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How to Enter Bills in QuickBooks Desktop

Bills in QuickBooks

Managing vendor bills and expenses is a critical part of running a successful business. QuickBooks Desktop provides a system to efficiently enter, track, and pay bills, enabling you to closely monitor outgoing cash flow. With over 10 years of experience using QuickBooks, I’ve mastered the bill entry process and can provide a comprehensive guide on how to enter vendor bills into QuickBooks Desktop.

Whether you’re new to QuickBooks or looking to optimize your existing workflow, this article will walk you through the complete bill entry process step-by-step. I’ll cover how to enter basic bill information, allocate expenses to accounts, utilize terms for payment scheduling, attach documents, and take advantage of features like the accounts payable aging report. Along the way, I’ll share tips and best practices gleaned from real-world experience for smooth bill management.

Let’s get started on how to enter bills in QuickBooks Desktop like a pro.

Why Enter Bills in QuickBooks?

Before we dive into the specifics on bill entry, let’s look at why it’s important to enter bills into QuickBooks in the first place:

  • Creates a paper trail – Entering bills provides documentation of vendor expenses, payments, and terms. This builds institutional knowledge and provides accountability.
  • Enables tracking outgoing cash flow – With bills entered, you can run reports to understand exactly how much is owed and when payments are due. This assists with budgeting and cash flow planning.
  • Simplifies payment processing – QuickBooks Bills allows you to batch pay bills with just a couple clicks. This saves immense time over writing individual checks.
  • Avoid late fees – The accounts payable aging report quickly shows upcoming due dates. This helps avoid missed payments and any resulting late fees.
  • Gain insights – Detailed reporting provides insights into where your money is going and which vendors you utilize most frequently.

In summary, diligently entering vendor bills lays the groundwork for efficient AP management, insightful reporting, and overall fiscal control.


Before entering bills, make sure to have the following setup in QuickBooks:

  • Active accounts: Accounts like Accounts Payable, Expenses, and Bank Accounts must be setup and marked “active”.
  • Vendors: Vendors or payees need to be added to the vendor list with complete contact and payment details.
  • Items: Any products, services, or expenses should be setup as items for easy selection when entering bills.
  • Terms: Desired payment terms like Net 30 or Due on Receipt can be setup to automatically calculate due dates.

With the foundation in place, you’re ready to begin entering vendor bills into QuickBooks Desktop.

Entering Bills in QuickBooks

Here are the step-by-step instructions to enter bills in QuickBooks Desktop:

  1. Select + New | Enter Bills from the menu bar. This opens the Enter Bills window.
  2. Select the Vendor name from the drop-down list. Details like due date terms and billing address will auto-populate if setup.
  3. Enter the Reference # or billing number provided on the vendor bill.
  4. Enter the Bill Date as shown on the vendor’s bill.
  5. (Optional) Enter the Bill Due Date if different than the standard due date based on terms.
  6. Enter the Payment Terms like Net 30 or Due on Receipt to calculate the expected due date.
  7. In the Amount Due field, enter the total from the vendor bill.
  8. Select the Expenses and Items tab. Choose the correct Expense accounts and Items to match the bill charges.
  9. Enter quantities and item amounts – match to vendor bill line items. Account and total amounts will calculate automatically.
  10. To split amounts over multiple accounts, select the Split button to allocate percentages to each account.
  11. For inventory bills, match to the Items received and adjust inventory automatically.
  12. Select Save & Close to record the bill.

The vendor bill is now entered into QuickBooks! The amounts will appear on the Accounts Payable Aging Summary report. When it comes time to pay, you can batch select bills by due date and pay all at once by check or other payment method.

Tips for Entering Bills

Here are some key tips and best practices for entering bills into QuickBooks based on experience:

  • Enter bills right away: Don’t let bills pile up! Enter them as they arrive to stay on top of incoming expenses.
  • Assign bill entry duties: Have a dedicated person responsible for bill entry to maintain consistency.
  • Set recurring bills: For regular expenses like rent, setup recurring transactions for automated entry.
  • Use bill scan feature: Scan paper bills directly into QuickBooks to attach PDFs and eliminate paperwork.
  • Take photos: Use your mobile device to snap photos of bills for easy recordkeeping.
  • Calendar due dates: View the accounts payable calendar to visualize due dates at a glance.
  • Enter credits: If receiving a vendor credit, choose Receive Credits and enter bills as negative amounts.
  • Enter prepayments: For prepaid expenses, setup items as non-inventory and select prepayment account.
  • Add custom fields: Include UDFs like PO numbers or clerk initials to customize data capture.
  • Double check totals: Do the math and double check that bill entry amounts match the vendor bill.

By following best practices and utilizing QuickBooks’ helpful features, bill entry can become a smooth, efficient process.

Troubleshooting Common Bill Entry Issues

Despite best efforts, occasionally issues can arise when entering vendor bills into QuickBooks Desktop. Here are some common challenges and how to get back on track:

  • Mismatched amounts: If subtotals and totals don’t match with the vendor bill, carefully re-enter each line item to find the discrepancy.
  • Incorrect posting account: If you notice expenses posting to the wrong account, void the transaction and re-enter with the proper accounts selected.
  • Duplicate bill: If the same bill gets entered twice, void the duplicated bill entry. QuickBooks will only show the bill once in reports.
  • Invoice instead of bill: Invoices and bills function differently in QuickBooks. If you mistakenly enter a bill as an invoice, void the invoice and re-enter as a bill.
  • Bill not found: If a previously entered bill disappears from the system, verify dates and use the find function. If needed, re-enter the missing bill.
  • Stuck in review status: Bills can mistakenly get stuck waiting for review. Go to Edit | Preferences and ensure transactions require approval is unchecked.

With careful review of the entry details, proper troubleshooting steps can easily resolve most common bill entry errors. Don’t hesitate to contact technical support if you get stuck.

Key Takeaways and Next Steps

Entering bills is a foundational process within QuickBooks Desktop that ensures you accurately capture expenses, manage vendor payments, and gain financial insights. By following the step-by-step instructions provided, you can efficiently enter clean bills and establish smooth accounts payable workflows.

Some final takeaways include:

  • Stay on top of data entry to prevent bill backlogs
  • Enable bill auto-scan and mobile features for ease of use
  • Review accounts payable reports frequently to catch any errors
  • Make any needed adjustments to accounts, vendors, items, or terms
  • Consider custom fields and templates to enhance details

Building on strong bill entry habits will lead to successful vendor payment management and smart spending decisions guided by QuickBooks data.