Getting Started Guide

Running QuickBooks Desktop Enterprise for the first time? Follow these step-by-step instructions to install the software and get set-up.

Step 5: Configure QuickBooks Desktop Enterprise to your business

QuickBooks Setup

Depending on your business, you may have a few more steps to complete. Please review this information to make sure your company file is properly set up and your data is complete.

After creating your company file, QuickBooks Setup will walk you through how to add critical information, such as:

  • The people you do business with (so you can invoice customers, pay vendors and track employees)
  • The products and services you sell
  • Your bank accounts
  • Your payroll information
  • An audit trail of your existing transactions

Setup is easy. Just follow the onscreen prompts, then click the Start Working button.

Quick Start Center

Use this feature to complete common startup tasks like creating invoices, entering sales receipts and bills and writing checks. You can also view customer and vendor account balances.

Review your Chart of Accounts

During the Setup process, QuickBooks created a chart of accounts based on your type of business. Now is a good time to review it and make sure it accurately reflects the accounts you need to run your business.

You can easily change account names and edit, delete or add accounts as needed. For example, you may want to add a business-related bank, credit card or loan account. To view your Chart of Accounts, go to the Lists menu and click Chart of Accounts.

Enter historical transactions

If you'd like your reports to include past information, you'll need to enter it. Select a date in the past as your start date. Then enter past transactions from the start date to today.

Enter historical transactions in chronological order within transaction type. QuickBooks won't know how to apply a payment unless you've previously recorded the customer invoice.

Note: Entering historical transactions is especially important if customers don't pay you at the time they receive goods or services. If you don't enter historical transactions, QuickBooks can't help you track and collect late customer payments for those past transactions.

We recommend this entry order (please verify with your accountant):

  • Invoices you've sent out since your start date
  • Purchase orders you've issued since your start date that you haven't received in full
  • Cash or checks you've received since your start date
  • Deposits you made before your start date but that didn't appear on statements before your start date
  • Bills you've received since your start date
  • Bills you've paid since your start date
  • Deposits you've made to any accounts since your start date
  • Any other checks or payments you've made (for things other than bills) since your start date
  • Checks or other charges that happened before your start date but didn't appear on statements before your start date (uncleared)
  • Bank charges, fees and interest
  • Employee year-to-date information paid from January 1 through your start date
  • Payroll liabilities owed at the time of your start date (for manual payroll and tracking payroll transactions only)

There's no need to enter all past transactions before you start using QuickBooks for new transactions. Just enter new ones as they occur, then catch up with historical transactions when you can. However, your account balances and reports may be inaccurate until you enter all past transactions.


If you subscribe to a QuickBooks payroll service, you'll be asked to add year-to-date payroll information during payroll setup. If you fail to provide this information, your payroll tax information may not be accurate.

Refer to the in-product Help for step-by-step instructions on how to enter these transactions to make your account registers accurate.

Enter optional adjustments

After you've created your company file, you might have to make a few adjustments regarding your start date. Depending on your company, you may need to:

  • Enter any sales tax liabilities
  • Adjust the Uncategorized Income and Uncategorized Expense accounts (accrual basis only)
  • Adjust for current income and expenses if your start date is not at the beginning of the fiscal year

For step-by-step instructions on how to enter these optional adjustments, refer to the Help feature within QuickBooks Desktop Enterprise. Check with your accountant if you're not sure whether you need to enter these optional adjustments.

Back up your company file

Enterprise can create a backup file, which is a compressed version of your QuickBooks company file containing all transactions through the date the company backup was made. A backup file insures against accidental data loss and can be used to restore your data. QuickBooks backups have a .qbb extension and cannot be opened directly.

The best way to back up your company file is to utilize the online backup service that comes as a complimentary part of an active subscription. This stores your backup file safely offsite.

Alternatively, you can manually back up your company file: Go to the File menu and click Create Backup. Select a safe location for your file, ideally on a separate computer or server.

To restore your backup, go to the File menu and click Open or Restore Company.

To learn more about backing up your company file, refer to the Help feature within QuickBooks Desktop Enterprise.


Proceed to the Next Step

You've finished configuring QuickBooks Desktop Enterprise to run your business, now it's time to move on to Step 6: Create Users and Roles.