What Distinguishes a Reimbursable Expense From Other Expenses?

A reimbursable expense is an expense that you expect to invoice to a customer or client either at the actual cost or with a markup.  QuickBooks includes features to distinguish reimbursable expenses from other types of expenses and to track which reimbursable expenses have in fact been invoiced to a customer. 

For more information on handling reimbursable expenses, see our related articles on enabling automatically invoicing customers for reimbursable expenses, invoicing a customer for reimbursable expenses, removing expenses from the list of billable expenses to be invoiced to a customer, and finding out which reimbursable expenses haven’t been billed to a customer.

In QuickBooks, the 4 principal ways to record expenses for a business are:

  1. Recording a vendor bill using the Vendor->Enter Bills menu selection
  2. Writing a check using the Banking->Write Checks menu selection or Ctrl + W keyboard shortcut
  3. Recording a credit card transaction using the Banking->Enter Credit Card Charges menu selection
  4. Via a General Journal entry using the Company->Make General Journal Entries… menu selection

When you record an expense using 1 of these 4 methods, you can associate line items on the transaction with one or more Customer:Jobs.  Doing so will enable you to analyze both the expenses as well as the revenues from a job.

When you add a Customer:Job to a line item on a check, vendor bill, credit card charge, or General Journal entry, QuickBooks will automatically put a check mark in the Billable? field.  That check mark in the Billable? field indicates this is a reimbursable expense to be invoiced to a customer or client.  If it’s not, simply remove the check mark by clicking on it.

Unfortunately, there’s presently no way to set the default for the Billable? field to being unchecked for those organizations who want to simply assign expenses to customers and not seek reimbursement.  Leaving this field checked won’t interfere with associating expenses with customers; it’s an important detail if your organization does want to use it to track reimbursable expenses. In either case, with a Customer:Job associated with the line item for the expense, you’ll be able to use QuickBooks to perform job profitability analysis, more commonly known as job costing.

The screens for each of the 4 principal ways to record an expense are shown below.  Here’s the Enter Bills window:

The Write Checks window:

The Enter Credit Card Charges window:

And the Make General Journal Entries window:

Note that the field where you enter the Customer:Job on the Make General Journal Entries window is actually called Name because General Journal entries can be recorded for an entity that isn’t a Customer:Job, such as a Vendor, Employee, or Other Name.

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