This article is part of a larger series on Accounting Software.
In this tutorial, you’ll learn how to write and print checks in QuickBooks Online for bills that haven’t yet been entered. A subsequent tutorial will cover how to pay bills that have already been entered in the platform.
This is part of our Free QuickBooks Tutorial Series, which is designed to help you learn how to execute key tasks in QuickBooks Online, our best small business accounting software. To get the most out of this, you should follow along in your own QuickBooks account. If you haven’t subscribed yet, you can choose from a 30-day free trial or 50% off for three months.
You can watch the video below or read the step-by-step instructions that follow.
Tip: Be sure your checks are QuickBooks compatible. Learn the 5 Best Places to Buy QuickBooks Checks.
Step 1: Open Check From Your Dashboard
Click the + New button at the top of the left menu bar and then select Check under Vendors in the second column, as shown below.
Step 2: Create the Check
QuickBooks Online displays an input screen to create a new check. The exact fields shown on the screen will vary based on your selections in our tutorial on How To Set Up Advanced Settings in QuickBooks Online. The image below shows the check input screen that we used for creating a sample check for this tutorial.
Some of the important fields you need to complete include:
A. Payee: Select the vendor you’re paying from the drop-down box. If the check is to a new vendor, click Add new at the top of the drop-down list and set up the new vendor as shown in How To Set Up Vendors in QuickBooks Online. After selecting a vendor, the billing address should populate automatically.
B. Bank Account: Select the bank account from which you are writing a check.
C. Payment date: Enter the date the check will be issued.
D. Category: Payments must be assigned to either a Category or an Item (J). If you wish to assign the payment to a category, select it here. If you select a category, you must complete the description field through the Customer/Project field.
E. Description: Provide a description of the payment.
F. Amount: Enter the amount of the payment to assign to this category. By default, QuickBooks will enter the entire payment amount. However, the total check amount can be split between multiple categories and items if you wish.
G. Billable: Place a checkmark here if the amount charged to this category will be billed to a customer. However, the preferred method of recording expenses billable to customers is to use items instead of categories as shown in How To Set Up the Products and Services List in QuickBooks Online.
H. Tax: Place a checkmark here if you’re required to charge the customer sales tax when billing them this expense.
I. Customer/Project: Select the customer and project, if applicable, to which you want to bill this expense. If it is a new customer or project, click Add new at the top of the drop-down box and add the customer or project as shown in How To Set Up Customers in QuickBooks Online.
J. Product/Service: This is where you can choose to assign the payment to a product or service item instead of a category. If you need to create a new product or service item, select Add new at the top of the drop-down box and create the item as shown in How To Set Up the Products and Services List in QuickBooks Online. Once you select an item, the fields for Rate, Billable, Markup %, Tax, and Class will populate automatically.
Choose category or item:
The same expense cannot be charged to both a category and a product or service item. However, the same check can include some portion charged to categories and some portion charged to product and service items.
K. Qty: Enter the quantity of the item being purchased. This is especially important for inventory items. Once you enter the quantity, the amount will be calculated as rate times quantity.
L. Customer/Project: Choose the customer and project to bill for this item. This field is required if there is a checkmark in Billable.
Once all the fields are completed, click the Save and Close button.
Step 3: Print & Save the Check
You have two options for printing the check:
1. Print later: You can choose to print the check later by placing a checkmark in the Print later field located under the check number. Printing later is convenient if you are creating multiple checks.
2. Print now: To print the check immediately, click Print check in the bottom menu bar of the input screen.
When you click Print check, QuickBooks will bring up the print queue window that shows the current check plus any other checks you have selected previously to print later. Place a checkmark next to all checks that you wish to print and click the green Preview and print button at the bottom of the window.
When everything is set properly and your printer is ready to go, click the Print button on the preview window (not shown).
The first time you print checks, the QuickBooks Online alignment wizard will guide you through setting up and aligning your printer for your particular style of checks.
After you print the checks, you’ll be asked if your checks are printed correctly. If they are, select Yes, they all printed correctly, and then click Done.
Otherwise, select Some checks need reprinting, starting with check or No, keep all checks in the Print Checks list. QuickBooks will then return the checks that didn’t print correctly to your print queue. This saves you the time-consuming task of changing the check number manually and reprinting any checks.
If you choose to print later, you can print your checks from the Print Checks screen. Click on the + New button on your dashboard, and then click Print checks.
QuickBooks will bring up the same print queue window shown above; and from here, you can continue as you did in the previous steps.
Why You Should Write and Print Checks in QuickBooks Online
Creating and printing checks in QuickBooks Online generally is better than writing checks by hand for several reasons:
- Checks created and printed in QuickBooks are entered in the check register automatically and will make your bank reconciliation easier.
- Your expenses are more up-to-date since your bank register is always current.
- Printing checks is not only easier than writing them by hand, but also looks more professional.
There are two methods of paying expenses in QuickBooks Online. The first is to wait until the expense payment is due and then write a check, which is the method illustrated in this tutorial. The second, covered in our next two tutorials, is to enter a bill when an invoice is received and then pay the bill when it is due.
Avoid recording expenses twice.
If you create a check as shown in this tutorial for a bill that has already been entered, the expense will be recorded on your books twice, and the bill will still be shown as outstanding.
You’ve just learned how to write and print checks for expenses that haven’t been recorded as bills in QuickBooks Online. The next tutorial in our QuickBooks Online Training Course is How To Enter Bills in QuickBooks Online, where you’ll learn the benefit of entering bills as they’re received.