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Creating Estimates and Progress Invoices from Estimates

Many contractors create the estimates/proposals that they give to customers/clients outside of QuickBooks.  Once a client has accepted and signed a proposal, entering into QuickBooks as an estimate allows you to do progress invoicing from the estimate and better keep track of how much money is left in the contract.

So, let’s say Test Customer Corporation has signed a proposal for sitework, a new concrete slab and a CMU wall.  Here’s how to create the estimate:

1) In the Customer Center, find Test Customer Corp, and add the new job.  While the new job is still highlighted/selected in the Customers:Jobs list, click on New Transactions > Estimates, which opens the Estimate window with the correct Customer:Job selected.

QB customer center

Then just start entering the data from the proposal that the client signed.  I personally use the same number for the estimate that I used for the proposal that the client signed, but you can use any numbering system that will work for you.

QB estimate form

When you’ve entered all your items, descriptions and amounts, click “Save and Close.”

Then, when you’re ready, you can invoice from this estimate.  Again, in the Customer Center, highlight the Customer:Job in the list, then click on “New Transactions” > “Invoices.”  An invoice will open (the “Create Invoices” window) with the Customer:Job populating that field, as shown below.

invoice from estimate

As soon as you hit TAB, the “Available Estimates” window will open showing the estimate you created for this Customer:Job. Click on it and click OK.

"available estimates" window


Then the “Create Progress Invoice Based on Estimate” window opens and gives you three choices:

1) create invoice for the entire estimate (100%).

create progress invoice based on estimate

2) Create invoice for a percentage of the entire estimate.  If you select this radio button, you can type the percentage for which you want to invoice, and QuickBooks will calculate that percentage for all items.

3) OR Create invoice for selected items or for different percentages of each item.

Some companies always invoice for 50% down and the balance upon completion of work.  If that’s the way your company works, choose option #2 and type “50” in the % of estimate box.

For this cheat sheet, we’re choosing option #3 because our estimate contains several items that are done in sequence.

When this option is chosen, yet another window opens: “Specify Invoice Amounts for Items on Estimate.”

specify inv. amts. for items on estimate
In our sample, we’re billing only for the completed site work, so we type 20,000 in the Amount column of the Site Work line, then click OK.

QuickBooks populates the invoice with the item and amount chosen.

invoice with item and amt

This is what the invoice will look like to my customer:

progress invoice with percentages

As the job progresses, you continue to follow this procedure until you’ve invoiced your client for the entire amount of the estimate.


If you have any questions, please feel free to call me.

I hope this is helpful.

Wishing you a happy and prosperous day.

Patti Killelea-Almonte


QuickBooks Cheat Sheet: Using a Zero-Sum Check to Record Unrealized Gain or Loss on Investments in QuickBooks

A non-profit client used QuickBooks for its bookkeeping.  The client had funds were invested in a brokerage account and wanted to be able to record dividend income, brokerage fees and unrealized gains or losses on the account in QuickBooks.

Tracking the individual stocks and mutual funds in QB wasn’t necessary for this client; the Board of Directors just wanted to be able to see the overall income and expenses in their monthly reports.

This could be done with either a journal entry or a zero-sum check, which will be shown here.  A zero-sum check serves the same purpose as a journal entry, and, as the name states, has a total value of zero.

Here are the steps:

1.  Create a new BANK type account named “Journal Entries,” which will be used as the account on which zero-sum checks are written and as the first line in — you guessed it — all journal entries.

JournalEntries Account

2.  Create an “Other Income” type account named “Unrealized Gains or (Losses)” and and “Other Expense” type account named  “Brokerage Fees and Charges.”

3.  Create a vendor to  use on the checks.  This will allow you to create reports by vendor.  On our sample check, we used “Investment Income.”

4.  Using the current month brokerage statement, determine the dividend income, brokerage fees, and unrealized gain or loss to the account, allocating each properly to the specific funds, if applicable.  Our TEST Non-Profit  Foundation has two funds that are sub-accounts under the “parent” brokerage account. Income and expenses are allocated by percentage to those sub-accounts.

5.  Go to BANKING> Write Checks.  A check form will open.  In the BANK ACCOUNT field at the top of the form,  select the Journal Entries account.  Enter a check number using any numbering system of your choice.  Our sample check uses the date of the statement followed by BRO for brokerage.   The amount will be 0.00.

6.  On the EXPENSES tab on the “stub” section of the check, record the dividend income, Brokerage Fees, and Unrealized Gains or Losses, allocating the amounts to the various funds on the second line so that the amount “zeroes out.”

zero-sum check for brokerage account


The graphic is a bit small so here is a close-up of the dividend income section:

zero-sum check close-up


Posting unrealized gains or losses can be a bit tricky, so here is a mnemonic to help:

DEAL-GIRLS mnemonic

The total amount of an unrealized gain is posted as a negative number of the “unrealized gain/loss” account (Other Income type account), and as (a) positive number(s) to the various sub-accounts that make up the brokerage account in the non-profit’s QuickBooks file.  This increases the amounts in the sub-accounts.

The total amount of an unrealized loss is posted as a positive number to the “unrealized gain/loss” account and as negative numbers to the various brokerage sub-accounts. This lowers the amounts in the sub-accounts.

Nothing is posted to the “parent” brokerage account.    Here is a close-up of that section of the zero-sum check stub:

unrealized loss closeup


Running a Profit and Loss Report dated prior to the brokerage statement and after the brokerage statement shows the effect that the entries have on the “unrealized gains or losses” and “brokerage account fees and charges” accounts.

P&L PRIOR to brokerage entries


P&L AFTER brokerage stmt entries


I hope this is helpful.

Wishing you a happy and prosperous day.

Patti Killelea-Almonte

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Bookkeeping and Business Services

QuickBooks Cheat Sheet: How to Adjust Amounts Posted to the Wrong Class

If a business with multiple locations is using QuickBooks classes to track income and expenses between the locations, sometimes deposits or checks are posted to the wrong class.  For instance, in our sample two-location company, all deposits have been posted to one location, which skews the Profit and Loss Report by Class, as shown below.


The report above would lead a reader to think that the Kapolei Clinic wasn’t making any money at all, which is incorrect.  That clinic has actually made $15,000 during the reporting period, so we need to correct our records to show the correct allocation of income.

Therefore, we need to move $15,000 to the Kapolei Clinic’s income.  There are two ways to do this: the first — and probably most familiar method — is to use a journal entry. Go to COMPANY > MAKE GENERAL JOURNAL ENTRIES, and the General Journal Entry window opens.

Use the “Journal Entries” account as the first line of the journal entry to ensure that it will be easy to find in the Journal Entries “bank” account register later.

On the next line, choose the appropriate income account – in this case 43700 – Fee for Service Income –  to debit (which moves money OUT of the acount) and select the “Kaneohe  Clinic” class.  On the next line, you’ll credit the same income account but choose the “Kapolei Clinic” class.

GeneralJournal to reallocate income by class

Click SAVE AND CLOSE.  Running a Profit and Loss By Class Report now will show income  allocated properly to each location.


I hope this is helpful.

Wishing you a happy and prosperous day.

Patti Killelea-Almonte


Transferring Funds Between Accounts in QUICKEN

I recently did some consulting for a client who uses Quicken for her rental property management business.  Although I favor QuickBooks, the client has her reasons for using Quicken, and it’s her business.

In order to ensure that reconciling her bank account in Quicken to the bank statement goes well, I set up a clearing account (bank type account) for her.  It will function almost like QuickBooks’ Undeposited Funds account would — as a temporary place to hold the funds until she goes to the bank.

When renters’ checks for security deposits and/or monthly rent arrive, she can post them to the clearing account individually.  Let’s say she gets to the bank once per week.  When she goes to the bank, she simply transfers all funds from the clearing account to the operations checking account, and VOILA! the amount transferred should match her bank statement amounts.

Here are the specific instructions:

  1. Open the account from which you want to transfer money.  If you set up your Quicken 2014 Rental Property Manager file with a CLEARING ACCOUNT as explained above,  you’ll use that.
  2. Click the Account Actions icon (the UPPER of the two gear icons, which is highlighted in yellow in the screen shot below), and then choose Transfer Money.

QuickenRPM-trx$ screenshot

3.  The “Transfer Money Within Quicken” window opens.


4.  Enter the date, and the amount of the transaction

5.  Verify the account from which you’re transferring money, the source account.

6.  Select the account into which you’re transferring money (the destination account).  If you want to transfer money to an account that you haven’t previously set up in Quicken, click Add New Account in the To Account list.

You can’t include a transfer and a category in the same Category field, but you can tag the transfer.

7.   Enter a memo for the transfer — for example, “January rental income.” (This step is optional.)

8.   Click OK.  When you use this procedure, your checking account in Quicken will be easy to reconcile to your bank account statement.

I hope you’ll find this helpful.

Wishing you a happy and prosperous day.

Patti Killelea-Almonte