How to Create a Company File in QuickBooks Using Express Start

In Brief...

To get started using QuickBooks, you must first create a company file. Setting up your company file correctly is crucial to the overall efficiency of the QuickBooks software. Before you begin, you may want to verify your setup information with your CPA or with a QuickBooks Pro Advisor. There are three ways to create a new company file using QuickBooks. We recommended that you use the Express Start wizard to guide you step-by-step through the setup process.

This feature works the same in versions 2011–2016 of QuickBooks.


The Express Start takes only a few minutes to complete, and it is recommended that you avoid skipping questions during the process. To set up your company file using the Express Start wizard:

  1. From the QuickBooks menu, select File > New Company.
    New Company

  2. In the QuickBooks Setup dialog box, click Express Start.
    Express Start

  3. Enter name, industry, type, and tax ID information for your company. Click Continue.
    Company Information

  4. Enter the legal name of your business and general contact information. Click Preview Your Settings.
    Contact Information

  5. In the Preview Your Company Settings dialog box, select the Chart of Accounts tab.
    Chart of Accounts Tab

  6. The list box on the Chart of Accounts tab shows accounts that are common for your industry. The accounts indicated by a checkmark are those that QuickBooks proposes to include in your chart of accounts. To finish setting up your chart of accounts, review the list of accounts, adding and removing accounts as appropriate.
    • To add an account, click on it to place a checkmark next to the account name.
    • To remove an account, click on it to remove the checkmark.

  7. When you finish your account list, select the Company File Location tab.

  8. QuickBooks suggests a default location for your company file. To save the file in a different location, click Change Location, browse to the new location, and click OK.
    Change Location

  9. Click OK to close the dialog box.

  10. Back in the contact screen, click Create Company File.
    Create Company File

  11. After the company file is created, the following screen displays:
    Company File Screen

To add company data manually, perform one or more of the following tasks:

  1. Add customers, vendors, and/or employees.
    • In the Add the people you do business with section, click Add.
    • Select Paste from Excel or enter manually and click Continue.
      Add the People You do Business With

    • In the data entry table, select the contact type (customer, vendor, employee) and fill in available contact information. (Only the Name field is required.)
      Add Information

    • Repeat the last step for all of the contacts you want to enter.
    • When finished, click Continue.
    • To enter opening balances for customers and vendors, click Enter opening balances.
      Enter Opening Balances

    • The cells in the Customers and Vendors tables are editable. Click on the cells you need to change and type the appropriate values.
      Customers and Vendors Tables

    • When finished, click Continue.
    • Click Continue to add your contacts and return to the Add Info page.

  2. Add your products and services.
    • In the Add the products and services you sell section, click Add.
    • Select the type of items to add (service or non-inventory part) and click Continue.
      Add Products and Services

    • The cells in the tables are editable. Fill in details for your services or products.
      Services Table
      Products Table

    • When you finish, click Continue.
    • Click Continue to save your products or services.

    • If you need to enter items for another category, click Add More in the Add the products and services you sell section and repeat the previous steps.

  3. Add bank account information.
    • In the Add your bank accounts section, click Add.
    • The cells in the table are editable. Fill in details about your bank accounts. The Account Name field is required.
      Add Your Bank Accounts

    • When finished, click Continue.

To begin using QuickBooks immediately, click Start Working.

Author: Lee Fifield

Lee is a writer, editor, and technology evangelist. Lee received her undergraduate degree in Communications from Ithaca College.