imported into QuickBooks. Moving your bank transactions to QuickBooks helps you:
- Save time from entering your data manually
- Keep your books updated regularly
- Simplify the reconciliation process
Setting Bank Feed Modes
Before you proceed, make sure that your bank feed mode is set to either Advanced or Express mode. Advanced and Express are similar, except Advanced offers more options to categorize your transactions. See to it that you don’t accidentally select Classic or Register mode; it won’t allow you to import your transactions to QuickBooks.
To set your bank feed preferences, click on the Banking menu, select Bank Feeds, and then hit the Change Bank Feeds mode drop-down:
You should see a pop-up screen where you can set your bank feed preferences. Under the Checking menu, make sure that it’s set either to Advanced or Express mode. By default, QuickBooks Desktop sets it to Advanced mode. Click OK to continue:
How to Import Bank Transactions to QuickBooks Desktop Through a Direct Connect Bank Feeds
Setting up a bank feed establishes a direct connection between your bank and QuickBooks. It enables you to export data from your bank and import bank transactions into QuickBooks Desktop. Importing bank transactions to QuickBooks Desktop through direct connect can be executed in the following steps:
- Log into your bank through QuickBooks Desktop.
- Connect your bank to QuickBooks.
- Import your bank transactions to QuickBooks Desktop.
1. Log into Your Bank Account Through QuickBooks Desktop
From your QuickBooks Desktop homepage, click on the Banking menu on the top of the screen. Select Bank Feeds, and then click on Set up Bank Feed for an Account:
A pop-up screen appears telling you to close all open QuickBooks windows temporarily. Click Yes to continue:
2. Connect Your Bank Account to QuickBooks
After clicking Yes, the bank feed setup screen will appear. From here, you’ll need to enter your bank’s name. The process of connecting your bank account to QuickBooks varies from bank to bank, so we can’t include detailed instructions for your bank, just follow the onscreen prompts:
Next, a log-in screen will appear, requesting you to enter the bank account log-in credentials you use to access your bank account information on your bank’s website. If you haven’t already signed up for online access at your bank, you must do so before continuing. From here, follow the prompts when connecting your bank:
3. Import Your Bank Transactions to QuickBooks
With the bank feed established, your bank transactions will be imported automatically into QuickBooks on a daily basis. You’ll use the bank feed center to manage and review your transactions. The process of managing your transactions in the bank feed center is the same when importing a WebConnect file, so we’ll explain using the bank feed center after a discussion of the WebConnect feature.
How to Import Bank Transactions to QuickBooks Desktop Through WebConnect (.qbo File)
Use the WebConnect method if you don’t want to connect give QuickBooks access to your online bank account. A WebConnect file (.qbo file format) is a file from your bank’s website. Most banks support this type of file.
To import bank transactions through WebConnect, follow the steps below.
- Download the WebConnect file from your bank.
- Import the WebConnect file into QuickBooks.
Before we proceed, let’s see what’s in our checking account register. To do this, click on the Use Register drop-down under the Banking menu.
In the screenshot below, there are two transactions recorded in the checking account register. Later, you should see here the transactions that we’re going to import to QuickBooks Desktop.
1. Download the WebConnect File From your Bank
Log into your bank’s website and download a QuickBooks Online file for the period of time that you’re importing into QuickBooks. Make sure that the file has a .qbo extension.
2. Import the WebConnect File Into QuickBooks
To import your WebConnect file into QuickBooks, click on the Banking menu, select Bank Feeds, and then tap on Import Web Connect File:
In the screenshot below, we’ve saved the .qbo file from our bank in our Downloads folder. Select the .qbo file you downloaded from your bank and click Open:
Your WebConnect file is now transported to QuickBooks Desktop. You can review and manage your transactions in the banking center.
Review and Manage Your Transactions in the Banking Center
Once you import your WebConnect file to QuickBooks, you’ll be taken straight to the Bank Feeds Center. You can also find the Bank Feeds Center under the Banking menu. As you can see in the screenshot below, the three transactions we just imported are now pending for review. You’ll also notice there are four categories for transactions: Recognized, Partially-recognized, Unrecognized, and Added to register. Two of the transactions are in the Recognized section, and one is in the Unrecognized tab:
Manage Recognized Transactions
When QuickBooks automatically matches a bank transaction to one that’s already recorded in your books, it’ll go straight to the Recognized tab. We recommend that you always review the details before clicking on the Confirm button. Under the Recognized tab, on the left side of the screen, you’ll see the Confirm button with three drop-downs: View Details, Not a Match, and Ignore.
- View Details: Clicking this takes you to the actual check. Click Confirm if it matches your bank transaction.
- Not a Match: Click this if the transaction from your bank isn’t the same transaction to which it has been matched in QuickBooks. The transaction will go to the Unrecognized tab.
- Ignore: Click if you wish to do nothing about the transaction:
When you confirm a recognized transaction, it’ll be entered into the account register, as reflected in the Added Register tab. Your goal is to enter the three transactions into the register.
Manage Unrecognized Transactions
There are some instances where QuickBooks doesn’t match a bank transaction with what’s in your books. In this case, you need to review and add it to the account register manually.
However, before we proceed, we need to provide additional details. To do this, click on the Add More Details drop-down under the Add button on the far left side of the screen:
After clicking on Add more details, a pop-up screen will appear, requesting you to enter information including:
- Date: Enter the date the transaction occurred.
- Memo: Enter additional information, such as the purpose of the transaction.
- Number (optional): Assign a unique number to your transaction.
- Payee: Enter the vendor’s name.
- Account: Assign the transaction to the appropriate expense account.
- Customer/Job (optional): Assign to a customer or job.
- Billable: Click on the box if you want to bill the transaction to a customer.
- Amount: Verify the amount of the transaction is correct.
Click Save and Add to Register, and you’re done.
All of your imported transactions have moved to the Added to Register tab.
Now, when you check the checking account register, you should see the transaction you just imported to QuickBooks Desktop. In the check register, you’ll see a little lightning bolt indicating that the transaction was imported from your bank.
How Often Should You Import Transactions to QuickBooks Desktop
A good rule of thumb is to import transactions to QuickBooks Desktop no less than once per month but do it more often if you actively use QuickBooks to monitor your expenses and bank account balances. At the very least, you should import your bank and credit card transactions whenever you receive a statement, but prior to reconciling the account. Check out our tutorial on how to reconcile a credit card balance in QuickBooks Desktop.
Congratulations on finishing our lesson on how to import bank transactions to QuickBooks Desktop. If you’re considering a switch to QuickBooks Online, be sure to check out our tutorial on how to convert QuickBooks Desktop to QuickBooks Online.