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Filtering by Tag: QBO

Quickie QuickBooks Tutorial #1: Run a Profit & Loss Report

Jessica Mishra

Welcome to my new series: Quickie QuickBooks Online Tutorials, woot! Little snippets highlighting some of the cool features in QuickBooks Online (no that is not an oxymoron, they really are cool). These tutorials will not be complicated, but will show you how to use the system to best benefit your business. Today we start with Reporting. I will show you how to run a simple report that will give you oodles of info about your business. From there you can understand trends, make decisions backed up by actual numbers, and monitor the growth of your business. 

Tell me the report already!

This report is called the Profit and Loss Statement. Almost anyone (banks, accountants, etc) that wants to see financial info from your business will ask for this statement. This report shows you one of the most important things from your business: your profit! It is a rather simple report, actually. First it lists your income, next your expenses, and finally your profit (income minus expenses). 

You will see the income and expenses listed by type and you can even customize the report to show each type of income or expense as a percentage of the total (this can help to highlight the services or products that produce the most income or the categories of expenses where maybe you can cut back). 

How do I run it?

Two ways:

1. Go to Reports on the left side bar. Under Recommended Reports you should see Profit and Loss. Click there and it will pull up an initial report. Before getting all excited or anxious about the results, make sure you are looking at the right time period. At the top you will see Transaction Date. You can chose a date from the drop down menu here or enter in a period/range manually. I most frequently use either Year-to-Date (shows you everything that has happened so far this year) or I run a report just for the month. You may also want to look at last month or last year. Once you select the date, don't forget to hit Run Report. This will reload your new report. 

This will create a pretty basic report showing the totals in each category. If you want to sort your info in different ways, hit the Customize button at the top left of the screen. We will keep it simple for the sake of this first post, but here are a couple things you may want to do to slice and dice the numbers on your report (I mean hey let's get a little cray). Under Rows/Columns I like to select Months. This allows you to see your income, expenses, and profit by month.

A little further down there is the option to "Add Subcolumns for Comparison". I like the % of Income and % of Expenses options. These will show you each type of income and expenses as a percentage of the total. For example, maybe you offer 4 types of products/services. You might see that your eBook sales were 65% of your total income. That means you are doing great with eBook sales and could maybe put even more effort there (this is a hot seller). Or, perhaps you see that your one-one-one consulting income is only 10%. You could make the decision to either spend more time marketing this, or drop it off to focus on more profitable products. See how this works? Don't forget to hit Run Report at the bottom of the Customize screen so it saves the changes. 

2. The second way to get to your Profit and Loss report is through the home page. Under the Profit and Loss section on the Home Page, you can click directly on the Net Income number. Voila, it runs your report. You can change dates and customize from there. 

Final Notes

I tell my clients to run this report at regular intervals to keep in touch with the health of their business. You could do this at month-end or quarter-end. Just make it a regular thing so you don't forget (calendar it for goodness sake). 

You can export any report to Excel or to email if you want to share with others (lenders, partners, your Mom - she is so proud). 

You can save your customizations if you think you will want to use them again. Just click on Save Customizations in the top menu and you can then save the report to a group. 

Key Takeaways from this blog post:

  • Periodically run a Profit and Loss report, it will help you stay in touch with the health of your business.
  • Visit the Reports section of QuickBooks to run this report, be sure to set the appropriate time period at the top, and feel free to customize the report to your liking. 
  • Import to excel or email reports to share with others. This can be the start of a very fruitful conversation. 

Was this post helpful? Let me know your thoughts or post your QuickBooks Online questions. I would love to hear from you!

***Disclaimer: This post was written on May 12, 2015. Intuit makes periodic updates to the QuickBooks Online software. Be sure to check with your financial advisor or tax professionals if it appears that any changes have been made or to discuss the specific circumstances of your unique business.***

QuickBooks Online: A breath of fresh air for your biz

Jessica Mishra

Does any of this sound familiar? You are a small business owner. You are currently using spreadsheets to track your income and expenses. Or, maybe you are simply scrolling through bank statements at year-end and trying to pull out any income and expenses that might be related to your business. You feel overwhelmed by all things finance, and you maybe even put off the organization of your finances to focus on, well anything else. Setting up a new record keeping system and/or learning a new software seems daunting. We've all been there, but it's time to take control. No more procrastination, just time to make a choice and act on it. 

This post is designed to tell you about some of the benefits of signing up for QuickBooks Online. I write this post from first-hand experience. Yes, I am a Pro-Advisor for Intuit QuickBooks, but this post comes from direct interactions with the software. I use it to manage my own business, and the truth is, I love it. Clients tell me the same thing! I hope to provide some clarity regarding the potential switch!

Access it from anywhere

Yep, that's right. You could be on a beach in Hawaii working on your QuickBooks (although I hope if you are on a beach you are not working on QB). This software sets you up for financial freedom. You can manage your QuickBooks account from your laptop at any time from any place. There is also a great QuickBooks app that can make your life easier on-the-go. In addition, there are several other apps that interface with QuickBooks that can help you with expense tracking, creating a mileage log (how many of you are currently tracking your business mileage accurately?), and can take pictures of receipts and store them for you. QuickBooks Online is the wave of the future. Further, if you have an admin or other employee that you would like to have access to your account, no problem at all. They can access from anywhere too!

Easy access for your accountant

Sharing info with your tax accountant or financial advisor used to be clunky. You might be sending a file back and forth or your accountant had to come to you at your place of work. Now, by simply entering your accountant's email in the right place, you give them access to your QuickBooks - again from any place or at any time. If you eventually want to hire a bookeeper, they can work remotely as well. No more scheduling issues or coordinating who will work in the file when. Ahhhh, simplicity. 


QuickBooks Online stores your data using the type of encryption that most banks use. Many people worry about storing data on the Cloud, but you can rest easy. Before you may have stored data on your laptop hardrive which can either be hacked or physically stolen. The cloud can offer a security that you may not have had before. You can also exchange financial documents with your bookkeeper or tax accountant through QuickBooks Online. No need to send these files through email anymore (which as you know can be quite risky these days). 

Invoicing like a dream

This section is for any of you that invoice your clients or customers. Speaking for myself, this process for me used to be very time consuming. I would manually create an invoice, had no good numbering system, had to enter each piece of information each time I created an invoice, and had no good way of tracking customer data or outstanding invoices.

With QBO, you can auto-fill all of your customer's data just by chosing their name from a menu. You can also auto-populate your products and services so you don't have to enter the description of the product/service, rate, and even tax info each time. You can even set the account that will record the income for each product/service automatically, and you can automate invoices if you have a need for regularly occuring invoices. I can now create an invoice for a client in about 2 minutes and send it directly to their email. I can also see how many invoices are outstanding at any given time (so I know to send a friendly reminder if it has been a while). So easy it almost seems too good to be true. 

A LOT less data entry (this is a big one)

Do you like free time? Well QBO is about to give you more of it. Features like QBO's bank feed, automation of invoicing/bill pay, and QuickBooks payments can all be huge time savers. Let's take the bank feed for example. QBO allows you to link any of your banks, credit cards, even Paypal accounts. All the data feeds seamlessly into QBO and all you have to do is review, code, and approve each transaction. No more manual entry of each check or expense that you receive or incur. QBO also allows you to create rules so that it will remember repeat transactions. I am telling you, this is a HUGE time saver. 

More insight into your business

As soon as you hit the homepage of QBO, you are being told about outstanding invoices, the types of expenses you have incurred recently, what your profit is looking like for the month, and data is displayed regarding the reconciliation of your bank accounts. Further, there are a series of helpful reports that are very easy to run if you are looking to understand your business profit from month-to-month or want to investigate a missing payment, for example. Having more clarity as to the working of your business allows you to make informed decisions regarding future growth. 

Support - you are not alone in this

QuickBooks online even offers a support hotline. Have a question on how to add another column on your invoice? Call them. Want to know how to run a customized report? Call them. Want to know why you are seeing a certain error message? You guessed it, call them! If you are feel hesitant about learning a new software, don't worry because they will support you through the transition. I myself have them on speed dial. 

I hope this post takes away some of your hesitation. If you want a guide through the financial frontier, I offer QuickBooks training sessions (which can easily be done remotely). Shoot me a note if you are interested. Further if you have QBO set up and want someone to manage it for you, I also offer bookkeeping services. As I always say, don't hesitate, automate!