QuickBooks Online Banking - Get the Most with these 10 Tips

I love QuickBooks online banking! It is so much easier to use than entering individual transactions for checking and credit card accounts.

It's great if you use your ATM card or credit card a lot, because you won't have to enter the transactions manually. Download once or twice a month to keep account balances current in QuickBooks.

Here are 10 tips to help you use QuickBooks Online Banking effectively. I developed them over years of working with clients, and by helping people via various accounting forums.

1. Backup Before Downloading. Especially when setting up a new account, the QuickBooks download may not go according to plan. If this happens simply restore the backup - so easy! This wipes the slate clean, returning your .qbw file to the state is was before you downloaded.

2. Download Before Reconciling. QuickBooks will not match a downloaded transaction to a reconciled one, even if it is the same transaction. Reduce the likelihood of this happening by downloading immediately before you reconcile. This way, all your transactions are entered into the register, and reconciling should go smoothly.

3. Understand File Types for Download. There are 2 types of files that can be downloaded:

  • A Web-Connect file, which is a fancy way of saying .qbo. This is the ideal type. Try to get one of these whenever you can. Also, if you switch banks, make sure your new bank offers this type.
  • A .iif file. Intuit Import Interchange Files can be used as well. I prefer the .qbo's since they are specific to QB online banking, but an .iif can be used as well.
  • Banking transactions cannot be imported into QuickBooks Online Banking with an Excel file.

4. Have Only One QuickBooks Online Banking Window Open. Make certain that you have only ONE online banking window open. QuickBooks will allow more than one open - this is a programming error in my opinion. Here's why.

QB allows you to work in one window, go to another task in QB, and come back to your online banking session via the other window. You may feel confused, because the other window will not show the work you did in the first window. You might duplicate your work, or lose work. Avoid this and make sure that only one window at a time is open.

5. Understand Your Connection. There are two ways QuickBooks downloads transactions:

  • The first way is through a "Web-Connect." The internal QB web browser opens and takes you to the financial institution's website. Sign into your account, and navigate to the place where you can download transactions. Normally you will download a small file to somewhere on your computer, then import it into QB via the file menu. Sometimes a .iif file is offered; try to get a .qbo file if you can.
  • The second way is a direct connection. QB asks for your password, then downloads transactions directly, without opening the QB web browser.

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6. Make a 'QB Downloads Folder' for Your Desktop. Setting up and using a QB Downloads folder makes it easy to remember where you downloaded the files. Download them to this folder, then from the File menu, choose them to be imported.

After the import is finished, go back to the folder and throw the file away. You don't want to accidentally import it again.

7. Upgrade Before Sunset. Intuit has really done a fabulous job making bookkeeping and financial reporting about as easy as it can get. They can't support their products forever, so they must 'sunset' older products. This means that they no longer offer support or services for them.

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For you, this means that in order to always be able to use the banking online QuickBooks services, you must upgrade about every 3-4 years. So it will cost you $XXX.XX (depending on which version and how many users) every 3-4 years to maintain QuickBooks online banking, along with other handy features such as:

  • Emailing invoices, purchase orders, and other forms and reports
  • QuickBooks Payroll (but some versions upgrade your software every year automatically)
  • QB Bill Pay
  • QuickBooks Merchant Account Service

8. Correct Dates for Download. If your financial institution uses the "web-connect" described above, it may or may not keep track of the last date you downloaded. If yours does not, you'll have to try to remember the last time you downloaded. A good rule of thumb is to download each time you receive a statement, and use the statement dates a guide. If you accidentally overlap dates, you will download transactions twice.

9. Match and/or Enter Transactions Correctly. For example:

  • If you previously invoiced a customer in QB, and are now trying to enter their payment as an individual deposit via your online banking session, make sure you use the "Receive Payments" option when entering the deposit into QuickBooks. This will record that your customer no longer owes that money.
  • If you previously entered an unpaid bill into QB, but did not use the Pay Bills feature, instead writing a check (or using your debit card) and are now recording the check written for the bill via your online banking session, make sure you use the "Pay Bills" option. This will record that you no longer owe the vendor the money in QB.

In both of these examples the transaction should have been assigned the "Unmatched" status initially. If the transaction was assigned the "Matched" status, you don't need to do anything to it in the QuickBooks online banking window. It means you already recorded it correctly.

10. Be Careful about Deleting the QuickStatement. 'QuickStatement' refers to the transactions that have been downloaded but not yet entered into QB. Sometimes, the QuickStatement gets filled with unmatchable transactions and you can simply delete it. However, before deleting it, make sure that every transaction that can be matched, is matched. If matchable transactions remain on a deleted QuickStatement, you will probably have to enter them manually or redownload from your financial institution.

QuickBooks online banking - a huge time saver if used properly!

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