This article is part of a larger series on Accounting Software.
In this tutorial, 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 this free tutorial helps you understand how to use QuickBooks Online better, our best overall pick for small business accounting software. If you want to try it before committing to any plan, you can sign up for a 30-day free trial or get 50% off for three months.
This tutorial is part of our series of Free QuickBooks Tutorials. To complete it, you can either watch the video below, read through the step-by-step instructions that follow or do both.
Step 1: Gather the Necessary Information
Before starting this tutorial, you need to gather the necessary information for each of your vendors. We recommend compiling the information in an Excel spreadsheet or CSV file, which we walk you through how to do this later. If you’re currently using a different program to manage your vendors, you can save a lot of time by exporting your vendor information from that program.
Collect the following information for each vendor:
- Company name
- Contact name
- Email address
- Phone numbers
- The rate you pay to service vendors
- The rate you charge your clients for service vendors’ work
- The amount you owe the vendor prior to the start of using QuickBooks
- Employer identification number (EIN)
Step 2: Navigate to the Vendor Center
Navigate to the Vendor Center by clicking on Expenses and then Vendors from the left menu bar, as shown below.
Step 3: Create New Vendor
Click the green New vendor button in the upper right-hand corner of the Vendor Center to manually enter vendor information.
Step 4: Enter Vendor Information
From the new vendor screen―shown in the animated GIF below―enter as much information as possible for your vendor.
You may see some small differences in the layout of the fields in the new QuickBooks Online interface and the steps discussed in the video.
The following is an explanation of the fields and how QuickBooks will use that information:
Name and Contact:
- Name: Provide the company name and the name of your contact person.
- Vendor display name: This field will populate automatically 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.
- Contact information: You can enter all the vendor’s contact information for easy future reference.
- Name to print on checks: When you write checks to pay vendor bills, the payee information will come from here. Type the payee name here if it’s different from the vendor name.
Address: This should be the address where you need to mail your vendor payments. You’ll be asked to enter the street name, city, state, ZIP code, and country.
Notes and Attachments:
- Notes: You can add notes to enter additional information in your vendor reports.
- 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 reference.
- Taxes: Enter the vendor’s business ID number or Social Security number and check the box for Track payments for 1099 to indicate you must provide this vendor with a Form 1099.
- Payment terms: In the how to set up expenses tutorial, we set up default payment terms like Net 30 for all vendors. Here, you can change the default payment term for any vendor.
- Rates: The rate you pay (cost rate) and the rate you charge customers (billing rate) can be input here if this vendor only provides one service.
- Default expense account: Scroll down to see the default expense account field. You can save time when inputting bills from this vendor by selecting a default expense account from the drop-down list.
- 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’re transferring from different bookkeeping software. You’ll be able to apply future payments to the vendor against this opening balance.
- Account number: Input your account number with the vendor to print it on all checks automatically.
Click the green Save button when you have entered as much information as possible.
Step 5: Review Vendor Set-up
The new vendor will now appear in the Vendors Center. Click on the vendor’s name to go to the vendor information screen.
Within the vendor information screen, click 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 input the data manually into QuickBooks Online. I recommend you enter a few vendors by hand to understand the system and data required better, and then import the remaining vendors with a spreadsheet.
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
Step 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.
Use only the first tab:
Only the first worksheet or tab within an Excel Workbook will be imported. Make sure your vendor information is on the first worksheet of the Excel Workbook.
Here is a worksheet with some of the basic fields included:
Step 2: Navigate to the Import Screen
Step 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.
Step 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.
It’s OK 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.
Step 5: Review and Import Your Data
This is your final opportunity to review the data and how it will be imported 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 the mapping isn’t right, click the Back button to go back and make any necessary changes. You can change any vendor information on this screen if you wish. Deselect any records that you don’t want to be imported.
Select Import in the lower right-hand corner once you’re ready to proceed.
Once the import is complete, you’ll receive a message that the import is successful. You can now view the imported vendors in the Vendor 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 pop-up question.
Vendors with an outstanding balance:
If you try to inactivate a vendor that has an outstanding balance, QuickBooks will give you a warning message and ask if it’s 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 don’t plan to pay the outstanding balance, you should void the outstanding bills before inactivating the vendor.
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 auto-populate.
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.
You now know how to set up vendors in QuickBooks Online. The next tutorial in our QuickBooks Online Training Course is How To Create Estimates in QuickBooks Online, which will cover how to create quotes and bids to send to customers.