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You Create the Customer Invoice. No, You Do It



Use QuickBooks’ Tools to Make Invoicing Easy

In a previous post, we reviewed QuickBooks’ ability to create a simple project budget based on the Estimate form. In this post we’ll focus on some additional tools in QuickBooks that can make invoicing customers easier.

Creating an estimate in QuickBooks is an optional step. An invoice can be created without having used the estimate form at all. If an open estimate exists for a certain Customer:Job, when you begin an invoice for that Customer:Job, QuickBooks will ask if you want to use the estimate as a basis to begin the invoice.


You can see the estimate listed in the popup window in the screenshot above. If more than one estimate had been created for the job/project, all the open estimates would appear here and you would be able to select which one you were using as the basis for your invoice.

Select the estimate (if there are more than one), and click OK. What happens next depends on your Preference settings.

If this is turned on in Preferences (Edit->Preferences->Jobs & Estimates->Company Preferences->Do you do progress invoicing?), once you select the estimate to use for the invoice, the following message appears.


At this point, there are more options to choose from. QuickBooks allows you to create several invoices from one estimate. So your agreement with your customer may be to invoice at certain points of the project’s completion. QuickBooks will help you keep track of that process.

Let’s review the choices. One is to create the invoice for 100% of the estimate. That’s easy and does not involve the progress invoicing ability at all.

Two, is to create an invoice for a specific percentage of the job. 25%. 50%, whatever you choose. Each line of the estimate is invoiced for that percentage.

Third, is to specifically select the items from the estimate that will be invoiced. Let’s look at that option.


Above is the table QuickBooks opens when choosing the third option described. The arrow points to the column where you would select those items to be included on the current invoice. In the example, a bathroom remodel is being done. The customer is to be invoiced for tearing out the old fixtures, new framing, and the electrical work.

Note the circled column headers. If we had created an invoice for this project before, the amounts previously invoiced would show here and would not be available to invoice again.

With the items presently selected, this will be a $1715.00 invoice.

More possibilities for invoices in QuickBooks

A feature in QuickBooks often used by companies in service-based enterprises is the ability to track time and expenses and then easily invoice those to a customer without a lot of additional manual entry. Let’s see how that works.


The most important part of the above check is the Customer:Job entered and the checkbox Billable with the checkmark in it. Additionally, the fact an item was used rather than Expense helps with some job reports, but that’s another topic for another day.

Before we invoice our customer, let’s add some time to the job.


Again, the most important part about this process is that a Customer:Job name is included and the Billable box is checked.

Now, let’s invoice the customer.


As soon as we enter a Customer:Job with outstanding billable time/costs, QuickBooks asks us if we want to invoice those items now. In this case we do.


We have both time and an item to add to the invoice. These are the entries we made with the check and the timesheet. There are more options for those that use this feature. For now, we’ll select both entries and click the OK button (not shown) at the bottom of the window.

Here is the resulting invoice.


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Lance B Wilkins

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