QuickBooks Secrets

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When Intuit launched the QuickBooks program, it was little more than a computerized bank register with a few features. Today, this program has been tweaked, improved and added to each and every year to become what it is, a complete fully functional accounting program. But even those who have been using QuickBooks for years don’t always discover all the little gems hidden within the depths of the day to day use of the program. Here are some ways to get more out of your QuickBooks program.


It’s important to remember that your QuickBooks file can be accessed by anyone within the company with your permission (and passwords) but with that access that lets you see what you need to and others see what they need to see there are preferences. You can set your preferences in any one of 19 (or more depending on which year QuickBooks you are using) different areas. These areas include:

  • Accounting
  • Bills
  • Checking
  • Desktop view
  • Finance charge
  • General
  • Integrated applications
  • Items & inventory
  • Jobs & estimates
  • Payroll & employees
  • Reminders
  • Reports and graphs
  • Sales and customers
  • Sales taxes
  • Send forms
  • Service connection
  • Spelling
  • Taxes
  • Time tracking

The nice thing about QuickBooks is that you can change your preferences and leave the Company Preferences view alone. It is entirely customized to whatever your needs are. In each of these 19 categories there are a multitude of options.

The default screen reveals a flow chart of typical accounting activity in any business. Unless you’ve taken your share of accounting classes, you may not appreciate the simplicity of its design. Go to the preferences menu and under “Desktop View” choose the “Company Snapshot” for your desktop view. This is popular because it summarizes the revenues and expenses and profit and loss situation of your business.


If your company file is rather large, you may experience slow-downs when using the ‘search’ feature in looking for a specific transaction. Go to the Preferences and look under the Company Preferences tab. On the box labeled Indexing, you may find a default 30 minute interval at which the QuickBooks program will save all transactions entered at 30 minute intervals. The problem is that indexing can slow the program down when you are using it so you can use the preferences to choose a longer interval of time.


There are several one-time messages that are triggered at certain points when the user first begins using QuickBooks. These messages remind the user of basic functions of QuickBooks and once seen, do not appear again. If you end up replacing your accountant, you may want those reminders to return, in case they are not familiar with the program. Again visit the preferences menu and look under General preferences, locate the “Bring back all one-time messages” box and they will return.

Adding Multiple List Items

In QuickBooks, you can add each item or service that your business sells. This allows you to enter your costs for that item or service so that you can calculate the profits made with a good deal of accuracy. But there is a lot of information to add for each item. You can save time by going to the “Lists” menu and clicking the “Add/Edit Multiple Entries” option. This opens up a spreadsheet that allows you to enter the items in a quick format and import them into the company file.

Modifying Reports

There is a plethora of automatically generated reports in QuickBooks. No one will use all of them. (Although they probably should.) There are some reports you will need to run regularly, but you won’t need all of the information they give. You can modify these reports to give you only the information you want. If this is a long report you are looking for, and your company file is large, you may want to modify the report before it generates to save time. Go to the “Preferences” option and click “Report”. Locate the “Prompt Me To Modify Report Options” box and check it. This can save you a lot of time.

Exporting/Refreshing Reports in Excel

The QuickBooks program allows users to export the data in all those reports to Excel spreadsheets to manipulate the numbers or to simply put the numbers in usable form. In the recent 2012 version of QuickBooks, the ease of the Excel exporting feature is made much simpler. There is even an option under the ‘Advanced’ tab to refresh the spreadsheet with new data entered into QuickBooks. It is limited, but there are improvements being made every day.

Creating Custom Menus/Icon bars

Other ‘Customizing for your convenience’ features of QuickBooks include the ability to memorize the reports that you have modified as your favorites by clicking on the small heart icon underneath the report. You will be prompted to ‘name’ this customized report and it will be added to the report list. You can also customize the icon bar as well by clicking on the ‘Advanced’ button in the Preferences list in the ‘View’ option.

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