A feature I always recommend to any QuickBooks client is using the Online Banking Download feature for your bank and credit card account transaction activity. Using online banking can save tons of unnecessary time spent hand keying in transaction data when QuickBooks can do the work for you. Below I will go over the basics when setting up online banking and provide tips and tricks I have learned that have saved me time and frustration.
This is not a step by step tutorial, since a lot in QuickBooks is pretty self-explanatory when clicking from one screen to the next to set up an account. This is more about areas where you could go wrong or get confused. There are two options for viewing QuickBooks online banking depending on what year of QuickBooks you may have:
- “Register Mode” which is the only option for 2008 and prior.
- “Side by Side Mode” which comes for versions 2008 or later and the admin can choose which preference they like for the company to use.
“Register Mode” is a screen split horizontally in half with the top half as the accounts register in QuickBooks and the Online Banking Queue on the bottom half. This view makes it very easy to find transactions already in the file and match them to transactions in the queue. “Side by Side Mode” does not show the account register but has the Online Banking Queue on the left side and then you enter transaction data on the right side of the screen. I personally use both but find that if I set up a file myself, I use “Register Mode.” There are things I like and dislike about both versions so it is up to you to decide which you like. You can toggle between the versions to see the differences for yourself and make a decision.
When setting up online banking for your main operating account, check out the list of banking and credit card institutions on the list. Most are on the list, so take advantage. Remember to not just set up bank accounts but credit card accounts too. For most of the larger banking institutions, there is an option for “Web Connect” and “Direct Connect.” The option you choose here will be the way the profile will be set up moving forward and potentially can cause fees from your banking institution. Web Connect basically means you go to the banks website each time you are downloading transactions inside the QuickBooks file. Using Direct Connect, QuickBooks is contacting the bank directly behind the scenes. The transactions automatically add to the QuickBooks file with the usual online banking password used when on the regular banks website. It is faster with fewer steps for the user to get the information downloaded. Some banks may charge a monthly fee for having this service. This can range from $5-$10 a month depending on the bank. Direct Connect works really well with AMEX for one of my clients and there is no fee, so definitely check out this option with your bank. After an account is successfully set up with online banking download, there is a lightning bolt on the chart of accounts next to the account name.
I have given you a head start on the views and options available when setting up your Online Banking accounts. Stay tuned for my next blog to get more details on what to do now that you are downloading transactions and how to easily clean up mistakes.Written by: Bridgette Cerles TGG Accounting