QuickBooks Setup Project Checklist
Draft 6/15/13.

Just as each organization is unique, so is its recommended project plan for setting up

To give you a general overview of how to set up QuickBooks, we provide this checklist.

It contains information on some of the tasks your may need to complete and other of the
other items you may need to address in order to properly set up your books in
QuickBooks. Please note that this is not a complete list, as, depending on your business
and needs, a complete list may be many pages long and very unique to your business.

Most items should be addressed with the owner and an experienced QuickBooks

Some items are required to be completed, while others may be optional. Generally, items
are listed in the order in which they should be addressed, though this varies by
organization and is influence by other factors.

You may print this page to track your progress. For general recommendations for setting
up QuickBooks, go
here or call Christine Moreda, QuickBooks ProAdvisor and Accountant
at (415) 328-3901.


Analysis and Repair of Existing QuickBooks File

  • NOTE: This section is one of the most challenging in the project, but it's very
    important. If the file is healthy, it may only take a minute or two. If not you'll be glad
    you did it early. If needed, get help with this step. It can be highly technical. You
    need to make sure your QuickBooks file is healthy so as to prevent problems
    which can range from mild to serious, and can grow over time, unnoticed. In some
    of the worst cases, files can have trouble opening, or actually need to be
    discarded entirely. Usually, this can be avoided with proper training and usage
    including routine file maintenance.
  • If using an existing QuickBooks file for this project, it's important to check the
    health of the file before using it, and, if needed, fix it.
  • Check the "health" of the file by doing a "verify data" and checking the
  • Address any errors in the QBWIN.LOG appropriately. (This can be highly
    technical, but there are some easy things owners can learn to start with.)
  • Check file setup (e.g. lists including Chart of Accounts). (This may provide useful
    information such as ideas for what the owner may want to consider tracking in the
    new file, and may sometimes offer an idea of the skill level of current QuickBooks
    users, which can facilitate setup, training, and overall communication, as well as
    help to establish appropriate goals.)
  • View some key financial data  (as with the above task, this can be very informative,
    but for different/additional reasons).
  • Quickly analyze balances in certain balance sheet accounts (e.g. accounts
    receivable, and undeposited funds).
  • Sample key types of transactions (e.g.: company-specific tracking needs).
  • Etc.
  • Check additional data/areas depending on what you're finding.
  • Repair any existing file if/as needed, prior to making any changes or otherwise
    working in it (back up first). (If at all possible, save cleaning up the setup and data
    for later. However, remember that to complete some file repair, you may need edit,
    delete or otherwise change some data. For example, to fix negative inventory or
    improperly-named list entries which may run the file at risk of being damaged, you
    may need to make changes before repairing the file.

Accounting System Design

  • You may be able to get free accounting help with this task during a free initial
    telephone consultation. Call (619) 414-4132.
  • Provide tax form number.
  • Provide accounting method information (cash or accrual).
  • Tell us what do you need your accounting system to track for you.
  • Financial accounting (for taxes, loans, etc.)
  • Managerial accounting (cost accounting, job costing, fund accounting,
    profit and loss by segment of your business, tracking to see how much
    each ad campaign is bringing in, etc.)
  • Industry-specific examples
  • Contractor: T&M, bid jobs, etc.
  • Retailer: inventory, POS, etc.
  • Nonprofit: donors, fund accounting, etc.
  • Property Management Firm: units, tenants, etc.
  • Other
  • Consider any tracking from previous QB files that may be helpful for the
    business going forward.
  • List current and future tracking needs, even if only implementing a portion
    of these now.


Software Selection

  • You may be able to get free help on this task during a free initial telephone
    consultation. Call (619) 414-4132.
  • QuickBooks (year, edition)
  • Other Intuit software (POS, other)
  • Third-party software (any software you'll be integrating)
  • Analysis of it's compatibility with QuickBooks
  • Is it listed at marketplace.intuit.com? (See tech specs.)
  • Generally, what will be tracked in QB and what will be tracked in the
    other software?

QuickBooks File Design

  • A QuickBooks file is part of an accounting system. Your system may also include
    paper documents and other software.
  • You may be able to get free QuickBooks help beginning this task, during a free
    initial telephone consultation. Call (619) 414-4132.
  • Design lists.
  • Design forms.
  • Design data paths.
  • Example: estimate -> invoice -> receive payment -> undeposited funds ->
  • Example: enter bill -> pay bill
  • Example: memorized transactions


QuickBooks File Creation (unless using an existing file)

  • Create QuickBooks file.
  • Select appropriate tax form.
  • Select a QuickBooks start date.

QuickBooks File Customization and "Initial, Basic, Core" Setup

  • NOTE: Complete similar tasks if cleaning up an existing file. This may require
    some data cleanup. Do as little data clean up at this step as possible. The goal is
    proper setup, for a number of reasons which, among other things, can save the
    owner significant amounts of time and money in consultations.
  • Enter additional company information as needed.
  • Set preferences/settings (key areas, to allow us to complete other tasks).
  • Create and develop lists.
  • Develop the Chart of Accounts further: add, edit, make inactive, or delete
    certain list entries.
  • Enter opening balances for Balance Sheet accounts as needed
    (except A/R, A/P, Inventory, Sales Tax Payable, and Retained
    Earnings): Bank, credit card, etc.
  • Develop Items list and other lists.
  • Enter outstanding transactions including Checks, Deposits, open Invoices, and
    unpaid Bills as of the start date.
  • Set preferences/settings (more in depth: many areas, plus inventory, sales tax,
    payroll, etc., as needed).
  • Develop forms (estimate, sales receipt, invoice, etc.).
  • Define data paths.
  • Address special areas.
  • Sales Tax
  • Payroll
  • Inventory
  • Etc.
  • If you're setting up mid-year, enter your year-to-date income and expenses.
  • Adjust Sales Tax Payable.
  • Adjust Inventory to match your physical counts.
  • Set up Fixed Assets.
  • Set up payroll lists and year-to-date payroll information.
  • Verify that your Trial Balance report matches your accountant's Trial Balance report
    on your start date.
  • Set preferences/settings ("final pass," to set final setting, and to make your work
    faster and easier).
  • Set the Closing Date and the Closing Date Password to lock the file as of your
    start date.
  • Memorize reports if/as needed.

QuickBooks File Verification

  • NOTE: This checks to make sure customization is correct. Be sure to do this
    before entering data. Like with building a house, you need to make sure all the
    parts fit together before putting stuff in it.
  • Complete initial reconciliations for balance sheet accounts.
  • Create all required reports.
  • Other

QuickBooks "Project" Backup

  • Back up to removable device (e.g. CD)


Internal Controls

  • Set up user accounts and passwords.
  • Separate duties.
  • Implement other appropriate internal controls.


Basic QuickBooks Training

  • Get basic training on your specific QuickBooks file, and how to use it.
  • Enter some data manually with consultant.


QuickBooks Automation, Customized User Manual, and Day-to-Day Data Entry

  • Automate data entry if/as needed (e.g. preferences, optimized setup that makes
    for easy and faster data entry, online banking, etc.).
  • Create and develop a customized user manual. Document how to complete tasks
    such as how to enter data (forms, data paths), and any other tasks you may find
  • Enter day-to-day transactions and other data on an ongoing basis, on your own.
  • Enter data manually as needed (even if "fully automated," there will likely
    be some data you need to enter manually).
  • Facilitate automated data entry as needed (e.g. electronically request
    periodic downloads from the bank).

QuickBooks reconciliations

  • Reconcile bank, credit card, and other balance sheet accounts.

QuickBooks "Routine" Backup and File Maintenance

  • Automatic backup as needed.
  • Backup manually (occasionally, for file integrity -- backing up this way does more
    than just create a backup copy; ask us about this during a consultation).
  • Verify data.


QuickBooks Reports and Get Other QuickBooks Output

  • Create reports.
  • Other


QuickBooks Setup and Training

  • Get a QuickBooks file checkup (software and data). Is it healthy? Are you using it
    properly? Fix any problems, starting with file integrity, then any additional setup
    owner/client may have done incorrectly, then transactions).
  • Review internal controls.
  • Get additional training on setup, entry of financial transactions, and reconciling, as
  • Learn what you can set up on your own.
  • Get tips for faster entry of financial transactions.
  • Learn reconciling in-depth to manage your money and protect your
  • Learn how to maintain your QuickBooks file's integrity, in order to do rebuilds and
    minor repair on your own, and learn when to call for help..
  • Complete any additional QuickBooks setup.
  • Payroll (if it wasn't required earlier)
  • Inventory (if not completed earlier)
  • Optimize setup for additional reporting or company expansion
  • Networking computers (if needed and not completed earlier)
  • Etc.
  • Complete any other QuickBooks or related work as needed.



  • Congratulations! It's time to celebrate!
Call (619) 414-4132 for free QuickBooks help.
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