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How to Track Annual Growth Using QuickBooks


Want to see how your company is growing and where you can improve your revenues or expenses? You can easily do this using the built-in reports in QuickBooks.

Creating a Comparison Profit and Loss Statement in QuickBooks

Here's a step-by-step guide for comparing years in QuickBooks.
  1. Click Reports and then click the standard Profit and Loss Report. There are other Profit and Loss reports such as Year-To-Date Comparison and By Month. You can use these, but they're just the standard report with different options checked, and it can often be easier to start from scratch.
  2. For the report period, select either this year or last year based on if you want to include the current year or only up to the end of last year.
  3. Set the date range to the full time period you want to include. You can select multiple years. For annual reports, make sure the date range starts at the start of your fiscal year.
  4. If you're comparing more than the report year and previous year, change the Display columns by option to years.
  5. Compare another period is a little more complicated, so more details on that below.
  6. Under Accounting method, select either cash or accrual based on your accounting practices.

Compare Another Period Option

There are three options for comparing a prior period with two options below each of them. They each give you a different piece of information.

Previous Year

Previous year compares against the same time last year. If you select the full calendar year 2018, the comparison will be to 2017.
If you segment your report by month or quarter instead of just annually, it compares to the same time period within the previous last year. For example, January 2019 vs. January 2018. This option is best for comparing seasonal trends.

Previous Period

Previous period compares against the immediately preceding period. If your report is by years, it works the same as the Previous Year option.
If your report is by month or quarter, it compares to the period before not the same period last year. For example, January 2019 vs. December 2018. This option is best if you're expecting steady growth with no seasonal variability.



Year-to-date generates a report including January 1st to today's date. It then compares against last year using the same date range whether you're in March, May, November, or December.


$ change vs. % change

Most of the time, you'll want to see a growth rate and select the % change option. However, if you want to see the actual dollar change, the $ change option is available.


Wrapping Up

When you're done, you can hit Run report then use the dropdown boxes to print it, email it, or export it to Excel. Don't forget to click Save customization to be able to run the same report in the future with one click.
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