Bank Feed Tips

By Kitty Morse // Senior Bookkeeper

The QuickBooks Online Bank Feed page is where the magic happens! We can eliminate most manual data entry, speed up our work, and avoid many common errors when our work is concentrated here. Some businesses will still do some manual work within QBO, but the more we use the automation, the less time we'll all spend doing the most mundane tasks.

Here are some of my favorite things about the Bank Feeds:

1. Quick comparison between the bank balance and the books.
    This is visible in two places in QBO, on the Dashboard – Business Overview tab:

And on the Banking page:
This at-a-glance view allows us to do the work of the bank reconciliation as we go. Once these 7 transactions have been entered, the QuickBooks balance should equal the bank balance. If it doesn't, we should be able to find out in just a moment what the difference is. Maybe there is a pending transaction on the bank website that will come over to QBO tonight, or perhaps we've double counted a credit card payment.

For a bank account, maybe we have a check entered into QBO that hasn't cleared the bank yet. This would be an example of a PROPER difference; our books are actually more complete than the bank at this point.

This is the bank reconciliation process – to identify differences between the books and the bank, fix any errors, and leave the ones that are appropriately waiting to clear. Rather than doing this all at the end of the month, when we may have multiple errors to fix, we clean things up as we go.

2. Powerful rules to automate complex data entry.
In this example, we have a real estate company with 2 rental units on one lot. They don't have the utilities metered separately, and want to allocate the Edison bill 60%-40% between the units based on square footage. The bill is on autopay. When the payment comes through, we can set a rule to automatically split the expense between the 2 units as follows:

3. Sort and Filter within the Banking page.

    Clicking on the COLUMN HEADERS will sort alphabetically, bring similar transactions together to be handled consistently. Enter a vendor name and select the correct expense category, then QBO will apply those choices to the batch of similar transactions.

    Use the Filter to bring up a smaller group of like transactions. Assign the payee and expense category, then click the checkbox at the top of the checkbox column to Select All, then click Accept. Click the "x" near your applied filter to clear it and go back to the full list of remaining transactions.

4. Batch data entry using the Shift key.
When entering lots of transactions at once, click the checkbox at the top of your batch, then SHIFT-click the checkbox at the bottom of the batch. This will select all the checkboxes in between! Then click Accept, and this whole batch will be entered into QBO in just a moment.

5. Categorization History
This is a newer feature that saves you the trouble of going to the Vendor page to see what you did the last time you spent money with this vendor. It's right within the Banking page -  a link that shows you what was previously done with this transaction within a selected date range. If you want to use the same categorization, click the button to Assign and then click Add. No more toggling back and forth, more consistent categorization and cleaner books!
    • Note – this feature only looks back exactly 12 months, so if you have an annual subscription renewal that last year charged on 1/15 and this year charges on 1/16, it won’t work.

6. QBO is now sending over check images with the transactions. 
You'll see these in the "Attachments" (paper clip icon) column on the Banking page. This saves us having to login to the bank account to see the face of the check so we can properly enter the payee and expense category. It also saves an image of the check with the QBO transaction. Much easier this way!

7. Finally I must include the one thing we all do NOT like about the bank feeds: The Dreaded "Transfer"!
QBO frequently suggests a Transfer transaction when it sees a Zelle payment or something similar. It will also suggest a transfer to the "Uncategorized Asset" account. This is 100% of the time incorrect!
  • The Transfer transaction type should be used only in a very specific situation - a true transfer between balance sheet accounts, e.g. Checking to Savings. It limits us to only balance sheet accounts, and there's no way to use a vendor or customer name, so we won't be able to search for it later using a name.
  • If we decide later that it was entered incorrectly and should have been an expense instead, the only good way to fix it is to delete it, send it back to the Banking page, and override the Transfer to Categorize. Then we can choose from the entire chart of accounts, not just balance sheet accounts. If we've already reconciled this transaction, deleting it will break the reconciliation's beginning balance and we'll have to re-reconcile. Confusing!
  • We advise our clients to always override the Transfer transaction type with the Categorize button and proceed that way. This gives us the ability to add a name, and to easily change the category later if we need to.

Kitty Morse has spent 20+ years as CFO of a small family-owned manufacturing business. Prior to that, she was performing financial audits while at Ernst & Young and SEC reporting at The Walt Disney Company. Kitty brings a broad understanding of management needs, compassion for the bookkeeper's responsibilities, and a deep appreciation for accuracy to her work as a conversion and clean-up specialist.

Copyright KNKBS, 2022