Job Costing Intensive

Welcome to Your QuickBooks for Contractors Job Costing Intensive Program

*Please Note I am in the process of updated the course content with multiple short videos one section at a time*  Thanks for your patience!

This is the page where all course content will be published, including recording of live sessions and homework.

Getting Started:

Download and import the Item List for General Contractors (if applicable for your company): Item List for General Contractors download and import - see instructions on this page: Importing the COA and Item List Item List in Excel Format so you can check it out before importing Item List Tips

See lesson 1 for tips importing the item list, and this video for troubleshooting errors:

Download and Restore Sample Data File (the same one I will be using to do the lessons)

sample_contractor-based business (Portable)

Instructions: Download, unzip, and save to your hard drive in QuickBooks: File - Open or Restore a Company, Restore a portable file, save to your hard drive (Documents, Intuit, QuickBooks, Company files, is a good place)

Link Set up your one-on-one coaching appointment with me (ignore pricing):

Bookkeepers Bonus: The Brilliant Bookkeeper by Penny Lane Crull - E-Book 10 Steps to Building Your Own Brilliant Bookkeeping Business

Bonus: Top 21 Tips and Tricks E Book pg 36

Lesson 1 - Set A Strong Foundation for Your Job-Costing System

Topics covered in this lesson:

  • Setting up your Chart of Accounts and Item List
  • Import/Export and Edit List tips and shortcuts
  • Best Practices for setting up Customers and Jobs

Handouts: Power Point Slide pdf Homework:

  • Organize Customer List with Jobs, or practice with sample file
  • Set up or import your chart of accounts and item list if you are ready, or set up possibilities in sample file to practice with actual transactions in the sample file

Video 1: Setting up the Chart of Accounts for a Contractor

The Chart of Accounts is the foundation of your accounting system. In this video, you'll learn what accounts are important for you to have set up and what certain account types mean to you.

Video 2: Setting up Your Item List – The Foundation of Your Job-Costing System

The Item List is where you will set up your Cost Codes. The Item list is the key to the entire job-costing system! It's also the number one place people go wrong when setting up job-costing in QuickBooks.  In this video, I'll teach you how to set up your items for job-costing, what your item list might look like, what the item types mean and provide you with some helpful tips.

*for Speculative projects or Completed Cost (WIP) Accounting methods, concepts are the same except for the account mapping - see section 6 for more info.

Video 3: Importing List Templates like the Chart of Accounts and Item List

In this video, I'll show you how to import lists like the Chart of Accounts, Item List, Vendors and Customers when the lists are in .iif format - like the list template I provide or from another QuickBooks file

*Speculative projects and Completed Costs/ WIP use WIP Item list mapping or two item lists see section 6

Video 4: Importing Lists from Excel or Manually Entering Lists Fast

In this video, I'll show you how to import lists like the Item List, Customers, or Vendors when they are in excel format, or how to key in FAST.  Don't start manually entering lists until you see this video!

Video 5: Best Practices for Setting up Customers and Jobs

In this video, I'll share with you some best practices when setting up customers and jobs in QuickBooks.

Lesson 2- All The Ways to Get Paid

Topics covered in this session:

  • Creating Estimates and Job Budgets
  • Progress and Cost Plus (T&M) Invoicing
  • The right way to handle customer deposits and retention
  • Using group items to conceal on customer invoices for lump sum draws while retaining job-costing detail
  • Lots of tips, tricks and workarounds


Week 2 - All the Ways to get paid pdf


  • Set up Estimates in your company (or practice in Sample File) for current or new jobs, if applicable to your business
  • Convert or Practice setting up Estimates using Group Items, if applicable to your business
  • Practice or create Progress invoices for current or new jobs
  • Customize your Invoice and Estimate Template
  • Create for a previous or current invoice or practice T&M Invoicing if applicable to your business
  • Set up your billing rate levels for employees and vendors, or practice in the sample file
  • Set up your company file or practice Customer Deposit and Retention transactions
  • Plan and implement a conversion from "old way" of handling deposits and retention to update your company file for 2014

Recording of this week's live session:

Video 1: Creating Estimates/Job Budgets

Setting up your Estimates (you may call them Job Budgets) in QuickBooks is essential for both Progress Invoicing and Estimates vs. Actual Reports.  You can even use Estimates to track T&M not to exceed contracts.

Video 2: Creating Change Orders – 3 Options

Learn how to track Change Orders in QuickBooks.

Video 3: Progress Invoicing

How to create Progress Invoices in QuickBooks, including template design and tips and tricks. This is for you if you bill your contract in phases.

Video 4: Using Group Items for Lump Sum Billing

How to "hide" job-costing line item detail from the client copy of Estimates and Invoices. Your estimate/invoice detail may have 20 lines, but the printed or emailed copy of the Estimate or Invoice shows just one lump sum. Lots of tips and tricks.

Video 5: Time and Materials or Cost Plus Billing

How QuickBooks can help you track billable job costs and pull them onto an invoice. Lots of tips and tricks.

Video 6: Handling Invoice Retention – the right way!

Most people deduct the retention amount against income and this is all wrong. Learn how to handle retention, including custom reports.

Video 7: Handling Customer Deposits/Down payments

Customer Deposits here are defined as the down payment you often require when signing a contract or starting a job.  Most people handle customer deposits by leaving an unapplied payment, while this works in some situations, learn how to handle customer deposits correctly for all situations.

Lesson 3 - Transactions in Action

Topics covered in this session:

  • How to capture costs by job - entering bills, checks, credit card charges
  • Handling "barter" and other unusual transactions
  • Purchase orders for Contractors
  • Handling 1099 set up and reporting as well as vendor retention
  • Lots of tips, tricks and workarounds

Handouts: W-9 Form Transactions in Action Power Point pdf Homework:

  • Review your 1099 set up and get it all in order before the end of the year
  • Practice some "special transactions", either actual in your data, or in the sample data file: Barter Transaction, Assigning Stock Materials to a Job

Recording of this session:

Video 1: Entering Job-Related Costs (Bills, Checks, Credit Card Charges or Cash)

Video 2: Handling Unusual Transactions

Video 3: Vendor Retention – The Right Way

Video 4: Purchase Orders

Video 5: Barter Transactions (Trading)

Video 6: Handling Joint Checks

Video 7: 1099’s

Lesson 4 - Capturing your labor costs and burden - payroll in and out of QuickBooks

Topics covered in this session:

  • Setting up payroll in QuickBooks for job costing
  • Using time-sheets
  • Making sure payroll taxes and worker's comp are included in your labor costs
  • Adjust payroll taxes when you have both job and non-job-related payroll
  • Clever workaround for job-costing when you use an outside payroll service
  • Certified and Union Payroll tracking

Handouts and Links: Week 4 - Payroll in and out of QuickBooks Powerpoint pdf

Time sheet template

Labor Burden Worksheet

Sign up for T-Sheets Use discount code : pennylane50900 for a 10% discount

Sunburst Software Certified Payroll Program

QuickBooks Payroll Service Options Link

Video 1: Payroll Options

Video 2: Setting Up Payroll in QuickBooks for Job-Costing

Video 3: Setting Up Worker’s Comp in QuickBooks for Job-Costing

Video 4: Using Time Sheets in QuickBooks

Video 5: Job-Costing Vendor Time

Video 6: Job-Costing Mileage and Per Diem

Video 7: Handling Prevailing Wage Payroll in QuickBooks

Video 8: Job-Costing Payroll with Outside Payroll Service or for Owner Time

Video 9: Splitting Payroll Tax and Work Comp Costs to Multiple GL Accounts

Lesson 5 - Leverage your insights - reporting for results and profit

*Please note - I am working on re-recording this lesson into multiple short videos right now.  Thanks for your patience!

Topics covered in this session - the most important one of all:

  • Find out what the key reports for the Contracting business are
  • Learn how to "square up" your P&L so it actually makes sense
  • Demystify the accounting speak and really understand the difference between cash and accrual reports in QuickBooks
  • How to use your reports to create a simple formula to calculate a mark up that results in profits
  • Bonus lesson - Job cost tips and important entries for Speculative projects
  • Tips, tricks and workarounds

Handouts and Worksheets:

  1. Calculating Volume and Mark up lesson
  2. HUD Form WIP Property Purchase
  3. HUD form example - Project Sale
  4. Mark Up Worksheets
  5. Recommended Reports and Best Practices lesson
  6. Speculative Project or WIP Lesson
  7. Week 5 - Leverage Your Insights powerpoint pdf
  8. WIP Template

Go Mobile! Links to companies I recommend that host QuickBooks in the Cloud:

Tip: be sure to ask and make sure that the hosting company will host any additional programs you may need - Microsoft excel, etc. RightNetworks Cloud9 Unidata

Other Great Products I recommend:

Transaction Importer Pro - Import lists and Transactions into QuickBooks

Tsheets - Awesome Mobile Time Tracking App that downloads to QuickBooks Use coupon code pennylane50900 for 10% off

Unfortunately, the video did not record in 2 parts as I intended, I'll edit it later to separate out the Spec Lesson, but here it is for now:

Section 6: Speculative and Development Projects and/or WIP, CIP and Completed Cost Method

Topics covered in this session:

  • Setting up the Item List and Chart of Accounts for Speculative Project Accounting
  • Posting Cost Transactions and Loan Draws
  • Recording a Lot, Land or Project Purchase
  • Reporting for WIP and Speculative Projects
  • Recording a Project Sale

Handouts and Worksheets:

  1. WIP Property Purchase
  2. HUD Selling Statement
  3. WIP Item List in Excel
  4. WIP COA in Excel

Video 1: Chart of Accounts and Item List for Speculative or Work In Progress Projects

In this video, I will share with you the proper account mapping for your item list when you do real estate development, WIP or speculative projects - meaning you hold all costs and revenue on the Balance Sheet until the Project is complete.

Video 2: Posting Transactions - Costs and Loan Draws

Video 3: Recording a Lot or Property Purchase

Video 4: Custom Reporting for Speculative or WIP Projects

Video 4: Recording a Project Sale

Video 5: WIP for Non Speculative Contract Projects

This video is for those who aren't necessarily doing speculative projects or real estate development, but DO hold all revenue and costs for jobs until the project is complete - called WIP - Work In Progress, CIP - Construction In Progress, or Completed Cost method of accounting. Please note that you will follow the same method for invoicing customers and recording costs as described in the rest of the program.  The main difference is that you will need to map the item list differently, create custom reports, and "close out" jobs.

Video 5: If you do both Speculative and Contract Projects

This video is for those who do both Speculative Projects - where the job costs need to be held on the Balance Sheet AND Contract projects - those jobs in which you want to recognize income and costs as the job progresses.  In this video, you will learn 3 options for handling the item list and adjusting the books as needed.