QuickBooks® for Contractors Bookkeeping Tips & Training

Nancy Smyth

Nancy Smyth, President of Sunburst Software Solutions, Inc. has used and supported Intuit products and end users since 1986. I've worked with clients in a lot of different industries, however, I prefer to work with commercial and/or government construction contractors who utilize QuickBooks Financial Software for their accounting needs. Let's face it, doing bookkeeping can be pretty boring - but doing books for a construction contractor has always been my passion - there's always something "quirky" that they need or want. That's the challenge - and I love a challenge! I've been a Certified QuickBooks ProAdvisor since 1999; and as President of Sunburst Software Solutions, Inc., I am a key player in the development of several QuickBooks Add-Ons for the construction industry. I also the author of the QuickBooks for Contractors blog, in addition to the Learn to use QuickBooks in your construction business website. Join me the 2nd Wednesday of each month from 5-6 p.m. EST on Google+ for a live QuickBooks for Contractors Hangout, where an experienced panel of QuickBooks folks are available to answer your questions.

Is Your Data Safe?

Disasters come in various forms, from the terrible hurricane's that have been experienced by those living along the Gulf Coast, to a computer crash due to a virus, or hard drive failure. Business Data Access (BDA) provides a simple way for you to transfer and backup your QuickBooks® data. 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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Why is Job Costing so important?

Job cost tracking is an extremely important part of every contractor's business. Job costing tracks the expenses for a job, and then allows you to compare those expenses to the jobs revenue.  This tells you which jobs are making money and which jobs are not. This article provides tips for using QuickBooks job costing capabilities to it's fullest. 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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Setting Up a Good QuickBooks Item List

QuickBooks uses Items extensively.  Items are used on just about every form in QuickBooks, from Estimates, Invoices, Purchase Orders, bills and checks, and coupled with your Chart of Accounts form the very backbone of your job costing. The only way to set up a "good" item list is to create one that is specific to your company's needs, which means planning.  The tips in this article will help you get started. Price:  Free
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Recording Job Deposits in QuickBooks

A job deposit is money that belongs to the customer, but the customer has given it to you to hold or to use to purchase materials and labor for their job. In other words, it's money in the bank, but you still need to earn it. This article will show you two different ways that you can record job deposits when using QuickBooks, try each method in a "test" file to determine which one is right for you. Price:  Free
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Important Facts About Items Left as “Billable” in QuickBooks

I’m sure you’ve all gotten used to seeing that funny little Invoice icon on timesheets, the enter bill and write checks window and don’t even pay attention to them anymore. Are you aware though that if you leave that little invoice icon active and don’t “x” it out that the information relating to that transaction line is stored within your QB file in a separate “waiting to be billed” data base just taking up space and therefore making your file larger than normal and causing your file to run slower? It’s true. Leaving the invoice icon active tells QB that you want to pass this cost on to your customer through the Time & Costs section of Invoicing. And unless you do time & materials type billing this is a waste of space. 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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