QuickBooks Online for courses, coaching, and training businesses
The training and coaching business is a multibillion-dollar business. I should know! This is the industry I serve in primarily. And, as someone who serves in the training and coaching industry – specifically as an expert in QuickBooks® Online and accounting and bookkeeping – I have a few thoughts and points of view on how to set up and run your training or coaching business in QuickBooks Online.
If you are offering these services, then you are likely offering one or more of the following:
- Coaching plans – 1:1 Sessions
- Community/group coaching
- Other training materials (Templates, PDFs, eBooks, and more)
In essence, that’s it. Your offerings may take on many forms, but they will all boil down to one of those top-level items.
In my case, I use Kajabi for everything, so I am going to incorporate that into some of what I am going to show you here. But I want you to understand that if you are using something else, all you have to do is figure out what the equivalent process would be in your platform.
Hooray! A sale is made!
The first thing that happens in your business model is that someone signs up for one of your courses or other programs.
Kajabi does not have an integration with QuickBooks Online. I tried using Zapier, but you have very limited access to information.
What Kajabi does have that is very useful is a GREAT sales export. I use this, and then I use SaasAnt Excel Transactions to Import the activity. Once this process is set up, it’s very easy to update your sales in QuickBooks Online.
I won’t be going that deep here, but I will go over the process of what this looks like in QuickBooks Online, so that you can understand what needs to be done in SaasAnt when and if you decide to use it. And, FYI, I do teach how to use SaasAnt to import banking transactions in my Bulletproof Bookkeeping® Mastery Course with QuickBooks Online. Once you know how to import one kind of transaction, you understand the mapping process, and it’s very easy to figure out how to import a sales receipt, for example.
Before we can start recording sales, let’s create our products in QuickBooks Online.
Either before or while we are creating our products, we’ll need to set up our chart of accounts.
You might offer many courses, but you only need one income account for courses. Then, you will have a separate product for each course that is mapped to the income account called “Courses.”
This keeps your profit and loss statement simple and easy to read, while you can still get the “data” when you want it, in terms of which courses are selling and other key information.
How to add a new accounting in QuickBooks Online
Let’s add an account for your coaching programs. Navigate to your chart of accounts:
Then, click the green New button at the top right and create a new account:
Click Save and Close, and you’re all set.
How to add a new product in QuickBooks Online
Now, let’s add a new product.
Go to Sales, then products and services.
Just like the chart of accounts, you have a green New button at the top right.
Click New and choose Service. This is what you want for any kind of course or coaching program. Even if you sell a digital product, such as a Template, you want a Service.
You will note the category option. I will discuss this below and, of course, in the video:
As a general good practice, make sure the name you give your products in QuickBooks Online is consistent with how they are named on your website or sales channel. This will make it easier when you are mapping your products from your sales channel(s) to QuickBooks Online.
Sometimes it’s easier to use this for mapping purposes, but, in general, it’s good to have a SKU for each product as well. If you have different versions of the same product on your sales channels, then you’ll want to keep a list of each version of the product and its SKU on the sales channels, alongside the “Master SKU,” which is the SKU in QuickBooks Online.
This is optional, but if you do have different categories such as courses and coaching programs, then the categories come in handy when you are managing your products and services in QuickBooks Online.
I often set up the categories just like I do income accounts.
This is why you need to know what your income accounts are either before or during this process of setting up your products and services. You can add new accounts on the fly, but I like to do it from my chart of accounts, as shown above, so that I can see the whole picture of all of my income accounts together. This helps me determine whether I really need a new account because I can see what I have and, more importantly, what I don’t already have.
When adding accounts on the fly, I can easily miss something and create a variation of the same thing. This can be easily fixed, but preferably avoided!
The products and services view
As you build this out, you will see how nice your products and services screen looks. This is really important because you can really see what’s going on from this screen with all of your offerings.
See how nice that looks? You can customize which columns you see by clicking on the gear icon at the top right of the products and services table.
Now that we have the basic infrastructure in place, you can always add more of what you need, when and how you need it.
It’s time to record a sale.
How to record a sale for your coaching and training business
Since it’s 2022, I’m going to assume that you are going to be making your sales online. In essence, you are an eCommerce business whether you see it that way or not.
For this article, I’m going to show you how to record the sale in QuickBooks Online. When you understand this part thoroughly, you will understand what any app like Teachable or Kajabi needs to be able to do, in order to push your sales into QuickBooks Online.
Simply put, your app needs to be able to populate a sales receipt in QuickBooks Online.
So, let’s create a sales receipt in QuickBooks Online.
If you’re still in the products and services view, note the tabs across the top and click on Customers.
How you set up your customers is up to you, but I am guessing that whichever coaching platform you may be using, you can probably get really good data out of there. So, there’s probably no need to clutter up QuickBooks Online with every one-off customer who happens to buy a course from you.
So, you’ll see that I have one customer here called “Kajabi Sales” because all of my sales come from Kajabi.
If I click into Kajabi Sales, then I can click to create a new sales receipt.
Now you can fill out your sales receipt.
Note the customer is Kajabi Sales.
The date should be the date the sale was made.
This is where you’ll see that I am using a Kajabi Sales Clearing. Since I can take either Stripe or PayPal payments, I park the money in Kajabi Sales Clearing. Then, when I reconcile PayPal and Stripe, the money clears from Kajabi Sales Clearing to The PayPal or Stripe Account (both set up as bank accounts).
The Kajabi Sales clearing zeroes out.
Let’s say this one was paid with PayPal.
We’ll record a second sales receipt for the PayPal part. We’ll set up a customer called “PayPal Sales,” and we’ll also need a product/service set up called “Kajabi PayPal Payments.” This is to distinguish between this one and if we ever needed another one for PayPal payments associated with a different sales channel.
Even though it says “Income Account,” you can map this item to any account that you want. What this means is that when you use this service on a sales receipt, it will take that money OUT of the Kajabi Sales Clearing account.
Then, we need a product/service for the PayPal Fees.
Now we can record the PayPal transaction as a sales receipt.
Note that the fees are negative. The way this sales receipt is compiled will result in the transaction posting in QuickBooks Online exactly the way it shows up in PayPal. When you take one transaction with the gross amount and deduct the fees, you’ll arrive at the net amount that’s deposited into the PayPal account.
Then, when funds are swept from the PayPal account to checking in QuickBooks Online, this is just a transfer from the PayPal account to the checking account.
Now let’s look at some reports.
The balance sheet
Note that Kajabi Sales Clearing is $0.00 (click the image above for a larger image).
The profit and loss
And the profit and loss shows this sale perfectly. We have a gross sale of $2,000. That’s made up of the fees of $88.40, and our net income of $1,911.60.
This is what the Bulletproof Bookkeeping® process is all about. It takes a little more work, but the audit trail is flawless, and you’ll be able to prove every number on both your balance sheet and profit and loss statements.
As I mentioned earlier, you won’t want to enter these transactions manually, but understanding how to enter them manually will prepare you for mapping whatever apps you wind up using to get these sales imported into QuickBooks Online.
And I recommend learning to use SaasAnt Excel Transactions to import your transactions. In some cases, like with Kajabi, that is your only solution. You can also import PayPal and Stripe.
There are apps out there that claim to import transactions from these services, but they do a terrible job. PayPal, for example, brings in the gross amount as one transaction, and the fees as another. This does not properly reflect what the transactions look like. See my comments above about how my process above reflects the PayPal activity properly. This is the exact difference between bulletHOLE bookkeeping and Bulletproof Bookkeeping.