How Does Progress Invoicing Work in QuickBooks Online?

Want to break up an estimate into multiple invoices? QuickBooks Online supports progress invoicing.

If you do large, multi-part projects for customers, you may not want to wait until absolutely everything is done before you send an invoice. This can be especially problematic when you have to purchase a lot of materials for a job that will eventually be billed to the customers.

QuickBooks Online has a solution for this: progress invoicing. Once you’ve had an estimate approved, you can split it into as many pieces as you need, sending partial invoices to your customer for products and services as you provide them, rather than waiting until the project is complete. If cash flow is a problem for you, this can be a very effective solution. You might be able to take on work that you otherwise couldn’t because you’ll be getting paid periodically.

Setup Required

Progress invoicing requires some special setup steps. First, you’ll need to see whether QuickBooks Online is prepared for the task. Click the gear icon in the upper right and select Account and settings under Your Company. Click the Sales tab and scroll down to Progress Invoicing. It may just say On to the right of Create multiple partial invoices from a single estimate. If it doesn’t, click the pencil icon to the right and turn it on. Then click Save and Done.

You’ll also have to choose a different template than the one you use for standard invoices. Click the gear icon and select Custom form styles. Click New style in the upper right and then click Invoice. Enter a new name for the template to replace My INVOICE Template, like Progress Invoice. Then click Dive in with a template or Change up the template under the Design tab. Select Airy new by clicking on it. This is the only template you can use for progress invoicing.

When you’re creating a template for your progress invoices, you’ll have to select Airy new.

Now, click on Edit print settings (or When in doubt, print it out). Make sure there’s no checkmark in the box in front of Fit printed form with pay stub in window envelope or Fit to window envelope. Then click on the Content tab. You’ll see a preview of the template (grayed out) to the right. Click the pencil icon in the middle section. Select the Show more activity options link at the bottom of the screen. 

If you want to Group activity by (DayWeekMonth, or Type), check that box and select your preference. Go through the other options here and check or uncheck the boxes to meet your needs. Then click Done. You’ll see your new template in the list of Custom form styles.

QuickBooks Online allows you to designate one form style as the default. This is the form that will open when you create a new invoice or estimate template. If you plan to send a lot of progress invoices, you might want to make that the default. To do this, find your new template in the list on this page and click the down arrow next to Edit in the Action column. Click Make default. If you leave your standard invoice as the default, you can always switch when you’re creating an invoice by clicking the Customize button at the bottom of the screen.

Creating a Progress Invoice

You can see what your options are for your progress invoice.

Invoice and estimate forms in QuickBooks Online are very similar. The only major difference is that estimates contain a field for Expiration date. To start the process of progress invoicing, select an estimate that you want to bill that way. Click the Sales tab and select All Sales. Find your estimate and click on Create invoice in the Actioncolumn. A window like the one in the above image will appear.

You can bill a percentage of each line item or enter a custom amount for each line.  If you choose the latter, the invoice that opens will have zeroes in the Due column. You can alter the amount due for any of these by either a percentage or an amount and/or leave them at zero if you don’t want to bill a particular product or service. Either way, the Balance due will reflect your changes. When you’ve come to the last invoice for the project, you’ll check Remaining total of all lines.

Once you’ve chosen one of these options, click Create invoice. Double-check the form and then save it. You can now treat it as any other invoice. To see a list of your progress invoices, run the Estimates & Progress Invoicing Summary by Customer report.

As you can see, there are numerous steps involved in creating progress invoices. Each has to be done with precision, so the customer is billed the exact total amount due at the end. We can help you accomplish this. We’re also available to help with any other QuickBooks Online issues you have. Contact us to set up a consultation.

Customers Paying Late? How to Create Statements

There are many ways to encourage delinquent customers to pay. QuickBooks Online’s statements may be effective for you.

After the year-plus you’ve just experienced, the last thing your small business needs is customers who are behind on their payments to you. You may have been giving them a break because you know that they’re struggling, too, but things have been looking up for many companies in the past few months. It’s time for you to be more proactive about calling in your debts.

There are numerous ways you can accomplish this. One of the best is to send statements in QuickBooks Online, which are detailed reminder forms that contain multiple transactions. These can be especially helpful if you’ve sent multiple invoices with no response. There are three different types you can send, depending on your needs. Here’s how you create them.

Before You Start

QuickBooks Online offers a couple of options for formatting your statements. To see these, click the gear icon in the upper right corner and select Your Company | Account and Settings. Click the Sales tab and scroll down to the Statements section. Click the pencil icon over to the far right to make any changes needed. You can:

  • List each transaction as a single line or include all of the detail lines.
  • Display an aging table at the bottom of each statement.

Click the buttons to specify your preference and then click Save and Done.

QuickBooks Online gives you control over some elements of your statements.

Three Statement Types

You can choose from among three different types of statements in QuickBooks Online: Balance Forward includes invoices with outstanding balances for a specified range of dates. Open Item statements contain information about all unpaid (open) invoices from the last 365 days. And Transaction Statements show every transaction in a date range that you specify. We’ll describe how to create them so you can decide which makes the most sense for a particular situation.

One Way to Create Statements

Like it does for many other actions, QuickBooks Online offers two ways to create statements. The first is easier. Click the New button in the upper left and select Statement (under Other). Click the down arrow in the field under Statement Type to see the three options there.

If you select Balance Forward, you’ll need to define three criteria (there will be similar options for the other two types):

  • Statement Date
  • Customer Balance Status (OpenOverdue, or All)
  • Start Date and End Date

QuickBooks Online makes it easy to create any of three types of customer statements.

When you’re satisfied with your statement parameters, click Apply. QuickBooks Online will display a list of the transactions that meet your criteria, along with the number of them that will be generated. Each row in the list will display the recipient’s name, email address, and balance. In the upper right corner, you’ll see the number of statements again and the total balance these customers represent. 

If you want to exclude any of these customers, click in the box in front of each to unselect them and delete the checkmark. When you’re satisfied with your list, click SaveSave and send, or Save and close. If you click Save and send, a window will open containing a preview of your statements. Thumbnails of each will appear in the left pane. Click on any to see their previews. When you’re ready, you can download, print, or send them.

If you click Save or Save and close, you’ll still be able to see the statements you’ve just generated. Click the Sales tab in the toolbar, then All Sales. Click the down arrow next to Filter and open the drop-down list under Type. Select Statements, and your list will appear. You can print or send one by selecting the correct option in the Action column. If you want to dispatch multiple statements, click in the box in front of each, and then click the down arrow next to Batch actions.

Another Method

There’s an alternate way to create statements. Click the Sales tab in the toolbar, then Customers. Select any or all of the customers in the list, then click the down arrow next to Batch actions and select Create statements. QuickBooks Online will open the Create Statements window again so you can select the type and process your statements like you did using the previous method.

We don’t expect that you’ll have much trouble working with statements, though you may want to consult with us on when they’re appropriate. We can also suggest other ways to bring your accounts receivable up to date. As always, we’re available to help you maximize and streamline your use of QuickBooks Online. Keeping your financial books current and organized is one way to ensure that you don’t fall too far behind with customer payments.

How to Create Estimates in QuickBooks Online

Whether you sell products or services, you may need to create estimates in QuickBooks Online. Here’s how it’s done.

It would be nice if you could just instantly invoice every sale. But sometimes your customers need to know what a particular purchase will cost before they make the decision to buy. So you need to know how to create an estimate. If the sale goes through, you’ll of course want to send an invoice.

QuickBooks Online automates this entire process. It even helps you track the progress of your estimates by providing a special report. Here’s how it works.

Just Like An Invoice – Almost

The process of creating an estimate in QuickBooks Online is almost identical to creating an invoice. You click the New button in the upper left and select Estimate.

Creating an estimate in QuickBooks Online is like creating an invoice, with a few differences.

When the form opens, you’ll notice one difference right away. Directly below the Customer field, you’ll see the word Pending next to a small down arrow. Click it to see what your options are here. You’ll be able to update its status later. Select a Customer to get started. If this is a new customer, click + Add New and enter at least the name. If you want to build a more complete profile at this point, click Details and complete the fields in the window that opens. To send a carbon copy or blind copy of the estimate to someone else, click the Cc/Bcc link.

Next to the Estimate date, there’s a field for Expiration date. Enter that and continue on to add the products and/or services that will be included, just as you would on an invoice. If you’re generating an estimate for a new product or service, click + Add new in the drop-down list. A panel will slide out from the right that allows you to create one.

You’ll see more options for your estimate at the bottom of the page. You can add a message in the message box (or leave the default message if there is one). You can also Customize it, Make recurring, or Print or Preview it. When you’re satisfied, Save it, and send it to the customer. 

You can preview your estimate to see what the customer will see before saving it.

Updating the Status

Your estimate will not be considered a transaction until you accept it. To do this, click the Sales link in the toolbar, then All Sales. Find your estimate in the list by looking in the Type column. Click the down arow next to Create invoice to see your other options there. You’ll see that you can Print or Send it or save a Copy.

Click Update status. In the window that opens, click the down arow next to Pending. From the list that drops down, select Accepted. You can also mark it Closed or Rejected. If you choose any of the last three options, another window opens that allows you to enter the name of the individual who authorized the action and the date it was done.

Click Create invoice if your estimate was accepted. You’ll have three options here. You can invoice your customer for:

  • The estimate total.
  • A percentage of each line item.
  • A custom amount for each line.

When you locate your estimate on the Sales Transactions page, you’ll have several options for managing it. 

After you’ve made your selection, click Create invoice to open the form with the amounts filled in based on your preference. Complete anything that’s unfinished but do not change any of the product or service line items. Save it, and your invoice is ready to go. You can always check the status of your estimates by running the Estimates by Customer report.

Creating and tracking estimates is as easy as working with invoices. You may run into difficulties, though, if you need to do anything beyond that point with estimates, such as modifying it and re-submitting them. We’re here to answer any questions you might have about this. It’s important that you get your estimates and their subsequent invoices exactly right, so you don’t lose money or sales. Let us know if you want to go over these concepts.

Some Small Businesses Are Recovering. Is Yours?

The COVID-19 pandemic isn’t over, but many small businesses are on the upswing. How QuickBooks Online can help if yours isn’t.

Intuit recently did a survey documenting the financial losses that many small businesses had experienced since March 2020. Not surprisingly, the report, Intuit QuickBooks Small Business Recovery, found that COVID-19 has had a significant impact on the financial health of U.S. small businesses.

But many of the companies surveyed have proved to be resilient. As of March 31, 2021, 61 percent of them saw an annual revenue increase compared to pre-COVID days.

How would you have answered the survey? If indeed you did suffer financial and personnel losses because of the pandemic, has your business started to rebound yet? If not, there are actions you can take in QuickBooks Online to help in your recovery. Here are some of them.

Transactions: Watch your income and expenses like a hawk.

QuickBooks Online provides excellent transaction-tracking tools that help you document income and expenses.

How much time do you spend working with your downloaded transactions? If you take advantage of the excellent tools QuickBooks Online provides, you may notice patterns that you’ll want to explore and modify. For example, are you spending too much in one or more particular areas? When and where is your income dipping?

It’s critical that you connect to as many online financial institutions as possible, so you get a complete picture of your income and expenses. Once you have, click on Transactions in the toolbar, which should open to the Banking page. If you’re only going there to make sure there are no unrecognized entries, you’re missing out on some of QuickBooks Online’s transaction-tracking tools. In the image above, we’ve specified a vendor and chosen a Category and Tags. This will make your reports more meaningful and actionable.

If you don’t know what it means to Find Match, we can show you how that works. It’s a real time saver.

Sales: Make it easier for customers to pay you.

We’ve written about accepting online payments in this column before. It’s especially important if you’re struggling. You may actually be losing sales if you don’t let potential customers pay online through a credit card or bank account transfer. And existing customers may pay faster if they can do business with you in that way.

QuickBooks Payments makes this possible.There are some nominal fees involved, but the potential increase in your income should more than cover them. Let us know if you want us to help you set up a merchant account.

When you set up a merchant account through QuickBooks Payments, you may find that your customer base will grow, and existing customers will pay faster.

Expenses: Categorize expenses with tax time in mind.

You’ve probably already filed your 2020 income taxes, but we’re well into 2021, and it’s not too early to start thinking about your current tax situation. QuickBooks Online helps you track your income carefully, but it’s equally important to make sure you know what your tax-related expenses are. You want to get every deduction and credit you can. So when you’re looking at transactions, like we described above, make very certain that you’re assigning the correct categories to each of them.

We can help you run reports on a quarterly basis that should be of help when you make estimated tax payments. That way, you may be able to reduce your quarterly obligation during the 2021 tax year and won’t have to wait until you file in 2022 to see savings.

Time: Make sure your billable hours are billed.

Unless you have an organized, easy-to-use method for tracking billable time, some hours are likely to fall between the cracks. QuickBooks Online provides effective tools in this area. As you go through your downloaded transactions, you may see expenses that can be billed to a customer. Select the Customer/project and check the Billable box so you’ll be able to include it on their next invoice.

You can mark expenses as billable to customers in your Transactions register.

As you create time entries for you and/or your employees, you can also mark those hours as billable.

Reports: Run basic, critical reports regularly.

You can’t know how your business is doing financially unless you create reports. Besides the quarterly and standard financial reports we can run and analyze for you, you can—and should—be generating reports yourself through QuickBooks Online. Here are some of the ones we suggest:

  1. Budget vs. Actuals. If you’ve put the time and effort into creating a budget, it’s critical that you gauge your progress regularly and make adjustments as needed.
  2. Open Invoices. Who have you billed that hasn’t paid?
  3. Accounts Receivable Aging Detail. Who owes you, and how far behind are they?
  4. Sales by Product/Service Detail. What is selling well and what isn’t? You can make decisions about your product and service lines by viewing this report. This is especially important when your sales are sluggish.
  5. Business Snapshot. This is a series of charts and lists that provides a quick visual overview of key data.

QuickBooks Online can’t, of course, revive your business if the pandemic has created conditions that are out of your control. But that shouldn’t stop you from controlling what you can, no matter what your situation is. It was designed not only to automate and streamline your daily accounting work, but also to provide the information you need as you evaluate your present situation and plan for the future. Please call on us if you need help making optimal use of QuickBooks Online.

How to Protect Your Data in QuickBooks

Downloading them is the easy part. QuickBooks Online lets you work with downloaded transactions in numerous ways.

QuickBooks Online was built to import transactions from your online financial institutions. You can enter them manually but downloading them saves an enormous amount of time and minimizes errors. It also makes reconciliation much easier, since you can see which transactions have cleared without calling the bank or waiting for a printed statement.

Once they’re in QuickBooks Online, your transactions are stored in a list, waiting for you to further define and categorize each one. Let’s look at how you can work with them to make sure your records are as thorough as possible.

Getting Connected

As long as you have online access to your bank and credit card accounts, you can set up QuickBooks Online to import cleared transactions. Click the Transactions tab in the toolbar, then click Banking. On the next screen, click Connect account. You’ll see links to popular financial institutions on the next page. If yours isn’t listed, enter its name in the search box at the top of the screen. Follow the onscreen instructions to make your initial connection and start downloading transactions.

When you’ve completed the connection, you can click Link account in the upper right to add more.

Dealing With Transactions

After you set up a connection to a bank or credit card account, its account information will appear in a box on the Banking page.

Once you’ve finished adding accounts, you’ll still be on the Banking page. Each of your connected accounts will appear in a box that includes the balance and the number of transactions that need to be reviewed. There will probably be quite a few, dozens or hundreds, the first time you download, since most financial institutions send you 90 days’ worth the first time. Every time your accounts are updated after that, you’ll only get new ones that have cleared since your last connection.

Tip: QuickBooks Online generally updates once every day. If you want to see your new cleared transactions at any time, click Update in the upper right corner.

Click on any of the account boxes, and its list of downloaded transactions will appear below. Make sure that For review is highlighted. You’ll notice that each row has one of two icons at the far right. Review means that QuickBooks Online has not assigned a category to the transaction. Confirm means it has, and it wants you to either approve it or change it. Check these carefully. Sometimes QuickBooks Online gets it right, but not always.

Click on a transaction in the register to open its action box. Here’s a partial view:

QuickBooks Online allows you to add a great deal of information about each individual transaction in the register.

Categorize is checked by default, since this is the most common action you’ll take in the list. Click Find match if, for example, you received a payment on an outstanding invoice, or Record as transfer. We can help you work with the latter two options.

Select a Vendor/Customer and a Category (if QuickBooks Online hasn’t assigned one or it’s not the best one for that transaction). Click in the Billable box if you want to bill this transaction to a Customer/project. You can also Split transaction if you need to divide it between multiple categories and/or billing statuses.

There are several other options below the section pictured above that allow you to:

  • Add Tags.
  • Attach a file.
  • Create a Rule for how similar transactions should be recorded.
  • Exclude the transaction if you have, for example, a duplicate one or a personal expense.

Before you take either of the latter two actions, talk to us. We don’t want you to do anything that might adversely affect your bookkeeping.

When you’ve finished, click Confirm. The transaction will move from the For review list to the Categorized one.It will now appear in the register for that account.

Once you’ve confirmed a transaction, it moves into the Categorized list.

As you might imagine, it’s a good idea to keep up with your downloaded transactions so you have time to give each the attention it needs. We recommend you review them daily. Your transactions, of course, flow into your reports and taxes, so you want to be sure you’re categorizing them correctly. Let us know if you’d like help with this.

How to Use Tags in QuickBooks Online

Where is your money coming from? Where is it going? You can use tags in QuickBooks Online to find out.

QuickBooks Online offers numerous ways to help you track your sales, expenses, and profitability. If you’re using QuickBooks Online Plus or Advanced, you can create and assign Classes to transactions to differentiate between, for example, store departments or product lines. Some of the site’s reports are designed specifically for these tools, like Sales by Class and Profit and Loss by Class.

You can assign Categories to products and services to gain insight into your sales and inventory. There’s a different set of Categories that you’ll use when you record bills and expenses. These are important for reporting and tax purposes. You can also add a Location field to sales transactions so you can track sales by stores, sales regions, or counties, for example.

What Are Tags?

Then there are Tags, which are fairly new to QuickBooks Online. These are customizable labels that you can assign to transactions (invoices, expenses, and bills). They’re more flexible than the tools we’ve already mentioned – they allow you to track your money any way you want. They don’t affect your books, and they’re not included in the customization criteria for reports. But there are two reports specifically designed for them: Profit and Loss by Tag Group and Transaction List by Tag Group.

Creating Your Own Tags

Once you’ve given your group a name, you can start adding tags to it.

Before you create a tag, you need to create a Group. Groups consist of related tags that share a common theme. For example, say you do some event planning. You might have a group titled Events. Individual events might read, for example, Grayson Wedding, Spring Art Show, and Hillman Conference.

To get started, click the gear icon in the upper right. Under Lists, click Tags to get to the tool’s home page. (You can also click on the Transactions link in the toolbar, then click the Tags tab.) Click New, then Tag group. A vertical panel slides out from the right. Enter a name in the Group name field. Click the down arrow to select a color, then click Save.

Enter your tags one by one in the fields labeled Tag name. Click Add after each one until your list is complete. Click the Edit button to make any changes. When you’re finished, click Done. The main Tags page will open again, and you’ll see your new group under Tags and Tag Groups. Repeat to add as many as you’d like, up to 300 tags.

Using Tags

You can add tags to any transaction that contains a field for them

Let’s look at how you’d use tags in an expense. Click the Expenses link in the toolbar, then New transaction | Expense in the upper right. Click the down arrow in the Payee field in the upper left and select + Add new. Enter Billy’s Bridal in the Name field Leave the Type as Vendor and click Save. Back on the Expense screen, select the Payment account, Payment date, and Payment method for the expense (reference number is optional).

Directly below those fields, you’ll see the Tags field. Click Manage tags if you need to add or edit one; the right vertical pane you saw before will slide out. Otherwise, click in the field below Tags. Your list of tags will drop down. Select Grayson Wedding to move it into the field. You can assign as many tags as you’d like to transactions, but you can only select one tag from each group. Finish the expense and save it.

Go back to the Tags home page, and you’ll see that there’s a link to one transaction in the Events row. At the end of each row is the Action column, where you can run a report, add a tag, and enter or delete a group. Your expense total appears in the Money Out (by tag) box above it.

Tags are a great addition to the tools QuickBooks Online provides to help you track incoming and outgoing funds. If you’re not familiar with the others we mentioned at the beginning of this column and want to learn how to explore them, let us know. We’d be happy to walk you through their use and help you understand how they can make your finances more understandable.

How Do You Add Users in QuickBooks Online?

If you have one or more people besides yourself using QuickBooks Online, you’ll need to know how to set up their accounts.

 
Your QuickBooks Online file contains a great deal of very sensitive information, like customers’ credit card numbers and employees’ Social Security numbers – data you don’t want to have fall into the wrong hands. You obviously trust your employees or you wouldn’t have hired them, but when it comes to security, you should implement all the safeguards you can.
 
QuickBooks Online can help you stay safe by limiting the access that other users have to your company file. Here’s how it works.
 
To get started, click the gear icon in the upper right and select Manage users. You should be listed there, of course, as the Master Administrator. Click Add user. The screen that opens will ask you what type of user you’re adding. There are four of them:
  • Standard user. You can assign full or limited access to standard users, but they won’t have administrator privileges.
  • Company admin. At this level, the user can see and do everything.
  • Reports only. These individuals have access to all reports except those that contain payroll or contact information.
  • Time tracking only. You’d assign this type to employees who only need to enter their own timesheets.
The first step in adding a user in QuickBooks Online is to specify their type.
 
The first two count toward your user limit, but the second two do not. Make your selection and click Next. We’ll select standard user for this example.
 
On the screen that opens, you’ll be assigning actual access rights, telling QuickBooks Online what the user’s restrictions are. You can choose All (with or without payroll access), None (allows some activities), or Limited. Select Limited, then click in the box in front of Customer to create a check mark. You’ll see the list of specific actions that that individual can take (like creating invoices, sales receipts, and statements) and the screens that they can see (customer registers and reports, tax rates and agency settings, etc.).
 
There’s also a list of what they can’t do, including printing checks, viewing bank registers, and preparing a sales tax return.
 
Click in the box in front of Customer again to uncheck it and select Vendor. You’ll see a similar list here of what your new user can and can’t do, only its activities relate to your accounts payable.
 
QuickBooks Online provides lists of what standard users can and can’t do and see for both customers and vendors.
 
Click Next  If the user will be entering his own her own timesheets in QuickBooks Online, click the button in front of Yes, then select the correct name from the drop-down list. Click Next. Answer the user settings questions on the next screen and click Next. Enter the user’s name and email address (user ID), then click Save. QuickBooks Online will return you to the Manage Users screen, where you’ll see that your new user has been added to the list. The individual you just invited will receive an email invitation to set up an account, with instructions on how to do so.
 

Other Security Tips

 
There are other ways you can keep all of your company’s data safe. Here are some suggestions to consider if your business has returned to its offices.
  • Always update your operating system and applications when prompted. These often contain security patches in addition to bug fixes and new features.
  • Keep backups out of reach of others. Cloud backups are best, but if you use a local device, don’t leave it out in the open.
  • Log out of QuickBooks Online when you’re not at your desk.
  • Shred anything you print from QuickBooks Online or store it in a locked drawer.
  • Protect your networks. Discourage excessive web browsing by employees. Don’t allow extraneous app downloading on company equipment and ask employees not to use company mobile devices on public networks. Consider network monitoring software if you can’t afford managed IT.
We follow security best practices in our own offices, and we hope you’ll do the same. Applying safeguards proactively will help prevent data theft that can be nearly impossible to recover from.
 
Intuit employs industry-standard security practices to keep your data safe, too, and it handles all backup and upgrades. Often, those updates include new features, like the recent addition of transaction “tags.” Let us know if you need our help with these or with any other element of QuickBooks Online.

Billing Customers for Time and Expenses in QuickBooks Online

Sometimes, you have to spend money on your customers. Make sure you’re billing them for it.

 
Usually, money flows from your customers to your business. But there may be times when you have to purchase items for a job whose costs will eventually be reimbursed. Or you, or an employee, might spend time providing services for customers and get paid for those hours by your company before you receive payment from the responsible party. If you’re a sole proprietor with no payroll and no reserves, of course, you just have to wait to be paid for your work.
 
In the first two cases, you’re spending money upfront that will eventually be paid back. In all three cases, QuickBooks Online calls these billable expenses and billable time, and it does a good job of tracking these transactions – much better than if you were scribbling notes on a receipt or a paper timecard.
 
Obviously, you want to be paid for these expenditures as soon as possible to minimize their impact on your own cash flow. So QuickBooks Online “reminds” you that they need to be billed when you create an invoice for a customer. It also offers reports that help you track unbilled time and expenses. Here’s a look at how it works.
 

Tracking Billable Time

 
It’s easy to create a billable time activity. Click +New, then Single time activity. Fill in the blanks and select items from drop-down lists until you’ve completed a form. The critical section of this screen is pictured below:
 
When you create a record of a billable single time activity, be sure you’ve marked it as such.
 
In this example, the employee will receive $50/hour for the work done (Cost rate). Because the Service being provided will be billed back to the customer, you click in the box in front of Billable to create a checkmark. You’re charging the customer $65/hour (a $15/hour markup), so you enter that number in the Billable field. You don’t have to worry about remembering that. QuickBooks Online, as it does with all of your other company information, retains that and makes it available to you.
 

Tracking Expenses

 
You probably already know how to record expenses in QuickBooks Online. You can either click the +New button and then Expense, or you can click the Expenses link in the toolbar and the New transaction | Expense. Just as you did in recording time activities, you complete the fields and place a checkmark in the Billable column and select the Customer/Project from the drop-down list.
 
Once you’ve saved a billable expense, it will appear in the table on the Expense Transactions page. To display is again, click View/Edit at the end of the corresponding row. The transaction will open, and you’ll notice that there’s a small View link in the Billable column. Click it, and you’ll see this:
 
A partial view of the Billable Expense screen
 
In this example, there’s been no markup applied to the transaction. If you want to add markup costs to all billable expenses, click the gear icon in the upper right and go to Account and settings | Expenses. Click the pencil icon to the far right of the Bills and expenses block of options. Click the box in front of Markup with a default rate of to create a checkmark and enter a percentage. All of your billable expenses will now include a markup of that percentage.
 

Invoicing Time and Expenses

 
The next time you invoice a customer who has outstanding time and expenses, QuickBooks Online will remind you that they’re pending. Open an invoice form and select a customer who you know has billables. The right vertical pane will contain a box containing information like this:
 
QuickBooks Online reminds you when a customer you’re invoicing has outstanding billable time and/or expenses.
Click Open if you want to see the original expense record. Clicking Add will, of course, include that transaction on the invoice.
 
QuickBooks Online offers another way to see your pending billables. Click the Reports link in the toolbar and scroll down to the Who owes you section. You’ll see two related reports here: Unbilled charges and Unbilled time.
 
We want you to make sure that you’re getting reimbursed for all of the time and expenses you incur on behalf of your clients. So please let us know if you have further questions on this topic or if you have other QuickBooks Online issues.

How to Create Recurring Transactions in QuickBooks Online

QuickBooks Online saves time and improves accounting accuracy in numerous ways. One example is its support for recurring transactions.

 
It’s easy to get distracted when you’re doing dull, repetitive accounting work. That distraction leads to errors sometimes. So, besides the time you’re spending on work that could be automated, you have to tack on additional time to chase down your mistakes.
 
QuickBooks Online already reduces repetitive data entry by saving your lists of customers, vendors, products, etc., and making them accessible when you’re creating transactions. But it does more to save time and minimize errors by allowing you to create recurring transactions. Enter a transaction like an invoice or bill once, and QuickBooks Online memorizes it for future use!
 
Here’s how it works. Let’s say you have a customer who wants to rent a printer from you for one year. You create an invoice for one month’s rental. At the bottom of the screen, click Make recurring. A partial view of the screen that opens is pictured below.
  
QuickBooks Online allows you to set up a transaction to repeat at scheduled intervals.
 
Much of this screen will have already been filled in. You’ll need to enter a name for the template you’re creating at the top of the screen, one that will remind you of its content. In the second field, the drop-down list displays three options for how the recurring transaction will be handled by QuickBooks Online They are:
 
  • Scheduled. Your invoice will go out automatically at the scheduled interval, with only a change to the date. As with any automated process, you should be very careful when selecting this option.
  • Reminder. You will get a reminder ahead of each occurrence so you can make any necessary changes before sending.
  • Unscheduled. No automation is involved here. The invoice is memorized, but you’ll have to remember when it needs to go out.
 
If you chose Reminder, the next field will read Create (x) days in advance. Enter the number of days here. On the next line, you’ll only have to check or uncheck the Options.
 
Under Interval, you’ll tell QuickBooks Online when the invoice is scheduled to go out. You can choose from Daily, Weekly, Monthly, and Yearly. The invoice in this example should be processed and sent on the first day of every month. The start date is January 1, 2021, and it will end on December 31, 2021. If your recurring transaction should continue to go on indefinitely, you’ll have the option to select None from the drop-down list under End. You can also choose After.
 
Check the fields below this line to make sure they’re correct. You can change the message if you’d like and add an attachment. If everything looks correct, click Save Template in the lower right corner.
 

Using Recurring Transactions

 
If you’ve set this transaction up to recur automatically, you don’t have to do anything more with it unless you need to edit it at some point. If you need to do so, or if you’re responding to a reminder (or chose not to be reminded), you can access the list of transactions you’ve memorized by clicking the gear icon in the upper right and selecting Recurring Transactions under Lists. A screen containing this section will open:
 
 
Once you’ve created recurring transactions, you have several options for managing them.
 
The table that appears will contain other columns describing the recurring transactions, like Type and Interval. The image above shows the end of each row that reads Edit until you open the drop-down menu. You can see what your options are. They include Use, which you would select when you want to edit and/or send a transaction. You can also create a Duplicate, Pause the recurrences temporarily, Skip next date, or Delete the template. Click the arrow next to Reminder List in the upper right and select Run Report to see the Recurring Template List Report.
 
As you can see, recurring transactions can not only save time, but they can also help reduce errors and minimize unnecessary work. They’re not overly difficult to create, but you should use caution if you choose to automate them. We’re available to answer your questions about this useful tool and about any other element of QuickBooks Online. Stay healthy, and here’s to 2021!

5 Resolutions QuickBooks Online Users Should Make for 2021

New year, new challenges, and the potential for new successes. Here are five ways you can improve your financial management in 2021.

 
A painful year is drawing to a close. We’ll still be dealing with COVID-19 and a struggling economy in early 2021, but there’s hope on the horizon. There’s a lot you can’t control about the difficulties facing our country, but you can take control of your corner of it, especially in terms of how you manage your finances.
 
If you’re already using QuickBooks Online, you know how it’s solved the paperwork confusion of the past. But are you taking advantage of all of its capabilities? As you turn your digital calendar to January, consider expanding your use of the website to set yourself up for success in the new year. Here are five features to explore if you haven’t already.
 

Practice Proactive Reconciliation:

 
QuickBooks Online’s Banking screen display registers for the bank and credit card transactions that have been posted by your banks. Do you review these frequently? It’s easy, and it’s important. It will save time when you do your monthly reconciliations with your bank statements. Hover over Transactions in the toolbar and select Banking. You can see some of your transaction management options in the image below.
 
 
Once QuickBooks Online has downloaded a transaction from your bank, you have multiple options for dealing with it and clearing it.
 
When your statement comes and you’re ready to reconcile, you can use QuickBooks Online’s tools that take you step by step through the process. Hover over Accounting in the toolbar and select Reconcile. Let us know if you need help with reconciliation or with managing downloaded transactions.
 

Start Accepting Online Payments:

 
This is probably the #1 way to encourage customers to pay you faster. When you set up a merchant account through QuickBooks Payments, you’re be able to accept credit cards, debit cards, and ACH bank transfers. Your invoices will include a Pay Now button and will contain the information your customers need to pay electronically. Their funds will go into your bank account.
 
There are other ways they can pay you directly. You can take their card numbers over the phone. You can also get a free card reader from Intuit and swipe their cards on your mobile device. And you can set up recurring payments that will occur automatically. There are no base fees – you just pay per transaction.
 

Set Weekly and Monthly Report Schedules:

 
You may just run reports in QuickBooks Online as you need them. Some reports, though, should be created every week at a minimum, like Accounts receivable aging (detail or summary), Accounts Payable Aging, Open invoices, and Unpaid Bills. There are many others, but you need to keep a close watch on what you owe and who owes you.
 
 
We can help you create and analyze the standard financial reports that should be produced regularly.
 
It’s important to run some other reports on a monthly (or, sometimes, quarterly) basis, including Balance Sheet, Profit and Loss, and Statement of Cash Flows. Rather than just providing snapshots of where you stand with money coming in and going out, they give you a more comprehensive view of your finances that can help you make better business decisions. They’re complex and often difficult to analyze, though, which is why QuickBooks Online categorizes them as For my accountant. We can create and interpret these for you.
 

Expand QuickBooks Online’s Features by Using Apps:

 
QuickBooks Online is generic enough that it can be used by a wide variety of small businesses. But that flexibility may mean that it’s not quite robust enough in one area or another, like inventory management or time tracking. There are hundreds of apps that you can integrate with QuickBooks Online to fill in the gaps. Some are free. Click on Apps in the toolbar. Again, we’re available to help if you need assistance.
 

Evaluate the Cost-effectiveness of Your Vendors:

 
It’s easy to stick with the same old suppliers because it’s a hassle to change. But so many companies are hurting because of the pandemic that you may find you can get what you need for less. To go over your whole list, hover over Expenses in the toolbar and click on Vendors. You might clean up your list while you’re at it. Click the down arrow at the end of each row and select Make inactive if you haven’t ordered from specific suppliers over the last year.
 
As we said earlier, we’re available to meet with you and explain any of the concepts discussed here in more depth. It’s still a hard time for so many small businesses, and we want to be of help wherever we can.