Report Options in QuickBooks 2016

By Stephen L. Nelson

If you run a small business, you don’t need all the reports that QuickBooks offers, but many of these reports are extremely useful. Reports show you how healthy or unhealthy your business is, where your profits are, and where you’re wasting time and squandering resources.

To make sense of what might otherwise become mass confusion, QuickBooks organizes all its reports in categories. You can see all the categories by pulling down the Reports menu or by clicking the Report Center icon. The names of the reports read a bit like public television documentary names, don’t they? “Tonight, Joob Taylor explores the mazelike federal budget in Budget Reports.” You select a report category to see a list of report names.

In the list below, reports are described by category and a short description of the major reports are given in each category. To get a thorough description of a particular report, go to the Help feature. To find out what a standard profit and loss report does, for example, choose Help → QuickBooks Help and then click the Index tab.

Type financial statements in the text box. (The Help information includes a wonderful discussion about how to understand the profit and loss and balance sheet financial statements.) Or, from the Reports Center, select the type of report on the left; you see a list of the different reports available on the right side, with a description of the information contained in each one. To read the details about a topic, click that topic in the list.

Report Category Description
Company & Financial These reports give you a bird’s-eye view of your
company’s health and cash flow. They give you a snapshot of
your assets, liabilities, and equity, showing income, expenses, and
net profit or loss over time.
Customers & Receivables These accounts receivable reports are great for finding out
where you stand in regard to your customer invoices. You can list
unpaid invoices and group them in various ways, including by
customer, job, and aging status.
Sales These reports show what you sold and who your customers are.
You can see your sales by item, customer, or sales
representative.
Jobs, Time & Mileage These reports let you see job and item profitability, compare
job estimates versus actual costs, view time recorded on jobs and
activities, and look at vehicle mileage.
Vendors & Payables These accounts payable reports tell you everything you need to
know about your unpaid bills. You can list bills in a variety of
ways, including by vendor and by aging status. This category also
includes a report for determining sales tax liability.
Purchases If you enable the Items and Purchases option within QuickBooks
when you run QuickBooks Setup, these reports show from whom you
bought, what you bought, and how much you paid. You can list
purchases by item or by vendor. One handy report shows any
outstanding purchase orders.
Inventory These reports help answer the ever-important question,
“What items do I have in stock?” You can get an enormous
amount of detail from these reports. For example, you can find out
how many of an item you have on hand and how many you have on
order. You can group inventory by vendor or item. If you need price
lists, you can print them by using a special report from your
QuickBooks file.
Employees & Payroll These reports, available if you signed up for one of the
QuickBooks payroll options, offer ways to track payroll or check
your payroll liability accounts. These reports come in handy.
Banking These reports list checks and deposits.
Accountant & Taxes These reports include income tax reports, journal and general
ledger reports, and a trial balance.
Budgets & Forecasts These reports show you once and for all whether your budgeting
skills are realistic. You can view budgets by job, month, or
balance sheet account. Then you can compare the budgets with actual
income and expense totals.
List These reports let you see your lists in detail. For example,
you can see the contacts, phone numbers, and addresses on your
Customer, Vendor, or Other Names lists. You also can create a
detailed report of your inventory.
Industry Specific Some versions of QuickBooks also supply industry-specific
reports under the Industry Specific submenu command. QuickBooks, at
the time of this writing, provides industry-specific versions of
QuickBooks for accountants, contractors, manufacturers,
wholesalers, professional service firms, retailers, and nonprofit
organizations.
Contributed Reports QuickBooks provides a Contributed Reports menu command that
enables you to display web pages of custom QuickBooks report
templates that Intuit and outside parties (accounting firms, small
businesses, and so on) have developed and then
“contributed.”
Custom QuickBooks will also allow you to create customized summary
reports and transaction listings, and you create these reports by
choosing either the Summary or Transaction Detail commands from the
Custom submenu.

If you’re not sure which specific report you want, you can use the Report Center. Just choose Reports → Report Center and then choose a report category from the list along the left edge of the Report Center window. QuickBooks displays a picture of the most common reports within the category in the Report Center window.

The Report Center window.

The Report Center window.