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Create rules to categorize transactions in QuickBooks Desktop

by Intuit Updated 1 year ago

Learn how to create rules to help QuickBooks match your Bank Feeds transactions.  

You can create rules to categorize transactions for things you often spend money on, like supplies or business expenses.

There are three Bank Feed modes available in QuickBooks Desktop. Each displays and handles transactions differently. 

Create a rule in Express Mode 

  1. Go to Banking, select Bank Feeds and then Bank Feeds Center.
  2. Select the Rules icon.
  3. Select the Manage Rules dropdown, then New. You can also select Edit Rule to modify an existing rule. 
  4. In Add Rules Details, give the rule a name and set the conditions.
  5. In the When section, add, or remove conditions for descriptions.
  6. In the Do this section, provide a new name or add categories for accounts.

You can also create Bank Feeds rules automatically:

  1. Go to Preferences and select Checking.
  2. Select Company Preferences then Express Mode.
  3. Select the checkboxes for Create rules automatically and Always ask before creating a rule.
  4. From the transaction list in the Banking Center, select a name and account then select Quick Add.

If you have multiple transactions with the same criteria, you’ll receive a Rules Creation message. You can ignore or edit the rule.

Pro Tip: Always review transactions changed by rules before you match or select Add/Approve from Batch transactions.

Create a rule in Advanced Mode 

  1. Go to Banking, select Bank Feeds and then Bank Feeds Center.
  2. Select Rules, then select Add Rule.
  3. Enter a Rule Name, then select if it’s Money In or Money Out or Both.
  4. Enter Conditions and if the rule is for Any or All of the conditions for description, memo, and amount.
  5. Enter the name and account
    1. If you have class tracking set up, you can add Class.
    2. For Money Out rules, you can assign a Customer:Job if you track job costs.
  6. When you’ve entered all of your conditions, select Save.

From the rules page you can search for the name, rule condition, description, name, class, and account.

Create an Advanced rule from a transaction

  1. Select a transaction, then from the Action column, select the dropdown to Add More Details.
  2. Select Create rule from this transaction.
  3. Add the details for the rule.
  4. When you’re done, select Save.

Create an Express rule from a transaction

  • Renaming rules apply to Express and Advanced modes. Classic Mode uses Aliases.
  • Rules are company file-specific, one set of rules for all connected accounts in the Bank Feeds center.

When you download transactions into your Bank Feeds, they are usually categorized as:

  • (Auto) Matched: The downloaded transaction corresponds to one you’ve entered into this account register in QuickBooks.
  • (Need Your Review) Unmatched: The downloaded transactions don’t match any transactions in this account in QuickBooks.

To add a transaction using renaming rules:

  1. Mark the box to select a transaction under Need Your Review.
  2. Assign the appropriate name and account.
  3. From the Action dropdown, choose Quick Add.
  4. Select OK in the Rule Creation display. 
  5. The transaction shows as Changed by Rules.
  6. To add it to your register, select the CHK category, then from the Batch Actions dropdown, select Add/Approve.

Note: This is only applicable if ☑Create rules automatically and ☑Always ask before creating a rule in Preferences are checked. Get more info about banking modes and preferences

Incorrect names occur when downloaded transactions have generic names or descriptions like “Check,” “Payment,” or “Online transfers.” QuickBooks creates rules as you enter transactions, then applies them to the remaining unmatched.

Avoid having transactions renamed with an incorrect name?

QuickBooks doesn't have a way to reverse this renaming rule. You have two options to prevent transactions with incorrect names or accounts.

Solution 1: Manually create renaming rules

Prevents QuickBooks from automatically creating renaming rules if you are in Express Mode.

  1. Select Edit, then Preferences.
  2. Select Checking, then the Company Preferences tab.
  3. In Bank Feeds, uncheck the following boxes:
    • Create rules automatically: QuickBooks won’t automatically create a renaming rule each time you add a transaction.
    • Always ask before creating a rule: QuickBooks will prompt you to check the renaming rule before it is created.

Note: You’ll need to manually create renaming rules. Also, edit/delete any incorrectly created rules to avoid issues when you download transactions in the future.

Solution 2: Switch to the Classic Register Mode

Learn how to switch between banking modes in QuickBooks Desktop.

Correct transactions that were already renamed and added with the incorrect name?

Solution 1: Manually correct each transaction

  1. Access the Bank Register.
  2. Look for the transaction and update it with the correct name or account.
  3. Save your changes.

Solution 2: Restore a backup

If you have created a backup copy of your company file before entering/adding the downloaded transactions, you can restore a backup company file and start over.

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