QuickTips for QuickBooks: Working with QuickBooks’ Vendor Records

QuickBooks never forgets. That’s 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 don’t 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’ve started building a vendor record, you’ll be able to use it in transactions and reports, and to simply refer to it when you need some information.

If you’re just starting to use QuickBooks, part of your setup will involve entering vendor details in the record template the software supplies. If you’ve been a QuickBooks user for a while but you’ve only supplied enough information about vendors to create transactions, consider updating 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’s a small toolbar. Open the New Vendor menu and select New Vendor. A window like this will open.:

Vendor

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 to enter the vendor name.

Fill in as many of these fields as you can, then select 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’re able to. The more you can fill out now, the less work you’ll 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). This is optional and can be left blank if you prefer to select it at the time you enter the transaction.
  • Additional Info. Vendor Type (subcontractors, for example) and Custom Fields (fields you can define for your own use).

When you’re done, select OK.

Viewing Your Records

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

Vendor

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

Here’s where your conscientious work creating records starts to pay off. Select 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’ve taken, and Sent Email. Once your lists grow unwieldy, you can search by a variety of filters.

Using Vendor 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 select 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 will select the New Transactions link in the upper toolbar and select the one you want to launch.

Vendor

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

We Can Help

The mechanics of filling in the fields in vendor records and using that information in transactions are not overly complicated. But as we’ve noted here, you may run across unfamiliar concepts. We’d be happy to spend some time with you exploring this topic and assisting you in fully utilizing these features in your QuickBooks company file. In the meantime, if you have questions, please contact your Elliott Davis advisor or our Accounting Systems Consulting Specialty Group Leader, Denise Bailey.