Sometimes your company might have a job that takes months or even years to finish. Do you wait until the job is finished to start invoicing? In most cases, you want to be paid for the work you’ve completed. This process is called progress invoicing. Essentially, you invoice in increments based on an estimate. In this exercise, assume you have already created an estimate for $3,114 for customer Kristy Abercrombie.

  1. First, make sure to turn on the progress invoicing feature. To do this, choose Edit > Preferences and click the Jobs & Estimates icon. Click the Company Preferences tab. In this window, select “yes” below Do you create estimates? and Do you do progress invoicing?
  2. Prepare an invoice based on the Kristy Abercrombie estimate. Click the Create Invoices icon.
  3. Click the Customer:Job drop-down arrow and select the Kristy Abercrombie job.
  4. QuickBooks opens the Available Estimates window.

Now select an estimate to convert it to an invoice. Select estimate number 606.

  1. Click OK.
  2. QuickBooks opens the Create Progress Invoice Based on Estimate window.

Progress Invoicing means you invoice against the estimate in increments until the job or contract is complete. If you choose the first option, Create invoice for the entire estimate, QuickBooks copies all line items and quantities from the estimate to the invoice. The second choice lets you invoice a percentage of the estimate. The third choice lets you specify the items and quantities to transfer from the estimate to the invoice. In this case, select the third option.

  1. Click OK.
  2. Decide which items and quantities to invoice. Select the Show Quantity and Rate and the Show Percentage boxes.
  3. The first four columns show information from the Estimate. The next three columns show anything already invoiced for the job. The last six columns show what you want to charge the customer on this invoice.

To transfer an item to the invoice, enter a Quantity, Amount, or Percentage. In this case, enter 3 quantities. For the first line item, enter 5 for Framing.

10. For the second line item, enter that you installed 5 Frames.

11. For the third line item, enter that you removed 5 Frames.

12. Click OK.

13. QuickBooks opens the Billable Time and Costs window.

14. You can choose to include or exclude existing charges from this customer’s account.  Let’s Exclude outstanding billable time and costs for now.

15. Click OK.

16. QuickBooks copies the selected items to the invoice.  To print the invoice later, select the Print Later checkbox.

17. Click Save & Close.


Today’s tip is a guest post by Tom Dahm from Real World Training, the country’s largest provider of QuickBooks training.

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hiredNot having a good accountant/bookkeeper may not break your business, but having one on your team sure helps!  A good accountant can have a HUGE impact on your bottom line.

Because they handle your money, choosing one is a big decision and should not be taken lightly.  Take your time — if you are feeling pressure to decide, this may not be the person or firm for you.

To help you along, here are a few questions to ask the prospective accountant (or accounting firm).

1.  How many years has the accountant been in business? With the constant changes in the tax laws and accounting reporting requirements, someone with a minimum of 5 years experience is ideal since you want a business/firm that has been around and won’t go under on you.  You don’t want a fly-by-night operation that’s here today and gone tomorrow.

2.  How many years of experience does the accountant have? Again, a minimum of 5 years is ideal…however, industry specific experience of 2-3 years is a good start.

3.  What industry are they proficient in? Depending on your industry, this question could be vital. You want an accountant/bookkeeper who knows the red flags for your industry as well as what to look for when reviewing your financial statements & taxes for errors.

4.  What is their response time and communication style? Response time should ideally be within 24-48 hours as a business courtesy; however, communication style is up to you. You should lean toward someone that communicates via similar media/channels as you. For example, if you are proficient and comfortable with email/Instant Messenger communication, but your accountant is not…you may have an impasse regarding responsiveness. So keep communication channel preference in mind.

5.  What is the size of the firm? This only matters in terms of services needs and responsiveness. If you are looking for a “one-stop shop” for bookkeeping, accounting, payroll and taxes… someone that only does bookkeeping is not going to be for you in terms of service.

If you need quick turnaround for certain items, a 20+ person firm may not be for you. On the other hand, if you need 20 financial reviews done simultaneously, a 2 person firm may not be for you in terms of responsiveness.

BONUS – What is your comfort level/rapport with them? This isn’t necessarily a question to ask the prospect but rather something you should ask yourself prior to signing a services agreement. You want to have a certain level of comfort with them, after all, they will be handling your business’ money & financial affairs… so if something just doesn’t feel right, don’t ignore it.

Having the answers to these questions is a good foundation for making this decision…If you need help or you have questions, please contact us. We’d be happy to help.

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About The Guest Blogger:  Joyce M. Washington, CPA

Joyce is a CPA who has spent the better part of almost 20 years honing her craft as an accountant with various companies in the Greater Baltimore-Washington, DC area – growing, mentoring and managing accounting teams. It’s this experience that she brings to services and training programs, including QuickBooks Basics.

Website:  http://www.thecommoncents.com

Facebook:  http://www.facebook.com/thecommoncents

Twitter:  http://www.twitter.com/thecommoncents

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At lunchtime, I had a bit of a dilemma: eat the grapefruit, which was what I really wanted to eat, or eat some strawberries, which are more expensive and which spoil faster.

I felt slightly guilty about letting the strawberries potentially spoil, so I grabbed them.

But then I heard in my mind the words of my old University of Texas economics professor: “Sunk costs are forever sunk!”

That simple sentence means that if you’ve paid for something, that decision is done, and it should not emotionally effect the decisions you make now. I paid for the strawberries, and that’s not going to change, whether I eat them or not.

What’s my goal? A pleasant meal. The meal would be nicer with grapefruit rather than with strawberries, given my current mood. So I should not let the cost of the strawberries drive my decision.

We encounter this in small business all the time.

“I spent a fortune to hire that guy — I can’t fire him now!”

“We spent a lot for that machine. I don’t care that it’s worse than what we did before, we can’t afford to just stop using it.”

“We’ve invested years in that product…we’ve got to make it profitable.”

No. No. No.

Sunk costs are forever sunk. What we chose to do in the past — what we spent in the past — doesn’t matter now. What we choose to do now should be what will advance our goals now.

Oh and by the way, I put the strawberries back in the fridge and ate the grapefruit.

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