Hi Natalie, great question! No you do not have to connect your bank account to QuickBooks. Instead, you can manually import your information from a CSV (Excel) file. Most financial institutions will give you the option to download your bank activity into a PDF or CSV File when you log into your online account. However, in order to have an up to date bank account balance, you may have to import transactions on a daily basis; otherwise the bank balance that you see on the dashboard will be as of the last date you imported your transactions into QBO.
In the How to Import Banking Transactions tutorial, we have a section on how to manually import your banking transactions, check it out:https://fitsmallbusiness.com/import-banking-transactions-into-quickbooks-online/
Thank you for reading!