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How Do You Set Up Users in QuickBooks?



Want to grant an employee access to your QuickBooks file? QuickBooks Desktop allows you to control what they have access to within the software. Here’s how.


We’ve talked before about how to keep your QuickBooks data safe from hackers, and we hope you’re still following best practices for data security. 


But do you know how to ensure the safety of your sensitive financial data when you want to allow another employee to have access to your QuickBooks file? You probably trust your staff members; otherwise, you wouldn’t be inviting them to QuickBooks. However, implementing controls like User Roles, which limit your employees' access based on the jobs they need to perform, is a best practice your business should be implementing. Assigning User Roles correctly in QuickBooks not only ensures the safety of your accounting data, it also protects sensitive information belonging to your clients.


In this tutorial, we'll explain how to assign user permissions to employees.  


How to set up Users and assign custom permissions in QuickBooks Desktop 


You’ll start by opening the Company menu and selecting Set Up Users and Passwords | Set Up Users. The User List window opens. You should see yourself listed as Admin. Click Add User. The window pictured below will open.




You must enter a User Name and Password when you’re adding a new user to your QuickBooks file. 


TIP: If you don’t know how many licenses you have, click F2 and look in the upper left corner. If you need to add a user to your QuickBooks license, go to Help | Manage My License | Buy Additional User License.  


Enter a User Name and Password for your new user, then click Next to see what this individual’s access options are. You can choose from:  


●      All areas of QuickBooks

●      Selected areas of QuickBooks (which will appear in the next window)

●      External Accountant (access to all areas of QuickBooks except sensitive customer data, such as credit card numbers). 


Click the button in front of Selected areas of QuickBooks, then click Next


You’ll select from the access options here, then go deeper if you choose Selected Access.


 As you can see, you have three options here: No AccessFull Access, and Selective Access. If you go with Selected Access, you can indicate the limitations here. You’ll also have to decide whether this employee will be able to see complete customer credit card numbers. 


WARNING: It goes without saying that you should consider two of these options very carefully. Generally, you, as the Admin, should be the only person who has Full Access and who can view complete customer credit card numbers. You should only grant these permissions if you trust the individual as much as you trust yourself. Even then, you’ll probably want to do some auditing. 


Click Next when you’re done here. You’ll have to make similar decisions over the next several windows, which divide QuickBooks into multiple task types: Purchases and Accounts PayableChecking and Credit CardsInventory, and Payroll and Employees. The two windows after them will again require a lot of consideration and caution. They are: 


  • Sensitive Accounting Activities. This refers to activities like transferring funds between accounts and doing online banking. 

  • Sensitive Financial Reporting. What kind of access do you want to grant this user to financial reports? Your selection here will override other reporting restrictions placed on the user.



Here again, you can choose between NoFull, and Selective Access.


Finally, you’ll have to specify whether this employee can change or delete transactions in their areas. Will they be allowed to do so to transactions that were recorded before the closing date? When you click Next after completing this window, you’ll come to a summary of the access and activity rights given to this employee. Check this table carefully, then click Finish.



QuickBooks provides a summary of the access and activity rights you’ve assigned to this user. 


You can access your User List at any time by going to Company | Set Up Users and Passwords | Set Up Users. Here, you can add, edit, delete, and view users. 


How to determine the amount of QuickBooks access an employee should have


Allowing employees to access your QuickBooks company file is a big decision. Determining just how much access they’ll have deserves equal consideration. Growing a business involves delegating important tasks to your team, and a good rule of thumb is to always provide only the minimum amount of access necessary for a team member to perform their job duties effectively.


Different versions of QuickBooks Desktop come with different levels of functionality in customizing user roles. If you'd like more capabilities in Role customization, reach out to us to see if upgrading to a more robust version of QuickBooks is the right fit for you. 


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