Are You Missing Crucial Job Cost Tools and Information?

Are you missing out on crucial job cost tools and information?  I’ve met with several contractors of many types over the years (remodelers, general contractors, subcontractors from various trades, landscapers, government contractors…) and one of their big concerns is job costing, as it should be.   However, I’ve seen that they miss out on some helpful tools simply because of the version of QuickBooks they use.  While you can use Online QuickBooks, QuickBooks for Mac and QuickBooks Pro to get some reporting for expenses for a job, you miss out on many reports and other features that can help you. QuickBooks Premier and Enterprise Solutions both have additional reports that are worthwhile, in my opinion.


There are few differences in features and reports between the Contractor’s Edition and the Professional Services Edition.  When all the Premier versions were the same price, I would recommend the Accountant’s Edition for my clients so they would have access to ALL the editions.   But when the price went up for the Accountant’s Edition, I recommended they pick between the two, unless I could find the Accountant’s Edition on sale (which I was able to do occasionally) or they could benefit from some of the other additional features.  But here are just a few reports I think are helpful to those who need to job or project cost.

  • Expenses Not Assigned to a Job/Project – Not all expenses belong to a job, but you definitely don’t want to miss an expense – especially if you’re doing time and materials. This helps you be sure you picked up all you needed
  • Unbilled Expenses by Project (Prof Svc Ed) – You definitely don’t want to miss these!
  • Cost to Complete Job Detail – especially helpful if you quoted a fixed-price or a “not-to-exceed”.
  • Job Costs by Job and Vendor Summary (Contractor Ed)
  • Job Costs by Vendor and Job Summary (Prof Svc Ed)
  • Billed/Unbilled Time by Person and Job
  • Billed/Unbilled Time by Person and Activity


With Online, Mac and Pro, you miss out on being able to create change orders – a very common occurrence for contractors.


Two other key job cost elements you can miss out on with Mac and Online are:

  • Job costed payroll – labor is often such a big component of the job costs.  If employees don’t switch jobs often, then you can allocate some of the labor expenses to the jobs, but you usually miss the overhead costs such as employer’s payroll taxes and benefits.  Of course you can miss out on some of this with the other versions if you outsource your payroll.
  • Progress invoicing – The desktop versions let you create multiple invoices from one estimate; you can invoice by phases, time, etc.


I understand wanting remote access – but there are several ways to access the desktop QuickBooks remotely.

And if you are a Mac lover, I understand wanting to stay in that environment as well, but you, too, have options.


The new versions of QuickBooks should be out soon and I’ll be reviewing the features.  If job costing is important to you, it’s probably worth extra investment for the functionality and reporting that you can get.  I’ll be happy to assist you from the decision-making and purchasing through the setup and training process.

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