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Level 1

Category and Item details

Dear Community, 


Whether a customer can use record both Category details and Item details in a single bill? Quickbooks allows to record both the Category details and Item details in a single bill but I want to understand whether this situation will come across in the practical scenario too. If yes, please provide me an example. Thanks in advance

11 Comments 11
QuickBooks Team
QuickBooks Team

Category and Item details

Let me provide some details about Category detail and Item detail in QuickBooks Online (QBO), MohanPrudhive.


When creating a purchase order or bill in QBO, you have an option to select item details or category details. The Category detail is an account that you select from your chart of accounts. While the Item detail is an item from the products and services that you purchase and sell.


If you've purchased an item from a supplier, you'll need to select or enter the purchased item in the Item details section on the purchase order. If the item is not added yet to the list, you can follow these steps: 

  1. Go to Gear icon and Products and services.
  2. Tap New.
  3. Choose InventoryNon-inventoryService, or Bundle.
  4. Enter the Name of the product or service. Enter details needed.
  5. Press Save and close.


Once you've added a product or service to the list, you'll be able to select it on the item details when you create a transaction. If you've selected an item on the Item details section and it was set up as an inventory item, we don't need to have to select a Category detail like Cost of Goods Sold, Inventory, or Inventory asset. The Cost of Goods Sold (COGS) accounts are associated with your inventory-enabled Product/Service items and they'll be allocated to the Inventory asset once you've copied the purchase order to a bill. You can always check the Transaction journal (select More) on a Bill to see the accounts associated with it. 


Feel free to visit our Expenses and Vendors page for more insights about managing your vendor transactions. 


I'd like to know how you get on after trying the steps. as I want to ensure this is resolved for you. Just reply to this post and I'll get back to you. You have a good one. 

Level 1

Category and Item details

Thanks for the explanation Mate.

Level 1

Category and Item details

I have the same question.  This is helpful.  To clarify, I have some examples:


I have a subcontractor who I paid for electrical work on a project.  I assume that would be a Category Detail, right?


I buy material for a job that is COGS, each line item on that material receipt would be an Item Detail, right?


Those materials should be added to my "Products/Services" list.  When setting that up, that's where I would code things to be COGS.  But what about things that are not COGS that I buy and use in business.  That could be paper clips or it could be gas in the truck.  How would I create expenses for both of those items?


Should everything I buy in my business be listed under Products?


QuickBooks Team

Category and Item details

Hi William!


I can see that @RCV has given a good start by sharing when to use categories or items. I'd be happy to provide you with a little more information.


You can use a category if you want to post directly to your categories, and if the items are too generic or too few to specify or don't have that high of an impact on your books. For example, instead of specifying a few items you bought like pencils, ball pens, etc., you can directly use the Office Supplies category. However, if you spend largely on them, you may want to itemize them instead.


The way you record your transactions will reflect on your financial reports and help you make wise business decisions. If you just use Office Supplies in your transactions, this won't give you a clue of which specific supply is costing you more money. Whereas, itemized transactions provide more information about the specific amount of money you spent on the items you bought. Things like these can help you decide to create actions to improve your finances.


On the other hand, we have references for QBO on the main support page should you need them in the future. Just scroll down a bit and click More topics.


Let me know if you have other questions about entering purchases or anything about QuickBooks. More power to your business!

Level 2

Category and Item details

I also want to know how should I tag subcontractors in creating expense. Is this should be in the category or item details? For example, for electrical, I have already added a "service" type of product and I associated that with electrical. And I can use that tag in the item details or is it better to use the "subcontractor" chart of account? 

What about for the transaction linked from a bank account? Sometimes, it automatically links to the expense being created and the sales tax in it is exempt but it should not be like that. Is it okay to leave it as is and use exempt in the sales tax or amend it according to the receipt? 

QuickBooks Team

Category and Item details

Thanks for replying to this thread, @kndzpntnr.

I am here to help you understand the difference between Category and Item details when creating an expense. The Category detail is an account that you select from your chart of accounts. While the Item detail is an item from the products and services that you purchase and sell. It gives more specific information about the product or service.  

When creating an expense, it's up to you what category to select that fits the item. If you're still unsure of what to select, I recommend consulting your accountant for further guidance. 

With regard to your transaction that is sales tax exempt, we can make changes to it. I'll guide you how:

1. Go to the Sales menu, and select Products and Services.
2. Choose a product you want to edit and click on Edit.
3. In the Product/ Service information, click on Edit sales tax.
4. Select Nontaxable under other options.

You can also visit this article to learn more about expenses: Expenses in QuickBooks Online.

Please leave a reply if you have further questions about accounting transactions. I'd be happy to help. Have a nice day ahead!

Level 1

Category and Item details

HI, i am new to quickbooks and im having trouble finding the Item detail line, i Hit new on quickbooks online Plus and i go to the check and i want to put in a item and not a category but all that show on my screen is the Category line, can you please help me find the Item detail line?

QuickBooks Team

Category and Item details

Congrats on making your first post here in the Community, @Officebob80


Thank you for choosing QuickBooks as one of your partners in making your business grow. We can use the Item details section by turning it on in the company settings. Here's how:


  1. Go to the Gear icon on the upper right corner.
  2. Under Your Company section, choose Account and settings.
  3. Tap on the Expenses tab.
  4. Under Bills and expenses, turn on the Show Items table on expense and purchase forms option.
  5. Hit Save, then Done.


After that, the table for items and services will be displayed below the Category area. Take a look at my screenshot below:




Since you're new to QuickBooks online, I encourage checking our Getting Started Guide to learn the product basics.


I'm still up and ready to help out if you have more concerns about your QuickBooks Online account. Have a nice day and stay safe.

Level 1

Category and Item details

Hello, thank you for the fast response, i am still experiencing the same problem unfortunately, I opened up a chrome window and signed into quickbooks thru the private window and still the Service line does not show up when i hit check. i also downloaded firefox and still i had the same problem, is it proably turned off in the settings menu? please help.

Screenshot (2).png

Level 1

Category and Item details

I don't want to see Item detail when i enter a bill. How do i get rid of it?


QuickBooks Team

Category and Item details

Hello there. I'm here to help you out.


Removing item details on bills in QuickBooks Online is possible. Make sure first to zero out all inventories. Once done, follow these steps to remove:
  1. Go to the Gear icon on the upper right corner.
  2. Under Your Company section, choose Account and settings.
  3. Tap on the Expenses tab.
  4. Under Bills and expenses, turn off the Show Items table on expense and purchase forms option.
  5. Hit Save, then Done.


I've got a link here that provides you with articles about managing expenses and vendors: Enter expenses, pay bills, and write checks


For other related articles you can use in the future, you may also refer to this helpful link: Income and expenses for QuickBooks Online.


Please know that you can always get back to us if you have other questions. I'm more than happy to help. Take care.

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