QuickBooks Online description and memo

Each detail line in the QuickBooks Online (QBO) transaction (e.g. Cheque or Bank Deposit) has a description box. The information in the description box tags to the ledger account (or item), and each line can have a different description. For example, when entering a cheque payment to staff:


Payroll Expense

CPF Employer

Accrued CPF


Basic Salary for the month

17% Employer CPF

37% Accrued CPF

The memo box at the bottom of the transaction page serves a similar function as the description box; it provides more information about the transaction (e.g. the memo for the cheque payment to the staff could be ‘Salary for Jan 2021’).

QBO description and memo

So, what’s the difference between the description and the memo box?

The memo tags to the transaction header account (e.g. Bank, Accounts Receivable or Accounts Payable account), and the description is for the transaction detail account.

Let take a look at the cheque payment to the staff again. The journal behind the cheque is:
DR. Payroll Expense
DR. CPF Employer
CR. Accrued CPF
CR. Cash at Bank

You will notice that the memo information does not show in the detail line account (e.g. Payroll Expense or CPF Employer) but only at the Cash at Bank ledger (the transaction header account) when printing a General Ledger report.

QuickBooks Online General Ledger report

Error correction

Oops! I made a mistake.

Cancel Transaction and Credit Note are both reverse entry but use differently. You use Cancel Transaction for correcting duplicated entry, and a Credit Note for adjusting the account.

Cancel Transaction
Cancel Transaction

It does not delete when you cancel a transaction; instead, it creates a reverse entry to correct it and forms an audit trail for the accountant. Unlike Credit Note, both the cancelled and cancellation transaction does not show on the GST report; therefore, you should not use Cancel Transaction as a shortcut for adjusting the account.

Although the journal behind the Cancellation and Credit Note is the same, the GST treatment is different. Consult your accountant if you are not sure of the method used. Use a Credit Note instead of a Cancellation if you are uncertain.

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Happy Lunar New Year!


Happy Lunar New Year!