Share this content

Making the Most of QuickBooks Online Bank Rules

Aug 14th 2018
Share this content

Have you tried using bank rules in QuickBooks Online (QBO)? They are a marvel and can really save data entry time. 

What do Bank Rules do? Bank Rules can automatically add transactions to an account register. 

Additionally, Rules can:
- Have Classes
- Have splits
- Be prioritied, copied, edited, exported or imported to other QBO files

Instead of explaining step-by-step how to use Rules, here’s a link to QuickBooks Tutorials which explains Rules, and shows how to set up Rules. 

Examples of Use of Rules

I have Rules setup in most of the QBO files in which I work. Rules can flag transactions in the bank feed (Cool!), or automatically add transactions directly to the register so you never even have to see them (Awesome!).

When a transaction in the bank feed matches a Rule, a green “Rule” button shows in the Category or Match column. Simply click Add to move the transaction into the account register.

Even better, you can set a Rule to “Automatically add to my books” in which case you don’t even see the transaction in the bank feed – it goes directly from the bank feed to the register!

Be careful when you setup an auto-add Rule that it is for transactions which truly only ever apply to one expense account.

Good candidates for an auto-add Rule:
- PG&E (Pacific Gas & Electric) will always be Utilities
- New York Times will always be Dues & Subscriptions
- FastTrak will always be Auto:Tolls

Questionable candidates for an auto-add Rule:
- Costco. Purchases at Costco could be for supplies, equipment, Cost of Goods Sold, etc. It is nearly impossible to predetermine in advance which expense category to use.
- Same for OfficeMax/Office Depot, Staples, etc.

It is better to manually enter into QBO purchases from these vendors when returning from the store with the receipt in hand, so you can manually add the proper splits. Then when the transaction appears in the bank feed, it will be a Match. Better yet, use a 3rd party app such as ReceiptBank or Hubdoc!


Bank Rules in QBO can save you a lot of time, particularly for QBO files which are set up for personal or family books. Every grocery store in the family’s area can have a Groceries Rule; every favorite restaurant can have a Meals Rule; every gas station can have an Auto: Fuel Rule; every utility can have a Utilities Rule. For some personal/family files, when I open the bank feed the only transactions I see are the transfers I need to post between Checking  and Savings. Now that’s the way to work efficiently! Try it!

Jody Linick is an AIPB Certified Bookkeeper,  a QuickBooks® Certified Pro Advisor, and a member of the Intuit Trainer/Writer Network.  Her company, FitBooks Pro (formerly called Linick Consulting), specializes in remote bookkeeping services using hosted QuickBooks and QuickBooks Online. You can find her series of Blog posts here. 



Replies (2)

Please login or register to join the discussion.

QBO Trainer
By [email protected]
Aug 24th 2018 12:32 EDT

Yes, the QBO automatic rule is just great! For my company, we find that applying a rule to credit card payments where the bank identifies the last 4 digits - a real time saver! Several of our clients have multiple cards from multiple banks, if the online banking provides lots of gibberish AND the 4 digits, the system automatically applies the payment to the correct card! Great article Jody - everyone should try this huge time saver!

Thanks (1)
Replying to [email protected]:
Jody Linick
By Jody Linick
Aug 25th 2018 13:52 EDT

Great suggestion; thanks for sharing!

Thanks (1)