When setting up a Quickbooks Desktop file you should consider setting up your Client, Customer and Employee lists right away so you can get the most out of your product. If you take the time to set up your Quickbooks file well, you will have increased efficiency and accuracy when updating the file down the road.

Today we will start with setting up your client list. Why? Having up to date and accurate information in their file will ensure top notch customer service, which means more revenue and higher customer retention. Pay attention to the details and you will high five yourself later.

In QuickBooks, the term “customer” means anyone who pays your client for goods or services. The Customers & Jobs list shows information about the people and companies to whom you sell products and services. If you set up jobs for a customer, they appear indented under the customer’s name.

Note: The Customers & Jobs list is the same list as the Customer:Job list. It’s called Customers & Jobs in the Customer Center, and Customer:Job on forms. It’s sometimes also referred to as simply the customer list.

Add customers
You can add new customers to the list at any time. These instructions tell you how to add customers one at a time. Follow these steps if you are new to QuickBooks. Otherwise, you can use the Add/Edit Multiple List Entries window to add or edit multiple customers and paste from Excel. (Covered in a later blog post.)

To add a customer

1.Click Customer Center.

2.Click New Customer & Job at the top of the Customer Center and then click New Customer.

3.In the Customer Name field, enter the name of the customer as you’d like it to appear in your Customers & Jobs list.

Note: To alphabetize the list by last name, enter last names first. For example, if the customer is Joan Green, enter Green, Joan.

4.If you have an outstanding balance for this customer, enter the Opening balance and “as of” information. These two date fields help you establish a correct accounts receivable balance as of the start date you chose for your QuickBooks records. However – be advised that if you do this, you will not have “live invoices” to receive payments against. For this reason, some ProAdvisors (me!) choose to set up invoices one by one, and use the date just before the real starting date in QuickBooks.

Important: If you are going to track separate jobs for this customer, do not enter an opening balance. QuickBooks calculates and tracks the overall balance for this customer from the balances you enter for the individual jobs. (In this scenario, you would need to enter the invoices one by one, using an invoice date that occurs before the start date of the company file.)

5.Add detailed information about the customer.

  • Enter the customer’s address and contact information on the Address Info tab. You can add as many addresses as you’d like for each customer.
  • Enter the customer’s type, terms, sales tax information, and price level on the Additional Info tab.
  • Enter the customer’s account number and credit limit, as well as the preferred payment method on the Payment Info tab.
  • If you don’t plan to set up separate jobs for this customer, enter job information on the Job Info tab.

6.Click Next to save the customer information and enter another customer name.


Click OK to save the customer information and close the window.

Considerations when setting up the Customer list:

  • Determine whether you will want to sort the list later based on the type of customer. If so, create customer types. For example, customer types can be used to distinguish between corporate and individual customers, or to distinguish between wholesale and retail customers.
  • If you want to track jobs (or projects) for each customer, make sure you know the amount owed to the client for each job as of the QuickBooks start date.
  • Complete all of the information requested in the Customers & Jobs list. If the customer purchases for resale, obtain the resale number and enter it in the customer’s record.
  • You can set up different price levels and associate them with specific customers. Each time you creates an invoice, credit memo, or sales form for that customer, QuickBooks will use the price level associated with that customer to calculate the rate for service, inventory, and non-inventory items.
  • For a new QuickBooks company, you need to create the opening balance for each customer as of the client’s QuickBooks start date.
  • You can enter an opening balance when you add each customer to the Customers & Jobs list, or
  • You can create a summary invoice for each customer using an item called “opening balance.” Assign the item to the appropriate income account. Each invoice should have a date earlier than the QuickBooks start date. This latter method is preferred by most ProAdvisors (me!) because it allows the user to “receive payment” against a particular invoice for each customer, as those payments come in.
  • QuickBooks enables you to create custom fields for customers. For example, if your client wants to track additional information for customers, such as the customer’s administrative assistant or region, you can add custom fields to the Customers & Jobs list.

Cristina Garza


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