Use custom reports to get the data that matters most to you.
While general reports in QuickBooks provide tons of actionable financial data, custom reports let you pull the exact data you need to dive into the nitty-gritty details of your business. This depth of understanding leads to better insights. Better insights lead to better decision-making and actionable outcomes.
Why do I need to customize financial reports?
Foremost, customize your reports so the data makes sense to you. At the end of the day, a report is only useful if you understand what the data is telling you. The filters in the customization module can be used to eliminate extraneous details or pull additional data points so you can easily zero-in on account specifics.
Moreover, narrowing the scope of reports helps you learn more about how each part of your business impacts its overall health. These insights empower you to make more informed financial decisions.
Get started customizing financial reports
Most reports can be customized using a consistent set of filters and display settings. These are particularly useful for narrowing the scope of the data in order to simplify your analysis.
Start from the ReportsTab. Select the “All” sub-tab to browse through the complete list of reports in QuickBooks Online, or use the search bar to find a specific report.
There are two ways to customize reports and both paths lead to the same customization modal:
Method one: click the () next to a report on the list and select “customize.”
Method two: if you’re already viewing a report, click the button to apply customizations.
Before going deep into the customization modal, all reports have a basic set of filters at the top of the page. These let you adjust the report period and toggle between cashand accrualcalculation of the report.
Once you click customize, a variation of following modal will appear (the filters available vary from report to report):
Use the expand arrows () to bring up the nearlylimitless customization options. It’s up to you to figure out which filters and display options work best for your needs.
Rows/Columns- lets you modify which columns and rows display on reports.
Filter- lets you select the specific accounts, sub-accounts, customers, vendors, and items that appear on reports.
Header/Footer- lets you toggle data tables and other information that appears reports, such as date and time prepared.
Remember - your ultimate goal is generating data that informs your financial and operational decisions. The data is only useful if you know how to interpret it.
Show me why I should run a custom report
Let’s customize a Profit and Loss Report so it’s easier to understand. QuickBooks has a number of semi-customized reports available. Personally, I prefer using the “Profit and Loss Report by % of Total Income Report” over the standard Profit and Loss Report because I can easily distil my business’ performance at a glance - it breathes life into what are otherwise flat numbers.
I also prefer percentages over raw numbers because I don’t have to do any calculations to understand the relative significance of particular income and expense categories.
For this Profit and Loss Report by % of Total Income Report, I applied the following customizations:
Items as% of income - so I can quickly see which areas of my business are having the biggest impact on my bottom line ( Customize > Rows/Columns )
Columns by month- so I can compare performance trends month-over-month ( Customize > Rows/Columns )
Negative numbers in red- so I can see where I’m taking the biggest hit ( Customize > General )
Removed the company name- so there are fewer words on the page ( Customize > Header/Footer )
I made one additional customization that’s visible when I expand the report - Items as a % of Row ( Customize > Rows/Columns ). This lets me see which items brought in the majority of my income for the month and which month had the most sales for each item.
In a few seconds, I know that Fountain and Garden Lights sold well in January, Plants and Soil has brought in the most income to-date, and my combined Landscaping Sales account for roughly 44% of my total sales income in December. February wasn’t such a good month. Maybe it was the season?
Thanks to customization, I know Spring is an opportunity to rally.
Any other tips I should keep in mind to be successful?
If you want to email, print or export your report, click the icons at the top of the report page. This is the easiest way to share data with your team. Don’t forget to provide a brief summary of your findings.
Once you’ve found your perfect set of filters, you can save your customizations by clicking the “Save Customization” button at the top of the report. Give your custom report an accurate yet catchy name so it's easy to remember.
If you create a report group, you can choose who can access these custom reports. You can even schedule reports to run and be sent out automatically via email (with the option to attach it as an excel file).