By synchronizing your real-world bank accounts with the bank accounts in QuickBooks, you can download your bank balances and transactions into your QuickBooks company file so you’ll always know how much cash you have on hand. (The connection you set up between the two is called bank feeds to differentiate it from online banking that you perform by logging into your bank account outside of QuickBooks.) That way, before repaying your aunt the money she lentyou to start your business, you can quickly update your QuickBooks accounts, check your balance, and be certain that you aren’t giving her a check that will bounce.
Besides managing your cash flow, banking online is much more convenient than the old paper-based methods of yesteryear. For example, you already have a lot of transactions in your QuickBooks account register (from depositing payments you received against invoices or making payments to your vendors) and you can easily match these transactions to the ones you download from the bank so you know how much money you really have in your account—and whether someone is helping themselves to your money without permission. Plus you can transfer money between your money market account and your checking account when you find yourself awake at 2 a.m.
Banking online also lets you pay bills without having to print checks, lick stamps, or walk to the mailbox. After you submit payment transactions online, the billing service you use either transfers funds from your bank account to the vendors or generates and mails paper checks. Online billing also lets you set up recurring bills so you can go about your business without worrying about missing a payment.
All this convenience requires some setup. QuickBooks needs to know how to connect to your bank, and your bank needs to know that you want to use its online services. This chapter explains how to apply for online services with your financial institution and set up bank feeds in QuickBooks to perform all these tasks. Once your accounts and bank feeds are set up and online services activated, you’ll learn how to download transactions and make online payments. And if you enter transactions in your company file, you’ll also learn about matching them with the ones you download—and correcting any discrepancies.