How to Enter Job Costs in Quickbooks

by David Roberts

Job costing is an accounting technique used mainly in construction and manufacturing businesses. Job costing involves the assignment of expenses for the cost of goods sold, labor and materials to a particular job or project. The technique allows a business to determine profit or loss on particular jobs so business owners can determine which part of a business is making the most profit and which is causing the most loss. Entering job costs in QuickBooks is a multi-leveled process that is flexible enough to fit your business' needs.

Enter Job Status descriptions in the "Preferences" window. Click on the "Edit" button located on the top menu bar, scroll down to the "Preferences" button and click. In the upper center of this window there are two tabs, click on the "Company Preferences" tab. You may choose to keep the default descriptions or change them to fit the needs of your business. The descriptions include "Pending," "Awarded," "In Progress," "Closed," and "Not Awarded." "Pending" is for a job where an estimate has been given but has not been accepted by the customer. "Awarded" refers to the accepted estimate for the job, but is prior to receiving payment or beginning work. "In Progress" refers to all jobs that are currently being worked on. "Closed" refers to all completed jobs. "Not awarded" refers to the jobs that the customer has decided against or has chosen another provider.

Click on the "Sales & Customers" button in the "Preferences" window. Click on the "My Preferences" tab and choose the "Ask what to Do" button. When you enter an invoice for a customer that has job costs already entered, this feature will prompt a window to open asking if you wish to add those costs to this invoice. If you choose the "Prompt for time/costs to add" you will get that prompt whether or not there are any job or time costs associated with the customer you are creating the invoice for.

Create a job underneath the Customer in the Customer List. When creating a job for a specific customer, open the customer list and click on the name of that customer. Find the "Add Customer/Job" button and click it. The "Add New Job" window will open with the name at the top. Name the job, "Kitchen Remodel" or "Spare Room," for example. Create a new job for each project being worked on for each customer.

Assign all bills for that job using the "Customer/Job" column in the "Enter Bills" screen. When you are paying any bills directly related to the job you created, whether it be for expenses or items like cost of goods, use the "Customer/Job" column and click the job this bill is for. This will assign these costs to that particular job. If these costs are to be paid by the customer at a later time, click in the "Billable" box and that amount will appear on the next invoice for that customer.

Assign labor hours of employees to the job. If you are using the "Intuit Payroll" feature, this will be a lot easier. Open the "Payroll Center" window. Click next to the names of each employee you are paying for the pay period. Click on "Show Paycheck Detail." When the first employee screen opens, enter the number of hours that employee worked on that particular job in the "Hours" column, then in the last column labeled "Customer: Job" click on the small arrow and scroll down to find the appropriate job. This way you can assign hours to each project that each employee worked in the same week. Click "Save and Next" to do the same for the next employee.

About the Author

David Roberts has been writing since 1985. He has published for various websites including online business news publications. He has over 11 years experience in tax preparation and small business consultation. He is also a Certified Fraud Examiner. He received a Master of Business Administration from Florida Metropolitan University in 2005.

Photo Credits

  • photo_camera Hard working construction worker at a construction scene. image by Andy Dean from