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Creating Reports in QuickBooks Online

QuickBooks Online lacks some of the report customization depth found in the desktop versions of QuickBooks, but it offers a wide variety of report templates.

There are numerous reasons why you must be so conscientious about every bit of data that you enter in any version of QuickBooks. For example, you want your books to balance, and your customers and vendors satisfied. You need constant information about your cash flow. Your inventory should always contain stock, but not so much that you have too much money tied up in it.

Clean, accurate reports are the end result of all of your careful work. You rely on these to make the best business decisions, and sometimes to present to external third parties. If you’re new to QuickBooks Online and unfamiliar with the framework of standard financial reports, it would be a good idea to get some QuickBooks training before you even start entering transactions.

QuickBooks Online contains dozens of report templates, which are basically documents that are formatted to display a particular set of numbers. They can be simple, like the Customer Balance Detail, which lists the total each customer owes you, or more complex, like the Balance Sheet and Statement of Cash Flows.

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This is an example of a simple report in QuickBooks Online that displays the balance for each customer by date.

Multiple reports are available in each of these categories:

  • Business Overview
  • Manage Accounts Receivable
  • Manage Accounts Payable
  • Accountant Reports
  • Manage Products and Inventory
  • Review Sales
  • Review Expenses and Purchases
  • Manage Sales Tax, and
  • Manage Payroll.

All of these reports can be customized. That is, you can specify which subsets of data you’d like to see.

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This is one variation of the customization options available for reports.

The left vertical column serves as a navigational tool. You can click on each option one at a time or just scroll through the window. This flexibility lets you build reports that zero in on exactly the “slice” of data that you need.

Once you know what you want to see, you’ll just select choices from drop-down lists, fill in blanks and click on buttons or boxes. QuickBooks Online finds all related data and presents it in a neat-looking report format.

You’ll notice, too, that you have multiple options for handling your finished report. You can run it, send it through email and export it to Excel.

If you want to modify the columns in your report, click the Change Columns bar to open this window:

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QuickBooks Online let you alter the content and order of the columns that display in your reports.

You can add and/or remove columns and change their order of display by clicking on the buttons in this window. If you like a particular format for a particular report, you can save its layout as a Custom Report and run it repeatedly by refreshing the data.

The desktop versions of QuickBooks have more customizability; they allow you to set up filters that help you define your target set of data even more precisely.

QuickBooks Online makes the mechanics of creating reports quite easy. But you’ll need to understand the purpose of each report and know how to analyze it in order to make it useful. QuickBooks training classes are available that can help you with this.

Hector Garcia CPA
Advanced Certified QuickBooks ProAdvisor

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