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Level 3

tracking job expenses

Hi! I'm new to quickbooks and feel I need a lot of help so thanks in advance. 

I want to "tag" expenses (meals, hotel stays, hardware store trips, etc.) to specific jobs, but not bill the customer by doing so. We have a line item in the invoice for these things, we take on the cost for some things and we bill some. I just want to get a better idea of what we're spending per job. It might be helpful to note that we do multiple jobs for companies so I need to specify which job each expense is for. 

10 Comments 10

tracking job expenses

Welcome and thank you for choosing QuickBooks Online, sgreathouse.


Yes, you can use tags to track expenses. This lets you see how specific areas of your business are doing.


However, I recommend using the Project feature since you're tacking multiple jobs. This makes it easy to manage your work and see their progress.


Let me guide you through the steps:


Step 1: Turn on projects


  1. Go to Settings ⚙, then select Account and Settings.
  2. Go to the Advanced tab.
  3. Find the Projects section and select Edit ✎ to expand it.
  4. Select the Organize all job-related activity in one place checkbox.
  5. Click Save and close your settings.

Step 2: Create a project


  1. Go to Projects from the left menu.
  2. Click New Project.
  3. Give your project a memorable name.
  4. Select the customer you’re working for from the drop-down menu.
  5. Add any notes or details about the project.
  6. Click Save.

Step 3: Add project income and expenses


  1. Open your project.
  2. Select Add to project to create a new transaction.
  3. Select InvoiceReceive PaymentExpenseEstimatePurchase OrderBill or Time.

Once done, you can proceed to Step 4-6 through this article for the next process: Set up and create projects in QuickBooks Online.


Let me know if you have follow-up questions about projects by commenting below. I'll be around whenever you need help.

Level 3

tracking job expenses

Thank you so much! 

Level 3

tracking job expenses

Can I go back and create projects for previous jobs or can I only do it for new projects going forward? 

QuickBooks Team

tracking job expenses

Greetings, @sgreathouse.


Yes, you can still record your previous jobs or old projects in QuickBooks. Here are some factors you'd want to consider:

  • If you're including inventory items on each project or job, make sure that the transaction date is on or after the date you started tracking the quantity on hand of your inventory item in QuickBooks. 
  • If you add a paid invoice to a project, the invoice will disconnect from the attached payment. This will also change the invoice’s status to unpaid. Make sure to add existing invoices to projects is before they’re paid. Add existing invoices to projects

I've added these articles as an additional reference on how you can maximise the use of the Projects feature: 

Swing by here again if you have other questions about managing your income and expenses in QuickBooks. I'm just a few clicks away.

Level 3

tracking job expenses

If I add a paid invoice to a new project and the payment is disconnected from the invoice can't I then just mark the invoice paid again?

QuickBooks Team

tracking job expenses

Good morning, @sgreathouse! We're all happy to help you here in the Community, so keep the questions coming. :)


You're exactly right, when the invoice gets unlinked you can 'Recieve Payment' on that invoice and the previously matched payment will show up on the bottom to reconnect.

  1. Go to Projects on the left menu and choose the one you're working on.
  2. Click on Transactions and then next to the open invoice, click on 'Recieve Payment'.
  3. Scroll to the bottom of the invoice to find the payment.

You can also do it from the Open Invoices Report.

  1. Go to Reports.
  2. In the Find report by name field, enter Open Invoices.
  3. Set the report period, then select Run report.
  4. In the Transaction Type column, locate a transaction listed as a Payment.

If that payment matches an open invoice, follow these steps.

  1. Select the Payment date to open.
  2. Under Outstanding Transactions, check the open invoice.
  3. Select Save and close.

As always, reach out to us with any questions that come up as you navigate our Projects feature!

Level 3

tracking job expenses

Thank you for the info! I do have another question (sorry). When I go to add an invoice to a new project it unlinks the estimate therefor making the invoice zero. I’m creating projects now for our last few jobs and I’m hoping there is a workaround. This feature seems almost useless if I can’t create projects for previous jobs. Thanks again for all of the help! 


tracking job expenses

You're most welcome, @sgreathouse!


I'm here to take care of your concern about projects in QuickBooks.


Normally, the estimate won't unlink once you create an invoice for your project or job. The following are the possible outcome when you perform the said action:


  • The estimate will show a closed status when you add it to the invoice.
  • The invoice gets paid or zeroes out when you receive a payment against it.

Let's dig deeper into why the said invoice shows a zero amount. I've got some solutions to get this fixed right away.


To start, let's ensure to turn off the Automatically apply credits feature on the Account and settings page. This way, QuickBooks won't mark your invoices as paid automatically. Let me guide you how:


  1. Click the Gear icon, and then choose Account and settings.
  2. Select the Advanced tab at the left pane.
  3. Go to the Automation section, and then make sure to turn off the Automatically apply credits radio button.
  4. Click Save, and then Done when you're ready.

If the same thing happens, then this can be due to the piled up cache in your browser. Thus, causing unexpected QuickBooks responses. To isolate this, you can use an incognito or private window or since it doesn't store any cache data.


Below are the shortcut keys you can use to access one:


  • Ctrl+ Shift + N for Google Chrome A63.PNG.
  • Ctrl + Shift + P for Mozilla Firefox A64.PNG and Microsoft Edge A65.PNG.
  • Command + Shift + N for Safari A66.PNG.

Once there, you can create a test project to see if you'll get the same result. If it works, please go back to your regular browser and clear its cache. This helps to restore and refresh the default setup of the browser.


If the issue persists, I recommend using another supported browser instead.


To keep track of your project's gains and losses, you can run the Project Profitability report. To do that, go to the Project Reports tab, and then select the said report from there.


Stay in touch if you have additional questions about managing your projects. The Community is here to help you. Have a good one!

Level 1

tracking job expenses

Hi, is this feature available on the most of the basic account? I’m not seeing the same tabs under my QuickBooks account.

QuickBooks Team

tracking job expenses

The project feature is only available to Plus and Advance subscriptions in QuickBooks Online (QBO), @Alpine.


If you have already subscribed to this service, let's enable this feature to utilize it.


  1. Go to the Gear icon and select Account and settings.
  2. Click Advanced.
  3. Navigate to the Project section and click the Pencil icon.
  4. Toggle the button to turn it on.
  5. Click Save, then hit Done.


On the other hand, if you're using the Simple Start or Essentials service, I recommend upgrading your subscription to use the feature. 


Here's how:


  1. Sign in to QuickBooks Online as a primary or company admin.
  2. Go to the Gear icon and select Subscriptions and billing.
  3. Ensure your payment info is up to date.
  4. In the QuickBooks Online section, select Upgrade your plan.
  5. Review the available plans and select Choose plan.
  6. Follow the on-screen steps to upgrade your plan.


Additionally, you can refer to this article with the guide on using projects: Create and manage projects in QuickBooks Online.


Please return to this thread if you have other concerns with the project feature in QuickBooks. I'll be here to lend a hand.

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