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Confession time… before I set up Quickbooks I had no idea how much profit my blog was making!
I knew that if I wanted to go from hobby to business owner I had to get to the bottom of where my money was coming from and where I could make more of it!
Ever since getting set up, Quickbooks has helped me get organised and analyse out my numbers to help me to earn more and better manage my expenses.
I put this Quickbooks tutorial together to help you to get up and running to share some secrets on how I use it to help you make more profits too.
Signing Up to Quickbooks Simple Start UK
I recommend signing up with Quickbooks Simple Start. It has the main features a small business owner needs to track their income and expenses.
There is another version called Quickbooks Self-Employed but I found this to be a little too simplified and didn’t produce the reports I needed to analyse my blog profits. It also saves very little in monthly fees, so it’s definitely worth paying a bit more for the Simple Start version
How Much is Quickbooks Simple Start?
You’ll pay £6 a month for the first 6 months and then its £12 after that. There is an option to try it free for one month, but I went with the 50% discount when I first signed up because overall I got a bigger saving.
Getting Started with Quickbooks Simple Start UK
Once you have signed up you’ll need to begin customising the setup so it’s right for you.
1. Set Up Your Company Information
Quickbooks needs a little information about you and your business so that the system can automatically configure the tax and accounting side of things correctly for you.
If you are self-employed choose the option “Sole Trader” when asked what type of business you have.
Next, you’ll be asked what you would like to do. Don’t worry too much if you aren’t sure, we will walk through the rest of the configuration and can make necessary changes later on.
Once you’ve completed these initial steps you’ll be presented with the Quickbooks Dashboard.
Don’t worry if this doesn’t make sense right now, you’ll get to grips with it over time.
2. Connect Your Bank Account
This is my favourite feature of Quickbooks.
Once you have connected your bank account to Quickbooks all your bank transactions will be automatically imported. Saving you the hassle of manually entering everything that comes in and out of your account.
Choose the “Connect Your Bank Account” from the Quickbooks dashboard.
If you can’t see this you can click on the “Banking” option on the left-hand side of your dashboard and then click the green button to “Add an Account”.
However you choose to get there, you’ll be taken to a screen where you can select who you bank with and enter your account details to make the connection.
You’ll need to repeat this process for each bank account and credit card you have in place for your small business.
Once Quickbooks has completed importing all your bank transactions you’ll have a list of income and expenses that looks a bit like this:
These will need to be categorised but you should wait to do this until you have completed the setup process.
If You Cannot Connect Your Bank to Quickbooks UK
If your bank is not available then you’ll need to add your transactions in by importing them as a CSV spreadsheet file.
Start by exporting them from your online banking system then make sure they are in the correct format for Quickbooks Simple Start.
You only need three columns on your spreadsheet:
Make sure you use a negative for payments and save it as CSV not xls.
Download my Quickbooks CSV template to help you get started.
3. Customise your Invoices
If you have customers and clients that you need to invoice in order to get paid, then take this chance to customise the invoice settings in Quickbooks.
Add your logo, set up which sections you need on your invoices and the standard email you’ll like to be sent each time you issue an invoice.
Once set up, you’ll be able to email your invoices straight from Quickbooks and monitor which ones have been paid.
You can also offer your customers the ability to pay by credit card but you’ll need a Paypal account to accept the payment.
4. Edit Your Quickbooks Chart of Accounts
Sounds a bit technical right? It’s not I promise.
What is a Chart of Accounts?
A chart of accounts put simply is the high-level list of names that you use to classify all your individual income and expenses to.
For example: Travel in the chart of accounts would cover all the payments you make for tubes, taxis and flights.
Every small business has slightly different requirements when it comes to their chart of accounts.
Quickbooks has a default chart of accounts for you to use but one size doesn’t fit all.
Editing your Quickbooks chart of accounts will help make your coding easier and produce more meaningful reports specific to your business.
You can access your chart of accounts by clicking on Accounting on the left hand menu. The option for chart of accounts will appear and once selected you’ll be presented with a list of codes and names.
Whilst editing your chart of accounts is something I advise you to do, I suggest you take it slowly and only make changes you are sure you need.
There’s nothing worse than having to organise a messy chart of accounts! Plus you can edit and add names when you start using Quickbooks.
Think about the key areas of your business and the main types of income and expenses you have.
As a blogger, I chose to split my revenue out into its key parts – advertising, affiliate and guides. That way, each time I run profit reports I can see where I am making the most money and consider which areas I could be making more.
Now, run down the list and check each of the headings, clicking the black arrow in the final right-hand column to add or edit as required.
5. Code Your Income and Expenses
Now you have completed the basic set up of Quickbooks begin to code your transactions so you can start running reports to analyse your numbers.
Head back to the banking sections where you’ll see all your transactions that have been imported from the bank accounts and credit cards you set up earlier.
Work through each line allocating each item to a category, then when you are happy, click add.
Quickbooks will try to code transactions for you. Sometimes it gets it right, but not always. So make sure you check each one.
Rinse and repeat for all your bank accounts and credit cards.
6. Reports You’ll Need
Now you have all your income and expenses recorded, start running reports so you can start learning more about your business.
All the Quickbooks reports are contained in the “Reports” section. It comes with lots of pre loaded reports but there are customisation options.
I suggest you stick with the pre-loaded ones to begin with. You can start to branch out later as you get more familiar with Quickbooks and your small business finances.
The first report to take a look at is your profit & loss. This will show you how much profit you are making.
7. Quickbooks App
Finally, don’t forget to download the Quickbooks UK app.
You’ll be able to manage a lot of your small business finances from your phone which definitely helps me keep on top of my financial admin.
If the thought of doing your small business bookkeeping makes you cringe, then setting up Quickbooks will make your life a lot easier. You may even enjoy it!
It’s helped me analyse my revenues to see where I make the most money and focus my efforts on those areas. It’s also forced me to see all my costs helping me to see where I was wasting money and where I was paying for things that actually didn’t generate any revenue.
Anita is a Chartered Accountant with over a decade of experience taking self-employed business owners from financially confused to business savvy.
She is the creator of the ‘Go Self Employed’ website, which is her corner on the internet where she makes self-employment less terrifying.