What are Tags and how can you use them ?
I am sure that some of you will have noticed a new feature has appeared in Quickbooks online versions in recent days. Why Intuit don't see fit to let us know in advance I have no idea, but that aside this article is on how you can use Tags and when not to use them.
Below is a helpful video from Quickbooks themselves which explains nice and clearly how they work so I wont repeat that.
In short they are a further tool in your armoury for analysis - but and this is really important they are not linked directly to the accounts, so where as in your Accounting every entry must be analyzed to an account - Quickbooks unhelpfully calls this a category in some places and an Account in others. _ Basically the profit and loss account or balance sheet account. This is a must, this forms your accounts, and must balance. A Tag is optional.
So what can you use Tags for, well pretty much anything really. You already have Classes, Locations -at least in the online plus version and customers and jobs and projects but this is a further option. So I have come across situations in the past whereby clients would have found this useful for example in the old desktop versions of Quickbooks namely Pro, Premier and Accountant there was an option called Rep - this was used to allocate customers, Invoices etc to a particular sales rep or agent so a tag could be used like this to track income and for that matter costs relating to a particular individual.
Or if your level of accounting is beyond the Account ( Category), Class, Location then you could also use a Tag for this.
So decide what to use this for, set up and tag a transaction as in the video and report on it via
There are now new reports which appear under Profit and Loss and Sales and Customer - Transaction list
Tags can helpfully be allocated to groups for reporting.
Tags do not seem to appear on the audit log which I would think is an omission and one that perhaps Quickbooks could address in later releases
When not to use
It should be noted the tag is "per transaction" not per line entry so if you have an entry which you want to split between tags you cannot allocate part of a transaction to one tag and part to another - so we see potential limitations as to how and when to use them. That being said they are in addition to the other analysis you already have as mentioned.
There has been an option for assigning tags within banking rules so if you wanted for example every expense to Caffe Nero (there you can tell I am English and not American or I would have written Starbucks - yuk) then you could do this from the banking rules, so Caffe Nero is auto assigned to Travel and Subsistence and tagged with Coffee so I can then produce a separate analysis of my coffee drinking habit on top of the breakdown of subsistence already there.
Per Transaction not per Item
Tags are used in transactions not items, so therefore no good for stock items or products and services as QB online calls them, therefore cannot be used for price levels.
Per Transaction not per customer or supplier
Tags are used in transactions not per customer or supplier so cannot be used to set credit limits for example or to allocate additional fields to customers or suppliers
How do you delete Tags
Go to Settings and Tags and next to the tag there is a delete option note this is unlike other options on QB, it will delete the set up of the Tag field but also untag the transaction that was previously tagged and leave no audit trail. So there you can see it cannot really be used for financial information that has to be controlled within the accounts environment like a normal accounting transaction.
I hope these notes are useful.
I'm a Accountant that has dealt with many SME's ( Small and Medium sized Enterprises) over the years, in all aspects of Accounting, Business advice etc.