This article is part of a larger series on Accounting Software.
We prepared some QuickBooks tips and tricks that 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. Most of these tips are explained in detail in our free QuickBooks Online tutorials.
QuickBooks Online is one of the most comprehensive accounting software on the market, well-known for its ease of use and robust accounting features, including bank integration and advanced reporting. We hope that you already have a QuickBooks Online account so that you can try these tips right away. Otherwise, visit Intuit to request a 30-day free trial or get a 50% discount for three months.
1. Open Multiple Browser Windows
When using QuickBooks Online, opening multiple windows is a huge timesaver as it allows you to flip back and forth between screens. It’s also an easy way to make comparisons across multiple reports or QuickBooks features. For changes to appear, you may need to update the window by clicking Refresh on your browser.
You can open multiple browser windows within the same company file by duplicating the tab you’re working on (right-click your browser tab and select Duplicate). If you’re using Internet Explorer, you can 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 private browsing) or multiple browsers.
Incognito or Private Browsing
There are a few ways to open separate windows for different companies for one of the windows. This depends 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, log in to QuickBooks as normal and select the company you wish to view. This won’t affect any other tabs with QuickBooks open. Without using a private 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 in to QuickBooks Online through Microsoft Edge and open your second company file. QuickBooks should work independently for each company.
You can execute this and all the other tips discussed on any QuickBooks Online plan. However, to get the best value for your small business, make sure you’re using the right one. Read our QuickBooks Online comparison to check if you need to upgrade or downgrade.
2. Connect Your Bank & Credit Card Accounts
Online banking, 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―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 Link Account on the Banking tab, add your account, and then follow the onscreen steps to link your account information. You may read our guide on how to connect your bank accounts to QuickBooks Online and how to connect your credit card to QuickBooks Online for the in-depth processes.
3. Memorize These Handy Keyboard Shortcuts
Keyboard shortcuts help save you time and allow you to keep your hands on the keyboard as you enter information. Use the keyboard shortcuts summarized in the table below when working in a transaction window:
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
There’s also an easy way to access these common commands with a shortcut:
- CTRL + ALT + ? for Windows PC
- CTRL + OPTION + COMMAND for Mac
4. Set Up Items for Every Product or Service You Provide
QuickBooks Online has two basic sales items: products and services. We recommend creating items for every product or service 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. Read our guide to learn how to set up your products and services list in QuickBooks Online.
When creating an item, you will have four types to choose from Noninventory, 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 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’re ready to take them to the bank. For more information, check out our tutorial on how to record bank deposits in QuickBooks Online.
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. The process can be done quickly if you connect your online bank accounts to QuickBooks Online and perform regular upkeep throughout the month. By reconciling, errors like duplicate entries and incorrect amounts can often be identified because you’re matching transactions entered in QuickBooks Online against transactions shown on the bank statements.
To reconcile your bank account:
- Step 1: Click on Accounting from the left menu bar and select Reconcile.
- Step 2: Choose the account you wish to reconcile.
- Step 3: Enter the ending account balance and date from your bank statement. You may also enter the service charge or interest earned if needed.
- Step 4: Match your transactions until the bank reconciliation has a difference of zero.
- Step 5: Click Finish now to save your changes.
For a detailed explanation of the process, head over to our tutorial on how to process bank reconciliations.
7. Use Class & 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:
- Step 1: From your dashboard, click on the gear icon and select Account and Settings.
- Step 2: Select Advanced, then choose the Categories section to edit.
- Step 3. Toggle the Track classes and Track location buttons to on.
- Step 4: Under Assign classes, select One to entire transaction or One to each row in transaction, whichever you prefer. Check Warn me (not shown) when a transaction isn’t assigned a class. This is optional, but it’s good to turn it on so that when you look at reports, you know that everything has been classified.
- Step 5: Select Save and then Done.
After completing the steps above, class and location fields or columns are added to 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.
You may also want to see our guide on how to set up advanced settings in QuickBooks Online—class and location tracking setup can be found in Step 4.
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, follow the steps below.
- Step 1: Open an invoice or other transaction.
- Step 2: Click the Attachments icon in the bottom left corner.
- Step 3: Browse for the files you want to attach.
- Step 4: 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 entering individual transactions manually that occur repeatedly, you can automate the process by setting up recurring transactions. These include bills, rent payments, income, and purchase orders from suppliers. It helps save you time and also serves as a reminder for upcoming transactions.
Recurring transactions are available with QuickBooks Online Essentials and Plus, and you can create them by following this process:
- Step 1: Select the Gear icon at the top right of the screen.
- Step 2: Under Lists, select Recurring Transactions.
- Step 3: Click New.
- Step 4: Select the type of transaction to create and select OK.
- Step 5: Enter a template name.
- Step 6: Choose a type, such as scheduled, unscheduled, or reminder.
- Step 7: Enter the necessary information.
- Step 8: Save the template.
You can also set up recurring invoices by clicking Make Recurring at the bottom of the invoice window.
10. Pay Bills Online Directly From QuickBooks
Instead of using separate software to pay your bills online, you can pay directly without having to leave QuickBooks. Using Online Bill Pay, you can pay bills and send checks easily without asking your vendors to set up anything on their end. It lets you use a credit card to pay a bill, and then QuickBooks Online will send a check to your vendor. You can also pay 1099 contractors with paper checks and bank transfers, pay invoices, and schedule bill payments in real-time.
You need to activate Online Bill Pay from your QuickBooks Online account before you can use it. To do this:
- Step 1: Click on +New.
- Step 2: Select Pay Bills Online.
- Step 3: Set up your bank account information.
- Step 4: Follow the prompts to connect your bank account then save your changes.
Note that QuickBooks Online Bill Pay is available in all versions of QuickBooks Online, except Accountant.
11. 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’ll see that it’s 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.
12. Find a QuickBooks ProAdvisor
If you’re new to QuickBooks Online, you can benefit from the QuickBooks Online ProAdvisor program. One of the reasons QuickBooks Online is so popular is that it sets you up with Intuit-certified local bookkeepers and accountants—experts who have demonstrated their proficiency with QuickBooks products by passing a series of exams.
With the program, a local certified public accountant (CPA) or bookkeeping expert will help you accomplish various tasks in QuickBooks, such as setting up your QuickBooks company, reconciling bank and credit card transactions, and generating the reports you need to file tax returns.
To find a QuickBooks ProAdvisor, you may browse through Intuit’s directory to find an accountant near you, depending on your city, state, and ZIP code. You can narrow your preferences down by specifying the type of services you need and the industry you’re in, such as manufacturing, construction, property management, and nonprofit. Alternatively, you can sign up for QuickBooks Live, which connects you to a QuickBooks ProAdvisor, but you’ll have to work with them directly within the QuickBooks platform.
13. Add an Accountant User
Another huge advantage of using QuickBooks Online is the ability to easily share your data with your accountant or bookkeeper by adding them as an accountant user—and this doesn’t count toward your standard users. By doing this, they can access your company files without the need to create a backup or send an accountant’s copy. This means they can open and review your files and adjust journal entries if needed.
To add an accountant user:
- Step 1: Sign in to your QuickBooks Online account as a primary administrator.
- Step 2: Click the gear icon and select Manage Users.
- Step 3: Select the Accounting firms tab.
- Step 4: Enter your accountant’s email address.
- Step 5: Send the invite.
14. Install the QuickBooks Online Mobile App
With mobile accounting becoming a norm among modern businesses, it’s crucial to have a mobile app that lets you access your favorite accounting features from your smartphone. The QuickBooks Online mobile app includes nearly all of the features found in the desktop interface, with some added functions, like receipt capture and mileage tracking. It can be downloaded on Google Play and the App Store.
As our best small business accounting software, QuickBooks Online has a variety of tricks to make your experience more efficient. Some features, such as setting up recurring transactions, creating a product and services list, and automating transactions, save you time. Using keyboard shortcuts allows you to keep your hands on the keyboard while you’re entering transactions while connecting your bank and credit card accounts and using the Undeposited Funds feature assists you with reconciling your accounts. Information on how to perform many of these functions can be found within our free QuickBooks Online tutorials.