Creating Reports in QuickBooks Online

Reports are the payoff for all of your hard work entering records and transactions. They can help you make better business decisions.

Now that you’ve been using QuickBooks Online for your company’s accounting, it’s probably unimaginable to think about going back to manual bookkeeping. Those file folders and paper forms and scribbles on notepads – all have been replaced with a neatly organized, everything-in-its-place website.

If you’ve been in business long enough to remember the old ledger books, you’re probably especially glad to be able to rely on QuickBooks Online to handle one critical accounting element in particular: reports. You know how important they are in your regular workflow, especially when it’s time to make critical business decisions.

The old debit-and-credit calculations still exist in QuickBooks Online, but there’s no reason for you to ever work with them, since the site handles them in the background.

QBO 0715 image 1_zpsncxa9hqyFigure 1: QuickBooks Online’s Journal report displays the double-entry accounting work going on in the background. There’s no need for you to ever work with debits and credits, thanks to the site’s friendly, familiar user interface.

Robust Reports

There are other cloud-based accounting websites, but nothing comes close to QuickBooks Online in terms of report templates. Click Reports in the left vertical tab to see what’s available. The site’s generous collection of reports is divided into five areas to make access simpler. Individual reports may appear in more than one of these areas:

Recommended. These reports have been hand-picked. Their data changes every time you or one of your employees work with QuickBooks Online, and they contain some of the key information you need to be tracking. The Company Snapshot, Expenses by Vendor Summary, A/R and A/P Aging Summaries should be consulted frequently by you and/or anyone else in financial management. Profit and Loss and Balance Sheet do not have to be generated as often. These are complex reports, and the information they provide needs to be analyzed for you to make sense of it. I can create these for you on a periodic basis.

Frequently Run. This list will be generated automatically, based on your own pattern of report activity.

My Custom Reports. QuickBooks Online offers tremendous report customization options. When you have crafted a report that you think you’ll probably run again (with refreshed data, of course), you can save that format.

QBO 0715 image 2_zpsm4w3xnwtFigure 2: When you click on All Reports on this screen, you’ll see how QuickBooks Online divides its reports into related activities.

Management Reports. These are somewhat complicated, and I hope you’ll let mework with you on them. QuickBooks Online comes with three multi-part report templates that you can view and print as is: Sales Performance, Expenses Performance, and Company Overview. You can also edit and copy these. Management Reports are more polished and comprehensive than other reports, and could be used as part of a presentation.

All Reports. Click on this link to see everything, divided by type of activity.

Make Them Yours

Besides offering a generous number of report templates, QuickBooks Online offers exceptional customization tools. This means that you can carve out the exact subset of data that you want to see.

To see this in action, click on the Reports tab in the left vertical pane, then All Reports | Manage Accounts Receivable | Customer Balance Detail. Click the Customize button in the upper left. You’ll see this screen:

QBO 0715 image 3_zpsd5ep1ykx
Figure 3: Use QuickBooks Online’s customization tools to isolate and display the exact information that you need.

To the left is a list of navigation links that will take you to the section where you want to work. You can also just use the scroll bar on the right to browse through your options. Take some time to explore the possibilities so that when you need a specific subset of data in a report, you’ll know how you can use QuickBooks Online’s customization tools to shape it correctly.

Not every report in QuickBooks Online is as simple and self-explanatory as this one. In fact, there are some reports that I should be creating and analyzing for you on a regular basis; these fall under the Accountant Report heading. I encourage you to master QuickBooks Online’s customization tools for many reports, but do let me help you understand the more complex content that will help you make better business decisions.

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