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 Create budgets in QuickBooks Online

Learn how to get your budgets into QuickBooks.

Many businesses create budgets and use them to track their actual sales and expenses.

In QuickBooks Online Plus, you can create budgets using your accounting data. Once your budgets are in QuickBooks, you can review and edit everything as needed. Then you can run financial reports to compare your sales and expenses with your budget.

Create a budget

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.

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

Step 1: Set the first month of your financial year

Make sure you know when the first month of your financial year starts. To verify or change the financial year setting:

  1. Select Settings⚙️.
  2. Select Account and settings.
  3. Select Advanced.
  4. In the Accounting section, verify that the setting in the First month of financial year field is correct, or select Edit ✎ to change the setting.
  5. Select Save.
  6. Select Done.

Once you have verified that your financial year is correct, review the data you plan to base your budget on.

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, it's a good idea to run a Profit and Loss Detail report to make sure transactions were assigned correctly in the past.

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

  1. Select Reports.
  2. Locate 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 drop-down list to use the previous year's data. To use data from the current financial year, accept the default setting of This Year-to-date.
  4. Select Run report.

Use this info as a guide to create your budget.

Step 3: Create your budget

Note: 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 drop-down list, select the financial year for the budget.
  5. Use the options on the Interval drop-down menu to specify whether the budget is Monthly, Quarterly, or Yearly.
  6. From the Pre-fill data drop-down list, specify whether to automatically enter data from the current or previous year into the budget, and specify the year to use. This is optional.
  7. From the Subdivide by drop-down list, specify whether to split the budget by Class, Customer, or Location, then specify what class, customer, or location to add to the budget. This is optional.  If you don't see Class or Location options, here's how to turn location tracking on and here's how to get started with class tracking.
  8. Select Next.
  9. If you didn't use the Pre-fill data option, enter the budget data into the table. Note: QuickBooks Online accepts decimals and doesn't round to the nearest dollar. If you don't see all your accounts and subaccounts, select the Settings ⚙ icon above the Total column and see if the Hide blank rows option is selected.
  10. When you're done select Save or Save and close.

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

Edit a budget

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 select Edit.
  4. Edit each account one month at a time.
  5. If you want 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. When you're done, select Save.

Copy an existing budget

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

  1. Select Settings ⚙️ and then Budgeting.
  2. Find the budget you want to copy.
  3. From the Action column, select 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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