How can I create custom reports in QBO?

If you are using Quickbooks Online (QBO), you know their solution offers a wide selection of standard reports. While having the ability to create reports on-demand is great, what if you need a custom report? How can you create custom reports in QBO? 

Financial reports tell the story of your business. You may want customized reports to understand what matters most to you. In this article, we are going to share some best practices to tailor your QBO reports. 

1. Customize your basic report settings 

Every report in QBO contains settings that can be customized. Let’s walk through customizing the settings for a Profit & Loss Report.

To access the full list of reports, select Reports from the Company Menu on the far left. Select the report you wish to use. Once the report displays, select the Customize button at the top right. 

At the top of the Customize report screen, you can find General settings. These settings allow you to adjust your Report period, the Accounting method, and the Number format on your reports. 


2. Add columns to compare periods

What if you want to compare your current activity to a previous period? QBO allows you to customize columns to see this level of detail. Let’s see how this is done on our Profit & Loss report.

Once you have the report open click on the Customize button on the top right. After you have adjusted your General settings, scroll down to the Rows/Columns section, then select Change columns. 


From the drop-down list, you will see a variety of column options. You can compare your Profit & Loss to a Previous period, a Previous year, or Year-to-date. You can also add columns showing percentages. When you have selected your options, select Run report to add these columns to your Profit & Loss report. 

3. Use filters on your transaction reports for specific accounts

If you run transaction reports in QBO, it can be frustrating to scroll through all your accounts when you only want to look at one. For these types of reports, using the Filter option will help. 

Let’s say you want to see all the transactions assigned to Advertising Expense. You can customize the General Ledger report for this. From the Reports menu, select General Ledger. Once the report opens, choose to Customize on the top right.

After you have adjusted your General settings, select the Filter drop-down menu. 

Filters by default are set to All, but you can adjust them to display activity by Distribution Account, Account, or Class. If we select the checkbox next to the Distribution Account, we can select our Advertising expense account. 

When you have selected the account(s) you wish to view, select Run Report to update. 

4. Save your customized reports for later use

Once you have your customized report just the way you like it, you don’t want to lose it! Fortunately, any customized reports you create in QBO can be saved to use later. 

Once you have completed all the customizations for your report, select the Save customization button in the upper right. It’s conveniently next to the Customize button. 

Next, give your custom report a name in the Custom report name field. You can add this report to a group or add a new group. You can also control if this custom report should be shared with other QBO users on your account. 

When you have completed entering your options, select Save. Once saved, accessing this report is very simple. From the Reports overview screen, select the Custom reports tab to access your saved reports. Any custom reports you saved can be run again with your preset settings. In addition, you can schedule custom reports to run and be emailed to you on an automatic schedule.

The ability to create custom reports in QBO will help you understand the story behind your numbers. How do you know if these reports are accurate? Check out this article about how to improve your review of your financial reports.