Question:  I added three payments I received this week through “Receive Payments” and showed that I received all 3 through my PayPal account.  These payments are now associated to the A/R account, but I can’t seem to edit the account they are associated to (it should be Products/Services income, right?)

Perhaps you can explain how to do this?

A/R is the correct account to which payments should be posted. The Income account is affected when you create the initial Invoice and specify which Products/Services you sold to that person.

When the invoice is created, it posts “Income” to the Products/Services accounts, and an offsetting amount is posted to “Accounts Receivable,” since you have not yet received the actual payment. When you receive the payment, the appropriate amount is then moved out of Accounts Receivable and into your PayPal or your bank checking account (whichever account the payment originally posted to). This decreases your A/R account and increases your bank account.

The only time this workflow would be different is if you did not invoice the customer, but you did receive payment — i.e. the customer paid at the time of purchase, so you never issued an Invoice. In this case, there are two ways you can handle this:
1) Create a Sales Receipt (best/most “correct” way), by going to Customers > Create Sales Receipts
2) Enter the deposit directly into the PayPal or bank checking account, by going to Banking > Make Deposits

A Sales Receipt is just like an Invoice, but instead of issuing an Invoice and collecting payment later, a Sales Receipt combines the two and shows that the payment was received at the time of the sale. It’s filled out the same way as an invoice — you select the products/services the customer purchased, QuickBooks calculates sales tax, etc. You just don’t have to go back in afterward and do the Customer > Receive Payments step, as you would with an Invoice.

If you enter the deposit directly into the bank account, you are not able to select which items the customer purchased. You are only able to designate the name of the customer and which “type” of income you received — Sales of Products or Sales of Services. You also cannot auto-calculate Sales Tax using this method.

The proper way to do it would be to always enter an Invoice if they customer will be paying later; or to always enter a Sales Receipt if you collect payment in advance or if the customer pays in full at the time that the order is placed.

Until you’re routinely invoicing all customers through QuickBooks, there may be some discrepancies, but part of my weekly review process includes checking Accounts Receivable and Accounts Payable to make sure they are reflecting the appropriate amounts. If I do see a customer who has a balance due or a credit balance (meaning that you received payment against the A/R account but there was no invoice to match it to), then I will either fix it myself, or ask you for more details if it’s unclear.

Let me know if you need any more info on this process. It can be a little abstract to try to wrap your head around it, until you see it in action.