It’s tax time and you haven’t done any of your bookkeeping for an entire year. Don’t panic! I’m going to reveal to you my methods for how to do a full year of bookkeeping when you need it done yesterday using QuickBooks Online with as little data entry as possible.
Set aside a long weekend, grab some coffee, put your phone on silent mode (or better yet, turn it off!) and get comfortable. This will require dedicated time and attention.
Is QuickBooks Online right for your business?
First, make sure that QuickBooks Online is right for your business. Read my blog post here.
Buy QuickBooks Online
If you haven’t done so already, buy QuickBooks Online. To learn about the different versions of QuickBooks Online, checkout my blog post Which Version of QuickBooks Is Right For Me. If you are not sure, I recommend that you start out with Simple Start or Essentials.
Once you buy QuickBooks Online you will be prompted to enter some information. QuickBooks Online will set up a company file based on your answers. For now, this is all you need to do. Please be sure that you buy QuickBooks Online and that you don’t just sign up for the 30 day trial. You wouldn’t want to put in all the work to do your bookkeeping and then lose it because your trial ran out.
Become familiar with QuickBooks Online
The next step is to become familiar with QuickBooks Online. I highly recommend that you look at my QuickBooks Online training videos on my YouTube channel. Start with the playlist called QuickBooks Online Overview. Then watch the playlist Adding Transactions to QuickBooks Online. It will take you approximately 30 to 45 minute to watch these videos. Each video lasts 5 minute or less.
For other sources of free QuickBooks Online training materials – take a look at my page of free QuickBooks Online Tutorials resources.
Finally, be sure that you download my FREE EBook “The Simple Guide to Getting Started in QuickBooks Online and Avoiding the Most Common Mistakes New Users Make”. It’s a step by step guide that will help you to get started with QBO the right way.
Connect your business bank and credit card accounts to QuickBooks Online
After you have become familiar with QuickBooks Online, you need to connect your business bank and credit card accounts to QuickBooks Online. I said business accounts and not personal accounts. If you are mixing business and personal funds, you need to check out this post. I will assume that all your business income and expense transactions are reflected in your business bank and credit card accounts.
Read my blog post Reconciling Accounts in QuickBooks Online. It shows you how to connect your bank accounts to QuickBooks Online.
If you didn’t do so already, be sure that you download my FREE EBook “The Simple Guide to Getting Started in QuickBooks Online and Avoiding the Most Common Mistakes New Users Make”. There is a section on how to connect QBO to your bank and credit card accounts.
Watch this video showing you how to connect your business bank and credit card accounts to QuickBooks Online.
Download business bank and credit card transactions into QuickBooks Online
Once you connect your business bank and credit card accounts, transactions will download into QuickBooks Online. In most cases, you will be able to get only the last 90 days of transactions. Don’t worry, I’ll show you how to get the rest of the transactions and hopefully you won’t have to do any data entry.
Import transactions that QuickBooks Online didn’t download
If you have old transactions that you weren’t able to download into QuickBooks Online – you will need to import those transactions from your bank or credit card accounts.
Log in to your online bank and credit card accounts and see if you can download a file from your bank or credit card account in “.QBO” format or CSV, QFX, QBO or OFX formatted files.
- If you are able to download this type of file, you will need to download transactions starting with the beginning of the year and ending on the last date before you downloaded transactions directly from your bank in the previous step. For example – Caroline connected her bank account to QuickBooks Online and downloaded transactions starting with November 1, 2015. Now she needs to import transactions from her bank She will need to import transactions from January 1, 2015 to October 31, 2015.
- Save the downloaded file to your desktop.
- In QuickBooks Online go to Transactions > Banking and click on the dropdown on the Update icon to get started. Follow the instructions.
How to import banking transactions into QuickBooks Online when you can’t download them from your bank
What if you still were not able to get a year’s worth of transactions downloaded into QuickBooks Online? No need to worry. You can use a PDF to Excel converter to import transactions into QBO. Let’s say for example that you downloaded 90 days of transactions when you connected QBO to your bank. Then, you were able to get 6 months of transactions imported from your bank using a “.QBO” format or CSV, QFX, QBO or OFX formatted files as I already explained. What about the remaining months?
I recommend that you use PDF2XL by Cogniview. You will need to:
- Log into your online banking and find PDF bank statements that you need. Save them to your desktop.
- Use PDF2XL to convert the banking transactions to Excel.
- Save the Excel file as a CSV file.
- Import the CSV file into by going into QuickBooks Online. Then go to Transactions > Banking and click on the dropdown on the Update icon to get started. Follow the instructions to import the file.
Just as a word of caution, be sure that you don't accidentally import duplicate transactions. Click To Tweet Be sure that you pay attention to the dates of the transactions that you have already imported into QBO.
Learn about working with downloaded banking transactions
At this point, if you haven’t done so already, you need to watch my overview video on working with downloaded banking transactions. This video will walk you through the basics of working with downloaded banking transactions in QuickBooks Online.
At this point, you should have done the following:
- Purchased QuickBooks Online
- Become familiar with QuickBooks Online (by watching my YouTube videos and getting my free ebook “The Simple Guide to Getting Started in QuickBooks Online and Avoiding the Most Common Mistakes New Users Make”
- Connected QuickBooks Online to your business bank and credit card accounts
- Imported banking transactions that didn’t download into QuickBooks Online (from your bank or by using PDF2XL)
You should now be able to see one year of banking transactions in the QuickBooks Online Banking Center.
Here’s an infographic that you can save:
Click to enlarge
Coming up next time – Part 2
On my next blog post, I will continue with the next phase – categorizing transactions. I encourage you to wait for this post so that you don’t make any mistakes like posting transactions to uncategorized income or uncategorized expenses.
For now, work on the steps that I discussed so that you can be sure that you have all of the banking transactions downloaded or imported into QuickBooks Online. You are well on your way learning how to do a full year of bookkeeping when you need it done yesterday.