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Saving You Time with ABA Files (an Electronic Payment File)

by Lauretta Finis

4 min read

Did you know that by using QuickBooks Online you can pay your suppliers and employees electronically? This can be done by generating an automatic ABA (Australian Bankers’ Association) file. This file contains the data in an electronic file, which is then uploaded directly to your banking system online. Paying multiple bills and suppliers all in the same bulk payment in QuickBooks Online has never been easier.

 

With ABA, there is normally a nine-digit number assigned to a bank, which is used to identify the bank you are uploading your electronic file to. All electronic payment files are prepared using the ABA file format.
So let’s walk through how we would set this up right through to uploading to your bank for payments.

Step 1: Setting up the bank account that payments will be processed in

From the Gear Icon under Settings, click on Chart of Accounts. Now choose the bank account you will be making payment from. On the right-hand side, click on the down arrow and choose Edit.
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At the bottom of the screen that pops up, select the box next to  ‘I create batch payments for this account’.
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New fields will appear, so enter BSB, Account Number, Bank Code. Depending on the bank you deal with, you might need to add a bank ‘Direct Entry User ID’.

 

One thing to be mindful of is that some banks require a self-balancing transaction batch within the file. If so, ensure you select the bottom box. If not sure of the information required, call your bank for numbers required. Click Save.

Step 2: Setting up suppliers to pay through an ABA file

Choose your suppliers that will be paid through an ABA file (this is a once-only set up for each supplier), and then once in your supplier card click on Edit.

 

A pop-up window with all the supplier details will appear, and on the bottom right-hand corner you will see an option to select ‘I create batch payments to pay this supplier’. Select this box, and complete the BSB and Account Name, Account Numbers and payment details in Statement Text. Click Save.
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Step 3: Preparing the ABA electronic file

Now that the set up in the bank and suppliers have been completed, let’s prepare to pay a batch of bills. To pay bills, go to the Quick Create button (+) on the middle top part of screen. Then under Suppliers, click on Pay Bills.
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Choose from the left top corner the Bank Account that the ABA file will be paid from by clicking on the up/down arrow.

 

Note: When doing this, the bottom right-hand corner bar will change from a Save button to a Create batch payment button.
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To make payments simply:

  • Add a tick to the left of the bill entry – this will populate the invoice amount on the far right under the Total Amount column.
  • If the payment is only a partial amount, you can amend it under the column Payment second from the right – see the below example (top row Harvey Norman invoice amount is $2750, we are only paying $1000).

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Note: If supplier has not been set up for payments via a batch payment you will get an error for this supplier to be fixed.
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You are ready now for the bulk payment to be made. Click on the bottom right-hand corner bar, Create batch payment. The ABA file seen on the left-hand corner of the window will appear once payment has been created. Also, the bills that have just been selected to be paid are no longer listed for payment.
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Save this ABA file where it will be easily found on your computer, ready for upload to your bank for payment.
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What happens if something goes wrong and how do you fix this?
There are occasions when the payment does not go through to the bank on the same day that the ABA file was created or when an amount needs to be adjusted after you have created the ABA file.

 

This means you will need to void the bill payment. From your left-hand side navigation bar under Transactions, click into Expenses. In the Expense Transactions window, click on the down arrow of the Filter button on the top left and choose Bill Payments. Click on Apply.
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This will give you a list of all bill payments in the specified period. Locate the bill payment that needs to be voided and choose the transactions that relate to this payment by ticking on the box next to the supplier name. Click on Batch actions and choose Void transactions. A window will pop up with ‘Are you sure you want to void selected transactions?’ Click on Yes. 

 

These bills will be located in the Pay Bills window ready to go for the next ABA file to be created.
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If a supplier’s details are set up incorrectly, the bank will return this amount back into your bank account. This amount needs to be reversed. So, following the above instructions under batch actions, click on Reverse bill payment, as this feature will allow reconciliation of tracking money back into the bank account.

 

So why not begin using an ABA file next time you’re making payments? The set up is once only, and then you’re ready to go. It could save you time when making multiple payments. It can also help with making accurate payments and eliminating errors when paying a supplier, causing you to wait for payment to come back to you from your supplier. I’ve seen that happen more than once. So go ahead, you lose nothing by trying it out.

Information may be abridged and therefore incomplete. This document/information does not constitute, and should not be considered a substitute for, legal or financial advice. Each financial situation is different, the advice provided is intended to be general. Please contact your financial or legal advisors for information specific to your situation.

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