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 Create budgets in QuickBooks Online

Learn how to get your budgets into QuickBooks.

Many businesses create budgets to compare against their actual sales and expenses.

In QuickBooks Online Plus, you can create budgets based on your accounting data. Once your budgets are in QuickBooks, you can review and adjust everything. Then run financial reports to compare your actual sales and expenses with your budget.

Tip: You can make a budget at any time, but year-end is a great time to start planning for the year ahead.

Create budgets in QuickBooks Online

Sign in to QuickBooks as a user with permission to access, create, or delete budgets. Then follow the steps for your version of QuickBooks Online.

Step 1: Set the first month of your financial year

Make sure the beginning of your financial year is set in QuickBooks. You can create a budget any time, but it helps if you start at the beginning of the financial year.

  1. Sign in to QuickBooks Online.
  2. Go to Settings ⚙ and select Account and settings.
  3. Select the Advanced tab.
  4. In the Accountings section, review the First month of the financial year field. To change the date, select Edit ✎.

Step 2: Get your budget data

You can base your budget on data either from the current financial year or from the previous year's amounts. If you plan to use historical data, run a Profit and Loss Detail report to make sure transactions and accounts look correct.

By default, the report shows transactions created during the current year to date. Here's how to customise the report to display the previous financial year's amounts instead:

  1. Select Reports.
  2. Find and open the Profit and Loss Detail Report.
  3. Select Last Financial Year (or Last Year if January is the first month of your financial year) from the Report period dropdown to use the previous year's data. To use data from the current financial year, select This Year-to-date.
  4. Select Run report.

Use this info as a guide to create your budget.

Step 3: Create your budget

If you don't want to start a brand new budget, you can copy an existing one. Go to the "Edit, copy, or delete budgets" section:

  1. Select Settings ⚙️ and then Budgeting.
  2. Select Add budget.
  3. Enter a budget name in the Name field.
  4. From the Financial Year dropdown, select the financial year for the budget.
  5. Use the Interval dropdown options to set the budget as Monthly, Quarterly, or Yearly.
  6. From the Pre-fill data dropdown, you can automatically enter data from the current or previous year into the budget. This is optional.
  7. From the Subdivide by dropdown, you can organise the budget by Class, Customer, or Location. This is optional. If you don't see these options, here's how to turn on location tracking and how to turn on class tracking.
  8. Select Next.
  9. Enter your budget data into the table.
  10. If you don't see all your accounts and subaccounts, select the Settings ⚙ icon above the Total column. Select the Hide blank rows checkbox.
  11. When you're done select Save or Save and close.

Note: QuickBooks Online accepts decimals and doesn't round to the nearest dollar.

Run budget reports

There are special budget reports that help you keep track of your budget goals.

  1. Go to Settings ⚙ and select Budgeting.
  2. Find your budget on the list.
  3. Select the Action ▼ dropdown and then Run Budget Overview report or Run Budgets vs. Actuals report.

The Budget Overview report summarises budgets by account. The Budgets vs. Actuals report summarises accounts alongside your actual account totals. It also shows how much you're under or over budget.

Edit, copy, or delete budgets

If you need to edit a budget, make your changes in QuickBooks:

  1. Go to Settings ⚙ and select Budgeting.
  2. Find your budget on the list.
  3. Select the Action ▼ dropdown and then Edit.
  4. Edit each account one month at a time.
  5. To change the time period from month-to-month to quarterly or yearly, select the Gear ⚙ at the top of the budget. Then select Quarter or Year.
  6. Select Save or Save and close.

Copy an existing budget

Instead of starting from scratch, you can create a copy of an existing budget. This helps you jumpstart this year's budget using last year's data:

  1. Select Settings ⚙️ and then Budgeting.
  2. Find the budget you want to copy.
  3. Select the Action ▼ dropdown and then Copy.
  4. On the Copy Budget screen, enter the new budget name and financial year.
  5. Select Create Budget.
  6. Update the budget amounts as necessary.
  7. Select Save or Save and close.

This saves the copy as a separate budget.

Delete a budget

If you decide to delete a budget, be careful. You can't recover deleted budgets:

  1. Go to Settings ⚙ and select Budgeting.
  2. Find your budget on the list.
  3. Select the Action ▼ dropdown and then Delete.

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