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f you search for the best online accounting software for small businesses, one of the most common names you'll see is QuickBooks. In the United States alone, more than 26 million businesses use their accounting software to manage their finances.
QuickBooks is easy to use once you're familiar with the platform and how it works. This guide will help you learn how to use QuickBooks and familiarize you with some of the platform's features.
The importance of QuickBooks in business operations
QuickBooks is an essential tool for businesses because it helps to streamline operations, financial organization, and data entry. Learning how to use QuickBooks will help you:
- Track income and expenses: With QuickBooks, you'll have a centralized platform to track every dollar that comes in and out of your business. It can also give you an overview of your company's financial health.
- Manage payroll: QuickBooks helps maintain employee payment information, process payroll, calculate payroll taxes, generate payroll reports, stay updated with payroll laws, and transfer direct deposit funds.
- Automate data entry: QuickBooks connects to your accounts and automatically tracks all your financial data so you don't have to manually record transactions.
- Generate financial reports: QuickBooks financial reports help analyze performance, monitor key metrics, and comply with tax regulations to ensure you make informed business decisions.
How to use QuickBooks
With so many features, learning how to use QuickBooks can feel overwhelming at first. However, following this guide and familiarizing yourself with the platform will help you use it to your advantage.
Getting started with QuickBooks
For PCs, QuickBooks works with Windows 8.1, 10, and 11. However, it no longer provides security updates or support for PCs running Windows 8.1. A 2.4 GHz processor is a minimum requirement, and at least 8GB of RAM is needed for up to five users—but you'll need more if you're planning to have more than five users. An operating system of at least Mac OS X v11.3 or later is needed for Mac computers.
Quickbooks’ pricing starts at $30 per month, with 50% off for your first 3 months. Once you're ready, go to the Intuit website to purchase QuickBooks and follow the instructions for installation. You'll need to:
- Download and run the installer
- Accept the license agreement
- Choose the installation type and folder
- Register and activate QuickBooks
- Set up your company profile
To create your company profile, open it and select Create a New Company. If you select Express Start or Start Setup, provide your business name, industry, and business type. Alternatively, you can input all your details right away if you select Detailed Start. From there, follow the onscreen prompts and select Start Working to begin.
Navigating the QuickBooks dashboard
QuickBooks' main features and tools are:
- Expense tracking
- Payroll management
- Financial reporting
- Bank integration
- Inventory management
- Time tracking
The QuickBooks homepage is the central hub for accessing these features. It overviews key financial data, such as account balances, open invoices, and upcoming tasks. The icon bar is located on the left by default but can be moved to the top of your screen and customized by selecting View and then Customize Icon Bar. From there, you can move your desired icons by dragging the diamond next to them where you want and selecting OK.
Managing your transactions
There are various ways to record sales in QuickBooks. One way is to record daily sales, but the most straightforward way is to utilize the Create Sales Receipts feature. From the homepage or the Customers menu, select Create Sales Receipts or Enter Sales Receipts and fill out the information to record a sale and create a receipt.
Creating an invoice for customers also begins on your homepage or in the Customers menu. Select Create Invoices and either select from past customers or Add New to create a new customer. From there, QuickBooks has instructions to direct you through completing your task, whether you need an invoice for an estimate or sale.
An easy way to record business expenses is by connecting your Novo business bank account to QuickBooks. Novo’s integration with Quickbooks helps automate key financial tasks. By syncing your Quickbooks account with Novo, you can do the following:
- View your profit & loss data including gross profit, total operating expenses, and net income directly in your dashboard
- Download a full PDF profit & loss report
- View your top expense categories directly in your dashboard
- Automatically create Reserves from your top expense categories
There are also ways to manually record and track expenses and bills if your business bank account doesn't integrate directly with QuickBooks.
Don’t have a Novo account? It’s completely free to sign up, with no monthly fees or minimums! Sign up today and enjoy free invoicing, fast and easy payments, no transaction limits, dozens of integrations with popular apps, and more.
Managing your payroll
To manage your payroll, the first step is to decide on and set up a payroll schedule for your employees. Once you've done that, you have several options to process and manage your payroll either online or from your desktop. Start from the Payroll feature and follow Intuit's instructions based on if you want to do it online or from your desktop.
Using QuickBooks for accounting
If you're using QuickBooks for accounting and bookkeeping and need help understanding things like reconciliation and chart of accounts, it's important to know that there are different ways to use these features if you're doing it online versus on your desktop.
The chart of accounts in QuickBooks is a comprehensive list of all the accounts used to track and categorize financial transactions within your company. It lets you track:
To access and start using this feature, you'll need to select Bookkeeping and then Chart of Accounts on your icon bar. From there, you can learn how to customize your chart of accounts to analyze this information in a way that's best for you. Accessing this information from your desktop rather than online is slightly different.
To run a profit and loss comparison report, select Business Overview and then Reports. Enter Profit and Loss Comparison in the search field and you're on your way. You can even customize your reports by time period.
If you're reconciling for the first time, you'll need to back up your account and review your opening balance before you begin. Though the process differs a bit depending on whether you're doing it from your desktop or online, both processes begin with the Chart of Accounts feature.
Once your opening balance is settled, you'll need to look for the Reconcile feature, which is located under Settings if you're reconciling online and Banking if you're working from your desktop.
QuickBooks' advanced features
QuickBooks' Online Plus and Advanced offer advanced features, such as managing your inventory, project tracking, and adding sales tax.
Setting up and managing inventory
To add inventory and track inventory, you'll first need to turn on your inventory in the Preferences tab by selecting the Inventory and Purchase Orders Are Active box. Once you are actively tracking your inventory, you can manage it online or from your desktop by following Intuit's thorough instructions.
Utilizing the project tracking feature
QuickBooks project tracking feature for QuickBooks Online Plus is excellent for tracking a specific project's profitability. From your Business Overview and then Projects tabs, you can create and track a project by its income and costs, including labor costs, to see how profitable the project was.
Managing sales tax
In the Sales Tax Center, you can add and edit tax agencies, collect and pay sales tax, and review sales tax reports. This is particularly helpful if you have to collect different rates of sales tax depending on where you're selling your products. As with many of the features in the process of learning how to use QuickBooks, specific steps vary slightly if you're using this feature online or are working offline from your desktop.
Troubleshooting common issues in QuickBooks
As with any software, sometimes problems can arise. Most issues are simple and can be easily remedied by downloading and installing the QuickBooks Tools Hub. This useful tool can help you resolve:
- Company file issues
- Network issues
- Program problems
- Installation issues
It also helps with more advanced issues by connecting you with the QuickBooks support team when you're unable to solve the problem with the Tools Hub itself.
Integrating QuickBooks with other applications
QuickBooks' integrations allow you to take advantage of its automation features. With direct integrations, you can record, track, and analyze your business' finances.
In addition to its integration with Novo, QuickBooks also integrates with the following:
- Method: CRM
- SOS Inventory
QuickBooks is a game changer when it comes to organizing, managing, and analyzing your company's finances. Signing up for a Novo business bank account and integrating it directly with QuickBooks empowers you to save time and money in processing payroll, collecting payments, and maintaining impeccable financial records that ensure you follow the most up-to-date tax laws for your business.
What is QuickBooks?
QuickBooks is an accounting software that provides businesses with industry-leading tools to manage their finances efficiently.
It offers invoicing, expense tracking, payroll management, and financial reporting features. You can connect your bank accounts, credit cards, and other financial accounts to automate data entry. It allows you to do bookkeeping, generate financial reports, and simplify tax preparation.
Can you teach yourself QuickBooks?
Yes, it’s absolutely possible to teach yourself QuickBooks! To get started, Intuit's website offers tutorials, including step-by-step videos and webinars on how to use QuickBooks. Additionally, platforms such as YouTube and other online forums offer in-depth tutorials that walk you through various QuickBooks tasks and troubleshooting issues.
Is it hard to learn QuickBooks?
As with any new tool, there’s a learning curve associated with getting up and running, but QuickBooks makes it easy with their user-friendly interface. However, if you don’t have any experience with accounting or bookkeeping, you will familiarize yourself with basic accounting and bookkeeping principles in order to properly navigate QuickBooks. It’s also important to note that QuickBooks Desktop is generally considered a little bit more difficult to use than QuickBooks Online.
Novo Platform Inc. strives to provide accurate information but cannot guarantee that this content is correct, complete, or up-to-date. This page is for informational purposes only and is not financial or legal advice nor an endorsement of any third-party products or services. All products and services are presented without warranty. Novo Platform Inc. does not provide any financial or legal advice, and you should consult your own financial, legal, or tax advisors.
Novo is a fintech, not a bank. Banking services provided by Middlesex Federal Savings, F.A.: Member FDIC.
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