How to Become QuickBooks Certified

Two Parts:Preparing for the Certification ExamTaking the Certification Exam

QuickBooks is one of the many types of bookkeeping software commonly used by individuals and small businesses. Intuit, the maker of QuickBooks, offers a program (called ProAdvisor) through which the company will certify that you are competent with their software.[1] Other Intuit-authorized QuickBooks certifications are also available, such as through the National Association of Certified Public Bookkeepers (NACPB).[2] While you can use these certifications to concisely show clients that you are familiar with and competent using QuickBooks, you should note that the process does not equate to a formal accounting education, and it does not stand in as accredited certification as a bookkeeper or accountant. By knowing what the process truly connotes and what to expect of it, you can become QuickBooks certified.

Part 1
Preparing for the Certification Exam

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    Ask yourself if you need the certification. While some individuals may benefit from a QuickBooks certification, others may find it unnecessary. While you cannot claim to be “certified” with QuickBooks without the certification process, that doesn’t stop you from otherwise becoming proficient in—or even mastering—the software. The certification also applies only to QuickBooks. Since the user interface for other accounting software can be completely different, a QuickBooks certification doesn’t help you with clients or employers who expect you to use other accounting software.
    • Note that since the certification process primarily allows you to market your experience with QuickBooks to others, it’s largely unnecessary if you only use the software for your personal finances or those of your small business. While you should always learn how to use your chosen accounting software correctly, you don’t require a personal certification to do so.
    • Since QuickBooks is only one form of accounting software, and it largely handles the necessary math for you, don’t confuse a QuickBooks certification with an accredited education in accounting. The certification does not make you a certified bookkeeper or accountant.
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    Gain experience working with QuickBooks. Intuit recommends that you have at least two years of experience using QuickBooks for tasks related to payroll and invoicing, as well as budgeting and cost reports.[3] However, there are no formal eligibility requirements related to the certification process, so you can take the certification exam as soon as you feel you have the necessary skills.
    • Keep in mind getting QuickBooks certified is not required for bookkeepers, business owners, or anyone else who is proficient with the software. Becoming QuickBooks certified means you can use an official QuickBooks certification and logo on your resume and business documents, which is primarily a marketing tool for attracting clients or employers who specifically want you to have QuickBooks experience.[4]
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    Learn what to expect from the exam. You can expect to be tested on a variety of skills related to QuickBooks usage. These include:[5]
    • Setting up the software
    • Working with lists
    • Working with various bank accounts
    • Using other QuickBooks accounts
    • Entering data for sales and invoices
    • Receiving payments and making deposits with the software
    • Entering and paying bills
    • Analyzing financial data in QuickBooks
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    Research which type of certification fits your needs. Intuit offers a variety of different versions of QuickBooks based on the individual or company needs. Equally, they offer different levels of certification, testing different levels of the software’s functionality. Again, since the certification is primarily a marketing tool to target your client demographic, you should only consider certification at the level that makes sense for your usage. You can apply for certifications such as:[6]
    • ProAdvisor without Certification: This level provides QuickBooks training materials without an actual certification. You will learn basic QuickBooks skills similar to those in non-Intuit training methods for the software.
    • ProAdvisor with Certification in QuickBooks Pro/Premier: You will need to take a simplistic certification test that focuses on various aspects of using QuickBooks Pro and Premier.
    • ProAdvisor with Certification in Intuit QuickBooks Enterprise Solutions: This is a slightly more complex certification test. You will be focusing on the Intuit QuickBooks Enterprise Solutions product.
    • ProAdvisor with Certification in QuickBooks Point of Sale: This is a fairly complex certification test. You will be focusing on the QuickBooks Point of Sale products.
    • Advanced Certified ProAdvisor: You will take an extremely complex certification exam. You will also be tested on the advanced functionality of the products, troubleshooting errors, integrating third party applications, detailed job costing, and several other advanced areas.
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    Decide if a training course is right for you. If you aren’t yet confident in your level of QuickBooks expertise to pass your chosen certification exam, you can always take QuickBooks training classes. You can find a wide array of these classes both in person and online to fit your schedule. Some options include:
    • Official online or in-person training through the Intuit Academy.[7] Although you should note that taking the classes through Intuit does not necessarily make you more qualified for the certification exam.
    • Through an authorized accounting organization. The NACPB offers a training course that culminates in the certification exam for $499.[8]
    • Through an accredited bookkeeping class. You can also take classes on QuickBooks basics through a variety of accredited colleges or other educational institutions. Especially if you’ve decided you want to learn QuickBooks without being concerned with the certification process, you can still learn the necessary skills with the software for your needs with this method.
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    Buy an exam study guide. A study guide is another option when it comes to preparing for your certification. Since the certification exam is an open-book test, you can also use a study guide as a reference later during your actual certification exam.[9]

Part 2
Taking the Certification Exam

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    Complete several practice exams. There are several free practice exams available online through Intuit and other training programs.[11] While they aren’t required to take the actual certification, you can test your preparedness by taking at least two practice exams. Time them for two hours (the time given for the official exam). The official exam is open book, so feel free to use your study guide during your practice exams.[12]
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    Sign up to take the exam. The QuickBooks exam is overseen by the National Association of Certified Public Bookkeepers (NACPB). You can take the exam online through the Accountant Training and Testing Center (ATTC).[13]
    • When you are ready to take the exam, go to the ATTC’s Schedule a Test web page[14] and schedule a date and time you want to take the test. The ATTC will then email you information about your schedule date and time for the exam.
    • Note that while being offered through an official bookkeeping association, the test still only demonstrates your proficiency with QuickBooks, and it in no way certifies you as a bookkeeper or an accountant.
    • Also notes that the fee for the exam is $150 if you are not a member of the NACPB. NACPB members pay $100 to take the exam.[15]
    • If you fail the exam, you can pay a re examination fee ($75 for non NACPB members, $50 for NACPB members) and retake the exam.
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    Take the exam. The exam consists of 50 multiple choice questions and simulations. To pass the exam, you must score at least 75%, or 37 out 50 questions correct. However, the exam is open book and you are given two hours to complete the exam.[16] Upon passing the exam, you will receive an official certificate and certification logo that you can use to market yourself to clients and potential employers who use QuickBooks.[17]
    • If you fail the exam, you will receive a discounted re-examination fee if you choose to take it again through the NACPB. The discounted rate is $50 for members and $75 for nonmembers.[18]
    • Maintain up to date certification by going through the certification process several times through your career. Software changes over time, and your certification will only certify you for one version of QuickBooks. Consider re-certifying every year or several years to keep your QuickBooks certification current.

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