How to handle an owner purchase in QuickBooks

Does your company owner ever use personal funds to buy things for the business? Recording that transaction in QuickBooks usually requires a journal entry. But all those debits and credits can feel quite intimidating! Here’s a simpler workaround to record an owner purchase. How you record it depends if the business reimburses the owner or not.

If the owner is reimbursed

If the owner wants to be reimbursed immediately, simply write them a check. If they prefer to be paid later (for cash flow reasons), enter the purchase as a bill.

To reimburse the owner immediately:

  • Click Create (+) > Check.
  • Print the check or enter the check number (for handwritten checks).

To reimburse the owner later:

  • Click Create (+) > Bill.
  • Enter the owner as the vendor.
  • Select an account to categorize what the owner bought for the business.
  • Pay the bill later by clicking Create (+) > Pay Bills.
If the owner isn’t reimbursed

If the owner isn’t reimbursed, this transaction represents an investment in the business. You can record this in an equity account called “Owner’s Contribution.”

Accountants record this transaction with a journal entry. But here’s a workaround for the rest of us:

  • Click Create (+) > Expense.
  • Enter the owner as the vendor.
  • Select an account to categorize what the owner bought for the business.
  • Enter Owner’s Contribution on the next line and enter the amount as a negative number.


  • It doesn’t matter if the owner used cash, a personal credit card, or a check.
  • In the reference field of the expense or bill, enter something like “Internal” to help you easily identify this transaction later.
  • If it’s important to track the vendor (for example, you need to send the vendor a 1099), this method won’t work.
  • If your company has a more complex structure — partnership, corporation with multiple shareholders, etc. — consult your accountant to determine which equity account to use.
  • In some cases, your accountant may recommend that you record the purchase as a loan, which uses a liability account.
  • If an employee uses personal funds, use the steps suggested for when an owner is reimbursed. (You don’t have to add the employee to the vendor list, but you can if you like.)