Creating a budget in QuickBooks Online is a simple 3-step process. To navigate to the budget area, go to the top right Gear Icon, then select Budgeting under Tools.
First, you’ll decide if you want to create your budget from scratch or historical numbers. Second, you’ll have the option as to whether you want to subdivide your budget or keep it a company-wide level. And, finally, you’ll have the option as to how detailed you want to enter the budget numbers. Once you are done, QuickBooks Online will provide you with Budget versus Actual and Budget Overview reports that you can customize as needed.
Step #1 – Deciding what numbers to use when creating a budget
QuickBooks Online provides you with 3 options on how to start your budget. You can use the historical numbers from a prior fiscal year, start from scratch, or even copy another budget you have created. (You can create an unlimited number of budgets in QuickBooks Online.) No matter which option you choose, you will have the opportunity to edit the numbers later.
If you want to just enter a company-wide budget, you will skip this option. But, if you want to start to dive deeper into your financials or evaluate jobs using job costing, then you’ll want to use the option to subdivide when creating a budget. You have the option to split your budget down by customer, class, or location. If you do decide to split your budget up by class or location, you’ll need to verify that you have set this up when customizing your company setup.
Step #3 – Enter or update your budget detail
Once you name your budget, you’ll get to the budget entry screen. If you selected the option to include historical data or copying from a different budget, then those numbers will be auto-populated here. On the bottom of the screen is where you enter or update the numbers. First, select a row, then you can update the fields as needed. There is also a drop-down where you can enter the data by Month, Quarter, or Year. If you enter the data by year, then QuickBooks Online will automatically divide the amount equally over the year when you run budget reports by month.
(Note, you can only create budgets using QuickBooks Online Plus. If you are running Simple Start or Essentials, you can always upgrade to Plus at any time. Just go to the Gear Icon, then manage account.)