How to Become a QuickBooks ProAdvisor in 3 Steps
A QuickBooks ProAdvisor is someone familiar with the QuickBooks product line who has joined the QuickBooks ProAdvisor program and passed a certification exam. There are four primary certifications: QuickBooks Pro/Premier, QuickBooks Online, QuickBooks POS and QuickBooks Enterprise Solutions. Becoming a QuickBooks ProAdvisor is completely free as are all the study materials and exams from QuickBooks.
You don’t need an accounting or bookkeeping background or any type of formal education to take the certification exam. To become a certified QuickBooks Online ProAdvisor, you must successfully pass a 55-question exam with a passing score of 80 percent or better. Most people should plan to invest at least 12 to 16 hours of studying to prepare for the exam. You can take the exam multiple times if you don’t pass on your initial attempt.
In addition, there are advanced certifications available for both QuickBooks Online and QuickBooks Desktop. Our focus is on the core QuickBooks Online certification. If you are interested in learning more about the QuickBooks desktop certifications, you need to add QuickBooks Desktop to the Your ProAdvisor membership. For more details, head to the Your ProAdvisor Profile section.
The three steps to becoming a certified QuickBooks Online ProAdvisor are:
1. Sign Up for QuickBooks Online Accountant
The first step is to provide some basic information to create a free QuickBooks Online Accountant (QBOA) account. You will be asked to provide your:
- Email address (user ID)
- First name
- Last name
- Phone number
You’ll also be asked to create a password. No credit card or other sensitive information is required.
2. Prepare for the QuickBooks ProAdvisor Certification Exam
Once you create your QuickBooks Online Accountant account, you have access to all of the study guides, webinars (live and recorded) and exams for free. Like any exam, you need to study in order to pass the exam successfully. The extensive training is broken up into seven modules, which are about 6.5 hours of time that you will spend watching the webinars and go through the study guides.
I recommend downloading the study guides to your computer to follow along and take notes as you watch the webinar. If you can’t finish a webinar in one session, the program will save your progress so that you can pick up where you left off easily.
To access the training materials and certification exams, log into QuickBooks Online Accountant, click on the ProAdvisor tab on the left and Training as indicated in the screenshot:
The main topics covered in the ProAdvisor certification training are:
- Setting up clients: In this course, you learn how to select the right company settings, how to create new customers and vendors, how to create the chart of accounts and more
- Supporting your small business clients: In this course, you learn how to manage customer payments, deposits to the bank, journal entries and more
- Banking and tools: In this course, you learn how to connect bank accounts and credit card accounts to QuickBooks, how to reconcile a bank account and recurring transactions
- Reports: In this course, you learn how to edit, customize and run reports like profit and loss, balance sheet and sales and expense reports
- Managing your work: In this course, you learn all about the practice management features in QBOA; you can set up projects and track them for QuickBooks and non-QuickBooks clients
- Preparing client’s books: In this course, you will learn how to prepare a client’s books for the year-end close
- QuickBooks solutions for clients: In this course, you will learn how to determine which QuickBooks subscription is right for your client
I also recommend that you have QuickBooks open. I’m a hands-on learner so, sometimes, I will pause the webinar and practice doing something that I just learned. If you prefer live instruction, you can check the schedule for a list of all upcoming QuickBooks workshops. Before you attend a live workshop, be sure to download the study guides to your computer so that you can follow along with the instructor. Both the live and recorded webinars allow you to earn continuing professional education credits (CPE) that can be used to renew your certified public accountant (CPA), enrolled agent (EA) or certified bookkeeper credentials.
3. Take the QuickBooks Certification Exam
You can access the QuickBooks certification exams in the same place where the training materials and webinars are located. There is no cost to take the exam which has a total of 55 questions, which are broken down into seven sections. Of course, this will vary but it should take approximately two hours to complete all seven sections. I recommend that you tackle the sections you feel the most confident at first. Don’t underestimate the sections that have fewer questions — those tend to be the most challenging.
You must answer at least 80 percent of the questions in each section correctly to obtain your certification. You have three attempts to pass the exam. If you fail the exam three times, you must wait 60 days before you can attempt to retake it.
QuickBooks Certification Exam Breakdown
|Section 1: Setting Up Clients|
|Section 2: Supporting SMB Clients|
|Section 3: Banking and Tools|
|Section 4: Reports|
|Section 5: Managing Your Work|
|Section 6: Preparing Clients’ Books|
|Section 7: QuickBooks Solutions for Clients|
As a ProAdvisor who has been certified for the last 10 years, I recommend that you have your study guide open to the section of the exam that you are taking. While this is an open book exam, you do not want to spend a lot of time looking up answers so make sure that you study. You should also have QuickBooks open so you can access it easily if you need to.