How Do I Record a Journal Entry in QuickBooks?

Making Journal Entries in QuickBooks to Adjust Accounts

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Sometimes you have to make changes after the point of sale. You can do this in QuickBooks simply by recording a journal entry. You can make journal entries in QuickBooks to correct transactions or post entries that cannot be performed in other ways, such as profit or loss adjustments.

It is a fairly straightforward process using these tips, but keep in mind that you'll only post a journal entry that affects one customer or vendor at a time.

If you want to correct multiple customer or vendor balances this way, you'll have to post separate entries. At this time, QuickBooks has not released a bulk entry option, although QuickBooks 2017 does introduce some time-saving data entry options.

What Is a Journal Entry?

A general journal entry is an accounting transaction that is posted directly to the general ledger. For example, you may have entered a $100 utility bill in the insurance expense account by accident. You can post an adjusting entry to reduce the insurance expense by $100 and increase the utility expense account by $100 to correct your mistake. All your accounts would then be in proper order, and you wouldn't have to change the amount owed by your vendor because that portion of the transaction was recorded properly.

Journal Entries for Year-End Activities

Your certified public accountant or bookkeeper might want to make journal entries to complete year-end activities, such as posting tax adjustments to your books, recording depreciation expense or reclassifying revenues and expenses.

Your accounting professional can provide you with specific information if you want to post journal entries at year's end, along with explanations for why the entries were necessary for your particular situation.

How to Make General Journal Entries in QuickBooks

You can make general journal entries in QuickBooks by following these step-by-step instructions:

  1. Go to Company > Make General Journal Entries from the menu at the top of the screen.
  2. Change the Date field, if necessary, in the Make General Journal Entries window. QuickBooks will default to the current date so if you want to post an entry for a previous month or year, be sure to change it.
  3. Enter a number for your journal entries in the Entry No. field. QuickBooks will automatically number subsequent journal entries sequentially.
  4. Enter the account number In the Account column. You can also select the first account from a drop-down menu in the Account column.
  5. Enter the debit or credit amount for the account you've selected in the Debit or Credit columns. The debits and credits should always be equal so the entry balances and QuickBooks can post the entry
  6. Enter a descriptive memo in the Memo Column. It will be displayed on reports that include this journal entry. This step is optional, but it's recommended.  
  7. Repeat Steps 4 through 6 until the transaction reaches a zero balance. Your total in the Debit column should equal the total in the Credit column, and the journal entry will then be properly balanced. 
  8. Click Save & Close to save the journal entry and close the window, or click Save & New to save the journal entry and open a new window.

    You can make most general journal entries in QuickBooks using these steps, but if you want to make journal entries that affect a particular customer’s account receivable or a vendor’s accounts payable, you'll have to put the customer or vendor on the first line of the entry.