How to Set Up QuickBooks 2015
How to Set Up QuickBooks 2015

You will install your QuickBooks software like you would any other software program.   Follow the instructions that pop up on your screen.   You will be able to choose where the program will be saved on your hard drive, as well as other common aspects.

If, for some reason, you have problems during installation or the program does not function properly once it is installed, here are some tips that will help.

1. Make sure the software is compatible with your computer and your operating system. It should be, and this should never be a problem.

2. Uninstall the software by going to the Control Panel on your computer, then Programs and Features. Find QuickBooks, then uninstall it. 

3. Reboot your computer. This is important for a fresh install. If you try to re-install without rebooting, you may have the same problems all over again.

4. Re-install the software.

If you still have problems at this point, you can do some things to help eliminate the problem. These things include running Scandisk on your computer, defrag, and also making sure there aren't any viruses. If nothing else works, visit the Intuit website for help. 

Getting Ready to Use QuickBooks

QuickBooks takes a while to get set up before you can start using it.   You are going to have a lot of data and information to input if this is the first time that you have ever used QuickBooks for your business' bookkeeping and accounting.   However, you can make things easier by gathering some of the information you'll need ahead of time. 

Here are the first things you'll want to do:

  1. Decide on a conversion date, or the date that you convert from the accounting system you were using to QuickBooks.
  2. Have a trial balance as of the conversion date. We'll talk about that in just a minute.
  3. Collect things you will need or want to have close by for the interview.   Don't worry. We are going to provide a list. 

Picking a Conversion Date

You can pick a conversion date using one of these three methods:

  1. Convert at the beginning of the calendar year.   This makes the most sense and is, by far, the best way.   In fact, we recommend it. It requires less work, and all your information for the calendar year will be in one accounting system instead of two.
  2. You can convert at the beginning of a month or quarter. This can be a beast to do because you have to enter your year-to-date income and expenses from the old system into the new. It is kind of like double the work, since you did all of it already in the old system.
  3. You can convert when you feel like it. It is going to be a lot of work, but you can do it.

Determining a Trial Balance

A trial balance simply lists your assets, liabilities, and owners' equity account balances. It also includes the year-to-date income and expense numbers for the conversion date.   This may sound like a daunting task, but it is really not. If you are currently using Quicken or Simply Accounting (by Computer Associates), it may be able to produce a trial balance for you. 

Your trial balance should show all of your account balances for the day when you start to use QuickBooks. If you are using another accounting system or this is your first time ever using one, here's how you get those balances:

1.    Determine your cash balance by reconciling your bank accounts. This must be the balance on the conversion date.

2.    To get an accounts receivable (or money owed to you) balance , total up unpaid invoices from customers.

3.    To get asset account balances , you must know the original cost of the asset. If they are depreciable fixed assets, you will need the accumulate depreciation amount, or the total amount that you have already depreciated the asset.

4.    To get your liability account balances , have the amount that you owe on each liability handy. 

There's no need to fuss with equity accounts. QuickBooks will generate the balances for you by figuring out the difference between your assets and liabilities.  

Other Things You Will Need

Once you complete those things, it is time to gather the information you will need.   We have included a list below for you to use as a guide.   Although the gathering of the information may be time consuming in itself, it is important that you take the time to do it.

  • The federal tax return from last year.

  • Copies of the most recent state and federal payroll tax returns.

  • Copies of unpaid invoices.

  • Copies of unpaid bills.

  • A detailed list of your inventory.

  • Copies of the prior year's W-2 and W-4 statements.

  • Details of any payroll tax deposits.

  • A list of ALL transactions for the past year, including sales, purchases, and payroll transactions.

Choosing How to Create a Company File QuickBooks

Once you've gathered all the information you'll need, it's time to open QuickBooks.   If you are using Premiere, Pro, or Enterprise, you will see the icon on your desktop. Just double click on it to open the program.

The first time that you launch QuickBooks, you will see the QuickBooks Setup dialogue box. This dialogue box is to help you create a company file.  A company file is where all the financial information is stored for your company, including customers, vendors, products, etc. You can bypass this dialogue box if you wish and create a company file on your own by going to File>Create Company. You can also go to File>Create Company if you do not see the dialogue box.   You can also click Create a New Company if you see the "No Company Open" window. These are all methods to get you to where you need to be to create a company file.

That said, once you get where you need to be, there are three ways to actually create a company file in QuickBooks. You can use:

  • Express Start .   Express Start is an option that you'll see in the Setup dialogue box. You will be asked to enter bits of information before moving on to the next screen. QuickBooks breaks down the information you need to enter in smaller chunks to make it easier for you. However, you must fill out all the information in all of the screens, or QuickBooks won't save the company file. It takes about 15 minutes to do the first steps, so make sure you have time.

  • Advanced Setup . The advanced setup feature will take you to the EasyStep Interview. QuickBooks will ask you a lot more information than it does in the Express Start. It will take more time and require more detailed answers. However, QuickBooks provides guidance if you need it. Just click Get Answers at the top right of the window.

  • Other Options . This includes converting files from Quicken or other versions of QuickBooks.

We will cover these methods in-depth throughout the rest of this article.

Using QuickBooks Express Start

QuickBooks Express Start allows you to set up your company to use QuickBooks in just a few simple steps.   It will guide you through the basics, asking you for the information it needs.   This includes company information, contact information, and also contacts, products, services, and bank accounts if you want to go ahead and enter it. 

Below is the first window you will see. You will be asked to enter some basic information about your company.

This is the information you will be asked to enter:

  • Company Name . This will be the name of the file that you are creating. It doesn't have to be your legal company name.

  • Industry . By telling QuickBooks your industry, QuickBooks will provide you with a sample chart of accounts (for some industries), as well as some ready-made items you can use when invoicing customers and buying products or services from vendors.

  • Company Type . This will help QuickBooks create equity accounts used for tax preparation. If you need help selecting a company type, click Help Me Choose.

  • Tax ID# . This will be used when processing payroll.

  • Do You Have Employees?  Choose Yes, No, or No, but I might in the future.

Click Continue when you have entered all information.

In the next window you see, you are going to continue entering information.

Enter the following information in the dialogue box that looks like the one above:

  1. Enter the legal name for your business. This is the name that will be used with your payroll.
  2. Enter contact information for your business. This includes the address and phone number. Please note that the zip code and phone number is mandatory information that you must enter. It is this information that QuickBooks will use to enable you to receive payments online from customers.   Plus, more information will be sent to you in the email address you provide.
  3. When you are finished, you can click the Preview Your Settings button. When you do this, you will see tabs that will allow you to see the Features Selected, Chart of Accounts, and Company File Location that QuickBooks recommends for you based on the answers you gave in the first step. 
  4. Click OK to close the Preview Your Settings box.
  5. Click the create Company File button. QuickBooks will then create your company file for you. This may take up to a minute.  

Once your company file is created, you then have the option of adding more information, such as the people you do business with, products and services, and bank accounts. You can skip these steps if you want by clicking the Start Working button, as shown below. 

Adding Customers, Vendors, and Employees

You will be able to add customers, vendors, and employees as you use QuickBooks. However, it is easier to add your current customers, vendors, and employees during setup.

Click the blue Add button that appears to the right of "Add the people you do business with," as shown above.

QuickBooks will ask you if you have contact names and addresses stored somewhere else, such as in Outlook or Gmail. You can import these into QuickBooks.

Click the appropriate button, then follow the instructions. You can also paste from Excel or enter names/addresses manually.

The Add People You Do Business With dialogue box will let you describe the names and addresses you have entered.

In the dialogue box pictured above, you can add the people you do business with. You can also describe your people as customers, vendors, or employees. 

Click Continue when you are finished.

Adding Your Products and Services

You can also add the stuff you sell to QuickBooks. To do this, click the Add button to the right of "Add the products and services you sell" (as shown below). 

In the Add Products and Services You Sell dialogue box, you can add a name, description, and price for the things you sell.

Interested in learning more? Why not take an online class in QuickBooks?

Click Continue when you are finished.

Adding Bank Accounts

To add bank accounts, click the Add button to the right of "Add your bank accounts," as shown below.

You will then see the Add Your Bank Accounts dialogue box. 

In this window, enter the bank accounts for your business, including the account numbers, opening balances, and the opening balance date. 

When you are finished, click the Continue button.

Now you can click the Start Working button. This will take you to the QuickBooks interface.

Finishing Setup of QuickBooks

The setup that we completed in the sections above get you ready to use QuickBooks. However, for it to operate as an efficient accounting program, there are three other things you will need to do.

  1. You will need to describe your inventory, receivables, and payables in QuickBooks.
  2. You will need to describe your YTD revenue and expenses.
  3. If you use accrual-base accounting, you will have to make an adjustment.

The EasyStep Interview

The EasyStep Interview guides you through setting up your company file just the same as Express Start. However, the Easy Step Interview allows you to enter more information about your company.   It also lets you decide what features you want to turn on.

To use the EasyStep Interview to set up your company file, go to File>New Company.   Select Advanced Setup.    You will then see the Enter Your Company Information dialogue box, as shown below.

If you have any questions about the information you are supposed to answer at any time during the EasyStep Interview, click the Get Answers link at the top right of the screen.

You will be asked to enter the following company information in the first screen:

Name and Contact Info.   The company name as you want to identify it in QuickBooks, the legal name of your company, the tax ID, and your company's contact information.   The only field that's required is your company's name. If you want, you can wait to fill in the rest.

Once you have the information entered, click the Next button.

The next screen is Select Your Industry.

Select the industry that's closest to yours, then click Next.

Choose the type of company you have. It's important to make the right selection because it will determine the tax forms, accounts, and tax form lines used to prepare your business' tax return.

Click Next.

Select the month that your fiscal year starts in, then click the Next button.

An administrator can do anything in your company file. They have all the power, in other words.   They can create other users, log in as other users, and access anything they want to access within the company file.  It is recommended that you take the type to enter in the password for the administrator, then retype the password to confirm it. If you're setting up QuickBooks for your employer, for example, and you will not be the administrator, don't worry. The password can always be changed later.   However, for the time being, it's a good idea to go ahead and set it so the company files are protected.

Click Next when you're finished.

You're now ready to create your company file. Click Next to name the file and choose a location where you will save the company file.

Choose a location to save the file, then enter a name for the file in the File Name field.

Click Save.

You will see this dialogue box as QuickBooks creates the company file:

Once the company file is created, you can then customize QuickBooks for your business by adding more information about your company. The Customizing QuickBooks for Your Business screen is shown below.

Click Next.

Customizing the Company File

QuickBooks is now going to ask you more questions about your company. In the first screen, you'll be asked what your company sells.

Choose if your company sells services, products, or both products and services. 

Click Next.

Check Yes if charge your customers sales tax. Check No if you don't.

Click the Next button.

If you want to be able to provide estimates to customers, check Yes. Check No if you do not.

Click Next.

If you want to track sales orders before you invoice your customers, check Yes. Otherwise, check No.

Click Next.

Decide if you want to use billing statements in QuickBooks, then click Next.

If you want to be able to invoice your customers at certain milestones or periodically throughout a project (but before the project is completed), check Yes.   Otherwise, check NO.

Click Next.

If you want QuickBooks to keep track of how much money you owe to vendors or other bills, check Yes. Otherwise, check No.

Click Next.

If you want QuickBooks to help keep track of your inventory, check Yes. 

Click Next.

As well as tracking inventory, QuickBooks can also track time, such as time spent on a project. Check Yes if you want to track time.

Click Next.

Select if you have employees or not. If you do have employees, QuickBooks needs to know if they're W-2 employees or 1099 contractors. 

Click Next.

Next, QuickBooks will help you set up your chart of accounts.  

You can now follow the instructions in each screen to set up your chart of accounts and other information in QuickBooks.   

Converting to QuickBooks from Another Program

If you have been using another accounting program and want to switch to QuickBooks, you can convert those files for use in QuickBooks.   This is true even if you used Peachtree or a program that's not in the Intuit family of accounting programs. 

To convert from Quicken to QuickBooks , you'll want to first clean up your files by recording overdue scheduled transactions and sending online payments.   Complete all payroll reports too. Quicken payroll transactions will not convert into QuickBooks. You'll also want to delete any accounts that you no longer need. Also, since QuickBooks doesn't allow for repeating online payments, you'll want to have those deleted in Quicken.  

Once you're finished, go to File>New Company in QuickBooks.   Select Other Options in the Setup dialogue box. Select Convert Quicken Data.

Now go to File>Utilities>Convert>From Quicken.

Once your file is converted, you'll want to take these additional steps:

1.    Put your company information in QuickBooks, such as your company's legal name and address, EIN, and business type.   This information won't convert from Quicken to QuickBooks.  

2.    Set up bank feeds in QuickBooks

3.    Add names to lists.   During the conversion process, all your customers, vendors, etc. are added to the Other Names list. You will want to move them to the appropriate lists.

To convert from QuickBooks for Mac , simply create a backup of the file in QuickBooks for Mac, then restore the backup in QuickBooks for Windows. 

To convert from another accounting program , you will have to download a conversion tool from Intuit. However, this is easy to go.   In QuickBooks, go to File>Utilities>Convert.   Select the program that you will be converting from.   For example, Peachtree.  

Next, you will see a browser window open. Go ahead and scroll down to "Are You Ready to Convert Your Data?" and click "Convert from Peachtree, Microsoft SBA, & Microsoft Office Accounting."  

Click the Download button. 

You will then see the File Download dialogue box.  

Click Save to download the conversion tool (QuickBooksConversionToolSetup.exe). 

Opening Other Company Files

If you work on more than one company file, you can open the other files directly from QuickBooks. If it's a company file you've already worked with in QuickBooks, you can go to File>Open Previous Company, then choose the file name that you want to open in the submenu.

If you don't see the company file you want in the submenu, go to File>Open or Restore Company.   If you see the No Company Open window, click Open or Restore An Existing Company.

You will then see the Open or Restore Company dialogue box.

Select Open a Company File.

Click Next.

Select the company file you want, then click Open.   QuickBooks company files have the extension .QBW.   

Opening Portable Files

A portable file is a compact version of a company file. It has a smaller file size so it is easier to email.    To make it a smaller size, a portable file doesn't contain files, templates, logos, images, or a transaction log file (.tlg file). 

To open a portable file, go to File>Open or Restore Company.

You will then see the Open or Restore Company dialogue box.

Choose Restore a Portable File, then click Next.

Locate the portable file, select it, then click the Open button.

Modifying Company Information

If you didn't add all the information about your company during Express Start or the EasyStep Interview, you can go back later and add the information you need.   You can also edit your company information if you ever need to for whatever reason.

To view your company's information, then add to or make change to it, go to Company>My Company. 

Click the Edit icon located at the top right of the screen. It looks like a pencil. We've circled it below.

You will then see the Company Information dialogue box.

Choose a category on the left that represents the changes you want to make.   

The categories are:

  • Contact Information

  • Legal Information

  • Company Identification

  • Report Information

  • Payroll Tax Form Information

When you're finished making changes or additions, click OK.