Ask the Accountant
Question: When I'm not sure how to make an entry in QuickBooks, should I make a general journal entry?
Generally speaking, only your accountant should make general journal entries (debits and credits) in QuickBooks, and typically these are for recording depreciation, amortization or period end adjustments.
QuickBooks is designed to make accounting as straight forward as possible for the non-accountant. If you are not trained in accounting, making general journal entries will most likely cause further problems.
The QuickBooks home page flow chart is designed to guide you through the data collection process, and then automatically, general journal entries—debit and credit—are made behind the scenes. They are there and can be seen when you look at a report like the general ledger or transaction journal.
The QuickBooks flow chart on its home page is extremely helpful in directing the functions needed to enter data. For example, icons for "managing sales tax" or "enter credit card charges" tie to other functions, such as paying sales tax and reconciling credit card accounts. Bypassing these data entry points will prevent QuickBooks from correctly relating these entries to all the other data it manages.
Harriet Gatter, owner of Accounting Support LLC, was an ad specialty distributor for 23 years and an adjunct professor of accounting at Neumann University. She sold her promotional products business in 2012, became certified as a QuickBooks ProAdvisor, and now works exclusively with ad specialty distributors nationwide on their QuickBooks and accounting needs.
Please email accounting questions you would like considered for the column to HGatter@AccountingSupportLLC.com with the subject line of "Ask the Accountant."