How to Use QuickBooks for Personal Finance: Tips and Best Practices


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QuickBooks is a robust accounting software that can help you manage your money and personal finances. QuickBooks has been in existence for over 30+ years, and it’s the most popular accounting software in North America. The reason behind this, without a doubt, is because it’s affordable, easy to use, and robust enough to handle just about any job. This article will explore how to use QuickBooks for personal finance by providing tips on managing your money with the program and what types of purchases you can track with QuickBooks.

What Types of Purchase Can I Track With QuickBooks?

The types of purchases you can manage with QuickBooks are income, expenses, assets, liabilities, and capital gains/losses. The software also has a bank reconciliation window that lets you keep track of how your checking and savings accounts are doing. You can also use QuickBooks to manage what’s on your credit card statement or bank statement, which is excellent if you want to stay on top of how much money you have in your account.

Is QuickBooks the Best Choice to Manage Personal Expenses?

There are other options out for software to manage your personal expenses. People often research Quicken or QuickBooks for personal finance expenses. However, you should also consider how many people are using Quicken or QuickBooks.

  • You can find out how popular a software is by looking at the top 20 downloads on CNET.
  • There were over 54 million downloads of Quicken in 2016, and this number doesn’t include those who use an older version than 2016. When it comes to personal finance management, there’s not too much competition for QuickBooks because they have a significant market share of 92%.

QuickBooks does offer some features that make it helpful in managing your personal finances, but other platforms may be better suited to meet your needs.

Ways to Use QuickBooks for Personal Finance Expenses

QuickBooks can be used to manage your personal finances by tracking how much you spend and how much money comes in. It also allows you to track your personal expenses along with money management. It can be a great tool to help you build wealth from nothing.

Publications Kiplinger’s Personal Finance vs. Money Magazine have different pros and cons of the product, but both do agree that QuickBooks is a solid choice for tracking personal finance expenses. 

Manage Savings and Cash Flow

One way to use QuickBooks is for savings and cash flow. You can quickly track how much money you have in your checking account, along with how that changes over time. This will allow you to know if there are times when you should be saving more or spending less due to the fluctuations of how much money is coming in vs. how much money goes out each month.

Set Up Automated Bill Payment

You can use QuickBooks to set up automatic bill payments for your utility costs, credit card bills, and other regular monthly expenses. This removes the need to manually pay for these types of things which can be time-consuming, especially if it’s not something that you often do.

Use QuickBooks as Your Personal Budgeting Tool

You may also use QuickBooks for personal budgeting purposes by creating a personal balance sheet to calculate net worth or how much money should go towards specific items such as groceries, gas, and/or utilities each month. You will have an estimate of how much is spent in specific categories, so you’ll know what needs to change when looking at ways to save more or spend less.

Conduct Monthly Reconciliations

You can also use QuickBooks for personal finance by conducting monthly reconciliations. This is how you can keep track of how your checking and savings accounts are doing and what’s on your credit card statement or bank statement, which allows you to know how much money is in your account.

Track Personal Expenses

You may also want to use QuickBooks for managing personal expenses. It will allow you to see how much has been spent over a certain time period, set up budgetary guidelines for other purchases (such as groceries), create reports with specific information showing the budget breakdowns, and more.

Run Financial Reports on Your Personal Finances

Additionally, you could also use QuickBooks for personal finance by running financial reports. It can help determine how much is 40k per year per hour broken out. You can create income and expense reports that show how much money you make or spend monthly, which is great when you need to know how good of a job you are doing at managing your finances.

Use QuickBooks as a Retirement Planner

Other use options include how to use QuickBooks as your retirement planner. If you are trying to retire on 500k, this software can help you. You will be able to create a personal balance sheet, how much you have saved up for the future, and how much money is going into or coming out of your account each month, which can help show if you need more time with saving to reach goals that are important to you.

How to Set Up a Budget in QuickBooks

Setting up a budget can oversee personal expenses and the mentioned ways to use QuickBooks above. This will help you easily manage your finances better, in addition to all of the other great uses discussed above.

setting up a budget in quickbooks

To set up a budget within QuickBooks: 

  • Open the program on your computer
  • Click on the labeled “File” tab located at the top left and choose the “New Company File” tab, then click the ok button
  • Select “Start Easy Step By Step” under company type, which is what most people will do when they first open it
  • Create Account Type with Income/Expenses account and how much you want to save
  • Select date range for when the budget starts
  • Create a Budget by selecting Income/Expenses Account – this is where the money will be coming from that has been saved up or how much they can spend each month

Other things to know when setting up a budget in QuickBooks is how to create a budget template for how much you want to save or how much you can spend per month. This is an important first step in using QuickBooks as your personal financial plan.

Additionally, there are other ways that we’ve mentioned briefly how to use it, such as running reports on income and expenses each month so that when doing monthly reconciliations.

Tips on How to Use QuickBooks for Personal Finance

While QuickBooks is easy to use, some quick tips can boost your productivity. Consider some of the tips offered below.

tips for using quickbooks for finances

Consider QuickBooks Certification Designation

There is a QuickBooks certification that the company offers. This certification is available for both individuals and businesses, which should make it convenient in most situations.

There are three certification levels, which include: 

  • QuickBooks ProAdvisor Certification
  • Certified Intuit Partner
  • Certified User of QuickBooks Enterprise Solutions.

The first two certifications have been designed for small businesses. These designations can be obtained by taking a series of online courses from one of Intuit’s partners or directly from Intuit themselves.

Sign Up for How-to Video Tutorials to Increase Productivity

This can be a solid way and great resource of learning how to do more with QuickBooks without any need for outside coaching or assistance. There are plenty of how-to videos that cover topics like inventory management as well as payroll processing schedules.

The how-to videos will teach you how to use some of the features found within the software seamlessly for your personal budgeting methods through step-by-step instruction on your screen while following along with an instructor who has demonstrated their skills, so you’re guaranteed success!

Take Advantage of Live Webinars Every Month

There’s no better place available than right here to go for live webinars that are available every month. You can sign up to attend webinars, which will provide you with how-to tips on how to best use QuickBooks and how it might be able to help your business thrive.

If Live Webinars Aren’t Your Thing

Then there’s always an option of downloading recorded versions of past sessions, so you don’t have any excuse not to get started! Feel free to search through the archives and find a topic or two that sounds interesting based on your needs.

The software is easy enough to learn once given some time, but taking advantage of features like these should allow anyone who uses them more opportunities when using this type of accounting software.

Alternatives for QuickBooks and Personal Expenses

quickbooks alternatives
Alternatives Include: Online Version, Self-Employed Version, and Using an Accountant

Some popular additional resources you might want to check out if this is the type of accounting software that has been recommended for how you should be using it are:

QuickBooks Online

It’s a simplified version of QuickBooks desktop and can provide users with their own online space to run all sorts of reports, track expenses, review sales data, and more. The lack of need for installation makes it an attractive option when compared to its traditional counterpart.

Pros: 

  • Automatic backups in case your computer crashes or gets stolen.

Cons:

  • Fewer features than the desktop version, so not everyone will find what they’re looking for and may have to switch over eventually anyway because there still needs to be some training time spent on how everything works.

QuickBooks Self-Employed

Similar to the traditional QuickBooks but with a few more features and perks. It’s an excellent option for people who are just starting or have been freelancing on the side in addition to having another job entirely. It’s also great for setting up the budget by paycheck method.

The biggest downside here would probably be how it only really focuses on self-employed individuals since there isn’t any other type of account available within this version of the software; however, those who do need help managing their personal finances as well as how they’re handling their business will find this very beneficial indeed.

Use an Accountant

If tracking your expenses with the software is not your thing, you could hire a personal accountant to do it for you. This is the most expensive option of them all, but there are some pros and cons of hiring a personal accountant if you go this route.

One such advantage is how an accountant will offer specialized advice on utilizing your personal finances. Accountants are helping grow your investments and helping you avoid unnecessary expenses that could put a damper on future goals or travel plans, for instance. If you wonder about saving money or investing, which is more important, accountants will show you. 

Other Things to Know About QuickBooks

Some important things to be aware of if you are using QuickBooks for personal finance are noted below.

Are Templates Available in QuickBooks?

There is the option of using templates. These template files come pre-installed on your computer as soon as it’s downloaded so that they’re always available if needed. So don’t forget about them when looking for what might be applicable!

Will QuickBooks Run on a Chromebook?

QuickBooks will run on a Chromebook with the exception of QuickBooks Enterprise Solutions. For best results, it is recommended that you use Windows for running your software, and this is because Chrome’s browser can’t be used as an offline application which means there are limitations when trying to access data or files stored in the cloud!

Is QuickBooks Desktop Being Phased Out for Online Version?

Currently, Intuit is trying to phase out the desktop version of QuickBooks in favor of online versions. This change has been controversial for many, and it’s possible that this might be because of how well the desktop software works!

Can You Run QuickBooks on Mobile Devices?

To run QuickBooks on mobile devices, you need to have the QuickBooks Online app. However, this is not an offline application, and it will require a strong internet connection for some features to work correctly.

Successful QuickBooks Computer Software for Personal Finances

Intuit’s products have been successful due to how user-friendly they are. The company has helped make personal finance as straightforward as possible for users and has created software to make life easier.

In the past, we haven’t had many options for personal finances, but Intuit has made sure that this is not the case in the future. Intuit has made it so anyone can use this type of personal finance software quickly and without any worries.

QuickBooks Online has a lot of benefits that outweigh any difficulties that may exist.

If you are considering software for your finances, QuickBooks should be a top contender.

BG Vance

For over 20 years, BG Vance has been a leader in public and personal financial management. He's developed and managed public budgets in excess of hundreds of millions of dollars. He is passionate about the FIRE movement and was featured in the Detroit News in 2001 about saving for retirement. Through the years, he's assisted families and individuals with getting their finances on track. He holds an MPA, is a licensed Realtor, and is currently working on a book about personal finance.

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