Using QuickBooks Online in a Convenience Store and Gas Station

by | Oct 10, 2017

QuickBooks Online for gas stations and convenience stores

Recreation Station, Hwy 101, Reedsport OR

This spring I did a 50-hour project setting up QBO for a convenience store and gas station in Reedsport, OR. The owner, Aaron Young, had bought the business on the side of Hwy 101 on the Oregon Coast, and needed to set up his books. We took the previous owner’s existing QB Desktop file and imported it into QBO. We cleaned up his structure and his numbers, reorganized the chart of accounts to reflect what he wanted to track, and customized Sales Receipts for steps he wanted his managers to do.


I’ve created a Quickbooks Template for gas stations and convenience stores, and it comes with a manual as well. Get it here!

You can also buy my paperback book on Amazon that walks through the setup and daily workflow.
I also have a complete video course demonstrating all the steps to set up and use QuickBooks for gas stations and c-stores. Watch it come to life here!
Want all 3? Get the book, template, and videos for 15% off! Buy the bundle.

Sales Receipts for Daily Sales

I created Sales Receipts for Z-tapes at the end of the day instead of Journal Entries so that his shift managers could fill them in with their Customer and Sales-restricted User Account.  To do this I created Products and Services that pointed to the income and expense areas of the Chart of Accounts. I customized a Recurring Daily Sale Receipt so that it was user-friendly for the managers, with instructions and explanations in the Descriptions.
A bonus to taking this approach is that Aaron could now run Product Sales Summary reports, and analyze how well each of his departments was doing.

Fuel Cost of Sales

His fuel costs were interesting. I discovered that the previous owner had been posting the state fuel tax into Inventory-Gas instead of COGS-Gas. After I Reclassified them, the Inventory-Gas account periodically ran negative through the month, which wasn’t right because they never ran out of gas in the tanks. To solve this, I had him find out as of 12/31 what the actual gallons were in the tanks on that day, and we researched the average price of December’s deliveries. That told us how much Fuel inventory he actually had. To correct it, I transferred the difference from COGS back into Inventory. Now his Inventory-Gas account was exact. His COGS-Gas account was more accurate than the last owner had. And the reclassification caused his income and profit to go up $100,000.


Recreation Station has an ATM in the store. Aaron wanted to make sure the money declared by the bank actually matched the amount the machine gave out. Money from the cash drawer was transferred into the ATM, dispensed, and then reimbursed by the bank.  I made an ATM Clearing account to track the money in and out. By reconciling the account to zero every week, he could verify that he was getting his money back.

Wex Payments

I did the same for his Wex payments. Wex is a gas card that drivers use as payment, and then Wex reimburses the money a few months later. This clearing account reassured Aaron that he was getting paid back for the credit. We made a Product & Service in QBO to serve as a Payment Method in the daily sales Z-tape, which puts money in the clearing account, and when the money hits the bank it’s transferred out of the clearing account. But it’s a little difficult to reconcile. Sometimes the daily Wex payment matched the sales receipts, but on weekends, the company batched the three payments together.
Because reconciling Wex was a little more complex, we made this instructional video about how to manage Wex in QuickBooks Online. The steps shown in the video would work for any payment method clearing account.

Oregon Lottery

We created a similar clearing system for the OR Lottery, using a weekly Journal Entry to distribute the income, payouts, and state contributions.

Gift Cards and Owner’s Comp

I also set up a Gift Card and Owner’s Comp system. For example, an employee accidentally broke the glass in a motorist’s mirror. Aaron comped the driver $75. I created a JE that moved the money from Discount/Refunds Given to a Gift Certicate Liability. Every time the Gift Certificate was was redeemed, the Daily Sales Receipt reduced his $75 in the Liability account until it was gone.

Cash Drawer

The owner paid some small bills out of the till. Local hummus, firewood, night crawlers, and linen laundry were all paid in cash. The previous owner’s system only reported that some cash was spent, but not for what. The new system pushed each product category to the proper COGS account.

Recurring Transactions Templates

As I created each data entry step, I saved the procedure’s form as a Recurring Transaction. I named them Daily:, Weekly:, and Monthly:, with the reason for the transaction as the name. This way he could see what tasks needed to be done with what frequency.
As an added bonus, I also duplicated each one and appended “Backup” to the name. Because many of the transactions require small alterations when used, QBO always asks if you want to save those changes to the Recurring Transaction template. If they accidentally clicked “Yes”, they would lose the system we set up. As a safeguard, if that mistake was made they could replace the bad template with the backup.


By crafting the gas station and convenience store’s transaction structure so that as many transactions as possible could be done by managers (by making them Sales Receipts instead of Journal entries), Aaron could delegate many of his daily tasks, saving him time every day.


Alicia has created not only a book that contains all the setup information you will need to create a QuickBooks file for your Convenience Store and Gas Station business—she has also created a ready-to-use Template! This pre-made QuickBooks Desktop file will save you the several hours it would have taken to create the file on your own. It is available for purchase here!

To use the template, you will need a copy of QuickBooks Desktop 2017 or higher. If you would like to use the template with QuickBooks Online (QBO), you will need a subscription to QuickBooks Online Essentials or Plus. In order to upload the ready-made file into QuickBooks Online, you will need a copy of QuickBooks Desktop for this one-time conversion. We suggest finding a trial copy, or asking a colleague who has QuickBooks Desktop to help you. Alicia can also provide this service.

Note that if you import the ready-made file into QuickBooks Online, you will need to recreate the Recurring Transactions and Custom reports by hand, as they do not import.


If you’re interested in learning more about how gas stations and convenience stores can successfully use QuickBooks Online to manage their daily and monthly bookkeeping, please call business owner Aaron Young of Recreation Station in Reedsport, OR at (541) 706-1198.


About Alicia Katz Pollock

With a Masters in Teaching from Tufts University, a QuickBooks®️ Online Advanced Certification and more than 30 years’ experience in the tech industry, Alicia is passionate about finding creative, practical solutions to complex and everyday tech problems. She also loves a good laugh!



  1. Kristian Irr

    Hi, I had no idea you could do all of that in QB. Cool

  2. LS

    Hello, I have a gas station/convenience store business in CA and is thinking about purchasing QBO essentials and I came across your post on gas station templates. I have a question on your instructions of downloading QB desktop for the one time conversion-are you downloading the QB desktop on the POS system or back office or separate office desktop/laptop? We currently have the Gilbarco fueling and POS system. The reasoning behind my question is that I can not run other programs on my POS. Right now I manually type in my POS report and sales data into a home made excel spreadsheet to calculate sales, fuel and diesel tax. I use this spreadsheet to calculate fuel cost vs fuel sales by entering in each fuel/diesel invoice into my spreadsheet.

    Thank you for your help in advance!

    • Alicia Katz Pollock

      Hi LS, QB Desktop is a separate application that has nothing to do with your POS. You install it on your computer, but instead of using for your bookkeeping you’re using it as a conduit to import the template file to QBO. You can probably download the trial version and use it for this purpose. If you want, you can hire me to do the honors for you – it generally takes 30 minutes to an hour.

      Using my Template will be way better than manually typing into Excel!

  3. Tammy

    Could you call me? I have a few questions. Thank you. 702-300-6005.
    We have a gas station but don’t have the convenience store. Can you customize the template for gas only?

    • Alicia Katz Pollock

      Hi Tammy, If you don’t need certain sections of the template, you can just delete those fields and leave the parts you do need. ~Alicia 🙂

  4. Terrica M Rangel

    I would like to learn how the weekly lottery sales are recorded. Could I get your help with that?

    • Alicia Katz Pollock

      There’s a chapter about your Weekly Lottery Reports in both the book and the video course. I’ll add direct links to these resources to the article for you. You can also schedule an appointment with me at


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