Using Tags in QuickBooks Online Essentials for Job Costing

Using Tags in QuickBooks Online Essentials for Job Costing

If you use QuickBooks Online Essentials, you may know that you cannot assign expenses to customers or jobs (what QBO calls sub-customers); this is a feature that is only available in QBO Plus or Advanced. What if I told you that you can get a Profit & Loss by job by using tags in QuickBooks Online Essentials for Job Costing?

I swear, you can do this, and I’ll show you how.

The first thing is making sure that we have tags turned on in two places.

Go to the Gear Icon > Account and settings > Sales tab and in the Sales form content section, click the pencilicon, then toggle Tags to on. Click the Save button:



Now, in the Expenses tab, click the pencilicon in the Bills and expenses section, and toggle Show Tags field on expense and purchase forms to on, then click Save:


Once you do that, click the Done button in the bottom right corner of the Account and Settings screen to exit.



Great! Now we need to make sure we have our customers and jobs entered. I’m not going into detail about that, but you can check out this page in the QuickBooks Community for a video and instructions, if you’ve never entered a customer into QBO.

We have ours all set; a parent customer with two sub customers/jobs:



Get Profit and Loss reports in QBO Essentials by using tags in QuickBooks Online Essentials for Job Costing


You’re probably wondering: “I thought this was about using tags in QuickBooks Online Essentials for Job Costing?” – and this is the part where we set up the tags. To do this, from the left nav, click Banking > Tags. (FYI, I don’t know why Tags are in Banking…)



You can also get there this way:




Because we know we have one customer and two different projects that we’re working on for them, we’re going to create a Tag Group that is the same name as the parent customer, and a tag for each of the sub customers/jobs. We’ll click the green New button from the Tags center, then choose Tag group and enter the customer name:




We add the name and (I love this!) get to choose a color for this tag. While we’re in this screen, we have the option of adding our tags for each of the sub customers/jobs as well, but only after we click the green Save button:




Once I hit that save button, I can now add tags without leaving this screen but entering the name (the same as the sub customer/job I’ve already added) and clicking the Add button:


Just click the green Done button in the bottom right to get back to the Tag list/center.


Tags can also be added from the Tag list by using the green New button like we did when adding the Tag group, or by dropping the arrow down in the Action column for the Tag group in which you want to add the Tag and choosing Add Tag:




Now that we have our tag group (Customer name) and tags (sub customers/jobs) set up, we can start adding tags to transactions. Be aware that there are limits: 40 Tag groups and 300 tags, regardless of what subscription level of QBO you have.




We can’t add tags to specific line items, but you can add multiple tags. So if you have a transaction that needs to split between two customers or sub customers/jobs… you’ll have to enter two separate transactions and tag accordingly. Not ideal, but using tags in QuickBooks Online Essentials for Job Costing is a workaround for users that don’t have QBO Plus or Advanced so…   ¯_(ツ)_/¯  

Here’s an invoice with a tag assigned:




And here is an expense with a tag assigned:




As you work on each job, you’ll assign the tag for any expenses related to the project, and the reporting is available from the Tag List (Center?) by choosing Run report from the action column:




Reports can also be accessed by going to Reports > Business Overview > Profit & Loss by Tag:


A couple of notes about reporting:

  1. When generating Tag reports from the Report Center,  the reports came up blank, even when the date range is set to All Dates. This is because the default report filters by “Ungrouped tags”. This can be remedied easily enough by clicking on the Customize button and then selecting the Tag Group from the drop down in the “Group by’ field. See image below for this customization.
  2. Clicking “Run Report” on the Tag group from the Tag list will open a Transactions List by Tag Group report
  3. Clicking “Run Report” on the Tag from the tag list will open a Profit and Loss by Tag Group report, filtered for just that tag (yes, the report says “Tag Group” even though it’s filtered




Below you can see the beautiful Profit and Loss report by sub customer/job that using tags in QuickBooks Online Essentials for Job Costing will produce.This report was created from the report center and customized as mentioned in #1 above; the title has also been changed to show the parent customer:

Payment Links in QuickBooks Online

Payment Links in QuickBooks Online

One of my new favorite things of mine is Payment Links in QuickBooks Online.

As a long time QB Payments (sometimes referred to as Intuit Merchant Services, QuickBooks Merchant Services) user, I was so sad a few years ago when Intuit decided to drop Intuit Payment Network (IPN). This was such a great tool – it allowed a user to request funds with just a link – without having to create an invoice in QuickBooks.

Why would one do such a thing? I’ve had clients want to give bonuses or tips outside of monthly fees, and it’s VERY handy when, say, you travel with a group of colleagues and it’s a big pain to split a restaurant tab, but there’s a per diem limit. Sending links with IPN was very handy for that.

Anyhoo, back to Payment Links in QuickBooks Online.

This is a slick little tool if you’re using QB Payments and I’ll walk you through it. From the left nav bar in QBO, click Sales > Payment Links, then the “Create My Link” button:



You could also just click on Sales, then choose Payment Links from the menu:



A “drawer” will open on the right side, where you’ll be able to add the amount, a description, then choose the customer:



You can create a custom URL for your payment links in QuickBooks Online


One cool thing – at the top of the screen to Create and send a payment link, you’ll see a link to Customize URL. I highly recommend this: this is what it looks like when you click on that and create a unique URL for your payment links in QuickBooks Online:


Once you get your URL set, add your description, choose the customer, check the box(es) for bank and/or credit card payments, and make sure the email is correct, it’s time to click that green action button that says: “Send payment link”.

QBO then shows you the link, as well as a QR code:


Your customer sees this in their inbox:


And then can pay you using the payment link in QuickBooks Online:



Once they pay they’ll see this:


Now, what the SENDER sees in QBO, after using payment links in QuickBooks Online is this the screenshot below. Descriptions can be edited and links can be deleted as long as they haven’t been paid. Once they are paid, they can only be viewed.



And if we click on that one that shows paid or we click on View from the action column on the right, we’ll get another drawer that opens, with a link to the Sales Receipt that QBO creates when a payment is made via payment links in QuickBooks Online:



Here’s the Sales Receipt in QBO, with a note in the memo field stating it was “auto-generated”:



Now, what happens if this link is just used by someone, without sending it from QBO? Well… It just doesn’t work that way. If a user sends the custom URL out, this is what a visitor sees:


While I would LOVE for the Custom URL to work that way with payment links in QuickBooks Online – it would be great for non-profit organizations to request donations –  right now the link must be created in QBO first, for a specific amount for a specific customer in QBO.

Since it’s still faster than creating an invoice, I highly recommend payment links in QuickBooks Online.

Use an iPhone as a Scanner with QuickBooks for Mac 2021

Use an iPhone as a Scanner with QuickBooks for Mac 2021

This is one of the cooler features in QuickBooks for Mac 2021 – the ability to use an iPhone as a scanner with QuickBooks for Mac 2021.

I’m a huge fan of attaching documents to transactions in any version of QuickBooks, and this new feature for the Mac version is pretty neat.

In order to use an iPhone as a scanner with QuickBooks for Mac, you have to make sure that you have:

  • At least Mac OS Mojave (14.0)  and iOS 12 on the respective devices
  • QuickBooks for Mac 2021
  • Your Mac and iPhone connected to the same WiFi
  • Bluetooth enabled on both devices
  • Logged into iCloud with the same Apple ID on both devices


The first time you use attachments in a QuickBooks for Mac file, you’ll be prompted to create an Attachment Library. In the screenshot below, I’ve got an invoice open, and I’ve clicked the “Attach ????” button in the top right corner. (Note: I’ve got dark mode on… as I do all the time with everything lol)



When I click the drop down, I’m prompted to choose the Attached Documents Library. I can either choose a folder that’s already set up on my Mac or I can create one. I’m doing to choose “Create New…



I’m going to call mine “Larrys Attachments” and put it in my Documents folder:



Once I do that, QuickBooks for Mac now shows my Attached Documents Library:


Now we’re ready to  use an iPhone as a scanner with QuickBooks for Mac!


With the same invoice open, I’m going to click the “Attach ????” button again, and this time I have a different screen open; from here I’m going to click the “➕” button in the bottom left:



Then, click “Import from iPhone or iPad” and the option you want. In this screen shot, you can see my son’s phone, my phone and my iPad as options:



I chose “Take Photo” with my phone and get this on my computer AND the camera app on my phone automatically opens:



Once I take the picture with my iPhone, I choose “Use picture” and it just magically shows up on my iMac, in QuickBooks, where I can add keywords if I choose:



Double clicking the name (image-1) will open the picture in Preview on my iMac:



Now, each time I open this transaction, I’ll be able to see that there is an attachment and click on this icon to view it:



If I ever need to view all of the attachments attached in this Quickbooks for Mac file, I can go to Company > Attachments Center:

In the Attachments Center, you’ll see any file that has been attached to a transaction, regardless of whether it was scanned, attached from the hard drive, or someone decided to Use an iPhone as a Scanner with QuickBooks for Mac 2021!

Add Billable Time or Billable Expenses to a Bundle Item in QBO

Add Billable Time or Billable Expenses to a Bundle Item in QBO

You need invoice for time and expenses, but you don’t want the recipient to see the details, right? This quick video will show you how you can add billable time or billable expenses to a bundle item in QBO, so those details won’t show.

Note: first you need to make sure that you have QuickBooks Online Plus or QuickBooks Online Advanced and have the “Show Items table on expense and purchase forms” as well as “Track expenses and items by customer” and “Make expenses and items billable” all enabled.



Then you need to create your bundle item. You can add any item(s) to the bundle; it won’t matter which or how many. We’ll be deleting them when we add billable time or billable expenses to it on the invoice. The item I created for this post just has one component:


Once you have the preferences set and the bundle item created, we can create the invoice, then we can add billable time or billable expenses to it.
Add the bundle item to the invoice, then add the billable time and billable expenses from the drawer, one at a time. After you’ve added it, you can drag/drop it “into” the bundle item.

When you finish adding and moving all the billable time, delete the placeholder line within the bundle item. All done!


When you’re done, the invoice recipient won’t see the details:





A New Thing in QuickBooks Online

A New Thing in QuickBooks Online

Hello world! This year has been, let’s just say it: shitballs crazy. After 4 months, I’m finally in a place where I can focus enough to sit down and write an entire piece for this site. We’ve all been busy with PPP and EIDL and yes, I know the title says “A New THING in QuickBooks Online” but once I started writing this, I thought of a few that I want to call out.

The first new thing in QuickBooks Online is that the + icon is back in the top right corner of the screen, but only when the user uses the hamburger icon to hide the left nav bar in QBO.

Here’s what I’m talking about:

See?  Pretty cool. I’m sad that it doesn’t spin like it used to, but I’m still happy to see my lil buddy back.

The second new thing in QuickBooks Online is the ability to assign a default expense account to a vendor:

default vendor

Any time I save having to click that mouse just one time, I love it!

Yes, I realize this post is about more than one new thing in QuickBooks Online.

The third new thing in QuickBooks Online is not just Receipt Capture (I wrote about that here), but that it can now be used to add VENDOR BILLS. Previously, could only had expenses after they had happened; now we can add bills to be paid later.

Very handy little improvement.

The last new thing in Quickbooks Online (at least the last one I’m going to list here, there have been a ton of improvements in QBO Advanced lately) is sort of a big deal: Reconciliation statement auto-import, aka Statement Downloads.

bank statements

The little delighter for me was that ability to upload a statement after I did the reconciliation for the accounts that don’t (yet) have the import function.

Now you can all get back to baking bread or whatever your global pandemic hobbies might be. I have two right now. One is infusing vodka with various fruits. So far I’ve done pineapple (a summer favorite), green apple (I’ll try this again in the fall with some ginger or cinnamon), raspberry/lime (yum) and blackberry/lemon (it was okays.) The other is setting new bike riding goals. For anyone that cares: I did 100 miles/week in June and then thought it would be a great idea to up that to 125 miles/week for July and as I write this, I’m halfway through the 3rd week and realize that 100 is a lovely, round number that is perfectly fine for August and September 🙂

Stay healthy and safe!

Using Late Fees in QuickBooks Online

Using Late Fees in QuickBooks Online

I’ve had quite a few clients ask about using late fees in QuickBooks Online lately, so I thought I’d write an article about how to set them up and use them.

To start using late fees in QuickBooks Online, we have to go our Gear Icon > Account and Settings and then choose the Sales tab and find the Late Fees section:

late fees 01


From here, you can set up late fees in QuickBooks Online – flat fee or percentage of remaining balance and the frequency (once per invoice, per month, or per day) as well as an optional one time fee.

In this situation, we’re going to set up a 2% per month fee, with a one time $25 fee:

late fees 02


We’re going to give the customers a 7 day grace period before applying late fees in QuickBooks Online. What this means is that if the due date is the 1st, late fees won’t begin accumulating until the 8th:

late fees 03


The last steps are deciding what to call these charges on invoices and choosing whether to apply sales tax. We’re going to leave the default “Late fee”, and not apply sales tax, then we’ll click the Save button:

late fees 04


When you click Save – QuickBooks Online will create a new account called “Late fee income”. This account is an Other Income type:late fees 05


If you’d like, you can edit this account:


Oh wait – did you mention that you want to be able to customize this, on a customer level? No worries there! We can choose to disable late fees for a customer, or override the default late fees. If we click on the Sales tab in the left nav, then chose the Customers tab (or Clients, or whatever your QBO calls customers) then click on the customer name to get to the Customer Detail page to customize late fees in QuickBooks Online for a specific customer.

For the customer below, we’re changing the 2% to 3% per month, and the one time fee from $25 to $50:

late fees 07


NOTE: Late fees in QuickBooks Online won’t be applied to invoices created before the feature was turned on


They only work for invoices created on or after the feature is turned on. This means that any existing past due invoices won’t have late fees enabled for them. You can tell if an invoice is eligible when you open it. In the header, under the due date, you’ll see this:

late fees 08


For invoices created AFTER late fees in QuickBooks Online was enabled, you’ll see this:

late fees 09


Once you have late fees enabled, when you DO encounter a customer with a past due invoice, you’ll see that invoice automatically updated with late fees added as a line item.

Below, we can see that this customer had the one time $50 fee applied, then 3% per month.

(Note the 3% is calculated on the total of the invoice – the original balance plus the $50 late fee – not just the original balance)

Late Fees 12


When we look at the Profit and Loss, we can see these in “Late Fee Income”, and they’re in the same period as the original invoice:

Late Fees 13


When you enable late fees in QuickBooks online, an item is automatically created and can be found in the Product and Services list.

late fees 10


The amount and description are both left blank, so that when late fees in QuickBooks Online are applied, QBO can add the description and total, according to preferences applied during setup:

late fees 11


If you’ve been using QuickBooks desktop and the late fee feature there, you’ll know that rather than add line items to the original invoice, QuickBooks desktop creates a NEW invoice with “FC” in the reference number to apply late fees. Historically, our clients have found it much more difficult to get these paid and have to be voided. Late fees in QuickBooks Online makes collections much more simple by adding the line items to the original invoice.

Good luck in your quest for speedy payment from customers; hopefully you won’t need to use this feature 🙂

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