How To Create Customer Retainer Report in QuickBooks Online

For businesses, such as legal and professional design services, that collect retainer fees upfront, here is a report you can build in QuickBooks Online without having the need to create lots of retainer other current liability accounts in your chart of accounts.

  1. Be sure you do have one Client Retainer (other current liability type) account already set up in your Chart of Accounts.
  2. Now go to your reports section within QuickBooks online and find a report entitled “Custom Summary Report” and click on this.
  3. At the top of this report, select “Customers” within the drop-down underneath “Display rows by”.
  4. Now click on the Customize button.
  5. Scroll down and open up your filters section.
  6. Check-mark both “Distribution Account” and “Customer”.
  7. Within the Distribution Account filter, select only that Client Retainer account.
  8. Within the Customer filter, select all of your current active customers.
  9. Now click on the Run Report button.
  10. If no data shows (or very little) be sure to select your date range at the top; it is probably best to select All Dates, then click on Run Report again (on the right side).
  11. Now you should see your selected customer list along with their current retainer balances.
  12. If you want to know the details behind a particular customer’s balance, simply click on that customer’s total.
  13. Note: As you complete your projects for your clients and apply any open retainers to final invoice balances, be sure to run this report to verify the status of open retainers; otherwise you might find yourself either not recognizing income in the appropriate time periods, OR, you might have a client contact you weeks, months or years down the road asking about a retainer refund they never received (for a cancelled job).
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