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How to Download Transactions from Your Bank's Checking Account into QuickBooks
by William Brighenti, Certified Public Accountant, Certified QuickBooks ProAdvisor

Accountants CPA Hartford, LLC: William Brighenti, Certified Public AccountantIf you use online bill paying services, are a lover of debit cards, or write manual checks rather than print them directly out of QuickBooks, and wish to save precious time posting transactions into QuickBooks, then you might wish to consider downloading the transactions that have already cleared your bank account directly into QuickBooks, obviating the need to entering each transaction into QuickBooks.  This can be a real time saver.  Moreover, by downloading these transactions directly into QuickBooks, you can minimize the possibility of errors resulting from inputting incorrect dollar amounts, since a direct download prevents such mispostings.  Furthermore, it can assist in ensuring that your QuickBooks records are always up-to-date, rather than waiting for your bookkeeper to enter the transactions at a later date.  Overdraft fees are not cheap, and can accumulate quickly into hundreds of dollars.  So here is a convenient way to keep your books current with little effort and expense.

If you have not already set up online banking services with your bank, you may be able to do so via QuickBooks.  To get started, Go to Banking>Online Banking>Set Up Account for Online Services.  The following dialog box then appears:

Set Up QuickBooks Account for Online Banking Services

Simply select your bank account as it appears in your chart of accounts.  (If it is not set up yet, select “New” and follow the instructions in the screens that appear.)  After you select “Next”, select the name of your bank under “Enter the name of your Financial Institution”.  (If it is not included in the list of financial institutions, your bank may be one of those rare banks not offering QuickBooks online banking; you would be well advised to call the bank to verify such.)

QuickBooks then updates your financial institution’s information by connecting via the internet. 

At this point, depending upon your financial institution and its procedures for QuickBooks online banking, before proceeding further you may be required to download a bank statement from your financial institution’s online banking portal as a security measure to confirm your ownership of the account.  If so, click “Go to My Bank’s Web site” and QuickBooks automatically connects you to your bank’s webpage where you can log in.  Select your account and locate the option entitled Export, Download, or Send your transactions.  You may be queried as to which file format you prefer:  select QuickBooks or .QBO or the appropriate version of QuickBooks that you are using, etc.  Then select the date range of the transactions you wish to download.

After you selected the exporting of your data, your bank then asks if you wish to “Open” or “Save” the file.  Click “Open” to import the transactions now; click “Save” to do so later.  After QuickBooks receives the data, it, too, asks whether you wish to import it now or save the file for a later time.  Select “Import new transactions now”.

A dialog box then appears asking in which bank account you wish the transactions to be imported.  Select the appropriate account.  Once again, if the bank account does not exist, you can create it now without leaving Online Banking.  If the account has already been set up, select it and click “continue”.  QuickBooks should then notify you that the data has been successfully “read” into QuickBooks and that you can view your downloaded data in Online Banking Center by selecting your Financial Institution.

You then are offered a choice to view and enter your downloaded data into QuickBooks by either the Side-by-Side Mode or the Register Mode.  The Side-by-Side Mode presents two screens, one on the left showing the recently downloaded data from the bank, the other on the right showing transactions recorded in QuickBooks but “opened” or not having been designated as clearing the bank yet, facilitating the entry of unrecorded transactions and precluding the error of duplicating postings in QuickBooks.  The Register Mode presents the bank data in the bank register format of QuickBooks, the bank register on top, and the downloaded bank data below.  Click “yes” to choose the Side-by-Side Mode since most users find it easier with which to work, unless you prefer the Register Mode, which was the only available mode in QuickBooks prior to 2009. 

At this point QuickBooks shows a screen showing the number of transactions received.  After your first download, QuickBooks only loads transactions not previously downloaded in order to minimize the recording of duplicate transactions.  Here you have the opportunity of viewing all of the downloaded transactions before adding the transactions to QuickBooks.  If all appears in order, select “Add transactions to QuickBooks”.

Add Transactions to QuickBooks

The next screen is the side-by-side mode screen showing you all of the downloaded transactions and summarizing the number matched and unmatched.  On the left side, if you highlight a check that displays an “Unmatched” status, the “Record an Expense” screen appears on the right side.

Record an Expense in QuickBooks Online Banking
Click “More” in the upper right hand corner of the screen, and if you suspect that the amount was recorded but for some reason QuickBooks was unable to match it for various reasons, select “Match to an existing QuickBooks transaction” underneath “Record an Expense”; otherwise, select “Record an expense in QuickBooks”, allowing you to record the expense without leaving Online Banking.  Click the option, “Show splits, memo, date, number…” and fill in the appropriate fields, including “Customer: Jobs” and “Class”, if desired.

Since here in this example above there were no matching transaction found, presuming that the transaction had never been recorded, you simply can proceed to record the transaction while connected to your online banking session in QuickBooks.

The process is similar regarding the matching and recording of deposits.  If  QuickBooks indicates the “Status” of the deposit as unmatched, unless the transaction previously has been posted in QuickBooks incorrectly—for example, as to its amount—then you can record it here on the right side in QuickBooks while connected to online banking.  Select “Record a QuickBooks Deposit” at the top and fill in the details below, including customer, account, amount, and any memo needed:

Record a QuickBooks Deposit Online Banking

If transactions had been recorded in QuickBooks and the program indicates a match under the “Downloaded Transactions” in the top left-half side of the window, as below, click “Show” to its right to display the details of the transaction and confirm the match:

Confirm Match in QuickBooks Online Banking

Now simply click “Confirm This Match” and the transaction is indicated as having cleared for your bank reconciliation.

As you can see, downloading QuickBooks transactions from your bank statement can save time and prevent errors; however, you must always exercise care when doing so.  That is, you must ensure that your match is indeed a legitimate match.  For instance, if you are recording many transactions of similar dollar amounts and on similar dates, as in property management accounting when many rents are identical in amount and all may be posted on the first of the month, QuickBooks will be unable to distinguish the appropriate vendors or customers and will often select the wrong party.  While using this matching feature in QuickBooks, you must always exercise vigilance and care; otherwise, you may make a complete mess of your records, and not only negate any time savings from its use, but may incur significant costs in correcting and recovering your records.

This article is provided for informational purposes and is not intended to be construed as legal, accounting, or other professional advice.  For further information, please consult appropriate professional advice from your attorney and certified public accountant. 

Have a tax, a QuickBooks, or an accounting question?  Please feel free to submit it under "Comments" on our blog, Accounting, QuickBooks, and Taxes by William Brighenti, Certified Public Accountant, Accountants CPA Hartford, LLC.  For information and assistance on any tax, QuickBooks, or accounting issue, please visit our website:  Accountants CPA Hartford, LLC. Please visit our sister website, Intense Flavors, and see how you can have a gourmet meal on us when we do your accounting, QuickBooks, and taxes.

If and only to the extent that this publication contains contributions from tax professionals who are subject to the rules of professional conduct set forth in Circular 230, as promulgated by the United States Department of the Treasury, the publisher, on behalf of those contributors, hereby states that any U.S. federal tax advice that is contained in such contributions was not intended or written to be used by any taxpayer for the purpose of avoiding penalties that may be imposed on the taxpayer by the Internal Revenue Service, and it cannot be used by any taxpayer for such purpose.  The above tax advice was written to support the promotion or marketing of the accounting practice of the publisher and any transaction described herein.  The taxpayer recipients of this offering memorandum should seek tax advice based on their particular circumstances from an independent tax advisor.

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