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QuickBooks for Farmers (BF 204)

Farmers Market at Rt 13 of New York State

Farmers Market at Rt 13 of New York State

This course is an introduction to QuickBooks, designed to provide an overview of the QuickBooks Pro software application. It will cover the basic features, such as sales tax, inventory, invoicing, adjustments, and year-end procedures. Each student will gain hands-on experience reproducing the exercises presented by the instructor.

PLEASE NOTE: QuickBooks software is not included in this course and will need to be purchased separately if you want to use it long-term on your farm. You can participate in this course using the free 30-day trial of the online version of QuickBooks; your instructors will provide instructions to get started with this.

Students who demonstrate competence in each of the exercises will be able to proceed to the next unit of study. All units will build on the skills and knowledge of the previous unit. Students are recommended to take notes and participate at a steady pace to complete the course in the 6-week time frame.

Questions and brief discussions about using QuickBooks in real-world, business environments will be entertained and answered in a discussion area, drawn from the instructor’s own experience as well as from input from other students.


Target Audience

ALL LEVELS: This course is appropriate for people at all levels of farm experience who seek to get started using QuickBooks for their farm business record-keeping. Some understanding of elementary bookkeeping and accounting principles are helpful, and some previous exposure to QuickBooks will make the acquisition of skills much easier. If you are actively using QuickBooks and would like to improve your use of the software, this course may be too basic for you. Read through the syllabus below to make sure the topics covered will be useful.


Course Objectives

After competing the 6-week course, with hands-on- practice, students will be able to:

  • Demonstrate the ability to set up and configure QuickBooks to suit their initial needs
  • Show proficiency in setting up chart of accounts, item lists, customer lists and vendor lists
  • Comprehend the process for tracking income, whether using invoices or not
  • Comprehend the process for tracking expenses
  • Understand what reports can be useful to them to monitor their business finances
  • Understand year-end closing and other year-end procedures
  • Backup and restore data files



The bulk of the course happens on your own time, with discussions, readings, and assignments in MOODLE, our virtual classroom. To add to the experience, webinars will be woven into the online interface of the course to allow you to meet on a weekly basis to learn from presenters and ask questions in real time. If you miss one, they are always recorded and posted for later viewing.



Bonnie Collins, Resource Educator, Farm Business Management, Cornell Cooperative Extension – Oneida County
Stephen Hadcock, Beginning Farmer and Market Development Educator, Team Coordinator, Capital Area Agricultural and Horticultural Program



This course is currently closed for registration. It will re-open in Fall 2017.  

This can be a self-paced course if you choose.  One-on-one assistance (via webinar) will be available in addition to the weekly group webinar on Monday evenings during the course.

Bonnie and Steve will also be available Tuesday mornings (Eastern time) to answer your questions and offer guidance.


Course Outline

Week 1: Getting Started  
 Topics covered: Intro to the course, expectations, how to use Moodle and WebEx, demonstration of setting up and configuring QuickBooks to suit your needs.

Week 2: Setting up Chart of Accounts & Items
Topics covered: Proficiency in setting up chart of accounts, items and lists. Identifying the use of different types of accounts in the software, and how items are tied to accounts.

Week 3: Methods to Track Income  
Topics covered: Tracking income, whether or not using invoices. Using examples of different farm’s scenarios in tracking income for management decisions.

Week 4: Methods to Track Expenses 
Topics covered: Tracking expenses, whether or not using the software to produce checks. Using examples of different farm’s scenarios in tracking expenses for management decisions.

Week 5: Reporting
Topics covered: Farm examples of how to generate reports for benchmarking and trend analysis for management, lenders and tax preparation.

Week 6: Wrap up and QuickBooks Year-end Procedures 
Topics covered: Review course topics, learn how to close out the tax year, how to backup and restore data files, and how to make year-end changes to your records.


Cost and Registration

Fee for this course is $250. Registration is currently closed and will re-open for Fall 2017.

Sign up a month or more in advance of the start date and receive $25 off. Sign up for three or more courses and received $50 off your total

Additionally, the instructors highly recommend the purchase of the “QuickBooks Farm Accounting Cookbook” and any version of the QuickBooks software (NOT included in the course registration fee)