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Set up and create projects in QuickBooks Online and Accountant

SOLVEDby QuickBooks140Updated 4 days ago

Learn how to set up and manage projects in QuickBooks Online Plus, Advanced, and Accountant.

Use projects in QuickBooks Online to track your project’s profitability. You can add project income, expenses, and labour costs, and run project-specific reports from a single dashboard. If needed, you can also add old transactions to new or ongoing projects.

Projects is only available in QuickBooks Online Plus, Advanced, and Accountant.

Step 1: Turn on projects

By default, projects is already turned on in QuickBooks Online Plus and Advanced. But if you use QuickBooks Online Accountant, you’ll need to turn Projects on.

Note: If you turn on projects in QuickBooks Online Accountant, it’s a permanent setting and can’t be turned off.

  1. Select Settings ⚙. Then select Company settings.
  2. Select the Advanced tab.
  3. Find the Projects section and select Edit ✎ to expand it.
  4. Turn on the Use project financial tracking switch.
  5. Select Save and then Done.

You need to be a primary admin to turn off the Projects feature:

  • Go to Settings ⚙ and select Accounts and settings.
  • Select the Advanced tab.
  • Find the Projects section and select Edit ✎ to expand it
  • Select the switch to turn off Organise all job-related activity in one place.
  • Select Save and then Done.

Step 2: Create a new project

  1. Go to Business overview and select Projects (Take me there).
  2. Select New project.
  3. In the Project name field, enter the project name.
  4. Select the project customer from the Customer ▼ dropdown.
  5. Add any notes or details about the project in Notes.
  6. Select Save.

After you’ve created a project, you can add both new and existing transactions to the project.

Change the customer assigned to a project


Yes. If your project has no transactions and no balance owed, you can delete it.

If you need to delete an active project that has a balance, move the transactions to another project, sub-customer, or customer first. Then you can delete it.

You can also reactivate deleted projects. Here's how:

  1. Go to Projects, then select the small gear ⚙️ icon on the Projects list.
  2. Select the Show deleted projects checkbox.
  3. Select the Options ▼ dropdown menu, then choose what you want to do with your deleted project.

Step 3: Add new transactions to a project

You can add new transactions like invoices, expenses, or estimates directly into your project. Adding transactions to projects won’t change how they’re categorised or affect your accounts. You’re simply marking them as a part of the project so you can track a specific project’s income and expenses.

There are two ways to add new transactions. You can create the transaction in QuickBooks as you normally would. Just enter the project name in the Customer/Project dropdown. Or here’s how to create a new transaction from within projects:

  1. Go to Business overview and select Projects (Take me there).
  2. Select your project.
  3. Select Add to project to create a new transaction.
  4. Select Invoice, Receive Payment, Expense, Estimate, Time, or Bill.
  5. Fill out details for the transaction like you normally would.
  6. Select Save and close.

Tip: Are you working from an existing project estimate? Add them to projects before you convert them to invoices for customers. You can also use progress invoicing to create multiple invoices from a single estimate. That way, instead of asking for full payment at the beginning, you can invoice for partial payments throughout the project.

Step 4: Add existing expenses to a project

If you have existing expense transactions that you've already added to QuickBooks, like bills, cheques, expenses, or purchase orders, here's how to add them to your project:

  1. Go to Bookkeeping, select Transactions, then select Expenses (Take me there).
  2. Find and open the transaction you want to add to your project.
  3. In the Customer/Project column, select the ▼ dropdown. Then select the project. Do this for each expense item you want to add to your project. This is different from the payee for the expense. Note: If you don’t see the Customer/Project column, you can turn on the setting Track expenses and items by customer in the Expenses section of your QuickBooks account.
  4. Select Save and close.

Step 5: Add existing timesheets to a project

If timesheets are not billable, but you still want to add them to a project to understand your profitability, you can find and add them from the Time menu or in the Weekly Timesheet, depending on your account type.

If you see the Time menu:

  1. Go to Get paid & pay or Sales & expenses, select Time (Take me there), then select Time entries.
  2. Select the employee whose timesheets you want to add to the project.
  3. Find the timesheet you want to add and select Edit.
  4. From the Customer/Project ▼ dropdown, select the project.
  5. Select Save.

If you don’t see the Time menu:

  1. Select + New.
  2. Select Weekly Timesheet.
  3. From the dropdown ▼ select the employee or supplier whose timesheets you want to add to the project.
  4. Select the date range dropdown ▼ and choose the correct week for the timesheets you want to add to the project.
  5. Find the correct timesheets. Then, select the Customer or Project dropdown ▼ and select the project.
  6. Select Save.

Tip: If you have existing timesheets that are marked as billable, you can create an invoice from the timesheets.

Step 6: Add existing invoices to a project

Creating new invoices to add to a project is simple (see Step 3), but adding existing invoices to your project—especially ones linked to a payment—requires a little caution before you edit them. Here’s how to add existing invoices to your project.

Step 7: Track your labour costs

There are two options for tracking your project’s labour costs. After you run payroll, you can see your labour costs using your actual payroll expenses. Or, you can add the hourly cost rate for each employee and QuickBooks will multiply the hourly cost rate by the hours worked to calculate your labour costs.

Learn how to set up, track and view your hourly labour costs.

Step 8: Keep everything running smoothly

Now that you understand how to track project costs and profits, here’s how to make sure what you’re seeing is accurate. Select a project to view each of these tabs.

  • In the Overview tab, use the Income and costs columns as guides. Make sure the correct column total increases when you add invoices, expenses, and weekly timesheets. If you use the Payroll Expenses method for job costing, timesheets won’t increase your costs in the Overview tab until you run payroll.
  • The Time Activity tab breaks down your team’s work by date. It also provides the total labour costs for each employee and service you offer so you can track the costs of different parts of your project.
  • The Transactions tab lists all transactions associated with a project. You can complete tasks directly from this screen, such as converting an estimate to an invoice.
  • Review your Time cost by employee or supplier reports every month. Make sure you’ve correctly tracked all project-related work hours. If you’re missing hours or counting too many hours, your profit totals will be inaccurate.

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