QuickBooks® for Contractors Bookkeeping Tips & Training

QuickBooks Tips, Techniques & Work Arounds

Have you ever wished that QuickBooks could provide some of the information that costly consruction specific software does automatically – – but without the big price tag?

This section contains all kinds of tips, techniques and workarounds which will help you whether you are new to using QuickBooks in your construction business or if you are looking to use QuickBooks to its fullest potential.

Payroll Deduction Authorization form- Word format

Payroll deduction authorization forms are a must if you are taking money out of an employees paycheck for anything other than required payroll taxes.  Yes, I know - more paperwork!  You can implement a simple system in which the authorization forms can be numbered as they come in and a log may be maintained to help keep track of the forms.  QuickBooks can help you to automate this process and even help you store this information electronically by attaching the authorization form to the employee record.
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Tracking Sales Tax – On The Entire Invoice & On A Fixed Amount of the Invoice

For the most part, QuickBooks does a good job of tracking taxable and non-taxable sales -- even taxable and non-taxable items on the same invoice.  However, when it comes to tracking sales tax with a fixed rate on a fixed dollar amount of an entire sale ---- in addition to sales tax on the entire sale --- well it fails miserably and causes a lot of frustration for QuickBooks Users who encounter a situation of this nature. Price:  Free
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Vendor Bill Approvals

Developing a good method for indicating or tracking that a vendor bill is approved for payment is a difficult, but important task that every bookkeeper faces at one point or another. This article discusses 3 possible ways to accomplish this task and still keep track of where the actual bill is - so that it does get paid on time. Price:  Free
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QuickBooks Year End “Housekeeping”

The end of one year/the beginning of the next year is about more than just getting ready to file your taxes, issue W-2’s, and prepare year end payroll tax returns – even though these are important items. It is the same as when you clean out your file cabinets and pack away all the paperwork for the current/previous year; you should be cleaning out your QuickBooks Lists, making Customers, Jobs, Vendors, Employees and other name items that you no longer use -- inactive! Price:  Free
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Tips for Trouble-Free Bank Statement Reconciliations

I recommend two key tips that will reduce the time and frustration of reconciling banks statements. These solutions are based on the principle that we want the bank reconciliation window to match exactly what appears on the bank statement, and that data should be input accordingly. If you use the following method it will make the challenging task of reconciling bank statements much easier. Price:  Free
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Bounced Checks-Everybody Hates Them – but, How Do You Handle Them in QuickBooks?

Handling bounced checks in QuickBooks can be confusing and many people are looking for a quick and efficient way to handle bounced checks so the bank reconciliation can show both the money in and the money out…. But not affecting income in a prior period. This article explains three different ways in which you can handle a customer’s bounced check. Price:  Free
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Do You Barter? Trading Services between Customers and/or Vendors

If you buy services or product from your customer – or if your vendors buy services or products from you, you might want to “trade” services instead of paying each other - especially in this economy. Exchanging “credits” with each other is a good way to offset your cash flow without actually exchanging money.  You will, however, need to add a few new records to QuickBooks and do a few “special” transactions to make sure that all of your reports come out accurately. Price:  Free
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Tracking Use Tax

While QuickBooks does an excellent job of tracking Sales Tax, even when you have to collect Sales Tax from multiple jurisdictions, it does not automatically calculate Use Tax for you - - - but it is possible to track Use Tax using these instructions. This article provides you with step-by-step instructions for tracking use tax on goods or services that you purchase which are subject to use tax. Price:  Free
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QuickBooks Group Items

Creating and using Group Items will allow you to quickly and easily enter several items at a time on Estimates, Invoices, Purchase Orders; reduce the risk of "leaving something out" when you are creating an Estimate; and best of all, allows you to bridge the difference in units of measure to buy and sell products or materials. QuickBooks Pro/Premier 2012 and older versions allow you to have 20 items within a group.  QuickBooks Pro/Premier 2013 has increased that limit to 50 items, read more about QuickBooks 2013 - Group Item Limit increase on the QuickBooks for contractors blog. Price:  Free
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Creating Double-Sided Items for Tracking Costs & Revenues

In Quickbooks Pro. Premier, and Enterprise you can set up items so that a single item can track both Income and Expenses.  This means that you can use the item on Purchase Orders, Bills, or Checks to cost information to an Expense or Cost of Goods Sold Account; and then use the same item on Estimates and  Invoices to send revenue to an Income Account. Price:  Free
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About Your Host:
Nancy Smyth, Certified QuickBooks ProAdvisor

Nancy Smyth, Sunburst Software Solutions, Inc.
QuickBooks Construction & Payroll Expert


I've been using and supporting QuickBooks products since the early 1990's. I've worked with thousands of contractors, assisting them with QuickBooks setup, Certified Payroll Reporting requirements, AIA Billing and Weighted-Average Overtime.


QuickBooks is a powerful product, but learning how to use it in your construction business can be difficult. I hope you find resources available here to be helpful.

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