In this lesson, we’re going to cover how to set up vendors in QuickBooks Online. We’ll teach you to add vendors manually and import vendor information from an Excel or comma-separated values (CSV) file to QuickBooks Online.
We hope you enjoy this tutorial for QuickBooks Online, our best overall pick for small business accounting software. You can subscribe to QuickBooks Online to follow along in your own account. New subscribers have the choice of a 30-day free trial or 50% off for three months.
This lesson is one in our series of Free QuickBooks Tutorials. To complete this lesson, you can either watch the video below, read through the step-by-step instructions, or do both. The video was made with a slightly older version of QuickBooks Online. While the process of adding vendors is essentially unchanged, the layout of the screens are slightly different. The step-by-step instructions are from the most current version of QuickBooks Online.
Why Setting Up Vendors in QuickBooks Is Important
Setting up vendors in QuickBooks will save time when you enter a bill. Instead of inputting all the details of a bill, you can select the vendor from a drop-down list and many of the fields will autopopulate.
Setting up vendors in QuickBooks will allow you to:
- Expedite bill processing: Enter vendor bills quickly with information like Remit to Address and Due Date prepopulated automatically from the vendor profile.
- Track expenses by vendor: Run reports showing both the total amount spent and the items purchased from each vendor.
First, we’ll explain how to set up vendors manually in QuickBooks, and then explain how to import vendor information from an Excel or CSV file.
How to Set Up Vendors in QuickBooks Manually
1. Navigate to the Vendor Center
Navigate to the vendor center by clicking on Expenses and then Vendors from the left menu bar:
2. Create New Vendor
Click the green New Vendor button in the upper right-hand corner of the Vendor Center:
3. Enter Vendor Information
Enter basic contact information to set up a new vendor. The email address of your contact, payment terms, and the federal tax identification number are helpful and will save you time in the future.
Below is a sample vendor that we are setting up for our fictitious company, Paul’s Plumbing:
The following is an explanation of the fields and how that information will be used by QuickBooks.
- Name: Provide the company name and the name of your contact person.
- Display name as: This field will autopopulate based on the information entered in the company name field but can be changed if you wish. This is how your vendor will show up on your Vendor list in QuickBooks.
- Print on check as: When you write checks to pay vendor bills, the payee information will come from here. Type the payee name here if it is different from the vendor name.
- Address: This should be the address where you need to mail your vendor payments like remit to address.
- Attachments: Vendor documents, such as contracts, Form W-9, or proof of insurance, can be dragged and dropped to this screen to attach them to the vendor information screen for easy future reference.
- Contact information: You can enter all the vendor’s contact information for easy future reference.
- Rates: Rates can be input here if this vendor only provides one service.
- Payment terms: In the How to Set Up Expenses lesson, we set up default payment terms like net 30 for all vendors. If you want to change the default payment terms for any vendor, you can do so here in the vendor profile.
- Opening balance: A vendor’s opening balance is the amount you owe the vendor for periods prior to your QuickBooks Online start date for which you won’t be entering invoices. This is common if you are transferring from different bookkeeping software. You’ll be able to apply future payments to the vendor against this opening balance.
- Account no: Input your account number with the vendor to automatically print it on all checks.
- Business ID no: The Business ID No. can be either an individual’s Social Security number or a federal Employer Identification Number (EIN) from the vendor’s Form W-9. Place a check mark next to Track payment for 1099 if you need to issue this vendor a Form 1099.
- Default expense account: The default expense account field is not shown in the screenshot but is at the bottom of the profile information screen if you scroll down. You can save time when inputting bills from this vendor by selecting a default expense account from the drop-down screen.
4. Review Vendor Set-up
The vendor you set up will now appear in the Vendor Center. Click on the vendor’s name to go to the vendor information screen.
Within the vendor information screen, you can review the details you input by clicking on the Vendor Details tab. Click the Edit button in the upper right corner if you wish to make any changes to the vendor information.
When to Add Vendors Using an Excel or CSV File
It’s much faster to type the vendor information into an Excel worksheet rather than manually input the data into QuickBooks Online. If you have more than 10 vendors to set up, I recommend that you put the information in an Excel document and import the data into the software.
If you’re transferring from a different bookkeeping system, you might be able to export your vendors from the old system into an Excel worksheet that can then be imported into QuickBooks Online. That could save you hours of data entry.
How to Import Vendor Information into QuickBooks Online Using an Excel or CSV File
1. Prepare your Spreadsheet
Each row in your spreadsheet must contain one vendor. Each column represents a field that you wish to import into QuickBooks Online. The following fields are available for import, but you may choose to import only a few of them:
- Company name
- Contact name
- Email address
- Phone number
- Mobile number
- Fax number
- ZIP code
- Opening balance
- Opening balance date
- Tax identification number
The first row in your spreadsheet should be a label for each column, but the labels don’t have to correspond to the exact field names in QuickBooks Online. You’ll have the opportunity to map each of your columns to one of the fields listed above during the import process. It’s OK if you’re missing columns for fields that you don’t want to import.
💡 Hint: Only the first worksheet (or tab) within an Excel Workbook will be imported. Make sure your customer information is on the first worksheet of the Excel Workbook.
Here is a worksheet with some of the basic fields included:
2. Navigate to the Import Screen
Navigate to the Vendor Center by clicking on Expenses, then Vendors in the left menu bar. Select the drop-down menu next to New vendor and select Import vendors.
3. Select the Excel Document to Upload
Click the Browse button to locate and select your Excel or CSV file for import. Then, click the Next button in the lower right-hand corner.
4. Map Your Data
In this screen, you must assign each column in your spreadsheet to the correct QuickBooks Online field.
The left column is the QuickBooks Online fields available for import. The right column provides a drop-down box to select the column from your spreadsheet to assign to the corresponding QuickBooks Online field. QuickBooks Online will make a selection automatically if one of your column headers matches the QuickBooks Online field. However, these are only suggestions, and you can change them as needed.
💡 Hint: Don’t worry if your spreadsheet has extra columns. The only columns that will import into QuickBooks are the columns you match to a QuickBooks field. You also don’t have to have a column for each QuickBooks field. You can indicate No Match for the fields that you don’t have a matching column.
5. Final Review of Data Before Import
This is your final opportunity to review the data and how it will import into QuickBooks Online. Be sure to verify that the number of records agrees to the number of rows in your spreadsheet, minus one for your header row.
If something is not right, click the Back button to go back and make any necessary changes. You can deselect any records that you do not want imported. For instance, the top record below is deselected because it is from a spreadsheet row that is not an actual vendor. Select Import in the lower right-hand corner once you are ready to proceed.
6. Import Is Complete
Once the import is complete, you will receive a message that the import is successful. You can now view the imported vendors in the Vendors Center.
How to Delete a Vendor in QuickBooks Online
You cannot delete a vendor once you have used them in a transaction. For example, once you have created a check to pay a vendor, that vendor cannot be deleted. However, the vendor can be made inactive so that they don’t appear in the Vendor Center.
Navigate to the Vendor Center by clicking on Expenses then Vendors in the left menu bar. Locate the vendor you wish to make inactive and click on the drop-down menu on the far right side of the vendor’s line. Select Make inactive and then confirm you want to make this vendor inactive by selecting Yes to the popup question.
💡 Hint: If you try to inactivate a vendor that has an outstanding balance, QuickBooks will give you a warning message and ask if it is OK to make an adjusting transaction. You should answer No and then record the payment of the outstanding balance prior to inactivating the vendor. If you do not plan to pay the outstanding balance, you should void the outstanding bills before inactivating the vendor.
You now know how to set up vendors in QuickBooks Online. The next lesson in our QuickBooks Online Training Course is How to Create Estimates in QuickBooks Online. That lesson will cover how to create quotes and bids to send to customers.