QuickBooks Online Edition Frequently Asked Questions (Unofficial)

I have used QuickBooks Online for years, and I still use it to manage my business. That's one reason I developed OE Companion. I wanted to continue using QBOE but also add some missing features.

On the Intuit QBOE forum, the same questions come up frequently. I am compiling a list of those here. Please email me at neal@oecompanion.com if you have something you want to ask about QuickBooks Online. Keep in mind this is my own personal list. It is not an official document of QBOE or Intuit.

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Does QuickBooks Online work with FireFox, Safari, and/or can I use it on a Mac?

QuickBooks Online now supports FireFox and Safari, including Safari on a Mac.

Does QuickBooks Online Edition support inventory and purchase orders like the desktop version of QuickBooks? Will it ever?

QuickBooks Online now includes basic inventory and PO functionality for an additional $9.95 per month. You can track quantity on hand and issue basic purchase orders. For many small businesses that will be sufficient. However, there is a good chance you will need something a little more robust.

There are a couple of products that can integrate with QuickBooks Online to help you manage inventory and other functions that are missing from QuickBooks Online. You can use OE Companion, or you can check the Intuit Marketplace for other solutions. Just be sure that you get one that is designed to work with QuickBooks Online, not the desktop version.

What about PayPal integration, import from Excel, IIF, etc.?

Unfortunately no. See the answer about inventory. QuickBooks Online does not provide those features out-of-the-box. You need a 3rd-party add-on to enable those features.

Should I get QuickBooks Online Edition?

It depends on your needs. Personally, I love it. I have used it for years to manage a service business, and I think QBOE is great. Sure I wish it had some more features, but the convenience of having access anywhere combined with the backing of Intuit and QuickBooks is a tough combination to beat. With that said there are limitations, such as the ones described above.

How different is QuickBooks Online from the desktop version?

I have used QuickBooks Online and QuickBooks Pro each for many years. They are quite different. The best way to think about it is that the online version is essentially a subset of the desktop version. If you want to replicate the full functionality of the desktop version in the online version, you need add-on products.

Can I get reports emailed to me automatically?

Sure. Here is one tip that I just discovered recently.

  1. Go to your favorite report in QBOE
  2. Choose "Memorize." You can find the memorize button in the top left corner of the report screen.
  3. In the window that pops up, choose "Add this report to a group"
  4. Click Add New and enter "Test" or whatever name you want.
  5. Choose OK.
  6. On the Reports menu, go to Memorized Reports.
  7. Select the name of your report and choose "Edit"
  8. Click the box that says "Set the email schedule for this group"
  9. Fill out that form and set the schedule as you wish.

Congratulations! You have set up a report that will be automatically be generated and emailed to the people you choose on the schedule you choose. Very cool!

How do I use the shortcut menu?

Have you ever wondered what that little blue arrow is for, just to the right of the Reports menu in QBOE? That is the Shortcuts menu. If you don't use it, you should. It takes forever to get to some of my favorite screens in QuickBooks Online. Let's say I want to check my Accounts Receivable. I have to do the following:

  1. Go to Customers
  2. Click Customer Overview
  3. Click A/R Aging Summary

Only three steps. Not so bad, you say. Well the problem is that the Customer Overview page can take forever to load. Also it sometimes loads rather clumsily, meaning that a click that is slightly off target can take you to the wrong page. Then it has really taken a long time.

So how do you avoid it? On one of your favorite screens, simply go to that Shortcuts menu ( the blue arrow just to the right of the reports menu). Then click "Add Shortcut." Click OK or choose a different name. Now refresh the page and check out the Shortcuts menu again. Presto! You now have one-click access to your favorite pages in QuickBooks Online.

How do third-party add ons connect to QuickBooks and QuickBooks Online?

QuickBooks provides a software development kit (SDK) that is free and open to anyone who is interested. This QuickBooks SDK provides all the information that is needed to exchange data with QuickBooks. It is basically a series of requests and responses in a specific format. If an application needs a list of all customers in QuickBooks, the app has to make that request in a format understood by QuickBoooks. Then the response will be sent in a specific format as well. Here is a specific example. Let's say that I include the following tag in a request to QBOE:

<CompanyQueryRq />

The response will come back with information about the QuickBooks Online company - address, phone number, etc. That's it. You have exchanged information with QuickBooks. There is obviously a lot more going on behind the scenes in any data exchange. But at the core, that is it.

Can I download a local copy of my data for backup or offline use?

Yes. Go to the Company menu and choose Export Your Data. Then click the link that says "Local Copy Interview." Proceed through the interview, and you can download a copy of your data for local storage. Unfortunately you can't really do anything with this local copy, so it is more for peace of mind than anything else.

Can I move data back-and-forth between QuickBooks Online and QuickBooks Pro or Premier?

Yes and no. You can do it, but basically only one time each way. When you first subscribe to QBOE, you have the option to do a one-time import of a data file from a QuickBooks desktop product. If you want to export your data, you can go to the Company menu and choose Export Your Data. This will allow you to convert your data into a file for the desktop edition. Unfortunately you can't go work with it in the desktop edition and then upload it back to QuickBooks Online again.

Where is the loan manager feature in QuickBooks Online?

There is not one. That feature is only available in the desktop edition of QuickBooks. You will need to use a third-party add on like OE Companion if you need loan manager functionality in the online version.

Can I add custom fields in QuickBooks Online Edition?

You can do pseudo-custom fields. Under the Company meny, choose Preferences and then choose Sales Form Entry. Here you can define three fields that will show on your invoices, sales receipts, etc. That way you can define a customer number, PO number or something else convenient. Unfortunately it does not give you the ability to add a truly custom field in the way that the desktop version of QuickBooks does. For most purposes this will work though.