Of all the financial statements you can create in QuickBooks, the income statement is almost certainly the one you’ll run most often. That’s why it’s absolutely vital that you know how to create one. And although creating and printing the statement isn’t difficult, there are a number of different ways you can customize, save and send this report. With a little bit of setup work, you can create the perfect income statement for your business accounting needs.
Here's how to use QuickBooks Online to create an income statement — as well as QuickBooks Desktop — plus, everything else you’ll need to become an expert at this absolutely essential function.
Step 1: Find the income statement in QuickBooks
The location of the income statement depends on the version of QuickBooks you’re using.
Step 2: Choose your income statement report format
By now, you’ll have noticed several different report format options for your QuickBooks income statement. Which one is the best one for you to use? The answer depends on why you are creating your income statement in the first place:
For management purposes, you might be more interested in the Profit and Loss by Customer or Profit and Loss as % of Total Income formats.
For tax purposes, a standard Profit and Loss statement will suffice.
For a business loan application, ask your loan officer what format they prefer.
Step 3: Customize your income statement
Once you’ve determined the basic format for your income statement, you’ll have the option to customize it further. QuickBooks has made customizing your income statement easy. With a few clicks, you can choose between cash and accrual basis, determine the date range for the report and customize which columns appear on the report.
Step 4: Produce your income statement in QuickBooks
Now that you’ve finished customizing your income statement, it’s time to run the report.
QuickBooks Online: Here, you’ll need to click the “Run report” button near the top right corner of your income statement to produce the report according to your customizations.
QuickBooks Desktop: The report refreshes automatically as you customize it. You can also click on the Refresh button at the top right corner of your profit and loss statement to make sure the customizations have taken effect.
Step 5: Save, print and send your QuickBooks income statement
Once you set up and save your customizations (which can be surprisingly fun?), it only takes a couple of clicks to access your income statement again. After you’ve customized and run your income statement, you might also want to print and send your statement.
A version of this article was first published on Fundera, a subsidiary of NerdWallet.