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Monthly Archives: July 2009

How to Understand Register Transactions in QuickBooks

I am new to QuickBooks. I am making my deposits correctly, and the undeposited funds account shows a balance of $0, however in the register it shows all of my deposit from invoices and sales receipts as coming from the undeposited funds account. For example I do service work so on the sales receipt or invoice it shows as Service income. Shouldn't it show that in the register as well? Also, when I write a check, it shows from the account I selected, but if I pay a bill, it always shows as accounts payable. For example, if I just write a check to Tmobile, I can show it as phone expense, but if I add the bill, and then pay the bill, it shows as accounts payable, and not phone expense. Is this the design?
Yes, the register transactions only show the last account affected by the transactions.  Here is the accounting behind the transactions you mentioned:

Create Invoice – increase accounts receivable, increase revenue
Receive Payments – increase undeposited funds, decrease accounts receivable
Make Deposit – increase cash, decrease undeposited funds

Enter Sales Receipt – increase undeposited funds, increase revenue
Make Deposit – increase cash, decrease undeposited funds

Enter Bill – increase expense or asset, increase accounts payable
Pay Bill – decrease accounts payable, decrease cash

If you entered your revenue directly into Make Deposit (skipping enter sales receipts or receive payment), the register would show the revenue account.  The same thing would happen on the expense side if you skipped directly to Write Checks.  However, it’s really not a good idea to skip the other forms unless you have extremely simple bookkeeping (cash in, cash out).  

You can always open the deposit or check and select History to see the other transactions related to it.  You can also select Journal to see the debits and credits of any transaction (something accountant-types love).


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This article is provided for informational purposes and is not intended to be construed as legal, accounting, or other professional advice. For further information, please consult appropriate professional advice from your attorney and certified public accountant.

Ruth Perryman - QuickBooks Specialist Written by +Ruth Perryman

Ruth is the an Intuit Premier Reseller that offers great deals on QuickBooks POS and QuickBooks Enterprise. She has provided expert QuickBooks help to thousands of businesses all over the world since 1996.

Visit our webstore for great deals on QuickBooks and QuickBooks POS!

How to Map Inventory Items in QuickBooks

How do I bring inventory, that I have used for advertising, without going into the negative on Profit and Loss? Inventory was adjusted into/against advertising. Is there another way to do it?
Sounds like an account mapping issue.  Go to Lists > Item List, double-click on the item and change the account.

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This article is provided for informational purposes and is not intended to be construed as legal, accounting, or other professional advice. For further information, please consult appropriate professional advice from your attorney and certified public accountant.

Ruth Perryman - QuickBooks Specialist Written by +Ruth Perryman

Ruth is the an Intuit Premier Reseller that offers great deals on QuickBooks POS and QuickBooks Enterprise. She has provided expert QuickBooks help to thousands of businesses all over the world since 1996.

Visit our webstore for great deals on QuickBooks and QuickBooks POS!

How to Setup Preferences and Items for Job Costing in QuickBooks for Contractors

Accurate job costing is one of the most critical tasks for managing job-based business like construction companies, professional services firms, and even nonprofits that are awarded grants.  Many owners put it off because it seems too complicated or time-consuming.  But if you're serious about helping your business grow and prosper, it'll help you:

  • Analyze how each of your jobs us doing financially
  • Identify problem jobs as early as possible
  • Identify jobs that weren't as profitable as expected
  • Create better estimates for future jobs


Luckily, QuickBooks is an inexpensive program that can do powerful job costing with the data you're already entering – as long as you set it up and use it correctly.

This is the first of a four-part series about how to use QuickBooks for job costing.  Intuit, the creators of QuickBooks, has also asked me to present a series of free Small Business Town Hall covering the same topics every Tuesday this month.  This is your chance to get your job costing questions answered live.  Here's more information about our QuickBooks training.

The first step to setting up QuickBooks for job costing is to set your preferences (Edit > Preferences > Company Preferences:

  1. Go to Jobs & Estimates and check the box next to Do you create estimates.  You might also want to check the box next to Do you do progress invoicing.
  2. If you use QuickBooks for payroll, and every business doing job costing should, go to Payroll & Employees and check the box next to Job costing, class and item tracking for paycheck expenses.
  3. If you track employee or subcontractor time by job, go to Time & Expenses and check the box next to Do you track time.  If you do time & material billing, you should also check Create invoices from a list of time and expenses.

The second step is to setup your customer:jobs and use them on every transaction.

  1. Go to the Customer Center and click on the New Customer & Job button.
  2. You might also want to create a customer called Overhead or Administrative for non-job expenses so you get into the habit of entering a customer:job on all your transactions.  The Contractors edition also has a really helpful special job costing report called Expenses Not Assigned to Jobs.  If you are using classes, you might want to consider doing the same thing so you can use the Profit & Loss Unclassified report to make sure you didn't accidentally leave off a class.

The third step is to setup items and use them on every transaction.

  1. Go to Lists > Item List, click on the List button, and select New.
  2. Add a new service item for every job phase you want to job cost.  For subcontractors, this could be as simple as Labor and Materials.  For general contractors, it could be quite lenghty: plans, site work, excavation, concrete, masonry, framing, etc. In this case, you might want to add sub-items for Labor and Materials to your items if you want to track those costs separately. This also makes it easier to report only the Labor portion of a subcontractor's invoice on their 1099.
  3. If you are a contractor with short-term jobs make sure to set up all your Service Items as two-sided, with both an expense and an income account.  This doesn't occur automatically and unfortunately it isn't very intuitive.  You need to put a check next to This service is used in assemblies or is performed by a subcontractor or partner for the expense box to be added to the setup screen.  Contractors often use a cost of goods sold account called something like "job related costs" for job-related expenses.  
  4. Builders and many professional service firms have projects that span several months or more generally use a work in progress (WIP) or construction in progress (CIP) asset account because job related costs aren't usually expensed until the project is completed. In this case, they should map the expense account to their WIP or CIP asset account.
  5. Depending on your circumstances, there are also several Other Charge items you should set up.  These don't need to be two-sided:
  • If you use WIP or CIP accounts, you should setup two items:  (1) Transfer out of WIP – with WIP as the account and note in the description that the amount should be positive, and (2) Transfer into COS – with COS as the account and note in the description that the amount should be negative
  • If you accept customer deposits or retainers, you should setup an item mapped to a current liability account.  For better tracking, you should consider setting up a separate current liability account just for deposits.
  • If you have customer retention or retainage, you should setup an item mapped to an accounts receivable account and a negative for the Amount (for instance, -10% if your retainage is 10%).  For better tracking, you should consider setting up a separate accounts receivable account just for retainage.


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This article is provided for informational purposes and is not intended to be construed as legal, accounting, or other professional advice. For further information, please consult appropriate professional advice from your attorney and certified public accountant.

Ruth Perryman - QuickBooks Specialist Written by +Ruth Perryman

Ruth is the an Intuit Premier Reseller that offers great deals on QuickBooks POS and QuickBooks Enterprise. She has provided expert QuickBooks help to thousands of businesses all over the world since 1996.

Visit our webstore for great deals on QuickBooks and QuickBooks POS!

How to Find Lost Invoices in QuickBooks

I seem to have lost around 80 of my most recent invoices. Any idea where they might have gone? I'm using QuickBooks Easy Start 08/09. Thanks
I’m not really familiar with the non-US versions of QuickBooks, but you might want to search your hard drive to make sure you don’t have more than one file.  

It’s also possible your file is corrupted. Start by doing a backup within QuickBooks, which verifies your data and lets you know if you need to do a rebuild.  If that doesn’t work, try creating/restoring a portable file (sometimes you need to do this 2-3 times).  You can create backup and portable files at File > Save Copy or Backup.  You might also try exporting and importing your lists (File > Utilities).  Re-sorting your list sometimes helps as well.  Most lists can be found in the Lists menu.  You can re-sort Customers/Vendors/Employees by clicking on Ctrl W, then Ctrl L, and then the Name button.


Get free QuickBooks support and training!
LinkedIn   Google+   FaceBook

This article is provided for informational purposes and is not intended to be construed as legal, accounting, or other professional advice. For further information, please consult appropriate professional advice from your attorney and certified public accountant.

Ruth Perryman - QuickBooks Specialist Written by +Ruth Perryman

Ruth is the an Intuit Premier Reseller that offers great deals on QuickBooks POS and QuickBooks Enterprise. She has provided expert QuickBooks help to thousands of businesses all over the world since 1996.

Visit our webstore for great deals on QuickBooks and QuickBooks POS!