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Getting started with QuickBooks Online

Everything you need and resources for getting started with QuickBooks Online.
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    What impression do you want your invoices to leave on your customers?   A customized invoice, even semi-stylized ones, is an opportunity to enhance the perception of your business. The Custom Form Styles module in QuickBooks Online lets you edit the layout, design, and data fields that appear on your invoices.   There’s nothing wrong with plain invoices. Customers aren’t going to abandon your brand because you use generic sales forms. Invoices do, however, make them think something.     Unlike other branding solutions, this one requires very little effort and has no added cost . You don’t need an MFA to create an eye-catching invoice template. Anyone with QuickBooks Online Essentials and QuickBooks Online Plus can use the Custom Form Styles module to create an attractive, professional-looking invoice.     Why do I need to customize my invoices (and other sales forms)?   Customizing invoices give your communications a bit of texture. Simple changes, such as layout and logo location, can make the difference between staying top-of-mind or getting lost in the noise of email inboxes.    As ProAdvisor and ParkWay Inc. CTO Matthew Fulton reminds us, “It can be easy to forget that to someone else, your invoice is no different than the other 9 forms in front of them.”   You also need to provide customers with the right information. Consider those on the receiving end of an invoice - at a minimum, customers deserve an invoice with relevant information presented in a clear format.    Get started creating customized invoices         To begin, click the Gear Icon ( ) and then select Custom Form Styles. From the Custom Form Styles dashboard, you can manage and edit templates for Invoices, Estimates, and Sales Receipts.   While you can create multiple iterations of a form from a master, you can only apply one template at a time.     Let's create a new template from scratch. Click the New Style button and select “Invoice” from the drop-down.  There are four sections of the customization module: Design, Content, Emails, and Payments. You’ll spend the majority of your time in the Design and Content sections.   The Design Tab  This is where you choose fonts, color-schemes, and your logo. This is also where you can adjust the overall template layout.       The Content tab Your company information automatically appears in this tab, but you can decide what you want (or don’t want) displayed on the final form.  This is also where you modify data fields (more on that below) and adjust the width of columns.    The Emails tab You can create a unique invoice email message if you don’t want to use the default.     The Payments tab This tab is simple but very important if you want customers to pay you electronically directly from the form. If you’re using QuickBooks Payments, QuickBooks Online will automatically update sales information once the payment is processed.     When you’re done editing the template, you can click Preview PDF or Save and Exit to return to the Custom Form Styles dashboard.   The first invoice template you create will become your master default template. To change the default form, click the Arrow Icon ( ) next to the form you want to designate and select “Make Default."   Designing Custom Invoice Templates   When designing your invoice, ask yourself the following:   Appearance – Do you want your brand to appear everywhere on your invoices, or do you prefer a more subtle approach? Try to match your existing marketing efforts to create a sense of uniformity. Data-fields – What information matters most to your customers? How much information is too much? Do you provide clients with specific units of measurement? How about tracking information, like drivers’ names, to add peace of mind? These can always be updated later on. Format – Are your invoices easy to read? Where does the most important information appear on your forms? Which data fields are absolutely necessary? Do your customers prefer larger fonts for improved readability? Start with the basics, then add icing to the cake. Personality and Tone – Is being approachable important to your business? Do you want to sound casual or official? Design accordingly.   Creating a custom logo   When you first create your QuickBooks Online company file, you can add your business logo. This same logo will appear on all of your invoices and sales forms, so take pride in its design and presentation.   Logo edits should be made outside the program before uploading the image. Note that square and circular logos with white backgrounds tend to look the best on invoices. Logos files have a few technical requirements: Must be one of the following formats: .gif, .bmp, .jpg, .jpe, or .jpeg Be smaller than 1MB (this helps with loading speed) Have a bit-depth (aka color-depth) of 24-bits or less and use standard sRGB Customizing data fields   You can add, remove, or rename certain data fields from the Content Tab. To edit a section, click on the pencil icon  ( ) on the preview form. Each section has its own set of customization features.     There are numerous available customization options. We won’t go over everything, but we will highlight a few important areas:   In the “Header” section (top section), you can add up to three custom fields by clicking “+ Custom Field”  In the data table section (middle section), you can edit, remove, or rearrange the item description, quantity, and rate data fields. Click the blue “Edit Labels and Widths” title at the top to enable the column and data field editor. There’s underlying flexibility in this particular module – for instance, if you prefer to display unit quantities in “lbs,” “grams,” or “boxes,” simply enter the unit of measure into the text box.     To change the order of the columns, grab the square icon and drag it until the solid line becomes dotted. Use the slider bar to adjust the width of each column. Column width is relative and finite – you may need to narrow columns that are taking up space before you can adjust others.   The “Products/service” line in the data table section includes item categories by default. You can turn these off, but product categories provide customers with more information and you get better data (learn more about item categories – Introduction to Categories in Products and Services).   Any other tips I should keep in mind to be successful?   Let your invoices portray you and your brand in the best light. Treat them you would any other type of communication, be it email, phone call, or face-to-face meeting. Keep them simple but impactful.    What’s Next? How to Adjust Invoice Payment Terms in QuickBooks Online How to Review Open Invoices and Send Payment Reminders and Balance forward Statements in QuickBooks ... How to Send Paper Invoices in QuickBooks Online   Check your Progress Am I Ready to Send an Invoice in QuickBooks Online?    
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Welcome to QuickBooks Online! This is an exciting time. We're going set your business up for success from the start. Before you start sending invoices, there are a few decisions you'll need to make about your accounts and associated preferences. 
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This guide is for anyone converting from QuickBooks Desktop (Pro or Premier) to QuickBooks Online. Each section offers step-by-step guidance and includes visuals, tips and hyperlinks to important resources. Start your conversion from the "Before you Start" section or use the links below to jump to specific points in the conversion process if you've already started. 
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  We see lots of questions on   QBCommunity   about how to handle scenarios where the owner either puts money towards their business out of personal funds or uses business funds to pay for personal expenses.   These are both common scenarios and for more than financial reasons, it’s imperative to account for these types of transactions properly.   This will reapply some of the techniques we learned from the “Creating and Managing Accounts” tutorials as you may need to create some new accounts. For the workflows below, it’s very important to follow them in order and exactly as directed so your accounts remain accurate.     How to Record Business Expenses: Paying with Owner Funds | QuickBooks Online Tutorial 2018   Let’s start with a scenario where you, as the owner, paid for an expense for the business out of your own pocket. Create an “Owner’s Contributions” equity account (Accounting > Chart of Accounts > New Account) that you will use going forward.     Now, enter the Expense the same way you'd record a typical expense transaction, entering the date of the purchase and the payment method.  In the line item section, enter the expense and then add an additional line item posted to your new Owners Contribution account for the same amount as  a negative  value . This effectively “zeros-out” the expense. By doing this, your checking account (or whatever account you are paying from) records remain accurate - - you can track what you as the owner have contributed without impacting those numbers.     It’s also wise to utilize the memo section if you want to add an explanation for why personal funds were used – the more documentation you have, the easier tax season will be. You can even create sub-accounts of Owner’s Equity if you want to separate one-off payments from other types of purchases, like assets.   We recommend checking your Owner’s Equity Account in the CoA (click “view register” for more details) and your Profit and Loss Statement after entering an Owner’s Contribution. A quick review shouldn’t take more than a few seconds.   Give it a try - simulate a few of your recent purchases as if you, as the owner, had paid for business expenses out of your own pocket in Quick Books Online Test Drive.       How to Enter Personal Expenses: Paying with Company Funds | QuickBooks Online Tutorial 2018       Now, let’s look at the opposite scenario when business funds are used to pay for an owner's personal expenses. Create an “Owner’s Personal Purchases/Owner's Draw” equity account (Accounting > Chart of Accounts > New Account) that you will use going forward.   The detail type can also be “Personal Expenses” if you want to further differentiate this account from the Owner’s Contribution account you just created (note that the Category and Detail Type can be exactly the same, but the name distinguishes the two).   Enter the expense (in the case of the tutorial, a meal) and use your new Owner’s Draw account. When you go into your Balance Sheet or CoA, you will see the company payment method you used when you entered the expense has been reduced and your Owner’s Draw Account now has a negative balance. Check your Progress Am I Ready to Send an Invoice in QuickBooks Online?   What’s Next? How to Use the Undeposited Funds Account to Receive Payments in QuickBooks Online Setting up for Success in QuickBooks Online - Adding Products and Services, Customers, and Vendors t... How to Adjust your Invoice Payment Terms in QuickBooks Online  
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Being proactive means keeping a close eye on   open invoices. Knowing   what customers owe you, developing clear policies, and planning accordingly are incredibly for sustaining your business.   In QuickBooks Online, there are a few   tools   and   simple review techniques   you can incorporate into your workflow that will help you professionally manage   open   and   overdue   payments.
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When it comes to accounting, many believe it’s better to do things right than do them quickly. We’re here to show you how to accomplish both – including the essentials in the most efficient ways possible.      Follow our checklists to review your progress and ensure everything is in order. If you’ve already completed the task, you can confidently move on. If you need help, click the link and go to that section – and don’t forget to check it off your list!
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“Setting up for Success” is a series of snack-sized, task-oriented tutorials curated around specific accounting workflows and the fundamental concepts behind them.   Each article includes a few comprehensive video tutorials and accompanying highlight summaries. While we've handpicked these tutorials for first time QuickBooks Online users, this series is an excellent resource for anyone needing a refresher on QuickBooks Online and accounting basics.   We recommend watching all of the videos as a set so you can confidently complete the specified tasks in QuickBooks Online. If you do decide to skip ahead to specific sections, do set aside time to go back and read the article in its entirety so you have a firm grasp of the fundamental process end-to-end. 
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Many small businesses hire short-term or bring on   independent contractors   to complete projects. Properly accounting for   expenses associated with their work   is mission critical.   If you are using QuickBooks Online Plus, you can   track these expenses   and   file 1099-MISCs   for your independent contractors. It’s essential that you follow the process outlined in this article, not only for good accounting but legal reasons as well. There are also   hired-wired 1099 features   that only work up if you utilize these workflows.
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The Quick Conversion Reference briefly outlines the features and benefits available for both QuickBooks Online and QuickBooks Desktop product lines. Identify which  tasks and features you need  for your business from the left-hand column and see  whether it can be done  in either Online or Desktop on the right.
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Connecting your  bank  and  credit card accounts  to QuickBooks Online is a great way to track your income spending without having to manually enter every transaction. Only recording your income through sales forms while leaving out your expenses provides an incomplete perspective of your business’ overall health, but creating records for every transaction can be a huge task.    If you   connect your online bank accounts   in QuickBooks Online, the program will automatically download the   last 90 days   of transactions recorded by your bank. The program will   match   existing entries already in QuickBooks online and add new records for incoming transactions without a matching entry. This feature ensures your accounts are always up-to-date and drastically reduces the amount of data-entry you need to do on a daily basis. 
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“ Your First Time with QuickBooks Online ” is a series geared towards first-time QuickBooks users who want to get started bookkeeping  right now.   These articles cover all of the setup and accounting workflows you need to know for a comprehensive setup, guiding you from your initial sign up through your next financial quarter and beyond.
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      Account reconciliation  is the process of matching transactions entered into QuickBooks Online against your bank or credit card statements. This review should be done on a regular basis, once a month at the very least when you receive your statements.   The process itself can be done fairly quickly  if you connect your online bank accounts to QuickBooks Online and perform regular upkeep throughout the month. It's also important to learn how to use the Undeposited Funds account so transactions in QuickBooks match what's recorded on your bank and credit card statements.  Why do I need to reconcile my bank accounts in QuickBooks Online?    The balances in QuickBooks Online need to match your bank and credit card records so you have accurate financial data. Naturally, financial reports are only valuable if the base information is precise.     Moreover, your records need to be accurate when its time to file your taxes. By compiling and maintaining your account data throughout the year, you'll be well ahead for your next filing.    There are other underlying benefits as well. If you regularly reconcile your accounts, you'll know exactly how much money your business has in the bank and that you're always working with accurate data. Equipped with this knowledge, you can make  smart, informed business decisions.   If you don’t already, build account reconciliations into your routine. Future you will thank you.  Get started reconciling your accounts in QuickBooks Online   Select the  Accounting Tab from the Nav Bar and then the Reconcile sub-tab.  Start with your checking account and work your way through each connected bank and credit card account one at a time. Enter the Ending Balance and Ending Date as they appear on your bank statements. If the number you enter doesn't match the beginning balance recorded in QuickBooks, that's ok - we're about to figure out why.    Tip -  print out paper versions of   your bank statements and collect them in the same, accessible place (a folder, a drawer, anywhere but the floor). Having printed copies makes a side-by-side comparison much easier. When you're done, file these papers away and clear the space for next month's documents.    Go through your accounts  in QuickBooks line-by-line, checking that individual item amounts and aggregate totals match what's on your bank statement. Do this until the difference between the QuickBooks account and your bank statement(s) is $0.        Check out the reconciliation basics video above. The pro-tips at ( 0:52 ) and ( 1:12 ) will help you breeze through reconciliations and tackle any unforeseeable roadblocks.   Remember, the difference between what’s recorded on your bank or credit card statements and the relevant QuickBooks account should be...    If you don't get to $0.00, don't worry.  As the video notes, bank service charges, checks that are not cleared by your bank but are entered in QuickBooks, and transactions that posted to the bank but aren't recorded in QuickBooks are a few common causes  for slight ending balance variations.    Generally, these problems can be avoided if you only record transactions as they occur in real-time (or very soon after) and reconcile accounts frequently - it's far easier to recall month-old details compared to 6 months old.      Track down these anomalies systematically. Take it slow and check these common problem areas first before calling your accountant. There's a solution for each of these scenarios.   Following a procedure (whatever works best for you) will surely lead to a resolution. To start,  narrow down the scope of your search: if there's a big difference, there may be one or several skewed transactions; if the difference is marginal,  it's probably a fee or missing sales tax.  What happens if there's a different opening balance in QuickBooks this month, even though you reconciled your accounts correctly last month?  That means there's a discrepancy somewhere in the books.  Reconciliation discrepancies can be caused by one of the following reasons: Previously reconciled transactions have been modified, deleted, or added Reconciliation adjustments (Journal entries, etc.)   If you have a discrepancy, follow the steps outlined in this troubleshooting guide.  For a deeper dive into common reconciliation questions, check out  these issue-specific articles:  Zero or incorrect Beginning Balance in the Begin Reconciliation Window Fix reconciliation discrepancies Any other tips I should keep in mind to be successful? Make reconciliations habitual. Do them the same time every month, preferably soon after you receive your bank statements so you can make quick corrections.  As we mentioned earlier, when done regularly, bank reconciliations will make filing your taxes much easier. If you don't have all of your accounts connected to QuickBooks, note that your end of year numbers won't reflect the breadth of your business. Adding accounts retroactively may be quite difficult since you won't have nearly as much time to review the numbers. If you prefer a visual reconciliation guide, try   this article from the QuickBooks Resource Center .      What’s Next? How to Adjust Invoice Payment Terms in QuickBooks Online How to Review Open Invoices and Send Payment Reminders and Balance forward Statements in QuickBooks ... How to Send Paper Invoices in QuickBooks Online   Check your Progress Am I Ready to Send an Invoice in QuickBooks Online?  
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  This article is all about reports and financial reporting tools available in QuickBooks Online. Reports really are the core of your accounting. They frame all of your sales, expenses and everything in-between to tell you about the health of your business.   Of course, reports are only useful if you’ve entered complete data, so make sure you’ve entered all of your business income, expenses assets and liabilities entered into QuickBooks so you get a comprehensive, accurate snapshot of your business every time you run a report.   How to Use Reports Center: Categories, Insights & Information | QuickBooks Online Tutorial 2018   Reports appear on the Reports Tab Dashboard list (Reports Center), or you can search for something specific from the search field at the top. There are tons of reports available. Most will follow this titling convention:  (What you want to know) by (the criteria specified) Some have very specific use-cases, giving you lots of options. There are common reports you’ll want to run on a daily or weekly basis such as:   Balance Sheet (which follows the Balance Sheet Equation) – tracks assets, liabilities and equity of your business – what you “own” and “owe” within a given time period. Assets   - Make sure you understand the difference between   current assets   (plan to sell within 1 year) and   fixed assets   (large purchases you plan to use over the course of several years). Liabilities   – again, know the difference between a   current   and   long-term liability   so you know how to enter things like open bills and loans appropriately. Note that while liabilities are what you   owe   and you’d assume this should be a negative number, it’s represented as a positive value here. Equity   –   the value of your business from the perspective of the owner (including their contributions, owner’s draw and net income [activity from income and expense accounts]). Profit & Loss Statement - tracks your income and compares it against the cost of running your business (i.e. expenses).   This is the most common report you’re likely to run. It’s essentially a summary of your income and expenses so you can see your cash flow. Net Income is your profit after your total income, expenses and Cost of Goods Sold have been factored in. This line shows up at the bottom of your Balance Sheet under Equity (above).  Sales by Product/Service Report – the easiest way to track your sales that can be customized to show varying levels of detail.    How to Use Reports: Understanding When to Use the 3 Types | QuickBooks Online Tutorial 2018    There are three primary types of reports and each has their uses. Summary Reports – for pulling “overview” data with some applied analysis, which is what you will probably use most often or on a recurring basis. List reports – for pulling broad data, such as all your existing accounts or products and services. Detail reports – for pulling “by-line” datasets within a specified date range, such as looking at your sales by customer.   How to Use Summary Reports: Summaries & Information | QuickBooks Online Tutorial 2018   Summary Reports focus in on specific data points (such as you’re A/P or A/R or total income by accounts) without getting too lost in the line-by-line details. Instead, get a mid-ranged overview of your accounts.   These types of reports are particularly useful for looking at long-range trends between specified periods of time.     How to Use Detail Reports: Transactions, Expenses, & More | QuickBooks Online Tutorial 2018   Detail Reports are for when you want to get into the nitty-gritty of your accounts.   These provide account summaries as well as individual line-by-line transaction details. “Customer Balance Detail” and “Sales by Customer Detail” Reports are common and useful for zeroing in on very narrow information or identifying a specific set of transactions.   The “group” function is also a great way to identify trends while having the specific details displayed side-by-side on the same page.   How to Use List Reports: Looking Up Customers, Vendors   List Reports are useful for looking at everything in your QuickBooks system, from Products and Services to Employee information to Payment Methods used by your company. Most are broad, but some can get fairly narrow -- want to see all the bills you’ve paid in QuickBooks over the last 3 months? There’s a report for that.   Want to hand your team a list of contact emails but not their phone numbers? Run a Customer List Report and customize with the phone number column removed.   Another use for List Reports is to clean up your data. Let’s say you want to remove inactive customers from your books but you have a large sales team: pull a CSV for (or print) a Customer List Report, sharing around your team to identify who is no longer a customer and hand it back to a single team member to make those customers inactive.     How to Customize Reports: Basics, Sorting & Date Ranges | QuickBooks Online Tutorial 2018   Running custom reports in QuickBooks lets you narrow in on the data that matters, render the data in ways that make sense to you and eliminate extraneous details so you can easily zero-in on account specifics. Moreover, going narrow with reports means knowing more about how each part of your business impacts its overall health, which ultimately helps you make more informed financial decisions.    Custom reports offer a lot of flexibility: you can apply various filters, sorting tools and ranges to pull very specific data sets.  But some custom reports need not be complicated – a Profit and Loss Report scheduled to be run and emailed on a Monthly basis is a simple one with powerful insights about the trajectory of your business.   You can apply these customizations at the top of the form in these two areas:     Depending on the report you use, different customization options will be available – not all reports have the same sets of filters, but most do. Don’t forget to hit “Run Report” to apply your customizations. Customizing also enables some other cool features which we will go into later in the article.     How to Filter Reports: Customers, Vendors, & Products | QuickBooks Online Tutorial 2018   Customizing reports with “filters” brings you down to the ground from a high-altitude view of your business. Clicking “Customize” from either the report page or the vertical ellipses tool next to the report on the list gives you access to a number of filters for both row and column report data.   Rather than browsing at the enormously diverse array of customizations available to build a report, ask yourself “what data am I really interested in?” Use that answer to find the necessary filters to arrive at your answer - through this process you, will learn what is available.     How to Add Columns to Reports: Comparing Customers & Time Periods, | QuickBooks Online Tutorial 2018   Customizing reports by adding, removing or reordering columns is another great to render the data in ways that make sense to you and eliminating information that is not as useful or potentially distracting, getting you to the insights you need most with the least amount of friction.   Displaying figures as percentages, rather than raw figures, is just one compelling reason to dive into the reporting features.      How to Save Customized Reports | QuickBooks Online Tutorial 2018   Once you find the perfect set customizations, rather than reenter the same set every time you want this data, you can save a customization. Give saved reports a unique name to distinguish them and click “save customization” at the top of the report page.   Here are a few custom reports you might want to create and have on hand at all times:   Monthly Balance Sheet Filters applied: (“All Dates,” “Date-you-opened” to “1/1/2020,” Display columns by “Months”)     Sales by Customer Detail Report for a high-value customer John Freeman Filters applied: (“All Dates,” Customize - Filter “Customer - by “Freeman Sporting Goods”)     Profit and Loss Report for only Landscaping Installation Income (Service)  Filters applied: (“All Dates” Display columns by “Months,” Customize – Filter Products/Service “Landscaping Installation”)     Profit and Loss Report for weekly utility expenses Filters applied P and L report: (“All Dates,” Display columns by “week” – Customize – Filters Distribution Account “Gas and Electric” and “Telephone”)     Saving reports also allows you to group them so you can set permission for who can access and view the data – which might be important if you’re working with sensitive information across a wide team.   Remember too that reports automatically update with fresh data every time you run them.     How to Automatically Email Reports | QuickBooks Online Tutorial 2018   The more features you can set on auto, the more time you will have to focus on more important business matters.   There are cyclical reports you can schedule right away that coincide with financial periods, such as a monthly Profit and Loss Report or a weekly Balance Sheet. Remember, custom reports don’t have to be complex and the interval may be enough to put it on this “recurring” email basis.    If there are custom reports you run regularly or you want constant updates on a particular report, consider scheduling them. At first, schedule them to send more often than you’d think you need and adjust from there – it’s better to get more information ahead of time than too little information too late.     To email reports, click on the Reports Tab and then the “Custom Reports” sub-tab. Select the report you want to modify, click “edit” and you can enable permissions for the report – which is separate from who will receive the email. Once you turn on “set email schedule,” you can designate the date, time interval and even set an end-date (or “none” for indefinite sending).     How to Create a Management Report: Different Kinds, Editing & More | QuickBooks Online Tutorial 2018   These are stylized “presentation-worthy” versions of reports that allow you to include notes. You can also export these into PDF or DocX files and even edit them to have a table of contents. Your team may prefer the standard format, but management reports are a great way to send a professional-looking PDF to share good news around to the team.  Set up for Success in QuickBooks Online Adding Items, Customers and Products to Lists Financial Reports and Reporting Features Creating and Managing Accounts   Check your progress Am I Ready to Send an Invoice in QuickBooks Online?   Learn everything you need to be successful in QuickBooks How to Customize an Invoice in QuickBooks Online How to Record Bank Deposits in QuickBooks Online  
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After you’ve sent an Invoice and received the payment into your  Undeposited Funds  account, you need to deposit these payments into an account in QuickBooks (typically into your savings or checking account),  just like you would visit the bank at the end of the workday.  Remember, transactions in QuickBooks should reflect real life scenarios - if money is in the actual bank, this should be reflected in QuickBooks!
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These videos cover the  absolute fundamentals  of QuickBooks Online: basic navigation, program structure, the importance of sales  forms  and  lists  in QuickBooks Online, online banking and how these all lead you to what is likely your first task – sending an invoice.
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Do more with QuickBooks by knowing exactly what each feature is and does.  The  QuickBooks Encyclopedia   is designed for everyone -- those who are brand new to QuickBooks as well as those in need of a quick reference.
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These guides are the source of truth, the what, how, and why behind every feature and function in QuickBooks Online. They provide facts, figures and detailed visual walkthroughs to help you do your QuickBooks accounting quickly and efficiently.
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