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Create budgets in QuickBooks Online

SOLVEDby QuickBooks51Updated 6 days ago

Learn how to add budgets into QuickBooks Online Plus.

Many businesses use budgets to help plan their finances. This is done by looking back at the income and expenses or assets, liabilities, and equity of the business, then creating a budget for the coming year, month, or quarter. 

With all your financial data in QuickBooks, you can create both profit and loss or balance sheet budgets you need for your company. Then, you can review and edit your budget and run reports to compare your actual income and expenses with your budget.

Create a budget

To create a new budget, you’ll need to sign in as an admin or as a user with the correct permission to access budgets.

Note: Only QuickBooks Online Plus subscriptions have access to the budget feature. If you have a different subscription and want to use budgets, learn how to upgrade your subscription to Plus.

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

  1. Sign in to QuickBooks Online.
  2. Go to Settings ⚙ and select Account and settings.
  3. Select the Advanced tab.
  4. In the Accounting section, review the First month of financial year field. If it’s incorrect, select Edit ✎.
  5. Select the required month from the dropdown and select Save.
  6. Select Done.

If you already have the data you want to use for your budget, you can skip this step. If not, you can base your budget on data from either the current financial year or the previous year. 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 customise the report to display the previous financial year's amounts instead:

  1. Go to Reports (Take me there).
  2. Find and select the Profit and Loss Detail Report.
  3. From the Report period ▼ dropdown, select a timeframe. For example:
    • If you want to use data from the previous year, select Last Year.
    • If you want to use data from your current financial year, select This Year-to-date.
  4. Make sure the beginning and end of the year match your financial year. 
  5. Select Run report.
  6. If you don’t want to reopen the report again, select the print or export icon to print or download a copy of the report.

Use this info as a guide to create your budget.

To create a budget, you can either make a new one or copy an existing one. If this is your first budget, start here and we'll show you how to copy a budget after you’ve added your first budget.

Note: QuickBooks Online creates the budget accounts list directly from your chart of accounts. If you need more accounts in your budget, add them to your chart of accounts before you create the budget.

  1. Go to Settings ⚙ and select Budgeting.
  2. Select Add budget
  3. In the Name field, enter a name for the budget.
  4. From the Financial Year ▼ dropdown, select the financial year you’re creating the budget for. 
  5. From the Interval ▼ dropdown, select whether you want the budget to display Monthly, Quarterly, or Yearly
  6. Select the actual date year from the Pre-fill data? ▼ dropdown if you’d like QuickBooks to prefill your budget with actual data from your chart of accounts.
    Note: if you use the pre-fill data and you change your mind, you’ll have to start over to delete the data. Select the X to close the budget and start over. 
  7. Use the Subdivide by ▼ dropdown to subdivide the budget further. 
  8. When you’re ready, select Next
  9. Enter your budget for each account for each month. Use the report you saved in Step 2 if needed. 
  10. When you’re satisfied with your budget, select Save and close.

Copy an existing budget

Instead of starting from scratch, you can create a copy of an existing budget. This jumpstarts your new budget by using last year's data. Here’s how to copy a budget:

  1. Select Settings ⚙ and then Budgeting.
  2. Find the budget you want to copy.
  3. In the Action column, select the ▼ dropdown, and then 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 new, separate budget.

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. From the Action column, select Edit.
  4. Edit each account one month at a time.
  5. To change the time period from monthly to quarterly or yearly, select the gear icon at the top of the budget. Then select Quarter or Year.
  6. Select Save or Save and close.

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. From the Action column, select the ▼ dropdown, then select Delete.
  4. Select Yes to confirm.

Run budget reports

You can run special profit and loss 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. From the Action column, select the ▼ dropdown, then select Run Budgets vs. Actuals report or Run Budget Overview report.
  4. If you want to export a budget as pdf/excel, export them via reports.

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.

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