Quickbooks Budgeting: 3 Critical Aspects

Talha • Last Modified: December 29th, 2022

Quickbooks is accounting software designed for small and medium businesses. It is designed and supplied by Intuit- A US-based company. Intuit provides a cloud-based version called Quickbooks Online and a stand-alone version of the software called Quickbooks Desktop. Quickbooks Budgeting helps organizations track their sales, expenses, profitability, and taxes. It makes the life of an accountant easier by providing an easy-to-use interface and many options for automating day-to-day accounting tasks.

Quickbooks also provide several intuitive reports that can help management accounting. Beyond the standard features, Quickbooks also offers add-ons like Inventory management, Budgeting, etc. This post is about how to do Quickbooks budgeting and forecasting. We will also look at a couple of reports that are related to Quickbooks budgeting. 

Table of Contents

Understanding Quickbook Variants

Quickbooks Budgeting: Quickbooks logo
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As of now, Quickbooks is available in a Desktop version and a cloud version. Intuit is in the process of phasing out the Quickbooks Desktop version and has already pulled the Desktop version out of many markets. The Cloud version has obvious advantages like always having access to the latest features and the ability to access your data from anywhere. 

In the markets where it is available, Quickbooks Desktop is sold in three variants – Pro Plus, Premier Plus, and Enterprise plus. The Pro version comes with support for 3 simultaneous users and the subsequent version offers more user support and features. Earlier Desktop versions were sold based on a one-time license fee. Intuit has now moved this to subscription-based payments. Intuit provides features for an automatic backup of data even for the Desktop version.

Quickbooks Cloud is available in four flavors – Simple Start, Essentials, Plus, and Advanced. Similar to the Desktop version, the Cloud version variants are also designed based on the number of users and support for add-ons. The higher versions come with support for recurring transactions, managing budgets, tracking projects, etc. 

Since Intuit is actively trying to phase out the Desktop version, this tutorial is based on the Quickbooks Online version. 

Key Features of Quickbooks

Here are the key features of Quickbooks that makes it an indispensable tool:

  • QuickBooks allows you to get a real-time view of your cash flow. You can connect your bank account to automatically categorize and import transactions. You can also seamlessly integrate and sync with popular apps to easily snap photos of your receipts. You can store these receipts with QuickBooks Mobile.
  • With QuickBooks Accounting Software, you get powerful invoicing features such as Payment Reminders and Invoice Tracking at your fingertips. You can also access dozens of reports to help you manage your expenses. You can use the mobile app to manage your business on the go.  
  • QuickBooks Accounting software also allows you to enter vendors’ bills, and pay them only when they are due. Recurring payments can also be scheduled to save time. QuickBooks Accounting Software further houses free unlimited support to provide answers and useful information on running your business.

Understanding Quickbooks Budgeting

Accountants use budgeting to estimate the income and expenses for a future period and derive profitability trends from it. The budgets are always forward-looking and are bound to change when business situations change. Higher management sets the budget expecting specific profitability numbers and keeps track of the actual sales and costs to get the real picture. 

Quickbooks Budgeting allows accountants to enter values for all the income and costs that will be incurred by the organization in a future financial year.  Accountants can then forecast the profit based on these numbers. Quickbook Budgeting also provides reports to understand how the budget fared when compared to the actual sales and expense data.  Let us now look into how this can be done.

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Setting Up Quickbooks Budgeting and Forecasting

  • Step 1: To use Quickbooks Budgeting features, click on the gear icon in the top right corner of Quickbooks Online. You can then click on the Quickbooks Budgeting section to create your first budget.
Quickbooks Budgeting: Step 1
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  • Step 2: Click on ‘Add Budget’ to create your first budget.
Quickbooks Budgeting: Step 2
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  • Step 3: You can then add a name for your budget and select Interval. Quickbooks Budgeting also provides an option to subdivide the budget by the customer if needed. Here we will choose not to do so.
Quickbooks Budgeting: Step 3
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  • Step 4: The next part is the most critical part of creating a budget in Quickbooks Budgeting. It requires the user to enter the expected Income from Sales and every cost that you expect to incur in the coming months. I chose to enter 20,000,00 USD as my monthly income from sales.
Quickbooks Budgeting: Step 4
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  • Step 5: You should now enter the cost of goods sold and other expenses you expect to incur. The cost of goods sold is the price of purchasing your inventory or the services you sold. This requires you to have some understanding of the business and accounting knowledge. If you just want to play around with Quickbooks Budgeting, you can go with the values that I added below.
Quickbooks Budgeting: Step 5
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Quickbooks Budgeting: Step 5 Part 2
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  • Step 6: Once the expenses are entered, you can view the forecasted profit at the bottom right corner. You can then save the budget.
Quickbooks Budgeting: Step 6
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  • Step 7: Let us now head to the report section in the left tab and view the reports related to the budget. You can see the Budget overview report and the Budget vs Actual report. The second Quickbooks Budgeting report gives us an idea about how well the company performed when compared to the budget.
Quickbooks Budgeting: Step 7
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  • Step 8: If you have added the expenses for your businesses properly in Quickbooks Budgeting, you should have some meaningful data in your Actual vs Budget report. You can use the Expense tab in the left tab if you want to add expenses to Quickbooks Budgeting. This is how my Actual vs Budget report looks for November.
Quickbooks Budgeting: Step 8
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You can see that the business is clearly over budget with a lesser than projected income and higher expenses. 

Quickbooks also provides options for customizing each of the reports. This can be done via the ‘customize’ button in the top right corner. 

That’s it! You have now gathered enough knowledge to use the Quickbooks Budgeting functionality.


Quickbooks Budgeting functionality that comes with the plus versions provides an intuitive mechanism to forecast your profit and measure your organization’s performance against expectations. The ability to customize Quickbooks Budgeting reports helps management accountants to create dashboards that aid their decision-making strategies.

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