QuickBooks for Contractors. Getting the most from QuickBooks Contractor Edition. QuickBooks for Construction.
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QuickBooks contractor help - Getting started support, customizing, fine tuning or revamping your company QuickBooks file, learn how to use the QuickBooks contractor reports to get the information you need..

The success of contractors hinge on two simple things—the quality of work, and ability to manage job costs. The latter—tracking and understanding job costs—is why many of contractors are now using the new QuickBooks Premier: Contractor Edition. But are they

  • Invoicing for every expense on a job?
  • Tracking every change order?
  • Really understanding which jobs are making money—and which are not?

If you are starting a new business or have recently hired an administrative person to do your bookkeeping, the IRS has published an "accounting basics for contractors" guide  (click to download) to help you understand what records you need and what regulations you should be aware of

As a contractor or bookkeeper/accountant for a construction company, get the inside scoop on what the IRS will look for if they ever take a look at your books.  This download "Market segment specialization publication - Contractors" (Download Contractor PDF now)  is written for the newbie IRS auditor who has a basic understanding of accounting and tax but needs to understand the audit issues surrounding a contractor tax audit.  Written without all the "legal ease", you will find the information understandable and very helpful in setting up an accounting system. It is a dated publication (2004) and therefore consult with your tax advisor as to all changes that might have taken effect since that date.

Useful QuickBooks Tips for Construction companies:
To help get the most out of the Contractor Edition of QuickBooks:
  1. Assign ALL your expenses to a Customer:Job. To get more accurate job costing information, assign all your expenses to a Customer:Job. Simply choose the appropriate job in the Customer:Job field on Bill, Timesheet, or Check form; QuickBooks will build job cost reports automatically.

  2. Enter all your estimates and expenses into QuickBooks. Comparing estimated costs to actual costs is one of the most important benefits of job costing. To compare costs, you need to enter at least a summary of each of your estimates into QuickBooks. Many contractors create estimates outside of QuickBooks and then enter invoice in QuickBooks. If you choose to create invoices outside of QuickBooks, you can save time by entering this information in QuickBooks as an estimate instead of an invoice. Then, you can automatically create an invoice (even a progress invoice) from the estimate by clicking the Create Invoice button on the Estimate form. Using this method, QuickBooks will have estimated cost and revenue amounts to compare your actual costs and revenues on job costing reports. 

    When entering expenses, use the item tab with service items to categorize all your costs.
    Many contractors use parts of  the Construction Institute Specification List  (be sure to click on each major category number for a detailed list of cost codes falling under that category) as their service items in QuickBooks.  In addition to items, using class tracking to categorize your Labor, Materials, Equipment Rental, Supplies, Subcontractors for tax purposes will give you reports for presenting to your tax preparer.   Assigning labor costs to a job works best when you are using QuickBooks to prepare your payroll. There are several levels of payroll services:
    • Enhanced payroll  includes tax tables, federal and state forms and W2
    • Assisted payroll with QuickBooks (Intuit) - you print the paychecks, Intuit takes care of all the tax payments and forms. Call us here 800-216-0763 to get your questions answered. If you decide to purchase this service, we will help you get this service setup.

    Need training? We have it!  For one on one training, call us 800-216-0763 or come to one of our seminars. We offer training for  the new user or for people who have worked with QuickBooks for over 3 months.

  3. Using the Job Costing Reports. If you have set up your QuickBooks job cost data as described above, you can use the new job costing and profitability reports in the Contractor Edition. Choose Reports and then Contractor from the menu bar to view these reports. You can view additional job costing reports by choosing Reports and then Jobs & Time from the menu bar.

  4. Explore the Contractor Navigator and Contractor Menu. Contractor Edition includes a Contractor Navigator and Contractor Menu that provide access to the activities that contractors use most so you can find them quickly and easily.
  5. Keep on top of your workers compensation costs- You do have control over "being overcharged" on your annual premiums and audits. Using the workers compensation accrual tool in QuickBooks is a first step. Learn more about what you can do to control your Workers Compensation Costs using QuickBooks

  6. Track change orders. To get paid promptly and maintain a good relationship with your customers, you must clearly document all of your existing change orders. Create a new job as a sub-job of the parent to track your costs which will help you determine the charge for the additional service

  7. Check out the other new Contractor reports. Contractor Edition provides a set of new reports designed specifically for contractors. For example, the Job Status report gives you a simple snapshot of where you stand on all your jobs. Choose Reports and then Contractor from the menu bar to browse the reports.

  8. Read the Help Menu and Info for Contractors. Contractor Edition includes many new help topics written specifically for contractors by a contracting industry expert.

What Documents Should You Use?
Change Orders
All notices of project changes, including scope of work, costs, and schedule changes.

Includes letters, memos, and other electronic or paper documents.

Daily Field Reports
Includes employee time, equipment usage, subcontractor performance, meetings, incidents, and other pertinent project-related data; filled out by project manager.

Estimates/Project Budgets
Includes original documents of cost estimates; used for cost-to-complete and project profitability analysis.

Project Hot List
A listing of time-sensitive and other deadline-driven items and documents that must be completed or otherwise acted upon.

Proposals and Prime Contracts
Includes pricing, terms, and scope of work; crucial for avoiding misunderstandings.

Punch Lists
The "to do" list, with relevant dates for completion and approval, of all activities needed to complete a project

Requests for Information (RFI)
Includes attachments and text; used to notify architects, engineers, and general contractors of information requirements and clarifications.

Requests for Proposal (RFP)

Formal requests for pricing from vendors based upon project specifications and scope of work.

Specifies scope of work, timing, standards of performance, and terms of compensation.

The cover sheet listing all the documents being sent (mailed, faxed, sent via e-mail, etc.) and the individual to whom the documents were sent, with a signature required as proof that all items were received.

Sample Chart of Accounts for Contractors

Set up tips

QuickBooks Support

Invoicing Time and Material Jobs

Performing on government contracts?  Determine your indirect cost rates based upon a commonly used (and DCAA accepted) rate structure.

Call 800-216-0763 for a free demonstration of our QuickBooks Support & Training services for  Contractors, Spec Home Builders, Engineering Firms, and Architects for QuickBooks.   




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Contractors Guide to QuickBooks Pro

Contractors Guide to QuickBooks Contractor's Guide to QuickBooks Pro

Comes with an estimating program with a job cost database that will import the estimates to QuickBooks and many useful forms to run your business more efficiently.

This user friendly manual walks you through QuickBooks Pro's detailed setup procedures and explains step-by-step without accounting jargon, how to create a system that will track your job expenses, profit and loss, estimate vs actual expenses plus much more.

Shorten your learning curve by using the predefined company file, just enter your vendor, customer names and you are ready to go.

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