Moving YNAB to YNAB

Laugh if you will, but I fell for the line that once I formed YNAB into a “real company” (meaning I actually filed papers and all of that), I would need appropriate accounting software to run the show.

The obvious bookkeeping choice for a small business is Intuit’s Quickbooks, and I went with the obvious choice for five years and one month.

As of today, YNAB has moved to YNAB. We’re now running our small business books on YNAB 3.6.4.  I’m going to cover the following:

  • Is your business YNAB-able?
  • Why I made the switch (TL;DR: accountability, user feedback, workflow)
  • How I made the transition (TL;DR: don’t worry about history)
  • What took me so long (TL;DR: integrated billpay, history)
  • What I’m looking forward to (TL;DR: less time spent bookkeeping, better resource allocation)

Is Your Business YNAB-able?

YNAB is not your ideal bookkeeping situation if you:

  • need to run payroll within your bookkeeping software (we use a third-party payroll service and that works just fine).
  • have inventory
  • have significant accounts receivable (where analysis of your accounts receivable is a business-critical operation).
  • have significant capital (you can work around this by tracking capital in Off Budget accounts, but depending on your needs, that may be insufficient).
YNAB is ideal for your bookkeeping if you:
  • Do the books on a cash-basis (vs. an accrual basis)
  • Have a “simple” business process (you provide a service, people pay you)
I wrote a post about YNAB for small business a while back, and you may want to refer to that as well.

Why I Made the Switch

Three reasons have been beating an incessant drum in my mind for quite some time now, but yesterday was the final straw.

Yesterday Casey (my super tax preparer, who authored Tax Insight) sent me an email with “initial questions” regarding his pouring over the books as part of preparing the business return.  These initial questions were long. So I ended up having to pore through all of QB to find the answers. It took forever.

As I sat there pouring through the interface and being frustrated with how everything worked (it’s feature bloat, to be honest, the software basically tries to do too much) I realized that it was my fault. I wasn’t using YNAB for YNAB, and I knew I could.

Of course, that was all frustration mounted on top of what is normal Tax Time Frustration. No office furniture was harmed during the process.

Before the inciting incident, there were three significant reasons as to why I’d been wanting to switch for quite some time:

1) Eating my own dog food.  In software development, you eat your own dog food by using the software you’re building. It gives you huge insights, and can’t be overstated. I use YNAB personally, but I’ve been wanting to understand how YNAB can work for small businesses for quite some time now, and taking the plunge with my own business will certainly give me solid information.

2) Accountability. It felt wrong to spend business money and not record it on my phone. This thanks to the fact that, for our personal budget, my iPhone has become a very trusty companion. It feels very negligent to give someone money and not record what just happened.  I’ve written about how small business owners can throw frugality out the window, and I recognize I’m the first victim of that. Using YNAB for YNAB will make me überaccountable.

3) Work flow. I’m faster in YNAB. I’m extremely familiar with it, I don’t have to use my old Sony laptop to run it (I do with my version of Quickbooks), and YNAB is built for speed of entry. Quickbooks, not so much.

How I Made the Transition

1) Pick a start date. I picked January 1, 2012. I recommend you  pick a quarter cutoff, if you’re too far into the year. For me, that meant re-doing January’s books in YNAB. Not a big deal to do one month’s work again.

2) Set up your accounts. In YNAB, we have four:

  • Checking (mainly just for payroll, rare check deposits, and receiving Paypal transfers).
  • Savings (used to set aside quarterly withholdings for the Tax Man. At the end of each month I multiply the profit by my estimated effective tax rate and transfer that much from Checking into Savings).
  • Paypal (receives all sales, affiliate payments, and used to pay a few international team members for the time being).
  • Chase Credit Card (used for operating expenses such as software subscriptions, meals, utilities, hosting, travel, etc.)

All of those accounts are On Budget.  I pulled up my balances from Quickbooks and recorded starting balances for each of the four accounts as of December 31, 2011. I categorized them all as Income Available Next Month so they’d flow into January.

3) Set up categories. This honestly took a little bit of time. I was starting to get Category Bloat from Quickbooks, where I’d have some random expense and make up a new category for it and then, six months later, realize I already had a category where that could have belonged.

Also, Casey forbade the idea of categorizing a million things as “General & Administrative”. He says it creates a tax nightmare. It also doesn’t give me any actionable insights, so I guess that’s one time where the tax process forced me to do something that might actually have some value. And yes, I’m going to keep taking shots at all the inefficiencies of taxation we experience because I’m right in the thick of it.

I ended up with 47 categories spread across 12 master categories.  47 is about 40 more than I’d want :)

But some of these are forced necessities. A category for 401k contributions should probably stand on its own. And you definitely need to have a Shareholder Distributions category if you want to track money that flows to owners (you, the small business owner) that doesn’t come through payroll.

I also did a bit of a workaround since YNAB doesn’t (still/yet) offer customizable income categories. I made some Revenue master categories, with products underneath as the categories. For instance:

Revenue will not be categorized as “Income : Available…” I’ll basically being dropping in negative budget numbers into revenue categories, so it will pull the revenue out and push that revenue back up to the Available number. I’ll then be able to budget the Available where it’s needed.

4) Budget the funds already earmarked. In my case, I knew the Savings balance was specifically for quarterlies so I immediately budgeted the balance into the quarterlies category.  The only time that category will have an outflow is when I cut the checks for estimated tax payments. It’ll only have an inflow when I budget to it (I’ll also be doing a transfer, but on-budget to on-budget transfers aren’t categorized).

5) Import transactions from your start date forward.  In my case, I imported from 1/1/2012 through 1/31/2012. (I’ll do February’s on Thursday).

6) Payee Settings are your friend. Though the Payee Settings is our least favorite screen in the whole app, use it. We’ll make it much better eventually. (I don’t mean eventually like, “eventually I’ll run a marathon” either. I really do mean it.)

On our Chase CC, I knew we’re going to have Google charges for pay-per-click.  See this here:

You see how the payee came in with that *403… appended to it? I right-clicked on the payee and selected “Payee settings…”

Now the next time we do an import, if a payee comes in looking like “GOOGLE*4039…” it’ll be cleaned up to be the “Google” we all know and love. It will also automatically be categorized to Advertising & Promotion : PPC.

To be clear, if I have a payee that changes itself all the time. Maybe I’m a contractor and I purchase form four different Home Depots fairly regularly, I can do a “contains” rule. So if we normally get:

  • HOME DEP*ST123
  • HOME DEP*ST343
  • HOME DEPOT #987 (a legacy home depot… making it different from the others)
  • HOME DEP*ST932

We could set up a rule: “Contains HOME DEP” and it would capture all four of them:

  • HOME DEP*ST123
  • HOME DEP*ST343
  • HOME DEPOT #987
  • HOME DEP*ST932

Being diligent on your Payee Settings with your first import will improve your efficiency tremendously. Of course I still recommend looking everything over and making sure you’re aware of your outflows. This will just get you to a quicker spot where you can jump over to the Budget and start doing the meat of financial management: proactive planning.

[Bonus Hint: If you’re using Paypal, use the Reports -> Monthly Financial Summary option and record transactions at that level. For instance, I do not, nor would I ever think to, record every single sale of YNAB. That would be insane. I record one transaction that I get from the Monthly Financial Summary. I believe it’s Gross Receipts or some other line-item. Anyway, that one report gives you all the information you need to record high-level transactions from Paypal into YNAB. If you’re spending longer than 15 minutes with your Paypal account each month…you’ve got to try my way.]

What Took Me So Long

Well, I’ll tell you what didn’t take me long: actually switching. I ended up spending about 2 1/2 hours from a blank slate to getting January up to date. My normal monthly process takes me four hours.

But why did I drag my feet?  There were two main reasons:

1) Integrated billpay. I liked that I could pay domestic vendors right from within the software. I liked it until I realized that once I sent a payment with that method, if the check wasn’t cashed, it would be six months before the funds would be returned to me (verses the normal three months for the straight checking billpay when I log in to the bank). And the only place I could see those pending payments was within the software. It felt like a black hole of money.

I’m over it now. I’ll use my checking account’s built-in billpay to cut checks. Either way I’m still clickity-hopping through one interface or another.  My workflow will be to enter the transactions in YNAB (1-2 minutes), then enter them on the bank’s site (20 minutes).

2) History. For all the talk we throw around about how you should look forward with your money and not back, I sure had a hard time letting go of the history in Quickbooks. And then I realized I wasn’t letting go of it at all. I’m certainly not going to delete the data. If I ever need to consult prior years of data, I can fire up Quickbooks and take a gander. Hint: I won’t have to do that nearly as much as I think I will.

So I’m starting fresh, and it feels good. Eyes forward, and brain now in planning mode (vs. post-mortem mode).

As I re-read this, I don’t know what took me so long. I feel great.

What I’m Looking Forward To

I’m looking forward to looking forward. I want to be more aware of our resources and how we’re using them. I want to be able to point to expenses and attribute benefit to those expenses (or stop incurring them if there’s no attributable benefit). I want to be able to manage the business cash flow with the same ease and comfort I enjoy managing my personal cash flow.

I’m looking forward to my accounting process going from 4 to 2 hours per month. I’m looking forward to not relying on direct connect to sometimes pull in the data for me. I’m looking forward to not paying Intuit to have to upgrade–something they would have forced me to do next year.

If you’re a small business owner and you’re thinking about using YNAB for your small business, I hope you found this walkthrough helpful. I’ll try and post more as I discover how YNAB (the software) is helping YNAB (the business) and its owner.  If you have any questions, please ask them in the comments and I’ll see what I can do!


75 Responses to “Moving YNAB to YNAB”

  1. Pat Mone


    I, too, moved my finances for my small business to YNAB. I used to combine them in one file but it got confusing as to what monies I was actually allocating so I made two separate files. Only problem is, though it’s not difficult to switch back and forth on my iMac I can only keep ONE account on my iPhone. Any plans on making the app “switchable” to another file?


  2. Angie @ 420 Creative

    Great write-up! I’ve actually been using YNAB for my business since I bought it around this time last year. I started out by reading your YNAB for Small Business post, made some tweaks to fit my workflow and bam – best decision I ever made.

    I’ve been fortunate enough to never have used QB (though the temptation certainly lingered for years) – code bloat is right. YNAB keeps things crazy simple.

    I still use a separate app for recording different *types* of income though. It’s all services, but I just like to see how it’s broken down each month or quarter in a couple of nice graphical reports / charts that YNAB doesn’t have. Other than that though, actually seeing my business budget like I do my personal has been such a major change and a positive one at that.

    Hopefully with you using it for your business it means a few tweaks will make it into the app down the road… without getting bloated. :)

    • Carrie Rocha

      I also want to see my income broken down by service category and by vendor. I am starting with YNAB now (October) for my business while also doing QB. My goal is that by January 1 I will have worked out all the kinks and can use YNAB exclusively next year. Would you mind telling me what other app you are using right now to track service categories?

      • jesse

        We hope to have an answer to income breakdowns, allowing for multiple income categories. It’s not highest on our list, but it’s actually up there because it fits in nicely with some other pretty significant changes.

      • Nick Daugherty

        Just checking up on this… Now 9 months later.

        Are income categories still coming soon? I’ve tried your workaround of using the expense categories instead, but that makes the otherwise-awesome “Income v. Expense” report show up wonky. Income shows as zero.

        Big YNAB fan, and long-time user for personal.

  3. Melissa

    That information is helpful. I hope to start a small business next year. Do you know if anyone use YNAB for a small church?

    • jesse

      @Melissa, I don’t know of a specific case, but I see no reason why a church couldn’t use it!

      • Roger

        I have been using YNAB for my small church for over a year now. I have to say though, that although it works (very well I might add!) I would sure like some sort of class or discussion on this. I simply LOVE it as it makes things so simple for me, but I’ve run across things here and there that I think I don’t have set up quite right. But the short answer is, yes it does work, and works very well for a small church.

  4. Luke

    Great post. I do consulting and have been trying to figure out the best way to track things. The waters are a little murkier for me since my accounting is cash based, but I look forward to seeing how things go with you. I am also curious what your categories are… been having trouble nailing mine out. Anways, keep these business oriented posts coming!

  5. Britton Gregory

    Good to hear. As someone who uses YNAB for his (small, cash-based, service-oriented) business, I’m looking forward to seeing what improvements you come up with now that you’re eating your own dog food!

    I’m very much looking forward to the improvements you mentioned/implied, especially being able to enter transactions for more than one account from your phone. Like you, I hate not entering my transactions as they come, but my mobile YNAB is tied to my household account, so I’m stuck when it comes to business transactions…

  6. Katy Nims

    I’m a former CPA and quite conversant in both Quickbooks and Quickbooks Online (which is the cloud-based version), both of which I support. That said, I too have chosen to use YNAB for both personal and business and keep them together in one data file (at least for now). My categories are simply Business and Personal, and then within Business my accounts start with the line-number the IRS will want me to use for my Schedule C (e.g., 08-MKT-Website vs 08-MKT-Print vs 22-SUPPLIES, etc. My personal “categories” are things like CAR-Maintenance, CAR-Gas, etc. I code the income the same way — FWW-client name to help me track client income, etc. (I also teach at a college so I have receipts from several sources). What I love about YNAB is the simplicity; reporting could be better and that’s really what I think you’re giving up from QB but you’re right — there’s really only about 4-5 of the hundreds of features you really need when you’re doing a service based business with few clients and transactions.

    On the other hand, I support a yoga studio that needs to be able to track small daily sales by client, so for them QB works better. Of course, they

    • Katy Nims

      (Sorry, hit enter) they do periodically need help searching for what they need to do!

      Love YNAB and looking forward to promoting/training people on it.

    • Luci


      What does the prefix “FWW” mean for client income?

  7. J.D.

    This post was awesome! I’m using YNAB for my small business I just started up last year, and the way I had it set up was a nightmare compared to how you do it. I had to go through all my sales for last year and manually figure out how much I spent. I never thought of the Revenue categories. Great tip!

    I also never looked at the Payee Settings before. That will help out a TON when I import my monthly transactions. I hope you give some more insight to the way small businesses can use your software. This is very eye opening!

  8. Luci

    You must have been reading my mind, Jesse! In 2010 I virtually retired from my solely owned service business with no employees and kept only 2 long-standing clients.

    Other than the ability to invoice in QBks (which I could certainly do with a non-QBks template if I so decide), I’ve been frustrated with having to periodically upgrade their software when the added features didn’t pertain to me and I ended up spending a couple of hundred $$$ for eye candy.

    I had been running my business books through YNAB, but it makes more sense to me to just keep a second file strictly for business transactions.

    So I’m going to bite the bullet and start converting it this week! Thanks for the “push” in the right direction!!!

  9. Poly

    Thanks! This will be invaluable. We’ve been using YNAB for personal books and our rental property, but I was struggling with how to make it work for our small business. I’m still not sure how to give my accountant the profit/loss statement, so that’s the one last thing I need to figure out. Looking forward to a future live webinar on YNAB business, since that’s what finally got my personal books all straightened out. Thanks, again. Can’t wait to migrate the business to YNAB!!!

  10. Andres Riofrio

    I use YNAB for my personal expenses, and it’s great. As a student, I’ve been able to plan and I always have a really solid footing into where my money is going.

    I want to get my parents to use it, and they have a joint small business. With cloud sync, better Payee Settings, and some tweaks you might make from your experience using it as a business owner (e.g. it might be confusing to set up “income” as an “expense” category), I’ll feel confident in recommending YNAB to them.

    PS. What do you use for payroll? Do you know of a software that makes receipts (YNAB integration? :)? What categories would a tax preparer find useful if you had?


  11. Daniel W

    Great indeed! I’m just wondering, how to you compile the income statement and balance sheet? I don’t know about the US, but in Sweden we need to declare our income & expenses once a year, and also VAT report monthly, trimonthly or annually. How do you track the VAT to get this report, to know how much to pay or get back in VAT?

    I’m using a double-entry system for my small firm, although both income and expenses are very limited in number. But at least from there I can get the reports I need for tax return reports.

    Would love to stop paying for software that I use a an hour per month and move this to YNAB!

  12. Laura

    My husband and I just started using YNAB a month ago and we run *both* our small businesses and our personal stuff through one YNAB file. It seems to be working fine so far.

    I guess for us, the only thing that we have to game with YNAB is how to track where the income came from. Right now, we’re using codes in the description fields – $AF for his stuff, $WM for mine, $INT for interest, etc. – so we can hopefully use those to run reports at the end of the year. I don’t know what it would look like, but it might be nice to have a better way to flag/categorize/organize income source than that.


    • Bjorn

      yes I agree it would be of great help to have this feature also a way to better track your payables and receivables

      • jesse

        This is a total workaround, but you could use an off-budget account to record inflows into a category “Receivables” and then when the cash is actually received, do a transfer from the receivable account (categorized as “Receivables”) where the inflow on the cash account side would then go to your revenue/income…

        It would still keep you accounting on a cash basis.

    • Brianna

      I also would LOVE to have a way to “label” individual transactions and then be able to run reports on those labels, independent of the budgeting categories. (If you can get access to it, the UW Credit Union’s online banking provides exactly the kind of thing I’m talking about; http://www.uwcu.org and see also the info about labels at http://www.uwcu.org/OnlineBanking/MoneyManagementTools.aspx). This would, for example (going with a personal budgeting example for the sake of simplicity), allow me to have a budget category of “Entertainment”, and then be able to use labels to determine how much was spent by me, by my husband, or together, by labeling each transaction as “My Fun Money”, “His Fun Money”, or “Our Fun Money”. And depending on how I use these labels, they could potentially be used to track similar kinds of things across multiple budgeting categories.

      Thanks! I love your software, philosophy, and all the good work you guys do!

      • Andres Riofrio

        For that specific case, have you thought about creating a master category “Entertainment” and then sub-categories “My Fun Money”, “His Fun Money”, “Our Fun Money”?

      • Brianna

        I’ve considered that, but since the thing I really want to budget is the overall entertainment amount, and I don’t want to restrict it based on who is doing the spending (but would just be curious to track that), it doesn’t seem like the right solution. Thank you for the suggestion though!

  13. Whitney

    Do I need to purchase another copy of YNAB in order to use it for my business? Also, what about sharing the files so that more than on person can enter data?

    • jesse

      You can use the same version of YNAB You have now.

      For sharing files with more than one person, we recommend Dropbox

  14. Justin

    Jesse, it’s “pore over/pore through”, not “pour through”. Gotta love homophones.

  15. Matt Everson

    Jesse… We use YNAB for home and office. I’m not even sure I’m asking for this, but a feature I could really use is the attachment of photographed receipts. It would allow me to maintain an verifiable paper trail of individual expenses. Especially, when hitting up the drug store and buying a combination of medical, personal, and business supplies that all need to be categorized at some point.

  16. John

    While I love the idea, I find that as a contractor, I use QB mainly for estimate creation and invoicing. We thought about using both programs, but that would just be too confusing for me to have A/R showing no payments in QB, as all my payments would be coming thru YNAB. Any ideas?

  17. Kate

    I started using YNAB for my small retail business this tax season. All my master categories match up with the categories on the tax return, so to prepare my taxes for my accountant all I had to do was give him the YNAB total values for the year (this did involve adding a bit of history to my file — I did a massive data dump from my checking and credit cards for the year of 2011 — but all in all took only a couple hours to sort through [we are a really tiny new business]).

    Like Jesse, I use the negative budget workaround to track different revenue streams (i.e. sales vs. personal investments). Any money flowing in through sales is “income” while any personal investments in the business get the negative category treatment.

    It’s a teeny bit difficult since I’m right now running a negative buffer (we had no buffer to begin with), but in a way it’s helpful because I can see exactly how much I have to do in sales before I can spend a dime. I can also see in the history where my attempts to build a buffer ran off the rails (in January, after overspending December’s booty) and try to get back to that point.

    You mentioned not using YNAB if you run a business that has inventory, but I’m not sure why. You won’t be able to look at the YNAB screen and see in real time all your assets, but whatever Point of Sale software or system you’re using should be able to give you that missing information at a glance. My POS software tracks all my sales and inventory, and so when it comes time to do some reckoning (like at tax time or just at “let’s check out how healthy we are” time), I can see in YNAB exactly where my money is/went and my POS software tells me with one click what I have in inventory. Once a week or so, I make sure my cash sales from the POS software matches up with my YNAB cash on hand category.

    Works for me! Any reason why you more financially literate people think this may screw me up down the road? My accountant didn’t seem to mind; our business taxes were done in 24 hours with the YNAB data!

    • jesse

      You could certainly track inventory in YNAB, especially the cost basis. It would be a bit tougher when you were needing to track actual quantity of items. A separate system would be needed for that, I imagine.

  18. Melissa

    I am so excited to learn more about ynab for business! Thanks for a great post Jesse!

  19. Dee

    Jesse, Thanks for the great information on the small business end of YNAB. I started selling Miche as an Independent Miche Rep in Oct of last year. I work a full time job but took this because I love the product and wanted to share with everyone. In the little bit of time I’ve been selling it, I’m doing really well. With that said this is the first time I’ve ever had my “own” business and I’ve been searching trying to find some helpful information out there on how to keep books for my direct sales business. I’m going to give YNAB business a whirl and see what happens…stay near the phone I may need help LOL! I currently use the personal budget software and am loving it. Keep up the great work.

  20. Drew

    The two primary reasons I use QB over YNAB for business are 1) ability to track expenses per customer and then invoice on those expenses, and 2) sales tax calculations. If you produced a YNAB for Business that did those two things, I’d switch in a heartbeat! However, for now those are showstoppers for me.

  21. Vincent

    Hi Jesse,

    I’ve been wanting to use YNAB for business but I have one major drawback: not being able to switch from 2 different files on the iPhone app (i.e. one for personal and one for biz).

    Is that something you have in mind for a future update?

    Thanks for your workflow,
    – Vincent

  22. Steve

    Very nice, I use YNAB for personal stuff.

    I’m about to start a small business, and was just think about which tool I would use being in NZ Xero is pretty high profile. But it has all of the features in your list about when you wouldn’t use YNAB.
    So I want something simpler … and your usage here sounds like just the ticket.

  23. Al Guevara

    What version is needed to use for Biz?



  24. Vanessa

    I have been using YNAB for my small business. I am a sole proprietor and just needed to track my business expenses to give my accountant at the end of the year. I just have a main category called “Business” and sub categories that match up with what my accountant asks for (like postage, office supplies, etc.). Works great. When income comes in I just name the deposit as Deposit – Consulting Income. When I spend money that I can deduct for taxes I just choose the appropriate expense category. Works great!

  25. Dave Robinette

    I have always thought that Quickbooks’s worst feature was its reporting features. That’s a shame, because the data obviously exists within the program.

    Most small-business owners want to know one really important thing: Am I making money or am I losing money? Immediately followed by: Where is the money this report says I made? I know where it isn’t – in my bank account.

    These owners need a cash flow report in a cash basis format. Not an accrual basis format. And not an Income Statement in either basis, until they know enough about financial accounting to understand it.

    It is beyond my comprehension why Intuit still doesn’t get it after 20 years. I just export my clients’ data to Excel and then import it into a Microsoft Access application I wrote years ago, and print the reports they say they find useful. It’s effortless for me to do this. So effortless that I bill each client for five (5) minutes of mt time.

  26. Kaitlin

    Not a small business owner, but quite liking the income categories workaround–I hadn’t thought of it, and I think I can get away without it for now, but it will definitely be staying in the back of my mind for possible future use, thanks! :-)

  27. Karolee

    I have been using YNAB and QB both for my piano studio. I spend lots of time, though, updating the checkbook in QB after downloading transactions into YNAB. I like having profit and loss, expense categories, and most of all Sales Tax automatically calculated for me in QB. However, I like being able to allocate my monthly business income into the categories it needs to be in for the bills to be paid. I think the biggest hurdle for me would be calculating and tracking Sales Tax. Any ideas?

    • Karolee

      Oops, meant to say that I like the allocating in YNAB! That’s saved my sanity more times than I can say!

    • jesse

      Sales tax would be tricky. I haven’t yet had to track sales tax, so I’m not yet certain how I would handle that. I’ll bet you can… split transaction inflow, one portion to a sales tax category, one to your normal income/revenue category. You’d see a balance climbing in your sales tax category until you needed to pay it. The outflow to the tax commission would zero that balance.

      • Karolee

        I actually already do that, but I use the Quickbooks automatic calculating to get the number I need rather than figuring it every time myself. I will do some ruminating!

  28. Heather

    I’m glad you’re using YNAB for your YNAB business now. It just sends a better message than using Quickbooks did!

  29. Kristina

    Hi Jesse,

    I’ve been using YNAB for personal and business for a couple years now. Got my mom and aunt hooked as well. Would you guys think about doing a class for using YNAB for business? I’m confused about your income categories workaround.

    • jesse

      Hi Kristina, I’ll have Erin look into it. It may be time that we formalized it a bit :)

      • Poly

        Yes, please do offer a course! Would love to have a live webinar offered to help me get it all set up, and tell me how to get the very simple numbers my accountant needs to make profit/loss & balance sheets at the end of the year.

  30. Janae

    I have recently changed from a sole proprietor to an S-corp. I purchased Quickbooks because my accountant said I needed a double entry book system and a profit and loss sheet. I have used YNAB for my business up until this point and would love to resale my Quickbooks and return to YNAB before I have a heart attack figuring out all the cumbersome over-categorized Quickbooks. Any info on double entry and profit and loss would be helpful! Thank you!

    • jesse

      If you were using YNAB before Quickbooks, and nothing changed about your business except the classification from sole proprietor to S-Corp, I’d be curious to know why your accountant insisted that quickbooks be used (except to streamline his/her tax document preparation process).

      By the time tax season rolls around for 2012, the reporting that YNAB will offer will definitely make reporting stuff to an accountant easy.

      • Janae

        He recommended it for a profit and loss report and also he did not believe YNAB was double entry accounting. He admittedly did not know that much about it and if you could help me explain this I would LOVE to help him understand this because I love YNAB. It has just saved me financially!!

  31. Terry

    I note that you created budget categories for revenue on the budget page. I’ve been doing this since 2010 (although I ran parallel budgets that year).

    So, how are you getting around the fact that budgeting your incomes distorts the reports generated by YNAB. If you are not using the YNAB reports, then what are you using?


    • jesse

      Hi Terry,
      I’m confident that our reports will be improved to the point that this will be handled easily :)

  32. Greg

    Any way to do invoicing through YNAB? I would also be interested in a class for businesses.


  33. YNAB’s Roadmap | YNAB

    […] getting better at going faster, so be patient in that regard :) Setting up YNAB in YNAB has actually helped me hire faster. As a result of doing that exercise, we hired two new full-time […]

  34. Chris Rock

    I just wanted to add my $0.02 about the reasons I don’t think I could move to YNAB for business. First of all, I love YNAB, so this isn’t criticism, it’s just that for me it’s not the right tool for the job. I wish I could use it, because the income and expense tracking itself would be much easier. The problems are the items that QB does for me that I don’t think YNAB ever will (and probably never should either).

    First, I happen to use Intuit for payroll, doing direct deposit for me is worth it. If I didn’t do this I’d have to find some other third party to do payroll, and my payroll changes from month to month, so I’d presumably have to login to some website to make adjustments all the time.

    It’s also a snap for me to create and submit my tax returns, and even online tax payments via QB, this is huge. I guess if your third party payroll service does this completely for you that would work, but it’s probably more expensive as well.

    Lastly, the time tracking and invoicing are a total necessity for consultants / contractors. I can see YNAB fitting some businesses, but unfortunately as great as it is, it isn’t right for me.


  35. Lucas Vignoli

    I also moved my business to YNAB. We are a web & identity design company.

    But we use in a interesting different way:

    Instead of using the Income, to every income, we apply some percentages, and the money enters directly in these categories

    15% to “costs”
    15% to “capital”
    10% to “reinvestiment projects”
    15% to “administrative projects”
    45% to “projects” (that pays for the actual development of the project)

    So, actually our “budget” are these percentages. Every 4 months or so we review how they worked and set a new value for them. It works really nice for us.

    The only problem of this approach is that we never actually fullfill the “budget”, so the reports and charts really doesn’t say much.

    Anyway, thanks for this software.

  36. Ond

    YNAB is a good program. However, at this point I would never use it for my business. I am reminded of this every time tax season comes around. Why? Reports, reports, reports!
    I have asked nearly every year for 4 years for better reports. Yet, this area seems to never be addressed.
    We need reports where you can open parts of the report and see what makes up the numbers select. We need reports we can easily give to an accountant without being embarrassed.
    When is this going to occur?

  37. Josh

    Any chance of getting a class together for business owners. It would also be nice if a sample budget for a business was created to get an idea on setup. I just opened a fitness facility a few months ago. I am keeping up with all business expenses and income in YNAB but I am sure there are better ways to do it.

  38. Sam

    If folks at YNAB could fix the “multiple income categories” problem (to enable multiple line items of income to be possible), then it seems to me that YNAB would be a fabulous partnering software for Freshbooks (cloud invoicing software) and Xero (user-friendly cloud accounting alternative for the very non-user-friendly Quickbooks for service professionals (i.e., no inventory)). Which would have the side benefit of opening you guys up to the growing market of all of their customers :) (they are each now taking a big bite out of the Quickbooks marketshare) if you could become an Add-on on their partners site. This would be my ideal combination of services.

    • jesse

      Ever since moving YNAB to YNAB, I’ve wanted multiple income sources as well. We have a few fundamental changes we’ll need to make first, but it’s on the short(er) list of things.

  39. Casey Winans

    Now that you’ve been using YNAB for YNAB for a over a year, do you have any new insights? Perhaps a follow-up post?

  40. Daria

    Hi Jesse,
    I’m confused about what you mean re: “dropping your revenue in negatives”? I’m trying to move my small business to YNAB, but can’t work out how to record incoming invoices (ones that haven’t been paid yet). Could you explain this in more detail, please, i.e recording revenue that hasn’t hit your back account yet.

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