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QuickBooks Online

A quick tour of the new QBO interface

8th Apr 2015
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Updates to QuickBooks Online (QBO) and other cloud accounting engines are becoming global occasions.

Last week Veronica Wasek posted her reactions on about the new version of QBO. Initially Wasek confessed to some anxiety with comments that brought back vague memories of reactions to the new interface in the Excel 2007.

“Where do you enter transactions? Where is the chart of accounts? Where is the bank reconciliation? Where is the familiar home screen?” she asked. “I felt like I was playing a game of hide-and-seek and QuickBooks Online seemed to be winning.”

This article borrows from her insights, but also responds to them with a UK perspective from London-based QBO enthusiast Charlie Carne.

The same basic engine powers QBO on both sides of the Atlantic, but as Carne highlighted a lot of the menu terminology has changed over here. For example , the US “Vendors” menu is renamed “Suppliers” in UK. “Check” becomes “Cheque” and the American credit memo option becomes “Credit Note” in the UK.

For those who haven’t seen it recently QBO includes a Quick Create Menu in the form of a blue plus sigh at the top of each screen. Clicking this icon will display a condensed view of common transactions and a “Show More” option that takes you to a view of all transactions sorted by Customers, Vendors (Suppliers), Employees, and Other:

The Quick Create (+) Menu

Wasek was initially concerned about where to find the QBO sample company, Craig’s Design & Landscaping Services. She should count herself lucky. There doesn’t appear to be a UK sample company online yet. It would certainly be worth getting one if Intuit wants to encourage more use over here.

The locations of the chart of accounts and bank registers also caused some initial confusion, but she eventually tracked them down via the left navigation bar’s Transaction option which leads to the chart of accounts and from there to the bank register via a signpost on the right of the screen.

But in the UK version instead of choosing “View register” on the chart of accounts, you click “Account history” on a nominal account in the CoA to go to the Register. This option is only available for balance sheet items in the CoA, noted Carne.

“As an aside, I have never found a useful purpose for the Register screens, as QuickBooks and QBO’s reports are so versatile and display the information in a much more easily consumable format,” he added.

In a recent debate on the merits of QBO versus Xero on AccountingWEB, Carne expanded on this point by emphasising QBO’s superior reporting: “Just like its desktop counterpart QBO allows you to create a report from anywhere, set up numerous filters and save this customisation for future use.

“In QBO, you can take any nominal account, or sales item, customer, supplier, etc. (or a contiguous or non-contiguous group of any of those) and run a report filtered for any field (names, dates, classes, paid/unpaid etc) or sets of fields to produce any report you like. It takes seconds to create and can be saved for future use. The almost total flexibility for report customisation in QBO makes it the number one choice for me.”

Replies (6)

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Derek French
By derek44
10th Apr 2015 14:32

QBO - Liked but some irritation

As an end-user of QBO there are a lot of features we like, but limitations on sales invoice design are irritating, as is the inability to put a supplier invoice 'on hold'.

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Replying to yelsnew:
By IntuitFred
10th Apr 2015 15:40

Hi Derek,

We hear your concerns- rest assured over the next couple of months you should see significant enhancements in sales form customization capabilities. We've delivered a lot of new features since November and I've included two blog posts you may find useful (from November and March).







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By coolmanwithbeard
10th Apr 2015 14:57

Dont forget historical data...

QB online now enables current users to transfer almost instantly to online with all the history from their desktop file intact as you can simply upload your current data via the 2014 or 2015 versions of the desktop software. 

I have moved a number of clients this way and it works really well (this isn't the transfer they were offering before via a third party company) but direct. Once up loaded the data is usually ready to view within a couple of hours depending on the size of the file.

As the basic QB engine is the same moving to QB online is simply a matter of finding where stuff is and as shown above it's not hard to find most of the functions you need.

Just be aware that it does not have all the functionality of the desktop version (although it will be great for most people) so do check if you are not sure. You can start a free trial and move your data to have a look and if you are not happy your data is still safe on your desktop PC to go back to.

The bank integration feature is a real boon and time saver too and links with far more UK banks than the desktop version.






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By Charlie Carne
10th Apr 2015 15:36

Putting supplier invoices on hold

This is not a feature that I have ever come across before, but I looked it up and I see that some accounting systems allow unpaid bills to be marked as “not for payment”, so that another user does not accidentally pay them. I’ve not used such a thing in practice (and it seems that very few systems offer it), but would a simple way to handle it not be just to create a new “Terms” field called “DNP” (for “Do Not Pay”) with a period of 999 days (as the max allowed is three digits)? If you then customise the creditors report to add the “Terms” column and save that report, your creditors’ listing will now always clearly show what is not to be paid (as it will be marked 'DNP') and the due date will automatically be 2 ¾ years later. This is yet another example of the benefits of the flexible reporting engine in QBO – allowing users to create and run all sorts of useful reports for which the system was not originally designed.

Thanks (1)
By makerak
13th Apr 2015 14:56

QuickBooks Online does have a UK Sample File

Hi John,

QBO UK does have a sample file. It's available on our website and partner portal. Here's the link:

Judging by the number of monthly hits it get, it's very popular with our Accountants and SMB user base! 


Makera Kigaraba (QBO UK Product Manager).


Thanks (1)
Adrian Pearson
By Adrian Pearson
20th Apr 2015 12:54

Third party service still available for Sage


Please note that the third party service is still there to help accountants move Sage client data to QBO  - via Movemybooks and you can still use us for QuickBooks desktop to QBO if you prefer a fully-managed instead of DIY service (still free).


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