QuickBooks Accounting Software = Small Business Relief!

March 8, 2010

QuickBooks is the best accounting software for procrastinators like me!  I spent part of Sunday working on my business financials for last year (which I should have done sooner) and QuickBooks made it easy for me to get my business accounts up to speed. 

When I sat down yesterday morning I was dreading the process of creating all the ledger entries and entering all the transactions but by the end of the day my bookkeping for the year was done and I was reminded of why I love Quickbooks for accounting software.

I’ve been using the QuickBooks Pro version for a few years now and unfortunately I always seem to put off entering my data much longer than I should.  Typically I set aside an afternoon to work through months and months of getting my small business information in order.  QuickBooks makes the process much less painful than it would be otherwise; here are three of my favorite things about the software.

Transaction Imports

Entering data stinks. It not only opens the door to entry errors but it also takes up time that I could spend doing other things.  I was able to download information from my bank accounts (WebConnect format) and PayPal (IIF format) and upload them right into QuickBooks.

Unfortunately, Chase only lets you download the last 90 days of credit card transactions and I needed data from all of last year so I had to manually input those ledger entries those myself.  Note to Chase, please provide more than 90 days of credit card data download, everyone else is doing it : )

Import File Examples

Not all vendors offer the option of downloading WebConnect or IIF files but most allow you to download csv or Excel files and QuickBooks can accept those as well.

If you’re wondering about the file types, QuickBooks WebConnect usually has a .qbo extension and contains your transactions in an OFX format.  You’ll probably never need to look at the contents of the file but if you’re curious, an entry from your bank might look something like this:


An IIF file stands for Intuit Interchange File. A transaction in IIF format for a payment you made would look something like this:

TRNS “4/13/2009” “Paypal” “US Postal Service” “Payment Sent” -6.12 
SPL “4/13/2009” “Shipping Expenses” “US Postal Service” 6.12

As I mentioned above, QuickBooks can also handle csv and Microsoft Excel files if your vendor doesn’t offer IIF or WebConnect.  You can import a range of business data, such as:

  • Vendor bills
  • Cash sales
  • Cash refunds
  • Checks
  • Credit card transactions
  • Deposits
  • General journal entries
  • Invoices
  • Payments from customers
  • Purchase orders

Business Reports


Once you upload or manually enter your transactions you can use QuickBooks to generate whatever business reports you need by selecting Report Center from the top menu.

There are many different types of reports available, as you can see in the graphic to the right, but the ones I use it for are the Financial reports.  You can generate the standard financial statements shown below:

  • Profit & Loss
  • Income and Expenses
  • Balance Sheet & Net Worth
  • Cash Flow
  • Balance Sheet

The reports can give you insight to help you make business decisions and are also great come tax time.  QuickBooks defines these standard financial reports for you and then also lets you customize them as well.

What I love is that once you import/enter your data, you can slice it and dice it how you want and generate summary reports for interested parties, such as your accountant.

QuickBooks Support

Every business has a variety of needs and different types of data.  This means that we also run into a variety issues when trying to wrangle that data into something meaningful. For example, I had a problem importing one of my IIF files because the data in one of the records was funky.  What’s great about QuickBooks is that I was able to search online and find an answer to my problem right away.

In another example, in years past I had been using a convoluted method to tell QuickBooks that I had transferred money from one account to another but a web search revealed a much simpler way of doing it (Using the Banking -> Transfer Funds menu).

Although I usually start with the Quickbooks built in help reference, I typically end up searching online for answers to problems.  Many times those searches lead me to the Quickbook forums, where other users have run into the same issue and other users have shared their solutions.  Here’s an example of some of the topics covered in the QuickBooks forums.


If you’re really stumped, you can always turn to other people that have extensive knowledge of QuickBooks.  Since it’s so widely used, there are tons of people that have a lot of experience with the software and will solve your problem for a relatively small fee. Of course, no one likes to spend money but if you’ve been hassling with an issue for a while and need to get back to work, getting help may be worth the money.  Intuit’s created the QuickBooks ProAdvisor® Program where users can become QuickBooks certified so you know that if you hire with them they should be able to get you sorted out relatively quickly and easily.

QuickBooks Software Versions

Anyhow, in case you can’t tell, I’m really pleased with QuickBooks and how it helps me in my business.  I’m glad to have my financial reports all finished up in time for the tax deadline. Don’t forget the tax filing deadline for corporate tax returns (Forms 1120, 1120A, and 1120S) is coming up, March 16th!

If you’re interested in testing out QuickBooks, you don’t have to use the Pro Version like I do. Intuit offers QuickBooks Online that you can try out for a month for free to see if you like it. 

They also offer the more basic QuickBooks SimpleStart which is cheaper, although it doesn’t have all the same import and transaction download features as QuickBooks Pro and only offers about a 1/10th of the reports. 

I’ve never used QuickBooks Premier so I can’t speak to it’s benefits over the Pro version but from what I’ve read the Premier version offers business planning, the ability to forecast sales & expenses, and industry specific reports.  Here’s more information on the different QuickBooks versions:


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Ben Edwards, the founder of Money Smart Life, saved up enough to buy a Nintendo back when he was 12 years old. When he used the money to buy shares of Wal-Mart stock instead, he knew he wasn't like the other kids... His addiction to personal finance has paid off for his family and now he's helping you to afford the life that you want. Check him out on the web at Google Plus, Twitter and Facebook.

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12 Responses to QuickBooks Accounting Software = Small Business Relief!

  • darren

    Quickbooks is one of the most popular applications for managing business finances. With powerful report generation and extensive tools to track and manage all of your banking, expenses and income, Quickbooks also provides an easy-to-use interface that allows you to record many different types of financial transactions.

  • Jack

    As an outsource bookkeeping and accounting firm, we
    provide services as per your unique business needs which are
    constantly changing as your business develops. We create customized
    special service packages so that we can fulfill all your needs
    regardless of your business size, that is, from individuals to Mid
    size enterprises(SME) to corporates.

  • Linda - BCA

    I have found Quickbooks to be a great asset to my business. It really does cater to the small business owner.

  • Kathleen@Work From Home Online Jobs

    I too really like Quickbooks. It is very simple to use, and seems to accommodate any type of business. There are several online forums dedicated to Quickbooks, and those who participate are very helpful and knowledgeable in accounting. I thought I read somewhere, someplace, that there is a free version of quickbooks. Anyone know if this is true?

  • Jenny

    Thanks for the explanation of data files from financial institutions. I’m looking to start a financial website soon and this will come in handy.


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