My Writing > • A Leap Forward with Quickbooks

3 Mar 2006


Originally Published Online by the QuickBooks ProAdvisor Program, Intuit Canada, March 2006


A Leap  Forward with QuickBooks

Eileen Reppenhagen, Certified
QuickBooks ProAdvisor

For those of you who have not taken time to look at all of the options to change reports and are exporting reports to Excel to reconcile accounts, there are some features you may not have noticed yet, that make reconciling accounts within Quickbooks so easy, you will have time left over to take Friday afternoon off every week.

Zero’s on reports

One of the major complaints I hear from Quickbooks users, seems to be the zero’s on reports like the general ledger. I went to visit an accountant one day who was complaining about using the general ledger and how difficult it was to export the whole general ledger into an excel spread sheet.

I was puzzled. I use the ledger right in Quickbooks. I almost never export anything from Quickbooks to Excel. After a few questions, I asked the right one. I asked have you selected "Advance" "In Use"?

He looked at me rather puzzled and when I showed him the button and what it does, his face lit up into a big smile. Then I showed him how to filter a report to

only show one account, or one or more selections of anything that Quickbooks keeps as a record in its gigantic data base.

Everything you enter into Quickbooks is catalogued in its data base and everything I have ever tried to analyze within Quickbooks; I have been able to do right in the program. I do know that there are reasons to want to export to Excel, but if you find yourself doing that very often, ask yourself why and look for an alternative way right in the program. That way you can memorize the report you generate so you can always do the analysis without having to resort to exporting to another program.

Here is how to get rid of those zeros that show up in reports? 

  • Pick General Ledger from the Memorized Reports.  
  • Select Modify Reports  
  • On the first tab at the top, Display, look at the bottom of the Display for a Box that says "Advanced"  
  • Open that Tab and pick "In Use" 

Now watch the zero’s on the general ledger disappear


  • How do I selectively reconcile an account using the General Ledger report? 
  • Pick General Ledger from the Memorized Reports.
  • Select Modify Reports
  • Go to the second tab at the top, Filters  
  • Highlight Accounts under Choose Filter  
  • In the drop down window just to the right of Choose Filter, where it now says Account above the white box, use the drop down arrow
  • Choose selected accounts or an account 

Modify Reports

While I am in the Modify Reports section, I usually do two more things to make the reports easier to use. In fact I make these changes in the Report Preferences area, so they show up on all reports that are not already standard reports or memorized reports. 

  • I put a Footer line in that says "Draft for Discussion Purposes Only – Subject to Change" to protect myself and anyone else who creates a statement without checking it carefully and having an accountant sign off that it has been compiled, reviewed or audited. Unfortunately, you will have to modify these reports individually.  
  • The second thing I do is to change the Fonts and Numbers, Show Negative Numbers to In Parenthesis and In Bright Red. The red is nice as it shows differences more clearly on the screen. Unfortunately the negatives only show on my screen as my printer is not a color printer. The brackets are way easier to see than a negative sign.  
  • Utilizing the Powerful Data Base for Working Papers. There is something else to take note of. The general ledger report only has one ‘Sort by’ option. The general ledger automatically Totals By Account.
  • Now try opening a Balance Sheet Report or an Income Statement Report. You will find that when you drill down into any line on the Balance Sheet or the Income Statement Reports, that you have two boxes to the right of the dates at the top of the report.
    • The first is Total By  
    • And, the second is Sort By. I often use this report to reconcile accounts.

The interesting thing is that if you add a column by using: 

  • Modify Report,  
  • Display,  
  • And, click off another column to add to the report, you will find that you can now Sort by the items in that column.

Try adding a new column and then see what happens in the Sort By. A new column should appear there so you can sort by that column.

The power of Quickbooks is in the effective use of the data base of all the information you put in and it adds in as part of the audit trail that can be manipulated to reconcile and analyze your data.

There are very few year end working papers that I can not create using Quickbooks data right in the Quickbooks file.

Who needs alternative working paper software when you have Quickbooks?


Eileen Reppenhagen, Certified QuickBooks® ProAdvisor. Eileen is the originator and contributing author of Section 800 of the CGA Canada Public Practice Manual "Future Oriented Financial Information" and a participant in CGA Canada's Video: Taking Care of Business. Eileen writes and speaks on "Pay less Tax": and "Surviving an IVI Tax Audit". Check out her website at 





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