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Help With QuickBooks Beginners Guide to - How Do I Use QuickBooks?

So you are new to QuickBooks.

Good choice thats what I think after being a QuickBooks user for over 10 years.

I have to say I am a QuickBooks fan, it is actually one of those rare products that I use that I would say "I love" I feel the same about the Microsoft Surface Pro 2 tablet computer I purchased this January wickedly fast, easy to carry around and a full blown Windows 8.1 Pro PC in a touch screen tablet. That too is I would say the first computer I have purchased in a number of years that has such a good feel good factor to using it turns on in around 5 seconds battery lasts around 7 to 8 hours or around 5 hours with heavier use. Purchased the Arc mouse to go with it so cool and easy to use. Lightning fast and awesome. Love it.

Back to topic! Sorry.

New to QuickBooks Where Do I Start?

That is probably the first question you ask yourself when you start anything new?

Whether you are using QuickBooks Online version or a desktop version of QuickBooks here are a few pointers I suggest you keep in mind.

Let's start by considering why you are using QuickBooks and what you are trying to achieve.

  • To record accounting and financial data and information about your business
  • To monitor and record your income and expenses
  • To balance your books, i.e. for the bank records in QuickBooks to match your actual bank account and petty cash
  • To produce reports that help you see information about your financial records e.g. a profit and loss account 
  • To manage and control your business finances

OK with these aims in mind here is what I suggest you do first.

Grab a cup of tea or coffee and take 10 to 15 minutes to observe undistracted by other things.

Often we rush in, when our mind is not focused, rush through something then wonder why the outcome was not ideal or what we wanted to achieve, then give up and move on to the next thing.

Let's take the desktop version for this purpose but the general idea is the same whether you are using QuickBooks desktop or QuickBooks online.

First Observe the QuickBooks Layout

In your first 10 to 15 minutes after installing QuickBooks (or accessing your online account) go exploring.

At the top of the screen (in the desktop version, my personal preference still) you have the usual windows style menu with File, Edit, View etc. Click each one and just observe what is in each drop down menu. The options are logically layout out.

For example under Customers in the main menu for which the keyboard shortcut is Ctrl+J perhaps think of "Jobs" to remember "J" i.e. jobs for customers. You can find "create invoices" under the Customers menu item which you use for recording invoices for the services or products you sell to your customers.

Each item you open in QuickBooks opens in its own "window" in QuickBooks.

A window is the square or rectangular box with a title in the top band saying what the window is about, e.g the "home" window which has easy quick links to lots of the sections in QuickBooks again logically paid out.  Each box has the red cross in the top right which you can use to close each window or hit the Esc key to close the current window.

You can have lots of windows open within QuickBooks are any one time.

To move quickly between open windows a keyboard shortcut is Crtl+ tab (i,.e hold the Ctrl key down with one finger then tap the "tab" key with another finger). Personally I hold the Ctrl key down on the left side of the keyboard with my left thumb then use my left index finger to tap the Tab key. Quick and very easy.

Try it. Open a number of windows from the main top menu then Ctrl+tab between them. Then hit the Esc key to close them all one at a time.

Opps... the "home" window has gone, personally I like to leave the home window open for quick access to different sections in QuickBooks.

No problem click "Company" in the top main menu then "Home" is the first in the list tp open it again.

Personally I would leave it there and come back and do the same thing a few times over a cup of coffee before you try to get stuck in.

Feeling defeated too often means people give up feeling over whelmed or lost.

That's the key take a little time to "get familiar", take it in, observe and take small steps to start with.

QuickBooks Help Feature

The far right item in the main top menu is "Help".

Under Help is "Learning Centre" with tutorials and instructions for lots of cool stuff that is great for getting you started with QuickBooks.

Remember take it one step at a time and use QuickBooks frequently in short bursts at least to get started so you can remember all the new things you are learning as you build up your knowledge of QuickBooks.

Now you are focused on the aims and purposes for using QuickBooks (if you read and digested the list above that is!) and taking the initial steps in getting familiar with the menus and navigating your way around QuickBooks that is a great starting point.

If after your first look at QuickBooks you feel lost or don't understand don't panic. That is perfectly normal after all this is a whole new thing for you, right?

Soon you will be feeling a lot more in your comfort zone and flying with QuickBooks.

This Help with QuickBooks Blog has hints and tips for using QuickBooks plus you can post and find answers to questions about using QuickBooks in our online community of UK QuickBooks users forum completely FREE.