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!

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!

Mileage Tracking in QuickBooks Online

Mileage Tracking in QuickBooks Online

UPDATES CAN BE FOUND AT THE BOTTOM OF THIS ARTICLE and you can listen to the interview with Intuit’s Chantal Evett here: Mileage Tracking in QBO

Yes, you read that correctly: we have milage tracking in QuickBooks Online.

It’s a feature that has been available in QuickBooks Self Employed for a while, and is now here in QBO.

Before I dig in, at the time of this writing (Sep 3, 2019), I did NOT see mileage tracking available in the QBO mobile app, and all of the below is speaking to how the feature works as of the time of writing.

Let’s do it! How do I start using mileage tracking in QuickBooks Online?

First, you have to make sure that you’re logged in as the Master Admin. I was logged as the Accountant User and noticed this when I accessed one of the demo accounts for Intuit training:

mileage 01a

Basically, as the Accountant user, I can SEE that there is mileage tracking, but I just can’t DO anything with it… for now. As with any new feature in QBO, mileage tracking in QuickBooks Online will most likely evolve. Hopefully we can have multiple QBO users entering miles, like Receipt Capture – and Accountant Users will get have the ability to add/edit.

Since it’s one of my demo accounts, I login is as Master Admin and start using the Mileage tracking. The first screen I see is this, so I click on the green action button that says “Add Trip”:

mileage 01

I’m taken to this screen. Where do I start?? For me, the drop down next to “Add Trip” means that there’s more than meets the eye, so let’s start there.

mileage 04

When I click that drop down, I’m given the option to add a vehicle to use with mileage tracking in QuickBooks Online. (This pleases me, because I dearly love my truck!

Screen Shot 2019 09 03 at 9.14.32 PM

I enter my vehicle info, all the while, lamenting the fact that I’m not asked to upload a picture of it:

mileage 03

For the record… here’s a picture of my truck:


Okay, back to mileage tracking in QuickBooks Online.

A couple of comments about adding a vehicle:
1. You don’t HAVE to add a vehicle before you start adding trips.

2. When you do add a vehicle, you’re given the option of tracking miles using odometer start/end for the year

3. When choosing “by entering total miles” the miles you enter for the TOTAL MILES per year is NOT added to the miles entered when adding trips, which I’m hoping will change. Remember, this is BRAND NEW as I’m writing this. My expectation was that I would enter the date I started using the vehicle, and that entering total miles would be the option for adding historical business miles… but that didn’t seem to be the case.

I’ve got the vehicle added, so now I want to start adding trips.

I know I’ve mentioned this already, but this is a brand new feature and functionality may change. At this point, I have the ability to add a starting address and and ending address, but i’m still required to manually enter the miles between them:

Screen Shot 2019 09 03 at 9.33.37 PM


Once you’ve saved trips, with mileage tracking in QuickBooks Online, you’re given the current IRS mileage rate, how many miles you’ve tracked and your current mileage deduction:

Screen Shot 2019 09 03 at 9.42.52 PM

UPDATE 9/4/2019:

The QuickBooks Mobile app was updated to include this new feature so that you can auto track mileage:

Click on Mileage in the left nav:

Then you need to turn on auto tracking, or click the + icon and manually enter:

Click “Check mileage settings” and make sure you’re all set:

Just make sure you have everything all set:

You can even set favorite locations:


UPDATE 9/12/19:
Since I turned on tracking in the mobile app, QBO Mileage knows when I’m driving! You can see it’s been tracking me – check out this screen shot from computer access (note: you can also see this on the mobile app)


From here, I can just use mileage tracking in QuickBooks Online if a trip was business or personal and the purpose, and click save:


Note about this: regardless of whether a trip is marked personal or business, the TOTAL MILES DRIVEN won’t change. That only changes if you delete or add a trip. However, the MILEAGE DEDUCTION will be adjusted if you mark a trip as business.

UPDATE 10/3/2019: Mobile apps now let you designate favorite locations!


I’m looking forward to seeing this feature evolve, so bookmark this site and I’ll update as this change!

Receipt Capture in QuickBooks Online

Receipt Capture in QuickBooks Online

Released in June 2019, Receipt Capture in QuickBooks Online allows users to directly upload receipts to the QuickBooks online banking center where QBO will read the receipt and either match to an existing transaction or allow users to add a new transaction.

There are two ways to add receipts: drag/drop to the Receipts center or email to a special Receipt Capture email.

The first thing we want to do is add senders, otherwise the only people that will be able to email are the Master Admin and of the QBO account and Accountant Firm users. We’ll need to go to Banking > Receipts > Manage senders.


Screen Shot 2019 06 13 at 12.49.19 PM


For first use, you’ll be asked to register your email for Receipt Capture in QuickBooks Online. Because I was logged in as the Accountant Firm user, that email address became connected this client QBO account. It is possible to connect to multiple clients; in order to send to a different client, you need to toggle your Accountant user name to off in the active client account, switch to the another client QBO account, then toggle your Accountant user on, then send the email.

In the screenshot below, you see the Master Admin of the QBO account and myself, the Accountant User. To add additional users, just click the “Add new sender” link as needed, choose from the list of current QBO users (Note: At the time of this writing, only current QBO users with at least vendor only access may be added as sender) then “Done” when you’re all set:


Screen Shot 2019 06 13 at 12.55.59 PM


Before we start adding receipts, let’s take a look at the Receipts center. If you’re familiar with the QBO bank feeds, you’ll feel right at home. We have a “For review” tab and a “Reviewed” tab. Here we have two receipts that have already been uploaded and added. We can click on the “Expense” link in the Linked Record column, or if necessary, we can choose “Undo add” in the Action column:


Screen Shot 2019 06 13 at 12.59.22 PM


Clicking on the first receipt in the above screenshot, we can see the receipt attached:


Screen Shot 2019 06 13 at 1.03.06 PM


I want to show you a few things: both ways to add a receipt, as well as how you either manually add an expense and how cool it is when QBO Receipt Capture matches an existing transaction.

We’ll start by emailing a receipt and manually. You can see here that it shows up in the Receipts center immediately, but it does take a few minutes for QBO to read it:




While it’s processing, you can hover your mouse over it for a preview:


Screen Shot 2019 06 13 at 1.42.01 PM


Once this was processed, I was able to quickly add the expense to QBO:

Again, here’s the expense transaction, showing the receipt attached to it:


Screen Shot 2019 06 13 at 3.29.31 PM


Now, let’s do the drag/drop to match a transaction that I added specifically to for this fake receipt I created just to write this article!


drag and match


Here you can see it in the Reviewed tab in the Receipts center:


Screen Shot 2019 06 13 at 7.52.11 PM


And here’s the original expense, with the receipt attached:


Screen Shot 2019 06 13 at 7.53.32 PM


Don’t forget – you can even use Receipt Capture in QuickBooks Online with the mobile apps as well:


Screen Shot 2019 06 13 at 8.09.56 PM


You can check out the QBOShow interview about Receipt Capture in QuickBooks Online with Intuit Product Manager Rebecca Gilbert for more information.




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