Profit Planning with QuickBooks Budgeting Tools

Our last article discussed the benefits of using QuickBooks to help you in your “profit planning” by taking advantage of the budget tools in QuickBooks. So now you’re ready to use create your budget in QuickBooks – great!

Select the type of budget

Start by clicking on Company > Planning & Budgeting> Set Up Budgets. If you’ve already set up a budget, that one will appear. You’ll be able to edit it or create a new one. If you haven’t created a budget, the window shown in Figure 1 opens.

Figure 1: You’ll start working on your budget by selecting its year and content.

Select Profit and Loss and click Next.

On the next screen, you’ll see you can have additional criteria, (Customer:Job or Class),so you can budget for individual customers/jobs or classes instead of by account only. I do NOT recommend this for a customer:job – use an estimate instead unless for some reason that can’t work. But for those of you who use QuickBooks Classes, you might want to select Class. For now, we’ll leave this box unchecked. Click Next.

Figure 2: You can choose other criteria.

Determine the Content

Indicate whether you want to start from scratch with your own figures or let QuickBooks pre-populate your budget with last year’s numbers.

Figure 3: Using actual data will use actual amounts to the penny!

When you click Create budget from scratch. then Finish, you see a window similar to the one shown below

Figure 4: Budgets in QuickBooks are account-based, so yours will be set up that way.

You can decide if you want to have the same amount for each month, such as rent, or if you want to vary the amount by time of year (income and payroll fluctuate seasonally for many contractors). While you can’t enter a total and ask QuickBooks to divide it across the months, there are some fast ways to get some numbers entered and QuickBooks will total for you.

  • If you know the amount you want for the year, but not how that breaks out per month, use QuickBooks pop-up calculator (a favorite of mine!)
    • Simply click in the cell,type in your total, then the “/” so you can divide by 12    
  • When you click in the cell that has a number you want to use for each month, use Copy Across (found in the lower left-hand corner of the budget screen) Guaranteed to be faster than you! Perhaps you want to use one amount for the first few months, (e.g. you know you have a rent or insurance increase coming on a renewal month), then you can type in the new amount and copy that number across the rest of the year.
  • Perhaps you expect sales to go up a certain amount each month. When you click on Adjust Row Amounts, you can either use the 1st month or click in a specific cell and go from there.       You can adjust up or down, by percent or dollar amount.

As you can see, QuickBooks helps you get the numbers in quickly.

For those of you with varying numbers each month, perhaps a faster way would be to import your budget. You might let QuickBooks give you a start by using last year’s numbers, but you can export your budget out to Excel, put in your desired numbers and then import back into QuickBooks.

Once the budget is in, you have a great tool to help you monitor your progress during the year. If you want help working with the QuickBooks budget, let us know!

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