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Track your cash flow in QuickBooks Online

Learn how to track your cash flow in QuickBooks Online.

Your cash flow is the amount of money moving in and out of your business and bank account. In QuickBooks Online, you can use different reports and projections to get a clear look at your current and future businesses finances. Here’s what to do.

Know where you stand financially

Step 1: Make sure your data is accurate

When it comes to cash flow reporting, the first thing to do is make sure your books are accurate. All reports will use your data in QuickBooks, so you want to make sure you have a clean starting point.

  1. Make sure you’ve entered all your transactions into QuickBooks.
  2. Reconcile your accounts in QuickBooks and make sure they match your real-life bank and credit card statements. If you need help reconciling your account, it’s a good idea to reach out to your accountant.

If your reconcile report matches your bank statement, you’re ready to start running reports. If they don’t match, here’s how to fix beginning balance issues in QuickBooks.

Step 2: Generate a cash flow forecast

A cash flow forecast helps you determine how long you can maintain business operations. You can then use the forecast as a planning tool to look at different scenarios, based on adjustments to revenue and expenses.

Download the forecasting worksheet

Download the forecasting worksheet and use it as a planning tool to evaluate “what-if” scenarios, based on potential adjustments to revenue and expenses. Set a goal to create a three-month plan to keep your cash positive.

Run a profit and loss report

Run a profit and loss report for the past three months to get an understanding of your average income and expenses for each month.

  1. Go to Reports.
  2. Select Profit and Loss.
  3. From the Report period ▼ dropdown, select Since 90 days ago. Or select Custom and enter a three-month date range.
  4. Select Run report.

When you look at the income, focus on the top sources of revenue. For expenses, pay attention to things like payroll, rent, insurance, and marketing expenses to see where you may be able to reduce spending.

Run an open invoices report

The open invoices report will show you all unpaid invoices and statement charges, with totals for each customer.

  1. Go to Reports.
  2. From Who owes you, select Open Invoices.
  3. Select Run report.

Run an unpaid bills report

The unpaid bills report will show you unpaid bills along with the due dates and days past due. This will help show your short term cash flow.

  1. Go to Reports.
  2. From the What you owe section, select Unpaid Bills.
  3. Select a report period from the ▼ dropdown.
  4. Enter your due date.
  5. Select Run report.

Optimize your cash flow

After you look at your current cash flow and create a forecast, you can focus on finding the best ways to manage cash flow. You’ll likely need to use a mix of approaches to both increase money coming in and decrease what you spend. Like you did with your forecast, use the data from key QuickBooks reports.

Step 1: See which customers owe you

See which customers owe you and the due dates. Focusing on making sure you get paid can result in an increase of cash that you can use to continue running the business.

Run an open invoices report

The open invoices report will show you which customers owe you the most, then you can choose how to manage these accounts to increase cash on hand.

  1. Go to Reports.
  2. From the Who owes you section, select Open Invoices.
  3. Select Run report.

Run a customer balance detail report

To see a detailed breakdown of how much each customer owes and the due dates, run a customer balance detail report.

  1. Go to Reports.
  2. From the Who owes you section, select Customer Balance Detail.
  3. Select Run report.

To help focus on which customers to contact, select Sort and use the due date to see the customers with the most overdue invoices.

Note: If you’re using QuickBooks Online Advanced, you can see which customers are more likely to delay paying you. To set it up, select the AI powered option when creating  automated payment due reminder emails in the Workflows section. The system will then send reminder emails to customers who are likely to pay late, based on their previous payment patterns.

Step 2: Reduce fixed expenses

Large monthly expenses are the easiest to identify. Lowering them can have a substantial impact on available cash for the business.

Rent: Use the transaction detail by account report to get average monthly rent expenses.

  1. Go to Reports.
  2. From the For my accountant section, select Transaction Detail by Account.
  3. Select Customize, and then select Filter.
  4. Choose a Distribution Account, and then select the appropriate rent accounts.
  5. Select Run report.

Insurance: Use the transaction detail by account report to see monthly insurance expenses.

  1. Go to Reports.
  2. From the For my accountant section, select Transaction Detail by Account.
  3. Select Customize, and then select Filter.
  4. Choose a Distribution Account, and then select the appropriate insurance accounts.
  5. Select Run report.

Payroll: Assess a variety of options for managing the workforce. The Paycheck Protection Program also provides guidance on how to minimize disruptions for employees if your business needs to close temporarily.

Step 3: See which bills are due

It may be most helpful to start with the bills that are already due. Vendors may be flexible on timing or be able to offer payment plans.

Run an unpaid bills report

The unpaid bills report will show you unpaid bills along with the due dates and days past due. This will help show your short term cash flow.

  1. Go to Reports.
  2. From the What you owe section, select Unpaid Bills.
  3. Select a report period from the ▼ dropdown.
  4. Enter your due date.
  5. Select Run report.



Run an expenses by vendor report

Use the total expenses for each vendor report to sort by expense total. This will help to focus on which vendors to contact.

  1. Go to Reports.
  2. From the Expenses and vendors section, select Expenses by Vendor Summary.
  3. Select a report period from the ▼ dropdown.
  4. Select Run report.
  5. Select Sort and choose to sort by total in descending order.

Step 4: Reduce your money out

The less money you spend, the longer your cash reserves will last. Work with vendors, lenders, and government agencies to explore options for deferring payments or restructuring terms and rates. Use report data from QuickBooks to help prioritize who to contact. When you’re ready, here’s some tips on communicating with vendors.

Identify which lenders to contact

To identify lenders or note-holders to contact about deferring loan payments, use the transaction detail by account report.

  1. Go to Reports.
  2. From the For my accountant section, select Transaction Detail by Account.
  3. Select Customize, and then select Filter.
  4. Choose Distribution Account, and then select All Liability Accounts from the ▼ dropdown.
  5. Choose Vendor, and then select the appropriate vendors from the ▼ dropdown.
  6. Select Run report.

Identify which tax agencies to contact

To see which tax agencies you pay, run a taxable sales detail report. This will show you a list of your taxable products and services, along with the amount you owe.

  1. Go to Reports.
  2. the Sales tax section, select Taxable Sales DetailSummary.
  3. Select a time frame from the Report period ▼ dropdown.
  4. Select Month from the Group by ▼ dropdown.
  5. Select Run report.
  6. Go to Settings ⚙️on the report and select Show More.
  7. Choose Tax Amount and Tax Name to display the tax agency and how much you owe by month.



Calculate your payroll tax

To calculate how much payroll tax you should pay, use the total payroll cost report. This will show you the costs associated with paying employees, including taxes.

  1. Go to Reports.
  2. From the Payroll section, select Total Payroll Cost.
  3. Select a time period from the Date Range ▼ dropdown.
  4. Select Run report.

Step 5: Cut back on discretionary spending

There’s a wide range of expenses that you can control. Identifying items that aren’t necessary—either in the short term or at all—can reduce some of the stress around cash flow. If you use autopay for your bills, you may want to turn it off until you prioritize the spending.

Marketing and advertising

Marketing budgets typically have some flexibility, and you should be able to adjust them for the next few months. To see average spending, use the transaction detail by account report.

  1. Go to Reports.
  2. From the For my accountant section, select Transaction Detail by Account.
  3. Select Customize, and then select Filter.
  4. Select Distribution Account, and then select the accounts you use for marketing and advertising.
  5. Select Run report.

Subscriptions and memberships

You may have subscriptions or memberships that aren’t necessary in the short term. Canceling or suspending them can result in immediate savings. To track dues or ongoing subscription expenses, use the transaction detail by account report.

  1. Go to Reports.
  2. From the For my accountant section, select Transaction Detail by Account.
  3. Select Customize, and then select Filter.
  4. Filter by Dues & subscriptions.
  5. Select Run report.

Meals and entertainment

Try to cut spending in this area for the next few months. Use the transaction detail by account report to see average meal expenses.

  1. Go to Reports.
  2. From the For my accountant section, select Transaction Detail by Account.
  3. Select Customize, and then select Filter.
  4. Select Distribution Account, and then select the accounts you use for travel, meals, and entertainment.
  5. Select Run report.

Explore funding relief options

Step 1: Intuit Aid Assist

There are many options available for small businesses to secure loans, grants, and other funds. Intuit Aid Assist is a free resource to help you determine eligibility for the two largest federal relief programs for small businesses and the self-employed, the Paycheck Protection Program and Economic Injury Disaster Loan.

Step 2: State and local relief

For the most up-to-date information about state and local relief available in your area, visit your state governor’s website.

Step 3: Apply for PPP

QuickBooks customers can also apply for the Paycheck Protection Program directly through QuickBooks. Eligible businesses can choose to apply directly or use QuickBooks to organize their application and apply through any existing SBA 7(a) lender. Eligibility requirements and other details are on the QuickBooks Paycheck Protection Program site.

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