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Don't use Journal entries for anything to do with Inventory.
The sales Is impacting your data.
I would use Adjust Inventory, and the offset account can be Advertising and Promotion.
If you use Items, you can link them to the one account. You can still run reports on Items, to avoid micro-managing the chart of accounts.
"but what about tracking the related freight charges that we pay to send the samples to the folks? Should I enter a Bill"
You enter a bill because you owe for something you don't intend to pay until a later date. Otherwise, you put the charge on the Credit card charge, or a Check entry.
"and use an Item called "Freight" and then assign that cost as a non-billable charge to the final person we are sending the sample to?"
I sure would.
Ray, I can see where if you set up an item called "sample freight" and added that to the SAMPLES Invoice you can dictate on the item which expense account those expenses should go to, but do you still need to make the JE to reclassify the Sample COGS into the Samples marketing expenses account?