Recording Your Bills with QuickBooks 2003

When a bill comes in, the first thing to do is record it. You can record bills through the Enter Bills window or the Accounts Payable register. If you plan to track bills by expense and item, you need to use the Enter Bills window.

To record a bill through the Enter Bills dialog box, follow these steps:

1. Choose Vendors --> Enter Bills.

Or, alternatively, select Vendors from the Navigators list and then click the Enter Bills icon. You no doubt notice that the top half of this window looks a great deal like a check — that's because much of the information that you put here ends up on the check that you write to pay your bill. (If you see the word Credit at the top of the form rather than Bill, click the Bill option button in the top-left corner. You also can use this screen to enter credit from vendors.)

2. Select the name of the vendor you're paying.

If you want to pay this bill to a vendor who's already on the Vendor list, simply click the down arrow at the end of the Vendor line and choose the vendor. (QuickBooks then automatically fills the Enter Bills window with as much information as it can remember.) But if this vendor is new, QuickBooks asks you to Quick Add or Set Up some information about the vendor — the address, credit limit, payment terms, and so on. You provide this information in the New Vendor window.

If you have one or more unfilled purchase orders with the vendor you select, QuickBooks asks you whether you want to receive against a purchase order. Click Yes if you do or No if you don't. If you choose to receive against a purchase order, QuickBooks displays the Open Purchase Orders dialog box. It simply lists the open purchase orders you've recorded. When you select one or more purchase orders to receive against, QuickBooks fills in the items and amounts from these orders for you, which you can modify as necessary.

To create a purchase order, which is just a record of items you order from vendors, choose Vendors --> Create Purchase Orders. When QuickBooks displays the Create Purchase Orders window, describe your order. You print and edit purchase orders in the same manner as you print invoices and credit memos.

3. Select the payment terms that describe when the bill is due.

In the Terms line, open the drop-down list and select the payment terms (if the information isn't already there from when you set up the vendor).

4. (Optional) Enter a memo to describe the bill.

You can enter a note in the Memo box. The note that you enter appears on the A/P register.

5. Move the cursor down to the Account column of the Expenses tab and enter an expense account name.

Chances are that you want to enter the name of an expense account that's already on the chart of accounts. If that's the case, click the down arrow to see a list of all your accounts. You probably have to scroll down the list to get to the expense accounts (a fast way to move down the list is to start typing the account name — you go straight down the list). Click the account that this bill represents (most likely it's Supplies or something like that).

If you need to create a new expense account category for this bill, choose <Add New> from the top of the list. You see the New Account dialog box. Fill in the information and click OK.

What if the money that you're paying out because of this bill can be split among two, three, or four expense accounts? Simply click below the account that you just entered. The down arrow appears. Click it to enter another expense account, and another, and another, if you want to.

6. Tab over to the Amount column, if necessary, and change the numbers.

If you're splitting this bill among several accounts, make sure that the numbers in the Amount column add up to the total of the bill.

7. (Optional) Enter words of explanation or wisdom in the Memo column.

8. (Optional) Assign the expense to a Customer:Job.

If you plan to be reimbursed for these expenses, or if you just want to track your expenses by job, enter the customer who is going to reimburse you. Enter an amount for each account, if necessary. You can use the down arrow to find customers and then click them.

9. (Optional) Assign the expense to a class.

You also can track expenses by class by making entries in the Class column. Notice the usual down arrow and click it to see a list of classes. (You don't see a Class column unless you've told QuickBooks that you want to use classes.)

If you want to have QuickBooks track expenses by class, you can set it up to do so. To set up QuickBooks to track expenses, choose Edit --> Preferences. When QuickBooks displays the Preferences dialog box, click the Accounting icon, click the Company Preferences tab, and then mark the Use Class Tracking check box.

If you want, click the Recalculate button to total the expenses.

10. Use the Items tab to record the various items that the bill represents.

Click the Items tab. Enter the items you purchased and the prices you paid for them.

If you realize after partially completing the bill that the bill does indeed pay a purchase order, click the Select PO button, which appears on the Items tab of the Enter Bill window.

From the Vendor drop-down list, click the name of the vendor who sent you the bill. In the list of open purchase orders, click in the column on the left to put a check next to the purchase order (or orders) for which you're paying. Easy enough? Click OK when you're done, and QuickBooks fills out the Items tab for you automatically.

11. Move to the Item column and enter a name for the item.

Notice the down arrow in this column. Click it to see the Item list. Does the item that you're paying for appear on this list? If so, click that item. If not, choose <Add New> from the top of the list and fill out the New Item window.

12. Fill in the rest of the rows of items on the Items tab.

You can enter all the items you're purchasing here. Make sure that the Items tab accurately shows the items that you're purchasing, their costs, and their quantities. If you want to, click the Recalculate button to total the items.

13. Save the bill.

Click Save & New to save your record of the bill and then enter another bill. Or click Save & Close to record your bill but not pay another bill.

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