QuickBooks Tip: Setting up or Creating a Budget Using Last Year Actual

QuickBooks Tip: Setting up or Creating a Budget Using Last Year Actual

People often create a budget based on last year’s actual data.  When you try to use QuickBooks to set up a new budget you may discover some unexpected results when QuickBooks does not pull the data expected.  This article will explain the problem and provide a quick trick or workaround to solve the problem.

The Problem

Let’s assume you are working on the budget for the upcoming year (2013) during the current year (2012).  To create a new budget in QuickBooks, click on Company > Planning & Budgeting > Set up Budgets > Create New Budget and enter the appropriate information for the budget and eventually you see this screen:

Often people select ‘Create budget from previous year’s actual data’  to create the budget for next year (2013).  They assume QuickBooks will pull amounts from 2012 as the previous year’s actual data (since the budget is for 2013).  This is where there are unexpected results.

If you are creating the budget in the current year (2012), QuickBooks pulls the previous year’s (2011) data (as indicated).   However, most people really want it to pull current year (2012) data.  Thus the problem.  There is no option to pull current year data.

When talking with an Intuit product development team, one of my requests was an option to pull the current year data.  Maybe sometime in the future this option will be available.  You can request it too — in QuickBooks > Help > Send Feedback Online > Product Suggestions.

The Quick Trick or Workaround

Remember we want QuickBooks to pull the current year (2012) to create the budget.  Click on the clock on your computer (usually in the lower, right corner of your screen) > Change Date and change the year to next year (2013).  Now, when you select Create the budget using the previous year’s actual data it QuickBooks will pull the current year (2012) since you changed the computer date to next year (2013).  After you create the budget, change the computer date back to the current year.

NOTE:   You will only get data up to the current period so the remaining months of the current year will be blank.

P.S.  In anticipation of questions — if you want to import budget data, you need to create an iif file.  Here’s a support article with more information on iif files.  You can use 3rd party tools to help import data too.  Check out www.q2q.us or Big Red Consulting or others.

15 thoughts on “QuickBooks Tip: Setting up or Creating a Budget Using Last Year Actual

  1. theresa beltran

    I AM A NON PROFIT AND NEW TO QB I ENTERED THE BUDGET FOR 2015-2017 BUT PULL REPORTS FOR JUNE 1, 2015 – MAY 31, 2016 AND FROM JUNE 1, 2016 TO MAY 31, 2017 BUT ITS NOT WORKING I NEED TO KNOW WHAT WE ARE SPENDING EACH MONTH?

    1. kim russell

      if you create a new budget before the end of the year, your reports thru the end of the year won’t be accurate. You can create your new budget in excel, but, can’t populate in qb until the new year and all of last years reports are done.

  2. Angie Jarrett

    HOW DO YOU REMOVE AN ACCOUNT OFF OF THE NEW BUDGET? OR AN ACCOUNT OFF OF THE OLD BUDGET SENT OVER TO MAKE NEW BUDGET?

  3. G. Martin

    I’ve deleted an old budget in Quikbooks and created a new one. I can’t get the “Budget vs Actual” report to pick up the new budget . . . where do I go to define which budget to use???

  4. GoTsinTsan

    Michelle’s clock remedy works if you know to do it before the New Year.
    However, if you’ve already created a QB botched budget late in December and like me you’re still trying to figure out what went wrong when January of the new Fiscal year comes around it seems the only way out is to delete and start again otherwise it won’t go away or you’ll create an alternative which is in fact 2 years ahead.
    It took me the longest while to find out How to Delete a budget. There are No drop-down menus in the Budget screen at all -where is this illusive delete command?
    Answer: With the Budget window active you can still use one of the drop-down menus from the overall QB program tabs to control issues within the Budget Dialog box, namely the “Edit” drop down tab. Pull down to “Delete Budget” -its as simple as Control D”! It’s hard to remember such an unconventional modality.
    This how I got myself out of this Jam. You can then start a fresh “New Years” budget

  5. CHIRDAP NDAM

    I appreciate how QB Works, i work with an NGO ,how do i linkup with community and post my own challenges to QB Community

  6. Connie

    Yay Michelle! Glad I searched again today and found this post. I wasted almost an entire day at the office trying to figure out if I was doing something wrong. I thought about the clock trick but was frankly scared to do it, I thought I might screw something else up…silly paranoia. You’ve saved the day…thanks!

  7. Cynthia

    Excellent article Michelle – love the workaround. Also, great suggestion Chris for the defined periods, thanks for posting.

  8. Chris FitzGerald

    Michelle

    If you are seeking a change in the process for the prior year why not ask for a defined period instead of a calendar year. Then if creating a budget for Octber to September in july you could ask for the 12 month to June as the basis of the budget. This is in effect as much of the “current year as are complete months together with the balance from the prior year. This provides the latest 12 month period with anmy seasonalities that you would want. Hope this is a useful suggestion. I will aslo send it to the Intuit Guys.

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