Learning QuickBooks®
Beginner's Forum For Business Owners Working From Home

by L. Kenway BComm CPB Retired

Learning QuickBooks® to avoid beginner's mistakes ... gives you a hint about what this chat is all about ... tips on how to use QuickBooks® software correctly.

While I will chat about how to use QuickBooks®, please understand that this page is directed to work from home small business owners who do their own bookkeeping.

It is not intended to instruct the "power" users or advanced users of QuickBooks® ... there are a lot of sites out there that cover that material better than I ever could.

So pour some tea into your favorite teacup and let's get started.


QuickBooks setup for transitioning to new sales tax on April 1, 2013.

QBO Canada Customizing Your Sales Tax Codes

Let me walk you through how to setup some customized sales tax codes that will make your data entry easier when learning QuickBooks® Online Canada.

Learn how to setup the meal split code in QBO Canada and how to setup a self-assessing PST code.

These two videos can assist you in preconfiguring your sales tax setup in the QuickBook Canada desktop (not online) version:

B.C. video to switch from HST to GST + PST.

P.E.I. video to switch from GST + PST to HST.

We are not going to be shooting the breeze about QuickBooks® POS software ... or a whole lot about advanced inventory ...

... just useful QuickBooks® tips, tricks and traps that will hopefully make your bookkeeping time more efficient ... and enjoyable ... so you have accurate financial information to make smart business decisions.

You'll find a spot to ask your QuickBooks® questions at the end of this page.

Learn QuickBooks so you can avoid beginner's mistakes.

                               good bookkeeping practice

Do You Have The Latest Version?

Do you have the latest version of QuickBooks 2012 or 2013? Are you using a version from 2011 or earlier? Are you aware of Intuit's sunset clause?

The 2014 version is now out. I don't switch until I know they have release 3 or higher is out. I think R1 and R2 are for those people that love the beta experience.

To check your version, press F2 (or Control + 1) and the Product Information window will open.

You can have these maintenance updates happen automatically by ensuring the Automatic Update feature is turned on.

QuickBooks Canada (and the U.S. too) only supports the last three versions of QuickBooks. This means QuickBooks 2011 will no longer be supported as of May 31, 2014. This means you will not be able to obtain technical support or business services (such as payroll or downloading your bank transactions) relating to the 2011 version after this date.

If you are learning QuickBooks® with a 2011 version, now may be the time to upgrade.

The 2014 version now lets you attach a document to a record, is supposed to automatically handle bounced cheques, have easier tracking of all income, and some improvements to the payroll center.

Learning QuickBooks® ... The Tips

I want to start by saying that you need to be kind and patient with yourself as you are learning QuickBooks®. The program was designed for small business owners and is user friendly ... but there are a few things that have to be done a certain way.

Here are links to a few tips on QuickBooks® procedures that you should learn to ease your learning curve and make your bookkeeping go smoothly:

Vendors - Accounts Payable - Expenses

  • When to use Pay Bills vs Write Cheques

    Pay Bills is used if the bill you are paying is sitting in Accounts Payable
    Write Cheques/Expense is used if the bill you are paying was NEVER entered into AP

  • How to adjust GST ITCs for meals and entertainment

    ✔ CRA only allows you to claim 50% of your input tax credits for meals

Customers - Accounts Receivable - Sales

  • When to use Invoice vs Sales Receipt

    Invoice is used if YOU are extending credit to your customer. It places the amount in Accounts Receivable.
    Sales Receipt is used if the customer is paying you with cash, debit card or credit card at the time of the sale. The amount does not get posted to AR. If a credit card is used, the AR is the credit card company's problem, not yours.

  • When to use Receive Payments vs Make Deposits

    Receive Payments is used if the invoice being paid is sitting in Accounts Receivable
    Make Deposits is used if an invoice was NEVER issued and entered into AR

  • The Bookkeeper's Alert on customer payments and Make Deposits
  • How to enter customer prepayments/deposits in QuickBooks
  • How to record net online sales revenue (less any service fees) directly deposited to your account


How To Record Online Business Income

NEVER use Make Deposits in QuickBooks to record online business income. Interest income ... okay. Earned business income ... not okay. Why?

An important concept when learning QuickBooks is to remember it has modules ... one for customers, one for suppliers, one for employees.

You need to use the correct module to enter your data if you want it to report properly. Otherwise garbage in, garbage out as they say.

In the case of online business income such as affiliate fees, eBook sales and webinar sales, you must enter it into the customer module if you want your sales tax reports to federal, provincial, state and/or territorial governments to report correctly.

Most affiliate income earned online is not paid out immediately. If you use the accrual basis of accounting, you should be creating a bill at the end of each month for the amount you have earned. When the money is deposited to your account anywhere from 10 days to 6 months later, use Receive Payment to record the receipt of cash.

If the amounts you are earning are immaterial, for example you receive a $50 payment about every 6-12 months, it would be acceptable to not setup Accounts Receivable each month and just create a Sales Receipt when the money is deposited to your account or you receive the cheque/check in the mail.

Other information on doing business online:

H E L P !     My A/R ledger is out of balance!!!!

When learning QuickBooks, sometimes you goof. (GASP) If your Accounts Receivable ledger balance does not equal your Accounts Receivable subsidiary ledger balance, then you know you've goofed somewhere in your process. Check:

  1. Your Open Invoice report to ensure payments were applied to invoices. If they haven't, they will show up in the Open Invoice report.
  2. Your Open Balance report if your Undeposited Funds account is growing or you can't find customer payments. Look to see if any deposits were made directly through Make Deposits or even the banking register bypassing the Accounts Receivable subsidiary ledger.

                               good bookkeeping practice

Naming Convention For AR and AP

When you have a business or person that is both a customer and supplier, use this naming convention:

Joe's Plumbing - c ... for the customer (c) name and Joe's Plumbing - v for the vendor (v) / supplier name.

No more guessing the name, initials, abbreviations!

Banking - Cash

Company - Period End Closing
Government Compliance

What trouble are you having learning QuickBooks®?

Learning QuickBooks® ... The Shortcuts

The QuickBooks® accounting system has keyboard shortcuts to make data entry more efficient. There are six different types or categories of shortcut keys:

  1. General
  2. Dates - my favorite category so I talk about it below
  3. Editing
  4. Help window
  5. Activity - I give you a few of my favorites below
  6. Moving around in a window

If you key in "keyboard shortcuts" to the QuickBooks® help menu, the above categories will come up. Click on the one you are interested in. Take the time when learning QuickBooks to memorize the shortcuts ... it will save you time.

My favorite shortcut keys are the dates. It is really quick and easy to enter dates using these shortcuts. They work in the desktop version AND online version.

  • The + or - key can be used to increase or decrease the date by one day to the next day or the previous day. Please note the - does not work in QuickBooks Online Canada at the time of this writing.
  • Typing T in the date field will give you Today's date.
  • W gives you the first day of the Week
    • K gives you the last day of the Week.

  • M gives you the first day of the Month
    • H gives you the last day of the Month.

  • Y gives you the first day of the Year
    • R gives you the last day of the Year.

  • If you want the date calendar to pop open, your shortcut key is Alt + down arrow.

As you can see, the keys are easy to remember because they are tied to what you want to accomplish and they are not case sensitive ... one of the reasons these are my favorite keys ... I can actually remember with no effort. That is great accounting system design.

A few activity shortcut keys that are very useful ... but only in the desktop version.

Ctrl + G ... transfers you to the line/entry of the account register directly from the entry you are in ... a real time saver when working on the bank reconciliation and one of my all time favorites!

Ctrl + M ... is one I use frequently to memorize a recurring transaction or report.

Ctrl + T ... takes you to your memorized transaction list.

Ctrl + Y ... opens up the transaction journal so you can see the entry in debits and credits ... bookkeepers like this one. :0) It's especially useful when using the forms to see the other side of the entry.

  • In the QuickBooks® online version, look for "More" in the module you are in ... usually near the bottom right menu bar. You will see "transaction journal" in the popup menu. See the image on the right hand side below.

Ctrl + I ... quickly opens a customer invoice.

Ctrl + A ... brings up your COA but I prefer use my icon bar to get to my COA.

F2 let's you see the number of vendors, employees, and customers ... and the version you are using along with what updates have been installed.

F1 gets you to the contextual Help menu ... which helps to let you exhale while you are learning QuickBooks®! :0)

In QuickBooks® Online Canada you do have some keyboard shortcut keys ... just less of them. You can view your options by pressing your Control+Alt keys simultaneously. I suggest you take a snapshot of the table and keep it open on your desktop while you are learning your options.

What are your favorite shortcut keys in QuickBooks®?

Learning QuickBooks® ... The Reporting

Follow these links for customized QuickBooks® reports and other useful information to assist the management of some of your balance sheet accounts.

Do you have a customized QuickBooks® report that has made your job easier?

The Forum

Ask A Learning QuickBooks® Question Here

Are you learning how to use QuickBooks®? Maybe this forum can help you out ... it is strictly for beginner's ... no advanced stuff here.

Ask your beginner QuickBooks® questions here ... I promise the answer won't be to go talk to a professional.

Hopefully others who know QuickBooks® will join in too ... offering to share their expertise.

Contributions to this site are moderated. They may be edited for grammar, spelling, and presentation. (I may even change your title if I think it will help the search engines find your page.)

Your contribution will appear below once it has been approved.

Learning QuickBooks® Questions & Answers
Visitors Have Already Asked ...

Click below to see the contributions that have been made already. Enter the discussions. There is usually more than one right answer or more than one way to do something ... so tell us what you think!

You can help make Learning QuickBooks® better by adding your comments and ratings to one or more contributions.

How To Record A Double GST Payment? 
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Sales Tax on Paid Parking Tickets 
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Daily Sales Summary 
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Fixing a QuickBooks Mess 
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How To Track Customer Deposits 
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Year-end Trial Balance Report 
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Entering GST/HST Late Filing in QuickBooks®  
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How to Fix Entries Already Reconciled 
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Sales Receipt Requirements 
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HST From Purchases 
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Recording PayPal Fees 
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How to Recover Lost Data in QuickBooks 
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QuickBooks Receive Payment 
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Petty Cash 
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Sales Tax Return Already Filed 
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QuickBooks Bank Reconciliation 
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Refund of HST 
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Accountants Copy 
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Personal Expense on Business Account 
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Entering Invoices from a Supplier 
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Loan Proceeds Not Deposited To Bank 
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Reverse Sales Tax Filing in QuickBooks 
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Click here to write your own.

QuickBooks Conversion 
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Vendor Prepayments 
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Payroll Liability Refund 
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Foreign Exchange Transactions 
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Interest Received in a Deposit 
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Customer Deposits 
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Cost of Goods Sold
In a Resale Printing Corporation
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Recording a Direct Deposit
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Self Assessing PST 
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Entries for Graphic Artist Business 
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Setting up QuickBooks 
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Accounts Receivable Clean Up 
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Reconciliation Issues with ...
General Journal
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Reimbursed Expenses 
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Payment of Owner's Expenses 
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QuickBooks Version 
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QuickBooks Online FX Transactions and Conversion 
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Inventory Entries for Restaurant 
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Credit Card Bank Account Not rated yet
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QuickBooks Online Vs. Desktop Not rated yet
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Inventory Assembly Not rated yet
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COGS Help Not rated yet
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Click here to write your own.

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GST Mapping Changes Not rated yet
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Trucking Fees From Vendors Not rated yet
When we receive an invoice (and goods) from our vendor(s), we are charged trucking, which I have set up under "Other" in Expenses. However, we also …

Memorized Transactions Not rated yet
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Cost of Goods Sold Not rated yet
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Wrong account entries Not rated yet
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QuickBooks File Set up Not rated yet
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Quickbooks Clean Up Not rated yet
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Adjusting Journal Entries With HST Not rated yet
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Cost of Goods Credit Cards Not rated yet
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Items Multiple Unit of Measure Not rated yet
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Prepayment to Foreign Vendor Not rated yet
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Booking Meals & Entertainment Expenses Not rated yet
Hi There, I am using QB and was wondering how I should book the meals and entertainment expenses given that they only have a 50% eligibility. Do …

Printing Customer List With Balances Not rated yet
I can't print Transactions:Invoices:and only a portion of the list. Hello Nancy, I'm not sure where you are at ... but when I want to print …

Paying Bills in QuickBooks® Not rated yet
Hey there! I am using QuickBooks® to do the bookkeeping for a company with many bank accounts. I understand how to enter in vender bills to the …

Click here to write your own.

That's it for today. I hoped you enjoyed this introduction to learning QuickBooks® and found the information useful, practical ... and not too overwhelming.

It's been great chatting with about bookkeeping today.

It's been great chatting with you .
Your tutor Lake

10 Part QuickBooks® Primer
Click on any image below to go to the chat.

How to use QuickBooks to create customized reports.

Part 1

Accounting System Flowchart

Learn How To Customize Reports

Closing Procedures, Tracking GST/HST/PST

How to record a foreign wire transfer in QBO

Part 2

Recording Foreign Wire Transfers
in QuickBooks Online 

Part 3

Setup Meals Sales Tax Code


Part 4

Setup Self Assessing PST Codes
in QuickBooks Online 

You've got this!

Part 5

Supplier Refunds & Credits

Marnie's Shortcut

Part 6

Debit Card Refunds

Learn How To Use QuickBooks

Part 7

Beginner's Tips on A/R, A/P, Banking

Period End Closing Adjusting Entries

Shortcuts, QBO apps, Beginner's FORUM

Part 8

QuickBooks Desktop to Online
Conversion Problems 

Handling Inventory Returns for Damaged Goods

Part 9

Handling Inventory Returns for Damage Goods

Part 10

Recording CBSA Duties & GST

QuickBooks® is a registered trademark of Intuit Inc. Screen shots © Intuit Inc. All rights reserved.

Click here to subscribe to QuickBooks Online Canada. I do not receive any commissions for this referral.

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