Working with QuickBooks’ Vendor Records

QuickBooks never forgets. That is one of the reasons you use it. You create a record or transaction, enter a note about a customer, or write a check, for example, and the information gets stored in your QuickBooks file. If you do not remember exactly where it is, you can search for it. No more flipping through a card file or folder, or digging in drawers.

QuickBooks makes it possible–easy, even–to maintain thorough records of your vendors, the individuals, and companies who provide you with office supplies, product parts, computer equipment –everything you need to keep your business operating. Once you have started building a vendor record, you will be able to use it in transactions and reports and be able to refer to it when you need some information.

If you are just starting to use QuickBooks, part of your setup will involve entering vendor details in the record template the software supplies. If you have been a QuickBooks user for a while, but you have only supplied enough information about vendors to create transactions, consider fleshing out those elements of your accounting file as you have time.

Filling in Fields

To create a vendor record, open the Vendors menu and select Vendor Center. Above the tabbed table, there is a small toolbar. Open the New Vendor menu and click on New Vendor. A window like this will open:

Figure 1: You can store an enormous amount of detailed information about your vendors in these record templates.

At the top of the screen (not pictured here) is a box labeled Vendor Name. Enter it, then move on to the Opening Balance field and supply the amount and date. If you don’t understand the concept of opening balances, please call the office and one of our QuickBooks professionals will go over this with you.

Fill in as many of these fields as you can, and then click on the Payment Settings tab in the toolbar on the left. The fields in this window–Payment Terms, Credit Limit, etc.–are optional, but complete what you are able to. The more you can fill out now, the less work you will have to do later, since much of the information here automatically comes up when you create transactions.

The other tabs here open windows where you can specify:

  • Tax Settings. Vendor Tax ID and 1099 eligibility.
  • Account Settings. Here, you can select the default account that should be automatically selected when you enter a bill or expense for this vendor (for example, phone bills=Utilities: Telephone)Give the office a call if you aren’t clear about this particular step. It’s OK to leave it blank for now.
  • Additional Info. Vendor Type (subcontractors, for example) and Custom Fields (fields you can define for your own use).

When you are done, click OK.

Viewing Your Records

Once you have created one or more vendor records, the Vendor Center will display a list of them in its left pane. Click on one to highlight it, and you will see something like this in the right pane:

Figure 2: The Vendor Information window displays contact information in the top pane (not pictured here), and additional details below.

Here is where your conscientious work creating records starts to pay off. Click on any of the five tabs in the top toolbar to display that vendor’s Transactions, the Contacts from that company, any related To Do’s, Notes you have taken, and Sent Email. Once your lists grow unwieldy, you can search by a variety of filters.

Using Records in Transactions

There are numerous transaction types that require vendor information, like purchase orders, bills, checks, and sales tax payments. When you open one of these transaction forms and click the down arrow in the Vendor field, your list will drop down. Select one, and related details that you’ve already entered will automatically appear in the correct fields.

You can create vendor transactions from either the home page or the menus. You can also do so from the Vendor Center. With either the Vendors or Transactions tab active, you would click on the New Transactions link in the upper toolbar and select the one you want to launch.

Figure 3: QuickBooks provides numerous paths to creating vendor-related transactions.

The mechanics of filling in the fields in vendor records and using that information in transactions are not overly complicated. But as noted here, you may run across unfamiliar concepts. If you need help with any aspect of QuickBooks’ vendor records, please call.

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