A Few of My Favorite Features in QuickBooks

There are many features I like in QuickBooks – guess that’s why I support the software!  But I find when I’m with new clients who have been using QuickBooks for a while or clients who are upgrading, I always like to share a few of the features I like either as a business owner or from a timesaving bookkeeping perspective.  So here’s my list:

The Company Snapshot – it’s almost all here in 1 place!  My account balances, payables, receivables (in red if late so it jumps at you), upcoming (like sales tax), and graphs (which I would rarely take the time to view).  As they say, a picture is worth a thousand words. I love the ability to see trends for this year or compared to previous years, or visually see the percent of sales from a product or service or where the biggest chunk of my expenses is.  For busy business owners, you can look at this quickly and then move on with your day.  Doesn’t mean you ignore your other reports, but you aren’t going to run lots of reports daily, so it’s a great 1-stop page.

QuickBooks Custom Fields

Find – Doesn’t matter who it is – a client or my own books. I can’t tell you how often I use the Find feature and it searches sooo much faster than I ever could.  I even use this feature to help me build custom reports.   And because I’m a keystroke person, Ctrl-F quickly puts me in the Find screen (but you can get there by Edit>Find or putting it on your toolbar). I keep finding additional ways to filter what I’m looking for.  I use Amount, Account, Class, Transaction Type frequently, but another one I use often is Entered/Modified; this is great when you gave the transaction one date other than today’s date).  By using today’s date for Entered/modified, you can find the transaction no matter what date you gave it.  I could do a whole session on nothing but different ways I search when I’m looking!

Keystroke Shortcuts – Maybe it’s because of my DOS days, but I still use keystrokes to get around quickly – and I’ll bet I can move faster than those of you using the mouse ;-).

  • The Esc key closes whatever window you have open
  • Invoice: Ctrl-I
  • Find:  Ctrl-F.
  • Pop-up calculator – Hit an operator (+,-,*,/) when you’re in a numeric field and voilá – up pops a calculator –  now you don’t need to copy & paste your answer!
  • Date Shortcuts – I find the date shortcuts are frequently faster than using the calendar (e.g. t for Today). If you keep pressing the same key, it continues in the same direction (i.e. hitting the + multiple times keeps moving forward in time, pressing M multiple times keeps taking you to an earlier month). The letters are not case-sensitive, either.
Next day +
Previous day
Today T
Same date in previous week [
Same date in next week ]
Same date in last month ;
Same date in next month
First day of the Week W
Last day of the weeK K
First day of the Month M
Last day of the montH H
First day of the Year Y
Last day of the yeaR R

Memorized transactions – This is a great timesaver for most businesses and there are so many types and reasons for memorizing; even (or especially) somewhat complex transactions – just change the numbers if you need, but the hard part’s been done.  Between clients and myself, I’ve memorized estimates, invoices, sales receipts, journal entries, bills, automatic deductions/charges and probably more.

QuickBooks Custom Fields

Groups – This is a very powerful feature. You can create a group item or a group of memorized transactions or a group of reports.  A group Item quickly pulls multiple items onto an estimate, invoice, sales/work order, purchase order, bill… Groups in Memorized transactions and in Memorized reports can help you stay organized.  But you can also double click on a group to create invoices or run multiple reports, saving you lots of time.

QuickBooks Custom FieldsType – I have been using types for quite a while now. It started when I was filling out surveys and applications with Intuit and they were asking me the percentages of my clients in certain industries. So, as you might imagine, I track industries and I use the Customer Type (and subtypes) to do that. Then it’s very easy to get a Sales by Customer Type report; I can even create a P & L by Customer Type to see which Types are most profitable!

You can also do Vendor Types. One idea might be to have different types of subcontractors or suppliers so you can easily get a list.


Custom Fields – I used to overlook this feature, or not do much with it, but after working with a marketing coach, I realized there is more I want to track about my clients, products, and services, so custom fields help me do that.  If I pull them in on the invoice, I can get sales information – great for refining niche areas to pursue – or drop.  If information is in a custom field, I can pull it into a transaction, onto a report, sort, or filter – much more useful than buried in notes or descriptions. With Enterprise, you can customize even more as shown on the right-side of the screen shot below outlined in red.  I love the ability to create custom drop-down lists in Enterprise. This makes the data entry faster and more uniform so whether I’m filtering or sorting on a custom field, it’s much easier. (Just think how many different ways there are to enter dates – that gives you an idea of why controlling the information is helpful).

QuickBooks Custom Fields

I could go on with features that I like and use frequently, but I’ll stop here ;-).  I’d love to hear what your favorite feature is!

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