Most modern businesses have to deal with payables from multiple vendors for goods and services rendered, with different payment terms, due dates and other relevant details. It’s difficult to manage this level of financial complexity with scribbles on a piece of paper or calendar, and there are limits to how much even Excel accounting can help.
QuickBooks makes life easier for a small business accountant. It provides a host of powerful features to help track and manage finances, helping your business function smoothly while also providing insights on accounts payable management, cash flow projections and vendor relationships.
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Here’s a look at the basics of entering and managing bills in QuickBooks, along with insight into how QuickBooks can help ensure accurate financial reporting and decision-making. We’ll look at QuickBooks Online, which you can access easily via a web browser on any platform, as well as the QuickBooks Desktop Pro application.
After accessing QuickBooks Online and creating an account, the process of entering bills into the tool’s easy-to-use, feature-rich interface is straightforward.
Before entering your bills, you’ll need to set up your business’s vendors, products, services and items to sync with your bills. After this initial setup, many fields you encounter when entering new bills should auto-populate, matching relevant products, services, vendors and even specific product lines.
The following steps will guide you through the process of entering new bills into your QuickBooks online account; this process is the same regardless of the accounting methods you follow.
QuickBooks Online has several menu items. To get started, click New. Then, under the Suppliers column, select Purchase Bill. This will open up the Bill interface, with relevant fields as shown in the next step.
The new Bill page will contain all relevant fields to input standard information unless you’ve customized the interface via QuickBooks’ advanced settings. The page and fields should be similar to this image:
The bill details are similar to the information you’d need to write a check. Here are some of the most commonly seen fields:
Once you’ve entered a bill, go to the Vendor Center to verify it. Navigate to the Expenses menu and select Vendors to see a list of suppliers. Locate the vendor and check the openbalance to see the vendor’s outstanding amount. Click on the vendor’s name to see the details of all outstanding bills. You should be able to see the bill you just entered.
The QuickBooks Desktop Pro application is just as user-friendly and powerful as the online version. When it comes to entering a bill,the process is very similar. Here’s how it works:
Navigate to the Vendors menu and use the dropdown menu to select the vendor who sent the bill. If you haven’t added this vendor to the list, click Add New and record the entry.
After selecting the vendor, the date, address and other details should automatically populate. If necessary, add an address manually. After verifying the details, proceed to the next step.
If you’ve set up default payment terms for the vendor, you’ll see your preferences listed. Otherwise, choose payment terms and discount rates, if applicable.
These are the options for payment terms:
Verify the due date if it’s filled automatically. Then fill in additional details to complete the bill record. Here are the fields you’ll see:
Next, you’ll see two tabs: Expenses and Items. Here’s what they mean.
Choose the type of bill you’re recording. If it’s a utility bill, the Expenses tab is automatically selected, and the amount you entered should appear. Next, you’ll see the Account field, where you’ll select the proper entry. Other fields, such as Billable and Customer, can be left blank. They’ll be populated when you charge a customer for this item or expense.
The final step is to click Save & Close to save the bill. If you want to create another bill, select Save & New. View your entered bills in the Bill Tracker, or select Pay Bills to start making payments.
QuickBooks Pro offers you an easy way to remember any outstanding bills, and you can even set up your system to pay bills automatically. To do this, click Memorize before closing out of a new bill. You’ll see a Memorize Transaction screen with three options.
If you’re moving to QuickBooks from another bookkeeping program, or have a batch of bills to enter, use the import option to save time and effort.
Here are the steps in QuickBooks Online:
Before you can import your bills to QuickBooks, prepare your Excel or CSV file with the following fields:
During the import process, you must map each column header to the QuickBooks bill fields.
Follow these simple steps to upload the file for import:
You’ll be asked to review the column headers and map them to the fields in the QuickBooks bill. Select the date format and VAT option. You’ll also map the VAT codes to those in QuickBooks and select Next. Any mapping issues are highlighted, so you can always go back and make changes.
QuickBooks will present you with an import summary. Select Start Import to begin the process. When the import finishes, you’ll see the status and you can verify that all your bills have been imported. After verifying, select Done > OK to complete the process.
Bulk imports can be challenging due to errors and inconsistencies in raw data files. If you’re importing data in bulk, consider working with a QuickBooks expert, who can identify issues and clean data when necessary.
QuickBooks Online and QuickBooks Pro can help you organize your accounting and gain control of your finances. To learn more about the QuickBooks accounting software, read our in-depth QuickBooks accounting software review. But if QuickBooks doesn’t feel right for your business, consider a QuickBooks alternative that may better suit your budget and goals. The most important thing is to manage your cash flow and stay on top of your financial reporting.