How to Use the Account Register in QuickBooks

QuickBooks uses basic forms and windows to simplify the recording of transactions without requiring any understanding of accounting concepts. The forms and windows for entering transactions usually resemble the paper version of the transaction. Many transactions are entered using these intuitive forms while QuickBooks records the entry in the appropriate account registers behind the scenes. QuickBooks registers look like the paper bank register you use to keep track of your banking transactions. Most balance sheet accounts listed in the chart of accounts have a register that can be accessed by double-clicking the account in the list. You can enter transactions directly by using the account register or by using forms.

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

To open an account register:

  1. From the Home page, in the Company section, click Chart of Accounts.
    Chart of Accounts

  2. To view the register, double-click the account.
    Chart of Accounts List
    The account register displays.
    Displayed Account Register

Use the same steps to access the register for recording checks, deposits, and transfers directly into your bank account register. Each transaction requires different information, but the data entry processes are similar.

To record a deposit, check, or banking transfer directly into the register, you will need to complete the following information:

  • Date. The date of the deposit, payment, or transfer.
  • Number (optional). The number of the transaction. Use this field to record check numbers. Deposits and transfers may not have a transaction number.
  • Payee. The payee for a check, the customer name for a deposit, or another name as needed.
  • Account. The account associated with the transaction.
    • For checks, select an expense account.
    • For deposits, select an income account.
    • For transfers, select the bank account associated with the transaction.
  • Memo (optional). A description or note about the transaction (e.g., purchased chairs for office).
  • Splits (optional). Use this function if the transaction amount needs to be divided among multiple accounts (e.g., office expense and office furniture).

To record a check using the account register:

  1. Open the bank account register.
    Bank Account Register

  2. In the Date field, type or select the check date.

  3. In the Number field, type the check number.

  4. In the Payee field, select a payee from the drop-down list or type a payee name. If the payee is not already in the list, the Name Not Found popup opens.
    Name Not Found Popup
    To add a new payee, Click Quick Add. The Select Name Type popup opens. Select the type of name to add and click OK.
    Select Name Type Popup
  5. In the Payment field, type the amount of the check.
    Payment Field

  6. In the Account field, select an account from the drop-down list or start typing the account name and press Tab when the auto-complete feature finds the account name.
    Account Field

  7. In the Memo field, type a memo about the transaction if needed.

  8. Review the transaction on the screen.

  9. After you verify the transaction is correct, click Record.
    Verify Transaction
    QuickBooks recalculates the account balance and adjusts the ending balance for the new transaction.

To write a check using the Write Checks window:

  1. From the Home page, in the Banking section, click Write Checks.
    Write Checks

  2. From the Bank Account drop-down list, select the account to write the check on.
    Select Account

  3. In the No. field, type the check number. (If you want QuickBooks to automatically assign the next check number when you print checks, mark the To be printed checkbox below the check form. QuickBooks shows "To Print" in the No. field.)

  4. In the Date field, type or select the check date.

  5. In the Pay to the Order of field, type or select the payee name.

  6. In the $ field, type the amount of the check.
    Write Check

  7. The Expenses table below the check form is used to assign the check amount to the appropriate account. Notice that QuickBooks' auto-recall feature prefills the expense account in the Account field based on previous transactions for the same vendor. If you need to select a different expense account, select it from the Account drop-down list or start typing the account name. If needed, the amount can be split among multiple accounts from your chart of accounts. Preferences for the auto-recall feature can be changed using the Edit > Preferences menu option.
    Write Check
    Use the Items tab when purchasing items for inventory.

  8. Examine the transaction to ensure it has been entered correctly, then click Save & Close.
Author: Lee Fifield

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

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