QuickBooks’ Report menu lays out all of the templates provided, but you may need a little more guidance.
One of the tasks that QuickBooks training classes spend a lot of time on is the software’s reporting capabilities. And with good reason. All of the conscientious data entry you do – building thorough people and item records and creating detailed transactions – wouldn’t help you understand your company’s history, present and future states. Nor would it provide insight that could help you make better business decisions.
So any effective accounting system must provide a way for you to view all of that data in context – as it relates to other data in the system. You need to be able to see subtotals and totals for the month and quarter and year. Bottom line: You must find out whether you’re making or losing money, and why or why not. This kind of information helps you plan intelligently for your company’s future.
Before you can run reports and make sense of them, you need to understand what each of them does.
So QuickBooks offers dozens of reports. These are actually customizable templates that answer the myriad questions that come up regularly. For example, what invoices haven’t been paid? What’s selling well and what’s not? How much have you remitted in payroll taxes this year? When you learn how to use QuickBooks reports, and to modify them to display the exact “slices” of data that you need, you’ll have a much better sense of what your company should be doing today and next month and next year.
The Report Center
If you’re fairly new to QuickBooks and haven’t taken a QuickBooks tutorial or even watched available training videos, reports will probably be foreign to you at first. So QuickBooks provides a Report Center that gives you more information than you’d get by just browsing through the Reports menu.
To get there, open the Reports menu and select Report Center.
The QuickBooks Report Center
Tabs across the top gives you access to five types of reports:
- Standard. Divided into categories similar to those in the Reports menu
- Memorized. Reports that you have saved – usually with your own customization parameters – so you can call them up quickly since you use them frequently
- Favorites. Another way to make often-used content available fast
- Recent. The most recent reports you’ve run, and
- Contributed. Reports that have been customized by Intuit or the QuickBooks community to meet very specific needs of different types of businesses.
The left vertical pane changes as you click on these tabs, to provide additional navigational help for each particular type of report.
In the above image, you’ll see that there are four icons under each report. Click the small arrow above them, next to Today, and you can specify a date range. The first icon below that runs the actual report using your own QuickBooks data. Click on the second, and a small window opens with a sample and brief description. If you want to save the report to your Favorites list, you’d click the third. And the fourth opens the QuickBooks Help window that contains more detailed information about that report.
By browsing through the Report Center, you’ll get a leisurely introduction to the basics of QuickBooks’ reporting capabilities. If you have a complex business, it would be advisable to take a QuickBooks class to get a more thorough understanding of this important function. Either way, you’ll be ready to handle the Reports menu, and benefit from all of the critical business insight you’ll get there.