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How to Keep Up with Accounts Receivable with QuickBooks Online

Updated: Oct 6, 2023

QuickBooks Online provides multiple methods to determine which customers owe you money, and even still, who's behind on payments.

No matter the structure of your business, there are plenty of financial details to keep track of on a day-to-day basis. From ensuring that your products and services are ready to sell to staying on top of bill pay and invoicing customers, reviewing which payments are outstanding and which are paid can sometimes take a back burner.

But as a business owner or manager, your number one priority is always ensuring that customers are paying. Whether you accept credit cards or bank transfers or issue sales receipts for cash and checks, you should always know where you stand with incoming payments. “Are my receivables current?” should be a question you’re asking yourself or your staff frequently.

QuickBooks Online offers numerous ways to know who's paid for your products and/or services and who might be falling behind. This critical information will help you understand how your receivables are stacking up against your payables. You should be able to gauge whether you’re making a profit, breaking even, or losing money. Below, we'll take a look at the tools QuickBooks Online provides to help you access this information easily.

Learning When You Launch

Immediately upon logging into QuickBooks, you'll find that your two-pronged Dashboard provides a pretty good view of your current cashflow. By clicking the Business overview tab, the first thing you'll see is a cashflow forecast that extends out to 24 months. Other content is available as well, including a profit and loss graph and charts showing expenses, income (including open and overdue invoice totals!), and sales. Your account balances are visible there, too.

This is helpful data, but it’s broad, 500-foot view data. To get more granular information, hover your mouse over Sales in the toolbar and select All Sales. The horizontal bar across the top displays dollar and transaction totals for estimates, unbilled activity, overdue (invoices), open invoices, and (invoices) paid last 30 days. When you click one of the bars, the list changes to show only that particular set of transactions.

Partial view of the toolbar at the top of the Sales Transactions page

The table of transactions is interactive, meaning that there’s an Action column at the end of each row. Click the down arrow next to any of the activity listed, and you’ll see a menu of options. Depending on the status of each, these options could include commands like Receive payment, Send reminder, Print packing slip, Send, and Void. And if there's something in a column or figure that you want to learn more about, you can hover and click to drill into the original transaction.

Running Reports

The Sales Transactions page provides more of your receivables nuts and bolts than the Business overview screen does. But to get the most in-depth, customizable, comprehensive view of who owes you, you’ll need to run reports. Click Reports in the toolbar and scroll down to Who owes you.

There are three columns here. You’ll land on Standard, which is a complete list of all of the pre-formatted reports that QuickBooks Online offers. Click Custom reports to see the reports you’ve customized and saved. Management reports opens a list of three reports that can be viewed by a variety of date ranges: Company Overview, Sales Performance, and Expenses Performance. You can view, edit, and send these, as well as export them as PDF and Microsoft Word files.

There are five reports listed under Who owes you that you should be creating on a regular basis. Just how regularly depends on the size of your business, but essentially, the greater your sales volume, the more frequently you should run them.

When you select A/R Aging Summary, you’ll see at a glance which customers have current balances and which are 1-30, 31-60, 61-90, and 91+ days past due. A few customization options appear at the top, like Report period, Aging method, and Days per aging period. To really zero in on the precise data set you want, click Customize. The panel that slides out from the right contains option in several areas: General, Rows/Columns, Aging, Filter (by customer), and Header/Footer.

QuickBooks Online helps you target the data set that you want.

There are four other reports that can help you track your receivables:

  • Open Invoices displays a list of invoices that still contain a balance.

  • Unbilled Time tells you about any billable time that hasn’t been invoiced.

  • Unbilled Charges lists billable charges that haven’t been invoiced.

  • Customer Balance Summary provides all open balances for you customers.

These are all simple reports that shouldn’t take much trouble to customize and run, and they can give you a complete picture of where your receivables stand. But there are other reports that will likely require our help in setting up, such as monthly and quarterly standard financial reports like Statement of Cash Flows, Profit and Loss, and Balance Sheet. You’ll need these critical financial statements if, for example, you’re applying for a loan or trying to attract investors. Please let us know if we can help you understand and run these so you can get a detailed, comprehensive view of your financial health!

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