How to Charge a Customer for Actual Time and Costs in QuickBooks 2015

By Stephen L. Nelson

If you charge a customer for actual costs and hours, you need to track the costs and time when you incur the charges. In QuickBooks, you assign the cost to the job by entering the customer and job information into the Customer: Job column that’s shown in the form window used to record a particular cost or time charge.

For example, if you use the Enter Bills window to record a bill for a particular job, you use the Customer: Job column to designate the job.

To charge a customer for costs or time that you recorded, follow these steps:

  1. Choose Customers→Create Invoices to open the Create Invoices window.

  2. Change the name in the Customer: Job drop-down list to the proper customer.

    This step is easy: Activate the drop-down list and choose the appropriate customer and job. If you assigned time or costs to this customer, a screen pops up, asking you to click the Time/Costs button to include the charges in your invoice.

  3. Click the Add Time/Costs button.

    QuickBooks displays the Choose Billable Time and Costs dialog box. The dialog box already shows the costs and time charges that you assigned to this customer and job combination.

  4. Select the billable time and costs that you want to add to the invoice.

    Check the time charges and costs that you want to bill for. Note that the Choose Billable Time and Costs dialog box provides different tabs for Items, Expenses, and Mileage.

  5. (Optional, Expenses only) Indicate the markup.

    The Expenses tab has a couple extra fields at the top of the tab to indicate the Markup Amount or % and the Markup Account. If applicable, fill in the fields with the appropriate information.

  6. (Optional) Indicate whether you want the charges to appear as a single item on the invoice.

    If you want to avoid listing the gory details of the charges to your customer, check the Print Selected Time and Costs as One Invoice Item check box located in the bottom-left corner of the invoice. Also, note that you can check the Taxable box to indicate if selected expenses are taxable.

  7. Click OK.

    After you have everything the way you want it, click OK. As if by magic — even if it was by your hard work and the sweat of your own brow — the invoice appears.

  8. (Optional) Add anything else you want to include on the invoice.

    This invoice is a regular QuickBooks invoice, remember? You may want to click the down arrow beside the Print button and choose Preview from the drop-down list to make sure that only the job costs that you want to appear do appear.

  9. Click Save & New or Save & Close.

    That’s how you record the invoice.

After you record the invoice, the job costs that have been billed are removed from the Choose Billable Time and Costs window. You’re finished. Breathe easier.

You can also track the amount of time that you or other employees spend on clients or customers. To turn on time-tracking, choose Edit→Preferences, scroll down to and click the Time & Expenses icon, and then select the Do You Track Time option button on the Company Preferences tab.

After you do this, you can track the time that you spend on a client or customer by choosing Customers→Enter Time→Use Weekly Timesheet or Customers→Enter Time→Time/Enter Single Activity. Either command displays an easy-to-understand window that lets you record time spent on a particular client or customer.

And a final important point: The time-tracker clock keeps ticking as long as the QuickBooks program runs. The program doesn’t need to be the active Windows program to continue working. (In some older versions of QuickBooks, the timer stops if you start working with another program, such as your word processor or email program.)