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Custom Fields in QuickBooks – 5 Ways to Tailor, Tag, & Track Specialized Information

Have you explored the many ways to use Custom Fields in QuickBooks?  If not, you’ll likely be surprised at how this feature can vastly expand the “trackability” of specific data that’s unique (and often, vitally important) to your company.

  • Would it be helpful to be able to see that unique information when you view Customer:Jobs, Vendor, or Employee records?
  • Do you need to enter and track additional data about Items?  
  • Would you like to add any of this information to FORMS?  Or be able to include and see it in detailed REPORTS?  

If so, it’s time to acquaint yourself with the power that’s buried within Custom Fields!

Custom Fields in QuickBooks1. Add Custom Fields to Names (Customer:Jobs, Vendors, & Employees)

Here are some ideas about the information you could track by setting up custom fields in QuickBooks:

  • Job Supervisor
  • Location
  • Dates that need to be tracked (e.g., anniversaries or birthdays, start or end dates)
  • “Referred By” information
  • “Transaction prepared by” or “Transaction approved by” field
  • For construction:
    • Model, Style, Elevation
    • Warranty dates
  • For property management:
    • Renter’s Vehicle ID
    • Current contract begin or end date
    • Special fees (pet, parking, storage unit)
  • For manufacturing
    • Special process required
    • Unique job code

Example of What Custom Fields Look Like in a Customer:Job “Edit” Screen

When you go to the “Edit” screen (1) and click on the “Additional Info” tab (2), you’ll see the Custom Fields displayed as shown below.

Custom Fields in QuickBooks-Inside a Customer or Job Record

Figure 1:  The screen shows that two custom fields have been created and information entered.

Behind-the-scenes:  Creating New Custom Fields in QuickBooks Pro or Premier

You can create a new custom field FROM any name list to be used BY any name list.

In the example shown below, we’ve decided to add new fields.  We start with the Edit Job screen/Additional Info tab, and click on the “Define Fields” button.  The pop-up screen shows the existing fields (noted as 1 and 2). You’ll see that both of these custom fields have been marked for use only within the “Cust” (Customer:Job) list.

In this case we’ve decided to add two new fields:

  • 3:  A new field to our Vendors List for “Startup Date” (to let us know when we started working with that vendor) and
  • 4: A new field for “Birthday” (we’ll use this to track dates for when we want to send birthday cards to customers and employees).

After entering the new labels and checking the correct columns, click OK.

Note:  In QuickBooks Pro and Premier you can add up to 15 custom fields (text only), but no more than 7 in any names list.

Adding new Custom Fields in QuickBooks

 Figure 2:  It’s easy to add Custom Fields to QuickBooks Names Lists

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2. Add Custom Fields to Items

The ability to add custom fields to Items works in a similar fashion – but these custom fields are only used for Items.

Note: You can add up to 5 (text only) Custom Fields in QuickBooks Pro & Premier.

To access the Custom Fields for Items screen go to Item List/Edit Item, then choose the Custom Fields button, then Define Fields.  Add the Labels you would like to use and click in the “Use” column to activate:

Adding Custom Fields to QuickBooks Items

Figure 3:  Track useful details by adding Custom Fields to Items. 

3. Use Custom Fields in QuickBooks Forms (Templates)

You can add your custom fields to QuickBooks forms.

  • To make a custom field available in the body of a form, create the Item in the related Name List.  Then customize your template.  You’ll see the custom field as a choice in the “HEADER” tab.  From there you can choose to display it on your screen and/or on the printed form.
  • To make a custom field available in the columns of a form, create the Item in the Item List.  When you customize your template, your custom field will appear as a choice in the “COLUMNS” tab.  From there you can choose to display it on your screen and/or on the printed form.

Custom Fields in QuickBooks Forms

Figure 4:  Add important information to Forms by using Custom Fields.

TIP:  In many cases, I’ve added custom fields specifically for “form only” reasons.  For instance, you may want to add information that only applies to an Estimate or Purchase Order (e.g. “For Questions, Contact:” (then you enter the name on the form).  This may not be information that you want to add directly to a specific Name or Item – but would like to add to a form or transaction.

4. Access Custom Fields Data in List and Transaction Reports

You can create “List-based” reports that show data entered through your custom fields.  In many cases, you can also access this data through detailed “Transaction” reports.

To access this data make the following choices go to the “Customize Report” screen (screen shot below).

Custom Fields in QuickBooks Reports Figure 5:  Add your Custom Fields data to List reports and to many detailed transaction reports.

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5. Take Advantage of Upgraded Custom Field Features Available Only in Enterprise

For Enterprise users, you’ll find some fantastic upgrades to the custom field features.

These enhancements provide greater flexibility and built-in controls that can greatly improve the accuracy and reliability of your data! For instance:

  • Increased number of available fields:  
    • Names List – up to 30 Custom Fields (a maximum of 12 for each list)
    • Item List – up to 15 Custom Fields
  • Data entry requirement – choose whether you require entry (by field) for
    • Each transaction
    • Each new list entry
  • Data type options and control. In QuickBooks Pro and Premier, you’re limited to text-only fields which means there’s a greater chance for inconsistent data entry. In Enterprise, however, you can select specific data formats that require consistent data entry including:
    • Three number formats
    • Five date formats
    • Two phone formats
    • Establishing your own selection list

Custom Fields in Enterprise offer significant upgrades

Looking for Help to Customize Your QuickBooks

or Enterprise Accounting System and Reports?

When it comes to useful data or reports, does it seem that QuickBooks or Enterprise hasn’t provided you with the specific field or form choice that you need?

If it seems that nothing else in the system will do exactly what you need it to do, look to custom fields for Customer:Job, Vendor, and Employee Lists and/or to the custom fields for Items to fill in information needs that apply to your company.

We consistently find that most companies only scratch the surface of what their software can do.  We’re here to help if you find that you want to customize (and maximize!) the many powerful management features available in QuickBooks and Enterprise.

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