QuickBooks® Guide: 6 Easy Steps to Get Started With QuickBooks®

QuickBooks® How To Guide For Beginners: Get Set Up Today

6 Steps for QuickBooks® Success

QuickBooks® is the most commonly used accounting software for small businesses, and it offers users a choice of versions and plans to accommodate the full array of its possible uses. This powerful software is recognized for its robust features and functionality, but it can be challenging to learn to use. Getting started can sometimes be the most difficult part of the process, but after you follow a few basic steps, you’ll soon feel right at home working with the software.

At Accounting Meister, we know QuickBooks® inside and out, and we can provide training, tutoring, and consulting to help you get the most out of your software, whether you’re using QuickBooks® Online, Desktop, Enterprise, Point of Sale, or another version. For those who would rather outsource their accounting, we provide scalable solutions that can handle all your bookkeeping needs. Contact us to learn more or to request a free, 15-minute consultation.

Step 1: Explore Tutorials and Training

There are some good reasons why QuickBooks® is so popular, but one of the top reasons is because of its incredible functionality. While it’s great to know that QuickBooks® can handle so many bookkeeping functions, understanding how the software works, best practices, and what’s required of users are critical steps toward benefiting from all its capabilities.

Before moving ahead with QuickBooks® Online or any other version, be sure to explore tutorials and training so you can get the full picture of how the software works, what your learning curve might be, and what resources are available. While the Intuit website offers some materials, Accounting Meister provides independent QuickBooks® setup, personalized training, and self-paced tutorials to help you get up to speed fast.

Step 2: Decide Which Features Are Must-Haves

Every business has its own unique accounting needs, and before you pick a specific version of the software, it’s important to identify which features you must have. Do you need inventory management? Will you be sending invoices? Are you planning to use QuickBooks® to help with payroll? How about reports and statements, like A/R aging, balance sheet, and profit and loss?

Do you need an industry-specific version of QuickBooks®? QuickBooks® Enterprise offers versions focused on specific industries: construction contractors, manufacturing, wholesale and distribution, non-profit, retail, accounting, and professional services.

After you’ve decided which features are mandatory, it’s time to compare the different versions of QuickBooks® and decide which one is right for you.

Step 3: Pick the Version You Want to Use

Broadly speaking, users can choose between QuickBooks® Online and QuickBooks® Desktop. Within each of those categories, users can select from a range of plans:

  • QuickBooks® Online – Simple Start is the entry-level, basic plan that provides invoicing and payments, general reports, mileage tracking, cash flow, and other essential services. If you have more complex needs or have multiple users, the Essentials, Plus, or Advanced plans may be what you need. Online software is accessed through an Internet browser and is available on any Internet-capable device.

  • QuickBooks® Desktop – Designed for users who need more advanced features and reporting, the desktop version is available in four plans: Pro, Premier, Enterprise, and Accountant. Desktop versions of the software are installed on a specific computer or company server and are not accessible on the go.

Understanding the pros and cons of each version and plan may take some time to work out, but that’s where Accounting Meister can provide valuable advice. Speak with a QuickBooks® ProAdvisor who can help you decide which type of QuickBooks® is right for you. We also offer independent setup and support services as well as personalized training to make your QuickBooks® implementation as efficient and easy as possible.

Step 4: Follow the Prompts

Once you’ve decided on the QuickBooks® version that has all the features you need, it’s time to purchase and set up the software. This software is well-known for all the accounting functions it provides, and it also has a reputation for being easy to use, even for people who aren’t accounting professionals.

During the setup process, the software will ask you for basic information, like your business name and address, the start of your fiscal year, the type of accounting method you use, your currency, and other similar details. This is also where you can add a logo and set up your sales tax, if applicable.

Follow the software prompts until all setup steps are complete, and be sure to click the “Finish Set Up” button to complete the setup process.

Step 5: Sync Your Financial Accounts

Connecting QuickBooks® to your banking and other financial accounts is the best way to ensure your records are updated directly from the bank. Using the software eliminates the need to manually enter any data, which, in turn, greatly reduces the risk of error.

On the Home page, look at the banking menu to find Connect, or if you’ve already created an account, pick Add Account. Choose your bank from the available list. You’ll need to provide your username and password to access the bank account. And if you have more than one account at any institution, you’ll have to select the accounts you want to be connected to your QuickBooks® software.

After that’s done, click Connect, and QuickBooks® will download or sync all transactions from the last 90 days. To reconcile your accounts, these transactions will still need to be categorized after you’ve downloaded them. Click the “For Review” tab to see the transactions that need to be categorized.

Step 6: Set Up the Features You Want to Use

If you’ve done your homework in Step 1, you should know what your essential features are and have some idea of how to proceed. Don’t be afraid to set up a test record or two to learn how to set up the features you want to use.

For instance, if you’re going to be sending invoices, go ahead and explore what’s required to create an invoice.

You may want to add products, customers, and services ahead of time, or you can do it as you go. It may take some experimentation to determine which of these methods works best for you.

Explore the settings and reports to fully understand what the software can do and to get ideas about additional functions you may want to use.

For helpful, skilled assistance with your QuickBooks® setup, contact Accounting Meister. We provide training, tutorials, and consulting services for small businesses and startups, and we can manage your books if that’s a better solution for you. See what a difference working with a friendly, certified, experienced professional can make for you. Contact us to learn more or to request a free consultation.

Scott Meister, CPA

I help small businesses, accountants, bookkeepers, office managers, and business owners with their accounting needs. I’ve used QuickBooks since 2002 and train folks on how to use it efficiently. I create high-quality video training tutorials for QuickBooks and post them on scottmeister.teachable.com. Certifications include: Certified Public Accountant (CPA) | Certified Bookkeeper (CB) | Advanced Certified ProAdvisor for QuickBooks Desktop | Advanced Certified ProAdvisor for QuickBooks Online | Certified ProAdvisor for QuickBooks Enterprise | Certified ProAdvisor for QuickBooks Point Of Sale