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Creating Customer Records in QuickBooks Online

QuickBooks Online competes fairly evenly with its desktop counterparts in many ways. But the software versions offer a bit more in their customer record forms.

Before personal computers began to proliferate and offer electronic bookkeeping to small businesses through software like QuickBooks, companies guarded their customer records fiercely. If there was a fire in the office, that valuable set of folders was probably one of the first things the manager grabbed.

And when businesses buy other businesses, the database of customers is one of the most valuable assets that gets passed along.

Obviously, your collection of customer records is critical to the continuing success – even existence – of your company. QuickBooks – both Online and desktop – provides boilerplate forms that let you enter and store myriad details about each customer. The desktop editions of QuickBooks are more flexible, but any version that you buy will give you the basic tools you need to create a customer database.

Detailed Customer Records

Both Quickbooks Online and the desktop versions support imports of customer data. This process, though, can be complex, and must be done absolutely correctly. If you’ve never worked with database imports before, QuickBooks training is probably in order.

It’s easy – though time-consuming – to enter all of this data yourself. In QuickBooks Online, you’d click the Customers link in the left vertical toolbar and then click the New customer bar in the upper right. Here’s a sample record already completed:

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The Customer Information window in QuickBooks Online displays fields for your critical information about each customer.

The visible part of this window contains primarily contact information – address, phone, etc. In the lower left corner, though, there are tabs that open additional data fields. These are:

  • Other details. This is a blank box for saving miscellaneous information.
  • Tax info. Here, you can check a box if the customer is taxable and enter the Default Tax Code. You can also enter a Tax Resale No.
  • Payment and billing. Blank fields with drop-down lists here let you select the customer’s Preferred payment method, Preferred delivery method and Terms.

Now take a look at a completed customer record from desktop QuickBooks Pro 2014 (the Edit Customer window):

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This customer record form from QuickBooks Pro (desktop) 2014 gives you much more flexibility in entering contact information.

The main screen is not so different from QuickBooks Online’s, with one exception: There are actually a total of eight fields for phone numbers, email addresses, Skype IDs, etc. QuickBooks Online offers five, and only one is flexible.

When you click on the Payment Settings tab, you can enter much more detail in the desktop version, including Credit Card Information, Credit Limit and Price Level. The Sales Tax Settings window contains the same fields as QuickBooks Online’s Tax info.

But when you click the Additional Info tab in QuickBooks desktop, you can define multiple custom fields, like Referred by, Contract #, Birthday, etc. QuickBooks Online only allows three custom fields, and they occur within sales forms.

There are many other areas where QuickBooks Online and the desktop versions differ; this just happens to be a feature where QuickBooks Online falls short. A good QuickBooks course, though, could help you sort out what’s important for your company as you determine which is the best for you.



Hector Garcia

Accountant and Enrolled Agent

Certified Advanced QuickBooks ProAdvisor

Member of Intuit Trainer/Writer Network & Accountant-VIP

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