There is a basic outline you should follow when setting up your QuickBooks Online account. You are given a standard, basic setup but you most likely will need additional configuration.
This checklist will walk you through the initial steps. It is not all-inclusive and you may have additional efforts to get your account into a normal rhythm.
Review this checklist and consider working with your accountant to make sure your account is optimized for future use.
Enter Administrative Details
When creating your QuickBooks Online account the first couple of steps will be primarily administrative. You will need to enter items like:
Business Structure (LLC, S corp, DBA, etc.)
Have these basic details easily accessible to quickly cross this item off your list.
Confirm Fiscal Year Ending
Not every business has the same fiscal year-end.
Depending on your industry, corporate structure, or what you decided when you started your business, it may be different.
If you do need to adjust your fiscal year end it only takes a couple of steps.
Start by clicking the gear icon -> Accounts and Settings -> Advanced -> Accounting.
From there, you will be able to adjust the first month of your desired fiscal year. Easy!
Update Chart of Accounts
When you create a QuickBooks Online account, you are provided with a very basic chart of accounts template. This initial template can be fine to start with if you are on day 1, but you will likely want to tailor your accounts to your specific business.
There is no standard chart of accounts for every business or industry. These accounts will make up the line items of your financial reports so management can make decisions. So ultimately this is up to you, however, some tips are good practice to help you grow with your chart of accounts.
For example, it is not recommended you create an account for every vendor or every SKU. There are additional tools in QuickBooks Online that can provide you with that level of detail.
Work with your bookkeeper or accountant to customize your Chart of Accounts in a way that makes the most sense to you and your business operations.
Sync Bank Account and Import Transactions
Depending on how long your business has been open and how recent your financial reports have been published, this can be a simple or more complex step.
If you are a new business:
You will just need to sync your bank accounts and import any startup transactions. This can be a fairly quick process. You will then want to work with a bookkeeping professional to reconcile your accounts with your most recent bank statement, if available.
If you have historical data/older transactions:
There could be months or even years of transactions. This can make the process complicated if your reconciliations are not up to date.
You will want to first make sure all the appropriate accounts are synced to your QuickBooks Online account. Confirm starting balances and ensure transactions are appropriately synced. Again, you may want to work with a bookkeeping professional to ensure accuracy.
Import Invoices and Bills
As mentioned earlier, if you are just starting your business, you may not need to complete this step.
For more established businesses, you will want to set up your Accounts Receivables - invoices, recurring invoices, open invoices; and then your Accounts Payables - bills, check payments, and expenses.
You may not have a system established for managing invoices or bills, in which case this is an excellent time to start!
Set Bank Rules, Recurring Transactions, and Miscellaneous Items
You will want to finish setting up your QuickBooks Online accounts with the additional features that make managing your account easy. This may include items like bank rules, recurring transactions, or other settings.
QuickBooks Online is the most popular bookkeeping app for small businesses. Knowing how to set up your account is going to be the best way to make sure you benefit from everything it has to offer!