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Create and import budgets into 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 and Advanced, 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: Review your business' fiscal year

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

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

Step 2: Get your budget data

If you already have your budget data, you can skip this step. If you don't have any data yet, use your QuickBooks data to get started:

  1. Go to the Reports menu.
  2. Select and open the Profit and Loss Detail report.
  3. From the Report Period ▼ dropdown, select a timeframe. If you want to use last year's data, select Last year.
  4. Make sure the beginning and end of the year match your fiscal year. If you want to use data from your current fiscal year, select This Year-to-date.
  5. Select Run report.

Use this info as a guide to create your budget.

Step 3: Download a budget template

Download a budget .csv template from QuickBooks. Use it to create your budget so all of your data is compatible. You can have up to five budget templates:

  1. Go to Settings ⚙ and select Budgeting.
  2. Select Import budget.
  3. Select the Sample.csv link to download the template. Save it somewhere you can easily find it, like your Downloads folder.

Step 4: Create your budget

Open the .csv budget template in Excel or Google Sheets. QuickBooks uses your chart of accounts and fiscal year months to format the template format.

Enter your budget for each account for each month. Important: Don't add more columns or rows. If you need more accounts to appear, add them to your chart of accounts before you download the template.

Step 5: Upload your template

When you're done, import your budget back into QuickBooks:

  1. Go to Settings ⚙ and select Budgeting.
  2. Select Import budget.
  3. Select Browse and then select the template.

Now your budget is in QuickBooks. Do a quick review.

  1. Give the budget a name.
  2. Review the cells. Make sure the correct amounts are in each account. If you need to make edits, select a field and make changes.
  3. When you're ready, select Save to save your budget.

Step 1: Set the first month of your fiscal year

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

  1. Sign in to QuickBooks Online as an admin.
  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 fiscal 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 fiscal 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 customize the report to display the previous fiscal year's amounts instead:

  1. Select Reports.
  2. Find and open the Profit and Loss Detail Report.
  3. Select Last Fiscal Year (or Last Year if January is the first month of your fiscal year) from the Report period dropdown to use the previous year's data. To use data from the current fiscal 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 Fiscal Year dropdown, select the fiscal 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 organize 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 summarizes budgets by account. The Budgets vs. Actuals report summarizes 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 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 fiscal 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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