Showing results for 
Search instead for 
Did you mean: 
Level 3

Difference between "account" and "category"?

When searching for an expense, I see a choice to search by Account - that is easy to understand. I can choose the account called "6500 Materials", for example.

BUT, if I instead choose "Chase Bank" as the account, and open up one of the expense transactions returned in the results for Expenses in Chase Bank, I see there is a Category that is listed, and the category for one of the expense transactions was "6500 Materials".


SO, what is the difference between Account and Category and why does QB sometimes seem to use Account and other times Category to define what really is the same thing?



7 Comments 7
Robert S - AMC
Level 1

Difference between "account" and "category"?

Isnt the account just a shortened version of the category? Mine is usually just the number. The category is the number with a description.

QuickBooks Team

Difference between "account" and "category"?

Hello there, @haskenazi1 and @Robert S - AMC.


QuickBooks is designed to become a one-stop shop for small business owners in organizing your transactions. With that being said, I’d be delighted to share information with you about the account and category feature in QuickBooks Online.


For starters, the accounts in QuickBooks Online refers to the different account types in the Chart of accounts where your transactions are connected or associated. It’s for accounting and reconciliation purposes. When you create your QuickBooks account, you can choose from different account types (expense, income, liability) where you transactions will be posted.


While the category is for your inventory purpose. It’s a system created for you to classify the products and services you sell to customers and make your inventory easier. This does not directly affect your accounting.


Let me know if you have follow-up questions about managing your transactions in QuickBooks Online, feel free to visit our Community page. I’m always here to help.

Level 1

Difference between "account" and "category"?

We are having some issues with how the product codes (SKUs) transfer into Quickbooks Online from Ecomdash. A new product code appears to be created when we have a new order rather than the code matching up to (syncing with) an already existing product code. Also, new product codes are created with a default income account of Product Sales and a default expense account of Cost of Goods Sold. Our Chart of Accounts is designed such that each product category, i.e. Atlases-Domestic, Books, Guides-Domestic, has a specific Product Sales/Cost of Goods Sold subaccount (Product Sales:Atlases-Domestic, Cost of Goods Sold:Atlases-Domestic). Is there any way to have products come over and sync to existing SKUs/product names and/or set them up with the specific income and cogs accounts? Also, is there a way to mass edit existing products so that  income account = expense account category?


Katy Freeman

[email address removed]


Difference between "account" and "category"?

Let me share some ideas about product codes(SKUs) , @katyfreeman.


Since QBO is a third-party software, the information system receives is all dependent on how the other application transfer the file. For more details on how product codes (SKUs) transfer to QuickBooks, you can contact the Ecomdash Support Team.


Also, the options to set your products as income/cogs accounts and mass edit existing products are currently unavailable. As a workaround, you can integrate a supported third-party app that's able to do this.


There are two ways to find a third-party app. You can either go to the Intuit apps website or navigate the Apps menu in your QBO account.


Here's how:


  1. Go to the Apps menu at the left pane.
  2. Select the Find Apps tab and type a keyword in the search bar.
  3. Click the magnifying glass to search, then choose the app that suits your need.


To keep up with the latest news and product enhancements, I recommend visiting our QuickBooks blog page. To know the newly added features, you can go to the What's New in QBO tab.


Meanwhile, I'll be adding this Community resource if you've got other QuickBooks concerns such as setting up payments, managing your income and expenses, running reports, etc. Please refer to this article for more details: Community help articles.


Feel free to leave a comment below if you have any other questions. I'll be happy to help you some more. Have a great day ahead. 


If there's anything else you need, just leave a reply and I'll get back to you. Thanks for dropping by.

Level 1

Difference between "account" and "category"?

Thanks for letting me know!


Do you know which app would be best for mass editing income account?


Difference between "account" and "category"?

Thanks for coming back to this thread again, katyfreeman.


While we're unable to recommend what particular app to use, you can enter a keyword on the search bar or click the Browse category button to easily search for a third-party application.


I also suggest reading some reviews online or trying the trial options available before subscribing to any apps or services. This is to ensure that you'll find all of the features you need.


If you need some references in managing your account and transactions, just visit our QuickBooks Help Articles page.


Feel welcome to reach out to me again with any questions you may have. I'll be more than happy to help you out.

Level 1

Difference between "account" and "category"?

The OP is asking about the different between accounts and categories, not product categories. Those are different things.

In the first video it is cleared explained how QB intends to manage the 2. The second video and your reply are just confusing.

Need to get in touch?

Contact us